REBA, ARE YOU GOOD ENOUGH?
Q: Would you please tell me all you can about the new 2018 RockShox Reba A7 29er with 120 millimeters of travel and a 15×100 thru-axle? I have a Marin Iron Springs 9.5 bought through Performance Bicycle that has the exact same frame geometry as the 2016 Marin Nail Trail 9.6. Only the Nail Trail had a 100-millimeter fork, and my bike has a 120-millimeter fork.
—Luke, who has a really vague fork question
The Motion Control damper was the top offering at one point. It’s an open-bath system that works very well in our experience. It’s simple, smooth and reliable. The new Charger damper is a sealed system that is more adjustable, more consistent and requires very little maintenance, but, as we said, we would not steer you away from riding the Motion Control damper if that’s what’s in your budget. It works well and even comes with a remote lockout option if that’s your thing.
Bottom line: the Reba is the technology that would have been considered “absolutely top of the line” 10 years ago. The new stuff is cool, but with the Reba, you’re getting 90 percent of the performance at half the price of the top-shelf offerings from RockShox.
As for the travel question, we typically recommend sticking with the stock fork travel in most cases. If your frame was designed to accept an extra 20 millimeters of travel, the longer fork will slack out the head angle and raise the bottom bracket slightly. This may sound like a tiny change, but if you’re used to your bike, you will feel the difference with slightly slower steering and a slightly higher center of gravity.
HOW MUCH IS TOO LITTLE FOR CARBON WHEELS?
I have a 1 1/2-year-old Pivot Mach 6. Wonderful bike; I plan to ride it for 10 years. I want to give myself the gift of an upgrade from an aluminum to a carbon wheelset. What am I going to have to spend to get a relatively high-quality set? Can it be in the $1000 to $1500 range? What brands/models do you recommend?
—Pete, who is ready to upgrade and indulge
We have also had great luck with RideFast Racing and their Hotline wheels. RideFast is a newer company based out of Southern California. The Hotline’s retail for $1,400 and are very sturdy. RideFast laces all their wheels in house, uses a titanium free hub body, and a rear hub that is made in California. You can check out our wheel Buyer’s Guide that has some other options within your price range.
Have a question for the MBA crew? You can send your brain busters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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