Excessive Play in Front Suspension/Fork


Old 04-08-15, 08:56 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
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Excessive Play in Front Suspension/Fork

I recently bought a Specialized Crosstrail hybrid bike, which has a front suspension (with lockout lever). The braking has never been very smooth and I thought it was just an out-of-true front wheel. I took a closer look over the weekend, and it turns out that the vibration is being caused by play in the suspension. I've never had a bike with a front suspension, so I'm not sure if this is normal. It's significant enough to cause vibrations when braking so it doesn't seem normal to me. I expected more from a $650 bike. With the bike stationery and front brake applied, if I rock the bike forward/backward I can clearly see the fork tube moving forward and backward independently from the lower wheel assembly. I don't imagine these forks have serviceable parts. I'll be taking it in this weekend to have it looked at, but am curious if any forum members can provide any input in the meantime.
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Old 04-08-15, 12:09 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
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Picture would sure help.
Check to see if the tube nut is loose at the top?
Old 04-08-15, 12:26 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
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I don't see how pictures would help here. It's a Specialized Crosstrail hybrid bike with front suspension. I did some research and apparently the internal fork bushings are likely worn. Makes sense because the bushings are what provide the lateral stability between the rods and tubes. I spoke with the shop where I bought it and they are going to replace the entire fork under warranty. Evidently paying $650 for a bike isn't enough money to guarantee a decent product. Wonder what that price threshold is, if it even exists.

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Old 04-08-15, 02:45 PM
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Much depends on the shop and their knowledge. Wife bought a $950 road bike sold as a new and it turned out to be semi-used/demo and a 3 yr old model. And they purported to not even knowing it. 2 man poorly managed store.

Have you verified the age on yours? Takes some detective work sometimes. If there's no date of manufacture on it, you have to look in catalog archives and match paint schemes and specs.

Seems like you could just look at another one to see if it was normal or a fluke. Factory and onsite assy mistakes do happen.
Old 04-08-15, 04:05 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New England
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What is your activity level with the bike, road and trails or rough trails and beating the dickens out of it. I suspect the latter is not you, but it is the latter that would cause the problem you are describing.

I'm not familiar with suspension forks so the first objective should be to determine if the problem is with the suspension or the bearing where the forks enter the head tube. Their suggestion that they are going to replace the fork assembly has a hint that that model has a history and it points to the forks. But my experience from ages ago would be thinking the bearings. You can usually feel or see the play.


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