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white brothers fork


rudi-h
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Is there anybody in SA that can service / maintain white brothers forks? (not only to do the physical work, but also stock the seals etc?)

 

My fork has had its better days and I'm off to Alaska in August to do some biking. Wondered if I can fit a White Bros Fork while I'm in the US and not pay any import duties...? It seems that you can get a White Bros Magic 100 cheaper in the US than you can get a Fox F100 in SA.

 

Anybody that has a White Brothers fork? Are they really that good?

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isn't it whyte bro's? or am i on the wrong track?... the guys that take marin designs and improve tham?? (or used to)

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  • 2 weeks later...

nope, it's white brothers. they started off making motorbike forks but went into the MTB market. I'm not too sure, but I was under the impression that they are the "rolls royce" of mtb forks?

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Sjoe... You're about to open a can of worms on this one...

 

I had a White Brothers fork - but google carefully, seem to remember they're not the same company as the one who does the MX stuff...

 

Right now - I don't have the time to get into this (watching the TdF highlights :rolleyes:) - but will be back, promise.

There's the odd Hubber who's had a WB fork before, but I'm pretty sure they'd disagree with your statement that they're close to the Rolls Royce, or a Fox for that matter...

 

For the record, I absolutely LOVED my WB.. but more about that later!

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The newer White brothers DH fork is supposed to be good. But i dont know anybody riding them. The older White Brothers forks were smooth... until the seals blew. And that happened ALL the time. If you are looking at a WB XC fork, then i dont know. If its DH, then rather stay far away. Oh, and btw, bo agents in SA. FOX or the new DT-Swiss forks are pretty much the way to go if you want stiffness performance and durability. The DT does however require more attention to stay smooth and last.

 

Good luck!

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Thanks!!! seems I had it wrong then. Rodti, seeing that the TDF is over would you mind to share your WB experience?

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Rudi-h - apologies, been a bit swamped this side...

 

I had a WB Magic 80 with IMV system - which was a XC fork, on my ride for about 3(?) years. It was my first decent fork - with me having picked up an old-skool 2nd-hand Ti frame, that was no longer being used by the previous owner as his primary bike, so it had one of those R500 grease/spring-loaded cheap jobbies on the front...

 

I mention this, since, upgrading from a pavement special fork to one of the more upper-end forks in one go, obviously blew my hair back - and I was as happy as a pig in the proverbial...

 

The Magic 80, or that particular model, picked up some decent reviews over in the States and the UK - albeit with a few criticisms pertaining to the odd factory dud doing the rounds... It's ride quality was compared favourably to the Fox's of the world, but reliability and weight issues, always had it marked down in comparative tests...

 

Be that as it may - I was a student at the time, and could not afford a decent fork. My lbs was friendly with a chap that was looking at importing them, along with a few other of the smaller brands - but I think things never quite got off the ground. So they had a few of them 'lying around', and with the option of being able to pay it off over 3 months - the student in me leaped at the opportunity...

 

So - let me make one thing clear, before continuing - I absolutely loved that fork.

 

The IMV stood for Intelligent Magnetic Valve system, which was similar to the technology that they had in the Fox fork model (which name has completely slipped my mind), that has now been discontinued. From what I gather, Fox stopped that range partly due to the designer who had the rights, moving across to Specialized (or something like that - I'm hazy) - but also because, whereas the Fox fork was touted as the sh!t, and was sold as one of their Race technology forks - many people had problems with it... The concept behind the magnetic valve was that it would do most of the "lock-out" work for you, using a magnetic valve that worked in a particular manner when it experienced X, Y or Z - and was basically supposed to lock-out or lock-in/off, as required, all by itself... Many people though complained that it was susceptible to not reacting with enough sensitivity - and was apparently prone to not locking-out (as it was supposed to), when the big guns who were using it in XC races, stood up at the end to hammer out a finish-line sprint...

 

I mention all of this - because unlike the Fox model, the IMV system in the Magic, worked like an absolute charm... You needed to dial in a few dials in the beginning, but once I set it up to suit my weight (and I'm no weight-weenie myself), it honestly did what it claimed it would - it was a "set and forget"... It locked out every time I climbed, but was reactionary enough to soak up bumps on the way up.. Going down the other side, smooth as butter...

 

From that perspective, it did everything I expected a fork of that price-range to do, and more. And on top of all of this - it being an unknown make, always made for pleasant small talk with fellow riders, who would invariably come over and ask what the heck I had on the front :) WB is a niche product, designed by a small company, and has many dedicated and seemingly loyal supporters... Which is kinda nice. But - this also has its drawbacks...

 

Despite assurances when I bought it - there was no back-up service available, anywhere in RSA. All the LBS's I approached, simply weren't interested. Almost everyone had never heard of the brand - and I guess rightfully so, mechanics were nervous about offering to open it up. Also - I figure most of them these days simply send the fork off to whichever one of the main suppliers, which made it somebody else's problem - not so with a WB. I eventually managed to get all the manuals off the web - but servicing it was always going to be a mission, as would getting the required parts - which I would've needed to order from the States. I seem to recall that not event CRC stocked parts - simply because WB was so niche. I guess I could've gone on a JB workshop sooner - which would certainly have helped things - but I didn't have time as a luxury back then, and parts (or lack of them), would've meant the fork could have been out of action for lengthy periods of time...

 

My solution to this - and so typically student-like, was to forget everything about servicing, and to "just ride". And so it was, that days and days of happy miles went by - and those little scuff marks that appeared on the stanchion, just above the dustwipes, about mid-way up - were ignored. This was helped significantly by the very LBS who had sold me the fork, who when approached, told me not to worry - forks do that...

 

Eventually, like the itch that cannot be scratched - I realised that the "scuff" marks appeared to be getting worse - and I decided to make a concerted effort to find someone who could help. Cannot quite remember how any more - but eventually made contact with the wonderful German Olaf, who almost anyone who rides a singlespeed/fixie in Cape Town probably knows... He was the only one who promised to have a look, when he had a chance... And after two months of waiting, it was eventually opened up - to reveal that the scuff mark, was the proverbial iceberg. We could only see the top 10% of the scratch - inside the oil chamber, virtually the entire upper anodized(?) layer of the stanchion had been scratched off, almost the full way around...presumably from grit that had become trapped on the inner part of the dustwipes/seals, and had spent many happy hours "sanding-down" the stanchions, each time they compressed. Olaf, being German, in no uncertain terms told me I would be crazy going on riding with it. It might have lasted another 5 years - or it might have instantly failed in the most catastrophic manner the very next day - there was simply no way of knowing...

 

Two weeks later - I went back to him, and bought a brand new Fox F80 RLC. Now I need to manually lock-out when I climb, and remember to unlock when I'm at the top and I want to descend. I happy with the Fox. It's slightly plusher, especially over corrugations, than what the Magic was - but then again, it's certainly not a set-and-forget...

 

So... if you're still reading this vacuous waffling [i'm alone at home tonight, and there's nothing on the tele :)], allow me to conclude with what I could've said right at the beginning, and saved you a week of reading...

 

I cannot say with certainty that I would've taken the WB, but for the option to pay it off, which suited my pocket at the time. As it was - I got lucky, and never regretted it for a moment. This being said, if you want something niche/exclusive, that stands out as being different from all the rest - get a WB. IF you don't pick up a factory dud - and IF you're meticulous at keeping it clean, to protect those seals etc. - you won't regret it... Of course, all of this will then presume that you're going to service it yourself, and that you will order the necessary parts to replace the seals etc. each time you self-service it, yourself... Treat it like an old Alfa Romeo, and you'll be smiling. Alternatively, you could curse the day that that mad b@stard on the Hub convinced you to get one... Regardless, be very sure you can look after it on your own - because if not - then don't even consider it, and go for one of the mainstream boys: Fox/Roxshox/DT Swiss etc... Maybe even a new RST from the Kiwi... And then finally - please keep in mind that I only have knowledge of one particular Model in a range of them, AND my 'knowledge' is now at least between 5-3 years out of date... I've no idea what the newer models or ranges are performing like - but do your research of customer reviews @mtbr.com, and even CRC - and you should find what you need... Good luck...

 

Shout in the event that you still have a query - and do let us know what you're going to do... :)

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Had the WB 100 29'er, I hated it, it was a really horrific system that never worked, it was pretty stiff though but that's it. Ride a Fox F29 now, worlds apart!

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks for the detailed posts. I have only read the replies now, but seeing that I'm a "very bad at maintenance" guy, it seems like I have made the right decision not to get one. Also seems that my fox shock has stopped squeaking at the crown all by itself. Amazing how even mechanical problems get sometimes get better with time...

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