Hi folks, i'm a bit confused, can you help please?
I bought a '99 Kona Hei Hei bare frame (19") and need to source forks. I believe older Konas had shorter Project2s (something like 390mm a-t-c?) and the later so-called "suspension corrected" frames from approx mid-90s onward had longer P2s (410mm or sometimes stated as 420mm). This would suggest i need to source the longer 420mm P2s for my '99 frame. OK so far so good.
However, Pace's website for their rigid forks states "440mm length forks are intended to fit directly onto bikes which were originally designed to take an 80 or 100mm travel suspension fork, whereas the 420mm length version is only intended for older design frames which were designed for rigid forks".
On-One's website for their rigid forks says something similar "Axle to crown 440mm. Roughly equivalent in length to 80mm of suspension travel".
Hmm... Pace seem to be saying that a bike with 420mm rigid forks would have a frame not suitable for suspension, but Konas with 420mm P2s were sold as interchangable with the suspension forks of the day, as stated in their 1995 catalogue. Kona's catalogue stated "2 inches" of travel on those 1995 forks which is only about 50mm. Kona's 1999 catalogue doesn't give a travel figure but they were using Marzocchi Z2 which elsewhere on the internet are described as having 70mm travel.
I am considering to get a set of rigid AND suspension forks so i can swap them and play around trying both. so...
RIGID: Should i get 420mm or 440mm forks (i guess i can't copy official/original Kona spec since i don't think the '99 Hei Hei was even available with rigid forks - or was it?)? Does it matter much - would the difference in handling between 420mm and 440mm be significantly noticable?
SUSPENSION: Should i get a suspension fork which duplicates the length of the rigid in the unweighted position, or minus the sag when sitting on the bike, or halfway between min and max travel? Or something else? I can't just buy old forks because i'm going down the route of (get ready to slap me) disc and 15mm axle, so i really need to understand the fork length topic.
PS: Note the irony of my avatar