Home > Reviews > Mosso Aluminum Rigid Fork Review

Mosso Aluminum Rigid Fork Review

May 10th, 2008 [print] Go to comments

I don’t normally write reviews on anything, but since the internets seem to be lacking in them for Mosso’s increasingly more popular rigid aluminum fork, I thought I’d do one.

I bought this fork last fall from eBay for $55 (incl shipping).  I didn’t know what to expect of it in terms of performance or durability, but for the price, it wasn’t a bad investment.  At the same time, I re-sold my ’06 Rock Shox SID, so the Mosso became my primary fork, and forced me to get used to riding a rigid bike.

The fork only took 5 days to arrive from China, which was pretty unexpected.  I pretty much couldn’t wait to get it on my bike, or on the scale.  The weight is listed as 695 grams, and I believe it came in at that exact number.  However, after cutting the steerer tube down a few inches, it came in at 664 grams, about 1.4lbs less than my SID!  So far, so good.

Installation of the star nut was a little tougher than on previous forks, but the real trouble came when I installed the lower bearing race for my Chris King headset.  It seems as though the steerer tube was on the high side of factory tolerances, as it took about half an hour of beating on it with a mallet and PVC pipe before the race finally seated itself.  I’ve never had that level of trouble on either of my previous forks, both of which were Rock Shox SIDs from different years.

With everything ready to go, I installed it on my bike (a Gary Fisher SuperCaliber frame) and put on some 26" road tires (more on that later).

On thing I noticed right away was how much the Mosso fork lowered the front end of my bike, and with it, the bottom bracket and pedal clearance height.    Click one of the images below to see a comparison, and keep in mind the tires with the SID are 2.3", whereas the I have 1.9" tires mounted in the Mosso pic:

 

Overall, I think the drop was close to 2", which was significant.  I made up for it by adding an additional spacer under my stem and flipping my stem over for positive rise.  That took care of my comfort, but it still left the bottom bracket about an inch closer to the ground than before.  Still, I’m a cross-country rider, so I can deal with a little less ground clearance than a full-suspension freeride type bike would allow.

Thoughts…

So, how have I gotten along with the lower, stiffer fork?  Well, I had my doubts about going to a rigid set-up, but I’ve since become a believer in it—and on a fully aluminum bike, no less!  I have no reason to ever again doubt riders who swear by fully rigid steel bikes and forks.

On the road — riding with my Continental Gran Prix 26×1" tires set at 100psi, this set-up beats the crap out of me.  The Mosso fork is made of 7005-series aluminum, which is extremely sitff and unforgiving.  I’ve only gone for a handful of rides on my road tires, but each time I’ve sworn I’d never do it again.  This time, I mean it!

Steering is incredibly sharp with the lower front end and the bike sprints up hills like a road bike (at 17lbs, it should!).  The lower pedal clearance can be a problem on turns if I lean too much and don’t have my inside pedal up, but overall, it’s a nice ride.  Where it suffers is with the ultra-stiff, non-absorbing front end.  Tires set at 100psi are rock hard, and the fork does nothing to mask road joints or other cracks in the pavement.

Bottom line:  if you’re planning on turning your MTB into a hybrid, use fatter tires and less air pressure, or just avoid this fork altogether.  It’s just not worth the abuse.

On the trail — With a fork this light, it makes you wonder just how durable it will be over time, crashing down rocky, root-covered terrain.  I’m happy to say it holds up very well, and I’ve never once needed to question how tough it is.  I don’t use disc brakes, so they may actually cause more flex in the fork under braking, but with v-brakes, it never seems to wander or flex at all.

 

I ride a local rail-trail quite a lot, and the Mosso has made the experience pretty much perfect.  Yes, it does a terrible job soaking up vibratrion, but the sharp steering and light weight make the bike fly like it never has before.  Since I ride the rail-trail with my Kenda Klimaxx Lite 1.9" tires set at 50psi, the overall ride is actually very comfortable, and I can only tell I’m on a stiff, rigid fork when I begin to sprint and it takes off down the trail.

I believe I could keep this set-up pretty much forever on a rail-trail and never be disappointed with it.

It’s on real trails where the fork really begins to shine… and disappoint.  I ride with 2.3" Continental Vertical Pro tires set at 25-30psi, so that’s all the suspension I get.  I thought the Mosso would totally beat me up as I rode over roots and rocky terrain, or even through rock gardens, but it actually performs quite well.  It’s only when I hit a section of trail covered in roots that I even remember I’m riding a rigid bike.  The rest of the time, I don’t even think about it.  I’m sure this is due more to the tires than the fork, but the overall feel is actually quite nice, and is what’s convinced me I never need a suspension fork for XC riding.

The best part is the level of tactile feel you have when rolling over… well, everything.  I’m always very aware of what’s under my tires, and I feel a level of control that a suspension fork never gave me.

Where it disappoints is, obviously, with ground clearance, especially during climbs.  There have been numerous spots where my pedals have hit the ground, which pretty much destroys a climb as my shoe usually unclips from my pedals.  I removed my 46T large chainring in favor of a smaller diameter bash guard, and that made a huge difference, but having the pedals hit the ground so often just won’t do.  This, of course, is not entirely the fault of the fork, as my frame was built for an 80mm travel fork.  A frame designed around a lower fork would probably do just fine in these areas.

Conclusion…

If you’re looking to lower weight on your bike, this fork will absolutely do it.  If you’re wanting a comfy ride, it probably won’t, depending on terrain and tire set-up.  Used with a properly designed frame, I could see myself riding this fork for years to come and being quite happy with it, but I wouldn’t suggest it to anyone with a frame designed around a 63mm+ travel suspension fork.

I also wouldn’t recommend it to an older rider, or someone sensitive to having their ass kicked by a stiff ride.  However, if you can deal with the stiffness, I see no reason not to ride it (personally, I like it, except on the road).

In the end, though, I have plans to switch to a different fork, and either sell this or find a place in my shop to store it for a later date.  For $55, it was a fun experiment, and I learned that I love riding without suspension and rarely feel a need for it.

Positives:

Stiff
Light
Cheap
Can be used with v- or disc brakes
Durable
Zero maintenance (due to lack of moving parts & aluminum construction)

Negatives:

Stiff
Difficulty installing star nut and bearing race
Low axle-to-crown height (394mm from axle center to top of crown)

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  1. July 13th, 2008 at 11:50 | #1

    Thanks, you’ve written an excellent review of the Moss fork!

  2. July 19th, 2008 at 07:27 | #2

    Thank you for the review.

  3. September 21st, 2008 at 15:51 | #3

    Hi.

    About this fork. I bought one as well, and mine is 42 centimeter axle-to-crown height, actually, you can get this for in a few different lengths.

  4. Aaron
    September 21st, 2008 at 16:55 | #4

    Thanks, Biculas, that’s good to know. I wouldn’t mind trying one out with a longer A-C height.

  5. mike
    November 27th, 2008 at 05:43 | #5

    Mine just came few days ago, axle to crown height 410mm, straight blade model. Very light, ideal for my street-oriented slicked 26er. Great price. But i’d not race it or hit it harder .. just a feeling. (you know .. combination of its advantages – very light & very cheap ..)

  6. Aaron
    November 27th, 2008 at 08:46 | #6

    Mike, I only rode mine for a couple months, but I gave it a thorough beating off-road, including descending rock gardens. You might not want to push it to it’s limits of strength all the time, but don’t worry too much about breaking it if you happen to go off-road occasionally.

  7. Israel
    February 4th, 2009 at 00:44 | #7

    17lbs??!!! At that configuration??!! Whoa, that’s light! Imagine what it would weigh if you converted it to SS… ;-D

  8. Aaron
    February 4th, 2009 at 04:53 | #8

    Sorry, man, but SS is the most nauseating fad going on in the bike world right now. Blech!

  9. Cruzinaz
    February 23rd, 2009 at 10:34 | #9

    Your review helped me make up my mind before buying one of these. I too ride the Mosso rigid but in a 42cm length to maintain the geometry of my SID Team. I Love this fork. I picked it up also from E-Bay cheap and did it more as an experiment and for some of the enduro style races that I do around here I figured it will be perfect. I actually like the ride on this and don’t find it all that much different than the SID. As long as you are a smooth rider you can roll anything with this. I can’t wait to try it out on it’s first race in April.

  10. Cruzinaz
    April 28th, 2009 at 10:32 | #10

    Races have gone well with the new rigid. Love the weight reduction and the feel of the trail with this fork. Perfect for enduro point to point style races like Paris Ancaster or Lake to Lake. Will likely switch it out for some more technical races coming up and form some tight NY singletrack riding. For the $60 this thing cost you owe it to yourself to try it out.

  11. Reg
    June 7th, 2009 at 20:03 | #11

    I’m thnking in getting their carbon version.
    Thanks, perfect review.

  12. June 8th, 2009 at 03:03 | #12

    Thanks, Reg. I think the carbon version is simply “carbon-wrapped”, in that, it’s just the aluminum version with carbon fiber wrapped around it for looks. It also weighs slightly more than the aluminum version. I’m guessing the carbon fiber wrap helps damp vibration more, so it’s probably worth the weight penalty.

  13. Reg
    June 14th, 2009 at 08:50 | #13

    @Aaron
    Yes, you’re right, thanks once again.
    In this case i don’t know..
    There’s a new one at the pzracing site, so who knows…

  14. david
    August 2nd, 2009 at 14:08 | #14

    Nicely done! I am looking into a rigid fork and this review is helpful. Have you considered a compensated rigid fork?

  15. david
    August 2nd, 2009 at 14:11 | #15

    OOPS! I guess so.

  16. August 2nd, 2009 at 14:12 | #16

    david, I actually got a rigid fork that’s a little taller: http://one9.us/blog/cycling/exotic-carbon-rigid-fork-review

    I’d suggest to everyone, get a rigid that’s as close to the length of your suspension fork (w/ 15% sag) as possible, regardless of material. If you search eBay, you can typically find slightly taller versions of the Mosso fork.

  17. jose garriga
    September 20th, 2009 at 07:58 | #17

    Very good and all inclusive review of the Mosso fork. Keep up the good writing!

  18. Dan
    October 27th, 2009 at 14:56 | #18

    Thanks for the review I have been looking at these and thinking of getting one the shortest one Ive found is 403mm and for me I would like one alittle shorter like your 394mm becouse I think Im done bending over on a mountain bike so Im looking to build a 26″ bmx, thats what we all grow up on so it should be fun again.

  19. October 30th, 2009 at 09:14 | #19

    Any customs fees ordering from Asia ?

  20. October 30th, 2009 at 11:19 | #20

    Lenny, I think the shipping was pretty cheap from the eBay seller, and he declares everything as gifts, so I don’t think there were any customs fees.

  21. Fi
    April 17th, 2010 at 00:57 | #21

    Hi, I realise this is an pretty old post now, but I just bought one of these for my commuter and am having real trouble installing the lower bearing race (Cane Creek S8). Like REAL trouble. It sits about 10mm above the crown. I haven’t yet tried your method with the pipe and mallet as am scared it will split the race. I guess I’m writing because I was just after some confirmation that this is the correct course of action? Brute force wins out?

  22. April 17th, 2010 at 07:29 | #22

    Yep, brute force is what it’s all about.

    First, put some grease of some kind around the steerer where it widens at the bottom. It’ll help get the race on now, and then back off later. On my Mosso, I had a hell of a time getting the lower race on, much harder than any fork I’ve ever dealt with before, but it did eventually seat itself.

    Buy a PVC pipe that’s large enough to fit around the steerer, but not so large (in diameter) that it’s bigger than the race (make sure it’s a few inch longer than the steerer, too). Make sure its ends are even so the race goes on squarely. Then, either hold the fork by the underside of the crown by hand, or prop it on something (I used a single sawhorse), so that the force from the hammer travels only to the crown, but all the way down through the legs to the dropouts. A few hard whacks should seat it. Once it looks fully seated, hit it a couple more times just to be sure.

    I’ve never had a race split, and I haven’t heard of that happening, either.

    You can also search YouTube for “how to install fork steerer race” to see a few examples.

  23. joghie
    February 5th, 2011 at 16:30 | #23

    Hi Aaron,
    thanks for the good review. Since the shipping costs are nearly the price of the fork (to Germany, that is), I try to find information about their carbon fork model. I only see the ones weighing in at 625g, but there seems to be a model weighing in at only 466g. Read it somewhere, but it wasn’t a shop to immediately buy it.
    Can You help me find a link to that extremely lightweight carbon fork?
    Would appreciate it very much.

  24. April 26th, 2011 at 20:21 | #24

    Thanks for doing such an in depth write-up (apart from not mentioning the rake!).
    Was considering this fork (or the carbon wrap one) in combo with 26″ road tyres -like your pic-, but have decided that the Trigon full carbon MC01 will be the one.
    A2C is 415mm, but will add a On One Smoothie Regular headset, to get the length back to 424mm.

  25. Paco
    August 2nd, 2011 at 15:59 | #25

    I bought a Mosso fork (ALU 7oo5) but haven’t set it up yet on my bike so was really curious about how would it perform. This has been a great review and has given me some confidence as I was not sure about this fork since it only cost 35$.

    Thanks a lot!

  26. Bram
    August 31st, 2011 at 08:17 | #26

    I got an alloy 7005 frame MTB and wish to apply this rigid fork. I use my bike for bike to work and in the weekend I go to off road track.
    Does it recommended for the light XC? doesn’t it harm the alloy frame when it used on an off road track?

  27. Aaron
    August 31st, 2011 at 17:17 | #27

    Yeah, the fork holds up well to XC riding. I put mine through a ton of abuse before swapping to a carbon fork.

  28. David
    October 8th, 2011 at 23:02 | #28

    From the dimensions I’ve seen, the fork does not appear to be suspension-corrected, which is why the reviewer experienced a significant drop in the front end. This results in a change of the frame’s geometry. Even though I don’t have one of these forks (yet), I have started looking at it as a suspension-corrected substitute for a suspension fork on a mountain bike with 24 inch wheels. On the original suspension fork, the distance from the axle to the crown is 420mm; on the Mosso fork it is 413mm, which is pretty close, eliminating any concerns about geometry changes. Of course, figuring out how to make the brakes work is a sticking point if using the cantilever pegs. In this case, the disc brake tabs offer a nice alternative.
    Forks with similar dimensions were abundant in the 1990s, when plenty of bikes were still designed without suspension forks in mind. Which is why I’m a little bit surprised at the dimensions used in these forks given the fact that suspension forks are now present in even the cheapest of bicycles.

  29. The chosen one
    December 14th, 2011 at 13:24 | #29

    I have just bought a Marin Nail Trail frame and have had the same problem of the clearance due to the rigid forks, I have found an answer. I put 700c Hybrid forks with disc mounts on still using 26″ wheels. the result is a good riding angle.

  30. dave
    January 12th, 2012 at 11:13 | #30

    I have the 410 a2c straight leg version of these forks, bought a couple of years ago and they’re ok but i have one issue with them when using disc brakes – these things REALLY FLEX!!! first time i used them it really freaked me out, breaking hard and the whole bike was spinging back and forth when it came to a stop, probbably best to stick with the v-brake option (in all fairness and to give you guys some frame of reference i weigh in at 215-220 lbs so it may not be so bad for a smaller rider, but just consider it before you try hammering on those disc brakes)

  31. Dylan
    February 5th, 2012 at 15:09 | #31

    Great post, thanks! I’m a veteran mountain biker, but have never ventured to the road. I’m looking at converting my hardtail mtn bike to a commuter. You mentioned this fork (7005 al) is very stiff on the road (100psi and 1″ tires). Is there a better material for the street than 7005 al? Or, if I rode this fork with 1.5 tires and psi 60 would that make a drastic difference? thanks!

  32. Aaron
    February 5th, 2012 at 15:16 | #32

    Yeah, 1.5″ tires would make a huge difference. On my road bike, I can tell a difference between 23c and 25c, and that’s only about a 2mm difference. Going to a 1.5 from a 1.0 would definitely be a good idea.

  33. Dylan
    February 19th, 2012 at 23:15 | #33

    Thanks for the record time reply. Just got the fork in, and found 1 small problem. My V brakes don’t fit from my previous fork. I noticed you had v brakes on yours. Are the mounts on the fork made for canti?

  34. Aaron
    February 20th, 2012 at 05:32 | #34

    Canti and v-brake posts are exactly the same, so that’s odd. In what way do they not fit; i.e. too high or low on the fork legs, posts the wrong size, etc.? Do you pads just need an adjustment, maybe?

  35. Eryl Davies
    July 16th, 2012 at 15:03 | #35

    I was looking for lighter forks for my Giant HCM-2 which had rigid Cro-Moly forks as standard. I noticed the different crown heights. Most were designed as suspension fork replacements and had a high crown height. The Mossos were one of the few designed as rigid for rigid replacements, and were only three or four mm different to the originals. I found the head race tight as first but on close inspection realised tha there was clear lacquer continuing an inch or so up the steerer tube. I cleaned this off with abrasive tape and the bearing race fitted with four or five knocks. I used a Big Balls headset because of its slightly larger diameter which matches the bearing seating better. The larger balls should also take the shock of hitting bumps, which is normally coushioned by suspension fowks.
    The model I have is carbon wrapped aluminium. I also use Monkeylight carbon bars which do a great job of smoothing out road buzz. I have tackled wo red graded trails so far and found the forks quite adequate. On the road they ride like a dream. The fork geometry has speeded up steering response slightly, but I found the original forks quite lazy for road use, so for me that’s a good thing.

  36. streetworks
    October 15th, 2012 at 21:00 | #36

    I currently bought a straight bladed mosso 7005 triple butted aluminum for
    they were very light and I have doubts if It will hold on the beating for a moderate street trials riding i put it on a merida tfs 100 frame. Since I have read this article about how the writer use this fork for descending rocky bed, trails, root covered rocks etc., Ill give his fork
    a try so well see!!!

  37. Dylan
    February 26th, 2013 at 18:48 | #37

    I’ve had a pair of the newer Mosso straight blade shaped forks on my old steel GT Tequesta frame for a few months and love them – mostly for riding on roads with the odd track. I’ve got a disc brake on the front and a V on the rear, which works surprisingly well. I started with 1.75 Schwalbe Land Cruiser tyres front and rear, but found the front too jarring on bumps (the hills in Sheffield are steep and the roads are terrible) so now have a 1.9 Specialized Crossroads on the front which gives enough cushioning and makes for a comfy ride. No problems yet!

    About installing the crown race – I have a couple of narrow hardwood planks, one of which has a slightly larger than 1 & 1/8 inch hole in it. I use these in conjunction with a pair of G-clamps to install headsets, and had no problem at all installing the crown race on these forks.

  38. angeldust
    March 24th, 2013 at 17:56 | #38

    I ran a straight fork like that(looks like the MTB FK26M3 on the Mosso website) for about a year – maybe a year and a bit. It is 100mm suspension corrected so ocassionally I fitted a 29 inch wheel with a 2.1 tyre WTB moto raptor on it. The tyre had about 3mm clearance. The bike is a Giant Boulder 26 inch.
    I used this fork with the 29er wheel (as well as a 26 inch wheel fitted with a 2.5 WTB dissent tyre) for quite a few runs at the You Yangs, Australia. I took it through rocky sections and some small jumps, etc. I also used the bike as a commuter every once in a while. Still, it should be noted that I have a few other bikes so it was not used every day, or even every weekend.
    The fork is crazy light and it has quite a bit of flex, you can see it mostly when braking. It performed quite well for a year or so. It is not too hard on the wrists.
    All the time I had the fork I felt a little uncomfortable about its flex and durability.
    Fair enough, a week ago I checked it and it has a huge crack just above the brake caliper screw point. If I did not check it, it would have certainly failed.The crack is spread over half of the left steerer.
    Bottom line: if you want to use it for a commuter or want to run it only for a season, it may be a viable option. Otherwise, only use it if you like really extreme sports, like suddently riding without a front wheel.

  39. Eryl Davies
    July 25th, 2014 at 17:16 | #39

    Done a similar mod to my Giant HCM-2, but with a carbon wrapped ally Mosso fork. The CHM-2 originally had a rigid CroMo fork and the spindle to crown distance on both forks was near identical. Indeed I found that the Mosso was the only fork that I could find in this size as most carbon forks are made as sus fork replacements and have a longer spindle to crown dimension. I also added a Ritchey pro ahead stem. Big balls headset (for its larger diameter lower race), and Easton Monkeylite bars to reduce road buzz. Total weight reduction was just over 6 pounds! Now it’s a very nice bike for trails including the not too extreme red singletrack.

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