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'98 KTM 200 MXC Forks: Keep or Ditch 'em?

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Question:

Can the KTM's 45mm Marzocchi conventional forks be made to work okay, or should I forget about them and find some newer KTM USD forks and swap out the front end?

 

Details:

My '98 200 MXC has the 45mm Marzocchi conventional forks. The fork seals are leaking and need to be replaced, and since the bike is fairly new to me the condition of the fork internals are unknown. So I'm figuring there may be other parts that need attention inside. This means I'm at a decision point: invest some $$ in the forks I have, or spend the $$ on buying better ones. I've been searching around for information on these forks; some say they are okay, but not great, to others who say they are worthless junk that will leave you on the ground in a bloody heap. I have ridden on them a few times, in rocks they were harsh and deflecting off of everything, at the sand dunes they seemed great.  I will mostly be riding at the sand dunes, with some occasional trail riding (Oregon style rocks and roots). I'm a mid-forties, 160 pound, experienced but fairly mellow rider, so no huge jumps or extended high speed running.

 

Thanks!

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I have no experience with Marzocchi forks.. However, IMHO, if it were my bike, being similar in pace to you, I would just keep what I had.  

 

Before I spent the money on a new front end including triple clamps, axle, forks that you might need to rebuild as soon as you got them, I would try:

 

New seals, wipers and bushings

 

New oil

 

Maybe look into the valving.   At 160 lbs, my guess is that the stock spring rate would be fine if the spring itself is not sacked out. 

 

Polish any nicks out of the lower tubes. 

 

If you still don't like them, then you have a set of reconditioned forks you can sell outright. 

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All good points Bailey, and this is the way I'm leaning, since I don't have super high expectations for the forks (ie. not racing). The current forks have these "NOLEEN BASE VALVE" stickers on them, which I suppose means someone has been in there before and done some work years ago. From researching, it appears the '00 - '02 KTM forks could use the same front wheel/brakes etc. so if I did go for replacements I would probably keep my search limited to those years.

 

Thanks for your input!

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I have experience with Marzocchi 45's and with the 98 200exc. To convert the forks, if you found everything on Ebay, would cost close to the price of the bike. For riding in the dunes they can be made to work ok. Trail riding you will never get them to work good and the harder you push them the worst they get. How much are you willing to invest?? Simple maintenance will help, revalve/RT gold valves next step and then the biggy new front end. Better front forks then your rear end will be the weak link.

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