650b rigid fork aka "Bikepacking Fork thread"

Just chasing a little help from the FOA hive mind.

I’m looking for a 650b rigid fork to chuck on my mtb for touring. I’ve done a bunch of searching but haven’t found the perfect fork.

Needs to be rigid, tapered and thru axel.

I also have some salsa anything cages I’d like to mount on the fork, so having bottle mounts is a major bonus. Otherwise, I might be able to clamp them onto a round fork leg.

Thanks for your suggestions in advance.

Try this mob: http://www.xmiplay.com/ProductDetails1683

@tom. and I have run the 29er version ours for the last 18 months on our El Mariachis off and on. Aeons also bought one at the same time as us.

We’ve ridden them fully loaded on the Kiwi Brevet (my bike was 26kg all loaded up; I weigh 75kg with riding gear). And I’ve ridden some pretty techy singletrack in Rotorua and around (big roots, brake bumps and small drops). I never felt like it wasn’t up to the task.

But it has some quirks, which is unsurprising seen that it is a fraction of the cost of the big brand offerings. Namely, it has a proprietary 15mm thru bolt rather than the now standard Maxle-type thru axle (the nut is NOT incorporated into the fork end). Tom found his came undone and I think he replaced it with a DT Swiss RWS thru axle IIRC. I found mine came loose once but have just done it up quite tightly – I’ll look to wrap the thread in Teflon plumbers tape if it becomes an issue for me. The other quirk again relates to the fork ends. Again unlike the pricier options, it lacks the internal flange which the wheel can slot into and holds it in position for the bolt to be inserted. Because of this its a bit of a prick to align the wheel in the fork and when the bike is loaded up it is all but impossible to do this without lying the bike on its side.

Lastly Larfinboy and Boyracer have recently bought them too. On the negative XMIPlay shipped theirs without the thru bolt (WTF?!), so if you do order from them make sure that they include the bolt!! On the positive side, Ben says that has clearance for a 3.0" tyre.

Otherwise, if you want to get a T&T’d fork by a more reputable brand, look at the White Brothers forks (now branded as MRP).

And as it segmented design with symmetrical fork legs I would feel more confident in attaching strap-on bottle cages. I wouldn’t do this with a monocoque fork.

You’d probably be able to mount a dynamo light from the steerer tube too, using a 1.5" star nut and Riese and Müller mount.

TBH If I was going to buy a fork again I would probably go with one of these.

Thanks Dice, I will add it to the list. I’d still love to mount the salsa cages to it somehow.

Checking out the T&T now!


Can we shift this to the touring section and rename it as the “Bikepacking Fork thread”?

I’ve answered a few similar queries in the past year and it might be a good resource for people to share their experiences/knowledge.


Looks like the MRP is the best option by far. I did find this on eBay a while ago that seems very similar - http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.view&id=251673933897&alt=web

Yeah that also looks good.

That Carver fork looks to have a similar thru axle arrangement with a nut - best avoided.

XMIplay didn’t send axles or nuts and are charging us extra for them. Not happy.
For overall fork quality is good through & as Dice said, tgey have hammered theirs.
Clearance is good but it might be a bit long for a 650B bike unless you’re running a 120mm fork now.

Yeah it’s a 120mm fork, so I figure a 465mm will work
Kind of leaves it open to a few 29er options I guess…

465mm is suspension corrected for 80mm 29er fork
485mm is suspension corrected for 100mm 29er fork

My Ritchey has a rigid fork which is 460mm which is supposed to be suspension corrected for 100mm 27.5/650B.

The XMIplay forks we bought are 485mm so they may work ok for your frame.
I might end up getting the guys at the workshop to put triple bosses on my fork in carbon & stainless.

Some folks like to drop the front a bit when touring & riding dirt roads or fire trails.
Mght be worth banging you frame geominto BikeCAD & checking the trail numbers for the two different fork lengths.

I had another look at that Carver and then at the MRP. They both have an external, threaded endcap for the thru axle. It’s just not clear if attached to the fork.
There seems to be more of a trend with this as people make thru axle rigid forks.
Check out the Surly Icedcream Truck thru axle fork. Thru axle & bolt up.

MRP fork is still on my wish list for my El Mar. Not that many options for 1-1/8" straight taper forks and getting fewer.


Cheers Jols.

You can put bosses in a crabon fork?

I want to try these on my forks:

Yes. Moar crabon. Either stainless inserts in carbon plate or just tapped carbon plate laminated onto the fork.
Obviously adds weight.

Check out the Salsa Firestarter fork. Salsa clearly laid this up with in inserts present but this sort of thing can be retro fitted.

Wondered how long it would be before someone did this. Looks like a good option.

XMIplay fork with those klite cage adapters glued/bonded to them would be perfect!

Glue research time!!!

I’m struggling to envisage the thru axle and bolt up arrangement… is it a tapped axle and fork, screws in, and then a separate bolt acts as locknut by threading into an internal thread in the axle from the NDS? If so, I like this, its what is on the rear of my banshee and seems a more secure lock than an RWS or maxle. If just the locknut set up, no thread holding axle to fork, not so much.