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Either way, tell the mechanics at REI what you're going to be doing with the bike, and ask them to check it over thoroughly. I've had new wheels on a Randonnee start breaking spokes within 1,000 miles, and another set of wheels that they checked over now has over 12,000 miles with no broken spokes (that I can remember).+1. Unevenly and inadequately tensioned spokes are epidemic on new bikes and lead to premature breakage. Have the REI mechanic check and, if needed, improve the spoke tension and trueness. Done properly you should almost never break a good quality spoke if you don't mechanically damage it.
Thanks DaveB! I understand you can not convert an existing quill fork to thread less. I have a thread less suspension fork on another bike I was thinking of using. When I installed it I did not cut it down so I have plenty of material to work with. My question was I guess is can you replace the existing pressed in bearings with a thread less bearing set into the headset.Assuming the new fork's steerer is the same diameter as the old one, yes you can certainly replace a threaded headset with a threadless one and then use the threadless fork. It's an easy conversion and done frequently. You will need a suitable new stem and spacers but otherwise it's very doable.