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Enduro forks - digging through fecal matter

MrBaker87

Monkey
Mar 30, 2014
151
101
neverlandranch
The X-Fusion Vengence HLR air the currently graces my Banshee Rune hasn’t been my favorite fork and am hoping to replace it for the upcoming seasons.

What are your recommendations on forks?

I climb cause I live in Bellingham but also ride shuttles and do a lot of days in Whistler on the bike. It’s my do it all bike as I don’t have a XC bike and hardly ever touch my DH bike.

Would love to do 170mm, but 160mm is not a deal breaker.

20mm axle? Does anyone do this? I thought the 36 converted, but appears it’s no longer the case with the 2018.

I’m still rocking 26” wheels, but will switch up to 27.5” someday so I’d like to run a 27.5 fork.

Not loyal to any brand, but not stoked on Cane Creek after having the ccdbair and hating it.
 

djjohnr

Turbo Monkey
Apr 21, 2002
2,804
1,504
Northern California
If it didn't require a new boost front wheel I'd give the MRP Ribbon coil a try. I've been really happy with my Push coil converted 36 RC2.
 

HAB

Chelsea from Seattle
Apr 28, 2007
11,493
1,886
Seattle
26" 36 clears 650b wheels, FWIW. Mud clearance is reduced a bit, but it works. The 2018 one no longer comes in 20mm/650b flavor because fuck you, but the 26" one still does. The 2017 650b could be had with a 20mm axle. The 2018 has a revised air spring which makes the negative chamber a little bigger and removes one dynamic seal so it's theoretically got a little less stiction, but I've owned both and the difference is pretty small. Damper and chassis haven't changed appreciably apart from dropping the 20mm axle option on 650b. If you can find a 2017 on clearance I'd just do that.

One other advantage of the 26" ones is that they've got less offset, which I prefer.

At any rate, I strongly recommend a 36. You definitely want an RC2, not the dumb fit4 idiot lever version.
 

Shizzon

Monkey
Jun 25, 2015
112
290
I also give my vote for MRP, whether it be Stage or Ribbon; I cannot fault my Stage with Ribbon internals and have been hammering it for 3 years. I am half temped to pull in a Ribbon coil for my Megatrail though.
 

jekyll991

Monkey
Nov 30, 2009
475
0
Belfry, KY
I thought I really liked my Xfusion sweep RL2, until the damper blew itself apart when I was dicking around on some concrete steps at the local park. Replaced it with a Pike RCT3 dual position air and can't believe the difference. Feels like I'm riding the xfusion with 2" thick carpet under me. Maybe a lyrik would serve your needs well.
 

Jm_

sled dog's bollocks
Jan 14, 2002
16,629
7,592
AK
Helm air FTW. Mine is butter and doesn't feel like crap after one day in the bike park.
Jesus christ I would hope a fork doesn't feel like crap after just one day at the bike park.

That would be the ultimate lizard fork though, buy a new fork for each day at the park...
 

kidwoo

Artisanal Tweet Curator
Aug 25, 2003
35,117
8,948
The old timey times
26" 36 clears 650b wheels, FWIW.
Mine doesn't. It's an older cast 180mm 36 that they didn't update the lowers along with the shorter travel ones. I think it's a 2016 model year.

A new one with the grooved arch in the casting is probably different. Just something to be aware of.


Also for the OP, the new talas cartridges work better than the float air chambers. I'm completely serious. I got a 160mm 36 for another bike and switched it to a talas cartridge. Light years better.
 

Sugar_brad

Monkey
Jun 20, 2009
328
6
Jesus christ I would hope a fork doesn't feel like crap after just one day at the bike park.

That would be the ultimate lizard fork though, buy a new fork for each day at the park...
Slight exaggeration. Mainly aimed at the kids that ride all weekend at the bike park, pressure wash their bikes, and expect the fork to feel like it was just serviced. It's a mechanic thing.
 

Gallain

Monkey
Dec 28, 2001
183
43
Sweden
CC Helm is a really impressive fork. Think I have to buy one for this season. Borrowed one for testing for a couple of weeks last season and I really liked it.
Try it!
 

MrBaker87

Monkey
Mar 30, 2014
151
101
neverlandranch
Thanks for all he tips this far.

I should have included, I am a fairly aggressive rider who doesn’t race but purposely seeks out very difficult tech tracks. I weigh circa 140# (63kg) and am 5’9” (175cm).

I spend about 20-30 days in the bike park every summer in addition to lots of shuttle days and have very aggressive trails I can very easily ride to (and do) from my front door.

I know how to do a lower service on a typical Fox/rock shox fork and do as needed.

My front wheels are laced to Hadley or Hope Pro 2 hubs, so conversion kits to 15mm (non-boost and boost) are readily available. Seems like that is really my only option.

I’m gonna be straight up, I am not willing to get a Cane Creek. I am a hater after having a really bad experience with a brand new CCDBairCS that blew up after 2-3 rides over and over and repeatedly sent to warranty. That and the fact it’s isn’t user serviceable and doesn’t even feel amazing as anticipated left me with a bad taste. Sorry.

Also, I am a cook who has recently returned to school, so spending money on a new fork only to spend another (to me) large sum on an avy cartridge sounds cool and all, but is realistically out of my modest budget.

I do, however, have a broken fox float 36 that Fox said if I sent in would get me some sort of percentage off a brand new fork as part of their crash replacement warranty. I am not sure if it matters I’ll be switching to a different wheelsize fork or not. So perhaps the Fox 36 factory RC2 is the option. The MRP ribbon coil definitely sounds appealing though.
 

MrBaker87

Monkey
Mar 30, 2014
151
101
neverlandranch
Good and why not?
My DH bike is longer than I like and until recently had a messed up link that wasn’t being warrantied. In combination with the link, my ti spring rubs on the shock when compressed (very recently diagnosed), causinf the bike to be quite chattery while cruising along. Perhaps I’ll sort out the ti spring issue this year and end up riding it more. Nice to only have to bring one bike up to Canada when I visit though (I love riding outside the park in the sea-to-sky area before a day of uplifts).
 

Sugar_brad

Monkey
Jun 20, 2009
328
6
CC Helm is a really impressive fork. Think I have to buy one for this season. Borrowed one for testing for a couple of weeks last season and I really liked it.
Try it!
Handmade in the USA. There are three techs that build everything from sub-assemblies all the way to packaging. Each fork damper is dyno tested, each fork is hand dyno tested, then live tested on the dyno.
 

HAB

Chelsea from Seattle
Apr 28, 2007
11,493
1,886
Seattle
Mine doesn't. It's an older cast 180mm 36 that they didn't update the lowers along with the shorter travel ones. I think it's a 2016 model year.

A new one with the grooved arch in the casting is probably different. Just something to be aware of.
Yeah, thanks for clarifying. The newer ones do work, can't speak to every model ever.
 

mykel

closer to Periwinkle
Apr 19, 2013
4,204
2,805
sw ontario canada
I'm thinking about a new Knolly Fugitive 29r this summer.
I much prefer coil so am keeping an eye out.
Anybody spend any time on either the air or coil Ohlins?
 

jstuhlman

bagpipe wanker
Dec 3, 2009
15,142
10,470
Cackalacka du Nord
as much as i want to be a cane creek fanboy, being in nc, i have to say that they let me down with a rebuild of my db coil, which worked great after they fully rebuilt it, for about four rides, and then started clunking. despite repeated emails i never heard back from them about returning it to be fixed. hrmf.
 

Jm_

sled dog's bollocks
Jan 14, 2002
16,629
7,592
AK
Also, I am a cook who has recently returned to school, so spending money on a new fork only to spend another (to me) large sum on an avy cartridge sounds cool and all, but is realistically out of my modest budget.
Forgive me for not explaining,

You buy a cheap fork, or even (gasp) a used one, because all you are buying it for is the chassis, chuck the damper or excuse for a damper, and insert the Avy one. If you can afford a new 36 RC2 or Helm, you can surely afford this, maybe a few hundred cheaper, and then you end up with damping better than OEM...every year the lizards try to convince us the newest suspension-thing is a revolution and will finally be the one that matches aftermarket tuned...
 

Udi

RM Chief Ornithologist: “I Brake for Birds”
Mar 14, 2005
4,901
1,170
I haven't found the Avy retrofit dampers that good in any fork I've ridden them in. They always seem to be tuned to "punter" support levels no matter which rider, and it's pretty easy to make any damper feel good when there isn't a tonne of damping.

Conversely, the Fox FIT RC2 (now "LSC/HSC") damper has been around since 2005, and in its current general form since 2011. In my book it's still the best fork damper you can get. It's versatile and can be tailored to many types of riding (and rider) without being excessively complicated, and has a reasonably large and useful range on all the adjusters.

If it were me, I'd take the discount, and buy whichever current 36 RC2 (LSC/HSC) suits your wheel size and travel requirements. I'd go with the 2018 Evol Float personally, probably in plain-jane 650b, and 170mm since you wanted that. The only compromise to your requirements is the 15mm axle (I'm a big 20mm fan myself), but you'll live. Alternatively any of the various setups that HAB and kidwoo bat for are probably good too.
 

lobsterCT

Monkey
Jun 23, 2015
249
339
^That is interesting as I had the opposite experience with my fox 40. I had an emerald which I found so flexy at my weight it was scary to ride. I switched to the 40 and that cured the stiffness problem, but as a Clydesdale rider running the 40 at 95 to 100% of the maximum recommended air pressure with no ramp up tokens, the stock fork was like a jackhammer and the rebound knob was like a placebo knob. It just felt worse if I added any compression damping to the mix. The avalanche damper was a huge improvement. I wish the fork was a coil, but other than that, it is pretty fantastic. My guess is the avalanche helps most at either end of the bell curve weight distribution, and doesn't improve a lot over stock at 1 standard deviation from the median.

In the interest of full disclosure I also have 36 float with RC2 shimmed by push. It also feels great, but I never even bothered to try it in stock form.
 

HAB

Chelsea from Seattle
Apr 28, 2007
11,493
1,886
Seattle
^That is interesting as I had the opposite experience with my fox 40. I had an emerald which I found so flexy at my weight it was scary to ride. I switched to the 40 and that cured the stiffness problem, but as a Clydesdale rider running the 40 at 95 to 100% of the maximum recommended air pressure with no ramp up tokens, the stock fork was like a jackhammer and the rebound knob was like a placebo knob. It just felt worse if I added any compression damping to the mix. The avalanche damper was a huge improvement. I wish the fork was a coil, but other than that, it is pretty fantastic. My guess is the avalanche helps most at either end of the bell curve weight distribution, and doesn't improve a lot over stock at 1 standard deviation from the median.

In the interest of full disclosure I also have 36 float with RC2 shimmed by push. It also feels great, but I never even bothered to try it in stock form.
What year 40? If it's one of the older air sprung ones with the coil negative spring, I suspect that the negative spring was just way too soft for the amount of air you were running. That's a big limitation of coil negative springs on air forks. They work fine for people running middle of the road pressures, but out on the ends of the bell curve they're poorly tuned.

I love the newer ones with the full air spring, tought I also weigh about 160.
 

HAB

Chelsea from Seattle
Apr 28, 2007
11,493
1,886
Seattle
There goes my theory then. That should have been one of the air negative spring ones.
 

HAB

Chelsea from Seattle
Apr 28, 2007
11,493
1,886
Seattle
I haven't found the Avy retrofit dampers that good in any fork I've ridden them in. They always seem to be tuned to "punter" support levels no matter which rider, and it's pretty easy to make any damper feel good when there isn't a tonne of damping.
Sample size of one, but that was my experience too. The fork was either a new Lyric or a Yari (I forget which) tuned for a friend of mine who's a fast, aggressive rider and 20-25lbs heavier than me. He expressly told Avalanche that he wanted a lot of support, and it still didn't happen. The fork was underdamped for me, despite being significantly lighter, much less him.

He hated it and sold it. He's now got 36 RC2s on both his trail bikes and is far happier.
 

lobsterCT

Monkey
Jun 23, 2015
249
339
Craig (avalanche) called me up before doing the fork and the rear shock. He must have felt like shooting the shit that day, because I talked to him for a good hour/ hour and a half. I really strongly emphasized he needed to slow the fork down on rebound, and that both the 40 and the emerald were not even close. Maybe that helped in my case. Maybe you have to tell him slow rebound like in his "Urban" riding definition. The rest of his choices all state fast or medium rebound.
 

HAB

Chelsea from Seattle
Apr 28, 2007
11,493
1,886
Seattle
I meant more underdamped in compression. Rebound damping levels pretty much just need to be proportional to spring rate, so it makes sense that you (running higher air pressures) would need more than average.
 

rollertoaster

Monkey
Aug 7, 2007
730
179
Douglassville , PA
I just ordered a 180mm yari last night from merlin cycles. Planning on ordering an avy damper before the fork even arrives . If they screw up the tune worst case scenario I can valve it firmer.

Currently running dvo diamonds with the hsc adjusters removed and custom (non adjustable) hsc stacks If they had a 180mm diamond I'd be all over it but that isn't the case
 

lobsterCT

Monkey
Jun 23, 2015
249
339
@HAB, Not going to say you are wrong, you seem to be a very knowledgeable poster, and Udi is a past master on this stuff. From my limited sample size of 1 :-), my compression knob works great too. I can go from really hurting my wrists to blowing through travel by spinning the adjuster. Makes a noticeable change with each click. But, I'll drop the hijack, and leave the discussion to continue regarding enduro forks. Thanks for your input.
 

Sugar_brad

Monkey
Jun 20, 2009
328
6
I'm thinking about a new Knolly Fugitive 29r this summer.
I much prefer coil so am keeping an eye out.
Anybody spend any time on either the air or coil Ohlins?
Yes.... They are wayyyyyyy over damped for one thing. We have had lots of problems with CSU noise out of the box, lower bushings not sized properly, and multiple batches shipped without oil in the lowers. I had two warranties. A coil replaced my air that had air spring issues along with multiple broken IFP springs in the damper. My coil creaked out of the box and felt like garbage due to poor compression tune and undersized bushings. It's not just me that had issues. Multiple coworkers and customers as well.
 

MrBaker87

Monkey
Mar 30, 2014
151
101
neverlandranch
Feel free to hijack away. Actually stoked at the information contained in this thread.

For me the thread has pretty much run it’s course as I am mostly decided on a Fox 36 factory rc2 170mm boost fork. I loved the 2012 36 I had before the xfusion. Iam also considering a DVO diamond in 160mm, but no one seemed to mention it, so they must suck?

I am curious if it is as simple as old forks to adjust travel on the new 36 forks ? I may simple go straight to 160mm and I’ll I will need is a couple of spacers, eh?