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  1. #1
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    RockShox Recon RL 120 vs. FOX Rhythm 34 120

    Looking at two build so tyring to make the decision as to which fork is better for me. I'd love to save some money. I'm not a super aggressive rider but who knows...this new bike might change that. I also don't mountain bike a lot. Again...that could change. I'm an east coast rider...WV, MD, VA....think lots of rocks and roots.

    Anyways...I'm looking at the Santa Cruz Chameleon in 27.5+. There's two builds using either the RockShox Recon RL 120 or the FOX Rhythm 34 120. I'm around 260 pounds give or take depending on how much cake I eat. It's about a $300 price difference which for me at the point in time is fairly significant. Not enough to keep me away from the Fox if it IS that much better. But enough I don't want to spend frivolously just to have the Fox name on my fork.

    I know I need to get to the shop to check them out...but since they are 2+ hours away...I want to go armed with as much info as I can first so it's not a wasted trip.
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  2. #2
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    Chocolate and turds. The burlier chassis is small potatoes- neither fork is excessively flexy for how it could be used. I've spent a reasonable amount of time on the rhythm and i've owned several variations of the recon.


    First, there's the damper.
    The recon has the most primitive damper you can buy that's worth owning. It has 2 problems. When hits a bump the threshold before the fork 'blows open' to swallow the bump is set at a very high level. It's done so the lockout lever is more effective, but it blasts your hands. Big bumps, like hitting baseball-rocks, knock you off line and make your arms ache. That problem is compounded by an extremely primitive orifice rebound. Regardless of where you are in the fork's travel it can only extend at 1 speed (which is adjustable, yaaay). As you go faster and hit obstacles more quickly the fork 'packs down' in its travel and get stiffer and the bike becomes more squirelly; it's like the fork imposes a speed limit on the rider. Finally, the air and oil mix in the damper, so as the fork gets worked the damping behavior changes, and the damping quality degrades surprisingly quickly as the oil gets churned.

    By contrast the fox damper is pretty impressive for a budget design. The compression is sensibly tuned and the rebound can be fast or slow to match the size of the impact. That means although no dampers are factory-tuned for us (or anyone, really), the fox is not particularly crippled by bad design and almost ANY settings are better than the ideal settings in the recon. Also, the oil is sealed away from air using a cheap-but-effective floating piston, basically a seal that can slide freely up and down in the fork. The fork doesn't change it's behavior as you ride and the damper service interval is much longer. (both forks need to have the bath oil changed fairly regularly, but that's a 10 minute task anyone with initiative can tackle)

    The air spring is pretty massively different too.
    The recon has a valve and you put air in it. That's it. Old versions of this level RS fork could have the spring curve altered by pouring oil in the spring, and even older ones could also have the air spring and negative air spring set independently, but if you don't like how this spring works... tough.

    The rhythm can have volume reducing spacers installed. It doesn't really matter if you don't like how the fork ramps up, you can change it's behavior fairly drastically in a couple minutes. For us big guys this is kind of a huge deal since FOX can't tune the damper for us, it can be hard to get the fork be supple and not bottom easily.




    A hardtail is as good as its fork, and the fox-rhythm-grip is a high-end offering masquerading as a budget fork. They're very very good. To me it's a non-decision and i'd still go with the rhythm if it didn't come with a dropper post and wider range cassette (i dunno about 10t for clydesdales...). Chameleons are cool!
    Last edited by scottzg; 2 Weeks Ago at 12:18 AM.
    I like cheap stuff that works great and is very sturdy.

  3. #3
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    Thanks...even though I've been riding several years I'm an absolute newb when it comes to suspension and how things work. I need to change that. But I've been full rigid (that's what she said) for years so I just never really worried about it. I know how a carbon folk works...lol...so I never bothered to learn about suspension.

    Well...now...as I get a little older...and as much as I had to admit it, my arms/hands do really take a pretty severe beating even during short rides. So it seems that it might be time to consider some front squish to take that edge off. I'm still not ready for full susp. though.

    So it does sound like I should probably stay away from the Recon. Can you or anyone else recommend a RS fork that would be better suited? Only asking because I've also been considering trying to convert my current bike into a 27.5+ which I'm pretty sure can happen...I believe the frame will take atleast a 2.8 tire...so I've been looking at some 29er Boost forks that I can run a 3" tire in for the front. The bigger hurdle will be finding one that is or can be ran at 100mm of travel which I think is what's recommended by Kona for my frame. I think 120mm travel will work fine though especially considering sag, so that will help open up options. I'm really only thinking about converting if I can't squeeze out the money for the new bike...I can convert for about half the price.

    As far as the gear range on the Chameleon...there's a real good chance I'll convert to single speed anyways...so...but yeah...even if I run geared there's not a great chance it'll ever see much used of the 10T cog...lol. I have to drive to all the trails I ride so it's not like I'll ever be rolling pavement or dirt road or anything else like that to get to the trail head so I wouldn't be needing that kind of gearing, ever. And I know I can't ride fast enough on the trails to ever get any use out of it either.
    Jamis Renegade Elite
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  4. #4
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    better brakes too from Sram level to level T, not that I am interested in anything sram even after trying the new guides....... I am in the same boat and Scott thanks a million for the input my mind just got changed

  5. #5
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    I don't really know exactly what's on the fork market nowadays (especially in boost), you just happened to pick 2 forks that i am familiar with, and i can usually tell what fork should perform better by looking at the design and features.

    When you're looking at rockshox... the cheapest forks worthy of consideration are like the recon, then you get basically the same thing with adjustable compression threshold and a shimmed rebound, and the best forks use a nice sealed damping assembly. Each step up is pretty obvious and IMO worth the expense. The fork can make or break a bike.

    Manitou magnum might be worth investigating.
    I like cheap stuff that works great and is very sturdy.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Driverfound337 View Post
    better brakes too from Sram level to level T, not that I am interested in anything sram even after trying the new guides....... I am in the same boat and Scott thanks a million for the input my mind just got changed
    Yeah...honestly I'd probably take them straight off and swap out for some SLX or XT's then sell the SRAMS for a few bucks or upgrade my son's bike with them.
    Jamis Renegade Elite
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  7. #7
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    Aluminum stanchions on the FOX.. I know the Recon's are steel.

    They just bumped the price up on the bike but , added a dropper post.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnD View Post
    Aluminum stanchions on the FOX.. I know the Recon's are steel.

    They just bumped the price up on the bike but , added a dropper post.
    Yeah but the non-dropper post version (2017) is still available and only $1999.
    Jamis Renegade Elite
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    Yeah but the non-dropper post version (2017) is still available and only $1999.
    cool , if I could sell my bike I'd buy one too.

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