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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Air vs. Coil Totem for light rider

    Looking to get a totem fork. I've read tons of other threads about air vs coil and know the basic tradeoffs, but I have a few more questions:

    1. Has anyone actually ridden both an air and coil totem to compare? I've heard the newer air forks are getting smoother and better at small bump sensitivity. Also heard that Mission Control DH on the air totems is pretty nice.
    2. What are the extra steps required to service an air fork? I've serviced a VAN 36 before.
    3. Everyone keeps saying that coil is better especially if you're heavier. Wouldn't heavier rider weight reduce the effect of increased friction in the air seals that causes air forks to be less smooth? I'm 150lbs and I wonder what the difference in air vs coil will be for me vs a 220lb rider.

    The bottom line is, the weight saving and adjustability of air sounds attractive, but I'm wondering if it's worth the smoothness and service penalty.

    For what it's worth, I'll be running a cane creek DB air in the rear. During the summer, my freeride bike will spend about half its time on pedal-access trails, and half the time on lift access trails. I generally try to spend more time on flowier trails. When I'm at Whistler, it's pretty much crank it up and a-line all day, with the occasional garbanzo runs.

  2. #2
    Huffy Rider
    Reputation: motochick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    I ride a Totem Air DH with a CCDB coil in the rear. Servicing the air is no big deal, the speed lubes make it a cinch. I weigh about the same as you and right now my only complaint is brake dive. I will be working on changing the oil weight and tuning it a little more this season. I think my small bump sensitivity will be improved when I get it all dialed in. I am being VERY picky here, so take what I say with a grain of salt. The fork is smooth and works very well, pretty stiff for a SC. I wanted to keep my bike on the lighter side cuz I sometimes pedal it. I wouldn't hesitate to buy this fork again. I have ridden my hubby's bike which runs a Totem coil I can feel the weight difference. It too is a nice fork but I will keep my air.

  3. #3
    GAME ON!
    Reputation: saturnine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    i've ridden both. same weight as you. air was better for me because i could use such a low psi vs. trying to find the right coil for my weight. coil is certainly wonderful but most forks come with a stock spring that is too heavy for light riders so you've got to search for an extra light coil and that generally adds extra cost. i've always had great success with air forks. servicing the solo air totem is stupid easy. same goes for most that i've ever worked on. air just has more possibilities in terms of experimentation and fine-tuning. if you want to use 53 psi, you can, whereas a coil is generally meant for a range of weights.
    RIP Adam Yauch

    "M.C. for what I AM and do, the A is for Adam and the lyrics; true"

  4. #4
    2010 Glory custom FR
    Reputation: frango's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    I am 140lbs, I've been on 2007 Totem Air, which was crap and then 2010 Totem Air, which was very nice, issues free fork.
    I've replaced Totem Air with Fox Float 180 just because I wanted to try something new/different and to shave some weight from the bike.
    Air suspension is the way to go for light riders IMO

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Drth Vadr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    I rock a Totem Coil with DH damper. In a word "butter". It uses all its travel, but I do suffer brake dive. I have ridden primarily RS Dual air forks up until this point and coil has lived up to it's reputation, including the weight, but since it's still lighter then a DC I'm ok with it.
    I am a bigger guy, but it never stopped me from getting an air fork. Air has made some big leaps over the last few years and IMHO within the next two years air is going to be have the same performance curve.

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