Budget 29er fork battle: RST M-29 vs Manitou Tower Expert
I'm building up a Jabberwocky and trying to decide on the best fork for the bike and my needs / style.
My budget allows for the RST M-29 Air or the Manitou Tower Expert. There's about a $5.00 difference between the two. I'm trying to understand how the two will feel on this frame.
Both are 80mm forks. The frame has a 71° head tube angle.
Axle to Crown: Unknown
System: Oil, Air
Adjustments Available: Air Spring, Lockout, Rebound
Manitou Tower Expert
Axle to Crown: 490mm
System: "ACT" coil / air
Adjustments Available: Air spring, Compression to Lockout, and Rebound.
I haven't made a decision on handlebars yet in case the width comes into play. The trails I ride are classic east coast singletrack - twisty, rooty, and rocky.
I appreciate any advice on how these two forks might feel different compared to each other.
The Manitou is in a different league then the RST. The Manitou also has one of the best dampers available in any fork under 600 bucks(and better then some over 600). The Tower is a 29'' Drake, so look for 2010 Drake reviews(2010 was the first year with the ABS+ damper).
The tower is, weight aside, a very good, proper fork. Excellent damping (which is massively adjustable), excellent seals, and the air/coil mix is a nice spring.
I haven't ridden a passable RST. Their damping is non-existant. I'd much rather run a rigid front end over an RST (saving piles of weight, flex, bounce).
Go with the Manitou.
I actually own 26er versions of both those forks (I have a Manitou Drake and an RST F1RST,), and while the RST is ok, the Manitou is a step above. As was already mentioned the Manitou has a really nice damper, plus they're easier to get parts and work on or get serviced. They're probably both going to be very close in weight.
Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.