Explain Fox fork ride/design target
I'm just starting to plan out a new Yeti ASR-5. I definitely want a Fox fork on it -- probably a 120mm travel.
But I'm not sure which design features I want for that bike and my style of riding.
I am primarily an XC/Trail rider and don't jump or take big drops. I ride a lot of tight singletrack in Georgia with short climbs and short descents. Low weight is important.
I am NOT a tweaker. I don't see myself ever wanting to adjust the fork on the fly. Our trails transition too abruptly to warrant constant changing of suspension performance. I am a set-and-forget type of rider.
From what I've read, I know I want a Float. I'm also thinking a 32 is fine. I think the FIT technology is pretty standard now, so that's an easy decision. That's where my knowledge ends.
RL? RLC? CTD?
What Fox fork would you recommend for a mid-weight rider (170 lbs.) on a small Yeti ASR-5 with the ride style described above? And, if you're interested in providing more information, what 2011 or 2012 version should I look at as well?
I think you are right that you want a Float with 32 mm stanchions.
You really don't need the "C" in RLC, but even if you don't plan to ever tweak it, it can be nice to have. Once you get it where you want, you will never have to touch it again. "C" means low speed compression which is like a variable activeness-vs-plushness control. It is good to have just because a fork without this is tuned to someone with average weight and riding style and it can't be changed without sending it to a tuner. But I have always gotten by without it. With you being average weight and having 120 mm of travel (on the low side) you probably will not notice a big difference not having this adjustment IMO. It would be more obvious if you were in the 140-160 mm travel range where you tend to notice movement in the fork when you're pedaling and you might want fine control over that.
Then there is RL vs CTD. Believe it or not there is not a huge difference between these, the CTD really only adds one setting that the RL doesn't have and it is the least useful for most people IMO. RL means "rebound and lockout." I think everyone needs rebound because it is directly related to weight and geometry (weight distribution). I think lockout is great to have if you ever ride the bike on roads or smooth paths. CTD will have rebound, and the "pedal" setting will be similar (if not the same) to lockout on an RL (very little movement except on large bumps).
The thing that CTD adds is "Trail" which is just another name for somewhere between lockout and active/squishy. Maybe it would be useful to control brake dive on a longer travel fork, maybe it would be nice on long technical climbs where you have to stand and mash but still want the fork to help out over bumps - again more needed on a longer travel fork.
Bottom line, don't pay a lot more for CTD or RLC if you can get an RL for a good price. It does not sound like you will use the additional settings much. Secondly, the Evolution forks (without FiT or Kashima) are good forks as well. In some ways they seem better than FiT, and I have only demo'd Kashima but it sounds like mostly hype to me.