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  1. #1
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    New question here. Rock Shox Dart 1

    I dont get to ride as often as i like too..maybe 1 to 2 times a week at best.I ride some pritty tecinical trails too.I weigh around 175,would the rock shox dart 1 be a ok fork for me to get?I have a suntour on there now.Thanks

  2. #2
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    Well...yes, I suppose if it fits what you are looking for in a fork, then go for it. What kind of qualities do you look for in a fork?

  3. #3
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    The Dart 1 has a single spring and NO damper...I don't see how it would be any improvement over a Suntour (and some Suntour forks would be better).

    At least get a Dart 2 with a damper and rebound adjustment

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    You're better off putting a rigid fork on there with a big, fat tire.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker72
    The Dart 1 has a single spring and NO damper...I don't see how it would be any improvement over a Suntour (and some Suntour forks would be better).

    At least get a Dart 2 with a damper and rebound adjustment
    X2

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker72
    The Dart 1 has a single spring and NO damper...I don't see how it would be any improvement over a Suntour (and some Suntour forks would be better).

    At least get a Dart 2 with a damper and rebound adjustment
    X3!

  7. #7
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    I had a Dart2 on my Felt from the LBS. It worked great but I needed something more so with about 10 miles on the fork I replaced with a Marz and have never looked back.

    Sold the Dart2 on E-bay for like $80. Was good for me and the buyer.

  8. #8
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    The Dart 1 is a very big improvement over a ridged fork. It has its limitations, but I am happy with mine for what it is. I have no problem keeping up with the majority of folks on XC trails unless they are really hard core. I am very happy with mine for the price.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snaab9-2
    The Dart 1 is a very big improvement over a ridged fork. It has its limitations, but I am happy with mine for what it is. I have no problem keeping up with the majority of folks on XC trails unless they are really hard core. I am very happy with mine for the price.
    That is beyond debatable...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker72
    That is beyond debatable...
    X2!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker72
    That is beyond debatable...
    Well, the fact of the matter is that many people with their $1500-$2000+ bikes are posers, out of shape and do not know how to ride at the level that their bikes are capable of. That is a fact.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snaab9-2
    Well, the fact of the matter is that many people with their $1500-$2000+ bikes are posers, out of shape and do not know how to ride at the level that their bikes are capable of. That is a fact.
    well that's your side to the debate apparently, but I personally agree with the others and prefer the feel of my steel rigid fork to the Dart 1 on my wife's bike. The dang Dart acts enough like a bouncy pogo stick on repeated bumps that it becomes unpredictable, whereas at least I know how my rigid fork will behave. Plus unless I constantly baby it the thing has so much stiction I can never be sure if it will respond to a bump or not. I can't wait to upgrade her fork for her

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snaab9-2
    Well, the fact of the matter is that many people with their $1500-$2000+ bikes are posers, out of shape and do not know how to ride at the level that their bikes are capable of. That is a fact.
    Maybe, but that doesn't say anything about the Dart 1...

    PS Does anyone know why this stupid Peter Pan feather is showing up in place of the skeptical emoticon?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by s0ckeyeus
    Maybe, but that doesn't say anything about the Dart 1...

    PS Does anyone know why this stupid Peter Pan feather is showing up in place of the skeptical emoticon?
    looks fine here; must be your browser. Try clearing your cache

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    looks fine here; must be your browser. Try clearing your cache
    Good call.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snaab9-2
    The Dart 1 is a very big improvement over a ridged fork. It has its limitations, but I am happy with mine for what it is. I have no problem keeping up with the majority of folks on XC trails unless they are really hard core. I am very happy with mine for the price.
    Do you have any ride time with a rigid fork?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch
    Do you have any ride time with a rigid fork?
    Yes, I used to bike a lot about 15 years ago.... and then 2 years ago I got back into things and continued to ride my ridgid fork for another year on the same trails I used my new bike on. This was on my 91 Diamond Back Accent and the ridged fork was painful at times on the hard stuff , you couldn't go anywhere near as fast down hills without a shock and I wouldn't have even considered taking "moderate" jumps for fear of the impact. My arms would itch/burn from the vibrations even with the tire pressure as low as I could keep it without destroying my rim. Yes, painful at times.

    My Sawback 5XX came with the Dart 1 and it was night and day. While yes, it isn't a "good" shock, it is so much better than my old bike with a ridged fork. I have never ridden a bike with a more expensive shock (well, other than the bike I road with a Fox shock on it and that wasn't for more than a 1/2 mile or so and I didn't do anything crazy) so i guess I don't fully understand what I am missing (the rebond control on the Fox made me not want to ride a nice bike again as I got a hind of what i am missing ) - but to say that the Dart 1 is worse than a ridgid fork (at least from my experience) is ridiculous. It was night and day.

    I can post the link later - but if you search youtube for the words Forge Sawback 5XX and White Clay Middle Run one of the videos will be a HD one - in that one I am playing around a little with a camera mounted on my bike on the "skills trial" and it clearly shows the shock working.

    Originally Posted by s0ckeyeus
    Maybe, but that doesn't say anything about the Dart 1...
    That is a fair statement.

    I would love to upgrade my fork but I only paid $360 for my bike to start... hard to justify a $500 or even $200 shock on it... but I am going to keep my eyes open for something better down the road for sure. My point is just that it isn't as bad as some make it out to be. For me, XC riding is for fun and while not a pro - I am fairly good at it/have been doing it regularly and the Dart 1 made my riding much more fun!
    Last edited by Snaab9-2; 11-05-2010 at 12:22 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snaab9-2
    Yes, I used to bike a lot about 15 years ago.... and then 2 years ago I got back into things and continued to ride my rigid fork for another year on the same trails I used my new bike one. This was on my 91 Diamond Back Accent and the ridged fork was painful at times on the hard stuff , you couldn't go anywhere near as fast down hills without a shock and I wouldn't have even considered taking "moderate" jumps for fear of the impact.

    My Sawback 5XX came with the Dart 1 and it was night and day. While yes, it isn't a "good" shock, it is so much better than my old bike with a ridged fork. I have never ridden a bike with a more expensive shock (well, other than the bike I road with a Fox shock on it and that wasn't for more than a 1/2 mile or so and I didn't do anything crazy) so i guess I don't fully understand what I am missing (the rebond control on the Fox made me not want to ride a nice bike again as I got a hind of what i am missing ) - but to say that the Dart 1 is worse than a ridgid fork (at least from my experience) is ridiculous. It was night and day.

    I can post the link later - but if you search youtube for the words Forge Sawback 5XX and White Clay Middle Run one of the videos will be a HD one - in that one I am playing around a little with a camera mounted on my bike on the "skills trial" and it clearly shows the shock working.

    I would love to upgrade my fork but I only paid $360 for my bike to start... hard to justify a $500 or even $250 shock on it... but I am going to keep my eyes open for something better down the road for sure. My point is just that it isn't as bad as some make it out to be..
    there's a huge difference between a rigid fork with the tiny 1.9" tires or whatever was popular back in the day and a rigid fork with a modern, high-volume but fast rolling tire in the 2.2"+ range. Did I say huge already? It wasn't the forks that made those old bikes so sketchy it was the tires. I have no problem going quite fast on rocky downhills on my rigid 29er (admittedly not quite as fast as with my suspension fork installed) and no problem taking some decent drops either.

    I'm not sure exactly what the other were implying but I personally wasn't trying to say rigid is definitely better, just that it is close enough to certainly be debatable and be open to personal preference. Heck, many people still prefer rigid forks even over very expensive modern suspension forks

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    there's a huge difference between a rigid fork with the tiny 1.9" tires or whatever was popular back in the day and a rigid fork with a modern, high-volume but fast rolling tire in the 2.2"+ range. Did I say huge already? It wasn't the forks that made those old bikes so sketchy it was the tires. I have no problem going quite fast on rocky downhills on my rigid 29er (admittedly not quite as fast as with my suspension fork installed) and no problem taking some decent drops either.

    I'm not sure exactly what the other were implying but I personally wasn't trying to say rigid is definitely better, just that it is close enough to certainly be debatable and be open to personal preference. Heck, many people still prefer rigid forks even over very expensive modern suspension forks
    Fair enough and I agree. Guess that is what makes the world go around - everyone has their own opinions/preferences. I have seen guys out there that really know what they are doing on their single speeds with ridgid forks (though they tend to be weight nazis) - but IMO not having a front shock, even if it is the dreaded Dart 1, takes away from things (especially on a 26).

    And while maybe you were not trying to say ridgid is definitely better, you made it clear that in your opinion it was more predictable than a Dart 1 and that a Dart 1 is a total POS that didn't belong on a MTN bike... and I would dissagree... at least on a 26 incher - cannot speak on the 29ers. But we can agree to disagree. Some people will aruge that a Prius is more fun to drive than a Miata.... but maybe in their eyes that is the case.

    My old bike had a 2.1 in front tire on it as does my current bike (will be my next upgrade to go larger 2.3 or 2.5 Weirwolf) so I cannot agree with you saying it was the tires. I don't care if you are rolling on 1.9s or 2.5s, I will take the 26 incher with the Dart 1 over a ridged fork - no contest. Night and day! Also, I was talking 26 inch wheels but I suppose 29s would take some of the harness out of things - no doubt.
    Last edited by Snaab9-2; 11-05-2010 at 12:40 PM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snaab9-2
    Well, the fact of the matter is that many people with their $1500-$2000+ bikes are posers, out of shape and do not know how to ride at the level that their bikes are capable of. That is a fact.
    Your argument is completely non sequitur. It has absolutely nothing to do with whether a Dart 1 is better or worse than a rigid fork.

  21. #21
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    To the OP, I'd try to get a better fork than a Dart 1 if you can swing it.

  22. #22
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    I'm not particularly interested in fashion in how I build my bikes (bar ends, for example) so I have nothing invested in a rigid fork being better than a suspension fork. I really just have my experience. My current bike came with an RST Capa. I'm sure everyone who's ridden one of those can agree they're total garbage, and when I borrowed a friend's rigid bike for a race and stuck my 2.1" tires on it, I was surprised to find that while the ride was a bit harsher, the tracking was much, much better than what I'd experienced on the RST. I think the RST was sketchier on fast singletrack, roots or descents than the rigid and a 2.1" tire. I wouldn't trade the Manitou R7 I have now for a rigid, though - I think it's a big improvement.

    I'm not sure where to draw the line for better/worse than a rigid in the hierarchy of suspension forks. People have nice things to say about Suntours, so maybe it's between RST and Suntour. My personal suspicion is that the things that make some suspension forks have worse tracking than rigids are small stanchions and wide tolerances in the way the lowers fit onto the stanchions. I also wouldn't want to ride something without rebound damping, although it's worth noting that all suspension forks have rebound damping, whether it's a tunable, well-designed system or just friction between the fork legs and the stanchions.

    I don't know if a Dart 1 would be an improvement over a rigid for me. The 3+ lb. weight penalty would bother me. I'm suspicious of the skinny stanchions. And if I don't happen to be the right weight for the amount of damping provided by friction to make the rebound about right, I think it would give me a lot of trouble on a descent. With all the reports of failures of the lowest-level RockShox damper, I don't think I'd want to go any lower than the Tora 318 in their line. At least rigid forks don't have seals to blow, or knobs to fall off like RSTs and Suntours.

    Some popular budget forks are the Rock Shox Tora 318, some of the other Toras, some of the Recons, and lately the Manitou Match has been getting some attention. If those are all more than your pricepoint, look for something on EBay.

    Inexpensive bikes come with a number of components that it wouldn't make any sense to buy aftermarket, either because the bike companies don't think that customer will ride enough to have a problem (disposable cranksets on a lot of bikes) or because the customer demands them (off-brand suspension forks.) Some of them, IMO, are like putting spinners on a Yugo, and some just reflect the amount that the big manufacturers charge for better quality, serviceable gear.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker72
    Your argument is completely non sequitur. It has absolutely nothing to do with whether a Dart 1 is better or worse than a rigid fork.
    Wow, non sequitur - fancy.

    We will have to agree to disagree. There is no way that a rigid fork is better IMO - no way. Sorry, you will have an easier time convincing me the world is flat.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snaab9-2
    Wow, non sequitur - fancy.

    We will have to agree to disagree. There is no way that a rigid fork is better IMO - no way. Sorry, you will have an easier time convincing me the world is flat.
    Well see, that is a totally different argument which as I said is beyond debatable. However your original argument was this

    Well, the fact of the matter is that many people with their $1500-$2000+ bikes are posers, out of shape and do not know how to ride at the level that their bikes are capable of. That is a fact.
    Which has NOTHING to do with whether a Dart 1 is better or worse than a rigid fork

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snaab9-2
    Wow, non sequitur - fancy.

    We will have to agree to disagree. There is no way that a rigid fork is better IMO - no way. Sorry, you will have an easier time convincing me the world is flat.
    Given how many hundreds of people on this forum alone choose to use rigid forks just out of personal preference shows that "better" is not a valid way to differentiate. Are full-suspension bikes better than hardtails, are geared bikes better than singlespeeds, are mountain bikes better than road bikes? Nope, they're all just different

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    Given how many hundreds of people on this forum alone choose to use rigid forks just out of personal preference shows that "better" is not a valid way to differentiate. Are full-suspension bikes better than hardtails, are geared bikes better than singlespeeds, are mountain bikes better than road bikes? Nope, they're all just different
    Right, that is why I said IMO (in my opinion). I agree. For my type of riding a ridgid for is not as good as I prefer being able to go faster than one allows me to go, jump harder, have better control and not get shaken to death/have my arm itch... hands hurt and such.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker72
    Well see, that is a totally different argument which as I said is beyond debatable. However your original argument was this



    Which has NOTHING to do with whether a Dart 1 is better or worse than a rigid fork
    Why the

    Both arguements were made - I gave my opinion on both. End of story... done here - this is getting silly now.

  28. #28
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    Aside from all the rigid vs dart1 debate, isn't 175 lbs at the upper limit of the spring that comes on a Dart?

    My casual assumption would be that most forks are sprung for 150-160 pound rider.

    If this was the case, it would not make sense money-wise to get the Dart1 and then have to buy and have someone install a heavier spring on it.

    tk

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by tk1971
    Aside from all the rigid vs dart1 debate, isn't 175 lbs at the upper limit of the spring that comes on a Dart?

    My casual assumption would be that most forks are sprung for 150-160 pound rider.

    If this was the case, it would not make sense money-wise to get the Dart1 and then have to buy and have someone install a heavier spring on it.

    tk
    yes, the stock Dart spring goes to ~170. A new spring should only be around ~20 though iirc

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    yes, the stock Dart spring goes to ~170. A new spring should only be around ~20 though iirc
    Assuming the OP doesn't have a shop do the work too.

    tk

  31. #31
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    Pulling the spring from most coil forks is no biggie. Unless RS really blew it on the design of the Dart, it should be very easy to do at home.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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    i did a spring swap on my dart 1 and its as easy as just pulling the top cap off and lifting the spring out.
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    I weigh a little over 170 and I don't have the preload as stiff as it will go when I ride and it doesn't bottom out until 2 foot drops or so.

    I do have a bit of an update on the Dart 1. While I stand behind everything else I said, mine is a total pile when the temp falls below 50 degrees. It just will not compress more than 1/2 way no matter how hard you hit it. It wasn't much better than a ridgid fork. This seems to be a common issue with them (after so reasearch this seemed to be the case) and I am rather frustrated.

    I was OK with the performance of the shock before but how it reacts when it is cold out - it is a total deal breaker.

  34. #34
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    lol

  35. #35
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    wow got bored after a couple of posts, so sorry if this is already answered.

    The dart is an embarrassed to the MTB world, flexy, prone to binding, jamming and if you are 'lucky' enough to get one with a damper, you will need to rebuild the fork if you bottom it.

    The cheapest suspension you can get is either the RS Tora, or Manitou Drake.

    If you buy anything cheaper you would be better with a rigid fork.
    It is better to have a good rigid fork than a bad suspension one.

    Do not buy a dart of any kind, the better Dart you buy, the more money you have wasted.
    Why would I care about 150g of bike weight, I just ate 400g of cookies while reading this?

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snaab9-2
    I weigh a little over 170 and I don't have the preload as stiff as it will go when I ride and it doesn't bottom out until 2 foot drops or so.

    I do have a bit of an update on the Dart 1. While I stand behind everything else I said, mine is a total pile when the temp falls below 50 degrees. It just will not compress more than 1/2 way no matter how hard you hit it. It wasn't much better than a ridgid fork. This seems to be a common issue with them (after so reasearch this seemed to be the case) and I am rather frustrated.

    I was OK with the performance of the shock before but how it reacts when it is cold out - it is a total deal breaker.
    Wait a minute. How long have you had the fork to not know how it performs in cold weather all the while defending it's many virtues? Sounds like the cart got ahead of the horse on this one.

    Perhaps you have no need for high dollar goods, but the best you know is the best you have ridden!

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    Quote Originally Posted by RudeSechsVibe
    Wait a minute. How long have you had the fork to not know how it performs in cold weather all the while defending it's many virtues? Sounds like the cart got ahead of the horse on this one.

    Perhaps you have no need for high dollar goods, but the best you know is the best you have ridden!
    Started riding it in March - and never had it out when it was below 50. Well, now I have - twice.

    I had riddent it at least 20 times this year on single track... each time a good 10 miles or so.

    I do not recall anyone stating that the Dart series had issues in the cold - I am telling everyone they do.

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    So lets hear it - if you guys were going to spend say $150 on a fork (be it new or a used on in good shape), what would you look for?

    Is the Suntour XCR-LO any better than the Dart line? Some seem to think so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snaab9-2
    So lets hear it - if you guys were going to spend say $150 on a fork (be it new or a used on in good shape), what would you look for?
    You can't get a good new suspension fork for $150, so it would need to be used or rigid.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snaab9-2
    So lets hear it - if you guys were going to spend say $150 on a fork (be it new or a used on in good shape), what would you look for?
    I got my R7 on EBay for less than that. I might also try to score a Reba, one of the nicer Recons, the Manitou Minute, a Fox F-series fork... I haven't looked on EBay lately, but I think that those forks all sell for that price every now and then (probably with cosmetic damage if it's the Reba or Fox and comes in at that figure.)

    New, I'd just get a rigid.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snaab9-2
    So lets hear it - if you guys were going to spend say $150 on a fork (be it new or a used on in good shape), what would you look for?

    Is the Suntour XCR-LO any better than the Dart line? Some seem to think so.
    If I had that much money, I would realise it was a significant investment and not an amount of money to waste.

    I would look up the price of the Manitou Drake or RS Tora then save the extra, knowing that it was time/money well spent.
    Why would I care about 150g of bike weight, I just ate 400g of cookies while reading this?

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaveGiant
    I would look up the price of the Manitou Drake or RS Tora then save the extra, knowing that it was time/money well spent.
    Good point. A good performing, reliable fork like those options should keep running for years (given some basic service) and be able to keep you happy for as long too.

    I'm going on two and a half years with my Tora 318 and it is holding up great. Even though I've grown a lot in skill in that time it has kept up with me. I've never felt I needed to upgrade because it can't keep up with me anymore, whereas I might have outrun a lesser fork already and had to spend more money in the long run to replace and upgrade

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