Kowa 160 Ss....what's happening over a year since the last thread?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    NOT Team Sanchez
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    Kowa 160 Ss....what's happening over a year since the last thread?

    I'm pretty pumped about Kowa's 160 Ss which I stumbled across in my e-biking travels.....before I get flamed, I have read every thread to date regarding this fork but was interested to get some current feedback and info. Basically, I really want to pull the trigger but I'm a little concerned being a bigger guy (225) who goes moderately big, is it going to hold up to my size and abuse? (I noticed Snowskillz was a similar build, maybe some feedback from ya man?) Thanks in advance y'all
    I like bikes.

  2. #2
    SILENCE! I KILL YOU!
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    We need Ithnu here. He's got lotsa feedback about Kowas.
    Hunter, Simmons, Berrecloth, Watson,Vanderham, Semenuk, Schley, Gulevich, Bourdon, Smith, Moreland, Shandro, Boyko... Bieber.

  3. #3
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    try something that is tried and true....not a start up (from a great company though)
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by SHIVER ME TIMBERS
    try something that is tried and true....not a start up (from a great company though)
    Not to mention....$600 for a first fork from a start-up company. Especially when you can find bangin deals for better, more tried-and-true forks costing considerably less.

    I'm not saying anything negative about the quality of the fork, as I cannot since I've never ridden one....just stating the slightly steep price.
    Jump it onto something off of something or over something.

    There's more to freeriding than dirt jumps.

  5. #5
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    Hmmmm
    I think Craig has been testing his internals on the Kowa for awhile now??
    You can be the first with the new Avy internals
    I'm not 100% sure about this, but i'm pretty sure he mentioned this in the conversation we had a few month back?!!!!!!!

  6. #6
    Living the High Life
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    Quote Originally Posted by suicidebomber
    We need Ithnu here. He's got lotsa feedback about Kowas.
    Checking in

    Some Kowas are good, some not. The 160ss is one of their better ones. I've had mine for 2 years and its been flawless. The travel adjust is a breeze and it will work from 20mm up to 170mm (you can set it to 180mm but it will top out harsh).

    My only complaint is that it doesn't have any compression damping adjustment. But I run it on my 4X bike, its at 100mm and I pumped the pressure up pretty high so it works great. The 160ss had the same lowers as their DH fork, its plenty stiff. Their bushings are top notch and its very smooth going through the travel. I had it on my 6" bike for a while and rode Keystone one day with it, it did fine.

    I heard they are adding Avy dampers, that would solve my complaint about needed better compression. Their DH forks have interchangeable internals and I have one of their 180mm DH forks on my wife's bike. It will eventually get the Avy damper upgrade. Right now it has their FPC unit in it and I'm not impressed with it.

    Stay away from 200mm versions. Apparently they have bushing problems. I was talking to a pro rider I know who also rode Kowas for a while. He and his brother had roughly the same experience I have had. And snowskilz is a friend of mine, he agrees as well about the 160. He's tried a few different Kowas from the rep here in CO and still has the 160 around.
    You have just been mentally Rick Roll'd. Yup you're thinking about it right now aren't you? Don't fight it.

  7. #7
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    Hey Ithnu, a guy let me ride his bike with a 180sf (the one with the optional FPC unit) and I sure was blown away by the smoothness and stiffness, and to consider it only has rebound adjustment, it was a major surprise for me. I had experience with boxxers, Travis, 888s, Monsters, Shivers, and a 40 (they let me ride their bikes for a test run, they're nice people) and I would rate the 180sf lower than the 40, but higher than most because its so simple but it overachives.
    Hunter, Simmons, Berrecloth, Watson,Vanderham, Semenuk, Schley, Gulevich, Bourdon, Smith, Moreland, Shandro, Boyko... Bieber.

  8. #8
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    The idea of the FPC unit is a good one but it doesn't work out that well. If you set the air chambers up with a large differential, say 15+ psi you'll get some low speed compression out of it to prevent brake dive. That combined with the smooth feel is great.

    The problem I had is if I bottomed the fork out the FPC chambers would equalize and I'd lose 1" of travel. Imagine being 1/2 through a race run and suddenly the geometry on your bike changes. I run a Fox 40 on front now. Not as smooth but it is consistent and I think Fox damping is better than SRAM, Kowa, Marzocchi and Manitou. I haven't ridden an Avalanche fork so I am curious about what the Kowa with Avy internals will ride like.

    I've become a big Fox fan after a year on a Boxxer and a year with the 180mm Kowa. I have Fox on 3 of my bikes (40, Float 36 and Float 32) and Kowa on the 4X, and that's the 160ss. I'd wait on their DH forks but the 160ss is a worthy purchase.
    You have just been mentally Rick Roll'd. Yup you're thinking about it right now aren't you? Don't fight it.

  9. #9
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    Well the Japanese versions have the FPC on the 180sf as an option, but I'm not too sure on what we get here. I think I'm getting one in the future. But now, if that 160ss fork will still be available by January...

    And since you got the 180sf, how can you compare it to the air sprung versions?
    Hunter, Simmons, Berrecloth, Watson,Vanderham, Semenuk, Schley, Gulevich, Bourdon, Smith, Moreland, Shandro, Boyko... Bieber.

  10. #10
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    New version of the 160SS has both rebound and compression adjust. Starts shipping in Jan. Old version will still be available for less $ than the new version.

    Think I'll be picking a new one up.

  11. #11
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    where'd you get that info about a new 160ss?
    Hunter, Simmons, Berrecloth, Watson,Vanderham, Semenuk, Schley, Gulevich, Bourdon, Smith, Moreland, Shandro, Boyko... Bieber.

  12. #12
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    Straight from Kowa Japan.

    Not on their website yet, but will be soon.

  13. #13
    jones'in
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    I just sold my Kowa 160ss. It was actually a great fork:
    - travel adjust always worked and was easy to use
    - super reliable.....never had a problem with it in 10 months of hard riding
    - simple to operate
    - Very plush for an air fork. Only trail fork I've ridden that was more plush was a Fox 36 Van
    - stiff

    I got rid of it because I'd always wanted a 66 on m ReignX.....it more closely fits how I ride it. But, the Kowa 160ss was an excellent trail fork.....one of the best I've used actually.

    --Ben
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    For Sale: Revox ISX 10.5x3.5

  14. #14
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    Why a 66 over the Kowa?

    Quote Originally Posted by venom600
    I just sold my Kowa 160ss. It was actually a great fork:
    - travel adjust always worked and was easy to use
    - super reliable.....never had a problem with it in 10 months of hard riding
    - simple to operate
    - Very plush for an air fork. Only trail fork I've ridden that was more plush was a Fox 36 Van
    - stiff

    I got rid of it because I'd always wanted a 66 on m ReignX.....it more closely fits how I ride it. But, the Kowa 160ss was an excellent trail fork.....one of the best I've used actually.

    --Ben
    I've got a 66, just curious what would make you switch to a 66 from the Kowa?
    I like bikes.

  15. #15
    eci
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    I've had my 160 for 2++ years now. I've got to say its a great fork. I have had it on my dirt jumper to my dh bike. It litterally can handle every terrain around. By playing with the air chambers you can change the compression characteristics. I am very excited for the new breed of dampers that are being worked on.

    I have tested almost every fork they have in their potential line up. i will say the new 200 fork with larger bushings is going to blow a lot of people away. Think marz/avalanche quality in a 35 mil light weight fork.

    Many people have bagged on kowa being a small company, they have no clue on the background or future plans of the brand. Take a good hard look at your bike, if your running anything shimano it was made by kowa. They are extremely well versed in the bike industrty but have never had their own brand.

  16. #16
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    Kowa and Shimano are both Osaka-based companies, so it makes sense. The former was more known as a machine shop and fabricator in the past.
    Hunter, Simmons, Berrecloth, Watson,Vanderham, Semenuk, Schley, Gulevich, Bourdon, Smith, Moreland, Shandro, Boyko... Bieber.

  17. #17
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    Who sells Kowa?

  18. #18
    moaaar shimz
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    "Well the coolest story I heard is that Kowa is just a few buildings down from Shimano's Japan headquarters and Kowa is actually a computer chip maker specializing in time keeping electronics. The son of the president (I hear) is a big mountain bike nut so Kowa, with money and technological know-how in spades, decided to have a go at making a downhill suspension fork."

    http://www.mbaction.com/ME2/Audience...803C1294E5C2F5

    It's MBA so it may be just a bunch of BS. Note that this was written almost 9 years ago haha.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillT
    Who sells Kowa?
    http://www.kowa-ss.co.jp/distributor.html

  20. #20
    moaaar shimz
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  21. #21
    jones'in
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    Quote Originally Posted by wasea04
    I've got a 66, just curious what would make you switch to a 66 from the Kowa?
    The 66 just fits more closely with how I ride my ReignX. The 66 is definitely burlier and it's got slightly more travel.

    The Kowa certainly falls into the burly trail fork category, but I ride my ReignX as a mini-DH bike a lot and the 66 was better for that.

    --Ben
    \m/ (>.<) \m/
    For Sale: Revox ISX 10.5x3.5

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