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Thread: Coil forks?

  1. #1
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    Coil forks?

    Ok, so I've only been riding for about 6-7 years now. Outside of downhill coil forks seem to have all but disappeared. Until now.

    Push has the ACS3 to drop into your Fox 36 or Pike, and MRP just dropped a coil version of the Ribbon. I'm especially intrigued by the Ribbon as a potential option for my Hightower LT.

    The thing is, I've never ridden a coil fork. What's the deal? Air has been pretty good. As I understand it coil benefits from much longer service intervals, more consistent performance and has lower stiction and thus has better small bump compliance. On the flip side coil doesn't have the ramp up of air (MRP seem to have changed this) coil is heavier, and, well that's all I know.

    So convince me why coil is amazeballs, or tell me it's just another option but not really all that mind blowing.
    Overland : Hayduke : Hightower LT : Delirium : Piolet

  2. #2
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    Air forks have become very good but they will always have some stiction due to the air pressure on the seals, coil forks will have better small bump compliance and generally will have better mid stroke support, but you are right they don't have end stroke ramp up but there are ways to handle that (hydraulic bottom out, air bottom out, combo air/coil forks) . Cool forks also aren't effected by temperature (long sh runs) if you are happy then stick with your air fork if you are doing long decents with rough terrain then a coil may be for you, if you get arm pump badly a coil fork may help though damping has a lot to do with that.


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  3. #3
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    Up until fairly recently mass market 'one-tune-fits-all' forks have been fairly compromised in their damping, so the gains one would see running a coil spring were overshadowed by the larger gain in using a more competent damper design. Now we're finally seeing shimmed compression/rebound sealed dampers with large oil volumes (and air springs have gotten very very good) and there isn't any more low-hanging fruit for OEs who are trying to limit their SKU numbers. It's much easier to advertise/manage/sell a couple aftermarket springs than deal with a mess of damper tunes, so that's what the OEs are starting to do. It's all going to be incremental improvements from here on out.

    A coil spring doesn't ramp up, but there is still air inside a coil fork and the volume there can be used to make the fork more progressive. For example on old emulsion forks you would use the damper oil height to tune ramp.

    Coil springs are still better, but it isn't as dramatic as it was when they used to be more common.
    Last edited by scottzg; 08-31-2017 at 06:50 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Don't they make progressive wound springs?
    If not, I'm sure that will come around.



    Besides, anyone complaining about air forks needs to ride elastomer forks, when it's 15 out.

  5. #5
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    Nothing rides as smooth as coil. Heavy as balls, though.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpdemello View Post
    Nothing rides as smooth as coil. Heavy as balls, though.
    In theory they're only heavier by the spring weight, which is perhaps 200g. I think plenty of people have memories of heavy "freeride" forks, 66's, Travis etc were very heavy forks, but forks have got lighter in general with tapered head steerers and just not massively overbuilding stuff.
    There is a renaissance coming finally, and I can't wait. I have a coil on the back and really like my Mattoc, my issue will be I still use 26" wheels, so I could get away with a 650B fork.

  7. #7
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    It's about 200g. It's not much weight.

    Coils do ride a little better I suppose. But I honestly don't think that's the benefit. Coils ride the same always. They're always at their best. They never leak into the lowers or build weird pressures or change with temp. They never blow out mid ride, or sink into travel. They just flat out work like they did on day one.

  8. #8
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    Couple of reasons why coild disappeared for a while. First, way too linear. This is solved in both the AC3 and MRP coil. 2nd Weight. For a while being a weight weenie was cool. Third, The need of multiple spring rates. It's easier for a bike company to spec an air spring that can be used by sizes of all shapes

    After having a coil shock, nothing beats it.

    Erik

  9. #9
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    I started mtn biking on coil suspensions. Marzocchi was King of the hill @ that time. imo. I really liked the attainable spring rate - coil sprung, air assist & adjustable oil height to control bottomout. I moved to 29er's, a number of years ago, and coils were non existent so I have dealt w/ air ever since. If I were to visit a coil again it would have to have a wide range of springs available & some form of bottomout control (air assist would be nice as well).

  10. #10
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    Ha! I've ridden nothing but high end Marzocchi's for the last 15 years. Love em.

    That being said I just bought a used bike with a 2015 pike rc. Doesn't feel terrible. I think lowering pressure & adding tokens will make it feel pretty darn good. What scares me the most though is the crappy seals and small amount of oil in the lowers.

    My Marz's have 100-200cc's per leg. The RS is 5cc & 40cc's.
    Marz's have two double lipped seals per leg, the RS has 1.

    I can certainly tell the RS is going to require more love in terms of maintenance, the plus side is dropping the lowers is quick and easy.

    I'd say ride whatever, but if Fox comes out with a Foxzocchi 160mm coil fork with oil bath, I'm in.

  11. #11
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    thanks for the views all!

    Weight. Seems to be a pretty minor issue on the modern coil forks.
    - 2018 Fox 36 29" 160 = 4.48 lbs (2031g) claimed
    - MRP Coil Ribbon = 4.65lbs (2100g) claimed
    - CC Helm Coil = 2200g claimed
    - Push ACS3 = adds 200-300g to a fork

    Tunability. I'm not sure how past forks were but these seem pretty tunable.
    - CC Helm coil: HSC, LSC, LSR, preload
    - MRP: Pre-load, Ramp control, Rebound, LSC, comes with 3 springs and 2 others available for extra heavy or extra light riders

    Cost. Push is more but the MRP and CC are close
    - Push = ~$400 + the cost of the original air fork
    - CC Helm = ~$1100
    - MRP Ribbon Coil = $950
    - 2018 Fox 36 RC2 = $1050

    The consistency and long service interval seems to be one of the greatest benefits of coil that multiple people have expressed. Honestly it's hard to imagine exactly how it would feel to ride. I have ridden a couple coil rear shocks briefly. Some (but certainly not all) seem to lose the playful pop in favor of ground hugging, chunder eating plushness. I do wonder if a coil fork would do the same. I suppose if you can control the ramp this would be a non issue.
    Overland : Hayduke : Hightower LT : Delirium : Piolet

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdemars View Post
    thanks for the views all!

    Weight. Seems to be a pretty minor issue on the modern coil forks.
    - 2018 Fox 36 29" 160 = 4.48 lbs (2031g) claimed
    - MRP Coil Ribbon = 4.65lbs (2100g) claimed
    - CC Helm Coil = 2200g claimed
    - Push ACS3 = adds 200-300g to a fork

    Tunability. I'm not sure how past forks were but these seem pretty tunable.
    - CC Helm coil: HSC, LSC, LSR, preload
    - MRP: Pre-load, Ramp control, Rebound, LSC, comes with 3 springs and 2 others available for extra heavy or extra light riders

    Cost. Push is more but the MRP and CC are close
    - Push = ~$400 + the cost of the original air fork
    - CC Helm = ~$1100
    - MRP Ribbon Coil = $950
    - 2018 Fox 36 RC2 = $1050

    The consistency and long service interval seems to be one of the greatest benefits of coil that multiple people have expressed. Honestly it's hard to imagine exactly how it would feel to ride. I have ridden a couple coil rear shocks briefly. Some (but certainly not all) seem to lose the playful pop in favor of ground hugging, chunder eating plushness. I do wonder if a coil fork would do the same. I suppose if you can control the ramp this would be a non issue.
    I always felt my coil fork had more "pop" properly sprung. My Marzocchi open bath forks had lots of oil and could survive extended service intervals but both my older Fox 36 coil & Manitou Tower used semi-bath oil that required frequent oil lower leg services.

    I think an issue w/ coil suspension was having to buy / install extra coils to get the correct spring rate. Too simple of dampers & lack of bottomout control meant you were over or under sprung. The complaint became I am between spring rates.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by keen View Post
    I think an issue w/ coil suspension was having to buy / install extra coils to get the correct spring rate. Too simple of dampers & lack of bottomout control meant you were over or under sprung. The complaint became I am between spring rates.
    Makes a lot of sense. So what was a good spring interval that doesn't produce such a gap? 10lbs? 5 lbs?

    I don't know what the intervals of the MRP are but I think I saw the Cane Creek had three springs at 10lb intervals (45, 55 and 65lbs). Being full custom Push springs are in 5lb intervals.
    Overland : Hayduke : Hightower LT : Delirium : Piolet

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdemars View Post
    Makes a lot of sense. So what was a good spring interval that doesn't produce such a gap? 10lbs? 5 lbs?

    I don't know what the intervals of the MRP are but I think I saw the Cane Creek had three springs at 10lb intervals (45, 55 and 65lbs). Being full custom Push springs are in 5lb intervals.
    In my past experience fork springs were sold based on a chart that referenced rider weight then you bought which ever color spring matched your weight. So now they reference a number instead. So with any spring it can get expensive if you don't feel the rate is correct. As I mentioned some older forks lacked air assist & bottomout controls so even though the rate might have been ok you had to add spring to compensate for other areas.

  15. #15
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    Spring rate has been a big issue for some. If you're above or below rates, it sucks & that's why air forks are superior & found on most if not all new bikes. They might not feel as good or last as long but they can be setup for any weight rider, which is one less issue the mfg has to work on.

    Both a friend and I have '14 Marz 55 RC3 Ti Evo V.2's. Was hoping with the fox takeover they would build em again with an even longer name.

    at 160-170 lbs the stock weight srping is great for both of us. There is an air port you can add air to, but any air makes the shock less buttery, so we just use it to purge any built up air. Although it can be used for

    The open bath design is great, as you can add or remove oil depending on how you would like your fork to ramp up. We've got em set to only use full travel on really big wrist bending hits. The small bump compliance is amazing, mid stroke support is insanely good. The feel great all the time, but when you really hit the rough stuff fast, they are untouchable. We're both going to ride these forever, stocking up on extra uppers and lowers just in case, but after a few years they show little to no wear.

    The 2015 pike RC i've been playing with on the new used build does feel lighter and more playful, but also not nearly as confidence inspiring. This could be a setup issue, as I didn't have any bottomless tokens in the last time I hit the trails. But for forks with nearly identical travel, the marz feels glued to the ground at all times, smooth, rough, cornering or straight. The marz just beats it hands down at everything except for the jump park, the pike is poppy & wants to fly!

  16. #16
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    I love coil forks. For fast hacked up or rocky stuff nothing on air that I've ridden is even close. Also really handy having a spring that doesn't change rate and is totally consistent.

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