Entry-level trail forks- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Entry-level trail forks

    There's a lot of discussions on this forum on specific forks that cover them in great detail. However, they are often focused on the high-end models that can sometimes be quite different from the entry models.

    However, I'm quite sure that there are many out there looking to get a good fork without spending 1k on it, either for a wallet friendly new build or as an upgrade to their OEM fork.

    For the sake of giving some reference to what I'm meaning with an "entry-level trail fork", let's say it's a fork with roughly 130~150mm of travel and ~34 mm stanchions an with an MSRP around 600 USD. And by that definition it should be available as an aftermarket buy.

    At least personally I appreciate good adjustability and ease of maintaining and tuning the fork even for the entry models.

    From what I've been researching around the web, I've got the following initial list of good options currently on the market:

    - Rock Shox Pike Select
    - Manitou Mattoc Comp
    - Marzocchi z2

    Out of these, the Mattoc Comp would be the pick for me right now as it has a good and tunable damper with easy servicing. Pike seems to be a bit less sensitive over the small stuff and offer less tuning options. Z2 sounds promising but there's not that much experiences yet out there I guess that I would be confident that it matches the Mattoc.

    Would love to hear from the experts if they have any preferences (and why) or if there's any additions to the list that I've missed.

  2. #2
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    You can also buy used if you want a high end fork at a lower cost.

    I'd pick the Marzocchi because it's red. I like red.

    Or if I were buying used, I'd buy a good condition Pike and do a debonair conversion. Because I like Pikes with debonair cartridges almost as much as I like the color red.

    I'm an expert in this field as I have a used Pike RC 160mm in 27.5 that I serviced and did the debonair conversion. So much better than the non debonair it's ridiculous. I've also been coloring for 38 years and have used the color red extensively over my tenure.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by eshew View Post
    You can also buy used if you want a high end fork at a lower cost.
    I also think this is a very good option but in many countries the selection of good second hand forks is limited, hence this topic on the ones you can buy from retail for a similar cost.

  4. #4
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    Nurse_Ben has the new Marzocchi (think its the Z1 though) and has been raving about it. Mattoc has a good history of being a great fork and believe that down the road you can upgrade the internals to make it into a Pro version. Other Manitou to throw in the mix would be the Markhor as something a bit more XC focused.

    However, dont forget about SR Suntour. Their higher end stuff has been phenomenal and really at a steal of a pricepoint. No it is not going to be uber light like a Fox SC but what they are doing has been great. Plus, you can regularly find sales on their direct website making it an even better deal. Hit the time right and you could get their higher end Durolux for less than $700. Use the upgrade program for one of the Auron/Aion trail little brothers to the Durolux for even cheaper. Their PCS RC2 cartridge is one of the better dampers I have found on the market, feel wise, but still super simple maintenance.

  5. #5
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    Forgot about the Suntour! I did briefly check out the Auron at some point but I couldn't find that many reviews of that one at least with a brief search. What I found was quite positive though. I guess the only reason I kind of dismissed it was that they have so strong legacy in the lower end OEM market and I didn't easily find enough to convince me otherwise. Still a bit doubtful actually that are they the kind of company that I'll be able to get spare parts (e.g. bushings) in 5 years time.

  6. #6
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    Theres high end forks, some of which are really just ok, and there is hot garbage.

    I *totally* understand everyone has a budget, but when you can get a premium high end fork for ~$300 either as a takeoff, lightly used, or just overstock, the lower end market just doesnt make sense. My mattoc was $250 shipped! Sure its got ugly white legs, but ill take white legs over junk fork.

    I've seen used yaris for $450 and brand new pikes for $460. Hardly makes sense to get the janky fork.

  7. #7
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    That's also an interesting viewpoint. So there's not that much experience out there about the entry level stuff because everyone who cares enough to research anything will just find a decent deal on the better forks to make the price difference insignificant?

  8. #8
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    Through most of the 90's and early 2000's we were all on terrible forks, so the technology on the low end is about the same. Tons of hands on experience.

    My opinion is to always find a good deal on high end suspension, or just deal with what came stock. Buying a new fork in the low end just doesn't make sense.

  9. #9
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    Out of curiosity, does fox not even come into this picture on the used market?
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    My opinion is to always find a good deal on high end suspension, or just deal with what came stock. Buying a new fork in the low end just doesn't make sense.
    My bike came with a 2018 RS Revelation and I'm dealing with it.

    My first air fork to be fair, and it has been pretty good especially after a 150mm debonair spring upgrade.

    In a year or so if it is still kicking I might give it a birthday with the charger upgrade...



    Sent from my INE-LX2 using Tapatalk

  11. #11
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    Take a look at the x-fusion sweep. They are easy to service and durable.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB450 View Post
    My bike came with a 2018 RS Revelation and I'm dealing with it.

    My first air fork to be fair, and it has been pretty good especially after a 150mm debonair spring upgrade.

    In a year or so if it is still kicking I might give it a birthday with the charger upgrade...



    Sent from my INE-LX2 using Tapatalk
    The rev with a charger is essentially a pike. You can sometimes scoop up a charger for under $100 used. Hell of a deal for a high end setup!

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