RFX fork: AM SL/AM1 vs. thru-axle?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    RFX fork: AM SL/AM1 vs. thru-axle?

    I gave up on the 66sl fork idea for my RFX. Nice, but more fork than I need for that bike. Looking at my other, lighter weight options for a 150mm fork, it looks like the AM1 or AMSL would be a choice I could use (I have a standard QR wheel, and can purchase a TA if necessary). Is the AMsl similiar to the 66sl in terms of performance of the suspension? It doesn't have the RC2 system though, but I don't need the PAR. Is the AMsl a smooth fork? The weight seems agreeable, the AM1 more like 5lbs (still OK).

    Also, what about a standard QR vs. a thru-axle with regards to stiffness? The only TA fork I have used is the 66sl, and it blew anything else I have used away in terms of stiffness (coming off a TALAS 130 RLC). Not sure if it was due to the fork or the TA. My normal wheel is an X819 w/Super Comp spokes and 240 quick-release hub. FWIW, this is a trail bike for me, I weigh 140-145lbs.

    I may also hold out for the new AM 1 SL, but that will be a bit heavier and more expensive than the current AM crop of forks.

  2. #2
    FM
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    Hey Chiho-

    At your weight, QR should be fine. I weigh 170lbs and have been totally happy with QR for everything except double black-diamond BC freeride. Even the black diamond northshore stuff felt fine to me on QR. FWIW I have heavier friends who swear by 20mm even for just vanilla XC riding. I guess like all things it's a trade-off- if you really enjoy that extra stiffness, then the added weight and hassle of the 20mm may be worth it.

    So my stable is an '02 RFX with a 66rc2x (20mm)
    And a Titus motolite, with a '06 All mountain 1. Prior to the All mountain 1, I had the SL version (actually it's for sale on eBay right now).

    The all mountain 1 completely rocks. It's fairly light, has a nice coil sprung feel on small hits and chatter, tunable air feel which I prefer for big hits, plus adjustable compression damping via the TST. This is handy for tuning out brake dive on steep trails or locking the fork out for paved climbs. Plus you have ETA and TAS, so you can fine-tune your head angle and also lock the front end down for climbs. Use both the ETA and TST and you can shorten your fork down and lock itout, very handy. On a newer RFX I don't think you would use the TAS much, probably just leave it at 150mm, but I find it very handy on my motolite, or if I want to run 5" rockers on my older RFX (which transforms it into a heavy 5-spot).

    The All mountain SL basically feels %90 as good as the AM1, and is a half-pound lighter, but lacks the ETA, TAS and slow-speed small-bump plushness. Everywhere else it compares favorabley imho. I preferred teh feel over the fox 36, it's lighter too but not as stiff or adjustable. It does take a bit more tuning to get it dialled, but I was very happy with mine.

    In your shoes I woudl probably opt for the all mountain 1. hope that helps.

  3. #3
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    I know you are looking at the '06 crop of forks, but the '07 AM1SL sounds like it would be the best of everything for you. You get the through axle, travel adjust from 120mm-160mm and its on the lighter side of things. I've even read that Marzocchi claims it is "freerideable". So, it really could be a great all around fork for a lot of riding styles. Of course, it is new, so it will be more expensive and there are no real long term rider reviews on it yet. I have no experience on the '06 AMs, but I have heard nothing but good things about them.

  4. #4
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    I have an 06 All Mountain 1 in black that will go on sale next week.

    FWIW, I enjoyed the fork, though I've had less than a couple months' time on it. Great tunability. My ONLY problem wasn't with the fork, but I lost confidence in my QR's even though 'Zilla helped me resolve the problem. It was due to this I decided to go up and the ONLY real reason. Otherwise, I am very happy with the fork.

    The All Mountain 1 is light, stiff, feels like butter through rock gardens, and allows great tunability. PM me if interested.

  5. #5
    Roy
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    I have the '05 AM1 on my Spot which is the same as FM's '06 All Mountain 1. I echo everything he said and recommend it highly. Get JC's if it's a decent price.

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    Thanks for the info. Never having a bike this tough, I just wanted to get a sense of whether a QR fork is really that much flexier than a TA design and suitable on an RFX. One other question regarding the All Mountain forks: how do the fork legs/crown compare in stiffness to, say a Z1?

    It pretty much looks like a Zoke is my only option for a 150mm fork, as the TALAS 36 RC2isn't that reputable, the Van 36 is pretty heavy, the Pike too short, and the Lyrik too pricey. The person I spoke with at Turner strongly recommended against a Pike or Vanilla 140 on the RFX-he said I need a Lyrik if I am going to run a RS. But, he said I really should be looking at the Zokes' stuff if I don't opt for a Lyrik.

  7. #7
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    I ride at over 200 with gear and I think the All Mountain is fine. Unfortunately, I lost confidence with the QR's and it's a matter of me constantly looking or reaching down to check and see if my qr is tight. Again, not the fork's fault, but I lost confidence in my qr's. This is a very nice and stiff fork, lightweight, too. Especially for a lighter rider, stiffness won't be an issue and it is very tuneable.

    Now the question of the stiffness comes up compared to a Z1. A 20mm axle will be stiffer, but it's a matter of how much stiffness one needs, especially for a lighter weight rider. I have noticed that the 5" mode feels slightly stiffer than the 6" mode, but that is expected with any manufacturer. For myself, including mostly trail riding, I use 6" mode and there isn't flexing issues, the telltale brake rub on turns, or the feeling of the drag from flexing legs. In fact, I compared recently the torsional stiffness by holding the wheel with my legs and turning the bars. I was surprised at how resistant this fork was, even at the 6" mode. Little difference. The above observation about the 5" feeling stiffer is perhaps just a settings difference because this test revealed little difference between both travel settings.

    I don't know about the Z1 upper assembly. I hear they're different, while others say it's not. I have no ridden a newer Z1 yet, while there are some doing some pretty big stuff on the AM's and the ZAM's (ZAM is the AM with a retrofit of the Z1 lower some people have performed successfully).

    Again, if it wasn't for the mental energy I spend worrying about my qr up front, and the fact that I can't get the Z1 lowers or a ZAM, I would be keeping my All Mountain.

  8. #8
    Roy
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    The legs are the same as the Z1 and so is the crown, except the AM crown has holes in it to make it lighter. Jm. rode his 6Pack with an AM1 for a long time before he put 20mm lowers on it; drop him a note.

  9. #9
    George Dickel
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    I just put an '06 All mountain 1 on my Spot, and after 4 rides, I can echo all of the above. I figure it will get better with more time on it, but for now I am very happy with it (and the price - you can find 'em for less than $500 with shipping.) It is very stiff (granted, I am coming from a minute 3), easily tunable, and all the gadgets function very well. The whole fork seems to be of high quality. 2 things (drawbacks?) to consider - high A-C measurement ( I guess that can be a plus or minus), and the weight. I regard it as a light 150mm fork for a Six Pack, or a heavy 130mm fork for the Spot. With steerer tube cut and starnut installed, it weighed 5# 2oz on my scale. Considering a Pike Air can come in at almost a lb less, and a Revelation well over a lb less, I consider that heavy for a 130-140 mm fork. Used at 150mm, though, that is very competitive with many other 6" forks. For me the difference is negligible - a 29 vs 30# Spot - who cares? The TST works great, the ETA I haven't used a bunch but is great for steep climbs, and the rebound actually seems to do something, as opposed to the one on my minute. Plus, it is all black with red knobs, so it looks tough (most important thing.) I am sure many folks will think a Six Pack/RFX automatically warrants a 20mm axle, but at your weight I can't imagine you need something stiffer than this. I weigh, with gear, shoes, etc, just shy of 200, and have no complaints. One word to the wise - it has post mounts, which was great for me, as I have Hayes, but may be a pain for you if your brakes are for IS mounts.
    I once corrected DW about a bicycle related topic.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ORVH
    I just put an '06 All mountain 1 on my Spot, and after 4 rides, I can echo all of the above. I figure it will get better with more time on it, but for now I am very happy with it (and the price - you can find 'em for less than $500 with shipping.)
    Selling for waaaay less. I'm only looking to break even on the replacement, as I regard the investment being made already.

    We'll know this week or next when the replacement comes in.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerk_Chicken
    Selling for waaaay less. I'm only looking to break even on the replacement, as I regard the investment being made already.

    We'll know this week or next when the replacement comes in.
    Hi JC,

    Can you send me a PM regarding your used AM1? Thanks!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roy
    The legs are the same as the Z1 and so is the crown, except the AM crown has holes in it to make it lighter. Jm. rode his 6Pack with an AM1 for a long time before he put 20mm lowers on it; drop him a note.
    I now have my Z1 and I know this now to not be true. The Z1's crown is bulged at the legs and has slightly different contours all around. The AM crown has some machine work on the inside. I will get a better look tomorrow.

    z1 weight is 5.55 pounds on the dot with axle and an 8" steerer.
    Last edited by Jerk_Chicken; 09-19-2006 at 07:31 PM.

  13. #13
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    I'm curious if you are running the 66rc in a 160mm or 170mm for the shore? Also 05 or 06 model. thanks

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerk_Chicken
    I ride at over 200 with gear and I think the All Mountain is fine. Unfortunately, I lost confidence with the QR's and it's a matter of me constantly looking or reaching down to check and see if my qr is tight. Again, not the fork's fault, but I lost confidence in my qr's. This is a very nice and stiff fork, lightweight, too. Especially for a lighter rider, stiffness won't be an issue and it is very tuneable.

    Again, if it wasn't for the mental energy I spend worrying about my qr up front, and the fact that I can't get the Z1 lowers or a ZAM, I would be keeping my All Mountain.
    JC,
    If this is really the case and you really dont want to upgrade - than maybe you should take a look at these once they are available.
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  15. #15
    Roy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerk_Chicken
    I now have my Z1 and I know this now to not be true. The Z1's crown is bulged at the legs and has slightly different contours all around. The AM crown has some machine work on the inside. I will get a better look tomorrow.
    I currently have an '05 Z1 FR and an '05 AM1 and I know this to be true. The crowns are identical in every respect except for the machined rectangles in the AM1 crown to reduce weight. If yours is different, one or both of your forks must be different years and they must have changed the crown design.

  16. #16
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    I have an 06's in both.

    On the other hand, if you say they are identical "EXCEPT FOR...", then they are no longer identical. They may have machined one down to get the other, but they are no longer identical. The AM crowns also have those machined holes.

  17. #17
    Roy
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    "Identical except for" - means just that. They are identical crowns in every respect *except* for the items noted. I didn't say they were identical, I said they were identical except for.

  18. #18
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    I still haven't pulled the trigger yet on a fork, although I am leaning toward a AM SL1 at this point. One more question: can I tune the 2006 AM 1 (coil) to a lighter-weight (150lb) rider? The problem I have had with coils in the past is that they are always sprung for a heavier person. Is this something I could do on my own, or would I have to send the fork away?

  19. #19
    George Dickel
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    The All mountain 1 has an air assist that let's you suit the fork to your weight without changing springs. In fact, I don't think it mentions changing springs anywhere in the manual. Plus, the TST really helps in that you can change the feel of the fork on the fly. After looking at both, it seemed to me the only thing the SL does better is weigh 1/2 a lb less. Especially for an RFX/Pack, I think the 1 is the better choice than the SL. Just my $.02. I am interested in hearing other's thoughts on the SL vs 1.
    I once corrected DW about a bicycle related topic.

  20. #20
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    Crown overlap is greater on the Z1.

  21. #21
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    the z1 crown also has a ridge under the crown race seat.

  22. #22
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    The crowns are not identical

    Upon even closer inspection, they are pretty different, although the spacing is the same.
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  23. #23
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    Another angle
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  24. #24
    Roy
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    Yup, still identical

    '05 crowns are still identical. Well, except for...

    I'll check them again in an hour or so to see if they're still identical.
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  25. #25
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    OOOOO...internet wars.

    Let me ask something...do I have an 05 Z1 and and 05 All Mountain 1? No? Just checking.

    Just checking.

  26. #26
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    chiho
    My 2cents I couldn't resist, I ran the 06 AM1 on my Spot buttery smooth and a great fork no doubt about it.

    But forgetting ya weight its not an equation in my book!

    For the RFX if you want light weight but a balance go for 07 AM with maxle type 20mm system you'll still have lightweight but will get the best of both worlds with yr RFX with a 20mm axle

    Unless running 130mm or less then standard skewer above 130mm imo is 05 technology you are severely limiting yrself, if not convince ride a trail you know on a friends bike if they have one on 20mm fork vs Skewer its a no brainer it'll spak the AM standard axle hands down.
    Siffness and trail handling is greatly improved and will help you progress if you don't think u need it you will after a few months of riding one.

    Ive gone from AM to a Pike on my Spot and the difference in the bike is enormous its a far better ride.

    my 2c
    Don't knock it till youve tried it you may not follow the trend today but you will eventually then you'll waste yr time wondering why you didn't do it sooner!
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  27. #27
    Chaplin Turner Overdrive
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    Interested in all this myself - my RFX is on its way (yay!) and I'm going to be running my Pike with the Ventana 7mm spacer to start with. I'm definitely going for the 20mm option for the new fork - and am looking at the 2007 AM1 SL as well as the RS Lyrik, but that is soooooo expensive.. Any early reports of the new SL would be welcome as I've been out of Marz forks since my old 99 Z2 BAM and I'm sure things have moved on since then..

  28. #28
    Roy
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    Just checked again and oddly they were still identical. Weird.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roy
    Just checked again and oddly they were still identical. Weird.
    And again, yours are 05's and mine are 06's. If I could go back in time and buy last year's models so your information can apply to me, I would, but I can't, so your information does not apply to me. Thanks.

  30. #30
    Roy
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    I'm just messin' with ya JerkC. Anyone that rides the Titusidians as hard as you, can take some ribbing. I am surprised at how much they changed the crowns in just 1 year. Yours look noticeably smaller/less beefy than the '05's so I wonder if the '06's are as stiff.

  31. #31
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    I found it interesting that they changed the casting all together for the two models. At first, I thought there might be one casting, then machining down for the AM, but it's not the case. Wonder what they did to the 07 AM"s to make them "freerideable".

    I also know people who brutalize their AM/ZAM's and have had no trouble.

    It also appears that the stanchion length exposed on the AM is greater, with a greater distance from bottom out against the crown while the Z1 goes closer to the crown for 6". Perhaps that could be a reason for the ridge on the different crown to work with different internals with slightly shorter strokes.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailadvent
    ...Unless running 130mm or less then standard skewer above 130mm imo is 05 technology you are severely limiting yrself, if not convince ride a trail you know on a friends bike if they have one on 20mm fork vs Skewer its a no brainer it'll spak the AM standard axle hands down.
    Siffness and trail handling is greatly improved and will help you progress if you don't think u need it you will after a few months of riding one.

    Ive gone from AM to a Pike on my Spot and the difference in the bike is enormous its a far better ride.
    Could I ask how much you weigh? I've never tried a 20mm, I've been running an AM1 for two years now, I weigh only 160 with gear and I ride agressive technical trails, a few light DH days per year. I've never felt the "need" for a 20mm however I'm always intrigued by comments like yours not really knowing what "I'm missing"! What did the "stiffness" provide to you when you swapped from your AM1 to the Pike? Did you really feel your wheel "twisting" with the QR and now it's not with the 20mm? Thanks much for your feedback.

  33. #33
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    It's on those tight, low speed turns while trying to maintain balance where I've seen a difference.

  34. #34
    trail fairy
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    Could I ask how much you weigh? I've never tried a 20mm, I've been running an AM1 for two years now, I weigh only 160 with gear and I ride agressive technical trails, a few light DH days per year. I've never felt the "need" for a 20mm however I'm always intrigued by comments like yours not really knowing what "I'm missing"! What did the "stiffness" provide to you when you swapped from your AM1 to the Pike? Did you really feel your wheel "twisting" with the QR and now it's not with the 20mm? Thanks much for your feedback.
    Its a hard thing to gauge and compare unless you know your ride and bike well hence why I suggest you need to take the time to try it you may be surprised also you may still feel the QR is right for you, to me if thats the case the Spot would have been the frame and more for you, I base allot of this on the frame as well as I'm a believer in getting the most out of my frame choice, if its not aligned with components that suit its use then to me its a waste of time youre better off with a different catagoray of frame type and then match the components to suit yr style and ride.

    I do think weight is not so much the issue but your ride style setup, prefferences how hard you ride what you like to push, single track rocks ruts roots etc the tracking of a 20mm is better and I don't notice deflection s
    Again correct suspension setup for you is important here too.

    Im 210lbs with gear myself and ride and push jump hard but I ride light, jump light unless I cock it up

    The AM 1 05/06 can handle allot of abuse but for example I think the Pike can handle way more and gives me more confidence in just about every aspect, yet the AM has that 5% smoother cadilacy feel which I love about Marz nothing else has it yet I still love the PIKE which is more suitable to my Spot and my ride style.

    On an RFX for me no way would I go or put any of my friends on a qraxle fork, Spot I'd leave it up to the individual.

    However in saying that the 07 RFX would probably suit more options as its a lighter frame and differences to the 06 earlier RFXs/Packs
    Which I'm still confused about but the market wants it so who am I to argue..

    End of the war and peace saga sorry, I would still recomend the 07AM for you if you weighed the same as an ice cream stick cause you will advance quicker and have a more long gterm build and avoid the pains of UGI later which believe me you will not overcome!

    There have been many including me which have ridden this path and have learnt the HARD way.

    Anyways Im sure you will enjoy what ever you choose, remember they are not bad choices just hard ones.

    Good luck TA
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