Pinkbike Awards 2015: Best Value Product Winner

Jan 21, 2016
by Pinkbike Staff  
new MTB awards logo 2015
Best Value Product of the Year Winner

SR Suntour Aion Fork


If you've ever worked at a bike shop, then you've no doubt seen the look of disbelief that passes over the face of a potential customer when they're told the price of that shiny carbon fiber bike in the window. Once the initial shock subsides, the next line out of their mouth is almost always, “But it doesn't even have an engine...” or “I could buy a ---- for that much.” It's a completely understandable reaction – mountain biking is an expensive sport, and it's not uncommon for the highest end models in a company's line to hover around the five-figure mark. That doesn't mean there aren't good values to be had, though, and today's mid-level bikes are lighter and ride better than the top-of-the-line bikes from just a few seasons ago.

The same thing goes for components, and while there are multi-thousand dollar wheelsets and drivetrains, there are still plenty of good values worthy of recognition, which was how Pinkbike's Best Value award came into being. This year's finalists included a clever new water bottle from Fabric, a wide-range ten-speed cassette from Praxis, and SR Suntour's new Aion fork. All of them offer an excellent price-to-performance ratio, but it was the SR Suntour Aion and its $500 USD price that emerged victorious.





SR Suntour Aion Interbike 2014

SR Suntour Aion Fork

With 34mm stanchions, externally adjustable low speed compression and rebound, plus the ability to adjust the amount of ramp up at the end of its stroke, the list of the Aion's features wouldn't be out of place on a fork that costs hundreds of dollars more. A lower price is all well and good, but it's the Aion's on trail manners that sweeten the deal.

Sure, it may be a little louder on the rebound stroke, and not quite as supple as more expensive competitors, but it's still a very effective fork that should provide multiple seasons worth of reliable performance, all while requiring minimal maintenance. Less maintenance means more time to ride, and that's always a good thing. For trail and all-mountain riders on a budget that don't want to be held back by their equipment, the Aion delivers, and for that it earns the title of Pinkbike's Best Value Product for 2015.

116 Comments

  • + 226
 Nice to see something besides a Fox or SRAM related item here.
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  • + 36
 @WAKIDESIGNS come and troll this post
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  • + 230
 Yea the axle offset is not going to work with my wheelbase
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  • + 42
 You believed her when she said a few MMs make a difference??
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  • + 16
 these and x-fusion RL2 dampened 34mm forks are the best value forks money can buy
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  • + 11
 WAKI, does that mean our wheelbases now dictate the trail we ride?
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  • + 81
 Wheelbase milimeters are the new grams - Welcome to the new age baby
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  • + 50
 all joking aside, i always check my head angle before i hit a new trail
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  • - 24
 Shoulda been SRAM GX.
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  • - 5
 Lol this new head angle thing is soooooooooo funny and f*cking stupid too! Who even thinks that! Look at McRoy & pinball in the early days, those bikes boys ripped on any old sack by today's standards!!
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  • + 5
 It's not about the size of the wheelbase, it's about the way you use it @KottonGin
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  • + 3
 Finally a PB award that makes sense to me. I've been concussed so leave me alone. Bright lights!
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  • - 4
 I would ve say its another PB joke y instead of Suntour they didn't choose YT industries their products are unbeatable price/value and no issues with the hardware not like SRsuntour axle to crown issue ??
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  • + 1
 Doesn't come in green... bah!
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  • + 66
 Nothing to complain about here, well deserved. Would love to try one out!
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  • + 8
 Well deserved! I love my old Fox vanilla 32 and it still serves me well but I would definitely look to something like this in the future.
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  • + 42
 DarrenV, you're obviously new here. Let me get the party started. Does it come in 26"?
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  • + 6
 As a shop employee, i was able to take one of these forks for a test ride and i was blown away by how plush it was. Definitely doesn't feel quite as nice as the Pike on my rig, but its worth mentioning hat the whole bike costs the same as a pike so...
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  • + 2
 dont worry codypup, i'll keep the pinkbike cliches going. Is there a 20mm axle option?
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  • + 0
 I got you codypup and jesse-woodward!... If it can't utilize bottomless tokens then no thanks!
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  • + 56
 Hi All.

Thanks for all the positive feedback on this. We are very happy to be awarded another PinkBike Award.

The Aion has proven to be a solid workhorse of a fork, and one that we think most would be happy to have as an upgrade to their stock 32mm chassis fork or have something that is simple and requires little maintenance throughout the year and just smiles for miles!

We have them in stock

emarket.srsuntourna.com/collections/enduro-all-mountain

Cheers.
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  • + 7
 It's too bad retailers in the Philippines only stock Epixons and XCRs in the shops. SR Suntour needs to get other distribution channels here pronto. The Durolux, Auron, and Aion are all nowhere to be found. A booming mtb market within a stone's throw of Taiwan is being neglected by poor inventory management.
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  • + 20
 Why can't something like this not be released in 1 1/8"
I know myself and some others would appreciate an opportunity to upgrade their old run down forks.
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  • + 51
 Hi.

Unfortunately the 27.5 and 29 platforms on all mid to high end bikes utilize a tapered steering column. These fork's were solely designed to accommodate bikes of the last few years and future designs.

We have continued to manufacture the Durolux in a straight steering column (and to boot a 20mm axle for all you non 15mm believers out there) and sales for it are relatively low to non-existent. This is why we continue to manufacture and design product for the future of mtbing.

Maybe if we funded a kick starter campaign people could actually put their money down instead of just talking about it and we could see where it would go but until then we have the data to back up what is currently selling in the market and what people are actually spending their hard earn green backs on!

Cheers.
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  • + 9
 @SSNA-WERX is this suntour account run by the same dude who does your facebook page? if so I would like to thank you for your quick and thorough replies.
Howzit from cape town!
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  • + 3
 If you want something like that you could work with MRP. They are amazing and are willing to customize their products to fit your needs like different size steerer tubes. Besides that their products are top notch, and customer service is amazing.
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  • + 7
 "Maybe if we funded a kick starter campaign people could actually put their money down instead of just talking about it and we could see where it would go but until then we have the data to back up what is currently selling in the market...."

I like that and the same could be done for 26" wheels/tires/frames.
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  • - 2
 Yea, a kickstarter for the straight 1,1/8" steerers and 20mm axles - what a great idea! I love it, we could do it for bringing back coil springs and V-brake bosses too! I think somebody should do something. No honestly I wouldn't give a sht, I wouldn't pay a penny.

Congrats Suntour!... BTW any chance to fit an Öhlins cartridge into your chassis? Alright, alright, just asking ok?!Big Grin
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  • + 1
 Hi All. We have them in stock such as the RUX, Durolux, Auron forks and rear shocks etc. Message us with any questions. Cheers.
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  • + 1
 @Marzocchi170 - are you going to manufacture the chassis for Öhlins fork?
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  • + 1
 I literally live across the river from SR.S HQ of Vancouver, Washington. Short of two years ago I wanted a fork from SR.S because of cost to performance of the fork, I believe it was the Epicon! I called SR.S to find out I'd have to buy it via a Taiwan retailer online, but was never given the name of the recommended retailer to buy it from and was not going to take a chance on buying a clone SR.S fork from an unknown retailer. After two weeks of tying to find where to safely buy an SR.S fork, I ended up buying a Sektor U-Turn for $270. Not exactly what I wanted, but was easier to get then locating a trusted Taiwan fork dealer.

The Sektor U-Turn is now full of Revelation parts.

@SSNA-WERX Does SunTour have a listed of trusted and recommended retailers that we could safely buy SunTour forks from?
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  • + 1
 @XCMark.

Hmm. That's pretty weird. Maybe you were talking to another business.

You can buy SR SUNTOUR manufactured stuff right from us on our website.

emarket.srsuntourna.com

We even ship for free for orders over $450.00 world wide. Not sure why you would have been told to by from Asia....
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  • + 1
 @SSNA-WERX

Thank you for that link, I'll keep it bookmarked!

When I was going through this issue a few years back the URL you provided today had not yet been established.

I'm currently building an AM bike and now that I have found a safe place to order a SR.S fork(supplied URL), I just might. Prices are pretty good! I like the thought of having a fork with an HQ not to far from me; that's if SR.S is still in Vancouver, WA?
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  • + 41
 "...and today's mid-level bikes are lighter and ride better than the top-of-the-line bikes from just a few seasons ago. "

Also worth noting that today's mid-level bikes costabout as much as a top-of-the-line bike from just a few seasons ago.
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  • + 7
 Depends, for example with YT and Canyon in the game the price went down. Also found that Kona Precepts start at €1500 and Cube makes full suspension trail bikes with an average but reliable set up starting at €1650. But talking in general, yes I agree with you. Especially how the top of the line bikes get more and more expensive very quickly. Nowadays it seems normal for bike companies to offer a €12,000 bike.
Even if I had the money I would only spend €2000 on the bike and use the other €10,000 to travel around the world and shred the sickest trails ever on that bike. Good times are more important than good bikes (not that a €2000 bike isn't good)
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  • + 4
 "and that's why bike of the year cost 9k."
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  • + 23
 I thought for sure it was going to be Pabst.
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  • + 16
 C'm on Pinkbike! That leaves Trolls starving!
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  • + 3
 He's a hungry troll, isn't he?
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  • + 13
 Attention North American retailers. The Aion is now available through QBP. For an entire list of Global Distributors see our site.

www.srsuntour-cycling.com/contact/worldwide-distributors
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  • + 8
 This seems like kind of an odd place to communicate with North American retailers.
Methinks maybe you people might wanna invest in an [experienced] sales person.
Prolly start with a manager, that way he can build a contact list of North American retailers.
Then you could have him hire some inside/outside sales personnel, which he can draw up territories for, then
have them start cold-calling said North American retailers in their individual area(s).
Might wanna also think about getting your product(s) in with the other wholesale distributors as well, as not every retailer uses QBP
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  • + 14
 we all know that the McValue menu after a long ride is the real mvp.
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  • + 13
 I think this is a pretty solid winner.
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  • + 9
 I can't believe the Trek Remedy 29 that won best bike didn't win this category as well since it was the 1 bike that can replace your DJ, DH,trail bike, Enduro, road bike, trials bike, Fixie, fat bike and track bike.
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  • + 7
 Cool. Along with the X-Fusion Sweep, that just got a huge thumbs up from Bike Radar I believe, it looks like any void in the "all our money goes into development " budget-conscious forks that Fox's purchase of Marz MIGHT bring, will be taken up by others.
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  • + 9
 ^^^^^^I have just purchased a new tracer 27.5 and it comes with the sweep from x- fusion and it is sick, only a rebound and air. I set it at the recommend air for my weight and adjusted the rebound for my liking and the thing is truely sick!!!!!! I am a suspension geek and was absolutly blown away by its capabilities and I am a 200lbs guy that rides in Québec, canada....places like Bromont, MSA, tremblant, and the thing takes everything and super smooth........I highly recommend this fork!!!!!!!
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  • + 1
 @Bird-Man and you can hack it to make the total lockout knob work as a compression adjust..!!!! seach around
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  • + 1
 ^^^^did that before I even rode it. and it works great.....I also did it with the x fusion shock the o2 that came with it.....Deadly set up and set and forget as it comes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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  • + 6
 Still don't get how the Praxis cassette was a contender - the Sunrace 10sp 11-42 cassette works great on both bikes in my household and costs a fair bit less. And sure, it's backordered most of the time, but ready availability hasn't ever been a requirement for these things...
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  • + 3
 +1 for the sunrace, 11-42 10 speed may as well pay upgrade to 11 speed xt rather than pay for praxis
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  • + 0
 hard to get em though. everywhere I look they're on back order
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  • + 1
 True that - there's "bikeman.com" in Maine, they seem to occasionally have it - and that's about it. BTI doesn't have it, nor did any of the other distributors my LBS uses.
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  • + 3
 Any fellow UKers, the Sunrace MS3 is currently £50 on Amazon.
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  • + 8
 Wow. Runner up is a water bottle. Nice to see you guys using comparable products.
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  • + 7
 How are you meant to limit it to just one category of product though? Would be basically stupid and pointless to try that.

Best value waterbottle
Best value cassette
Best value trail fork
Best value enduro fork
Best value downhil fork
Best value cable guide clips and/or zip ties

And on and on and on the list would go.

It is simply saying which 3 items represent the best value overall for what they provide. Pretty obvious.
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  • + 7
 Looks worth forking out for
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  • + 2
 And it doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
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  • + 3
 Suntour haters now should suspend their disbelief
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  • + 2
 And at this price it's not a huge shock to my bank account
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  • + 4
 Best value product, that would be the 26in bikes in the PB Buy and Sell section!
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  • + 1
 If you've never tried an SR fork, you're missing out. Have a 5 inch XCR on my wife's bike & a Durloux on mine and both are excellent forks! True, I've never tried a RS or Fox, but most of their stuff is outta my price range, and yet I have no buyers remorse.
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  • + 1
 I went to their site looking to see what their high-end fork is for a specific application. There was too much stuff to sift through. They should consider giving their forks different names --the current one all sound the same. They should also separate the cheap stuff from th good stuff. But that's just me.
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  • + 3
 Let me get this right, other forks compare to each other. This one was competing with a water bottle!!!!
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  • + 4
 PB, I think you will get a lot of agreeance on this award. Great choice.
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  • + 4
 I have a 140mm Suntour Epixon on my hard tail and I frickin love it!
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  • + 3
 Half the cost of the competition. Im using a Suntour shock. luvin it! do do do do do.
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  • + 3
 Nice choice PB. Reputation/quality of SR forks has come a long way
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  • + 3
 this fork is awsome and i am so glad it won this award
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  • + 3
 OMFG! PB has chosen something that I agree with!
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  • + 1
 i ran durolux and they are awesome..... available from secret cycles uk... send me a PM for prices in the uk or international...!!
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  • + 2
 Can't you just list the prices for us instead? Probably get more interest that way as I presume a lot are too lazy to bother pm'ing. Plus would save you sending mutiple individual mails out.
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  • + 3
 no, he's keeping the prices a secret
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  • + 1
 how do these stand up to durability? The way so many low end Suntours snap at the crown has me worried that their more expensive stuff is still dangerous as hell.
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  • + 1
 The higher end ones are light years ahead of the craptastic ones they slap on Walmart bikes. I'm 6'3 230 lbs with a Durolux that sees downhill and enduro, and that fork doesn't even flinch.
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  • - 1
 The best value component(s) last year was Sram GX, and it's not even close.
You were stuck under a rock, or smoked too much dope as a kid if you don't get that
PB are collectively a group of MO-rons, or Suntour pays and Sram doesn't.
To not even list GX as a contender, and then list that worthless cassette that's not even a deal makes me think
'nominations' for this contest are paid for with cAshE
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  • + 3
 ^Not the most polite way to put it, but I agree, GX 1x11 should have at least been one of the finalists. Or the stamped steel narrow-wide chainrings.
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  • + 3
 I can see I on one of those.
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  • + 1
 Not saying this was the wrong choice but I feel like the new shimano xt groupware is a great value for what you get
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  • + 1
 For those whining about "no 26" and "no straight steerer" if they made it available they would sell like 3 of them
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  • + 1
 I might just get one when I swap out my 36 to a new frame. Looks good.
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  • + 1
 You mean it wasn't ProCore? LOL
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  • + 2
 Fair play Suntour
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  • + 1
 does it work as well on frames with head angles 65 degrees or more?
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  • - 1
 Nice to see such stuff, however after using santour previous models I have no trust to them, avarage work, however easy to brake X fussion far more superior
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  • + 1
 Wait.... Nothing to complain about.... What?!?!
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  • + 1
 nice spank Wheel.
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  • + 1
 A 1 1/8" steer would probably be greatly appreciated by many bikers. I know I wouldn't mind running a 27.5" fork on my old frames, even if the geometry is slightly thrown off.
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  • + 13
 Our Durolux 26" is still available in 1 1/8 steerer and performs similar to Aion, but weight is slightly heavier as its a 35mm platform and travel is 160-180mm, but you can reduce it to less if needed.
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  • + 3
 Thanks the reply, I actually own one already because it was 1 1/8" steer and I couldn't be happier. I recommend it to lots of people.
The aion is just such an incredible price point and makes sense for an xc bike. The durolux is extremely stout on the bike I use.

P.S. The updated graphics and looks are great!!!
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  • + 2
 From personal experience alot of bike shops will refuse to stock items like this because at this price you can get a base model rockshox and despite this being better than the equivalent price point fork brand names talk in modern sales, trying to find a bike shop near me that stocks a bike over 1k without a rockshox/fox fork is more difficult than you would have thought
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