2020 Pinkbike Awards: Suspension Product of the Year Nominees

Dec 16, 2020
by Dan Roberts  


Suspension Product of the Year Nominees

2020 was a year for suspension, with more offerings being released than flavours in an Italian gelateria. With each brand having their own philosophies about suspension and how to go about getting the perfect squish, we've never had so many options to cater for our individual bike, terrain and preferences as right now.

The coverage of suspension was also vast, with products aimed at racers and weekend warriors alike, ranging from cross-country to downhill and encompassing every single type of riding in between, with options from different brands in each category.

With such a plethora of suspension products to choose from it became clear that most of the standouts were in the fork department. RockShox's Zeb impressed us with a clear focus on hard charging and enduro racing. For the same reason, Fox's 38 is in our nominations for their take on what a stout big travel single crown should be.

While those big names may have taken a lot of the limelight this year there were new products from some of the slightly smaller brands out there. The Cane Creek Helm MKII shone through as an alternative to the mainstream and with its huge adjustability. EXT's Era was perhaps a bit more of a surprise to many and the Italian company took every bit of their suspension know-how from all the other racing worlds that they are involved in and channeled it into a fork that impressed Mike Kazimer. And finally, the Öhlins DH38 took that supple yet supportive goodness that we love Öhlins for and applied it to their updated DH38 m.1 fork.

Last year we couldn't decide on a winner and so just recognised the best suspension products of 2019. This year, though, we do have a winner that stuck its head above the rest and still leaves us a little speechless when we ride it.

Without further ado, here are the nominations for the 2020 Suspension Product of the Year.








Why it's nominated
EXT's dampers were already well known, and for good reason. The Italian company's rich history in racing at the highest level in all manner of motorsports meant that they had a hell of a lot to work with when they decided to go into the MTB world. Back in July they released their Era fork and piled the same level of engineering and development into it as they do for any other product.

They even addressed some of the problems plaguing long travel single crown forks, with an extended overlap area between the steerer and crown. They also paid particular attention to the fork's friction, not only when bouncing in the car park but also when loaded up and twisted while out on the trail, adjusting the tolerances to achieve just the right fit and backing this up with ridiculously high levels of QC and inspection on the forks during manufacturing and assembly.

The air spring featured a hybrid of coil and air springs to harness the suppleness of one with the ease in adjustability of the other. That air spring using two adjustable chambers to adjust how the fork compresses through its entire stroke and also how the mid-stroke and bottom out support builds in the travel. The damper uses a spring backed internal floating piston and a large diameter piston to have a bit more oil flow to keep the fork consistent on long runs.

All that added together to make the usually reserved Mike Kazimer gush and earned the Era a place in the nominations.
2021 EXT Era fork

From the first ride:
bigquotesI'm usually not one to gush, but after six solid rides on the Era I'm comfortable saying that I've never ridden a fork that felt this good right out of the box. I've even switched bikes with a couple of riding partners mid-ride so they could experience what I was feeling, and in both instances the general consensus was “that's ridiculous.” Mike Kazimer








Why it's nominated
Prior to 2020 we'd already seen a new fork from Fox and it didn't take a math genius to figure out what it would be called. But what we didn't know until its release in April was just what was going on inside.

With fork lengths up at 180mm travel 29" giraffe leg dimensions, Fox needed to employ some tactics to help that lonely single crown out. The upped stanchion diameter no doubt helped, but more hidden away the oval butted steerer tube added material front and back. Crowns were redesigned to help in that quest for stiffness while also being ready for the potential onslaught of huge diameter head-tubed bikes.

We also saw the return of a pinch bolt axle on a single crown and even some air bleeders on the back of the lowers to relieve built up pressure inside the lowers.

The Grip 2 damper was something we could tell from the spy shots, but one thing hidden away was the air spring design to use a smaller piston than the 38mm diameter stanchion would suggest. It also allowed Fox to use the volume around the inner tube and also in the lowers to their benefit.

Its performance on the trail was as solid as its looks without being overly stiff, and with the updated Grip 2 damper it shone through as a serious contender for this year's Suspension Product of the Year Award.

From the first ride:
bigquotesI didn't (and still don't) have any complaints about the stiffness of the 36, but the 38 does feel even more solid. One of the trails I use for testing has a nasty compression that leads into a sharp right turn, a section that puts a significant amount of twisting forces on any fork. The 38 took it without flinching, and it didn't seem like I needed to muscle it around as much as I would with a flexier fork.

Two rides in and all I want to do is head out for my third, fourth, and fifth rides, which is always a good sign.
Mike Kazimer








Why it's nominated
It wasn't just Fox that was working on a long travel single crown, and with the release of the Zeb in July RockShox showed their cards. Zeb paying homage to the intrepid explorer Zebulon Pike, famous in the Colorado Springs, Colorado, area of the US where RockShox are based.

The Zeb also sports 38mm diameter stanchions but forgoes some of the bells and whistles of the Fox 38 to boost the ease of use for the rider. A simpler bolt in axle ties in with the Torque Cap fitment hub end cap surface to boost stiffness and the 200mm post mount meant that the big rotor accompanying the fork's intentions just bolted straight on.

The air spring and damper are recognisable as the DebonAir and Charger 2.1 units from the other RockShox forks, but different in their size to fit inside the larger diameter tubes. Travel options came in at a whopping 190mm and surprised me at how much fork was coming out of the box when they were delivered.

Out of that box, its ease of setup and ability to be immediately thrown down any trail you wanted impressed us hugely. Added to that, the price, weight and impressive on trail manners made for a superbly well rounded package and made it another easy nomination.

From the first ride:
bigquotesThe Zeb's damper and air spring are very similar to the Lyrik, but the two forks do feel different on the trail. The Zeb has a more muted feel than the Lyrik when faced with repeated impacts, as if a thin layer of memory foam was laid over the ground. It's similar to the difference in feel between running a DH casing versus a single-ply, trail casing tire. The Zeb seems to filter out the small vibrations differently than the Lyrik, transmitting a little less trail feedback to the handlebar. There's still a very usable range of high- and low-speed damping, it just that even all the way open the Zeb seems like it takes the edge of sharp hits a little differently than a Lyrik. Mike Kazimer








Why it's nominated
Moving away from the mainstream, Cane Creek released an updated version of their Helm fork. The MKII saw Cane Creek update the Helm to keep it up there and competitive in the ever-expanding trail and enduro segment.

It's the air spring of the Helm that sets it apart from the likes of Fox and RockShox. Despite a slightly longer setup period, the fork is manually equalized between the positive and negative chambers, but does allow some additional tinkering if you were searching for a more supple initial portion of travel.

The end stroke ramp is also adjustable via changing the volume inside the forks with the sliding piston. With everything contained in the fork it has the benefit of never needing extra parts to adjust the feel of the air spring. Travel is also easily adjustable with snap in spaces and could be altered from 140mm to 160mm.

Compared to the original Helm, the MKII impressed with its overall less damped feel and its wide range of damper adjustments and the other updates brought it right up there with the likes of the RockShox Pike as a viable alternative to the big main suspension brands. Not bad at all for only the second try and worthy of a nomination.
Cane Creek Helm MKII

From the review:
bigquotesCane Creek's updates to the Helm make it a more viable option than ever, whether you're building up a burly little trail bike or a longer travel all-mountain rig. The ability to easily adjust the travel and the fact that the air volume adjustments don't require any additional parts only add to its appeal. Mike Kazimer








Why it's nominated
Öhlins has impressed us in the past with their forks and shocks. What some people described to be almost a dead feeling when they grabbed it for a thorough car park test simply blended away on the trail and was soft when you needed it and hard when you needed that.

The DH38 received an update for this year, dubbed m.1, and saw tweaks and improvements all over the fork to up performance for its intended use of DH racing, which is where it has certainly proven itself. But that's selling the fork a little short, as the likes of Nico Vink also use it at Fest events, and it could actually be adjusted in travel all the way down to 120mm, giving a sturdy dual crown option for things such as shorter travel ebikes.

The DH38 saw damper improvements inspired from their RXF36 m.2 single crown fork with a new piston and low speed needle design as well as refinements in the way the system circulated oil. It uses Öhlins' three chamber air spring design. Two function as we already know as self-equalizing positive and negative chambers, but the third chamber is also adjusted with air pressure to change the build in character of the fork as it goes through its travel.

That adjustability with pressure allows for more fine tuning than with large plastic tokens, even though internally the fork can be adjusted further, by someone with the knowhow, by adjusting the volume of the individual chambers.

Four different crowns round out an impressive adjustment portfolio, and while most of the talk might have been about the DH38's adjustability, it's in its performance over the summer and autumn seasons riding that it earned a nomination. As with their other suspension products, the DH38 m.1 simply disappeared underneath you on the trail and left you to ride, focussed and fast.
Ohlins DH38 m.1

From the first look:
bigquotesFor downhill racing in 2019, Öhlins sat at the top of the tree, holding both the World Cup overall and World Championship titles with Loïc Bruni. But as a company founded in racing, they don't rest on their laurels and now release their updated DH38 m.1 fork with a host of improvements on its already astounding performance that are claimed to bring more comfort and control to the rider.

Designed as a race fork, the DH38 platform has also held its own in the likes of the Fest series and now even has the ability to be reduced in travel to offer dual crown options for smaller travel bikes.
Dan Roberts





Honorable Mentions


Fox 36 Fork

The new 36 might be going a bit under the radar for most, with the 38 overshadowing its little brother. But the 36 might actually be the fork that more riders will likely have on their bikes in the coming years with its coverage from aggressive trail riding all the way through to enduro racing. It may now be the little brother to the 38 but its performance is in no way inferior. Traction is plentiful, support is there and there's options for everyone from suspension tinkerers to riders on a budget, with the 36 being a fantastic fork for that spectrum between XC and DH that we call mountain biking.
Canyon Spectral 29 2021


DT Swiss 232 ONE Fork

The 232 ONE fork from DT Swiss was launched as part of a complete package, including the shock and dropper post, all aimed at cross country racing and short travel riders with a big focus on bike weight. The 232 ONE fork was impressive in its quest for grams and fascinating in the details that DT Swiss went to to maintain the chassis rigidity of forks with much bigger intentions on the trail, while also maintaining a smooth and controlled suspension feel despite its short travel numbers.
Schaubergwerk Kalmsdorf 232 Suspesion Plattform Press Launch


Marzocchi Z1 Coil Fork

The return of a classic. And for the current coil trend, Marzocchi's Z1 coil arrived to deliver tonnes of traction and comfort without breaking the bank. The addition of the coil conversion kit also made it possible for riders with the air sprung Z1, or Fox 36 Rhythm, to move to a coil sprung fork without completely emptying their wallet. The Z1 coil melted away the repeated bigger impacts on rough trails and its smoothness helped you cling to the off camber ground and slippery wet roots.
Marzocchi Z1 Coil


Formula Mod Shock

Formula applied their almost coffee-capsule-like suspension tuning concept to the Mod shock. Colour coded valves can be switched out with ease, minimal loss of oil and no need for a degree and six pairs of hands, each changing the damping characteristics of the shock on top of what the adjusters would grant you. Its performance was impressive when we rode it and with Formula delivering a shock that is tuned to be in the right ballpark for you on your particular bike, the Mod shock was an interesting suspension addition to 2020.
Formula Mod Shock Photographer Mountain Bike Connection - Rupert Fowler









291 Comments

  • 754 6
 I have said this before, but I still can't get over the fact that Fox didn't name their air bleeders Fox Air Release Technology.
  • 87 4
 Pinkbike Awards: Comment of the Year nominee right here.
  • 16 0
 Fox doesn't fart, they pass wind.
  • 6 1
 Holy crap this is genius!
  • 17 1
 If the folks at Transition see this they'll for sure work that into their next press release.
  • 1 2
 What is this? Transition?!
  • 10 0
 Current year dictates you're not allowed to have fun with anything
  • 6 5
 So I guess we know the answer to that age old question... “Wht does the fox say?”
  • 3 1
 @tacklingdummy: Oh Fork off will ya!!
  • 8 0
 Just call them how they should be called: Bleeding Nipples.
  • 1 0
 @Bob12051968: press...release? I see that... Wink
  • 128 12
 Fox 38 shouldn't win just based on the creaky CSU's just after the few rides.... would hit that EXT.
  • 6 29
flag aer0 (Dec 16, 2020 at 12:13) (Below Threshold)
 the EXT looks like its got a straight steerer headtube with an adapter on the bottom half Blank Stare
  • 12 0
 @aer0: Maybe that is the solution the the CSU issue. I'd be willing to try it.
  • 32 0
 Cane Creek actually go though the effort of applying pressfit compound by hand, FYI, before pressing CSU's together. All done in their factory in North Carolina. This helps a lot to reduce chance of developing creaks.
  • 5 0
 @aer0: I think it’s like an extra bit of the tube that’s pressed into the crown to increase stiffness and decrease creaky ness
  • 1 7
flag aer0 (Dec 16, 2020 at 12:28) (Below Threshold)
 @Ooofff: I hope so but it just looks a bit... sketch
  • 4 0
 @aer0: yeah it does but I think it’s better you have more material around the tube thing
  • 11 0
 @aer0: I believe that’s all one piece with the crown, I.e. the crown has a bit that extends up the tube a few cm. This means the lower bearing race area is way stiffer and the crown/steerer interface is way bigger, I.e. no creaking. Having gone through 4 Fox CSUs on multiple forks in the last year due to creaks I’m all for it.
  • 4 0
 @Drew-O: Damn that actually sounds really good, im OK with this now
  • 4 0
 @aer0: see I said what the other guy said but in simple language “more metal around the tube thingy”
  • 10 17
flag salespunk (Dec 16, 2020 at 13:24) (Below Threshold)
 You mean the EXT that a lot of early adopters had to send back to Italy for QC problems?

There is no perfect product out there. We put our bikes through a TON of abuse so noises are to be expected. For the record I have had 20+ Fox forks over the last 10 years and not 1 with a CSU creak.

For contrast I do have to pull the bottom bearing of any Cane Creek headset every 30-45 days to clean and grease the carbon cups to quiet them down because they creak so badly.
  • 26 0
 @salespunk: how are you going through 2 fox forks a year?
  • 20 2
 It isn't a creak it is an alarm, a new fox 38 feature. It is caused by one of the following:

1. You are riding to slow for a 38
2. You are riding to smooth a trail for a 38
3. Your hub engament is too big therefore not enough pawls rubbing on the hub shell

Please correct the above to stop the alarm.
  • 4 0
 @aer0: the extension is part of the crown itself. The steerer is then pressed into that. It's designed to increase stiffness and get rid of the creaky CSU problem.
  • 2 1
 @privateer-wheels: my helm
Is by far the loudest fork I’ve ever used. I couldn’t care. But it definitely is noisy.
  • 5 0
 @salespunk: what do you mean about the EXT qc problems?
  • 1 0
 @Drew-O: I'm pretty sure you're right.
  • 2 3
 @salespunk: Curious what issues the early adopters had. Got one myself, and ended up sending it back, none of the compression nor rebound damping felt different from full open to full closed. Was told that it was "subtle" but just got my cash back and moved on. Really wanted to like the fork after the good reviews.
  • 3 0
 Not just the 38 but the 36 too.

I’m on my third csu of the year, dreading when the warranty runs out
  • 1 1
 @privateer-wheels: I have had to have two csu's replaced due to creaking on my Helm. The newest one says "e-bike approved" on it. We will see if it is any better.
  • 8 0
 @aer0: Also it should be noted that the ERA steerer is actually still tapered it just 1-1/4 -> 1-1/8 instead of the traditional 1-1/2 -> 1-1/8.

@salespunk there has been a total of zero EXT forks sent back for QC issues in the United States thus far so not sure where you are getting your info from.
  • 3 0
 It seems Fox has addressed the issue. All the new batch seem to be holding up. My buddies 38 creaked after 4 rides. His new csu has been silent for 3 months of riding 5 days a week on the Shore. Mine also has yet to creak (and I was going through 3 36 CSUs a year prior to the 38
  • 4 0
 @salespunk: lucky you. I've had one fox fork in my life and 100% of that sample creaked.
  • 1 1
 @Garpur44: shouldn't the warranty on the CSU reset with each claim? I sure hope so
  • 2 0
 @bulletbassman: strange. I have owned several and they are the only forks I have NOT had develop a creek!
  • 3 0
 @lognar: Nope, warranty is always from date of purchase. Fox covers the CSU for 18 months.
  • 3 0
 @privateer-wheels: -they never seem to have a bad word said about them in the quality department -some in that they are finicky/complicated in setup but as I have yet to try them out I've got no 1st hand knowledge love your wheels -works of art
  • 2 0
 @privateer-wheels: mine is noticeably louder than my pike. But i also like it more. I’d happily buy another.
  • 3 0
 @bulletbassman: So strange. I've owned 4 Pike's and every one has creaked, but neither of my Helm's do.
  • 4 0
 @orphan: I really like the Helm. Having had a lot of past suspension issues, Cane Creek has always just worked. Helms and Double Barrels.

And thank you so much for the kind words!
  • 5 0
 @salespunk: lol I’ve had 4 fox forks and not a single one escaped the creaks.

And my ERA is the best fork I’ve ever felt, hands down.

Interesting dichotomy here. Also what QC issues? Especially when the USA distributor says he hasn’t heard of any
  • 3 0
 @leon-forfar: they haven’t addressed it unfortunately. 38 sufferers from the same issue.

I’ve well and truly had enough of it, missed so much riding this year waiting for a csu replacement. I’m on my 3rd or the year.

Currently saving for a new fork for when the warranty expires, I’m done with @foxracing 2nd 36 that in a row I’ve had this issue on. Only reason i have one now is that it came oem on the build.

It’s a piss take that they are fully aware of the issue and done FA to address it. When I raised this with the guy at Silverfish he was like “what you worried about they’ll keep replacing it under warranty” that’s all well and good but I can’t get back those missed rides and what happens in 12 months when my warranty expires! Jokers!
  • 1 0
 @leon-forfar: the warranty is 24 months if purchased in the EU thankfully
  • 1 0
 Sorry @foxracing tagged you by mistake, it was @foxfactory I was inviting to the shit show
  • 1 0
 @bigbrett: I think this is a case of Internet Artistic Licence
  • 1 0
 @Garpur44: sadly I think it will keep happening because fork buyers and reviewers seemingly care more about weight than performance.
  • 1 0
 @Garpur44: there are a few outfits that fit this issue. They will press your stations out, apply pressfit compound, and then press back together.
  • 1 0
 @Jimmy0: I buy a lot of bikes to try out. Currently have an Enduro, '21 Evo and a Kenevo. Last year I had both an aluminum and carbon Evo, SJ, etc. Prior to that Nomads, Bronsons, Hightower and Hightower LT's. So many cool bikes out there to ride.
  • 1 1
 @beaugnar: loose bushings causing excessive play. I am not bashing EXT here because they make incredible products. I was only pointing out that every manufacturer has challenges at some point.
  • 1 2
 @lukemech: the ones I saw go back had bushing issues.
  • 1 1
 @mixmastamikal: directly from two friends that bought them and rode them. You also have someone in the thread above that had issues as well. Going to call him out?

I am not saying that the EXT is bad, in fact I am considering getting one to try out. I was pointing out that issues arise with any product that is mass produced.
  • 2 0
 @salespunk: The person above said "none of the compression nor rebound damping felt different from full open to full closed" how exactly is that a QC issue? Also, it is not indicated whether they had been able to correctly tune the air spring before making adjustments.

As for the other issues you are alleging I have sent you a PM to learn more about it. We have absolutely no knowledge of any forks being sent back to Italy for these issues and if this is true we would like to be aware of it.
  • 2 0
 @Garpur44: They seem to fixed be over here in North America. I'm talking like, the most recent batch, since August/September. I got my 38 pretty much immediately after launch, and it's been creak free. And as mentioned, the ones we have warrantied at our shop have yet to creak, some of them being months in (which for Fox is, so far, better than the normal creakiness that shows as early as 2-3 rides in). In one of our skype meetings with Fox, they told us about the new method they are using to assemble CSUs, and so far so good.
  • 1 0
 @leon-forfar: Sure hope this is truth! As it looks like my next bike will have the new 36 on it.
  • 68 2
 I think Z1 is the fork of the year, its the peoples fork, it has incredible value and can seriously handle a WWF Smack down! I bought one because the 38 was out of stock, and having a hard time thinking I need anything more then this.
  • 3 5
 I just got a Z1 coil for my Chromag Wideangle, can't comment on it yet as I haven't had a chance to install it, but I'm anticipating it being similar to my old 44RC3 Ti only with a lot more travel, support, and weight (which I couldn't really care less about as a 95 kg or so rider). I'm also disappointed it only made honorable mention, considering it's pretty unique in the market right now, however old the concept might be.
  • 4 0
 I love the Z1 air on my hardtail. Feels as good as the 36 grip 2 on my full sus. I wish I could try the coil but still be able to switch back to air if I didn't like it.
  • 4 0
 @GeoMurph5: lol ive got one on my doctahawk! I agree hardtails maybe don't need as many settings to match up with the rear suspension of a full squish, but I have always owned RC2's and Grip2's over the years on many of my bikes, and this Z1 just works mint. Excited to get a DJ1 for the Monk!!!!!
  • 3 0
 Bought the Z1 and it’s been a ripper especially paired with the Bomber CR. Solid and so affordable, which is ironic b/c I am usually all about high end items.
  • 6 2
 MRP Ribbon Coil. Just the same perfection every ride. Thanks.
  • 2 3
 As far as I can tell the only difference between grip 1 and 2 is the ability to adjust high speed. As per vorsprung the new grip 2 vvc the high speed compression barely changes the amount of damping anyway, so almost no difference between grip 1 and 2.
  • 2 0
 Got a Z1 Coil on my Moxie and enjoying reminiscing about the mid 2000's (Curtis SX frame with Z1 Freeride). I did the damper hack of winding the Grip damper out a bit further for extra plushness.
  • 4 1
 @friendlyfoe: That is very surprising that Vorsprung said that, sounds like their dyno has an issue with not reaching high enough shaft speeds. The High speed adjustment is very noticeable. Each click has an effect, and they have knocked the clicks down to 8. The whole point of the VVC is to have adjustments comparable to having your fork re-shimmed without having to pull apart and rebuild the fork.
  • 3 0
 @leon-forfar: Watch this video around the 15:00 minute mark and you will see what @friendlyfoe is talking about. Definitely not a Dyno issue. Although I don't agree that this means it is not different than the Grip2 gen 1. He shows that it definitely is not the same.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=lS-VzI2JbrI
  • 1 0
 @leon-forfar: He says in the video that he was so surprised by the dyno results that he contacted fox and they confirmed that his results were accurate. I'm sure the adjustments are noticeable the issue had more to do with the maximum amount of HSC damping available being quite low compared to previous models.

Just curious how close to max damping are you on the high speed compression adjustment? I would absolutely love to see a dyno of the grip 1 damper to see where the pre-set hsc setting lands in the range of adjustments for the VVC grip 2. A quick google search doesn't turn up any dyno's of the grip 1 unfortunately.
  • 3 0
 @friendlyfoe: the previous gen Grip2 had some real HSC adjustment. You could actually make a notable difference. The new gen Grip2 HSC adjust is useless. I'm 170lb female fully geared, riding aggressively but not as fast as the guys, pick fairly good lines and still bottom the crap out of the new Grip2 regardless of my spring side setup. Maddening.
  • 1 0
 @swillett116: Have you fiddled around with air pressure and tokens much? Fox's factory recommended air pressure seems to always be quite soft. Fox's settings for my 38 say I should be running 102 PSI, but after trying it at 115PSI with 4 out of 6 tokens installed and still having bottoming issues, I went up to 120, and it's been perfect since.

@friendlyfoe. When I had the air pressure a little under what I liked, I ended up running the HSC from in the middle, and worked my way to fully closed, which definitely helped (when it was under sprung). Now I've found my air pressure, I am running it between 5-3 clicks from closed depending on where I am riding.

That makes more sense when hearing the context. IMO, if you are running the compression fully closed and having issues, it's probably more of a spring rate set up issue. Going from 2020 Grip2s on my Dh and trail bike to the 2021, I much prefer the support of the 2021 models; they seem to still as supple, but have more support through out the travel. I also found the new 2021 shocks HSC/HSR seem to have a greater effect than the forks adjustments.
  • 2 0
 @leon-forfar: "That makes more sense when hearing the context. IMO, if you are running the compression fully closed and having issues, it's probably more of a spring rate set up issue."

If you watch the video the issue is that the maximum amount of HSC available is less than half of what it was in 2020. So if you're running it all the way closed the issue isn't that you're not running enough spring pressure, it's that fox has drastically reduced the amount of HSC available in the 2021 model.

He also mentions in the video a number of improvements to the overall design of the 2021 that generally make it a better fork. So the fox 36/38 does have a number of improvements that the Z1 will not have gotten. The difference in the damper is minimal though between grip 1 and 2 as they work essentially the same and you're not going to get that much more HSC with the dial all the way closed than you would with the stock setting in the Z1. This is important for anyone with a 2020 36/z1 with grip 1 considering a grip 2 install, as the HSC adjuster doesn't offer a considerable amount of extra damping. Comparing 2021 fox stuff to the Z1 the overall improvements separate them more than the difference between grip 1 and 2.
  • 4 0
 Speaking of people’s fork, I guess DVO doesn’t pay enough to advertise here?
  • 4 0
 @SlodownU: As much as I like DVO, they haven't really done anything innovative this past year. The Onyx is their most recent release AFAIK and it's a nice feeling fork, but it's a minor iteration over their prior forks. I don't really think they belong here, but then again, I don't think the 38 and Zeb do either.
  • 2 0
 @leon-forfar: yes. I work in the industry, specifically in suspension and have tried every air combo you can imagine plus running it coil sprung. The damping is just subpar no matter how you look at it unfortunately.
  • 1 0
 @friendlyfoe: exactly. I can make it *good enough* but I have to compensate for its lack of damping in other ways, which certainly affects the ride quality. I have ridden dozens of 36s over the years and know my setup (air or coil) but this new one threw me for a loop. It's fine, it does most things well but the big hit support (especially if you want remotely any small bump sensitivity) is pretty much non-existent.
  • 1 0
 @swillett116: Huh, interesting. I definitely prefer the 2021 Grip2 to the 2020 Grip2, I'm surprised you can only get it to feel "good enough". Given how large the negative air chamber is, mine seems to feel amazingly supple even with enough air pressure/ tokens to resist hard bottoms on big hits. I admit it took me longer than usual to get my 38 to feel right, but I cannot express how much I love the new 40. I feel like that fork is damped by telepathy. I felt the 2020 40 did not have enough support, but the new one is just perfect (at least for me)
  • 32 5
 We are in such a stagnant market. Mountain bikers just love new crap, even when it’s actually crap. Someone needs to make a light weight inverted dual crown fork adjustable from 160-180 mm. It would blast all this crap out of the water.
  • 15 0
 Ah the ol' snickers in the pool. The floater. The code brown.
  • 7 12
flag Danzzz88 (Dec 16, 2020 at 14:03) (Below Threshold)
 After buying a ZEB I can't see there is any longer a need for a dual crown on an enduro, the ZEB is more than stiff enough, the handling is much more direct and flex under braking is almost non existent compared to previous forks. The next innovation in fork tech are linkage forks, completely bypassing going back to dual crowns. Just as gearboxes will take over derailleurs and bypass any ceramic speed shit or belt driven derailleur crap ect. At this point as good as telescopic forks have become we are now polishing a turd, no point refining anymore what is inherently an inferior design to linkage forks.
  • 2 0
 Boxxer uturn
  • 1 2
 @Danzzz88: I agree about the linkage fork. It sucks Trust went under, seems like their product had some real potential despite a few odd traits. An inverted design is inherently better. It has more compliance where you want and is also stiff where you want it, if designed properly. Not to mention lower stack height.
  • 1 0
 Just said it all.
  • 1 0
 @Danzzz88: Dual crown forks have better stiffness to weight ratio
  • 1 5
flag nurseben (Dec 16, 2020 at 19:48) (Below Threshold)
 @thejake: yup, so sad, most folks have no idea how good those Trust forks ride, most negative opinions solely based on looks. Oh well, sheep will be sheep.
  • 2 0
 @nurseben: nah, rode them, weren't bad, not better then a well set up lyric, top out issues and weird 'slowdown' thing going on if you got airborne ever, like the plus tyres of forks.
  • 2 0
 @nurseben: *slapdown not slowdown, anyone who can ride a bike who's spent time on one will know
  • 1 0
 Get a dorado and don't look back. Seriously. I'm riding a 38 factory on one of my bikes and despite a lot of work done to the internals by guys who know how I ride, it is going to be swapped out for my dorado soon. 38 will go on my trail bike or older enduro bike.
  • 2 0
 @Afterschoolsports: I have an MRP Bartlett on my enduro bike, thinking of getting a Dorado for the DH bike.
  • 1 0
 @thejake: I can't compare them due to never having seen a bartlett in the flesh. I can say the dorado is flawless. I bought it for my DH bike a few years ago and couldn't bear to part with it when it was time to move the bike on. I can't recommend it highly enough.
  • 2 0
 Tell that to Trust. That didn't work out so well.
  • 30 0
 But where is the suspension that's on MY bike?
  • 30 3
 As much as I love my 38, It should not be nominated. So many of them have had warranty and reliability issues, and even though I am 100% a fox guy, Rockshox did so much better this year with the Zeb and their XC suspension.
  • 6 6
 Interesting. Most reviewers who rode both seem to prefer the feel of the 38 to the Zeb. I haven't tried either but would like to
  • 5 1
 @mtb-sf: I definitely think it rides better than the Zeb, but the reliability issues are massive for anyone who isn't fully sponsored.
  • 8 1
 I think the ZEB's reliability and price/performance definitely make it a strong contender for sure.
  • 2 0
 What are the most common reliability problems with the 38?
  • 2 0
 @c-radicallis: CSU creaking.
  • 28 0
 At what point does fox release a single crown fork with 40mm stanchions
  • 135 1
 +- a week from when Rockshox does, lol.
  • 8 1
 I wondered why they didn’t do that from the get-go as reusing the 40 lowers & damper would have reduced development and overhead costs as well as set it further apart from the Zeb & Mezzer.
  • 20 0
 @Connerv6: RockShox already did it, over a decade ago =P
  • 4 0
 just take the top crown off a 40, and bingo
  • 19 0
 #make20x110greatagain
  • 3 0
 @Connerv6: I know right, it is like they are both spying on each other or collaborating, so they develop products at the same time.
  • 4 2
 The same reason why we have boost 148mm hubs and not the already existent 150mm standard from DH bikes.
  • 6 0
 @uribefache: FWIW. the difference is a lot bigger than 2mm. Boost is 141mm between dropout faces. The equivalent version based on the old DH standard of 150mm between the dropout faces is.... 157mm! SuperBoost is a bit less crazy than it sounds
/pedant
  • 6 3
 @showmethemountains: ya but they didn't just take the old 157, they moved the rotor so old 157 wouldn't work. Now that is dumb.
  • 4 2
 @privateer-wheels: and it was a total joke everyone fell for. the air version was the most linear feeling shit box felt like your were riding a bicycle pump as your fork. Not to mention creaking 1.5 crowns and uppers within first month, warrantied semi annually until I gave up. The pike however,,, wow! first Gen pike was amazing.
  • 4 0
 @adrennan: They didn't move the rotor spacing! SuperBoost 157 uses the same rotor spacing as regular 157. The new "standard" has all the same important dimensions except the hub manufacturer is supposed to follow a recommended spacing for the spoke flanges if they label it as SuperBoost
  • 3 0
 @adrennan: You might be thinking of 110x20mm Boost front hubs, which changed the flange spacing and rotor spacing compared to the original 110x20mm standard
  • 1 4
 Hopefully the next time they make an upgrade it will be a dual crown. The release of the 38 and the Zeb as a single crown was one of the greatest let downs of the year!
  • 1 1
 @SintraFreeride: 35mm boxxer or fox 40. take your pick there is no reason why you would need anything else.
  • 3 0
 @BoneDog: The Fox came be reduced in travel like in the old days and the Boxxer has a terrible turning radius. I'll stick with my Dorado, ;p
  • 1 0
 @SintraFreeride: the fox can be reduced in travel if your creative, you can't use travel spacers because the piston needs to align with the negative spring air by-pass thats built into the stanchion. However, you can trim down the length of the air shaft and re-tap. this is how we lower Z1's before the DJ was released.
  • 2 0
 @BoneDog: Yeah but that isn't a job for the average joe. Reducing the Dorado from 203mm to 180mm is easy peasy! The alternative is the Ohlins DH fork.
  • 29 2
 I'm reaaaaally hoping that EXT nabs it as every review has been overwhelmingly positive.
  • 1 0
 My wife and I have it and I hope the same. Better than the Lyrik and 36s I’ve used
  • 12 8
 1500 Euro = 1800 dollars for the EXT, it does not deserve product of the year.
  • 15 2
 @cpobanz: Why not? It isn't VALUE of the year. It's product of the year.
  • 1 0
 @cpobanz: It's not fair to compare the product value from a small firm from Italy to Fox or Rockshox, they don't have the production volumes.

The point here is that either (a) EXT grow, make some OEM sales for volume, and are able to reduce costs and price, (b) are bought/licensed by a bigger mtb company, or at least (c) provide a new idea of what a good fork is like, hopefully forcing others to up their game.
  • 4 0
 @cpobanz: this wasn't a value of the year award, but since you brought it up. Fox 38s start at around 1200€ in Europe. To get Kashima-bling it's an additional 500€... The price of the EXT is roughly the same regardless if it's sold in Europe or US.
  • 6 0
 If the EXT Era is as much of a difference from a Fox 36 or 38 as my Storia V3 from an X2 then EXT should win this hands down. There's no comparison between them
  • 3 0
 This guy gets it @Rokcore:
  • 28 5
 DVO Jade X shock needs a mention
  • 6 2
 Put one of those on my bike this year. Still my jaw is on the floor about how muted the trail is and how I really can't feel much out back. It's sooooo smooth
  • 6 1
 I agree. It exceeded my expectations and I'm coming off an 11/6. Very happy w/ the Jade X coil.
  • 9 2
 Unfortunately Pinkbike never seems to cover DVO... hopefully that changes.
  • 4 0
 All of DVO stuff is epic imo But that didn't come out this year which is why it wasn't nominated here I think.
  • 5 0
 Just switched over to DVO suspension on the new rig, Diamond D1 and Topaz. I've ridden Pikes, 34, 36, DPS, DPX2, X2s, Monarch and am super impressed by the feel as well as the adjustability. The range is very useable/noticeable. You guys have me wanting to try the Jade X now!
  • 2 0
 @butters1996: Onyx came out this year.
  • 4 0
 Agreed. In NZ you get a custom tune, 2 Yr warranty and great pricing. Shame there aren't many reviews.
  • 16 0
 EXT looks like a slam dunk
  • 2 0
 I'm still scared to purchase one even though I really want one. Price and being able to get parts/service is the major drawback for me.
  • 1 0
 @zarban: Shoot them an email and ask. They have resellers worldwide!
  • 15 1
 2022's nominees;

The SC Fox 40, the RS Totem and the Manitou SC Dorado!!!!


Also, it seems that Pinkbike really didn't like the Manitou Mezzer.
  • 12 1
 Mike didn't like the Mezzer. The rest of Pinkbike's audience seems to love it or be open to it
  • 5 1
 @showmethemountains: I have one, I like it. Although I did get the royal treatment by Zac as Smithtech who set mine up superbly.
  • 2 1
 @rnayel: Zac provides great support for any rider looking for Manitou help! I've never had a fork serviced by him, but he has helped with documentation, guidance, part info, etc for me and my Mattoc
  • 1 1
 @rnayel hopefully that Manitou is stiffer than the SC Shiver they already made. Owned one and it had more flex than whistlers lift line on opening day.
  • 2 0
 @g123: its stiffer than both 36 and lyrik

also, are you possibly thinking of manitou Dorado sc? shiver sc is a marzocchi thing
  • 1 0
 @Civicowner: yep it’s so long ago I literally forgot it was a marz, oops. Also had the Shiver DC and a Dorado, both were decent. But that Shiver SC was super noodly at best.
  • 1 0
 @showmethemountains: It's frustrating reading this. I've been trying to buy a fork and shock from him for a month now and can't even get prices from him.
  • 12 0
 Stop taunting us and get the full review of the ext era done please Pinkbike. I need to exactly know how good a fork that I can't afford is.
  • 18 7
 Wheres the DVO? Other companies are doing in 2021 what they were doing in 2018.....
  • 3 0
 Like what exactly?
  • 4 0
 Maybe they were nominated in 2018..
  • 4 0
 @Mondbiker: Like stiffer forks, more damping oil, the ability to tune initial stroke and support/bottom out separately without a token or taking fork apart.
  • 5 0
 @SlodownU: Also the air bleed valves that Fox and RS just launched this/last year have been around for years on DVO stuff....
  • 7 0
 Next year when the 38's get moved into the trail bike category and 36's / Lyriks are considered Down Country AF. Then... and only then we will finally get the return of the Totem and the new Fox40 SC... single crown, not step cast, we wouldn't want this to get confusing.
  • 4 0
 though a step cast 40 would be pretttty silly
  • 1 0
 @adrennan: slap it on the new S-Works Epic Evo Superveloce
  • 9 0
 Mike Levys, pronunciation of stanchion.
  • 5 1
 I don't really have a problem with that.
  • 6 1
 I’ve ridden Fox 36, Fox 34, Lyric, Pike, Mezzer, Bomber Z1 Air, Bomber Z1 Smashpot Coil, Ribbon Coil, Trust Message, Trust Shout, currently running a Z2 and a Cane Creek Helm MK2 Coil.

The Z2 should have been include in this competition for a few reasons: Value, Performance, Stiffness. For $500, there’s no short travel fork than can touch it.

The Cane Creek Coil is the sleeper fork, easily adjustable travel, stiff, good damper, and a reasonable weight for a coil fork. I think Cane Creek got a bum rap for their shock failures, but this fork is no failure. I haven’t tried the air version, but the coil version in the MK2 is a good fork and the revised damper is very functional.
  • 1 0
 mezzer VS z1coil ?
  • 5 0
 My Helm MK1 air is in for annual service right now. The tech called me to let me know he's tried to tune it more like the MK2 and is using the oil specs for the MK2 as well. It was a solid fork before, but I'm really looking forward to getting it back on the bike and seeing just how good it can be.
  • 5 1
 After switching from 36 and 34 to Pike Select+ I'm amazed how much better and smoother the fork works.
On the rear, I switched from DPX2 to DVO Topaz2 and it's massive improvement.

The only product from Fox I was really happy about was Transfer dropper post.
  • 11 7
 Curious people: What about the Mezzer?
@mikekazimer : "It was released in 2019" *ctrl-C* *ctrl-V* *ctrl-V*...
Well then, why wasn't it mentioned in 2019? www.pinkbike.com/news/-2019-pinkbike-awards-suspension-product-of-the-year-nominees3.html
Just the same thing. Newest incremental flash from Rockshox et al, plus Ohlins and EXT. Plus saying there weren't others worth mentioning.
  • 7 3
 It wasn't nominated in 2019 because the fork I reviewed had bushing play and other issues that made it not compare favorably to the other options out at the time. The good news is that I've been testing the Manitou Expert and things are off to a much, much better start. That review will drop in 2021, so it will be eligible for a nomination in next year's PB awards.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: Ok fair, good to hear. Anything about Suntour or XFusion, or DVO, for example?
  • 3 2
 @mikekazimer: good to hear. AFAIK the bushing tolerancing issue on early Mezzers has been a non issue since then. Props to manitou for a chassis similar in stiffness to the 38 but significantly lighter, and the IRT system kinda makes the Mezzer a more affordable and reliable version of the EXT.
  • 4 2
 @mikekazimer: if you got a dud mezzer pro, is it worth re reviewing it then?
  • 2 0
 @Civicowner: Could say the same thing about any other product. People are ALWAYS judging and reviewing based on the products they have in hand.... and in the case of most Pinkbike users based on what sounds cool.

Mike can only judge what he has in hand. It's the manufacturers responsibility to get him functional product. If they can't get a functional product to a major media outlet then why should I have confidence that they can get them to the masses on a regular basis? It's not the first time Pinkbike has gotten jacked product and had to review it.
  • 7 0
 Still no MRP Bartlett and no Mezzer. Fox should have made a dual crown 36mm stanchion fork with 15mm axle.
  • 11 4
 I'd like to honor Manitou for giving two out of the 3 nominees most of their technology.
  • 4 0
 I think the takeaway is that suspension is SOOOOO good now and you can barely go wrong. Yeah the 38 and the Zeb are new, but they are just a beefier version of the already excellent forks they were making. Maybe the marzocchi deserves a win for being budget friendly, but that's very very subjective because it's still a decent chunk of change Shout-out to early adopters and people taking a risk on more cottage suspension, way to support small players. One day I'll be in a place to do that, even if that's not today.
  • 6 0
 RS Recon should be nominated as that piece of crap is all over the plase as OEM spec. God I hate that fork so much!
  • 6 0
 Seriously! And award for best OEM Product Sales Manager. I would include the NX Eagle and Level brakes product managers in there too.
  • 4 0
 @bishopsmike: they should be severely punished
  • 4 0
 The Formula Selva Fork can swap out 7 different custom valves has Neopos volume spacers and can change from dual air to coil and back again. Unlike any other fork. Why no love?
  • 7 0
 Sweedish
  • 4 0
 @MikeKazimer any plans on doing a field test of the forks here? I'm going to replace my aging Fox 36 and would love to get some more information before buying. Cheers!
  • 19 0
 We originally planned a "Shock Week" for this year. Obviously could not happen with travel restrictions. Frown

We'll see if we can make it work in 2021, but lots of logistical issues for sure.
  • 14 0
 @brianpark: and here i thought removing some spacers is the easiest way to solve travel-related issues.
  • 6 1
 @brianpark: Please get DVO in on this
  • 12 0
 @brianpark: how big were these travel restrictions? 10mm... 20mm?
  • 3 0
 @brianpark: Travel restrictions on shock week...
I see what you did there
  • 5 0
 @brianpark: I really wish there was more info and reviews of suspension tuners like Avy, Push and Vorsprung.
  • 4 1
 Z1 coil smokes all other forks. Maybe the best fork over ever ridden, and I've had plenty over the past 30 years. Air springs are shit and not one high performance off road vehicle uses them. COIL RULES!!!
  • 1 1
 Main takeaway is off-road performance vehicles are not human powered. Coil is rad no doubt and my DH bike has coil both ends. However, air has ease of adjustability over coil and still the weight savings. Perfect for most trail applications
  • 2 1
 @bman33: how often do you adjust air pressure?
  • 1 0
 @onemanarmy: depends on how /what I'm riding. Park/shuttle days get an adjustment. Race days & Moab days do as well. It's not daily if that is what you are inferring but it does happen.
  • 2 0
 @bman33: My "off-road performance vehicle" is most definitely human powered. Air springs have ZERO performance benefit over coil, aside from being slightly lighter. I value suspension performance first and foremost, hence...COIL RULES! I recently swapped in a new Lyrik ultimate for a couple rides and could not wait to bolt that magical boat anchor Z1 coil back up. There is no substitute for coil spring performance. Unless you are an XC racer there is literally no reason not to ride coils. I am fairly opinionated though, so what do I know.
  • 1 0
 @garrisond5: Not arguing against coil or saying coil isn't rad...it is rad. As I mentioned, My DH bike is coil both ends. That said, if there were "ZERO" performance benefits over coil as you note above, almost no pros in in DH/Enduro or even slope would be using air.....both use air and many of the top guys do and prefer it for what ever reason, especially track or course dependent For pure plushness, yes coil is on top. That said, in some aspects and depending on the scenarios, air has it's place.
  • 1 0
 @bman33: Interesting. I pretty much never change mine. Only time it seems necessary is if I'm drastically changing climate or altitude or if I'm hitting the pump track or something. Otherwise I don't see the point. I prefer to set it up to my weight and rider preference and know what my bike's going to feel like all the time. Same with rebound and compression. I don't mess with my stuff too much once I get it where I want it.

What I loved about my Z1 and my Z1 coil was the ability to very very easily make adjustments, even between climbing and defending... which I do not do with my 36 or my 38.

Always curious what other folks do.
  • 6 0
 Where's the DVO forks ????
  • 3 0
 I don't think beefed up stanchions are groundbreaking. We knew eventually something would bridge the gap between 36 and 40. The ERA fork was revolutionary for the MTB industry. EXT gets my vote
  • 4 0
 DVO deserves a mention for their Diamond forks. Hands down the best fork I’ve ever ridden.
  • 1 0
 Deore 12 all day. Put an XT shifter on and it rides EXACTLY like a full XT bike, just a little heavier.

Worst component of the year-Crank Brothers shoes?? Will they be as delicate and unreliable as their pedals, dropper posts, wheels?? Will they be redesigned every year because the basic engineering isn’t very good?
  • 1 0
 Lol,CB shoes are crap
  • 4 0
 Bad day in the Lyrik office
  • 5 0
 no sid come on.
  • 6 1
 no Sid?
  • 5 0
 Yeah - sometimes you get reminded how little XC matters to the PB crowd. This is totally fair as trail & enduro riding obviously has far bigger numbers, and we did get an XC & DC field test, so if there is a better place for XC reviews & coverage, I haven't found it.

But to me, the fact that Nino was riding a 35mm stanchion for XCO was pretty big suspension news this year.
  • 1 0
 @jspier: I though the new 35 Sid is advertised as Pike lite, so I guess it can be used in a wide range of applications from XC to light trail duty. Would happily rock on on local blue trails. they need to fix those bushing issues first.
  • 4 0
 Mezzer for the win with Durolux EQ in 2nd. Come on pinkbike...
  • 1 0
 lots of cool stuff and fortunately i'm too old to make use of those beautiful forks so i'll save lots of my money by keeping my plain old Rock Shock fork . The biggest bumps i ever go over are thick leaves .
  • 3 0
 Surprised they did not nominate the DVO Onyx fork. Yes I have one and yes I like it a lot.
  • 1 1
 As a 2021 Epic Evo rider, nope you got this all wrong, the 35mm stanchion 120mm travel Sid is the suspension of the year! So plush and yet supportive and doesn't blow through the travel. Enables a near XC bike to do the nasty like the ~35 ft gap jump I did today!
  • 1 2
 Anyone else finding the 2021 Fox 36 to be incredibly linear compared to the old 36 and bottom out way too hard? Due to the larger neg chamber, yes it's letting you use more travel which was a complaint about the old...I've just had some ridiculously hard bottom outs when I didn't expect it.

(I've got 3 spacers, 10 psi over recommend, and compression at recommend)... so I guess I just need to keep turning up the beef more.
  • 3 0
 No, I haven't experienced that. How much sag are you running? And what amount of travel? 3 spacers and 10 psi above recommended should provide plenty of bottom out resistance - I haven't had any issues on the last three 36s I've spent time on.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: I'm running ~16% sag on a 160 fork...which requires 90psi at 160 lbs fully kitted.
  • 1 0
 More spacers!
  • 1 0
 @ehvan: for a light guy 4 spacers seems cray cray, but guess it's worth a shot.
  • 4 0
 @Nwilkes: have you measured that you are actually using full travel and not hitting a wall of harsh ramp up at in the last 30mm of travel due to all of the spacers?
  • 3 0
 Yes! Got so frustrated, said F it, and bought a ETX ERA #problemsolved
  • 4 0
 @mtbjuky: It turns out that yes, you can throw money at the problem. lol
  • 2 0
 I always find Rockshox and Fox recommended settings to be very "conservative". The recommended settings for my 38 had me at 102PSI, and it came stock with 3 tokens. I tried 115PSI with 4 tokens, and was having bottom out issues. (rare, but when it happened, it really happened...) Now I'm at 120PSI, still with 4 tokens, and it's drreeeeeaaaamy good.
  • 1 0
 @ppp9911: yes, i know what that ramp up feels like. This is an insanely loud THWACK bottom out. Parts are running into parts.
  • 1 0
 @leon-forfar: good to hear I am not crazy. I bumped spring rate up more tonight and with that 3rd spacers its starting to feel dialed.
  • 1 0
 it's the increased lower leg volume. more compression more spacer
  • 6 0
 @leon-forfar: (relating to this and your other post above) this kind of thing is actually where our criticism of the narrow compression range of the VVC Grip2 damper comes into play. When you're running ~20% higher than recommended spring rate AND more tokens, it's quite likely that you're one of the riders who actually would benefit from more compression damping than what's on offer, because clearly you're pushing the thing pretty hard. Our criticisms there definitely don't stem from a dyno speed issue, we've run these dampers to over 4m/s just to check, double check and triple check what we're on about.
  • 1 0
 @VorsprungSuspension: Thanks for the feedback. Admittedly, I didn't watch the video for context (which I should have). I thought they were saying above that each click didn't have a noticeable difference, not that the top end HSC was lacking, and I do agree. When I was out on the trail and found my HSC to already be closed, I was surprised. I certainly prefer a more damped feeling fork. I was a big fan of the RC2 damper because it was very supportive. I don't mind running more air pressure to make up for the lack of damping, because the fork still rides amazingly. As long as my shock set up and fork feel pretty balanced front and rear (which they do even considering the higher air pressure set up).
  • 1 0
 @leon-forfar: There is the plus side that the VVC damper is really easy to open up and mess with. You could always add more compression without too much hassle.
  • 1 0
 @hmstuna: Yeah, I will likely do that when I service it. For now, it feels perfect, so I'm not in a rush.
  • 1 0
 @leon-forfar: funnily enough, I had to tune my VVC to have less HSC. But I am a lighter rider and like light damping. Maybe Fox just needs to have more adjustment range.
  • 1 0
 @hmstuna: Interesting! I'm 200-210lbs depending on the season (the latter as it's almost Xmas haha..)
  • 4 0
 @leon-forfar: agreed re the RC2 damper, that's still a personal favourite (other than 7mm ID shims). First gen Grip2 could be run extremely firm (at maxed adjusters, it was way too firm at low to mid speeds), the second gen one went to extremes in the other direction - at almost all speeds there is more friction force than there is compression damping (yes we measured this, and this is with no binding load on the fork). The 38's air spring is a significant step forward from anything the two big brands have produced to date for sure, and it is the main reason why the 38s feel as good as they do. It very closely resembles the air spring system BOS were using in their forks 5 or 6 years ago.
  • 2 0
 @VorsprungSuspension: It has been wayyy too long since the last Tuesday Tune video! Got anything in the works? Also would love to hear your thoughts on the design of the ERA fork.
  • 4 1
 Seriously. I just bought a Ripmo 2 with DVO fork and shock.
  • 8 0
 You bought the right bike then
  • 3 0
 @aer0: agreed! I had my eye on that bike, I hear nothing but good things. I have upgraded to DVO fork, shock and post on my Giant Trance and I love it
  • 3 0
 Cane Creek Helm IPA edition got majorly snubbed
  • 2 0
 @Drew-O: it is. Proper distribution and service in the US from the Suspensionsyndicate.
  • 3 0
 Disappointed that the Suntour xcm isn't on here Frown
  • 3 0
 I'm a huge fan of the helm mk2
  • 10 9
 Is there any other single crown in this day and age that puts out 190mm like the Zeb?Salute
  • 8 5
 no, because not many people are dumb enough to use SC fork for DC travel.
  • 6 1
 @Mondbiker: I am dumb enough and it's awesome.
  • 2 0
 @Mondbiker: what if you want to barspin?
  • 4 0
 @hmstuna: barspins, why I run AXS too
  • 9 7
 So just nominate every new mainstream and kinda mainstream new fork?
  • 5 1
 Is EXT mainstream already?
  • 1 1
 @vinay: They threw that in so they don't seem to biased. Wink
  • 2 0
 @vinay: I feel like ext had been mainstream for a couple years now.
  • 2 1
 @hmstuna: If a $1,500 fork and 1k shock with only one U.S. distributer is mainstream I need a new job and to rethink my outlook on biking.
  • 2 0
 @zarban: Not sure why price has anything to do with it. Sram makes one of the most expensive derailleurs and droppers on the market - they're mainstream. Perhaps you would argue that they are only mainstream because they have cheaper items, but a company like Enve - up until about a year and a half ago - only had very expensive stuff and was still mainstream.

Yes companies like Sram and Fox, who both are what people think of when they think mainstream suspension, are certainly MORE mainstream than EXT. That doesn't mean they aren't mainstream. EXT is even specced on a couple smaller frame brands. They HAVE an actual U.S. distributor. You can find them on the PB buysell. Most people on PB are aware they exist - they're mentioned on the front page. Plenty of people have probably even seen one in person, certainly if you live somewhere where there is world class riding. Contrast that with a company like NDTuned or Fast Suspension and I would say they're mainstream.
  • 1 0
 @hmstuna: Ok, I'll agree that price really doesn't have much to do with mainstream or not. But most of the people I ride with probably haven't heard of it but yes most people that read pink bike on the reg have heard of it. They're definitely well-known in the enthusiast world but I'm not sure if they're quite mainstream yet. But like you said maybe in different areas they are.
  • 1 0
 @zarban: Fair enough. I personally consider anything well known in the enthusiast world mainstream, but I can see that not everyone would agree. Perhaps my perspective is skewed because I spend so much time looking at bike components that most people, PB or not, haven't heard of. By contrast EXT seems very mainstream.
  • 1 0
 @zarban: Pinkbike is mainstream mountainbike media so I'd say if something is (frequently) mentioned on here, the mainstream audience knows. Whether someone would buy it depends on so many other things. Whether a product is common (or commonly seen on the racing circuit) is way down my list of reasons to buy it and put it on my bike. Above it score:
- can I service it myself (with the tools I have or are willing to buy)
- availability and price of spares
- durability
- price of acquisition
- performance (for my purpose)
Probably more or less in that order too. Hence I ride a Magura TS8 fork. Maybe the least sophisticated fork people can think and probably the easiest to service. Implies I can ride more, perfect for me. If I were looking for higher performance and/or more tuneability, Formula seems the most sensible choice for me. I don't think I'd ever choose a Fox or Rockshox fork over a Formula. That said, I'm not looking for more "performance" and/or tunability. If my fork would break and I can't fix it, I'd probably just get a Manitou Circus at 5" travel, tune the compression damper for trail use and ride the hell out of it.
  • 2 0
 ARE THERE EVEN ANY OTHER FORKS haha
  • 5 1
 Yes, and better than these. A mysterious non-nomination.
  • 1 0
 Sleeping on the new durolux for the fucking bomber again lol this is the shit why pinkbike isn't trusted still
  • 1 0
 the bomber coil is a great fork. but for the price suntour is incredible. sleeping on the mezzer too cause kaz got one of the dud ones they fixed lol...
  • 1 0
 So Air Forks weight as much as Coil Forks and Carbon Franes as much as Steel Frames 2020 what a year to be alive
  • 1 2
 I'm surprised not to see the Fox DHX2 and FloatX2 in here, at least as honorable mentions. They made significant improvements with the 2021 over the 2020 models. Been loving both of mine.
  • 2 0
 Agreed
  • 2 0
 No nomination for Trust forks? LMFAO
  • 2 0
 Too soon, too soon
  • 2 0
 Either you are burly or you are not on this list. New 35 mm SID?
  • 2 0
 Ya forgot dvo has that 180-190mm fork
  • 1 0
 Unless you're a big rider or smash enduros every other weekend, you don't need a 38mm stanchion fork
  • 2 0
 I’m sorry but the DVO Onyx should be up here
  • 1 0
 Not much going on in the world of rear shocks this year.
  • 2 2
 Ohlins out performs all these forks, never had a fork feel better and more plush.
  • 2 0
 You must have never rode an ERA. #gamechanger
  • 1 2
 @beaugnar: it a 38. Hands down the best fork I’ve ridden.
  • 2 2
 @onemanarmy: the best fork youve ridden, is only the best fork youve ridden. not the best fork ever Wink
  • 1 0
 @onemanarmy: you must have never rid an ERA either.
  • 1 0
 @beaugnar: Honestly. No I haven't. It's a pretty damned good fork. About the only knock you could give it is the possibility of getting creek... which so far I have not and it's been in mud and sand which is usually the cocktail for it.
  • 1 0
 f*ck! That’s harder than running a marathon Smile
  • 3 1
 RockShox SID 120mm fork!
  • 3 2
 #MEZZER PRO LTD Just released!
  • 1 0
 any news on the coil version of the EXT ERA?
  • 1 0
 I asked a while ago and was told it was a long way off. Factor in all the Covid disruption to supply chains on top of that and I think we'll be lucky to see it in 2021...

The Formula Stelva looks a nice option if you are set on coil though...?
  • 1 0
 Zeb... because Zeb sold cheaper than Fox 38
  • 1 0
 Cascade components made the suspension product of the year for my riding
  • 1 1
 Z1 coil is amazing for the money but the 38 gets my vote.
  • 1 0
 no mention of Intend?!
  • 1 0
 Only 38!
  • 2 2
 zeb
  • 4 6
 Amazing the relationship between the nominated brands and those that pay for reviews and advertising
  • 13 16
 #Mezzer
  • 8 4
 It was released in 2019.
  • 8 1
 amazing how the fork that takes all the positive attributes and features from this 2020 list, and did it almost 2 years ago, wasn't even mentioned? 3 chamber air spring, stiffness to weight, adjustability, easy to service, etc.
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