After a three year development period, including extensive input from factory riders Garett Buehler, James Doerfling, and Brett Tippie, Suntour's RUX dual crown fork is now available to the public. With 200mm of air sprung travel and 38mm stanchions, the RUX is meant to take on the biggest hits and gnarliest terrain around. As soon as the fork arrived at our doorstep we wasted no time getting it installed and heading to the hills to test its capabilities.
Suntour RUX Details
• Intended use: downhill / freeride
• Travel: 200mm
• Air sprung
• Wheel size: 26"
• External adjustments: rebound, low-speed compression, high speed compression, air pressure
• 38mm stanchions
• Colours: black, white
• Drop or flat crowns available
• Weight: 6.3lb (with axle)
• MSRP: $1,200 USD
Construction / Adjustments
The RUX's 7050 aluminum stanchions slide into butted magnesium lowers, which have a post style disc brake mount and accept Suntour's tool-free 20mm thru axle. The arch that joins the fork lowers has less vertical thickness then what we're used to seeing, but it makes up for this in horizontal width. It's clear that the RUX is designed with DH width tires in mind – there's enough clearance between the fork legs to run the meatiest tread around. One advantage of this arch design is the lack of nooks and crannies for mud to pack itself into, a benefit for riders who find themselves running mud spikes for a good part of the year.
The right stanchion houses the RUX's damping cartridge, a sealed aluminum unit that is part of Suntour's QSP (Quick Service Product
) initiative. The premise of QSP is that if an issue ever did arise, the cartridge could be swapped out within a matter of minutes, reducing the amount of time the fork is in for service. Suntour recommends changing the oil in the cartridge every 100 hours to keep everything running smoothly. The RUX's air spring resides in the fork's left leg, and uses a coil negative spring below the lower air seal similar to what is found on Suntour's Auron all-mountain fork. This coil negative spring is designed to help with small bump sensitivity, reducing the amount of force needed to compress the fork in the beginning of its travel.Spacers can be added or removed to increase the end-stroke ramp up of the fork (left), while rebound along with high and low speed compression can be adjusted externally.
As far as adjustments go, externally, the fork's high speed and low speed compression can be changed at the top right of the fork, with rebound adjusted by turning the red knob at the bottom of the same leg. In addition to being able to adjust the fork's air pressure via a Shrader valve at the top of the left leg, there are five spacers that can be added or removed to the shaft that sits under the top cap. Removing spacers makes the fork feel more linear throughout its stroke, while adding spacers has the opposite effect, making the fork ramp up more towards the end of its travel. After trying different set ups we ended up running four out of the possible five spacers for the majority of our testing.The RUX has plenty of room for the widest tires available, and the arch shape works well to prevent mud build up.
The best part of an air fork is the ability to make changes trailside. Is your fork feeling a little harsh, and not using all of its travel? Let a little air out and get back after it – no more waiting until you get home to mess around with grease coated springs while trying to remember which color equates to what stiffness. Plus, the use of an air spring greatly reduces the overall weight; the RUX comes in around one-third of a pound lighter than comparable coil sprung forks. On the Trail
Once the air pressure was adjusted to our liking and the compression and rebound were dialed to a reasonable starting point, we hit the trails. Where some forks tend to have a break in period before they start feeling good, the RUX's action was smooth and stiction free right out of the box, making it easier to quickly find the settings that would work best for us. The RUX's external adjustments all make a noticeable difference in the feel of the fork – those dials aren't just there for show – with enough range (12 clicks of HSC, 10 clicks of LSC, and 14 clicks of rebound
) that the vast majority of riders should be able to get the fork set up exactly to their liking with minimal fuss.
Many of our local downhill trails are crisscrossed with roots that do everything in their power to sap all forward momentum, and it was in these sections that we came to appreciate the RUX's excellent composure throughout its entire stroke. The fork stayed high enough in its travel to keep from getting bogged down in the spaces between roots, allowing us to maintain speed and keep blasting ahead, while at the same time taking the edge off of potentially jarring impacts. No matter what we threw at it – roots, chunky rock gardens, big stepdowns, it took it all in stride, unfazed by lap after lap of hard riding, and we never once found ourselves wishing for a coil sprung fork.
The chassis stiffness of the RUX felt right on target, and while it may not be as stiff as a FOX 40, the fork that tends to set the bar for overall stiffness, the RUX tracked well through blown out sections of trail and under hard cornering. Even on long, non-stop, obstacle filled runs the RUX's action remained consistent and predictable, with no strange spiking or erratic behavior. We did notice that the fork was a little noisier on the rebound stroke than what were used to, but this didn't affect the performance - it's simply the noise the lower shaft makes as it travels through the oil in the cartridge. When trail features were encountered that used up all 200mm of travel – picture steep rock rolls into abrupt transitions, or drops into chunder filled landings – the fork ramped up smoothly at the end of its stroke, preventing any harsh bottom outs. The RUX behaved itself on slower speed terrain as well, and whether we were creeping down steep rock faces or inching down a rutted fall-line trench there was no undue diving or flexing.
The RUX's tool free axle wasn't quite as user friendly as we would have liked.Issues
As far as the actual performance of the fork goes, we have no complaints; the RUX performed admirably in all conditions. The only minor gripe we have relates to the RUX's tool-free axle. There's a red portion that slides out and rotates to form a handle for tightening or loosening the axle. When we went to take the front wheel off after a number of rides we weren't able to pull this portion out by hand – it seemed that the mud and grit we'd subjected the fork to had made the handle reluctant to slide. Luckily, there's a small slot that a flathead screwdriver can be slipped into in order to free up the handle, but that doesn't really fit our definition of tool free. We'd rather just tighten the axle down with a hex wrench – the fewer moving parts the better, and needing to take out a multi-tool once in a while doesn't phase us.Pinkbike's Take:
|Suntour's debut into the dual crown market is a solid one, offering the adjustability and performance of forks that cost hundreds of dollars more. While it might be a tiny bit less refined, as it lacks the end stroke rebound damping and exotic stanchion coatings that those very top tier forks possess, the RUX still packs a punch. When you combine the cost savings (enough to buy a season's pass at a bike park) with the RUX's high grade performance, this fork starts to make more and more sense. There's something to be said for its relatively simple internals as well, which should go a long ways towards eliminating the amount of down time needed for maintenance. Less maintenance means more time to ride, another factor that makes the RUX an excellent contender. - Mike Kazimer|