Best Value Product of the Year Winner
SR Suntour Aion ForkIf 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 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.