Downcountry Fork Review: Öhlins RXF34 m.2 vs Fox 34

Apr 5, 2022
by Seb Stott  



After Mike Levy single-handedly invented the short-travel trail bike (also known as the long-travel XC bike), every brand has been racing to release products for this exciting new "downcountry" discipline. Recently Öhlins released their first downcountry fork, the RXF34 m.2. While it shares the first part of its name with the original RXF34, which has been around since 2016, it's a completely different fork inside and out.

WIth 120 or 130 mm of travel only, it's designed to be as light as possible, and at 1,725 grams it's nearly 600 grams lighter than the original RXF34, slotting in between the 2022 Fox 34 and RockShox SID in the weight wars. Admittedly, it's much closer to the Fox 34 (1,791 g) than the SID (1,537 g).


Öhlins RXF 34 M.2 Details
• Intended use: downcountry / trail
• Travel: 120 or 130mm
• 29" and 44 mm offset only
• Air spring with volume spacers
• Single-tube damper with Low-speed compression, High-speed compression/climb mode and rebound adjust
• 160mm brake mount, max 203mm
• Weight: 1,725 g as tested, 1,698 g claimed
• MSRP: $1,180 USD / €1,294 / £1,185 (Inc. VAT, apart from USD)
Öhlins.com

Öhlins sent me this YT Izzo to test the fork, fitted with a 130mm travel RXF 34 m.2, paired with a TTX1 air shock.

To achieve this weight saving, Öhlins gave up a lot of their trademark design features. They ditched their twin-tube damper for a lighter single-tube design and traded their usual three-chamber air spring for a more conventional layout with volume spacers. They also re-worked the chassis to minimise weight, helping them just undercut the Fox 34 on the scales. For more depth on the design of the RXF34 m.2, check out the First Look article. This article is all about how the fork rides. Now that I've put some proper time on the fork and compared it back-to-back against its closest rival from Fox, I'm ready to go into how it compares and whether the performance justifies the steep price tag.




Setup

Öhlins provide a handy setup chart on the air leg with recommended air pressures by rider weight. Öhlins also has an online setup tool that recommends more precise spring settings based on rider weight and bike model. For the Izzo and my kitted-up weight (about 88 kg), it recommends 87 psi. It doesn't say anything about volume spacers or damping settings. Personally, though, I found this setup far too soft - it was possible to bottom it out in the parking-lot test - so I increased the pressure to 100 psi to get enough support. This made the fork stiff and insensitive near the start of the travel, so I added a volume spacer, bringing the total up to four, and dropped the pressure back down to 94 psi. This allowed me to use 124mm of travel when bouncing on the fork as hard as I could in the "parking lot bounce test" (which is a surprisingly useful and repeatable way to gauge bottom-out resistance), leaving a few mm in reserve for bigger impacts.

Damping wise, the fork offers 15 clicks of low-speed rebound and low-speed compression damping, plus a dial that offers two high-speed compression settings and a third setting that closes off the compression circuits for a firm climb mode. The range of settings is well-judged too: fully closed and fully open aren't ridiculous, yet there should be enough of a range to suit most people. If you're a particularly light rider it's possible to get a lighter tune through Ohins' settings bank and one of their partnered service centres.
Unlike some of Öhlins older forks which needed to be left fully open to get the best from them, my ideal settings were pretty close to the middle: about eight clicks from closed on the 15-click rebound range, with the low-speed compression setting depending on the terrain but not just fully open all the time. I used the firmer high-speed setting for steeper, gnarlier tracks and the lighter one most of the time.





Performance

The first couple of rides on the RXF34 m.2 I struggled to get the setup right. It initially felt a bit too harsh off the top in some situations, but also used its travel and bottomed out too readily. But after adding a volume spacer and using some low-speed compression for steeper tracks, I felt happy with how the fork was performing and was impressed by how much comfort and control Öhlins has squeezed out of a 130mm fork. I have no complaints about stiffness either, even though I'm most often riding bikes with 38mm stanchions these days, I didn't notice any jarring binding or flex on the kind of terrain it was designed for, which included some chunky root sections and big compressions.

But it was only once I did some back-to-back testing against a Fox 34 on the same tracks and on the same day that I got a good handle on how it measures up.


How does it compare?

The Fox 34 is the obvious rival for the RXF34 m.2, not just because they share a stanchion diameter, but the weight and intended use put them both in the same little niche, in-between the SID and Pike from RockShox. Mike Kazimer described it as a standout option in his recent review, so it's the obvious benchmark. Fox sent me a 34 in 130mm travel with the FIt4 damper so I could compare it to the new kid on the block. While the GRIP2 damper is arguably a better comparison as it offers high-speed compression adjustment to match the RXF34 (as well as high-speed rebound), the Fit4 has a lockout, like the RXF34, which the GRIP2 lacks.

Prices and options

The price will obviously vary depending on where you live, but here in the UK, the Öhlins fork goes for £1,185 while the Fit4 34 costs £1,059. That's not leagues apart, but it's worth noting that Fox offer cheaper options too, including Performance Elite (which lacks Kashima stanchions) and Performance, which uses the cheaper, but in my opinion highly-underrated, GRIP damper.

The RXF 34 is available in 120 and 130mm travel only, while the Fox 34 comes in 130 or 140mm with shorter air springs available aftermarket. I asked Öhlins if they might offer a longer travel spring in the future, but the chassis can only accommodate 130mm. That makes the Fox 34 a bit more versatile if you want to bump up the travel.

Weight

My Fox 34 weighs 1,791g with a QR axle, while the Öhlins, with the same steerer length, weighs 1,725g. That's a 66g win to Öhlins. But the Fox was fitted with a QR axle, so fitting a hex key version would save a few grams. Similarly, the Fox has a 180mm post mount while the Öhlins uses a 160mm brake mount, so a 20mm larger adapter will narrow the gap even more - by about 25 g or so.

Setup

Based on the setup chart, Fox recommends about 98 psi for my weight. As with the Öhlins, I found this too soft but more because the fork sat too deep in its travel rather than bottoming out too much. I settled on 105 psi but found I could remove one volume spacer (leaving me with one) while having similar bottom-out resistance to the Öhlins fitted with four. WIth both forks, I was getting about 122mm of travel in the ultra-scientific parking-lot-bounce-test and I used all the travel once or twice on the trail, but only in big compressions and neither bottomed out harshly.

I preferred eight clicks of rebound on the 34, which is a click or two faster than recommended, but I must give credit to Fox for printing rebound recommendations on the fork leg. I ran the compression fully open unless tackling particularly steep tracks.


Performance

Switching from Öhlins to Fox, even with over 10 psi more pressure in the Fox, its softer initial travel is immediately noticeable. When first getting on the bike it feels too soft, and eases into its stroke more like an enduro fork, while the Öhlins offers a slightly firmer first touch, more like a traditional XC air spring. But on the trail, the Fox 34 wasn't too soft; in fact, I was consistently surprised by how little travel it used. The O-ring told me I was using similar amounts of travel with both forks and I never got too close to bottom-out unless something unplanned happened.

I rode the same two trails three times in the morning on the Öhlins, then swapped to the Fox and did the same thing in the afternoon. The Fox tracked the ground noticeably better, with less skipping off the ground and less harshness over spiderwebs of roots. It took the sting out of bigger bumps more effectively too. And at the same time, it felt if anything slightly more composed, predictable and supportive when faced with big compressions and corners.

While the Öhlins had initially impressed me with how much a modern 130mm fork was capable of, the latest version of the Fox 34 took that to another level. It's noticeably suppler, with less harshness and more grip, without sacrificing support. I also noticed the rear suspension felt harsher by comparison when riding the Fox compared to the Öhlins. I know it's a cliche, but I'd echo a line from Kazimer's review when he said the 34 rides like a longer-travel fork. The suppleness at the start of the stroke is closer to what you'd get from an enduro fork and the extra grip, predictability and control this offers can't be ignored.

Could it be that the Öhlins fork just wasn't set up optimally? That's a question that should always be front of mind when testing suspension. But I spent several rides trying different pressure, volume spacer and damping settings to optimise it for me, whereas with the Fox 34 I only did a basic parking lot set-up before starting the back-to-back tests. The differences in the spring curves can't be entirely overcome with setup.

While the RXF34 is an impressive fork, the latest update to the Fox 34 has put it one step ahead.



Pros

+ Impressive performance for the travel and weight
+ Well-judged range of adjustments
+ (Slightly) lighter than a Fox 34
Cons

- Can't match the suppleness and predictability of the latest Fox 34
- Expensive




Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesThe RXF34 m.2 is an impressive downcountry debut. It's light, has a good range of damping adjustments and performs well on the trails it's designed for. But at this price it needs to be the best, and in that sense it falls short. The 2022 Fox 34 may be fractionally heavier, but it simply performs better on the trail. It offers more suppleness, grip and predictability, putting it one step ahead of the Swedes for now. Seb Stott



225 Comments

  • 332 0
 This is a freaking good review (except no long-term durability, which isn't the point of this article). Good, real world examples of two product directly compared, and the pros/cons of each. Additionally, contrasting fork setup difficulty is easily understood. No flowery language, not attempts at poetry or bad humor, all while still being engaging. 10/10
  • 176 1
 I don't know, I think they should've compared the Ohlins to a fork purchased on Amazon.
  • 44 1
 Thanks a lot!
  • 18 0
 More like this on PB please!
  • 6 1
 Yeah, and they compared it to the Fox. Which is super popular, and is by most accounts the best fork in the category.
  • 7 1
 Yes, reviews need to have comparisons otherwise there is no baseline or reference point for a consumer to make any kind of informed decision. Pinkbike almost never does shootouts even though those are by far the most fun and enlightening to read.
  • 27 0
 Not to mention an actual conclusion! I don't think I've ever seen a review that said so plainly: 'X is better than Y' when the products are even close to comparable.
  • 7 1
 Seb and Matt Beer are the best reviewers on PB. I appreciate their no nonsense style.
  • 11 3
 @ashmtb85: RIP Paul Aston
  • 23 1
 @hamncheez, shoot, did I miss a review written in sonnet form somewhere? I need to pay more attention.
  • 8 0
 @mikekazimer: I think you’re a good reviewer too
  • 24 0
 @mikekazimer:

For the next review
All just a single Haiku
Concise yet awful
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer: I think Levy once wrote an entire review using Chiasmus
  • 7 0
 ..And no use of the word "steed" anywhere.
  • 15 0
 Hamncheez’s review of a review was succinct, straight to the point, and very positive! I would give his review five stars! And here’s hoping his review of a review was reviewed well!
  • 6 0
 @wannabeabiker: the gushing review of hamncheeses review was nauseatingly saccharine. Exclamation marks have no place in the world of high impact hard-hitting journals like Pinkbike. 9/10.
  • 111 1
 So what I am reading is that Ohlins decided to make a Fox fork instead of an Ohlins fork, but Fox makes a Fox fork better and for less money.
  • 19 3
 Even with the crap damper the Fox is better.
  • 19 0
 @wyorider: Everyone sleeps on how legit the "new" air spring is from fox. It is industry-leading and has enough grease on it to recycle when you reinstall the lowers.
  • 12 0
 @rustiegrizwold: "has enough grease on it to recycle when you reinstall the lowers." like 5times at least
  • 2 2
 @rustiegrizwold: Grip damper works better.

Fit4 has lockout, but it’s the only advantage over Grip.
  • 3 1
 @wyorider: why do you believe the Grip damper is better?
  • 3 2
 @onawalk: Ive only ridden grip2, but FIT4 had a reputation for being harsh
  • 6 5
 @onawalk: The FiT4 is really harsh. The Fox 34 FiT4 is easily the worst fork I've ever ridden, and yes, I've ridden the brand new one as well.

The "lower end" grip based 34 is simply a better performing fork.

Either this Ohlins is actually an awful fork, or something is really, really wrong if it is being outclassed by a Fox 34 with the FiT4.
  • 10 1
 @mtmc99: Appreciate your honesty, and if I’m honest, I think this is exactly the kind of thinking that earns products poor reputations.
We are silly animals, for some reason wanting to have what we perceive to be “the best” then standing firm to that notion regardless of the facts.
I’ve had many friends go out of their way to buy forks with Grip2 dampers and then never fiddle with a damn thing.
Have yet to get on a friends bike and feel that their fork was set up optimally for them, 9.9 times out of 10, its a set and forget, and usually set poorly.

I’ve ridden and fettled with the Fit4 damper, and thought it was great, nothing is perfect all the time, and there can always be improvements.
  • 9 1
 @mtmc99: I just re-read my reply,
It sounded overly harsh, I honestly didn’t mean anything by it, and it wasn’t exactly directed at you…or anyone in particular
Apologies
  • 1 0
 @onawalk: no worries, I thought your response was fine. Agreed that its really easy to buy into "the best" being the best and not giving anything else a chance.

I got along with the "low end" GRIP almost immediately and really have enjoyed it on the rentals Ive tried with it. I like the Fox 36 that came with my newest bike but if it had a Lyrik I suspect Id be just as happy (had no issue with the Pike in the past.
  • 4 1
 @onawalk: Fox developed the Grip damper as a cheaper alternative to the Fit4, then a bunch of Fox pros started putting the “cheaper” internals in their forks. Grip has more of what you want-supple off the top, smooth controlled midstroke and enough ramp at the end to avoid smashing the bottom out bumper. But it doesn’t have a lockout.

You know, because you’re a short track pro who might actually benefit from a locked fork.
  • 3 5
 @FrankS29: preach-Fit4 damper is hot crap. If Ohlins can’t replicate that, sheesh!!!!
  • 2 1
 @wyorider: GRIP (not GRIP2) has a rock solid lockout. Too solid for anything other than an XC race bike IMO.
  • 3 0
 @FrankS29: I have a charger damper SID, a grip 32 and a fit4 34 and I don't find the fit 4 harsh at all. The fit4 and charger damper are both really good, and the grip damper is pretty damn good for a budget damper.
  • 1 0
 @Themissinglink83: The fit4 is easily overwhelmed. It falls apart on successive hits and becomes incredibly harsh. So, if you live in an area with tons of roots and rocks, it's awful. The mid stroke support is basically non-existent and if you run any volume spacers, it gets worse.

My old Pikes with the Charger dampers were much, much better. The DVO D1 (Sapphire and Diamond) stuff that I've been riding the last few seasons are amazing forks.

DVO stuff isn't going to win any weight weenie awards, but holy crap, the stuff just works. Plus, it's all easily serviced at home and tons of tunability options that you can do at home.
  • 1 1
 @FrankS29: I don't find that to be true, at all in the 34. The charger damper does do better with big hits, but that's because it plows through travel unless you fill the fork full of volume spacers to compensate.
  • 1 1
 @wyorider: maybe I’m mistaken, but doesn’t the Grip damper have a lockout when turned all the way to the firm setting?
  • 1 0
 @onawalk: there is 2 grip dampers, fyi. Lockout and crown adjust.
  • 1 1
 @Themissinglink83: geninuely a touch confused, and that’s not entirely difficult.
Here is what I was going in.
Grip damper-on performance level fox forks, sweeping blue dial which adjusts compression on top of right leg. Open, mid, firm, but can be adjusted in between, essentially locked out when in firm position. Essentially the best damper for 98% of riders, it we are strange animals and think we want….well more.

Grip 2 damper-performance elite, factory forks, adjustable HSC, LSC, HSR, LSR. universally loved, but the most time consuming to set up properly.

Fit4-The ugly duckling of Fox’s dampers, factory and performance elite, as far a I can tell, and based solely on personal experience the most misunderstood. Most riders feel this is inferior to both of the Grip dampers…

The post I originally replied to from @wyorider made comment that the Grip damper was better, but did not lockout
  • 45 2
 I don't want to be one of THOSE people, but I wonder how this wonderful new Fox 34 compares to a Pike - because they only weigh a little bit more, are waaaay cheaper in real life and I've been massively impressed by my Select+ Pike at 130mm.
  • 22 57
flag thenotoriousmic (Apr 5, 2022 at 8:33) (Below Threshold)
 Depends on which guys reviewing the pike. The guy who did this review will say anything fox does is brilliant and revolutionary like a bleed value or something and anything rockshox does that fox doesn’t is pointless and unnecessary and then recommend the fox because he’s a fox guy despite the fact there’s not much difference between the two except you’d be able a second fork for your hardtail or a trip to the alps with the money you saved buying a pike over a 34 before going off on a tangent about how brilliant the magic Mary is or something.
  • 5 0
 Yes, what happened to the Pike? Seems they forgot about it over the “bushing play” SID.
  • 42 2
 @thenotoriousmic: did your wife make you sleep on the couch or something?
  • 14 1
 For sure, that would be an interesting test. But no doubt the first comment would be asking for it to be compared to yet another fork!

I've often thought the Select+ forks from RS perform as well if not better than Ultimate level. Similar to GRIP vs GRIP2, there's a value sweet spot a notch or two down from the top tier I think.
  • 10 21
flag thenotoriousmic (Apr 5, 2022 at 9:25) (Below Threshold)
 @SleepingAwake: Haha no, this guy has been doing reviews on the UK based sites for a while before pinkbike so I have a rough idea about what he’s going to say before reading the review.
  • 6 9
 Based on the fact that the fox air spring blows the dog shit c1 air spring from rockshox out of the water, and the vcc grip 2 cartridge has industry leading tech id lean towards the fox fork taking this one.
  • 12 0
 @thenotoriousmic: except he was very clear that he preferred Rockshox with a B1 air spring to Fox when he tested enduro forks a few years ago.
  • 14 7
 @TheSlayer99: I'll take the Pike. The grip2 isn't nearly as good as you say it is over the course of a season. RS forks routinely need less maintenance and have fewer catastrophic failures than Fox. All that "industry leading tech" just leads to industry leading numbers of warranty claims.
  • 13 2
 I have both the new 34 factory and the pike ultimate, pike is way better
  • 1 0
 I prefer the chassis of the Pike but the damper and air spring of the 34. The charger 2.1 damper is pretty good though.
  • 16 1
 I have a Fox 40 and its way better!
  • 9 1
 @thenotoriousmic: Shoutout to SrSuntour for being even more affordable and giving fox/RS a run for their money. After all, they won gold at the olympics.
  • 3 2
 @TheSlayer99: meh. RockShox forks are easily tunable and can be serviced by a home mechanic. If you’re really sensitive enough to feel a difference, a Pike or Lyrik Select, damper retuned or replaced by Avalanche will work best at the price of gold uppers.
  • 3 6
 @wyorider: you’re rockshox target audience. That’s great. If you’re after absolute performance from a stock suspension unit, fox takes it by a mile. Rockshox has better chassis’s but I’d rather not need to spend upwards of $500 aftermarket for it to outperform a stock fox fork
  • 1 0
 @TheSlayer99: that’s fair. I swear the RS fork tuning people are the same size as me and ride similar terrain……
  • 7 4
 @wyorider: The dampers in Rockshox forks are good enough to win more races or events than probably any other manufacturer. They’re more than good enough for us. You can argue until the cows come home about who’s get the best fork but truthfully there’s not much between them anymore except in the RS equivalent is usually £300+ cheaper than the fox equivalent, less likely to break and will be sent back within a week usually where you can wait months during the summer months for a replacement fox and also need way less maintenance to keep running.
  • 2 0
 @wyorider: Lowers service and airspring service is roughly the same between Fox and RS and that's all most people will ever do. GRIP damper is easy to service at home too, easier than a Charger because there's no bladder.
  • 4 0
 @Notmeatall: The 2019 women's DH world cup overall too
  • 2 0
 @seb-stott: True, and it'd probably be a Manitou they wanted reviewed.
To be honest, I'd stick with the Pike anyway for budgetary reasons, I'm just looking for the warm glow of satisfaction that only comes from a bike part I already own being declared superior in a review.
  • 5 0
 guys guys hear me out, im no expert but i do have pike ultimate and my opinion is that in fact it does work!
  • 4 1
 @TheSlayer99: If it was only by chassis, I would pick one that wouldn't creak. DVO, Suntour, MRP, they are all better in that aspect.
  • 3 0
 @Notmeatall: Yup. DVO Sapphire has impressed me much more than my last Fox 34 did.
  • 2 0
 @Notmeatall: I have yet to own a fork that creeks, but dvo is the only brand I’d willingly choose over fox, just for the ott adjustment
  • 1 0
 @seb-stott: do you mean the charger rc damper found in the select models? As far as I know the select+ has the same charger 2.1 damper as in the ultimate, perhaps with less dials. and your reviews are quite amazing, keep it up!
  • 1 0
 @PhillipJ:

I agree and even the grip2 is really easy to service as there is no bladder neither but a compensator spring and a blowhole
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: that’s true if you happen to be an average rider. I’m in the heavier side and Rockshox damping range in particular simply doesn’t work for me at the air pressures I need to run. Öhlins however offered custom tunes for different weight bands out of the box when I bought my now fairly older RXF 36 EVO (still running great btw). It makes an absolute world of difference to actually have usable ranges for both compression and rebound damping at a spring weight that allows the fork to do what it’s supposed to do (supple small bump sensitivity, adequate mid stroke).
  • 1 0
 @arna86: I mean, I'm 220 kitted out, and ride rough trails, and I've never had any issues with RS damping. If anything I find that I need to run lower air pressures than suggested, though I do run more tokens than some.
  • 2 0
 @adamszymkowicz: It sounds like you just prefer a more active setup. Which is fine, but doesn’t change the fact that RS tends to be underdamped for the way most heavier riders (or at least the heavier riders commenting on the internet) like their bikes setup. Glad you get on with it though.
  • 2 0
 @arna86: I couldn’t agree more. I’m very average and I have to run my RS with way more pressure than I’m supposed to be according to RS trailhead app loads of compression and the rebound fully open. Though I am a lot closer to recommended with my zebs. If you was any heavier or faster you’d need a custom tune. Seems to be the exact opposite with Fox where everyone has everything fully open and under inflated and it still feels harsh. Öhlins seemed to have nailed that middle ground.
  • 35 5
 Buy a Pike, its cheaper and just works.
  • 11 2
 And you can service it yourself
  • 9 7
 Or just buy a 36 and just be happy. Who gives a monkeys about a few 100 grams
  • 13 2
 @wyorider: You an service any Fox fork yourself, too. They even make it easy to find the procedures and videos, especially if you know your 4-digit code: you get links to everything: spec sheets, parts lists, maintenance procedures. Finding docs on SRAM's site is a huge pain in the ass.

This myth that RockShox stuff is easier to work on needs to die. The only thing it remotely applies to is Fox shocks that still need a nitrogen charge, but that's not all of them: just the inline ones, and piggy-backs before X2 and Float X (and DPX2 can be converted to air fill); and everything except the charge can be done at home.
  • 4 1
 @justinfoil: @justinfoil: just got RS Gold 35 coming off an older Fox36, manuals, a list of spare parts, service procedures and how to perform them is much easier to find than anything Fox. Yet to service it myself tho but I see no possibles issues with that.
  • 8 2
 @valrock: that 35 with its glued in bushings will maybe die before the first service is needed
  • 5 1
 @JohSch: if it survived a season of PNW ridding I am pretty sure it will handle a few years in flat Germany Big Grin
  • 4 0
 @Monkeyass: wheres my 130mm 36 at
  • 2 0
 @Monkeyass: username checks out
  • 2 0
 I have a z1 130. That counts right?@mjlee2003:
  • 1 0
 @Spin84: coil or air?
  • 1 1
 @valrock: Oh wow, SRAM updated their site, very nice, much better than just a year or so ago. Still not _easier_ to find service info than Fox, but at least they're both on par now.
  • 2 1
 @justinfoil: did you realise that you can simply input your forks serial number into the search at SRAM? Lists all documentation for service procedures, spare parts and available updates immediately. Does not get any easier than that...
  • 1 0
 @DentistInTraining: Yeah, did you see just above when I said "oh, they updated their site, nice"? And you're right, it doesn't get much easier, but Fox has been that easy for a while now.
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: The biggest issue is that Fox internals wear out faster. You can help by stopping using float fluid, and use a heavier suspension grease, but their seals are generally lighter and fail faster than RS.
  • 1 0
 @valrock: I'd spring for the Yari. Still cheaper than anything from Fox, but waaaaaaay better than the Gold.
  • 1 0
 @adamszymkowicz: can you elaborate? How is it better? Gold came on my bike, it is much better than my previous Fox 36 vanilla from 2010... I just didn't see the point of upgrading an already good bike. But I am curious how Yari is better. Thx
  • 1 0
 @adamszymkowicz: nevermind, I've googled it. Yari vs Gold 35 is like Fox 36 vs 34... different forks for different jobs with the same internals. So I do not see how can it be better if insides are the same ( and in case of RS both have 35mm stanchions so there is even less difference than Fox lineup ) Smile
  • 2 0
 @valrock: The Yari/lyric lines have beefed up CSU's designed for the longer travel and bigger hits of enduro applications at the cost of weight. Pike/35 are more of a trail application. Yes, they both have 35mm stanchions but that's not the only factor in stiffness or durability. The 35 may be a little cheaper material as well, and I think I've heard about some upgradeability limitations the Yari doesn't have.

The differences are so slight that if if you need someone on the internet to tell you what you need it doesn't matter. And you ESPECIALLY don't need to worry about it if your bike came with a 35 and you like it.
  • 2 0
 @Blackhat: You're right about the Yari/Lyrik comp, however I tend to scale upwards for my riding style. The Revelation from RS is the in-line model with the Pike. Also has 35mm stanchions, and is a bit lighter. The biggest difference between the Yari/Revelation and the Gold lines is upgraded stanchion design and better lowers machining, which definitely leads to better performance over a longer period with better heat management. I agree that if you like the 35 you can run it, but the differences aren't as slight as you think. Couple all that with the fact that you can upgrade the rebound damper and air spring in the Revelation/Yari, and you can't with the 35 and it's a better platform with a longer riding life.
  • 2 0
 @valrock: The 36 vs. 34 comparison doesn't really work for Yari vs. Gold. The differences might seem slight, but they're not. Better stanchion/lowers machining in the Revelation/Yari level vs. straight tube assembly means better heat management, which leads to longer seal life, which leads to better performance, etc. etc. Additionally, the fact that you can upgrade the air spring and the rebound damper on the Revelation/Yari and you can't on the 35 leads to a product that has a much longer potential riding life. The RS Gold is like the Fox Rhythm (in either 36 or 34). They're both "top-end OEM" specs, meaning very basic internals, different stanchion materials/machining, and a lack of upgradeability. They may work fine for a while, but eventually they're going to need to be replaced.
  • 2 0
 @adamszymkowicz: thanks for the clarification. Forgot about the revelation as the actual equivalent to the Yari. Didn’t know about the machining differences on the lowers either.

The upgrade ability is what stood out to me when I was looking at bikes. A Yari is one of the most flexible platforms around. You can do a charger, avalanche or push damper and the coil kits all support it as well. Yet it’s a very reasonable price point to get into. 35 is a dead end with built in compromises. Still, once you already have one that’s not a good reason to upgrade to a Yari unless you notice the drawbacks.
  • 1 0
 @adamszymkowicz: very interesting about machining. But where is the info from? I do not see it in RS website. Also just curious about UPGRADEability.... I mean if you need to pour 300 - 400 bucks into upgrades, isn't it easier to just buy a level-up fork? Unless the upgrades you are talking about are very cheap I am lost on that point.

@Blackhat: you are totally correct - my application is a trail bike. I used to have enduro and I find it kinda like multitool... yeah it can do a lot of things but doesn't really shine in anything specific. So I got myself trail bike for regular riding and DH with 8 inch in my rear Big Grin for parks... much better setup then one bike do it all Big Grin
  • 1 0
 @valrock: for ~300 you can upgrade from a Yari to a Lyric ultimate - their top model. Yes, it would be easier to just buy the ultimate, but the same is true for any upgrade. In this case the advantage is you don’t have to bite it all off at once, you can decide whether the Yari is good enough before you upgrade, you can upgrade once you grow into needing a better damper and sometimes a Yari just comes on the bike to begin with. It just offers a ton of flexibility to achieve top level performance without jumping straight into a top product.
  • 3 0
 @valrock: That info is on the website, you just have to know where to look. If you pull up the specfications tab on any fork, look for the "Upper tube type" line. In the Revelation and Yari lines the upper tubes are listed as "tapered wall aluminum" vs. "straight wall aluminum" in the 35. Seems minor, but isn't in application. There are other differences as well, but you have to dig through the individual product manuals to find them. You also have the opportunity to fine-tune the air spring with volume reducing tokens, and while I think the 35 has SOME compatibility with those, I know it doesn't have the same amount of adjustability. As for the cost of upgrading, I think the idea is that you can put ~$300 into a fork after a couple seasons, and effectively turn a Revelation into a Pike, with a few minor cosmetic differences, rather than having to spring $900.
  • 1 0
 @adamszymkowicz: so do not get me wrong - I am not trying to fight you here but the part about "taper" just doesn't make sense to me. How by being tapared means it is better quality?

The part about possible upgrades totally makes sense. Pretty cool from DYI home mechanic perspective. I guess there is no point in advertising it to average Joe as it is too complicated.

Also where I am from biking is a huge thing so it is pretty easy to sell used parts in good condition locally which makes me think just replacing the fork is still easier and makes more sense than upgrading ( selling cartridge on its own... good luck with that Smile )
  • 1 0
 @adamszymkowicz: also I went and check the Charger dumper upgrade kit... so Yari is 560 bucks, the Charger upgrade kit is 400... brand new Lyrik Ultimate is 950 bucks. Given you can find any of that in stock upgrading a cheaper fork just doesn't make sense Smile
  • 2 1
 @valrock: have you ever changed your mind? Nobody said buying the fork and upgrading it was cheaper and nobody said to buy a Yari instead of a Lyric. We’re saying that the possibility of upgrading later is a major plus when comparing the Yari/Revelation to the 35 models.

In your situation it doesn’t matter because you already have a 35. If you decide to upgrade, a Pike or Lyric makes the most sense. But for someone choosing among $600 forks, the upgradable forks offer a better chassis and a lot more flexibility going forward for not much more money right now.

Also, that 400 figure is off. The top end RC2 is more like 330 most places I’ve found them.
  • 1 0
 @Blackhat: Well said.
  • 2 0
 @valrock: Yeah, I think you misunderstood. If you're looking for a new fork, and can spring the $950, buy a Pike or a Lyrik. If that number is too steep, get a Yari or Revelation, and then a couple seasons down the line, upgrade the internals. Don't buy a 35. The only reason to ride on is because it came on a bike you bought.

As for the stanchion question, tapered wall aluminum means that the inside of the tubes is machined to better diffuse heat and the points of highest friction (midstroke being higher heat, breakaway and bottom out lower) which leads to longer seal life, and reduce weight. In order to be able to do this extremely fine machining, the aluminum has to be higher quality, likely 7000 series alloy, and is more expensive. When you aren't as concerned about heat management, for example, in a product that might not be used quite as often, or by a consumer who might not test the limits of the product (ie OEM spec or lower-end forks), you can use a non-machined tube of lower end aluminum that achieves the same tensile strength by virtue of its increased thickness. The tradeoff is less efficient heat dissipation, and increased weight.
  • 1 0
 @adamszymkowicz: sweet, thx for an explanation. I really appreciate you teaching me something new.

And yeah 35 is good enough for me... Maybe it is just my experience or the place where I live but getting a new complete bike rather than building it makes more sense money-wise. Also selling a few years old bike is very easy too and getting the freshest tech by getting a brand new bike. Upgrades down the road just do not make sense unless you are keeping a bike for like... I do not know... 10 years Smile . But that is just my opinion.
  • 19 1
 Has Ohlins actually ever been better than Fox or Rockshox, or do they just list their products for higher prices to make them appear better?
  • 6 1
 Like DT Swiss forks.
  • 3 0
 @StumpHumper45 Probably depends on the product and what your expectations are. I recently started riding some Ohlins shocks and love them. I only purchased them because I wasn't on board with the new Float X and have had many X2s. Got some good deals that put them at better prices than an X2 and am very happy with both (ttx1 and ttx2). I don't expect I'll be giving up my Fox 36s for anything. And I've always like the RS offerings too, though usually would take a fox shock over a RS super deluxe. I personally wasn't very enamored with the Fox 34 (preferred my Fox 36 at 140mm). But if I had to run a 120/130mm fork I'd probably select one of the RS offerings.
  • 3 1
 @bikewriter: I’ve actually come across DT suspension in the wild. I was very impressed with both the fork and shock, even if it was setup for a rider much lighter than me. I’m not sure I would go out of my way to acquire them, but I would be happy if my bike came with them.
  • 4 1
 It's the illusion of elegance.
  • 7 0
 Given proper setup, I think they are, the problem is the majority of mountain bikers have no clue how to set their suspension up. I've met countless riders over the years who spend all sorts of money on the latest suspension tech (GRIP2, X2, etc) and never touch the adjusters, ever. They just pump air into it and refuse to touch the rest. A lot of the better suspension components require a willingness to experiment and base understanding of how certain features work or they will feel terrible.

Having had a lot of the suspension components from the bigger brands, I feel the Ohlins (and also the Mezzer) are better than anything Fox or RS puts out, but both are more finicky when it comes to setting it up and setting it up wrong can mean it feels worse than a RS or Fox product setup incorrectly. If you aren't willing to experiment or work on dialing it in, then it's going to feel worse than a RS or Fox product you do the same thing with.

Whether the Ohlins products are worth it over the Mezzer is a different discussion, I like them both a lot, but the Mezzer is so close to to the RXF36 m.2 for me that I'm not sure it's worth the higher pricetag esp considering reduced user maintenance capability. I haven't ridden the 34 that is subject of this review, but that's my experience with the 36 and similar forks.
  • 2 0
 @shinook: have you tried the m2 coil?
  • 12 1
 @shinook: Its frustrating, because when you watch Finn and especially Loic race, they clearly have the best suspension setup of anyone on the circuit. The chassis stability is unbelievable. I'm not saying what they run is the same as consumer products, but ya imagine being an engineer on something like this, pulling late nights and weekends to deliver the best product possible, and knowing that most of your users won't bother to set it up properly.

That being said, if your suspension requires telemetry and a dedicated mechanic to get set up properly, its probalby not the best choice for enthusiast riders.
  • 5 0
 @hamncheez: agree that Finn and Loic have the best working suspension in the WC. It would be interesting to know what's done that differs from a stock setup.
  • 1 0
 It's very easy to make a better shock than RS so yes. But just the shocks and I'm not so sure about Fox shocks. But doubt their forks are any better.
  • 4 2
 Ohlins makes great forks, they're just not great for normal riders on normal rides. They're for the person trying to win first place in races. I'd take an Ohlins over RS any day, but the Fox 36 with Grip2 is just such a supple, grippy fork that even for regular rides it's so much more enjoyable that an RXF 36.
  • 5 0
 @shinook: Last summer I met a guy (big lad maybe 240lbs) on a trail with a new Devinci Marshall. He was complaining to his friend about the rear shock constantly bottoming out. His friend was like:" You have to turn this red dial toward the rabbit, it's for when you're riding fast, it will give you more support!" I thought he was joking but neither had a clue what SAG was...
  • 1 0
 They’re as good these days with the coil shocks and the DH / Enduro forks.
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: If they didn’t know how to set it up correctly they wouldn’t have been doing it justice anyway.
  • 2 0
 @fartymarty: Yes, it's great. It's not as linear as you expect it is going to be, I guess that the air trapped in the lowers provides some progression, because all those fears you read about online about being too linear and bottoming out too easy...none of it was an issue for me. It does really great on really rough, chunky stuff, it tracks super well and stays glued to the ground, but it is still responsive if you push into it and have it setup properly, so it's not totally dead either.

By far the biggest issue is the rebound tune is overdamped IMO. At ~200-210lbs (being real here, COVID pushing me to that upper point), I'm nearly wide open on the rebound adjuster, as are most riders I know on the RXF36 m.2, air or coil. The nice part about Ohlins is that they have other tunes you can request or specify, but IMO it's a little overdamped for most riders especially on the lighter side. It rides great for me where I have it set (and I have used telemetry on it to help dial it in), but I would like to see a little more usable adjuster range.

I've also heard some folks complain about noise with the RXF coil, but I haven't had that issue. I also think for the price point, they should include several coils with the fork.
  • 2 0
 @shinook: The coil does make a noise sometimes it’s nothing major but when you’ve got a metal coil compressing and twisting inside a fork leg it’s to be expected.
  • 2 0
 I’ve had Lyrik Ultimates (and still have as a backup with Secus), Fox Factory Grip2s and now on Ohlins RXF36 M.2. I’ve also had SD Ultimate, coil and air, as well as X2 Factory and currently a TTX2Air. One thing I will say is that who you get your suspension from matters. I got mine from a reputable tuner (TFTuned - they rock!) who checked my weight, riding style etc and tuned the fork and shock appropriately at no extra cost. On my first ride on the TTX2Air shock it blew my SD coil out of the water - which incidentally sucks as I now have to spend serious cash on a decent coil..
  • 2 0
 @philstone: agred on TF being great. I spoke to them the other day about shock settings for my TTX and will be sending it (and m2 coil) off to them forna service. I actually bought the TTX from them.
  • 2 0
 @shinook: I'm on m2 coil and TTX on the rear and love them. When you're charging hard they're so composed.
  • 2 0
 My Ohlins TTX Air 2 is absolutely better than the DPX2 it replaced (2019 model).
  • 1 0
 @nickfranko: I disagree completely with this. I commented above about the customer tune options available from new from Öhlins when I bought my RXF EVO a while back. The fact that it gives me the useable range I need allows me to set it up however I want, where it be for a day of smashing through rock gardens or a more sedate single track ride along fairly easy going tracks. In both scenarios, I’m able to get it grippy and supple, supportive in the mid stroke, either linear or progressive; whatever I want.
  • 1 1
 @shinook: As someone who's ridden a few Ohlins forks I can tell you that you're partly right. Set one up incorrectly and they feel supple off the top but blow through their travel too quickly, or feel plush on big hits but stutter terribly over small bumps, or they kind of feel just ok on everything, which for the price point is just bad. Set them up correctly, and they feel just as good as any RS or Fox product similarly dialed. The problem is that the Ohlins NEVER stays dialed. There's too much adjustability, and too many moving parts, which means you're tinkering and adjusting constantly, and there doesn't seem to be the same window of great performance that RS and Fox achieve. You can probably dial an Ohlins in for a specific track better than any other fork on the market, but unless you're doing repeats of one track in a ride, or are doing rides with very little variability in the terrain, that feature turns into a bug pretty quickly. Add to it the accelerated failure rate that extreme adjustability creates (see: Double Barrel, Cane Creek) and you're left with an expensive, underwhelming product. Give me my Pike Ultimate, please.
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: The biggest difference is they have professional teams and professional mechanics gathering telemetry data and fine-tuning their suspension for single specific tracks.
  • 8 0
 I have a downcountry fork too! It's called the XCM. Lots of people tell me it's a cheap XC fork, but downcountry is Barbie's version of biking, so my cheap suntour fork can be anything.
  • 3 1
 Xcm is a great fork for the price, but it has a ton of flex and it pretty heavy. Plus they WILL explode when ridding hard, I've seen 2 of them shoot the springs and adjuster right out the top. You can't ride them very hard and you can't stop them from bottoming out.
  • 4 0
 @oosmond I once rode a RST Reveal fork, it was only slightly worse than a Recon, and it's about half the price.
  • 5 1
 We need More reviews of These cheap options. Not the sh*t that you get on eBay, but the low - end components that are specced on Budget minded bikes from reputable Brands. How dies a 35 Gold compare to a recon? A Reba to a recon? The suntour to RST? I dont care about the 4th Update in 3 years to the Kashima 36.
  • 7 0
 I would be interested to try the new fox 34 grip 2, but only if I could get it for less than a pike ultimate. For 140mm and below, the pike ultimate has been my favorite by far for my 195lb+ riding weight currently.
  • 10 2
 down country....is that a posh name for trail....or all mountain. Or is it for country and western riders
  • 6 1
 It’s for (as you say over there) wankers
  • 3 0
 @wyorider: Tossers
  • 3 1
 @S4-916: I'd give you props twice if I could!!
  • 4 0
 "Fox sent me a 34 in 130mm travel with the FIt4 damper so I could compare it to the new kid on the block. While the GRIP2 damper is arguably a better comparison as it offers high-speed compression adjustment to match the RXF34 (as well as high-speed rebound), the Fit4 has a lockout, like the RXF34, which the GRIP2 lacks."

FIT4 is the perfect match. LSR, LCS, 2 trail modes and "lock-out"/firm. Sure, Ohlins labels their 3 positions HSC and lock-out , but I'm pretty sure the FIT4 3-pos knob changes the entire damping circuit (HS and LS), so pretty much the same adjustments in practice. And adding HSR could definitely change the feel from deep in the travel, which is probably common on a down-country bike, and especially if the rider is outside or near the edge of the "ideal" range of a fixed HSR system.
  • 4 0
 Cannondale lefty chassis would shine in this down-country category. 130mm, super stiff, supple b/c needle bearings, and 3lbs.
It's too bad there just isn't a market for them/cannondale cant make competitive dampers like the big boys.
  • 1 0
 I still really want one. Maybe on the single speed hard tail I’m putting together eventually, for riding between buildings at work.
  • 5 2
 "Öhlins gave up a lot of their trademark design features. They ditched their twin-tube damper for a lighter single-tube design and traded their usual three-chamber air spring for a more conventional layout with volume spacers."

So they made a more expensive and very slightly lighter clone of a Fox 34, with a less controlled damper and fickle air spring. Sounds like a winner... in the silly weight wars only.

Please please tell me the world is not already swinging back towards gram counting over actual performance.
  • 6 15
flag wyorider (Apr 5, 2022 at 10:39) (Below Threshold)
 Lots of gapers out there in the flatlands who wonder why inserts, double casing tires, steep seat angles, slack head angles, short stems/wide bars, etc. are needed.

Unfortunately that leads to crap products built for light users or non users. They just want to lift a new bike in the bike shop and be impressed at how light it is.

Unless you’re at under 10% body fat and you are able to hold 5 watts/kg of power output for 15 minutes or more, a light bike is a waste of money.
  • 3 1
 @wyorider: I guess you’re riding an e-bike then?
  • 2 5
 @EarIysport: that’s a hard no. But I actually rode mountain bike trails….in the mountains where there are rocks, rock slabs, root carpets, drops etc.

Not down with the broped. Totally down for long rides with a lot of climbing. Not down pushing a broken bike out.
  • 12 2
 @wyorider: if you have a light bike you can just jump over everything. I don't understand the hype behind inserts, double casing tires, steep seat angles, slack head angles, short stems/wide bars, etc. are needed.

inserts are for people who dont understand tire pressure, casings are for people who have bad line choice and run into rocks, steep seat angles are for people with weak knees, slack head angles are for people with bad body position, shorts stems are for short peopole buying bikes that are too big, and big bars are for people that think they have more muslces than they do.

you dont need anything on your bike. you dont even NEED a bike. you may tell your mom that you "need a mew fwowk wit gwip two dwampews" just like you need a glass of choco milk. but really it doesnt matter. just ride your dang bike

/s
  • 5 0
 @mjlee2003: god dang it Bobby
  • 4 0
 @wyorider: you're so Enduro, bro
  • 4 0
 Of all the MTB tribe stuff we've accumulated over the years. The obsession of dividing bikes by travel into riding styles will forever escape me. Bikes are so capable these days why are we stressing over 10mm of travel.
  • 6 1
 It’s a simple metric (like weight) that people who don’t know what they’re talking about can obsess over.
  • 1 0
 @wyorider: Well I say beware of people that offer simple solutions to complex problems . Travel? What about offset, axel to crown, trail, head angle, stanchion width, stem length, axel size, number of spaces under the stem, riser bars?

Is it the travel that's important or the slacker head angle and height of the front end that makes the real difference.
  • 2 0
 Why is 130 the arbitrarily set travel for a downcountry fork? Is it due to flex issues with more travel or what? I would love to slap a 140mm SID on my Offering for bikebacking or really long rides where a 150-160 isn’t necessary.
  • 4 0
 I would say that flex is a big part of it. SID bushings are already having issues at 120mm, I don't think they are ready for 140mm yet. I also would love a 140mm SID though.
  • 11 0
 Because when you arbitrarily divide a category- like splitting the “trail” category into “trail and “downcountry” - the arbitrary dividing line will be arbitrary.
  • 4 0
 It's just a line in the sand. Why not 131.7? Or 148.2? They're just numbers in between other numbers.
  • 5 0
 @warmerdamj: A 140mm SID would be noodle, or end up almost as heavy as a Pike. Maybe you didn't experience the time of Fox 32 150mm forks: fricking noodles, never knew which way your front wheel was going to be pointed when pounding through a trail that needed the travel. You really don't want a 140 SID, you want a slightly lighter Pike.

Speaking of, with the Zeb and Lyrik above it, and the Fox 34 crushing all contenders, the Pike line is probably due for a shorter travel and lighter weight overhaul. Similar to how Fox lowered the max travel options and reduced weight on 36, 34, and 32 when the 38 came into the picture.
  • 3 0
 They've got to draw the line somewhere to 1) separate their product lines from one another, and 2) define the fuctional requirements of each product. RS could easily make a 140mm Sid, but then they would likely have to slightly increase the strength of the uppers and lowers, and increase the length of the overlapping damper/spring/chassis tubes, all of which would add weight and thus make it heavier and burlier than the intended purpose of the fork (not to mention it then wouldn't have been lighter than the available Fox 34 SC when the Sid came out). And if they did, immediately someone would come along and say "why don't they make a 150mm Sid, I'd love to have one for when 160/170mm travel is too much"... so why doesn't RS just go ahead and offer every fork in their lineup in travels from 80mm to 200mm.
  • 4 1
 @robw515: That's a good idea, now I want a 150mm SID.
  • 5 2
 It’s low enough travel for a gaper to have an excuse.

As in “My downcountry bike weighs 32 pounds but the travel is ONLY 130/120 so I won’t ride that trail/send that feature”
  • 2 0
 @robw515: ah yes a zeb with 30mm
  • 2 0
 good review. but i had somehow higher expectations from the Ohlins fork. anyway, I'm too less of a sensible rider to feel the difference anyway, so good that someone else does the testing. if comparing weights, why not include the stepcast 34?
  • 2 0
 I think the competition is good in a 2-product dominated field of suspension, so cheer Ohlin's efforts.

But more expensive? WTH - get the damn thing into the market for 10% to secure exposure–the hapless consumer can beta test too.
  • 4 0
 From words I received from a local suspension tuner regarding the same comparison, albeit a Grip2 damper in the 34, I'd say your set up in the Ohlins is way off
  • 1 0
 Excellent point. How does it feel when you ride it yourself?
  • 3 0
 I bet it would be really easy to have an assistant conceal the fork for the rider. Give a blind review and adjust based on riding feel/perforamance. That would be a neat review.
  • 3 1
 Is it just me or you guys neither would take into consideration buying an ohlins over Fox/RS?
More expensive and more frequent maintenance needed= faster fading of the performance plus the extra$
  • 13 1
 I can buy a Pike Ultimate and a SID Ultimate for almost the same price as the RXF 34 alone.
  • 2 0
 Maybe their enduro and DH forks, but not this. Manitou if I’m buying aftermarket, RS if it’s coming on a bike.
  • 3 0
 I have a RXF36 and TTX Coil, had both for a little over a year. They are expensive, but I like them both a lot and I've had a lot of other suspension products (RS, Fox, Manitou, Cane Creek, DVO, SR Suntour).

The service intervals don't bother me, I think they are on par with what I would realistically do with other brands anyway. I haven't had many other coil forks, so it's not a super fair comparison, but I like the RXF better than the Mezzer by a slight margin and than all the others by a wide margin. I won't own another RS or Fox fork, I've never had good experiences with either brand, both the Mezzer and the RXF perform better than any RS or Fox fork I've owned (Lyrik, Pike, 36, 34)
  • 3 0
 @Afterschoolsports: Gotta vouch for the Manitou (expert)...using on a Capra @ 160/70/80mm (playing) and it'll go down to 140 (on a trailbike) and its a pillager. Changing out tokens is waaaay easier than buying / changing out entire airsprings @ 10mm intervals (as w/ my Lyrik). The Lyrik is still baller, but after riding the Manitou, I'm not seeing reason to stick w/ the Lyrik except as a backup. Just as easy as the Lyrik (or any rockshox) fork to service.
  • 1 0
 @shinook: I had a 2018 Lyrik, have a Boxxer World Cup Air, and a 2018 RXF36 with "Evo" update after the Ohlins debacle. RXF36 works well at speed, doesn't dive on braking like older Lyrik. I like the RXF36 to the point when I got my 2022 bike with a Fox Factory 36, I was ready to sell the Fox unridden, and switch out to a RXF v2, or try a 2022 Lyrik Ultimate. But I gotta say, the Fox has better small bump compliance (compared to RXF36) plus does well at speed. Both Fox and Ohlins are easy for DIY lower leg service. Agree with @wyorider-- SRAM/Rockshox products are so easy for full DIY service with factory service videos on YouTube
  • 1 0
 A couple of things stood out to me.... 1")I have no complaints about stiffness either, even though I'm most often riding bikes with 38mm stanchions these days," So, most people wouldn't have an issue with stiffness from a 34mm sanction fork. it was only a couple of years ago a fox 34 was considered a solid trail / do anything fork. Specialized still specs them on some stump jumpers. this whole 34mm = XCish fork needs to be addressed. People are slapping on 38mm stanchion forks and the only thing they are gaining is weight. 2) Fork setup... seems like the Author went through the same process everyone goes through to set up their fork for how they ride and want it to feel, Im not sure what the takeaway was supposed to be.
  • 1 0
 That's probably just so we know both forks were set up with care, not run with factory settings or some silly tuning that would make for a poor comparison.
  • 1 0
 @AndrewHornor: that’s fair. I guess if he was like “ I took it out of the box and rode it as is” would have been a bad time.
  • 3 2
 The marketing in mountain biking is so silly. First it was: We need to increase the wheel diameter by an inch and half, then it was everybody NEEDS a fatbike (no thats ok we dont want that), Ok ok, everyone NEEDS 27.5PLUS bike, (actually, those didnt sell), so everyone NEEDS a 29er long travel enduro sled, (even if you are 5'4" and dont come close to fitting on it), then it was everyone NEEDS an Mullet bike, then a gravel bike,then an E bike, then a downcountry bike, and so on. Like, I dig the variety of options for styles of bikes, that is awesome, but it feels like a cartel across the industry to force a new trend each season and it's sooo lame. Just make cool bikes and market them with appropriate riding representations. The videos of people riding DH tracks on gravel bikes, while impressive are also equally silly.
  • 1 0
 Having come from racing Superbike I think all Ohlins need to be gold. I couldn't bring myself to buy a black Ohlins fork. Not to mention the Fox (which I have a 32,34 &36 of) sounds quite a bit nicer than the Ohlins. Too bad, Ohlins absolutely owns the Superbkike market. It's not like they don't understand suspension.
  • 1 0
 Oh look, another 'trend' (read 'marketing hype') in mountainbiking. Not another gimmick to get you to buy a bike with less travel than your old bike and it only works half as good - oh yes, and it costs twice as much. Perfect for people with more money than sense, not much use for people with more sense than money though (hopefully that's most of us, though the way MTBs have been selling I'm not optimistic).
  • 4 0
 when is up country coming??
  • 9 0
 When they start putting drop bars on full suspension xc bikes. Probably pretty soon unfortunately.
  • 5 0
 @diegosk: Surly and Salsa already do it. Evil did it.
  • 2 1
 It’s called a gravel bike. No suspension, fits 27.5x2.1 tires, geometry like a mountain bike from the 1990s.
  • 2 0
 @wyorider: I suspect there’s another level of nonsense we haven’t seen. I’ve already heard of people complaining about washboard dirt roads and companies will certainly take the opportunity to throw on kashima and talk about “pedaling platforms.”
  • 2 0
 @diegosk: I did it to a scalpel with a 27.5 2.8 tire conversion to boot. I thought it was a blast, others described it terrifying to ride.
  • 2 0
 @diegosk: Niner and Cannondale already have F/S gravel bikes. The Evil Chamois Hagar has better geometry than some "mountain bikes" for off-road riding. Next-level nonsense has been attained.
  • 1 0
 @wyorider: sir thats called a road bike
  • 3 0
 Should I be riding my suspension much softer? Never come within 6mm of bottom out goofing around on flat land.
  • 10 0
 No, run it so it feels supportive in the midstroke and don't worry about using all your travel.
  • 5 0
 fork setup is not dependent on bottom out. If the support you receive feels good, the damping feels good, responsiveness feels good, and it suits your riding style, then save that 6mm for when you are on the trail and need it rather than in a parking lot where impacts are far less than an unanticipated drop.
  • 3 3
 It’s likely these guys are setting up their forks way too soft. I use an older fox 32, and I use maybe 60mm bouncing about. Throughout a whole ride, maybe 80-90mm or so if I’m not hitting anything nuts. I have only ever clapped my fork completely once. My fork runs 70-80psi usually, and I weigh 170 pounds or so.

For an XC bike, you want firm suspension, these guys just seem to like the rough and gnarly feel of their mini enduro XC bike lol
  • 2 0
 @freestyIAM: Agree. The force is strong with you.
  • 3 0
 @ChanceFuller: To be fair, the most fun I've ever had on bikes is with the 'mini-enduro' set-up. Enough squish and traction to get rowdy, but not so much that you feel like you're floating over everything. Long and slack 140/130 frame with Minion DHFs, Aggressors, and dual-pot brakes is the way to go if you're not competing in gravity-oriented disciplines...
  • 3 0
 @cgreaseman: yep. I agree. ~140mm on the front and ~120mm on rear is just so much fun to ride.

If I was younger, thinner, and had fewer back issues, I would go all the way and ride a hard tail or even total rigid again. Maximum fun value, but with a price.
  • 2 0
 @Afterschoolsports: I loved riding a 130 fork hardtail for a good spell. Did eat rims though.
  • 4 0
 Downcountry...say what now?
  • 5 2
 When you absolutely can not call a trail bike a trail bike. Just more marketing bro wank.
  • 4 2
 What they are calling downcountry or short travel trail bikes now is pretty much what a lot of us considered as 200lb-plus-friendly XC for years. Honestly, anyone over 185lb probably shouldn’t be on anything made for XC racing except for smooth trails and gravel riding.
  • 2 1
 " While the GRIP2 damper is arguably a better comparison as it offers high-speed compression"

That isn't how you compare forks especially when the current grip 2 dampers offer a tiny range of adjustment.
  • 3 0
 Someone remind me what this ‘down country’ bollocks is meant to be, cos it just looks like mountain biking to me.
  • 3 0
 Ohlins must feel great that their product review gave FOX a great product review.
  • 4 0
 Back in the good old days 130mm was FREERIDE!
  • 1 1
 @seb-stott Can you tell us what sort of sag numbers you were getting at the final pressure you settled on?
Currently it reads like you went by Ohlins suggested settings, decided they were too easy to bottom out, and so added pressure to reduce bottom outs, but then decided the fork felt too harsh and are blaming that on the fork and not the settings...

I know sag isn't the be all and end all, but neither is bottom out control. Without being told what sag your pressures gave you, its impossible to draw any real conclusions about how the air spring is actually performing for you.
  • 2 0
 Kabolt is 78 grams lighter than QR, not "a few grams", especially for a comparison like this.
  • 2 0
 Seb, do you think bleeding in lighter oil weight would help the Ohlins?
  • 2 0
 Isn't Ohlins using a sealed cartridge? Even then, I wouldn't dare to change viscosity, since they have their own engeneered oil. But the valve stack is fair game.
  • 4 0
 most companies claim to have ‘special oil’ in their products. They don’t. They just want you to buy the oil from them.
The oil in the RFX34 is just their No.5 motorbike suspension fluid which is about £25 - £35 per litre and its viscosity is 19 cST @ 40 deg C.
If you want to play with oil viscosity just find a suspension fluid with a higher or lower cST.
  • 1 0
 @Notmeatall: engineered doesn’t necessarily equate to optimized, it just means than an engineer signed off on it. As an engineer myself, I can assure you that many engineers suck at their job.
  • 3 3
 Could some please explain to me what the hell is downcountry
Combination of a dh bike and a xc bike equals enduro bike , no
( asking for a friend )
  • 7 2
 Downcountry is basically this: "Guys, I have an idea"
  • 2 1
 just a trail bike with trail bike geo from 115mm of travel to 125mm
  • 2 1
 I think a lot of people live in areas that require you to pedal uphill all the time due to lower elevations but the trails are still technical. Short uphill followed by short enduro blast downhill. Wash, rinse and repeat. That's why down country has become a thing I believe.
  • 3 1
 dh bike + xc bike = basically zero divided by zero so far and no it is not a trail bike
dh bike + pedaling = enduro bike
xc bike + descending = downcountry bike
pedalling + descending = trail
  • 2 1
 @mjlee2003:
I own one. it is a trail bike
  • 2 0
 That ohlins fork looks the business
  • 2 0
 good enough for crossduro?
  • 3 0
 Deleted
  • 2 0
 Nice wind breaker....not.
  • 2 1
 Not sure how these guys run that much PSI and get any semblance of a plush ride.
  • 1 0
 the down country bike comment is just to much! Really just back off a bit there younglings
  • 2 0
 Pick a fork and be a dick about it.
  • 3 1
 No Mantiou R7 and No SRAM SID. MEh.
  • 1 0
 I've been searching for a shittier yet more expensive version of a fox 34. Solid option.
  • 1 0
 Only thing missing from this article is rider weight, unless i missed it?
  • 1 2
 Can we stop saying "downcountry" its the worst trend to ever hit mtb. Its just something that dentist dads say to try and garner attention.
  • 1 2
 all show but no go?
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