Weaknesses: None really, except she's not the lightest girl at the dance...
This was an "upgrade" from a Rock Shox SID WC on my weight weenie xc rig. Don't get me wrong, I loved my SID which was gorgeous and functioned flawlessly. Putting the Fox on actually added some weight to my bike. The upgrade was an improvement in stability and strength.
Through the years, I have gained more weight and gone onto more challenging terrain. Although the SID was a great xc fork, in rougher terrain, it did tend to flex a little under my weight and also in my tendency to take the occassional drop. The carbon crown also had me a little tenative although I've never heard of any kind of catarophic failures. I guess if I can trust a carbon bar and seatpost, I should be more at ease. But anyway, I moved to the Fox...
The F80 rides quite similar to the SID. A hair more plush but definately no Vanilla. I still wanted to stay light as possible which is why I passed on the Vanilla. The stiffness is not evident on smoother singletracks and fire roads, but very noticeable on rockier, rootier terrain. Once dialed in, you pretty much forget it. The response is sharp but not jarring. On a short travel full suspension rig, it just feels right. Tune the rebound, pump up to proper pressure and ride. Climbing in full open has some bob but that's why there's the lockout. The switch does not turn it into a full rigid but it does help on those uphills that seem like it last forever. Down the fun side, I miss the convenience of the SID's PopLock
This fork, despite the added stiffness, is by no means an all mtn/freeride/downhill. I have lived through the occassional jump and/or accidental drops but gotta be smart about self-preservation. Weighing 200+ lbs did not bottom out this fork on a 3+ foot landing nor did it feel squirrelly. I was quite relieved and impressed. Remember its limits and you'll stay out of an ER.
What impressed me the most was how well it held all the pressure inside. Never lost pressure through the cold winter which we do not ride every week. I can honestly say the fork has not even had to go in for tune up and it's been ridden over 5 years. It is probably time but why fix what's not broken? It still rides was well as my friends 1 year old!
Definately a solid purchase in every way.
Similar Products Used: Rock Shox Judy, SID SL, SID World Cup
Bike Setup: Dean Ace
a Cross Country Rider
from Fort Dodge
Date Reviewed: November 1, 2006
Strengths: No-touch maintenance. Just spray the mud off of it every now and then, you can pretty much forget about it once it is set up correctly.
Weaknesses: Makes everything else seem like junk.
Ok, I'm no cross country racer. I'm hard on gear. I'm pushing 200 lbs most of the time and I don't ride with finesse, I hammer. This fork has put up with nearly everything I've thrown at it. Nearly everything.. One ride at a pretty steep, rutty, rooted downhill section toasted the oil seal in the right leg. Really, I probobly taxed it beyond it's usefull service range. Everyone else riding that section had 120+ forks. So I guess I can't really blame the fork. At least it hasn't completely died yet. But it definately needs a re-build now.
Bike Setup: NRS Carbon, full xtr, egg beaters, easton carbon riser, thompson stem
a Cross Country Rider
from Garner NC
Date Reviewed: December 6, 2005
This fork is worth every penny you would ever pay for one. I have over 4000 miles on mine and never even had the oil changed. It's a great cross-country fork. I like it so much, I bought one for the wife and she loves hers. It was a definite improvement for her riding style.
Similar Products Used: Marzocchi, rock shox, manitou
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: October 25, 2005
Strengths: There doesn't seem to be a F100RLT to review for, so I'll post mine here...
Stiff, strong, plush and looks great.
Clamping the wheel skewers down doesn't leave me having to realign the disc brake pads like I used to have to do on the SID. A bike's meant to be ridden, not to have to realign things here and there everytime right?
Confidence inspiring due to its stiffness, much much more than the noodly SID which had to be eased over stuff. With the Fox, one can just ride through stuff with less caution.
Weaknesses: Hmmm....to most, it may be the price that'll cause an initial shock, but the fork pays off on its own. If I want to be nit-picky, I'd say the weak point is the paint? Comes off a bit too easily for my liking. Had to scour hobby shops for a mix of aluminium and silver/metallic grey paint to get a match to touch up the fork.
Expensive (but well worth it), plush, stiff and strong. So far no problems with the seals or any leakage whatsoever. I suppose storing the fork (and bike) upside down helps. Well, I think other reviewers have said almost anything that can be said!
If you've the cash, this is the XC fork for you. Even if you don't have enough at the moment, save up a bit more for this, its well worth it!
Similar Products Used: Rock Shox Judy TT, RST461DH, Rock Shox SID Race
Bike Setup: Giant NRS 3 Frame Size: Large Handlebar: Race Face Next XC low-rise Grips: ODI Lock-On Ruffian grips Stem: Thomson Elite 120mm, 5 degree rise Fork: Fox F100RLT Air pressure: 70 psi Shifters: Shimano XTR rapidfire pods Brake levers: Avid SD7 Brakes: Avid Ball Bearing Mechanical Disc Brakes Front Derailleur: Shimano XT '04 Rear Derailleur: Shimano XT '04 Crankset: Shimano XT '04 46T (Middleburn)/32T/22T Wheelset: Shimano M765 Skewers: Shimano XT Rear shock: Cane Creek Cloud 9 Air pressure: 175 psi Seatpost: Thomson Elite, 400mm uncut Seatpost clamp: Hope Saddle: Selle Italia Trans Am Gel Flow Cyclometer: Cateye Cordless 7 Tyres, on road: WTB Slickasaurus 1.5" Tyres, off road: WTB Exiwolf 2.1" Tubes: Panaracer X-Lite 150g
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: August 6, 2005
Strengths: IT's bloody stiff and feels damn nice going downhills. You should get this if u plan to just dive down hills after going up long steepss!Controls damn GOOD downwards.
Weaknesses: The shop sold me a #$@@# fork which i only used for 3 days,then i had to send it back to the dealer and wait for another week cuz the lower legs were shaking! What kinda fox did FOX MADE?no quality check or something? they should BUCK UP on that! it's not encouraging to the product if this happens often.
It's a very stiff fork, handles well, absorbs like POGO STIK! but when u buy it for 3 days and have to send it back to the factory to have something replace it, its dissapointing. Especially when u've got weeks of holidays just spent waiting to get it BACK and HOpe that nothing goes wrong when it comes back. If the problems dint arise. i'd prob give it 5 chillis but since i had to send it back. i'll gif it a 3. You should buy it If u're focused on cross country and prefer plush forks where these pair are very plush but just bear in mind check them when they're new u never know wat happens. But thanks to their services i'll be getting my lower legs replaced cuz it was only 3 days and i havent even take it to the limite yet..
Similar Products Used: SID XC. these pair of forks hasn't got a reboucn after 5 years with no spare parts,think about buying a rockshox if u're willing to fork out money to buy a new fork every year cuz they have no replacement parts.They GO exTINCT.
Bike Setup: Giant XTC, XT groupset. XTR WHEELSET MAVIC 517 wheels, Thomson stem and seatpost, Gobi Saddle i've got no idea wat else to put.
from Phoenix, AZ
Date Reviewed: March 20, 2005
Strengths: Very responsive, very plush ride, 32mm stanchions have no flex, travel never bottoms out when set up correctly
Weaknesses: Boring silver paint
From my experience, this is the best XC suspension fork money can buy. It's a tad heavy to be considered a "weight weenie" product, but I'll give up the 1/4 pound in weight over a SID or Skareb any day for the added stiffness and control this fork offers. This fork has plushness on the small stuff yet compliance on the big stuff - initial travel is relatively easy and it progressively gets harder, thus avoiding bottom-outs on really big hits. Of course, this can be tuned to rider preference -- I have mine set up on the harder end of the spectrum for my weight yet it still feels far plusher than any other fork I've tried.
Control with this fork is absolutely superb. 32mm stanchions make a huge difference over 28mm (RS) or 30mm (Manitou), especially on technical trails. I never realized how flexy my Manitou was until I rode the Fox for 6 mo's and then tried the old bike. The Fox made the Manitou feel like a noodle, and in it's day the Manitou was heralded as "stiff".
Reliability has been good so far -- the fork had an initial problem with the dampner rod within 6 months of life but Fox was quick to repair it and get me back on the trail (1-day turnaround!). In the 15 months since then the fork has leaked no air or given me any trouble.
Anyway, if you are looking for an XC-oriented fork and can afford a Fox F80RLT, get one. You will never look back. 4 flamin' chilies for value because these things are so damn expensive. But 5 flamin' chilies for the overall rating as these things work that well.
Similar Products Used: Manitou SX-Ti, Noleen Mega Air, RS SID, Marzocchi Marathon
Bike Setup: '03 Giant NRS-Air
a Cross Country Rider
from Portland, Maine
Date Reviewed: January 31, 2005
Strengths: Lots of adjustment, rigid, well made, and lightweight. Mine weighs 3 pounds, 6 ounces, precisely.
Weaknesses: None. When I first got it, it made a clunking noise when it topped out. After a bad crash which broke the dropout I returned it to Fox for service. When I got the shock back the clunking noise was gone.
This fork is extremely dependable and adjustable. I run mine with the factory recommended air, mid-range compression adjustment, threshold adjustment set at 4 clicks from the lightest setting, and the fork locked at all times. With this setting the fork will not move under pedaling pressure but will handle all trail bumps. I also removed the 20mm spacer in the left leg and increased my travel to 100mm. The fork handles great and it soaks up all the bumps except the really small trail "noise". There are a lot of companies that offer aftermarket services and it is one of the few forks that is built well enough that it's worth it to rebuild it. The fork is expensive but I don't have to replace it every two years like other forks I've owned.
Weaknesses: a beet havey. fox manual and internet site are totally useless when you want to service the fork. it's good that www. enduroforkseals.com have recently put some excellent pictorial instructions
Similar Products Used: manitou sxr, manitou mars elite
Bike Setup: Airborne black widow, xo, ultimates etc
from Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
Date Reviewed: January 7, 2005
Strengths: Relatively light-weight, looks great, steering precision is amazing
Weaknesses: A little pricey, a little heavier than the lightest racing forks available.
Extremely stiff compared to all the Rock Shox forks I've used. The front wheel of my bike tracks way better than with any of the Rock Shox I've owned. I can take corners way faster than before and gnarly decents feel way less sketchy than with the 2002 SID carbon which is the fork I switched it out for. There is a .25-.35 lbs weight penalty with this fork compared to a Rock SHox SID World Cup or Rock Shox SID Team but the improved bike handling that the Fox offers is more than worth this small penalty. The fork inspires a much more confident feeling when racing at high speeds on rough terrain and it smooths out the bumps better than my previous Rock Shox forks.
Similar Products Used: f100x, sid sl, sid xc, mag 20 and mag 21
Bike Setup: if deluxe (steel), full xtr, mavic crossmax xl, ck headset, kenda karma dtc tires, thomson stem & post, flite saddle
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: September 19, 2004
Strengths: great plushness, stiff and solid, light, very high quality construction
This purchase was a noticable step up for me. Every aspect of this fork was impressive from the moment I took it out of the box. The quality of the build in RLT is amazingly good compared to lower end forks. All control are easy to operate, and because they're aluminum not plastic, they shouldn't break. On the bike the travel feels plush all the way through. Adjustment is easy to figure out. I just used the recommended air pressure and rebound setting that was given in the instructions. I am 220lbs, and I like a stiff feel to the compression. With the factory recommended air pressure, I have never bottomed out, in fact, after 5 months, I aired down from factory recommended, and still haven't bottomed out. I'm lazy about experimenting with adjustments and I have never experimented much with the rebound dampening. I didn't think I would notice this, but laterally, the shock is very stiff. Between new rims and a new fork, I have a whole new bike that is much more capable in the bumps and ruts of my area. I haven't had any problems with either air or oil leakage in the 6 months I've owned it. Although the stanction tubes are always wet with oil. My only gripe, which isn't fair, is that I should have gotton the 100 mm travel fork. But the 80 RLT has got to be the best 80mm travel fork out there.
This fork has taught me why more expensive forks are worth the price.
a Cross Country Rider
from campbell ca usa
Date Reviewed: August 22, 2004
Strengths: looks the part,pretty
Weaknesses: looks are decieving,bad bushings,oil leaks,rebound cap hits frame,blows through travel.
I wanted this fork,the price was right,great friend.the rebound dial hit frame,so I grounded the lip off a old crown race to use as a spacer.that worked well.my hardtail is a very standard geometry and i was surprised that the fox needed mods.I've had no problems with any other fork.the fox looks great and the craftsmanship looks good.now to whats important,the ride.YUK!I hated the ride.at slow speeds the fork felt plush,stiff with no stiction,I guess a little oil seeping keeps it smooth.And whats up with the loose bushings,I thought my headset was loose.I tried various air pressures,rebound adj,but no cigar,the fork just blows through its travel.it felt like it only had 1 1/2 inches of travel.I have talked with others riders who had similar problems,and have seen lots oil running down fork sliders.I'm returning fork back to my friend,like alot of people,he likes his fox.persnally,I'll stick with Marzocchi,the MARZ never dissapoints,the fox is still new, so i did'nt have to buy it.two chili's for looks
a Cross Country Rider
from Omaha, NE
Date Reviewed: July 5, 2004
Strengths: This thing can be tuned like piano. It makes me think those knobs on those other forks I had were for looks. The lock out is a must have now that I have it!
Weaknesses: price, but anything this sweet ain't gonna come free.
This fork is light years better than any Rock Sux product I have ever tried out. I have been on sids and dukes but this thing is so much better it isn't even funny. I used get sketched out on the corners but this thing tracks like it's on rails. The front wheel is just on the ground, period. CONTROL
Similar Products Used: Judy SL Mag21 Some trek POS
Bike Setup: Titus Racer X XTR/FSA/Avid
a Cross Country Rider
from austin, tx on sabbatical in palo alto, ca
Date Reviewed: June 5, 2004
Strengths: Italian Master-like craftsmanship, stiffness, tracking, ease of setup, easy to tune, plushness
Weaknesses: none. well it's not powder blue with little daisies hand painted on it...
best $450 i've ever spent. it makes my chameleon feel like a single speed again. i can use the lock out to actually get out of the saddle and hammer, like it's meant to.
i don't have a lot of experience with suspension forx. i bought a sid xc in 99 and it's been on bike ever since; as a single speed and as a geared bike. the sid was rebuilt twice and i thought it was pretty plush.
man. i was sooo wrong. the F80 RLT rules. it's actually lighter than my old sid, tracks like an M3, and feels like it has twice the travel of my old sid.
the hardest part is getting used to how good this shock is compared to the sid. i expect and compensate for a wobbly front end, but it delivers the goods with sterling aplomb.
the guys at the bike shop told me it was a screaming deal, and i'm impressed.
Similar Products Used: 99 Sid XC, rigid custom steel
Bike Setup: 98 chameleon, XTR stuff with the stupid gear indicators dremel-ed off, next lp carbons, king hubs on campy K2s, ti this and that, eggbeaters, those amazing azonic teflon cables (they actually *are* smoother)
a Cross Country Rider
from Portland ,Or,USA
Date Reviewed: May 18, 2004
Strengths: extremely well built and machined components. smooth action and reliable hand control features.
I have been very pleased with this shock. The tracking on downhill decents has been right on.No vibration , like I had with the SID. You have to ride it to believe it.Recently I sent the shock back for a warranty issue,I broke the bottom of the shock putting it in my bike rack.I really didn't expect FOX to be as generous as they were. within 8 days my shock was back, and I am really impressed with their service.The best product also delivers with the best service,enough said.