Strengths: Smooth travel. The smart shock lets it be soft in the little stuff and much stiffer in the big G-outs. Very tough to bottom out with the smart shock on.
Weaknesses: Cables rub on the sides of the legs. The smart shock shorted out after only six months of riding. This made the shock handle very poorly. It was very stiff on the small stuff and bottomed out quickly with a loud thunk.
As long as the smart shock is working this shock is outstanding. But, as soon as it dies the fork is not quite as enjoyable.
a Cross Country Rider
from NYC, NY
Date Reviewed: May 22, 2001
Strengths: Super laterally stiff...no side to side what so ever. Tightest fork Ive ever used. Replaced NR1 with NR2 and it got even better with dampening control. Tracks like a laser. Looks real mean (great conversation starter + anyone who has one will treat you like a brother)
Weaknesses: a little on the heavy side. Tall mounting makes low handlebar height tough to acheive (get - stem angle and flat bar) Smashed my rapidfire shifter barrels to smithereens on the bottom out.
Bottom line is I love this fork. I raced for one season in the NORBA circuit in Hawaii (BIMBA) and I used the Judy for half the time and the Noleen for half. I love the friggin thing. Its so tight its like halfway between a sid and no shock at all. (those of you who can appreciate the no shock analogy will love this thing). Not for the meek...for the intense. I loathe the dual suspension experience, I need much more feel...the noleen delivers. Get a softer coil and an NR2 and you can have the plush too. Not me. I dial the preload stiff and rip. When it bottoms out (very rarely) I know Im riding properly.
Similar Products Used: rock shox judy race, manitou sx, a few others.
Bike Setup: '01 Trek 6700 frame with all fresh components. (easton ea- 70 post and bars, bontrager race lite crankset, xt/xtr derr., Avid arch rival V's, superstock rims. Fits me like a Trojan.
a Weekend Warrior
from Loa Angeles, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: January 23, 2001
Strengths: awsome suspension soacks up big obstacles, but is also precise on singletrack. very low unsprung weight, although the entire unit is probably heavier than the judy sl it replaced. got it for a great price!
Weaknesses: poor powdercoating job - it's flaking off a bit, but luckily is painted white underneath also. nothing like the awsome powdercoating on the santa cruz frame.
noise from shift cables hitting the fork's cable guides during heavy pounding. I think a couple cable ties and/or foam tape will silence this.
On my first ride out with it, I rode faster and with more confidence. A much more active suspension than the rock shox which was a good fork. A noticable improvement to an already sweet setup. Bike geometry didn't noticably change except handlebar is now 1" higher due to upper mount of fork above the head tube. I could invert the stem, but I use a flat bar anyway and the higher position was just fine. sub-par powder coating job keep it from 5 chilies, but I recommend it highly anyway.
Similar Products Used: rock shox judy sl with speedsprings, AMP
Bike Setup: Santa Cruz Heckler, king headset, bontrager jones tires
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: October 4, 2000
Strengths: I work at a bike shop in Buffalo NY, and I have to day when my collegues pointed me towards the Noleen I was very uncertain, somehow they talked me into it and now I feel it is one of the greatest purchases I have ever made. It handles like a dream and will without a doubt go through anyting. If you dissagree with this it is only because you need to learn how to really bike!
Its the bomb No side to side movement you get from all those other front shocks out there
a Cross Country Rider
from Jonesboro, GA, USA
Date Reviewed: April 19, 2000
Strengths: Good stiff fork, dependable, great performance for the money, reasonable weight.
Weaknesses: Will raise handlebar height unless you flip a rising stem upside down... not really a problem in my case.
Best all around fork that I have used to date. Great on single track. Seems plush on small and large hits but a little harsh "in the rough" at speed. Works well for XC racing. Thought it steered flawlessly until I added an Ionic Major Stiffy brake booster. Now it REALLY does steer EXACTLY where I want it to go: the most confidence inspiring fork I have ever ridden. I am 140lbs and using the RED 200 rate spring. I recommend this fork to anyone wanting a great performing XC fork at a reasonable price. Follow the instructions CAREFULLY if you install this fork yourself. Have a bike shop do it if you are not mechanically inclined. Then go out and enjoy a great riding bike.
Mike the bike guy
a Cross-Country Rider
from Leesburg VA
Date Reviewed: November 19, 1999
Strengths: It really takes the hard hits well. Rolls right over them. Tracks very well!!! Can bunny-hop like a crazy person...
Weaknesses: no disc mount (no biggie) I can deal with that.
OK the fork's great but.... check this out:Here it is 12ish and I just finished up, guess what?installing a light directly onto the Noleen Elite fork I just got.I putz'd around with a few different ideas when, low-and-B-hold, I found it... The perfect do-hicky.I installed a simple, single-beam, helmet light, made by Cateye, taken off it's bracket then mounting it onto a cut and re-bent reflector bracket intended for a kid's bike.In a spot where Noleen made a bracket intended for running derailleur/brake cable I was able to mount the light directly onto the inside of the right fork leg. (right in front of the fork's shock)It looks as if it belongs there. It almost looks like a motorcross bike. tee hee :-)Best thing about it, because of the light's location (on the actual fork leg), it doesn't pivot very much. And, if you think about it, the pivot action it does have is actually good... it pivots slightly downward, something you'd want when you're hitting the bumps.I crack myself up. I'm so frikin' creative!!!Now I just gotta figure out how to mount the battery pack (which is no biggie). + I gotta get a new bulb to replace the one I torched the other night (woops).
Bike Setup: On a Dean Z Link. Talk about a your pivots!!! yikes
a Weekend Warrior
from Castle Rock Colorado
Date Reviewed: November 11, 1999
Strengths: Very Reliable
Weaknesses: Funky Travel
Had the fork for a little over one year. Never been broken. First fork I have had that was so reliable. I have only done scheduled maintance and have had zero suprises. My only bitc* is the way the travel arcs under. This fork does dive under because of the design of the travel, so it does take awhile to get used to. It's probably me but I find it hard to jump with this fork, landings are sometimes sketchy at best, maybe I'm getting sloppy. I really don't like this one any higher than three feet. Nice under pedaling, very little bob. I give it a three not cause it's a bad fork but there after riding some other stuff I found this is not the fork for me.
a Cross-Country Rider
from Vancouver, WA
Date Reviewed: October 17, 1999
Strengths: STIFF, tracks very well, handles square edge bumps, very, very little bobbing or brake dive
Weaknesses: Could be lighter, no disc mounts
I wouldn't pay retail for this fork, but got mine for $150 and am happy. It replaced a '97 SX-Ti w/Speed Springs. This fork is very stiff, I immediately noticed less front wheel deflection. The fork lets most the small stuff through and doesn't activate until more medium hits. Anything from say 6 to 2.5' this fork just eats alive. I would not call the ride plush at all though, it feels much more like a race fork. At about 3.65lb, it could be lighter. Word is that Noleen has an air shock in the works that is retro compatible that'll get the weight down to the 3.15-3.2 range. There are also replacement legs soon available that're disc compatible. Maintainance is a breeze w/the lube ports
from Englewood, Colorado
Date Reviewed: August 12, 1999
Strengths: Very light, if you are a climber. Stiff, nice amount of travel.
Weaknesses: Not disc brake mountable unless you by a new leg which costs $180.
It is a good shock for downhilling, but I have decided to change to a Manatou X-Vert R. And it is not $600 like the site says, I'm selling mine, which is in good condition for $400, O/B/O It really is a good fork for the money.
Bike Setup: K2 4000, Noleen Nr-4 it is fu@#$%^ awesome.
Date Reviewed: July 24, 1999
Strengths: The feeling is just great!
Weaknesses: If you really want to take it to the top, you should change the shock that cames with it and put an NR-4.
I've raced for almost five years and I've tried every new model that came out. When ive gone for a ride with this fork, I didn't think it any more: it looks cool, it doesn't flex and it's perfect for XC racing. It's just the best fork ever built!
First post here. Great community! Lots of great information here!
Quick question: I just bought a Rumblefish and I am curious if anyone with this bike has done a 2x10 converstion. I was under the impression that I could, but my LBS is saying something diffrent. Something about the bo ... Read More »
Last night I was out riding my local trail and my rear derailleur decided to explode and take out my chain and a spoke on one of my ea70 xct wheels. So I think I'm going to take this opportunity to upgrade. I would like to go to 1x10 and switch to SRAM.
My question is will a SRAM x9 GXP crank fi ... Read More »
Well about a month ago I got a Trek Marlin and was considering upgrading the the fork and some other forks but this past Friday I went by the trek store and traded it in for a whole new bike lol. I got the Superfly 100 AL elite. I really like this bike and I think it will do what I want to do. The M ... Read More »
I recently purchased a demo 2013 StumpJumper Elite which appears to have the same wheels as the 2013 SJ Comp 29. Has anyone weighed the wheels for either a SJ Elite 29 or a SJ Comp 29 (i.e., without tire, disc, thru axles, etc.)? I am looking at buying a lighter wheel set, and would like an idea on ... Read More »