Similar Products Used: judy xc, wish I still had it.
Bike Setup: litespeed fixed up nice
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: August 6, 2005
Weaknesses: The fork leaked air pressure after a half dozen rides. I had to pump it up about once every ten days. The fork broke at the dropout.
I was riding along a rolling, high speed decent (approx 25-30mph)with 3-4 foot drops when the fork snapped near the dropout. I tacoed the front wheel and barely escaped serious injury. KHS provided me with a new wheel and replaced the fork with a Marzocchi X-fly 100 free of charge. Great fork! Better in every way. I was told that this wasn't the first Rockshox Duke SL that had failed in this manner. Also, that it was easier to retrofit my bike with another fork than to wait 3 months for warranty service. I've been riding on the X-fly for the last 2 1/2 years with no problems.
Similar Products Used: X-fly 100, Fox float 100 RL
Bike Setup: KHS EXT pro, lots of upgrades.
a Cross Country Rider
from New Jersey
Date Reviewed: April 27, 2005
Strengths: Light weight for a 100mm travel fork. Smooth and realiable.
Weaknesses: Blew the seals after two years. But I guess i really pushed it for two years without getting the shock serviced.
My bike came with a SID long travel. I was simply not producing the claimed 100mm of travel and it was not plush at all. I got myself a the DUKE sl with 100mm and let me tell you, plush plush plush. Love the fork, still going great.
Similar Products Used: SID long travel, Manitou x-vert
Bike Setup: Specialized FSR pro
a Cross Country Rider
from Central, NJ
Date Reviewed: August 22, 2003
Strengths: Kinda light, can get a good deal online, the stupid rockshox stickers fall off which improves the aesthetics
Weaknesses: Seals (or something) blew, RockShox has had the fork for a month now, still no word.
This fork was a great improvement over the crap Judy that came with my bike, and it's relatively light. I have to say after reluctantly switching to a Marzocchi MX Comp after the Duke blew out mid-season, the Duke kinda sucks in comparison. The Marzocchi goes straight over all kinds of stuff that made the Duke bounce around like a pogo stick. I found it harder to hold my line on technical climbs with the Duke and had tried several setups. The Duke is OK if you're on a budget and you get a deal, and it's a worthy upgrade if you're riding a real sh*t fork - if it doesn't break you can ride all kinds of stuff with it, but the (chearper MSRP) Marzocchi blows it away.
Similar Products Used: Judy TT, Marzocchi MX Comp, Marzocchi Z4
Bike Setup: Rockhopper FSR
a Weekend Warrior
from worcs , uk
Date Reviewed: August 19, 2003
Strengths: Light fork for the travel and performance, looks cool and is very stiff
Weaknesses: rebound adjuster not reliable but see note below. Perhaps a slight loss of low speed sensitivity but also see note below.
Overall - coming from a sid these dukes are very stiff and feel almost bottomless although the sids for the weight benefits are great, if you want cush and stiff why buy a sub 3ib fork and then complain of flex - get realistic folks!
The only weak point seems to be the rebound adjuster, after a while it seems to stop working HOWEVER this happened on my sid's when it happens don't whinge, instead get it to a REPUTABLE fork specialist (Tim Flooks here in the UK) and get it rebuilt for approx £65 which includes getting fixed damping installed instead of the adjuster, they will come back far, far plusher and more reliable than from the factory. Overall a brilliant, great looking fork for sensible money, I do a lot of 20-30 mile day rides and have not been let down
Bike Setup: 2001 Klein attitude,raceface turbines,hope pro discs,cane creek thudbuster and these babies
a Cross Country Rider
from riverside ca usa
Date Reviewed: July 31, 2003
Strengths: solid black, it works, it works good, fair weight to stiffness ratio.
Weaknesses: hmmmm? dont know
I got this fork when they first came out. It has been transfered to a second bike during this time. I weigh in at about 200 and ride 4 to 5 times a week on it. I have never had any problems with this fork. I dont constantly perform maintenance on it. I just keep the area around the seals clean. It doesnt leak any air or any oil. It has a nice progressive feel, supple at the top, and then stiffens up through the travel. The rebound adjustment works. When I screw it all the way in it returns very slowly, when screwed out it returns fast. I run it just short of snapping back. I ride aggresivly, but I know that the fork is intended for xc use, and I dont expect it to handle anything very extreme. I occasionaly take 3 footers no problem, no bottoming. I ride through rock gardens no problem. I have complete confidence in this fork. 4 flammers just because I know a marz or fox would be a true 5, but this a good probuct.
Bike Setup: 03 nrs 2, 02 duke sl, mavic disc wheels, avid mechs, xt hubs, easton carbon riser, xt drivetrain, titec post, selle italia seat, kore stem.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: June 6, 2003
Strengths: Decent price, fairly light.
Weaknesses: Busihing slop developed after 6 months! Rebound damping doesn't provide enough range of adjustment.
I originally bought this fork to replace a 2001 Judy SL which was a real piece of junk. When the Duke SL was new, it provided better feel and more precise steering than the Judy. But after about two to three months I noticed it started to loosen up. I bought a Blur frame two months ago and transferred the almost-new Duke fork to the new frame thinking the 100mm Duke would be a good match. During our last race at Laguna Seca, I noticed the fork was packing up a bit on some of the high speed runs and attributed it to the damping but found out the bushings were toast. This sucks considering the fork is only about 6 months old.
I have recently replaced the Duke with a Fox Float which is the fork I should have started with on the Blur. The Duke is going back to Rockshox for service under warranty (I hope). I really didn't want to buy another fork right in the middle of the season, but Rockshox is not too consistent when it comes to turning around their warranty repairs and I didn't want to be without a bike for two to three months. I will not hold my breath waiting for Rockshox to return it.
If you have ever have had a warranty issue with Rockshox, you know that you cannot send it back to them directly rather you need to go through a local retailer. I bought a fork for my son's bike through Colorado Cyclist on the web last summer and it failed. Colorado Cyclist told me I would have to contact Rockshox for warranty service who in turn told me to work with a LBS. The LBS didn't take too kindly to sending back my mail-order fork. It took 2 months to get it back.
This is my last Rockshox product. Every fork I have owned so far (six of them) and one SID Race rear shock have all failed within a year and needed to be repaired. I am a XC rider and do not abuse my stuff. I perform all recommended service and take care of my gear. Rockshox's customer support is horrible and in the long run I have paid out way more than I should have on this crap.
I usually don't write such negative reviews but Rockshox has earned it. Buy this fork if you ride local paved and dirt bike trails that are smooth. Forget it if you are looking for a decent XC fork that you can count on for occasional racing duty or for real MTB trails and technical stuff.
Similar Products Used: Fox Float, various Marzocchi & Manitou forks, Judy SL, Duke XC, Duke C.
Bike Setup: Santa Cruz Blur, XT/XTR.
from Park City, UT usa
Date Reviewed: June 2, 2003
Strengths: 100 mil air travel fork at a reasonable price with good performance characteristics...
Weaknesses: 1/4 turn rebound damping knob...
This fork (2002) is a rockin deal. The new 03 Duke SL is $400, and it isn't much different than the 02 Duke air 100. I have ridden this fork for a year. No leaks, no problems, and great performance, but only AFTER I changed the oil viscosity. The 1/4 turn rebound adjuster didn't seem to work at all. I drained both the damping oil and the semi-bath oil, replacing it with 7.5 wt marzocchi fork oil, and WALAH!!!! The fork damping adjuster now actually works.(I have it set close to full "open") This oil change is no easy task (download instr. from RockShox) but made a HUGE difference in damping characteristics. Worth the whole 2 hrs it took to do it. (remove the fork completely from your frameset) If you can get one of these 2002 duke airs from a mail order co, GET IT!!!! It is one great riding 4" travel air fork....
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: May 11, 2003
Strengths: durable, low maintenance item, has enough modulation to set it up the way you like it, everything stated below...
Weaknesses: the plastic cap is a pain to take off unless you try my method(read below). this fork is not plush if you weigh under 150 pounds. stickers did fall right off but who needs them.
This is a great fork if you are a heavier than me. I'm 150 pounds and have to ride this fork at lower air pressure than specified to feel it working. This fork, like other air forks, isn't sensitive to small bumps, but then again maybe it's just me. This has been a great fork on roads and climbs because of its stiffness. Due to my weight and the fork's characteristics I can use it as a light freeride fork. If you are a heavier person look into this fork. It comes with a shock pump from most retailers. But if you are under 150 pounds try spring loaded forks.
and as for the plastic cap....this is what worked for me: the first time you unscrew it, coat the threads with a layer of grease. it will go in and out with minimum effort and won't wear away the threads as much. good luck
Similar Products Used: manitou mars 2001...sid xc 2001
Bike Setup: full XTR 2003 scott usa
a Cross Country Rider
from outer space
Date Reviewed: March 24, 2003
Strengths: RIGIDITY, lightweight (under 4 lbs), great travel (100 mm or 4 inches), fully adjustable air shock spring stiffness, plush ride, looks good and inexpensive.
Weaknesses: Lacks external adjusted pure damping and lockout (but not a big deal, read below)
I bought the Duke SL 100 mm to replace an '02 SID SL I bought last year for my GT Zaskar hardtail. I had a negative experience with the SID and thought it was a very poor performer as a trail bike shock for someone of my weight (185 lbs). Im a normal Joe Blow X-country rider, I don't free ride or do anything crazy but I do ride on some fairly rugged terrain with roots rocks and gulches. My SID was way too flexy and instilled a real sense of fear and insecurity while riding with it. Although I was pleased with the performance of the SID's air shock, which has held up really well. So I decided to get a Duke with the same basic air shock design (except without the negative chamber) and with a simpler dampening arrangement.
The bottom line is the '02 Duke SL 100 mm rocks. It has outstanding rigidity, low weight (well under 4 lbs), and lots of plush travel. Although the dampening is not as nice as the SID's fully adjustable (with lockout) pure system, this has proven to be a non-issue with the Duke. I dont want to lockout the Duke, while Im on the trail I want my shock to absorb shocks and help me stay in control of the bike...and thats exactly what it does without excessive bob or energy robbing bounce. The only time I even remotely miss a lockout is if Im on the road...and even here as long as I remain seated and apply a nice steady, consistent "road cadence" the shock barely moves at all. The lack of lockout is a non issue with this shock. The damping can still be adjusted by tweaking the rebound knob and by changing the weight of the oil for your weight. And once its set, thats it your good to go.
Since riding the Duke on the trail a few times I am convinced that I should have bought this fork last year instead of the overpriced and underperforming SID SL. I now have a real sense of security with my bike that I never had with the SID. It is RIGID and beefy! I can pummel down hills, and blast over rocks and logs without a second thought now. No more scarey spaghetti noodling sessions with the SID. I feel secure and confident with this shock and also just plain comfortable. I never knew what I was missing.
Another really great byproduct is that the 100 mm shock raises the front end of my GT Zaskar hardtail somewhat. This has really improved the overall handling of the bike. The pedal and bottom bracket clearance are increased so that now I can leap right over logs and rocks without unclipping that would have stopped me dead in my tracks on the SID. My bike is more stable going down hills. The bike also wheelies easier, which was an unanticipated benefit. Now I can lift the front end fairly easily, at speed or at a crawl. which has allowed me to wheelie through big mud puddles (which helps keep me clean and keep my bike in control), and wheelie over gulches and obstacles that would "steer you wrong" if you didn't float the front tire over them first. Some of the wheelie manuevers I've been pulling with the 100 mm Duke I wouldn't dream of with the SID SL. I just cant get over the difference.
Overall if you are over 120 lbs and need a sturdy, light, trailbike (or race) fork, then the Duke 100 mm SL is the way to go. Plus its widely availble for well under $200 smackers!
Bike Setup: Surly Instigator frame, avid cable disk brakes, Kenda 2.30 Dh tires, Ritchey rims+Hubs,Shimano LX shifters and front and rear derailures.
a Cross Country Rider
from Durham NC
Date Reviewed: January 12, 2003
Strengths: Plush. Inexpensive. Light.
Weaknesses: Poor quality control.
I blew the air seal after about 20 miles of light riding. The mechanic said it looked like the fork wasn't lubed correctly when assembled. It rode really good before this happened. Very nice fork, especially for $169. It'll probably be really nice after the mechanic rebuilds it.
Similar Products Used: Sid, Fox Forx, XFly, Z1 freeride, Black Air.
Bike Setup: Superlight, King/Mustang, XT/XTR. Avid Linear brakes.
a Weekend Warrior
from Laguna Niguel, CA
Date Reviewed: December 9, 2002
Strengths: Price! Treks well, simplicity, price....and well, price. Great value for heavy duty performance. Rebound adjustment.
Weaknesses: Missing RS stickers...but who cares! Lots of stictions in the beginning, took a while to saddle in. Had sprayed lots of teflon lub before it finally travelled smoothly.
This is the 80mm, replacement on my Mars that pretty much blew out. Probably when I extended my rides to rolling down rocks.
I realized what a piece of crap that Mars (Light, but feels like spring)was after switching to the Duke, a definite minimum requirement for a 200+lb rider like me who XC and do occassional drops. Got that stiff, heavy duty feel.
Unlike the Mars that feels totally out of control over baby heads, I feel more in control with the Duke and it does trek well over the rocks....great rebound, I suppose.
It's no Fox Forx, but for the price....I ain't complainin cuz it performs as good at the level of any $300-$400 forks in the market.
Hi, I recently got back into Mt. Bikes after about 14 years. Back then I was
6' and 178 lbs. Today I'm still 6' but now I'm 230 lbs which is my main reason for getting another bike.
I was lucky to find a 1996 GT LTS that a friend had hanging in his garage no knowing what kind of bike it was. ( ... Read More »
looking for a used, cheap shock to put on a single speed xc bike i'm throwing together.
i'm an athletic 210lbs. not going to be doing any big drops....mainly just semi-technical single track. don't want something that goes all squishy every time i stand up.
found an '04 rock shox duke sl air ... Read More »
hey guys I can get a good deal on either of these forks and I was wondering which one you would rather go for. I ride XC and it will be going on a 05' Hardrock. I heard the SL has a better damping system than the XC. What's your take on this?
Thanks.Read More »
I just recently tuned/overhauled my duke with u-turn, and now whenever I increase travel after a few minutes of riding (xc, fairly flat, a couple short drops) the u turn has crept all the way back down to minimum travel!
I wiped down the u-turn spring with a dry rag and applied Judy Butter to the ... Read More »
Since I made the move from 26" to 29" my girlfriend inherited my parts and I got a new bike(s). So last night I did a much needed rebuild on my 2003 Duke SL. The thing had been hemorrhaging oil, though never really lost air (all shock, no dampening).
So new seals, wipers, and oil and it looks like ... Read More »