RockShox Dart 3 2008 Forks

2.59/5 (34 Reviews)
Weight : 2191 grams


Product Description

  • Travel: 100mm
  • Spring: Coil
  • Damping: TurnKey Lockout
  • Lowers: Aluminium
  • Crown: Forged, pocketed 6061 T-6 Aluminium
  • Steerer Tube: Steel


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Reviews 1 - 15 (34 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by joeinchi a Weekend Warrior

Date Reviewed: May 6, 2012

Strengths:    Nice travel range, effective lockout and easy to service yourself. Its simple design means there's less that can go wrong.

Weaknesses:    A little stiff for anyone weighing <160 lbs but I weigh 165, so it's perfect. I use zero preload and ride mellow trails--no big jumps--and not in danger of bottoming out anytime soon.

Bottom Line:   
Great entry-level fork with a nice range, smooth damping and nice features. I've read some of the knocks on this fork but, as others have suggested, the problem isn't with the product; like any componnent, it requires maintenance!

I got mine used on a GT Avalanche I picked up off of CL. On my first ride, I noticed it was fairly squishy and pogo'd noticeably on the choppy stuff. And the rebound adjustment and lockout had virtually no effect. Soon afterwards, I took it apart, cleaned it and added some oil--the damper was nearly empty! After adding about 70ml of oil, it worked perfectly--smooth ride over all terrain type, not too squishy as I pedaled out of the saddle and the lockout performed as intended.

As you may have noticed, I only added 70ml of oil as opposed to the 93ml recommended in the SRAM documenation. When I followed their instructions, I only got about an inch of travel--it was ovefilled. I carefully removed about 20ml and, voila, problem solved. YMMV

I gave five stars on both because these are pretty cheap secondhand and, for their intended purpose, the 100mm of travel and options in this price range, it's hard to imagine a better-performing alternative. Again, it's probably a better fork for someone weighing >160 lbs but, for lighter riders, you can replace the spring (easily) with a Dart 3 black soft spring for about $20. Even with the extra outlay, it's still a pretty good value.

These are simple, well-made products. Treat it to some TLC and you'll be very happy you got one.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Any

Purchased At:   CL


Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by BigWillieStyle a Cross Country Rider from Boston, MA

Date Reviewed: July 6, 2011

Strengths:    It works at first.

Weaknesses:    After a while it doesn't work. Leaks fluid in my car, poor quality/longevity

Bottom Line:   
This is a cheap fork that comes on cheap bikes. I'd be surprised if it lasted more than a year performing as a fork should. Mine simply wouldn't engage unless considerable force was placed upon it. Would have been better off with a lighter, rigid fork. Was one of the first parts replaced on my stock rockhopper.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Turner Trail

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Purchased At:   Came stock on Rockho

Similar Products Used:   Rockshox Reba team 29er,

Bike Setup:   Rockhopper was stolen, waiting on insurance monies, upgrading to custom Niner Air 9 build:)

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by indianadave a Weekend Warrior from Franklin, IN

Date Reviewed: March 18, 2011

Strengths:    Inexpensive, adjustable preload, rebound adjustment, lockout

Weaknesses:    Pretty stiff, especially for my 155 pound body. I hardly use any of the travel even with the prload backed as far out as I dare.

Bottom Line:   
I bought this before doing much research. Might have bought something else if I'd read more about them.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Brown County, Southwestway parkl

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $180.00

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   Cheap department store stuff.

Bike Setup:   1998 Trek ZX7000

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Pollution Warrior a Weekend Warrior from Tiayuan, China PRC

Date Reviewed: April 5, 2010

Strengths:    Holds the wheel to the frame; soaks up bumps ok; nothing has fallen off of it yet

Weaknesses:    Locks up solid in cold weather

Bottom Line:   
Depends on how much money you have. If $130 is the top of your budget and you live in Miami or only ride when it's over 40 degrees, then it may be ok as long as it doesn't self-destruct like some have experienced. It could be more plush, some in this price range are, but my only real issue with it is that it locks up in the cold. Supposedly you can change the damper oil to 2.5WT, but that's only good to around freezing I think. A friend recently bought a bike with a Suntour XC9 (I think?) and it felt better to me on a really short ride. Suntours may be a better bet for the money. Hardly anything has lower reviews that Dart forks though.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Anything with no pollution

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $100.00

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   Judy TT, el cheapo stuff on low-end Chinese bikes

Bike Setup:   Frankenstein bike (built from parts, but good parts mostly)

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by MTBERMISS a Cross Country Rider from Mississippi

Date Reviewed: March 27, 2010

Strengths:    Great lockout feature, 120mm of travel, adjustable rebound, adjustable preload, great for XC Riding

Weaknesses:    Stickers are boring

Bottom Line:   
This is a great fork for cross country riding. Great for beginners or budget riders. Mine never let me down. I only switched because of more technical riding.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Clear Creek

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Purchased At:   Came with old bike

Similar Products Used:   Rock Shox Recon, Rock Shox Revelation (My current Fork), I have several Dart 3's.

Bike Setup:   RS Revelation U-Turn Air Fork, RS Monarch 4.2 Rear Shock, Panaracer XC Pro Tires, Race Face Deus XC Crankset, SLX Derailleurs and Cassette, Selcof Stem, seatpost, and handlebars, Bontranger seat, lock on grips, and Mavic Wheelset.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Blksocks a Cross Country Rider from PA

Date Reviewed: February 28, 2010

Strengths:    Easy to maintain, locks out really well, and with proper care it should last quit some time.

Weaknesses:    Gotta treat the lockout with love when doing fluids.

Bottom Line:   
It's a really good fork for the amount of money it's selling for. It's not for Dh/DJ riders just purely for XC riders. I think half of these complainers are people who don't know how to take care of something or abuse it without thinking and then complain that it's crap. This fork is excellent for the amount of money wanted for it.

I rated it a 5. Why a 5 you ask? Because I can bike for 3 to 5 hours day after day on it on trails/forest roads with pot holes, large roots, rocks, and whatnot and not have any problems.

Very good fork.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   N/A

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $135.00

Purchased At:   Pricepoint.com

Bike Setup:   09' Diamondback Response.

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by riverman a Cross Country Rider from ontario

Date Reviewed: July 18, 2009

Strengths:    cheap, post mount, semi functional lockout

Weaknesses:    springs are too stiff for me (I'm 140 pounds, can't get more than 50mm of travel, they flex like CRAZY! with mild-medium front brake, the forks curl back almost an inch. lockout only works if the you set the preload too high, rebound goes from molasses too spingboard with little room in between

Bottom Line:   
I bought this bike knowing that I would be replacing these forks down the road, but I didn't realize it would be so soon. my biggest complaint is the amount of flex in the stanchions. if it comes on a bike and you can't afford to buy a better one, it will do the job for a while but you will want to upgrade asap. whatever you do, do not buy this fork unless it comes with your bike! save an extra $150 and buy a used reba!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Bike Setup:   09 trek 6000

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Energetik a Cross Country Rider from Reading, PA, USA

Date Reviewed: June 3, 2009

Strengths:    The main strengths of this fork lie in the fact that it has both a rebound adjuster, and a blow off circuit for the lock out.

It also has a post mount style caliper mount for disc brakes.


Weaknesses:    This fork is definitely on the heavy side. The stanchions are skinny, and I can feel some play as well.

Bottom Line:   
Well I got it for free as a take off from my wife's bike. It is better than what I had, but I wouldn't have bought this one if I were in the market. I would have saved my pennies for a Tora air with the motion control or better.

For an entry level weekender rider this fork will work just fine. I would never ride anything other than cross country with it.

It does the job, but there are far better forks out there.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Blue Marsh Lake

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Purchased At:   Take Off

Similar Products Used:   Rock Shox J1, various RST, Spinner, and other generic entry level forks.

Bike Setup:   Cannondale Caffeine with full 2008 M770 drive train, Dart 3 fork, Sun Ditch Witch wheels, Thomson stem, generic seat/post/saddle, Deore m535 disc brakes, and WTB Exiwolf 2.1 tires.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by N a Cross Country Rider from Melbourne, Australia

Date Reviewed: May 25, 2009

Strengths:    Cheap, Lockout, Rebound and Preload.

Weaknesses:    Somewhat heavy, Skinny (28mm) stanchions.

Bottom Line:   
With basic adjustment of preload and rebound, these forks will handle everything that can reasonably be expected of them. Big bumps and ditches can max them out, but there's no off-putting "clank" sound when this happens; you feel it, but have the impression that the forks can take it. Adjusting the preload avoids the bottoming out, but reduces "small bump compliance", so a compromise is necessary. The lockout has a threshold which "blows off" when encountering a large enough hit; a feature you only otherwise find on much more expensive forks. A bit too flexible with its 28mm stanchions (most other forks have 32mm stanchions), but could only really be improved with an air spring, which would increase the price and make a "Recon" a better option (which comes with better damping and is lighter). As far as I can tell, "Toras" have the same internal workings and are heavier, making Dart 3s better value. They've never leaked (although I've seen Toras that have). These should last me comfortably until they wear out and I'll replace/upgrade with an air fork. Mediocre compared to higher level forks, but outstanding compared to equivalent forks by other manufacturers.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Purchased At:   Came on bike

Similar Products Used:   Equivalent Suntour and RST products.

Bike Setup:   Deore / XT Hardtail.

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Keith a Weekend Warrior from atl, ga

Date Reviewed: May 11, 2009

Strengths:    When taken off the bike, they make a good club.

Weaknesses:    Leaks oil. Took it to the local bike shop and they couldn't repair them because RockShok kept sending the wrong part. Eventually had to downgrade to the RockShok Dart 2 just to ride the bike (they didn't have Dart 3s in stock).

Bottom Line:   
Try to avoid if you can. If they come on a bike your considering buying, pull them off and sell them on ebay and buy a quality shock.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   all

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Purchased At:   came on cannondale f

Bike Setup:   09 Cannondale F5

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by pedrotyler a Weekend Warrior from wilson

Date Reviewed: April 1, 2009

Strengths:    this fork has a nice lock out and is very adjustable, the rating on it says the largest disk break size is a 160mm, but i am running a 203mm disk and it works fine it a solid fork but could use more travel

Weaknesses:    the weight

Bottom Line:   
good fork

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Tsali

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $100.00


Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Natedogz a Cross Country Rider from NorCal

Date Reviewed: March 10, 2009

Strengths:    Uh, it's a suspension fork, so it absorbs at least some of the trail chatter. Came installed on both my bikes. It's definitely better than the RSTs that I rode, but insufficient for real trail riding when it gets technical, rocky, rooty, or stutter bump.

Weaknesses:    Can only take up to 160mm brake rotor. Flexy, heavy, un-plush (if that's a word), harsh riding over technical, rocky, rooty, or stutter bump terrain. The one on my 26" wheeled bike wore out in less than a year and leaked oil...but Rockshox took care of me and replaced it, so good customer service!

Bottom Line:   
Came installed on both my bikes. Better fork than the RSTs that I rode, but insufficient for real trail riding when it gets technical, rocky, rooty, or stutter bump. If/when you get into the more serious trails and riding, replace this fork ASAP with something lighter weight and plusher feeling, your hands and arms will thank you!!!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   singletrack

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Purchased At:   Natomas Bike Shop

Similar Products Used:   This review is for the Dart3 26" wheel and 29er wheel versions....same rating for both, except that I just replaced my 29er Dart3 with a 2009 Reba because I couldn't stand riding the Dart anymore, it just beats me on the really techy sections.

Bike Setup:   2008 Specialized Rockhopper Disc and Rockhopper Disc 29er (now with Reba! :) )

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by ppfeifer a Cross Country Rider from Northern Virginia

Date Reviewed: March 5, 2009

Strengths:    Rebound and Preload Adjustment

Weaknesses:    Poor lockout design

Bottom Line:   
Unfortunately, you get what you pay for with the Dart 3. This is a cheap fork that provides very little performance enhancement. Additionally, after three months the lock out mechanism completely failed. :( My recommendation to any prospective buyer is to save up the extra $100-200 and get a better fork. A buddy of mine at the LBS recommends that you buy the best frame, fork , and wheels that you can. After riding several other bikes, I believe him. Do not buy this fork.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Quantico

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Similar Products Used:   RockShox Recon and Reba, Fox F29 RL

Bike Setup:   Specialized Rockhopper Disc with Maxxis Ignitor & Michelin Mountain AT tires

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by sstudbiker12 a Cross Country Rider from Los Gatos

Date Reviewed: February 18, 2009

Strengths:    Looks cool, lockout, adjustments on the bottom.

Weaknesses:    jhjhjh

Bottom Line:   
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Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Anything that is fast!

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Similar Products Used:   jhjh

Bike Setup:   hhjhjh

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by gkmeador a Weekend Warrior from nashville

Date Reviewed: December 20, 2008

Strengths:    +Cheap
+Lockout


Weaknesses:    -Too Stiff
-Poor small bump compliance
-Do not get all of the travel


Bottom Line:   
This fork came on my bike. Many people seem to be having difficulties with leaking oil, not me. This fork might as well always be in lockout mode because there is no small bump compliance. (Sag set at 20mm, rebound is in the middle) You might be better off riding rigid than buying this fork.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year


Reviews 1 - 15 (34 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


Dart 3 seized, repair or replace?

2010 Specialized Rockhopper, only bike at the moment. Sat all winter in non-climate controlled garage. Went on first ride of the year and the fork/shock stopped working, it moves about 1/4" and that's it. Will not compress in any setting. Had the bike less than a year, fork has never been serviced ... Read More »

Pick one!!! ROCK SHOX DART 3 or FOX TALAS RL or ROCK SHOX SEKTOR???

So I have 3 different forks!!! I want you guys to decide for me!! Which fork would you choose for all around riding?!? 1. ROCK SHOX DART 3 (brand new) 2. ROCK SHOX SEKTOR (brand new) 3. FOX TALAS RL (beat to shit! Still functional) And I'm guessing there's gonna be at least a half dozen people tha ... Read More »

Dump Dart 3 for a rigid fork?

I have a Sette Reken and love the bike, both on and off road. The only thing I have never been satisfied with is the Dart 3 fork. My kind of riding I seek out is hard pack and fire roads. I do go with friends time to time and end up on some technical rocky stuff. I have been debating about putti ... Read More »

Looking for replacement for Dart 3

I have a [URL="http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bikes/archive/2010/rockhopper/rockhoppercompdisc#specs"]Specialized Rockhopper comp disc 2010[/URL]. It came with the following [QUOTE]RockShox Dart 3 SL, 80/100mm, 1 piece magnesium lower, alloy steerer, adj. reb. damping w/ LO and preload adj., s ... Read More »

Powder coating RS dart 3 Magnesium Lowers

I'm hopeful that someone on mtbr might have some knowledge about this. I've been reading a lot of things about powder coating magnesium. I want to powder coat the lowers of my Dart 3 to match my bke frame (being coated at the same time). Does raising the metal to such a high temperature cause any ... Read More »

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