For 2009, RockShox completely revamped the Reba lineup. As a previous owner of several RockShox Reba’s, I was excited to see the changes and get this new fork out on the trail for some real testing. The unit that RockShox sent over for review is the new Team model with the new 20mm Maxle Lite. For 2009, the Team model sees the introduction of the all new BlackBox damping system. Continue reading →
Weaknesses: Terrible quality control from the Rock Shox Factory. Wheel does not mount centered when installed in the fork. Tire rubs on the left side of the crown during hard landings and G-outs.
Dual air is a pain to set up.
The quality control on these Reba forks is absolutely terrible. How Rock Shox can consistenly push forks out the door where the wheel does not mount in the true center of the crown is beyond me. Few things are more disconcerting then coming off of a harsh landing or jumping into a hi speed sweeper and having your tire knobs slam and scrape on the underside of the crown. Land hard enough and the tire will rub so hard that it's almost like slamming on the front brake... when you least want to.
And no, this problem is not isolated to one or two forks... I recently picked up a lightly used Reba XX with a QR mount and what do ya know... the front tire is off centered by several millimeters and is visibly noticeable. Never mind the bad quality control, it's a safety issue. Unfortunately, you're not going to find any of these issues highlighted in the reviews here. You have to do some searching in the MTBR forums, but there are quite a few threads on the problem.
As for how the fork actually functions aside from the factory defects... It's okay... not bad... not great. The dual air is a pain to set up. I'd rather just have a single air chamber to set the fork preload. Don't give me two... just more pressure checking I have to do. I much prefer the simplicity of Fox Forx. Oh, and the fork isn't all that plush... it can be, but you sacrafice some of the full travel.
So bottom line is that I will not be buying another Reba. I'm going to work with my LBS who will replace the lowers under warranty from SRAM and after that, I may just sell it. I own two Rebas (fooled me twice), and I dislike them equally. Next Fork I put on any of my bikes will be a Fox.
This fork gets a whopping 2 chilis for value (only paid $550), but 1 chili because the build quality on the lowers is terrible.
Strengths: Noticably stiffer than previous generations, A lot smoother more linear stroke that is more supple and more intuitive (reacts faster and smoother)
Weaknesses: adjusting from 120 to 100 involves shock disassembly
Cannot remove the poploc without removing the whole core (for manual lockout on the fork)
I got this OEM new on Ebay for 340 shipped. I don't think you can get a better deal on a fork..well I am sure you can, but its a great deal!
It is bar none, the best fork I have ever ridden. It is much more intuitive to oncoming obstacles than my 08 F120 RLC by far (which never leaked or had any problems btw). Post ride I will look down at the stantions and really be surprised on how much travel I was actually using. Much more than I ever got out fo the RLC. It is significantly more stiff, and more plush and smooth operating than my fox. I do not want to knock the fox because it has been a solid fork, but this one is just a few notches higher. I would suggest spending the extra money for the Team (Blackbox version) as the dampening system is a bit better. It isn't the lightest shock at 3.5lb but it is a solid performer and miles ahead of previous generations! I would say, that if you could get a deal on one, go for it. Don't rule out the Fox and try the RLC FIT to see how that one feels (It is 2010), but the RS Reba Team is a solid performer and has blown me away with the quality and performance!
a Cross Country Rider
from Whitby, Ontario
Date Reviewed: October 16, 2009
Strengths: Very stiff, very plush and linear for an air fork, almost an unnoticeable amount of stiction (it is noticeable but only if the fork has been sitting for a while). White colour, to me a white fork screams aftermarket upgrade and although I'm not an attention seeker however with a product this nice I don't mind people looking.
Weaknesses: The sticker job looks kind of weak but I had plans to peel them anyway so it doesn't matter.
This fork performs like a plush big travel coil fork, in that it has a very linear and predictable spring rate without any of the weight penalties. There is almost no stiction and once the fork has been compressed once it is all but virtually eliminated. Took me a while to dial in the perfect negative and positive air settings but, now that things are set it works flawlessly. The included Poploc required some fiddling as well as it would not engage the lockout when the switch was activated but after pre-engaging the lockout dial a small amount and tightening the cable into place that issue was resolved and I was able to go ahead and set my floodgate. It is relatively light coming in just under its claimed weight (albeit after i cut the steer tube a good amount). If your a cross country racer or just a weekend warrior this fork has enough versatility to satisfy a large crowd and simple intuitive settings that a novice can grasp right away but, still offers enough adjustability to satisfy the more experienced group of riders out there. The fork is supplied with the spacers so you can adjust the travel to 120mm but stock it came at it's 100mm travel setting, which is ideal for the area I'm in and my style of riding. I've only got a few rides on it yet and I will update when I've got more experience with the fork but for now I'm very pleased with the product.
Similar Products Used: Rockshox SID (2000), Rockshox Judy SL (1999), Fox 36 Van R (2008). I work in a bike shop so I get a chance to demo a lot of product.
Bike Setup: Norco Fireball configured in a 1x9 setup. Shifting is taken care of by a saint M810 shifter and an XTR rear der M952 (yeah its old school but it's much less finicky than the new M972 series and it shifts just as well). XT cranks, Thomson Elite seatpost and stem, Easton bars and of course the Rockshox Reba Team.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: September 20, 2009
Strengths: Review for Reba Team with Maxle Light and Pushloc
Plush...feels nothing like the previous generation Reba. Easy setup, comes in black (I am sick of white forks). Eats up whatever an XC bike can be thrown at in 120mm mode. Maxle creates a fork that feels overbuilt for XC, yet does not have any real weight penalty. Improved steering and control, far fewer endos now!
Weaknesses: 100mm mode less supple than 120mm mode, but I needed the change for better geometry. Changing spacers a pain. Leaks oil (slowly-have not noticed a reduction in performance). Wish it had the sag gradients like SID. Maxle is great, easier than skewers, but it does add about half a pound to the fork.
Finally Rockshox caught up to (and surpassed?) Fox on the feel of their forks. I am thinking of making my own 10mm spacer for the fork so I can have 110mm of travel. Changing spacers is a pain because it means a nearly full dissemble, so I only do it when I think the oil or seals need changing.
As far as use for XC/Racing, I prefer this fork over the newest SID because of the stiffness and plushness. The newest SID may be 10 times better than the previous generation, but the SID can still feel like a pogo stick. Of note is the 3/4 pound weight increase of the Maxle Reba over the SID, but even if lifting that 100 times a race makes me more tired, constant steering correction and a crash are far worse.
I still think Fox makes excellent forks, but I am far more inclined these days to go for the new Reba and Revelation forks. Of course, judging by the solid feel and ease of service of the newest Rockshox, I don't expect to require a new one any time soon.
Value of 4 because last year it was expensive. Of course, I got the leather seats and chrome trim.
For value, get a non-Maxle Lite Race.
Rating of 5 because I have not tried anything better.
Similar Products Used: 2007 Reba Team (dead feel), 2000 SID (flexy), Manitou R7 (uhg), 2009 Fox F29, 2010 Revelation U-Turn
Bike Setup: FS XC 4in both ends
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: September 11, 2009
Strengths: Light. Adjustable. Floodgate works well. Pushloc works well. Comes w shock pump.
Weaknesses: More oil comes out of this than I'm totally comfortable with. It's not much, but still. Small -ve air chamber combined with slow shock-pump removal makes it hard to get the -ve air just right relative to the +ve. Graphics make this looks like a couple of cans of redstripe and that reminds me of a crappy club. You can really tell that 2008 (when 2009 forks were designed) was a recession year from the STINKING graphics. '08 model was much better in this (least important) regard.
Reba Team dual air. Ships at 100mm travel. Can be 80/100/120mm by adding/removing internal spacers (full service required). Came w pushloc, shock pump and two spacers. Pump leaks a little when the hose isn't straight, but I don't care about the pump.
Wouldn't normally mention graphics either as it's performance that matters, but special mention to the worst graphics job in the business. A red stripe. Genius. Why'd they even bother making it diagonal?! Lol.
Wanted the Revelation 426 dual air, but a deal on the Reba Team sucked me in.
This is a nice piece of kit. Really keeps the wheel nailed to the ground over choppy stuff at up to 50kmh. Soaks up bigger bumps pretty well too, but 100mm travel is barely adequate for rough descents never mind drops of more than a couple of feet. But I got this for XC/trail use. Takes some setting up, but take your time to really dial it in and you won't regret it. A little oil comes out every time the pressure is adjusted, but it's a fraction of a ml.
Pushloc is easy to set up and works great. Lockout is good.
External adjustable floodgate is excellent - although the suggested settings in the manual are off imo.
I weigh 185 loaded. The fork seems to run good for me at 116+ve 108-ve (according to my particular pump gauge) Floodgate at 3/4 turn from closed. Med-fast rebound.
One of the reasons people think they have leaks in air forks is that when you set your air, as you remove the pump, you lose a little. Then, next time you put the pump back on, you lose a little more. So, whenever you check the pressure, it will always be lower than what you set it to, as it lost a little air at least twice since you set it up just from removing/attaching the pump. Solution is simple. Remove pump as quickly as possible. Always remove it at that speed. See how much air you lose (about half the difference between what you set and what it measures if you take the pump off and put it back on right away), and just set the pressure that much higher before removing the pump. Also, listen to the air loss. If you hear it was more than usual then set pressure again and remove the pump faster/cleaner this time.
Another factor is ambient temperature. If you leave the fork in the snow, your pressure will be lower (~15% lower) than when it's 30C out and vice-versa. So, if you're checking for leaks, make sure you do it at v close to the same temp as when you set it.
Finally, the -ve air chamber is smaller than the +ve, so when you attach/remove the pump to/from the -ve chamber, you lose air over the same time period (however long it takes to attach/remove pump)as you do on the +ve chamber, but that works out to be a bigger chunk of the smaller -ve chamber's total volume. So, the -ve air will always look like it's 'leaking' more. This means you have to set it a little higher still to compensate for bigger percentage loss during pump removal.
I guess you can test this theory on your fork:
Pressure it. Remove pump quickly. Reattach quickly. Note the change in pressure. THEN, reinflate to the same pressure you just did, remove pump quickly, this time wait a day. Reattach pump quickly. Read pressure. If it's the same as it was when you put the pump on right after taking it off yesterday, then you do *not* have a leak! If you did, it would be much lower after a day. After all, if you fork is 5-10psi lower after 20sec, it would get really low pretty quick wouldn't it?! Bingo. If you want to be sure you've nailed it, do it a bunch of times.
I think the price of forks is insane when you consider the complexity of what you can buy for less (like a powerful computer). It's v hard to give 5* for value even at the deep discount I picked this fork up for. Having said that, it is a nice piece of kit, and relative to the price of some forks on the market, this is a steal. So for once, I'll suck it up and give 5* for value just because it works well and if you can find it on closeout it's much better value than some others.
Only criticism is that there is a little too much brake dive with the fork otherwise as I'd like it. I guess you can't have it both ways.
Remote travel adjust is the only thing that's lacking. Even just two positions would be good like the Marzocchi Eta system. Max travel for descending, low height for climbing, in easy reach with no screwing around (npi) like you have to with U-turn.
Last tip. The valves and caps seem fine, but to ensure less air loss from valves and to help avoid losing caps, you can put a few turns of teflon tape on the valve cap threads.
a Cross Country Rider
from London,London,United Kingdom
Date Reviewed: June 7, 2009
Strengths: So easy to setup
Reasonably Light, but stiff and reliable too
Great price when compared to the Fox forks for aftermarket purchase
Weaknesses: Graphics are a touch lack lustre - and stickers were put on fairly hap hazardly on mine - but that's a minor detail!
I deliberated for ages about upgrading my dart 3's to Reba's or SID's. AS my riding skills, and particularly my overall speed has improved, I'd noticed the Dart 3 really couldn't cut the mustard (not supple enough (plush) over rapid small bumps, and not stiff enough. The 32mm stanchions of the Reba really make a difference over the 28mm of the Dart, and the Team version gives all the options in terms of setup. The only fork I've ridden that's comparable was a U-Turn Pike 454 that was turned down to 110 - the pike was good, but not as overall adjustable. I almost bought the Reba Race instead, then though if I don't buy the Team I'll always wonder if it was better for the sake of a little money. Bottom line, I love my new forks, I set them up with 100psi positive, 130psi negative, a little rebound, and a little floodgate (I'm 76kg and do XC riding and racing, seems a perfect setup for soaking up small bumps and still asorbing the 3-4" drops that are the max I generally come across). They came with the new push lock, which seems a lot stronger than the poploc I had on my darts. Can't see how spending double on fox forks would ever be worth it.
Similar Products Used: Dart 1, Dart 3, Pike 454 U-Turn
Bike Setup: 2007 M4 Stumpjumper frame, deore dual controls, m535 brakes, xt front mech, deore low normal rear mech, Easton XC2 wheels, race saddle, flat pedals.
a Cross Country Rider
from Eagle Mountain
Date Reviewed: May 31, 2009
Strengths: Stiff. Once personal settings are found it rides great, no further thought needed on any ride. Pushloc works great.
Weaknesses: Takes a long time to get set right. Negative air chamber loses 1/2 pressure between every ride.
Excellent fork that rides well. Mine came with every option including U-turn, pushloc and 20mm thru axle. Mine is also a 29er. The thru axle is super stiff and the fork tracks really well. It took me a long time and many different PSI's in both chambers to get the feel I wanted but it wasn't difficult to do so. What really bothers me is that the negative chamber loses so much PSI between rides. I keep it about 15 psi higher than the positive chamber but it just won't hold. Just a small hassle at the beginning of each ride. I use the pushloc for roads only and it works well, big bumps still activate the fork. When releasing the pushloc it is a little slow but nothing big. The U-turn is nice but a pain in the butt to use while riding. I honestly don't use it that much. Maybe if there is a long fire road climb I'll shorten it up but it climbs so well in the 120mm setting that it just isn't worth it.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: May 12, 2009
Strengths: easily adjustable to your style of riding via air pressure, travel can be adjusted by adding / removing spacers, pushlock works really well
Weaknesses: stickers don't look to good and come off easily. the little screws on the motion control know are really weak and break easily.
what a fork! so far i really like this baby! it's fairly light for a 120mm as well. i would have bought the race version but my dealer gave me the team version for the same price. it takes some time to find the right air pressure but once it's dialled in to your weight and style of riding you'll love it. i broke the screw that holds the floodgate knob in place - be careful not to overtighten it! we'll see how the fork performs in the long run but so far it has been great!