a Cross Country Rider
from Sequim, Washington USA
Date Reviewed: January 5, 2012
Strengths: Light weight, very adjustable, Swiss craftsmanship, tight tolerances, bullet proof and stiff construction, precise responsive steering, diamond-hard coating on struts, stunning appearance.
Weaknesses: Price (suggested retail $1200+). Somewhat noisy when working it hard. Difficult to mount a fender. Proprietary service.
This fork is more about control than comfort. I would not say it is plush by any means, so if you want comfort go with a Fox. However if you want the ultimate in handling and control for your ride, then this is the fork for you. It's firm without being harsh. Think of this fork like Bilstein or Koni shocks for your sports car, it's all about speed, control, and the firm force that keeps the tire on the ground after a bump. At 3.5 lbs., this is also possibly the lightest 29er suspension fork on the market.
DT Swiss makes a point about break-in for this fork, and recommends that it takes about 20 hours to break in and get rid of the jerky feeling. I think this is a gross underestimation and why I waited so long to review the fork. I wanted to give it the benefit of a generous break-in, but it still feels new. My experience is that with over 200 hours on it now (about 1700 miles) , it is just as tight as it was when I bought it, but a bit smoother and quieter in its operation, the jerky feeling however, took about 35 to 40 hours to fade away. Be warned that this can be disheartening after spending such a big wad and having it seem to take forever to "Feel right, which it won't right out of the box. In fact after 20 hours, everyone who rode it said "That's not right", so I called support about the break-in and was told to be patient, "You'll love it". He was right. I have a friend with the same fork and he has had the same experience. Neither of us are disappointed with this anymore, as it seems to suggest that it will be a very long time before they need servicing or a rebuild. After all this use, the finish on the struts still looks like it did the day I installed the fork and the seals have no signs of deterioration or cracking, despite my daily riding in mud and sand. I live very close to salt water and there have been no signs of corrosion what-so-ever anywhere on the fork (wish I could say the same for the rest of the components).
I have ridden this fork hard for over a year and it is still working perfectly, I don't anticipate changing to anything else. When I ride a bike with a Fox or a Reba now, my first reaction is they feel mushy by comparison. I don't want to go back to that feeling, so if this fork ever fails I will probably buy another. It has a very progressive travel, easy at first, then adds more resistance as the travel increases. I have ridden on some seriously harsh trails that deliver some very hard landings and this fork soaks them up with ease. I have only managed to bottom-out this fork once, which I find absolutely amazing considering the hits it has taken!
There is a lot of control over how it operates and a lot of combinations to experiment with. The nicest feature of all is the lock-out and how it functions. There has been a lot of confusion in other reviews I have read about the lock-out and the RLTC (Rebound Threshold Launch Control), and how it all works. I feel like I can clear the air a bit because I have had significant time on this fork to become very familiar with how it works. When you press the lock-out to engage it, almost all rebound is stopped, but compression continues to function normally. This causes the fork to gradually get shorter with every bump (or pump) until it reaches about 65% of it's stroke, where is settles into it's locked down position. This is an enormous advantage when climbing and has made many of the 'almost possible' climbs possible because of the weight transfer of the shortened fork. Another point to make here is the fork never really locks down completely, rather it continues to operate with about 5~10mm of travel, allowing it to be somewhat compliant until you are ready to release it. That's where the RLTC comes in. Think of it as an adjustable blow-off valve. You can set the point which it will release by turning a knob on the top of the strut. I have come to love this feature because I never need to remember to release the lock-out, once I found the sweet spot, I just left it there and it works SO nicely, every time, without having to hit a really big one to release it!
My biggest beefs are these;
1) Pathetic lack of documentation and suggested base-line settings (A fork that cost this much should come with a leather-bound tome with gold edged pages, not a folded leaflet that is mostly safety precautions!) (Are you reading this DT Swiss?)
2) My L.B.S. cannot service it for me, it must be sent to B.T.I. for service (DTs service sub-contractor in the USA).
3) It is impossible to find a fender that fits because of the design of the rear arch. Nothing on the market fits quite right without interfering with the fork's operation during full travel -plan to use a down-tube mounted mud board or a good pair of goggles instead. (Come on DT, make fender for it!)
To me these are inconveniences not really deficiencies in its operation -which is stellar. Despite my gripes, this is quite possibly the perfect racing fork, ...I love the firm feeling of control! (But then I always put Bilsteins or Konis on my cars)
Looks wise I give a 10+. It is absolutely elegant in design and appearance with a flawless finish. With its shiny black carbon weave and its black anodized struts, it looks like it belongs on Darth Vader's mountain bike (...if he had one.) ( ...a hardtail I'm sure). This fork will enhance any bike you put it on -and probably double it's value at the same time!
In summary this fork is built for speed, not comfort. It exudes firm control, quality craftsmanship, and is ever-so light!! But shop for a bargain because you don't need to pay MSRP.
Bike Setup: Sette Razzo frame, Sram X-0 geared drive train, Avid Juicy Ultimate brakes, DT Swiss wheels and hubs, Ritchey Carbon bars and seat post, Brooks 'Conquest' saddle.
a Weekend Warrior
from Melbourne ,Vic ,Australia
Date Reviewed: July 28, 2010
Strengths: Light weight, responsive, very adjustable, did I say light, look bling.Only $611 AUS
Weaknesses: No so far
To be fair in this reveiw this is my first pair of squidgy forks for 4 years so I have nothing to compair them to .Although I can say that in the 40hrs of riding so far they have really impressed me . I haven't been gentle to them and really did push them as hard as I could on some bumpy trails and 1mt drops.They were very plush and soaked the big bumps really well, hardly dived under braking and really made the bike handle way better.
The forks were on sale when bought them and were cheaper that similar products from Rockshox and fox , that was a huge selling point for me as they are normally quite expensive and would be out of my price range.
Weaknesses: Very difficult to dial in. Have also had to send back to DT Swiss for maintenance. Price
Decent fork and incredibly light. If you are weight weenie that would still like a suspension fork this is your fork. I also have had a Pace 29er (which was bought out by DT Swiss) that is suppose to be the same fork but I cannot get them to feel anywhere near the same. The DT is very difficult to get things dialed in and still always feels harsh. The Pace is much smoother feeling and less touchy on the settings. I do think it is very pricey but if you are looking for a light suspension fork with a serious bling factor this is the fork for you. If you are looking for something more practical - stay with a Reba. I have raced it for over a year now and have no regrets.