White Brothers is the only choice for a true off road quality 29” suspension fork. Our Big Wheel forks feature the stiffest platform available for 29” with the most bushing overlap and lightest construction methods available.
Weaknesses: No lock out (found a way to fix it, kind of) no “on the fly adjustment”
I purchased this fork because it was the only all mountain fork available with 5”of travel. I went around and around trying to dial it in for the technical riding in the Nor Cal area and was about to give up.
I was finding that there was too much movement while climbing so I sent the fork back to WB to have the IMV installed. Unfortunately, once the fork was back at WB, they informed me that due to the length of travel on this fork the IMV could not be installed in the regular fashion. They worked their magic and fitted it so I have to remove the left compression adjustment cover and use a 4mm hex half way down the stanchion to make the adjustment. This gave the fork a needed “fine tune” adjustment that I was looking for.
After a couple of weeks dialing it in I still felt there was too much bob while climbing. I spoke with the guys just before Interbike 08, and they sent me two smaller diameter springs to place inside the compression springs. I started with one on the lower spring and ran it for about two weeks. I developed a leak on the seal and decided to send the fork to WB one more time.
When I got it back I was stoked!! On extended climbs, if I put my weight forward it doest bob once it hits the bottom half of the travel range because of the extra spring (almost like a lock out). It is buttery smooth on the technical descents as well as stiff. I have thrown everything Mr. Toads, Downieville, TRT, Loon Lake, HITG, South Yuba River, Whiskey town, Paradise Royal, N. Umpqua, and others have and this fork just keeps begging for more.
Long story short, if you spend some time and effort tuning in this fork, you will be rewarded with one outstanding ride.
Favorite Trail: Orgasmic Toads (Heavenly to Mr. Toads)
Duration Product Used: 2 Years
Purchased At: LBS
Similar Products Used: Lefty 29er 80mm
Bike Setup: Ventana El Ray 5”, RP23, Chris King, Hope, SRAM X-0, and Gravity Dropper.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: October 3, 2008
Strengths: This is for the Fluid 110.
Nice folks at customer service. Feels nice on the big hits.
Weaknesses: Stiction. Seal always feel dry and sticky!
Mixed feelings about this fork. It's too bad because it seems to have a lot of potential to be a nearly perfect fork.
I've had this fork for a year and put a lot hours into trying to get it to feel right.
The biggest problem seems to be the stiction. It feels like the seals get very sticky and dry. I've tried all the tricks in the book. After a ride or two the seals always seem to get too dry. The best I can tell it seems to prevent the fork from fully rebounding. It also seems to decrease it's small bump sensitiviy. "Infusing" some fork oil down into the seals appears to resolve the problem completely, though only temporarily. It's really too bad as I'd say a simple "foam-ring" under the seals, soaked in oil like Fox uses, would clear this problem right up
Next. The fork has gotten better over the first year. I suppose some of it is the seals or bushings freeing up. But I've found some very important things. The compression air side chamber was leaking out air on my fork (even after it returned from WB for servicing!). As the air would get squeezed out during riding and compressing I'd end up with negative air pressure in the fork. This always kept the fork "pulled down" into its travel and it would not rebound completely. Once I fixed the leak the fork seemed to show improvement.
The second "revelation" I found was that most pumps do not accurately measure the tiny air pressures of the compression side correctly. Once I got that dialed in I saw a big difference. I had been running too little air pressure in the compression side and I think I may had been blowing through the travel too quickly (though adding a bit too much quickly made the fork too harsh). Also, and this is a big one, it appears to me that getting the fork to fully extend is very dependent on having enough air in the compression side. The compression side seems to have a lot more effect on this than the air in the preload side. (What I needed to do to get accurate pressures in the compression side is over pressurize it a bit with a shock pump. Then to actually get the correct pressure I use a much lower pressure "truck tire - low pressure" gauge and let bits of air out until I hit the mark. Kind of a pain in the behind but it works and makes a big difference in the fork. My guess is this is what is keeping too many people from dialing in this fork.
The air pressures are have not been easy for me to deal with on this fork as above. At 180# I've seemed to most recently settle into about 62# in the main and about 7# compression, but this is still a work in progress.
Does WB (or anyone else) make a lower pressure shock pump that might work better on this fork?
Overall I'd give it about a 3 to a three in a half. When every thing is dialed in and the seals are lubed I'd say the performance is about a 4.5. But this fork required a lot of TLC to get it there and it doesn't always stay there as the seals dry out. Value wise this fork was very pricey. Pricey enough that out of the box it should have felt far nicer.
I really want to like this fork. You might be able to tell by my description of the work I put into it. WB seems like a top notch company with great qualtiy but a poor design issue or two.
If the fork continues to improve I will repost and bump up the score.
Similar Products Used: Just about most. Zokes, Fox, Manitou, RS.
Bike Setup: Lenz Leviathan 4"
a Cross Country Rider
from El Paso, Texas
Date Reviewed: October 2, 2008
Strengths: Only one avail with that travel.
Weaknesses: Thin stantions, Old style through axle,Effective fork travel 128mm after 5 months.
The 2008 fluid 135.
I wanted to wait a while before writing this review. I neede to make sure i got to know the fork enough, and make sure my assesment was not due to rider error. When I got the fork it was a bit difficult to dial it in, and seemed to be that no matter what I did, it was harsh, and showed quite a bit of sticktion. Well after back and forth on the spring preload (left side) I ended up with about 12 out from maximum preload. The left side felt best at 8 psi.
But the fork was still not acceptable. So a little experimenting....and after greasing the stanctions after every 2 rides seems to bring out a nice riding fork. The fork took about 10 hrs to do so. (first fork i`ve owned that didn`t rip right out of the box. Well after 5 months i noticed that the spring have a bit more sag on it now. I weigh 200 lbs, and ride hard, but no jumps over 2 feet. So by standing next to the bike it had saged to 124 mm, and the only way to get it back to 135mm was to full up on the bike....hmmm....brought back memories from the earlier nixon days with the IT. The only way i could eliminate that sag was to turn the preload all the way in, wich again brought an undesirable stiff feeling to it, and to double that with that the only way it felt semi good was to let all the air out of the right side...And now I had a pogo stick. So a golden midway setting was preload 6 turns out from full, and 12 psi in the right side. Fork now feels ok again, bot I now have a 128 mm fork...Not a 135mm.
I tried the helper spring, but that just stiffens up the spring rate, and is shorter than the main spring, and therefore doesn`t affect the preload.
With all that said. I have never met and talked with finer people than the guys at White Brothers. I have had pleanty of dealings with tech support of different co`s, and I must say they are great. This is my first "spring" fork, and I must say also my last. I do realize a lot of people wrote great review`s, and I am not saying they are wrong, but merely that this is what I experianced. I hope that White Bros. Will improve on their construction of this fork. Which also has a good deal of flex due to long leverage and thin stanctions, but i think that will be adressed next year.
a Weekend Warrior
from San Rafael CA
Date Reviewed: September 22, 2008
Strengths: Solid construction. very adjustable, and Smoooooth!
Weaknesses: I don't understand why the boys in Grand Junction decided to put a plastic cap over the spring load adjustment nut, but they did. Mine is taped in place with so me electrical tape. All in all it has nothing to do with the performance so whatever
Awesome fork. I went with the rip 9 for an all-mountain big wheel machine, and the WB fluid 29 135mm makes it all possible. The fork can handle more than what I feel comfortable throwing at the Niner. I bet this fork or the 150mm WB on the new Lenz Behemoth would be a sick freeride duce nine. The fork is easy to tune as well. You can dial it up for Downhilling in Moab or tone it down for rolling dirt track around Hood River. If you think of your 29er as more than a XC bike then do yourself a favor and throw this fork up front and let'er rip.
Bike Setup: Niner rip 9, XT build, with Hope/Stans flow wheelset
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: November 5, 2007
Strengths: stiff, plush, love that extra travel
Bought this fork to replace my Rock Shox Reba 100mm. After consulting with George at Bike29.com (because he has the same bike as me) I decided to give the White Bros. 135mm Fluid a try. I ride some pretty rough stuff and felt that I need more than 100mm of travel- especially since I'm used to a Fox 140mm on my 26er.
I was ok with the Reba but having had Fox forks before, I felt the Reba was a step down from the perfomance of a Fox. Since Fox isn't making a BIG travel 29er fork yet, my only option was the White Bros.
I was pleasantly surprised that the workmanship and performance is on par with Fox. The travel is very smooth all the way thru and the fork is stiff so that it tracks well. The action thru rock gardens was compliant enough to not hang on the small stuff but not overly soft. My only minor complaint would be that the rebound adjuster doesn't have any clicks and the top caps are plastic vs. metal.
I like how it seems to have improved the ride of my RIP: the Reba just seemed to not have enough travel to be compatible with all the rear travel of the RIP. I noticed that I felt a lot more comfortable hitting jumps and rock gardens with the extra travel of the WB just taking everything in stride whereas the Reba made me always be a little more conservative on the lines I chose.
Thanks again to bike29.com for the help in choosing this fork as well as the nice King wheel up front!