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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
so the actuation of my 34 is superb. nothing to complain about there. where I fall short is stiffness.

after two bikes with a 34 I have always felt like its the most under gunned piece on the bike. most notably extreme flex during hard braking, not to be confused with brake dive, which I have tuned out with lsc. I mean flex that you can feel. I am not a small guy, 230 lbs riding weight. and I ride very hard. if I rode xc style and cruised dh this would be the ticket. but my fat butt likes to see if we can gap this root all the way to that next hump down the trail, availing in rough on parts type of riding.

so I'm looking for replacement options and opinions. its going on a transition smuggler, so needs to be the short offset. 140/150 mm travel.

pike ultimate? lyrik?? 36?? helm? or even mrp. I've heard great things about them.
 

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230 and riding hard---you get the expected result-----Fox 36 or Lyrik---cannot go wrong with either but pricey---about a grand

What bike is it for ? Some travel restrictions on many forks
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
230 and riding hard---you get the expected result-----Fox 36 or Lyrik---cannot go wrong with either but pricey---about a grand

What bike is it for ? Some travel restrictions on many forks
Yep. This is going to be my long term bike so kinda okay with paying to have it the way I need it. Transition smuggler. 140mm travel
 

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Yep. This is going to be my long term bike so kinda okay with paying to have it the way I need it. Transition smuggler. 140mm travel
I would make the argument that the Smuggler is too little of a bike for something like a Mezzer. Better suited to something like a Fox 36 set a 140.
 

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A F36, Lyrik and Mezzer set to 140mm are all the same size.
My thinking is that the Smuggler is a 120mm bike. Might be more rough and tumble than other 120mm bikes, but it is still a 120mm short travel 29er. The Mezzer seems like a fork really suited to "bigger" 29ers. Things like the Rimpo, Smash, etch.
 

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I owned a 2018 Smuggler for a while and my main complaint was that it had a 34 instead of a 36 or beefier fork. The bike really wants to be pushed harder than it's travel figures indicate (it's 140 front, 120 rear, some run 150 up front). I went through this whole thing too. Here are my experiences/decisions:

Lyrik: No end user support from SRAM, mediocre performance in the past, reports here of adjusters not being all that useful, stiff chassis

36: It's a Fox. Their CS is mediocre, the GRIP2 is supposed to feel fantastic but ingests bath oil, which is always dirty for me, assembly quality issues seem rampant. It's the main one on the list that I never actually tried.

Ribbon: I owned one of these. I'm sure Noah will comment here, but I had nothing but trouble getting the stiction worked out. I'm not the only one, either, YMMV. It's also not the stiffest chassis of the bunch, although it was enough for me at 220lbs. Well damped, rides high in the travel, just harsh and sticky. Some love them and have no issues.

Helm: Stiff chassis, firm damping, smooth action, lots of adjustment. It felt real similar to the Ribbon for me without the stiction. If you value support over anything else, this is a great option.

DVO Sapphire 34: More along the lines of the 34, but with more adjustment and a better chassis. If you wanted to stay on 34mm stanchions, I'd go this route, but if you want a burlier chassis then I'd look at the Diamond.

I'd also consider the SR Suntour Durolux RC2 (NOT the R2C2), their chassis seems really burly, although it's pretty heavy and the a2c is on the longer side.

I have a Mezzer on order for my Sentinel. I can report back in a week or two about how it performs.

My thinking is that the Smuggler is a 120mm bike. Might be more rough and tumble than other 120mm bikes, but it is still a 120mm short travel 29er. The Mezzer seems like a fork really suited to "bigger" 29ers. Things like the Rimpo, Smash, etch.
Smaller riders on the Smuggler may get along fine with the 140 34 (The Smuggler is 140 front), but I did not. There is a reason they started speccing them after 2018 with a 36, it really suites the bike and the way it wants to be ridden. Most bikes in that category are also coming with 36s.
 

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There is never a scenario where you benefit from less stiffness. It's always just about weight.

Big forks are shockingly light these days, so there is no excuse for bigger dudes to deal with noodles. I'm biased, so count my vote for the mezzer, but any big chassis single crown that can space down to 140mm would be good.

The 34 is known to flex.
 

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36 Rhythm could be a good candidate.

FitGrip damper is good, thicker stanchion, still retains 36 airshafts unlike the e-bike version that steps the airshaft down to a 34 assembly.

That said, I have an ebike 36 grip2 on one of my bikes, I'm a big boy like yourself and man is it stiff! The 34 airshaft makes no difference IMO. Worthy contender.
 

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Quite a few oem pull off 36s on the Pinkbike classifieds decently priced. I’m fairly sure you can swap to a 140mm air spring.
+1 on the Rhythm 36 grip as a bargain with great performance. I have the 150mm and it is solid. No complaints.


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Pike or Ribbon are the lightest options that'd probably work for your weight.

Lyric and 36 are too much weight for a short travel bike, but others will disagree ...

Fox probably ought to ditch the 34, go all in on the SC 34 and bump travel to 120-140mm, then make the SC32 the 100-120mm fork, then take the 36 and make it more substantial like a Bomber :)

For a less expensive option if the OP wants a 36, get a Bomber Z1, it's plenty stiff and the Grip damper works well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Pike or Ribbon are the lightest options that'd probably work for your weight.

Lyric and 36 are too much weight for a short travel bike, but others will disagree ...

Fox probably ought to ditch the 34, go all in on the SC 34 and bump travel to 120-140mm, then make the SC32 the 100-120mm fork, then take the 36 and make it more substantial like a Bomber :)

For a less expensive option if the OP wants a 36, get a Bomber Z1, it's plenty stiff and the Grip damper works well.
I went with a ribbon! We shall see
 
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