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So I'm planning on upgrading the fork on my Specialized Hardrock and I was looking at the Tora 318. I'm pretty new to biking and while I've read about the pros and cons of coil vs. air suspension I'm still not sure what to go with. I'm pretty lightweight (don't know exact weight perhaps 140lbs) and 5'10". I do all cross-country biking and the most amount of air I'm going to be getting is about 2'. I also like to go down 5-6 step staircases and jump curbs in my local shopping center. Can you provide any help based on given info? Do I need to provide more background?
 

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I AM I AM
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Well the air forks ramp up more so you're less likely to "bottom out" (think as you squeeze air it becomes more pressurised and becomes harder to squeze more. So in that regard some people say air forks are not as "plush" as some coil forks.
Coil forks are more "linear" so you have a plusher feel throughout the travel.

In my opinion the extra expense of buying the correct spring to suit your weight when you get a coil fork is kind of negated if you factor in that for an air fork you have to buy a shock pump (if the fork doesn't already come iwth one - and even if it does it would be factored into the price of the fork).

So look at it this way:

Air forks:
Lighter,
More adjustable so perhaps more versatile
Need servicing more often
You need a shock pump

Coil forks:
Plusher (or more linear travel)
Heavier
Need servicing less often
You may have to buy a heaveir / lighter rated spring to suit your weight.

I have an '06 Tora 318, and frankly I like it as much as the Pike 454 air I had. The only decent coil fork I've had is a Domain 180 that I got recently for my DH bike, I must say I am impressed in how "plush" a coil fork feels (I'm 155lb), it doesn't ramp up like the Tora, so really I'm probably a convert and would say if you can get the correct spring for your weight nothing beats a coil well particularly for DH, but the Tora has it's benefits - I can put more pressure in for someone else who is heaveier to ride my bike (my husband), I can change the travel on it from 100mm to 130mm by removing internal spacers if I ever want to put it on a different bike etc etc.

I'm not sure, being on the lighter end of the scale if a spring to suit your weight is available for the Tora then I would think about getting that because at 140lb you're around the minimum air pressure recommendations for the Tora, and if you have to run much less air pressure it could meant the fork doesn't perform as well.

The other thing to consider is depending on your age how quickly you're likely to grow or put any more weight on? If you think you wil get heavier reasonably quickly would you be happy to buy a new spring for the coil fork or would it be better to have an air fork to which you can just ad more pressure?

Really I don't think there is big reliability differences between the two, and I can see your dilemma. Hopefully someone else can give you a bit more useful advice that might help.
 

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im 230lbs and i don't know how that colors my experience.

I had a tora 318 coil which i loved. Got an awesome deal on a revelation dual air, so i did it. Hated the fork, so many adjustments but they all felt like crap. Aside from being lighter, which was only really noticeable when i would do wheelies, the 2x as expensive fork wasn't as good. Rebuilt it 2x, honed the bushings, tried different weight oil, no luck. Pulled the air spring guts, stuck in a extra firm coil, and 'ta-da!' i'm happy with the fork, it's better than the tora, although if i were to do it again, i woulda spent that 200$ on hookers and booze. I won't be wasting my money on air suspension again.

Naturally, your experience may be totally different.
 

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Both can be good. My Recon 351 is Air, oil, coil and is a very sweet plush fork. A little heavy but the performance out weighs the additional weight. I've never bottomed it even though its only 80mm of travel on a hardtail Zaskar. I also have a Reba that set at 80mm on a 29er hardtail single. Just as plush and although lighter than the 26" Recon 351. The Reba did take a lot more time to get all the suspension tuning right but now that I have it figured out its a great fork. Do I like one better than the other? No!
 

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scottzg said:
im 230lbs and i don't know how that colors my experience.

I had a tora 318 coil which i loved. Got an awesome deal on a revelation dual air, so i did it. Hated the fork, so many adjustments but they all felt like crap. Aside from being lighter, which was only really noticeable when i would do wheelies, the 2x as expensive fork wasn't as good. Rebuilt it 2x, honed the bushings, tried different weight oil, no luck. Pulled the air spring guts, stuck in a extra firm coil, and 'ta-da!' i'm happy with the fork, it's better than the tora, although if i were to do it again, i woulda spent that 200$ on hookers and booze. I won't be wasting my money on air suspension again.

Naturally, your experience may be totally different.
Was it pretty simple replacing the air unit for a coil spring? I have half entertained the idea of converting the Tora when it's due for new seals. I say half because I'm not sure if I'd want to or not - nothing much wrong with it apart from never using maybe the top 15mm of travel (case in point for what JC said)
Obviously I'd have to get the u-turn assembly if I wanted ti to still be travel adjustable (or do coils work on spacers too?). Is it as simple as take air assembly out and install new spring assembly?
 

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I just picked uip a Tora 318 U-Turn coil WITH remote poplock for under $250. What sold me was the lack of maintenance issues, ability to adjust the travel on the trail and the handle bar lock out control feature. Performance reviews are positive across the web for a fork with this amount of features in this price range.
 

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inner peace to make peace
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coil

i like coil springs
reliable, effective, and fun...but be sure to have strong enough coil springs to resist bottoming out.
if 0.5# could make the difference of winning a XC or AM race then I can see going with air.
 

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Another thing about air forks, and I find this especially true about the Tora 318 Air, is all the seals in the fork amount to a bit of stiction... especially later in the fork's life. My Tora is on my commuter bike now so it isn't that big of a deal, but when my Rev is due for an overhaul I'm going for a coil.

BTW what coil should I get for a 150-160 lb. rider?
 

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Jerk_Chicken said:
At that weight, I'm first inclined to recommend coil, as some air forks might be too progressive to allow you full travel, but serve the function of also preventing bottom out due to this very same quality, although that's not always the rule.
I weigh in the low 260lbs range and have got to within < 1/8" inch of full travel with my Tora Solo Air at the 100mm travel setting running right around 180psi. No bottom out yet and rides at about 20% +/- sag in normal climbing mode.
 

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General Hickey said:
Another thing about air forks, and I find this especially true about the Tora 318 Air, is all the seals in the fork amount to a bit of stiction... especially later in the fork's life. My Tora is on my commuter bike now so it isn't that big of a deal, but when my Rev is due for an overhaul I'm going for a coil.

BTW what coil should I get for a 150-160 lb. rider?
What travel are you looking at, and price range?
I couldn't decide between the rockshox coil revelation and manitou nixon comp with tpc+. I found a sweet deal on the manitou and have been very happy with it.

By the way I weigh the same weight as you (well I did, I put 5 lbs on over the holidays ;) ). From all the research I did, these two forks were the plushest and lightest coils I could find. I had an older (03) mar Z1 coil that was also insanely plush, but was a tank.

Bunk
 
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