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I have a Kona Honzo ESD frame on the way, and who knows when it will actually show up, so I have time to think and research. I am looking for a 150mm fork and the intent of this bike is for New England trail riding (rocks, roots, more rocks,) and days at Highland Mountain. I do have a budget, but fork and wheels is where most of the money will be spent. I weigh 150lbs and ride what I consider hard, but am not doing large jumps. Small to medium jumps and drops on blue trails, but do ride blacks and double blacks. My question is what would you get for an aggressive hardtail? Is the Lyirk worth the extra weight over the Pike? The Auron35 looks great for the price and potentially the Durolux36, but I read in one review that even some sponsored riders on the lighter side go with the Auron35 as the Durolux can be a stiff feeling fork (not in travel, but in fore/aft flex). Manitou Mezzer Expert is a maybe too.

So, what would you get and why?
 

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Revel Rascal, Mach 4sl
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I have a pike ultimate and really like it. The easy servicing and sag marks of rockshox are a huge plus imo. I would go with a lyrik for the intent of the bike (for stiffness) or a 36. Really just depends on budget and preference though.
 

· Rocks belong
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The ESD is spec'd with a 150 Marzocchi Z1 Bomber, so the bike's intentions seem clear. I wouldn't consider a Pike for a bike with as progressive geo as the Kona ESD.

Given the options you mentioned, I'd find a 150 Lyrik RC2... best weight vs stiffness vs ride quality. If you get a good deal on a Fox 36 GRIP2 150 fork, you can snag it and ride the hell out of it - but the Lyrik is stiffer than a 36. Got TorqueCap compatible hubs? If you get a Lyrik, go ahead and get the TorqueCaps to help with the steering (torsional) stiffness.

Dark horse candidate - Cane Creek Helm. The mid stroke and ride support of the Helm would be well suited for the needs of a hard hitting hardtail (where the bike & rider are constantly trying to compress the fork). With independently adjustable positive and negative air springs (as well as HSC/LSC damper), you can really dial in the small bump grip/traction/compliance you want for the New England tech you described. Helm stiffness is on par with a Lyrik - stout fork. Excellent build quality.

The Mezzer Pro is wonderful at the longer travel lengths, but (at 150) I'd suggest the Lyrik is more supple than a Mezzer
 

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Just get the best fork you can afford. On a ht it's your only suspension apart from the tyres and your own body, so it'd better work well and allow plenty of adjustability. The logic ht=simple fork is flawed in my opinion.

For a hard hitting bike like the ESD I would be tempted to go coil, but I would not compromise on the damper front. The rear end is beating you up, you should at least have a well functioning fork to control the front end.

On my own ht I have a DVO Diamond that replaced the stock Yari. The difference is night and day, plus the adjustability has allowed me to experiment with all kinds of settings. Even if you prefer plug and play performance though, their base setting is spot on in my experience.
 

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My hardtail (Somewhat similar geo to the ESD but not quite as slack) came from the previous owner with a 150mm pike, and I recently upgraded to a 160mm Lyrik to try to match the build that Chromag specs on their complete bikes. I can say the difference is night and day, and at the risk of stating the obvious the Lyrik is much meatier. Where there are weight reduction cutouts on the Pike, there is the full complement of material on the Lyrik. It is much stiffer in general, but rides much smoother -- I wasn't 100yds down the trail on the first ride with the fork and I could tell it was way better.

I'm a larger rider, about 195lbs geared up, so the stiffness of the Lyrik might make more of a difference for me than someone 50lbs lighter. However, if I were you, I'd get the baddest fork I could find to go with that extremely aggressive steel hardtail and have a blast.

-DS
 
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