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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a pretty theoretical question. Part of the reason I am posting is for other beginner-intermediates.

My bike came with a Recon, which is one step up from a coil fork. It is an improvement, but the adjustments make little or no change in the fork behavior. It gets pogo-ey over extended sections of rocks/roots, which I don't encounter routinely, but often enough to notice; I don't take it to full travel often or ever. So I guess small bump compliance and mid-level support are the things I want/need.

It's 120mm, I could go to 130 I think without messing up geometry/stressing head tube.

If I were to upgrade the fork, what should I be looking at? Revelation seems to be the next step up, within the RS line and is fairly well regarded for its price point. I wouldn't know what to do with a Pike, I don't believe, or probably many of the forks that get a lot of discussion on here. And I'm not anxious to spend $700 plus on the upgrade.

Are there any bargain "mid range" forks?

It is entirely possible that I don't need anything better than the Recon. I don't know what I don't know, y'know. I don't think there are any mods or tunes for it.
 

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Have you experimented with front tire pressure? Also, are u on full suspension or hardtail?

I used the ride a 120mm recon on my hardtail. I did NOT find it pogo-y, though if i didn’t ride fluidly my body did feel like it was pogo-ing, not from the fork though.

The problem I found with the recon was (I) it’d pack in too much on fast, bumpy downhills, ie compress but not return, and (II) I wanted stiffer 35mm stanchions vs 32mm.

FYI, so I upgraded to RockShox Yari. But again, not because of pogoing on the recon which overall is a decent fork.
 

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-there's nothing wrong with coil springs. They happen to be cheaper, heavier, and not as easy to set up, but they offer superior performance. It's amusing you see them only at the top and bottom ends of the spectrum.

-you didn't specify which recon you had. The TK damper has no mechanism to manage high speed impacts and it's total ****. The RL uses the old motion control compression damper and it's pretty decent. It will get overwhelmed by a large impact or high speed repeated impacts, though.

-both TK and RL damper adjustments cover a stupidly wide range, and only work well within a narrow window of that. If your adjusters don't do anything... that's weird.

-it's to be expected a beginner-intermediate rider will never use full travel on their fork, especially if they have a somewhat crude damper and an air spring.

-a 10mm longer fork is a frame geometry change much more than it is a suspension quality change. It's helpful to think of it as such.

-a nicer fork, when properly tuned, just works better. It may be true that you don't 'need' anything better, but anyone interested in progression will benefit from the nicest fork they can afford.

-the best budget fork is a high-end fork on clearance. Manitou and xfusion are pretty good about putting nicely tuned full-function dampers in their cheaper options. Those are where i'd look first. I'm pretty unimpressed with rockshox's current lineup, and i'm a former fanboy.

-the damper is what determines the performance of the fork.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sorry, it's a FS, Marin Rift Zone 2. I am probably not using the terminology correctly and there's no shortage of operator error involved.

And it is an RL.

For example, there is a section of trail that's quite rooty, but usually the roots are mostly buried. Recent rains have washed the dirt out from under them, so they make say 3"-6" hits instead of maybe 1"-3" hits. In the usual condition, the fork seems to peform just fine.

With the washed out, taller roots, it starts out fine, absorbing the hits without a big fork/front wheel "reaction," but as the hits keep coming (and part of this is loss of momentum and trying to regain it), the hits are more likely to knock you off line and you feel them more in your hands and bars.

It feels as if it's out of phase and not reacting correctly to the hits, which may be properly termed packing up, or pogoing, not quite sure. It's coming back but not fast enough, so maybe that's packing up. I guess pogoing is one hit and it keeps bouncing, which is not really a problem.

"Overwhelmed" seems to describe it pretty well. Out of phase with a succession of rapid small hits may be the best I can do with it. Faster rebound would seem to help, but it doesn't seem to make much difference.

I'm in Dallas, so we don't have too much extended downhill, and it's mostly pretty smooth. I don't detect a lot of problem there.

It's entirely possible that an upgrade would be lost on me. I'm not in the market for a new fork, just posting this to start some discussion of "mid range" forks, if such a thing exists.
 

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To me the best RS mid range fork in that size is the reba. Its the high end chassis (SID) but with the lower end internals. Motion Control vs Charger. For most uses this is fine, but the best part is that when you need to upgrade just buy the proper internals.
 

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Revelation seems to be the next step up, within the RS line and is fairly well regarded for its price point. I wouldn't know what to do with a Pike
The latest versions of the Revelation are pretty decent forks. The only difference between it and the Pike is its damper. Down the road, you can upgrade the Revelation damper to make it a Pike. All another parts are the same.

I'm in North Texas as well. I beat my revelation up on the rock gardens at Isle du Bois, the far end of Johnson, and North Shore's west side. Even with the original damper, it does just fine. It doesn't like longer downhill repeated hits. Nothing in North Texas like that though. I've only experienced that in Colorado and Tahoe. The Charger 2 damper upgrade will remedy that.

For reference, should you get a Revelation, I run 30% sag in North Texas, with rebound wide open and one token installed. I'm 165 dry. Provides good small bump compliance, and can handle whatever we have here. When I go to the mountains, I'll stick another token in.
 

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For example, there is a section of trail that's quite rooty, but usually the roots are mostly buried. Recent rains have washed the dirt out from under them, so they make say 3"-6" hits instead of maybe 1"-3" hits. In the usual condition, the fork seems to peform just fine.
That's a tough scenario for any fork. If you're not encountering that very frequently and the fork is otherwise great... i'd probably just leave it alone. Recon RL is pretty decent. I wouldn't consider a reba or revelation to be enough of an improvement to be worth the expense, personally.
 

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That's a tough scenario for any fork. If you're not encountering that very frequently and the fork is otherwise great... i'd probably just leave it alone. Recon RL is pretty decent. I wouldn't consider a reba or revelation to be enough of an improvement to be worth the expense, personally.
Yeah, my Recon too was an RL and was pretty decent.
When I upgraded to my Yari, I (think I) am feeling and appreciating the stiffer, 35mm stanchions. Stiffer stanchions should make a difference on OP's repeated 3"-6" hits, with less deflection, but TBD if worth it for OP.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That's a tough scenario for any fork. If you're not encountering that very frequently and the fork is otherwise great... i'd probably just leave it alone. Recon RL is pretty decent. I wouldn't consider a reba or revelation to be enough of an improvement to be worth the expense, personally.
I figured it probably was, it's kind of an amazing thing, I should take photos before it fills back in.

As I said, I don't know what I don't know, but thanks to the great answers on this thread, I'm just gonna shut up and ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks again for all the input and patience with misuse of terminology.

As I mentioned, I'm not really hankering for a new fork, just curious about them and what they have to offer. Spending $800-1000 on a new fork keeps that curiosity well in check, but I was wondering if there was anything in the ~$500 area that I should be considering in the not-too-distant future.

Hopefully this is kind of helpful for other just-past-noobs.
 
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