Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
291 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I posted about blowing up the Mattoc on my 'park bike.' Which is just a Commencal Meta V4 with downhill tires.

Decided that while I'll eventually fix that bike and maybe repurpose it a bit (back to 'gnarly trail bike' instead of 'don't try to pedal this'), I want to build an actual downhill bike.

Nothing crazy. I've had some rentals that were of the 'race-ready' sort, and they were miserable. I rode a Commencal Supreme that felt huge (29er) and murderously stiff. Ended up coming down hard enough on a jump that my legs buckled a bit and my butt hit the rear tire...which then fired my genitals at the back of the seat like a pitching machine. Luckily, I ended up taking it in the legs, sporting two basketball-sized purple bruises for a month. They looked like the wings of a giant, hairy, ugly moth (I'll let you guess what part was the body).

Anyhow. I acquired a GGDH frame with a Fox coil shock (can't remember the model, but I've ridden the air version a DH bike and found it perfectly adequate). I can buy or rob (from my broken Commencal) most of the other parts I need, no problem.

But the fork? I got no idea.

I've ridden Boxxers. Different versions with different levels of adjustment. At least one coil and a few air. They were universally terrible, the worst being the coil version on an XL rental bike, which I think was sprung for a 350lb rider.

I've ridden Foxes. They were adequate. My favorite rental was a Pivot with a Fox air shock in the back and a Marz fork that I remember being told was 'just a rebadged Fox 40.' Which is what it looked like.

So RS is out, Fox is probably out (better than RS, generally not great, with their good stuff being waaaaay too expensive). I'm just looking for the best of the 'other guys.'

Since this is gonna be for park trips, reliability is paramount. But it won't trump having a fork that is at least SOMEWHAT forgiving and comfortable. It can't be stressed enough that my 150mm Mattoc ate up DH trails better than any DH forks I've tried. The latter only came into their own when pounding through really rough ****, which still felt...really rough...but they could hold the line where the Mattoc couldn't.

So...no big order...just super-supple, super-reliable, and not too expensive. LOL.

Dorado? Seems like reliability ain't great.

DVO? I think there are two offerings but know nothing about them. I have a Sapphire and would describe it as 'what Rockshox wants to make, but fails at.' I.e. it is an aggressive, hard-charging fork that does what it can to maintain some comfort, rather than feeling like a big, dumb bulldozer that technically 'works' and can probably handle a tomahawk down the mountain, but has all the sophistication of a brick to the face.

MRP? I believe their fork only goes to 190mm, which would probably be okay. Rear travel on the GG is 195 or 205, so a 190 fork seems a little goofy on paper, but I'm sure it would work fine and I could run an angleset if I wanted to get that little bit of slack back.

Who am I missing that is currently in wide production? I see used forks like BOS's that are interesting, but I know nothing about them and am dubious about support.

I'm almost wondering if I should just get a used Boxxer or 40, solely for the reliability of the basic chassis and wide parts availability, then just send it in to Avalanche to get a competent damper retrofitted...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,669 Posts
The only reliability issue the Dorado has ever had is leaking seals. That was due to oil gassing out inside in hard use and pressurising the fork until the seals blew.

They introduced pressure relief buttons to stop that about 4 years ago. They're the most common upgrade we well for Dorado.
There is a new Dorado update. It has a 20mm boost front axle, one-piece leg-guards/mud-guard and 27/29" change is done by sliding the crowns up and down.

IMO the Charger boxxers need all need revalved. They're incredibly harsh on rocky tracks.
I've never ridden a Fox 40 that was in good condition.

The reality these days is single crowns are doing a good job up to the 180mm mark.
 

·
Keep on Rockin...
Joined
·
6,471 Posts
Tuned in.

So here's my opinion and where its coming from...

While I've been riding a lot of forks for many years I don't have a lot of time on various DH forks. Over the last 4 season I've DH'd a lot. Season passes to two different mountains. One mountain a mix of park and old school. One mountain pure wicked, rocky, steep old school.

What I've been on since 2016 is a Boxxer 275. Before that, way back when (I left DH for a long time) were old 'Zokes, Super Ts. Since 2016 the Boxxers have been both WC and Team. Both with the Charger 1 damper. So, I'll talk about the Boxxers here.

The WC air spring gave me lots of greif in terms of reliability. I let it go in place of a coil a few years back and the fork has been bombproof. I can drop the lowers and replace the foam rings, oil, which I do about 3 times a season. Dust seals about twice a season. The Charge 1 damper can be bled in a few minutes which I've done once a season. Never had it serviced otherwise and it never leaked or took in air. So its reliable and ease of maintenance for the Boxxer is "box of rocks" simple.

Performance. This gets tricky. Like you've said, many will say that that the stock Boxxers are not good, especially with damping. What I've found is that by setting up proper tire psi, then getting the spring rate spot on, and servicing the lowers to keep it smooth the fork works well when I ride at low to moderate intensity. But when I really step it up in intensity I've got to really crank up the LSC to something like 11 out of 18 clicks which I've heard almost no-one does. You'll hear that the fork is harsh due to its inherent damping mechanism. Maybe I don't know what I don't know, but I just have always assumed that when dancing over bowling ball sized chunk at mach speed the fork has to feel at least somewhat firm/harsh so to not blow through travel. With the proper spring seems that I use the appropriate amount of travel for given hits. Over the last 2 years, after "healing up" from some stuff, I'm riding faster than ever and no one is waiting for me at the bottom of any run (though my son is working on it). We ride some real rugged stuff that should tease out any deficiencies in the fork. We typically ride all day and take few brakes. Not bragging or anything, but just trying to get across that we are pushing are gear quite hard - were not some rails to trails riders complaining the bike ain't "comfortable" enough. I guess if the Boxxer's were as bad as everyone says I'd be folding up a lot sooner, or creeping down the hill - because I just ain't that good to be going the pace I'm going on a bad fork.

Now, all that said, I think the Boxxer is far from perfect and just got off the phone with Avy Friday, and if they weren't back logged I may have ordered a damper. Curiosity of what I might be missing out on is killing this cat.

I'd like to hear others weigh in so I'm staying tuned in.

DH does not get much air time on these boards and I wish it did. If I had to pick I'd most certainly stick with trail riding, but DH is great too. It truly lets you push your gear and skills to a limit far more often than trail riding does.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,052 Posts
Charger isnt terrible, it just chokes. Its actually quite a good damper, we just know it doesnt flow all that much, all the time.

Choking is when the fork stops moving just long enough to transfer the hit to your hands, which is only a split second. Sure, smashing large rocks at full speed is always going to be a bit rough by the nature of it, but the degree in which it beats you up can certainly be reduced! Wild freestroke with no damping doesnt work, thats for sure, but in the high speed scenario its more about keeping the fork moving instead of coming to a fraction of a second dead stop on first impact.

Miker J, it sounds like you're the perfect candidate for an avalanche damper. You'll probably be surprised how much better it gets. Its not necessarily about going faster, but being beat up less and ending less fatigued.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,669 Posts
Charger isnt terrible, it just chokes. Its actually quite a good damper, we just know it doesnt flow all that much, all the time.

Choking is when the fork stops moving just long enough to transfer the hit to your hands, which is only a split second. Sure, smashing large rocks at full speed is always going to be a bit rough by the nature of it, but the degree in which it beats you up can certainly be reduced! Wild freestroke with no damping doesnt work, thats for sure, but in the high speed scenario its more about keeping the fork moving instead of coming to a fraction of a second dead stop on first impact.

Miker J, it sounds like you're the perfect candidate for an avalanche damper. You'll probably be surprised how much better it gets. Its not necessarily about going faster, but being beat up less and ending less fatigued.
The problem with choking (aka spiking) is the compression damping ends up being run at less the rest of the time to try and make it tolerable. Which leaves you with a damper that lacks support but still kicks the bars in all the sharp stuff.

It can be fixed. But it's straight out weird that RS put them out to sale like that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
750 Posts
I can confirm that boxxer charger1 spikes. Even coil cannot help. My charger has slightly bigger flow than stock and mattoc still works better... Thats funny. For dh I'd go coil with avy or maybe dorado with irt, but first need to test it.
 

·
Elitest thrill junkie
Joined
·
38,860 Posts
Miker J, it sounds like you're the perfect candidate for an avalanche damper. You'll probably be surprised how much better it gets. Its not necessarily about going faster, but being beat up less and ending less fatigued.
That was the best for me, had an 08 coil 888 with an Avy Cart and it was by far the best DH fork I ever owned, out of the Super T, Jr T, Monster T, Shiver, Stratos S8, Stratos MX6, Boxxers (plural), and anything else I'm forgetting right now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,052 Posts
The problem with choking (aka spiking) is the compression damping ends up being run at less the rest of the time to try and make it tolerable. Which leaves you with a damper that lacks support but still kicks the bars in all the sharp stuff.

It can be fixed. But it's straight out weird that RS put them out to sale like that.
Does your boxxer lock out?

RS likes lockouts and platforms, and I totally dont get it either.
 

·
mbtr member
Joined
·
6,503 Posts
Does your boxxer lock out?

RS likes lockouts and platforms, and I totally dont get it either.
I'm pretty sure i remember someone saying that ultimately it's the charger piston head that spikes, so a comfy compression tune can only do so much.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top