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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Im searching for a good fork for around 300 dollars or less. Ive seen many that i like and the specs look good but then i go to look at reviews and all i see is bad ratings..all this talk about bad internals and the fork failing after a month of use and what not. And im not just talking about a few..almost all forks in this price range have horrible reviews. Is it bad manufacturing or are only the people who have had bad experiences leaving all of these reviews?

I just dont wanna regret buying something that i was warned against.

The forks i looked at were:

Marzocchi 55 R '08
Marzocchi XC 700 Ata '08
Marzocchi Dirt Jumper 1 Fork '09
Marzocchi 55 Ata Fork '09
Marzocchi 44 TST2 Fork '09
Most of RockShox's lower end stuff

And it's not just Marzocchi's forks..these are just some recent ones i looked at
 

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I AM I AM
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Things go wrong, people come on line and complain. That will probably never change. But if you spend enogh time researching you figure out what brand or model may have a particular common issue, and you either still go for it and keep a closer eye on it or just hope that yours turns out to be a "good one" or you go for something else which has less problematic reports.

Yes it really would suck to buy a brand new fork and have to send it back for warranty, especially if you're buying on the cheap from overseas!

What are the specifics of the fork you're after? Like what type of riding, what sort of travel, and are you looking for through axle or qr? If you post up the details then you will probably get recommendations from people who have had good experiences with a suitable fork.

I have primarily owned a few different Rock Shox....from the budget Judy TT to a Tora 318, a Pike 454 and a Domain 318.
For a budget XC / AM type fork I would certainly be happy with a Tora 318, if you have more money then I imagine a Reba would be lighter. I've had my Tora since '06, only thing I've wanted to change on it is maybe try the coil version instead of air, particularly after buying a Coil Domain.
Honestly I even like my Tora better than a Pike, one reason being is that the stanchions are way more durable!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
i saw that recon but didnt like the fact that the steerer tube was cut and plus it was a take off.
I have had nothing but problems with my Rockshox Dart 3, yes i realize its a very cheap shock but its like it was a big joke. It came stock on my bike and started leaking fluid in about a week, then the lockout stoped working a day later. After that the MAX travel was only about 50mm. Then i was just messing around on some jumps and suddenly the fork just gave out..i dont know if its empty of fluid or what but its as soft as a pillow and bounces like crazy.
As soon as it started leaking i went to 3 different bike shops seeing if they could send it in for repair and they just looked at me funny..told me it wasnt worth it for such a cheap fork. All i wanted for it to do was just WORK, they just wanted me to buy a whole new fork which i couldn't afford.
So it would be a big leap for me to buy another Rockshox product, but if its worth it then i would
 

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bike rider
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A suspension fork with a decent damper is a complicated thing with lots of high tolerance parts. If you want one for under $300 expect corners to be cut during development and production. The better option is to buy a used high end fork and learn how to immediately rebuild it. Now you've got a great fork and the ability to keep it that way with regular maintenance.
 

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Got a 150mm Spinner with 20mm TA, 35mm stanchions, adjustable travel, adjustable platform - for ~$150 on eBay. Decent damper. Worked so far.
 

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I AM I AM
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Eliasammi5, I had a Giant Trance at the time with the Rock Shox Tora 318 (solo air) on it when we purchased a bike for my husband, it was probably similar to yours, an entry level XC bike (around $1000Au). Anyway it Came with a Dart (Dart2 I think). Compared to the Tora when I rode his bike the Dart felt like I was riding a rigid bike pretty much, I went over a small jump and jarred my wrists! I emailed the bike shop about getting a softer coil spring for it but similar to you I got no reply at all.

It's not really fair to compare a companys budget items with the top of the line. However weather you pay $10 or $1000 you should still expect it to work as expected. And yes it's rather unfortunate that spending even a few thousand doesn't mean you won't come across any trouble.

I think like someone said, one important aspect of owning the bike technology of today is making some effort to learn how it all works, some times people run into problems because they stuff around with things they don't know anything about. I'm all for playing around and tinkering but it should be with at least some idea of what you're trying to achieve.

PS Rock Shox has a pretty comprehensive manual on line (well Rock Shox / Sram). That's one thing I like about them, if you have some tools and some mechanical aptitude, it certainly isn't too hard to maintain your fork. Of course MTBR is quite invaluable at times too, with people providing pictures and instructions on how to do things.

But you know I can completely understand how it would take a fair plunge for you to try that brand again, I'm certainly not keen on some brands like say Fox, well one for the expense but also because of having read that they require a lot of maintenance etc.

All that aside, it shouldn't matter what your fork is worth, aren't you still entitled to warranty? Even if it's not viable for it to be fixed, they should be giving you a whole new replacement....well another Dart of course, that's what happens with any other product doesn't it. I don't know if you can try getting in touch with Sram directly?
 

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meow meow
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the recon is a really good fork. the main difference between it and a pike/ reba is the advanced damping in the pike/ reba. id give it a good look.
 

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Its got what plants crave
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I say go Rockshox, their warranty department for me was awesome. You should have told the local shop to pound sand and called Rockshox direct if the LBS didn't want to help you out. It *IS* a cheapo fork, but at least it wasn't a high end fork that blew out. Stay the hell away from Marzocchi especially on the lower end stuff, their quality lately really sucks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I did contact SRAM directly after i started having problems with my Dart3 and they told me a LBS would have to send it in for warranty. The first shop i called didnt want anything to do with me, the guy there was not very helpful and he just seemed like he didnt want to help me. So i left. Second shop i called was the same thing and they referred me back to the first shop. After that i said scr** it, ill just have to put up with this fork until i could get a new one.

Im a big DIY'r and theres really nothing i cant fix or at least attempt to fix with some help from the web. I looked into SRAM's manuals online about rebuilding their forks and different maintenance a while back but there was nothing specific to the Dart3. I also did some research online and found a lot of people with the same problems i was having but not just with the Dart3, it was common throughout a lot of their 09 products. So thats why im reluctant to buy another Rock Shox's fork.

But i since ive been getting recommendations on the recon fork then i might just have to pick it up for that low of a price.
 

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maker of trail
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in general its probably wise to avoid MY08 marz products, they had quite a few issues with quality etc in several lines that year.

Search and you'll find more info.
 

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local trails rider
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See if you can find something older.
Also, you list some very different forks, in terms of length and strength. What do you want to do with the fork?

I've been on a 2004 Marzocchi Z1 FR, from a clearance sale, for a couple of years now: length suits my bike geometry and it is "tough enough" for me.
 

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mtbr member
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If it's still under warranty I'd take it back to where you bought the bike from.
 

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Check out something other than Marzocchi! Fox and Rock Shox are great brands with good customer service if something fails within reason
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I do mild trails mostly, i bike up the mountain and go full speed down the mountain..i guess you would call that All mountain. I love hitting jumps when i can but there isnt much around here, basically i like hang time. I weigh 160 lbs so im thinking a softer fork would be nice. My front wheel is currently KIA so either a 20mm or 9mm fork would work since i have to get a new front wheel anyway.

Im looking into some used fox's on ebay but not sure which ones would suit me, still doing some research on each fork i see. If that dosent work out im most likely picking up the recon fork.
 

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Dirt Deviant
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The problem you had with the dart is pretty simple.
The damper seal failed and fluid started leaking into the lower right leg of the fork.
The lockout is controlled by fluid moving through ports, so once the fluid level got a bit low, it will no longer lockout.
Eventually, all the fluid leaked into the lower right leg. There was no longer room for the fork to move because the lower was filled with oil, hence the reason you only had 50mm of travel. This is called a Hydrolock.
If you keep riding on it that way, the pressure has to go somewhere, and that is usually up through the upper dust seal, and all the oil starts pouring out of there.

It is a very simple fix.
Shame on the shops for not helping you out.
I would call RS and explain to them that you brought it into a couple shops and you were having trouble getting any help.
Ask them to send you the part directly. Ask very nicely.
It is really easy to install.
Takes about 10-20 minutes and doesn't require many tools.
You can get by with a couple allen wrenches, a large cresent wrench, and a long wooden dowel. Pick up some fork oil from your nearest motorcycle supply store.

I'd just get your dart fixed, and start saving for something a little higher up on the quality level. Like a Fox, or a nice RS.
The dart should give you alot more life with the new damper.

Now that I've had some time on my new Fox fork, I hate riding my other bikes that don't have them.
I would like some more ride time on a Pike though........They feel nice.
 

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Blind biker
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eliassami5 said:
i saw that recon but didnt like the fact that the steerer tube was cut and plus it was a take off.
I have had nothing but problems with my Rockshox Dart 3, yes i realize its a very cheap shock but its like it was a big joke. It came stock on my bike and started leaking fluid in about a week, then the lockout stoped working a day later. After that the MAX travel was only about 50mm. Then i was just messing around on some jumps and suddenly the fork just gave out..i dont know if its empty of fluid or what but its as soft as a pillow and bounces like crazy.
As soon as it started leaking i went to 3 different bike shops seeing if they could send it in for repair and they just looked at me funny..told me it wasnt worth it for such a cheap fork. All i wanted for it to do was just WORK, they just wanted me to buy a whole new fork which i couldn't afford.
So it would be a big leap for me to buy another Rockshox product, but if its worth it then i would
I had a dart 2 that did that after a year. I went to a shop to get a new fork and instead ended up with a whole new bike with fox float RL140. The fox is more plush but no a $600 difference. It also has more tuning

my experience is that I had a good dart 2 as it didnt start leaking fluid like all others and if set up properly fellt like a tora. It just means that the fork is going to be heavier and wont hold up to as much abuse as quality is going to be less. If you think about the cost of the fork and that there are so many beginner and cheap bikes that run these forks. This can lead to improper setup and maintenance.
 

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GAME ON!
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i recently bought a brand new 2010 revelation 150mm off ebay for $320 shipped. maybe go that route.
 
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