RockShox Recon RL - 2018 Fork

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RockShox Recon RL 01
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Surprisingly good entry-level fork

Rating: Featured Member Review
Surprisingly good entry-level fork
The Good:

-Damper works well -Stiff for a 32mm stanchions fork -Ample tire clearance

The Bad:

-Limited adjustments range -120mm travel version chassis can't be upgraded to 140mm damper -Silver stanchions coating (black for 2019)

Overall Review:

This fork came stock on my Marin Rift Zone 1 2018, and honestly, with its 32mm stanchions and basic damper, it was one of the first things that I thought would need upgrading on the bike. I decided to leave it there for the season and see what would happen, but I was surprised.

Rock Shox cleverly includes all the technical information of the fork on lower legs stickers.

I have the 120mm travel version with compression lockout and boost 110x15mm axle. Since the stanchions are straight-walled steel and that I have the 120mm travel version (it's available with up to 140 mm travel), the fork felt pretty stiff for its construction, even when braking with 203mm rotors. It ain't no 38mm Marzocchi 66 single crown, but still, it's not as noodly as I thought it would be. I was using Specialized Butcher 2.6 GRID tires (2,35" wide on 29mm internal width rims) with a mud guard and it still had

Overall Review:

This fork came stock on my Marin Rift Zone 1 2018, and honestly, with its 32mm stanchions and basic damper, it was one of the first things that I thought would need upgrading on the bike. I decided to leave it there for the season and see what would happen, but I was surprised.

Rock Shox cleverly includes all the technical information of the fork on lower legs stickers.

I have the 120mm travel version with compression lockout and boost 110x15mm axle. Since the stanchions are straight-walled steel and that I have the 120mm travel version (it's available with up to 140 mm travel), the fork felt pretty stiff for its construction, even when braking with 203mm rotors. It ain't no 38mm Marzocchi 66 single crown, but still, it's not as noodly as I thought it would be. I was using Specialized Butcher 2.6 GRID tires (2,35" wide on 29mm internal width rims) with a mud guard and it still had ample mud clearance. The stanchion coating is durable and shows no wear.

3 clicks of rebound adjustments (4 positions).

The rebound adjuster is quite flexy and I feared it would break every time I used it. It can be removed to access the lower leg's bolt and service the fork.

The adjustments are pretty basic : 3 clicks of rebound, and 5 clicks of compression. After trying different things, I ran the rebound and compression open (0 clicks out) all summer. The rebound adjustment feels like it would tear when turning it, but once you've found out that it works well when open, you don't need to touch it anymore. The fork spent all summer with 120psi, which is 20% more than what RockShox recommends for my weight. I have never bottomed it out, and it still had reasonable small bump compliance on the trail.

Five clicks of compression adjustment could be enough, but I'd still like a bit more usable range.

Coming from the Marzocchi RC3 and CR dampers, I thought that I wouldn't enjoy my time on the Recon RL, but I waited to ride it before making any judgments. Surprisingly, the small fork works pretty well, and the basic RockShox dampers/tunings from 2018 seem to be almost on par with what was done 6-7 years ago on middle-high end competitors' forks. It was packing up quick on braking bumps or root-filled trails, but it didn't dive too much, and handled hard hits better than I had anticipated. 

All in all I was pretty happy with the fork for the money spent, but I'd still like to upgrade to something stiffer and with a better range of adjustments. I was running the fork with both adjustments fully open, and I wished it had a few more clicks to find the sweet spot. I would have liked to up the travel to 140mm, but the version that I have can only be internally modified with a 80-120mm travel damper. This would have probably kept it on my bike for an additional season, but I might invest the money in a stiffer-chassis fork next year. Or not. Most new single crown forks end up with creaky crowns, and this is one of the things in life that I can't stand. Since my Recon is still silent, I might keep my flexy fork for another season.

The same damper in a stiffer chassis would probably satisfy my needs for a low budget fork, but the competing forks from SR Suntour with their upgrade program's pricing seems hard to beat. I'm still giving it 4 stars because of the low price, low maintenance, good looks and surprising performance!

Specifications

Product RockShox Recon RL - 2018 Fork
Riding Type Cross Country, Trail
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b), 29"
Travel
  • 80mm
  • 100mm
  • 120mm
  • 130mm
  • 140mm
  • 150mm
Spring Type Solo Air
Damping Motion Control RL
External Adjustments Rebound, low speed compression to lock, OneLoc Remote option
Crown Hollow forged aluminum
Front Axle 15mm x 110mm (Boost)
Brake Mounts Post mount (203mm maximum rotor size)
Steer Tube Diameter Tapered, 1.125" top, 1.5" bottom
Steer Tube Construction Aluminum
Stanchion Diameter 32mm
Colors Diffusion Black, Gloss Black, Gloss White
Weight
Miscellaneous Straight steel wall stanchions
Axle-to-crown: 490mm (27.5" at 100mm travel), 506mm (29" at 100mm travel)
Magnesium lowers
Maxle Lite and Maxle Stealth axle options
Price $250
More Info

RockShox website

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