Suspension options for our mountain bikes are ever-expanding, and while Cane Creek’s initial offering and the latest from MRP might get most of the buzz, one brand that needs to be on your radar for your next suspension upgrade is SR Suntour.
SR Suntour is well-known for their low-end mountain bike forks that come on many entry-level MTBs, but the brand also offers a wide range of high-end forks that provide incredible performance, yet still hit the cash register at hundreds of dollars below the competition. The Durolux is one such fork.
The Durolux is a long-travel enduro fork providing 140-180mm of travel in the travel adjust model (internally adjustable), and 160, 170, and 180mm base models. The fork I sampled was set to the 170mm setting, which is becoming much more prevalent as a stock setting on enduro bikes that are meant to be pedaled.
As an aside, while a few years ago some armchair engineers (and real engineers) were claiming that we had reached the maximum amount of travel that we needed on enduro bikes, travel lengths continue to grow as valving and dampers–all the magic internals that nobody understands–keep getting better and better. Even just a few years ago, a single crown fork with 180mm of travel was kinda tough to come by and even if you found one, it was freeride only. Now, forks like the Durolux can be set to whatever travel length you want–going all the way up to 180mm, and probably soon, even beyond.
The Durolux offers 36mm stanchions and features Suntour’s cartridge damper system, which is easily replaceable if necessary. For more on their unique cartridge system, see my Auron review. In terms of adjustment, this fork offers compression and rebound controls, on top of air pressure adjustment.
Claimed weight for the Durolux starts at 2155g.
Out on the Trail
While I only had the chance to spend an hour with the Durolux, that amount of time was enough to confirm that Suntour is continuing to make headway with their high end suspension offerings. The addition of compression adjustment is a great boon for long-travel forks, although in the techy, ledgy climbs of Moab’s Deadman’s Ridge trail, I found myself either leaving the compression all the way open, or just using a bit of pedaling platform. I preferred to let the fork remain active to smooth out the harsh transitions and obstacles, even in the uphill direction.
When pointed downward the 36mm stanchions and 170mm of travel were absolutely bomber, inspiring point-and-shoot confidence over blind ledges into unknown rock pits. While Deadman’s ridge didn’t have the size of hucks that really require 170mm of travel, it can also be quite nice to know that you have plenty of extra squish… just in case.
To hear the SR Suntour techs talk, the internal travel adjustments are quick and easy to make. While I’ve never before dropped the lowers off of a fork myself, I think I would feel more confident doing so with the Durolux thanks to the self-contained cartridge system. However, will most riders be pulling their fork apart every other ride in order to tweak their travel by 10 or 20mm one way or another? Probably not.
Of course, the big selling point of this fork is the price: $700 or $800 MSRP, depending on the damper. Even if you go with the nicest R2C2 damper, the Durolux still comes in at $180 (or more) below the Fox 36. Value, indeed!