I am looking two forks; The Fox 32 Talas and the Fox 32 Vanilla. I own a Rock Shox Reba Team but haven’t been satisfied with its travel and activeness. I don’t have much experience with riding coil vs air, and i know there is like a 200.00 difference between these 2 forks, but i am looking at 2 full suspension MTB that come standard with either of these two. I am 135 lbs. and an aggressive trail rider, but i am lost.
Coil forks don’t have the fiddle-factor of air forks…. Generally, coil suspensions only have a preload adjust (air or mechanical), and rebound adjustment. Compression & bottom-out resistance can be tuned by messing with different oil viscosity & amounts, along with titanium coils. however, several shock manufacturers (Marzocchi being one) have made forks with both coil & air dampers on their forks. One fork leg will have a coil, and the other an air cartridge, or a combination of a coil & air in both legs.
Air forks are hugely tunable just by twisting knobs and adding different air psi. Air shocks are not for XC weight-weenies anymore, as they have been beefed up a lot recently. Pro-Downhillers are using air dampers to save weight and provide a large amount of options when tuning for individual race courses.
However, air dampers do not have the plushness and responsiveness of a coil or air-assisted coil shock. Air dampers also lose psi over time, and they are not a set-&-forget component. But this difference is becoming more minute as the technology progresses.
For durability and quality damping, coil is the way to go.
More money will get you more tuning options in the coil/air-assist.
And straight air dampers give you big weight savings, huge tuning options, and large price tags.
It’s hard to find coil-only shocks now (unless you’re looking at entry-level components), most everything is coil/air assist or air.