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Coil or Air Fork

Jamieg285Jamieg285 Posts: 98
edited October 2011 in MTB buying advice
As stated in other threads, I have £1K to spend on a hard tail. I'm coming from a 16 year old rigid, so I don't have any experience with suspension forks.

The question on my mind right now is - Is an air fork automatically better than a coil one - particularly in this price range.

I've read a number of reviews where the bike gets marked down due to a poor fork. Should I try to restrict my shortlist to bikes with air forks only, or are there some decent coil forks that are worth considering?

Posts

  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Air is lighter and more adjustable. Coil is heavier, but often a little smoother and more reliable.
  • Redhog14Redhog14 Posts: 1,377
    Air forks require more maintenance and are lighter I do like riding them but I dont own one myself and have never felt let down (no pun intended) as a result. I would look at the type of terrain you are regularily riding and perhaps consider upgraded components elsewhere on your bike, like hubs, headsets and bottom brackets. I ride an 09 Rockhopper in Scotland mainly XC and occasional trail centres.
  • benpinnickbenpinnick Posts: 4,148
    You should weigh up your search in the following order of likelihood to replace/cost to replace... i.e. work from the top of the list down in priority:

    Frame
    Fork (air or coil is fine - weight, quality of travel and stiffness should be your priority)
    Wheels
    Stem/Bar/Seatpost finishing kit
    Drivetrain
    Headset
    Saddle
    Tyres

    The reason that they are in this order is because you are more likely to want to/need to replace the parts towards the bottom of the list and the cost of doing so decreases as you go down. For example, a decent saddle costs £20, whereas a set of wheels is £200+.
    A Flock of Birds
    + some other bikes.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    I'd want brakes though lol!

    Worth noting: some air forks have lower quality damping compared to the same priced coil.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,599
    Brakes are for pussies.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

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    Parktools
  • Matt78Matt78 Posts: 9
    Air forks are very adjustable and setting up a fork to your weight is as simple as blowing up a tyre. You will however need a shock pump. If you buy a coil sprung fork you may need to replace springs to match your weight to the fork.

    With regard to servicing a fork as long a you have a reasonable mechanical understanding it is quite simple to do yourself and relatively cheap. My Fox forks cost me £25 for seals once a year and oil is negligible, if you buy a litre of oil it will out last the fork but I do tend to break things before the wear out.

    Don't work on the principal that any suspension is better than no suspension, there are some truly awful forks on the market but there are also some good inexpensive ones as well. Your LBS will advise you on how to spend your hard earned cash.

    £1k will get you a good bike but spend time finding the bike that matches the type of riding your are going to do and don't base your decision on the fork alone.
    Specialised Stumpjumper FSR Pro
    Giant TCR 1 Compact Road
  • I like the uncomplicatedness (what a made up word) of coil forks. Fit and forget....

    Although slightly heavier, coils have a much nicer feel on the trail... I will always go for coil over air (so long as they are still being made!)
  • lostboysaintlostboysaint Posts: 4,250
    I like the uncomplicatedness (what a made up word) of coil forks. Fit and forget....

    Although slightly heavier, coils have a much nicer feel on the trail... I will always go for coil over air (so long as they are still being made!)

    That.

    And what SS said at the top of the thread.

    Currently rocking Revolution coils on one bike and Marzocchi Bombers on another and they give a small bump sensitivity that only a Bos Deville has ever got remotely close to. Wonderful things coil forks.
    Trail fun - Transition Bandit
    Road - Wilier Izoard Centaur/Cube Agree C62 Disc
    Allround - Cotic Solaris
  • benpinnickbenpinnick Posts: 4,148
    Yeah, I guess brakes are good too :shock:
    A Flock of Birds
    + some other bikes.
  • Thanks for all the comments. I guess I'm even more confused now.

    I know I need to test ride, but I'm not sure that a quick spin around the block near the the bike shop will tell me enough about whether I want a coil or air fork.
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