Suntour Durolux 36 Demo Review
Suntour isn't a brand that comes to mind when most are thinking of high end mountain bike suspension. Once I started researching I found that they do offer high end suspension products for various categories of mountain bikes. They also sponsor professional athletes such as Tracey Hannah who has multiple DH World Cup wins on Suntour products. So to say their top end products can't compete with the more known brands would not be correct. So I figured I would give them a shot as I am not the type of rider that can push a product as hard as a pro.
I will admit that Suntour was not on my radar at all when choosing a fork for our Nukeproof Mega 290 build. Quite honestly we only went that route as I had stumbled upon their DTYD (Demo To Your Door) program that lets you ride their products for 3 weeks for a refundable $100 deposit.....and they pay for shipping both ways! At the time the fork that we had chosen to with go on the Mega was out of stock for a while so why not in the meantime give the Durolux 36 a shot.
The demo fork arrived quickly and in a robust hard case that looked like some type of artillery would be inside. Open up the case and a blue fork and all the tools and parts you would need were inside. They include headset spacers, travel spacers, volume spacers, sockets, hex key and a return label. What was sadly missing was their bolt on fender but I guess that is not necessary. The demo I received looked brand new aside from a couple cosmetic flaws so that was nice. During the ordering process Suntour has a spot for you to state what travel you wish for in the fork as well as riding style and weight. They have it set up for you ready to ride aside from personal preference which you can dial in as you ride.
The Durolux has some pretty notable features that come more expensive forks but the Durolux also has some tricks up it's sleeve that others don't. There is a bolt on fender, air bleed ports, stiff 36mm stanchions, and an axle that I was impressed with. This RC2 model has high and low speed compression as well as rebound adjustment. Included travel and volume spacers allow you to to get the fork dialed for your riding. The fork takes no oil in the lowers but the foam rings suffice for lubrication making service super easy. The air bleed ports also act as a way to keep the foam rings filled with oil to keep the fork moving smoothly.
Not being a rider who is super picky about set up and I tend to run my suspension on the softer side, I didn't get along with the Durolux right away. I started at 90 psi for my 209 lb weight achieving proper sag. High speed compression was at 2, low speed was 4 from fully open, 1 volume spacer, and rebound was at half way point. On smoother trails this setup felt good but it was in the chunk that I was not loving the setup. I slowed the rebound and low speed but still wasn't riding how I wanted as it didn't feel like it was matching the rear. I lowered it down to 80psi and kept settings the same. This is when it felt great and started to make the rear feel like it wasn't keeping up with the front. The suspension action felt smooth but I did feel a bit of stiction while pushing down on the fork while not on the bike. At sag and while riding I did not feel that the fork was having this issue. For my riding style I felt that this fork performed above expectations and really felt good in all conditions. At speed I didn't feel the fork was struggling to keep up and it really smoothed out the trail. I may even say that it felt a bit better/more plush than the MRP Ribbon Air I had on my HD4 although I did sell that bike a few months ago so not a back to back comparison. I also felt no issues with stiffness, in fact this fork feels extremely stout. Coming off a Fox 34 most recently it was very noticeable that the Durolux 36 was stiffer and I didn't feel any flexing while trying to keep my line on super rocky sections.
Suntour has a great offering in the enduro category with the Durolux 36 RC2. It has performed very well for me and once I got it dialed to my liking I never felt I needed more. The fork is stiff and the adjustments available should get any rider set up. While the axle system is different, I found it a positive on how it works. Add the bolt on fender and and thoughtful touches to the fork make it a real player. The only downside I can comment on is the loud screeching the damper makes but that is something I had no issue dealing with. At about $200-300 less than the the upper echelon of forks in the same category ($500-600 less at time of review) I think it is a great idea to include the Durolux when deciding on a new enduro fork. Check out our YouTube video review of this fork and let us know what you think.