Here's my ride:
2005 Gary Fisher HKEK
-Fox Vanilla R 130 Necked down to 100mm for my orig. geometry / used to be RS Pilot SL
-LX Hollowtech II crankset / used to be Bontrager Select
-LX derailleurs (OEM)
-LX Rapidfire shifters
-Avid Juicy 5 Hydraulic Disc Brakes / used to be acera V-Brakes
-XT Rhyno Lite wheelset with Sram PG 970 11-34 cassette (for urban and abuse mwaHAHAHA!)
-XT Mavic x317disc wheelset with XT 12-34 cassette (for XC)
[orig wheelset was Formula disc hubs with Bontrager Maverick OCR rims]
-Panaracer Fire XC Pro 2.1 Kevlar tires on both wheels (used to be Bontr. Jones ACX)
-Easton EA 50 31.8mm 6degree x 105mm Stem / used to be Bontrager OS Select
-Easton EA 70 Hi Rise bars / used to be Bontrager Crowbar OS select
-Chris King headset (won $100 in my first XC race a couple months ago...hehe)
[used to be Cane Creek OEM cheapie]
-Lizard Skins Lock on grips with ODI LockJaws clamps
-OEM Bontrager seatpost
-SanMarco Arami flow saddle / used to be Bontrager Race Luxe
-Sram PC990 chain
-OEM Shimano m505 pedals
I'm a set-it-and-forget-it kinda guy. I love coil springs. My Pilot lost air in the assist chamber now and then.
Okay, I ditched the Rockshox Pilot SL fork that outweighed the Fox Vanilla by almost 1/2 pound, even with the puny little Pilot stanchions. I really didn't mind the performance of the Pilot too much, but the Fox was only $219 on JensonUSA, so I couldn't resist...OH BOY AM I HAPPY WITH IT!
It came standard 130mm travel which was too much for this particular frame. I took it apart and changed the travel to 100mm. (which was really easy BTW) I then discovered that the stock medium spring was too soft. I actually had to go with the yellow stiff spring per the Fox chart according to my 185lb weight. I ordered it direct, got it in a week, and was on my way.
At first, I thought the stiff spring was going to be too stiff. It felt pretty stout as I pushed down on the fork whilst standing next to the bike. As soon as I turned the crank, I settled in on +3 clicks for preload and set the rebound to my liking. It is truly amazing how well this fork handles small bumps. Any fork with any sort of character and attitude can handle a big hit, but this thing does it all! Small bump sensativity is increased due to the negative coil spring that works agains the compression spring for the first inch or so.
The first inch or so is incredibly sensative...after that, the attitude kicks in. I took it off a few sets of stairs downtown and oh man...it ate 'em up. I found myself flying off staircases and not even touching the stairs on the way down. Just take the hit on the flat. It eats it all up. Bigger drops are absolutely no problem.
It makes me a faster descender as well. I have a rocky rooty descent at my local trails that I usually take around 20-25mph and I really have to pick my line on my hardtail. I got off my line the other day b/c I was pushing myself so much harder with this fork. I hit 2 large rocks right in the middle of the trail. They were both at least 6-8 inches tall and it was almost like I didn't even feel it!!! I was thinking I was going to have to take my wheels in to get them re-built after that mistake, but the Vanilla ate it up.
Absolutely the best fork I have ever had!
Don't even get me started about lateral stiffness. These 32mm Easton stanchions are Flex-Free.
My only gripe is that when you're just standing there and you grab the front brake and rock the bike back'n'forth...(like when you're checking your headset for tightness)...you feel a teeny bit of play in the bushings. I read the Fox manual and they said this is normal b/c that's how they make it so plush and free of stiction at low and high speeds.
Results: Slightly lighter than my Porky Pilot SL, WAY stiffer laterally, and plush as it gets for a fork in this category.
I couldn't be happier!