Here to write a final (after a season of riding) review on the fox vanilla rl 2005. I know they have changed their designs, but this should be said.
Foxracingshox is a large company, no? Their forks are highly priced and have state of the art dampening at a minimal weight. Where they put the real weight is in the price. Is this price justified? For those with a big income, spending 500-800 on a fork like a fox seems like nothing. However, compared to other mountain biking components, that is a lot.
My friend had owned a fox vanilla rl from 2005 for about a quarter of a season as it came with his bike. He promptly sold it as he had a marzocchi that he preferred. As far as he knew, there was nothing wrong with it. At the time, I had a headset wiating to be installed as well, so when I got the fork, I had the two installed at the same time.
Here comes the confusing list of events.
-One day, the fork starts clunking with a top out and rebound/dampening works erratically, meaning it works sometimes. Fork leaks oil as well. I have new enduro seals installed myself.
Enduro seals suck. They have tons of stiction even when lubed. Though they won't fail you, you paid for the fox for all the performance you could get. It's not much to spend a little more for the cheaper fox seals that will blow faster than the enduros, but you get tons more performance. Buying a a set of enduros for your fox is like buying tires that will never wear out but have traction equivalent to having PVC as tires, for a Ferrari. Performance decreases, wear is forever.
-Rebound issue is fixed at shop, for a shocking price of 130 including tax. Cause: Warped shims. Reason? Possibly defective. This should also make ALL FOX USERS wary of using the slowest rebound while doing something high impact. I used a moderate speed, about 6 clicks in, but the shims still warped. Just in case you're about to hit a drop, make sure your rebound is fast. I'd expect fox to make their shims capable of standing up to that kind of oil flow. Just so you know, this totals my repair bill to 170.
- Even before everything started breaking, I had heard creaking from the front end of bike.
-Bike comes out from shop, all is fixed. I check the creak out.
-Brakes are checked first. They are tight and not creaking. Stem screws are greased, top cap is re-tightened.
-New headset is bought, installed with grease, still creaks. The headset is not a good one though, so I return it.
-Check headtube, difference in diameter is <0.1mm, it's okay.
-Buy a new headset, pig DH pro. Install it with retaining compound. Still creaks.
-Head to shop, told them what I did, conclusion after 25 minutes of testing was the fork's cryofit.
Based on reviews on MTBR as well as actual riders here in Toronto, I've found that most fox's will have their seals blow at least. Their arches may crack, and their dampening system may fail, as in my case.
This makes Fox a large company with alot of products that have a...pretty high chance of failure. When you spend the money for a fox, remember this: You're not buying longevity. You're paying for short term performance with VERY high maintanance costs.
Performance wise, this fork gets a final rating of 4.5/5.
My only complaints is that the preload is just a crude topcap with a screw system that basically forces a cylinder to push down on the spring side of the leg. It can get hard to turn if you have the old caps. Lock-out is very nice, but takes a couple of cycles to fully lock out, prone to blowing out.
Value-wise, this fork gets a final rating of 2/5.
It did not fail immediately and lasted approximately half a season to three quarters of a season before failing. For a fork that is worth so much, the parts should not wear out so darn easily. Overall, this has been the most disapointing part of the fork for me. I will never buy Fox again.