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Old 12-23-06, 03:53 PM   #1
hooligan
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Serious disapointment

Hey,

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.
-Headset/headtube checked.
-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.
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Old 12-23-06, 04:02 PM   #2
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Most people know about fox's problems with seals going into their purchase. It is very well known. I have been lucky with both of my fox's though and have never had any problems with it. However, from the beginning I have known that the first time the fork gives me a problem wether it be a seal or something else I won't mess with working on it or sending it back to Fox. I'm going to have it pushed!
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Old 12-23-06, 04:05 PM   #3
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Sure a bunch of people know it, but fox takes it for granted that their customers are expecting to pay more to fix a fork that is a known defect. If every marzocchi fork had the same problem as the fox with the seal, I am sure that the sales percentage for Marzocchi would decrease more than Fox (Should they have the issue of the seals published). Im also pretty sure more people would be more angry with Marzocchi than fox.
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Old 12-23-06, 04:10 PM   #4
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I absolutely hate Marzocchi, I have had nothing but lousy forks from them and poor customer service. With that said others love them. It's a matter of personal preference / luck.

BTW, I'm not defending Fox or saying it's right. I'm just saying how I went into the purchase.
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Old 12-23-06, 04:10 PM   #5
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Well, being that the fox you have is a long travel xc fork, it doesn't really suprise me that it kicked the bucket prematurely.
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Old 12-23-06, 04:39 PM   #6
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hurra a torontonian! that's all i really have to say.
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Old 12-23-06, 04:47 PM   #7
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Sorry to hear of your troubles hoolie, but thanks for the writeup - your assesment of the Enduro seals is one I hadn't heard before.
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Old 12-23-06, 05:01 PM   #8
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I found this thread interesting



Especially since I just purchased a RL



Used


GULP!
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Old 12-23-06, 05:47 PM   #9
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Realistically, are there any forks out there that someone HASN'T had a similarly negative experience with?

Someone has similarly dissed pretty much every fork that I can think of. I could speak ill of a few myself. The one person I know on a Vanillia R I know has had three years of trouble-free service. There seems to be some element of random (mis)fortune to this whole thing.
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Old 12-23-06, 06:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gastro
Sorry to hear of your troubles hoolie, but thanks for the writeup - your assesment of the Enduro seals is one I hadn't heard before.
I was thinking the same thing about the enduro seals. This is the first negative review I have read or heard about them.
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Old 12-23-06, 06:58 PM   #11
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Oddly the only thing I have heard negative about the forks was the service and at times dealing directly with the company. I know my experience with them as a company turned me off, but the forks are generally pretty solid.
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Old 12-25-06, 11:07 AM   #12
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Well, alot of people buy enduro seals for their sealing capabilities, so they expect stiction. Also, you don't notice the effect of stiction after 3-4 rides, you get used to it (performance is still hampered). Then you ride someone else's fox and think "What the hell have I done to my fork" while glaring at the blue pieces of plastic decorating your fork. gaaarrgh
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Old 12-25-06, 11:13 AM   #13
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Sounds like your friend sold you a dud. Sucks for you.
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Old 12-25-06, 02:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LowCel
However, from the beginning I have known that the first time the fork gives me a problem wether it be a seal or something else I won't mess with working on it or sending it back to Fox. I'm going to have it pushed!
i do however find it fairly ironic that when they service your fox 32mm fork, they change the seals to rockshox seals
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Old 12-25-06, 03:10 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by The Great Stonk
i do however find it fairly ironic that when they service your fox 32mm fork, they change the seals to rockshox seals
Ouch. Does that really improve anything? The air seal on my particular SID proved pretty much invicible, but the oil seal let go much earlier on. I know other prople's SIDs have leaked a lot of air.
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Old 12-25-06, 03:26 PM   #16
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I gave had pretty a bad experience with fox forks as well. I won't buy another one.
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Old 12-25-06, 06:13 PM   #17
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Mine won't hold more than about 60 psi for very long, but other than that it's been good. I don't know which fork I'll buy next. The Reba on my wife's bike has a great feel, but the lower air chamber is a PITA to keep filled. If they make a coil retrofit for it, I'll definitely consider it. I haven't heard too many good things about Marzocchi lately, although my 2001 Z1 was fantastic.
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Old 12-26-06, 03:58 AM   #18
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Thanks for the extensive review, it was a good read. I, for one, wasn't really aware of the Fox seals problems.
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Old 12-26-06, 11:49 AM   #19
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I have several Vanilla forks, the newest being an 07 140RLC. I had an 05 RL that had a bit of clunk. The tolerances were off a bit. Sent it in and they repaired it for free. I have not had problems with leaking seals on any of the 4 Vanilla's i have had. Sounds like you should have sent it in to get the tolerance problem repaired, then the seals wouldnt have continued to leak.
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Old 12-26-06, 06:42 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigSean
I have several Vanilla forks, the newest being an 07 140RLC. I had an 05 RL that had a bit of clunk. The tolerances were off a bit. Sent it in and they repaired it for free. I have not had problems with leaking seals on any of the 4 Vanilla's i have had. Sounds like you should have sent it in to get the tolerance problem repaired, then the seals wouldnt have continued to leak.
Ok, I sent mine in got it "fixed" by Fox and guess what? It still leaks.
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Old 12-26-06, 08:34 PM   #21
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Ok, I sent mine in got it "fixed" by Fox and guess what? It still leaks.

I dont know, I havent had any problems with mine. The one that had the tolerence problem was from Price Point which means a OE version. Other then that almost all of my friends ride Fox forks, one rides a Marzocci, one a Pike and a couple RockShox, but those are on Niners. No problems at all. We all do the regular maintenance, but other then that nothing.
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Old 12-26-06, 09:39 PM   #22
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Never had a problem w/ my Talas, neither have any of my buddies that ride em...
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