With forks and shocks from the big three – RockShox, Fox and Marzocchi – becoming ever more expensive, and poor suspension being the Achilles' heel of many a budget mountain bike, the need for decent mid- and entry-level dampers is greater than ever.
That's where Taiwan's SR Suntour come in, with an ever-improving range of aftermarket products to complement the OEM parts they supply for complete bikes. For 2012 they have three new top-of-the-range forks and two new shocks. Here's a quick look...
Suntour's three top forks all get lighter (157g vs 237g) and more sensitive damping cartridges for 2012, new titanium 15mm Qloc axles which save another 60g (70g vs 130g), and updated air springs, with more of a ramp-up at the end of the stroke to avoid harsh bottoming out. All prices TBC.
Epicon X1 LO RC
The Epicon is Suntour's all-mountain/trail offering, with 120/140/150mm of travel. It's available with a 1-1/8in or tapered steerer; the latter has a new hollow crown. A 29er version is also available, with 100/120mm of travel. Claimed weights are from 1,600g for the 26in version and 1,670g for the 29in. The fork has a lockout (remote version available) plus adjustable rebound and low-speed compression damping.
Bigger-hitters should check out the heavier-duty Durolux. Weighing in at 2,220g (claimed), this is available in adjustable (120-160mm or 140-180mm) or fixed travel (160mm or 180mm) versions, with a 1-1/2in, tapered or 1-1/8in steerer. The new RC2 damping offers adjustable rebound plus high- and low-speed compression.
Axon Werx RC
For cross-country/marathon race whippets there's the Axon, with 80-100mm of adjustable travel and a claimed weight of 1,490g. The top-end RC model comes with a choice of remote or electronic lockout, new carbon/magnesium dropouts and, on the tapered steerer version (standard 1-1/8in also available), a hollow crown. Rebound and low-speed compression damping are both adjustable.
Suntour's rear shocks follow the same naming convention as their forks, so the Epicon RC2 is a trail/all-mountain unit with adjustable rebound (R) plus high- and low-speed compression damping (C2) – an improvement on this year's models, where compression was preset. The 2012 shock is also lighter (200-220g, claimed) and features an improved air spring. It'll be available in 165, 190 and 200mm lengths, with 38, 50 or 55mm of travel. Suntour haven't released a picture of the RC2 yet.
The Epicon shock's bigger brother is the dual air chamber Durolux. This offers eight steps of compression adjustment compared to six on the 2011 model, and you can now adjust both the low-speed and high-speed damping. Claimed weight is from 275g. It'll be available in 190, 200 and 215mm lengths, with 50, 55 or 63mm of travel.