Suntour has been building its own (and others’) budget forks for years, and the well-evolved Epicon series is available in 100mm, 120mm and 140mm travel for 2014.
The hollow crown keeps it light and all the caps and knobs are metal, which is impressive for under £300. The ambidextrous 15mm QLoc expanding cam axle is equal parts clever and frustrating – it helps with some roof racks/personal preferences and so on, but it can jam inside some hubs.
If you’re just rolling along or pressing straight down in the workshop it’s an impressively smooth comfort fork, with a plush linear motion deep into the stroke. The low-speed compression adjust adds noticeable resistance to initial movement, and if that’s not enough there’s a bar-mounted lockout lever with a neat side-nudge release.
While steering is okay when cruising there’s noticeable twist and twang when the tyre starts to scrabble for grip. The sliding parts twisting and binding within the fork means a lot of stiction and chatter when you’re pushing it hard through corners and under braking, and it’s less happy on a slack-angled bike.
It’s tighter and more consistently controlled in the shorter-travel options, which makes the 100 and 120mm versions the pick of the range.