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SR Suntour Durolux36 EQ R2C2 fork review

Air sprung front suspension at a good price

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £640.00 RRP
SR Suntour Durolux36 EQ R2C2 suspension mountain bike fork

Our review

A budget-focused fork with neat features and great comfort damping, but it lacks mid-travel support unless you compromise on sensitivity
Pros: Great damping makes for impressive long-run comfort; bleed ports boost service life; price
Cons: Lacks either sensitivity or support depending on how it's set up, with no great compromise
Skip to view product specifications

SR Suntour’s Durolux fork is a feature-packed, budget front suspension option that’s improved over the years. The latest version has more refined damping, plus a self-equalising air spring (hence “EQ” in the name) rather than a coil negative spring. That means it will work well for a broader range of riders.

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Like Fox’s top-tier forks, it’s got a four-way adjustable damper, offering high- and low-speed adjustment of both the compression and rebound circuits. Plus, bleed ports under the seals can be used to release trapped air to maintain beginning-stroke sensitivity, or to replenish the seal/bushing lubricant between services.

This should extend service life by keeping the foam O-rings topped up with lube, which usually drains to the bottom over time. Don’t add too much though, or there will be too much oil in the lowers for the fork to compress fully.

Starting at 60psi for my 85kg weight, this provided a reasonable amount of sag (around 20 per cent) but the fork lacked mid- and end-stroke support, diving too much and staying low in its travel on rough or steep terrain.

In the end, I found that 65psi gave the best balance of off-the-top sensitivity and mid-stroke support. Any firmer and it had too little sag and wouldn’t track the ground well when off the brakes.

Because the air spring has a relatively small negative spring volume, it has a stiff beginning stroke relative to the middle of the travel. That means there’s a bit of a catch-22 in terms of wanting to increase pressure to prop the fork up when deeper in the travel, yet drop the pressure in order to provide more sag and traction near the start of the travel.

Firming up the compression damping helps to hold it up on steep, chunky terrain, along with faster rebound to help it recover faster. I ended up with low- and high-speed compression near the middle of the range, which sacrifices some sensitivity for support, while setting the high-speed rebound fully open to get it to recover faster.

Despite this less-than-ideal feeling spring curve, sensitivity is excellent once you’re into the travel due to impressively low friction, and hand buzz is minimal on long, rough descents.

The build-up of support through the mid-travel isn’t as predictable as the best forks, nor is it as ground-hugging when rattling across fast and rough sections, but this more linear spring feel is the only criticism I have of this otherwise solid fork.

It’s worth pointing out that it’s considerably cheaper than many other forks and, at this price, it’s a worthy competitor to the similarly-priced RockShox Yari that I’ve previously tested.

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But on balance I’d still plump for the Yari at this price. Though it’s not as well-damped and comfortable in harsh chatter as the Durolux, the Yari’s superior air spring makes it a more predictable and traction-rich ride. Plus, the Yari’s Motion Control damper can be upgraded to a Lyrik-spec Charger unit if and when you feel the need.

How we tested

We tested seven burly enduro forks, and to make it a fair test, all forks had 170mm travel, around 42mm offset and were fitted to a 29in wheel. The same bike was used (a Privateer 161), with an identical setup and tyre pressures throughout.

We worked hard to optimise the setup of each fork by experimenting back and forth with all the available adjustments. Then they were tested back-to-back on the same familiar trails and in the same conditions, using an uplift to minimise the time between runs so the previous fork’s performance was fresh in our minds. Only when testing like this do the differences between forks stand out.

The standard of forks on test was considerably higher than 2020, and some new or upgraded models have seen firm favourites tumbling down the rankings.

Also on test:

Product Specifications

Product

Price GBP £640.00
Weight 2,219g
Brand Sr suntour

Features

Features Adjustments: low- and high-speed compression, low- and high-speed rebound, air spring pressure, volume spacers
Travel: 160, 170, 180mm (27.5”) / 150mm, 160mm, 170mm (29”), requires new air shaft for travel change
Offset: 44mm (27.5”) / 44mm, 51mm (29”)
Offset 44mm
Spring type Air
Travel 170mm
Wheel size 29in/700c