Our "Rider Review" article series features the honest reviews from verified purchasers of Worldwide Cyclery. They contain the photos, thoughts, feedback & overall review you are looking for.
The suspension is a very important part of any given mountain bike. It can be argued that it's even more important or not on a hardtail bike vs a dual suspension bike. Our friend Jennifer gives us the low down on the RockShox Reba RL suspension fork. Check it out!
In 2018 I purchased a Salsa Timberjack, it came specked with the RockShox Recon RL120 mm fork. My first impressions of the Recon is it seems to do pretty good on light bumpy trails, hitting some bigger bumps would feel somewhat harsh. The real problems showed up on fast downhill sections, with bumps closer together. It became uncomfortable, chattery, even to the point of losing control of the bike. The Timberjack is a hardtail so having a good fork in the front is important but I also didn’t want to overbuild an aluminum hardtail. My Recon fork was just not plush enough for the kind of trails I was riding, I had to find a better fork, I wanted something that was smoother, more adjustable and capable of handling fast downhills without shaking me off the bike.
I talked with the experts at Worldwide Cyclery and told them what I was looking for and my price range of $500. They said that the Rockshox Reba RL 130mm travel would be a good upgrade from the Recon and it was right in the price range of what I had planned to spend. When the new fork arrived I called my bike shop to schedule the swap. They said all that was needed was for the steer tube to be cut down and everything else fit perfectly, they set the air pressure according to my weight and I was ready to shred! The next day I took the bike to my favorite trails to test out the new Reba. I headed for one of my favorite downhill sections, I knew this would be a good test, with lots of speed, bumps and jumps, I had in my mind exactly how my old Recon felt in this section so I had a good comparison.
The Recon did a good job with small hits and overall performance on the trail seems adequate. Where it didn’t do so well was with big hits, it would feel harsh, on fast bumpy downhills it could not keep up, causing chatter and vibration. The Reba fork did a better job with small hits, it also felt smoother, softer and plusher. On the big hits, it also did noticeably better, on the fast bumpy downhills it wasn’t perfect but it was an improvement from the Recon. I have more confidence to go faster without the feeling of losing my grip on the bars. The Reba is lighter than the Recon by 330g and saving weight is always a good thing in my book.
The Reba just does everything a little better than the Recon, not a huge difference but just better. You might think, why spend money on a new fork if it’s only a little better? I have upgraded every part on my bike and every time it only makes the bike a little bit better and lighter. Yes, it is worth every penny, every time I get on my bike I’m glad I invested in good components. Overall, the Reba is a decent upgrade, if you are in the market for a fork in this price range the Rockshox Reba is a good choice.
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