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RockShox offers more forks than any other company. One for just about every price range, which is nice considering you have more options that won't make you broke after one purchase. The Reba is a very popular upgrade for riders looking into a solid fork on a budget. Our buddies Isaac and Mason recently made the upgrade. Let's see what they thought:
We purchased a RockShox Reba RL in June 2020 to upgrade the stock RockShox Recon fork on a 2019 Marin Rift Zone 2. The suspension on the Rift Zone 2 is 120 mm in the front and 120 mm in the rear. After riding the Rift Zone 2 for several months, we decided to upgrade the fork for fun to see if it would improve handling, particularly with small chattering brake bumps.
In short, we found there to be a modest performance improvement with chattering brake bumps. We also found that we were able to dial in the suspension to prevent most bottom outs that we had experienced with the RockShox Recon while trail riding.
Here is a little more detail. The RockShox Reba RL is the next performance level up from the RockShox Recon. Our understanding is that the RockShox Reba RL has higher end internal components than the RockShox Recon. You can dig into the details on the RockShox website. The appearance is similar. The RockShox Reba RL has black fork stanchions while the RockShox Recon has silver fork stanchions. The RockShox Reba RL was a nice aesthetic upgrade to the Rift Zone 2 in our opinion. We like the stealthy dark metal look.
We are not professional mechanics. We installed the new fork ourselves. This was not our first fork install. You should do your research and understand the entire scope of the fork installation project before undertaking it yourself.
If you are new to the task, the tricky part is cutting the steerer tube to the right length and installing the nut. If you cut too much off the steerer tube, the fork is ruined. Wipe down the headset bearings with a rag and liberally apply grease when reinstalling them with the new fork. We use Park Tool polylube 1000. Make sure your bearings are in good shape. If they are falling apart, look damaged, or do not roll smooth, consider replacing them while you have the headset apart. The bearings usually have numbers on them that you can use to locate new parts. When putting your bike back together, be sure that you properly torque the bolts. You do not want your bar moving in the opposite direction of your wheel on the trail because you left your bolts too loose or overtightened them and broke the threads. We recommend using a torque wrench. There is plenty of info in forums, articles and videos online.
"Overall the RockShox Reba RL made the bike feel more composed and steady on the trail. All of that said, at $499, it is an expensive upgrade. Accordingly, if you are having problems with your RockShox Recon and it needs replacement, we would recommend upgrading it to a RockShox Reba RL. If your budget is tight and your RockShox Recon is fine, consider riding the RockShox Recon until you need a major fork service. Weigh the cost of servicing the RockShox Recon against upgrading to a new RockShox Reba RL."