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I'm relatively new to biking, and even newer to know about the details about the components of the bike itself. I have a 2016, 29" Totem bike, with a rear coil shock and a front coil suspension (a Suntour XCT DS HLO 29). From what I can see, it's an older model of this one: http://www.srsuntour-cycling.com/components/fork/XCT-29-5620.html

I generally like the bike and I've had good times with it along these years, but the problem is the front suspension is too basic and has scared me a couple times already, so I'm planning to upgrade it for something better, around $350 - $400.

The problem is I'm not exactly sure for this price range, what should I pick? Should I pick another coil based suspension or should I go for an air-based one? For this price range, are some Rock Shox acceptable options or should I look at some other brands? Can I get something with remote lock for this price range? What features should I look to make a long-lasting investment?

Sorry if the question is too broad, I'll share any other information or details required.

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    When you say 'scared you' can you provide more detail on why you believe it was teh shock – mattnz Mar 4 '18 at 5:12
  • @mattnz sorry if the message wasn't clear but what has scared me is the front suspension, the fork and one recent example is last week I took it on a 25Km ride with some speedy downs on bumpy road (not even mountain road) and I thought it handled it ok, but today I took it for a more calm ride and at some point on the first 8Km it started to crack badly on every pothole I was passing by (even when fully closed) and the compression wasn't feeling right, I had to go back. – Juan Carlos Alpizar Chinchilla Mar 4 '18 at 5:41
  • @JuanCarlosAlpizarChinchilla have you set the sag and rebound correctly on both ? Not sure how much adjust you have available, if any. – Criggie Mar 4 '18 at 8:55
  • @Criggie the shock has some sag and I've set it properly, but the fork barely has any. The rebound I'm not sure to be honest, but it has been working for some time already as it currently is. – Juan Carlos Alpizar Chinchilla Mar 5 '18 at 0:41
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OEM Suntour forks are awfully terrible. Almost any other after-the-market fork would be better.

I would recommend going with an air fork as the technology is very much polished now, so there is no need for coil. In the price range that you have designated, there are many decent forks, however not so many vendors to choose from, and one is clearly dominating.

I would focus on getting a compatible fork in the first place; that is, all the parameters:

  • wheel size (26/27.5/29),
  • travel (100-180mm),
  • steering tube type (straight/tapered),
  • axle system (QR/through-axle)
  • axle length ("normal"/boost)
  • brake mounting system (disk ISO/post mount or rim V-brake)

    — must match. Let's not forget about the color, although it is mostly black.

Can I get something with remote lock for this price range?

Not sure about that. However, I've never found a need for a lockout, be it on the fork or a remote one, — a good fork should just work, and the lockout only takes space on the handlebars.

What features should I look to make a long-lasting investment?

You need to service your new fork periodically. I've seen vendor's recommendations to do it once every 50 hours of operation. For my taste, that is way too often. Once a season should be the lowest frequency for the service.

  • Good answer - but "exploitation" might be the wrong word. – Criggie Mar 4 '18 at 8:54
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    @Criggie changed it to a more neutral one. It is sometimes hard to find a right word once three languages fight in one's head :-) – Grigory Rechistov Mar 4 '18 at 9:06
  • @grigory-rechistov really nice answer, thanks. I'm gonna investigate about some of the parameters you've given me and I didn't know about, so far I can tell you it's for 29 wheels, 100 mm travel and has a disc brake mounting point, with a 160mm disc mounted. Am I assuming correctly that Rock Shox is the name dominating? Once again thanks for your input. – Juan Carlos Alpizar Chinchilla Mar 5 '18 at 0:53
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    @JuanCarlosAlpizarChinchilla sure. I looked at the link you gave and can add that that fork has QR skewer axle system (9mm diameter) and post mount disk brake tabs, straight steerer tube. – Grigory Rechistov Mar 5 '18 at 4:42

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