Mountain Gear

Ridden: Rockshox SID RLT Dual air 29er 100mm suspension fork

SID has been around for a while and its heritage is safe if this fork is anything to go by

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In 1998 Rockshox introduced the SID (Super-light Integrated Design) to its product lineup. Immediately it started to win major races and World Championships and has remained a classic ever since despite several redesigns.

The fork on test here is the 29″ version complete with 15mm thru axle, an almost entirely different beast to the 1998 fork.

All the clues you need to understand this fork is in the acronym SID. Super-light is the name of the game here with the smooth sculpted lines and power bulges on the lower legs. It feels and is light, and is noticeably more sculpted than a Reba.

With the bewildering array of options I will avoid a definitive weight but suffice to say it is in the 1600 gram range based on a standard aluminum steerer.

The 15mm thru axle is the Maxle light design which is quick and easy to use. Tightening the QR to the desired tension is easy, not as fool proof as the FOX one but more than adequate. You first hand tighten the axle then close the QR as normal. The blade of the QR is nicely shaped for the hand.

At the other end, the tapered steerer — much beloved by bike manufacturers at the moment — adds stiffness to steering and under side loading.

Of the two the Maxle light is by far the more important in this rider’s opinion. A worthy upgrade on any bike, it dramatically improves the tracking of any ride. A standard 9mm QR is available too, but based on my experience with 26inch SIDs, I say go for the 15mm thru axle if you have the option (this goes for all manufacturers).

Internally the fork has a bewildering array of settings aimed at giving you that perfectly tuned setup. This is good – there are lots of types of riders (weight forward, weight back, stiff/soft suspension) but, if possible, it offers too many choices. There are two air chambers, positive and negative, as well as rebound and compression settings and the fork can be set to either 80 or 100mm of travel.

In reality I wonder at how many riders really play with all these settings. In my experience most tend to fit and forget, but a rider can be richly rewarded for spending a ride or two fine tuning their setup.

As stated already this will vary from rider to rider but as a rule of thumb Rockshox are thankfully fairly spot on with their air pressure-weight settings that can be found on a sticker on the back of the leg. Not so all manufacturers…. I noticed a better ride if I increased the negative air pressure slightly (a few psi only) but again this is personal. Sag is easy to set up with the included rubber ring.

Another ‘like’ is the easy symbols on the rebound compression at the base of the right hand fork leg – the tortoise and the hare. Turn towards the tortoise to speed up the rebound, towards the hare to slow it down. Playing around with these can really make a difference quickly. Try varying the settings repeatedly on your favorite singletrack and see.

Travel is nice and smooth, as with all Rockshox products, and reliability has been excellent.

The only negative I found concerns the lockout, which on this model is the cable operated Pushloc. If your pocket will stretch, opt for the Xloc-equipped hydraulic lockout fork as this is a far superior offering. It is a small thing in fairness but it is prone to sticking, as with all cable operated systems should your riding involve mud and rain.

That said, budding home mechanics will perhaps prefer it, due to the ease and low cost of servicing it yourself.

Overall it is an extremely impressive fork with clever detailing and design. SID has been around for a while and its heritage is safe if this fork is anything to go by.

Ben combines work as a qualified mountain bike guide with reviewing and rating products for as well as Outsider magazine and and is also working on a PhD in tourism and entrepreneurship.  With 20 years of mountain biking behind him, Ben remembers the Girven Flexstem, U-brakes and the first time he saw a suspension fork with a 1-inch piece of elastomer in it. He has ridden bikes on four continents and has covered events as diverse as the 2007 mountain bike world championships, the Giro D’Italia and the Single Speed World Champs and lives in Dublin, Ireland.  He is happiest riding technical singletrack and was an early adopter of the 29er… for a European. Find him on Twitter: #spoketweets. Check out all of Ben’s stories.