Öhlins RXF 36 Coil – € 1,235
For many years we strived to get the heavy coil spring out of our suspension forks, then, almost immediately after air springs started to feel like coil, we all started to get excited about putting them back in again. The Ohlins RXF 36 air is a great fork, featuring the TTX Twin Tube damper and an adjustable negative and positive air chamber, however Ohlins wanted to produce a fork for riders who wanted something simpler, and so the Ohlins RXF 36 Coil was born. Inside the spring side is, well a steel spring, available in 7 different rates for riders of different weights. Using a steel spring means that many air seals can be removed from the fork, this results in a dramatic reduction in friction and a very smooth suspension action. The TTX damper is highly adjustable, featuring two seperate tubes separating the rebound and compression stages, reducing the chance of cavitation, air and oil mixing. The one piece forged crown and steerer boosts stiffness, but removing the front wheel requires tools and be sure not to forget the pinch bolt as it can fall out if not properly tightened. The chassis is available in 51 mm offset and 29” only.
As soon as you first compress the Ohlins RXF 36 Coil, you see why many people desire coil shocks, the shaft moves effortlessly through the travel with no observable stiction as the fork changes direction, small bump sensitivity is extremely high. It’s the sort of fork you just want to throw into some gnarly terrain, and when you do it simply eats up the hits with effortless smoothness. The TTX damper does a good job of controlling the steel spring, but we did find we needed to dial in a lot of compression damping to provide the support we were after. And there lies the rub, being a coil spring, you have to be very careful to get the correct spring rate for your weight, and some of our testers found themselves ‘between’ springs. Yes, the small bump sensitivity is second to none, and the rider is magic carpet smooth. However, lacking the infinite adjustment of air, some riders found the firmer spring in their range to be a little harsh on the biggest hits, while the next lighter spring lacked support. Without the natural progressive ramping effect of an air spring, we found we were using a lot of compression damping to stop the linear coil spring from spending too much time deep in the travel. After three months of hard riding, the performance was unchanged, a great option for those who prefer spending more time on the trails than changing fork seals.
The Ohlins RXF 36 Coil is a masterclass in composure and sensitivity, offering a grip filled, magic carpet ride. Great for ‘fit and go’ riders who desire simplicity and reliability. However, with air forks offering almost the same level of sensitivity with far more adjustability, it’s hard not to see coil as a step sideways rather than forwards.
+ Magic carpet ride quality
+ Simple and less to go wrong
– The steel spring adds weight
– Overly linear
For more information head to ohlins.eu