Product Test: SR Suntour Auron RC2 27.5-inch Fork

Enduro bikes are all the buzz these days. Since they can be ridden everywhere and do just about anything, it’s no wonder these bikes have become so popular. They are built to climb up and bomb down while soaking up otherwise teeth-chattering terrain. With the increasing capabilities of these new bikes, fork technology plays a crucial role in keeping the ride smooth, controlled and most of all, fun. The new Auron from SR Suntour has been designed to do just that. Although SR Suntour isn’t new to the fork arena, the Auron RC2 is their first venture into the enduro scene. In a field where the two big juggernauts typically dominate, SR Suntour brings the new Auron RC2 into the mix of enduro fork offerings.

Tech features:

SR Suntour offers the Auron in four models: TA-RC2 (travel adjust), RL-RC (remote speed lock), RC2 and RC. All the models are designed for use with 27.5-inch wheels, have 34mm stanchions and feature Suntour’s Q-Loc 15mm thru-axle system. The Auron uses a magnesium monocoque construction for the lowers, an AL7050 aluminum 1.5- to 1 1/8-inch steerer tube and hollow forged crowns to increase stiffness with less weight.

Our fork was the RC2 model with 160mm of air-sprung travel and weighed 4.14 pounds with the steerer tube cut to fit a medium frame with a crown race installed. The Auron RC2 has externally adjustable high- and low-speed compression, as well as rebound, on the right fork leg. The left side of the fork houses Suntour’s new progressive air system with preload adjust. The Auron RC2 packs all these features into a slick fork that retails for $700.

Field test results:

The moment we first laid eyes on the Auron, we couldn’t help but notice how cool this fork looks. The embedded graphics stand out and let everyone know that this fork is here to do business. Not only do the paint and graphics look cool, but they are durable as well. Overall, the fit and finish are just about on par with the Auron’s main competitor, the Pike. The most tangible difference was that the compression and rebound adjustment knobs did not have the most affirmative feel when dialing in settings. The “clicks” were a little far apart and made us wonder if we were actually making adjustments. Once we did finally hear the next “click”, it eased our uncertainty.

After we installed the fork on our familiar test bike and set sag, all we had to do was add compression damping and back off on the rebound to get the fork feeling good to go for the parking-lot test. During setup, we noticed that the fork required more low-speed compression damping to maintain a supportive feel in turns and G-Outs. So, before heading out to our testing grounds, we added quite a few turns of low-speed compression while maintaining our set air pressure for small-bump compliance. Once we were done with initial setup, we hit the trails with the Auron to see how it performed.

The first thing we noticed about the Auron on the trail was that we didn’t notice it at all. This is a great thing. The fork performed very well and did not exhibit any odd characteristics that left us reaching for more adjustments. The Auron had a smooth, planted and predictable feel. We never noticed excessive flex from its magnesium chassis, nor did the Auron get overwhelmed by the terrain. One thing we did notice was that the fork didn’t offer the most playful-feeling ride. This is not necessarily a down side, but we found it difficult to pop off and over obstacles at times since the fork wanted to stay planted to the ground. We backed the rebound damping all the way off to try and liven up the front end. This worked a bit but had us wishing for a few more clicks for a faster rebound setting.

The Auron performed extremely well for enduro. The 2014 Mammoth Kamikaze Bike Games featured an enduro race, and we had enough confidence in the fork to use it in three, rock-filled, pumice-covered stages. Mammoth is notorious for letting you know where the weak link is–in you or your bike. Fortunately, the fork handled the holes and braking bumps of Follow Me, as well as the rocks of Bullet, with alacrity. The Auron felt light on the climbs and predictable on the descents. Needless to say, the Auron has made an impressive entrance into the enduro scene with its reasonable price and planted performance. While we would have appreciated a wider damping range to fit our personal preferences, for the money, this is a fantastic fork that will deliver, over and over again.

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