RST M-29, First Air and Titan Air forks

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rst forks

This a review of RST M-29. The other forks in the photo are the First Air and Titan Air. They al share the same build and technology. TheM-29 is built the 29er wheel. The First Air has 100 mm of travel and the Titan Air has 130.

Weight is 4.43 lbs. Note the grease ports. The M-29 fork features fork mounts while the others do not. The M-29 fork features beefier dropouts than the the First Air fork.

The fork looks good. It complements the bike well and does not look low-cost. The cable mount is very clean and beats the all the 29er forks out there, hands down. It’s built-in to the legs at the rear of the left shock leg. Down-tube clearance on the SIR9 is plenty. I love the post mount brakes too. So clean!The controls feel a bit stiff and clunky but they did the job. The lockout knob is big and easy to handle. It has a ‘click’ that can be felt when you put it in the fully open position. As the opposite of the Reba and Fox shocks, turning the lockout knob clockwise unlocks the fork. This actually makes sense. There’s usually little time before a descent to unlock a fork. Turning the knob clockwise towards you makes the task easier.

So how was the ride? Steering was very good. No complaints at all. I’m 145 lbs and it was plenty stiff for me laterally. The great news is heavier riders at about 200 lbs. love the steering stiffness of the shock.

Initially, I thought “Man, this shock is harsh.” It turns out it was lockout out. I was confused by the reverse lever position. It’s worth noting that when the fork is locked out, it’s really locked out. Then halfway through the ride, I thought the fork was a bit slow and not very responsive to bumps. The damping lever was in the halfway position. I set it to full fast and all was well.

Once I got things sorted out, the shock performed really well. It went through the travel nicely and never bottomed out. The action was pretty smooth without much stiction. It felt almost as smooth as properly tuned 80mm Reba. Performance was very close. It wasn’t nearly as supple as the Fox F29 100mm fork but that was to be expected. This shock surpassed my expectations for a good value fork.

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Strengths:

  • very stiff fork steers very well even with heavier riders
  • incredible value
  • solid construction
  • lockout lever is easy to operate
  • remote lockout is available
  • good cable routing
  • can be converted from 80-100 mm by the rider (not on-the-fly)

Weaknesses:

  • a bit heavy at 4.43 lbs
  • action is not very plush
  • graphics is not very attractive
  • adjustment knobs don’t have a solid feel to them

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Bottom Line:

It’s great to have options and that’s what this fork offers to the consumer, specially the 29er market. At less than half the price of the $700 Fox F29, the RST M-29 offers an affordable and effective option. And the best part is it offers best-of-class stiffness in the steering and lateral stiffness department. Thus for heavier riders, this has become the fork of choice.

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Value Rating:

5 out of 5 stars

Overall Rating:

4 out of 5 stars:

Read or write user reviews here:

http://www.mtbr.com/reviews/2008_forks/product_130295.shtml


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Wordpress Comments:

  • GreenLightGo says:

    after break in, release air pressure, compress the fork and put about 4-5 squirts of Buzzy’s Slick Honey in the grease ports and plushness will increase.

    I’ve got about 1000 miles on mine now and it definitely is a great value.

  • manpal says:

    I have the same RST M-29 Air but i have some issue with the Air pressure, Its leaking. Is there anyone had the same issue

    My Issue: I put 100 psi and went for a ride and when i checked it later the same day it reduced to 40 psi.

    Any help or advice is really appreciated.

    Thx.

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