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Using your analogy, a fork with less external adjustments is basically an RD with no barrel adjuster.
With suspension with less knobs, you're relying on the manufacturer to get settings that are in the right range, absolutely. And they don't always - ride style, weight, terrain, etc, all factor in as you well know. But for a lot of people... that doesn't matter. They haven't even set sag correctly. I can take a Miata to the track, adjust nothing, and it'll be fine. I could also spend a truckload on fancy dampers, analyze data, adjust, and it'll be better. Which is easier?
And the factor we're not talking about here is all those knobs cost money, and require knowledge. If manufacturers sold RD's with no adjustment, for less money, people would also buy them. I could get it by just adjusting cable tension the hard way.
So in short... yes, cheaper forks with less external adjustments and less expensive internals do not perform as well as $2000 top of the line models. But not everyone needs that.
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