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April 28, 2023, 7:45 a.m. -  BadNudes

When the pandemic was making it tough to find a rigid fork (had been waiting on the RSD pre-order until I snagged the Bird option), I rode with an XCR air 34 with steel stanchions for almost a year. It's heavy, and there are some caveats like it not cooperating in temps lower than 5*C and it wanting frequent service (grease instead of bath oil), but in general it rides damn well. I like it enough that I'm keeping it around as an option in case my wrists start begging for mercy. It's not on par with Fox or top end RS products, but considering the price and especially compared to my previous experience with XCRs from 10 years ago the modern ones are not giving up a whole lot when it comes to the ride experience. Come to think of it I bought it for a little less than the RSD fork MSRP so it seems like great value to me. When I got my rigid fork I had to really slow down on the chunkier sections and even on trails I thought I knew well finding my line became a real puzzle - which I love, but beginners won't. All that to say I'd bet that a beginner would feel more comfortable and learn faster with the XCR on that Rocky Mountain instead of a rigid fork. I would have had the opposite opinion 10 years ago but, and I hate to be cliche, we've come so far with bike tech in the last decade, and that applies to the 'entry level' stuff too. Now, the equation might change after a season or two and that XCR is overdue a service, which is where the real value of rigid MTBs start to shine for me.

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