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May 30, 2023, 9:55 a.m. -  Schmolson

To add a data point, not necessarily in opposition or support to your experience, I am 210lbs kitted, with 2L of water, and picked up a full Deore RAF with JadeX and Onyx SC D1. At 185cm, I am right on the line b/w L and XL. I sized down because that is what was available at the time. The bike was not perfect, but I can't say that it was anywhere near the worst bike experience ever. Three things stood out immediately. First, the stock dropper lever was near impossible to depress. Second, the Onyx fork was so sticky that I could let all the air out and it would not depress on its own; it took about 20lbs pressure to push it in. Lastly, the JadeX spring that came stock was 500lb/in which put me >35% sag. The first problem was solved with $82.50CAD on a OneUp V3 dropper remote and clamp. There are no words to describe the difference in experience b/w the stock remote and the V3. I don't think that would be everyone's experience depending on what they are replacing, but in my case it felt like the best money ever spent. The second turned out to be a pretty painless warranty issue. DVO was quick to respond, though I had to send the fork to Suspension Werx so I was without a bike mid-season for a couple of weeks. My cost to ship was around $75CAD fully insured, which was unfortunate, but the work and return shipping was covered. The invoice indicated that there was a twisted Q-ring, and the bushings needed to be resized (perhaps that explains the sticky-ness). The fork that came back from Suspension Werx felt completely different. More like what I was initially expecting. Lastly, the DVO coil spring that came stock on my L frame was 500lb/in, and put me >35% sag. I never experienced any harsh bottom out, but it was evident that I was under-sprung. I found a 600lb/in used for $80 and tried it out. It got me up to 30% sag and the balance of the bike (front to rear) felt better, but it still felt a little 'dead' at the back. I played with the rebound and bladder pressure but could not find a improvement using the super scientific Same-Worse-Better testing. Enter the single most expensive solution I have found to date for that 'dead' feeling, the Cascade Components Ripmo AF link. The link was ~$420CAD to my doorstep, so about 10% of the total cost of the bike. Ouch. With the link installed, the back of the bike now feels like I expected it to feel. Other small nit-picks I noticed over the first season of riding on the stock build that are more unique to each person. The 175mm cranks are too long for the combination of BB height and my poor technique over roots and rocks when climbing. I have, at long last, a set of 165mm cranks that need to get installed before I can comment on whether shorter is better for me. Also, I don't get along with the stock bars. The low-rise and angles lead to some wrist discomfort by the end of most rides. That will be the next test/upgrade. Finally, I replaced the WTB Volt with a WTB Koda and for now I will be sticking with the Koda (less numbness). Again, I could not claim the the worst mtb experience ever (are you sure your experience was THE worst?), but I am not so blown away that I would recommend one to all of my friends.

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