With a price tag of only 60 euro, RST Blaze follows the discontinued Gila. This new fork is the direct competitor for Rock Shox 28 and Suntour XCT and it offers a few advantages meant to outrun its rivals. If it does manage to make an impression in the entry level forks segment, you may find out below.
Compared with the prices of some other forks you can find in shops, the 60 euro you’ll have to pay for Blaze may seem a joke. As forks such as Fox or Rock Shox can cost up to 500 euro, you may wonder what a fork really has to offer for such a small price.
Its build features thin arms, of only 28.6 mm, thus being only 0.6 mm thicker than Rock Shox XC 28 or Suntour XCT’s arms. Its functioning is rather heavy, but when I compare it with the other two forks I mentioned, I may say that there is hope. Not necessarily because this fork is more sensitive on small bumps – it is not, actually – but the 100 mm travel is a bit softer and this slightly improves its overall performance.
Rebound is not far away from what competition has to offer, as when you lift the handlebar you’ll hear a light knock. It flexes relatively little and this is to appreciate for this segment and it is even delivered with a Lock-Out command, installed on the handlebar.
When it comes to design, RST really managed to pull a nice trick. The white matt paint is attractive and can really fool an untrained eye, making him or her believe it is in fact a more expensive fork. Finishes are acceptable, even if the upper arms and the steering tube are made of steel. Blaze puts 2.48 kg on the scale (with a cut steerer) which makes it heavier than Rock Shox XC 28 and lighter than Suntour XCT.
When riding over bigger bumps, such as stones or roots, Blaze’s coils aren’t the most efficient ones, and sometimes you’ll feel them throwing the front of the bike towards you.
I can now draw a final conclusion, after getting to test all three forks. When it comes to refinement (obviously, judged under more permissive standards than those functioning in case of more expensive forks), the winner is no other than RST Blaze. Don’t expect the feedback you’ll get from a fork higher placed in the price range, as I only want to underline the fact that it simply does better than its main competitors. Rock Shox is a winner when it comes to weight and Suntour XCT is left behind because of its poor damping, lack of the extra-functions which can be found on the other two forks, and last, but not least, because of its weight (2.64 kg).
The Lock-Out command functions perfectly, but you won’t find rebound adjustment on Blaze. In fact, it might not even be necessary for this level. However, pay attention when deactivating the Lock-Out by pressing the upper button of the command. If you’re not careful the lower lever, by which you actuate the Lock-Out, comes back very fast and it can easily catch your finger between the two plastic pieces. Trust me, it is painful!
Blaze is an acceptable partner for your first mountain rides, but for sure, there will come a time when you feel that a change is needed. I do not recommend this fork for competitions, not only because of its weak performance, but also due to its heavy weight. However, its price tag does not leave room for other comments.
Weight: 2.480 grams