I recall the RST Gila ML as being an entry-level suspension fork. Slightly besting the Suntour XCM, its main rival, 100mm of travel, low price and not very much to ask from were its main coordinates. Yet, can Gila ML provide a surprise in one of those respects this year?
For 2013, Gila has some new clothing. The black upper arms, made out of steel, are the main novelty and manage quite cunningly to not influence functionality. It is worth knowing, as more and more manufacturers turn to this part for improving their suspension forks.
The functioning mechansim relies on a spring, elastomer and some grease to keep things lubricated. Being rather soft, the spring is more suited to recreational off-road trails, and the low rebound speed contributes to this destination as demanding paths can be a bite bigger than Gila ML can chew. The same thing goes for fast corners, where the wheel simply won’t stick to the ground…
On the left arm of the fork you can find the preload adjustement, which actually stiffens the spring, while the Lock-Out command does what it’s supposed to do with no flaws. Stiffness while braking is a weak point of the Gila ML, its value of 210 Nm/degree placing it in the lower echelon of our standings.
Drawing the line, RST Gila ML is meant for recreational rides, tough mountain trails being out of the question simply due to its low performance regarding them. In a head-to-head comparison with Suntour XCM, Gila ML wins the weight battle, with its 2.145 grams, but XCM has the upper edge regarding finishing touches, stanchion thickness (30mm, compared to 28mm), and price.
Weight: 2.145 grams
Stiffness when braking: 210 Nm/degree