Suntour Raidon RL-R 29 Suspension Fork Review (2014)

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We haven’t heard quite in a while from Raidon, for 3 years to be more accurate, but we do recall that it performed very well compared to its price. In the meantime, Suntour worked on it a bit more, improved it, but managed to keep the price at a decent level. Therefore, a budget revolving around 190 euros can buy you this air cartridge fork, approximately 100 euros less than what you would normally pay for a Rock Shox similar model, let’s say a 30 Gold TK.

Comparing Suntour’s Raidon with 30 Gold TK seems right since the latter is one of Rock Shox’s really affordable models that also keeps the manufacturer’s spirit alive. So, once you’ve set up the Raidon, you’re good to go, but it’s a little tricky finding the right pressure since the level required in order to avoid a bottom-out decreases the fork’s sensibility over small obstacles. The stanchions don’t slide very smooth, which is to be expected in the case of high pressure, but on the other hand, too less of it will make the fork travel its 100mm too fast.

We chose to use more pressure in order to prevent damaging the fork, and that influenced in an unwanted way its performance over commonly found obstacles on the trail, such as roots or small bumps, the front wheel hardly sticking to the ground when passing over them. Also, the same problem occured in corners, and it isn’t very easy to solve since a lower pressure equals increased sag and an actual travel of about 50mm. From this point of view, Rock Shox 30 Gold TK does much better, allowing a much finer tunning.

Coming back to Suntour Raidon, the materials used are of good quality, with lower magnesium arms, alloy stanchions, and CrMo steerer. With remote included, the fork tips the scale at 2.042 grams, a decent value for this price. Rebound may be set using a lever under the left arm, but its functioning isn’t quite trust-inspiring since you’ll have to check it often while turning it because there is no indicator about its action.

Cutting the long story short, Raidon RL-R 29 stands as a good option for budget buyers, especially if they can find a better use for the 100 euros they would have to spend on the 30 Gold TK. If you manage to hit the right set-up configuration, which by the way isn’t very easy to do, you’ll get a good comfort level out of the fork, and performance that will ensure a great ride. Put side by side with its main rival, it doesn’t work that well, is 200 grams heavier, but at least it got stiffer.

Suntour Raidon RL-R 29 weight: 2.042 grams

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