For over 2 years now, Suntour introduced in the XCM range a model dedicated to 29er mountain bikes, so the Suntour XCM V3-MLO 29? is a entry-level fork for the big wheel off-road machines. It doesn’t sit on the bottom of the list, as the XCT 29er opens the range with a lower price and a larger weight, therefore we are curious what can we expect from the 2013 XCM fork.
In a direct comparison with the 26 inch models, our test subject doesn’t do as well, although the basic principle is identical, relying on a spring and elastomer. The construction pattern is similar, which implies that maybe the spring is to stiff for this fork to offer better performance and as sure as can be, the Preload lever doesn’t give the XCM even the slightest hint of help.
On the trail you will feel less than confortable riding this fork, much less when it comes to bumpy singletracks. The only situation that will favour you is if you weigh 85 kilograms or more, a mass that makes the springs do their work properly. One might think that replacing the spring might do some justice to slimer riders, but it’s more trouble than it’s worth considering that other models, with similar pricing, have the assets that the XCM lacks.
The only adjustement that works like it should is the Lock-Out command of the fork. XCM’s stiffness is decent, allowing just enough movement for the component to surpass it’s estimated lifespan. Stiffness when braking turned out better than in the case of most 26 inch forks, indicating a value of 239.1 Nm/degree, which is even more surprising given that the arms measure 30mm, instead of the regular 32mm.
Weight is what I would call a problem of the XCM, the 2.8 kilograms it weighs competing with the one of a double-crown downhill suspension fork, while performance is modest. Out of the stated 100mm travel, the shocks only cover 89mm.
Stiff, but heavy, XCM V3 ML 29 doesn’t inspire too much freedom while riding, nor does it deliver noticeable performance. If your bike comes specified with this fork, a good idea is to consider an upgrade. Instead, if you consider buying the XCM V3 ML 29, may we suggest you take a look at Rock Shox entry-level range?
Front stiffness: 239,1 Nm/grad