The XCR RL Suntour belongs to the XC forks range and is mostly met on entry to mid level bikes in terms of price. This is a direct competitor for Rock Shox’s Dart 3 and comes with almost the same options and adjustment possibilities.
We should not forget that this fork sells for less than 120 euro, being a budget model. It is even significantly cheaper then Rock Shox Dart 3, so the question is: does it have any performance to offer for this price? We’re about to see in this article.
Its build is quite simple, and this is an advantage for all those moments when you have to disassemble it in order to clean it. Unscrewing the two mounts installed at the bottom of the lower arms is enough to disassemble the XCR.
As soon as we got on the bike, the fork compressed approximately 30% of its travel, with a 75 kg rider. This is why I immediately started looking for its preload adjustment, which is installed on the left arm of the fork. It worked even better than on Suntour’s XCM, but it still far from being impressive. Heavier riders have to replace the coil with a stiffer one.
Damping on uneven terrain is relatively decent. The fork is on the soft side, but it is still sensitive on smaller bumps. It does work on these smaller bumps, but the feedback it has to offer to rider does not impress. And when it comes in contact with bigger bumps, it bottoms out. It seems like those 100 mm of travel are really different to those used by Rock Shox Dart 3.
XCR has been conceived for the discipline of XC, so that the manufacturer has decided to equip it with a Lock-Out function which is indeed useful while pedaling uphill on asphalt. Suntour has installed on the handlebar a command which allows you to lock the fork almost instantly, which this is to be appreciated as you don’t have to get off the bike or move your attention from the course. Even if the plastic of this command is cheap, it successfully accomplishes its mission, and the same thing might me said about the preload knob, which shares the same low quality.
Compared to the previous years models, we can see improvements for the arm finishes which now look much better, but also in terms of functioning: those noisy knocks when the front wheel leaves the ground have disappeared. Yet, it’s true that this issue has been encountered only on some older model which have been prior to the 2010 XCR.
I noticed a few drops of oil on the fork we tested, but other users told us that these small oil leaks go away after approximately 100 km. Feedback coming from users was also relevant in terms of how this fork functions during winter. It becomes stiffer and the quality of damping decreases as compared to its normal (above 10 degrees Celsius) temperature functioning.
Drawing the line, this is a decent budget fork, has its ups and downs, but does not succeed to reach the performance offered by Rock Shox’s Dart 3. It lacks refinement and it should also lose a lot of weight in order to equal its American rival. As long as you don’t take it on extreme tracks, it promises to offer you a long happy life. And those who dare can extend its travel up to 120 mm by rearranging its inner spacers.
Weight: 2.360 grams