RST Omega-T RL is Rock Shox Dart 1’s main competitor, at least in terms of price. As for specs, Omega-T RL can only boast with its extra Lock-Out command, which is to be found on the more expensive Dart 3. If price is Omega’s advantage compared to the fork which was renamed in 2012 Rock Shox XC, are then any other surprises the Taiwanese company has for us?
Weight is another chapter where Rock Shox’s Dart 1 is left behind by Omega. And there is quite a difference between these two forks, as Dart 1 is 185 grams heavier than Omega and also has lower specs. Also, let’s not forget that when you’re switching to push bike mode, any gram in minus is to be appreciated.
In terms of functioning, RST Omega-T is above RST Gila, but as far as refinement is concerned, it is outrun by Rock Shox Dart 1. And, I am really not trying to suggest here that Rock Shox Dart 1 is a brilliant fork. Omega-T coils could be a bit softer because with a 75 kg rider, fast descents become a challenge, as the fork does not succeed in keeping the front wheel to the ground in all situations. Keep in mind that we are not talking about extreme downhill tracks, but rather usual tracks, with moderate bumps which can be found in any mountain area.
Same as for most entry level forks, preload is there more for the sake of being there than for its functionality. However, the Lock-Out is really effective and manages to make the fork rigid while you’re climbing or riding on asphalt. Nevertheless, the Lock-Out command seems to me a little bit difficult to be actuated, because of the way in which the two buttons were designed. You don’t have to necessarily get used to it, but the same command which can be found on Dart 3 is more intuitive and hence easier to use. In brief: it distracts your attention more than necessary on the track.
The 100 mm travel can be extended to 120 mm internally, by disassembling the fork. Same way as you can reduce the travel to 80 mm. But still the feeling you get on the track is that this fork does not fully utilize the 10 cm of travel. However, it was good to notice that there is no rebound knock as in the case of Suntour XCR for example.
Materials and finishes are not too bright, but at least they keep up with the competition. The good news is that upper tubes width is 2 mm bigger than Dart, so at least theoretically, rigidity should be bigger. But, on the track you don’t get to feel this.
This fork flexes very little and this is good news in the entry-level segment. As a practical detail, I must tell that due to brake hose guide positioning, the brake hose will constantly rub itself to the left arm of the fork.
In conclusion, RST Omega-T RL is not the most comfortable fork in the entry-level segment and does not come with any spectacular specs to differentiate itself from competition. The ace it holds into the sleeve is it good price, while its specs are at Dart 3’s level, a fork which is more refined but also more expensive. So, we’re talking about an alternative to be considered for those riders in search for an entry-level XC fork, with basic specs, sold for a small price.
Weight: 2.310 grams