RST Saturn 3RL Fork (2012)

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I can finally cross my heart and say that RST became a serious rival for Rock Shox in the entry towards mid level segment. The new RST Saturn fork is the direct competitor of Rock Shox Recon, the two models having very similar specifications. So, have the Taiwanese from RST managed to finally unleash a challenger to match Recon’s skills?

As this is a brand new model, I was thrilled to test the 100 mm RST Saturn. From the first sight I could realize that this product was different from everything the Japanese have accustomed us with. If the Gila model is better to be avoided and Omega still has a long route ahead until we can say it offers real performance, this new fork is really different. Who knows, maybe it even comes from Saturn… But, if we stop making jokes and take a look at its design we can see that arms have been carefully sculpted and they use magnesium to save weight. The crown doesn’t just look solid, it actually is…

I have ridden many coil forks on mountain rails and I can say that this one really deserves being taken into account. It decently dampens small and medium bumps, offering acceptable comfort, it doesn’t flex too much, and in terms of weight it gets a decent ranking too: with 2.58 kg it is placed somewhere below the middle of its class. It can’t be called the most refined coil fork you’ll ever going to meet, as Recon has a word to say here, but for an unofficial price of 120$ this is a good business.

It benefits from a rebound setting, placed on the bottom of the right arm and represented by a blue knob. It lacks fine tuning clicks, as it can only be twisted like a valve, but it offers acceptable functionality. I would personally set Saturn’s rebound somewhere in the fast half, rather than on the slow one because the coils are not among the hardest. For the same reason I do not recommend this fork to riders heavier than 85 kg.

A functional Lock-Out is also to be found on this fork and, contrary to the Rebound adjustment this one features a last click letting you know that the fork is rigid. You can also adjust Preload from the left arm, if you want to (slightly) stiffen the coils.

In brief, the new 32 mm RST Saturn 3L fork manages to get close to the coil Rock Shox Recon but does not steal its crown. It still has to catch up in terms of weight and refinement, not only in terms of damping smoothness but also when it comes to the way some components work, such as the rebound setting. However, the fork has a very nice look, and its weight is decent. It can be used for XC riding in its 100 mm travel version and for All Mountain, with the 140 mm travel. What about its price? As expected, hard to beat by any other fork!  But, we still have to wait for the official prices which, for sure, will be quite different from the ones anticipated.

Weight: 2.580 grams

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