Low cost fork put to the test
We tested the 27.5in/160mm version of this fork a few months ago, and — like its big brother — the 29er Auron has 34mm stanchions, a stiff and light hollow-forged crown and SunTour’s new Q-Loc 2 thru-axle.
The axle has an expanding wedge, that you twist before removing it from the dropout. It does pull free quickly, but there’s a bit of knack to the action, and dirt ingress can cause it to jam inside the hub, so you need to keep it clean.
The Auron gets 130mm travel, and uses a main air spring with a steel coil negative. Underneath the air cap is an elastomer spacer, which SunTour says can be cut down to reduce the progression.
This bumper works in the same was as the tokens in a Fox or RockShox fork do, but it’s really short, so you need to remove it to make much of a difference. Unless SunTour is planning to offer different lengths, there is not actually a lot of scope for tuning here.
Inside the right leg is SunTour’s new sealed cartridge damper. It’s lightweight, easy to replace and fully sealed. On top are two adjustments — high and low-speed compression — while rebound lives at the bottom.
There’s a wide range of adjustment on all three dials, but the Auron is overdamped on both low-speed and high-speed compression, especially for mid-weight riders. Hence, it feels pretty dead, with very little sensitivity over small bumps.
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We had to work hard to get it to pop over jumps and obstacles on the trail, and each time it did so, it was accompanied by a noisy squelch on the rebound stroke.
SunTour has done an amazing job getting this level of sophistication and adjustment on a fork that costs less then £400, but it’s gone overboard on the damping, and the one-hit air volume spacer seems like a token gesture, especially when it wouldn’t cost much to have proper reusable spacers, or different-length elastomers.
The Auron is great value, but it needs a lighter tune and proper volume reducers to make the most of the ridiculously low price.