A quality suspension fork from Öhlins with adjustable spring progression.
The Öhlins RXF 34 fork is available in three travel options (120, 140 and 160mm) but currently only a single wheel size — 29in.
It has 34mm diameter stanchions and a forged, one-piece crown and steerer assembly, which is similar to the X-Fusion Uni-Crown, apart from one detail — the headset race is formed into the crown.
Eliminating the race stops creaks, but you will need to source a specific bearing/lower cup, and there’s also no seal, so bearing life is definitely a concern.
Öhlins has opted for a 15mm fixed axle rather than a quick release on the RFX 34.
This is self-centring, so doesn’t compress the lowers together and cause unnecessary friction, but it is a pain having to remove the axle with a 5mm Allen key, especially since there’s nothing to grip onto when pulling it from the dropout.
The RXF 34 has a triple-chamber air spring — there’s a regular positive air chamber, a self-equalising negative, and an independently adjustable chamber for tuning ramp-up.
This spring system is housed in a cartridge, which is fully sealed but it does add weight.
In the opposite leg is a low-pressure, twin-tube, TTX damper with rebound adjustment at the bottom and high and low-speed compression dials at the top.
Our normal procedure for testing a fork is to run the damping fully open and then fully closed to get a handle on the extremes and then dial them in from there.
The problem with the RFX 34 is that, even with all three damping dials fully wound off, it felt overdamped and too sluggish.
We also struggled with the spring set-up, as the recommended pressures are a little off.
Following the guidelines the fork felt too firm off the top and lacked suppleness.
Less main pressure, combined with high pressure in the ramp-up chamber, improved the sensitivity but we couldn’t achieve full travel.
And there’s an added complication — after making changes to the main air spring, you have to reset the fork by pulling it back up several times while holding the front wheel.
The fork’s damping range is definitely skewed towards heavier riders, so it feels a bit sluggish compared to the Fox 34.
This isn’t really a criticism though, because the fork still feels very stable.
Öhlins RXF 34 is a quality suspension fork — stiff, supple and you can adjust the spring progression out on the trail with a shock pump — but it’s also heavy, only available as a 29er fork and the damping really doesn’t suit riders under 75kg.