After some very good first ride impressions of SR Suntour’s short-travel Axon Werx 34 XC fork, we were keen to test the capabilities of their longer travel enduro fork, the 36mm stanchion Durolux EQ. At just £699 for the top-end R2C2 damper with high and low speed compression and rebound adjustments, this fork comes at a price well under its main competitors; the RockShox Lyrik Ultimate and FOX 36 GRIP2. It’s pretty hard to ignore! We’ve been riding it on our local enduro and downhill race tracks in the Tweed Valley Scotland, in winter slop and dry, loose pack conditions. Here’s how we got on.
Action Photos by Finlay Anderson
Review: SR Suntour Durolux EQ R2C2 Enduro Fork
I was first introduced to the Durolux EQ fork way back at the Winter Bike Connection event in 2020, where Christophe Boesl of SR Suntour presented the new self-equalizing (hence EQ) air negative spring system featured on their 36mm stanchion fork, the Durolux, and their 34mm stanchion fork, the Axon Werx which we tested previously. If you want a deeper dive into the internals of this enduro-, freeride- and eMTB-worthy long travel fork, then have a quick read of our coverage at launch. Here, I will turn my attention to the riding experience.
I tested the Durolux EQ R2C2 fork, with 170mm travel and 44mm offset. On my Park Tool scales, this one weighed in at 2.34 kg with an uncut steerer. Despite the hollowtech magnesium crown, it is not a lightweight fork, coming in at least 300g heavier than the Fox 36 GRIP2 fork.
I mounted it to a Revel Rail enduro bike sporting 165mm of rear wheel travel and a 65° head angle. Over the first few rides, I played around with the settings quite a lot, riding the fork both within and outwith the recommended settings for my weight of 58kg. It was interesting to check out the extremes of the damping adjustments, and I can happily confirm that the adjustment clicks do offer a noticeable difference in ride feel. I would say that, on the low speed compression, for example, I was able to notice subtle changes in ride feel with increments of 2 clicks (of a possible 18).
SR Suntour provide a very detailed, super useful explainer for all of the possible adjustments on the Durolux EQ, providing ball-park recommendations for sag and pressure, high and low speed compression settings, high and low speed rebound settings, number of rubber volume spacers, as well as the use of the pressure release valves (that double up as grease ports) that you can see on the back of each fork leg. There’s also a detailed explanation of how to use their rather unusual proprietary titanium QLOC axle. It really is comprehensive and easy to understand, and SR Suntour are to be applauded for their efforts in that regard. It’s great customer service.
My initial, basic thoughts on the fork were… OK. Running it at 26% sag, I felt front wheel tracking was OK, but felt harsh over rough terrain with repeated hits in short succession. It was the small bump sensitivity that I felt was lacking. Was it packing down? Yes, probably, so I backed off the high and low speed rebound damping to allow faster return post compression. This certainly improved the ride feel, but still I felt it wasn’t able to compete with the suppleness you get off the top of the stroke on a RockShox Lyrik, for example.
The issue seemed to worsen over time, and at around 10 rides into the test period, I felt as though the fork had developed bushing play. Using a 2.5mm Allen key, I opened the QSP ports on the fork lowers in an attempt to release any pressure that had built up in there. This did expel a small quantity of air. I had also considered injecting additional oil into the lowers to ensure the foam rings inside were sufficiently lubricated, but when I raised the issue with Christophe Boesl at SR Suntour, he suggested the fork be sent back to them to investigate the issues.
Upon investigation, Christophe reported cavitation in the damper, suggesting this may have been responsible for the feeling of bushing play as well as the lack of suppleness. The cartridge was bled and returned to me for further testing. As these issues were raised within the warranty period, Christophe assures me that this level of service would be afforded to customers if they were to encounter the same fault.
Re-riding the fork, I am stoked to report that the ride feel is now massively improved, both in terms of suppleness and play, the latter of which there is none. During its service, Christophe also added an additional rubber volume spacer (available aftermarket for $2.95 USD) to the air spring in a bid to improve the former. The 170mm Durolux EQ comes with two rubber volume spacers installed from the factory, so now I am up to three of a possible six. The reduced volume noticeably increased the end-stroke ramp, and I have only bottomed the fork out on big hits where, admittedly, I was no longer in control of the bike.
Having settled on the following settings, which aren’t a million miles away from SR Suntour’s recommendations, I now feel the fork performs really well.
Rider Weight: 58kg
- Pressure: 59 PSI
- Sag: 16%
- Rubber Volume Spacers: 3/6
- HSC: 2/5
- LSC: 8/18
- HSR: 0/4
- LSR: 0/28
It makes sense that, while I am running relatively low pressures, additional rebound damping isn’t necessary. With the dials set to fully open, the fork is allowed to return quickly to the point where I never feel as though I don’t have enough travel. The fork is super active, giving me great confidence in the front end as it tracks through rough terrain with ease.
The Durolux EQ does need a fair bit of LSC damping to avoid diving sensations on steeper trails, especially on rough fall-line chutes. With only 4/18 clicks of LSC damping, I still felt as though the fork was lacking mid-stroke support, especially on more technical, slower trails. With the LSC set to 8/18, I felt there was a good balance between mid-stroke support and comfort, with a manageable level of hand and arm fatigue felt at the end of a 4-5 minute trail.
Final Thoughts on the Durolux EQ
At the time of writing, the SR Suntour Durolux EQ R2C2 fork is still on my bike. The quality ride feel that I now get from it means I am in no particular hurry to swap it off for something else. With a £699 price tag, the Durolux EQ’s affordable performance is undeniable, especially given the 4-way damping adjustments. While we were a little disappointed to experience cavitation issues so early on in the test period, SR Suntour were able to fix the issue and, again, they assure us that this issue is covered under their warranty agreement.
For those looking for a budget-option enduro fork that performs well over a wide variety of terrain and riding scenarios, and has a great level of adjustability, the SR Suntour Durolux EQ R2C2 represents great value for money.
The 27.5″ option (tested here) is available at 160mm-180mm travel, while the 29″ version covers a 150mm-170mm range.