Well, after a few rides on the Reba Team with the Maxle Lite, I don’t mind cutting to the chase: This fork is miles better than the old Reba! How it stacks up to the competition is a bit different, and there are a couple of nits, but this is a huge improvement upon a classic 29″er fork.
I mounted the Reba Team to my HiFi Deluxe and converted my Hope pro II front hub to the 20mm through axle caps to be compatible with the Maxle Lite. The Maxle Lite is really easy to use and it isn’t any more trouble than my quick release front wheels. The added rigidity is very different though, and is apparent when things start getting crazy on the trails. With the new chassis and Maxle Lite, I could not detect any lateral movement in the fork at all. The older Reba I could get to flex easily. Not so this new version! It is very stiff laterally. Off cambers and down hills are much calmer now with a fork that isn’t flexing and trying to spring you off line.
The fork also is easy to set up. I looked at the recommendations for my weight and made the adjustments with the positive and negative air chambers, exactly as you did with the old Reba. I also used the old trick of going with slightly less air in the negative chamber versus the positive chamber. My pressures were almost exactly as they were with my older Reba, as well. The performance was also very good with the air sprung Reba feeling very plush and active right out of the box.
The comparisons to a couple of other forks I have here are unavoidable. Of course, the original Fox fork that came with the HiFi is an excellent product. My biggest nit with the Fox was that I had some difficulty getting all the travel milked out of it The Reba seems to be better at this, although I will have to do some fine tuning, as I am only seeing about 105mm of travel at this point. I can certainly say that the Fox is very nearly as stiff, but not quite. I also have a Manitou with the Absolute damper here and it too is a very stiff chassis, but the fork’s action is so different with that damper. I will say that if the click were not there in the Manitou it would be a top shelf fork, but in a different manner than the Rock Shox is.
Our test model came with the handle bar mounted remote. I have to say that the set up is a bit critical with it, since simply attaching the cable end at the “wide open” point on the compression adjuster will not net you a locked out fork when you depress the lever at the handle bar. The cable pull isn’t enough. This is fine by me, but it seems a bit strange that you can’t have wide open and locked out with the handle bar remote. It also would be nice if the lock out lever worked like a friction thumb shifter, so you could have any setting inbetween “on” and “off”. As it was, I didn’t really feel the need to have the fork locked out, the Floodgate control seemed to keep me satisfied for now. I will adjust the control to get a lock out condition before my next ride though.
I also found that the rebound adjuster was terribly stiff and nearly impossible to turn by hand. I managed to wrap a bit of rag around it to make my adjustments pain free as possible. Thankfully this isn’t an adjustment I make frequently, but if it was, I wouldn’t be too pleased about the difficulty of turning this knob.
So far I would say that this is a fantastic fork with a few nits. Still miles above what the older Rebas were. This 120mm travel Maxle Lite fork makes some of my descents into mere childsplay though. I’m going to have to go hunting for something a bit more challenging. That’s something I never would have said about the first generation Reba!