Our test mule was a BMC Trailfox. We’d grown very familiar with the bike and its ride characteristics with the OE-spec’d Rock Shox dampers. In all honesty, up until the swap the bike was pretty average and didn’t really stand out. It was a good bike, and rode well, but nothing to write home about. We weren’t expecting it to me much different with the Suntour stuff on board.
Our first day out on the new stuff was at Mt. Bachelor Bike Park, and each tester took a lap on the bike without sharing input to the other. Both our testers were blown away at the transformation. We spent two more days swapping the bike back and forth, and riding other forks as the Auron was also part of our upcoming 29er fork review roundup.
We ran the fork at both 30% and 20% sag during our testing. At 30% the fork had ridiculous levels of small bump sensitivity. The first 20mm is so compliant that you can push on the stem with one finger and see the fork react. However at 30% we quickly and harshly found bottom on drops over four feet in height. If you’re a charger then we suggest 20% sag as it still offers impressive compliance but a much better curve in progression.
At speed and in the mid-stroke, the fork is supportive and ramps nicely on larger hits. The Auron has a keen ability to offer a ton of lateral compliance and flex while tracking in a strait line. The hollow 35mm stanchions offer a nice compromise of stiffness and strength. Off camber root sections and rock step offs are easily handled.
The rear shock kept pace with the performance of the fork without a hitch. Much like the fork, the new damper actually improved the performance and ride of the bike. We found the adjustability to be just enough and ran approximately 33-35% sag throughout our testing. The open setting on the compression was sufficient for all but the most boring road climbs. The BMC has a great pedaling platform thanks to their suspension design and it is only complimented by the TriAir.
The shock reaches full travel nicely and doesn’t have an overly aggressive ramp. We were banging the o-ring off the shaft on almost every run but never noticed a harsh bottom or felt out of control on larger hits. The small bump compliance is not as amazing as the fork, but was still impressive. Mid-stroke support is well controlled and where we felt the shock spent most of its time.
The Wolf’s Last Word
We were thoroughly impressed with the performance of the SR Suntour Auron, TriAir package. Even though the fork makes a sloshy-kind of sound under rebound, it’s a noise we can deal with for the performance/value ratio. The noise is easy to forgive with the amount of confidence and control gained. The finish, adjustment knobs, integrated mud guard and the very slick QR axle all show the care and refinement put into their high level dampers. We feel the decals/graphics could be improved as they are really the only indication that you’re not riding ‘A league’ suspension products.
We feel that saying anyone looking for a budget-minded suspension upgrade is insulting the capabilities of SR Suntour’s new Auron and TriAir. The truth is, riders with or without budgetary constraints will enjoy the performance offered here. We’re walking away from this review with some preconceived notions shattered and happy that we’ve got a new fork to write home about.