2011 RockShox Reba RLT Ti DualAir 29 Fork Review

2011 RockShox Reba RLT Ti DualAir 29 Fork Review

After loving the latest 29er fork for from Fox Racing, I was anxious to see how the 2011 RockShox Reba RLT Ti 29er fork performed. I was able to ride the Reba back-to-back on my Niner RIP 9 and have been very impressed with its performance thus far.

RockShox Reba RLT Ti 29er fork features:

  • 32mm stanchions for a stiff, light package
  • Aluminum tapered steerer tube
  • Internally-adjustable travel (100/120/140) – tested at 120mm
  • Dual Air system
  • BlackBox Motion Control damper features externally adjustable rebound, low speed compression, Floodgate threshold and a Titanium spring tube
  • Intended application: XC and Trail
  • Forged, Hollow AL-66 TV Crown
  • 32mm 7000 series aluminum upper tubes
  • Magnesium lower legs
  • Power Bulge reinforces the lower bushing for increased stiffness and durability
  • All control knobs are machined aluminum
  • Standard post-mount disc brake mounts accept 6″ rotors without adapters. Larger rotors accepted with correct adapters
  • Shock pump included
  • Crown-mounted lockout valve
  • 20mm Maxle Lite
  • Steerer Tube Length: 265.0 mm
  • Weight: 4.0 lbs
  • MSRP: $735

RockShox Reba RLT Ti 29 Fork Review

On the heels of my 2011 Fox 32 TALAS 29 review, the bar was set pretty high for the Reba RLT Ti 29. I was expecting the Reba to perform at a noticeably-lower level than the Fox 32 TALAS, but as it turned out, the Reba has performed as well as the Fox in many ways, and at a lower price than the comparable RLC model.

Like any fork, the installation was straighforward. Find the appropriate steerer length, get it cut (measure twice and cut once), slap in the star fangled nut and install the headset race, then it’s all swap-eroo from there. I chose to have my friends at Timpanogos Cycles cut the steerer, install the nut and headset race. From there I was golden. The fork arrived in 140mm mode, so I also had them lower the travel to 120mm while they were at it.

Speaking of 140mm mode, the Reba RLT Ti 29 with tapered steerer and Maxle Lite is capable of being configured in 140, 120 or 100mm modes. While it’s not as simple as having the TALAS system to adjust on-the-fly, it does give you some flexibility should you choose to change frames or increase/decrease travel at some point.

Getting the lay of the land, the Reba RLT Ti has the DualAir system in the left leg (positive pressure at top and negative at bottom) and lockout threshold switch at the top and rebound at the bottom of the right leg. Adjustments are all easy-to-use and intuitive.

I’ve had the Reba mounted to my Niner RIP 9 and have found it to be the perfect match. Talking nuts and bolts and comparing it to the Fox TALAS, stiffness seems identical and differences in smoothness of travel may only be detectable in the lab. On the trail, the Reba feels smooth and has broken in nicely.

What about trail stiffness? The Reba feels just as stiff and tracks just as well as the Fox. I’ve been able to lay into this fork really hard–railing singletrack at mach schnell and not once have I felt squirrely or flexy. Steering precision remains solid under pressure and braking doesn’t bend the fork like a banana (unlike some 29er forks I’ve tested).

I really like the DualAir system on RockShox forks and appreciate the chart that’s printed on the fork’s left leg. I varied the pressure from 105 to 120 psi and settled in on 110 psi in both chambers. It seems to have the just he right compression profile for my 170 lb weight. I’m maxing it out gracefully and the sag is just right at around 20%. Comparing the BlackBox Motion Control to the standard Motion Control yields noticeable improvements in ride quality and smoothness. My advice? Step up to BlackBox.

Fiddling with the lockout threshold on climbs, I like how easy it is to dial in, but found that the middle settings were not all that useful and typically locked it out fully on extended smooth climbs or kept it open. Not once did I feel like climbing efficiency was compromised in either lockout or open mode.

The balanced geometry of the Niner RIP 9 worked well with the Reba as I experienced wander-free climbing under all conditions. While on-the-fly adjustable travel is a nice feature to have on some bikes, after riding the Reba extensively, It’s a luxury that may not be needed and can keep over $400 in your pocket for other upgrades.

Good Reba RLT Ti

  • Outstanding lateral stiffness
  • Steering precision is rock-solid
  • Simple setup–love the setup chart
  • Flexible travel options from 100 to 120 and even 140mm with the same fork
  • Lockout and threshold adjustments are simple
  • Blowoff valve works great
  • Trail sensitivity is superb with the ability to smoothly-absorb large and small hits
  • 20mm Maxle adds stiffness and is easy-to-use

Bad Reba RLT Ti

  • Adjusting the travel is no walk in the park
  • Finding the right combo (Maxle, 120mm, Tapered) may be difficult
  • Some wheelset manufacturers don’t offer 20mm hubs for 29ers
  • Rebound knob (lower-left leg) could have more evident click feel

Bottom Line: 2011 RockShox Reba RLT Ti 29er Fork

The RockShox Reba RLT Ti 29er is quite the impressive fork. It ramps up nicely to absorb both small and large hits while remaining stout during hard use. The top-of-the-line Black Box Motion Control is noticeably-smoother than the regular Motion Control damper, in my experience, so pony up and go out and own the singletrack.

Buy Now: Search for RockShox Reba RLT Ti 29 Forks

Written By

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 --sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground. Follow Jason Mitchell on Google+.