Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

2010 Rock Shox Revelation 120-150mm U-turn fork review

Posted by Matt | August 26, 2009 | 15 comments so far

2010 Rock Shox Revelation 150mm forks
Just now I’m feeling one lucky fellow. Not only have I managed to get hold of one of the first UK imported 2010 Revelation Team forks but having taken them out for a first ride on my Orange Five I’m pretty confident in stating: these are the best forks I’ve ever ridden.

In fact, I’d go further than that. I reckon next year’s Bike of the Year will feature 2010 Revelation forks with Black Box Motion Control, they’re that good. But more of that in a while. What exactly are we talking about here?

Well, I’ve muttered on for ages that my 2007 Orange Five, great bike as it is in the top notch format I have, has been compromised in its’ all round trail abilities by the Pike 454s I’ve been running. Don’t get me wrong, these are wonderful forks but for me, over time, they just ended up being too heavy.

What the Pikes had though was a bolt-through Maxle which I have loved from day 1. There’s no getting away from the fact that the confidence you get from knowing your front wheel absolutely will not come loose is worth any amount of money. Added to which, the enhanced tracking abilities from the stiffer front end are staggering.

But as I said, at nearly 5lbs weight these forks just were too heavy for me on the Five over time, unbalancing a very sweet ride. I know other riders who swear by them and if I had a bit more strength then I’d agree; in fact the ability to plough through rough stuff is excellent fun but I got tired of not being able to help the front end over isolated trail obstacles with a quick weight shift. I only really noticed this after riding my On-one Inbred for extended miles over the winter – it was great fun!

2010 Rock Shox Revelation 150mm forks on Orange Five

So, as I’ve said for some time, what the Orange needed was a bit less heft up front. With the 2010 Revelation forks that’s exactly what I have. Instead of something nearer to 5lbs I now have a fork which weighs in at 4.06lbs for the (deep breath) Rock Shox Revelation Team 120-150mm U-turn Maxle forks. If I had lost the U-turn feature the weight would be down to 3.9lbs.

For 2010 there are a number of incremental but significant improvements to the Revelations which all together produce that sparkling performance I mentioned. First off, these forks have 150mm travel, up 10mm from the 2009 Revelations and older Pikes yet the axle to crown height remains the same. That’s impressive in itself, a full 150mm.

Next, for 2010 the Revelations have completely redesigned lowers with post mount brake bosses, power bulges for the bushings and arches capable of taking tyre widths up to 2.5. The forks come with a highly recommended (see earlier comments) Maxle-lite bolt-through option that saves further weight over the original Maxle.

Travel wise the Revelations can be internally adjusted between 130-140-150mm of travel depending on your frame or, as I have, you can go for the U-turn which gives 120-150mm of travel. Either way that let’s you but these knowing they’ll fit a wide range of frames in the future. Personally I’m ambivalent about the U-turn as it’s rarely used and continues to be a faff to change travel unless you stop, but maybe that’s just me.

The real magic seems to be inside though with the availability of the Black Box damping on the Team model. This really does seem to move the performance on dramatically as I found over the course of an enjoyable 22 miles.

Bear in mind that immediately prior to fitting these forks to the Five I’ve spent the past two years riding the bike with the Pikes, which to be fair are now in need of a service. On Saturday I headed out over some pretty representative trails which cover Surrey singletrack, hard-packed bridlepaths with lots of staccato bumps and some of the trails which are perennial favourites of ours, including the Chainbreaker descent and Infestation.

The 2010 Revelations were unbelievable and have completely changed the character of the Five. They are incredibly plush forks which sit nicely into their travel and with the same axle to crown height the riding position on the Five was unaffected. If you are a heavy rider on the front you’d probably want to play with the rebound and compression settings to build more of a ‘platform’ in but for me I was happy with them set to the equivalent of a very supple coil fork.

Tracking was easily as good as the Pikes but with the trick Black Box damping circuits you could feel the fork kept on working even through quite rough sections and direction changes. This might make you think it’s a more flexy fork but I think it’s just that the Pike damping stiffens up in the same conditions. The Revelations just got on with things.

Coming down Infestation with it’s masses of exposed, rough, steppy roots really showed the fork off in it’s best light and I felt totally confident in it. The lighter weight gives you the opportunity to lift the front end a little on the really messy bits, helping the bike float more easily through and making it feel better balanced overall. Chainbreaker similarly had the back end rattling but the front went where I wanted it, suggesting the back end is working harder and a rear shock service isn’t far away!

On general trail riding I found this to be a very easy fork to live with, it’s small bump capabilities mean it rolls very nicely. Out of the saddle honking really needs you to use the lockout but you don’t tend to do much of that on a full sus machine. If you had one of these fitted to a hardtail though (and wouldn’t a Ragely Blue Pig be the ideal choice?) then I’d be wanting a bar mounted lockout.

So there you have it, a very impressive fork. But why do I think the 2010 Revelation is such a stand out product then? Well, fundamentally this is a mainstream trail fork with 150mm of travel for around £650 retail. That’s a bargain in my view compared to the Fox and Marzocchi competition and is certainly something the average trail rider can expect to afford once the discounters get involved.

So think about that, everyday riders like me can now afford a bolt-through fork with a full 150mm of travel, superb performance and few compromises for their everyday ride (OK, I know affordability is relative). A similar level of rider would have been looking to a 100-120mm fork for those same qualities just a couple of years ago. So this is quite a step forward in my view and allows manufacturers to spec a top-notch headline grabbing fork to otherwise ordinary bike builds.

But it also gives impetus to a bit of a backlash in that everyday bikes are becoming so good that niche is the way forward for many riders. I’ve had decent fun on my Inbred singlespeed for the first quarter or so of this year and even my carbon forked old Muirwoods is entertaining. For a lot of our Surrey riding maybe one of those long-forked hardtails from Ragley and it’s competitors would make a lot of sense.

In my view 100mm is all you need in the South East and 120-140mm a bit of a luxury. To now be looking at 150mm as an achievable norm means a lot more thought needs to go into the whole bike if you want to avoid being over-biked for our trails. Which changes the game completely really.

Further Rock Show 2010 Revelation information available on Bikerumor and BikeRadar and I’ve posted some pics on Flickr for you.

Filed under Forks, Reviews in August 2009


About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Pace RC-627.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

There are 15 comments on ‘2010 Rock Shox Revelation 120-150mm U-turn fork review’

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  1. Andy C says:

    You’re wrong about the U-turn…

    …actually, you may be right too, I just wanted to have a controversial first sentence that would grab attention. To explain, I think it depends on the geometry of the bike.

    Having just started riding the On-One 456 regularly (as it’s now my only bike, sob) the one thing I have noticed is that the front end lofts easily on steep climbs. I have the ’09 Revelation Dual Air 140s, with lock-out but no U-turn.

    Having ridden Diesel Dave’s Inbred with the Pikes & U-turn a few times, for example I was able to climb Regurgitator (and I guess we’d all classify that as a steep and technical climb) with no ‘loft’ issues, just problems due to ageing legs.

    With my Revelations, I struggled the other day on McPherson’s Mount with the front end coming up, and really missed the U-turn option.

    In summary, if you find the front end very unstable on climbing with your current bike, and you are considering a new fork, then the U-turns are likely to be worth the extra cost & weight.

    Despite my opening comment, as ever, an excellent and informative article. Thanks Matt.

  2. simon spragg says:

    I have the revelation COIL U-Turns which are now 2 & half years old. NEVER serviced but always kept clean & externally lubed.

    I have to agree the U-Turn is great but is also a faff on the trail, best just to get used to them in your best fit situation. That siad u-Turn means you can set them up exactly as you want them then forget about them.

    By the way for those of us NOT yet on 20mm bolt throughs try DT swiss ratchet skewers – AMAZING!

    Trouble with this very well written article is simple – I now want the new 2010 version – such is life these blogs are just terrible self inflicting marketing!



  3. Matt says:

    Simon, thanks for your comments – will check out the DT skewers as I am now very nervous about non-bolt through forks. Silly really but can’t help it and I have QR Rebas on my Inbred.

    I’m not a good one for servicing forks (tend to go and buy new ones) but hope to have these ones for a while. At 150mm, a Maxle and a wide range of adjustment I can’t see them becoming outdated any time soon.

  4. Anthony says:

    Is that a fair comparison?

    A 2 year old set of unserviced Pike’s vs. a brand new pair of revelation’s?

    Surely you should service the Pike’s first and then make a comparison?

    I own a pair of air U-turn Pike’s also on a 2009 Orange 5, and I agree that the forks let the bike down a little. The damping is not as good as the Fox shock, but the U-turn and maxle stiffness are very good.

  5. Matt says:

    Anthony, yes I think it is a fair comparison. I’ve owned the Pikes from new so have a pretty good idea what they are capable of, plus my write up says my main concern is their weight.

    The Revs drop about 20% in weight over the air Pikes and come with a more sophisticated damping set up.

    That’s not to say Pikes are far behind in performance but the Revs definitely suit my riding style better and are better performers overall. Hence Rock Shox dropping the air Pikes and supplying coil only these days.

    Totally agree with your comments on the Maxle, not so sure based on my experience that I’m that fussed over the U-turn – I could have saved more weight by going without it and think that might have been a good route.

    Thanks for the comment btw…

  6. madz abubakar says:

    I just got my 2010 Revs a week ago. I currently have the luxury of time to ride this fork on an almost everyday basis. This thing ROCKS! I’ve owned a dual-air Pike (no u-turn) for quite sometime. But upon reading up on this review, I hurriedly went to my trusty bike shop and purchased a 2010 Revelation Dual-Air (I got the U-turn version, for a change). Great performance, a major bang for the buck and way,way lighter than my old Pike!

  7. Matt says:

    It’s always nice to hear that our reviews are useful Madz!

    Glad to hear we’ve been able to help, I think the 2010 Revs are going to be a classic for quite a while. It’s worth looking at the servicing side though – we’ve recently got a local bike shop to show us how to take the lowers off and change the oil, grease the wiper seals.

    Well worthwhile when you’ve spent that much on a fork. We clubbed together to get half a dozen of us a tutorial with the shop mechanic.

  8. Yanick says:

    Just got a new bike built with a Revelation Team u_turn Maxle too!!! Love it. Still need to fine the good air pressure, only 2 rides on it so far.

    Is it normal I’m way under the chart guide, I’m 180lbs, and at my next ride I will test it the Rev’s at 110lbs. At 125lbs yesterday I never bottom it out.

    I must agree that the U-turn is nice but it’s way too slow. I wish I could go through all the 30mm of travel adj. in 2 full turn, not 6!!!

    Except from a Boxxer on a DH bike I owned from 2000 to 2004, I have been away of rockshox fork for almost a decade… but now I must say there is no more reason to see that much Fox fork on the trail.

  9. D'AndyC says:

    You’re depressingly normal, Yanick! I weigh 180lbs, and I run with 100lbs in each chamber.

    I never bottom out on an average ride, it’s only on the more extreme terrain that I will use all of the travel with this set up. They feel super smooth on normal XC riding, and unless I am standing up in a big gear, I hardly ever lock them out for climbing.

  10. DaveW says:

    After a couple of months of running the 2010 Rev U-Turn avec Maxle I’m totally loving them. I was a bit sceptical regarding the low weight, thinking they would be a lot less stiff than my 456 U-Turn 20mm Pikes and pondered for ages considering going for 36 Talas instead, but I have no regrets.

    Yes, they are not as stiff as the Pikes and the bike doesn’t feel quite as solid when battering through roots and rocks whilst cornering hard, but the damping is SO much better, that I feel much more in control when riding over repetetive hits fast in more of a straight line.

    Jumps and drops of 5’+ are fine and feel just as controlled – and it is nice not using all of the travel most of the time, as I did with the Pikes – they give more of a ‘bottomless’ feel in that way.

    Most notable is the feel though – they feel more like Fox than classic RS, but of course, stiffer and more controlled in extreme use – the best of all worlds!

    I have coil Revelation 130s with the Push damping upgrade on another bike, which are lovely, but have to say that the feel and plushness of the new Revs is even better.

    I don’t have an issue with the u-turn. Yes it is not as instant as the Talas adjust, but you can adjust in very small increments to get it just right. In any case, after 3 years running the Pikes, I only really used the U-turn to adjust the geometry of the bike to my taste. Once that was done, I never touched it.

    (PS I can confirm that my Coil Revs and Pikes had both had a lowers service a couple of months before getting the 2010 Revs. As Matt says, this is totally well worth learning to do, easy on RS forks and totally transforms the feel and performance. Aim to do one every 3 months if possible.)

    Warning: the 2010 RS Race are nice and light, but don’t have the BlackBox damping, so may not be comparable to the ones tested here.

  11. Vinny-zx says:

    Thanks for the review, just ordered mine for a new build on a Ragley Bluepig frame… Oh yes something a bit different from my 2008 Marin wolfridge which is an awesome bike and the pike u-turn 426’s work well but are pretty heavy buggers. Hope to be back in a week or two to give my view for what it’s worth.

  12. Yo says:

    After throwing off a 2009 Marzocchi 44 ATA Micro QR15 because of lot of problems coming after another, I was very happy with my 2008 32 Talas with 2009 QR15 lowers. Fully adjustable, super consistent dampening, light and rigid… but i’m even happier with my 2010 Revelation Team U-Turn 20mm. Why? Same performance as Talas, but simplier mechanics. My MKIII don’t want another fork.

  13. Vinny-zx says:

    I’m back for a quicky, forks work wonderfully! Except,,,,, I made a pigs ear of a drop around 2ft not fast enough to launch it (dumbass I know) anyway I went for a dive. Got up pretty rapid hoping it hadn’t been witnessed but that’s not the way is it? Problem has occured though, the u-turn has gone really stiff, it was always stiffer than my 426’s but now I mean hard to budge. Seems like some others have had simillar problems. Looks like a stripdown job.

  14. Dave says:

    Hi Vinny,

    It could be totally unrelated to the drop you mention. The U-Tunr has (from memory) 3 ball bearings mounted on springs and they are UNgreased. If you take the top off, small grub screw I think, and very carefully remove the top cap you can see these and you may see a little corrosion. Be careful not to loose the ball bearings but remove them, clean them and put them back with a liberal amount of grease. Good chance that will be job done! My Pike 426 did the same thing and I sorted it that way.

  15. Vinny-zx says:

    Solved. Detent adjuster bearings with corrosion damage, luckily the springs are fine and bearings should be easy to find. Not expected on 4month old forks used once a week. No real damage done though.

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