Okay so we have all heard of fork lockout, it’s no new feature. The downhill world cup has seen remote lockout systems on rider such as Aaron Gwinn’s bike. Whether or not they are for DH bikes is another discussion.
This review will specifically consider Scott’s Rideloc system and whether it is an effective on the fly tool, or a pointless gimmick.
A bit of background on my experience with the system first:
I have been riding with the Rideloc feature on my FOX FLOAT 32’S from their performance series for close to a year. The system is a cable based fork lockout system which has three settings.
– Downhill (unlocked).
– Trial (half locked).
– Climb (fully locked).
The theory behind the system is that you can switch on the fly and not need to take your hands away from the bars, which when put like that, sounds like a fantastic way to increase riding efficiency.
However. Does it work?
In short, yes.
It does work, but it isn’t without its flaws. This review will explain them, and provide a conclusion on whether this system is beneficial.
This system is exclusive to Scott bikes and is something that all salesmen will tell you about when you are looking at one.
My first impressions were a bit confusing to be honest. The settings didn’t really feel that different and it felt the same climbing on all three settings. I did some research online, checked forums and the like and it seemed to be the same for a lot of people out there. Apparently, they are quite difficult to set up and can take a while to get right.
The bike was looked at in its post purchase service (6 weeks after purchase from Evans Cycles) and the mechanics there reset the forks and got it up and running. The system worked fine and was regularly used.
My style of riding is very XC and can include varied terrain. It was nice to lock the forks out when riding on tarmac or steep climbs and to just to this at the flick of a switch was a luxury. However.
I was out riding near my local reservoir – Langsett near cutgate in the Peak District – and upon getting to the off-road sections I went to change the settings on the fork and noticed the cable on the fork wasn’t moving.
I pulled up to have a look and noticed that the cable had stretched and frayed on the connection to the fork. This meant that to change the settings I had to hold the cable plug and pull it myself after pressing the switch to change the forks.
Tightening and locking the cable wasn’t an issue but unlocking the forks was. Luckily as most of my ride was off road I could finish and took it to my local bike shop for a repair. It was only £15 for a new gear cable and fitting but still. On a standard fork, this wouldn’t have happened. This was about 4 months into owning the bike.
Fast forward to the time I write this (June) and I am facing the same issue. Although this time the gear cable has frayed and I am stuck with my locks in the open position. Which makes climbing less entertaining but I can ride anywhere. Had this happened on the locked setting then I would have had to have gone steady on the descents and fixed the issue ASAP.
Luckily this time the cable I bought was quite long and I can cut it down and fix it at home with a set of pliers and allen keys. However, this is still an annoying issue and takes up time that wouldn’t be an issue with regular locking systems.
Aside from losing the caps of the lockouts I have never seen any other issues with a simple fork lock out switch.
For someone who is not mechanically handy this might prove to be a pain in the sitting area as constantly spending £15 would get on my nerves (Im northern, and as such, tight).
Other than the above issue, the Rideloc system has no other difference from a regular FOX 32 fork.
So, is the system rubbish?
My personal opinion of the Rideloc system is that it is a great idea in principle, it is light and doesn’t get in the way of the other controls of the cockpit (I ride 780mm bars and move it out of the way but before that I never noticed an issue).
It also is nice to just push a button and change the settings of a fork, feels like a great idea especially when putting in fast runs out, or racing.
However. Where the Rideloc system fails is its durability. I rarely use my system since it first broke and stuck with fully open and half lock, to try not to stretch the gear cable too much. The first time I went on a ride and locked the forks out the cable has frayed and needs cutting down. It was professionally fitted so I doubt that the cable is the issue.
Now I am not a fan of gimmicks either and do prefer tried and tested to new and fancy. And for me the Rideloc system is a bit gimmicky. If it worked without fraying cables I would say it has pretty much no negatives, but when durability comes into question on a product that really is the one key thing for me.
A mountain bike should be rugged, tough and hard to break. The equipment attached to it should reflect that.
I would rate the Rideloc system as a 2/5 purely because it is an easy way to change the fork settings and doesn’t weigh anything. The fact you don’t need to let go of the bar as 99.9% of riders wouldn’t struggle to reach down and turn a switch on their fork.
There you go, Scott’s Ride Loc. A good idea in principle, but a solution to a problem that doesn’t really exist and a poorly built, fragile system.
Light weight and doesn’t get in the way
Allows you to change suspension settings without letting go of the bars
Can cost money in gear cables if you don’t feel comfortable doing the work
Lack of durability
Lock out settings can be hard to set up
Adds more clutter to the cockpit