2022+ Turbo Levo Fox 38 or Zeb ultimate??

Growmac

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Dec 4, 2020
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I'd put money on 35/36 forks being plenty for 95% of us on here. You might prefer a 38, and that's fine, but I ride in a fast group (judging by Strava and race results) and most of us are over-biked. (Or under-ridered if you're being less charitable).
 

CTM

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Nov 4, 2021
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NZ
People forget that it wasn't long ago there was no 38/Zeb. Didn't hold the EWS guys up much did it?..
 

militantmandy

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Jan 18, 2022
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People forget that it wasn't long ago there was no 38/Zeb. Didn't hold the EWS guys up much did it?..
It sure didn't! I was in Finale last month and one of the guides rides a Lyrik rather than a Zeb. He says he can really notice the difference in weight. His top times are right up there with the Rudes and Melameds.
 

George_yt

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Sep 11, 2021
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"You don't need such burly fork" is the new "you don't need that much travel". Funny how I see 10 times as many people being vocal in that group as the opposite (even in this thread).

Bike policing/gatekeeping commando knowing better what everyone should own :- ). Everyone has their own biases, mostly not based on any factual argument other than personal guess, friend's hearsay or "but the Pro riders!".

38 and ZEB rock, absolutely rock. I would put them (ZEB in my case, cheaper in EU after-market and easier to setup &service) on a cross-country bike if you every caught me riding one. If in next 4 years they revive actual 40mm Totem, I'll put that one on as well.

(Please bring back Totem, I so regret parting with one.. what was I thinking...)

Obligatory article :- ).
Opinion: The Case For Being 'Over-Biked' - Pinkbike
 

Growmac

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"You don't need such burly fork" is the new "you don't need that much travel". Funny how I see 10 times as many people being vocal in that group as the opposite (even in this thread).

I think you're finding a problem where there isn't one. My day to day general bike is a 2020 170 mm Specialised Enduro, coil converted and with tyre inserts. Do I need it? Absolutely not. Do I like it? Yes. Do I care if people think I'm under ridered? Not at all. Am I pleased that I've found out I'm an absolute legend of a rider because I go (fairly) fast with a noodle of a fork (2020 Lyric Ultimate coil)? Yep.

Most riders would be absolutely fine on a modern 130 mm trail bike for 99.9% of what they ride. Doesn't mean that more (or less) won't be their preference. I'm fine with that. I just laugh at the "35/6 mm stanchions are no good except for towpaths" justifications for what is just personal preference / circumstance.

Me? My new Rail came with a Zeb. I've swapped it for my existing Fox 36 as I prefer it. Hopefully the sentiment on this thread is typical and I will have made my Merida more attractive for sale (link in the classifieds).
 

George_yt

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Sep 11, 2021
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But that's bit straw-manning of Christian's argument. He was speaking from personal experience as hard charging 85+ kg rider. Relegating 36mm to trail-riding is probably bit lost translation hyperbole, though I find it less logically offensive than "this EWS rider or local hardcore shredder doesn't use/need it, that must mean you don't either!". Those people also aren't using 80nm 25kg e-bikes.. changes quite a lot.

That "arbitrary chosen percentage" would be fine riding "arbitrary travel" is absolute nonsense. That's just your own prejudice. Even hundred ultra-talented but dwarf-sized Jesse Melameds (amazing and lovely guy though) won't support this kind of argument.

What I actually find negatively myself is seeing bikers adopt a hardcore mentality with self-imposed rules and then looking down upon others for not following those arbitrary self-imposed rules. The whole "no one needs enduro bike, let's overbuild trail bikes so they're technically identical but with tinge less of rear travel" movement was rife with this attitude and it was annoying.

In freeride ski (or snowboard) world, there are like... 50 categories for the gear. And no one tells anyone what width and flex they should use for their skill and mountain type. You want to hit groomers on 120mm ski? Why not, they still ride amazingly doing that and after you finish having fun with your kids you can throw yourself of the cliff twice before calling it a day.
 
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Growmac

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But that's bit straw-manning of Christian's argument. He was speaking from personal experience as hard charging 85+ kg rider. Relegating 36mm to trail-riding is probably bit lost translation hyperbole, though I find it less logically offensive than "this EWS rider or local hardcore shredder doesn't use/need it, that must mean you don't either!". Those people also aren't using 80nm 25kg e-bikes.. changes quite a lot.

That "arbitrary chosen percentage" would be fine riding "arbitrary travel" is absolute nonsense. That's just your own prejudice. Even hundred ultra-talented but dwarf-sized Jesse Melameds (amazing and lovely guy though) won't support this kind of argument.
I'm not disagreeing with people wanting to use Zebs or 38s though? I'm not sure why you think I am? I just think it's patently false to say that you can't ride hard and chose to stick with 36s.

Christian prefers them. He's likely a bit heavier and more aggressive than me. Martin Maes has certainly preferred 36s at times. He's, to put it lightly, somewhat harder charging than me. It's almost like we're disagreeing over preference rather than something fundamental.

Oh, and an enduro vs ebike is about 8 kg. Makes very little difference in the overall scheme of things. I bet the average EWS rider is carrying more than an extra 8 kg of muscle compared to me!

Ride what you want people, it's your bike and your preference.
 

George_yt

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Sep 11, 2021
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Slovak Republic
Well I wasn't really arguing with "you" per se, just replying in general to this thread :- ).

At same time though, while saying 99perc. of being not needing more than 130mm fork isn't technically disagreeing with their choice in strictest reading, or forbidding them to buy it (not really possible to do right ;- )...), it is patronizing towards their choice and therefore may feel similar. The same thing you found annoying/inciting on Christian's statement.

I am personally never telling anyone what they should ride, I strive to give pure advice free of judgement. With that said, it's ZEB.
 
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militantmandy

Active member
Jan 18, 2022
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Scotland
"this EWS rider or local hardcore shredder doesn't use/need it, that must mean you don't either!"

This is not what I am saying at all. I only object to the someone stating that if you're fast and 85kg (or whatever other arbitrary weight) that you NEED a 38 mm fork, which just isn't true. I have no objection, argument or indeed interest in what forks people run and for what reasons. It just annoys me when people make daft statements like this that clearly aren't true, but I'll happily accept that it was just a matter of wording / translation!

ETA - should have just said "what Growmac said"
 

Christian

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If you want a fork for for basic trail riding stick with a 35/36 fork.
If you want a fork for hard charging to DH trails then get a 38 all the way.
My suggestion regardless of which way you go is to get it serviced and set up to your weight/riding style as the factory build quality is shithouse.
This is my suggestion. Others suggested something else. I have in no way said you can’t or shouldn’t or it’s no good. Just my opinion.
It’s a beautiful world we live in when we can share our thoughts on things we have experienced. That way we can maybe help someone make an informed decision.
Don’t get your knickers in knot guys.
 

Growmac

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The two very fast and capable riders I know that went to a Zeb both went back to the 35/36. The link earlier in this thread suggests that the '23 version of the Zeb addresses the stiction / harshness issues that put them off.
At the end of the day, ride what makes you happy!
And yes, a proper service / tune is likely to make more difference than the chassis.

This is peak internet isn't it, as we all increasingly violently tend to [mostly] agree with each other.
 

Mike640

Member
Dec 10, 2021
67
52
Portugal - Sintra
I have a SC Nomad with a 36(factory) and it works really well! The 36(Rhytm) of the Levo22 was pretty bad, and with the Zeb the bike become much, much better... And im the same guy with the same weight, same trails.....

We cannot generalize this of 38 vs 36....
 

Mikerb

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
May 16, 2019
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Changing the theme slightly I really only have experience of 2 forks that I readilly recommend to anyone looking to upgrade............The Lyric Ultimate ( 2021 Debonair version) which I fitted to a Levo Comp and the Fox Factory 38 that came as standard on my Whyte E180. I never found the Lyric wanting on any trail I rode, was easy to set up and, being retail rather than OEM was a medium tune ( I do think many brands including Specialised set their OEM suspension up too stiff for anyone under 90kg!) . The 38 on my Whyte is a lot more complex to set up but I found the Fox recommended settings pretty much right ( except for air pressure) and Whyte tend to avoid the mistake of putting a hard tune on their suspension front and back.. It is a fabulous Fork for just thrashing through the rough stuff yet super plush at the top of its stroke. I have no experience of the Zeb....yet......
 

#lazy

E*POWAH BOSS
Oct 1, 2019
1,128
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Any pro rider will be faster than most on a budget short travel fork so comparing is nonsense. A zeb is more forgiving and will help the average rider as they make mistakes and aren’t as smooth as pros .
If your zeb is harsh then it’s setup wrong or faulty !
 

High Rock Ruti

Active member
May 13, 2019
359
285
Massachusetts
Looking to replace the Fox 36 Rhythm on my Levo.

Not sure which way to go, either Fox 38 or Zeb.

I had a 38 performance elite on my Levo expert and whilst it was a good fork to get it feeling good I had pretty much all the setting backed off.

No experience of the Zeb ultimate but had a Lyrik ultimate and found it nice and supportive but again had most of the settings backed off.

It there any point in getting a fork with the better dampers?

Thoughts?
High Rock Ruti

For what it's worth, I have the Lyric on 2020 with the fancy dampener Trek rail 9.8 and the 38 on the 2021 Levo and 2019 Orbea (bent 36 replaced). I've never been able to get the plushness with the Lyric that the fox offers. I've spent many hours trying to tune both forks and shocks mostly what I end up with is setting 3 adjustments air spacers, pressure and rebound. I leave the compression wide open on all of them, makes me wonder about having the highest level of fork and shock? Perhaps someone could address that.
My shop threw in the fancy damper on the lyric select + but it's left wide open????? $ 380 USD. I can feel the difference to plushness when I close down the compression settings at all, hence open all the time. I'm old and choose comfort over ultimate performance.

Warm Regards Ruti


Looking to replace the Fox 36 Rhythm on my Levo.

Not sure which way to go, either Fox 38 or Zeb.

I had a 38 performance elite on my Levo expert and whilst it was a good fork to get it feeling good I had pretty much all the setting backed off.

No experience of the Zeb ultimate but had a Lyrik ultimate and found it nice and supportive but again had most of the settings backed off.

It there any point in getting a fork with the better dampers?

Thoughts?
 

Jimmy22

New Member
Dec 25, 2021
9
2
Calgary
I‘m a heavier rider and found the stock suspension on my ’22 levo comp marginal due to flex and fade on rough dh runs. I swapped out the suspension for 170mm fox 38’s and an x2. Significant difference, the forks are stiffer with better damping and I’m far more confident / faster through rough high speed sections. The only thing I would do different if I did it over again would be to go with a longer travel x2 and the more progressive cascade link. Good luck!
 

E Bob

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Feb 15, 2021
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torfaen
The trek rail has a stiffer, heavier, more robust frame and geometry far more suited to harder faster riding.
I wouldn't recommend a Levo for someone of your weight at all unless for pretty tame riding. In which case a Zeb would still be overkill.
Just because some trail Ebikes come with massive forks and DH tyres doesn't mean they're the most suitable for the trail riding everyone actually does.
"Trail riding" seems to encompass everything from trail centre blue routes, XC singletrack and bridleways all the way to EWS enduro stages these days. So just be honest with what riding you actually do and to what level
The gen 3 levo is a bomber... iv had them all, enjoyed the rail "like full 29" but the gen 3 goes through, down anything the rail does, im 210lbs and ride a lot of rough trails fairly fast.
 

E Bob

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Feb 15, 2021
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Sorry...Forks... Iv been lucky enough both own both forks, The zeb is a great fork, but imo the 38 is a greater fork, lots will say hard to set up but i didn't think so, the zeb is easier because its more basic.
 

LielyF

New Member
Apr 13, 2022
19
21
Auckland, New Zealand
Fox also do an e-optimised Fox 36 with "beefed up aluminum alloy CSUs (Crown, Steerer, and Upper tubes) assemblies". Not sure if the Levo comes with that in which case you could just upgrade to the Grip 2 damper? My Giant Trance has has the e-optimised fork and seems to be a good compromise for a trail bike.
 

Renton

Member
Aug 4, 2021
97
48
Droitwich
I should point out that before I bought the comp alloy I also had a gen 3 expert fitted with the 38 performance elite. It was night and day better than the 36. More planted and less flexy fore/aft and didn't try and jolt my hands off the bars through rough terrain.

You are right, I could upgrade the damper but the grip 2 damper is over £400 but that doesn't cure the fore/aft flutter I experience.
 

RustyIron

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
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Jun 5, 2021
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"You don't need such burly fork" is the new "you don't need that much travel". Funny how I see 10 times as many people being vocal in that group as the opposite (even in this thread).

I just finished reading another thread here, and it was all I could do not to reply. There was some kind of argument about how cheap hubs are ok, and people who pay a lot of money are chumps... or something to that effect. Maybe we should all be riding rigid Schwinn bikes.
 

Another One

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Feb 28, 2022
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London / Wakefield
I have been debating if I should comment as I don't have much experience with Full Sus bikes full stop in my 3rd year now. My previous regular bike (S Works Stumpy 2019) had the Fox Factory 36 150mm coming from XC bike with maximum 120 I thought anything would feel good so was not really able to compare how good fork was. My next bike the Levo had a pike which again I thought was awesome but hard for me to judge being 1st E-bike, now my current bike has a 38 Performance (Standard). I was really not sure about the extra travel 170mm and thought would be way to much for me, the performance from this fork going over rough terrain or downhill is nothing but remarkable and actually makes me look like a good rider at times (Dream On). The speed is just a joke and I spend far to much time using the brakes again I don't think I am experienced enough to advise but I have noticed a really big difference with the 38.
 

SteveRS

New Member
Jun 9, 2022
103
74
British Columbia Canada
Sorry...Forks... Iv been lucky enough both own both forks, The zeb is a great fork, but imo the 38 is a greater fork, lots will say hard to set up but i didn't think so, the zeb is easier because its more basic.

What we must keep in mind is that most Fox forks come with excessive grease from the factory that diminishes performance greatly, Rockshox appears to have far better quality control and doesn’t seem to suffer from this. My 38 from the factory felt very mediocre with lack of support throughout the stroke and would bottom easily. My Lyrik on my Remedy felt much more supple and supportive than my 38 did until a damper service was performed. So I can only imagine how much better a Zeb would feel compared to a 38 if you were unlucky enough to have a 38 full of grease, and the chances are fairly high.
 

KnollyBro

E*POWAH Elite
Dec 3, 2020
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There is another choice which makes you ALL wrong. Anybody who wants to be ahead of the masses would ride an Ohlins RXF38 M.2 Air. It has to be the best fork as not only does it maintain my color scheme of black and yellow (including Maxxis tire logos) on an all black bike, it uses an air chamber instead of volume spacers for quick and accurate progression adjustment settings and the Ohlins fork costs the most. Three undeniable facts. Everything else in this thread is highly subjective and dependent on the type of riding you do, how you define your skill level and how much of a poser you are. 👨‍⚖️ Now go ride your bike, get some exercise, enjoy the outdoors!
 

SteveRS

New Member
Jun 9, 2022
103
74
British Columbia Canada
There is another choice which makes you ALL wrong. Anybody who wants to be ahead of the masses would ride an Ohlins RXF38 M.2 Air. It has to be the best fork as not only does it maintain my color scheme of black and yellow (including Maxxis tire logos) on an all black bike, it uses an air chamber instead of volume spacers for quick and accurate progression adjustment settings and the Ohlins fork costs the most. Three undeniable facts. Everything else in this thread is highly subjective and dependent on the type of riding you do, how you define your skill level and how much of a poser you are. 👨‍⚖️ Now go ride your bike, get some exercise, enjoy the outdoors!

Yes there are other choices than the usual suspects. EXT comes to mind right away, probably one of the best coil shocks money can buy, but it’s been my experience, as well as others that are far more respected than myself, that suspension set up is far more important than the brand you choose. The best high end suspension set up poorly will result in far inferior performance compared to a lower end suspension set up properly. Most riders don’t understand what all those dials on their fancy forks and shocks control because they lack the interest and or time needed to understand them. If you fall into that category, then just find a suspension specialist to set it up for you. I think most people just keep hunting for the holy grail of suspension without dialling in the suspension they have. I think you’ll find that it’s more than adequate for the rider using it.
 

KnollyBro

E*POWAH Elite
Dec 3, 2020
618
1,456
Squamish
Yes there are other choices than the usual suspects. EXT comes to mind right away, probably one of the best coil shocks money can buy, but it’s been my experience, as well as others that are far more respected than myself, that suspension set up is far more important than the brand you choose. The best high end suspension set up poorly will result in far inferior performance compared to a lower end suspension set up properly. Most riders don’t understand what all those dials on their fancy forks and shocks control because they lack the interest and or time needed to understand them. If you fall into that category, then just find a suspension specialist to set it up for you. I think most people just keep hunting for the holy grail of suspension without dialling in the suspension they have. I think you’ll find that it’s more than adequate for the rider using it.

You sir, clearly missed importance of the Poser Factor! Not many things make one feel more proud of one's self than when someone else says 'Nice bike/shock/fork/wheels/car/boat/ etc". When was the last time you passed or got passed going up a climbing trail and you said "Hi" to someone and they didn't look at what kind of bike you were riding? I have never had someone to say to me "That was some pretty nice riding you did there, what are your settings on your fork/shock?" Now that could mean one of several things including: I don't ever ride well, no one has ever seen me ride well or other riders attribute my skills to my bike and the parts I am using. If its a woman's prerogative to change her mind and a man's duty to dispose of income, often inappropriately ;).
 

Growmac

Well-known member
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Dec 4, 2020
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Wilts, UK
I just finished reading another thread here, and it was all I could do not to reply. There was some kind of argument about how cheap hubs are ok, and people who pay a lot of money are chumps... or something to that effect. Maybe we should all be riding rigid Schwinn bikes.
I don't think that's the same though. An expensive hub is lighter, stronger, smoother, and will require less maintenance. Other than cost, it's just better.

The forks we're debating are a less clear tradeoff. Lighter, more flexible, and (because of the smaller diameter bushings, possibly) more free moving vs heavier, stronger, stiffer, and more able to perform in really rough stuff. Unlike the hubs, it's worth trying to match those characteristics to how and where you ride.

Which one is better will depend on how you want to use it and on personal preference.
 

SteveRS

New Member
Jun 9, 2022
103
74
British Columbia Canada
You sir, clearly missed importance of the Poser Factor! Not many things make one feel more proud of one's self than when someone else says 'Nice bike/shock/fork/wheels/car/boat/ etc". When was the last time you passed or got passed going up a climbing trail and you said "Hi" to someone and they didn't look at what kind of bike you were riding? I have never had someone to say to me "That was some pretty nice riding you did there, what are your settings on your fork/shock?" Now that could mean one of several things including: I don't ever ride well, no one has ever seen me ride well or other riders attribute my skills to my bike and the parts I am using. If its a woman's prerogative to change her mind and a man's duty to dispose of income, often inappropriately ;).
How right you are 🤦
 

Pdoz

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
Feb 16, 2019
1,051
1,106
Maffra Victoria Australia
There is another choice which makes you ALL wrong. Anybody who wants to be ahead of the masses would ride an Ohlins RXF38 M.2 Air. It has to be the best fork as not only does it maintain my color scheme of black and yellow (including Maxxis tire logos) on an all black bike, it uses an air chamber instead of volume spacers for quick and accurate progression adjustment settings and the Ohlins fork costs the most. Three undeniable facts. Everything else in this thread is highly subjective and dependent on the type of riding you do, how you define your skill level and how much of a poser you are. 👨‍⚖️ Now go ride your bike, get some exercise, enjoy the outdoors!

You're wrong - someone was already talking ohlins 38 but he didn't want the peasants to feel bad
 

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