- Magura Phaon forks
The Phaon is described as a “freeride/enduro/tour” fork, so it’s intended to be something of an all-rounder. Backing this up is the Flight Control on-the-fly adjustable travel system, letting the fork deliver anywhere between 90 and 125mm of coil-sprung travel. It’s conceptually similar to RockShox’s U-Turn system, but unlike U-Turn you get a separate preload adjuster. The Flight Control knob is chunky and easy to grip, although the actual action is quite stiff and there’s no clicker in it so you’ll need to look at what you’re doing and count turns.
As well as adjustable travel and preload, you also get rebound and compression damping adjusters which ought to let you get exactly the feel you want. Try as we might, though, we couldn’t get this 2005 fork to feel as plush and floaty as rival products. It’s not at all bad, being well-controlled and confident over most stuff, but it just doesn’t quite have that suppleness that we’ve got used to. The 2006 model has an all-new damping system that may well give the fork a plusher feel – we’ll have to wait and see on that.
With 30mm stanchions, the Phaon initially looks a little undernourished compared to some of its rivals, but the chunky lowers redress the balance and we certainly didn’t find them unduly twangy. The stanchions are held into the crown with pinch bolts, just like all forks used to be. It’s a mixed blessing – on the one hand it makes crown/steerer or stanchion replacements possible without having to replace half the fork, but on the downside it’s another half-dozen bolts to check. The chassis is robust enough to be warrantied for disc rotors up to 210mm, which ought to be big enough for anyone who’s using this fork. Out of the box the Phaon weighs 1.96kg (4.3lb).
It’s an example of Magura’s commitment to fork longevity, though. Other examples include the steel inserts in the caliper mount and dropout faces to maintain paint integrity and keep corrosion at bay. They’re low-maintenance too – the manual recommends keeping them clean, checking below the dust wipers monthly and servicing annually. And we know of plenty of Magura forks that haven’t even had that and are still going strong.
Positives: User-friendly, bags of adjustment, stout, durable, big rotor friendly
Negatives: Not as plush as some
Verdict: On this showing, Magura forks deserve a higher profile than they’ve currently got in the UK. The Phaon is very good, just losing out on ultimate plushness to the best of its rivals. We like the fact that you can take it apart but rarely have to, we like being able to put big brakes on it and the price is fair. We look forward to trying the 2006 model.