FOX TALAS 32 RLC $725
I was smitten with this fork before I ever put it on a bike. With 140 millimeters of buttery-smooth action that lowers into a 120- or 100-millimeter setting at the flip of a switch, what's not to love? On paper, it's perfect—and in practice, it wasn't far off.
Over the course of six months, I've tested the fork on several bikes, and the heart of the thing, the TALAS element, worked flawlessly throughout. I don't claim to understand how exactly it works. But bottom line: It works.
I spent loads of time on an '07 version of this fork and had little to complain about. For '08, Fox made a bevy of changes, like a redesigned brake hose guide, a new lower-leg casting with a direct post-mount brake mount in lieu of an International Standard mount, and revamped compression damping so you can now run approximately 10 psi less pressure than the previous model and rely on an easy-to- access bezel to fine tune your fork's feel.
The company's Float air fork, sans all the extra seals that make the travel-adjust feature possible, is a tad plusher than this version, but not by much, and the TALAS's travel adjust is worth the small amount of extra stiction. My only quibble is that the middle detent in the TALAS lever can be hard to find while rattling down a trail, although opening her up or closing her down was cake. Overall: the TALAS 32 is light (4 pounds), stiff and full of useable adjustments, including the best travel-adjust system available.