Today we have a new tester to introduce! Greg Green lives on the Big Island of Hawaii and will be putting the RST Renegade fat-bike fork we got in for testing throughs it’s paces. Here we have a “First Impression” of the fork, installation and an initial ride or two. Look at the end of the article to learn more about Greg and keep your eyes on the site for another report on the RST renegade after more extensive ride testing on the Big Island! Take it away, Greg!
When Greg Smith of Fat-Bike.com contacted me and wondered if I was interested in reviewing the RST Renegade fat-bike fork, I jumped at the chance! I started my fat-bike journey early in 2013 by rebuilding a box-store bought, sub $200 fat-bike. As a machinist, this was a journey of learning what I had to work with and what was necessary to modify and improve it for serious trail duty.
During the course of the two-year build I modified an RST M-29 for use as a fat fork. It was a serious effort involving dozens of hours of 3-D CNC surfacing on a block of forged 7series aluminum to create the one-off crown. It was a beautiful part but I was not able to source factory support for parts or service.
Fast-forward another year and a new owner is enjoying the highly modified box-store bike and I’ve upgraded to a Mongoose Argus. It’s really an amazing rig for the price but full rigid. I’d been spoiled by the custom suspension fork and was dying to get something on the bike to help smooth out the rough Hawaiian terrain but the idea of building another fork had lost its luster (a great build but it was heavy and expensive).
So, I’ve been surfing forums and chats looking for options. Teasers have been leaking out for about a year, but until very recently, RST’s Renegade has been tough to find. (If you don’t know RST, they are a Taiwanese company with almost twenty years of experience manufacturing suspension systems and disc brake systems for cars, motorcycles and bicycles. Their manufacturing facility is in excess of 125,000 sq. meters and they have a Southern California service center handling all North American business.)
Greg sent the RST Renegade and upon unboxing I was impressed–the finish was an extremely durable black on the aluminum crown and equally durable white on the magnesium lower casting. Unboxing the fork revealed a polished product with amazing fit and finish.
The Renegade is available in both a 1-½” tapered steerer AND a 1-1/8” steerer–this alone will breathe new life into older model fat bikes although frame clearance for the wide crown may be an issue for some. Travel is available in 80mm, 100mm, and 120mm. Stanchions are 32mm and have a beautiful black hard anodize coating. The convenient ‘sag gradients’ found on other products would be a welcome addition but are not a deal breaker. The Renegade utilizes a 15mm through axle and you’ll have to supply a 150mm wide hub. Oil dampening is done in the left stanchion and in the right stanchion is the air spring. Adjustments include fully adjustable hydraulic compression dampening with lockout and externally adjustable rebound. My 120mm travel sample weighed in at 2280g with the axle accounting for 92g.
I removed my rigid fork and began lacing up a new Hope Fatsno Pro 4 hub. Installation on the Argus was trouble free. The fork easily cleared my 4.5 Juggernauts on 100mm wheels. Straight out of the box, with no tuning the Renegade felt quite soft. A quick increase in compression and rebound dampening got the Renegade in an acceptable range and despite the 32mm stanchions the fork does not feel like a flexi-noodle.
I’ve put about 10 miles on both trails and urban streets so far and I must say, I am impressed. I’ll put this thing through some serious miles on the Big Island of Hawaii in the coming weeks. Lava fields, beaches, mountains, and rooted, rocky technical trails await the new RST Renegade. Stay tuned!
Greg Green is an instrument designer and machinist at Canada France Hawaii Telescope Corporation on the big island of Hawaii. Green’s experience includes automotive drag and road racing. He is also an award wining designer and builder of custom motorcycles. Green has written technical articles for various motorcycle publications and currently enjoys anything and everything to do with fat-biking!