Used Helm air avoid or ok?

ausdb

Being who he is
I'm looking at used forks for a couple of projects and one of them needs a reasonably solid 27.5 medium long travel fork and the Helm seems to fit the bill, especially in regards to travel adjustment range.
However based on the discussion here about the CCDB and user serviceability I am wondering if buying a used one is just opening myself up to a world of pain. I haven't been able to find much on the net about servicing them apart from the 50 hours lower service but have seen a few comments about the damper bladder being a bit fragile on the earlier versions.
Are many people here using them and what has been your experience?
 

LPG

likes thicc birds
I avoided it when building my bike due to the lack of user servicability but I like servicing my forks so that was a consideration (and I was buying new). I have a mate with the helm who likes it.

I'd speak to the main aus based suspension service companies (and maybe shockcraft in NZ) and see if they service them or supply parts.
 

ausdb

Being who he is
Thanks for the comments, after getting messed around by a few "LBS" over the years I tend to like to do everything myself these days, which means I should probably be heading in the Manitou direction but there is SFA around on the used market.
 

Litenbror

Eats Squid
Honestly for reliable and diy serviceable you can't beat the durolux


Price is about $680 brand new with local warranty support.
 

ausdb

Being who he is
Honestly for reliable and diy serviceable you can't beat the durolux


Price is about $680 brand new with local warranty support.
If I could dial them down to 120mm I would be ordering them, as if I buy new I would be trying to use them for a 29er hardtail with max 120mm or a dually frankenbike as 27.5 or a mullet with 150/160mm travel.
 

Litenbror

Eats Squid
If I could dial them down to 120mm I would be ordering them, as if I buy new I would be trying to use them for a 29er hardtail with max 120mm or a dually frankenbike as 27.5 or a mullet with 150/160mm travel.
You can get them down to 100mm with enough spacers. I'm using mine on a 140mm hardtail when they get here.
 

ausdb

Being who he is
You can get them down to 100mm with enough spacers. I'm using mine on a 140mm hardtail when they get here.
I've just been looking at the Durolux parts diagram here and are not sure if there is enough space to add more spacers. I've sent Suntour a message and see what they say.
 

fatboyonabike

Captain obvious

Litenbror

Eats Squid
I've just been looking at the Durolux parts diagram here and are not sure if there is enough space to add more spacers. I've sent Suntour a message and see what they say.
Good call I was going off this article in NSMB and my experience changing the travel on a Auron fork.

Edit - Looking at that PDF I would say there is heaps of room. Each of those spacers is 10mm so you would only need 3 more to get it down to 120mm from 180mm.
 

Isildur

The Real Pedant
I run 2x Helms, both 29", the first one is a 51mm offset that started on my Ripmo at 160mm, and is now on a Fuel EX at 140mm. The second is a 44mm offset that's now on the Ripmo at 160mm.

Performance wise they're great, although reliability on the first fork was a bit iffy to begin with, with the damper not holding the HSC position, winding out during a small run. NS were great and sent me replacement dampers to drop in and it's now compeltely dialled. No other major issues though (see below). The second fork has been nothing but reliable for the 6 months or so it's been running.

While you won't find any damper service guides around, the fork is pretty easy to work on. If you've done Pikes and Charger dampers, these are no sweat at all. Only "specific" tool is a slimmed down 11mm socket (or is it 9mm, I'll check at home), to remove the HSC adjuster knob. The damper will suck in oil over time, as do all of them, so a quick bleed once a year wil prevent it from splitting.

Also watch out when greasing the volume adjust o-ring, a bit too much and it'll migrate down to the +/- valve and fill the neg chamber with grease. Easy enough to sort out though, the air spring side is easy to work on. Even easier in the newer version, where they've gone to a circlip rather than threaded arrangement - but if you're looking 2nd hand, it'll be the threaded.
 

CHEWY

Eats Squid
I run 2x Helms, both 29", the first one is a 51mm offset that started on my Ripmo at 160mm, and is now on a Fuel EX at 140mm. The second is a 44mm offset that's now on the Ripmo at 160mm.

Performance wise they're great, although reliability on the first fork was a bit iffy to begin with, with the damper not holding the HSC position, winding out during a small run. NS were great and sent me replacement dampers to drop in and it's now compeltely dialled. No other major issues though (see below). The second fork has been nothing but reliable for the 6 months or so it's been running.

While you won't find any damper service guides around, the fork is pretty easy to work on. If you've done Pikes and Charger dampers, these are no sweat at all. Only "specific" tool is a slimmed down 11mm socket (or is it 9mm, I'll check at home), to remove the HSC adjuster knob. The damper will suck in oil over time, as do all of them, so a quick bleed once a year wil prevent it from splitting.

Also watch out when greasing the volume adjust o-ring, a bit too much and it'll migrate down to the +/- valve and fill the neg chamber with grease. Easy enough to sort out though, the air spring side is easy to work on. Even easier in the newer version, where they've gone to a circlip rather than threaded arrangement - but if you're looking 2nd hand, it'll be the threaded.
Side question - did you notice much differenace between the 2 offsets ?
 

Isildur

The Real Pedant
Side question - did you notice much differenace between the 2 offsets ?
A little bit, and I was happy enough on on the 51mm when running it. Just got the 44mm when I needed a second fork so I could try it out and see what all the froth was about.

The other factor in the feel though was that I put a -2 angleset in the Ripmo at the same time as the fork change, so there was a fair bit of difference handling anyway.

But going between both bikes, the Ripmo/160mm/44mm/64deg and the FEX/140mm/51mm/66deg, there's really not much in it outside of the head angle and total travel, certainly not that takes me any more than a few seconds to forget about.
 

ausdb

Being who he is
@Isildur thanks for the comments, the ones I'm looking at are 2015's. I haven't had much experience with dampers but can handle most mechanical things. 'll get in touch with one of the suspension people and see if they are wiling to sell any parts.
 

Isildur

The Real Pedant
@ausdb NS are happy to sell lowers kits (wipers, seals, etc). Rockshox 35mm flangeless also work fine and I've got a RS set in one fork at the moment.

It took a bit of convincing, but they were also happy to sell me an Air kit (o-rings, etc) so that I didn't have to send the fork up to them for minor services.
 
Top