Riva BIKE Festival 2012 – part 4: MAGURA, BRAKE FORCE ONE and FOX Doss- by c_g

1, MAGURA 29″er forks (www.magura.com)

German component manufacturer MAGURA (Gustav Magenwirth GmbH & Co. KG) has already dropped smaller bits and pieces on their all new SLE product line (SLE stands for “Smarter, Lighter, Easier”), which will include 29″er forks for the first time. This should translate to optimum rigidity with minimal weight and very low-maintenance requirements with an easy setup. Hidden behind the new “Fork-Meister-Concept” (FMC) name are special bushings and surfaces that in connection with the “Fork-Meister- Grease” (FMG) are to provide a very sensitive action. The 29″er models will be available from 80 to 120 mm, with internal conversions only possible from 120 to 100 mm and from 80 mm to 100 mm.

The forks spring characteristics are deliberately designed to be progressive to avoid deep diving on technical descents and in steeps. The construction of the MAGURA forks with their typical Double Arch Design (DAD) is designed for uncompromisingly high rigidity. As a new feature all 29″er models, forks will receive the MAGURA M15 thru axle with a self-securing thread. The necessary Torx T25 key required to tighten the axle (universal for installation and service on the MAGURA MT brakes as well) can simply be inserted into the axle, where it is secured by an O-ring – so no risk of forgetting such a vital part (but you better not loose it ;) ). As steerer options MAGURA offers 1 1/8 “and tapered (1 1/8 to 1 1/2). Another interesting feature are the “Protection Caps” at the bottom of the fork, that are designed to prevent damage to the dropouts and the rebound adjuster when the wheel is removed.

There will be three groups of forks to chose from: The middle class version TS6 and the top group TS 8 that is divided into a SL and a R version. All have the same lower legs with PM7“ brake mounts (meaning the smallest possible disc diameter is 180mm, stated incorrectly in one picture ).

• The TS 8 SL is the super-light version with fixed adjustable compression damping, firmer Albert SL (default platform, cannot be switched on or off!), adjustable rebound damping and air suspension with 80mm, 100mm or 120mm of travel.
• The TS 8 R is the all-arounder with DLO² compression damping (on/off either at the fork, or with RCL handlebar remote control), adjustable rebound damping and air suspension with 80mm, 100mm, 120mm. As option the DLO² can be replaced by Albert Select+, thereby providing an additional platform adjustment.
• The TS 6 is almost identical to the TS 8 R, but by the different internals and steerer tube comes out heavier and at more budget price.

The very attractive Lift Select adjustable travel (appx. 30 mm height difference) unfortunately won´t become available for the 29″er forks. Prices and delivery times are to follow, but we were promised a set of 29″er forks for testing. We will keep you updated. (In the 26″er fork range there will be more variations. The 26“ forks are designed to work equally well with 650b wheels.)

2, BRAKE FORCE ONE disc brake (www.brakeforceone.com)

The BRAKE FORCE ONE disc (short: BFO) is the first and only product of the equally named German company. These high-end disc brakes are rather progressive and ahead of their time by using a low pressure design with a two-stage brake booster. By this the BFO achieves very high braking forces with minimal hand forces – a true one-finger brake, is claimed. The modulation is more like car brakes, contrary to the usual force-dependent modulation as with bicycle discs. Rubbing pads should therefore no longer be an issue, since the pads are pulled back actively and the resulting a gap between rotor and pads is considerably wider than with any other disc brakes on the market. The wider gap also provides for better ventilation and should make the brake be less sensitive to dirt. As the brake is designed as a low pressure system, there is no need for a reservoir tank. The engagement adjuster at the lever also functions as pad wear adjustment.

The specific operation of the stepped power transmission takes place by means of two pistons that divide the lever throw into two stages: a first (valve-controlled) phase quickly pushes the pads to the disk, and a second phase where the piston correlation is changed towards power, then applies a high braking force with little finger force required. The modulation is performed by the lever throw and not the finger force, which may feel odd at first. BFO indicates that you can go with rotors one size smaller than previously, without compromising on power or unnecessarily risking overheating and fading. Sounds good so far, wouldn’t you say?!

In addition to the „original“ BRAKE FORCE ONE, there will be a special edition by TUNE, called „KILL HILL“. The main differences from the BFO brake caliper is that the Kill Hill gets some extra milling, and the lighter ti-/alloy-hardware which is to shave another 15-20 g … and of course the TUNE typical anodized colors. The weight of the “normal” BFO (with 180 mm rotors and adapters) is stated at 220 g.

At the event we have only seen black anodized version of the brake, but in the production it will also give versions with red or black anodized calipers. The MSRP of the BFO (per brake) is a proud € 390.-, TUNE´s Kill Hill is closer to € 500.- so we are indeed talking High-End.

RIDING IMPRESSIONS: We had the occasion to ride a BFO equipped bike briefly and can say one thing with certainty:

• The BFO feels like no other known disc brake out there.
• It is one of the strongest we know of disc brakes and …
• the exclusively designed one-finger brake lever is definitely sufficient for any stopping action.

Unlike many other testers with whom we talked, we found the path-dependent braking feel is something we need time to get used to. The short test has not been enough for us to feel 100% comfortable with them which is why we are in discussions for a long term test with BFO.

We are looking forward to this test and are eager to see how we get used to the new “brake feel”.

3, FOX Doss adjustable seatpost.

Dropper seat posts are a fine thing in varying technical trails if you do not count every gram on your bike. In my opinion they enhance riding pleasure and safety big time. Now there is another offering of that sort. After a long wait, endless prototyping and testing, FOX now has presented their first adjustable post – the DOSS. Unlike many other such posts, the Doss is not an infinitely adjustable post, but offers 3 fixed height settings – following the 2013 motto of their suspension products of CTD (Climb – Traction – Descent).

• The top position is the “Climb” position
• A 40 mm lowered “trail” position allows a good combination of control and freedom of movement.
• The lowered “Descent” position (lowered depending on the model 100 or 125 mm) for maximum freedom of movement .

The post will be a 30.9 and a 31.6 mm diameter and either 100 or 125 mm adjustment range to choose from.

The Doss is locked into position via several cams that ensure a never before known lack of free play and extreme longevity. The extension of the post is indeed driven pneumatically, but claims are it could be operated manually even at zero pressure (the recommended pressures are as low as 10 to 25 psi or 0.7 to 1.6 bar). All FOX Doss come with the new cable-operated remote control, that can be mounted right and left, above and below the handlebars. Boy, but it looks rather chunky. The weight should be in the league of the competition around 500 g.

Although Fox has not yet fixed the final price, the DOSS is likely to be more expensive than the competition – a concession to the elaborate construction and high manufacturing costs. Availability is scheduled for August’12.

Tomorrow we will have the final post of the Garda Festival with another ride report.

Until then …