EUROBIKE´12 – Suspension Report I: by c_g
Last week we had covered all news regarding 29″er tires – now we turn our attention to suspension things. Last year this topic was full of huge news – ROCK SHOX had just shown the all new SID and Revelation in 29“, and FOX had introduced the F34 (at the time for 29″er only). This year things had been a little more quiet. One new entry to the 29″er field MAGURA had already been covered by us earlier – in fact Grannygear and I even have each a fork on test. (Update to come)
But now let´s turn our attention towards what is new in suspension.
… had not been idle last season. Besides spending lots of effort on refinements, there are three prominent news items:
• Implementing the CTD concept into their range of products
• The new Intelligent Ride („IRD“) App to assist fork and shock set-up „the modern way“ (…. all to help you get the most out of your suspension.) Last but not least: the IRD electronic lockout.
•Probably the most significant news is FOX´s CTD concept which consists of a new type of 3-stage fork/shock adjustment and the DOSS dropper post. CTD is basically doing away with an independent platform and compression setting, reducing the options to three predefined settings – each one conveniently named after its designated use:
• Climb - for effective pedaling without any unwanted suspension action
• Trail – a well defined compromise between efficiency and shock absorption capacity – dialed for quickly changing trail conditions and perfect for all around trail riding. On some (non-remote activated) Factory series shocks and forks there are an additional 3 settings within the Trail-mode (called „Trail Tune“).
• Descend – all platform damping off and low on low speed compression for the most supple ride and best downhill performance when things get rough.
I have already had the opportunity to ride several CTD equipped bikes (BMC, CUBE, ROCKY MOUNTAIN, …) and am mostly sold on the simplicity of the concept. Yes, it does limit the individual options one has to tune the suspension, but all settings are usually well defined and perfectly usable. All CTD components (fork, shock and DOSS post), can be activated via the (somewhat large) FOX Remote–lever. Conveniently shock and fork can be activated simultaneously by one remote – as shown on the example above (… the left hand remote works the dropper post, should you wonder.) Convenient indeed, but this also means fork and shock will always run in the same mode – simple and intuitive, but not everyone´s piece of cake … when riding the ROCKY MOUNTAIN Element RSLs (here) this was one of the things we didn’t like that much on the 970/950 models.
The DOSS dropper post really should not be in this post, but being an integral part of CTD – I
will cover it here still. We already had introduced this during our Garda Festival this spring (here).
– 3 fixed positions (top position / 40 mm lowered / completely lowered)
– 2 versions with either 4“ (102 mm) or 5“ (126 mm) „travel“
– 620 g (incl. remote) – Euro pricing € 497.50.
The same philosophy of simplifying things to get the most for every rider is applied in the new FOX Intelligent Ride Dynamics („IRD“) App (i-Phone & Android compatible), which had been released only during Eurobike. Following the app step by step should enable every rider to achieve an optimal set up – even without any prior knowledge of the technologies involved. All you need for it is the app on your mobile device, 2013 FOX suspension elements, (who from now on will carry a specific identification code required by the app to identify the specific recommendations), and you are good to go.
When you have gone through the steps, the app checks the sag via smartphone camera and makes recommendations for changes if necessary. I have gone through the procedure with a FOX rep and found it to be little more than a control device for an expert, but a great tool for all those that don´t want to think too much about their gear. If you had always wondered how to set up your FOX shock or fork, but never understood what needs to be done – then this is a simple tool to get there.
Of course also shown – a bike with the new IRD electronic Lockout – on Goeff Kabush’s SCOTT Scale. The system is already in production and is said to hit the shops this fall already (no prices were communicated yet). It only adds about 140 g over the mechanical lock out – 80 g to the fork and 60 g on the shock. We tried the system on the booth only – a little whirring by the two servo motors indicates the action – but what I think deserves mentioning is the lever itself, which must be the most intuitive and ergonomic lock out lever I have seen. You can get the IRD lock out on F32 forks only (in 80/100 mm for 29″er and 80/100/120 mm in 26“ ). The corresponding shocks come in 165 and 190 mm lengths. I admit, I am not perfectly sold on such electronic systems, but who knows, a test might make me change my mind.
Other news that should not be dismissed – are the significant weight reductions of the entire Float range (F32 und F34) by as much as 200 g – resulting in airy 1.47 kg for the lightest F32 29″er fork. Additionally FOX has worked hard to get a more linear feel in their forks and has re-designed the shock rates on both shocks and forks.
OK, this is what I have to report in news from FOX, tomorrow we will continue with more form other brands.