EUROBIKE 2012 – Suspension Report Part II: by c_g

Yesterday I had given you a summary of what is new with FOX RACING SHOX – today we will cover the suspension news by ROCK SHOX, SUNTOUR GERMAN:A and FORMULA.

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ROCK SHOX – has already shown their belief in 29″ers by releasing the SID and Revelation Chassis in 29″er. Just in case you have had hope – still no sign of any more aggressive 29″er forks than the Revelation, but we are keeping our fingers crossed. Instead of major introductions, ROCK SHOX are emphasizing product refinement and simplifying suspension set up.

SOLO AIR is probably the biggest change –affecting all Rebas, Revelations, Recons and SIDs. From 2013 on there will be no longer be two separate chambers for positive and negative air, but one. Good for those riders that found Dual Air to be a challenge, and all those that went for the standard setting anyway, not so much for those that knew how to apply its possibilities.

The e:i („ELECTRONIC INTELLIGENCE“)– automatic suspension which has been developed in cooperation with ROCK SHOX, has been given much press before, but will only come exclusively on Bikes by LAPIERRE, HAIBIKE and GHOST. Unfortunately during Demo Day, all such Bikes were unobtainable (because they were constantly being ridden by others ), so we have had to postpone any further comments on this „intelligent suspension” until we can actually get one to ride.

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SUNTOUR – has a new entry to the 29″er field. While until now their focus had been on entry-level and mid-range forks, they go all out for 2013 with their Top XC-fork, the AXON 29.

Over last year´s Axion (26“) it has received some reworked internals (optimized shock rate, new seals for better small bump sensitivity, ….), but it sticks to the proven Carbon/Magnesium-Hybrid lowers, which are the main reason for the respectable 1600 g weight. By bonding the magnesium dropouts (with post mount style brake caliper mounts on the left side) to the one piece carbon lower, they can offer a top level performer at a much lower price than would be possible with a full carbon casting..

There will be several models available with either standard 1 1/8“ or tapered steerer tubes. Remote Lockouts (RL version) or Rebound/Low Speed Compression adjustment (RC) and 100 or 120 mm travel are other options. No prices or availability communicated yet.

Another noteworthy thing is SUNTOUR´s own 15 Q-Loc System, which does not need a thread on the fork. The clamping action is done by the expanding wedges on the quick release´s far side (I am deliberately not saying left or right as the quick release can be mounted on either side)– the only drawback is that for trouble free wheel detachment, it only works with hubs that internally have no sharp change in diameter.
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GERMAN:ANSWER – is a small German manufacturer (not associated with ANSWER products) which is not present in the US market (but gladly ships there), and has some interesting products. We have had a 120 mm Xcite Criterion on test in 2011 and found it to be a great performing fork with a weight that at that time had been unrivaled. Now they have shown the first samples of a tapered steerer. The unit consists of a welded crown and lower steerer tube (much different than the currently dominating cast crowns) and a press-fit bonded upper steerer in standard 1 1/8“ dimensions (choices between alloy and carbon for that).

The part is still in prototype phase and needs to be tested before becoming available, but if tests confirm the calculations, this will lead the way to increased travel on the existing 29″er Criterion to more than the current 120 mm (some rumors say up to 150 mm!) and that combined with the extremely low weight will once more create a very competitive edge for the fork. We will keep you informed .

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We have all been waiting quite a while for a 29″er fork by FORMULA – now we at least got to see a prototype of it.

Now that the „Thirty-Three“ fork (only in 26“) is finally available, the 29″er may actually become reality. The little we know is that it will come as a „Thirty-Five“, meaning it will have 35 mm diameter sliders. By these dimensions we have reason to put some belief in the rumored words that it may come with as much as 150 mm of travel. Also not confirmed is that it is to come with a „unprecedented“ internal travel adjustment range.

Of course it has a 15 mm thru axle.

While being limited to the „33“ in internals, the „35“ series (also to come as 27.5″s) will add a few features. The rebound adjustment remains at the lower right leg, but the top is showing three dials – we presume one for engaging the lockout (a remote is optional), one to set the threshold, an one to adjust low speed compression.

They are aiming at about 1600 g and most likely „premium pricing“. Looking at the very nice execution of the proto already I have little reason to believe at least the latter . We will keep our eyes and ears open for more details.

So much for suspension news – forgive if we may have missed something, but Guitar Ted and Grannygear will be able to fill the gaps at the upcoming Interbike trade show

RIDE ON,
c_g