Tested: SD Components Dynamic Volume Chamber

What is the SD Components DVC?

The SD Components DVC is an Australian designed and made piece of kit, designed to improve the performance of your fork by giving you more control over the spring curve. At present, it’ll fit RockShox Pike, Lyrik, BoXXer and 2018 Revelation forks, along with the FOX 36 too.

It replaces the token/spacer system found in the forks listed above with a sealed, secondary air chamber, the pressure of which can be adjusted externally with a shock pump.

Fitting it is as simple as unthreading the old top cap, and threading in the DVC using the supplied laser-cut stainless steel tool. You adjust the main air spring via the valve number 1, while valve number 2 controls the progressivity.

Remove the old top cap, pop in the DVC. Easy!

What’s the idea here?

You’re likely familiar with the token or spacer system found in most new RockShox and FOX forks, where adding or removing spacers changes the fork’s air spring volume and therefore its progressiveness. The DVC takes this to another level, allowing you to make precise tweaks to the spring curve.

The DVC comes with a neat stainless steel pin spanner to install the kit.

The DVC isn’t just about providing ease of adjustment – it provides more flexibility over the fork’s performance, allowing greater independent control over the beginning and end-stroke.

The pressure in the main air chamber dictates the fork’s sag and the performance for the first half of the stroke, the pressure in the second chamber controls the level of mid-stroke support and the bottom-out resistance. Fine tuning the pressures of the two chambers allows you to really alter the fork’s feel.

One valve for the main air chamber, one for the secondary.

Why is it superior to a spacer system?

With a spacer system, you’re physically changing the volume of the main air spring, and as such any spacer changes, therefore, do necessarily have an impact on the fork’s initial bump performance. It’s a fairly rudimentary system really.

The Bottomless Tokens look pretty basic in comparison.

With the DVC, the volume of the main air spring is not impacted, no matter what pressure you have in the second air chamber. The second chamber only comes into play once an impact causes the pressure in the main air spring to exceed the pressure in the secondary chamber. As such, you’ve got genuinely independent control over these two aspects of the fork’s performance (beginning and end-stroke).

What did you fit it to?

We ran the DVC in a 170mm-travel RockShox Lyrik on the front of our Commencal Meta AM test bike. There was about a 20g weight penalty compared to the original Lyrik top cap with two Bottomless Tokens fitted.

One point worth noting is that the two valves are pretty prominent. On our bike, there were no clearance issues between the valves and the down tube, but on some bikes, with chunky, straight down tubes (like the new Treks) this could potentially be an issue.

How did it go?

Superb. Over the course of a few rides, we made fine adjustments, experimenting with small changes to the two chambers till we hit the sweet spot we liked. We wanted to maximise traction, so for a 65kg rider, we ended up with a main air spring pressure of only 43psi and with a touch over 80psi in the secondary chamber.

This netted a ridiculously smooth initial stroke, but with great support and bottom out resistance. With such a low pressure in the main air spring, the small bump performance was brilliant, giving a notably grippier front end in loose conditions.

If we’d wanted a stiffer mid-stroke, we could add a little pressure to the main air chamber. If a more linear feel was what we were after, dropping a few psi out of the second chamber would be the answer. We can see how useful this item would be for really heavy or very lightweight riders too, people who often struggle to get the setup they’re after.

So is it worth investing?

At $260, the DVC is not a cheap item, especially considering the stock RockShox/FOX volume spacer system works pretty effectively as it stands. The other consideration is that most people will find a fork setup that works for them and then rarely vary it.

On the other hand, there will be plenty of people out there who love to tweak, twiddle and fiddle, trying to get the absolute best out of their suspension, and the DVC definitely makes this process both easier and more precise. Enduro or downhill racers who are looking for the edge and who find themselves faced with changing conditions will certainly fall into this category.

RockShox Pike, The New Generation: Upcoming Review

Since the RockShox Lyrik came onto the scene to handle bikes with upwards of around 160mm travel, the RockShox Pike can now refocus entirely on the all-mountain/trail segment. With that in mind, the designers of the new Pike were able to make some legitimate improvements.

The fork that had a significant impact on the suspension game has lifted its own game.

RockShox Pike 2018: Lighter, leaner, ripped.

150g has shaved off the outgoing Pike without losing any stiffness, not bad at all! The new chassis looks visibly entirely different upon closer inspection the lower legs and crown look very lean. With thicker upper tubes, the fork retains the desired amount of stiffness, but make sure you only use the new slightly smaller grey coloured Bottomless Tokens in the new fork instead of the older red ones when tuning the air spring volume.

The new Pike’s chassis is visibly leaner than the previous model.

Boost only, Plus compatible all around.

By offering the new Pike in a Boost 110mm wide axle, the engineers were able to maximise the weight saving by focussing on manufacturing just the one lower chassis. There are available in both wheel sizes though and can accept up to 2.8″ tyres found on plus size bikes.

Boost axle width only, but compatible with up to 2.8″ tyres.
180mm and up. The Pike is a direct mount for 180mm rotors; the FOX 34 can accept a 160mm rotor, and needs an adaptor for 180.

Clearance updated because everything is so big nowadays.

With the boost hubs pushing the width of the overall forks out, and many frame designs becoming pretty bulky with large tubing – take a look at the Trek Remedy for example – another focus with the new fork is to increase clearance, hence a new super-low profile top cap.

The new air assembly upper uses a low profile cap and fixed with a cassette tool fitting.

Updated damper to increase performance.

The Charger 2 damper comes out of years of refinement and development of designing air springs to match the forks intended use and the three compression modes are more ‘useable’. With a remote option available also.


New Debonair spring for better feel and spring rates for trail riding.

The new Debonair is said to feel more supple but not in any way is it a short travel downhill fork, the ride is said to feel more sporty and lively. We’ll find out soon!


Price and weight?

Pike RCT3 DebonAir Boost Charger 2  – $1,299.95

Pike RCT3 DebonAir Remote Boost Charger 2 – $1,399.95

We put our test fork on the scales complete with the quick release Maxle and a cut 50mm steer tube and star nut fitted – 1.86kg


ShockWiz-it!

To help us with setup, we’ve cracked out the ShockWiz; this little data analysis thing is pretty amazing, read more about it here: Quark ShockWiz.

The nifty suspension setup tool – Quark ShockWiz.

Fox 34 vs RockShox Pike?

We are comparing the two big guns of the mountain bike world, head to head. We’ve spent some time on the FOX 34 already, and it’s pretty slick!

We’ll be fitting the two forks to our Norco Sight long term test bike, check it out here: Norco Sight.

The big showdown begins! Fox 34 vs RockShox Pike.

The FOX comes in touch lighter than the Pike at 1.78kg with a QR axle, 150mm steerer and star nut fitted and is priced a bit higher than the Pike we have at $1379.

Let’s ride!

Upcoming Review: FOX Float DPS Factory Shock

We’re putting the RockShox Deluxe RTC3 and FOX Float DPS Factory head to head, using the same bike as a testing platform, our long-term test bike – Norco Sight. We’re not going to get into too much tech, we just want to know how two different shocks feel on the trail, how easy they are to use and that’s about it.

Two new shocks for 2018, the RockShox Deluxe RCT3 and FOX Float DPS, both from the top of their class.

First up is the FOX, an all-new shock for 2018 with an improved construction and damping tune, we’ve already had a great test with the new shock on a Scott Spark where we swapped out a 2017 shock with the 2018 model and quickly went back to the singletrack to feel the difference.

Hear our impressions on testing a 2017 and 2018 FOX fork and shock back to back here: FOX 2018 testing.


FOX DPS, what?

The DPS shock is for the short-mid travel segment, compact and lightweight. The new construction drops weight and parts from the 2017 model, we weighed it 10g lighter than the RockShox.

The Factory model is the top of the line, with the lustrous Kashima coating and all the adjustments.


What now?

We’ve weighed it, fitted it, and have begun the setup process. We’ll send the RockShox RCT3 off to SRAM for a refresh service as it’s been fitted to the Norco for a while now, and then we’ll go back to back laps of a test circuit swapping the shocks back and forth.


What about long travel shocks, and forks, too?

Up the front, we have a new FOX 34 29 fork and await a new Rockshox Pike to compare, and our bigger long-term test bike is primed for a FOX vs RockShox hitout too, to the tune of; FOX 36 vs Lyrik and Float DHX vs Super Deluxe. The burly 160/170mm travel Commencal Meta AM 4.2 will be the test sled.

We have the FOX 34 fork on test too, get ready for a RockShox vs FOX bounce-off!

Check out the new FOX fork here, it’s super slick; 2018 FOX Float 34 29.

We’re looking forward to it! So, stay tuned.

Upcoming Review: FOX Factory Series 34 FLOAT 29

In the battle of bike parts, a good old fork-off is the ultimate showdown, front suspension is an area of huge technological development, and can serve as a beneficial upgrade to an older model bike. So, what better than to put the two big guns together in the busy segment of trail riding, the RockShox Pike vs FOX 34. It’s ON!

Ahead of the full review, let’s take a look at the FOX 34 before we fit it to our Norco Sight.


Why Pike vs 34?

These two make up for the lions share of the market, sure there are other great options from brands like DVO, Manitou, Formula, Suntour, DT Swiss, Cane Creek, Girvin (ok, maybe not Girvin), but we want to cut it back to big guns of bounce.

FOX Factory Series 34 FLOAT 29, the top of the line.
You can’t beat that lustrous glow of the Kashima coated legs, it’s damn classy and gives the bike a high end appearance.

Looking back at the last five or so years, the Pike and 34 have both had their ups and downs with questionable damping, creaking crowns, faulty air springs etc, but 2018 would have to be the closest they’ll be to their best, even Stevens.


What’s new with the FOX 34?

It’s all in the fine tuning of the air spring and damper that lifts the 2018 FOX 34 that little bit higher, while the chassis remains unchanged. The EVOL air spring has a larger negative spring, and the damper is tweaked to suit the change.

The new EVOL air spring aims to be more sensitive than the 2017 version.
The new 2018 FOX forks have a tuning guide on the back of the leg, RockShox have been doing that for years. Yay!

We know this as earlier this year we took part in a very valuable testing session with FOX where we swapped out current 2017 internals for 2018 ones and tested them all back to back with very interesting results.

Check that out here: FOX 2018 fork and shock testing.

For more specs and options of the 34 range, FOX site has it all.


What bike will we fit the RockShox Pike and FOX 34 to?

The Norco Sight 9.2 long-term test bike is our test sled of choice for the trail bike fork shootout, 140mm travel, regular offset, Boost 110mm spacing, and 29″ wheels.

The Norco Sight will be fitted with both forks, for back-to-back testing.

Stay tuned for the full review!

Flow’s First Bite: Specialized S-Works Epic

We’ve assembled, set up and had a couple of quick laps of the race track on the most anticipated arrival to the XC circuit this season, ahead of our full review here’s what we are in for.


Mad light, S-Works light.

10kg (including carbon water bottle cage) is very exciting for a bike you can wheel out of the bike shop, this brings it in line with the top-end Giant Anthem Advanced 0 and Scott Spark RC 900 World Cup, though half-a-kilo lighter than the Cannondale Scalpel Si HiMod Team.

10kg of speed.

How so light? No expense is spared with the S-Works model; carbon wheels, fork crowns, bars, post, saddle, cranks, shifters, brake levers… It’s superior kit and much of it from Specialized’s in-house component line, and wheels from Roval.


What’s new with the frame?

No more FSR suspension, the Horst Link has gone in favour of a one-piece rear end that relies on flex in the carbon (on aluminium Epic model also) instead to drop weight and moving parts from the bike.

The new RockShox Brain 2.0 shock is structurally very different and is mounted right off the back of the bike. Why? We’ll get into more of that in our review. For a quick video from Specialized of the brain’s brain, click here.

The one-piece rear end, lighter, simpler, sleeker.

It’s slacker by a full 1.5 degrees in the head angle, and pair that with a fork offset of only 42mm (regular 29ers tend to be 51mm) the new Epic feels a whole lot less twitchy and nervous than previous models.

A few more modern updates include Boost hub spacing, new internal routing for the cable and brake and it’s dropper post compatible too.


Early impressions?

After only a couple quick rides to dial in the position and suspension setup it’s safe to say a few things; it’s fast, light and begs for more. The brain in the fork sure feels firm even when dialled right back, and out the back, the transition between open and closed is a lot less apparent than earlier models with a useable tuning range via the little blue lever.

New brain location and structure pictured with the rear wheel removed.

 

Putting the hammer down on the Epic is a wonderful experience, it’s efficiency personified, there just is no unwanted loss of energy through the suspension at all.

With a new brain damper and slacker geometry, will the new Epic widen its value to being less limited to the race track? We’re going to find out.


Of course, it’s good, it’s an S-Works.  

Yes, so that’s why this Epic is going in a head to head review with a few other comparable bikes. So far we’ve confirmed the all-new Giant Anthem Advanced 0 and the Scott Spark RC 900 SL, two chart-topping race bikes that will undoubtedly be compared to by eager Australian cross country racers.

So, stay tuned for the ultimate XC race bike battle ever!

Tested: Avanti Competitor S Plus 2

A dependable option that gives you what you expect most the time, the Avanti Competitor S Plus 2 is a trail bike that does the job but doesn’t set the world alight doing it. Is that a bad thing? Let’s discuss how the bike performed in the sort of situations you’ll come across on a trail ride first, and then ponder whether the Competitor S Plus 2’s lack of flair is a positive or a negative.

Plus bikes are ideal for tricky terrain, and a safe bet for beginners, also.

In terms of the bike’s spec, you can check out a comprehensive run through of what comes on the Competitor S Plus 2 in our First Bite, so let’s jump into what happened when we hit the dirt!


How does the Avanti Competitor S Plus 2 ride in the singletrack? 

With 140mm of front suspension paired with 130mm in the rear, the Avanti Competitor S Plus 2 is a bike we would define as a long travel trail bike, and the key to any good trail bike is the performance in the singletrack, so let’s start by discussing that.

The Competitor S Plus 2 provides a stable, balanced ride when the trail gets twisty and narrow. Its middle of the road geometry numbers paired with a long 450mm chainstays means that the Competitor clings to lines well, and is very predictable and planted through corners when you setup well and trust the traction of the big tyres.

This much grip changes everything.

When cornering aboard the Competitor S Plus 2, we found it far more critical than on other bikes to use the traditional outside to inside cornering method.

Compared with a bike like the Cannondale Habit, for example, the Competitor S Plus 2 doesn’t like being thrown in on the inside with a foot out and the rear wheel drifting, it prefers to use its stable geometry and predictable traction to cut a smooth arc when the going gets twisty. The exception to this is when you’re faced with repeated tight turns, where we found the best option was to  lift the rear wheel rather than drift it, as once you lose traction with the plus tyres it’s hard to regain it, whereas lifting the rear in tight, repetitive turns still gives you the traction of all your weight over the front tyre.


What about when you’ve got to go uphill as well?

In undulating singletrack, the Competitor is a comfortable bike to swap between seated and out of the saddle positions. This is a good thing, because you’ll find yourself cycling through these positions more than you would on a 130mm 29” trail bike, as the tradeoff for the Competitor S Plus 2’s confidence inspiring plus tyres and long-legged suspension is a weight of more than 15 kilograms once you’ve slapped on a set of pedals.

The Competitor S 2 Plus’s weight also becomes apparent on longer singletrack climbs, as well as punchy technical efforts. One saving grace for the bike’s weightiness though is the traction provided by the plus tyres, and the very active rear suspension, which mean unless the terrain is very soft or slippery you’ll almost always have traction.

Not having to worry about traction means you can focus on putting the power down to get the Competitor moving, rather than taking the line that you would have to take on a bike with regular tyres or less travel.


The Competitor has 140mm of travel up front, how does it go on rowdier trails? 

The Competitor is a surprisingly capable performer when the going gets rough, or steep. As we noted in our First Bite, for a trail bike in this relatively budget price point, Avanti has done a great job in speccing the bike with adjustable and reliable suspension front and rear. Once we’d set up the Yari fork and Monarch RT shock to our liking, we took the Competitor out on a couple of the more technical trails near Flow HQ.

140mm of travel, add the cushion of the plus tyres and you’ve got quite a lot of bounce to enjoy.

In the steep stuff, the Competitor holds a straight line impressively, and performs well under braking with its bulky rubber and planted rear end. The biggest limiter in throwing the Competitor into steeper sections is the Shimano M365 brakes, which lack the power of more premium Shimano offerings and require some serious forethought about your braking points when riding steep and technical terrain. In rough and choppy sections of trail, we were also impressed by this sub 4k bike’s ability to soak up the chunder.

The limiter on the Competitor S Plus 2’s performance in rocky or rooty terrain is preserving the tyres because we found running them at mid-teen pressures gave the best performance characteristics, but we flatted the rear twice pushing through technical rocky sections. These flats were a combination of the relatively thin WTB Ranger tyres and soft Alexrims rims, which were about as robust through rocky sections as an iPhone screen going on a date with the pavement.

Plus tyres are not immune to punctures, finding the right tyre pressure to suit the terrain is paramount.

We were riding the Competitor S 2 Plus in places that perhaps we shouldn’t on the occasions when we got flats, but we wouldn’t want to run higher pressures in the tyres, as running high pressures gives the bike no traction and makes it very bouncy, which are sketchy sensations we like to keep to a minimum!

If your riding involves lots of super rocky stuff, the Competitor can handle it, but we would recommend you swap out to a beefier tyre and wheel set combo.


I might still want to ride the odd fire trail, how does the Competitor S Plus 2 go on more sedate trails? 

Whilst we’re sticking to our guns in classifying the Competitor S Plus 2 as a trail bike, albeit one on the longer travel side for the category, it’s not the sort of bike that you’ll be wanting to take on sedate fire trail rides, or longer, smoother rides in general if possible.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, as we’ve mentioned a couple of times now, the Competitor S Plus 2 isn’t light. We can’t complain about this too much considering this bike is pitched as a budget oriented, confidence inspiring trail machine, but it does make the Competitor S Plus 2 a laborious ride on smooth, non-technical trails.

During our testing of the Competitor S Plus 2, we rode a few sections of fire trail linking up more interesting trails with riding buddies who we’d normally plod along just fine with, but aboard the Competitor S Plus 2 we finished these same rides feeling pretty hammered due to the Competitor’s portly figure and ground hugging tyres.

Despite our reservations about taking the Competitor S Plus 2 out on the fire trails or longer rides, having a lockout on both the front and rear suspension is a bloody brilliant addition if getting to the good stuff involves a road commute, as it does for us most of the time.


So, if the Competitor isn’t a ‘do it all’ style trail bike, who is it the right bike for? 

We’ve spent longer than we normally would in this review talking about what the Avanti Competitor S Plus 2 isn’t, which has affirmed what this bike is perfect for. If you’re the type of rider who’s on a budget, but wants a bike that gives you grins in flowy singletrack, or when the going gets just a touch gnarlier without getting to the stage where you’re thinking about putting on body armour, then the Competitor S Plus 2 could be the ticket.

Choose wisely, the Competitor ain’t for smooth trails.

If you’re the type of rider who’s willing to have a bike that requires a bit more grunt on the up and the flats as a tradeoff for traction, stability and confidence on the way down, than the Competitor S Plus 2 is worth a look.

All in all, the Competitor S Plus 2 is just like a soft serve from McDonald’s, you know exactly what you’re getting every time.


How did the parts go, is the bike good value for money? 

As we mentioned in our First Bite, and also our Avanti Range Highlights piece, the Competitor S Plus 2 is a bike that represents pretty good value for money at under $3500 bucks, and Avanti specced this bike very wisely, for the most part, spending their dollars where they really count.

Of course, the heart of any bike is its frame, and the Avanti Competitor S Plus 2 is an all-aluminium affair with pronounced welds and solid feeling construction. The bike’s suspension platform is a four-bar linkage that Avanti call Tru4, it delivers stability and grip through a fairly linear stroke, which promotes keeping the tyres glued to the trail rather than floating or popping over it.

Avanti’s long-serving four-bar linkage provides smooth and supportive suspension.

The suspension is handled by RockShox, with their budget oriented Yari fork and Monarch RT shock. The fact that these are closer to the entry level of RockShox’s line and they delivered outstanding performance is a testament to how good the suspension of today is, and with rebound and air volume spacer adjustments available, as well as compression adjustment on the fork, there were more than enough knobs to satisfy our inquisitive tweaking.

The drivetrain was Shimano’s SLX 1×11, and as we said in our comprehensive test of the groupset, it’s bloody awesome! We set the gears up on the stand for 10 minutes when building the bike, and a half turn of the barrel adjuster a couple of times throughout testing kept the shifts going smoother than Chris Froome’s legs.

The smooth and crisp SLX drivetrain was a real highlight for us.

The brakes were handled by Shimano, and whilst their M365 brakes aren’t top of the line items, they do the job most of the time. On typical singletrack rides and undulating trails their power and modulation is fine, although their initial bite is on the weak side, so think about your braking points in advance.

The M365’s budget price point becomes more obvious when the going gets steeper, but if you’re getting into longer, steeper riding than upgrading to something like an SLX brake set isn’t a hugely costly upgrade.

The brakes felt nice under the finger, but aren’t particularly powerful.

Wheels and tyres play an important role on plus bikes, the tyres need tough casings but can risk being too heavy, the rims need to be wide and should withstand dings, too. The wheelset on the Competitor S Plus 2 uses Shimano Deore hubs laced to Alex rims MD35 rims, the 35mm width is necessary to support the tyre. During testing, we noticed the rear wheel needing a little TLC with a spoke key to return it to true.

The wide rims give the tyres tremendous support at low pressure, but did feel a little soft when ridden hard on harsh rocky trails.

With the mid-teen pressures that the WTB Ranger tyres need to be run at to give the best compromise between grip, damping and avoiding tyre roll, the rims ding and dent remarkably easy. They’re also not the lightest wheelset out there, perhaps a wheel upgrade down the track to something lighter and stronger would take all the great handling traits of the Competitor S Plus 2 and amplify them with better performance on the climbs, flatter trails and inspiring confidence to give it a bit more of a nudge when the going gets rough.

The KS Eten dropper post, despite having the external routeing performed well, and allowed us to get the best out of the Competitor not just on the descents, but getting low and tipped in (at least in our heads) through the corners.


Any final thoughts?

The Competitor S Plus 2 might not be the most radical bike out there in terms of geometry, suspension design or spec, but its overall abilities offer consistency, and you’re not going to experience too many surprises out on the trail. Despite a few niggling issues with the Competitor, it remains a bike that is excellent value for money and sits right in the sweet spot for the sort of bike most riders should be riding, especially on loose and challenging conditions.

If you’re someone who takes predictably solid performance over potentially outstanding performance, and you don’t want to re-mortgage your house to buy your next bike, then the Competitor S Plus 2 is worth a look!

Introducing The RockShox Reverb 1X Remote

The RockShox Reverb is the most popular dropper post in the world, so there’ll be lots of people very happy to hear this new remote can be fitted to older models.

The dropper post market is growing at a rate of knots, and while posts like the Fox Transfer and the Pro Koryak make use of remotes that mimic the feel of a good old-fashioned front derailleur shifter, the Reverb remote was based off RockShox’s X-Loc suspension remote, and it certainly wasn’t the most practical option out there.

That all changes with the new 1X remote. The new remote was designed by RockShox to feel like a SRAM shifter, and with Matchmaker integration you can get a clean cockpit setup without sacrificing access to your dropper- it’s a win win!

The new remote is Matchmaker compatible.
The new remote is Matchmaker compatible.

Other changes include the bleeding system and speed adjustment for the post, which are both now hidden behind a rubber port, and the bleeding system uses SRAM’s Bleeding Edge technology found on Guide brakes- no more searching for tiny grub screws you dropped on the floor! Check out the video below on how to install the new remote.

We’re pretty excited about this new remote, and can’t wait to try one out ourselves. If you’re thinking this could be an upgrade you’d like to run, Australian pricing has been set at $149.95 for the remote only, or you can get the Reverb Stealth with the new 1x remote for $599.95. Initial deliveries are expected in late May 2017.

Continue reading below for the official word from RockShox.


The all-new Reverb remote pairs the superior ergonomics of SRAM’s shifter design with low-lever-force hydraulic actuation to create the world’s best dropper-post remote. Its excellent ergonomics and light touch mean that riders of all ability levels can use their Reverb posts quicker, more easily and more often, for better ride control everywhere on the trail. And the new Reverb 1x Remote’s Bleeding Edge™ fitting ensures that the periodic maintenance needed for optimum performance is about as hassle-free as working the remote itself.

REVERB 1x REMOTE

  • Compatible with all B1 and A2 Reverb and Reverb Stealth models (identifiable by the black return speed adjuster on the standard remote)
  • Reverb Stealth with 1x remote MSRP:
    399$, 445€, 375£
  • Upgrade kit MSRP (includes remote, Bleeding Edge™ fitting, discreet clamp, MMX clamp):
    95$, 105€, 90£

RockShox Reverb 1x Remote-009

FEATURES AND BENEFITS

  • MatchMaker X or discrete clamp options
  • Bleeding Edge™ lever bleed fitting
  • Tooled speed adjust
  • Backwards compatible with all B1 and A2 Reverb models in the market (black return speed adjuster knob)

 

 

Coming Soon – RockShox Super Deluxe Coil

If you take a look at the top end of EWS racing, you’ll see more than a few bikes decked out with coil shocks in the rear. Yes, they’re heavier, and they offer less on the fly adjustments than many air shocks on the market, but their predictability makes them a winner for many riders.

We recently did a bike check with Josh Carlson, who told us the consistency of a coil shock during long, unpredictable downhills makes them an easy choice for his enduro race bike.

What about if you’re not racing in the EWS though? We would argue that as the weight of bikes relative to travel continues to fall, having a minor weight penalty in an area where real performance gains are possible, such as coil shocks is something that’s really worth looking into.

RockShox clearly think coil shocks are worth considering for your trail bike as well, as they’ve released a full range of Super Deluxe Coil shocks for 2017. Read below for a run through of the range as well as the updated Super Deluxe Air and Deluxe Air models.


Coil for all:

Super Deluxe allowed us to ditch old design constraints, and simply focus on building the best possible rear shock. And with that old thinking no longer holding us back, we began to wonder why coil-shock performance had to be limited to purely downhill and enduro applications, and why there should be any pedaling compromise associated with a coil shock.

The RockShox Super Deluxe Coil.
The RockShox Super Deluxe Coil comes in lockout and non-lockout variants.

No option spared:

In the words of a famous enduro racer, “Lean back and hang on,” because the all-new Super Deluxe Coil brings the consistency and feel of a coil sprung shock to trail and enduro bikes, and the benefits of metric design to downhill bikes. And with remote-lockout options, riders can capitalize on pedaling power anywhere, not just on fireroads.

A OneLoc handlebar remote is used to lockout the rear shock.
We think we’ll be seeing a few of these in Rotorua in a few weeks.

Sag gradients- coil setup:

All Super Deluxe Coil models feature sag gradients printed on the shaft to facilitate the correct setup. Steel springs will also be available in 50 lbs increments from 250 to 650, depending on length.

Sag indicators for simplicity.
Sag indicators make setup simple.

SUPER DELUXE COIL RCT:

Solid Threshold adjustment for pedaling performance, low speed compression adjustment to fine tune the ride to any trail and condition, the unmistakable feel of a coil spring and RockShox’s Super Deluxe design. A unique blend that’s now a reality, to push the benefits of coil shocks to bold new places.

p5pb14463776-1

FEATURES AND BENEFITS:

External rebound damping adjustment

2-position threshold adjustment (Open/Pedal) with low speed compression adjustment in Open mode

Steel springs available in 50lbs increments from 350lbs to 650lbs (depending on length)


SUPER DELUXE COIL RT REMOTE:

Remote rear shocks are no longer reserved to the XC elites – and Super Deluxe Coil RT Remote has already proven it with its 2016 EWS title with Cecile Ravanel. Riders can conserve energy and accelerate faster by switching to the “Threshold” mode, and click back into “Open” for full shredding capabilities.

RS-SDLC-RT_REMOTE-A1_Black_3Q_MH

FEATURES AND BENEFITS:

External rebound damping adjustment

2-position, remote-operated threshold adjustment (Open/Pedal) via OneLoc remote

In and Out cable routing

Steel springs available in 50lbs increments from 350lbs to 650lbs (depending on length)


SUPER DELUXE COIL RC WORLD CUP:

RockShox metric rear shock technology meets downhill World Cup racing – a shock designed for the new breed of downhill bikes, ultra-capable and light as never before. No-compromise damping, with precise low speed compression and rebound adjustments to dial in a podium-worthy ride.

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FEATURES AND BENEFITS:

External rebound damping adjustment

Low speed compression adjustment

Metric Vivid replacement

Steel springs available in 50lbs increments from 350lbs to 650lbs (depending on length)


SUPER DELUXE COIL R:

No-nonsense performance for all coil-worthy applications, from the latest breed of trail and enduro bikes to downhill and park rigs that leave room in the budget for a season pass at the local hill. All the benefits of the Super Deluxe Coil package in a shock that’s as easy to understand as it is fun to ride.

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FEATURES AND BENEFITS:

External rebound damping adjustment

Metric Kage replacement

Steel springs available in 50lbs increments from 350lbs to 650lbs (depending on length)


SUPER DELUXE UPDATES:

STROKE INDICATOR:

All new Super Deluxe and Deluxe models feature a full stroke indicator on the damper body, to facilitate proper setup by confirming that you are using the full travel of your shock.


SUPER DELUXE RCT:

Solid Threshold adjustment for pedaling performance, low speed compression adjustment to fine tune the ride to any trail and condition, and the proven performance of RockShox’s revolutionary Super Deluxe rear shock in a package that’s ready to tackle any challenge.

The Super Deluxe RCT features two compression settings, as well as low speed compression in open mode.
Note the full stroke indicator at the bottom of the shock.

FEATURES AND BENEFITS:

External rebound damping adjustment

2-position threshold adjustment (Open/Pedal) with low speed compression adjustment in Open mode


SUPER DELUXE RT REMOTE:

Remote rear shocks are no longer reserved to the XC elites – and Super Deluxe RT Remote has already proven it with its 2016 EWS performance under the likes of Jerome Clementz and Cecile Ravanel. Riders can conserve energy and accelerate faster by switching to the “Threshold” mode, and click back into “Open” for full shredding capabilities.

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FEATURES AND BENEFITS:

External rebound damping adjustment

2-position, remote-operated threshold adjustment (Open/Pedal) via OneLoc remote

In and Out cable routing


SUPER DELUXE RC WORLD CUP:

RockShox metric rear shock technology meets downhill World Cup racing – a shock designed for the new breed of downhill bikes, ultra-capable and light as never before. No-compromise damping, with precise compression and rebound adjustments to dial in a podium-worthy ride – with the precise ride tuning abilities of an air spring.

The Super Deluxe World Cup replaces the Vivid Air.
The Super Deluxe World Cup replaces the Vivid Air.

FEATURES AND BENEFITS:

External rebound damping adjustment

Low speed compression adjustment

Metric Vivid Air replacement


SUPER DELUXE R:

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New stealth graphics

Additional stroke lengths (up to 75mm) to replace Vivid Air for metric bikes


DELUXE UPDATES:

METRIC GOES REMOTE:

NEW Deluxe RL Remote

New stealth graphics for Deluxe RT3, RT, RL and R


DELUXE RL REMOTE:

The efficiency of an Open/Lock remote switch meets the benefits of RockShox’s metric shock design. The ultra-low activation force required to operate Deluxe RL Remote via the OneLoc remote means that riders can access the efficiency of the Lock position more often.

The Deluxe Rl has also received the OneLoc remote lockout treatment.
The Deluxe Rl has also received the OneLoc remote lockout treatment.

FEATURES AND BENEFITS:

External rebound damping adjustment

2-position, remote-operated threshold adjustment (Open/Lock) via OneLoc remote

In and Out cable routing

 

 

Flow’s First Bite: New RockShox SID

Before we fit it up and get bouncing, lets take a quick look at what’s new with the new SID.

We have the new SID on review, with the original Motion Control damper, and the Charger Upgrade to try.
We have the new SID on review, with the original Motion Control damper, and the Charger Upgrade to fit after a few rides to compare performance.
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Retaining the SID name, but revamping every single part.

Hot off the heels of the release of FOX’s crazy-light 32 SC fork (read our full review here) the big guns at RockShox fired back with a fork we hoped for, it may look very similar but there’s multiple weight saving features and now uses the Charger Damper on the RLC and World Cup models.  The SID follows the release of RockShox’s inverted fork, the RS-1 (review here) which saw many World Cup racers using, but the SID was still a lighter fork.

Who is it for?

RockShox are taking the SID back to its XC roots – there will be no more 120mm version of the SID, it’s 100mm only. RockShox are letting the Revelation and Pike handle the 120mm market now. Smart move – people are riding 120mm bikes very hard now, and the SID isn’t built for that kind of flogging, we are certainly not adversed to running a Pike on a 120mm trail bike nowadays. Removing travel variants allows RockShox to optimise the air spring specifically for this this travel too, and they say it’s more linear than before, which is good for lighter riders. Heavier or more front heavy riders can still add Bottomless Tokens to increase progressiveness.

It's easy to see weight saving construction all over this new fork.
It’s easy to see weight saving construction all over this new fork.

There are four SID forks in the range, all available in 27.5 and 29″, with Boost or regular hub spacing: the World Cup, XX, RLC and RCT3, we have the RL to ride, and then we’ll upgrade the damper to the Charger for testing.

A charger damper upgrade is $499 on its own, and the allen key only, non Maxle QR can be purchased aftermarket for $59.

A cassette tool fitting to access the air chamber side.
A cassette tool fitting to access the air chamber side.

How light?

Moving to a 100mm-only platform allows RockShox to create a lighter fork. In the past, the 120mm and 100m versions shared the same chassis, and so naturally it had to be on the beefier side to accommodate the harder riding demands of those riders on the 120mm fork. Now, as 100mm-only offering, the whole fork can be made a little leaner. The new SID is on average 100g lighter across each of the four models than in the past. The carbon crown/steerer equipped World Cup fork is 1366g, in a 27.5″ version, about 10g heavier than FOX’s new 32SC fork.

The SID uses a new tool-free cable guide, hope we see this on more forks in the range one day.
The SID uses a new tool-free cable guide, hope we see this on more forks in the range one day.
Plenty of material shaven from the lower legs to save grams.
Plenty of material shaven from the lower legs to save grams.

RockShox are making the claim that the new SID is stiffer than its predecessors, but that’s on the proviso that you’re running one of their Torque Cap hubs, which gives you a much bigger contact area between the hub and fork dropouts. Of course normal 15mm hubs are compatible too, but you lose the increased hub/fork contact and its stiffen gains.

The Charger damper.

The RLC and World Cup versions of the SID get a new damper too; the Charger damper has external compression adjustment plus a two-position lockout (it’s either open, or has a very firm lockout). Beginning stroke rebound is adjustable, but deep stroke rebound is factory set with the excellent Rapid Recovery system. The new damper is complemented by lower-friction seals as well.

The excellent Charger damper finally makes its way to the SID.
The excellent Charger damper finally makes its way to the SID.
The expandable bladder seals the oil and moving parts of the damper.
The expandable bladder seals the oil and moving parts of the damper.

We’ll be fitting the SID up to a suitable XC bike soon, first we’ll ride it with the Motion Control damper, and then we’ll fit the Charger damper to feel the difference between the two systems.

Stay tuned!


With the new SID on review, it inspired us to give a polish and shine to an old fave, the Judy SL from 20 years ago.

Look at those legs!
Look at those legs!

Long Term Test: RockShox Lyrik

The RockShox Lyrik is the all-new big travel single crown fork for the enduro crowd, from 150mm and stretching up to 180mm travel and available in both 27.5″ and 29er wheel size.

For more details on what’s inside the Lyrik and what it is all about head to our First Bite piece here – Flow’s First Bite: RockShox Lyrik.

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Fit a Lyrik up the front and the rest will follow.

The Canyon Strive was a perfect bike to test the 160mm travel Lyrik RCT3 on, not only due to its appropriate travel amount and race-ready attitude but the fact that it replaced the comparative level Pike. Swapping from the Pike to the Lyrik gave us a clear comparison to how the burlier fork will go. Read more of our thoughts on the very impressive Canyon Strive here – Tested: Canyon Strive CF Race.


Details

TRAVEL – 160/170/180mm – 27.5″ , 150/160mm – 29″
WHEELS – 27.5″, 29″l
WEIGHT – 2005g – 27.5″ , 2032g – 29″/27.5″+
DAMPING – Charger Damper (RCT3)
AVAILABLE SPRINGS – Dual Position Air, Solo Air
ADJUSTMENTS – External rebound, low speed compression, 3-position compression (Open/Pedal/Lock)
UPPER TUBES – 35mm tapered wall aluminium, Fast Black
OPTIONS – BOOST 110 compatible option in 27.5″ and 29″/27.5″+

RRP – $1549 or $1649 for Dual Position version.


Setup

Air pressure: RockShox’s Solo Air forks are a snack to setup and their Bottomless Token tuning system is a real winner. We followed the air pressure guide on the rear of the lowers to find a base setting and fine tuned it on either side of that to find our desired sag using the inscriptions and red rubber o-ring on the right leg.

After a few test rides we decided on two Bottomless Tokens fitted into the air chamber to create a more progressive spring curve by reducing the overall size of the air spring volume. This may be a little too progressive for lighter riders on calmer trails, and we found two Tokens fitted inside a Pike quite a significant change. But with two Tokens in the Lyrik and the air pressures lowered slightly in tandem we found the fork not only incredibly hard to bottom out, the whole bike actually settled into its travel really well, and even on climbs standing up out of the saddle the fork sagged a touch further into its travel for a lower front end.

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Take the time to experiment with installing and removing the Bottomless Tokens inside the fork, it’s a quick and easy process and has huge impact on the ride character.
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Grrrrrrr.

Rebound: Once we were happy with the air pressure, it was on to the compression and rebound adjustment. The rebound was easy, we like our forks to rebound slightly faster than the rear shock, and via the big red dial we were able to find a good setting in the wide range available. Never did we have to run slower rebound to accomodate for the damper heating up during long descents and the rebound speed becoming faster, it handles heat and fade very well (at least on any trails we took them to).

Compression: The compression adjustment range is fantastic and very user friendly. We only ever used the three-stage pedal control on the smoothest of climbs or longer stints on tarmac to cancel out the action when really hauling on the bars, but we often toyed with the low speed compression dial (smaller one in the centre). We urge riders to experiment with this adjustment, with a good understanding of what it does, you’ll really be able to make the most out of the fork.

The 15-clicks of low speed compression has a dramatic effect on the way the fork holds itself up in the stroke, while some riders overlook this function as it may not have an obvious impact when pushing on the fork in the carpark, it is really quite profound on the trail. During a ride the compression damping is essentially what holds the suspension up, while the air spring is what extends the fork after an impact.

We experimented with lowering the air pressure at the same time adding low speed compression to gauge how effective it was, and we settled on a sweet point where the fork resisted diving under brakes and rode high in its stroke through the turns but would still remain active enough to the high frequency chatter on faster surfaces.

With the low speed compression backed all the way off the stroke is impressively supple and sensitive, but will bounce around more under your weight shifts during a climb or heavy braking.

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Our favourite little dial found on the premium RCT3 models; low speed compression.

Ride

If you want to know more on the blood and guts inside the Lyrik click here – Lyrik details please!  But after riding the Lyrik for six months we’re really able to make comment on its performance on the trail, and it rules.

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Beefy legs with a longer left side for the larger air spring.

Swapping the Pike to Lyrik didn’t turn any heads, the extra beef in the chassis is quite subtle to the eye and they both use 35mm black stanchions, graphics wise they are also similar in appearance. The larger air spring of the Lyrik does cause the left leg extend down further under the axle than the Pike, and the crown and arch are certainly chunkier upon closer inspection but otherwise they look alike at a quick glance. But there’s a whole lot more to it that the mighty Lyrik than just chassis stiffness, it’s ability to swallow up massive impacts is just absurd.

Impacts large and small all start with a the fork breaking through its static stiction point to get moving, and with a fork as smooth at this one the activity is immediate. The feedback from the trail transferred to your hands is minimal and when the biggest impacts are thrown at you the fork remains calm and controlled over and over again.

Feeling more like its big brother the BoXXer like any fork we’ve ridden, the fork is a burly descender.

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Enduro racers will love the descending prowess of this thing.
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Slick and smooth, the Fast Black coating and low friction seals make for a super-smooth action.

The Charger Damper won massive praise when the Pike first emerged, and the Lyrik also uses the impressive system. The way the fork remains composed in the roughest of situations is testament to the sophisticated and effective damper, you can feel the way it reacts to the impacts even when deep into its travel while remaining supportive and controlled. It’s dead quiet too, confirming that the Lyrik won’t get over its head no matter what you throw at it.

While we didn’t get our hands on a SRAM front wheel that uses the Torque Cap system, we still relished in the impressive rigidity and steering precision that the bike has with these forks bolted on the front. Some big forks can be too big sometimes, creating a slightly harsher ride as the front end can ping and glance off trail objects with little compliance, and we’ve noticed this with some of the Performance level FOX 36 forks we’ve ridden, the Lyrik doesn’t suffer from this at all, it’s just too sensitive.


Verdict

The Lyrik is a seriously impressive piece of kit, the buttery smooth and composed suspension action won us over on those long and rough descents, and even cranking our bike up rough climbs it was always keeping us moving in the right direction with its immediate reaction to impacts. In comparison to other forks we’ve tried and tested the 2017 FOX 36 Factory fork is also up there with it, while distinctively different in feel they are both leagues ahead in the 160-180mm category in our opinion. The new FOX damper does allow seperate tuning of high and low speed compression and is available with a 20mm axle, but we never felt the Lyrik was underdone in strength or adjustment in the slightest.

RockShox also produce the Yari, same chassis and air spring with a down specced damper for a saving of $500, a good option for sure.

For about a 100-120g weight gain over the Pike there’s a serious amount of appeal for the rider who charges trails harder and needs a longer travel to suit the bike it is fitted to. And after six months of as much riding as we can throw at it, the fork is running just as well as it was in the beginning. No creaking, loss of sensitivity or signs of wear.

Top marks for the single crown fork that rides damn hard.

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Here’s a 20 year throwback, the original RockShox Judy DH. Single crown forks have come a LONG way!

Tested: MRP Stage Fork

All MRP forks are hand-assembled in Grand Junction, Colorado using entirely metal internals and an extra large oil volume to give the Stage a whopping 200 hour service interval. MRP may be better known for their excellent chain guides, but after licensing the suspension brand White Brothers many years ago and more recently purchasing the Canadian rear shock manufacturers Elka, MRP have rebranding all their suspension components under the MRP moniker and they’ve been gaining momentum at a rapid rate with availability in Australia too.

The Stage comes in many flavours, from 140-170mm of travel, in both wheel sizes, attached with an Australian price tag of $1495 from your local bike shop. Built for the enduro and all-mountain crowd who might appreciate something a little different from the duopoly of FOX and RockShox, it uses 34mm diameter glossy black legs, a 15mm quick release axle, an understated matte black chassis with different colour graphic sticker kits supplied to individually match your ride. Weight is 1990g, a touch heavier than the comparable RockShox Pike and FOX 34.

Inside the Stage is what really matters, there’s magnets in the compression and rebound damping units and the external Ramp Up dial is super-trick.

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What adjustments

Air pressure setup is via a valve on the underside of the left leg, rebound speed dial on the other side, a compression/lockout dial up the top of the right leg but more interesting is the ‘ramp-up’ or air spring pressure adjustment on the upper left side.

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The Ramp Up adjustment gives you a level of accessible tune-ability that typically requires the use of tools and the installation of air volume spacers (like a RockShox Bottomless Tokens for example) but in this case the adjustment can even be made whilst riding.

By dialling in the adjuster the air spring will be reduced in size, and with a smaller air chamber comes a more progressive spring rate that will make it harder for the fork to bottom-out. Master the use of this in tandem with the air pressure and compression and you’ll really be able to make the most of the fork to your liking.

The little black button in the centre of the ramp-up dial is an air bleed valve, giving the rider quick and easy access to the spring by letting air out to reach the desired sag height. This is a nifty feature as the air valve is out of reach from the rider on the underside of the fork, and depressing it runs the risk of spurting out some of the lubricant fluid that resides in the air spring chamber.

But be sure to not accidentally press it during a ride, it doesn’t take much for all the air to be lost and you get a totally deflated feeling.

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Compression is a single adjustment controlled by a large sweaty hand and glove friendly 8-position dial on the top of the right leg. Where high end forks from RockShox or FOX have two independent and individually adjusted compression circuits, the Stage uses just one adjuster that manages its dual chamber air spring with a unique magnetic blow-off valve allowing the fork to react from fast impacts even when dialled in.


Getting set

Provided with the fork is a small cheat sheet card that’s crammed with setup advice and base settings to help with personalising the fork’s feel, and they’ve done a pretty good job with it indeed, we certainly found it quite accurate. Whilst the Stage is quite simple in terms of adjustability, it’s worth taking the time to fully understand how the air pressure setup procedure works, and to follow the steps closely.

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First you inflate the air chamber higher than you need to, then manually extend the fork (by holding the wheel down and pulling up on the bars) to fill the negative air chamber. To set the desired sag you simply start with higher pressure and by pressing the little black air bleed button you let air out until the desired pressure is reached.

The Ramp Up adjustment can be tuned any time, and is quite obvious when played with. Our best advice would be to get out on the trail and ride a short 30 second section repeatedly with a different setting to find your match. We also found we could run slightly less pressure when counteracted with increased Ramp Up and a couple extra clicks of compression, for a plusher initial portion of travel.


On the trail

Once we were happy with the setup we hit the dirt to get a feel for it, it wasn’t until our second ride we felt entirely sure it was bedded-in and working as smoothly as it should. It needs a good bounce to get its juices flowing if it’s been sitting still for at least a couple days.

The Stage feels nice and supple and sensitive on the trail, reacting to the slightest impacts well. The chassis certainly felt amply rigid and stiff, we quickly got used to it on the front of our Trek Remedy and we began to ride it harder and harder with good confidence.

The first portion of travel is very supple and takes very little force to begin compression.

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Fine tuning the Ramp Up on the trail was as easy as changing gears, and remarkably effective. A few turns of the big silver dial makes the latter portion of the travel significantly harder to get to, and we found ourselves changing it a few times during each ride to suit the trail. With less Ramp Up the fork feels ultra supple and plush, suited to flatter terrain, but when the trails got steeper and impacts grew in force we’d benefit from dialling it in to help the fork ride higher in its travel, especially under front wheel braking.

The single compression dial was effective in cancelling out dive and bob on the climbs, even when cranked on there’s no harsh spiking if you happen to hit an unexpected impact. We lamented the lack of slow speed compression adjustments seperate to lockout though, we’re big fans of using plenty of compression to hold the fork up rather than a hard spring.

On the longer descents the Stage remained composed at all times and very predictable, you always knew where you were in the stroke, and never did a loud bottom out or harsh spike disrupt our flow.


How does it compare to the FOX 34 or RockShox Pike?

It’s a tall task taking on the big dogs of the industry, but in our opinion MRP do a pretty good job. In terms of value and long proposed maintenance interval maintenance the Stage is very impressive, and its on-the-fly Ramp Up adjustment has serious appeal to the type of rider who appreciates easy and obvious tuning.

Chassis stiffness is on-par, but weighs more than the competition. Wheel removal isn’t as simple as the FOX QR15 or RockShox Maxle, the MRP’s skewer system just takes some getting used to.

It’s the damping that sets the MRP apart from the best in the business. We’ve seen the FOX FIT 4 forks and RockShox forks with the Charger damper really take the support and control of mountain bike suspension to amazing levels, and new players DVO have also really stepped it up but we feel that the MRP Stage isn’t quite up there with the best. It simply lacks the mid-stroke support and rapid reaction to impacts while already into the travel. We spent plenty of time tinkering with all the adjustments to make the fork ride high in its travel, but never without sacrifice to bump sensitivity.


Verdict

Put an MRP stage on the front of your bike and you’ve got a premium piece of kit leading you into the trail, that won’t let you down. This quality product hand assembled in Colorado might not have the highest performing damper in the business, but it certainly stands out in terms of maintenance and ease of adjustment and never faltered once during our testing period.

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New Stiffer, Lighter, Smoother RockShox SID

RockShox have returned fire in the battle for cross country suspension supremacy! Only a few weeks ago FOX created waves with the release of their lightest ever XC fork, today RockShox have revealed they’ve been hard at work too, announcing a new stiffer, lighter and smoother version of the venerable SID series.

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It must be coming up on twenty years since the first release of the SID, and while it’s definitely the most winning fork ever in cross country circles, we were beginning to think that the SID might have been on the way out. There just hadn’t been a lot of improvements made to SID in recent years as RockShox focused their attention on the development of the RS-1 (review here). But behind the scenes, RockShox had been beavering away, incorporating technologies pioneered in some of their other forks to make the SID a stiffer, leaner and smoother offering. There are four SID forks in the range, all available in 27.5 and 29″, with Boost or regular hub spacing: the World Cup, XX, RLC and RL. Let’s check out the details.

AM_GroupRideBikes-160205-446

100mm travel ONLY:

RockShox are taking the SID back to its XC roots – there will be no more 120mm version of the SID, it’s 100mm only. RockShox are letting the Revelation and Pike handle the 120mm market now. Smart move – people are riding 120mm bikes very hard now, and the SID isn’t built for that kind of flogging. Removing travel variants allows RockShox to optimise the air spring specifically for this this travel too, and they say it’s more linear than before, which is good for lighter riders. Heavier or more front heavy riders can still add Bottomless Tokens to increase progressiveness.

AM_GroupRideBikes-160205-464
The lower leg is one area that RockShox were able to shave some weight. The dropouts are also Torque Cap compatible.

Lighter:

Moving to a 100mm-only platform allows RockShox to create a lighter fork. In the past, the 120mm and 100m versions shared the same chassis, and so naturally it had to be on the beefier side to accommodate the harder riding demands of those riders on the 120mm fork. Now, as 100mm-only offering, the whole fork can be made a little leaner. The new SID is on average 100g lighter across each of the four models than in the past. The carbon crown/steerer equipped World Cup fork is 1366g, in a 27.5″ version, about 10g heavier than FOX’s new 32SC fork. We don’t have weights for the 29er versions on hand.

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All new SIDs have the option of running the Maxle Stealth. It requires a tool for removal but offers a small weight saving.

Stiffer, kind of:

RockShox are making the claim that the new SID is stiffer than its predecessors, but that’s on the proviso that you’re running one of their Torque Cap hubs, which gives you a much bigger contact area between the hub and fork dropouts. Of course normal 15mm hubs are compatible too, but you lose the increased hub/fork contact and its stiffen gains.

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The Charger damper makes its way into the SID range on the World Cup and RLC models.

New damper: 

The RLC and World Cup versions of the SID get a new damper too; the Charger damper has external compression adjustment plus a two-position lockout (it’s either open, or has a very firm lockout). Beginning stroke rebound is adjustable, but deep stroke rebound is factory set with the excellent Rapid Recovery system. The new damper (did you know that auto-correct thinks the SID has a new diaper?) is complemented by lower-friction seals as well.

We’ll do our best to get you pricing, but as this release came through on a Friday afternoon, we weren’t able to get it confirmed right away.

 

Fresh Product: RockShox Deluxe and Super Deluxe Rear Shocks

RockShox have two new rear shocks on the way for 2017, the Deluxe and Super Deluxe. But it’s not new shocks, with the Super and Super Deluxe RockShox are also taking the bold step of attempting to introduce some more standardisation into this super convoluted area of bike design.

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Metric sizes for shock length/stroke:

The whole domain of rear shock is incredibly confusing. Over the years, the approaches to shock sizing and mounting have developed in a very random kind of fashion. As new bike designs and suspension configurations have been introduced, new shock sizes and mounting hardware dimensions have had to evolve too. The absence of any real kind of standardisation has meant things have frankly gotten a bit out of hand and the huge combination of shock length and stroke measurements makes interchangability a massive drama. To make things worse, shocks have continued to defined in Imperial measurement terms – furlongs, leagues and inches… stupid stuff! Imagine being a bike shop trying to stock it all, it’s enough to make you weep!

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Trunnion mounted shocks (where the mounting bolts affix to the shock lower on the body, rather than at a shock eyelet on the end of the shock) are a key part of RockShox’s vision.

Now we see RockShox attempting to reign this sprawling beast in, restore a little bit of common sense, and hopefully benefit bike designers, retailers and riders in doing so. In short, with their new Super Deluxe and Deluxe shocks, they’re introducing a metric range of shock sizes, plus a new system of shock mounting that promises more compatibility, performance and better fitment options. While the common senses side of all this really appeals to us, RockShox make the point that it’s not just about convenience, but also performance. They feel that all the compromises made over the years have resulted in a huge accumulated loss of performance. It’s a pretty fair call, and we agree.

Take a look at the table below and you’ll quickly see the logic in this new approach. On the left are the current Imperial sizes, on the right are the new metric sizes for the Deluxe and Super Deluxe shocks (we’ll explain more about the new mounting options below too), with logical and even steps in shock length and stroke.

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New mounting systems:

In addition to attempting to introduce a bit more common sense into shock sizing, RockShox are using the Deluxe and Super Deluxe to tackle the issue of shock mounting. According to RockShox there are currently 82 different ‘standard’ shock mounting hardware dimensions. 82?! Furthermore, RockShox feel that the methods currently employed for the mounting of shocks have huge performance compromises, both in terms of friction and also frame sizing. As such, RockShox are using this new shock release to unveil their proposed mounting systems.

A shaft end bearing mount should significantly reduce friction compared to a bushing system.
A shaft end bearing mount should significantly reduce friction compared to a bushing system.

The first is a ‘shaft end bearing mount’, which is not dissimilar to the current bushing arrangement found on most shocks, with the obvious difference being the inclusion of a cartridge bearing in the shock eyelet instead of a press-in bushing. RockShox feel that the friction present in a bushing system is of serious detriment to a shock’s performance (especially on some frames that see huge rotation at one eyelet), and that a bearing would offer a big improvement. They see this system being ideal in bikes were the rear shock is mounted horizontally (think a Pivot Mach 4, Scott Spark or Norco Revolver).

The second system proposed by RockShox is a trunnion mount, which is essentially what Trek employed on their DRCV shocks. With this arrangement, the shock mounts are located lower down on the air can of the shock, with the mounting hardware threading into the shock itself. There are some clear advantages to this mounting system, especially on bike where the shock is mounted vertically (think a Giant Trance, Norco Range, or Canyon Strive for example). The Trunnion mounting allows for a much shorter overall shock length while maintaining the same shock stroke, which means it’s possible to run lower top tube heights on smaller frames without needing to use short-stroke shocks. Smart!

Check out the below table to see the current range of shock mounting options versus those proposed by RockShox.

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What about the shocks themselves?

The Deluxe and Super Deluxe shocks aren’t just vehicles for the introduction of metric sizing and new mounting standards, but they’re entirely new shocks themselves. Both shocks gain a few new technologies, some of which has been made possible by the new metric chassis.

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More bushing overlap means less friction under load.

Improved bushing overlap: Both the Deluxe and Super Deluxe have significantly more bushing overlap than the current Monarch or Monarch Plus, which should mean less friction when under load and consequently improved durability and less binding.

DebonAir specific air can: The well-received DebonAir air can is standard on both the Deluxe and Super Deluxe, which also means both shocks are compatible with RockShox simple Token air volume adjustment system.

SDLX_Image-4
You can clearly see the large Counter Measure spring near the shock’s main seal.

Counter Measure negative spring: A feature initially debuted on the Vivid Air shock, the Counter Measure spring reduces the force needed to overcome any resistance from the pressure of the internal floating piston (IFP) and improve breakaway performance.

Better sealing: A larger, smoother Scraper Seal has been introduced on both shocks, which should increase service intervals by keeping crap out!


 

The Deluxe: 

RockShox Deluxe RT3

A lightweight cross country and trail riding shock, the Deluxe takes the proven damping from the current Monarch and incorporates all the new features listed above (both in terms of sizing/mounting, and the internal and sealing features listed).

The Super Deluxe:

Higher volume, and designed for more aggressive riding, the Super Deluxe is essentially the next generation of the Monarch Plus which we love so much. It too gets all the above listed features. Interestingly, the rebound adjustment dial on the new Super Deluxe is now a ring that rotates around the top of the air can, rather than the traditional small dial. It’s available in two variants, with or without externally adjustable compression.

Take a squizz at the table below for all the variants of both shock coming your way soon.

RS Deluxe Variants

 

Fresh Product: NEW RockShox Reverb Stealth and Reverb

Don’t let its familiar good looks fool you— Reverb is a whole new weapon.

Its internals have been completely re- engineered to improve on its already legendary performance and to offer enhanced reliability: all the smallest details, down to the single seal, have been re-evaluated and updated to pass the hardest and longest durability tests.

RockShox_Reverb_Stealth_Back_M
Additional bushing overlap also improves performance over time, while new 150- and 170-millimeter travel options are available to tame even the gnarliest of descents.
This is the brand-new Reverb, engineered for the next-generation mountain biker. RockShox_Reverb_Front_M

Specifications

Weight
520g (Weight based on 340mm post length, 30.9mm diameter, 100mm travel, MMX™ remote with shifter hardware and 1300 hose)

Length
340mm, 390mm

Colors
Black

Material
Shaft: 3D forged 7050 alloy, Head: 7050 forged alloy

Other
Zero offset, remote: adjustable return speed at the handlebar, discrete or Match Maker™ X, left or right

Available in
Travel: 100mm, 125mm
Diameter: 30.9, 31.6mm, 34.9mm

Flow’s First Bite: Öhlins RXF34 Fork

Their distinctive gold and yellow rear shocks have been around for a while as stock items on big travel Specialized bikes, and for 2016 the collaboration between the Swedish suspension stars Öhlins and Specialized continues with the release of a new 29er trail fork – the RXF34 – soon to be available through Specialized dealers.

Öhlins are well-represented in the motorsport realm, famed for being the type of brand that don’t pay athletes to use their products but still see top Moto GP using their gear. Here’s a little more on the brand – Öhlins history.

There’s an air of ambiguity and respect around this brand due to their high reputation, hence we are floored to have one fork to review so let’s take a look at some of the unique features before fitting to our Specialized Camber 29er for a test run.

_LOW0112
Smart, understated and elegant, the RXF34 is an exquisite piece to look at.
_LOW0151
The subtle and smooth finish serves a refreshing take on a market dominated by RockShox and FOX.

From Specialized: “Partnering with a company like Öhlins – the world leader in motorsports suspension – means we get the pinnacle of shock design, tuned specifically for a Specialized bike, like a Demo or Enduro. These shocks have so much traction and control that they change the way you ride, while putting a bigger grin on your face – and a larger gap between you and your buddies. Over the past few years, Öhlins has been hard at work bringing their first trail fork to market, the RXF 34. The first trail fork to feature a twin-tube design, it has everything you love about their TTX rear shocks, only it now goes on the front of your bike.

We gave a helping hand to the development by testing and providing feedback on our Camber, Stumpjumper FSR, and Enduro platforms. The key to this amazing handling fork is having parallel and separated oil flow to control the pressure levels, ensuring initial smoothness while staying high in the travel with excellent bump absorption, traction, and stability – all hallmarks of the twin-tube design. The RXF also has three air chambers; two positive and one negative. This allows the shape of the spring force to be adjusted by the rider, such as increasing sensitivity without bottoming out.

Bringing it all together is a unique forged “unicrown” for the highest stiffness and tire control with less chassis flex. The result is a 34mm fork that’s more rigid than other brands’ 35mm forks, and it’s comparable with a 36mm fork.”


Features:

  • 120, 140 & 160mm travel options for 29-inch wheels
  • 34mm stanchion tubes
  • 15mm through axle
  • TTX Damping technology by Öhlins
  • Three air chamber system, two positive and one negative
  • External rebound adjustment
  • High and low speed external compression adjustment
  • Forged unicrown
  • Low friction seals and bushings

Highlights:

Chassis: The most striking feature of the chassis is the one-piece crown and steerer, not a common sight (X-Fusion are another MTB fork brand to do a similar one-piece assembly) and it’s said to offer comparable stiffness to a 36mm leg fork, even with its 34mm legs.

The RXF34 is 29er only at this stage but we bet a 27.5″ version won’t be too far off. The axle is 15mm with no quick release, rather it is secured via a 5mm allen key.

Fork weight is 2.07kg.

_LOW0147
The unicrown one piece aluminium crown and steerer.
_LOW0114
15mm axle fastened with a 5mm allen key.
_LOW0142
Batman would run these on his bike.
_LOW0069
Öhlins own sealing.

TTX Damping Technology: Since 2006 across all sorts of suspension products, Öhlins uses two individual tubes for each rebound and compression dampers to help reduce the oil pressure inside the fork. This is said to increase sensitivity whilst remaining supportive.

_LOW0101
Blue dial for low speed compression, black for high speed compression and on the bottom of the leg is the gold rebound dial.
_LOW0138
An air pressure guide located on the back of the fork leg.

Three air chamber spring control: The RXF34 uses three air chambers for a very tuneable ride feel. Two positive air chambers let you tune the progressiveness of the fork, similar to fitting a Bottomless Token into a RockShox fork.

Setup goes like this; start with inflating the main air chamber on top of the fork to your weight, and then inflate the third chamber on the bottom of the fork to your desired rate of progression and feel. Then you’re able to tune the two air chambers according to your bottom out preference and sensitivity.

High and low speed compression adjustments: There is external high and low speed compression adjustability, and rebound control.


We are yet to confirm Australian retail pricing, but if the USD $1150 is a guide they look to be in line with the top offerings from FOX, RockShox and DVO and available from Specialized dealers.

_LOW0108
The RXF34 is due to be fitted to our Specialized Camber 29 test bike soon.

 

Flow’s First Bite – RockShox Lyrik RCT3

If you need between 160 and 180mm of travel the Lyrik will take care of you.

The Lyrik is more than just a longer travel Pike, let us take a brief look at the details before we fit it to our bike and get out there.

What is it?

At first glimpse the Lyrik looks a whole lot like a Pike, but a keen eye will note the differences in its shape, the arch is thicker and taller and the lower legs are tapered and asymmetrical with longer leg on the spring side.

Specifications:

TRAVEL – 160/170/180mm – 27.5″ , 150/160mm – 29″
WHEELS – 27.5″, 29″l
WEIGHT – 2005g – 27.5″ , 2032g – 29″/27.5″+
DAMPING – Charger Damper (RCT3)
AVAILABLE SPRINGS – Dual Position Air, Solo Air
ADJUSTMENTS – External rebound, low speed compression, 3-position compression (Open/Pedal/Lock)
UPPER TUBES – 35mm tapered wall aluminium, Fast Black
OPTIONS – BOOST 110 compatible option in 27.5″ and 29″/27.5″+

Internals: The excellent Charger damper is shared with other forks but receives updated SKF seals to decrease friction. The negative air chamber is also larger than the Pike to give the fork a more supple and sensitive portion of travel at the beginning of the stroke, all in the aid of giving it a downhill fork feel.

Rebound tune ability: Riders on the heavier or lighter end of the spectrum can benefit from the ability to fine tune the rebound circuit via the shim stack inside the fork, just like you can with the BoXXer.

_LOW0095
Note the larger hub interface around the axle – that’s the Torque Cap contact area. More contact with the hub has lifted the fork’s stiffness.

Torque Caps: First introduced to us on the inverted RS-1 fork is the Torque Cap system, aiming to bolster the bond between fork dropout and hub. SRAM front wheels will be available with oversized Torque Caps to benefit from the increased stiffness, which isn’t ideal for those with existing wheels. Though compatibility isn’t an issue, any 15mmQR wheel sill still fit in the fork it’ll just take a little more concentration to line the axle up with the dropouts when fitting the wheel. 

Pricing: Australian pricing is the same as the 2016 Pike, RRP on the fork is the same as the 2016 Solo Air Pike in all wheel sizes – $1549.95.

And the Dual Position Air versions in all wheel sizes – $1649.95.

Alongside the RockShox Lyrik is the lower specced Yari, by using a their more basic Motion Control damper you save $500. Yari RC – $1099.95

We’ll be fitting the Lyrik RCT3 to our Canyon Strive to be more like Fabien Barel, check out his sweet setup below.

Stay tuned for our full review soon.

Tested: DVO Diamond

The new kids on the block are off to a running start, DVO have successfully done the un-thinkable – taken on RockShox and FOX and delivered products that do a whole lot more that just hold their own in the most hotly contested realm of mountain bike parts, suspension.

DVO are a new Californian suspension company with seriously experienced and credentialed staff, their fresh approach to mountain bike suspension is really turning heads. After what seemed like an age of prototyping, their first product was released, the wildly desirable inverted downhill fork – the Emerald. DVO began with the downhill fork, sending a message to the MTB world that they are cutting their teeth in the Formula One of mountain bike racing; downhill racing. Their Jade coil-sprung rear shock and Diamond (someone there must love geology) single crown fork would then follow, released to eager hoards of suspension-savvy folks.

Brisbane-based suspension sales and servicing and custom tuning experts NSDynamics have picked up Australian distribution for DVO, a fitting relationship no doubt.

DVO Diamond-9
The trademark colours of DVO – vibrant metallic green. Don’t worry, they also come in black.
Flow-Nation-Derby-2015-245
On the front of our Trek Remedy 27.5 9.8 in Derby, TAS.

On test we have the Diamond, the single crown enduro fork, travel is internally adjustable between 140-160mm, has 35mm diameter legs and a 15mm QR axle. The air sprung fork can be externally tuned easily in five ways, testament to the dedicated focus from DVO to offer professional level tuning at consumer level.

We chose the 150mm version for 27.5″ wheels, fitted it to our super-sweet Trek Remedy 27.5 9.8 and gave ’em hell.

DVO Diamond guard-5

[divider]Diamond Details[/divider]

– 27.5″ and 29″ wheel options.

– Black or green colour option (phew!).

– 15mm QR axle.

– Custom mudguard fender included.

– Air spring.

– Closed cartridge bladder system.

– On the fly low speed compression adjustment.

– High speed compression adjustment.

– OTT ‘off the top’ negative spring adjustment.

DVO Diamond-4
O.T.T. Sensitivity adjustment on the underside of the leg, unique to DVO.

[divider]Setup.[/divider]

Setting up the fork was super easy, and for the purpose of this review we followed each step of the online setup guides from the DVO website. With the recommended air pressure, rebound and compression settings done by the book we were very happy with the outcome. The base settings were ideal and made for a perfect starting point for fine tuning either side to our liking.

Each little adjustment you make is clearly noticeable, this is one fork that rewards the keen tuner. With a bit of trial and error it’s easy to find what works best, and if you have a good grasp of suspension fundamentals you can both benefit from and enjoy the process the excellent adjustments offer.

Once you have a good idea of how the fork feels out on the trail, you could take the setup even further and more technical with extra customising of the fork’s internals with assistance online. The DVO website is stacked with videos, step-by-step tutorials and it’s provided in a way that is all very clear to get your head around.

DVO Diamond-7
High and low speed compression adjustment on top of the right leg.

O.T.T. It’s this O.T.T. ‘off the top’ adjustment that sets the DVO Diamond apart from the overwhelming duopoly of RockShox and FOX. Especially handy for heavier riders, the O.T.T. is the allen key dial under the left side of the leg that will allow you to tune the ride height and sag via the negative air spring. Dialling it in will increase the softness and suppleness of the initial portion of the travel.

Typically with forks we use most the negative air spring would be factory set, and not adjustable like this. But be sure to have an understanding of what is going on with the O.T.T. adjustment, too much or too little will mess with the fork’s height.

DVO Diamond-18

We’ve become very familiar with the ‘token’ system used in the RockShox Pike and Fox 34 and 36 forks we’ve been using. The simple process of adding and removing plastic spacers from inside the fork to tune the progressiveness of the air spring has been widely accepted and understood, in the case of the DVO Diamond you can still do this, but it’s back to the old school way of adding a certain volume of oil to the air chamber.

That said, we were happy enough with how the air spring rate felt to not want to tweak air spring volumes. It’s aimed at the enduro crowd and is meant to be ridden hard and DVO seem to have nailed the right curves with this one.

[divider]Let’s ride.[/divider]

Let’s cut to the chase, these forks are bloody great.

We all know what a really nice fork feels like to push on and the Diamond’s are next level, their supremely supple action will provoke and endless quantity of ooohs and aaahs from anyone who asks to cop a feel. Straight out of the box, our experiences were always very positive, right until the day we reluctantly sent them back.

In a perfect world a good suspension fork should reduce fatigue (especially in the hands), maintain front wheel traction, break down harsh hits, resist wallowing or diving under brakes, ride high in its travel and recover from big impacts without rebounding uncontrollably.

Well, the Diamond gets top marks in all grades.

We were most impressed by the way the Diamond does such a magnificent job of being ultra-supple and sensitive, whilst remaining perfectly supportive. For instance you could be riding hard out of the saddle, really leaning over the bars with the forks compressed deep into its travel through a corner and it will still react rapidly to extra impacts. The damping feels incredibly effective.

DVO Diamond guard-2

Or you could be charging up a trail toward a set of rock ledges and the moment the front wheel makes contact it’s like the forks are ready for it, immediately absorbing the impact without a moment of stiction, binding or hesitation. When a fork can do this so well, less shock is transferred to your hands and your momentum is less interrupted by the terrain on the trail, keeping you up to speed without having to work hard for it.

With this fork on our bike we were riding our regular trails faster than before.

With a quick flick of the slow speed compression dial the fork will ride higher and resists any slow speed actions that you would deliver, like pedalling or lunging around over the bars during a climb. It took us a while to get right though, as it turns in the opposite direction to all forks we’ve had time on.

On the harder descents the Diamond really comes into its own. The chassis stiffness is ideal, not too stiff but never feeling flexy. With the fork feeling so sensitive we found ourselves cornering harder with increased confidence, it works so hard at keeping the front wheel in contact with the ground that the traction on hand is amazing.

Holding your line on off-camber and rocky surfaces was a snack with so much traction and control.

Flow-Nation-Derby-2015-152
Green room – Derby, Tasmania.

During our testing we learnt not to set up the Diamond like we would with a RockShox or FOX fork, it just didn’t work that way as they are really quite different. Our DVO fork – once setup how we liked – felt quite a lot softer than the others, but on the trail the damping would prevent it from bottoming out like we may have expected.

Same goes with the slow speed compression, a little bit goes a long way in reducing unwanted bobbing or diving.

DVO Diamond-3

DVO Diamond-12

[divider]Verdict.[/divider]

The Diamond certainly does live up to the hype. It’s a really impressive product that will reward a keen rider’s attention to tuning.

The way it reacts to impacts so effortlessly and rapidly will surely make you ride very fast with maintained momentum, and you’ll most certainly be able to hold your line on rough terrain very well.

So, is the Diamond better than a RockShox or a Fox fork? Tough question, during our test we did have an issue with the damper (a knocking feedback, rectified by a just a dab of grease, and the O.T.T. dial went a bit stiff on us) that was swiftly rectified by the guys at NSDynamics, and we had it back in a couple days. But otherwise our experiences were overwhelmingly positive.

They are really quite good value, albeit a little heavy.

We’d say that the Diamond we tested felt better than any stock fork we’ve ever ridden, but when compared to a perfectly maintained and meticulously adjusted fork from either RockShox or FOX it’s splitting hairs to differentiate.

Investing in a DVO Diamond for your bike is a seriously good idea, we’d buy one.

Flow’s First Bite: DVO Diamond fork

The world of mountain bike suspension has just about become a duopoly, with 90% of new bikes either specced with RockShox or FOX. We’re not bemoaning the quality of the current product one little bit, but it was cool a decade ago, back when Answer-Manitou and Marzocchi were competing head to head with RockShox and FOX.

**Updated – full review here: DVO Diamond review. 

DVO Diamond 6
Six position low-speed compression, with separate high-speed compression adjustment.

Clearly we’re not the only folk who think there is room in the mountain bike suspension market for more players, and we’ve seen a handful of more boutique manufacturer’s begin to nibble away at the dominance of the two largest brands. Companies like X-Fusion, Cane Creek, BOS, Elka and, the one we have on test here, DVO have already begun to attract more consumers, race results and market share.

DVO are the newest of these ‘alternative’ brands, and they’ve stormed onto the scene with some seriously credentialed staff, a great marketing approach and unique product. Their Emerald inverted downhill fork was their headlining first offering, but the new Diamond single-crown fork is where there’s the most potential for DVO to have some serious growth. With the brand now available in Australia through suspension tuning and service wizards NS Dynamics, we thought it was time to put the Diamond to the test. We’ll be running this fork on our new Trek Remedy 9.8 long-term test bike.

DVO Diamond 4
The Off The Top negative spring adjustment should allow you to get that initial part of stroke just perfect.

The Diamond is squarely pitched at the high-performance all-mountain/enduro market; with 35mm stanchions and 130-160mm travel (adjustable internally) it goes head-to-head with the RockShox Pike or FOX 36, both of which we’ve ridden extensively, which should give us a good benchmark for this fork’s performance.

DVO know they need to bring something unique to the table with the Diamond, and it offers an extensive but not unnecessarily complicated external tuning (with the option of internal tweaking via the shim stack).

DVO Diamond 3
The DVO Diamond is 15mm axle only.

There are independent high and low-speed compression adjusters, with the low-speed adjuster having a simple six positions so you can either set and forget, or easily toggle it on/off almost like a pedalling platform for climbing. Then there’s the Off The Top (OTT) negative spring adjustment which dictates the sensitivity of the initial stroke without impacting on the mid/end stroke. We think it’ll be ideal for maximising traction in loose, skatey conditions over summer without needing an overly-soft overall suspension feel. There’s also a cool integrated fender, which bolts to the fork arch and will keep crud away from the casting’s webbing and the fork seals.

DVO Diamond 2
A neat, bolt-on fender is included with the fork.

At 2136g on the Flow fruit shop scales, the Diamonds are heavier than their rivals, (around 100g more than the FOX 36 RC2, and almost 300g heavier than a Pike), but hopefully performance will trump grams. It’s also worth noting that you can get these forks in black too, if you’re not a fan of the signature green colour.

An in-depth review of the DVO Diamonds will be heading your way in the coming weeks, and we’ll make sure to keep you updated through our Instagram and Facebook too. This should be a great test!

New Long Travel Single Crown Forks From RockShox – Lyrik and Yari

The Lyrik is back, fresher than ever. Filling the big gap between the RockShox Pike and the BoXXer, the burly single crown fork will go up to 180mm of travel in 27.5″ size, and 160mm for a 29er.

If you’re still shredding trails on your 26″ RockShox Lyrik, you’ll now be able to give it a refresh with the new internals available as an aftermarket upgrade option – The Charger Upgrade Kit.

The Yari is a completely new fork, with a more basic internal keeping the price down. With travel options ranging from 120mm up to 180mm plus a Dual Position model, this fork looks like a lot of boing for your buck.

[divider]Australian pricing[/divider]

The Lyrik will be priced the same as the 2016 RockShox Pike:

Lyrik and Pike Solo Air – $1499.95

Lyrik and Pike Dual Air – $1599.95

Yari forks across wheel sizes and front hub options – $1099.95

Here’s the details from SRAM:


Lyrik

INTRODUCING THE NEW LYRIK – FOR THOSE WANTING MORE.

Everything you love in Pike in a stiffer, more capable, longer travel option. We built the new Lyrik for the riders who know there will always be more to explore, more to challenge and more to conquer. If it’s out there, they’re going to ride it, and the new Lyrik will always be up to the task.

It’s built on a stiffer yet lightweight 35mm chassis, equipped with the world-acclaimed Charger Damper featuring new Torque Cap and Boost compatibility, and is available in 160mm-180mm travel options for 27.5” and 150mm-160mm for 29”.

Lyrik combines single crown weight and agility with dual crown strength and aggression, blurring the lines of capability that limit all other forks in its class. The new Lyrik is built to inspire confidence and give you that much more. So keep going – Lyrik is ready.

MY16_RS_LYRIK_275_RCT3_GLBLK_Front

NEW TECHNOLOGIES:

  • •  15×100 and Boost 110 (15×110) versions
  • •  Torque Caps compatible (15×100 andBoost 110 versions)
  • •  Tapered legs, taller stiffer brace – chassis optimized for stiffness and light weight
  • •  New retuned Solo Air spring with additional negative volume for a plusher initial stroke
  • •  Bottomless Token tunable in both Solo Air AND Dual Position Air configurations• SKF wiper seals – lower friction better sealing• User tunable rebound damping via internal shims (same as BoXXer)

PROVEN FEATURES:

• 35mm chassis
• Charger Damper with new SKF cartridge seal

reduced friction and extended service intervals • Solo Air and Dual Position Air
• Fast Black upper tubes


Yari

AGILITY AND STRENGTH IN A RELIABLE BOMBPROOF PACKAGE WITH MORE TRAVEL CONFIGURATIONS

Yari is for riders who aren’t afraid to go for it. For the ones who don’t know where the limit is, but are prepared to find out. The climbs, jumps, views, and natural terrain these riders encounter might be new to them, but they want to experience it all.

Built with the same confidence-inspiring strength and stiffness as Lyrik and featuring the new, refined Motion Control damper, Yari is available in shorter travel configurations (starting at 120mm), making it a perfect complement to any ride.

Riders who are constantly testing their own limits can be confident they’re well within Yari’s. Introducing the new 2016 RockShox Yari – Go for more.

MY16_RS_YARI_275_RC_GLBLK_Front

NEW TECHNOLOGIES

  • •  15×100 and Boost 110 (15×110) versions
  • •  Torque Caps compatible (15×100 andBoost 110 versions)
  • •  Tapered legs, taller stiffer brace – chassis optimized for stiffness and lightweight
  • •  New retuned Solo Air spring with additional negative volume for a plusher initial stroke
  • •  Bottomless Token tunable in both Solo Air AND Dual Position Air configurations• SKF wiper seals – lower friction and better sealing • New refined Motion Control damper:
    – Rapid Recovery rebound– Re-tuned high speed compression to match Charger

PROVEN FEATURES

• 35mm chassis
• Fast Black upper tubes
• Solo Air and Dual Position Air

 

Chaos Can’t Be Beautiful

Behind the bars, there are a lot of things we miss. We submit to the trail ahead and the best kind of tunnel vision as everything outside this rugged autobahn becomes irrelevant. But what if we are missing something? There must be more to the turbulent charge of a bicycle than just flying earth and weightlessness. Where rider and bike play supporting roles in a bigger story of cause and effect.

Take a moment to witness beauty beyond the chaos.

rockshox.com

Fresh Product – FOX Suspension 2016 Highlights

FOX go all out for 2016, and their new lineup receives a solid dose of the technology trickle down treatment. With a focus on their new mantra ‘Own the Trail, Track or Mountain’ FOX aim to cater for the needs of all the growing areas of the sport.

The big forking news for 2016 is the new damper – FIT 4 found in ALL forks going forward (except 36, 381 and 40), we won’t see any more open cartridge dampers in favour of the new FIT 4. We’ve already spent some time on the FIT 4 damper inside the new FOX 34 fork as well as the new Float DPS rear shock – read our full review here. http://flowmountainbike.com/tests/tested-2016-fox-34-fork-and-float-dps-shock/

FOX 2016 2 FOX 2016 13 FOX 2016 10

[divider]FIT 4 Explained[/divider]

The first major change is the new adjuster configuration; there are three main compression settings (much like CTD, with open, medium and firm), but there’s also a completely independent low-speed compression adjustment. The central black dial has 22 points of adjustment, giving you a much broader and precise range of control over low speed compression, similar to the 36’s RC2 damper.

The second big damper change that users will notice is an all new rebound assembly, which is designed keep the fork riding higher in its travel, particularly after big impacts. Beginning stroke rebound (i.e. for smaller impacts) can be set quite slow, for a more stable and planted ride feel. But on bigger impacts the fork will rebound more quickly to recover from heavy compressions, helping avoid getting bogged down deep in its travel. 

Finally, FOX have made some huge leaps in terms of service requirements for their forks. Through better sealing and more advanced lubricants (especially the new Gold Oil), service intervals are now 120 hours of riding, which is far cry more manageable than the 30-hour intervals of yesteryear!

All the rear shocks also receive some new features, with the DPS (Dual Position System) and EVOL (Extra Volume) in the popular Float series.

[divider]DPS and EVOL System Explained[/divider]

The EVOL  air sleeve will be retrofittable to older FOX shocks too. This is more than just an extra volume air can, as we’ve seen in the past. The EVOL air sleeve is all about increasing the volume of the shock’s negative air spring. This has a number of positive effects.

Firstly, there’s improved bump sensitivity in the initial parts of the stroke. Secondly, the EVOL air sleeve provides an overall flatter spring curve, with more support in the mid-stroke (helping alleviate that wallowing feeling that can afflict some longer-travel air sprung bikes). Finally, the EVOL air sleeve helps slow down the shock’s rebound as it nears full extension, which should reduce the likelihood of getting ‘bucked’ over the bars after heavy compressions, particularly off the lip of a jump.

There has also been a huge re-think of the shock’s damping, which has led to the new Dual Piston System design and the ditching of the Boost Valve system. Again, we’ll avoid teching you out too much here, and stick to what’s actually noticeable for the user.

While the external damping adjustments are the same (CTD lever, with three position Trail Adjust), the firmness of the lockout (or Climb mode) has been increased significantly. At the same time as making this setting firmer, the level of damping control provided once your blow through the lockout has also been improved. On Boost Valve shocks, there was often inadequate compression control once you’d pushed past the initial lockout platform, but this has been rectified. If, like many cross country racers, you like to run your shock in Climb mode a lot, this change will definitely be appreciated.

See the highlights from FOX below:


 FOX 34

ALL NEW 34 SERIES – for aggressive trail riders in a super lightweight package

New lightweight chassis

New FLOAT air spring

New FIT4 damper

•Ideal travel options: 120-140mm 

•Weight: 34 27.5 160mm = 1746 g / 3.85 lb 219g / .48lb less than MY15 – 34 29 140mm = 1769 g / 3.9 lb 297g / .65lb less than MY15


2016 FOX 2

FOX 32

32 SERIES – Lightweight XC Series

New FLOAT air spring

New FIT4 damper

•Ideal travel options: 80-100mm 

2016 FOX 1

FOX 34 27.5+

ALL NEW 34 27.5+ fork – built for larger tires and a sense of adventure

•Max tire size 3.25

Boost 15x110mm axle

New FLOAT air spring

New FIT4 damper

•Travel options: 120mm/140mm 

1af3cbbf-7a1d-43c0-a9d2-ad7e994e4b71

FOX 36

36 SERIES – Award-winning 36 lineup expanded

New FACTORY FIT4 damper and new 15QR axle option 

FACTORY FIT HSC/LSC (RC2) damper and convertible 15/20mm bolt-on axle option

Retains 36 FLOAT air spring with internal travel adjust via spacers

Updated RC2 damper tune and dual circuit rebound 

•Ideal travel options: 150-180mm 

2016 FOX 4

FOX 381

ALL NEW 36 831 – Designed for dual slalom and dirt jumping FACTORY FIT HSC/LSC (RC2) damper and convertible 15/20mm bolt-on axle option

Specific 36 831 FLOAT air spring

26” only

1-1/8” and 1.5 taper steer tube options

2016 FOX 3

FOX 40

40 SERIES – World Championship-winning design

New FLOAT air spring

Updated RC2 damper tune and dual circuit rebound 

Available in 27.5” and 26” 

2016 FOX 5

FOX Float DPS

ALL NEW FLOAT DPS – Our most capable inline shock ever

New full lockout and three on-the-fly settings: Open, Medium and Firm

New DPS damper 

New EVOL air sleeve option

FACTORY Series feature 3 clicks of low-speed compression adjust in the Open Mode.

2016 FOX 10

FOX Float X

FLOAT X – The Enduro World Series-winning Enduro and all-mountain shock

New EVOL air sleeve option

New damping tune with added compliance and control

FACTORY Series feature 3 clicks of low-speed compression adjust in the Open Mode.

2016 FOX 7

FOX Float X2

ALL NEW FLOAT X2 – Our highest performing air shock

New RVS technology for seamless damping transitions

New recirculating oil damper with independent high- and low-speed compression and rebound damping

•Main piston features two valves stacks that are reversible to change tune

2016 FOX 8

FOX Float DHX2

ALL NEW FLOAT DHX2 – World Championship- winning design

  • New RVS technology for seamless damping transitions
  • New recirculating oil damper with independent high- and low-speed compression and rebound damping
  • Main piston features two valves stacks that are reversible to change tune
  • New SLS (Super Lightweight Steel) spring option 

2016 FOX 6

 

Super Lightweight Steel (SLS) springs are lighter than titanium at more affordable prices

  • Proprietary surface treatment and stress relief process removes residual stresses from the spring, allowing them to withstand higher stresses
  • Each spring is optimize by using a smaller wire diameter and less coils, creating a lighter spring
  • Technology developed for highly stressed valve springs in drag racing cars
  • Fits all FOX coil shocks
  • Available in 25-pound increments
  • Sizes: 2.75” stoke – 300-550#, 3.0 stroke –300-525#, 3.5 stroke – 225-400#

Fresh Product: Updated Bits From SRAM

SRAM unveil a few updates to their 2016 range, details in the press release below:


 

MONARCH RT3 UPDATES

REFINED PERFORMANCE

Monarch stands for smooth damping in a lightweight chassis, with coil-like performance thanks to its Solo Air spring with DebonAir option. For 2016 Monarch RT3 received some important damper updates, to enhance the shock’s performance and make it perfectly adaptable to each rider’s and ride’s characteristics.

MY15_RS_MN_RT3_Front

NEW COMPRESSION PISTON: MORE CONTROL AND BETTER TRACTION

  • A redesigned piston reduces compression forces at high-speeds. The increased oil flow results in a smoother feeling shock at high shaft speeds, more control and better traction on the trail.

NEW POPPET VALVE: BETTER LOCKOUT FEEL

  • An updated poppet valve design with o-ring and riveted shims create a better seal for a more refined lockout feel.

NEW REBOUND CIRCUIT: INCREASED ADJUSTMENT RANGE

  • Additional beginning-stroke rebound shaft port with dual-taper rebound needle results in increased oil flow for a wider range of adjustment. The rebound range now allows for more precise control over a broader range of riders’ weights.

 

ONELOC

ONE REMOTE TO RULE IT ALL

The new OneLoc remote provides total control over your RockShox fork at your fingertips. The increased leverage at the bar translates in a smoother and easier actuation. Its countless mounting options (left and right, below or above the bar, tall or standard clamp) make it an ideal companion for SRAM’s drivetrain, brakes and RockShox’s Reverb remote.

MY16_OneLoc_Top

  • More leverage at the bar
  • Right/left, above/below mounting options
  • Forks ship with right-above (left-below) remote
  • OneLoc clears a Reverb remote and GripShift in both above and below mounting options.
  • Replaces PushLoc remote

 

MAXLE STEALTH

LIGHT AND NARROW

Who knew we could make a thru axle disappear? The new Maxle Stealth offers a light, low profile alternative to Maxle Lite and Maxle Ultimate.

MY16_RS_Maxle_Stealth

  • New, tooled Maxle option available in 15×100,15×110 and 15×150 sizes.
  • Weight: 37g – Almost 50% weight saving over a standard Maxle Lite
  • Easy installation with an 6mm Allen wrench
  • Available as an upgrade for SID, Reba, Revelation, Bluto and Pike.

 RS-1 27.5 AND NEW COLOuR OPTION

THE REVOLUTION EXPANDS

25 years after the original RS-1, the fork that revolutionized mountain biking, RockShox does it again. A chassis design never seen before, which integrates the fork’s steerer tube, crown and legs into a single carbon mainframe. The all-new Accelerator Damper, which combines incredible small bump performance with an ultra-efficient lockout. And Predictive Steering, a reimagined interface between hub and dropouts which enabled us to create an inverted fork light enough for XC racing and stiff enough for trail riding. For 2015 the RS-1 family grows with the addition of a 27.5 model, and a new Gloss White colour option.

MY15_RS_RS1_GLWHT_BLKRD_SIDE MY15_RS_RS1_GWHT

  • Dedicated 27.5” model with 42mm offset chassis in 100 and 120mm travel options
  • 29” and 27.5” version both get new colour option: Gloss White

RockShox 2016. New Graphics, Boost and 27.5+ Standard Compatibilty

RockShox release new coloured shocks and forks from their 2016 lineup, and add Boost compatible forks. FOX Suspension released news of their support behind the Boost and 27.5+ recently too, it’s happening!


 

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 4.22.06 pm

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 4.57.48 pmScreen Shot 2015-03-18 at 4.56.36 pm
MY14_RS_VIVID_AIR_R2C

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 4.30.39 pmWHY BOOST?

• Many still view the 29-inch wheel as the weak link in aggressive trail and enduro riding.

• Boost uses a wider spacing for the hub’s flanges (5mm per side on front hub, 3mm per side on rear hub).

• The wider flange spacing allows a stronger spoke-bracing angle resulting in a stiffer wheel.

• A 29-inch Boost rear wheel is as stiff as a 27.5-inch rear wheel on an existing 142-mm hub with the same rim and spoke.

Demo a FOX Fork At a Bike Shop Near You

FOX Racing Shox Australia announce a nation-wide demo program in partnership with key retail stores.

To try out the latest FOX forks, contact any of the stores below for availability and conditions.

Atelier de Velo, Sydney NSW www.atelierdevelo.com   [email protected]

Ashgrove Cycles, Ashgrove, QLD 4060  www.ashgrovecycles.com [email protected]

Bicycle Centre Ballarat, VIC  www.bicyclecentreballarat.com.au  [email protected]

Bike Now,  South Melbourne VIC  www.bikenow.com.au  [email protected]

Edge Cycleworks, QLD www.edgecycleworks.com.au  [email protected]

Jonny Sprockets, Toowoomba City  QLD www.jonnysprockets.com.au [email protected]

Le Spit Cycles,  Mosman Junction, NSW www.lespitcyclery.bikeit.com.au   [email protected]

image003Mitcham Cycles. Kingswood, SA  www.mitchamcycles.com.au  [email protected]

NRG Cycles, Jindalee, QLD   nrgcycles.com.au  [email protected]

S&J Cycles, Morwell, VIC  www.sjcycles.com.au  [email protected]

Sealys Cycles, Mornington, VIC sealyscycles.com.au

TBSM Australia, Mortdale, NSW tbsm.com.au   [email protected]

The Ride Cycles, East Kew, VIC theridecycles.com  [email protected]

Up Front Bikes, O’Halloran Hill, SA www.upfrontbikes.com  [email protected]

Yarra Valley Cycles, Lilydale, VIC  www.yarravalleycycles.com  [email protected]

The Spin Doc, Bardon, QLD  www.thespindoc.com.au  [email protected]

Cannon Shock Works,  Clareville, NSW  [email protected]

Tested: RockShox RS-1

RockShox RS-1 v2 11
Looks cool, right? The uninterrupted curve of the carbon crown doesn’t collect any mud either.

The RS-1 is an exceptionally ambitious undertaking. Over the course of the last two decades, the development of mountain bike suspension has followed the conventional train of thought that upside-down fork construction just wasn’t really the way to go for mountain biking. There have been relatively few attempts at developing inverted forks, and those forks that have been at least marginally successful have overwhelmingly been designed for downhill, where they have the benefit of dual crown construction and fewer weight constraints. Similarly, the use of carbon fibre has been largely limited to fork crowns and steerers, and attempts to use carbon in the lowers of a fork have commonly resulted in excessive stiction.

RockShox RS-1 v2 23
There are no leg guards on the RS-1, but it hasn’t been an issue… yet.

So the RS-1, with its inverted, largely carbon fibre construction certainly comes to the game with some serious stigmas to overcome! You get the feeling that RockShox have taken this one on as a real showpiece, to show what can actually be done when all the stops are pulled.

This clean slate approach sees a fork like no other. Carbon fibre is used for the bulk of the construction, and an entirely new axle/fork interface has been implemented to deal with the torsional flex that traditionally plagues inverted designs. With such a novel design, we naturally came into this test with a lot of questions; would the fork be stiff enough, would the unprotected stanchions prove to susceptible to damage, could the performance ever hope to justify the price? You can read all about our initial impressions of the fork here: http://flowmountainbike.com/tests/flows-first-bite-rockshox-rs-1/

Tasmania Flow Nation 154

Over the course of testing, our RS-1 has been fitted to the front of a Trek Fuel EX 9.9 29er (the RS-1 is only available in a 29er format for now) so we opted for an RS-1 with 120mm travel to match the bike’s rear end. The fork is available in 100mm and 80mm travel versions as well, and given its billing primarily as a cross country item, we’re sure the 100mm-travel version will be the most popular. Regardless, offering this fork in a 120mm version clearly sends the message that RockShox feel the RS-1 is up to the job of technical trail riding too.

RockShox RS-1 v2 7
‘Predictive Steering’ – the hub is a structural element of the fork as much as a part of the wheel.

We’re no engineers, but we can imagine the R&D and testing involved in creating this carbon beauty wasn’t exactly carried out over a sandwich or two on a Thursday arvo. Getting this thing right would have been a mammoth undertaking, and that’s reflected in the cost.

Let’s deal with the elephant on the trail first; the price tag. The RS-1 is very expensive, but take a look at it – this is not just another fork. We’re no engineers, but we can imagine the R&D involved in creating this carbon beauty wasn’t exactly carried out over a sandwich or two on a Thursday arvo. Getting this thing right would have been a mammoth undertaking, and that’s reflected in the cost.

With that behind us, onto the testing! Any initial questions we had about how RockShox would tame the matter of flex disappeared as soon as we got a proper look at the Torque Tube hub/axle system. The hub rotates around a massive axle supported by oversized bearings, all secured by a 15mm Maxle. There’s a huge amount of contact between the hub end caps and the fork dropouts too; the hub really isn’t just part of the wheel so much as a vital component of the fork (and therefore the bike’s steering) itself.

RockShox RS-1 v2 4
The Torque Tube hub uses a massive axle with huge, knurled end caps.

The catch (there’s always a catch) is that you’re currently tied to using either a SRAM or DT hub, though other manufacturers may come to the party soon. On the matter of the hub and dropouts, installing the wheel is a bit fiddly when compared to a conventional fork, as the legs can rotate/slide independently – we can imagine changing a front flat in the mania of a race could be frustrating!

RockShox RS-1 v2 5
The legs can move independently with the wheel out (exactly what the Torque Tube hub is there to eliminate!), which does make wheel installation more fiddly. Here you can see how the hub end caps really bite into the dropouts to gain more stiffness.

The gram counters out there will note that the RS-1 is actually a fraction heavier than RockShox’s lightest SID fork. There’s about 50g in it, but the RS-1 is still lighter than just about all its competitors, so this fork sits happily in the feathery realms demanded by racers. Racer types will also appreciate the handlebar-mounted XLoc remote lever which puts a lockout within easy reach of your thumb. For those less interested in racing, it’d be great to see this fork offered without the remote too for a cleaner cockpit.

RockShox RS-1 v2 13
For now, the RS-1 only comes with an X-Loc remote lockout.

RockShox have equipped the RS-1 with a new damper called the Accelerator, which follows the same sealed cartridge design principles utilised in the highly praised Charge damper now found in the Pike and BoXXer. It offers the Rapid Recovery dual stage rebound circuit as found on various other RockShox products, a system designed to get the fork back up its optimum ride height quickly after heavy impacts. Compression is managed by the new DIG valve, which is not externally adjustable. In fact, external adjustments are limited to just rebound and lockout threshold, which will appeal to many.

RockShox RS-1 v2 8
The Accelerator sealed damper uses Rapid Recovery technology for the rebound circuit, helping the fork resist getting caught low in its travel over big hits.

Over our first few rides, we struggled to find the right air pressure to give us the ride feel that we wanted. Running the fork at the recommended pressure felt too soft for us on the big hits, and we found ourselves blowing through the travel too easily. But adding more pressure to increase the firmness of the spring rate left us with almost zero sag and poor small-bump responsiveness. We found the sweet spot eventually by utilising the simple, effective Bottomless Tokens system which is also found on the Pike and BoXXer forks. These plastic threaded ‘tokens’ can be added to the air chamber to change the air volume and therefore the spring rate. Installation is super simple – just unscrew the top cap from of the air spring assembly air, screw in the token/s and you’re done. Adding two of these tokens (out of a possible three) gave us the perfect spring rate – we could now run the recommended pressure, obtain the correct amount of sag, and not worry about the fork riding too deep in its travel.

NB – We have since been advised by RockShox that the RS-1 in a 120mm version actually comes pre-fitted with two Bottomless Tokens. Our fork was an early release model.

Getting the ideal spring rate meant fitting two Bottomless Tokens. It's a five-minute job you can do at home, requiring no special tools.
Getting the ideal spring rate meant fitting two Bottomless Tokens. It’s a five-minute job you can do at home, requiring no special tools.

With the spring rate/pressures sorted, we were able to better appreciate the abilities of the Accelerator damper too, which does a fantastic job of unobtrusively dissipating hard landings, allowing you to hit full travel without any harsh spiking.

RockShox RS-1 v2 18
Production forks will be included with protective stickers to protect any cable rub damaging the lustrous finish on the precious carbon legs.

One of the theoretical advantages of an inverted fork is that gravity helps keep the seals bathed in lubricating fluid which should yield less friction, and all the chat/reviews out there about the RS-1 seemed to support this notion. On our test fork, it took a fair bit of riding to achieve the levels of smoothness we were expecting – unlike the RockShox Pike which is slipperier than a greased dolphin from the very first ride, the RS-1 took about five or six hours of riding to truly free up. Now, with a few weeks on board the fork, it’s a different story, and the RS-1 has a responsiveness that will rival the smoothest forks out there. Is it more responsive than a well-maintained conventional fork (for example, a FOX Kashima Float 120)? It’s hard to say objectively, but we’d definitely rate it as on par with the most supple cross-country forks we’ve ridden.

 There was no twanging or fore/aft wobbling going on, which we can only attribute to the extreme rigidity of the carbon steerer/crown.

RockShox RS-1 v2 15
Sag gradients make setup easier. The fork is also equipped with a recommended air pressure chart. As you can see by the sticker, the RS-1 is 29er only for now.

So, is the RS-1 stiff enough for hard trail riding? The short answer is yes; the Torque Tube axle design and massive carbon uppers ensure the RS-1 does not flex excessively. Of course there is some torsional flex, but we feel it’s in line with what you’d expect from a fork this light and designed for this style of riding, and we never found ourselves battling to keep the fork on line or fighting the bars when the going got rough. In all, we’d rate the torsional stiffness as being equivalent to a RockShox SID with a 15mm axle. Where the RS-1 felt superior to other lightweight 32mm-legged forks was when landing hard or slapping the front wheel down off a drop – there was no twanging or fore/aft wobbling going on, which we can only attribute to the extreme rigidity of the carbon steerer/crown.

Tasmania Flow Nation 177
Hooray for Hobart trails!

Our fears that the sliders would be easily damaged have not yet been realised. Admittedly, we’ve only had five or six weeks of riding on the RS-1 so far, but that has included a lot of rocky trails as well as two trips in a bike bag facing the mistreatment of budget airline baggage handlers, and we’ve not had an issue with the exposed lower legs. On the trail, we haven’t given a second thought to the sliders’ proximity to passing rocks, but overall we’d probably feel more comfortable if the fork did incorporate some kind of lightweight leg guards.

As an exercise in pushing the design envelope, it’s hard to think of a product in recent years that can out-do the the RS-1.

All up then, is the RS-1 a success? 100% yes. As an exercise in pushing the design envelope, it’s hard to think of a product in recent years that can out-do the the RS-1. It has achieved that previously elusive goal of creating a truly high-performance, lightweight, inverted single-crown fork, and RockShox deserve a lot of praise for managing this.

Tasmania Flow Nation 170

But is the RS-1 sufficiently superior to existing offerings to win over consumers and justify the price? That’s where things are less clear-cut, but we actually don’t think that’s the point. Why? The RS-1 is the kind of item that is only going to be bought by a very special kind of rider, the kind for whom having cutting-edge equipment is a priority. What makes the RS-1 so cool is that it delivers a product that succeeds where others have previously failed, offering a high-performance alternative to a conventional fork, without any of the usual compromises. Would we buy one? If we had the cash, yes, we would. But that’ll take a lot of saving!

 

Fresh Product: RockShox Pike DJ, The Dirt Jump Fork

Jumps are getting bigger, tricks are evolving further, and the slopestyle and dirt jumping crowd needs a fork that facilitates this progression. Enter Pike DJ: little brother to the award winning Pike, with the stout 35mm chassis, it is light enough to boost higher, and stiff enough to shred berms harder, available in 100 and 140mm travel versions.

The custom tuned Charger damper stands up on jump faces and the specific Solo Air system provides heaps of bottom-out progression to help butter the landings. Everything you love in Pike, but cleared for the biggest take offs.

FS PIKE DJ 26 15 SA 100 BLK T CRN...A11L

CHARGE HIGHER

The most refined damper ever produced by RockShox, acclaimed worldwide on Pike and BoXXer, gets the frequent flyer treatment on Pike DJ. An extra firm compression tune provides the level of support and confidence required by today’s slopestyle and dirt jump riders. Our trademark Rapid Recovery rebound tune, with beginning stroke rebound adjustment, helps control the landings, while Charger’s sealed design with an expandable rubber bladder keeps Pike DJ’s performance constant run after run. A low speed compression adjuster makes it easy to adapt to all course conditions, from smooth hardpack jumps to rough slopestyle courses.

PROGRESSION NEVER STOPS

For the 100mm travel version, Pike DJ’s specifically developed Solo Air top cap gives riders a highly progressive feel, equivalent to having five Bottomless Tokens installed in a standard 26” Pike, while remaining highly tunable with additional Tokens. What does this mean? A fork that will be predictable on every take off and landing without ever slamming through all the travel.

FS PIKE DJ 26 15 SA 100 BLK T CRN...A17L

FREQUENT FLYERS WELCOME

Available in 100 and 140mm travel versions, with a tapered steerer and 15mm Maxle Ultimate, Pike DJ is the ideal match for modern and progressive dirt jumping and slopestyle bikes.

Pike DJ

Weight: 1845g (4.06lb)*

Wheel Size: 26″

Travel (mm): 100mm/140mm

Steerer/Steerer options: Tapered Aluminum

Crown: Forged, hollow 7050 aluminum

Upper Tube Type: 35mm, Tapered Wall Aluminum

Upper Tube Finish: Low friction anodized Fast Black

Axle: 15x100mm Maxle Ultimate

Damper Adjust: External rebound, low speed compression

Spring/Spring Options: Solo Air

Color: Black, Diffusion Black, White

Fork Offset: 40mm

Brake Type: Disc

Lower Leg Material: Magnesium

Maximum Rotor Size: 200mm

*Weight Based On: 100mm travel, 265mm tapered aluminum steerer, 15mm Maxle

 

Tested: Rockshox Monarch RT3 rear shock

We won’t lie – in the realm of short travel air shocks, Rockshox have done it tough over the past few years. The FOX RP23 and CTD rear shocks are very good, and Rockshox just haven’t been able to keep up. So when we went looking for a shock to fit our new BH Lynx  4.8 29er frame, our first inclination was FOX.

Rockshox RCT3 rear shock-7

 

As it turned out, the BH uses a fairly obscure shock size, and while we couldn’t get a FOX to suit, we were able to get the new Monarch RT3 from Rockshox in the correct length. ‘What the hell,’ we though, ‘let’s give it a run!’ Turns out we’re very thankful that we did, as Rockshox seem to have really upped their game.

The new Monarch is, in a word, excellent. Compared to the previous iterations of Monarch shocks we’ve used, the most noticeable improvement is in its small bump sensitivity. This shock is as supple off the top of the stroke as any short travel air shock we’ve used, coming very close to the sensitivity of a Kashima coated FOX shock.

Getting your setup dialled is easy with sag markings on the shock shaft.
Getting your setup dialled is easy with sag markings on the shock shaft.

Setup is very easy, thanks to the sag markings on the shock shaft, particularly appreciated on the BH where the shock is quite tricky to access. The rebound damping range is suitably wide; there seems to be a rather large jump between each click of rebound adjustment once you get towards the slower end of the rebound range, but that is our only gripe.

Rapid Recovery. Won't help your lungs get over that last climb, will keep your suspension in the sweet spot.
Rapid Recovery. Won’t help your lungs get over that last climb, will keep your suspension in the sweet spot.

The Rapid Recovery damping is a new inclusion for this shock and it seems to work very well. Essentially, the rebound circuit is valved to ‘recover’ quickly from big impacts, allowing the shock to ride higher in its travel rather than becoming bogged down. It’s not the kind of thing you’re actively aware of on the trail, but on a shorter travel bikes it makes good sense, as you want to make the most of the bike’s available suspension travel.

 

Similarly to a FOX CTD shock, there are three compression damping positions; open, platform and a ‘locked’ setting. We rarely use the locked setting, but the middle platform setting is ideal on our test bike, and we’ll regularly go for a whole ride with the shock in this setting if the terrain is smooth and grippy. We particularly like the way the lever operates to toggle between the different modes. Whereas on a FOX CTD shock, the lever only moves approximately  30 or 40-degrees between each setting, with the Monarch there is a full 120-degrees between each setting. Simply put, you’re never in any doubt about which setting the shock is in.

Three clearly defined, easy to use compression settings: open, platform and locked.
Three clearly defined, easy to use compression settings: open, platform and locked.

Rockshox have some catching up to do when it comes to their shock mounting hardware. Compared to the new five-piece FOX hardware, there is a lot more friction with the Rockshox bushings. Fortunately, you can actually use FOX hardware in a Rockshox shock, although neither manufacturer would recommend it! (We did, running it on the end of the shock that encountered the most bushing rotation, and there have been no problems.)

We ran a combo of FOX and Rockshox hardware. It's not recommended, but it works.
We ran a combo of FOX and Rockshox hardware. It’s not recommended, but it works.

All up, we’re really pleasantly surprised by the new Monarch RT3 and we’ll be sticking with this shock for the long term.

Flow’s First Bite: Focus SAM 1.0

Click here for the full review. Boom!

SAM is a military abbreviation for Surface to Air Missile, which we guess means this bike is good at jumping and blowing stuff up.

Tests_FocusSAM0592

We first clapped eyes on the SAM 1.0 at the 2014 Focus Bikes presentation two months ago. In a room full of road bikes and 29ers, it looked like one mean bastard of a bike – matte black, angry looking geometry and plenty of travel. We knew right away that we had to get this one in for a full review.

The cables are all internal, popping out just fore of the bottom bracket shell.
The cables are all internal, popping out just fore of the bottom bracket shell.

The SAM is an alloy framed 160mm-travel all-mountain weapon, yet it weighs in at less than most similarly positioned carbon bikes, tipping the scales at just 12.91kg. Admittedly the XX1 drivetrain and Reynolds carbon wheels help keep the bike svelte, but when you consider the Pike fork, Reverb stealth post and big Schwalbe rubber it’s an impressive figure.

The 160mm-travel Pike feels very, very nice. It's actually a dual position model, so you can drop the front end for climbing.
The 160mm-travel Pike feels very, very nice. It’s actually a dual position model, so you can drop the front end for climbing.

A black anodised finish is hard to beat, and with internally routed cables it all looks very sleek indeed. We’re overwhelmed by how smooth the fork feels straight out of the box – fingers cross the Monarch rear shock can match the performance of the front end. We’ve converted the wheels to tubeless and we can’t think of another change we could possibly wish to make before hitting the trails.

Carbon hoops, smothered with Schwalbe's finest all-mountain rubber,
Carbon hoops, smothered with Schwalbe’s finest all-mountain rubber,

We’ll be taking the SAM to Thredbo this week and giving it a few laps down the new Flow track to see how it all fares, before bringing it to our home trails for some ill-treatment over the Christmas period.

 

 

Fresh Product: Rockshox Monarch Plus RC3

Small package, big punch.

In 2014 the new Monarch Plus has even more to offer. Providing traction-gaining suppleness, giving you more control over any type of terrain – all in a lightweight bombproof package.  Proven Rapid Recovery, and Solo Air technologies come standard for this lightweight big hitter. Now with twice the rebound range, the new Monarch Plus allows you to take your riding to levels you never thought possible with a short and mid travel air shock.

Tested: RockShox Pike RCT3

Stiffer, slicker and shinier than a frozen porpoise, the new RockShox Pike had us frothing with delight only moments after a bounce and a boing around the workshop floor. How could just one fork make us so impressed?

 

We fitted the 26" Pike RCT3 to our Yeti SB66 long term test bike. A great fit, as it helps to realise the full potential of the aggressive riding nature of the frame, by leading the way into the trails with oodles of confidence.
We fitted the 26″ Pike RCT3 to our Yeti SB66 long term test bike. A great fit, as it helps to realise the full potential of the aggressive riding nature of the frame, by leading the way into the trails with oodles of confidence.

Well, you know that feeling when you lift your front wheel up into the air, let it come down hard and the front end of your bike goes ‘boinngggg’ with a little flex, a shudder and that jarring feeling in your wrists? That simply doesn’t happen with the Pike, we would slap the front wheel back to earth with careless brutality and all we got was a solid and composed thud as the impact is soaked into the blackness of the Pike with no negative twanging at all. We knew from then on, that this was going to be a good fork. Fitted to our Yeti SB66 Carbon, it took our riding to the next level of hard charging.

2
The heavily sculpted chassis is obvious to the eye. RockShox have trimmed material from where it isn’t needed, hence the unique shapes in the crowns and lower legs.

Options.

The name Pike isn’t new. For those that have been around for a while, the Pike was a popular 140mm fork with the big 20mm axle launched back in 2005 and was a winner for hard riding. Now it’s back, in black (or white) and re-designed from the ground up. You could say that this is RockShox’s answer to the venerable FOX 34 fork which has captured a lot of marketshare and spec in 2013 with its burly construction yet lightweight physique. The Pike is $200 cheaper and 100g lighter than the FOX 34 26″ variant, very impressive.

The Pike will be available in all three wheel size options 26”, 27.5” (650B) and 29”, and in variants of travel – 140mm (29er only), 150mm and 160mm – to suit the fast-growing realm of long travel and lightweight trail bikes that we especially love. It fills the gap between the RockShox Revelation and Lyric, aiming to keep weight low and rigidity high with a heavily sculpted chassis. Damper performance is given a boost to match the fork’s potential for hard riding, with the new Charger damper controlling the action – more about that below.

A wildly asymmetrical shaped fork, with more material on the braking side, and less on the spring side. Clever.
A wildly asymmetrical shaped fork, with more material on the braking side, and less on the spring side. Clever.

Construction.

The new Charger damper with Rapid Recovery is an all-new system found inside the Pike’s right leg. The Charger damper is a big step away from what we’ve seen from RockShox over the years with their Mission Control and Motion Control systems. The Charger Damper is a sealed unit, containing the damping oil inside a rubber bladder. With no air mixing in with the oil, a more consistent action is achieved, as its free from inconsistencies.

This is not necessarily a new design, just new for RockShox; FOX employ the bladder design in their FIT fork too and it’s also seen in the motocross suspension world. Some SRAM elite list Blackbox riders have also been spotted prototyping this damper in the BoXXer fork, so we can expect it to expand out to other models in the future.

Rapid Recovery is a rebound damping circuit that helps the fork to return to the top of the stroke as fast as possible to allow the soft and supple initial part of the stroke to be used more often, giving the fork its remarkably smooth feel. We definitely noticed how well the fork reacted through repetitive braking bumps for example, and resisted packing down in the bottom of the stroke well. 

One thing that impressed us a lot was the new Maxle Light axle, a far easier and simpler system for quick release wheel removal. We always felt the Maxle needed simplifying, and the new system takes the cake of any 15mm axle fork with its ease of use and ergonomics.

The black coating on the legs polarised many people we came across. Some were reminded of cheap Manitou forks of a few years ago, some thought it looked great. We love it, and fitted to a black bike, they look hot. It’s only an anodised coating though, not like super slippery SRAM Blackbox forks that Sam Hill and company ride. That coating is for slick performance, not looks, but at this stage it’s too expensive for production.

The Pike uses beefy 35mm diameter legs, like the BoXXer downhill fork. You will find 32mm legs on the SID, REBA and Revelation etc.

Two air spring Pikes are available, the Solo Air which is featured here, or the Dual Position Solo Air. The Dual Position gives 30mm of adjustability, to help climbing by lowering the height of the front end of the bike when inclines get steep.  The Solo Air fork is also supplied with a pair of red plastic spacers named ‘Bottomless Tokens’ that are for installing into the air chamber (a very simple process) which reduces the size of air volume for a more progressive feel. We didn’t feel the need to use them.

Though most of our testing was conducted on a 26″ bike, We have also ridden the Pike on 29ers, including the long travel Specialized Enduro with the Pike at 150mm travel. Even with the longer legs of the 29er fork, it felt very precise when steered through rough trails.

The three stage adjustment 'open-pedal-lock' is spot on, and a range of slow speed compression adjustment is there for fine tuning in the 'open' mode.
The three stage adjustment ‘open-pedal-lock’ is spot on, and a range of slow speed compression adjustment is there for fine tuning in the ‘open’ mode.

RCT3 stands for rebound, compression and threshold. Or as RockShox put is Open, Pedal, Lock and is adjusted via the big switch on top of the right leg. The little dial in the middle is the low speed compression, which effect the forks reaction to pedalling, braking and slow compression forces. We dialled it in a third of the way, and were happy with the way it helped counteract the fork from bobbing when sprinting hard out of the saddle.

The new Maxle Light - a blissfully ergonomic and simple system. Flip open and wind out, that's all.
The new Maxle Light – a blissfully ergonomic and simple 15mm axle quick release system. Flip open and wind out, that’s all.

Riding.

Off the top the suspension stroke of the Pike feels remarkably soft and supple, far more so than the RockShox Revelation we tested recently. The new seals, with only one lip not two, and a slotted bushing system in place of the solid bushes, allows for more oil to move up and around the internals to keep things moist and slippery.

To date, our best experience aboard the Pike was at the Flow Rollercoaster Gravity Enduro at Stromlo Forest Park, Canberra. Race day came and it was time to really let the brakes off and push hard through the turns to try and beat our mates. There was one long right hand corner with particularly rough braking bumps leading into it that made both hanging on very hard, and the use of brakes tricky as the tyres just skip about wildly. The natural reaction would be to wash off speed and take it easy through the turn to avoid a total wipeout, but there was racing to be done and we hit the turn hard and fast. We did the opposite, we pushed the front of the Yeti right into the bumps and let the brakes off. The fork resisted packing up, and was noticeably active through each individual braking bump, allowing the tyre to track along fine. We came out the other side astonished at how well the fork dealt with what would typically be too much to handle.

The Pike offers phenomenal support when deep into its travel, we never felt like we were diving through to the lower part of the stroke unnecessarily and it had a very positive impact on our riding style. We began lining up rocky or rutted trails and hitting them hard, pushing the fork into them with reckless abandon, simply to see how well it handled it. We found ourselves booting off water bars excessively high, and landing hard on purpose, relishing in our new favourite forks hit-soaking ability. It felt like we were riding a fork of much more travel, it felt like we were riding a BoXXer.

Sag indicators and a recommended pressure chart make for simple setup, especially the sag guide and little red rubber band.
Sag indicators and a recommended pressure chart make for simple setup, especially the sag guide and little red rubber band.

Verdict.

We’d go as far as saying that the new Pike is RockShox’s finest long travel fork yet and the new technologies that they have applied are clearly working in their favour. It’s so very smooth and supple, stiff and precise, adjustable and ergonomic. The weight is impressive, lighter than the FOX 34, the we think the shiny black legs look hot to trot.

This would be the most amazing upgrade to your bike, or keep an eye out for the Pike specced on bikes in the upcoming season. It really is a killer fork, lifting your speed and control in the roughest trails.

This is going to be one very desirable product.

Fresh Product: Rockshox Pike

DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK

A comeback has never been so amazing. After taking a few years off, PIKE comes back in the RockShox lineup, as the ultimate trail fork. Your trail could be a silky smooth ribbon of singletrack, or a rock-infested goat trail in the Alps. Either way, there is a PIKE for you. All wheel sizes, with 26”, 27.5” and 29” options, and 160mm and 150mm travel models, plus a 140mm version for the 29” platform. The RCT3 damper is available in either Dual Position Air or a Solo Air version to complete the offering.

Rockshox Pike4

Rockshox Pike8

TRAVEL 26”/27.5” – 150mm, 160mm; 29” – 140mm, 150mm
WHEELS 26″, 27.5″, 29″
WEIGHT 26” – 1835g (4.05 lb), 27.5” – 1861g (4.10 lb), 29” – 1876g (4.14 lb)
AVAILABLE SPRINGS Dual Position Air, Solo Air
ADJUSTMENTS External rebound, low speed compression, 3-position compression (Open/Pedal/Lock)
STEERER OPTIONS Tapered Aluminum
CROWN Forged, hollow 7075 Aluminum
LOWERS Magnesium, disc only
MAXIMUM ROTOR SIZE 200mm
COLOR OPTIONS Black, White
OTHER WHEEL SIZE: 26”, 27.5”, 29”, AXLE: Maxle Lite 15mm, *Weight based on 265mm tapered aluminum steerer, Solo Air

 

Fresh: RockShox Updates The Monarch

Monarch RT3 paved the way last year with the introduction of Rapid Recovery with it’s all new damper design: now the rest of the family follows. The entire Monarch family now is tuned with Rapid Recovery.

Monarch RT3

REFINE, REFINE, REFINE

In addition to the new Rapid Recovery rebound tune, Monarch XX, RL, RT, and R have improved compression circuits that improves compression bump performance while expanding the tuning flexibility for bike brands, allowing even further refinement to their chosen tune. these refined beauties run smoother, quitter and more consistant than any previous version of Monarch.

WALKING ON AIR

that new bulge at the bottom of the new air can isn’t an extrainous industrial design feature, it’s a redesign of the negative air volume in the Solo air spring system that improves small bump performance.

On top of that, Monarch RT3, XX, RL, RT and R now features a high volume eyelet option called HV-i. it allows for a higher volume, less progressive shock without the bulk or weight of the full High Volume air can. HV-i couples perfectly with bikes that need a little less progression, but don’t need the full High Volume air can system.

RT3 in white.

ICING ON THE CAKE

New and improved seals help keep the Monarch rear shocks performance constant and reduce friction, retaining Monarch’s position as the best performing, most-versatile air shocks on the market.

Click to make me bigger.

Fresh: RockShox Announces The New SID and Revelation

The new RockShox SID and Revelation retain all the character, which made them two of the most successful XC and Trail forks ever, while enhancing control and comfort for all riders.

SID XX 29QR

Both are now available in 26”, 27.5” and 29” wheel sizes to serve all mountain bikers. SID is the most successful XC racing fork ever, with a tally of Olympic, World and World Cup titles too long to mention, available in travels from 80 to 120mm. Revelation combines the best of RockShox engineering to provide a trail fork from 120 to 150mm of travel with record breaking weight. Both SID and Revelation feature the Motion Control DNA damper, which has been reworked and updated to deliver the best performance on the trail.

Revelation RCT3

DIG VALVE: THE TRAIL SPECIALIST

The Dig Valve is the name of the latest addition to the damping circuit on both SID and Revelation. RockShox has re-designed the rebound piston to accommodate the Dig Valve, which provides the optimal level of control for both low and high speed compression, carefully controlling the oil flow to provide the rider with the right amount of support and impact absorption. The piston redesign allows the use of Rapid Recovery, a rebound tune that allows the shock to recover faster between consecutive bumps, for greater traction and a more controlled ride.

MOTION CONTROL DNA

Motion Control DNA is available exclusively on SID and Revelation, in four models tailored for each individual riding style:

XX – Designed for riders looking for more efficiency. The XX Motion Control DNA damper features RockShox’s XLoc hydraulic remote lockout for the lightest, most ergonomic go-fast solution.

RCT3 – Designed for riders looking for more bump gobbling performance. The new RCT3 damper features three distinct knob positions – Open (with low speed compression adjust.), Threshold and Lock.

RLT – Designed for riders who are looking for more stable ride. Featuring the adjustments of Motion Control – compression-to-lock with adjustable threshold.

RL – For riders looking for a more simple approach to suspension set up. The Motion Control DNA spring tube and refined Dual Flow rebound mated to compression-to-lock adjustability with a factory set threshold.

Click on me to make me bigger.

 

RockShox Announces All New PIKE, 2104 Monach Plus, And New Reverb Stealth

RockShox has announced three new offerings. The return of the PIKE, the 2014 Monarch Plus (at 325g), and a hydraulic update the Reverb Stealth

Introducing the all-new RockShox PIKE

A comeback has never been so amazing. After taking a few years off, PIKE comes back in the RockShox lineup, as the ultimate trail fork. Your trail could be a silky smooth ribbon of singletrack, or a rock-infested goat trail in the Alps. Either way, there is a PIKE for you. All wheel sizes, with 26”, 27.5” and 29” options, and 160mm and 150mm travel models, plus a 140mm version for the 29” platform. The RCT3 damper is available in either Dual Position Air or a Solo Air version to complete the offering.

THE BEST OF ALL WORLDS

PIKE is as stiff as a Lyrik, thanks to its 35mm stanchions and chassis, but at a trail fork weight. How so? The lower legs are asymmetrical, to maximize stiffness and precision on the braking side and save precious grams on the damper side. The 160mm 26” version clocks in at a svelte 1,837 grams (4.05 pounds).

FASTER AND MORE SECURE

The all new 15mm Maxle Lite featured on PIKE requires no tools to adjust the lever position or secure the wheel, and provides an even more solid and reliable interface between the fork and wheel.

CHARGER DAMPER

Simply put, the all-new Charger damper we developed for PIKE is the most refined damper RockShox has ever produced. It’s a bladder-charged damper, which means it has consistent performance even during the longest, hardest descents, plus
it allows complete control for the trail with open, pedal and lock positions (RCT3 version). A Rapid Recovery rebound circuit completes what many testers have described as the “best RockShox fork ever made.”

 

2014 Monarch Plus

In 2014 the new Monarch Plus has even more to offer. Providing traction-gaining suppleness, giving you more control over any type of terrain – all in a lightweight (325g) bombproof package. Proven Rapid Recovery, and Solo Air technologies come standard for this lightweight big hitter. Now with twice the rebound range, the new Monarch Plus allows you to take your riding to levels you never thought possible with a short and mid travel air shock.

We have trimmed the fat and added muscle: new sleek adjusters, a lower profile air valve location all while achieving quieter action. The new RockShox Monarch Plus will give you the extra confidence and control in the scariest situations.

With Rapid Recovery, your rear wheel can return to the ground faster upon consecutive hits, giving you greater precision and control no matter what the trail throws at you. With Monarch Plus your all mountain or trail machine will get a massive ego boost in any terrain… maybe even you.

With printed Sag Gradients on the damper body and Solo-Air adjustability, initial set up and on the fly tuning has never been so simple.

Available with an RC3 or R damper, coming in two different colors, and five different sizes, the 2014 Monarch Plus will have you covered no matter what you ride, or how you want to look doing it. Now with a damper design similar to its big brother Vivid Air, the new Plus will have you thinking you’re on a long travel DH bike, slowing down might be your only problem now.

 

REVERB STEALTH WITH CONNECTAMAJIG

RockShox Reverb has quickly become the synonym for the best adjustable seatpost on the market, thanks to its unique features, such as the hydraulic remote control and the amount of options that make it ideal for all riders.

Today RockShox expands the array of options by adding a 150mm travel version for Reverb Stealth, a 34.9mm diameter option (560g) for all models and the new Connectamajig quick-release hydraulic hose option on Reverb Stealth.

TRAVEL AND DIAMETER OPTIONS

Reverb is now available in 100, 125 and 150mm travel options (150mm for Reverb Stealth only), ensuring each rider can find the appropriate version to better suit each one’s frame size and configuration, in addition to riding style and personal preferences.

With the addition of the 34.9mm diameter version for both Reverb and Reverb Stealth, and the already available 30.9 and 31.6mm diameters, Reverb is designed to fit the vast majority of the existing mountain bike frames on the market.

STEALTHY AND QUICK

The cleanest house routing for an adjustable seat post meet easy installing and maintenance: Reverb Stealth is now available with the Connectamajig hydraulic quick-release for the remote control hose. Connectamajig makes it a breeze to route the hose into the frame when assembling the seatpost on a bike, and allows for several disconnects and reconnects before a system bleed is required.

 

Adjustable Seatposts – Three Way Test – crankbrothers kronolog, FOX D.O.S.S., RockShox Reverb

Some people would argue that the adjustable seatpost is one of the greatest recent advancements in mountain biking.  Whilst not being a new technology, it has only been in the past few years that the larger manufactures have started producing them in ernest.  Much to the joy of those who used to frequently dismount and adjust, the adjustable seatpost makes the transition from riding uphill to bombing downhills much easier.

Flow took three of the more popular posts from crankbrothers, FOX, and RockShox, and tested them for 6 months. Read on to see what we thought of each.

FOX D.O.S.S. (l), crankbrothers kronolog (c), RockShox Reverb (r)

crankbrothers kronolog

Inside that little box is where it all happens with the kronolog, a unique mechanism holds the seatpost in position.

The crankbrothers joplin post was the first widely adopted adjustable post, but like many pioneering products it certainly had its issues on the reliability front. Enter the kronolog, a completely new take on the dropper post from crankbrothers.

The most obvious difference between this post and the others in our three-way test is that the cable is routed to the body of the seat post, rather than the seat post head. This looks far cleaner, and means you don’t have a big loop of cable dangling between your legs when the post is dropped. Neat-o.

Also neat is the remote lever. Ours is tucked neatly under the bar where you’d normally find a front shifter, easy to activate and with plenty of adjustability to get the position just right. The action is nice and light.

The kronolog is infinitely adjustable and it relies on a mechanical system to lock the post at whatever height you set it. The front and rear surfaces of the sliding portion of the post are covered with hundreds of little ridges; when you release the lever little ‘jaws’ inside the post lock into these ridges to prevent the post from moving.

Setup is critical – there needs to be at least 3mm of free play in the lever throw before it begins pulling the cable. If there is too much tension on the gear cable, the little jaws may not engage properly and this can lead to the post slipping, which in turn will wear out the knurling on the post, exacerbating the problem.

We carefully obeyed these instructions from the outset and this has prevented any serious problems. Still, we have found that the post does slip slightly, tending to drop about 5mm from full extension when you sit on it. So far (after about six months of use) the problem hasn’t become noticeably worse, but the wear to the knurled surface of the clamping surfaces is clear and it doesn’t look too good for long term durability. Dirt can get past the seal easily, so the mechanism needs to be cleaned and lubed after wet rides. Fortunately this is easy to do, as is replacing the cable.

Out of the box, the kronolog has 125mm of travel, but for our frame that was too much. Luckily the post is supplied with a chip that drops the travel by 25mm, making the post more compatible for shorter riders or bikes with long seat tubes. Installing this chip to lower the travel was a ten-minute job and didn’t require any fancy tools beyond a pin spanner.

We do have a gripe about the seat clamp… it is very hard to make small adjustments to the seat position – we need to really whack the seat to get it to move.

All up, we feel like the kronolog has some ground to make up on the competition. The design concept is great, but the durability and execution aren’t 100% yet.

Weight: 493g
Size Tested: 30.9
RRP: $429
Contact: JetBlack Products (www.jetblackproducts.com)

The internal section of the seatpost is constantly being lubricated, but the seal isn’t tight enough to stop the greasy section of the post from attracting dirt and debris. It didn’t take long for messy buildup to occur.
The two steel claws retract from the flat surface of the inner section to allow the air spring, or your body weight to make the adjustments.
Small adjustments to the seat position were tricky with this clamp, not our favourite.
Careful setup of cable tension is vital.

FOX D.O.S.S.

Climb, Trail or descend. The D.O.S.S. offers three positions of adjustment and very fast operation.

Was the product department at FOX drinking when they named their first adjustable seatpost? We’re used to more robotic part names from FOX, like TALAS RLC, or Float RP23. But FOX’s first seatpost is named D.O.S.S., which is actually an acronym for Drops On Steep Shit. It made us laugh, anyhow.

We’ll be honest in saying we hoped for more groundbreaking features when we heard that FOX were releasing a dropper post to take on the likes of Crank Bros and Rockshox. The D.O.S.S didn’t set the world on fire with new technology – it wasn’t particularly light and the cable actuation was nothing new – but word quickly spread that the D.O.S.S. was a serious contender for the most desired post, with the durability and ease of operation impressing the skeptics.

The D.O.S.S. is actuated via a remote and cable, which enters the post from the side of the seat clamp. You can simply rotate the post to suit your bike’s cable routing. The remote lever is also ambidextrous (unlike the Reverb) and has adjustable reach to allow users to customise where is sits on the handlebar.

The very large remote lever is a real point of contention, and may turn users off with its bulky appearance. It is way bigger than any of its competitors, but it wasn’t the end of the world for us. Our test bike runs a single chain ring, so we were able to run the lever under the left side of the handlebar, where the front shifter would normally sit. In this configuration the lever was concealed nicely, and out of the way. If you do run a front derailleur, the lever must sit atop the bar where it sticks out like the proverbial dog’s bollocks.

What sets the FOX post apart from the other two on test here is that the three-stage height adjustment. Rather than offering infinite adjustment, there are three preset positions, designed to match the FOX CTD suspension system (Climb, Trail and Descend). There’s full height, a 40mm drop, and all the way down. If you hit the black part of the thumb lever the saddle drops by 40mm and will stop there. If you hit the main silver lever it will drop completely.

This preset system makes for much faster changes in seat height; you know exactly where the saddle will be, rather than having to guess how far you’ve dropped it. We found that 40mm is the perfect drop for rough trails, most descents, and all but the steepest of roll-downs or jumps.

Setup with the FOX post was the simplest of the three on test, and after six months of solid use it feels just like it did on day one with no unacceptable play or unwanted movement. It does make a small knocking sound when you sit on the seat, and this can be noticed when climbing if you lift weight on and off the saddle. It wasn’t a real issue for us though, and we’ve certainly grown to accept that adjustable posts will always have movement in them; just some are slightly better than others.

The twin bolt seat clamp makes for very easy and no fuss saddle fitment and adjustment, and the quality of craftsmanship in the clamp is very neat and reflects FOX’s top-end status.

The FOX is the heaviest on test and the big remote lever is impractical in some ways, but the speedy actuation, smart finish, good aesthetics and very sturdy construction (and the name) make us smile.

Weight: 620g
Size Tested: 30.9
RRP: $399.95
Distribution: Sola Sport (www.solasport.com.au)

Close inspection reveals some very nice attention to detail, and clean craftsmanship of the mechanism and clamp.
By spinning the post 180 degrees and flipping the seat clamp parts around too, the cable can be routed to enter on both sides if need be.
Hit the black lever to drop it 40mm, or all the way with the silver. It’s a big lever, no doubt about that.
FOX provide a neat cable guide to help the cable track in a straight plane when fully compressed.

RockShox Reverb

The benchmark in adjustable seatposts. The Reverb uses hydraulics for smooth and infinite adjustability.

RockShox have a couple of variants of their very successful Reverb post available. There’s the standard Reverb (on test here) and the Stealth version, which uses a hose routed internally to activate the post from inside the frame, meaning there are no loops of hose dangling off the seat post head.

While the other posts in this trio of droppers rely on a gear cable, the Reverb is a hydraulic system. This has advantages – there is never a problem with grit or mud fouling the cable, and cable routing doesn’t matter at all – and disadvantages – the system needs to be bled like a hydraulic brake upon installation. This involves a syringe and 2.5wt fork oil, but it’s not beyond most backyard mechanics.

Early versions of this post were as reliable as a 1980s Alfa Romeo, but the last couple of years have seen huge improvements and our post has been flawless.

In all conditions it has remained smooth and leak free, requiring no maintenance whatsoever.

The Reverb’s ergonomics are great, especially if your run SRAM shifters and Avid brakes. Using the Match Maker clamp you can integrate the Reverb lever, brake and shifter into single clamp for supremely clean bars. We also appreciate the traditional dual-bolt micro adjust seat clamp; simple and reliable.

Like the kronolog, the Reverb is infinitely adjustable too, with 125mm of travel on our particular post, though a 150mm-travel version is available too if you really need to get your seat outta the way. Return speed to full height is slower than most posts – you can adjust how fast the post comes back up via a dial on the remote lever, but even on its fastest setting it’s a little bit laggy.

There’s a little bit of play in the post at full extension, both twisting and fore/aft, but you honestly don’t notice this on the bike and it’s greatly reduced when the post is dropped into its travel.

Weight: 535g
Size Tested: 30.9
RRP: $399.95
Distribution:  Monza Imports (www.monzaimports.com.au)

Push the button and away it goes. RockShox offer left and right options, and with a SRAM shifter and Avid brake, all components are able to be integrated very neatly with one single handlebar clamp.
A little bleed port sits up under the seat rails, and the clamp gives fuss-free saddle adjustability.
Return speed of the post is adjustable, but still not as rapid as the FOX or Crankbrothers.
The latest generation of Reverbs are most definitely more reliable and ours has been peachy.

RockShox Revelation World Cup 2013 Fork Review

“Are you sure about this? I mean, a carbon fibre crown on an all-mountain fork…”

We’ll admit it – there was something a little odd about fitting a 150mm-travel fork with a carbon fibre crown and steerer to the front of our Yeti test bike. After all, carbon forks are usually the domain of road or cross-country race bikes, not hard riding six-inch all-mountain sleds. But, as George Michael says, “you’ve gotta have faith”, and so we did.

RockShox have been utilising one-piece carbon crown/steerer assemblies on their high end forks since way back in 2002. Admittedly back then it was the lightweight SID that got the carbon treatment, but the Revelation World Cup has been available in this carbon format since 2011.

Is it stiff enough? Why, yes, it is. In fact the carbon crown/steerer on the Revelation World Cup is claimed to be stiffer than the alloy crowned version of this fork.

We’ll cut straight to the chase – this fork feels just as stiff, strong and confidence inspiring as any 32mm stanchioned, 15mm-axled all-mountain fork we’ve ever ridden.  This test fork actually replaced a 2012 FOX 32 TALAS, so it’s easy to make a comparison between the carbon and alloy crown/steers, but we’d be lying if we claimed to have noticed a difference in stiffness between the two forks. After five minutes on the trail we completely forgot about the carbon bogeyman and got down to riding this fork just as hard as we would any other.

Weight is the obvious appeal of the Revelation World Cup. Ours clocked in at 1625g on the Flow Dream Crush (scales), but this figure moves closer to 1700g once you add in the expanding plug for the headset (you can’t use a standard star nut with a carbon steerer). All up, once we’d trimmed the steerer, we were a little surprised to find we only dropped about 100g from our bike. Sure, this is a decent amount of weight to shed, but the carbon kind of creates the expectation you’re going to drop kilos off your ride!

The RTC3 damper has plenty of external control on offer, including independent low-speed compression adjustment, which we used extensively.

There are options galore with this fork. The Revelation is available with two different dampers and two different air springs (plus axle options – 15mm or quick release). In terms of of dampers, there’s an XX version or the Motion Control DNA RCT3 damper. The XX version gains a cool XLoc remote lockout, but the damper is less sophisticated and not as controlled when really pushed hard. We’ll prioritise bump performance over a remote lockout any day, so we selected the Motion Control RCT3 option. When it comes to air springs, you can choose from the lightweight new Solo Air system or the heavier (add 80g) Dual Position air spring, which gives you on-the-fly travel adjustability. To save weight, we went for the Solo Air spring.

The RCT3 damper is worth a quick explanation too. You’ve got three positions, controlled via the blue lever; an open position, a ‘threshold’ position (which adds compression damping to give a pedalling platform) and lastly a lock-out position which stiffens the fork’s action dramatically. In addition, there’s also independent low-speed compression adjustment with 15-clicks of control. This low-speed compression adjuster only affects the fork when the damper is in the open position.

Installation went smoothly, aided by a neat brake hose guide, easy-to-use Maxle axle system and well finished brake mounts. With the Solo Air spring, there’s very little setup needed. However, following the recommend air pressure guide on the back of the fork leg proved fruitless; we needed to run closer to 95psi to get enough support on bigger hits, while the chart recommended we run just 75psi. This isn’t the first time we’ve had to run well above RockShox’ recommended pressures either.

The Maxle Lite 15mm axle system. Elegantly done!

The most immediately impressive element of the Revelation’s performance is its buttery smooth responsiveness to every impact. Even with higher than recommended pressures in the air spring, the fork reacts to every little murmur in the trail surface. The Revelation scores RockShox’s Dual Flow rebound too, which keeps the fork lively at the top of the stroke, but slows the rebound down on bigger impacts. All this translates into more traction at the front wheel and less fatigue.

The pressure chart on the fork leg should not be taken as gospel. Use it as a starting point for your setup and go from there.

We did find the fork a little too eager to use all its travel on steep rollers and compressions in the trail, diving at inopportune moments for a few “oh-shit” experiences.  We countered this tendency by adding low-speed compression damping to sit it up in its stroke more. In the end, we settled on about 6 or 7  clicks of low-speed and just left the damper there. This gave more support, though the fork’s action is still quite linear.  Bigger, harder riders may find the fork’s tendency to use its travel generously takes a little bit of adapting to, bit with careful pressure selection and damping adjustment this is all manageable.

Impressively, there’s little reduction in small bump responsiveness even with the low-speed compression wound on, though the mid-stroke does feel a little harsher. We’ve rarely found the need to use the fork’s threshold or lock out positions, only occasionally activating the threshold option for road climbs.

It’s hard to comment on the fork’s long-term durability with just a couple of month’s use logged. The only issue we’ve encountered so far was easily fixed;  our fork had a loose valve core and was losing air in between rides until we tightened it up. Otherwise all seems good – we’ve had nothing but positive experiences with RockShox forks in terms of bushing life and long service intervals over the past couple of years.

All up, this fork gets two thumbs up. It’s remarkably smooth, light and with more than enough tunability to get the performance right for you. Taking the carbon plunge turned out to be a good move!

An unexpected bonus of the carbon crown: no more dirt flung up inside the steerer tube!

12 Days of BoXXer!

Flow has 12 Rockshox BoXXer World Cup forks to give away! Merry Christmas!

To go into the draw to win, all you need to do is answer a little bit of Rockshox trivia. Post your answer to our Facebook page and we’ll randomly select a winner from the correct responses.

TODAY’S QUESTION IS:

 

Question #12 – Who has won the BoXXer World Championships since they began in 2001. (Hint, there has been 7 different winners.)

 

Now, go post your answer to our Facebook page to go into the draw.

We’ll be giving away one fork every weekday from Thursday 6 December, right up until Christmas.

The small print:

This giveaway is open to residents of Australia only (sorry!).
Answers must be posted to www.facebook.com/flowmountainbike on the same day as the question is posted on www.flowmountainbike.com
Winners will be picked at random from the correct responses posted to www.facebook.com/flowmountainbike
These are not current model BoXXers, but are BRAND NEW, totally awesome 2010 model BoXXer World Cup forks.
Forks are red or white – should you win, you will not be given an option to choose the colour.
Winner’s forks will be shipped to them directly from SRAM in Victoria, Australia. Forks will be shipped in early 2013 once everyone’s back from Christmas break.
Prize is not redeemable for cash, fool!