SEA OTTER CLASSIC 2010 – Fox Racing has updated their entire line up of suspension forks and introduced a new Vanilla RC coil shock for the rear along with remote lockout capabilities for the Float RP2 and RL shocks.Â Here are the highlights:
- Gold Kashima coat option at high end on all models (covered previously here.)
- FIT cartridges flipped upside down to put compression controls at top of fork, saves weight
- New TALAS 29er model
- TALAS forks lose a setting, now have just two positions
- F-Series (Float) gets tweaked air spring curves to lower compression ratios, more linear feel
- Terralogic resurrected with 15 levels of platform, claims instant response, available on all, even 29er
- 15mm thru-axle options on more models
- 36 models get the FIT RLC damper and long travel options (160mm and 180mm!)
- 40 model gets major revisions to further flatten downhill courses
- 15QR front axle drops weight
We’ve got lots of pics and details on all this, so jump right in…
FIT CARTRIDGES GET FLIPPED: Avid Fox users may notice something different about the forks…the compression knob has moved to the top, giving you quick access to compression damping settings (both the high and low speed on the FIT RC2, shown, or low-speed setting only on the FIT RLC forks)
The new FIT cartridges bring the single-wall bladder design down from the longer travel forks to all models, with each one optimized for the specific travel, which Fox says lets them be as light as possible.Â Rebound adjust is now on the bottom of the leg.
TALAS FORKS GET TWO TRAVEL SETTINGS ONLY: The big news for the TALAS forks is that they lose the lowest travel setting, opting for a two-position adjustment that sets the lower end just shorter than the previous mid level.Â New travel settings are:
- TALAS 29er – 95mm to 120mm
- TALAS 36 160 – 120mm to 160mm
- TALAS 36 180 – 140mm to 180mm
- TALAS 32 – 110mm to 140mm -or- 120mm to 150mm
15mm THRU AXLE DROPS 21g: Not that there’s anything visibly different, but that axle you see in the fork on the left up there, it’s now 21g lighter with no loss of stiffness or strength.
36 SERIES BECOMES A TWO-MODEL LONG-TRAVEL LINEUP, WITH OPTIONS: You read that right, the 36 series (36mm wide stanchions) now has two travel options, both available in TALAS format, with the longest bumping up to a massive 180mm!
In the pic above, you’ll see these beasts get extended lowers for more bushing overlap with the sliders, enhancing stiffness, and keeping overall height lower, which helps maintain a lower bar height.Â The 36 series forks are only available with 20mm thru axles, and the 180 has completely new crown, sliders and lowers to handle the long travel in a single-crown design while retaining the stiffness Fox wanted.Â Both the 160mm and 180mm are available in Float, TALAS and Vanilla feature options.
Interestingly, the 36 160 gets the FIT RLC RC2 damper only in the Vanilla (steel spring) option, while the 36 180 gets the top-end RC2 damper with both low- and high-speed compression damping across all three versions.
MORE OPTIONS WITH 15mm THRU AXLES: The TALAS 29er fork is only available with a 15mm thru axle, and for the 32 TALAS, all of the 140mm travel (max) come in either 15mm or standard 9mm QR, anything that goes longer than 140 is 15mm axle only.Â While we’re on the subject of axles, on the short 80mm travel end of the forks, there’s only one (32 FIT RLC) that offers a 15mm axles, they’re all using 9mm QR, but once you get to 100mm, you have the option of running either.
Compression knobs are now on the bottom for FIT equipped forks.Â Nice ano red knob on the 32 series, fat plastic knob on the 36’s.
NEW TALAS 29er MODEL: There is it, proof positive, that for 2011 (ie. now) you can get an F-Series or TALAS 29er fork from Fox.Â The 29er version comes in a myriad of QR / 15mm axle and straight/tapered steerer tube options, and there’s a Terralogic option on both the F29 and TALAS 29.
TERRALOGIC IS THE NEW INERTIA VALVE PLATFORM CONTROL: In laymens terms, what Terralogic gives you is the ability to set an amount of force required to get the fork moving, and the new rendition promises “instant” activation with no second-strike harshness.Â In other words, if you remember the Fox forks from a couple years ago that felt locked out until you hit something, it’s like that.Â Only better.
How’s it better?Â A new BrassMass assembly and timer circuit (oil path, not electronic) is designed to react immediately.Â It’s the same premise as what you’d find on the Specialized BRAIN shock in that a bump coming from the shock is required to open the oil flow, and Fox says this new version is quicker (the word “instant” is thrown around a lot) and more responsive to continuous input.Â In a seeming contradiction of terms, the literature says “the patented timer circuit (allows) the BrassMass to return to the closed position almost instaneously for max pedaling efficientcy, while still providing control of the BrassMass that prevents confusion and premature closure eliminating second-strike harshness.”Â Well, it may not prevent confusion, but Fox seems to know what they’re doing and they say the design is based on pro rider feedback and testing.Â The old stuff felt pretty good, but it did seem to want to closeÂ (ie. firm up) a little quickly, so it’ll be interesting to see how these improvements play out on the trail.
This chart shows the difference in low speed compression curve versus their FIT RLC compression damper.Â Basically what you’re looking at is the firmness you’re going to feel before it feels like their normal FIT shock.Â When the setting’s at 0, it’s basically locked out and you’d really have to drop off something big to open it up.Â The good news is, it’ll open up even in full “lockout” mode, so you won’t destroy your wrists and elbows.Â As you dial back the Terralogic through its 15 detents, you’re bringing it closer to fully open, and the action won’t feel as firm as rest.
If you’re regularly bombing through stuff and you want the most supple suspension, Terralogic’s probably not for you, and that’s why Fox is only offering it on their F-Series (and F29) and TALAS (yep, TALAS 29, too) forks…it’s a cross-country and race oriented technology that may prove useful on trail bikes that have to climb or sprint occasionally.Â Across the fork ranges that offer it, it’s considered the top end (as the prices shown at the end of this post suggest), and it adds about 100g to the fork’s weight versus the FIT RLC damper.
On the Terralogic forks, the settings are reversed.Â Compression Rebound damping is up top (red knob), and the Terralogic settings are controlled from the bottom, meaning on-the-fly adjustments aren’t possible.Â This, along with the fact that you can’t get the F29 Terralogic model with a tapered headtube, are kind of bummers, but given that they flip-flopped the FIT cartridge this year, maybe they’ll do the same with Terralogic for 2012.Â (In case you’re curious as to why the tapered thing is a bummer, it’s because Niner’s new Jet9 has a tapered headtube but is designed around an 80mm travel fork.Â Sure, that’s just one example, but hey.)
Terralogic threshold controls will be out of reach while you’re riding.
ALL-NEW VANILLA RC SHOCK: Budget downhillers/freeriders and privateers rejoice!Â Fox has brought most of their World-Cup-winning DHX technology down to the Vanilla level with the new Van RC shock.Â It’s a coilover design with piggy back oil reservoir and has external low-speed compression and rebound settings (blue = compression, red dial at bottom = rebound).Â At just 387g, it’s not too heavy considering, and you can dial down the coil spring preload as with most coil shocks, too.
The other news (not pictured) is that the Float RP23 rear shock will have a remote lever available to turn the ProPedal on or off.Â It’ll use the same lockout lever as the F-Series forks do (but not simultaneously, as in you’ll need one lever for the rear, one for the front, if that’s how you roll)
FOX 40 DOWNHILL FORK GETS UPDATED ALL OVER: The monstrous 40 dual crown fork gets the same adhesive backed cosmetic changes as the rest of Fox’s 2011 lineup, along with the inverted FIT cartridge, plus new crowns and a new spring guide system.Â By flipping the FIT RC2 cartridge, the compression controls are up top, which also improves clearance with the rebound knob’s new design.Â With these changes and the gold Kashima coat, it’s boasting smoother, stiffer performance.
PRICING: If you’re wondering whether there’s a fork for you, chances are Fox has you covered.Â The U.S. MSRP list below shows the overwhelming number of options available (click to enlarge):