Fox Unveils 2013 iCD Electronic Suspension Remote System, More! (UPDATED)

2013 Fox iRD and iCD electronic suspension remote system

If you recall from their recent 2013 product updates, Fox is taking a more integrated approach to front and rear suspension and has revised their damping characteristics to provide tunes optimized for climbing, “trail” and descending. The old 1-2-3 Pro Pedal settings are replaced across the range with CTD settings instead, with some models getting some additional adjustment within the Trail setting.

Look a little further back in time and you may recall their iRD (intelligent Ride Dynamics) intro at Interbike last fall with the electronic shock/fork set up app and pump. iRD is Fox’s categorization for electronic products “employing non-traditional solutions to help customers improve their ride experience.”

The first big product under iRD to hit production will be the Float iCD (intelligent Climb Descend) electronic remote switch. This is pretty much exactly what we speculated it would be after seeing it on Kabush’s Sea Otter winning Scott Spark 29er: it’s an electronic switch to toggle between Climb and Descend modes on the fork and, on full sussers, the shock.

2013 Fox iRD and iCD electronic suspension remote system

The remote switch rotates around the bar and is super sleek…a far cry from their obnoxious mechanical remote. The downside to this ergonomic system is the loss of the middle Trail setting, which is arguably where most riders would spend the majority of their time. That said, it wouldn’t surprise any of us to see future iterations that include the trail settings because there are already three positions on the full suspension system’s switch (there were only two on Kabush’s bike that we could tell): Climb, Climb (rear only) and Descend. The half-full circle visible in the image above is the Climb-Rear Only setting and keeps the fork wide open while firming up the shock. By combining remotes for front and rear suspension, Float iCD offers quicker, easier and simultaneous changes with minimal hand movement. It might be a bit tough to use with the new Grip Shift, though. It can be mounted on the left or right.

2013 Fox iRD and iCD electronic suspension remote system

What we didn’t know until now was why they were using the Shimano Di2 battery. Turns out it’s a genuine collaboration between the brands. Here’s the scoop, from Fox:

“Float iCD shares features with Shimano’s E-Tube electronic shifting technology. Float iCD uses Power-Line-Communication (PLC) that allows data and power to flow along a single wire. This permits minimal wiring and ease of set-up, using only three wires for full suspension bikes and two wires for front suspension bikes. The system also has a PC interface option that allows customization of the remote switch function and provides access to diagnostic tools, switch operation counting and firmware updates.”

The Climb mode has firm low speed compression and the Descend mode opens it up to soak up larger hits and drops. The exact settings can be programmed with software intended for dealers, but it’ll be for sale to consumers, too.

2013 Fox iRD and iCD electronic suspension remote system

Fox says the expected battery life is around 2-1/2 months, which means you’ll only need to charge it about six times per year just to be on the safe side. Actuation speed is very quick, just 0.25 seconds to switch modes at the fork and 0.45 seconds for the shock.

UPDATE 1: Confirmed, the red knob remains as external rebound adjustment, same as their regular shocks. Actuation is via small servo motors that twist the adjustments in the same manner you’d rotate the compression knob.

2013 Fox iRD and iCD electronic suspension remote system

Initially, the system will only be available on the Float iCD 100 or 120 forks and Float iCD shock. Here are the details, from Fox:

  • Fork: Internal actuator unit, Factory series with FIT damper and Kashima-coated upper tubes, 100mm or 120mm, 26” or 29” wheel, and 9mm or 15QR axle options.
  • Shock: External actuator unit, Factory series with Kashima-coated body and air sleeve, 6.5×1.5” to 7.875×2.0” sizes, and standard or large eyelet air volume options.
  • Remote Switch: Right or left mounting option, two or three position rotary switch, non-contact operation and integrated battery low feature.

The Full Suspension System includes fork, shock, battery, battery bracket and remote switch with three cables linking the system together. Weight is as low as 1860g (4.10 lbs) for a 100mm tapered fork with 9mm QR dropouts and a 6.5×1.5 shock w/o hardware. US retail is set at $1,999.

The Front Suspension System includes fork, battery, battery bracket and remote switch with two cables. Weight is as low as 1555g (3.43 lbs). US retail is set at $1,499. International pricing is not set yet.

UPDATE 2: Compared to standard fork and shock, Fox says there’s a 70g weight penalty for the electronics added to just the fork, and 140g added on a full suspension setup. Fox’s marketing manager says that’s for the remote, wiring and servo contraptions and the battery. The Ultegra Di2 battery and mounting harness come in around 74g and 35g respectively on our scale, but this comparison is to the standard FIT fork and Float shock with the mechanical remote.

UPDATE 3: A tapered steerer fork with 9mm QR dropouts is offered in Europe, not in the US, meaning the lightest weight system in the US would be about 80g heavier, but that includes the front thru-axle, so it’s almost a wash.

Availability is set at September, 2012. We have a few questions in to Fox’s marketing guys and will update this post as soon as we hear back with more details.

Now, about the bike. I spoke with Adrian Montgomery, Scott’s marketing guy, and he said due to the timing of this release, you probably won’t see it spec’d on 2013 model bikes as most brands are showing those to dealers and distributors now and spec has long been finalized. For big brands at least. On team bikes, including this one, he simply gave them the go-ahead to drill the frame for battery mounts and wiring ports because, well, the frame can handle it and the pros don’t care about voiding their warranty. We should mention neither they nor we recommend you do this to your own bike. Look for 2014 models to have this system integrated a little more cleanly than the color-matched tape hiding wires.

Comments

Joshua Murdock - 05/20/12 - 9:43pm

Ok, now I’d like to see some Di2 action off of the same battery. That’d be cool.

John - 05/20/12 - 11:23pm

Another overly engineered, and extremely over priced system for fat old lazy men who can’t climb a hill without locking out their shock and fork.

Mark W. - 05/21/12 - 12:18am

this seems ultra low tech and just like they were able to combine two levers into one and make it electric and not instead make a self sensing system all the way.
you still need to turn the lock out on the handle bar before you change what you are doing.
As much as Cannondale’s simon system looked complicated, it really looked like a set in the right direction for what and electric suspension set up should be able to do for you. Simon compared to this makes this look like pretty lame.

Paul - 05/21/12 - 1:51am

I don’t understand why they’d bother implementing such useful technology on a bike using what’s considered to be a shocking suspension design. What a waste.

Tim R - 05/21/12 - 4:39am

Yep, more tech that costs a fortune but doesnt actually make me or my bike go any faster, and really only required for on the rear for bikes with poor suspension design that need a lockout.

why would you pay all that cash for the elec version when the mechanical version does the same job? oh, this is of course unless you have bottomless pockets or youre a sponsored xc racer

DeeEight - 05/21/12 - 6:36am

Noleen Racing had computer-chip controlled electronical damping which set itself (without these remote things being needed) to the terrain being ridden (based off shaft speeds and bump forces) over a decade ago. The shocks were no bulkier than what Fox is presenting here, and the fork externally looked no different that a regular fork other than one top cap was a little larger. There was no remotes, or cables coming in and out. Other than some problems with sealing / moisture, they worked well.

Louis - 05/21/12 - 10:58am

So, the Spark has a crappy rear suspension, but instead of fixing that, they are going to implement a clunky electronic system that adds 250g and cuts out the “trail” setting.

But still, I’m always for innovation. I just don’t see why this system is necessary when it doesn’t offer some really new options.

The ability to adjust the setting would be cool if the electronic system really allowed for detailed changes.

Also, I wonder if you could run a Di2 system and this off the same battery? If the battery and cabling was already there it might not be as dumb.

Aaron - 05/21/12 - 12:14pm

This seems like electronics for electronics sake. Sparks already come with the mechanical ability to lock out the front and rear suspension to various degrees, and as it’s been said, other bike brands use more advanced rear suspension with little need for a manual lockout.

Tyler (Editor) - 05/21/12 - 12:26pm

Fox has hinted that this is only the beginning. They started working on this a while back but it wasn’t ready to release for the regular 2013 line across the entire range. Hence, our prediction this will expand to cover a CTD switch and likely future integration with Shimano as things develop in mountain bike drivetrains.

Kovas - 05/21/12 - 1:04pm

Push innovation – make it wireless. Same for DI2.

Ripnshread - 05/21/12 - 2:16pm

Girvin and Noleen had this years ago. But as DeeEight said it was self adjusting.

BT - 05/21/12 - 2:35pm

Make it wireless, integrate it with GPS and have a Strava-like app where you can define trail segments and your prefered suspension settings for that segment and have it adjust your suspension for you

Greg - 05/21/12 - 2:43pm

while I do agree with some of you that bikes are getting overly complicated, I think those of you calling this system worthless or a crutch for a poor suspension design are a bit off.

I’ve ridden most of the major suspension designs, (single pivot, VPP, DW, 4-bar/Brain, etc..) and all of them have pros and cons and make concessions in different areas.

Think about the Whiskey 50 that Kabush just won. It has sections of road, rough stuff and everything in between. Imagine coming onto the last bit of road neck and neck and then jumping out of the saddle to attack…with any of the above suspension designs (save for maybe the Brain) Kabush would just have mush underneath him. With this system he gets exactly what he needs at the twist of the wrist. Fully rigid efficiency, plush open descending, and a firm rear with an open front for fire roads etc…

Now he could reach down and activate the levers by hand…real handy in a sprint.
or he could use the existing mechanical version
Or he could use electronics to do the work and simply (and probably effortlessly) twist his hand.

Obviously he likes it and thinks it improves his racing.
Take that into consideration when writing your comments.

Steve M - 05/21/12 - 6:35pm

Yeah the bike industry is really jumping the shark on most of this stuff- friggin buttons, levers, dials, batteries, plastic this, carbon that. I just cant help but look at sports that have been around much longer and dont do this stuff. MotoGP? no rider controlled suspension adjustment….Motocross? again- no. In fact, motocross bikes have single pivot rear suspensions and non floating rear brakes- state of the art……

Grumpy old man club claims another member.

CCC - 05/21/12 - 7:07pm

agree w/all that everyone has said on CON -side…and what about the price (if) one wants one? forks are already climbing thru the roof at $900-1100 new!!!

Group think - 05/21/12 - 9:29pm

A. You don’t need to adjust your MX suspension on the fly because you have an engine to push you up stuff, you don’t necessarily have to be that efficient. Duh.
B. This is a step in the right direction. Hide the batteries, make that huge thing on the shock smaller, integrate with Di2 so that when you are in a low gear the suspension automatically firms up.

The Dude - 05/21/12 - 10:43pm

I just cannot wait to see bikes that cost $15,000. That sirs will be epic.

simon spragg - 05/22/12 - 2:33am

Very cleaver I am sure, BUT WHY? Just ride the bike rather than concentrate on what setting to use we are not F1 drivers….Over complicated settings on a trail bike is nuts the trail is a constantly changing landscape therefore you need a good set up which takes time to acheive then just ride. By the way to make your rear shock come alive fit AMACHETE needle roller bearings repalcing the DU bushings (www.amachete.com) the difference these roller bearings make is incredible – stutter bumps just dissapear, high speed hits are now smooth as silk, leave the shock wide open and gain so much more traction. SIMPLE solutions are always best!

Djorzgul - 05/22/12 - 8:59am

For me electronic shifting, or anything else with “electronic” attribute is for road, street, travel bikes…
Mountain bikes, mud, water and electronically controlled gears’n’shocks… Yeah… I’ll wait until they make magnetic, anti/gravity suspensions :)

Matic - 07/04/12 - 5:35am

The bike here has THE best suspension (the Nude rear spring, not this FOX crap) on the market for the puspose it is built for, pure XC racing. There is no other bike that climbs the same way as a hardtail, period. Every test I have read claiming the suspension is off is by a guy that thinks All mountain is the same as XC or claims that for example an there is no suspension activity on an Epic going uphill.

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