SOC13: Up Close with DVOs Mean Green Suspension Components, Plus Weights

DVO Fork no CTAFor the greater part of the past year, we’ve been closely following the progression of the new DVO downhill and coil rear shock. While we’ve covered the inception and technology in depth over the course of the past few months, Sea Otter was the first time we had the opportunity to see the goods in person.

Hop past the break for more….

DVO V10DVO is working with several top level athletes, including Cedric Gracia, to develop the next generation of suspension products. They’ve been working extensively with partners Gravity and Novatec to build several high end show bikes to product test and demo product.

DVO Preload Adjustment

DVO Rebound AdjAt the top of the fork, within easy reach, is the air cap and rebound adjustments.

DVO CrownsOriginally, DVO was experimenting with an unusual titanium collet system to tighten the crowns but high costs have kept the innovative design just out of the realm of practicality. Someday..

Different crowns will be available for both 26 and 650B wheels.

DVO Carbon Torsion Arc CTAThe Carbon Torsion Arc (CTA) is the not-so-secret ingredient DVO utilizes to compensate for the lack of stiffness inherent in inverted forks. In the future, we wouldn’t be surprised to see several arches available with different tunes to increase or decrease chassis stiffness based on rider weight and desired feel.

This Carbon Torsion Arc is one of the first DVO received from its overseas partners for testing. It’s been ravaged on countless shuttle laps across the jagged rocks of Mordor Southern Californias downhill trails and amazingly, it’s still in one piece.

DVO Low Speed Compression StackPeek under the fork to adjust the high and low speed compression or pull out the whole assembly to fiddle with the user serviceable damper. DVO plans on offering several tuning kits and a variety of educational videos on their website, so everyone from home mechanics to racers can fiddle to their hearts content.


DVO Shock and CTA Arc WeightThe DVO wrenches were busy installing forks on a few show and racer bikes and didn’t have any to weigh when we stopped in, but we did get a chance to put a preproduction shock and CTA on our scale.

Target Weight for the Emerald Fork is 2900 grams. Look for retail around $1,600 to $1,800 and availability towards the latter part of the year.

Show Bikes

DVO V10 Complete Show BikeDVO claims their Carbon Torsion Arc increases stiffness by 50% and they have been rigorously testing forks with and without the CTA.

Trek Session DVO Show BikeFor those who prefer the perceived slimming effect of black, DVO is also working on a murdered out version.


wheelz - 05/13/13 - 8:16am

Drop dead gorgeous! Almost makes me want to build up a new DH bike.

captain derp - 05/13/13 - 8:17am

shut up and take my money!

LMStuff - 05/13/13 - 8:40am

Awesome looking! Downhill bike worthy! I like the controls on the top for easy on the fly adjustments to fine tune the ride.

One concern would be weight, it looks like a lot more shock tube since it’s inverted.

My other concern would be that the money section is now lower to the ground and closer to the rocks and dirt, the shields in the last pick would definitely fix that.

Lastly, we need a shootout comparison between this shock and a comparable non-inverted shock. Performance weights etc. Same for the rear shock, hoping their rear tech is that much better! Fox needs to competition and we need good alternatives!

Tim - 05/13/13 - 2:49pm

I can’t quite see the advantage of this. The damper might be quite sophisticated and offer something we did not have before, and the carbon arch thing is a good innovation, but that looks more like it compensates for, rather than solves, the flex in inverted forks.
There are two other places to increase the stiffness in these forks- different crown/ leg interface, and different/ larger thru axle (like the Manitou Hexlock). And they have foregone both of those possibilities. Why not a 30mm, eight-sided thru-axle?

captain derp - 05/13/13 - 3:13pm

it does only compensate for the flex (and quite well from what i’ve been told). the only way to actually solve it would result in a 15+ pound fork. there are other advantages of an inverted design (compared to forks with cast lowers) like better small bump compliance, better seal lubrication, and increased bushing overlap.

and no one wants a 30mm axle, no one makes a hub for it. Foes’ DH fork uses a 24mm axle, and you don’t see many of those these days ( i can count on one hand the number i’ve seen in a decade+ of downhilling). This isn’t one of those “if you build it they will come” kind of deals.

KJR - 05/13/13 - 3:45pm

I remember seeing pre-production fork photos with high and low speed rebound adjustment knobs. I guess they dropped that for production? Shame…

Tim - 05/13/13 - 6:49pm

@Captain Derp: Maverick had a 24mm axle, too. Guess you’re right on that count. Still, an eight- or whatever-sided to avoid infringing Manitou’s patent should have been doable without going to a new standard size.
Small bump compliance- Well, this may or may not be true. First- does the inverted fork really and truly have lower unsprung weight? Let’s take some actual forks apart and find the answer. I remember Halson Designs claimed that inverted forks have lower unsprung weight, but they never claimed it about their own fork, because their forks in fact had heavier lower legs and a heavier brace than Rock Shox.
Also- higher small bump compliance can come from lower unsprung weight, but the increased flex can negate that.
Maybe it’s my advanced years, but it seems gimmicky to me overall.
Of course, let’s see how the real thing rides when it comes out.

Jake - 05/14/13 - 2:09am

Tim is absolutely right. The dead giveaway in regards to stiffness (or lack thereof) is the constant show of “50% stiffer” in DVO’s marketing material. Compared to what? The fork without the brace of course – what would be more useful is testing data against a 38mm 888 or Fox 40. Having ridden many different forks on WC level tracks and beyond, there is no doubt in my mind that a fork that is torsionally stiffer allows higher speeds and superior performance / faster times on difficult terrain.

It’s easy to market “built in compliance” when your product has no choice in the matter. In reality, a stiffer fork means less wheel deflection in critical scenarios, meaning increased dynamic stability and greatly reduced “spring effect” as the fork flexes torsionally and then returns. Steeper tracks, rougher terrain, and increased leverage through wider bars – all translate to a need for a fork that is torsionally stiff.

Finally, very few of the touted benefits are really useful. Current seal technology does not require constant lubrication to move with low friction – Marzocchi has proved this for years, and Fox are now on board with their SKF items. The unsprung weight argument is almost completely invalid when you consider light magnesium-alloy lowers on the base of a conventional fork vs. the alloy forgings and stanchions in the same place on an invert. Let’s not forget damping and damper fluid – the new Fox cartridges ensure the majority of internal weight is unsprung. Conventional forks with large stanchions are more than adequately stiff torsionally so there is zero need for increased bushing overlap. The *only* real benefit to an invert is constantly oil-submerged bushings – which is always a good thing – but proper bushing interface design (combined with good lubrication) should mitigate this being a necessity – as already proven by existing products.

Jake - 05/14/13 - 2:18am

“Conventional forks with large stanchions are more than adequately stiff torsionally so there is zero need for increased bushing overlap.”

That should read “laterally” not “torsionally”, excuse my mistake.

ds - 05/14/13 - 12:34pm

The more this advances, the more this looks just marketing hype. Funny when I said this before I got a lot of bad replies.

And the color is horrible. Okay if your bike is black and green but for others…

I still hope it could be good in small bump compliance, which none excels at this today IMHO.

captain derp - 05/14/13 - 12:44pm

of course there’s going to be marketing hype surrounding new product… but you have to be able to sift through that to get to the good stuff.

the fact that you can pull the compression unit out and not have to completely rebuild/rebleed the fork is pretty awesome, at least for those of us who like to custom tune the shim stack.

captain derp - 05/14/13 - 12:50pm

and yes, i’ve always thought the lower unsprung weight for inverted forks to be a dubious claim, only because i’ve never seen actual weights to confirm either way.

regarding small bump compliance, it was once explained to me that it was more due to increased bushing overlap of the inverted legs vs cast lowers, in that at the static (uncompressed) state, they are farther apart on an inverted fork than a fork with cast lowers.

captain derp - 05/14/13 - 12:51pm

and yes, i’ve always thought the lower unsprung weight for inverted forks to be a dubious claim, only because i’ve never seen actual weights to confirm either way.

regarding small bump compliance, it was once explained to me that it was more due to increased bushing overlap of the inverted legs vs cast lowers, in that at the static (uncompressed) state, they are farther apart on an inverted fork than a fork with cast lowers. how true that is, i’m not sure. it does make a certain amount of sense though.

Steve M - 05/14/13 - 12:55pm

If you grab large diameter, stiff, tubes where the loads are highest (the fork crowns) and put the small diameter, less stiff, tubes at the dropout where the loads are lower then the stiffness should increase dramatically. Look at a tree- big diameter at the bottom, small diameter at the top. Nature does not allow much variation from this rule and neither should forks.

Tim - 05/14/13 - 4:04pm

@ Steve- stiffness is in different axes- back and forth, lateral, and twisting.
With their larger upper tubes, inverted forks will flex and sway less to and fro than conventional forks. That’s useful for example when fighting the flex that comes when braking hard. They may even be better on lateral stiffness.
But in twisting stiffness, they’re definitely worse. This fork partly compensates with its brace, but it is long and therefore more subject to flex than the short arch of a Fox or RS. It also foregoes the other two things which could help fight twisting flex- a stronger axle, and colleted fork crowns up top. Incidentally, those two things could also benefit a conventional fork.

jenbe - 05/14/13 - 4:04pm

umm have i just woke up in the 90’s??? this has been done

bin judgin - 05/15/13 - 12:02am

you are all full of [edited]. everyone else in the world uses inverted forks because they are BETTER. weight & QC is the only issue. shut up, already, all of you. 38mm tubes is plenty for stiffness. weird that fox was working on inverted and then reduced the stiffness of their 40. that is knowing the market but also knowing stiff doesn’t equal better.

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