Imagine if you could all but erase not just bumps, but vibration, too, from your commuter, road, cyclocross or gravel bike. That’s the promise of the new NAILD R3ACT front suspension.
It’s named for Newton’s third law that says every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and this particular prototype is made for flat bar road bikes, but designer Darrell Voss has bigger plans for it. It’s not really a stem suspension or a fork suspension, it’s both, and it requires a rider’s weight to be on the handlebars for it to work.
Voss explains that in the auto industry, they want about 10x the weight of the wheel:tire combo in the structure immediately surrounding it in order to properly deaden vibrations before they reach the driver. On a bike, that ratio isn’t practical, so he faked it by isolating the handlebars from the fork via a leveraged connection between the stem and the steerer tube. Press down on the frame and it barely moves. Put your weight on the bars and it absorbs bumps smoothly and easily…
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