There are several features that look to make it special, but the biggest visual standout is the one-piece carbon fiber lower leg shield. Dust covers and rock shields are nothing new on inverted forks. Cannondale’s Lefty and Manitou’s Dorado have used them all along. DVO’s is entirely different. It’s a patent pending design that resembles a standard fork’s lowers in that it’s one piece with a “Carbon Torsion Arch” that goes over the wheels. It uses a proprietary layup and “Hex Core Carbon”, which DVO’s John Pelino says increases torsional stiffness at the wheel by 50% over normal, unsupported lowers. For those unfamiliar with inverted forks, they generally rely heavily on the thru axle to keep the wheel tracking straight and prevent the legs from twisting, flexing or moving independently.
The arch is split in two, much like Magura’s forks, to provide better clearance at the crown. Really, though, that’s just the beginning…
The upper and lower crowns are forged CNC’d pieces that use a collet clamp rather than bolts. In the pic above, notice the gray rings at the top of each crown around the ano green legs. Looks to us like you’ll use a standard outboard BB tool to tighten them into place, and clamp options will be available for either 26″ wheels or 27.5″/650B wheels. The clamps will have slightly different offsets for the 650B wheels to keep trail the the same as with 26″ wheels.
The 43mm-41mm upper legs are hard anodized 7000-series alloy with a slight taper, and the stanchions are 36mm of the same material with a Molybdenum Disulfide smooth coating. Dropouts are forged magnesium with an oversized contact patch between them and the 20mm axle.
If all this sounds big, it’s because the fork is aimed at the downhill mountain bike segment and has 203mm travel in both wheel size configurations. Interestingly for a DH fork, it uses a tapered steerer, which should make it easier to use with adjustable angle headsets.
Inside, the fork uses a Twin Tube Open Bath Cartridge for hydraulic damping and an air spring. Externally, you have both high and low speed compression and rebound damping controls. On the compression side, the internals have “Advanced Dynamic Valving” coupled with valves and shims. The rebound also gets ADV plus piston shims. The entire damping assembly threads in through the bottom of the leg so it’s easily accessible and replaceable without any oil loss during removal.
On the other leg, it has the air valve and a coil negative spring with adjustable preload that allows fine tuning the balance between air positive and spring negative.
Target Weight is 2900 grams. Look for retail around $1,600 to $1,800 and available in May 2013. Word is a DH shock will follow, then something more in the all-mountain range. The DVO team is at Taichung Bike Week, so we’ll work on getting more tech details on the internals as they wrap up that show and head home…and there’s a pretty solid collection of general suspension tech on their website. We do know the fork is being made for them by Suntour, a partnership that let them bring the new design to market so quickly.