June 16, 2010
It wasn’t just drivetrains and brakes that SRAM had to show off. They’ve been busy with their range of forks and shocks too.
It may be old news now but Rock Shox has decided to get on the 15mm through axle bandwagon and will be offering both their lightweight XC racer SID fork and the longer travel trail Revelation with 15mm Maxle Lite options.
The SID has gone up in travel with a 15mm Maxle Lite 120mm version available as well as the 80/100mm QR or 15 ML option. With tapered steerers available across the range, the combination of the through axle and a 120mm travel, the SID starts to make a lot of sense as an all round trail bike fork instead of a race only fork – we rode one on a Ghost Lector and it was more than up to the job of flying up and down White’s Level at speed.
The compression damping on the Black Box Motion Control damped RLT Ti I rode was very well executed, dealing with big hits without flying through the travel and staying comfortable on the smaller stuff – it was hard to remind myself there was “only” 120mm there.
The longer travel 120-150mm Rock Shox Revelation has also had some tweaks, with 15mm Maxle Lite options as well as new World Cup and XX World Cup versions that will be solely available with a tapered 1.5 to 1 1/8th carbon crown and steerer. The XX World Cup Revelation comes in at a claimed 1,489g, which is 150mm travel for the weight of some rivals 100mm XC forks. No news on price but as they say, if you need to ask…
RL and RLT Revelations have also been upgraded with a Dual Flow damper and there is a Dual Position Air travel adjustment system which works to drop the fork down around 30mm for steep climbs, softening the spring slightly at the same time.
Not present at the launch but new for 2011 is the Sektor – it’s available in options from 100-150mm with all axle types including 15mm and should be a rather interesting and more affordable all-round trail bike fork when it’s released.
Last year’s Monarch air has also had some work done, with redesigned seals for lower friction and smoother action as well as more tuning options. The multi-step adjustable Gate has gone from the top line Monarch RT3 to be replaced by a more simple two position lever to turn the platform damping on or off. The rebound adjuster has also been moved to make it less fiddly to adjust and the moveable air valve of last year has also disappeared. There are still plenty of air can volume options too. We liked last year’s Monarch and we’re looking forward to spending some time on the new version as well.
The final shiny new bit of kit we were shown was the new Vivid air – possibly not that relevant to most Singletrackers but it features some interesting technology to combat the main problem of air shocks – heat. The action of constantly compressing the air in the can heats it and in turn makes it expand, making the shock stiffer on long descents. This is compounded by the fact the air can is constantly moving over the damper, which is generating a lot of heat as well. The damping oil then gets thinner and what results on extremely long or rough descents is a very stiff air spring with almost no damping – not ideal by any means. This has been a major reason in the past for the lack of air shocks on DH bikes – they just aren’t suited to it. Rock Shox reckon they’ve cracked it by having an extremely large air can and a clever bit of technology called the Hot Rod, which makes the damping needle get longer as it heats up, closing the damping circuit and countering the effects of the thinner oil as it heats up. It’s been tested without issue on a large number of SRAM pro DHers bikes and SRAM reckon that it’s good enough to cope not only with 3-7 minute World Cup DH courses but 30 minute descents found on the MegaAvalanche. When you figure you can save around 400g from using the Vivid Air over the Vivid coil it would make a massive difference to bike weight too.
Finally, we noticed these tidy looking Truvativ Holzfeller stems in 1 1/8th and 1.5 flavours – they don’t have the usual housebrick-with-a-hole-in look some 1.5 stems have..