Interview: Roger Estrada, BOS Suspension Importer

BOS Suspensions are a well established French suspension brand, but are still relatively unheard of in the UK market outside of the downhill world. UK Importer Roger Estrada of R53 Engineering is determined to change that, making available their full range to the UK market, including their renowned Deville trail and all mountain fork. Roger took some time out from his busy schedule to talk to Singletrack about the range, the current special offer and what’s round the corner product wise.

BOS Suspension Roger Estrada R53 Engineering (6)

Roger Estrada, R53 Engineering boss and ex-Mitsubishi WRC chief engineer

Singletrack: Who are BOS Suspensions?

Roger Estrada: BOS Suspensions are based in Toulouse (France). The company was started by Olivier Bossard in 1999. BOS has very successfully produced suspensions for Dakar winning Mitsubishis, factory Mitsubishi and Subaru WRC, the factory Citroen S1600 world champion cars, and many other top racing cars. In mountain bike terms, Olivier helped Nico Vouiilloz to 8 world championships, with 2 more under the BOS moniker.

In 2005 BOS started to manufacture cartridges for the Marzocchi, Rockshox and Fox downhill forks with great success, which helped them decide by 2008 to commit to making their own forks and shocks.

Singletrack: Who or what is R53 engineering?

Roger Estrada: R53 Engineering is run by myself, Roger Estrada, and my team of dedicated engineers. I am a former chief engineer of the Mitsubishi World Rally Team, which is how I met Olivier Bossard who designed the rally cars’ shocks. R53 offers high quality fully customised products and services mainly for the motorsport industry, including products made directly by BOS.

Due to my long standing relationship with BOS, I was selected to import their mountain bike suspension products. At R53 Engineering, we apply motorsport practises and professionalism into our bicycle products, offering tailored customer support and advice for mountain bikers who use BOS’ products.

BOS Suspension Roger Estrada R53 Engineering (2)

R53 takes engineering seriously, here using a shock dyno on the BOS Stoy...

R53 engineering’s aim is to offer the best products and services to our customers, whilst also developing our range of products and services using motorsport best practises. We will be expanding our mountain bike product offering into frames, brakes and other components that we will be launching very soon. Watch this space.

Singletrack: What current suspension products do BOS make for mountain bikes?

BOS Suspension Roger Estrada R53 Engineering (5)

The BOS Idylle is a less adjustable and more affordable version of the Idylle RaRe (Race Ready)

Roger Estrada: There are currently 3 downhill forks, the N’dee, Idylle and Idylle Rare, and the coil downhill and enduro rear shock , the Stoy. All have been used out on World Cups and enduro events by Nico Vouiilloz and by the Morewood World Cup race team as well as other top international riders.

Nico has been instrumental in the development of the new enduro and trail fork, the Deville. In its 160 mode, it is the lightest all mountain fork on the market, and is competitively weighted in its 140mm version, too. BOS are currently working on an air version of the Stoy, to compliment the action of the Deville forks.

Olivier and his team are fully committed to the mountain bike products, and aim to continue developing new products into the market. In April, BOS will be launching their new range of products. There will be new downhill forks (lighter, even better damping and less friction, as well as a new design on the lowers). BOS have seen no reason to change the internals of the Deville forks, but they are going to extend its range on the 160mm and 140mm versions with a tapered steerer option, an option without the TRC, and a 170mm version, as well as incorporate a new axle and revised graphics. BOS is going to launch a new air shock to pair up with the Deville as well as launch an improved Stoy coil shock.

Singletrack: What are BOS’ design goals when they start working on a new fork or shock?

Roger Estrada: The main design goal is to have a suspension that is very progressive, smooth and plush to maximize traction and comfort, and absorbs all bumps big, medium and small. At the same time, BOS want to ensure that the products are reliable, so the customer has reduced service intervals and cost. I believe that they have achieved these aims.

BOS Suspension Roger Estrada R53 Engineering (4)

The 180mm travel BOS N'dee fork uses the same lowers as the Idylle DH fork but with single crown uppers

Singletrack: Can you tell us about the TRC technology employed on the Deville?

Roger Estrada: The twin rate curve (TRC) system is activated by a simple lever on the fork. It either leaves the fork fully open, or by flipping the lever it doubles the compression damping on the air side without shortening the fork or changing the geometry, whilst still allowing the fork to rebound when needed. We have found that once employed, it helps on long smooth climbs, but it also can be used when going down as it keeps the front dynamic ride height higher with still great damping. Nico often uses it in this setting for enduro events to get maximum speed, with the fork opening up to swallow the bigger jumps when needed.

Singletrack: UK conditions are notorious for destroying forks that work well elsewhere. How reliable do you feel that BOS forks will be when being hammered in British conditions? And, can you tell us about the service set up at R53 engineering.

Roger Estrada: BOS pride themselves on the quality and reliability of their products. They generally only need servicing once a year (for extensive race use) and every 2 years (for leisure use). The products have proved extremely reliable even within the UK’s harsh conditions. Since R53 engineering started distributing BOS products in mid 2009, hardly any forks or shocks have required a service.

All of the forks and shocks are serviced by the R53 engineering team. We are used to regularly working under intense pressure at the highest level of Motorsport, both for track and rally cars, and I am confident that we offer our mountain bike customers the same level of high service quality, not only in terms of performance but also in reliability. Our turn around time for servicing forks or shocks is 24 to 48 hours.

Singletrack: Can you tell us about the current special offer on the Deville forks?

Roger Estrada: The Deville fork, in both 160mm and 140mm versions, is currently on special offer at £750. We believe that the Deville is a great product and we wanted all the British mountain bike public to have the opportunity to experience it, hence the current reduction in price. I’m hoping that we can keep this special offer price until the end of March, when the line will be replaced with the newer versions.

Interview by Marcus Farley and Tim Spickernell

Here’s a video of Nico flat out on the 160mm BOS Deville:

Matt also spoke with Nico at the Eurobike show last year about the BOS Deville fork and his custom Lapierre Zesty – Premier users can see that HERE.

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