September 15, 2011
We dropped by the Fox Racing Shox stand to find out what’s new for 2012. Although the lack of upside-down Fox 40s was a bit of a disappointment (they do exist, they’re not going to be made, they’re just experimenting) there were still new and interesting things to see, namely an almost production version of their dropper post and a rather cool ‘Smart Suspension Pump’ concept.
The D.O.S.S uppy downy post
Various incarnations of the Fox D.O.S.S (Drop Off Steep Stuff) post have been floating about for the past couple of years or so, but apparently this is pretty much how the production item will look. Contrary to rumours and speculation that it would be hydraulic, magnetic or maybe even controlled with the power of thought alone, they’ve gone for a air sprung, mechanically operated post with a cable remote. You’ll be able to pick 100 or 125mm of travel with the option to have the post fully up, down or down 40mm for the pedally tech bits.
The twin lever remote lets you press the outer lever if you want to drop the post all the way down or release it and the inner lever will give you the 40mm option. Although there are plenty of stepless posts out there, Fox say that most of the racers they work with only wanted the two settings.
The seatpost and the clamp are machined from a single piece for extra strength and the side-mounted remote can be switched from side to side. We’re told final versions may or may not have the super slippy and tough Kashima coating seen on their latest forks.
The post uses a cunning pre-loaded bearing system to automatically adjust for wear and therefore minimise side to side slop. We had a quick play with the post on the stand and the remote is remarkably intuitive. The action is pretty fast and you can make the post release without having to sit on it, always a nice touch with mechanical posts.
It’ll be available in 30.9mm and 31.6mm diameters so anyone with a 27.2mm frame is going to be disappointed. No word on price yet…
Smart Pump concept
It’s all very well making high-tech suspension, but it’s a bit of a waste of time if people don’t set it up properly. Fox knows that some people aren’t particularly into spending ages with a ruler, rubber band and shock pump trying to get their sag perfect and that some people may not know what ‘correct’ rebound damping feels like, so they’ve coem up with a high tech solution.
Fox have created a special ANT+ wireless equipped shock pump that will talk to a Android phone or a Garmin GPS. The shocks on the bike have scannable QR code stickers which contain information on the precise model of fork or shock. If you know the volume of the air spring and the pressure in it, with a bit of fancy calculation you can then work out how much sag there is when someone sits on the bike. Even smarter than that, by cycling the fork a few times, it’s possible for the program to calculate how fast the rebound damping is.
Setting the bike up then becomes a case of attaching the pump, scanning the codes and then following the simple step-by-step instructions. You can even choose how what percentage sag you’d like to aim for. The concept is never going to replace a proper setup session by a technician and takes no account of personal preference, but you don’t have to squint too hard as you peer into the future and see this as an excellent tool for bike shops to quickly and easily get a basic working suspension setup on a customer’s bike.
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