May 21, 2012
We brought you a teaser story back on March about a prototype electric something or other that Geoff Kabush was riding.
It was merely a picture of a bike with what looked like a Shimano Di2 battery bolted to it. What it was actually for was a new development that Fox has been working on with Shimano to allow a push-button lockout for forks or for front and rear shocks simultaneously.
To quote the release “Intelligent Ride Dynamics (iRD) is FOX’s categorization for electronic products employing non-traditional solutions to help customers improve their ride experience. Items under the iRD umbrella will directly address a rider’s individual needs, be very intuitive and provide features beyond what has traditionally been offered.”
What it means by this is that Fox has got boffins working on non-traditional ways of making you go faster. And here, Fox has worked with Shimano to offer electric front and rear shock lockout at a virtual press of a button (or twist of a lever). The new iRD (which is nothing to do with the IRD bike company by the way) uses battery power from a Shimano Di2 battery unit to move your fork (and shock if you have both set up) from ‘Descend’ to ‘Climb’ modes.
Rather randomly, last month, Fox previewed its 2013 range with a new three way ‘Climb, Trail, Descend’ mode. Quite why the new system goes back to a two state setup, we’re not sure, though it could just be that its been working on the electric system since before the three position setup was thought of.
Anyway, using reasonably neat and unobtrusive Di2 cabling, there’s a single ambidextrous hand lever, with a single wire heading to the fork for lockout control. If you’re running both front and rear iRD shocks, then a further cable leaves the fork and heads to the rear shock and then to the battery. If it’s a fork only, then the cable goes to the fork, then to the battery. This greatly simplifies the previously-complex task of running both shocks off one controller.
Details from Fox:
The fork features: Internal actuator unit, Factory series with FIT damper and Kashima-coated upper tubes, 100mm or 120mm, 26in or 29in wheel, and 9mm or 15QR axle options.
Shock features: External actuator unit, Factory series with Kashima-coated body and air sleeve, 6.5×1.5in to 7.875×2.0in sizes, and standard or large eyelet air volume options.
Remote Switch: Right or left mounting option, two or three position rotary switch, non-contact operation and integrated battery low feature.
Full Suspension System: System includes fork, shock, battery, battery bracket and remote switch with three cables linking the system together, left or right remote mounting options, three mode positions – Climb, Climb (Rear Only) and Descend.
Front Suspension System: System includes fork, battery, battery bracket and remote switch with two cables linking the system together, left or right remote mounting options, two mode positions – Climb and Descend.
Battery Life: In excess of 2.5 months (results may vary)
Actuation Time: 0.25 seconds for fork, 0.45 seconds for shock
Full Suspension Weight: Starting at 1860g / 4.10lbs
Front Suspension Weight: Starting at 1555g / 3.43lbs
Availability: September, 2012