by Marc Basiliere
April 12, 2014
Light, active, and stiff- and now for wagon wheels
Introduced just as 26er’s were deemed unsuitable for cross-country racing, Formula’s ThirtyThree suspension fork never took off in the way that the brand might have hoped. At 3.3lb despite 120mm of travel and a solid 33mm chassis, Formula’s first effort was a good one and – now that the ThirtyFive trail fork has hit the market – is being revisited.
Taking the original ThirtyThree chassis but setting aside the open bath, the 29er model incorporates Formula’s ThirtyFive cartridge damper. All of the essentials sit atop the right leg: a gold lockout lever, blue rebound knob, and Allen key compression adjustment. The entire assembly can be rotated to suit the rider and installs with a standard socket wrench.
In fact, no special tools are required for damper service. Rebuilding and even tuning are made easy and encouraged by the company. The shim stack can be tweaked and air volume can be easily changed using Ballistoil– a product with myriad household, sporting, and equestrian uses.
At the back of the booth, this prototype lockout remote was also being shown. If it makes its way to market, Formula’s solution may be the simplest approach available. A stretch of empty hydraulic hose is twisted along its length, serving as a long, flexible extension of the lockout knob. Despite being almost too obvious to work, the design apparently has enough promise to make it to this late prototype stage.
The 29in ThirtyThree forks will ship in 80-100mm and 120-140mm models, the latter featuring stealthy black legs. Weight is expected to land in the 1,550-1,750g (3.4-3.8lb) range, the lower number being very competitive in its class. Pricing is thought to be consistent with previous generations: $1,100/£1,000, more with a remote lockout.