Fox Racing Shox’ new electronic shocks

by Chipps 32

We brought you a teaser story back on March about a prototype electric something or other that Geoff Kabush was riding.

So far, so simple - but wait... what's that?

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.

Electrics now control fork lockout

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




And rear lockout too.




The rear controller obviously missed the shrinkeriser machine.


Enough power for a couple of months between charges


Very simple hand controller will lock rear shock and fork at once, just shock or unleash both.


Using Shimano Di2 cables, the front lockout looks very neat. Two cables? One runs from the fork back to the rear shock.


You'd like to hope that this HUGE box does more than physically turn the rear shock compression knob, but we fear that that's probably all it does.


Mr Kabush's new team bike. Good to see him on Scott - and on big wheels after not being one of its greatest fans.




Comments (32)

  1. Not sure how well that would last a British winter.

  2. Emperor’s new clothes?

  3. That lockout box is massive, total overkill!

  4. I have always thought having adjustable travel suspension was a bit of a faff but these seems crazy in a country where Fox Components already don’t have the best reputation for not being the most hard wearing.

  5. can it just lock out and put the saddle up when I change into granny ring? cheers.

  6. Not yet Oliver, but I reckon that technology isn’t too far away…
    As for the electrics lasting a British winter, I’ve been running Di2 on my ‘cross bike since February without any issues so far.

  7. Di2 battery lasts a few months between charges….
    Fox forks last a few hours between services…… 😉

    On another note, you could have this, a remote dropper post, two shifters, and hydro brakes, and the cable weight alone would be shocking!!


  8. Give a year or two and it’ll all be wifi’d so no cables, athough some monkey will end up hacking into the system 😉

  9. Anyone else think all this electronic gizmo-etry is making the whole thing less “pure”? Not from a skills POV, but more from the beauty of a bike was always its self sufficiency – just relying on the chap on top. Soon we’ll have bikes we have to plug in to recharge overnight – just seems wrong.

  10. Ohhhh what a brilliant idea, it’s like really new, no-one ever did that before…

    Oh hang on a second… Maybe not so new after all (cannondale early 2000)

  11. God, I’ve only adjusted full suspension!

    Cannot see a cost?

  12. Start again – only discovered full suspension!

  13. “Cannot see a cost?”

    If you have to ask……..

  14. If you want to lock out your suspension, buy a hard tail.

    when will people learn to ride a full suss like a full suss and not like a squashy HT?

  15. Wonder where innovation stops – when does a bike stop being a bike and you might as well have a motorcycle?

  16. Thats a lot of weight just to save a few seconds when locking/unlocking and fork/shock.

  17. Interesting idea, surprised it hasn’t been done sooner.

  18. “a lot of weight just to save a few seconds when locking/unlocking and fork/shock”

    Presumably the weight of this is comparable to ‘traditional’ cable (or hydraulic) actuated remote lockouts?

    Whats next then? Electronic actuated dropper post or travel adjust forks/shocks?
    Then in future some sort of electronically actuated half breed of kona magic link and a bionicon?

  19. Didn’t Pro-Flex have an electronic damping/lockout system on one of their carbon full sus bikes (Noleen shock and Girvin forks) back in 1997 too?

  20. Yes been done, cannondale CIRCA 1999 and the Pro-flex fork had a piezo in the damping cartridge to adjust the compression on the fly.

  21. by adding a battery that needs to be recharged (or the system fails) “greatly simplifies the previously-complex task of”… flicking a lever? 🙄 I think not my little marketing puppet!

    “Mr Kabush’s new team bike. Good to see him on…big wheels after not being one of its greatest fans”
    presumably because the marking dept. told him to switch as they need to sell some 29ers.

    Odd: I know it’s all about the money, but I still like to kid myself some of the manufacturers are actually giving the sports people the fastest bikes for the job, as opposed to using the sport to sell emperors new clothes to the punters.

  22. I think they should change the whole damping system altogether, rather than simply have an electric servo changing the damping circuit – it should be like the Audi R8 system – where passing a current through the system ‘charges’ particles in the oil and changes the oil viscosity, thus changing the damping rate (or something like this!).
    that would do away with having physically moving parts to alter damping rate (and also be really expensive, which as we know = better….)


  23. I suppose its reassuring in way to know that bikes have reached a point with reliable disk brakes, effective suspension and lightweight frames etc that they are really having to scrape the barrel to come up with something new. Up till now I have always felt like I needed the latest developments….not so much now.

  24. lectric lockout but no lectric shifter? seems daft.
    Lectric lockout actually just being a motor to flick the lever just seems stupendously crap.

  25. For a dedicated racer surely this is the sort of stuff that is of benefit, just like Di2 itself. I can’t say it’s something I will yearn for but so what?

    Good old STW luddites, I can imagine the comments that would have been made when sti was released. From memory even the mags were sceptical of that.

    If you don’t like or want the latest thing guess what? You don’t have to buy it.

    I ride a rigid SS by the way.

  26. electric shifting I’m looking forward to (when it’s on sensibly priced groupsets) and DrP/audi’s clever oil also sounds clever and something worth looking at tho possibly for racers/minted riders only.

    We already have cable operated lockout, this doesn’t really look worth the hassle, only benefit I can see is same button/lever does both front and rear shock (can’t remember if any cable operated version does that) and your suspension maybe locks out 0.5 seconds quicker. Cons are weight, money and hassle (tho presumably only weight will bother the racers)

  27. LoCo said: On May 21, 2012
    Give a year or two and it’ll all be wifi’d so no cables, athough some monkey will end up hacking into the system …

    Oh, yes….. reminds me of when I were a lad…..
    Pretty much everyone had the TV from Radio Rentals. When remote control TV came in everyone had the same TV and the same remote – cue whole nights of fun when someone’s parents were out – take the remote out, go garden hopping and change folks TV channels through the window…. Priceless 🙂
    Not too much fun if you’re a racer in a sprint and some joker borks your settings for you….

    electric shifting I’m looking forward to..
    Thought we’d see that before the likes of this Fox stuff, TBH, but then this also gives the big S chance to gauge how the MTB world will react to ‘pedal by wire’?

  28. XTR Di2 (Xi2?) is coming – I can’t believe for a second Shimano haven’t got prototypes on the go.

  29. With a battery and motor that big, I’d expect it to ride up the bloomin hills for me.

  30. Why dont they just go the whole hog and sell us a car?

  31. BTW that is an ace looking bike (IMHO).

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