Foam! Truly this is mountain biking’s era of foam. No longer confined to the bit we sit on, there are now foam tyre inserts, vibration dampening foam-filled bars, rims filled with foam, and more recently foam fork volume spacers. Like this, the Deaneasy ABS Fork Tune tuning kit.
Deaneasy ABS Fork Tune
- From: deaneasy.it
- Price: €49.90
- Weight: 37.5g for all the foam in the kit, around 3.1g per puck
It comes in a water bottle, and is a bunch of foam nuggets that slide onto a foam rod then (almost) fill up the air chamber in your fork.
At this point, I should also mention the smaller foam spacer in the room: Neopos, which Wil reviewed last year and which I’ve also ridden with. While the two are similar in being foam fork volume spacers, Deaneasy claims their ABS Fork Tune is completely different to Neopos, and “takes advantages of more features and principles”, apparently allowing use of much lower pressures.
There are two versions, this one is the Comfort and Grip one, the other is a Race version. Their website doesn’t specify what the difference is, but I’m guessing the race version is firmer. Also, it’s red, so presumably makes you go faster.
The ABS Fork Tune comes with some bold claims that I’m going to quote here:
- “Constant performance during intense use”
- “Virtually perfect vibration absorption on the handlebars”
- “Reduced friction thanks to the use of specifically supplied grease”
- “Volume reducer: increasing the progressivity of the air suspension”
- “Volume variator: depending on the internal pressure of the positive chamber”
- “Operating pressure of the positive chamber, lower than that provided for only AIR”
Going on this and the Deaneasy website, and given they’re Italian, I’m guessing they know English as a second language because some of the claims and phrasing can take a bit of deciphering.
Taking them in revese order: number six seems to be a suggestion – run slightly lower pressures with this spacer in than without. Number five, “Volume variator”, seems to be in reference to the foamy nature of the volume spacer: it squishes down as the air pressure around it increases, effectively becoming a smaller spacer the further into the travel you get. Three and four seem to be waffly versions of facts about volume spacers. Like any volume spacer, it reduces the volume, and increases progressivity.
As for “reduced friction thanks to the specially supplied grease”: there was no grease supplied, though it looks like they’ve started including their own, branded “DLube”, since they sent us this. They do specify SRAM PM600 Military or transparent silicone grease, because other greases have potential to destroy seals and other fork internals.
As for points one and two, well, they’re what the rest of this review will be about. The TL;DR? It kinda works, but it’s not exactly night and day.
Easy to be sceptical in the face of claims like these, but I wanted to give it a fair shake. On researching this, I also found out Deaneasy make the Air Liner for Vittoria, which is one of my favourite and most effective tyre inserts.
Putting this ABS Fork in is pretty straightforward, with one easy to mess up part. Which I did.
Basically, you need to string a load of the foam pucks onto the square foam rod, drop them into the open air chamber on your fork, then cut them to a length that leaves a 15mm space between the air top cap and the top of the spacer assembly. EXCEPT, I did this without the fork fully extended, so cut it too short. Easily fixed, if a bit jankily, by combining two lengths.
Other than that, pretty simple, just like adding volume spacers but with a coating of grease. They recommend PM600 or any clear silicone grease; I went with Buzzy’s Slick Honey because that’s recommended by most suspension manufacturers and unlikely to rot any seals.
So: cut to length, cover in grease, drop into fork, pull crown and bridge to fully extend fork, secure top cap, and inflate to desired sag. The pulling step got pretty annoying in any forks that have a negative spring, or that can form a vacuum in the lowers.
The one fork I didn’t test these with was a Formula 35, because they use oil inside the air chamber to do volume spacing. Grease, in it’s simplest forms, is basically oil with an emulsifier added. It might have turned out fine, especially as the damping circuits are in the opposite leg, but nonetheless I did not want to experiment with adding anything that might start emulsifying things inside my favourite fork.
The rest of this review is for registered users only.
|Product:||ABS Fork Tune|
|Tested:||by David Hayward for 1 month|