Sram Flight Attendant is an electronic suspension wizard built into the new RockShox Ultimate family

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You’ve likely heard some rumblings about a new electronic product from SRAM, well we can finally tell you all about it. Here’s everything you need to know about SRAM Flight Attendant.

It was only a matter of time before SRAM launched a product like Flight Attendant. After the buzz around ShockWiz and the popularity of AXS, SRAMs wireless drivetrain technology, it didn’t really take a genius to guess where the firm would be heading next.

Automatic suspension adjustment on the fly

Flight Attendant features a wireless system of sensors and accelerometers so that forks and rear shocks can be adjusted to their most efficient position on the fly, without any input from the rider. The system acts as a complete unit with the electronic mind located in a piggyback on the fork, which then collects information from sensors in the rear shock and the chainset.

The most basic explanation is Flight Attendant has the control to set your suspension in open, pedal or locked modes, with the default being open so if you did ever run out of charge on a ride you can still enjoy your ride. Using the suite of sensors and accelerometers at its disposal, Flight Attendant monitors the position and forces on the bike and decides which mode the suspension should be in. Point your bike downhill, or launch off a jump and Flight Attendant knows it should be in the fully open position. In fact, Flight Attendant won’t really make much difference to your bike when gravity takes control, but when you are on flat trails or climbing the system comes to life.

Through the sensor located in the hollow of the chainset axle, Flight Attendant knows when you’re spinning along the flat or stamping on the pedals up a steep climb. In these situations, the wireless SRAM system will choose if the bike would be more efficient in either locked out or pedal mode. However, where it gets really clever is how Flight Attendant can control the fork and rear shock independently.

If for example, the system sees that the fork is working hard through bumps and roots on a climb, Flight Assistant can tell the fork to remain fully open while the rear shock will be set into the pedal mode for improved support and traction. If the climb is less challenging then Flight Attendant might decide the fork should be set in pedal mode while the rear can be locked. The system is designed so that the suspension will either match front and rear or be in a midpoint state, or in other words, the fork and shock will always be within one position of each other, and you should never find the rear open and the front locked or vice versa.

sram flight attendant
Chainset module lives in the hollow axle.

Because Flight Attendant is constantly receiving information from the sensors in the fork, shock and chainset, the system is constantly adjusting the suspension and position during a ride, it’s not simply choosing one mode and sticking to it, but making calculated decisions based on live information then making split-second changes to improve pedalling and climbing performance. To manually mimic the action you would have to be constantly reading the terrain, making mental calculations and then physically switch modes on the fork and shock. Trying to do this all manually wouldn’t work and by the time you have made a decision the terrain will more than likely have already changed and require a new setting. Flight Attendant manages all of this in just a fraction of a second.

Manual and Override

The whole point of Flight Attendant is that you leave it to do its magic and you don’t ever need to manually take control, but the option is there if you wanted. A new AXS Reverb control has a 2 position lever, meaning you can still drop your saddle but you can now also manually select modes too. 

There is also an Override control that once pressed will adjust the suspension to a preset default option. In this case, if you had your Override set to locked, then no matter what mode Flight Attendant chooses your suspension to be in, you can then Override it with a long press of the new AXS paddle. .

Fine-tuning

Obviously, not all riders have the same technique, ride the same trails or ride the same sort of bikes, and so there are settings in the system to tell Flight Attendant how sensitive it should react. By default, the bias is set to 0, but riders have the option to set the bias at lower levels, -1 and -2, or a higher sensitivity +1 and +2. In the minus settings, Flight Attendant will favour an open position and will be less likely to lock out.

If you’ve followed this far then you will probably have noticed that the Flight Attendant module is fitted to the compression damper for the fork and there are no dials for adjustment, this is because compression settings are all digital now. Riders must use the + and – buttons to set the compression damping to how they like it.

Is Flight Attendant available as an upgrade for existing forks and shocks?

At the time of writing the answer is ‘No’. Flight Attendant has been designed to work only with the latest generation RockShox chassis and so won’t fit current models. 

Also, if you want to enjoy Flight Attendant you’ll have to buy a bike that comes with it as standard and it won’t be offered aftermarket.

Ok, so which bikes will get Flight Attendant?

SRAM has developed Flight Attendant with industry partners from across the mountain bike world, but the first brands to offer the new system will be Canyon, YT, Trek and Specialized.

Is there anything Flight Attendant won’t do?

Yes, it won’t actually assist you when setting up your suspension system. While ShockWiz was designed to monitor suspension performance and offer tuning suggestions, Flight Attendant is not. 

Is Flight Attendant the only news?

Nope! In addition to Flight Attendant, SRAM has also announced updated chassis for the Pike, Lyrik and Zeb plus the introduction of SRAM Buttercups.

Buttercups are made to absorb and reduce vibration that makes its way through to the handlebars. These low amplitude, vibration-reducing pucks block a claimed 20% of unwanted chatter. Called Buttercups for their golden finish, new Pike Ulitmate Flight Attendant, Lyrik Ultimate Flight Attendant and Zeb Ultimate Flight Attendant forks will feature these little dampers at the end of the air shaft and damper shaft. 

Buttercups will only be available on the new Pike, Lyrik and Zeb chassis, and won’t be compatible with previous-generation chassis.

What’s new for Flight Attendant Ultimate Forks?

The top for the range Pike and Lyrik that feature Flight Attendant have been totally revamped to bring the design and construction in line with the angular Zeb look. 

As well as the cosmetic changes and Buttercups, Flight Attendant Ultimate forks will also feature air pressure bleed valves on the rear of the casing called Pressure Relief Valves.

And if that wasn’t all enough, SRAM has even tweaked the already new DebonAir Spring, and Ultimate forks now feature the DebonAir+ air spring. The new spring is designed in conjunction with the new chassis and is said to offers a butter-like small bump feel and increased support through the stroke. 

I Like the look of the new forks but I don’t want Flight Attendant

Sorry, you will be waiting a long time before non-Flight Attendant forks receive the same updated chassis and Buttercup features.

So that’s about it for the big SRAM news. What do you make of this new electronic wizardry from SRAM? Let us know in the comments below!


Viewing 30 posts - 1 through 30 (of 30 total)
  • Sram Flight Attendant is an electronic suspension wizard built into the new RockShox Ultimate family
  • Premier Icon brakestoomuch
    Full Member

    It’s a shame Robot Bikes aren’t still around; they would have been the perfect brand to showcase all this electronic gubbins.

    Premier Icon Andi Sykes
    Full Member

    Robot Bikes are still around, they are called Atherton now.

    Premier Icon matt williams
    Free Member

    This is one of those halo-level items that I’ll never be able to afford, but I do appreciate the innovation of this product. Reviews seem to rate it much more than fox’s livevalve.

    Premier Icon dirkpitt74
    Full Member

    Does it just do open/pedal/lock or are there varying degrees of compression adjustment within those broad terms?
    Otherwise it’s just an expensive replacement for a lever with 3 settings…

    Premier Icon Tom Howard
    Full Member

    Missed opportunity to incorporate shockwiz too IMO.

    Premier Icon finbar
    Free Member

    Initially available on full bikes starting at just $9,500…

    Premier Icon mogrim
    Full Member

    Looks a bit clunky at the moment, but presumably v2 models will be a bit smaller and sleeker, and we’ll slowly see this technology trickling down to cheaper models.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    I too would have thought that Shockwizz tuning information could have been included in this device.

    And the cost of top end bikes goes from stratospheric to lunar…

    Premier Icon willjones
    Full Member

    Missed opportunity to incorporate shockwiz too IMO.

    I saw an instagram post the other day showing an SRAM patent for exactly this… wish I could remember the poster… sorry!

    Premier Icon howsyourdad1
    Full Member

    Expensive day for you @tomhoward first the new deviate and now this! 😉

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Full Member

    It sounds like a brilliant solution in search of a made-up problem. And one more expensive gimmick to go wrong on a freezing, wet night. Journo kit.

    Thank god I won’t be able to afford it anyway 🙂

    Premier Icon Tom Howard
    Full Member

    Lolz, Rockshox hasn’t really been my bag for a few years now, and I’ve no need for an enduro race bike 😉

    I did sort of like E:i though…

    Premier Icon Jay
    Full Member

    Be interesting to hear Chris Porters take on this.

    Premier Icon Paul
    Full Member

    I like what it’s essentially trying to do, as per the previous forum thread it’s got a gyro/accelerometer etc so can tell if you’re going down/up/on the flat as well as your lean angle.

    Big bikes are getting bigger, 170/180mm travel isn’t unusual these days and if this works as it should, it’ll make these bikes a lot more efficient uphill and on flat trails.

    Still no 200mm AXS dropper though Rockshox!

    Premier Icon howsyourdad1
    Full Member

    @jamj1974 christ I wouldn’t, would bore me to tears 😂

    Premier Icon Rick Draper
    Full Member

    I saw an instagram post the other day showing an SRAM patent for exactly this… wish I could remember the poster… sorry!

    Wheel_based.

    Premier Icon edd
    Full Member

    Sorry, you will be waiting a long time before non-Flight Attendant forks receive the same updated chassis and Buttercup features.

    I would have thought that all next year’s SRAM forks will have these features. Whether the buttercups will be backwards compatible with previous generations of forks will be interesting.

    Premier Icon Rubber_Buccaneer
    Full Member

    Be interesting to hear Chris Porters take on this

    I’ve never heard Chris Porter talk about climbing or XC performance only downhill so given this system will be ‘open’ in that situation it will come down to his opinion of Rock Shox vs what he’s selling.  I think I know roughly how that will go

    Premier Icon bigyan
    Free Member

    Buttercup is an interesting idea, so the air spring and damper are attached to the lowers, but isolated by a rubber mount?

    Same idea as most road car suspension parts are rubber mounted compared to solid mounts/rose joints on a track car.

    Premier Icon edd
    Full Member

    Buttercup is an interesting idea,

    Agreed!

    Premier Icon generalmtb
    Free Member

    I have to say that while I don’t think I’ll ever want this on my bike I’m happy that brands are being more innovative with technology. This will eventually come down in price, and we might even see a more affordable option in the future. Kazimer over on Pinkbike even suggested a wireless shock lockout would be a good idea for a lower-cost option, which I totally agree with.

    Premier Icon swavis
    Full Member

    Ahh but how far through a typical UK winter will it last…

    Looks good though and I’d love to try it even though I’ll never afford it.

    Premier Icon tetrode
    Full Member

    I appreciate the technology in this but I don’t particularly understand the point of it, especially if your bike already has compression lockouts for climbing. It just seems like a very expensive way of not having to flick a switch yourself.

    Premier Icon Tom Howard
    Full Member

    Ahh but how far through a typical UK winter will it last…

    Pretty well, if the other AXS stuff is anything to go by.

    Have any prices been announced, save for the (already expensive) bikes it comes with?

    Edit: just seen it won’t be available aftermarket. Seems like a one way ticket to obscurity.

    Premier Icon thegeneralist
    Full Member

    It sounds like a brilliant solution in search of a made-up problem. And one more expensive gimmick to go wrong on a freezing, wet night. Journo kit.

    All this electronic stuff on bikes leaves me completely cold ( apart from lights, natch)
    It’s just going totally against my view of what cycling is about. I generally detest electronic gadgets and gizmos unless they serve a real worthwhile purpose. I just dread the day when all this shite trickles down and takes over at all levels so we can no longer buy manual shifters, droppers etc.

    Wag coming on and comparing electrical forks with disk brakes, suspension and possibly even round wheels in 3, 2, 1 ….

    Premier Icon andybrad
    Full Member

    dont worry you’ll still be able to buy your old kit.

    Looks good. but the fact that it doesnt include shockwiz is my guess that its a much simpler valve system?

    Premier Icon HoratioHufnagel
    Free Member

    I kind of like the idea of shockwiz type tuning. A one off electronic gizmo for setup is great.

    But there’s no way I’d want all this electronic nonsense on my bike permanently. I don’t like it in cars either (and I used to help make it for a living).
    Suspension is a compromise, but it’s a predictable one, and I quite like that when cycling.

    I bet it’s not serviceable with zero spare parts available too. More stuff to go in landfill when it breaks! grumble moan etc..

    Premier Icon voodoo-rich
    Full Member

    Will it drop my saddle for me when it gets a bit steep? 😉

    Premier Icon Rubber_Buccaneer
    Full Member

    Looks good. but the fact that it doesnt include shockwiz is my guess that its a much simpler valve system?

    It looks like a bolt on motor that turns the compression knob.  No connection to the air spring whatsoever.  The clever bit isn’t that it turns the compression adjuster but that it turns it the right amount at the right time (assuming it gets it right of course)

    This video explains what it is, they’ve had a bike for a month to try it out

    Premier Icon sillyoldman
    Full Member

    Tying you into one brand (regardless of which one) for suspension (and drivetrain?) parts seems a huge price fo pay for such little gain.

    Hopefully it doesn’t become the next Hammerschmidt.

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