Formula Selva C Fork review

by 11

This is a 170mm travel Formula Selva C (coil) fork. I opted to go with 170mm version because Formula forks have shorter axle-to-crown lengths for their given travel. So although I’m running 10mm more travel than the bike (Orange Switch 6) is designed for, the fork length is only about 2mm longer.

  • Price: from £849.99 (plus £45 for additional CTS valves)
  • SQUIRREL_TEXT_13040656
  • From: Elro Distribution
  • Tested by: Benji for 4 months

Pros

  • Loads of grip and support
  • Beautiful damping feel
  • Simple DIY custom tuning via CTS valves

Cons

  • Recommended spring for my weight was too firm
  • Combined low and high speed compression may irk some riders
170mm of travel in the axle-to-crown of rival 160mm forks

We live in an age of bouncy duopoly. Almost every mountain biker out there has either a fork with ‘Fox’ or ‘RockShox’ written on it. They are known knowns. And, let’s be frank, aftermarket FoxShox forks work really, really well. They are safe suspension selections.

Why would anyone opt to go with an alt. brand? To my mind, there are two immediate reasons: price and function. (There are also reasons such as weight saving, and just having something boutique for the sake of it, but I’ll skip over those for now).

Price then. Whilst the Formula Selva C’s price tag of £850 is not exactly small change, it is sadly cheaper than premium level enduro forks from FoxShox. It is however the same price as the excellent Marzocchi Bomber Z1 Coil.

Which leaves us with function. Does the Formula Selva C offer any more function performance and/or adjustabilty compared to the aforementioned Marzocchi Bomber Z1 Coil? The relative performance I’ll get into shortly. In terms of adjustment, there’s not a lot in it out-of-the-box. Ostensibly, both forks offer preload, rebound, lockout and a single compression dial (the Selva’s is indexed, the Bomber’s is a stepless sweep).

Preload dial

It’s worth pointing out that the single compression dial sweep on the Bomber just adjusts low speed compression. The 12-click indexed compression dial on the Selva C jointly adjusts low speed compression (LSC) and high speed compression (HSC).

Now then, I can imagine some folk not really liking the idea of conjoined compression adjustment. And it does indeed limit mid-ride setup tweaks eg. tweaking your compression to deal with an upcoming rooty bit, or a super steep slomo bit. Having said that, it is a form of high speed compression adjustment and you don’t get HSC adjustment on a lot of rival forks at all. You win some, you lose some. After my time testing the Selva C, I’m happy to trade in low speed compression adjustment exclusivity if it means I get access to Formula’s CTS tuning options.

Crucially, with the Selva C you get two compression tune circuits to choose from (Gold and Blue). Gold is the ‘cornerstone’ all-rounder setting. Blue is the ‘comfort and support’ setting. Called ‘CTS’ valves (Compression Tuning System), there are actually eight CTS circuits you could opt for in total. They cost £45 each, or you can get the complete set for £205.

The eight CTS circuits/valves available

In terms of the CTS circuits supplied, the Gold CTS is essentially firmer duirng slow speed forces but still ‘swallowy’ and linear once it’s dealing with bigger impacts. Whereas the Blue CTS is sort of the opposite; very active/supple on slow speed but a bit more ‘rampy’ and progressively damped on bigger hits.

With CTS, it’s pretty much like having the ability to custom tune your bike yourself. You don’t need to the take the fork apart, at all. Just unscrew one CTS and plug in another one.

The CTS valves live under the blue compression dial

For whom it may concern, for a lot of the perma-autumnal test period, I opted to run the Silver CTS (‘maximum comfort’). For a lighter rider tackling slippery conditions, this setup offered amazing levels of keep-me-upright traction. I would say that the supplied Blue CTS is very similar. And the supplied/pre-installed Gold CTS is the default cicrcuit for a reason; it’s a brilliant all-rounder. I’d be happy enough just using the Gold CTS all the time if I had to. But I don’t have to, so I’ve been enjoying the CTS swapping. It’s quick, no mess, makes a real difference on-trail and is just… fun to mess with.

Regardless of what CTS was installed, the compression adjustment range on offer was broad. And I find that on coil sprung suspension you can run relatively high levels of LSC without inducing much harshness. You get more support, more feedback. Which admittedly can be tiring after a while but it’s different to the feeling simply being harsh or skittish.

The rebound range on offer is pleasingly broad; for once it is possible to set the rebound too fast.

Red for rebound

One caveat I have about these class-leading forks is that the recommended coil spring weight didn’t work for me. At 73kg, Formula suggests a Soft spring (65-75kg) but I ended up running Super Soft (55-65kg). Make sure you buy your Selva C from a place that’s prepared to help you out with trying different springs. It’ll be more than worth it.

In terms of traction, the Selva C is amazing. Those unfortunate enough to have borne witness to several of my preaching suspension sermons will know that I like a coil. It might be my age but I really appreciate comfort and support in times of need. And that’s what coil spring suspension offers me.

Traction is especially noticeable on cambers and corners but it is also during straight line braking where I noticed improvements over rival 35-36mm stanchion forks. Despite the Selva C slightly but definitely flexing backwards under heavy braking there was little to no detectable binding or stuttering to be felt; the suspension action was still free-moving and keeping tyre contact consistently Velcro-like. I’d also suggest that the fork’s slight flex generally helps it track and not-deflect when negotiating rougher corners, cambers and indeed straights.

And I do think their relative slinkiness and minimalist decal aesthetic look really cool to boot.

The QR lever is removable if desired (it may be really stiff to pull out initially btw!)

Overall

Coil sprung forks are few and far between. In reality it’s a two horse race between this fork and the excellent Marzocchi Bomber Z1 Coil. I’m going to give the nod to the Formula Selva C. Both are £850. The Selva packs 170mm of travel into the axle-to-crown distance of a 160mm Bomber. And, much more significantly, the Selva is multiple forks in one package; you can change the essential damping characteristics by swapping out the dinky CTS valve circuits.

In practical terms, I did have my worries about the clockworky-looking top adjusters getting clogged up with muck but that just hasn’t proved to be the case. Back to on-trail performance: just flipping amazing. Fluid feeling, supple AF, bags of support, firm but never harsh, useful on-the-fly damping adjustment.

Sign up to receive awesome editorial content from Hannah every week.

Check your inbox for our confirmation email and click the link to activate your newsletter.
We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

More Reviews

Abus AirDrop MIPS helmet review

The Abus AirDrop MIPS is a well made and designed helmet that offers great levels of…

Book Review: Potholes and Pavements

Some years ago I met Laura Laker and she seemed to me to be an essentially…

Orbea Laufey H-LTD review

It's just as well the Orbea Laufey H-LTD handles so well because if we turn our…

Schwalbe Tacky Chan review

The Schwalbe Tacky Chan has a surprise up its sleeve: it's less draggy and tiring on…

Review Info

Brand: Formula
Product: Selva C Fork
From: Elro Distribution
Price: from £849.99
Tested: by Benji for 4 months

Orange Switch 6er. Stif Squatcher. Schwalbe Magic Mary Purple Addix front. Maxxis DHR II 3C MaxxTerra rear. Coil fan. Ebikes are not evil. I have been a writer for nigh on 20 years, a photographer for 25 years and a mountain biker for 30 years. I have written countless magazine and website features and route guides for the UK mountain bike press, most notably for the esteemed and highly regarded Singletrackworld. Although I am a Lancastrian, I freely admit that West Yorkshire is my favourite place to ride. Rarely a week goes by without me riding and exploring the South Pennines.

More posts from Ben

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • Formula Selva C Fork review
  • joebristol
    Full Member

    Did you weigh them?

    bearGrease
    Full Member

    SQUIRREL_TEXT_13040656

    Eh?

    sargey2003
    Full Member

    What’s the squirrel text about?

    bikesandboots
    Full Member

    I like the gold on my Selva R (air), I don’t like the blue as it has less support for pumping and cornering, gives my hands a beating on anything rough, and almost collapsed me into the bike once on a big jump.

    Probably going to stick with gold for fast fun riding on bike trails. Any thoughts on silver vs. violet? In particular for rocky bridleway exploring Lakes/Dales type, where it’s rougher so comfort needed but a riding style more focused on self-preservation than the “send it” style one might adopt at a trail centre.

    Valve descriptions here if anyone’s interested https://www.rideformula.com/technologies/cts/#gold-valve

    Oh and the 160mm brake mount is worth a mention, although the max rotor is 220mm and they do make an adapter.

    tetrode
    Free Member

    I’ve been running the Selva Cs for a couple of years now, I did the conversion from the Selva Rs and I couldn’t be happier with them. They’re hands down the best forks I’ve ever tried. The level of grip and sensitivity is absolutely insane. Honestly the only way I’d ever upgrade my forks was if they did their new Belva Enduro dual crown as a coil version.

    I’m luckily pretty much spot on weight wise for the medium spring (80kg) and I’ve only ever tried the gold CTS. Would be curious to try others but as you said, the gold is an amazing all rounder.

    chakaping
    Free Member

    Good review.

    Just got a Z1 Coil myself and it’s amazing. It’s reminded me of what I used to know, that coil forks are just better.

    It’s funny how there’s so much interest – and more options – in coil rear shocks (which can be great), but it’s such slim pickings in coil forks, which bring a bigger benefit IMO.

    There is also the Helm coil BTW, which I also own – but somehow it doesn’t feel as coil-y as the Z1.

    I expect there’ll be a coil version of the new Marz Super Z soon-ish though.

    Kamakazie
    Full Member

    I’ve had a few rides on mine after moving from an MRP Ribbon Coil. So far so good, they are very supple in the first half of the travel which does make them ramp more than I am used to. I added a fair amount of compression damping after the first ride having started nearly open.

    I liked my MRPs but the compression damping was just too high off the top, even though I ran it fully open. This was tried with both light & med springs (which made little difference). They were great on fast rocky sections as they never packed down, but didn’t give the carpet ride like benefits that coils can on other stuff.

    Before that I had Marz 350 NCR Ti coils and I’d say the Selva’s are definitely the most supple of the 3. The adjustability on offer is a big bonus, and will mean I am able to set them up in a way neither of the others could be without custom tuning.

    Ben_Haworth
    Full Member

    @joebristol 2,288g (with steerer cut to 190mm ish)

    the00
    Free Member

    Would be interesting to compare to one of the big two options with a Samshpot

    chakaping
    Free Member

    “Would be interesting to compare to one of the big two options with a Samshpot”

    Yeah, there aren’t many reviews of that as a product anyway.

    Not that I can stomach spending £350 just to upgrade an air fork when my Z1 only cost me £430.

    tjaard
    Full Member

    Wow, they really are the same price in GB?

    here in the US the Z1 is $650 and the Selva is $1125, nearly double.

    After all, the whole point of Marzochi is to be Fox’ pricep0int line.

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.