DVO had a near constant crowd of gawkers in front of their booth thanks to their Emerald DH fork being fitted to an absolutely stunning Santa Cruz V10 with matching green decals. This is one of the few assembled prototypes in existence (although that will change in the near future as DVO ramps up production), giving us the chance to play with its interesting adjustable negative spring system. Why would a rider want an adjustable negative spring? DVO's thinking is that heavier riders who need to run a high spring rate shouldn't have to give up that initial suppleness that is inherent with a softer setup or, on the other end of the spectrum, that a racer on a smoother, fast course (think Sea Otter) might want a slightly stiffer top-end to aid in pedalling. It works via a dial atop the left fork leg that is attached to a threaded rod running down through the center of the fork's negative coil spring - turning the dial adds or subtracts preload to the spring to adjust the fork's initial bump sensitivity.
The collet upper tube clamps that DVO had been experimenting with aren't used on the prototype fork pictured here due to some clamping issues. No, it isn't that the system can't clamp hard enough, but that they are actually capable of squeezing down much harder than required. DVO is still tinkering with the concept, though, and we may see it in the future.
DVO Jade Shock
DVO also had their Jade shock on hand, with one bolted to the same V10 and another on display for people to fiddle with. Dials for low and high-speed compression can be found on the piggyback bridge, and further tuning is possible by removing the one-piece compression unit in order to alter the shim stack makeup. Both piggyback air pressure and air volume will be adjustable via a large green dial and an air valve at the end of the piggyback itself, while the low-speed rebound dial is found in its usual home at the other end of the shock. While the very large majority of shocks use an IFP (an internal floating piston within the piggyback that moves to compensate for oil displacement as the shaft travels in and out of the shock body
), DVO has instead gone with a rubber bladder setup on the Jade. Their reasoning is that an IFP requires a seal, usually just an O-ring, to keep the oil on one side and the air on the other from mixing, and that seal adds friction to the system. A bladder, on the other hand, simply compresses to accomplish the same thing. The concept isn't new - it is used in the moto world - but it is rare to see on a mountain bike shock. www.dvosuspension.com
Tioga Spyder Stratum Seat
With its unique webbed shell that is said to flex enough to replace the need for padding, Tioga's Spyder certainly stands out from the crowd. We've always had a thing for its futuristic look, but Tioga has been pretty clear in the past about it being intended purely for use on the road. The original Spyder's webbed shell flexed for comfort, but it meant that a hard crash could stress it beyond what it was intended for, and the burlier 'D Spyder' that was built for off-road use is stiff enough that it put strength ahead of comfort in our books. It looks like this new version of the design, the Spyder Stratum, will be ready for prime time on our mountain bikes, though. So what's different? Tioga has gone with a dual-material shell and a different webbing layout, with the stiffer material underneath a softer and more forgiving top. Word is that this combination allows for enough flex in the shell for comfort while being more than resilient enough for serious off-road use. The prototype pictured above could vary a bit from what we might see come production, but the carbon-railed saddle that we shot weighed in at just 114 grams. www.tiogausa.com
Duro Switch 29er Tire
650B may have replaced the bigger wheel size when it comes to heated forum battles about the so-called demise of the 26'' wheel, but there are plenty of large 29er tire options to choose from these days. While not a new model, Duro's Switch doesn't get the press that more familiar brands do, which is a shame because it looks ready for action. The 29 x 2.35'' tire features prominent braking edges across the crown, and a round profile that looks like it would make for a predictable ride.