If you look at all the suspension forks to ever set a wheel on World Cup DH courses, the RockShox BoXXer has, without any doubt, the most WC wins under its belt. The BoXXer likes to go fast, the BoXXer likes to win races and this is not about to change. The BoXXer was introduced in 1997 and for the first time in its history, the BoXXer has been redesigned top to bottom. The old champ has gotten fresh new legs.
La Fenasosa Bike Park
SRAM held their BoXXer media launch at La Fenasosa Bike Park in Alicante, Spain. La Fenasosa Bike Park is owned and operated by Jean Phillippe Orban
, a former Moto GP racer from Belgium who relocated here at the end of his racing career like 30 years ago.
Jean Philippe has close to 2500 acres with old castle like houses that were build in the 1800’s. When his son Alex decided to make the transition from moto to DH mountain biking, Jean Phillippe decided to convert part of his private land into a mountain bike park. The park was primarily build as a training ground for Alex, but over time became a business as Jean Philippe rents it out to exclusive groups like SRAM to hold ride camps, demo days or test events.
The park has a little bit of everything: DH trails, XC loops, North Shore features, 4X track, Dirt Jumps, foam pit and more. Not only is the riding great, but the hospitality was outstanding! We were treated like kings and Queens. Sponsored riders Steve Peat, Andrew Neethling and Tyler Morland were on hand to play tour guides and give personalized coaching sessions.
I won’t go into the high level details of the new BoXXer since they’ve been covered in a press release a few months ago
and during [L=https://www.pinkbike.com/news/rockshox-boxxer-2010-2008.html]Brule’s Interbike coverage[/L]. Instead I will share some additional info that I hope will be of interest to you.The Chassis:
Developing the new BoXXer was quite a challenge for RockShox. Think about it – the fork is beefier and has more adjustments than any other forks available on the market today - yet it’s lighter and stiffer! In my opinion, RockShox has some of the best chassis engineers in the business. Add a solid crew of BlackBox athletes who can really provide invaluable feedback into the mix and you get a suspension fork that you know will perform to the highest levels of our sport – in this case DH Mountain Bike Racing.
The size of the chassis was no guess – when I asked Jeremiah Boobar, Product Manager at SRAM, why 35mm upper tubes and not 40mm? He had this to say
“The first step for the team was to determine the size of chassis to be developed. During the development of the Totem, RockShox had determined that 40mm served well for a long travel single crown fork in helping generate additional stiffness, but on a dual crown it would create too much stiffness. The concern with creating a fork that was too stiff is that it can deflect off of some bumps, knocking the wheel offline and providing additional hand feedback. Both things our BlackBox riders didn’t want.
The current 32mm BoXXer chassis was not as stiff as RockShox needed. With 32mm out and 40mm out, that left 35mm as the logical choice. The next step in the process is to design a lower leg, as it has the longest lead-time. Again, during the Totem development RockShox discovered the benefits of adding additional material at the lower bushing. Along with increased chassis stiffness it also gave for more precise bushing fitment
The development team started with a carbon wrapped power bulge based on the recent success of using them on SID. Using the expertise of SRAM’s Carbon factory, two different thicknesses and layups were tested. On this long travel platform the carbon proved to be too stiff. The next step was to try magnesium as had been done in Totem, Lyrik, Domain and Reba.
Multiple thicknesses of magnesium power bulges were tested before the perfect dimension was found. The final power bulge is slightly thinner than the one found on Lyrik.”
The BoXXer continues to be the lightest DH fork on the market. With all the new changes, RockShox was able to shave 117g off the current WC model, 149g off the Team model and 267g off the Race. Mission Control DH:
The new damper has been optimized for the DH fork and has no floodgate – there is no need for a platform on a DH fork. After collecting feedback from their BlackBox riders, RockShox was able to massage the valving until they came up with a set-up that works for the best World Cup racers and the weekend warrior knocking out runs at the local bike park.
Each Mission Control DH adjustment feature detent. Approx 20 ending stroke rebound clicks, and 25 beginning stroke rebound clicks. The ending stroke rebound comes into play from about 20%-100%. When it kicks in is determined by the setting. It could kick in later if you have the ending stroke set slower. It won't really kick in any earlier than about 20%. Spring Systems:
For years the BlackBox technicians have been changing the air volume on the world cup’s best riders to manipulate the ending ramp of the spring curve. RockShox decided to take this one step further by making that adjustment available to all consumers and externally on the WC model. By turning the knob marked “bottom out” clockwise the Solo Air volume is reduced creating a firmer ending ramp. Works just like preload adjusters on coil forks. The Air Volume adjuster can be difficult to turn unless you depressurize the fork – for this reason, the adjustment knob has cross holes around the parameter so you can use a 4mm hex wrench to turn the knob. Nice touch!
The BoXXer Team features a DropStop system, similar to that of the Vivid rear shock
, a secondary spring that controls the last 20% of the forks travel. DropStop for the BoXXer borrows concepts from the centrally located secondary MCU spring in the original U-turn and secondary spring actuation from the 1997 Judy Type 3 spring system. Truvativ Holzfeller Direct Mount stem:
• 50mm and 60mm lengths
• 7050 Aluminum
• Target Weight - 190g
• Available in all BoXXer colors (White, Black and Red)Axle to Crown:
AC remains the same at 568mmWhat do you get?
This is what will ship with every 2010 After Market BoXXer. Expect them to start shipping around January 5th of 2009. This means the new BoXXer should start showing up in shops around March.After Market BoXXer World Cup includes:
• Both tall and low upper crowns
• Color options: Red, White or BlackAfter Market BoXXer Team includes:
• 2 tuning springs
• Both tall and low upper crowns
• Color options: White or BlackAfter Market BoXXer Race includes:
• 2 tuning springs
• Both tall and low upper crowns
• Color options: BlackMSRP Prices:
• BoXXer WC: $1700 USD
• BoXXer Team: $1160 USD
• BoXXer Race: $775 USD
First Ride Impressions
Over the years I’ve owned and ridden many versions of the BoXXer: 7” taperwall, 7” straightwall, 7” HC2, 8” HC2 and 8” Motion Control Solo Air. I’ve had saddle time on pretty much all of them. I’m also big fan of the Mission Control and was pretty happy to see it get integrated in the new BoXXer. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to try out the new 2010 BoXXer.
I left California Thursday morning and got to Alicante around lunch the next day - Halloween day. No time was wasted – grabbed a quick bite to eat, got rigged up, picked a bike, dialed in the suspension and the shredding commenced. I rode a Santa Cruz V10 fitted with a Vivid 5.1
and BoXXer WC.
The first riding session was pretty mellow as I got acquainted to the bike, new suspension and trails at La Fenasosa bike park. The BoXXer we rode were pre-production pilot builds - one away from being in production. RockShox have one more build left before production begins. I was told that the forks were really, really close to production. Here's a quick list of things that they made adjustments to in the final build:
• Upper tube anodize matching. The forks we rode had different colored stanchions.
• Air volume adjust knob ease of turning
• Low speed compression detent
• Beginning stroke rebound detent
• Suggested air pressure setting decal
• Decal colors (slight changes to the colors)
As you can see – changes to the production forks are very minor and doesn’t have any bearing on the performance of the forks we rode at the media camp.
The trails we rode had a little bit of everything. Rock gardens, drops, jumps, loose corners, steeps and more rocks – perfect terrain to try the new BoXXer out. The first thing I noticed when I jumped on the new BoXXer was how smooth and controlled the travel was – reminiscent of my Lyrik/Totem.
Midway through my first run I had to stop to make a few adjustments. The fork’s rebound felt too fast, so I reached down and gave the lower red knob a few turns. Rode it a bit but it was still too fast, added some more until I ran out of clicks. Creature of habit, I assumed the red knob controlled the beginning stroke rebound, but it controls the ending stroke rebound. No wonder I couldn’t feel the difference. Using the smaller knob under the red one did the trick.
Saturday evening we got divided into 3 groups and got private coaching from Peat, Needles and Morland - I ended up with Andrew. First thing we did is pick a few spots on the track where we could test all the different external adjustments to their extremes. Example: A nice size drop to test the high speed compression and end stroke rebound at full-open/full-close. A series of flowy turns and some rock garden to test the low speed compression and beginning stroke rebound at full-open/full-close. And last for not least, we played a bit with the air volume adjust. This was really beneficial as you could experience firsthand what each setting did and how it affected the ride characteristics of the fork.
Once we got the forks dialed to match our riding style – we started sessioning some sections. It was raining pretty damn hard that afternoon, so Andrew showed us how to pick lines in the wet vs dry. It was a fun time slipping and sliding in and out of corners.
In the two and a half days I was there, I got to do no less than 5 shuttle sessions with about 15 000 feet of descending combined. The new BoXXer inspires confidence – it steers the bike wherever you want it to go! With the many external adjustments, you can get to for to work exactly the way you want it to. You want the fork to ramp up a little more? No problem – just add a few turns of the Air Volume Adjust. The fork sits too deep in its travel? No problem – just add some low speed compression. The adjustments options are endless.
Right out of the gate I felt at home on the fork. I did not doubt the fork for one second as it turned my front wheel into Velcro. The fork did feel stiffer than its predecessors but not to the point of deflecting off obstacles. Even under hard breaking the fork still tracked very well and able to soak up some hits. Lean, steer pick your lines and let the fork soak up everything under you. The new BoXXer and Vivid rear shock
are a perfect match - they work in harmony and with all the external adjustments, you can tune your suspension just the way you like it. I also got a chance to switch bikes and do a short run on the BoXXer Team and to be honest, I didn't feel any significant difference in performance between the WC and Team. Given that and the fact that I appreciate riding lighter forks - the WC would be my pick. (FYI: I'm a fairly light rider at 155 lbs).
Granted I've only had a few days on the fork - I can honestly say that the new BoXXer is better than any other BoXXer I've ever ridden. RockShox has improved every functional aspect of the fork with new 2010 BoXXer.
Just like the current line of RockShox DH forks, the new BoXXer will be easy to service. Getting the new rebound knobs off will take a bit more time, but other than that should be pretty straight forward. At this point it’s really hard to say anything negative about the new BoXXer, other than maybe the lack of a 2.5mm rebound knob, which I found useful to dial in the ending stroke rebound on the Vivid
. But that’s just being nitpicky and it could also be a good thing since 1) I’ve lost one of those knobs before while riding 2) I’ve seen the rebound knob back itself off while riding.
Another bummer is that I’ll have to wait until next year before getting one. I can’t wait to get some extended riding time on one!
• Getting to ride the new BoXXer •
• Riding in Spain with Peat, Neethling and Morland + a bunch of other cool guys! •
• When Sean “Griz” Mclendon busted out the line “I’m drunk on fun!” •
• Steve Jones almost cutting his finger off while carving dry-cured ham •
• The drive to El Cosi. Elmar killed it! •
• The drive back from El Cosi. Jones didn’t like it! •
• Trying a small road gap and getting blown off the track by a gust of wind •
• Photo session with legendary Victor Lucas •
Drunk on fun? You bet! That's what riding bikes is all about.
Links of interest