Exclusive Ride Report: FOX Live Valve Active Suspension System

Jul 29, 2015
by Richard Cunningham  



FOX's Advanced Product Group is free to develop any concept that it believes will have merit within the various branches of FOX's suspension divisions. Three years ago, APG went to work on an electronic suspension control system. FOX's cycling division already had the iCD electronic remote lockout (now called iRD) in production at the time, so they were no stranger to the concept of mixing batteries and buttons with shim stacks and hydraulic fluid. APG’s proposal, however, was the real deal: an automated suspension system capable of reading the terrain and attenuating the compression damping of both the fork and shock to optimize pedaling without interfering with the bike’s bump-leveling and traction performance. It’s called “Live Valve” and I was the first outsider that FOX allowed to ride it.


“Blah blah fork mmmm blah Blah mmmm shock blah blah mmmm, suspension….” We’ve all heard those words before – so often that most readers skim over any text that mentions smooth suspension and firm pedaling in the same sentence. If you are as hardened to hype as I have become, I am sure that your Elvis had left the building half way through the first paragraph. But, you might want to pay attention to this report, because the APG group nailed it. Even if you are a hater of all things electric on a mountain bike, you will be hard pressed to come away from a trail ride on a Live Valve equipped bike with a negative comment – and FOX is still in the development stages with it.
Live Valve
Everet Ericksen, Engineering Manager of FOX's APG wing, explains the functions of Live Valve's control module.

bigquotes FOX is developing an electronic suspension system that instantly changes suspension modes based on terrain. It continuously maximizes pedaling efficiency and traction. The system switches to the most favorable mode automatically, ALL THE TIME. It can do what a human and an adjustment lever cannot do. FOX Press Release

Fox Live Valve system

Live Valve
Fox Live Valve

Fox Offroad UTV shock


What is Live Valve?

The heart of Live Valve is a low-speed compression damping valve that is controlled by a magnetic solenoid. The damping system has two positions: open and firm. The solenoid opens and closes a bypass circuit which can toggle the shock between either option in five milliseconds (.005 seconds). For comparison, a human eye-blink requires 300 milliseconds. FOX's solenoid uses very little power and it operates silently, unlike present electronic controls, which use motor-drives. The Live Valve module is the same interchangeable part for both the fork and shock, and it incorporates a mechanical low-speed compression adjustment so that the suspension can be tuned separately via an Allen key when it is in the open option.

Fox Live Valve Shock
FOX's Live Valve shock is a dedicated component to the system. The module is contained in a second remote reservoir.

Everet Ericksen, APB’s Engineering Manager was quick to point out that Live Valve is much more than a simple low-speed bypass circuit. Low speed compression is controlled by a more sophisticated and sensitive washer-stack, which can respond to a wider range of shaft speeds and bump amplitudes. The bypass circuit operates a servo piston that puts pressure on the valve stack to increase compression forces. This allows FOX to use a very small magnetic solenoid to control powerful hydraulic forces inside the suspension – and is also why Live Valve can respond with such astounding quickness


According to FOX, these are the basic functions of Live Valve:

• System selects between firm and soft damping; Two positions
• Suspension is normally firm
• When a bump is sensed by an accelerometer, suspension switches to soft mode and starts a timer
• If another bump is sensed before timer expires, system resets timer
• If timer expires and no more bumps encountered then it switches back to firm
• If accelerometer detects zero gravity for more than 25 milliseconds, then it goes into Freefall and opens suspension
• Front accelerometer opens the fork and shock; rear accelerometer opens the shock
Live Valve
The fork and shock share the same Live Valve low-speed compression module. An Allen adjustment buried in the hole in the module adjusts low-speed compression when Live Valve is in open mode.


How Live Valve Works

Acceleration sensors: Live Valve is controlled using accelerometers, one on the fork lowers and one on the swingarm near the rear axle that sense when the wheels contact a bump. The system defaults to firm until one of the accelerometers senses an impact (seven G in the normal setting). Because the wheel sensors are on the un-sprung side of the suspension, they sense the impact and unlock the compression damping before the rider can feel the bump. As mentioned, after the suspension is activated, a timer holds it open in anticipation of a second impact, if not, Live Valve returns to firm. The timer ensures that the suspension feels seamless over braking bumps or rocky, rooted terrain.

Live Valve
Live Valve
At present, accelerometers glued to the left chainstay and lower fork leg sense impacts. FOX may move it to the fork's arch.

Threshold adjustments: Presently, there are eight levels of sensitivity built into the Live Valve system, which can be selected by cycling the mode button on the control module. Changing the system’s sensitivity increases or decreases the G-forces required to open the suspension. Select “one” and the suspension will be open most of the time. Select “eight” and the system will remain firm most of the time. The quickness of the Live Valve’s electronics, however, can maintain pedaling firmness throughout all eight levels to the degree that there is only a slight degradation in pedaling feel between the hardest and softest suspension options. Most riders will set Live Valve to the middle position, where it operates seamlessly, and then forget about it.

Dual action: Because the fork does most of the work, FOX programs Live Valve to open both the fork and shock when the front wheel sees an impact, so the shock is ready to receive the blow a moment after the fork does, and the chassis remains level. If the rear wheel contacts a bump separately, its accelerometer signals the shock to open separately. When either the fork or shock sense weightlessness, they automatically open, so that the suspension is cocked and ready to soften a drop or jump.

Fox Live Valve
The bump threshold adjustment is on the left of the battery/control module. The shock's Live Valve appears to be a second remote reservoir on the right side of the shock.

Dedicated shock: Presently, the Live Valve is encapsulated in an aluminum can that looks like a second reservoir attached to a FOX Float X shock. There was no talk about how FOX was going to incorporate the Live Valve into a standard in-line type Float shock. As it stands, the system requires the dedicated reservoir-style shock and, admittedly, with a reservoir on either side of the shock body, the Live Valve damper may not fit some frame configurations.

The Live valve will drop into any of FOX's 36, 34 and 32-millimeter Float forks, however, which means that the team has solved half of the problem. As mentioned, the Live Valve module is the same part for both the fork and shock, and that should make servicing and/or replacing the module an easy transaction for customers in need.

Long lasting battery: Live Valve’s lithium Ion battery is the same type and voltage as Shimano’s Di2 system. The FOX battery module is lighter, and while the Di2 battery can be concealed inside the frame, Live Valve’s module is external at present, because it contains mode controls and the on-off switch. FOX engineers say that the Live Valve solenoid requires very little amperage to operate and when not active, the system shuts down and goes into “sleep mode” until the bike is used again. Reportedly, Live Valve’s battery can run over 25 hours of actual riding time, depending upon which of the eight possible sensitivity settings you have chosen to ride in.


Isn’t Live Valve Just a Copy of Lapierre’s Ei system?

Live Valve and Ei share some basic functions. Using the fork to signal the shock has been successfully proven by Lapierre’s Ei system, which relies upon an accelerometer on the fork slider exclusively to operate the shock. Ei’s low-speed compression valve, however, cannot be used to control the Lapierre’s fork, because the valve is controlled by an electric motor that doesn’t react quickly enough. Ei needs the lag time between when the fork and shock impact the same bump to get the shock open.

Lapierrre Zesty AM 2016
Lapierrre Zesty AM 2016
Lapierre's Ei Auto system uses bumps sensed by an accelerometer on the fork to trigger the shock to switch from locked to open.

Conversely, FOX's Live Valve is quick enough to operate the fork in real time. Also, Lapierre’s Ei system senses crank RPM and opens the shock when the rider is coasting. FOX's Live Valve doesn’t need a cadence sensor, because it relies on its quick reaction time to keep the suspension working. Both systems use accelerometers placed on the un-sprung side of the frame to determine when the bike is weightless. In that situation, Ei opens the shock only, while Live Valve opens both the shock and fork.


The Four-Wheel Version

Live Valve was developed in house by FOX's Advanced Product Group, including the electronic components (with some help from friends in nearby Silicon Valley) – and it is not exclusively a cycling product. FOX's motorsports wing has also been developing Live Valve for high-performance side-by-side UTVs. We had the chance to drive a Live Valve equipped UTV on FOX's test track in Scotts Valley and, while we can’t name names, we can say that the car is going to be a game-changer in that marketplace.

Fox Offroad UTV shock
FOX Offroad is slightly ahead of the mountain bike wing. This is a Live Valve shock designed for high-performance UTVs. The valve module is in the foreground, protruding from the end of the shock reservoir.

Live Valve stabilizes the car’s ride height and keeps it level while the suspension is pounding over bumps. It also levels the car while braking, steering, or accelerating, but its most important benefit is that Live Valve can eliminate body roll without adversely affecting the car’s suspension action. Push a button and the increase in its cornering ability is laughably better. With Live Valve, the UTV’s suspension and anti-roll devices can be set softer, so by switching Live Valve off or on, the same vehicle can be used for rock crawling, where each corner of the car must operate independently, or high-speed desert racing, where the car must absolutely maintain ride height and stability.






bigquotes The Kona could be pedaled efficiently from a variety of positions over the chassis - standing, seated, fore, or aft - and with each thrust, the bike would squirt forward without the persistent mush that we have learned to accept from this genre.

FOX chose a Kona Process to showcase its Live Valve system, because the 134-millimeter-travel Kona’s suspension performance is biased more towards descending and technical handling than it favors pedaling performance. It must be noted that Live Valve is positioned as a "probable" 2017 release, and it is still in the development stages. Presently, ts wires are external, its accelerometers are glued onto the frame and fork, and the first-gen operating module is sure to be slimmed down as FOX nears serial production. FOX says that production wiring will be internal and that the team is presently evaluating Live Valve’s range of adjustment, but functionally, the system is very close to how it will perform in its final form.

Initial setup: When Live Valve is switched off, it defaults to "open," so setting up the Kona was the same as doing so with a conventional shock and fork. After you have properly tuned your fork and shock, switch on Live Valve, select your bump-threshold option and go ride. The Live Valve module has a low-speed compression feature controlled by an Allen screw and, like the solenoid, it also activates the servo piston that bears down on the compression shim stack. That means small adjustments will make a big difference in the damping forces. I had FOX's suspension guys set the bike up for me to establish a base line, which worked out to 25-percent sag for the fork and 30-percent for the shock, with the rebound set slightly on the quick side of the spectrum.

How threshold settings work: The eight bump threshold options alter the point at which the suspension is asked to open up. Live Valve is presently optimized to open the suspension when the accelerometers see an impact greater than seven G in the number four setting. Raising or lowering the bump threshold simply changes the G-forces required to open the shock or fork. Pushing the threshold button once on the control module causes an LED to flash the number you had previously selected: four flashes means level four. After the report you can then push the button from one to eight times in succession to reset the threshold. Because Live Valve has a timer, lower threshold settings will naturally keep the suspension open for longer time intervals.

Live Valve
Changing bump sensor threshold values was easily mastered, but after experimenting, it was clear that level five or six provided the same measure of pedaling efficiency as the highest options, but with suspension action that was smooth from the bottom to the top of the spectrum.


Game on: FOX arranged a short lap in the coastal redwoods near Santa Cruz that had all the basic trail challenges: braking bumps, a punchy hill-climb, some small jumps, a twisty flow section, and the requisite smattering of rocks and roots. The idea was to first burn a couple of laps with Live Valve turned off. We would then switch it on and ride the following rotations to evaluate the suspension’s performance at bump-sensor threshold settings between one and eight.

How it feels: Live Valve is almost completely transparent and brilliantly effective. Set at four or five, in the middle of the bump-sensor range, it transformed the Kona Process from a reasonably good climber, into a surprisingly good one. Without climbing aids, long-travel trail bikes drag their butts uphill as the rider’s weight transfers to the softly-sprung rear suspension. Live Valve’s persistent low-speed compression boost keeps the chassis riding level and, while it is stabilizing the bike’s ride height, Live Valve also produces a wonderfully firm feel at the pedals. The Kona could be pedaled efficiently from a variety of positions over the chassis - standing, seated, fore, or aft – and with each thrust, the bike would squirt forward without the persistent mush that we have learned to accept from this genre.

At this point, you may be thinking: “No big deal there. I can get the same results by flipping the pedal platform lever of any shock and fork.”

Of course, any suspension equipped with a manual low-speed compression booster can also stabilize the bike’s ride height and produce a firm feel under power, but all that firmness comes at the expense of a harsh-riding bike. For that reason, manual platform damping thresholds are set lower than optimum, as a compromise between pedaling effectiveness and emergency suspension action.

Suspension action: The beauty of the Kona Process is its balanced and supple feeling suspension, and Live Valve frees that suspension to smooth both the ups and downs without robbing a hint of its new-found pedaling performance. In fact, because Live Valve can open the suspension as it senses bumps, its pedal platform can be set to a much higher threshold than a manual system.

So, there I was, out of the saddle, riding up a climb across nested rocks and redwood roots, and the Process is just cruising through the mess as if the obstacles were plush toys. The advantage of Live Valve is less in its crisp acceleration and pedal feel as it is in its ability to keep the suspension working. Every bump event that bounces the bike upwards converts forward momentum into wasted upward acceleration. The short version is that the Kona was faster everywhere on the course with Live Valve switched on.

Thresholds: Riding the system in bump threshold settings from one to six seemed to deliver a supple ride, and as far as pedaling efficiency goes, it was a very similar feel under power, with very little drop-off at the lowest thresholds. Above six, the suspension’s small-bump performance began to become increasingly harsh until at eight, the Kona’s low-amplitude harshness felt like a 100-millimeter racing bike. At pace, when Live Valve kept the Kona’s suspension open much of the time, the harshness could only be sensed in the highest two options. At six or below, the transitions between firm and open were seamless.

New ways of thinking: That said, Live Valve does not change your pre-set suspension setup. If you pump your air springs to their bursting points and run your low-speed compression adjustment in almost all the way, when Live Valve opens up your fork and shock, it will ride just as harshly as you set it up in the first place. To take full advantage of FOX's electronic controls, one needs to separate the bike’s suspension action from its pedaling performance.
Live Valve

bigquotes I found that I could use softer spring settings. Live Valve automatically maintained the bike at my chosen ride height, so there seemed to be more suspension travel available to handle terrain.

Live Valve allows you to tune the fork and shock for the ride ahead without any consideration for pedaling efficiency. In my case, that meant my Kona could be tuned for descending, with softer shock and slightly firmer fork settings. I could enjoy the downs as if I was shuttling gravity runs because I could depend upon Live Valve to sort out the Process’s pedaling action when the fun ended and the ascents began. I found that I could use softer spring settings. Live Valve automatically maintained the bike at my chosen ride height, so there seemed to be more suspension travel available to handle terrain.

Possible downsides: The obvious issue with adding a battery powered system to your suspension is that a dead battery could be game over. FOX says that Live Valve requires so little power to operate that its time between charges is two to three times greater than Shimano’s long-running Di2 drivetrain. If the Live Valve’s lights do go dim, the system is programmed to warn the rider withan amber light and then default to "open," so your ride home will not favor the climbs. If you break a wire, or damage a module, Live Valve will remain where it was at the time, so you have a fifty-fifty chance; firm or soft.

As mentioned, Live Valve can be fitted to most any FOX 34 fork at present, but the shock must be a dedicated design. That, and because the present Live Valve reservoir is a bulky protuberance, we expect that Live Valve will only be available as an OEM product until FOX gets its fitment issues sorted.

Maintenance and replacement should not be a burning issue, because the actual valve module is the same part for both fork and shock – so Live Valve essentially has two parts: the control module and the valve module. We imagine a scenario where FOX simply swaps out the suspect module in a warranty situation, so returning the bike to action would be plug and play, more or less.

Finally, Shimano and FOX may have teamed up on its iCD system (the FOX iCD remote lockout plugs into and uses the same e-Tube wiring and battery as Shimano Di2), but at present, Shimano and Fox are still negotiating Live Valve, presumably, because Shimano may have reservations that a second battery draw to compromise the burn time of its Di2 components. In a wose case situation, Di2, riders who want electric shifting and electric suspension controls will need to keep and charge two batteries on one bike – which no doubt will seem foolish and wasteful to most. We anticipate the two will reach an accord, otherwise, it will become an either/or situation between Shimano and FOX, and if I had to choose today, I’d pick FOX.


Live Valve


First Impression:

bigquotesBottom line is that Live Valve does exactly what FOX advertised it would - it allows the bike to be pedaled firmly and efficiently while at the same time, it uncouples the suspension to operate at its highest performance level. Many will argue that batteries have no place on a mountain bike's suspension, but Live Valve's straight up performance will silence most naysayers after one ride. The ramifications of Live Valve, however, reach much further into the sport than its ability to deliver riders the two most important components of off road cycling at the same time. Live Valve has the potential to uncouple suspension kinematics from pedaling dynamics. In short: by adding Live Valve, mountain bike designers can then optimize the suspension without compromising its kinematics in order to boost pedaling firmness. Considering that every popular suspension at present is a compromise between pedaling and acceleration, FOX's Live Valve may inadvertently become a revolutionary tool for next-gen frame designers. Only time will tell. - RC



View more Live Valve images in the First Look Gallery




MENTIONS @foxracingshox, @Lapierre-Bikes

Must Read This Week

322 Comments

  • + 253
 Haters are gonna hate, but I'd sure like to try it out.
  • + 141
 Haters also gonna skip the article and go right to hate. This is the type of innovation we should be excited about.
  • + 68
 I agree, this is true innovation! This falls right in line with dropper posts and disc brakes. I'm so sick of hearing about stupid standards changes that are all about making money while making bike parts less interchangeable with no gain whatsoever. Its so refreshing to finally hear of a company trying to improve your biking experience through BETTER parts, not just different parts that aren't interchangeable with your existing bike setup. I hope everyone sells their 15mm axles and boost hubs to buy these shocks.
  • - 111
flag whitebullit (Jul 29, 2015 at 12:52) (Below Threshold)
 this is a great product for people who have too much money and are looking for an edge over more fit/skilled riders. this, everything enve, and 27.5" wheels can get lost.
  • + 11
 I think this innovation is the one that makes the most amount of sense, at least for recent technology being brought out. I've had rides on my enduro bike that after doing a climb, I wished I would have had time to lockout my suspension or some intense climbs that I couldn't do because the suspension was open.

Call me what you want but that's my reasoning. This kind of technology would allow you to have a longer travel bike that would climb like a lower travel bike(if you used a high threshold setting) This kind of sounds like the chainring/cassette size argument.
  • + 22
 It is really cool in a way and I would love to try it. But in the same thought I can't help but think this kinda takes away from the escape from technology that I love so much wen I do go out to ride.
  • + 3
 Was never excited about Lapierre's offering, this has piqued my interest though. Guessing this is going to be an $800 upgrade though (justify R&D), which will be meh.
  • + 22
 If nothing else, this is WAAAAAY more innovative than Boost. Finally, something definitely more significant than a few millimeters.
  • - 22
flag bonkywonky (Jul 29, 2015 at 13:20) (Below Threshold)
 Still doubt it will perform even close to a Double Barrel on rough ground.
  • - 16
flag mrpilsen (Jul 29, 2015 at 13:20) (Below Threshold)
 Jumping to someone else's train.... I'd stay with Lapierre integrated (bike) solution.
  • - 8
flag metong (Jul 29, 2015 at 13:30) (Below Threshold)
 Nice to see advancements but maybe it might/will take the fun/challenge out from us/the ride. Now life will really pass me by in the bike world.
  • + 9
 Charging a battery would be a hassle, but it seems to blend in silently after setup. Honestly a mountain bike has so much tech in the design its hard to say that it's a complete tech free escape.
  • + 4
 This would be easier to charge then a phone, I would imagine.

Youre done riding for the day, bring your bike inside (in the garage, out on the porch, wherever that is not still on your car to get stolen) and you plug it in.

I am pretty sure that is it, if a "hassle" to you is spending the extra 5 seconds to grab a wire off the floor and connect it to your bike, then you are in the wrong sport my friend.
  • - 47
flag jezso (Jul 29, 2015 at 14:01) (Below Threshold)
 LOL. true innovation. Oh yeah, for old shit pricks. muhahahahaa. Negs welcome. Charge my ass. Fuckin' battery.
  • - 4
flag FlowMasterO (Jul 29, 2015 at 14:01) (Below Threshold)
 pretty sweet, but should it be allowed in things like ews
  • + 3
 I'd love to give it a go. I think my SB66 has plenty of room in the front triangle....
  • + 3
 If I had the money, I would give it a go. Hopefully this pans out better than the whole CTD damper fiasco!
  • + 20
 I would love to hear the feedback from some of the suspension designers. Especially DW on how this can affect a bike now that you won't need anti-squat.
  • - 4
flag torero (Jul 29, 2015 at 14:50) (Below Threshold)
 No.
  • + 3
 It was the obvious next step in bike technology, been talking about this idea for years. Next will be something like Bluetooth integration rather than wires... Can't wait to try, but also scared of the price they'll ask for it.
  • + 5
 Conceptually it is the Spesh brain no?
  • + 1
 Yeah! Forward thinking, innovative technology and intelligence can suck on that!
  • - 3
 damn, this brings other questions to mind, like droppers, hydraulic brakes, and di2 all should be in question because this technology might be just as big consodering the fact bike engineers wouldnt have to worry about longer travel bikes for enduro purposes, the whole industry might make a massive swing with this, remember 4 years ago hudraulic disc brakes and dropper posts where only on 6k bikes and up, and individual sets where insanely expensive and now you find them on 600 dollar trek marlin 7s
  • + 54
 Let's be honest here, we don't need better suspension or drive train if we want to be faster. We need either electric engine or Dope. I'd love PB to hire a guy who could tell us about dope, which stuff is good, which has least side effects and what are they
  • + 0
 Hahahahaha!!!!
  • + 15
 What interests me about this is how it will ultimately affect suspension designs. If it takes off and is as good as can be hoped for then 5+ years down the road will suspension designers be able to just completely stop worrying about compromises for anti-squat and focus entirely on performance?
  • + 9
 @WAKIdesigns a former writer at Outside did it for you - enjoy! Wink www.outsideonline.com/1908791/i-couldnt-be-more-positive
  • + 5
 Wang to go faster? Knock back 2 beers!
  • + 9
 @rumblefish255
Escape from technology? On a 5000$ DH rig, sounds a little ironic to me. Please stop with this absurd argument, everything we use, eat, wear or interact with everyday exist because of technological advancement. This electronic shock isn't more technologically advanced than a recent Downhill carbon frame, only difference is the "electronic" part.

This seems very similar in function to any ABS system on cars. Also, many sports car these days have active dampening suspension that reacts to road surface and driver inputs so FOX didn't get that from the Aliens (unfortunately). But seriously this feels like the proper way forward, actually making the suspension outperform the current offering, great step forward in my books.

P.S: With today's lithium batteries, energy's gonna be plentiful and for a long time, way longer than any day out anyway.
  • + 28
 I get the escape from technology argument. There is something distinctly human about interacting with a machine you understand completely. I don't know how everything in my car, computer or phone works but when I jump on my my bike I understand, at least on a shallow level how every single component was designed, why it works, its relationship with the other parts and how to interact with it. There's a certain simplicity in that that is lost in modern life, and I think it's part of the appeal for many of us. On the other hand, I desperately want my suspension to do exactly what this article describes, so screw all that garbage I just said. If I get too philosophical I can always buy a handmade, rigid, cromoly single speed and ride it until I've rattled and exertion vomited every last thought out of my head.
  • - 1
 @maxalry
Last I checked I do t have any batter
  • + 1
 @maxalery
Last I checked I don't have any batteries on my bike. Please igonore previous comment I accidentally posted before I finished.
  • - 1
 Can't take the battery thing seriously, but this does shed a whole new light on the anti-squat vs pedal kickback issue. Normally I would never consider something as squatty as a Kona.
  • + 1
 Doesn't Trek's RE:aktiv shock do the same thing but without a battery? From the reviews they sound very much the same and it's also a Fox/Trek/Penske collaboration. I'm curious how the two differ? Yes, you only have one, not eight settings, but you also lose the extra wires, battery pack, etc. and it will fit any frame with a single canister design. I'm not inherently opposed to electronics, but in my life they do seem to make things more complicated and I have no idea how to fix them.
  • + 1
 Nope.
  • + 7
 "Finally, something definitely more significant than a few millimeters."

~That's what she said!!
  • + 8
 Add a generator hub and you'll be free forever
  • + 3
 I want to say this is a good idea because it has merit, but every time I see "advances" in MTB suspension that involve taking something that is relatively simple ( flipping a lever by hand ) and turning it into a lightning fast self adjusting electronic automatic bump sensor that flips the lever for you, I wonder if it's worth it for what Fox will charge for it. Dollars per awesome it just isn't awesome enough.
  • + 2
 The varry last part of the article shows its true potential the ability for frame designers to tune the suspension for pure downhill performance without comprising for pedaling you can't say you wouldn't want a bike that can destroy the park and efficiently get your ass threw an all day epic eliminating the need for 2 bikes expecially with how much fruckin money they cost it really has the potential to redefine the quiver killer and it's also most likely de the next biggest thing in enduro racing it's design is far supirior to liepiares ie suspension IMO
  • + 5
 That thing alone will cost a lot, which means you can't design a specific frame around it that will be able to take any other shock/fork combo, which then means you will not be able to use same frame for cheaper models. That finally means that active suspension soecific frame will be even more expensive than current top carbon frames. So yea, you may be all positive about it now, I love high tech nerdy stuff too, but when we will see a frameset for 6k and complete base build at 8k ending with ENVE Di2 at 13-15, we will all throw stones at the greedy industry.
  • + 4
 What I took from it was that the system will be an upgrade option on certain Fox suspension forks and shocks. Then down the road there will also be the ability to design frames in conjunction with this system that will work even better. Maybe I misunderstood, but that was my impression.
  • + 21
 The battery life is greater than the service interval on Fox equipment....
  • + 1
 What can save us from this...wait, Marzocchi lives!
  • + 7
 I love Marzocchi Olives
  • + 0
 This is why I like Fox. They show us something that may change the game, while RS releases another version of the Pike.
  • + 1
 This is why I like Fox. They show us something that may change the game, while RS releases another version of the Pike.
  • + 5
 @SlodownU - let's don't even mention the fact that Pike recieved RC2 style cartridge which appeared on Fox 36 almost 10 years ago...
  • + 2
 @SlodownU - let's don't even mention the fact that Pike recieved RC2 style cartridge which appeared on Fox 36 almost 10 years ago...
  • - 3
 Did anyone actually read this? It's really boring.
  • - 1
 Electonics on a bike? Not cool at all
  • + 3
 But electrons on a bike = very cool.
  • + 4
 It sounds awesome...and I'm not afraid of technology... I have multiple tablets, latest Android phone, and my Jeep has more electronics in it than engine parts. But I don't think I can be bothered to charge (and keep charged) yet another thing. I can barely remember to charge my lights for night rides. My nightly routine is already plugging several devices in to charge. And despite how long it will last, I know in my OCD I'll have to keep it constantly topped off because I'll always be afraid of it running out of juice, which just means more electricity waste trickle charging something whenever it's not in use. Plus that battery and all those cables just look ugly right now. Hopefully they can clean that up a bit in the production version.
  • + 8
 The creative side of me is intrigued by this as a technology. The practical side of me hates this. The realistic side of me says it wont make a bit of difference in the end as there will always be some really strong guy on a rigid singlespeed that still rides way faster than you.
  • + 4
 I know that guy! His name is Steve and he's there almost every time I ride. Might be a different Steve though cuz he has front supension on his steel hardtail.
  • + 4
 It's like a more complicate Secialized Brain
  • + 2
 All you need is some Pot Belge.
sports.vice.com/ca/article/cyclings-dirtiest-drug
On another note: Man, I totally forgot about the Specialized Brain.
  • + 2
 This makes DW link obsolete, I'm sure he'd have nothing but good things to say about it, lol.
  • + 1
 Not necessarily even now some top carbon frame builds use specific construction to base model frames suck as the 2016 felt offerings in 4 years from now if the technology becomes more accepted and becomes cheaper as hype lessens there's no reason we won't see top shelf builds with specific geo kinometrics for use with live valve and enduro racing for top athletes while still offering an aluminum version or cheaper carbon constructed frames with suspension platforms designed for conventional shocks and in 2 year's that 12000 dolor rig can be yours for 3000 on pinkbike classifieds I'm down for that and even if it doesn't happen frames are so good now I'm perfectly satisfied but I'm not going to stop inovation because of it
  • + 1
 Yes. Nothing but Horst link bikes from now forward.
  • + 1
 @Jhou: Anti squat helps mitigate pedal stroke bob. While increased compression damping helps also, a good vpp/dw/maestro design will reduce pedal bob without stiffening the suspension. Increased compression damping helps bikes ride higher in their travel, and keep the suspension from bobbing under rider weight shifts caused by pedaling (different forces) Anti squat keeps power transfer efficient, but we still bob a bit from leg movement, upper body movement etc.

Increasing compression when un-needed and within .005 milliseconds opening for bump compliance is pretty cool way to have the best of both worlds at the same time.
  • + 142
 As an Amish mountain biker, this is a no go for me.
  • + 79
 How are you commenting on Pinkbike?
  • + 3
 @aoneal - that is the best example of matte painting I have ever seen
  • + 73
 live valve is skynet
  • + 9
 we gotta fight this shit to avoid the world's destruction
  • + 11
 not a problem. you just send bourdin, palmer, kovarik or lacondeguy back as a terminator.
  • + 16
 I am going to go @protour on this thing: That is exactly what made Aaron Gwin win in Austria (despite the terrible bike that Demo is). The electric motor equipped shock was automatically, actively pumping backsides of all bumps, making him faster than anyone on regular suspension. God strike me now if I'm wrong!
  • + 8
 * - What happened dudee?????
* - I don't know, my shock went crazy, locked on the landing and sent me OTB !!!!
  • - 10
flag stooky (Jul 29, 2015 at 15:13) (Below Threshold)
 what is skynet?
  • - 6
flag lomelibikes (Jul 29, 2015 at 15:41) (Below Threshold)
 Hahahahahahaah!!!!!!!
  • + 18
 @Stooky Skynet is a computer program developed by the us govt to control the us's arsenal of weapons and army, essentially an ever expanding, ever growing, and infinite resourced death machine that learns at a geometric rate, eventually they take over the world because humans are republicans, in comes our savior Sarah Connor, who has a son by the name of John Connor who in the future will lead humanity to freedom from the ultra intelligent death machines!!! FREEEEEDOM!!!! Oh... Thats another movie, sorry...
  • + 7
 skynet is arnold's limited run franchise. much like mickeyD's McRib which is reconstructured meat technology made from yoga mats. some love. some hate. i love the fact that bikes generally don't need batteries to have fun on but i am a dinosaur so...
  • + 1
 I have the e:i system on my Lapierre and its more like having R2D2 on my X-wing fighter. I was somewhat skeptical but now after riding with it I must say it is super awesome.
  • + 6
 where did you get an xwing fighter?!
  • + 7
 I used to have an X-Wing too, came free with acid
  • + 3
 its going to deem man kind useless and start bucking riders lol
  • + 3
 we're the next dinosaur up. best get yer ride on
  • + 1
 This one's shocking a lot of non-fans to go into a shocking rants and hurry cans of puns.
  • + 49
 I like the basic idea of what fox are doing. There system sounds very basic from the description. 5ms is not fast for activating a solenoid valve. There are valves out there at 100ns or less. Would be good if fox used an energy recovery system from the shock actuation so you did not have to charge the system. This would not be that heavy or complicated to do. Good on fox for trying to move the tech forward for reactive suspension. I imagine more complicated algorithms will come with time and development experience.
  • + 11
 Bring on the the KERS! Great idea.
  • + 25
 Dear Fox: please ask your super-dooper NASA + James Bond division to develop a decent fork in the $400-500 range. Oh, and no new standards, please.

That is all.
  • + 4
 Why would they sell is for $500 when everyone will already pay $1000? Its tough.
KERS would be my best friend at the end of a long ride
  • + 3
 That is pretty slow acting. Even for a solinoid.
  • + 2
 For reference, here's a demo of what ~5 milliseconds looks like:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=fq3o0VGUh50

Did you see the blade move?
  • + 2
 What about that article a while back which showed even fully open suspension cannot react fast enough to stop the tyre fully compressing. Will an extra few milliseconds added to this increase pinch puncture risk?
  • + 2
 @IamZOSO each frame in that video is probably taking over 30ms, so its perfectly possible for the blade to take 20 and not be able to see it.

The energy recovery idea would be cool, as long as its not rattley.
  • + 2
 @betsie When they'll find a super-complex algorythm from alien spaceship, they'll be able to make some sort of shock without shims or anything, just a hole and an elecronic valve, and as the electronic may go down in price, you'll be able to buy a cheap shock or fork with really good performances.

But for now it's like an electronic CTD, so as the CTD isn't best thing in the world, I'll wait before switching to electronic suspensions. (and I don't like batteries).
  • + 1
 @faul it would not have to be super complex! Why would you think that it would be super complex?
I would bet that they have already tried and tested other algorithms. Fox are only a small company so will not have access to the vast R&D resources that development companies have.
  • + 2
 Because if you want to remove all the shims and everything and just let the electronic do the job, the algorythm involved is more complex than "there is more than XXX G's, let's open the valve!'
  • + 1
 I was not referring to removing the shims etc. but the control algorithm around the on/off of the control valve.
They are only adjusting the low speed currently, if this is like the CCDB CS then this adjusts low speed compression and rebound speed which would be good. I would not say that Pinkbike is the place to speculate on what they are or are not doing or what they may do in the future. I don't work for Fox as a development engineer, I bet that doing some feasibility testing is more fun than feasibility, characterization and design verification testing that I get to do though.
  • + 1
 Regenerative braking perhaps? Or kinetic charging?
  • + 29
 I am scared to death the moment that my e shock will give the wrong signal to my e shifter and dérailleur that will give the wrong signal to my go pro that will give the wrong signal to my garmin that will give the wrong signal to my iPhone that will give the wrong signal to my f#cking brain....
  • + 4
 That was good
  • + 9
 Bit of a rollercoaster comment. My heart was racing. Thanks mate
  • + 30
 Hate to say it but...game changer. Everyone will have the perfect bike. 160mm will climb as good as a 100mm rig. Now the only variable is geometry
  • + 5
 That's exactly how I feel about the Ei system. My Spicy is 160mm and performs like a hard tail when locked out. The shock opens and closes hundreds of times over the course of a ride. I'm considerably faster and more in control then on my 140mm trail bike. No compromise's for undulating terrain, the bike knows what to do.

Anyone in the "not on my bike" crowd is foolish...and you know when it'll become apparent? When you're getting stomped at races because everyone else is running a much more efficient bike.
  • + 6
 then F1 regulations will come to MTB races...
  • + 5
 So no one will be able to refuel during the race? dang...
  • + 3
 Variable geometry, how about Canyon Shapeshifter..
  • + 4
 The perfect bike would 200mm+ of travel and climb like a 100mm XC rocket! Wink
  • + 23
 I want to see results from a blinded study. Have riders do a loop or a lap without knowing the setup, either active or static. ABAB test with multiple riders timed. I'm sick of hearing how it feels. I wanna go fast!
  • + 14
 Blind fold the riders? I think there is a flaw in that plan....
  • + 1
 Yeah all of these reviews are utterly pointless unless backed up by figures. If i'm told something is different, I will more than likely begin to "feel" it. And I've met some of the guys that do bike reviews, their inate feel for a bike is often the exact same as mine or yours. These guys aren't bike geniuses.

UK car magazines are the worst for this type of crappy arbitrary review. I was reading a review of a car where he complained that it felt like the chassis just wasn't stiff enough in the tight twisty stuff. Same car was then scientifically tested in Auto Motor und Sport (a german magazine) where it was discovered to be 50% more rigid than the car (a BMW) that Autocar described as being in another league. Ie. The UK magazine said the BMW was best simply because it was a BMW and had a reputation/image.

Oh and the new Jaguar (any new Jaguar) will invariably be a "German beater" upon release.
  • + 12
 I just posted this is the other article today about electronics:

So how long before someone offers a bike with electronically controlled fork, shock and gearing all tied into a GPS that reads the topo data for the trail you're on as well as getting feedback from your heart rate monitor so it can adjust itself accordingly?
  • + 13
 About three days...
  • + 3
 Just to throw some thoughts out there...firstly you'd have to carry a GPS and heart rate monitor which seems burdensome/cumbersome if all you want is for your suspension to work better. With GPS still stuck at around 3m accuracy at absolute BEST (it's virtually always much higher, especially in the woods, cloud cover, etc.), this seems like a better solution. On short, punchy climbs and short drops, GPS-activated suspension will totally screw you up...doesn't have nearly the useful accuracy required. This here, though, negates the whole "climb" and "descend" concept for something that reacts to how the wheels are responding to the trail directly under them, whether you're going up or down.

Also, some people (me, anyway) neither has nor wants a heart rate monitor, and heart rate is also not an accurate indicator of what the bike is doing (doesn't change fast enough to be useful, for one thing).
  • + 1
 @ecologist bro there is such thing as wrist hr monitors that carry gps functions, and the connect to strava with both features, and it does say A LOT about the bike ur using compared to other bikes that make you work more or less, but i see ur point, it sucks but lets face it, weve been invaded by technology, biking isnt human anymore its technohuman, which is awesome, but the old days are gone Frown
  • + 1
 @ecologist. I believe @dgski9 just wanted to know how long until that was going to be on the market. Not how terrible it is right now.
  • + 2
 Fair enough...I guess just two more days left then...
  • + 1
 Effing Radar... What we need is a Radar that reads the terrain before you and control the suspension accordingly.
  • + 12
 Slightly off topic but... I think its about time there be an available app from both RS and FOX that allows you to put in all sorts of information about the bike you are on, which suspension products, rider weight, the trails types you will be riding and whatever else they see necessary that then feeds you a tuning guide to follow to better help you use all of your suspensions black magic. Obviously this isn't something everyone is going to use or even give a shit about but when I see something like the FOX Live Valve being introduced I see a product that a lot of people will want to jump at but I don't ever see it being used to its max potential unless that rider is given a 45 minute lesson on it. All this wicked suspension technology and for the most part people ride the same settings for single track as they do rock covered tech DH... There are more and more people getting into all types of racing, might as well give the average weekend warrior a little bit of a helping hand since he didn't arrive with his own pit crew.
  • + 0
 There is no shortcut to setting up your suspension. You need to put the time in, and dial your suspension in to the way that you ride, on the terrain that you ride. There is no black magic or advanced degree required, just patience and putting the time in if you want the best results. Try a setting, see if it works for you, document what it is so you don't forget it. And Fox did have an app, and it was next to useless.
  • + 2
 I understand there is no shortcut. And I understand the time necessary. What I am trying to get at that with more and more different technologies on so many different modles of suspension some type of app to help keep everything I. Sorts that can take of remember different setting and has a complete catalogue of suspension and how to get a baseline tune would still be very helpful. As a bike mechanic I can already count the customers that would love something like that.
  • + 12
 How long to recharge the batte..... wait a minute, why I am asking this? I ride a hardtail, I don't care about suspension, I have a Suntour XCR on the front. Pinkbike forums, eh?
  • + 9
 You're livin the dream man
  • + 1
 he's living the dream indeed. the hardtail is a thing of beauty.
  • + 10
 Had to google "UTV" which is apparently "utility task vehicle" - those side by side off road vehicles. Not sure why they invoke 'utility' and 'task' since all I ever see happening with those is fat couples sight seeing on logging roads.
  • + 10
 I bought a DW Link bike for a reason...

Can someone explain why you would need a shock to adjust between descending and climbing? ;-)
  • + 2
 lol Though I hate Elitist comments based on the bike someone uses which happens way to fucking much.... ugh its hard to deny that your comment.. though full of douchebaggery is very true. lol My brother in law has a mach 6 and damn does that thing just climb and then descend oh so very well.
  • + 5
 If I understand it correctly, it doesn't adjust between climbing and descending...it adjust between hitting bumps and not hitting bumps.
  • + 3
 Yep, my rear suspension already pedals great wide open. Now my fork...
  • + 1
 I own a DW bike also, and the bike that was DW too, so I'm a fan. But every suspension design is a compromise. DW has its haters because of the way it can firm up pedalling on technical climbs. Intelligent damping can free up the suspension designer to work on other priorities than anti-squat, which should enable even more active set ups, without the downsides.
  • + 2
 Didn't read the article, huh? The author explains why in the summary.
  • + 2
 Any suspension design to make climbing AND descending good is nothing more than a compromise on both.

In this day and age, with how good rear shocks have become and the platforms they include for firming up an active suspension while climbing I do not understand trying to sell a suspension design that does that. You will lose out somewhere. If it climbs great it likely will not descend great and vice versa.

If you want it firmer for the climbs: flip a switch. Fox is taking care of all of this for us.
  • + 1
 @rexluthor

I don't think anyone is going to argue that. As for DW link it's climbing capabilities felt a tad better than its descending qualities when I rode the Mach 6. It was still one of the ore stable descenders I had ridden but coming from all Kona bikes it definitely wasn't as plush as I was used to so the ride was a little harsher than what I was used to.

Either way, the DW link suspension design is one of the best if not the best link designs on the market right now. Might not be for everyone but it ticks a lot more boxes than others.
  • + 8
 @RC -- curious, you didn't say anything about braking (or I missed it). Presumably, since the accelerometer is on the lowers it would stay firm on braking, which is awesome. Except that if you hit a bump while braking (which is often) it would open, so the front would still dive, right? More so if you've set the suspension up softer to take advantage of this great tech?
  • + 4
 It would open under braking, but because the fork is being lifted by the bump, you would not sense the event as dive, ride height would feel stabilized..
  • + 4
 Thanks for the response, but I still don't follow. How can the compression damping be opened to absorb the bump without also allowing the fork to dive?
  • + 1
 It might be able to sense the difference between a dive and a hit as a dive is usually a slower motion than a hit/bump?

AND OR

With a dive, your CSU is diving into your lowers whereas a hit is pushing your lowers up towards your CSU?
  • + 1
 Yeah...I guess it's probably just that low and high speed compression damping are isolated/independent, but I just don't know how that magic happens. I think it has something to do with "Low speed compression is controlled by a more sophisticated and sensitive washer-stack, which can respond to a wider range of shaft speeds and bump amplitudes. The bypass circuit operates a servo piston that puts pressure on the valve stack to increase compression forces."
  • + 6
 Ecologist ^^^ On flat terrain, brake dive is caused by a forward and downward acceleration of your body mass as the bike slows and your body tries to continue onwards. In that case, because Live Valve has not sensed a bump, it stays firm and prevents brake dive.

Say there is a bump in front of you and you are braking. Before you hit the bump, Live Valve has been closed, the fork is not diving. Now, the accelerometer senses the bump and opens the fork's compression damping, but because the fork lower (along with the wheel) is being rapidly accelerated upwards by the bump towards the rider's body mass, the fork is being compressed, but the bike remains level. There is no brake dive, because the tendency for the rider's mass to push the front of the bike down under braking is being countered by the vertical acceleration created by the bump, which is trying to lift the front of the bike upwards.

In the same manner, bump impacts create a lifting force at the rear of the bike while climbing, which becomes an opposing force that prevents the bike from sagging into its rear travel when Live Valve opens to absorb the impact.

zephxii got it right in his second sentence

Hope that helps,
RC
  • + 2
 It helps! And it's oh so simple. Simple is great. I think I've mostly got it. I could probably keep asking questions about it all afternoon but I think I'll stop rather than tire the issue. Thanks a ton!
  • + 12
 Intriguing...
  • + 5
 I'm not sure watt the big deal is.
  • + 3
 I'm super amped about this new tech
  • + 1
 We need to switch the focus.
  • - 1
 I was really closed minded but this live valve has really opened it up during this tough decision.
  • + 6
 Amazing. If it makes a bike more efficient at pedalling/climbing and thus saves my legs for the descent while also providing more traction so i can go faster on the way down im going to want it on all my bikes, simple as that. Bring it on.
  • + 6
 As far as bike stuff goes im stuck in the past. I throw my leg over my bike and ride it, dont fiddle with suspension settings or anything as long as it goes and stops and im have fun i dont care but.... this has me intrigued!
  • + 10
 Hang on guys I gota turn my bike on......
  • + 5
 Well... They've been turning us on for long enough.

"Coat please".
  • + 6
 Meh. Call me when both the high and low speed circuits adjust themselves automatically, basically tuning itself to the terrain.
  • + 7
 They might make it so your fork will call you. Nice riding, you handled that section like a pro! -your fork
  • + 4
 Sounds like a good advancement in suspension. Hope other companies jump on the bandwagon and make this affordable for everyone within the next few years. If it really is as good a s RC says it is than I would not mind saving my pennies for this. It sounds like it could make a long travel bike into THE perfect mountain bike. No more tradeoffs climbing and descending. COME ON ROCK SHOX AND MARZOCCHI!! Oh wait, just Rock Shox...
  • + 4
 This is game changing, I've been waiting when other manufacturers will jump to same sled as Lapierre with thier E:i system, but with lockout for fork too. This will eventually be the future, as electronics and batteries develops more and more cheaper so all kind of gadgetry can be built with assist of electronic power...

One thing though what I would like to see with these electronic gadgets on bicycles, is ONE standardised power supply and/or communication bus between the devices. Electronic stuff is eventually coming more and more, and if there would be one standard, at least for the power supply, it would make it possible to embed wires inside frames so there would be no need for a millon new wires... Battery is anyway just a battery, it can be built in various shapes and sizes and easily hidden inside frames etc... Communication on the other hand can be made with wireless technologies, although those might have some downsides too...
  • + 1
 Judging by the industrie's record with wheel "Standards", I'd say this isn't very likely.
  • + 6
 Boy, I sure miss the days where I can just set up my air pressure, compression, and rebound damping and go for a ride.
  • + 1
 It's such a mixed emotion eh.
I think crazy clever superbikes will drive the simpler markets too.. Who can argue with the antidote to all this? Hardtail, single speed, simple suspension, done. Straight back to why we all started out... Dealing with bumps. The connection to the ground. Not just tear-assing across it as fast as possible. Obviously that's fun too.
  • + 3
 Richard, thanks for the article and thorough explanation. How was the traction on unbumpy, but loose, gravel-like climbs? I'm curious how it performed in those conditions since sometimes an open suspension aids for pedaling traction.
  • + 3
 Rattpoison: The Kona feels the same in those situations as it does with Live Valve off untill you crank it up past 6. Then it feels harsh at the beginning of its travel and the tires will start skipping around on gravel and drifting through choppy corners - just like if you had cranked up your shock pressure or low-speed rebound on a normal suspension bike. I did not notice any significant loss of traction while climbing, however, with Live Valve switched on in any setting.
  • + 4
 How about solar energy to help put a eco friendly certification on all electronic powered mechanism on bikes? That way i could get government funding to Buy thèse ridiculously priced bikes and or gadgets...
  • + 1
 No need to, just look at cars: as long as it's e-something, it's "ecofriendly" regardless...
  • + 3
 ^^ I always laugh when I see some big Mercedes with a 3,0 liter turbo V6 diesel , but the ' blue line ' edition , I mean if you wanna save fuel and polar bears don't go buying a silly engine to begin with surely ?
  • + 2
 Blue line/bluetec/etc has to do with adblue and basically means your engine runs on piss lol, but hey, people seems to love being played on these mindgames...
  • + 7
 ROBOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 All praise the fox shock.
  • + 3
 Wires ! I need more wires ! Gimme me even more wires ! Electronally controlled fork and shock with a different battery than the drivetrain ! I want a 4 x 13 (with a 50-12 cassete and 14-18-22-24 chainrings) transmission so I could climb up to the moon ! And a device to control how much air is in my tires so that I can inflate o deflate them. And finally I would like double 250mm brakes front and rear, with 12 piston callipers ! Of course, I will run 350mm of suspension on each side with an 80hp e-bike engine who has 600km of autonomy ! And then, I'll buy for myself plastic body armor (to wear without a shirt and short) and a fullface and clipless pedals !

The future looks so bright... (XD)
  • + 2
 I'd sooner see R&D go into making existing tech more reliable and less costly.

While this electronic stuff is nice, it is one more thing to break. Electronic shifting replaces something - this electronic suspension adds complexity to already failure prone, fragile, service intense shocks. I will pass for now.

Just got my Pike and Float X back from a rebuild.

Just this AM I got done rushing to replace my failed PF92 Bearings on a BB less than 2 seasons old so I can squeeze a ride in after work.

Seems like I'm forever fixing my bikes! Let's make'm better, not fancier.
  • + 5
 So are they going to make it fit a Fox 40 and Float X2 so I can just ride a DH rig?
  • + 2
 Imagine if this thing had an accurate GPS link too...
-It could open up a meter or two before you hit the rock garden and then tighten up immediately again after.
-You could put it in learn mode along with your garmin connection to map a trail's "roughness" and then share the tracks for local trails. I bet after 20-50 passes of aggregate data you would have a pretty good idea of where the shock should be doing what.
  • + 4
 I always wonder, with all of the technology we have today in biking, whats going to be left for the future? Whats there going to be in 50years? No one say E-bikes
  • + 5
 Real active suspension (the technology discussed in this article is actually just "adaptive suspension"):
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Active_suspension
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Df2mM5jP1W0
www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8sVDenpPOE
  • - 5
flag MDRipper (Jul 29, 2015 at 12:33) (Below Threshold)
 Stop innovating new shit and just make the existing high end parts at a more affordable price. I just dropped 1000+ on a wheelset and a new fork. I dont have the nicest job cuz i like to have more time to ride, but the money i spent was two weeks worth of work. Two weeks of my life behind a desk 8 hours a day just to buy this stuff. I could have bought cheaper parts, but as sad is it sounds having better parts does help you perform better. Bike skills will always trump an expensive bike, but after putting the new wheels and fork on i can literally bunnyhop a foot higher now, with no change in bike skill. These bike co's waste their money literally tryin to reinvent the wheel.
  • + 4
 Hoverbikes.
  • + 8
 The tech will become so good, that the trail will feel as smooth as the road. It's a conspiracy, they want us to be roadies. Wink JK
  • + 2
 Nice reply @dlxah, I was hoping someone would say this. It's not really even adaptive either as it is just on or off. Save's turning the 'pro-pedal' lever yourself though.
  • + 5
 I can't wait to see what positive and constructive comments pinkbikers leave on this article!
  • + 2
 Sounds amazing but isn't more than normal damping with faster automatic actuation. A major improvement would be the introduction of magne ride in mountain bike suspensión. With this tech the suspension can change parameters of fluid density, far away than a typical change of valve damping settings. And probably cost the same...
  • + 2
 Some really good points made about being open and causing brake dive and being closed (firm) on climbs when you need it open to get traction. In both situations, the shock fails big time. I think there is a future with electronic suspension, but let's get internal gearing first.
  • + 2
 "To take full advantage of FOX's electronic controls, one needs to separate the bike’s suspension action from its pedaling performance. "
Initial setup? Take your chain off & do neko and gwin laps.

I'll be most excited about this technology when an electronic seatpost is integrated!
  • + 2
 First, wow. How awesome that Richard Cunningham is reviewing this stuff. Dude you rock.

I rode the LaPierre and thought it bit. Clicky clacky and the mode transitions were jarring. It was firm to climb but the two modes felt out of sync to me.

Question: This system has a far faster response, with rapid transition can it emulate all the damper settings between the two extremes?

Something that bugs me about the accelerometer based system is that there doesn't seem to be enough info.

For example it can't predict what is needed in the near future, only what is under the bike right now. A medium step followed by flat can be fully absorbed and rebound can be slow, but a medium step followed by a big step the rebound needs to be fast and there must be compression damping. With fork accelerometer there's only the now (at least for front wheel.) Seems like there needs to be lasers or a camera reading the trail ahead in order to correctly strategize the dampers?

Isn't (bike) velocity needed in order to calculate the delay for rear shock adjustment? Otherwise if you're going faster or slower the adjustments will be out of sync?

Why isn't power to crank also needed? If you know significant power is being applied by rider then you should more aggressively stiffen the platform.

Anyway, still not sure I want batteries and a computer on my bike but still would love to try it.

PS: On the use of the word "protuberance"... you happen to be a zappa fan?
  • + 1
 Agreed!

1. Scanning the trail ahead with lasers/ a camera—definitely a next step. Mercedes Benz uses it in its cars. They call it "Magic Body Control."

2. Crank power seems like a useful variable to me, too. I'm sure they could figure out some sort of algorithm to make use of this data.
  • + 2
 I'm on board with progress, but the proliferation of electronics makes me love the mechanical simplicity of my bike so much more. I have no doubt this live valve tech is amazing, and it might be the future. For the same reason that electronics and computers have replaced mechanical things everywhere we look, I expect certain big brands to latch on to this idea to create even more ridiculously expensive, but undeniably amazing bikes. I don't know who actually buys those $10k+ bikes, but I guess they sell, otherwise why would the big S etc. make them? Meanwhile I and my fellow Luddites will continue to generate enough demand for the old-fashioned mechanical bikes, so hopefully some brands keep developing without electronics.
  • + 4
 @foxracingshox curious what type of controller you implemented here? Seriously impressive to someone having experience in control systems. Nice work.
  • + 3
 Would be super basic. Just need maybe one or two analog in and one or two analog out. Guessing android based because it's the cheapest. Little single core. Plc's are more expensive because proprietary
  • + 1
 I wouldn't be surprised if it just used an ARM core, but I was more curious about the controller design. As in if they implemented true PID control, lag lead, or if it's just a basic "if statement" controller. Having done PID a few months ago I can only see the engineers working on this dreaming nightmares of of windup causing unstable damper control... *cringes*
  • + 1
 It won't be cheap, and maybe not for all but the well-heeled weekend warriors, but it will be a game changer for cross racing applications. I would love to try this, but not interested really in buying any time soon. No doubt the tech will be included as OEM on the top of the line Treks, Spec, et. al. Again, not where I am spending my dollars.
  • + 1
 I wonder how this will change the racing scene? Separate class for electronic suspension if it shows to give that much more of an advantage? Doubtful, but will be interesting to see who/how many world class riders start using this technology.
  • + 1
 The FIA got Williams' computer controlled suspension banned in F1. I know why it was done, but part of me wants to see what would have happened if F1 didn't have such stringent limitations and see what a monnster they could build without rules. I guess I'd be curious about bikes in the same way.
  • + 1
 I'd also be interested to see what an unrestricted F1 car could do. I once read something interesting about rules in motorsports like F1 that pretty much said that technology exists right now for teams to build a car essentially so 'computer controlled' that driver input would be so minimal they'd essentially be a passenger. They impose the various rules to keep the human element in the sport. This Fox thing is interesting though. A possible progression of this technology is progressive and instant tuning of suspension settings based on the current terrain - could change the way DH bikes are ridden.
  • + 1
 Bikes are turning into cars. And after working on cars so much in my life, holy shit--I hate cars. This is highly innovative and awesome, no doubt, but I'll keep my bike cluttered with cables and no non-sense suspension. At least I won't need a scan tool to fix it on the side of the trail.
  • + 1
 This kind of technology is pretty cool, But I still still don't know if I'm ready to trust electronics on bikes. Correct me if i'm wrong, but it seems like having cables is safer than electronics. Also, I thought this is what an inertia valve is for.
  • + 1
 Not really sure how I feel about the whole bringing computing systems into mountain biking thing. Kinda takes the rawness of getting out into the woods for a few hours, but boy do I like new gadgets. I'd love to play with this thing for a few rides
  • + 1
 I get the idea. Electronically controlled suspension works quite good in cars so why would it not in a bike. I'd like to try this but I still believe that simplicity is the biggest strength of MTB. I like the challenging factor of riding bike that won't change it's feel in a jiffy. I like being on my own and lock suspension manually. In this case I'm not a hater - I'm just old school.
  • + 3
 I don't think it'll make me win any races! Where can I buy more time to ride my bike and bigger balls, these things could make a real difference.
  • + 1
 First it says "battery can run over 25 hours of actual riding time" then later says "2-3x that of Di2".

Di2 lasts a f*ck ton longer than 25 hours, much less 1/2 or 1/3 that amount. Pinkbike not proofing their articles as usual.
  • + 1
 Fox says in testing that the system is currently running far longer than 25 hours, but they asked me to be conservaitive in quoting numbers, because they are still in the developing stages. That's fair enough. Shimano also quotes 25 hours for XTR, which has been consistent for bikes with two and three-by drivetrains because the F der uses up the most power. If you run Di2 as a one by, burn times will be significantly longer. The same goes for Live Valve - if you ride in a firmer setting, the system opens less often, which can double the battery life.
  • + 1
 I have friends on Di2 (road bikes) who say they can go 6 months without charging. Obviously it depends how often you ride.

Obviously hills (front derailleur usage) have a big impact but a quick google search says that 600-1500 miles is normal. Still seems like wayyy longer than 25 hours.
  • + 4
 Can they now work on a dropper that is wirelessly controlled to go up or down w/o pushing it down?
  • + 1
 How will this work with pumping?
Will the suspension firm up for rider inputs?
If you can pump into a roller like a DJ bike and hit a rock garden like a full suspension that would be more interesting to me than improving pedalling performance
  • + 1
 Only a matter of time before hackers are remotely taking control of our bikes! I jest... Fantastic innovation wether its "core mountain biking" or not. I wonder if any one has thought of using movement in the dampers to recharge the batteries, like how an electric car may recover energy from braking, could energy be recovered when damping the movement of suspension internals?
  • + 1
 @RichardCunningham
Trail is Emma McCrary, right? Emma is a nice MUT with some great swoopiness but lacks in the steep/rooty/rocky/drops.

I'm wondering if you rode any of the steeper more natural terrain right in the same area. And if so, can you comment on where the shock performed best?
  • + 1
 Yes, we tested Live Valve on worthy terrain. Emma is flat as a pool table, but it is a "safe" place to shoot action photos in an area of Santa Cruz that sees a lot of land use conflicts - which we chose not to escalate in this feature.
  • + 1
 Nice. Thanks for responding. As a local I appreciate that you are not adding fuel to the fire. Wondering a lot about break dive on the fork and dive in general on the steeps.
  • + 1
 Gotta keep it real, braaah. I'm old school. Back in my day we rode beach cruisers on our way to surf Mavericks. We didn't have all these levers and full-suspension gizmos and fat tires and all this carbon stuff. I still ride my rigid hardtail pennyfarthing on the most technical of terrain, while wearing jeans and Birkenstocks, no fancy helmets and snazzy gloves with padding. Gotta keep it real, braaaah, know what I'm saying?

All you fancy people with your fancy bikes. Was at Costco the other day and they have these Motiv bikes selling for $400. FOR A BIKE! Are you kidding me?! Back in my day a bike cost $34 down at Big 5 or Farmer John's Hay & Feed Supply Store. You gotta keep biking old school, brah.

Okay, gotta go, taking my 2017 Porsche 918 Spyder to get detailed...
  • + 1
 Does anyone remember life before platform shocks? Remember around 2000 when you could set your bike up for climbing or descending but not both? Then the 5th Element came out, and all the other brands followed suit: suddenly your bike could actually do it all. This could very well be the next extension of that. Yeah it's currently a bit bulky and relies on batteries and electronics. But how long before they improve those things?
  • + 1
 wonder what the cost addition will be like. the reason people buy single pivot or linkage driven single pivots like Kona's over another bike is probably 98% cost. So even if they make it pedal just as efficient as a VPP, or other multi link bike. If it ends up costing the same than you might as well get the more sophisticated suspension that doesn't need batteries to work? (and we'll still have brake jack/squat/whatever side of that argument your one)

On the flip side, not having to mess with the compression switch on my horst link bike so it doesn't bob while I'm climbing would be amazing!!!!
  • + 1
 so this shock improved on the poor (pedaling) suspension design of the Kona Process. What if you just had a better suspension design in the first place so that you wouldn't need this expensive shock?

Because these ARE going to be expensive...
  • + 1
 Yes this would work. In the world of thousand dollar drive trains. Why not?.
No step motors. Just a rod in a coil that works as a plunger to increase the pressure in the dampening circuit.
If the battery fails there is a 50/50 chance you will have a suspension with too much compression damp.
But you could still ride the bike so not the end of the world.
Would i use it? .
Nah.
  • + 1
 I'm concerned what price they will market this at. We as consumers already pay a hefty price tag £6,000+ for "innovation" and when something truly innovative like this comes around how much will it add to already expensive bikes?
  • + 1
 "If you break a wire, or damage a module, Live Valve will remain where it was at the time, so you have a fifty-fifty chance; firm or soft."

That bothers me. If there's a manual override, then no problem.
  • + 1
 @RichardCunningham has there been anymore details on this floating around the rumour mill? I know there will be a new specialized epic this year, will this replace the brain??
  • + 1
 ..shits about to start getting crazy. I say we forget those ebikes altogether and focus on e-gears and e-suspension.. Just to see how fast humans can go without 'assistance'.
  • + 1
 1999 Noleen Smartshocks... piezolectric valve to control the compression circuit, operated in 1 millisecond.

www.neebu.net/~khuon/cycling/bikes/K2/1999-OzM/smartshock.html
  • + 14
 also only lasted 1 millisecond...
  • + 0
 Really? Mine lasted hundreds of hours of usage. If the rechargeable battery tech had been better 15 years ago then they'd have likely done a lot better with the technology. A 9V cell doesn't exactly have the greatest energy storage.
  • - 2
 Exactly. And the rest of the frame was rubbish.
  • + 1
 For its day, the frames were quite good. Compared to what's available now, yes they're rubbish but so is an original Intense Spyder or Santa Cruz Super-8, or anything else from 16 years ago. But my point was about the shock technology, but why should i expect logical thinking from the drones on here.
  • + 1
 With the frames I experienced, they were pretty flimsy and the bushings in the pivots left a lot to be desired - particularly in the fork. But clearly, everyone's mileage varies.
  • + 2
 I've been dreaming of a system like this for years! Cannot wait. One day I hope there is an open platform so people like me can program their preferences
  • + 9
 Maybe it's just me, but I ride bikes to get away from things like programming. Bikes are my escape from the complexity of life (my job sitting at a computer programming being part of that). Maybe I'll eat my words, but I hope I never own a bike with electronic bits all over it. Call me a luddite.
  • + 9
 Luddite
  • + 1
 True, and that's one of the reasons I ride as well, but I'm only a hobbiest so it would combine two loves haha
  • + 1
 My Yeti Sb6c does this mechanically in the switch infinity link.. pedals like a race bike at slow speeds, responds to terrain at high speeds like a DH race rig.. no electronics needed, just an effective suspension linkage !
  • + 2
 That's some impressive tech, make a DH version next so I can actually pedal uphill. Oh, and some ABS brakes would be cool too, thanks!
  • + 4
 Wait till your angleset has a motor! Your dh rig will Transformer into a trail bike while you ride it.
  • + 1
 Never heard of Bionicon? evo.bionicon.com/en/das-130-bike They've been making bikes with this setup for a least a decade.
  • + 1
 It's inevitable. Look at the systems in modern cars, it's bound to at least be looked at by the guys that want to push the technology. I'm very interested in this. Very interested indeed...
  • + 1
 People do realize that Lappierre are on the 3rd generation of this with rockshox right...? Ei suspension. It's a motor. that adjusts the damping depending on hits to the fork and pedal input.
  • + 3
 So what happens if I decide to manual and wheelie the entire ride, is it going to feel like a hardtail?
  • + 2
 Yes it will magically transform your dualy into a hard tail.
  • + 3
 I think it's pretty much awesome. I know there will be haters but this is cool.
  • + 3
 15k $ bikes in 2 years - MTB will finally beat Traithlon/TT segment - winning!
  • + 1
 The high end MTB wank fest continues. Dentists, Doctors, Lawyers, basically anyone with oodles of money will have more to brag about at the trail head.
  • + 3
 Never understood shitting on people who finished school and got a good job instead of being a dirtbag.
  • + 1
 Getting a degree and a good job is admirable. Just having a laugh at the ever increasing price of high end bikes and the way it's becoming a sport for the rich.
  • + 2
 Yea I see where you are coming from, it's just that it always has been. There have always been crazy expensive bikes for those who can afford. I enjoy looking at the side effect, low end and mid range bikes are actually reliable, ride-able machines instead of junk. The people who can afford carbon super bikes with computerized suspension, good for them. Some of them can and will enjoy their sleds, some wont, they will sell it and buy a jet ski or a sports car ... whatever.
  • + 1
 As a fan of bike adjustability, its nice to see this kind of innovation. Someone please work on an adjustable seat post that allows a quick change between saddle back with nose up to saddle forward with nose down.
  • + 1
 Imagine if you could download the trail navigation and current conditions which would change the way di2 and live valve alter your ride quality in order to literally get the fastest time possible.
  • + 1
 This is amazing. I love how it changes your shock for the ride in the moment, not set it and hope its good for your entire ride. I love innovation and how our sport is gaining attention and advancing so nicely
  • + 1
 Great. Now the bike industry can justify trying to sell us $15000 bikes. $10000 bikes are so last year. At the end of the day it can't pedal itself (they're working on that now) and it won't make a crap rider any less crap.
  • + 0
 No thanks. :/

How do you charge if you're out on some trip where you won't be back the next day? There's nothing wrong with levers. This gadget can't know what kind of terrain you're riding into. More weight, more hassle, more complexity, more stupid shit that no one needs.
  • + 3
 Fuck I'm too drunk to bother reading through all of this.
  • + 3
 Soooo basically a specialized/fox brain that stays open for a few seconds
  • + 1
 RC: Well written. I'm convinced it works. But I hope I can resist this (felt that way about droppers too, but more resolve this time).
  • + 3
 Really excited, just hope the pricing is not exorbitant
  • + 2
 If we need electronic help with our shifting and suspension, can we get help with our pedaling too? Oh wait...
  • + 1
 That's awesome fox, but I still can't find that sweet spot with set up due to the 231 different setting on my freaking bike suspension
  • + 1
 This could really move Pro scene to the new era - use of telemetry and further possibility for fine tuning live during the race.
  • + 1
 that anticipation when you're reading an interresting article and loving it, but you just know that the comments below are gonna be SOO good
  • + 1
 The engineer in me wants to see the FMEA. If the sensor fails it seems like the fork and shock lock out, but it is late and I should be in bed.
  • + 1
 Fox I love ya! You make it work and we'll ride it, tou know you will. Talked to the Fox cats today. Thanks Troy for helping take care of my Vanilla!
  • + 3
 fuck electronics on bikes
  • + 1
 Great technology BUT, I just wanna ride my bike. I dont want everything to be electronic in the next 10 years. Again, batteries belong on E Bikes, not mountain bikes people.
  • + 1
 I like those tecnology but if those batteries are the same as usual cell phones riders will need to carry chargers in the backpack
  • + 1
 Hi MudMan. If the power ends, the valve will become static like a normal shock.
  • + 1
 Thats nice
  • + 1
 Small solar panels should do the trick to elimate the need for batteries. Sign me up (like it 10 years when this will be affordable...)
  • + 0
 I think it's time for fox to make a shock and fork that doesn't need it's seals changed more often then my underwear, or is that so bike shops can rake the money in? I ride a rigid 29er now hahaha
  • + 1
 why not... but it's like the apple watch: you have to wait the 2nd version of the product because there are tons of problemswith the 1st. Otherway pretty cool
  • + 3
 The Apple watch is a fail. To me it's their first product that has truly exposed their need to create a need, instead of making the best products they can, which they've been getting away with pretending to do for years.
  • + 3
 $$$$$$$$$$$$$ shocks are 'spensive enuff! ;P
  • + 2
 I could already see "A 2019 Fox Live Valve upgrade program starting at $800"
  • + 2
 generally against eletronics on MTB, but would have liked to try that machine
  • + 3
 RC, thanks for the detailed article. Much appreciated.
  • + 3
 i want a 153 in that color
  • + 0
 Yep, that clearly needs a new 153 volt mains standard for best results.
  • + 1
 I would use this and di2. It will actually allow me to think less about my bike and just ride.
  • + 1
 Cycling is already a materialistic sport, so what's with the hate on this electrical innovation?
  • + 2
 Is it enduro compatable ?
  • + 2
 Makes you wonder how expensive it will be...
  • + 2
 could really make a difference on courses with long pedalling sections!
  • + 1
 As a Specialzed Enduro rider this is what we've all been waiting for. It's right up there with dropper posts and beer!
  • + 1
 Can Fox hurry up and do Kashima coating on their dropper post, I want my stuff to match!
  • - 2
 wow that was a waste of five minutes... I thought we where getting some form of active suspension, nope just a basic propedal function from the past that is now automatic.. sure just stick a lever on bars to work fork and shock for when you need to stand up and pedal job done.. Thing will be open all the time on the braking bumps in the park anyway..
  • + 0
 people have their bikes in a stand to waste money on this kinda stuff more than they ride their bike 10k+ bike. JUST RIDE YOUR DAMN BIKE!
  • + 0
 The only possible benefit I can see for this is, stopping me from sliding out in loose corners. So I can rail the shit out of anything! At top speed! Without eating shit
  • + 2
 damn that kona looks good!
  • + 2
 wonder how long this will stay at the top of the news
  • + 1
 Nice, but a varaible valve sounds ancient. The motorcycles use magnetorheological fluid.
  • + 1
 *Reading "human eye-blink requires 300 milliseconds"*
*eye-blink*
Hm, yes! Check Wink
  • + 1
 As my favorite F1 driver, Sebastian Vettel, said: batteries belong to a smartphone, not to a drive.
  • + 1
 fox factory boost 157+ i = fox amping the suspension manager to complement the SRAM wheelsize hypervisor, intelligently
  • + 1
 Now add inductive charging as part of the damping to keep the battery topped off and I'm SOLD.
  • + 1
 Make it a continuous change in parameters, not just open or closed, and I'm in. It's alot of boo hoo for flipping a switch.
  • + 2
 LV ASS. Creative to say the least.
  • + 2
 kind of like cadillac magnetic ride control.
  • + 1
 Wait, how do I adjust the low speed compression on my Pike?
  • + 2
 Looks like a Session.
  • + 1
 Is this ever going to be released?
  • + 1
 I wonder if his rear rim survived smashing into that root.
  • + 2
 Love it! Smile
  • + 1
 If u can buy them, why not?
  • + 1
 CTD where you don't have a choice...........
  • + 1
 but does it stop you from blowing past berms lol
  • + 2
 BermLocator system in the pipeline.
  • + 2
 Hah! He said squirt...
  • + 2
 25% fork sag?
  • + 1
 Yeah, it's first generation, but this could be a game changer.
  • + 1
 Meh. Lockout. Flip. Ahhh.
  • + 1
 This could really change the way XC bikes are made.
  • + 1
 electric shock or not, that kona looks badass.
  • + 1
 Different strokes for different folks
  • + 1
 HEADSHOK ELO......heee heeee!
  • + 1
 A. What took them so long?
B. Yess! More electronics on my bike!
  • + 1
 This is going to change some Strava records...
  • + 1
 Came for the Process. I love this one !
  • + 1
 A hell lot better than electric bikes.
  • + 1
 I came here for the comments
  • + 0
 go find your electronically dampened zimmer frame grand-dad.
  • + 1
 Game changer!!
  • + 0
 Mechanics are going to HATE Fox!
  • + 1
 Nice 'burns Rich!
  • + 0
 Can't wait for an auto-pilot.
  • + 1
 Shocking!!
  • + 1
 Can't wait to try it.
  • - 1
 electronic suspension but externally routed seat post.... SMGDH
  • - 3
 Shocking.
  • - 2
 This is electrifying
  • - 2
 thanks...but not interesting
  • - 2
 Yeah but what about people who run the Pike, AKA most all of us
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