First Look: DT's New F535 One Fork

Jul 2, 2018
by Matt Wragg  



List your favourite suspension manufacturers. The chances are that if you are here on Pinkbike, DT Swiss are not high on that list, if they are there at all. It's not that they are new to suspension, they have been making forks and shocks for the best part of 20 years now, and in 2008 they bought the UK's Pace suspension to reinforce their lineup, but how successful their suspension line has been since then depends on your perspective.

If you are an XC racer looking for a fork that needs tying to a rock on windy days, then DT are definitely right up there. Nino Schurter and Jenny Risveds piloted their OPM Race 100 fork to Olympic gold in Rio 2016. Dig beyond that headline and the racing palmarés for the OPM line are even more
F535 ONE Details

• Travel: 130, 140, 150, 160mm
• Wheel size: 27.5" or 29"
• Position-sensitive damping
• Lineair spring with Coilpair
• Offsets: 44mm (27.5"), 51mm (29")
• Weight: 2,020 - 2,090g
• Hub/axle: Boost 15x110mm
• Price: €1,149 EUR / $1,551 USD
• Intended use: AM/enduro/ebike
• Available: Now
www.dtswiss.com
impressive, with wins and championships at every level of XC competition. But if you put more value on having fun on the way down than your power and heartrate on the way up, it's fair to say that DT have struggled to bring a fork to market that makes the grade. Until now the burliest fork in their range was the snappily-titled OPM ODL 150, essentially a stretched out version of what their XC racers are using, with the same 32mm stanchions and damping system. DT themselves don't mince their words when they talk about the fork; it is "an XC fork."


DT Swiss F535 ONE. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg

DT Swiss F535 ONE. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
DT Swiss F535 ONE. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg

DT Swiss F535 ONE. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg


Their head of marketing, Friso Lorscheider, admits that "nobody was waiting for a longer-travel fork from DT." That put them in a very unique position, with no outside pressure they were free to design their F535 from the ground up, starting with what they call a white paper. On that white paper they listed what they believe a modern all-mountain fork should do. Their analysis should not surprise you. When they started work on this fork back in 2015, they identified three things that a fork needs to offer: sensitivity at the start of the stroke, support in the mid-stroke and progression at the end. That sounds familiar, right? While every suspension company is touting those qualities, there is a strong case that DT are the first to actually offer all three in a single package.


The Big Difference

To understand why the F535 is different you need to start with how every other suspension fork works. The damper controls the fork's action by regulating the oil flow, using a precise series of ports to determine the behaviour of the fork; from this we get high- and low- speed compression derived from the speed at which the oil passes through the ports. The problem here is that we have just one variable to try and provide two outcomes and despite what the press releases may tell us, while you only have one variable you are always going to have to make a trade-off between sensitivity and mid-stroke support. That is why racers' bikes tend to feel so firm, they will prioritise the support part of the equation at near-total exclusion of sensitivity.


DT Swiss F535 ONE.
At the moment, this is the only graphic we have from DT about how the Plushport works as the technology in the fork is still patent pending and they say they do not want to talk in more depth about this at the present. It's not entirely clear from the graphic, but the basic idea is that the amount of compression damping increases depending on where the fork is in its travel. From 0-30% travel it's fully open, after which it increases gradually up until 50% travel is reached, at which point the highest level of damping has been reached.


The F535 adds a second variable - another port that works in a very different way, DT calls it Plushport. At 0-30% travel this port is wide open, diverting oil away from the main damping circuit, meaning the oil can flow freely and the fork's movement is virtually undamped. Once you reach 30% travel the movement of the fork begins to close the port gradually, reaching fully closed at 50% travel. For that 20% of the stroke you have a gradually increasing amount of compression damping as the port diverts more oil through the damper, with the theory being that the transition should be seamless. Finally from 50% onwards the port is fully closed and all the oil is flowing through the damper, which offers a very high level of compression damping to provide that all-important mid-stroke support. Essentially you can have two very different levels of compression damping within a single fork and, if DT have got it right, it will all work seamlessly together to offer the holy trinity of fork performance: sensitivity, support and progression.


Chassis and Air Spring

While the damper may be very impressive on paper, it is worth zero if the rest of the fork around it is no good. First up is the chassis. Before DT started work on this fork they did their homework - they conducted extensive testing on a range of forks from their soon-to-be competitors to work out what they liked and what they didn't. One of the big initial steps for them was jumping to a 35mm stanchion - in the past DT had made nothing bigger than 32mm, but after running their old 32mm-stanchioned fork with a prototype damper against its more modern rivals they quickly realised that if they wanted to compete they needed something bigger.

With the size set they then began fine-tuning the stiffness. They made a conscious decision to offer a more compliant chassis; they felt that one of their top competitors in the enduro fork market was actually too stiff, to the detriment of the overall bike handling. However, when looking at the weight of the fork it is important not to conflate stiffness with strength. While this fork may not be the stiffest fork on the market it's not lacking in strength - it's rated for a combined system weight of 150kg. To put that in context: they believe that a 130kg rider could happily strap one of these to the front of his 20kg e-bike and ride safely (most forks have a total system rating of 120kg).

To design the air spring they again started with a blank piece of paper and tried a number of different solutions before settling on their final configuration. One idea they tested extensively was a dual chamber air spring - much like Ohlins are using on their high-end forks. However, after much evaluation their lead engineer, Sam Zbinden, admits that, "There is only a small benefit with this system, and we decided that it's not worth the additional weight, the additional costs and the additional complexity for the customer, therefore we didn't go for this solution."

What they went for is a fairly standard, large-volume air spring, but they paired it with something unique - a small coil for the initial stroke. Using the large air chambers they could keep the mid-stroke fairly linear, with the traditional air spring ramp up at the end of the stroke. To get around the initial stiction that is a characteristic of all air springs, they have dropped in a tiny, very light coil spring at the start of the stroke that can start the fork moving, then handing over duties to the main air spring.


The Final Package

With the beating heart of the fork set, next up are the aesthetics. This fork is discrete. While I was running the fork unbadged at home I started talking in depth to a passing German rider at the end of a trail who wanted to know about how my bike was working. We chatted for a good 10 minutes and throughout he never so much as glanced at my fork, despite it being the only one outside DT at the time. But, if you look at it next to any of the current crop of 160mm forks it is unique in its own way - the design language is boxier but clean, with aluminium caps covering the valves and adjusters at the top of each leg. The best analogy for this fork is when a manufacturer releases an updated version of an existing car - at first the new design looks a bit weird, unusual even, but after a little while you realise that you have got used to it and the previous version now looks dated. The covered adjusters are no accident or oversight - DT do not want you fiddling with this fork too much, so they have made a conscious choice to make it less easy for you (more about this in the Setup section).

DT Swiss F535 ONE. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg

DT Swiss F535 ONE. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg

DT Swiss F535 ONE. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
DT Swiss F535 ONE. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg

DT Swiss F535 ONE. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg

DT Swiss F535 ONE. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
(Clockwise from the top-left) The top covers that pop off with a T10 key on the remote version; the axle handle pulls off to reveal the all-important T10 key; talk about attention to detail, even the top cap covers are etched so you know which side each one belongs to; the compression adjuster for the remote version of the fork - it too needs the T10 to make adjustments; the compression adjust for the non-remote version, you'll never guess what size torx key you need to adjust it - plus the ergonomically wonderful lockout lever; the recessed rebound adjuster that needs the T10 to even reach it - the message on this fork is clear, DT don't want you spending too much time playing with the dials on this fork. That said, it's almost a shame you don't need to use the adjusters as the indexing is so crisp and sharp it's hard not to make a Swiss watch pun.


The axle is a simple screw-in affair with a T10 tool hidden inside, which fits every bolt and adjuster on the fork so you can fix most minor irritations trailside. There is an integrated mudguard, which begs me to ask why more people haven't made them before? It is such a clean, simple solution and looks far classier than a piece of plastic zip-tied to your €1,000 fork.


Setup

DT have opted for a very clean-looking integrated hose guide and mudguard, unfortunately setting these up is a pain in the ass. Both use tiny T10 bolts from the back to hold them in place, they are fiddly and it is hard to get to them to tighten. Fortunately, the hose guide only needs doing as often as you change brakes and I personally tend to leave mudguard on all year round - certainly, when they are as slick and good-looking as this one I see no reason to pop it off, I'll take those extra grams all year. Speaking to DT about this, they acknowledge that this element is not 100% right and I would expect to see some clever little revisions sneak into production not too far down the line.

Setup for riding may be one of the biggest challenges this fork faces - not that it is not utterly simple to do so (it is), but that some riders may not trust the way DT have designed the F535. After all, most of us have spent our entire riding lives fiddling with and fettling our suspension. Whether it is something as simple as trying different pressures or clicks of compression and rebound, all the way up to playing with shim stacks and springs, we have all done this to some extent for as long as we have ridden bikes, so to be asked to forget all that is, well, worrying. Once you get your hand around the knowledge that most of that fettling is to fine-tune the sensitivity/support compromise to your personal taste and that you don't need to make that compromise with this fork, then it makes a lot more sense. DT provide a handy chart that gives you a precise air pressure for your weight and how many clicks of rebound you should run. As for compression? Just leave it wide open. That is it. Go ride.

DT Swiss F535 ONE. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg

DT Swiss F535 ONE. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
DT Swiss F535 ONE. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg

DT Swiss F535 ONE. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
(Clockwise from the top-left) The integrated mudguard, the hose guide, a rear view of the fiddly mounting bolts and the cap that covers the non-axle side of the dropout - a very clean, little touch.


Talking to their engineers they recommended using a digital pump, but for my first few rides I didn't have one to hand and with a little attention you can get the pressures close enough for the fork to work fine. In fact, having later switched to a digital pump I don't think it is quite as critical as DT say it is (they are Swiss, after all). You do have the option to add or remove volume reducer tokens in the air chamber, but it came with two out of a possible three fitted and I never reached a point with this fork where I felt like I needed more or less progression. If you are partial to a good car park test of your suspension, the chances are that the speed of the rebound on this fork will worry you. It is fast, properly fast, but again, you need to trust that DT got their sums right and go ride the fork before you start fiddling.

Two rides in I couldn't resist and tried going nuts, adding a single click of compression. On the first descent of the day I felt there was a moment where the fork didn't completely compensate for my piss-poor cornering technique as the bike slid around on wet, loose rock, so I added a click of compression. After one more descent I took it back off again. It is hard to explain the feeling, it is not that the fork didn't work with more compression, but it added a weird quality to the movement of the fork. In short - DT have the settings nailed and if you can get your head around it, this is the simplest fork to set up and go riding with I have used this side of a Kona Project Two.






For my first ride on the F535 I had an hour or so grinding out the kilometres to the trailhead for one of my favourite trails. After an intensive day of talking to DT about the fork earlier in the week, my head was full of questions and worries, to the point where I had massively over-thought the whole thing before I ever reached dirt. The good news is that when you get up to speed and switch off those unnecessary mental processes this fork doesn't give you much to think about, in the same way that you don't worry if gravity is going to be there or not. Quite simply, it gets on with its job in a way that lets you focus completely on the trail and how you want to ride it in a way no other fork I have ever used does.

DT Swiss F535 ONE. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
DT Swiss F535 ONE. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
The two different versions of this fork tested: 160mm and 130mm (both 29).


Breaking down its trail manners we need to start at the beginning of the stroke. This fork is supple, so supple that my 11kg Scott Spark will sag under its own weight standing. The small coil at the base of the air shaft does its job marvelously, giving a small amount of stiction-free travel then handing over to the lightly damped initial part of the air-spring stroke. What is most impressive is how seamless it all is - you simply don't feel a transition, just an incredble suppleness. If you were riding this fork blind you would not guess that it was a two-stage spring.

Then we get to that initial part of the air-sprung stroke and it is basically undamped, with complete focus on traction and comfort. It certainly does a great job of cutting out trail chatter and keeping your hands fresh for the whole run - on a ten-minute track more suited to enduro bikes, I could hit it flat-out on my 120mm Spark and reach the bottom with my hands still fresh. Part of the reason I chose that first trail is that it tends to get quite dry and dusty and there are some sketchy insides and blown-out off-cambers that you need all the available traction to hold - the F535 made it feel easy. There is a small trade-off here, in that if you are going to have it that open, then you cannot expect it to offer immediate support under braking loads and you will blow straight through the first portion of the travel if you are ham-fisted enough, which does give a very minor diving sensation, but it is tiny and you quickly reach the next part of the stroke which is designed to deal with just that.

The mid-to-end-stroke provides dependable support, ramping up nicely towards the end of the travel. As soon as you completely reach the second phase of the damping it is a brute in velvet gloves. I don't think I ever had a harsh moment where I blew through the stroke, the fork always rode nice and high in the stroke, never wallowing or diving. Checking the travel indicator at the end of a run I would consistently find that I had used pretty much all the travel, but never quite all of it and I could not tell you where on the trail I got closest to the bottom. One thing I have always found is that when a fork holds its composure well, you feel less hurried as you ride, like you have more time to see the trail and make your decisions about where and how you want to ride. The F535 certainly does that and with all that traction you can start to hunt for new ways of riding sections. It is here that the initial context is important - this fork provides support and progression on a par with the most aggressively damped forks I have used. Yet, thanks to that supple initial stroke it never felt unforgiving or hard, it just always felt like enough fork for the job. I did most of my testing with a 130mm fork and with suspension that is both this active and supportive, I think it could lead many people to reconsider how much suspension they need to be running.


DT Swiss F535 One. Valberg France. Photo by Matt Wragg
It may be a Swiss fork, but it's certainly game for a good Scandi flick.


There is one first with this fork for me - this is the first time in a long time that I have used the lockout lever on a fork. This comes back to the sensitivity/support equation and my personal preference has always landed on the support side. What this meant was that I tend to run enough compression damping on my fork that you simply don't need a lockout. On long, steady climbs I still don't think a lockout is necessary, but when I was tired and the gradient went up I was thankful for the lockout on the F535. Because it is so active at the start of the stroke it provides very little support when your form goes out of the window, so that little lever is a godsend. I'm not a huge fan of their remote lever (I also don't like additional geegaws on my bar), but the version on the fork leg is lovely - it has a very positive feel and shape.

In terms of chassis rigidity, this fork was benchmarked against a Pike during development and that bears out on the trail. This is a good place for DT to be as a super-stiff fork really needs the right frame and wheels to work in combination with it to avoid harsh trail feedback, where a slightly more forgiving fork will combine well with a much wider range of bikes and wheels. The traction from this fork has also made me re-think how much stiffness you need on the trail to some extent. One of my little tests for a fork are rolling endos through corners - a move you tend to need quite often here in the South of France. If you're not familiar, you use the front brake to lift the rear wheel, then you pivot on the front wheel to get through the corner, ideally you do all this while still going as fast as possible. In the past I have tended to prefer a stiff fork for this, it feels solid as you turn around the front wheel. For example, the uber-rigid Marzocchi 350 felt amazing for this (it was the one good thing that fork did). Yet with this fork I didn't find myself missing that stiffness, rather the traction on the front wheel meant the tyre was still biting so you had grip to turn with. It is a more delicate feeling, but once you are used to the slightly different approach it feels great.

I have not put this fork through a structured, timed test, but I have been running it on my home trails since mid-April where I record all my rides on Strava. The timing sheets from my home trails says that running this fork I have been putting in PRs or times very close (within a second over long runs) to my best everywhere, on every trail - that straight out of the box it has me on a par with the highly tuned and fettled fork with the high levels of compression I normally prefer, but it is also the most comfortable and easy-to-live-with fork I have ever used at the same time.

DT Swiss F535 One. Valberg France. Photo by Matt Wragg

Issues

There are a few things about this fork that we need to talk about. Firstly is travel adjustment. Because of the way the position-sensitive damping works and that the air springs are specific to the travel, if you want to change the travel you will need to change the damper and air spring. That means that once you commit to a certain amount of travel you are committed until you are ready to buy a new damper and spring. Then there is the question of offset and this fork throws into light the question of how important offset is. Quite simply, it was not something on DT's radar when they developed this fork, so you can only get the 27.5 fork in 44mm and the 29 in 51mm. Because DT create the offset in the lowers, you cannot switch crowns to reduce your offset either and the cost of moulds for new lowers mean it may be some wait for a reduced offset version.

There is one final question for a new fork like this: reliability and service. So far I have put in a few hundred km on this fork and it has worked like clockwork. Service intervals are on a par with Fox and Rockshox and part of the reason this fork weighs as much as it does is because of the amount of metal used internally, which is a reassuring sign. Having used DTs wheels for a number of years I am inclined to trust them on this front - more so on discovering that the development for this fork was complete in 2017, but they took another full year to keep testing and picking at the details to get this right. The other advantage they have is their dealer network - because they are so dominant in the spoke market, almost every single bike shop has an account with DT and to support that network DT has built a robust service provision around the world to support their products.


Verdict

Before you think I am getting carried away with this fork, I want to put its performance into context. If you set up a limited test looking into just one aspect of suspension performance, I would lay money that Rockshox or Fox would come out on top. They have had years and millions of dollars of research to reach a point of high refinement with their suspension. Talk to one of their competitors about how hard they are working to even match them, if you do not believe me. If you tune a 36 or a Lyrik for, say, only mid-stroke support, then I could not tell you that the DT is better in that single aspect, although it is to its credit that it is playing in the same league. With a conventional damper you simply cannot have such a free initial stroke paired with such robust support later in the stroke - you have to compromise. The DT F535 is the first fork to ditch that compromise, and it does it utterly seamlessly out on the trail. I think every almost any rider could benefit from this running this fork - for racers and hard-chargers it offers the mid-stroke support to push the limits, but combines that with unprecedented traction and comfort; for absolute novices it offers the ease of use and comfort they need, but combines it with mid-stroke support and progression that they don't yet know they need to help keep things upright when they get it all wrong.

As journalists we have to be careful with our words - we are fed a lot of marketing bullshit and we need to be careful not to regurgitate it blindly. DT have never made any particular claims about this fork (to me, at least) - it is not their way. They wanted to make a "good" fork that you can strap to the front of your bike and go riding without having to think about it. Not only have they done just that, but I think they have gone quite a way further. While the chassis and air spring are good, what they have achieved with the damper in this fork might just be the most important step in suspension performance since we ditched the elastomers.








158 Comments

  • + 81
 If the fork is as good as their hubs and rims, then I will finally have a new fork from someone besides the other 2.
  • + 17
 So many good fork choices these days. Great to have options.
  • + 26
 Did someone forget Manitou already?
  • + 63
 @macross87: Manitou was forgotten in 2009.
  • + 1
 @macross87: But red instead of orange
  • + 11
 @macross87: sadly people have. I have spent alot of time on every new fork that comes out and the mattoc is still the third best fork. I'll gladly ditch my helm to get back to mattoc
  • + 6
 @zyoungson: not really ..
  • + 10
 @macross87: to this day I don't know if there is a better feeling fork than an xvert carbon
  • + 4
 @zyoungson: Big mistake! Wink
  • + 13
 MRP won the "product of the year" ribbon.
  • + 0
 @hitarpotar: not really, they were ok for about a season til they started to eat thier stanchions.
  • + 12
 @macross87: I didn't, my Mattoc is lovely. And that fork is severely underrated in our hobby. Not by reviewers, but the uptake by us users is abysmal.
  • + 22
 @macross87: cant say it often enough, i ve been on pikes since 2014 and they felt always wrong in some way, i added a aftermarket damper double airchamber etc -fork did still not work great. Last month i got a good deal on a new manitou mattoc irt, i set the air pressure and went of to the woods - the fork blew the pike out of the water.
  • + 9
 It is kind of odd for people to merely consider Rockshox and Fox. They apparently have a strong position in the OEM market but that's because of their OEM strategy. Not something you should think about when looking for an aftermarket fork. Formula, MRP, DVO, Manitou in the higher end segment, Suntour and X-Fusion in the mid end. Not sure yet what Marzocchi is nowadays, other than the budget/workhorse end of Fox. RST seems to be on the way up too. I personally love my Magura forks for their simplicity. And their simplicity means there's nothing keeping me from putting in the regular maintenance. Just see what works for you.

One thing in favor of RS and Fox of course is that if you're not 100% happy with what you got, there are still some upgrades available for your forks from the likes of Vorsprung etc. That's one selling point. That these forks may not be perfect out of the box, but you can upgrade your Yari to something quite special.
  • + 10
 @macross87: Running Dorado, Mattoc and Minute on my 3 bikes, super happy with all of them. My friend who is super particular with his bike setup tried both Mattoc and Minute (I bought Minute from ebay for 80€ shipped) and said: Those forks are dialed!
  • - 3
 My ohlins fork is hands down the best fork i have ever ridden
  • + 1
 @kwapik: This! I wish every bike (I want) wasn't carbon only because I'd rather spend 1k on a fork!!
  • + 1
 That yellow Orbea is lookin like "Swiss cheese!"
  • + 3
 @meathooker: I miss my Dorado sooooo much. TT
  • + 1
 I would buy it just for that fender - so clean...
  • + 4
 @zyoungson: if the fork is eating its stanchions then maybe you should service your fork more often and not blame the fork lol
  • + 2
 @alexisfire: please tell me more?! I am between the two now! Tired of poor rockshox/SRAM QC, I want to get away from the pike. Mattoc and Helm are my top picks.
  • + 3
 @FLATLlNE: Go MRP if you can, just amazing suppleness and awesome ramp adjust.
  • + 2
 @bishopsmike: MRP is on the list also.
  • + 2
 @FLATLlNE: No experience with the Mattoc but my Helm is great. Like night and day from my Pike... small bump control is next level and the fork has performed flawlessly for over a year now. Thinking about getting a Helm-Coil for my 29er...
  • + 5
 @FLATLlNE: Mattoc Pro with IRT is the way to go
  • + 2
 @mkosloske: I honestly was about to purchase a Mattoc, but was worried it would kill any eventual resale value of my bike. Maybe a stupid reason for sure, but it was a factor in my mind. That and getting a mudguard to work with that arch. But all the actual user reviews sound fantastic.

But won't be able to get me away from MRP from now on... it's just amazing.
  • + 2
 @bishopsmike: I'm not at all worried about resale. Ride-quality, reliability, servicability and tune-ability trumps resale $$$ for me.

MRP, Manitou, and Cane Creek are all on the table at this point.

Sounds to me like the IRT rivals/beats our ramp control - or at least that's the indication I get from many out there. And I like that Manitou is fairly straight forward to rebuild at home. I've not dug into the Helm, but typically CC suspension isn't as easy to self service, and tends to be quite expensive to have done elsewhere.

More research needed on MRP. I have no doubt they are great forks though.

Also, there is the cost factor. I definitely don't mind paying top dollar for something that's clearly the best, but when you're splitting hairs, cost often drives it home for me. And, the Mattoc can be found for pretty reasonable prices, so there is that.
  • + 3
 @bishopsmike: the newest mattocs come with a mud guard in the box.
  • + 1
 @meathooker: My X-Vert was the first big upgrade I made to my bike back in 2000-ish and it blew my mind! I can't think of another component that has made a bigger difference to how I ride
  • + 1
 @bishopsmike: not sure is decathlon is a thing in canada but their 2.99€/£ flash mud guard has holes to fit both front and back arch, I was really surprised to see that it fits manitou perfectly Big Grin
  • + 1
 @alexisfire: I ride the Markhor from Manitou, nice n plush and fairly linear. I ought to try out the Mattoc for an upgrade!
  • + 1
 @Boardlife69: mrp and dt both produce forks where i live and there is a huge feud between them. id personally pick mrp but this is a sick fork.
  • + 33
 they should have called this the "Chastity". only you got the keys to fiddle with ya' knobs shaboooiii !
  • + 12
 "The F535 adds a second variable - another port that works in a very different way, DT calls it Plushport. At 0-30% travel this port is wide open, diverting oil away from the main damping circuit, meaning the oil can flow freely and the fork's movement is virtually undamped."

I remember when Manitou invented that in the 90s.
  • + 7
 Scrolled looking for this. position sensitive damping and a MARS air spring?
  • + 3
 Indeed I don't think position sensitive damping is new. I thought it was also something in the early 00's. Downside is that a hard landing (so an impact that starts at full extension) isn't really being absorbed until you're deeper in the travel. So you'll be blowing through that early part and hitting the mid travel at a higher speed. Considering the article though, this doesn't seem to be an issue here.
  • + 1
 PlushPort sounds very like the telescopic needle (low speed compression) from Terry Hay on dirt bikes, but then they say it's patent pending, so who knows?
  • + 7
 “What they went for is a fairly standard, large-volume air spring, but they paired it with something unique - a small coil for the initial stroke.”

I remember when Manitou invented this, too. My 2010 Minute MRD had MARS, which was exactly this.
  • + 1
 @vinay: yeah, position-sensitive damping is a proven dumb idea that keeps coming back around. Mostly because it sounds like a good idea to people that haven't really thought it through; that's mountain biking.
  • + 6
 Mainly, I was referring to TPC+, not SPV. TPC+ had the twin piston with the undamped initial travel, exactly like this. The problem is it won't resist brake forces, g-outs, cornering, etc. So it would make for a divey fork. Much better would be an easily adjustable open-bath shim-stack cartridge with base-valve, mid-valve and rebound valve. If you could easily open it up at home and re-valve it with normal tools, that would be a windfall. Marzocchi at the very end, with RC2 Evo Ti blah blah, did this. A tuned cart, like Avalanche, will let you have your cake and eat it too, in terms of resisting brake dive, but being sensitive and blowing off for square-edged hits like butter.
  • + 1
 @rm7freerider: open bath has the cavation problem but avalanche now has the twin chamber cartridge.
position sensitive dampers never did work! Maybe they figured it out?
  • + 1
 @MX298: Open bath cavitation IME is not a big deal, I've had a few tuned open bath dampers vs. the stock (one tuned actually) FIT/closed type dampers. The tuned open bath stuff was still far superior, it's theoretically possible that on extremely rough terrain with repeated hits that you might lose some damping consistency and that a close damper could provide that consistency, but usually the damping on those closed carts is so far off that this simply never really manifests as far as superior performance. I'd like to eventually be proven wrong on this, but OEM tunes are so bad IME.
  • + 11
 Anyone that rocks a Led Zeppelin T-Shirt in a test photo shoot gets a 10/10 from me. nice work @mattwragg
  • + 2
 Hahahaha, cheers!
  • + 10
 It would be great to see Nino race ews La thuile with this fork. You're welcome marketing dept. Big Grin
  • + 6
 @Zuman He raced Finale EWS a few years ago, but I cannot remember if he ran a DT fork for that (this one obviously didn’t exist in 2013) but his team is now on RS.
  • + 12
 The gehrig twins are racing this fork on their Norco since the start of the season
  • + 1
 @Whipperman: Any idea what happened to Caro? I only found Anita in the result sheets of this recent EWS race.
  • + 1
 @vinay: There was a mention of it in one of the articles about that EWS... she did well at the last one, but I think she got injured somehow, iirc. Or something...
  • + 4
 @vinay: I believe she broke a shitload of bones at the Leogang WC.
  • + 2
 @mattwragg: Ah, bummer. I checked their twinsmtbracing.com website but it makes no mention of anything this season really. But she's been competing in WC DH racing too then, this season? Not everyone is Martin Maes. I hope she gets back at it this season. I always thought it was interesting how close these sisters always got in the results sheets. But yeah, I hope she gets well soon. Breaking a shitload of bones sounds pretty bad to me.
  • + 1
 @mattwragg: Nino raced a Scott Genius with a Fox fork.
  • + 10
 Will I be able to buy square tires to fit the arch?
  • + 1
 just run maxxis 2.5 non wide trail on 50mm+ rims
  • + 8
 These are going to be awesome in 3 years when the online bike websites clear them out for 60% off msrp.
  • + 2
 Was just thinking that... hmm... JensonUSA... DVO Diamond for $550, Cane Creek DB even less, Fox/Rockshox also occasionally in that range... wonder what this will be... can't wait. Razz
  • + 4
 Never again for me - I persevered with 2 DT forks for 3+ years and after my 8th (YES 8th) replacement TwinShot damper, I won't be going back. Quality of manufacturing is 100% but questionable design features, price of spare parts and secrecy over anything but basic service procedures means Fox and RS are the leaders and for good reason.
  • + 2
 This "good reason" is marketing.
I was disappointed by my pike the first time i tried a 36. I'm not the only one saying this, and I still see pikes everywhere.
  • + 3
 "[...] most of us have spent our entire riding lives fiddling with and fettling our suspension. Whether it is something as simple as trying different pressures or clicks of compression and rebound, all the way up to playing with shim stacks and springs, we have all done this to some extent for as long as we have ridden bikes, so to be asked to forget all that is, well, worrying."

Worrying, yes that is the right word.

Call me paranoid but I can't help to see that covering the adjusters may hide a sneaky tendency to make us forget about the good old external adjusters and sell us "plug and play" fork for all, which in my opinion would be a total fallacy.

I personally love to be able to adjust a shit ton of stuff on my fork, if my fork could have more dials than the control board of a spaceship I would take it.

Suspension setup, how it affects the overall performance and feel on the bike is extremely interesting and the more, the finer the adjustments, the better the ride in the end.

I'd say that people thinking that the adjusters on their suspension are gimmicks for nerds which do not translate into a real world difference should start playing more with their knobs.
  • + 3
 You seem very certain about something you have never ridden.
  • + 1
 Truly not, just wondering why the need to bury the adjuster under a cap when it could be available for on the fly tuning of the damper?
  • + 1
 @Barkit: I'm never playing with my compression or rebound in the middle of a ride though. My fork setup is pretty different to get enough support out of the front end of me bike, I'd be real excited to try this fork out so my hands don't feel so much chatter. I have bad tendon issues and it would be quite a relief to not have to trade going otb for carpal tunnel.
  • + 1
 @bulletbassman: Out of interest, have you tried Spank's Vibrocore bars to help with this?
  • + 3
 This here is some Pinkbike prose: "The damper controls the fork's action by regulating the oil flow, using a precise series of ports to determine the behaviour of the fork based on the speed of the oil flow - from this we get high- and low- speed compression derived from how the oil passes through the ports, which depends on the speed it is moving at."

Looks like a dope fork though. Don't know if it's 1.5 ribbons, but still looks rad.
  • + 4
 I will admit that it's an awkard, extended sentence, but if you can come up with a better, Plain English description of how a damper works, please let me know.
  • + 6
 @mattwragg: It think it just needs a bit of editing and simplification: “The damper controls the fork's action by regulating the oil flow, using a precise series of ports to determine the behaviour of the fork; from this we get high- and low- speed compression derived from the speed at which the oil passes through the ports."
  • + 5
 @ninjatarian: Thanks for that, that is better.
  • + 0
 @mattwragg: Your editor would've put this:

"The damper controls the fork's action by regulating the oil flow, it uses a precise series of ports to determine the damping behaviour of the fork based on its speed of movement. From this varying speed of movement we get different high and low speed compression damping behaviour."
  • - 3
 Stop the comma splicing for starters :p @mattwragg:
  • + 3
 I used to run a St swiss fork on a yeti asr 5, the xmm140 with the twin shot damper. It was really good within its class, really light, stiff enough (rode it at antur) and it was really easy to do the lower leg service as there were no crush washers. The only issue was the complexity of the damper made it impossible to custom tune and it lacked initial sensitivity so if that's not an issue this week be at the top of my list to try as my next fork. I was really impressed with the quality of the build and reliability from St swiss so if they've nailed the performance they are on to a winner
  • + 3
 "this is the simplest fork to set up and go riding with I have used this side of a Kona Project Two." I wonder how many riders know what one of these is! lol.

Off the back of that though, as someone who rides a DT Swiss fork, I can't agree with your assessment of their customer support: "to support that network DT has built a robust service provision around the world to support their products." Their support for other products may be amazing but when it comes to forks, they have pretty much always designed them not to be tampered with by the home mechanic, but unfortunately there are only two places you can send them to for servicing in the UK and both have a bad rap. I tried the one with better reviews, and following a full service on my fork, the fork came back with the one problem fixed, another problem remaining and a new problem that wasn't there before! I would be hesitant to lay down money on their forks in future, although I do love how light weight they are!
  • + 1
 I agree with the low amount of service centers. In Canada there is only one place and I'm glad it's a good one (suspensionwerx.com). Had to send my DT fork and shock to the other side of the country for its 200h service. The service, support and work was excellent.
  • + 2
 ""this is the simplest fork to set up and go riding with I have used this side of a Kona Project Two." I wonder how many riders know what one of these is! lol."

I did...but I'm 42. That part made me smile.
  • + 5
 No hate, but it just seems like the adaptation of position sensitive damping, like bypass shocks on a truck. Or did I read that wrong? Seems legit though...
  • + 3
 Yes and I think they are the first to do this in a fork. It's working in a similar way to the nitroshox damper
  • + 2
 Yep. To say “just” though is a bit unfair. Ext has successfully integrated it into the Arma shock. To see it integrated into a fork is pretty rad, we can’t exactly stick a bunch of tubes off the side of the fork. Compared to a truck, especially a purpose built prerunner or trophy rig, we have a lot more confinement. Mountain bike suspension is also very young compared to vehicles. I am surprised that it’s taken this long though, I personally believe there is an easier and more adjustable way into about it though....one that a large off-road suspension company has already shown works.
  • + 2
 @mountainyj: I thought the EXTs used progressive compression, not position sensitive? I need to give them a call today to check in that case - I think for the rear it will be much harder to implement position sensitive damping as the interaction with the kinematic will be more complicated and you'd have to create a custom shock for each frame.
  • + 0
 @mattwragg: You don't need custom shock for each frame. Position damping is achieved by a tapered needle on the slow speed circuit, so you "only" need custom needles, and brands do already have custom valvings and maybe even custom pistons...
  • + 2
 @Fulgacian: It depends where in the market you look - I know that Fox and RS offer a 'menu' of tune options for OE clients, but I think generally don't completely open up the damper to manufacturers. My bigger concern is things like anti-squat and the sag point - for instance my Orbea Rallon has much more chain influence than my wife's Scott Genius and my guess is that you would need to compensate for that. I don't see how you could share shocks between bikes designed around, say 20% and 40% sag - with the fork you need a specific spring and damper for each travel option available. I'm just guessing here, hopefully someone can tell me I'm wrong and I can get this kind of damping at both ends.
  • + 2
 @mattwragg:
I think EXT use a bottom out cone like avalanche does or fox for their polaris buggy shocks.
  • + 1
 @mattwragg: ext uses it as an adjustable bottom out feature more so than a form of controlling the damping, but do to how it works in the shock body, still technically “position sensitive damping” to the last 15% of the shock stroke. There is a way to easily do it in the rear shock for brands such as ext that custom tune all their shocks anyhow and I feel like the bike industry is somehow missing it completely.
youtu.be/PX_CUP5BcTU
  • + 2
 So with DVOs OTT you can dial up your mid stroke support and mess with your air spring as much as you want and it keeps it buttery supple in the beginning stroke. I guess this is simpler? ...but you lose tune-ability. Sounds like a good fork but I'll stick with DVO or Manitou.
  • + 5
 44mm and 51mm offset seems perfectly fine in my eyes.
  • + 1
 I would disagree - depending on your frame geo you may want to run a 37mm offset 27.5". 44 might be okay for 29ers (not sure anyone has that one figured out).
  • + 0
 I agree with soilsledding, having ridden the shorter offset stuff I was surprised on how much different I rode with the shorter offset fork.
  • + 1
 @Soilsledding: new 29ers are designed around 42-44mm offset. Ripmo, Firebird, Sentinel. I'm interested to try it and feel the difference.
  • + 1
 They are fine if that is what your bike was designed around, if you run a bike like a Smuggler, Ripmo, Sentinel, etc, then you would probably be looking to keep the bike geo in line with what it was designed around, which was a shorter offset fork.
  • + 1
 I'm confused. Ohlins uses a three-chamber air spring, not two-chamber. Does this use a dual chamber (positive and negative with a transfer port like Fox and RS) with an additional coil negative (like a Super deluxe), or is it a single (positive) air chamber with a coil negative, like a DVO or Formula? @mattwragg
  • + 3
 @seb-stott Positive and negative air chambers with a transfer port, with an additional coil at the start of the positive. So not like either.
  • + 5
 Can someone make a good 29 170/180mm 29er fork? Preferably coil..
  • + 1
 Nope.

Lyrik RC2 and Grip2 26 are about the closest 170 29er forks. Both don't seem to exist in my country. I have to buy a fork then convert it with more parts...

MRP and Formula both make 170mm 650b forks and 160mm 29er forks so the parts are there. They don't seem interested in it.

I'm now looking at the Öhlins DH Race fork @170mm and 46mm offset as I can't get a SC LT 29er fork.
  • + 3
 @gonecoastal: Have a look at the MRP Bartlett, a dual crown with up to 190mm of travel. Wink
  • + 1
 @NoahColorado: That's actually not bad. When will NRG be stocking them in Canada? LOL
  • + 1
 DT Swissss I want to have the possibility to TUNE that initial stroke SPRING, PLEASE offer some options (as headshok fattys used to offer: Soft, Medium, Firm AT LEAST . I am 240lbs and I would need a different initial PLUSHNESS than a 140lb guy. What happens when a fork is too plush and compressionless in that initial sroke being an agressive/heavy rider? Same as happened with leftys, there is no way to have front and rear end of the bike balanced. Just my thougts Wink
  • + 1
 @mattwragg How did the 51mm offset perform on the rallon, considering it usually comes with a 44mm offset fox 36 fork? Curious as ive been toying with the idea of going with a bigger offset on my Rallon.
  • + 2
 @doe222 I had the Rallon set up with a 46mm offset Formula Selva before. I'm conflicted on this, certainly I prefer the feeling steer of the shorter offset - you get more of that lovely DH bike-esque counter steering, which I think it a definite benefit when things get ugly - but it is subtle. Right now with both forks in the house, I will probably stick with the DT as I think the damping is worth the small sacrifice. Would I buy a new fork just for offset? No chance.
  • + 1
 @mattwragg: I've heard Formula have something new in the works.

Was hoping to see a Selva 29er with sub 46mm offset and 170mm travel. Would be awesome to see the Nero R air spring make its way into the Selva line. I have no use for a lock-out or firm up of the front end.
  • + 1
 I have limited time for peddling about. Mostly on flat terrain. My Totems handle it very well. Sometimes I bomb some downhill with my Totems. They handle very well. Recommend all round fork.
  • + 0
 "they paired it with something unique - a small coil for the initial stroke." : Not really, Isn't that the same thing as Fox Grip and Suntour damper ? They all use a coil negative spring.

@mattwragg : why make a compression dial, if you have to leave it open all the time ?
  • + 3
 Sounds like it's a positive coil though not completely sure
  • + 3
 Formula also use a coil negative spring, but this is different - it is part of the positive spring sitting at the base (the Formula negative spring is in the middle of the air assembly, I'd assume Fox and Suntour are similar) and uses a large, air negative spring.

DT told me they added it as people prefer to have one - I guess it was kind of reassuring and you're not just "locked out" of the fork.
  • + 2
 Fox used a hybrid Ti coil/air design on the 40 that came on the old Session 9.9 and Marzocchi had a various Ti coil/air spring hybrids too. It's not exactly the same implementation but a similar idea.
  • + 1
 I've got a brilliant idea - use a coil spring for the whole stroke ! Has anyone tried this ?
(joke - I'm loving my Push coil conversion)
  • + 1
 It's similar to Manitou's old MARS air system where you have a positive coil spring at the beginning of the travel transferring over to an air spring later in the travel
  • + 3
 Soon there will be a day that the front forks will cost 2,000$ and more and you will be happy for having ...more options!!
  • + 3
 Actually the European price is basically in line with what a 29 inch fox 36 costs with hs/ls. So I'd try it on my next bike.
  • + 2
 thanks industry, I'm confused, so is there boost and super boost and are they compatable?
  • + 3
 There's two boosts for forks, 15mmx110 and 20mmx110 and they are not compatible. 15x110 is for most bikes, trail to enduro. 20x110 is for park and downhill. Rear ends have boost 12x148 and super boost 12x157 which are not compatible, plus some other proprietary spacings.
  • + 1
 @JasonALap: nice! one more clear up, is the 20mmx110 super boosts i guess the same 20mm front hub from 2011-2001? hum..
  • + 1
 @nfa2005: its not, 20x110 boost has wider flanges and consequently brake rotor pushed out. You can run old hubs on boost forks by using spacer between hub and rotor (or few washers fron hardware shop)
  • + 2
 Thanks DT, I have always wanted a fork with tiny screws and covers over the adjusters !
  • + 1
 @mattwragg How do you set sag? Isn't the coil spring going to give you a weird result if it's catering for the first 30% of travel? Or am I missing something?
  • + 2
 You don't set sag - you put in the pressure on the chart provided and go riding. It works, too.
  • + 1
 @mattwragg: Well alrighty then. That *is* simple.
  • + 1
 Nice to see so many options available these days. It’s no longer dominated by the two big names and all these other companies sure are giving them a run for their money
  • + 1
 Haben irgendwelche deutschsprachigen hier den Gabeltest auf MTB-News gelesen? Wird hier hoch gelobt und dort irgendwie für nicht so gut befunden.
  • + 1
 nicht die hellsten halt
  • - 1
 This is a perfect example of a fork tuned to absorb small frequencies small chatter.
Yes the fork will dive if you grab the brakes hard.
I'll live with that "trade off" for a plush fork.
Mid stroke support equates to a lack of small numb sensitivity and greater fatigue.
  • + 0
 It wont dive if you are running proper sag and spacers.
  • + 4
 You don't have to with proper damping circuits and tuning. Avalanche cartridge+ coil springs is magical. You can have your cake and eat it too.
  • + 2
 Seems like you didn't read it all? That exactly what this fork doesn't do, as it has good mid stroke support and still absorbs small frequency chatter.

"At 0-30% travel this port is wide open,(...) and the fork's movement is virtually undamped. Once you reach 30% travel the movement of the fork begins to close the port gradually, reaching fully closed at 50% travel. (...) Finally from 50% onwards the port is fully closed (...) which offers a very high level of compression damping to provide that all-important mid-stroke support. Essentially you can have two very different levels of compression damping within a single fork"
  • + 2
 @megatryn: the coil spring gives the small bump performance.
Then the air spring adds progression to the spring rate.
Thus keeping the fork from diving.
Everyone else uses damping circuits to achieve mid stroke platform.
This uses position for damping rates.
The author notes a small amount of diving .
The initial stroke has very little damping .
It's the transition from coil to air that gives the mid stroke support.
  • + 1
 For fork's sake why would anyone pay that when better options are available for less money?? I suppose its the same answer as to why people buy yetis.
  • + 2
 Oh com'on, what's better out there than a Yeti SB6C T?
  • + 2
 @landscapeben: anything that doesn’t break and can actually be serviced
  • + 1
 @TightAF: People having issues getting there Yeti's serviced?
  • + 2
 The DVO Diamond has been a dang near perfect fork for me, but hot dang this looks interesting.
  • + 1
 Completely agree and IMO feel sand performs much better than the Pike and Lyrik I've had / got on my other bikes.
  • + 1
 Dangdadeeedang!
  • + 1
 @mattwragg any comments on this VS the DVO? That real coil negative spring sure makes the DVO smooth off the top.
  • + 1
 Today every other brand releases 170/180 travel bikes, why non o forks limited to 160mm?

Fork looks like upgraded version of the Manitou
  • + 3
 Surprised to see the arch on the wrong side of the stanchions.
  • + 3
 $1500 f@#*&(? what? cmon...
  • + 1
 Yeah, I literally buy bicycle parts trying to rekindle my youth, I think they've caught on.
  • + 2
 What fork did they claim is too stiff? And where Can I get one?
  • + 1
 From your Fox distributor
  • + 1
 @riderseventy7: what do you think? The new Bomber Z1?
  • + 1
 Maybe in 5 years after some people have tested them out for me.
  • + 1
 No mention of axle width anywhere including website.
  • + 1
 It's standard 110 x 15 BOOST
  • + 1
 Damn that Orbea is ugly with it's lopsided frame.
  • + 1
 Finally a fork designed without compression. Its been a long time coming.
  • + 1
 So dark.....
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2018. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.105590
Mobile Version of Website