Product launches often focus on one item, giving it all the limelight it needs to shine in its all-new guise. Down a 300-year-old mine in Kamsdorf, Germany, DT Swiss pulled back the curtain on not one, but three new products, revealing two-and-a-half years of work on their 232 ONE platform of fork, shock and dropper post.
All three products are aimed at the XC racing segment, and all are ruthlessly engineered as only the Swiss could. Forks and shocks are no new territory to DT Swiss, but during development it quickly became apparent that they needed, and wanted, to bring more to the market than just that. An XC dropper post was added into the development and completes their trio of new components that adorned a special edition Canyon Lux.
F 232 ONE Fork
The F 232 ONE came first in the development, and somewhat quietly has already won an XC World Cup under Mathias Flückiger in the horrendous conditions of the Albstadt WC
last year where he channelled his inner Sam Hill and rode the saturated course like it was bone dry.Chassis
The chassis of the F 232 ONE, as the name suggests somewhat, uses 32mm diameter stanchions. But this wasn’t the diameter DT Swiss were wanting to benchmark it against in terms of stiffness. They looked up a class to the Fox 34 as to how they wanted their fork to perform. Torsional and bending stiffness were considered, as was the effect of braking and air spring forces that go towards creating asymmetrical loading situations.
DT Swiss used topology optimization to help design the fork, a process where material placement is optimized in a fixed design space with a fixed set of loads, boundary conditions and constraints. The goal in the case of the fork was to achieve a desired stiffness for the least amount of weight. It took the computer 3 iterations to achieve what DT were after and 2 mold modifications brought it to the real world. The lowers of the fork bear the most visible signs from this quest, and there are cut-outs, chamfers and pockets scattered around. The result is, according to DT Swiss, a fork that matches or exceeds the stiffness of their benchmarked Fox 34.
XC racing is still heavily focused on weight, and as you zoom in on the fork more and more details jump out to show the extent of DT's weight saving strategy. The damper and air systems start pretty high up the fork leg, and there are cut outs at the back of the lowers and every single nook and cranny is pocketed out to ditch weight. Even the rebound adjuster is machined from all directions. At 1,480g for the 100mm version (w/o axle and 230mm steerer) it comes within a packet of crisps of the Fox 32 Step Cast and equals the Rockshox SID Ultimate Carbon.
The steerer and stanchions of the fork are pressed directly into the crown without the need for cooling or heating. They maintain a certain roughness from the machining process that, along with an added surface treatment, helps retain the specific Loctite when they are pressed into the crown.
Other interesting details include the included bolt-on fender, which not only protects the rider from flying mud, but also helps prevent the build-up of debris around the seals of the fork. The inside surface of the fender is smooth with an almost mirrored finish to inhibit mud from sticking. The T10 Torx that is normally found inside the lever of the axle is now an optional extra and the fork shares its brake hose clamp with the F535.
Small details, but ones that show that someone was thinking, include the requirement to use 15ml of lower leg bath oil to ensure proper coverage of all the inside surface of the fork with enough oil for operation while not blowing the seals off. On that note, DT mentioned they even saw a difference in fork performance depending on riding style, explaining that the more active riders saw better performing forks than the static, perhaps knackered, ones, with the added liveliness splashing more of the bath oil around in the fork.Spring
The F 232 ONE fork uses a familiar 2 chamber system, adjustable with tokens
. A traditional bypass port transfers air between the chambers shortly after zero travel and DT Swiss played with its position, along with the size of the chambers, to achieve a ride feel that they believe works well for XC. The resulting air spring curve looks more like the natural air spring curve, with rapid change in the first and last portion of the stroke with the middle being a little flatter. It’s this flatter portion that DT stressed was important for them as it allows the fork to activate, and absorb impacts easier while the rider is wanting to cover ground fast. The small amplitude but high-frequency hits would be absorbed by the fork and allow the rider to keep pedalling forwards to cover the ground as fast as possible.
The fork comes with 2 spacers installed and the option to add a further one or subtract to zero to suit your preferences.
DT continue their focus on the details with printed messages on the inside of the air top cap to check their website for setup guides. Damper
There’s no position sensitive architecture to be found in the F 232 ONE, like on the inside of their F 535 fork. Weight was of high priority and a more standard system finds its place in the fork. There’s no bladder, but instead a doughnut shaped IFP to handle volume changes. The damper uses a familiar 3 compression modes to alter the ride characteristics. Open, Drive and Lock increasingly restrict oil flow
to provide more damping force as needed. The modes can be switched via a lever on the top of the forks or by remote on the bars, the two systems being interchangeable.
Low-speed damping is provided by oil flow through orifices, and in the case of the rebound and compression it’s adjusted by a metering needle. For the rebound its tool free and at the bottom of the fork. For the compression it’s via a T10 Torx at the center of the compression lever and only affects Open mode.
High-speed damping is provided by a shim setup and with the change of mode to Drive from Open the oil is forced exclusively through the high-speed circuit, which needs a higher force to allow flow past the shims and so provides more compression support in the Drive mode.
For anyone who’s taken apart their fork to find their bladder swollen like a puffer fish, there’s a re-circulating measure inside the fork to allow excess bath oil that has found it’s way past the seals and into the damping circuits to be fed back into the lowers as the IFP moved through its travel.
F 232 ONE Fork DetailsWheel size:
100mm, 110mm, 120mmOffset:
1,480g (100mm, remote version, w/o axle, 230mm steerer), 1,510g (110mm)Hub/Axle Standard:
110mm x 15mm (Boost)Price:
979 EUR or 1113 USD (lever version), 999 EUR or 1135 USD (remote version)More info: DT Swiss
R 232 ONE Shock
The R 232 ONE shock was developed at the same time as the 232 fork. It’s available in 4 different strokes from 40mm to 55mm in only metric lengths. Standard eyelet and Trunnion mounts are available. From what we could see all parts are replaceable, so no issues if you accidentally snap off your air valve.
Interestingly, DT use spherical bearings in their eyelets. That's not something new for the company, but in the age of huge shock extenders, rigidly bolted shocks and designs focussed on weight rather than stiffness it’s something to give a performance advantage. The spherical bearings negate side loading on the shock, or alignment issues, and allow the shock to function more smoothly with reduced bushing binding or friction from twisting or bending going on in the bike.
The rest of the shock chassis follows a familiar design with the damping system at the heart surrounded by the air spring system.Spring
Similar to the fork, there’s a 2-chamber setup that can be adjusted for stroke and volume with the use of separate spacers. The air volume spacers are bolted into the shock to reduce any risk of them rattling around during operation.
Again, the spring curve was tuned to generate a flatter portion in the mid-stroke to aid small bump absorption around the sag and pedalling zone. If further support is needed during pedalling the Drive mode ups the damping support given to the rider.
While the fork is on a 1:1 ratio the shock is actuated by the suspension linkage system, and so the while the R 232 ONE is adjustable in air volume and damping tune, it does work better on bikes with some degree of mechanical support built in to go hand in hand with the air spring's flatter mid-stroke.Damper
The Open, Drive and Lock modes found on the fork are present on the shock too, and they can be selected either via a lever or a remote depending on the configuration. A similar design is also employed for the oil flow
with the low-speed damping being solely orifice controlled and the high speed being shimmed. From Open to Drive mode the system shuts off oil flow through the low-speed compression circuit and directs it through the high-speed circuit where it provides more damping support to the rider. Lock mode shuts off the low and high-speed circuits to provide the maximum support on smooth climbs and sprints. There’s a blow off in place to open the system up at a pre-determined force in case of impacts.
There are 4 damping tunes available from Super Low to High to offer options to help get the shock matched to the bike.
R 232 ONE Shock DetailsEye to Eye x Stroke Standard Eyelet:
190x40mm, 190x45mm, 210x50mm, 210x55mmEye to Eye x Stroke Trunnion:
165x40mm, 165x45mm, 185x50mm, 185x55mmAir Spring:
Two chamber, adjustable with tokensWeights:
230g (190x45mm w/o hardware, remote version), 300g (165x45mm Trunnion)Price:
406 EUR or 463 USD (lever version), 429 EUR or 486 USD (remote version)More info: DT Swiss
D 232 ONE Dropper Post
After the fork and shock development began it wasn’t long before DT brought up the idea of a dropper post. With the rigorous focus on XC racing their design took off down a different, upside down, path. This was the first dropper post for DT, so they set about analyzing the market, bike angles and rider biometrics to define things like drop, setback and total length as well as what exactly an XC racer required.
Canyon was brought on in the development as an aid in design and also to confirm their research and development direction. Their reward for this is exclusivity with the D 232 ONE seat post for 2020.
As is evident with all products in the 232 ONE platform, the concept is clear to see in the finished product. For this it was weight and simplicity that drove all further decisions in development. The D 232 ONE uses an inverted design that sees the seat clamped to the exterior sliding element. The requirement of serviceability while on the bike and trying to achieve the lowest weight possible saw DT Swiss flipping the design to allow the post to be taken apart while still fitted to the bike and giving them enough space to have a simple locking mechanism
inside. The post has only 29 parts and can be given a small service while still mounted on the bike with the cable still attached.
The simplicity continues with only 2 positions available for the post – up and down. A bar-mounted remote uses a standard gear cable to activate the post at its base (internal routing only) and then a straight pull spoke to transfer the lever movement up to the locking mechanism. As the lever is pressed the post moves a locking ring out of the way and allows the balls inside the mechanism to fall back a little and the post to move. It's very similar to the system in ratchets to hold the socket. It’s then a single coil spring that moves the post up, and the rider’s weight is used to put the post down.
There aren't any hydraulics internally, and everything is mechanical and simple, meaning that the post fires back quickly to the up position. It's not so fast that you'll need to worry about your undercarriage, but it's swift enough to not waste time.
There’s a single large keyway between the fixed and sliding parts of the post, which with their design can be accessed, cleaned and greased with no tools and in 5 minutes. The lower half of the clamped portion of the post and the upper sliding part are constructed from carbon fiber. The top piece of the saddle clamp is carbon too and all parts use cut pre-preg layered up and molded for construction.
DT provide their own lever to actuate the post, with the small lever operating in a similar fashion to KS levers. Although, with the post being mechanical you can, of course, choose your preferred dropper remote to work the post. Even on the lever DT Swiss pay attention to the details, with the small screw that tightens the bar clamp being contained in the lever, so there’s no chance to drop it and watch it roll off under the washing machine.
D 232 ONE Dropper DetailsTravel:
27.2mm, 30.9mm (31.6 possible with shim)Positions:
Two - up & downTotal length:
369g (30.9mm diameter, w/o shift cable and cable shell)Price:
499 EUR or 566 USDMore info: DT Swiss
Canyon Lux CF SLX 9.0 DT LTD
As mentioned, the D 232 ONE post is only available with Canyon for the first year of its life. But in conjunction with DT, Canyon are releasing a limited edition of their Lux XC bike adorned with all the 232 ONE components and some eye-catching DT Swiss wheels.
In the form of hyper car manufacturers, only 32 will be available and are available to order right now for €7,499.
Other changes to this special edition Lux include a smidge more party up front with a 110mm travel fork rather than the standard 100mm and 30mm inner width rims and 2.35” Maxxis tires. When asked if this was the way Canyon saw XC going, they agreed and cited athlete testing with the benefits of meatier rubber outweighing the added weight that concerned racers. There was a mention of the D word, but the Lux remains very much an XC bike.
Lukas Flückiger will be racing aboard this limited edition Cayon Lux at the UCI World Cups this year.First Impressions
In addition to DT's wonderful lack of PowerPoint presentations, they also chose somewhere a little different for their launch.
January weather can be unpredictable, so DT chose to show off the new products underground, inside an old disused mine. While literally everything was new to the experience, including the top tube hugging riding positions as we darted through mine shafts, we did get enough time aboard the kitted-out Canyon to make a couple of first impressions.
Firstly, and wrongly, I made some pre-conceptions after seeing the products before riding them. The prime amongst them being that 60mm is not enough drop for a dropper post. While personally I’m looking at moving up to a 210mm dropper, I’m also personally not a cross country racer. 60mm might seem like not a lot to the enduro crowd, but it’s just enough to take the seat out of the way for anything technical on the way down. It’s also still at a reasonable height for quick spurts of pedalling between technical sections. So, with the up position being your favoured seat height for pedalling, the down position does a nice job of allowing you to attack a little more with a freer body position. It’s a light action too, with the simple internal mechanisms offering little resistance. Return speed is super-fast, and the seat always made it back to full height as soon as I needed to pedal.
The fork does a really good job of being efficient with its 110mm of travel. Once we’d got the right air pressure the fork was smooth, comfortable and controlled on the rocky little loops we had to test on. Those loops included a couple of tricky descents, with manmade and natural features dotted around them, where the fork didn’t show any signs of being floppy both under hard braking or twisting it round some berms.
The shock felt controlled and predictable too, although to give it a thorough test we’d need to try it on a few bikes to see the effects of different leverage ratios. Setup was quick and easy, with there only being air pressure and rebound to set. One thing we noticed is that every single click of rebound, on both the shock and fork, had less of a perceivable feel than on a Fox unit. This means that those who are less in tune with feeling what the bike is doing then may need to make bigger changes in order to make a noticeable difference.
The Canyon Lux test bike was fitted with DT Swiss’s remote to adjust the mode of the fork and shock simultaneously. The remote works well and is a good option for the race scenarios when every second counts, but it’s also a nice option to have non-remote options available and easily convertible.
In all the parts of the new 232 ONE platform it’s clear to see their initial concept, and for the XC crowd and on the Canyon Lux we tested them on they're very well suited to their purpose.