Formula Nero DH Fork - First Look

Aug 25, 2017
by Matt Wragg  



Formula is a resurgent company right now. Maybe best known for their brakes, they launched their suspension line in 2012 with their 33 fork. Since then they have taken a cautious path for development, but have quietly and completely revamped their entire range of products. Only last year they added their burly single crown Selva fork and all-new Cura brake platform. As well as the headline launches they have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to refine and perfect their damping performance, as we found out with them last December, to the point where their suspension can hold its own against the best on the market. Yet they are a company that has always been closely tied to the downhill side of the sport, so the inevitable question was: when would they add a dual crown fork? The Nero fork is their answer to that question.

This year you may have spied the prototypes for this fork aboard the bikes of Argentina Bike, the top DH racing team in Italy. While Loris Revelli or Francesco Colombo may not be household names, they are at the top of the game in Italy. They are serious racers who have done almost a whole season of domestic and international competition with this fork - which should make Formula's intentions for this fork clear. This is their all-out DH race fork that they hope will compete with offerings from companies like Ohlins at the very top of the game.

We had set up a test to bring you a first ride report of this fork, but, as Chinua Achebe said, "Things Fall Apart." Between delayed flights, standards-based compatibility woes and shredded car tyres, we got as far as holding one of these forks, but we didn't get to point it down a trail. We are working to arrange a test as soon as possible to see what it all boils down to when the rubber meets the dirt. In the mean time, here's what Formula have to say about their new fork:




What does every downhill rider look for? The answer is simple: the perfect suspension. Unfortunately, however, that doesn’t exist. The reason being that there is no perfect rider, because everyone has got his or her own riding style, different from all the others. The perfect suspension doesn’t exist because there is no such thing as a perfect trail. Trails vary from place to place and from run to run. Loose rocks, rain, mud, lines that develop from other riders – all these factors make the trail in front of you during your descent unpredictable. Instead of finding a setup that works quite well in most situations, instead the aim should be to find the most easily and quickly adaptable suspension for any situation. The perfect fork doesn’t exist, but what if you could have a fork that was easily adaptable to every situation? This was our goal when we decided to design our first downhill fork. Nero is the result of this journey.

Nero will be available in two versions. Nero-R features a sealed damper with adjusters for high and low-speed compression speed as well as rebound speed. On the air side, Nero-R is equipped with the 3Air System, made up of three air chambers working simultaneously (positive, negative and end-stroke progressivity). Nero-C features the same damper as the Nero-R (high and low-speed compression speed, and rebound speed adjustment), while the spring side features a coil spring with adjustable preload.

Nero R
Formula Nero launch

• 3Air system (three air chambers)
• High and low-speed compression
• Rebound

The Nero R features a sealed damper with adjusters for high and low-speed compression speed as well as rebound speed. On the air side, Nero R is equipped with the 3Air system, made up of three air chambers working simultaneously (positive, negative and end-stroke progressivity)
Nero C
Formula Nero launch

• Coil spring (with preload adjustment)
• High and low-speed compression
• Rebound

Nero C features the same damper as the Nero R (high and low-speed compression speed, and rebound speed adjustment), while the spring side features a coil spring with adjustable preload.

Nero R

Formula Nero launch

Formula Nero launch
Formula Nero launch

Formula Nero launch

3Air is the technological heart of the Nero R. The fork features a three air chamber system: gold (end-stroke progressivity), silver (positive) and bronze (negative). The use of this technology allows full customisation of the spring curve. The big advantage is not only to be able to shape the fork’s performance the finest amount but also to do it quickly and easily. Thanks to the 3Air system, you will be able to accurately adjust your fork without taking it off the bike, without using tools, without having to use internal air volume spacers; all you will need is a shock pump.

With 3Air, you can quickly find the perfect setup for your fork, and quickly change it if needed to the specific needs of a race course or weather conditions. The range of adjustments is so wide that you will be able to manipulate the spring curve using only air. In other words, the advantage of the 3Air system is to be able to obtain any type of performance, including the feeling of a coil spring, but with fine-tuning options that a traditional air system, or a coil spring, can’t provide. Furthermore, given the short amount of time you need to set your bike up, you can stay focused on choosing the lines for your race run.

By simply using a shock pump, you will be able to customise the performance of the fork, adapting it to your riding style, all in a simple and quick way. It won’t be necessary to unscrew anything or to use any tools, and you won’t need any air volume spacers. All you will need is a shock pump and in a few minutes you will reach the desired outcome. During a race weekend, where the track changes every run and where time is of the essence, even outside the track under the paddock, the 3Air system of the Nero R will allow you to reach your ideal setup in the shortest possible time. It takes very little to set the progressivity of the Nero R. The real benefit of this system is that the chambers always work simultaneously, that’s why it is possible to use the third chamber to control the progressivity.
Formula Nero launch

Formula Nero launch

Formula Nero launch

The gold valve of Nero R controls the end-stroke progressivity of the spring curve. This chamber is the heart of the innovative 3Air system. The third chamber of the Nero R is not a traditional bottom-out chamber. A standard bottom-out operates only at the end of the travel and often in a sudden, uncontrolled way. Basically, a traditional bottom-out merely increases the spring rate massively at the end of the stroke to reduce bottom-outs. However, the third chamber of the Nero R allows to fine tune the compression curve from about half of the travel to the end of the travel, thus allowing the rider to reach extremely accurate setup and customisation levels.

Thanks to the 3Air, Nero R introduces the possibility to customise your fork to a new level. Saving time in the pits means also saving it in your race run. A fork that is quickly and easily adaptable to the needs of different tracks and different weather conditions gives a considerable advantage against the clock. The setup of the Nero R is extremely simple; you just need to follow the pressures suggested on the pressure chart you’ll find on the fork. Always remember to follow the inflating procedure in order to reach the desired setup. The gold valve (end-stroke progressivity) is always the first to be inflated, the silver valve (positive) is the second one, while the Bronze valve (negative) is always the last one to be inflated. The procedure is simple, just remember the sequence of the World Champs podium: gold, silver and bronze.

Nero C

Formula Nero launch

Nero C is a fork designed for those who love the feeling of a coil spring and want a fit-and-forget fork for their local bike park. The damper is identical to that used in the Nero R, incorporating high-speed compression, low-speed compression and rebound adjustment. Instead of the 3Air system, the Nero C employs a coil spring with tool-free preload adjustment. In order to set the fork for the rider’s weight, there are three different spring rates available for the Nero C: soft, medium and firm. If you love to smash bike park laps, if you ride more than 5000m of vertical in one day using the lift, if you love the feel of a coil spring but still want the best in damping quality and adjustability, then the Nero C is the fork for you.

Damping

Formula Nero launch

Both Nero R and Nero C are equipped with a damper that allows for accurate and controlled adjustment of the fork’s stroke. Through the high-speed compression adjustment, you can adjust the rate of compression during big hits, such as drops or square-edge impacts at high speed. Through the low-speed compression adjustment, you can set the rate of compression on small bumps, influencing the compliance of the fork on small impacts and under braking. The rebound adjustment controls the rate of the forks return from compression.

Axles, Diameters and Spacing

Formula Nero launch

Downhill forks are constantly exposed to an extraordinary amount of stress, especially in the thru-axle area. The Nero is fitted with a new system called Firm. When designing this system, the aim was to make wheel changes quick and easy, getting rid of multiple screws on the lowers, and at the same time offering the maximum stiffness. The Firm system centres on a 20mm thru-axle that is secured by a ‘counter-knob’ that is tightened after the axle is installed and prevents the axle from unscrewing. Firm provides maximum security and minimum weight.

Nero is one of the first downhill forks to employ the soon-to-be universal Boost 20x110mm DH standard. Although current DH forks use a 20x110mm axle, the Boost standard maximises the available space, widening the flange distance of the hub and moving the brake rotor outwards, technology that we have taken advantage of on our Linea G wheels. Since 29” wheels are gaining traction in DH, and considering that the Nero will also be available in 29”, we decided to future-proof Nero by employing the Boost standard. Don’t worry if you want to keep your current non-Boost DH wheels though, every aftermarket Nero fork will be sold with an adapter to be inserted under the rotor which will allow the use of you current non-Boost front wheel.

Availability, Colors and Pricing

Formula Nero launch

Formula Nero launch
Formula Nero launch

Formula Nero launch

Formula Nero launch
Formula Nero launch


The new fork Nero R will be available in November 2017, Nero C on February 2018.

Nero R - 27,5” Boost

Black €1,790.00/$2,112.00
Ultraviolet €1,835.00/$2,165.00

Nero R - 29” Boost

Black €1,790.00/$2,112.00
Ultraviolet €1,835.00/$2,165.00

Nero C - 27,5” Boost

Black €1,390.00/$1.640,00
Ultraviolet €1,435.00/$ 1,693.00

Nero C - 29” Boost

Black €1,390.00/$1.640,00
Ultraviolet €1,435.00/$1,693.00



106 Comments

  • + 79
 Seeing a a Formula fork on a bike or in a shop in North America or seeing a Unicorn, both are equal possibilities.
  • + 11
 They're distributed in Canada now by Alba Distribution
  • + 7
 No option for my 26" wheels
  • + 2
 @Knackerbags: Delorean has what your need.
  • + 1
 Things are always harder than you think, like I'd just take this fork for granted if I owned it, but would never be able to produce one myself. People live in a pretty daft mindset a lot of the time I think, like a baby being coddled.
  • + 2
 Same thing in Europe don't worry, these Formula forks and wheels can't be bought anywhere.
  • + 0
 @allballz: idk why you got downvoted so hard... that shit was funny.
  • + 35
 LOL BOOST 20x110 standard. fucking make up your mind
  • + 5
 The one saving grace of boost 20x110 is that its easily converted with an adapter. I can understand the sentiment for boost 20mm- its about being more efficient with the space thats already there, just like the Hope 160 rear hub.
  • + 4
 Seems like a friendly solution actually. You can still use regular 20x110 hubs (except maybe those with centerlock brake mounts) or use the boost hubs if you happen to have those someday. The switch to 100x15 and boost 110x15 could leave you looking for more hard to get adaptors, if there even were any.
  • + 5
 @hamncheez: just like all Boost then.
I'm currently running 142 rear and 100mm hubs in my "Boost-only" frame and fork. Just made a couple of axle spacers, a disc spacer for the rear and re-dished the wheels.
It's a bit of a faff, but not a big deal
  • + 3
 @IllestT: Thats good that you can convert 15, but to convert a 20 all you need is a disc rotor spacer. A lot less work than what you needed to do.
  • + 4
 @goflowz From talking to them, Formula are just making sure the fork will be up to date, you have to remember that the OE side of the industry is working a few years ahead of what the public sees, so they know what is coming down the line from the major players.
  • + 1
 @mattwragg: Any indication as to why Formula chose 50 and 56mm offsets? Will lower offset crowns be available? I'd be ordering one today had the offsets been 40-something and one with more offset!
  • + 24
 That purple is ballin
  • + 5
 why does the purple cost more?
  • + 3
 @SirChomps-a-Lot: Makes it kinda ' exclusive ' I guess, I'd pay more to have them black than purple personally
  • + 10
 @SirChomps-a-Lot: purple rain royalties brah
  • + 2
 @SirChomps-a-Lot: Why does the purple cross the road?
  • + 1
 @SirChomps-a-Lot: because purple
  • + 10
 Love that formula have come out of almost nowhere and beat everyone with bringing a 29er DH fork to the market. I know Fox 49 is probably just round the corner though. So far I think the session is the only 29 DH frame on the market (available soon I know) wonder what will be next
  • + 0
 ^ this
  • + 8
 Dorado ? pretty sure thats been 29 compatible for some time just tops out @ 175mm travel
  • + 0
 Yup. 29er DH bikes will be all you can buy next year.
  • + 3
 @wibblywobbly: 120% you are wrong
  • + 1
 Didn't Intense make a 29er DH bike about 10 years ago? Or were they just prototypes?
  • + 2
 They did make a 2951@IllestT:
  • + 1
 They already have them in europe . Some kid here in val di sole had what looked like a production model gambler 29er
  • + 11
 Quoting a fiction piece on the post colonial problems in 19th century Nigeria was not what I expected to see on Pinkbike today. Nice work Smile
  • + 4
 its a good read
  • + 2
 @hamncheez: it's depressing!
  • + 5
 @davidccoleman Ha, cheers. Surprisingly it doesn't come up often on an MTB site, but I actually have a degree in English Literature.
  • + 2
 @mattwragg: Can you ask Formula why they went and produced such dated offset on this fork? A 50mm offset as the max for the luddites and something mildly interesting like a 46mm or lower offset for people actually interested taking the geometry to a new level would've been nice.

I have cash in hand for a fork that meets my needs. This has been the closest so far. Unfortunately I can't get down with the high offset numbers. I may need to enquire about custom CNC machines dual crowns to reduce this offset.
  • + 2
 @gonecoastal: good point, i thought that e 29er would be lower
  • + 1
 @russthedog: Sadly no. FOX 49 and this have 56mm offsets. We will see what the Boxxer brings. DVO Onyx is only 275/275+ compatible.
  • + 10
 Fuck Fidget Spinners look at all the fidget clickers and dials and twisty things I could play with!
  • + 7
 Formula has been on point recently with all their new products. Their new Cura brakes are some of the best I have tired and these forks are looking pretty damn good too.
  • + 6
 I've tired bike parts too
  • + 5
 Italian brake manufacturer names new downhill forks after the guy to burn down rome. Hope the fork does better than its namegiver Wink
  • + 4
 "standards-based compatibility woes"

I got a good chuckle out of this statement. Classic oxymoron. Of course, the sad part is, that's our every day lives as MTB right now.
  • + 1
 f*cking Guidos!

My dick moved right up until I read their offsets. Why 50 and 56mm offsets? I was hoping to see a 46mm or less like on their single crown fork. If most of the offset was stuffed into their crowns then it could be an option though.
  • + 2
 Will they be offering lowers only ? Id like too be able too switch from 650b and 29erwithout needing 2 full forks my bank account cant handle . Swapping lowers would be a a good answer too this
  • + 4
 F**king ace, maybe soon all this competition can result in prices coming down.
  • + 3
 :colorclashing in a normal market maybe but the bike industry figured out a long time ago that once we are willing to buy a1500-2000$ fork they won't make them cheaper they will make a cheaper heavier version with less features.
  • + 1
 400 Euro more for a air version with awk technique instead of coil: -D awk for a boxxer is 140.
Am excited to see how good the performance of the air spring is.it depends very much on size and point where the awk starts, what chickadeehill got done pretty perfectly.
  • + 4
 "standards-based compatibility woes"

burned by the bike industry.
  • + 4
 And there was me getting my hopes up for a 26" version
  • + 3
 Honestly looks incredible. Can't wait for a long term review!
  • + 2
 Loving the IRT chamber in my mattoc pro2. Going to see more of these types of double positive air chambers.
  • + 3
 Would have been cool to see them go the other direction on offset.
  • + 3
 If it is as good as the 35... imo the best fork out there.
  • + 3
 I see that and I hear the words "NURPLE NURPLE, Here comes the PURPLE!!!"
  • + 2
 When will the ÖHLINS fork launch? Will it launch? I want it, I know it'll be ahead of any other fork.
  • + 1
 Same here
  • + 1
 Loic's mechanic told me at Crankworx this year it was a prototype for MY2020. I really hope he was kidding.
  • + 1
 @NickB01: I want the ÖHLINS fork soooo bad.
  • + 1
 @ka-brap: Mal sehen,... Ich denke, sie wird sicherlich über 2000 Euro kosten,...
  • + 3
 This should be the real boost standard for all not the 15mm senseless...
  • + 2
 That's a lot to fork out.
  • + 2
 Lol it's called the Nero. Does the fork watch it's city burn?
  • + 1
 Am I the only one who thinks these valves will break after first rock contact?
  • + 1
 If they would design it with a protection hood, riders would not buy a new valves-cap after the first slam. Seriously i think they do it for the pro look.
  • + 2
 Stoked to bring this incredible looking product into Canada!
  • + 3
 Looks like a 40.
  • + 5
 but it's a 35. lot of CNC on crown, Fox never did it. I really like it
  • + 2
 ahn, ...I use Fox of course, I am sure that if they lunch it, they have proof it works like a DH top fork should.
  • + 9
 @duilio73: fork is not approved for your lunch
  • + 2
 Liking this sort of action
  • + 0
 @duilio73: It's a shame that much machine work went into 50 and 56mm offsets. Frown
  • + 2
 I'm gonna wait for the Commodus version.
  • + 3
 purple!
  • + 3
 €1835!! Sign me up
  • + 4
 thats only $300 USD more than a fox 40, still less than DVO
  • + 5
 With their legendary reputation for making things work as good as they look that will be a sound investment.
  • + 2
 Designed by A Pimp Named SlickBack
  • + 1
 Achebe reference...deep, bro.
  • + 1
 WANT WANT WANT! Next fork in my fleet!
  • + 1
 Those are some beautiful crowns.
  • + 0
 Only 3 air chambers? And no super boost?
  • + 0
 Isn't there a "G" missing from that name? Smile
  • + 1
 styled by SRAM...
  • + 0
 3air.... innovative? I wonder what AWK think of that!
  • + 1
 Damn this looks nice Big Grin
  • - 1
 Too many chambers to fill.
  • + 2
 explain
  • + 3
 i kinda thought it was a creative solution... plus it's more stuff to tweak/play with. we all love that - we're mountain bikers!
  • - 1
 Naming a fork after a brutal tyrant. Interesting.
  • + 1
 It's not like he was known for putting his enemies heads on a PIKE.
  • + 9
 Nero= Italian for Black
  • + 9
 Nero means black in Italian. The tyrant's original name was Neron, and was cut to Nero by the Britons.
  • + 0
 No Dubstep! bwapbwapbwap bwapbwapbwap
  • + 0
 @southoftheborder: he's name was Nero, Neron sounds greek
  • + 1
 100% second your opinion. It's like Rock Shox Hitler,...
  • + 1
 @allballz: I know. ;-)
  • + 4
 the name in italian is nerone and nero=black no reference to romans this time! until the release of caligola wheelset
  • - 2
 WOW..that purple hurts the eyes!!
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