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 Nero R
• 3Air system (three air chambers)
• High and low-speed compression
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)
• Coil spring (with preload adjustment)
• High and low-speed compression
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
The new fork Nero R will be available in November 2017, Nero C on February 2018.
Nero R - 27,5” Boost
Nero R - 29” Boost
Nero C - 27,5” Boost
Ultraviolet €1,435.00/$ 1,693.00
Nero C - 29” Boost