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Fox Updates Live Valve Electronic Suspension for 2022

Dec 2, 2021
by Mike Kazimer  

Live Valve, Fox's electronically controlled suspension system has received several updates for 2022 that are designed to soften up the overall feel a little bit, while still allowing it to automatically adapt to the terrain. Where the previous version was all about delivering an extra-firm, hardtail-like sensation whenever possible, that's been toned down for version 1.5.

The basics remain the same – there are sensors at various locations that communicate with a central controller that's mounted on top of the battery that powers the system. The system monitors the pitch angle of the bike and detects bump inputs at the front wheel, and then makes changes to the fork and shock accordingly by increasing or decreasing the amount of compression damping

For the latest version of Live Valve, Fox reduced the slope angle required to put the bike into descend mode, decreased the size of the impact required for the system to switch modes, and changed the timer settings so that the suspension will remain in descend mode longer than before. All of those changes help to keep the bike from feeling too firm too much of the time, a sensation testers noticed on the Live Valve bikes we've reviewed in the past.


Along with altering Live Valve's algorithm, Fox also made revisions to the internals of the fork and shock. Live Valve shocks receive a new main piston, the same one used in the Float X2 Performance shock, which is said to allow for a broader tuning range. Bike manufacturers are able to choose from three different base tunes – XC, Trail, and All-Mtn/Enduro - depending on the bike the system will be going on.

The final piece of the Live Valve 1.5 puzzle is Bluetooth connectivity and an app to go along with it. The allows riders to select from 5 different factory pre-set modes that can be further customized to suit different preferences. There will also be more modes added in the future that can be downloaded via the app.

Mike Levy and Henry Quinney were able to put in a bunch of miles on the new Giant Trance Advanced 29 as part of the Fall Field Test – you can read all about how it works in the real world here.


55 Comments

  • 59 1
 How about…when my dropper is down- fully open suspension…when my dropper is up, pedaly suspension…with an override button?? I feel like it’s that simple and takes the “brain” out of the change and lets me choose using a button I’m already choosing. It’s dumb to automate it all when the user is LITERALLY hitting a button already when stepping into the gnar. Override button handed the exceptions. Maybe not ideal for XC stuff but they don’t need this anyways.

We could have had this years ago and it’d have been sweet and opened up better suspension designs due to not needing to worry about tuning for pedaling.
  • 3 0
 I'm kind of surprised this hasn't been created yet. It's not as flashy and doesn't allow for as much adjustability, so maybe that's why it hasn't been pursued, but I feel like there would be a much bigger market for it than for the full live valve system.
  • 2 0
 @DPGriffin: Agreed. It could actually be really adjustable if they'd integrated an app into it that could allow you to "tune" via the app. If they'd just skipped the fully automated stuff, we'd probably be seeing some nice app integration that worked well with Fox hardware to provide next level adjustability via your phone. You could likely save and share different profiles for different riders/styles etc.

Perhaps that would lead the way for dampers with digital tuners in them. Imagine a shockwiz style tech combined with an App and electronics on your fork. You riding chunk? Select that profile...next day flow-trail jump lines...select that profile. Maybe a preset or two selectable on the handlebars and bobs-your-uncle and its all customized to you. They just needed to put their R&D that way instead of this silly automated stuff (its been out for 3/4 years now and no one even wants it).
  • 4 0
 Step into the gnar man
  • 5 0
 @inside-plus: Its the title of my new edit. Lots of random music, short choppy cuts for maximum seizure, rain drops on a frogs ass and then me getting off my bike to walk through the gnar. Its the best.
  • 3 0
 I've been saying this for years. When my seat's down, I'm going down hill, and when my seats up, I'm going uphill. Just set the suspension based to the height of my seat post and job done, no extra levers required.
  • 2 1
 That would just need to mechanical and cheap to make. Manufacturer’s want to make $$$, needs to have Bluetooth an app and other wizmo to geek out on. Actual performance does not matter.
  • 2 0
 @Svinyard: does it have any aliens though?
  • 4 0
 See, it needs to connect your phone. When it connects to your phone, its an excuse to be on your phone and that's what really sells.
  • 1 0
 I think there was a BMC bike that did this a while back.
  • 3 0
 Did Scott not also do something like this?
  • 1 0
 @tidnes: that's some quality satire! Smile
  • 36 0
 Why do you see very little athletes use these systems? Since flight attendant launch all it is promo vids but no athletes causally using it. They more openly use their ebikes but not live valve or FA
  • 6 1
 It's a fair point, but ebikes have had more time and iteration. This is version 1.5. Let's see what it does, how well it works, and who is using it at version 4+.
  • 25 1
 ...'cause it isn't designed for very big athletes. bah-da-boom.
  • 3 0
 @sarahallen: Yeah but its been out almost 4 years. At this rate we won't see version 4.0 until 5-10yrs from now.
  • 4 0
 Check out Vorsprungs tech talk on live suspension.
  • 14 2
 Honestly, if you were a pro level athlete risking your life, would you want to be riding a live valve system, adding a potential failure mode. Imagine shredding pro squamish lines and having your suspension stiffen up at the wrong time. What I've heard is its not refined enough yet for big bike confidence, and many who have tested say it takes away from the intuitiveness of the ride. Maybe a bit of an adjustment to your riding style but when you need to be that dialed into your rig, you can't have a system making those calls, you need consistency and anticipated results at all times.
  • 3 0
 Came here to say exactly this - but I'd also expand to include any marginally experienced mountainbiker. Shops are having people actively seek out lower spec bikes to avoid this stuff.
  • 6 9
 The MTB gold medal at this year's Olympics was won on electronic suspension, although to be fair Tom Pidcock is quite small.
  • 3 1
 @BoneDog: I'd say you just nailed it.
  • 3 2
 @BoneDog: FA does not take away from the intuitiveness and highly unlikely it would "stiffen" while descending such terrain, it's smarter than that. It also defaults to open if there's a dead battery or issue. You should ride it and at least give it a go to see for yourself.
  • 4 0
 I hated the dpx2 enough to make me not want any part of live valve. I hated the air spring most of all My new float x is SOOOOOOO much better I would have better confidence, but I would like to see the live valve modularized to the x2 shocks
  • 1 0
 The new X2 and X stuff is WAY better than the original DPX2. Heck the updated DPX2 is way better than the original.
  • 1 0
 @onemanarmy: I've had all the DPX2's from proto to current year model specific; the air spring is trash, the damper is mediocre. I had multiple units custom tuned into a decent spot.

With an average development time of 3 years for new platforms, they knew it was trash pretty early on; but were married to the design. The DPS outperformed it in every way.

My Current float x is using 60 less PSI than my dpx2, and half the volume spacers; it's so much better its silly. But I assume you and I were coworkers for a long time.
  • 1 0
 @jewpowered: Looks to me like we're actually in agreement. And looking at your buy/sell I'd say you might be right. Though I don't know who you are. LOL!

You should see the air pressure I had to run in my DPX2. Ha!
  • 1 0
 @onemanarmy: I have so many coworkers spotted on here, I think its funny when one of them returns the favor
  • 7 0
 This is almost as bad as those abominations they are trying to call e-bikes
  • 3 0
 Fox in the past before every year's update: "this time we changed everything that was horribly wrong and we should have done differently, but it's finally really good!"

Fox these days before every year's update: "we stopped making things better, but found ways to add even more Bluetooth and batteries to your bike! (Because we couldn't find a way to make European pricing more ridiculous otherwise)"
  • 4 2
 I don't know that this belongs on trail bikes. I would love to have it on a trail bike personally, but I am also a pure XC racer and thus don't fit the build of most PB readers. I get the impression most people just run their suspension all the way open, all the time.
  • 2 0
 Fox probably don't have an incentive to produce this, but it would be interesting to see a version that only automated the shock.
You'd probably have 75% of the efficiency gains, with less cost, cables and complexity. Plus you could use any fork you like. I would say it could even be better to have the fork sagging on climbs- it moves the riders weight forward a bit and allows the fork to track over bumps
  • 3 0
 According to the dude in the video linked below, research shows lockouts are just a mental thing. So, unless you are really gullible, this is just expensive e-waste
youtu.be/BR10jYyJ4yE
  • 1 0
 thats def cap
  • 4 0
 Some other guy made a video debunking his claim, and Dylan made a post about it saying that he own study was wrong.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGO2pu0JX_8
  • 7 2
 Unpredictably changing suspension valving? Pass.
  • 4 7
 @CamNeelyCantWheelie:

Traditional knobs, fully accessible to mischievous trail gnomes, changing my suspension valving? Pass.
  • 2 0
 It's not even that fancy, it's just an unpredictable lockout.

youtu.be/2Jz7bcz8HO0
  • 2 0
 This is a blessing or another marketing play. Everyone can down load the lastest updated to software for fee! Right? It's a soft ware change. The older generation s get updates ? Should be easy.
  • 2 0
 This is the real danger of electronic integration. Until companies can allow OTA firmware updates, I’m sure as heck not paying thousands of dollars to find out the “tune” was off a year later and my stuff is obsolete
  • 1 0
 I'm sure if I was an engineer and not just a really good ideas person I'd understand why there isn't a fork that uses a non-newtonian fluid in it's damper. It needs a fluid similar to ketchup that is more viscose when shaken but also like oobleck that stiffens on hits. So the fork would be stable while peddling, would eat up small bumps in the rough and absorb big hits as well. I'm guessing some tuning will be needed, that's why I need an engineer.
  • 5 0
 No comments...shocking!
  • 3 0
 Electronic version of twin lock on Scott bikes , I hate the little box on fox live.
  • 2 0
 This doesn't even do as much as twinloc, which also changes spring volume
  • 3 0
 All of those changes sound like software, so will owners of v1 be able to get an update?
  • 2 0
 whats next a live derailer that turns a bike into an automatic transmission??
  • 1 0
 *Americans salivating heavily*
  • 1 0
 A mountain bike should never have more than 4 cables (brakes, derailleur, dropper) and no more than 0 batteries....
  • 1 0
 Sounds like some solid improvements. Boy you'll be pissed off if you bought 1.0 last month?!!
  • 2 1
 Sweet, I wonder how it holds up to rockshox flight attendant.
  • 8 0
 Steve from Vorsprung just put out an excellent video explaining both Flight Attendant and Live Valve
  • 12 0
 And where is the mysterious (and Olympic gold medal winning) Suntour equivilent?
  • 1 0
 They're very different systems that come at the "problem" from two different perspectives.
  • 2 0
 Plug and play

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