Swedish gold; there is no other brand in suspension that garners attention like Öhlins, and after two years of teasing on the front on Specialized Gravity Team bikes, Öhlins finally present their complete downhill fork, the DH Race.
There are two lower options for 27.5" or 29" wheels, four different offsets options, and the latest TTX18 damper and three chamber air spring. The crowns are purchased separately which gives riders the option to choose their preferred offset. There is also a kit to retro-fit the TTX damper and three chamber air spring to BoXXer and Fox 40 chassis. As we know, gold isn't cheap, and the fork will retail at $1950USD / €1697, with the Cartridge Kit coming in at $749USD / €651.
Chassis and Offsets Öhlins DH Race Fork Details:Intended use:
27.5" / 29"Offset:
Custom SKF wiper sealsHub/axle:
Boost 20x110 thru-axle, clampsTire clearance:
27.5" = 3.2" / 29" = 2.6" Disc rotor:
Triple chamber airAdjusment:
Independent HSC, LSC and LSR Axle to crown:
27.5" = 590-604 / 29" = 608-620mm Weight:
2825g (27.5" with full uncut steerer tube and all hardware claimed.
Fork: $1600USD / €1392
Crowns: $350USD / €305
Cartridge Kit for Boxxer/40: $749USD / €651
Availability: August 2018.More info: ohlins.com
Why go for 38mm diameter stanchions when the two main players use 35mm and 40mm? Öhlins say they tested various different stanchion diameters, crowns, and axle clamping options to in order find the right balance between stiffness and flex to give the best feedback to the rider from the trail. The 110mm (Boost) x 20mm bolt-thru axle is a 'floating dual clamp system' which is clamped on both sides of the axle, Öhlins say this allows the lower legs to remain parallel under load.
There has been lots of talk recently about fork offsets for different wheel sizes and bike geometries, and there are also a couple of adjustable aftermarket options from Outsider Bikes and (coming soon) MojoRisin. Öhlins kindly offer four different crown options in 46/50/54/58mm sizes. As mentioned above, the crowns are available separately so riders can choose between all four sizes for either wheel size.TTX 18 Cartridge
Öhlins invented the twin-tube damper system and had sole use of it for years thanks to their patent. This patent is now expired but they stick with their tried and trusted system. The TTX18 cartridge features a 'downhill-optimized 18mm piston' which the Swedes say improves small bump sensitivity and increases the damping pressure bandwidth which improves valve response and sensitivity. The adjustment range is designed specifically for downhill use whether you're a racer or park rat. There are 15 clicks of low-speed compression and low-speed rebound, plus five clicks of high-speed compression.
Don't want to shell out for an entirely new fork but want to try out the Öhlins feel? Well, the latest edition of the TTX Cartridge Kit is available as an aftermarket option to fit in existing RockShox BoXXer and Fox 40 chassis. Aftermarket dampers for Fox 40 forks have been available for a number of years from Öhlins, but now you can replace the damping side and
the air spring chamber. Air Spring
The twin piston, three-chamber air spring is isolated from the upper tubes to reduce heat buildup and features the 'Total Tune Spring Curve System' (TTSC) allowing riders to tune the air spring from the start to the end of the stroke. The main chamber and ramp up chamber can be tuned with air pressure as well as tokens. The negative chamber automatically pressurizes itself using an equalizing chamber that should give the ideal balance between the chambers regardless of rider weight, including those at the extremes of the spectrum.Total Tuning Spring Curve
Öhlins have also created a Total Tuning Spring Curve program which will be an interactive app to help tune your fork, ideal for anybody who thinks setting up all of the above sounds complicated, that's me included. The first step is to input all of your settings, including air pressures and tokens, then the app creates a virtual graph of your spring curve. From there you can troubleshoot different issues and advice will be given on what to change, or you can see what a change will make before doing it physically. For example, if you think you might want to try an extra volume spacer in the ramp-up chamber, it will show you what your imagined change will look like on a graph. If you're not a serial suspension fettler, you can simply set your fork to the recommended settings and just go and send it.
We will be riding the DH Race this weekend, so expect a First Ride report next week. Forks and Cartridge Kits should be in stores this August, until then, find more information on ohlins.com