Damper and Spring: Öhlins RXF 34 ForkSpecialized has had a tight relationship with Öhlins for a few years now, a connection that began with them having exclusive access to Öhlins' TTX rear shock for their Demo DH bike back in 2014. We've since seen almost all of Öhlins' new mountain bike suspension first make an appearance on a Specialized, including their DH fork cartridges, lighter-duty coil-sprung shocks, and even the Swedish company's air-sprung shock. And now Specialized is partnering with Öhlins for their new mid-travel RXF 34 fork that will be available in 120, 140, and 160mm travel options for 29'' wheels. No word on a 27.5'' fork, but we expect it to be offered at some point in the future.
Pricing is in the same ballpark as the best from Fox, RockShox, and DVO, with an MSRP on the RXF 34 of $1,150 USD.RXF 34 Details
• Intended use: trail / AM / enduro
• Travel: 120, 140, 160mm
• Wheel size: 29''
• Axle: 15 x 100mm, non-QR
• Spring: air
• Adjustments: high-speed compression, low-speed compression, low-speed rebound
• Weight: TBA
• Availability: TBA
• MSRP: $1,150 USD
The RXF 34 features Öhlins' twin-tube damper design that they claim provides parallel and separated oil flow that controls pressure levels while ensuring initial smoothness and enabling the fork to stay high in its travel. External adjustments include high-speed compression and low-speed compression at the top of the left leg, and low-speed rebound at the opposite end. It sounds like the fork offers a clever air-spring design that employs three different air chambers: two positive and one negative. The company says that this allows for ''the shape of the spring force to be adjusted by the rider,'' which sounds a lot like it lets the rider separate initial sensitivity from end-stroke progression.
There will be three travel options - 120, 140, and 160mm - although there is no official word on if riders will be able to adjust one fork to all three settings. That said, it's likely that Öhlins will be manufacturing a single chassis, meaning that travel will probably be tuneable in some manner, albeit not externally. Don't quote us, though.
Fork Chassis: The chassis sports 34mm stanchions, but Öhlins claims that the RXF's forged ''unicrown'' steerer tube and crown assembly makes it ''more rigid than other brands' 35mm forks, and it's comparable with a 36mm fork.'' This is because the RXF's crown and steerer tube are created from a single piece of aluminum (much like X-Fusion uses) rather than being two separate pieces that are then pressed together.
There is no 20mm thru-axle option, and the RXF's 15mm axle threads in with a hex key and depends on a more traditional, single pinch-bolt on the right fork leg. No quick-release thru-axle system on the RXF.
The new Öhlins suspension will be available through Specialized dealers, who are going to have the RXF fork (and shocks, springs, and cartridges) in the near future, as well through the Öhlins USA website that will be shipping and servicing suspension out of their headquarters in North Carolina.
We'll have our hands on the new Öhlins RXF fork shortly, and you'll be able to read about what's inside and, more importantly, how it performs and compares to the competition. Photos courtesy of Specialized