To say the Fox 40 is a popular fork would be a touch of an understatement. The crew at Fox had a hit on their hands right out of the gate and have made only a handful of small running changes each season to keep it working like the champ it is. For whatever reason, one thing the 40 has never had is an integrated top crown and stem in stock form. Thankfully there are people out there with the incentive and know-how to deliver the goods.
Persist is a UK company that is producing a jewel of a crown for the Fox 40. Checking it out on their website had me thinking that if the guys at Persist think something is worth doing, then it's worth doing right! I was convinced of that fact when a tidy little brown box was delivered to my desk one afternoon. Sleeping in a bed of wood chips was the new Optimus top crown/stem combo.
You don't need me to tell you that this bit of bike kit is ridiculous, just look at it. There is no shortage of companies putting out after market goods for your bike but this thing looks to be straight out of a dirt bike catalog. The CNC'd crown and stem are made from blocks of 7075 T6 aluminum and anodized your favorite color, black
. As if it wasn't trick enough to begin with Persist installs twelve gold titanium cap head screws instead of the boring steel versions that merely do the job. The 'goldanium
' screws are nearly half the weight of their steel brothers, but far more importantly is the fact that they look great against the anodized black aluminum.
Each stanchion clamp uses two screws instead of the stock versions single screw, as well a much larger clamping surface area. This can only make for a far more secure arrangement and prevent the dreaded 'stanchion slip' that can happen on the biggest of big hits. The crown and stem are two separate pieces with the stem being attached via two screws from underneath the crown, as well as an additional steerer clamp screw. There are no reach adjustment options. This may put a few riders off but I can't think of many people that don't run 50mm stems on their DH bikes anyway, which conveniently is what you'll get with the Optimus. It also gives it a very clean look with no surplus holes or overhanging extra material to jab into any unprotected knees. It is seriously low also, only having 5 mm of rise. Total weight is 464 grams, which is a few more than the stock crown and the Easton stem I had been using up until now. If you are counting grams the added mass will be more then made up for when you saw off the extra steerer. The Prime stem is attached using the 888 bolt pattern, so if you were so inclined you have the option of installing a stem from a few other companies.
Installation was pretty straight forward, as you would expect. The tolerances were perfect with the crown sliding on smoothly like it should. Persist recommends using a torque wrench so if you don't have one it wouldn't hurt to head down to your local shop and get them to bolt it up. If it looked great in the box, then it looks even better on my bike. There is really nothing wrong with the stock crown but the Optimus looks far more ready for action.
I would not expect to have any issues with such a high quality piece of work and I never did. I am of average size but tend to crash a little harder than the average rider. Not once did I need to pull out the multitool to straighten anything after an off or especially hard landing. In fact, I brought the Persist crown with me on our annual trip to the RedBull site in Utah for two weeks. I spend more time in the air while in Utah then the rest of the year put together. If it was going to give me any gripes then that would have been the time. It didn't of course, it just did its job while looking great. I have noticed that some integrated stems have a bit of slop between the screws and the unthreaded side of the stem or crown. This is no doubt one of the culprits when you get up from a crash and find your bars twisted. There was no room for the titanium screws to move around in the Persist crown which means that everything is that much tighter. Unlike some bolt on stems on the market there was no sharp edges or overhanging material, something I really appreciated on those 'no pads' days.
I'll be the first to say it: £170.00 is a lot of money to be spending on a crown and stem. On the other hand, if you have a Fox 40 and can appreciate nice work then Persist may have what you need. Do you have a Boxxer instead of a 40? No need to feel left out as there will be a Boxxer unit available soon!Persist Components