Recently we got the scoop on Fox's prototype electronic shock
. The following weekend, Jesse Melamed rode it at the Whistler EWS and won in emphatic style, taking four out of six stage wins. Also riding the new Fox shock was Richie Rude, who was snapping at Jesse's heels until a puncture took him out.
Now, I'd be the first to admit that race results don't say much about the bike
. After all, watching Jesse and Richie battling it out at the front of the pack is far from unusual this season. But those results do suggest the shock was at least not letting them down. Also, in our interview at the test session, Jesse said the shock was performing no worse than the coil shock he was running before. Sure, he's a sponsored rider who isn't going to tell the media that Fox's future halo product is a dud, but given that he chose to race (and win) on the shock soon after, I'm inclined to take him at his word.
But my point here isn't about the electronics.
I'm not trying to convince you that electronic shocks are necessary or even an advantage. The really interesting thing about this shock is that it's essentially a Float X
: a consumer-friendly, lightweight and relatively simple single-tube air shock. Jesse and Richie were apparently willing to switch from four-way adjustable, twin-tube shocks (a coil X2 in Jesse's case and a Float X2 in Richie's) to what is essentially a simpler damper (albeit with an automatic lockout switch), and it didn't seem to be a problem on one of the roughest EWS courses.
The RockShox Super Deluxe shock is relatively low on features but high on WC and EWS wins.
And while we're at it, it's worth remembering that every RockShox athlete in EWS and downhill is running a single-tube shock with two external damping adjusters.
Suspension Nanny isn't the worst title...
So while most of the comments on the article about Fox's prototype electronic shock were complaining that we don't need more expensive and more complicated bikes (and I'm inclined to agree), my takeaway is the opposite. Ignore the electronics - an air shock with a relatively simple damper was good enough for the two fastest enduro racers in the world right now on one of the gnarliest courses. So, do we need twin-tube, four-way adjustable dampers with thousands of combinations of clicker settings? Do we need coil springs on enduro bikes? After all, a relatively simple air shock that's cheap, light and easy to set up has got to be a benefit for the average rider.
Which of these dials do I turn to ride faster?
So, which shock features do you need?