Review: DT Swiss F535 One Fork

May 8, 2019
by Dan Roberts  



DT Swiss has a reputation for highly engineered wheel components, but they’ve done XC-focused suspension for a long time as well. Their new F535 One fork was a ground-up design, and signals their desire to jostle their way into the crowded trail/enduro suspension market.

DT approached this new fork with that same level of engineering, and a few clever features, in order to set it apart from both a visual and performance standpoint. Can their curve ball blows unsettle the established big hitters? There’s only one way to find out.

F535 One Fork Details

Tested: 160mm 29er
Travel: 130mm, 140mm, 150mm, 160mm
Wheel size: 27.5 and 27.5+/29
Offsets: 44mm (27.5) and 51mm (27.5+/29)
Axle to Crown: 571mm (160mm 29)
Hub/Axle Standard: 110mm x 15mm (Boost)
Weight: 2254g / 4.97 lb (Measured with mudguard, hose clamp, axle)
Price: 1149 EUR or 1151 USD (w/o remote, +50 EUR or +68 USD for remote version)
More info: DT Swiss


DT Swiss F535 One Fork Review Photo Ga tan Rey
DT Swiss F535 One Fork Review Photo Ga tan Rey
The damper has three familiar modes: Open, Drive & Locked. Low-speed compression is adjusted in the center.


Details & Features

Back in July of last year, Matt Wragg took a first look and first ride of the new DT Swiss F535 fork and compiled a vastly in depth look at the features and claims that were put forward. But it’s time to put more hours in the saddle and see how the fork handles a variety of terrain and how it stacks up against the well-established, more conventional, competition.

Out of the box the 535 is instantly recognizable as a high-level DT product. Finish quality, how all the parts fit together and the attention to detail are all top notch. From a distance, most forks are only distinguishable by their colours, and the differences in shape aren’t visible. But up-close, DT have put quite some effort in to set themselves apart visually. Crown and lower shapes and additional covers all account for this distinctive look. Form is subjective, but I’m a fan of the way this fork looks.

The covers on the crown are made from metal and finished to the same quality as the rest of the fork, with a seal around them to ward off the elements. The damper side also has a sealed cap, but with the hole for the lockout and the adjuster lever there’s a couple of entry points for muck. Both covers have captive bolts so there's no danger of losing one when you take them off.

DT Swiss F535 One Fork Review Photo Ga tan Rey
DT Swiss F535 One Fork Review Photo Ga tan Rey
The detachable RWS axle with hidden T10 Torx tool.

Included in the box are extra tokens, a star nut and top cap assembly, mudguard, axle with internal tool, extra cable clamps and a set of new wiper seals, foam rings and piston rod seals for the first lower leg service, along with an installation and setup manual.

DT's RWS axle is used to tighten the axle and houses a screw in T10 Torx tool for use on all the adjusters and caps. You can ride with the axle lever in place, which so far has stayed where it was intended, or pop it off for fewer things hanging off your bike. Without the lever you can still use a 6mm Allen key to tighten the axle. DT's own bolt on mudguard is lovely, providing ample protection from muck flying up and into your face. And additionally, it does a damn good job of covering the seals from debris and crap. It’s pretty robust too and shrugged off any altercations with casually stacking bikes in lifts and vans.


DT claim to have created a fork that allows you to forget everything around you and have unprecedented control. A bold claim, and they have taken some very different directions for the function of the fork.

The air spring system is a traditional two chamber affair, one positive and one negative that self-equalize via a small port in the stanchion. In addition, there's a small coil spring that is said to act over the first 30mm of travel, the theory being that a coil setup requires less force to begin moving and so will absorb the smallest of bumps before the energy input is high enough to overcome the stick of the air piston.

Housed inside the other leg is a different approach to damping. As global bike development progresses, genuine innovations become less frequent, and so technologies and concepts of old are re-imagined. In this case it’s position-sensitive damping, dubbed Plushport. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this in an MTB fork, but DT took the concept and engineered it into the F535.

Plushport only acts on the low-speed compression damping; over the first third of fork travel this port is open and directs all oil flow through it, bypassing the low-speed compression shim stack and drastically reducing the amount of low-speed damping. This allows the fork to compress more easily early on in the travel. The next third of travel sees the port close gradually, incrementally directing more oil through the shim stack and providing ever increasing low-speed damping. The final third of travel sees the port shut completely, which means oil is fed directly through the low-speed shim stack, adding the most amount of low-speed damping. The small low-speed adjuster at the top of the fork sits before the Plushport in the oil flow and with its 11 clicks adjusts the low-speed compression over the whole travel range.

High-speed compression damping is handled by the shim stack and doesn’t adhere to the position sensitive rules of the low-speed damping. Rebound damping is a more traditional setup, with a metering needle adjusting the low-speed and a shim stack handling the high-speed damping.
DT's cutaway drawing showing the air side on the right and damper on the left.


DT Swiss F535 ONE.
The three phases of DT's Plushport position sensitive damping.


Because of the position sensitive design of the damper, travel changes aren’t so straightforward. In addition to the purchase of a new air spring system you’d also need to purchase a new damper corresponding to your desired fork travel.

DT's Blog contains some interesting insights and a behind the scenes look into the development of their fork.


DT Swiss F535 One Fork Review Photo Ga tan Rey
DT Swiss F535 One Fork Review Photo Ga tan Rey
Fender and cable clamp both bolt on and funtion brilliantly, although installation is a little fiddly.


Installation & Setup

The first step is to bolt on the mudguard and hose clamp. The bolts required to accomplish this are a little tucked away, and require patience and a long 2.5mm Allen key. However, in most cases this will be a one-time fitment resulting in only a short period of fiddly-ness.

There are no cut marks on the steerer like some other brands, but the rest of installation is a breeze and no different to all other forks. Simply add your headset crown race, slap it in the bike, attach the wheel, stem and brake and get on with the setup.

Tucked away under the air cover is a valve cap that you’d likely see on shocks. DT prints the number of tokens on the top of the cap, and supplies you with additional caps to let you know how many tokens are installed without taking the fork apart. I’m an engineering geek at heart with a bad memory, so this one was a nice detail.

Air spring setup is straightforward. Pump the positive chamber and cycle the fork to equalize the negative chamber. DT has a very helpful setup guide included in the box and also online using your weight, bike type and suspension performance preference as a guide it outputs the required air pressure, sag measurement and damper settings. It's really easy to follow with additional videos to show how it’s done in real life.


DT Swiss F535 One Fork Review Photo Ga tan Rey
DT Swiss F535 One Fork Review Photo Ga tan Rey
T10 Torx removes the covers and grants access to the air spring.


All damper adjustments can be done with the little T10 Torx hiding in the axle. Low-speed compression is at the top of the fork and rebound is accessed from the bottom. Clicks are very positively indented. Interestingly, DT is measuring its damper settings from fully open, unlike the established way of measuring from the hard stop of fully closed.

For my 79 kg riding weight I ended up with 80.2 psi, 18 clicks of rebound from fully open and the compression damping set to fully open.

DTs axle to crown measurement is a little longer than the other brands, 4mm longer compared to a 160 Fox 36. So, for fine tuners or people sensitive to bar height changes you might want to drop the bars to account for this. 4mm might not sound like much, but it’s enough to change the balance of the bike and push a little more weight onto the rear wheel.








Performance

DT's quest for small bump absorption nirvana results in something that the odd passing breeze starts to compress. This also translates to something perceivable when riding. Singular or a small collective of small impacts are easily absorbed, and the initial sharpness of the hit is not sent through to your hands.

Larger hits that push the O-ring to the end of travel are also dealt with nicely. 2 tokens provide a good amount of ramping support without it creating an invisible wall of progression to smack against. And the options to add or remove tokens from the standard two gives options for adjustment in both directions. It’s still possible to have a hard bottom out, but this only happened twice in testing and the audible clunk that accompanied this was confirmation. There’s a seamless feel between the small coil spring and air system.

The first ride of the fork was out in Sierre, Switzerland, down a beautifully natural trail that was initially crafted by motorbikes coming in the opposite direction through the forest. Natural in this case referring to the randomness in size and frequency of the hits.


Dan Roberts // Technical Contributor
Age: 32
Location: Champéry, Switzerland
Height: 188cm (6'2”)
Weight: 75kg (165 lbs)
Industry affiliations / sponsors: Garage Bike Project, former engineer at Scott Sports
Instagram: @le_crusher
Test Locations: Champéry, Bex, Sierre, Latsch, Thonon-les-Bains
Straight away it was clear that the suggested rebound setting was too slow. The further into rough sections the fork went, the harsher it was feeling. This pointed towards a packing issue; the rebound being not fast enough to allow the fork to recover in time for the next hit. Speeding up the rebound 2 clicks remedied this.

Next on the test list location was Bex. A magical Swiss forest full of roots, perfect dirt and steep chutes. Forest workers of old would drag the felled trees down the mountain, and so came to be the infamous Chables; sections of trail so steep that first run down at the beginning of the season and it’s impossible to hide the whites of your eyes from your mates waiting at the bottom. The roots in Bex range from sneaky small to rim smashingly big. Often, they’re off camber and you hit them going Mach 10. In these sections it was where the DT fork started to have a case of the “Woah Nelly’s”, as so affectionately coined by a good friend.


DT Swiss F535 One Fork Review Photo Ga tan Rey
There's no bumps in the air, but it sure is fun up there. Testing was also carried out at ground level.

So far, the fork had been feeling grand, but in these high-speed, root filled sections the fork got out of sync with the hits, which resulted in excessive chassis oscillation. Basically, your hands were moving around by a larger amount than the size of the hits. Further speeding up the rebound a click helped somewhat, but this characteristic of resonance remained.

Grabbing the bull by the horns also helped, but it’s then a conscious action to ride the bike, as opposed to having complete chaos happening underneath you and just instinctively doing the piloting. Experimenting with more low-speed compression damping added a smidge of remedy to the oscillation, but of course added a smidge of sharpness back to the hits.

Lower air pressure, and so more sag, didn’t help either. The idea being that with the position sensitive nature of the low-speed damping, more sag would result in less time spent in the low damping first third of the travel and more in the portions of travel that have increased damping.

In the steeps of Bex the fork performed well, keeping the bars up and not diving drastically under braking, which was likely due to the good dose of psi, tokens and axle to crown height. These steeps don’t, however, contain the abundance of roots that the rest of Bex is known for.


DT Swiss F535 One Fork Review Photo Ga tan Rey


Latsch, Northern Italy, brought a change of terrain in the form of dust and rocks. A style of trail that I'd call 'loose and sketchy on top of hard and smashy.' Again, smaller and less frequent hits were dealt with nicely. But it was the longer sections of more frequent hits that required a “hold onto your butts” inner monologue before charging through. There was good traction in the loose dust, and the fork provided confidence to brake early, let off and lean into the flat turns. Latsch has these in abundance and so it was nice to have this confidence to keep speed and keep up with flying Dutchman friends.

But as was the case with the high amplitude and frequency root hits of Bex, the higher energy scenarios when you demand control and composure of your suspension weren’t quite giving the control needed to really push and charge with the utmost confidence.


Servicing

DT recommends a Small Service (lower leg) after 50 hours of use and a Full Service, which is to be done at a DT Swiss Service Centre, after 200 hours. Those numbers are similar to what Fox and RockShox recommend for their forks.

One point that should equate to easier home servicing is the lack of need for a hammer. Both Fox and RockShox employ a press fit connection between the rods and lowers. DT added a threaded connection to the rods and lowers that allow the two to be disassembled in a matter of seconds using only an 8mm Allen. This made me wince a little at first, but with the increased diameter of the rods and robustness of the thread they’ve used it should provide reliable servicing for a long time to come. Wiper seals are flanged and easy to fit, even without a seal fitting tool.

DT does advise using its own branded oil for the lowers (made by Swiss oil manufacturer Panolin). It comes in at just under 20 Euros for 100ml.


DT Swiss F535 One Fork Review Photo Ga tan Rey
DT Swiss F535 ONE.
Fox 36 RC2.


How does it compare?

It’s surprising how fast you adapt to new components, and the memory of past performance from others starts to fade. So, doing back to back days on a trusty Fox 36 RC2 provided clear insight into gauging the performance of the F535 and seeing if it can live up to those bold performance claims.

Unfortunately, it only took a matter of minutes to say that it doesn’t.

The DT fork does indeed take a bit of sharpness off of the hits when compared to the Fox. But it’s really in the more consecutive bigger hits that the control and composure of the 36 shines through. There was much more oscillation with the F535, and it requires more usage of your arms as suspension elements. This didn’t make me forget everything around me, but in contrast added to the list of thought processes and needed conscious actions to manage.

Going back-to-back also showed the eagerness of the DT fork to get into using its travel. In this quest for suppleness with coil springs and free flowing oil the fork is less efficient in using its travel compared to the Fox, which stays higher in the stroke for dealing with the same energy input. This eagerness is almost an inertia of the fork movement that drags it deeper into its stroke before it deals with the energy. In comparison, the Fox deals with the energy earlier in the stroke, and while the initial hit may have a hairs-width more sharpness, it’s dissipated over a longer period.

We seem to have arrived at the age-old balance of initial suppleness versus control. While the DT sticks its nose hairs ahead on that initial portion of travel, it’s with the Fox that I would side with for its ability to have my back when the going gets rowdy and provide a small voice in my ear to push that little bit harder. But dependent on your riding you could be more than happy to side with DT for its suppleness, if that’s what you prioritize higher than composure.


DT Swiss F535 One Fork Review Photo Ga tan Rey


Issues

Inside a conventional fork are a lot of moving parts, and with the DT fork that number increases. In low amplitude high frequency situations you can hear these parts oscillating around. This isn’t the noise of something loose, more akin to the tappets in a diesel engine constantly hitting back and forth while doing their job. While this isn’t a fork life threatening issue, it can be an annoying one. And for someone who employs armies of zip ties and Velcro to silence their bike it was another thing to distract from the instinctive actions of riding a bike.


DT Swiss's Response

bigquotesThe F535 Fork has been developed as an All Mountain product, as we see most of the customers searching for more comfort and less fatigue while riding their bike. The focus wasn’t the “Hardcore” racer.

In the development process we figured out that even for racing the fork is offering good performance, proven by the Gehrig Twins for example, but, this was not the focus. For sure, however, it will withstand even these demands. That means compared with a true Enduro fork like the Fox 36 the Fox might offer a better option for the really fast Enduro riders. But ours might still be the versatile option for users who want to get an easy to use option.

At the end of the day this is the reason why there is not just one fork available on the market but many, for all kinds of different rider types and needs.
Friso Lorscheider, DT Swiss Marketing Specialis






Pros

+ Beautifully engineered.
+ Incredibly supple initial stroke.
+ Distinctive form.
Cons

- Lacks composure in high amplitude & frequency situations.
- Requires a tool for adjustments.
- Adjusting fork travel is complex and expensive.





Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesDT have done an nice job of engineering a beautiful fork that performs very well, with a very plush initial stroke that will appeal to riders who place comfort and small bump sensitivity high on their list of priorities. However, there are tradeoffs to position sensitive damping, which means racers and aggressive riders may find themselves looking for more composure when faced with repeated big hits, and it's in this category that more established competitors offer higher levels of control.  Dan Roberts









167 Comments

  • + 190
 What an honest response from DT !
I am so used to seeing company X making super product Y respond to a review by repeating there marketing strategy of why Y is the best.
Vs DT " Yeah, the 36 is better for hard charging all the time, and ours is really good at a different aspect bro "
  • - 125
flag bikegreece (May 8, 2019 at 5:28) (Below Threshold)
 marketing honesty bull%^$s
if it is an easy use then give me an easy price tag
oh.. and PB if it is not for a reasonable price tag, do not bother me any longer
  • + 23
 @bikegreece: that is nonsense really. You may want a high-end fork for slow people putting the emphasis on crazy comfort and grip at slower speeds, that still means performance cartridge, chasi and low stiction components which adds up. Low end forks are often high friction and bad comfort, making them almost more suited to hard chargers than easy going people.
  • + 11
 I'm just an average Pedro...I buy what I think suits me and what my budget tells me
  • - 11
flag bohns1 (May 8, 2019 at 8:41) (Below Threshold)
 @bikegreece: Sounds like you need to get into a better career path there bud....
  • - 20
flag bikegreece (May 8, 2019 at 8:49) (Below Threshold)
 @Balgaroth: right, I never thought that "slow" people would have a fork of their own ...
  • + 4
 I always expect the blanket "This was a pre-production fork the real ones had some unrelated change that will magically fix all the issues."
  • + 21
 The problem with this refreshing response is that most riders think they're hard-chargers, or they believe they'll be faster with products designed for professionals. This couldn't be farther from the truth.
  • + 4
 @spankthewan: So the $8k I just dropped on a WC class trail bike won't make me a better rider? Not even a little?

It makes my pee pee bigger though, right?

LoL
  • + 3
 @m1dg3t: it might make you faster but not better.
  • - 1
 @m1dg3t: Your leelee will grow, but 4 pot brakes won't make an average rider faster than a good set of 2 pots, nor will telling your suspension tuner you're an aggressive rider when the most aggression you can muster is a skidsy doo through a corner.
  • + 2
 @spankthewan: exactly...if the average rider took Gwin’s set-up down he track, they would probably have an unscheduled dismount in a matter of seconds.
  • + 56
 There’s room for this. Not everybody is racing all the time. I like to haul ass as much as the next guy.. I race, I shuttle, I bike park but the truth is my grip 2 only shines in these full speed situations. For a general trail ride I’d rather be riding something more supple.
  • + 44
 There are various tuning on the market, from Push, MRP, even RS provides aftermarket parts like DebonAir + Ultimate. Ove the years though I found that the best system to make fork more supple is: LessAir TM. You can add LessCompression TM. If you want it to be more lively and poppy use LessRebound TM. Available for most products on the market. Free of charge.

The only thing I want to know is... is it stiffer than 36 or more compliant, or both? Marketing can make both in one product! Carbon people do it since 2010.
  • + 25
 And to be honest, most people buying enduro bikes are not racing or charging hard down gnarly tech.
  • + 12
 I don’t disagree in principal, but by that rationale, you could just add more air to the dt fork, twist some dials, and it would be equivalent to a 36. I’m not convinced it’s that simple. I find my Fox best for hard charging, my DVO best for customisation and my Pike best for a plush comfortable ride. Each to their own I guess. I’m pro choice.
  • + 3
 Well nobody said you can't win a race with it.
There might even be scenarios where this kind of fork (and setup) might be a clear advantage. Maybe for instance in mud where you need incredible traction, sensitivity and stickiness of the coil and you might not be concerned about where you are in the travel or "high amplitude & frequency situations".
  • + 2
 Added luftkappe to the grip2, improves initial movement and rides a marginal touch higher.
  • + 11
 Or just get an MRP and never look back.
  • - 4
flag trnxxx (May 8, 2019 at 5:37) (Below Threshold)
 @enduroFactory: With the Luftkappe you lose a lot of travel since it has a "dead" initial stroke. Had to go back to DebonAir which is optimum.
  • + 5
 @bishopsmike: the correct answer
  • + 1
 @bishopsmike: I don't have any experience with MRP. Which fork is suited to "enduroing" and why is it so good? Thanks for your help!
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns: and coupled up with LessAir TM, with my 36 Grip 2, AnExtraVolumeReducer TM: more supple off the top and added ending stroke support: Voila´!
  • + 0
 I only enduro.
  • + 1
 @Alexdeg: I am indeed a fan of 36 because one can have up to 10psi less than in Lyrik and with right balance of compression damping still have not as much diving. You simply get better balance of bump absorption/grip VS diving/general stability out of the box. I do find Lyrik a bit better with G-outs, but I guess if I could fine tune the 36 with volume spacers it would match it. And i am not a fan of paying 100$ after 100$ for upgrades, be it air spring shenenigans or some exotic damper. If I wanted to, I'd buy a used 2007 Lyrik and put all these fancy things in, if the only thing that is supposed to be left of your fork is the chassis.

I must also say that first revision of Charger damper was a rip off. The RC found on Yari is almost as good.
  • + 4
 @vhdh666: mrp ribbon is a great all rounder. Easy to work on and great cs. They have a dual crown version for enduro and trail bikes as well that isnt much heavier than this dt lol.

Ribbon is a touch spiky in high speed compression at lower travel settings though. Even with ramp control all the way out. Really refreshing alternative to fox rs tho. Easy to tune and simple to work on. Best customer service out there bar none. It doesnt flex but ride it back to back with a 36 and the 36 chassis is a touch more confidence inspiring.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Have you tried DVO? I have a Diamond, and its as smooth as any coil fork I've ever used. IDK what magic they did, whether its getting the tolerances of the bushings just right, or if it all can be put on their hybrid coil/air spring. Its as smooth as a marzocchi 66 from 2005. HOWEVER, just like an old open bath marzhocchi, it dives way too much into its travel, which also seems to be the complaint about this F35. My DVO helps noticeably with hand fatigue on long, fast descents, and grip is off the charts. The problem is that no matter how much air I put in it, when riding down steep stuff it sags halfway into its travel and has no support. Tap the brakes and you're not sitting on the bottom third of your travel. It doesn't bottom hard, but it is always wallowing super low, changing the geometry of your bike.

Maybe I just don't know how to set it up, but I feel like I have rebound pretty fast and tons of both low and high speed compression.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: It's more stiff than a 36 when it's locked out, and it's more compliant that the 36 when fully open and the 36 is locked out. Best of both worlds!
  • + 3
 @bishopsmike: And that weight! A Ribbon Coil with an honest-to-goodness steel spring inside weighs about 150g less.
  • + 4
 @mm732: with the ribbon if you aren't in the sweet spot of rider weight you need to bleed it with a lighter or heavier oil.
I believe they are 10wt in the damper stock. I am at 3wt Danico bionol which cost me an arm and a kidney to import from Germany but worth every single penny.
Running it as coil. I don't even really look at other forks now. Like being married to the hottest woman in the world there is no reason to look.
  • + 0
 @reverend27: that's hilarious.

thanks for the tip on the oil source.
  • + 0
 @hamncheez: did you setup the off the top (ott) adjustment?
  • + 0
 @hamncheez: my reliable sources claim that DVO is amazeballs. Like Helm
coil.
  • + 2
 @hamncheez: From what you described you fork is so supple because of very little slow speed compression. If you want to keep it this way and you just want the fork to stay higher in it's travel and have planty of support, you need 2nd air chamber. I did it with my 36. Damper has modified shim stack so that the LSC is minimal. 2nd air chamber works like a charm. Don't listen to the master clown @WAKIdesigns. He writes half true and the other half is nonsense.
  • + 1
 @goroncy: as if I cared what you think.
  • + 0
 @goroncy: I have the LSC turned as high as I can without the fork starting to feel harsh.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Tell us what you really think.
  • + 1
 @hamncheez:
When I do bike park days with my DVO diamond, I inflate to 20psi above the recommended weight category and 2 more turns of ott. That gives 10% less flat ground sag and keeps the fork high in the steeps with a much firmer mid and end stroke. Sounds like you’ve tried that, so if you have, maybe email DVO. They were helpful with my setup when I first got the fork.
  • + 1
 @m1dg3t: I think that I chose forks that I can service localy and for the most part service myself. That is why the next fork I will own will be Fox 36 with Grip2. On top of that having been riding several 36 and Lyriks, owning some, I can tell that at least for me, 2011 36 is better than anything Rockshox has produced so far. By a tiny bit but it is. Mattoc is decent and defo better deal than RS. Haven't ridden exotic ones like Formula, DVO or Cane Creek but I am told the last two ones are really good. Reports on Formula are extremely enthusiastic and they smell post purchase rationalization on self-affirmation for chosing something different. Considering how shtty RS chassis is these days, one may be better off buying Suntour and kitting it with custom cartridges...

That is all I think about forks...
  • + 1
 @danmitch01: I would agree with that. I am on older 36 RC2 now after 2-3 seasons on Pike. Right now when just cruising thru the woods I feel like every bigger root just punch my shoulders where on Pike I would not even notice something happened. This makes me feeling like I have no grip/traction on the front wheel. But when smashing hard, it gets better, I am just not so sure if so much better I should stay on the 36 as I had some issues with Pike in only like 5% of the riding time (wobble, too deep in travel in steeps etc)
  • + 1
 @bok-CZ: feeling a root is far better than having your fork dive too hard under braking or in corners. if you wanted to bring the Pike or Lyrik to same stability as 36 offers at a particular SAG, you'd feel that root much more. And that becomes much more important when riding steeps in the wet, when you need extra front wheel grip. When riding Lyrik I have to focus on roots on steeps in wet that I barely noticed on 36. it has to do not with how bumpy things get but how much grip I have.
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Yep you´re right, also I ended up at something around 18%-15% of SAG and two and half tokens to fit my riding and I have to say plenty of time I felt diving deeper then I would like to. The other point is that the last time I´ve been riding Pike was in Whistler and I don´t have so many gnarly steeps around now. That´s the only reason I haven´t dumped the 36 yet and waiting for more time spent on it on something bit more interesting. But I am definitely going for the coil conversion
  • + 2
 @bok-CZ: it’s also about berms which at certain speed to radius ratio become g-outs. I hate the wobble that too dive causes. On one hand I don’t like too slack, too hard front because it makes the bike understeer making me feel I may exit earlier than I wish. On another hand when it is too soft it’s just hard to control the apex as the bike reaches max pressure. I am coming in looking at the brake spot/ entrance then the pressure point and just before the bike rides into it I look away at the exit, at that critical point I just hate the bike doing weird things, especially when the berm is not wide an tall or I plan to rail on the outside instead of hitting it.
  • - 1
 @vhdh666: I ran the mrp ramp control on the fox36, very good but the ramp is pointless as you can run it totally open all the time
  • + 43
 So this is our new Paul Aston. Honestly I really like this review! I also like DT's response, which is about what I was thinking... this isn't an enduro/dh smasher fork. Plan accordingly. Props all around guys. tup Thanks
  • + 4
 Profile says hes based in champery, enough said?
  • + 19
 Would have been better to test it against the Pike or the 34, DT very much pitch the F535 as a ride all day trail fork and I suspect those are its real competitors, not the 36. For it's intended use the review seems to suggest that it'd work very nicely indeed,
  • - 2
 The DT is quite heavy, though, which makes the comparison with the 36 more natural.
  • + 21
 @Ttimer: I disagree. I think forks should be compared because they are for the same purpose, not because they're the same weight.
  • + 21
 Nice, it's crazy that at this point all forks don't have available bolt on fenders...????
  • + 0
 DT Swiss, DVO, Suntour, Manitou, Syncros (for Fox) have.
RockShox, Öhlins, Formula & Xfusion are still out.

(Trust can't fit any tho)
  • + 5
 @qreative-bicycle: Ohlins have holes in the back of the crown for a bolt on fender, so thats a start. Is there anything wrong with some zipties and a trusty marsh guard?
  • + 0
 Rapidracer products have a bolt on fender incoming very soon for fox
  • + 22
 I wonder why Maxxis hasn't make their plastic "packaging" in the form of a Mushguard fender yet. Huck Norris has it.
  • + 5
 @zyoungson: My zip ties chewed the shit out of the paint on the lowers. Never noticed until I removed the guard to sell the bike.
  • + 5
 @mdg3d: just leave it on?
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Continental has it or at least had on some models.
  • - 1
 @WAKIdesigns: because the only good thing about Huck Norris is that you get a free fender with it, otherwise the thing is damn useless.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Spank does it with their bars as well
  • + 1
 @zyoungson: "Is there anything wrong with some zipties and a trusty marsh guard?"

The fender and zip ties take up clearance inside the arch where it's most needed and the zip ties slowly but surely wear away the paint on your lowers... it works pretty well other than broken zip ties now and then. But it's a band aid.

Guess that's what I get for riding RS! Smile
  • + 18
 They didn’t go full enduro
  • + 16
 Hmm, no. Let's wait for Manitou Mezzer review.
  • + 1
 Keen and shock, test as a pair.
  • + 15
 So it’s small mountain fork?
  • + 7
 Endocountry
  • - 10
flag poah (May 8, 2019 at 6:13) (Below Threshold)
 down country
  • + 9
 Glad to see an in depth review of something other than a Fox or RS. I'd love to see a Fork Review Roud-Up of all the non-Fox or RS forks out there and how they compare to one another. Plenty of great forks out there from MRP, Cane Creek, Forumula, etc. but you never hear much about them aside from the first review and maybe a follow up...
  • + 6
 Here you go! Bike Radar did a 10 fork test just two weeks ago.

youtu.be/jV6d1LX0SkU
  • + 5
 @yzedf: sick! thanks for sharing...
  • + 1
 @yzedf: Wouldnt trust that review, the reviewer is more interested in comfort than all out performance, maybe he should be reviewing trail bike forks?
  • + 1
 @zyoungson: grain of salt with every review regardless of who's it is or what they are reviewing. Just nice to see that many forks reviewed in the same context by the same person.

For a lot of riders, speed and comfort go hand in hand. I know that my Fox 36 (2017 RC2) is a harsh bitch at slower speeds, but when I get up to the speeds the fork was designed for it's actually much more comfortable. That's not really a trait that most reviewers ever communicated about that model.
  • + 8
 Interesting, as I experienced the exact opposite in terms of repeated hard hits. I found the F535 much more confidence inspiring over the Fox 36 in such situations. Although it was the FIT4 and not the RC2.
  • + 6
 There is your answer..
  • + 1
 @Hiderspider : What setup where you running on the DT? Would be keen to try it and see how it feels.
  • + 1
 @zyoungson: or he found a better setup or the spring is better suited to his weight than that of the reviewer.
  • + 10
 It keeps getting compared to 36/Lyric when it’s really a competitor for the 34/Pike.
  • + 1
 Not at 2250g it isn't.
  • + 1
 @JohanG: But according to their marketing and their 'response' above, 34/Pike is their comp. Yet somehow they made it weigh more than a 36
  • + 1
 @JohanG: yes, if you care more about comfort and build quality/finishing than weight it is.
  • + 6
 I'd like to see a review on DT's R535 rear shock as well. If they did develop their 535 series forks and shocks for comfort, I imagine the pair being very good for trail bikes and all day excursions when you're not trying to get KOMs.
  • + 9
 Manitous gonna kill it with the mezzer
  • + 5
 mad props to DT for the VERY honest answer. That said, i think we hit a nice spot between incredible suppleness and mid travel support / bottom out resistance with the latest Fox36 Grip2. I have it on a Propain Spindrift and i can honestly say it's a BIG improvement over everything i have ever ridden. It takes a bit of time to tune it to the perfect setting but once you have it dialed in, it's a monster fork
  • + 5
 "For my 79 kg riding weight I ended up with 80.2 psi, 18 clicks of rebound from fully open and the compression damping set to fully open."
18 clicks out of how many possible clicks? 20? 40?
That seems like a really slow rebound that wouldn't allow the forks to keep up with repeated fast hits if the compression damping is wide open but the rebound is not even close.
  • + 4
 There's 27 clicks in total for the rebound. 12 for the low speed compression. Pretty much in the middle of their range. DT's setup guide did have me at 3 clicks slower, but this created packing issues, so, I sped it up.
  • + 2
 @dan-roberts: Did you experiment with increasing high speed compression on the fast rooty sections?
  • + 2
 @Marcencinitas: There’s no way to adjust it externally on the DT fork
  • + 2
 @dan-roberts: that's a definite disadvantages in my book.
  • + 6
 So it is not for hard charging but I suppose it is good enough for the Gherig Twins and Anneke Beerten (so EWS and Crankworx stuff) it sure must be good enough for most of us.
  • - 37
flag Balgaroth (May 8, 2019 at 2:48) (Below Threshold)
 So it is good for fastish girls, which is probably about the speed of and average sunday man racer.
  • + 9
 @Balgaroth: The Gherig sisters are top ten performers in the EWS. Anneke Beerten got some podiums at the recent Crankworx event. You're saying the average sunday man racer is as quick?
  • - 18
flag Balgaroth (May 8, 2019 at 4:23) (Below Threshold)
 @vinay: yes I am. Take a women that is racing at WC DH level below top 5 and compare it to what guys do, the gap is huge. I remember beating some girls at local races while those were doing some WC, by no means i've been anything else than average sunday rider. And EWS level is way below WC DH especially in the girls.
  • + 25
 @Balgaroth: A quick look at the times for the EWS so far this year, Anita would have placed between 89 and 100 in the men's event. If there are less than 100 men in the world faster than you in an EWS then you are no Sunday racer!
  • + 3
 Keep in mind that a lot of pro riders get their suspension custom tuned (often by their mechanic or by third party tuner). What they are riding might feel very different to what comes of the shelf. For instance, their damping setup might sacrifice a lot of the small bump compliance in exchange for more big-hit stability.
  • + 1
 @Ttimer: I expect there will be most custom tuning on forks from RockShox and Fox, simply because there are so many of these around that companies like Push, Vorsprung, MRP etc are offering modifications for these forks. But yeah if a rider is really specific with suspension setup and wants something that's outside the adjustment envelope of the stock fork then a tuner would do some modifications. The other situation is when athletes are on a development program like for instance SRAM Blackbox athletes or those on the UR Polygon team (riding Suntour suspension). The suspension manufacturer requires their input and are constantly tinkering to get the fork dialed before they start mass production for the consumer market. Somehow I don't expect this to be the case with the mentioned athletes running these DT forks. Anneke Beerten has been a long time SRAM Blackbox athlete and if she wanted RockShox behavior, I've no doubt that they would have been happy to get her some forks (even after her stint with Fox).

That said, even without playing with shims you can increase damping if you need it by using slightly higher viscosity damping oil. Not sure how extreme you can go with that but going from 5wt to 7.5 makes a huge difference. Mixing the two gets you something in between. It doesn't take a pro tuner to do that. But I don't know how far you can go there without damaging anything, like getting cavitation effects etc. But of course you could also get that when you go mental with the shims.
  • + 5
 Spot on review, nice to see you do a back to back comparison in such a short time period, I always pondered if sometimes the reviewer looks through rose tinted glasses, good to see I was wrong
  • + 3
 This fork is a dream come true. Coil spring that gives it incredible sensitivity but lightweight and progressive air ramp for the bigger hits. + position sensitive damping. The only thing is that I can't afford it at the moment. The 36 I also a great fork, but I prefer the coil feel.
  • + 2
 That coil spring initial stroke idea is pretty rad. Instead of coil conversion kits, I wish tuners would give us something like that to add to our already good (and intentionally lightweight) forks.

The advantage to this is that you can have a really supple small bump compliant initial stroke that easily overcomes seal/bushing stiction, a supportive mid stroke, and a nice ramp up at the end - without needing fancy adjustable volume knobs.

Maybe the issue that Formula has encountered is difficulties in damper tunes for such a system...
  • + 2
 @PHeller: Try a DVO. It uses a coil negative spring instead of air, like the Fox 40. It fells as supple as any fully coil fork to me..
  • + 2
 @PHeller: I agree, combo coil and air positive is a great idea that deserves to be more prevalent!

Manitou had the 'MARS Air' system starting about 18 years ago that did this, and they sold different weight col springs to help tune it. It worked really well on my Minute: great traction, great smoothness through small chatter, yet stayed up in the travel well. I think the really good Absolute+ damper was an important piece of the performance on that fork too, like you are surmising about DT's damper tuning

Alas, full air springs are lighter and Manitou's system didn't lend itself to easy travel changes so they moved on to full air. The IRT system on Manitou's newer top-end forks sounds like it could offer some of these benefits by having two separate positive air chambers
  • + 6
 so threaded lowers and a coil/air combo - maybe they should just call this a manitou fork.
  • + 4
 Just when they moved away from doing the rear facing arch?
  • + 3
 The MARS system seemed like such a good idea, and I'm sad that in a day and age when everybody and their brother is extolling the virtues of going to heavy full-length coil conversions that the MARS coil/air spring setup isn't more common. Seems like the best of both worlds.
  • + 3
 @PHeller: yip but then people would complain about the spring being too stiff. a twin positive chamber is best for an air fork. The manitou IRT is so much better than anything fox/RS etc have. no faffing with tokens or ramp control devices. You don't feel the ramp up at all.
  • + 3
 Is the ossilation as a result of chasis flex or the damper unable to control the fork? I would like someone to succeed in a heavy hitting bypass damper but this does not appear to have succeeded. Is the rebound circuit bypassed as well like as seen in trophy trucks or is it only the low speed compression that has a bypass port? Looking for some armchair engineer discussion.
  • + 3
 Having ridden the fork in 130 and 160, I’d put it down to chassis flex.
  • + 3
 @mattwragg: Well that's good. I was worried there was something inherently difficult about combining the little coil spring with a larger air spring. It sounds like that's not the case - and that we need more little coil springs in our forks vs big coil conversions.
  • + 2
 @vtracer : Oscilations were in the same direction as the fork travel, so that would indicate the spring/damper system unable to have great control over the fork in certain situations.
Only the low speed compression has the port bypassing the piston and shim stacks.
Engineer with armchair also keen for discussion!
  • + 3
 Neat torx tool in the axle, but DT could have avoided the need altogether by using normal damping adjuster knobs and snap-on crown covers. Who wants to use a torx tool on trail to bump rebound a click or two?
  • + 1
 This does seem quite a difference in conclusion
  • + 3
 "DT does advise using its own branded oil for the lowers (made by Swiss oil manufacturer Panolin). It comes in at just under 20 Euros for 100ml."
So..Mobil 1 synthetic motor oil?
  • + 1
 Looks like there's a couple things it could be. Panolin has several oils in the typical viscosity range for bath oil. I'd probably run Supergliss if I had to service one. There's a couple grades.
  • + 2
 I love this tech stuff. Great technical review. I hope DT keeps trying. Just because innovation doesn't work perfectly the first time doesn't mean they're not on to something!
  • + 1
 Chassis oscillations out of sync with terrain in serious gnar sounds seriously sketchy. I would think regardless of your level of riding abilities that trait would be a deal breaker. For a high level rider they’ll have more ability to compensate, but why should they have to? For us average adventurous types that particular value added feature could land ya in the ER. No thanks DT. I’ll pass on this offering.
  • + 3
 Could be that the fork needs it's rebound and compression damping adjusted. This can alleviate a lot of problems. My old TALAS were perfectly dialed in, but one day I was out on an oft ridden trail and completely bailed on a repeated big hit section of trail. Sure enough, when I got home, I found my rebound was fully closed. I'd taken the bike to school and left it out in the classroom where maliciously or not, some student had played with the rebound settings. It is a shiny anodized knob after all. I can't really blame them.
  • + 2
 @woofer2609: No one can resist a shiny anodized knob!
  • + 2
 @fattyheadshok: My rebound knob is red plastic. No one has ever messed with that one so I think indeed @woofer2609 must be correct.
  • + 1
 I'm still considering this fork. I'm not the best rider into he world and want something that is easy to set-up mainly. I hate fiddling with suspension and just want something I can set and then leave it to just work. Most reviews of forks are by people that love finely tuning their setup. More adjustment is always better in a review, but I know few people that are capable of setting suspension up properly.
  • + 4
 *Runs LSC fully open* *complains about oscillation*
  • + 2
 Funny they didnt compare to the lyrik in terms of "plushness".

Also, bet that pilot spring tap taps like crazy everytime it bottoms out at 30mm.
  • + 1
 This DT isn't trying to be the sick-ass Enduro race fork that the Lyrik RC2 already is.
  • + 3
 So its €200 for 1L DT suspension oil. Sounds about right. I don't see why they wouldn't advise using it.
  • + 1
 1. Buy the cheapest Pike or Lyrik you can find. (About $550).
2. Replace the damper with a Push damper ($245).
3. Replace the air spring with a Push coil ($389).
4. Rule the world.
  • + 2
 @Ttimer: and still be out nearly $1200 and ride around on a very heavy fork.
I'll wait for the Mezzer. If the Mattoc with IRT is anything to go by, I have very high expectations.
  • + 1
 @Mac1987: A Pike is 300 grams lighter than this DT so those Push additions will create a fork in the ballpark weight-wise.
  • + 2
 @Marcencinitas: that's right, but of it were me, I would wait for the Mezzer. Also, there are more competitive forks with better damping, lower prices and (when you account for the weight of the upgrades) less weight.
Don't get me wrong, the proposed fork and upgrade path would provide you with great suspension. I just find spending $1200 on a fork a ridiculous amount. That says nothing on how much money that is for someone else or whether it is worth it for them.
  • + 1
 @Mac1987: $1,200 is a ridiculous amount to spend on a fork, but think of it as an investment in cost-avoidance--- it's the same cost as 1/60th of a bass boat or two months worth of Prozac or Insulin.
  • + 1
 "hold onto your butts"

Never gets old. Was he talking about his Cig? Or his actual butt? Chicken or the Egg level sh$# from Sammy L.J.
  • - 1
 A service after 50 hours, DT, Sram, and Fox either need to IP their game or stop screwing the end user, as a 4x4 driver I find it insane to abide by such short usage versus service intervals for a bike fork, even my BMW Motor Bike doesn't require such short service intervals.
  • + 1
 50 hours is close to 6 months for most people, so not unreasonable.
  • + 1
 That's lowers service only at that point. Really, if it's clean, you can wipe it down and reuse the wipers. Maybe squeeze out the oil from foam rings too. Not hard, and if you have a good stand the fork stays on the bike.
  • + 1
 @seitenryu: Cheers for that.
  • + 1
 I hate pedantry, but when Dan was explaining the position sensitive damping, he repeatedly mentions "low speed shim stack" where I think he meant high speed.
  • + 1
 It's only the low speed compression damping that the position sensitive design is affecting.
  • + 4
 Holy fork Batman
  • + 3
 In before the Trust vs DT price comparos. Razz
  • + 1
 Bad comparison to a 36 really, surely comparing to a 34 or Pike would be more fair!
  • + 2
 Should be called the dtswiss f-117
  • + 2
 Somebody learned a new word didn't they..... Oscillate.
  • + 2
 MRP does a bench test on every fork before it ships.
  • + 1
 And where do I get to shop DT's suspension lineup? Even the European shops just have them in ones and twos.
  • + 2
 Sweet. I'll buy one when they release a 26" version.
  • + 2
 I would love a fork that is plush as this one sounds. I'd buy it.
  • + 1
 Coil bro
  • + 1
 "hold me up now, tiny coil spring/you had a busy day today"
  • + 1
 4.97 lbs of fork, or 10 Big Macs worth of fork right there.
  • + 1
 I wonder if the fender doesn't weigh 250g.
  • + 1
 Where exactly is the trail with Dan Roberts in the picture?
  • + 3
 If you know, you know!
  • + 1
 I thought my hands look hammered.
  • + 3
 Tree punching rarely has the tree coming off worse.
  • + 3
 @dan-roberts: I only punch Bonsai trees now.
  • + 1
 Looks nice, and sounds nice.
  • + 1
 Whoa Nelly!
  • + 0
 Undamped fork feels uncontrolled. Whoda guessed?
  • + 1
 Looks great!
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.117840
Mobile Version of Website