Pinkbike was riding with a prominent Fox employee recently and noticed that his shock was unlabeled and completely different looking than any trailbike shock that the pioneer suspension maker has made in recent times. As usual, we could not get detailed information about the internals, but some morsels of information did slip through. The new shock has a more rounded head, presumably to make room for air volume and different fluid circuits. Reportedly, the internals have been in development since these shocks
were photographed, being tested at the 2013 DH World Championships.
|The enlarged section near the base of the air can no-doubt houses a higher-volume, longer-stroke version of the in-line negative spring that Fox debuted with its original Float shock design. |
The enlarged section near the base of the air can no-doubt houses a higher-volume, longer-stroke version of the in-line negative spring that Fox debuted with its original Float shock design. The advantage of a longer-travel negative spring is a smoother transition from the initial shock spring pressure into the mid-stroke. The proto shocks FOX were testing at the 2013 Worlds also had long-stroke negative spring bulges in their air cans. At least one other suspension designer is in agreement with Fox. Vorsprung Suspension recently released an aftermarket air can
for Float shocks that features an upgraded negative spring.
Fox is on the move. Reportedly, this prototype announces the beginning of a series of fundamental changes in their suspension range.
The negative spring balances an air spring's static pressure, causing the initial spring rate to start very low, similar to a coil-type spring. The longer the stroke of the negative spring, the smoother the handoff becomes as the pressure falls off of to zero on the negative side and the suspension is completely supported by the main "positive side" of the air can. This is the purpose of the long-stroke coil-type negative spring that Fox developed for the air-sprung RAD 40 DH fork
Hints were made that the future direction of Fox's fork and shock development will include internal trickery that first appeared on the 2015 36 fork - which suggests that the compression circuits of future Float shocks will have a much more seamless feel between their small and large bump performance.
Of course, much of the above is speculation, but a parking lot evaluation revealed that Fox's Float prototype was, as reviewers so often remark, "buttery smooth." Traditionally, Fox springs new technology at the Sea Otter Classic, so we'll keep the lens caps off of our cameras and be ready to shoot the pre-production versions if the opportunity presents itself.
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