Additional reporting: Brian Park
We've already seen a blizzard of new bikes
in time for the Olympics with Santa Cruz
and more unveiling their Tokyo-targeted tech. But what about other components on the bike? Cross-country is all about finding the most lightweight cocktail of parts and it's possible that RockShox may have given a new dropper post its race debut at last weekend's Leogang World Cup.
Spotted on the bikes of Lars Forster and Nino Schurter, the post doesn't have the battery pack and electronics in the saddlebag area we'd expect to see on a Reverb AXS and it also appears to have a smaller collar than the current double ridged one on the Reverb Stealth.
So, what's going on here? Well, it certainly wouldn't be crazy for RockShox to target a lightweight dropper to compete with the recently launched Fox Transfer SL
. Fox claimed that XC racers don't need the technical features that their 'full fat' posts have, and instead created a short travel, mechanical, 2 position post. With simplicity comes lightness and Fox was apparently able to shed 25% of the weight of a standard Transfer for the SL version.
From the pictures we have been able to source from the Red Bull Content Pool, it looks like the dropper post on Nino and Lars' bikes are also short travel, and we've no doubt it's a more lightweight option than the 676 gram Reverb AXS. Is it a new RockShox post? We're not so sure.
But despite several commenters on Nino's recent bike check
suggesting it's all but confirmed as a new product, we're not so sure. A RockShox representative had no comment, and it wasn't on our radar before this. Looking through Nino's Instagram
it looks like there are no external electronic parts, and possibly no blip-in-grip as seen on his bike check bike. So assuming it's mechanical (either hydraulic or cable-actuated), it actually looks a lot
like the Transfer SL that comes stock on the Scott Spark RC World Cup EVO AXS
. The matte black finish is similar, it looks like there are some wrench flats on the collar, and Fox has a deep relationship with Scott.
On the other hand, the post on Nino and Lars' bikes doesn't look much like the distinctive Fox head. It looks more like a bonded, two-piece affair. It also has silver/ti bolts rather than the black ones that come on the Spark RC WC.
Another option is possibly it being a BikeYoke Divine SL. It's a lightweight, well regarded post, and the dimensions all look similar—the bolt colour too. However, its black finish is much smoother and shinier than the one on Nino's bike, and we don't see the external butting in the photos.On the other hand...
Before today we'd have said it's unlikely for RockShox to go in the direction of cables and hoses after investing so much energy in a wireless system. It's entirely possible that RockShox has figured out how to hide the electronics while also making a lighter, simpler wireless dropper, but we are skeptical that all those things are possible at once.
If this is a RockShox product after all, it's more likely that it is a cable-actuated affair aimed at XC only. Something tells us that after so many years of hydraulic and wireless actuation, RockShox would need another factor to the mix in order to feel good about bringing a cable actuated dropper to market. We wouldn't be surprised if it was carbon, and had a few other tricks up its sleeve too.
If we see Nino and Lars with Reverb AXS posts at the next race, it's probably a signal that with the first race of the season, a new bike launch, and tenuous product availability, the team had to do some last-second debadging to run a third party dropper. But if we see any more of this dropper on race day, it gives a lot of weight (ironically) to the prospect of a new RockShox post.
We'll update this if we get any more information.
the tech team straw poll is now leaning towards it being a Yep post
. If you squint so hard your vision goes blurry you can definitely convince yourself you see the Schraeder valve on Nino's bike.