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Spotted: Vali Holl Appears to Be Testing a Flight Attendant Equipped RockShox Boxxer

Apr 30, 2024 at 2:10
by Jessie-May Morgan  
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An eagle-eyed reader, travis75az, spotted what appears to be a Flight Attendant module atop a Rockshox Boxxer, in Episode 1 of Vali Holl's "It Is What It Is". In the short slow motion clip, a battery-housing device can clearly be seen on the damper side, looking remarkably similar (if a little less refined) to the Flight Attendant modules that RockShox has rolled out across their enduro, trail, and most recently, XC forks.

The clip is recent footage from the Ding Dingue Down DH race held in Blausasc, France, on April 14th 2024. Aboard that prototype YT Tues that remains under a shroud of mystery, Vali took the win by a comfortable margin of more than 3.5 seconds over Lisa Baumann of Commencal Les Orres.

It's certainly not the first time we've seen electronics controlling suspension damping in the world of downhill. Loic Bruni has, for many, many seasons, been running an electronic remote on the bar of his various Specialized Demo bikes to make on-the-fly changes to his Ohlins suspension setup. To my knowledge, we are yet to see anything that controls the suspension damping automatically, in response to changes in terrain, as Flight Attendant does.

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RockShox claim that over the course of a 90 minute World Cup XCO race, Flight Attendant can save up to 96 seconds; their internal testing showed that XC riders with the system were 1.8% faster than those on a manual system. How such an advantage (if any) would extrapolate to the rigors of downhill racing remains to be seen, but I for one would be very interested to see the results from timed testing. We will be keeping a close eye at the opening round of the World Cup in Fort William this weekend to see if any more RockShox athletes will be riding the new technology.

Of course, there's no way of knowing how exactly Flight Attendant is being implemented here, or indeed if that even is a Flight Attendant module that we can see in the video. The possibility remains that it is simply a data acquisition device, rather than a device that is able to adjust oil flow through the damper, but my money would be on the latter. We have reached out to SRAM for comment, and will update this article should any more information come to light.




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36 Comments
  • 107 1
 *Bing bong...*
Flight attendant: "Ladies and gentlemen, please clip in and return your visor to the upright position, looks like it might be a bit of a bumpy ride ahead, but as we descend we'll see what we can do to smooth the ride out for you. Thanks for riding with RockShox today."
  • 21 0
 @travis75az here's a salute for first spotting that at 15:01 below
Salute
  • 14 0
 Appreciate the call out Smile
  • 12 0
 I feel there’s a lot more opportunity to make electronics useful in DH than other disciplines because it could be focused on suspension performance over varying terrain instead of being focused on improving pedaling performance on the smooth sections like the XC and enduro iterations
  • 16 2
 It's 1.8%, not 1.8 seconds. Being 1.8% faster on a world cup course would mean its 13 seconds faster per lap.
  • 1 0
 I thought that’s what I read. Thnx

1.8s is a poor metric, after all.
  • 18 0
 Does anyone else find 1.8% hard to believe?
  • 11 0
 I'm holding out for the product that is 100% faster.

Then World Cup DH here I come.
  • 3 0
 I'm 100% sure that you are 50% sure lol!
  • 5 0
 @rojo-1: sounds like 69% bullshit
  • 5 0
 1.8% of the time, it works every time
  • 1 0
 13 seconds isn't right either, unless you think the average world cup track is 12 minutes long.....

Let's say a lap is 4 and a half minutes since fort bill is coming up next. 4.5*60 = 270 seconds.
1.8 percent of that would be 4.8 seconds.

Still huge, that's the difference between 1st and 11th in last years world champs at fort bill.
  • 12 1
 Lets go for a quick ride! I just need to charge up my fork, shock, seatpost, rear mech, shifters, and main motor battery. I'll be 6 hours.
  • 7 0
 1,8% faster! So why Haley Batten won last world cup with a cable lock out set-up ?
Should be a good question for some curious journalist.
  • 6 0
 Haha. 1.8% faster would imply that it's literally impossible to win without it...
  • 2 0
 Such a question might lead to 'blacklisting' for said journalist! Smile One cannot question manufacturer's 'trust me bro' claims.
  • 2 0
 Even having the ability to do a lock out or near lock out on the high speed rolling sections will have a huge effect on times. Look at Bruni. He's WAY faster in some of those types of sections and last year it looked like he was using some form of lock out at times.
  • 1 0
 Bruni sometimes gains 2s in the (presumably flattish) sections that we don't see on the live feed.

I bet FOX and RS sponsored DH riders have been clamouring for a similar feature.
  • 3 1
 As an owner of a Flight Attendant-equipped bike, I can wholeheartedly say how good it is..... on a trail bike. I'm not sure if it will be as good on a downhill bike. On mine, it opens up when the bike is pointed downhill, which is where you'd want it to be open. I'd like to see how SRAM has configured the system to work on a DH bike.
  • 4 0
 Have been spotted before, also on a shock on a Trek Session I believe from Loris Vergier, where pics on Vital weeks ago
  • 4 0
 seems like PB crew don't visit Vital forum...
  • 2 0
 Makes total sense!
BTW Nino Schurter used to activate and dactivate his dampings with the thumblever more than a 100 times during a race. his thumb was the most sore part of his body after a race. Wink
  • 1 0
 I wonder what is under the black cover from a rear shock perspective. Could there be some sort of FA DH shock under there? /sarcasm
  • 1 0
 Is that an AXS remote we can see under the left brake lever (right in the picture obvs)? Would suggest it's FA rather than data logging
  • 1 0
 missed!
  • 1 0
 Ooo high pivot tuesday
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