For the kind of people who get excited about such things, Öhlins' entry into the mountain bike world four years ago was, and still is, news that's worthy of some heavy breathing. First considered back in 2010, it took until 2013 for the Swedish suspension company to release their TTX shock, which at the time was specifically made for the Specialized Demo. That debut caused a collective gasp to emit from the mouths of gear nerds around the world, forum traffic exploded, and websites were racing to post any morsels of information or photos that they could get their hands on. It was one of the biggest gear-related stories in years, due in no small part to the motorsport crossover aspect.

Cycling has always been enamored with the idea of having a connection to motorsports; just look at any time a professional athlete from the two- or four-wheeled motorized world does anything on their mountain bike, or how McLaren's partnership with Specialized had tongues wagging. Even more notable was the fuss Honda and Showa stirred up with their G-Cross World Cup team. Hell, Honda left the sport in 2007, after walking in and being the number-one international team for two years, as well as taking a NORBA and World Cup title, and many people still get excited about that non-motorized effort from more than a decade ago. So when Öhlins came into our little world, first with their TTX shock and, more recently, with two single-crown suspension forks, it was no surprise to see people get excited. You can only imagine the ruckus that their inevitable downhill fork will cause.

The unorthodox route that Öhlins took - an exclusive partnership with a single, albeit powerful company in Specialized - to enter the mountain bike market is drastically different compared to how RockShox and Fox have done business, but this arrangement was not only smart, it was essential in order for Öhlins to break into a world that is poles apart from motorbike and car racing.


Kenth Ohlin Photo Ohlins
Kenth Öhlin talking to one of his motocross racers in 1976 Photo Öhlins

To understand why this approach is different for both the mountain bike industry and Öhlins themselves, you first have to know how Öhlins has done things in the past. The story begins in 1976 Sweden with a guy named Kenth Öhlin who, you guessed it, founded the company. It took only two years for Kenth's suspension to get to the top by way of a Russian named Gennady Moiseev who won the motocross World Champion title with Öhlins suspension fitted to his 250cc KTM. Forty years on and Öhlins' can say their suspension has been employed to win well over three hundred titles, from MotoGP, Formula One, WRC, Indy 500, and Le Mans. Two-wheeled champs include more recent heroes such as Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi, while guys like Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Tommy Makkinen and Juan-Pablo Montoya, among many others, used Öhlins on their cars.

And through all those wins and championships, Öhlins says that they've never sponsored anyone with free suspension, regardless of if their last name is Stoner or Makkinen, and that every single one of the racers and teams using their products has had to pay for them. I'm of the opinion that this is more folktale than fact, but it's a spot of clever marketing that Öhlins has long employed, and a small part of the reason for their legendary status that is arguably deserved regardless of if the product was comped or not.

In any case, the 'no free stuff' ethos isn't how it works in mountain biking. In fact, it's the polar opposite - companies pay, be it financial support or by supplying product, for racers and teams to use their gear and the exposure that comes from that, not the other way around.

That begs the question that has an obvious answer: are the Specialized Gravity and EWS teams actually paying to use Öhlins suspension? No, of course not. Graves, Bruni, Miller, and the rest being on Öhlins suspension is part of the big-picture OEM deal that sees the exclusive spec of Öhlins forks and shocks on Specialized's production bikes. ''This is an extension of our ongoing partnership to develop innovative suspension together,'' Dan Hugo, Head of Sports Marketing at Specialized, explained when asked how the arrangement works. ''We believe that rider feedback from riders like Bruni, Graves, and Keene will help push forward development. So, too, this racing sponsorship allows interaction with the extensive testing experience that Laurent Delorme and Jack Roure have.''

Torkel Sintorn of Öhlins had this to say when about the partnership, ''We are following our proven racing support philosophy of investing in performance, development and superior support. The partnership with Specialized Gravity team is a perfect example of combining development of products and Racing with the goal of creating superior production products for all riders.''

That arrangement will likely give Öhlins their first major mountain bike win at some point in the near future, either on the World Cup or Enduro World Series circuit, and possibly even another championship title to add to their tally.


2016 Specialized Enduro Launch
Öhlins suspension sees widespread OE spec on Specialized's mountain bikes. Photo Harookz

And what of RockShox and SRAM, longtime sponsors of Specialized's top tier race effort? ''Specialized and SRAM have had a strong partnership for many years, which we are thankful for,'' said Hugo of the lengthy marriage. ''There were numerous reasons for the timing of the switch, but mostly Öhlins are finally in a position to support our race teams with the needed expertise in a way that was not feasible before.'' Even so, there are rumors that the split with one of the highest profile teams in the world was somewhat unexpected on SRAM's part, although I can confirm that the contract between the Specialized race teams and SRAM did expire at the end of 2016, thereby leaving the door open for the Swedes to come in.

With that in mind, it makes perfect sense for Specialized to have their racers on the same suspension brand that's spec'd on the high-end bikes that they're trying to sell; this is not exactly marketing rocket science here, is it?

When it comes to selling your product, differentiating one's self from everything else out there, whether it's bikes, cars, or toothpaste, is a big key to success. Öhlins and their gold anodizing are exactly that - very different to the Fox and RockShox suspension that most of us are familiar with, enough so that it's often thought of as being some sort of exotic damper magic that will immediately provide riders with a surplus of grip and control. This isn't true, of course - Öhlins make some great stuff, but it's all relatively comparable and equivalent to what their competitors are turning out - but this legend comes from forty years of winning in motorsports, under guys like Rossi and Stoner. Marketing gold rather than anodizing, you might say.

Different is good in current times, even when it's not actually better. Ohlins' RXF 34 is a great fork that matches the Pike and Fox's 34 in pure performance, at least from what I can tell, but, as I said above, the simple fact that it's different is just as important. If it sounds like I'm let down, I'm not - coming out of the gate and matching the best from RockShox and Fox is impressive, but just imagine if the RXF had been released years ago, before the Pike and its Charger damper upped the game and Fox then matched it with their FIT4 damper and new chassis the following season. I know that's pure fantasy, of course, but it's also the only way that Öhlins could have jumped ahead performance-wise. High-end suspension is simply too good these days to see those kinds of leaps in performance yet again without the introduction of some sort of currently unexploited technology.

The long-distance relationship between Specialized and Öhlins isn't a one-sided romance, as Öhlins is receiving a massive amount of original equipment spec - this is the single most important thing a component company can do to guarantee their success in the cycling world. And to be doing it on the bikes of one the largest cycling brands in the world, one known for their forward-thinking approach to engineering, is a stroke of pure Swedish genius. Without this OE boost, Öhlins would have likely been left to attack the aftermarket with products that, at least in North America, cost more than what their competition offers. That situation would probably be difficult to grow and be profitable in, regardless of performance and anodized or marketing gold.

''Specialized has an excellent range of bikes and a great race team structure. And, in our opinion, they also have the strongest market presence, the widest distribution and service network and a clear marketing strategy to round out the complete package,'' Sintorn said when asked to explain why the collaboration is key to Öhlins' success in North America. ''However, we have opened a shared aftermarket distribution and service network in partnership with Specialized. In North America, for example, you have Öhlins USA as an aftermarket distribution center with regional dealers and service centers, working in parallel with the Specialized network.''


Ohlins Downhill Fork
While there will certainly be a downhill fork in Öhlins' future, don't hold your breath for an inverted design. Photo Matt Wragg

And what about the highly anticipated inverted downhill fork that broke cover in 2015? ''I’ve ridden all the inverted platforms; they started heavy and were slowly refined. We were after certain numbers to be reached with the inverted fork and just didn’t get there,'' Specialized MTB Product Manager and Öhlins development rider Brad Benedict said when questioned about the fork's future. ''Öhlins won’t be giving up on that goal. We have tested and will continue to test various fork options,'' he went on to say.

Race team sponsorship and marketing aside, the partnership between Specialized and Öhlins has surely been and will continue to be worthwhile for both parties. It's also a win for consumers - there's now another viable option to consider when thinking about which high-performance fork or shock to purchase.

Title photo Specialized / Cameron Baird


201 Comments

  • + 290
 The days where the differences between race parts and OEM parts that can be felt and appreciated by most riders is coming to an end. The evolutionary steps in bicycle technology are becoming smaller and harder to get to -we are plateauing from a performance standpoint. Small, incremental gains will be the new norm. This is where Öhlins will dominate and why so many people familiar with racing get excited when they hear the name.

Squeezing the final 10% of performance out of a product is incredibly complex, costly, and hard to justify from a return on investment standpoint. Diverting engineers from creating a cheap, reliable damper for the OEM to one that burns an absurd amount of money for fractional gains on a racing circuit isn’t at the top of most companies to-do list. Unless you’re Öhlins, of course, because that’s all they do; go racing. They’ve been pushing for that final 10% for a long time and have learned quite a bit. That’s why people are excited to see them finally enter the WC with a proper rider and support.
  • + 13
 top comment
  • - 10
flag schoo7boy (Jan 23, 2017 at 11:43) (Below Threshold)
 @hamncheez: ^ this!
  • + 7
 Great comment, especially this:

"Squeezing the final 10% of performance out of a product is incredibly complex, costly, and hard to justify from a return on investment standpoint. Diverting engineers from creating a cheap, reliable [insert any MTB product] to one that burns an absurd amount of money for fractional gains on a racing circuit isn’t at the top of most companies to-do list."
  • + 16
 Yes! What a great day for our sport. A pike and monarch are good enough for the pros and affordable enough for you and me. Now the only thing holding our speed back is ourselves.
  • + 43
 Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Fox come from the moto world first? And this is no knock against Ohlins, they make the best super bike suspension out there, but I wouldn't congratulate them until they make mtb suspension that is measurably better than Fox, Rockshox, Cane Creek, Push, etc. From all I've read so far, this isn't the case yet.
  • - 1
 @SlodownU: their rear shock is amazing. That's all I know.
  • + 9
 If Ohlins appeared on the market in 2010 then we would have something to masturbate to. Today it's a bit yeah cool but meh. Cane Creek DB was undoubtedly something amazing back then and in fact it comes from Ohlins. I would still love to have TTX in the rear and RXF 36 650B in the front.
  • + 52
 @WAKIdesigns: What else would you like to have in the rear?
  • + 19
 @hamncheez: real capitalists fist.
  • + 2
 @SlodownU: I agree, and Fox was born in MX. We got three bikes with oem Ohlins stuff and it is good but it breaks and a struggle to get repaired. A little rich for my blood. Couple of shocks have been replaced with Fox and it's very good and I can get it repaired if it does break! We're not talkin GSXR's or CRF's here we're talkin human powered machines.
  • + 21
 @MX298: those are alternative facts i believe...
  • + 5
 @SlodownU: I beg to differ... Have you tried any of their products?
IMO, the Ohlins TTX rear shock is by far the best rear shock I have tried.
  • + 3
 Agreed. Not only do I ride the TTX and enjoy supporting local businesses and friends, but the fucking thing tracks like nothing I have ever ridden before. I have tried all combinations of Double Barrels, coil, air, inline, etc. They all worked great, even my Inline, it worked flawlessly. Where I felt the TTX really shine was when I was lucky enough to do a helidrop on Rainbow Mountain in Whistler. We went downhill for a really long time and I couldn't have been happier with the traction.
  • + 79
 I bet you $100 that 99 out of 100 riders wouldn't be able to pass a shock/fork blind test. (Disclaimer: I would put myself in that 99.) One exception would be one run down a trail with a Suntour XC with elastomer dampers and the next run with a Fox 36 with Fit4 damper; other than that, not many people would notice the difference between any of the top-tier products.

When I talk to people, they always describe their ride experiences in very vague, generic terms ("Yea, this fork felt a little better than the other one. On that g-out, the Fox was pretty good, I didn't OTB, so that means its dive control is good.") If you press them, they usually run out of adjectives, because most people (the 99ers!) can't put into words what they're experiencing on a bike. There are about 10 out of that 99 who can recite suspension-related terminology they gleaned from Wikipedia, who may convince others that they know what they're talking about, but, again, pressing further reveals a disconnect between ride dynamics and ride description. There are way too many subjective factors.

Mountain bike publications are guilty of this. If you read Car & Driver magazine, you'll see that they backup their claims with data (just look at the page that has a huge table of specs, measurements, times, etc.). But in the mountain bike world, you have to take a reviewer's word on what he felt; you have to trust that he rode the same bike over the same portions of the trail to duplicate the same dynamics, and he rode with the same power output and attitude, with the only variable being the forks he tested. But we all know this is impossible without a scientific method applied to bicycle product testing.

It's all over the map; we have to trust the reviewer, even though it's subjective data being passed off as objective; how are we to know that the PB review crew didn't smoke fat blunts before testing, or slammed a couple of witilly-named, over-hopped IPAs before a review ride? Since strain gauges, potentiometers, load detectors, radars, etc., aren't being used, I doubt "Big Ring" Billy's gut feel and instinct can pass scientific scrutiny.
  • + 2
 @SlodownU: and it never will be lol
  • + 1
 @rjphillips2005: I haven't tried the TTX, but I have tried the Push Elevensix, and that was mind-blowing. For the money, that is what I'd get because it's proven, and Push's customer service is awesome. If the TTX proved to be reliable down the road, then I'd consider it. Haven't tried the Ohlins fork, but most reviews put it at parity or a little below top tier from the other brands, so I'll pass for now. Don't misunderstand, I think that Ohlins getting into the game is good for all of us, competition is a good thing
  • + 2
 @mooseman414: so are fox, cc, rs, x fusion, dvo and push!!!
  • + 3
 @mhoshal: I agree with you. I don't even run the Öhlins but I have ridden a bike with one for a short bit. My fav is the dvo Jade.
  • + 1
 How many of us actually have to squeeze that extra 10% out or would know the difference? I'm sure all the WC riders are getting the extra 10% of tune from any suspension manufacturer.

I have been loving my STX on my E29 of late but the thing just started losing PSI on every ride. This is after about 10 rides on the new frame. I'm having DB Inline flashbacks. I hope this 1st one is just a bad egg and not the trend I experienced with my Inlines.
  • + 14
 @singletrackslayer: I'm also willing to bet that 90% of people also don't have their shocks and forks set up correctly.
  • + 6
 That's exactly the same thing people said when MX bikes went water-cooled, moved to shock linkage, and the single rear shock. Then perimeter frames, then with the widespread adoption of the 4-stroke motor and the 'death' of the 2-stroke(which btw, is making a slow comeback).
There's suspension technologies that are working quite well in the 4-wheel world, and will someday, make their way to the 2-wheeled universe. Magnetorheological dampers is the biggy.
As it is right now, Ohlins itself runs electronic suspension on some bikes(Ducati), and their Mechatronic shock is poised to be the 'next' big thing in motorcycle suspension. This will, of course, trickle down to bicycle suspension.

The current damper design(pistons and shims etc) still isn't anywhere near 100% efficient, and will become antiquated within the next 10 years, and new designs will take over.
We are not, in fact, at the 'final 10%' of suspension technology, be it car, motorcycle, off-road, or bicycle.
  • + 5
 @SlodownU: I think your head is stuck in the sand a little, they have been around at the high end for a long long time, CC double barrel was ahead lf its time and technology and partnered with Ohilns using Ohlins technology and know how, so far ahead of Fox and anything at that time, 2005/06,only recenlty matched, theyre technology is probably too good for most riders, eg they dont ride fast enough, another area Id expect them to be far superior to Fox and Rockshox is service periods, they will ran as good from day one as 12 months later, Fox has upped it game in recent times but is still if you want it to perform at its best a high maintenance fork, Rockshox better, but a freshly serviced RS or Fox makes a huge difference to a flogged one after a few months! Also be careful what you believe or read, many are paid reviews!

Not being a huge Specilaised fan, though again they have dialled in most of my historical hates about the brand, like proper mtb routing, decent component speccs, except that shitty command post still exisits, Ohlins is a great option for MTB market even if they are performance wise equal to the best, they will def be better after 6 months use and even better after a years use, compared to theyre counter parts, and Id say ride one first go demo and have it setup properly then you can be critical rahter than an e couch engineer!!

Id buy a Specilised Enduro just for that suspesnion, quite frankly, having run Ohlins back on my MXs back in the day, the new Enduro and even Stumpy are both dialed.. And thats allot for me to say about the big S..

Ohlins, you had me at "O"
  • + 2
 Last year I bought a new TTX for my session park that was completely tuned for my bike, my weight and my style of riding. Not only is their shock extremely plush/supple but its also supportive and extremely predictable. I work in a bicycle shop where all I touch is mtn bikes at around the $5000 and way higher range. So i have had the oppertunitys to ride almost every high end bike you can think of with a comparable build/suspension. I will honestly say the Ohlins TTX shock is the best shock I have ever ridden. Since mounting it to my bike besides moving the 3 setting compression dial for different types of trails, I have never had to adjust a single knob on the shock from factory, that's how perfectly tuned it was. Ohlins has definitely got it right. Im extremely excited to see their finished DH fork, just praying it will come in a 26 inch option for my carbon session park lol. BEST SHOCK EVER
  • + 2
 I just liked this comment cause it must have taken hours to type
  • + 2
 @SlodownU: ...and what exactly does coming into moto world first waaaay back when... have to do with anything?
  • + 1
 @Maverickdh00: I used to race 600cc AMA, and have been riding MTB and moto since probably before you were a wet spot in your daddy's pants, so I know a little about suspension tuning, and a little about Ohlins. In the world of moto (street) they were top of the line, however factory tuned Showa was just as good, don't kid your self for one second, just not available to consumers like Ohlins was. They are cutting edge in motor sports, but In the world of mtb, the quality of their rear suspension can be debated, however their forks have a little ways to go. The technology that they're employing is not too different from what Fox and RS are doing. Frankly speaking, I'm a little disappointed that they didn't bring any of their more top shelf technology into the game. I really hope that they give Fox and FS a run for their money, but that is yet to be seen.

And saying that they're "too good" because your not riding fast is a really naive statement. Properly tuned suspension can be felt in both low and high speed situations.
  • + 1
 @Dustfarter: I had the same problem with my STX. It loses PSI after a few rides. They replaced it with a "new design" but shortly i had the same problem losing PSI. After that, they gave me a TTX Coil. Been super happy ever since.
  • + 1
 @Jim-laden: alternative facts are always my favorite... Make Freeride Great Again!
  • + 1
 @singletrackslayer: I happen to like heavily hopped beer, so I don't think there can be an over-hopped IPA. But everything else is bang on!
  • + 6
 @SlodownU: I can tell you of a company that works with Moto GP, MX, WRC (and F1 if someone feels it makes any sense to bring it up) that works with MTB, not for profit but only because they are passionate about what they are doing and because employees ride MTB. They told some World Cup team(s) who were on RS that they will not make a cartridge for the Boxxer because inconsistency in bushing tolerances are making it impossible to tune the damping according to their standards. Then a rumor has it that Öhlins wasn't so eager into getting into MTB for the same reason. MTB is not serious about actual performance. The buying force of high end products cares more about bling factor than actual performance which they cannot appreciate. They will rather have a sub 30lbs DH bike, blinged out with all black color scheme and green details. I talked to suspension tuners who report that MTBers are unwilling to be honest about the way they ride. They want shim stack of Sam Hill. As if it was of any use to them. It is a F.A.C.T that people don't like Öhlins shocks, Push 11-6 latest Fox springs or Mavic wheels because of the fkng color. What is stopping more USD forks popping up? Weight. no way to make a 3.3kg fork for 2500$ without an uproar. Because the old mantra of light, strong, expensive is stuck in our brains like a virus. I am more than astonished how "well" coils are received. People put fkng Floats and Monarchs, 1ply tyres on 160 bikes!!! Whenever I am asked about the weight of my rather nice carbon 160 bike, and answer 14,5kg, people look at me as if I farted in elevator - I can see this thing on their face: thatwould never be on "Bike of the day on VitalMTB" - For fks sake!

The question is: does it mean that people who are passionate about delivering the best product, should say go fk yourselves mountain bikers? I am personally happy each time world's best engineers do stuff for MTB. If Koenigsegg suddenly released their own MTB frame after 5 years of testing 20 different prototypes, would it be significantly better than V10cc or Devinci Wilson Carbon? I doubt that. Would it be cool if they did? Fk yes.
  • + 0
 I agree with your statement wrt suspension and parts - it all seems to be same same at the top. IMO there are still big gains are still to be had with geometry.
  • + 0
 @SlodownU: going to my 11-6....AMAZING!!! Blows the x2 away hands down.
  • + 2
 @SlodownU: I've had the TTX for around 2 years and have had great customer service from them when I had an issue. They didn't send mine in for a repair and make me wait, I was given a whole new shock. Im sure eleven six is awesome like that too. I've heard great things about the DVO rear shocks too, and I know their customer service is top notch too. Guess we are lucky to have options besides Fox and RS. Cheers
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Coming from CCDB (both Coil and Air), into same TTX and STX, I can only say Ohlins nailed it in simplicity. 6 click Rebound, 3 click HSC & 9 click LSC for truly amazing performance.

For the average rider, a CCDB will take a lot of effin around to get it to perform anywhere near the Ohlin shock.
  • + 0
 @iguanabartola: dude running Ohlins service station and distribution in Poland (BFG Suspension) told me that CCDB can be run very close to TTX. He also helped me to set it up. CCDB is a beast indeed.
  • + 2
 @iguanabartola: so because cc has more range to their adjustments it all the sudden takes way longer lmao I don't thinks so man
  • + 1
 @rjphillips2005: have you tried the Push ElevenSix by any chance?
  • + 2
 Has anyone spent a decent amount of time on BOTH the ElevenSix and the Ohlins? It would be great to hear how they compare, as they are both the most refined options for the traditional and twin-tube designs.
  • + 2
 @hamncheez: EXT Storia khe khe...
  • + 1
 @hamncheez: i spoke to a technician at TFTuned in the UK and he said the Push is the best suspension product he has seen in his life, including motorbikes...also told me the Ohlins in comparison is like kid's bike stuff...a review of the Push i read said the shock is transformational...as much change as going from riding a HT to a FS!? Sounds incredible this thing...
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Forgot about that one. They claim its the lightest coil over out there
  • + 1
 @ryanholio: is it really that good? I've just ordered one and i have to say when you compare the price to the Ohlins you do question yourself...!?
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: "He also helped me to set it up. CCDB is a beast indeed"

This what I meant with my last part of my comment. I also had to get help to dial mine and agree, it is a beast. However, trying and trying on my own was a frustrating process and time consuming. CC also created The Lounge to support riders for same reason.

My comment was not to diminish CC, but to highlight how Ohlins made it simple.
  • + 64
 If suspension is already so good, why not focus on making it cheaper and more durable? Even a relatively low end rockshox sektor would set you back £300, which is more than the bikes I and many other people started out on.
  • + 32
 Öhlins are not really a budget brand though?
  • + 14
 @willmur: Exactly, because my first car cost £1000 suspension for a race car should be in proportion to this?
I don't fully understand the comment, there are many budget suspensions out there but not every thing can be budget orientated.
  • + 9
 @Killrockstar: I think the point being that my £350 genesis came with a Rock Shod Recon Gold RL with an RRP of almost £300 direct, and wants a service every year for £95.... Surely this is a bit nuts for what should be a set and forget basic bike... Some more durability and possibly a drop in price at the bottom end would probably help consumers more than refining the near-perfect top end...
  • + 2
 @Ozziefish: I don't disagree that service prices are extortionate but I think that has little to do with the actual suspension manufacturers.
And secondly we are talking about Ohlins, they are not exactly catering for people on a budget or who want fit and forget equipment for there daily commuter...
  • + 0
 With all due respect I see no issues with pricing of MTB components. The equality of opportunity is cool, equality of outcome isn't. Why bother then? You go to study, work your arse off, or risk the only money you have to invest in some sketchy deal to get something out of that. That's life, those who don't put their balls on the table don't get to eat from the table. If you want Rockshox Lyrik performance at the price of Sektor, and think that it would make world a better place then think twice. You just say it because you want the world to bend to your level, instead of A getting your arse to work and B mustering some patience until you gather enough capital.

Shimano Di2 is a fkng stupid product. So is half of carbon parts. If you want that bit more of questionable luxury, then pay mother fkr. Do you need Ohlins? Want to find out if you can utilize it? Pay baby! I dare you, I fricking dare you. For now, we are rather far away from post scarcity economy, so let's stick to getting some rough skin. I don't cry because I cannot afford a house and a nice car. I pity the fkr who does.
  • + 5
 For sure, I agree with you both, and I also own snazzier bikes with nicer suspension... The frustration about 'low end' components (remember they still cost 3x as much as a normal commuter full bike) is that they could be a hell of a lot better. Where is XT-level suspension? Really good (and reliable!) performance at a fraction of the top end price? I am sure that I'm asking too much, especially since set and forget, cheap, bombproof products kill sales... But the frustration remains.
  • + 6
 @Ozziefish: Where is XT-level suspension?

How about x-fusion?
  • + 2
 @Ozziefish: Sadly, what you are lamenting is a byproduct of the general structure of Capitalism, which is going nowhere anytime soon. Whether it is the best system it is what we have. Even if we got a point where you could get a reasonable build quality, reasonable performance, and reasonable price, we then would bitch because we would percieve that product as inferior or low-quality due to how many of us have been conditioned. The reality is that many brands have provided, in recent years, affordable decent quality suspension products, while others have continued to push on the other end of the spectrum. If I want to spend less, I don't expect 2017 levels of performance. I pay half of current costs, and enjoy what was the pinnacle of development three or so years ago, and is now entry level. Patience, grasshopper...
  • + 1
 Apparently(I have no evidence, as it was riding buddy's opinion, so it must be true) Specialized's own brand suspension 2008 or 9ish prototypes were good but because manufacturing tolerances must be very small for suspension. there production models performed like proflex. Cheap,High Performance, Durable . Pick 2!!
  • + 2
 serilously are you guys still coming from 1995, Ohlins is and always was a high end suspension company its not a mass production Lego brand....
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Carbon parts and Ti bolts do make a difference. But only if you go all in. Replacing one brake lever bolt wont do F all. Except lighten your wallet by $7 and bike by 3 grams. Weight does matter you just need to decide if that amount of performance gain is a lot to you. Dh bikes are getting lighter. Prob because of better acceleration in false flat and pedally sections .
If heavier than 15.8 kg was faster,DH pros would add weight to there bikes. Di2 for 1x systems seems silly to me as the auto front D trimming (where the part performance gain is) is non existent.( Other is no contaminated cables for drop in performance )

I wonder how much revenue is generated by XTR and XX1 Eagle vs R+d + advertising + sponsorship and manufacture cost, or if those cost are shared by their OEM business as overall brand recognition , trickle down effect etc . XTR and eagle would be sod all of overall sales ata guess 1%. Anyone know more about this??
  • + 2
 @Ozziefish: XT-level Suspension was Marzocchi Open Bath era, Very reliable but maybe not XT cheap.
  • + 2
 @Demoguy: apart from the fact that old Marzocchi had no low speed compression
  • + 24
 What price point will the Öhlins DH fork come in at?

I'll go first and say $1800
  • + 50
 no thats too close to the fox 40 probably closer to 2100
  • + 9
 @jmartinbiking: I did mean to put it in GBP, but I think you are right!
  • + 10
 Probably 3490$
  • + 64
 I reckon they will be Öh so expensive.
  • + 9
 You use the n x 10 formula, with n being the price you currently think it will cost, substitute it in to the formula to find your new n and repeat
  • + 3
 How much is the DVO going for nowadays? Cause it will prob be more than that
  • + 15
 Like a trazillion Dollars canadian
  • + 0
 Ohllins Pricing runs around the Fox Equivalent times 1.2. This is a downhill fork, though so anything can happen. Expect something that's around $1750-$2000.
  • + 1
 @hamncheez: The Emerald is $1895 USD
  • + 2
 A cheaper more entry level model for about 1k, maybe a little less, and an all out insane fork for 2k+
  • + 3
 @Husker2112: Thinking outside the box, I like it! We will have to see if this comes true!
  • + 1
 700$
  • + 5
 I'll play along...I'm going to guess $1.
  • + 2
 But they look dank
  • + 2
 One million dollars....
  • + 1
 @hamncheez: They're around $1200. Would never replace my dvo for a telescopic fork, I don't care who makes it.
  • + 7
 @FindDigRideRepeat: The DVO is a telescopic fork; its an inverted one, but still telescopic.
  • + 1
 @siderealwall2: yeah but they are they not using an x fusion chassis? so would there not be a cheaper production cost leading to a lower rrp
  • + 4
 @Muckal: Maybe, but that's only if they manage to get it released before Trump initiates the biblical apocalypse...(would put a winky emoji in there, but I am old and don't know how the f*ck to do that...)
  • + 1
 @Muckal: hahaha....... not funny.
  • + 2
 @Ozziefish: hey dad, can I have a small loan?
  • + 3
 @piersgritten: yeah sure, I'm feeling kind. Have £80, that's enough for a bicycle.
You're welcome.
  • + 18
 The motocross rider in the picture is Hakan "Carla" Carlqiust. World champion 1979 in 250cc and 1980 in 500cc.
  • + 2
 I though that looked like him. He was a YZ staple for years.
  • + 1
 Neat
  • + 1
 Yep, and he was Husky’s and Yamaha’s man. Then his own in the famous year of the beer (the café on the Citadel circuit at Namur in Belgium) never Öhlin’s
  • + 1
 @Bergsmannen: Never gets old ;-)
  • + 18
 Maybe this also means the Specialized Brain will get a lobotomy.
  • + 10
 Too much hype around ohlins. Suspension isn't black magic. Ok, ok.. ohlins have a lot experience, made in sweden, a lot factory testing and more... but their products out-perform fox, dvo, etc?? Their reviews isnt as good as expected. Fork bushing play, not user-friendly, low range of adjustment... ohlins is a top suspension brand but i see a lot of people thinking "buy ohlins=win world cups"
  • + 4
 Marquez, Lorenzo, and Rossi use Ohlins, so yeah, buy ohlins --> win races.

You shouldn't expect Ohlins to set the bar right after their first try, you have to give them time to perfect their products. I do believe they can make an equal or better shock / fork than the top brands, its a matter of time and commitment.

They are coming into a new market with well established players...you wouldn't expect Rockshox to make a home run on their first attempt at a MotoGP fork, would you?
  • + 1
 @SK250: Yeah thats true... Road bikes and car suspension is a diferent story. I miss that point. In some motorsports advanced fluid tech can make a huge difference. I was talking about offroad 2 wheeled suspension.
  • + 1
 And I'm sure the budget for MotoGP is team is insane too. And Showa made a home run on their first try at DH...
  • + 9
 "that every single one of the racers and teams using their products has had to pay for them. I'm of the opinion that this is more folktale than fact"

Glad to know I'm not the only one thinking that
  • + 3
 Sure only Öhlins and all the teams know for sure, but I think it could very well be mostly true. Might've been discounts or such but still payed for in some way.

It's the same with Vitargo, the swedish sports drink (etc.) company. They get orders from all kinds of teams/coaches/athletes, with for example olympic teams or their nutrition experts buying from them. At times regardless of the athletes/teams actual energy sponsorship deals with another brand.
  • + 4
 Notice they didn't say they paid full retail.
  • + 0
 This is how it works. Company A writes a check to company B for SPONSORSHIP, company B then writes a check to company A for PRODUCT.
  • + 11
 What will the XC team be running?
  • + 7
 They will probably stay with rockshock / sram
  • + 25
 Full rigid bikes
  • + 67
 Girvin flexstems.
  • + 11
 I reckon a rubber band strapped to a leafspring PVC design, maybe with a condom for external rebound adjustment
  • + 9
 Nothing offered so they'll literally be running, not riding.
  • + 3
 @bigtim: thank you, you made my day
  • + 4
 @bigtim: and thudbuster seatpoast
  • + 2
 @bigtim: haha, the youngins on here aren't old enough to know what that was.....and it was the worst product ever made for bikes.
  • + 8
 Great article. Nice to see it from the inside of the industry and see what the Öhlized (tm) are trying to achieve.

That's right Öhlized. I wrote it. That happened.
  • + 10
 Specialins.
  • + 7
 In theory, more quality choices for suspension should mean competition will accelerate innovation and/or cost cutting among the major suspension manufacturers. Let's hope that comes to pass -- especially cost reductions
  • + 3
 Not likely. Look at spesh. They try to keep their prices as stable as possible with shops being not allowed to offer discounts (at least around here that´s the case).
Öhlins also allready stated they will make sure the price of the forks will keep relatively stable, so they most likely will prohibit shops from offering any meaningful discounts.

The only thing we can hope for imho is that Öhlins somehow make a huge leap in regards to reliability and service intervals which may force RS and Fox to follow.
  • + 5
 Is the author implying that Kashima is a marketing gimmick?

" but this legend comes from forty years of winning in motorsports, under guys like Rossi and Stoner. Marketing gold rather than anodizing, you might say."
  • + 4
 looking at specialized's history, they will probably 'learn' from ohlins and copy there tech to specialized's propatairy shocks/forks. and then drop ohlins offcourse. when it comes to the big S, i'm always assuming the worst. funny thing, isnt it... hmmm, im sounding like a spech-troll..
  • + 2
 even if they do the partnership will have already been more beneficial to Ohlins...
  • + 4
 @Killrockstar: Yeah that's the key to this deal...it doesn't really matter what Specialized intends to do with Ohlins in the long run, getting their suspension on one of the biggest brands in the industry outweighs just about any possible negative. This deal means instant street-cred for Ohlins and will take them from outlier status to top three in a couple seasons.
  • + 4
 No mention of the fact that the fork chassis that Bruni is using is remarkably similar to the X-Fusion RV1 chassis without the carbon guards. If I'm right then it will be an incredible fork as the RV1 is a splendid unit. Awesome article by the way.
  • + 3
 Hard to beat Fox 40's. RV1 is a pound and a half heavier too!
  • + 1
 @MX298: I completely agree, Although the RV1 is still Coil sprung. If an air RV1 arrived then the weight would be competitive I'm sure.
  • + 4
 Sure ohlins has tons of marketing dollars but what is exciting to me is the nitro shock and damper on the millyard dh bike a few years back. Could be a break through thing, I guess we won't know because pinkbike didn't review it like they said :frown:
  • + 3
 I have ridden trials , motocross and Enduro moto events competitively for 30 years at national expert level and in all my years involved in off road racing there has never been a better suspension product than ohlins.......period. To have them enter the mtb world is a great thing , while I love my pike fork and RC3 shock I would say that what ohlins will produce will be far superior, fox and rockshox and others better start worrying.... Just giving my opinion , if anyone doesn't like , tuff , grow up.... And yes rider in the pic is Swede Hakan Carlqvist 250cc and 500cc world champ back in the day , one of the toughest riders in motocross ever.
  • + 3
 Nobody runs Ohlins MX stuff here, just revalve or A-kit stuff. We have been on their mtb stuff (oem) for a couple of years and have a couple of catastrophic shock failures. Sure their stuff is good but for what you spend it should be better and it's not! Oh and try getting it fixed in a timely manner. . . . Good luck!
  • + 3
 Man, tough crowd- "I want top-of-the-line performance, like the pros... but it can't be expensive... I want durability... but low weight... and it has to be easily serviceable".

Ohlins does one thing, and does it better than anyone else, but you are gonna pay. That's how it works. They are just dipping their toes in the MTB world, and they are already close, so I for one am interested to see the progress moving forward. Until then I will keep beating on my Avalanche with no maintenance or loss of performance.
  • + 2
 I'm all really excited about potentially riding Ohlins suspensions, because I've always considered it to be the ultimate suspension brand, and I could be ready to spend the extra $$$ on it, but for now on I'm kind of held back by the weight of the forks... I mean, all the review say they do not really perform better than a pike, so wouldn't the Enduro (for example) be even more enjoyable with a lighter fork?

I'm not trying to be negative, I can't wait for the Downhill fork, but I'm just not ready to spend more money on a fork that is heavier, but does not perform better, to put on a bike where weight actually matters. I hope the second gen will be lighter! Smile
  • + 3
 The umlaut, even if legit in this case, makes them seem "metal", and to a lot of Yanks, gives them a a bit of automatic cachet. Do it up in gold just ups the ante.
  • + 3
 I recently rode with someone who had an Ohlins rear shock on his Enduro. He was struggling to get it set up and said it had a very narrow range of rebound adjustment.
  • + 1
 Its the settings that worry me being a heavier guy rebounds a big issue with the heavier spring I have my pike forks converted to coil by tf tuned best decision ever made to date. I never run the monarch in anything but wide open and never get pedal bob climb a lot but always seated smooth cadence will the coil be night an day against monarch for pedal induced bob.
  • + 1
 I think Specialiezed realized a yew years ago the the FSR pattent was going to expire, and they needed something to make them look different and exclusive, so they talked with Ohlins and decided to go that route... Keep the FSR, but refresh it with a very cool shock.
  • + 3
 I am far from being "enamored with the idea of having a connection to motorsports". Where I live the moto guys like ripping up national parks and hand built MTB trails.
  • + 1
 "...being on Öhlins suspension is part of the big-picture OEM deal that sees the exclusive spec of Öhlins forks and shocks on Specialized's production bikes."

Just re-read this quote, and it implies that all Specialized suspension bikes will be equipped with Ohlins. Can't be. Unless Spec is massively cutting out lower-tier offerings there is no way they can make that work. Also, I suppose that would make Specialized fat bike range (which I assume they have) go rigid fork only? There are more than a few parts of this that leave more questions than answers...
  • + 1
 Many of Specialized FS bikes have custom / alternate OEM shock tunes to maximize the performance of the frame design and shock on their offerings (not sure about forks). Through partnering with Ohlins, they are able to leverage their in-house tuning / testing capabilities so they don't have to rely on Fox or RS to provide something special or explore different frame/shock design combinations and technologies. In addition to making a long-term commitment (surprised they did after Cane Creek disaster) they probably have shared patents and vested interest in being quasi vertically integrated w/ohlins as they begin to expand in the mtb market. I'm sure Ohlins is sacrificing profits for access to a top end, widely known company. What interests me, is how this business structure plays out as direct sales begin to dominant and like someone else stated...the huge revolutionary changes are gone and we are refining the fork and shock technology. Why not build a frame and let market forces provide the highest quality shock at the lowest price?
  • + 1
 Advice has anyone got experience with ohlins ttx coil shock on a trail bike currently I ride 2015 spesh enduro 650b just had second rear shock in 18 months to tftuned {rockshox monarch rc3} and am waiting for warranty replacement but they say march. So am thinking going for the ohlins coil ttx as it fits the yolk and is straight replacement.Just after some feedback about the shock please was contemplating doing it before monarch died.
  • + 3
 Depends on your riding style I would say. I have a 2014 Enduro and am looking to get the ttx coil. If you aren't concerned with pedaling performance the coil shock is the way to go. Feels smoother, more mid support for pushing into berms and such. But you sacrifice pedaling performance for sure.
  • + 2
 If you're just looking for other options,I've been happy with the float X2 on my Enduro. Better than other air shocks. Compliments the all-round versatility of the bike.
  • + 2
 Push 11-6 is another choice if you are considering coil. Theirs also fits the yoke and is virtually maintenance free.
  • + 2
 Adding onto @Rdot84 's point..the pedaling efficiency is noticeable as well as the weight, it does add a bit of weight to the bike. However, since putting this coil on my '16 Enduro 650b, I can sat the confidence it inspires is unparalleled. I have a buddy who was running the X2 and we should constantly talk about the difference in grip and how the air shock could not compete when it came to the rough stuff and off-camber roots on turns and such. He has since traded his X2 for the TTX. If you can handle the break-in period of getting used to the extra weight and pedal bob, it will be worth your while. If you tend to do more climbing than descending I would not recommend it.
  • + 1
 @asboites: Thanks for all replies.
  • + 2
 I've ran Ohlins ttx coil for close to 3 years on my Enduro. Hands down the best rear shock for outright traction, feels like the rear of the bike pushes down into the ground. Super easy to adjust and just works. Yes it's heavier than the air shocks available, but if you like the more gravity side of things it's worth it.
  • + 1
 @asboites: cheers for that I do lots of big climbs but equally lots of big downs air shocks are not holding up to my riding and weight 96kg every bike I have owned has at some point had rear shock replaced and once forks so just looking for something that can take the punishment.Did you find spring rates to be close did you go for heavier spring as I am 96kg so 100kg spring 525 lb or 502lb spring for 93kg rider am bamboozled on that issue.
  • + 1
 @powergavin: I've found you need to go up in spring rates quite a bit. I'm 85ish kg and run a 525 spring (super alloy racing one with a spacer) that's shorter than the normal yellow spring. As you go up in the spring rates the standard ohlins ones get so hard to fit on the shock body you need an MX style spring clamp compression tool.
  • + 1
 @specialized-evo: Cheers for that spoke to tf tuned today they say valt spring works well and is matt black also said I may have rebound issues using big spring.
  • + 1
 @specialized-evo: Bought one have it cheers for advice.
  • + 3
 Ugh. When does racing start again so we can stop with these dissecting sh@t posts. Sheesh
  • + 0
 Ohlins in the game = game changer. If you've ever switched from something to an Ohlins product, you know what I'm talking about. I switch from the Marzocchi fork on my MV Agusta Brutale to an Ohlins fork and it was a HUUUUUGE difference. Same goes for the shock.

This right here is where the mountain bike suspension industry starts evolving even farther past where it currently is because the other suspension companies should be getting nervous resting on their laurels.
  • + 2
 Except they're not resting on their laurels. There's some pretty healthy competition and one-upmanship between Fox, RS, etc. before Ohlins entered the picture. If you think suspension hasn't been getting better and better every year, you haven't been paying attention. Ohlins entering will only help what already exists.
  • + 0
 Your comparing apples and oranges!
  • + 1
 @SlodownU: It's been advancing quite a bit...but if you look closer it's been relying a lot on frame linkage design, arguably they go hand in hand. The changes in valving and and operation from one year to the next hasn't really had too many break throughs. The aftermarket has made more strides than the manufacturers have... Ohlins are by far my favorite suspension company....I'm just interested to see how it pushes things.

@MX298 : How is it comparing apples to oranges?
  • + 0
 @rupintart: super bikes are not mountain bikes. Would love to talk about MX suspension but there again it's apples and oranges and Ohlins is not the best in neither of those cases. How much Ohlins mtb stuff do you have experience with?
  • + 1
 @MX298: I don't have any...I don't think anybody does...but in sportbikes...that's a different story.

I would argue that Ohilins is the best....in MotoGP, that's what almost every single MotoGP winning team uses for suspension. MotGP is the top of the foodchain when it comes to 2-wheels. And if the winningest suspension is Ohlins...I would consider that the best.
  • + 2
 So where does Brayton fit into all of this? Seems odd to have another random rider on Ohlins given this relationship with Specialized.
  • + 1
 Buy a pike upgrade with a FAST cartridge and you can have your 10%, not sure how much the Ohlins fork is going to be but this option is pike + $400
  • + 2
 Definitely not a fan of the overpriced specialized stuff. I sure do dig the overpriced ohlins suspension stuff though!
  • + 1
 what is there to dissect - they're multi-discipline, multi-national and multi-world champions. any team would be lucky to have them.
  • + 3
 Casey stoner sounds like such a lad
  • + 3
 Yahhh but he's a whiner.
  • + 3
 miss watching him race on the Ducs. It usually came out Rossi in the end but damn those were some good races
  • + 2
 Ohlins making specialised suspension for Specialized bikes is kind of special.
  • + 3
 So the short version of this is 'Ohlins offered us more money than SRAM' ?
  • + 12
 Actually I think Specialized looks to present the appearance of being "one step above" by having suspension no other OE offers. When Fox was the "magic" suspension, they partnered with Fox...when that went down the tubes there was really no other option than RS since RS happened to have the "magic" forks at the time, so they partnered with SRAM. Now EVERYONE has RS so Specialized needs something new to differentiate them. Here it is.
  • + 1
 Yup. Looking at the horrible shite specialized put on the low end models in the very recent past you can 100% say its totally just about the money.
  • + 3
 But are they developing e-bike specific forks...
  • + 17
 Yup, the Ëhlins fërk.
  • + 3
 The motocross rider is the great Hakan Carlqvist from 1983.
  • + 1
 Epic rider!
  • + 2
 Öh so worth it once you feel the endless traction!
  • + 1
 I agree, went from a pike to an rxf 36 fork and the additional grip is really impressive, as is the forks stiffness. STX22 is equally impressive grip/traction wise.
  • + 2
 This article is shocking.
  • + 2
 my ohlins is light years ahead of any other shock ive ridden
  • + 1
 I'm not going to give two f's about what Special Specialized does. Sorry fanboys.... Aren't u so special...
  • + 1
 Patnah up w/one of the douchiest bike brands in the industry. Yeah that seems like a great idear. :/
  • + 0
 The Ohlins STX22 that came on my Enduro is a POS You can't open it to add volume spacers you need to send it in to do that.Great design.
  • + 10
 Remove the valve core and add fluid to the air can. This allows you to decrease air volume at smaller increments without having to open the shock. It states that in the manual.
  • + 1
 Mine had to be rebuilt twice. But it’s not a POS.
  • + 1
 Get the coil bro!
  • + 2
 omfg, anything ohlins i will buy. Just make and and sell it!
  • + 1
 Just for gravity bikes or do they have offerings in the trail and xc range?
  • + 1
 Just answered my own question. Specialized website specs Ohlins on the Stumpy but not the Epic
  • + 1
 Did Specialized move to Ohlin's or did the big S show us that everyone has a Price?
  • + 0
 The ironic part is Jared Graves on his instagram saying that he will run Reverbs on his bikes.
  • + 8
 I personally think Reverbs will make for a terrible Enduro fork.
  • + 1
 ah ok, let´s drop SRAM partnership... Let´s use Command Pos... OH WAIT!
  • + 2
 cool looking suspension
  • + 1
 looks good and works amazing!
  • + 1
 They see the Ohlins...they hatin (I'll see myself out)
  • + 1
 So many words...
  • + 1
 Because Umlaats.
  • - 1
 No inverted DH fork??? Whaaaaaaat???
  • - 2
 How much of Ohlins does Specialized now own? This isn't a coincidence...
  • + 14
 OHLINS is not owned by specialized. They can't afford it. "Kenth Öhlin founded the company in 1976. In 1986, Yamaha Motor Company became co-owner of Öhlins Racing AB. Öhlins continued to operate as an independent company within the Yamaha group. In 2007, Kenth Öhlin reclaimed a 95% share of the company" - wiki

Their motorsports division is what makes them money now.
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