If you haven't seen the race from last weekend, be warned this article contains spoilers.
Photographer Ross Bell spotted an unusual device on Myriam Nicole's winning bike after the Lenzerheide DH World Cup last weekend.
There's a box zip-tied to the downtube, connected with a cable to the head valve on the shock. The box has the words Fox Live Valve written on it. Also, there's a remote by the grip which looks like a Shimano EP8
ebike remote, connected with a short wire to something else on the handlebar - presumably a wireless transmitter to communicate with the box. To the foil hat wearers, we're obviously not suggesting this is an ebike-style cheat device, but the fact that Fox has repurposed an existing Shimano remote suggests this is nowhere near production. Sorry, no review tomorrow.
The commercially available version of Fox Live Valve
is essentially an automatic lockout which toggles the fork and shock between open and fully locked-out depending on whether bumps are detected by accelerometers. But while we've seen remote lockouts used at World Cups before, any kind of lockout doesn't sound particularly useful at Lenzerheide; also, this system isn't automatic (at least not fully automatic) given the remote on the handlebar.
But look closer and you might spot the cable connecting the box to the shock attaches to the part of the shock that controls the low-speed rebound
valving, opposite the red adjuster knob. So perhaps this device is to slow down the shock's rebound for the kicky jumps near the bottom of the track so Nicole doesn't need to compromise the suspension sensitivity on the fast and rough sections. Or perhaps it's to compensate for the inevitable build-up of rebound ferocity in an air shock as the air and oil heat up during a run.
It could be both, or possibly neither - I only have these photos to go on for now as Ross wasn't able to get any more information on the ground. Let us know what you think it could be in the comments.