The DVO Emerald Inverted DH Fork – Sexy, Green & Upside Down At Sea Otter

Enduro Forks

DVO Emerald Inverted Downhill Fork

One of the main things I wanted to see at the Sea Otter Classic this year was DVO Suspension’s new Emerald Inverted downhill fork. I’ve been seeing photos of it on Facebook for a while but Sea Otter was my first chance to see it in person. I can now report that the DVO Emerald is just as sexy in the flesh (so to speak) as it is on Facebook. It definitely looks like a polished, finished product and I dig the green anno finish on the uppers – a color DVO chose because it stands out so well from other mountain bike suspension products.

If you haven’t heard of DVO yet or you don’t know where they come from, they’re a new suspension company started by the former management and key ex-employees from Marzocchi USA. The Emerald is their first project, although they’re also working on a rear shock called the Jade.

DVO Jade - Prototype Rear Coil Shock

The DVO Emerald Inverted fork has an open-bath air spring design with 36mm stanchions and 42mm tapered upper tubes (these would be the “lowers” in a non-inverted fork). It uses “off-the-top” negative air spring preload to fine-tune the initial part of the stroke for improved traction. The right fork leg has an adjuster for high and low speed compression on the bottom, and a rebound adjustment dial on the top. There’s an air cap on the top of the left fork leg, where the air spring is located. The Emerald has forged crowns and the lower crown is hollow to save weight. The wheel is mounted to forged magnesium dropouts with a 20mm axle. DVO also made the fork easy to service with an easy access cartridge that can be removed without messing with the fork oil. They weren’t specific about the weight of the Emerald, but they said it weighs “about” 3100 grams. That’s a bit more than claimed weights for the top-of-the line RockShox, Fox, Marzocchi and Manitou DH forks. But if the Emerald works better, maybe the weight doesn’t matter so much.

DVO Emerald Fork - 42mm Uppers & 36mm Stanchions

Why an inverted fork? The whole point of suspension is to isolate mass from trail inputs, smoothing the ride and providing better traction and control. The more mass you can suspend, the better the ride will be. Turning the fork upside down suspends more weight, giving you even better control – in theory, anyway. The tradeoff is – or at least is supposed to be – less stiffness. However, Bryson Martin, the man in charge at DVO, told me he thinks a bit of fork flex can be a good thing. Since high-end carbon fiber rims and frames are so much stiffer now, he believes a little more flex in the fork is a benefit. There is precedent for that idea, too. Back in the early nineties, motorcycle roadracing technology improved very quickly resulting in super sticky tires and stiff chassis. That combination produced horrific highside crashes when the tires broke traction. The solution was to re-introduce some flex into the motorcycle chassis to give the tires a bit of breathing room. Similarly, Bryson says the flex in the Emerald adds a little give that makes it a more compliant over big, square-edged hits and that should mean a smoother, more controlled ride.

One interesting innovation DVO has made with the Emerald is a combination stanchion protector / arch that adds torsional stiffness to keep the fork from twisting. They call it the Carbon Torsion Arch (CTA) and it feels very light and stiff in the hand. How much it improves the ride is impossible for me to say since I didn’t actually get to try the fork. It is a one-of-a kind feature though and could give the Emerald a real edge over the Manitou Dorado, the one other upside down fork currently on the market.

DVO Emerald Carbon Torsion Arch

I’m not sure when we’ll get a chance to try out the Emerald, although I am planning a trip to Southern California where DVO is located. So maybe I’ll get to check it out soon. I don’t think very many people besides DVO insiders have ridden it yet. Cedric Gracia is on the DVO team and picked up his fork at Sea Otter. He rode his 29er trail bike in the Sea Otter DH so he didn’t race the Emerald fork but he did go out for some photos and video with it. You can see that DVO-produced promo video below.

The DVO Emerald Inverted fork is scheduled to be available late this summer. DVO hasn’t set a price yet but they say it will be in line with the Fox 40 and other high-end downhill forks. For more information on the Emerald Inverted and other DVO Suspension products, please visit their Web site:

DVO Suspension Web Site >>

The DVO Suspension Team At The 2013 Sea Otter Classic

The DVO Emerald Inverted DH Fork – Sexy, Green & Upside Down At Sea Otter Gallery
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DVO Emerald Inverted Downhill Fork
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DVO Emerald Inverted Downhill Fork

DVO's new Emerald Inverted DH fork, in front of the DVO 2013 Sea Otter Classic booth. I believe the bike is Cedric Gracia's carbon V10.
DVO Emerald Fork - 42mm Uppers & 36mm Stanchions
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DVO Emerald Fork - 42mm Uppers & 36mm Stanchions

The DVO Emerald Inverted - Prettiest Fork On The Planet
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The DVO Emerald Inverted - Prettiest Fork On The Planet

DVO Emerald Inverter Fork With Carbon Torsion Arch (CTA)
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DVO Emerald Inverter Fork With Carbon Torsion Arch (CTA)

DVO Emerald Carbon Torsion Arch
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DVO Emerald Carbon Torsion Arch

The Carbon Torsion Arch (CTA) on the DVO Emerald fork is a combination stanchion protector / arch, that adds torsional stiffness to the fork.
Carbon Torsion Arch Closeup - DVO Emerald Fork
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Carbon Torsion Arch Closeup - DVO Emerald Fork

DVO Emerald Dropouts & 20mm Axle
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DVO Emerald Dropouts & 20mm Axle

DVO Emerald Fork - Rebound Adjust Dial
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DVO Emerald Fork - Rebound Adjust Dial

DVO Emerald Fork - Air Cap
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DVO Emerald Fork - Air Cap

DVO Emerald Fork Compression & Rebound Dampers
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DVO Emerald Fork Compression & Rebound Dampers

Internal dampers from the DVO Emerald Inverted fork. The long one is the rebound damper and the small one is what they call the Bottom Loader High & Low Speed Compression Unit.
DVO Emerald Fork - Bottom Loader High & Low Speed Compression Unit
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DVO Emerald Fork - Bottom Loader High & Low Speed Compression Unit

DVO Emerald Fork - Rebound Cartridge
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DVO Emerald Fork - Rebound Cartridge

DVO Emerald Fork - Carbon Torsion Arch (CTA) - Rear View
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DVO Emerald Fork - Carbon Torsion Arch (CTA) - Rear View

DVO Emerald Fork - Stanchions With Carbon Torsion Arch (CTA)
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DVO Emerald Fork - Stanchions With Carbon Torsion Arch (CTA)

DVO Emerald Fork With Carbon Torsion Arch (CTA)
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DVO Emerald Fork With Carbon Torsion Arch (CTA)

DVO Jade - Prototype Rear Coil Shock
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DVO Jade - Prototype Rear Coil Shock

The DVO Suspension Team At The 2013 Sea Otter Classic
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The DVO Suspension Team At The 2013 Sea Otter Classic

About the author: John Shafer

John Shafer, a.k.a. Photo-John, is a photographer, cyclist, skier and general outdoor lover. He’s happiest when he’s on his bike or skis, taking pictures in the backcountry. He’s been on the Mtbr team since 1999 running PhotographyREVIEW.com as well as contributing photos and articles on Mtbr. John has been taking pictures since college and believes everyone can be a good photographer if they just learn a few simple rules. He loves big mountains, rocky singletrack, powder days, 6-inch trail bikes, coffee and tacos. Look for him pushing his bike uphill, carrying an inappropriate amount of camera gear in an overloaded backpack.


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  • xcbiker says:

    what’s going to happen when they run out of precious stones to name their products with?
    -dvo, that fork looks absolutely sick

    • John Shafer says:

      They can move on to semi-precious stones, I guess. Maybe they’ll make a mid-range “Garnet” fork :-)

  • Eric says:

    I anticipate trying it out, but my gripe so far is how they expect me to take the front wheel off. I never liked having to take an allen wrench to the old Marz forks to get the wheel off and really hoped that any company would steer away from that method. I don’t think there is anything wrong with how Fox and RS does it.

    It looks like it all bolts on to the stanchions, which is kind cool considering the risk of damaging the stanchions with inverted forks.

    There’s also that mark on the “ATC”

  • tb says:

    Any idea if a Fatbike front wheel will fit in this?

  • Tom Van Dyke says:

    The funny thing is this: In the motorcycle world, inverted forks are considered to be substantially stiffer due to the fact that the upper is the larger diameter tube. This has been true for years. Ride an offorad motorcyle with an inverted fork than jump on something with standard fork and you will immediately feel the difference. The inverted fork is much stiffer. How can this be the opposite on a mountain bike?

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