For the 2014 model year, FOX has made two impressive changes to their suspension lineup, including the revised TALAS fork and the new FLOAT X rear shock. The TALAS is an acronym for Travel Adjustable Linear Air Spring system, and although the TALAS has gone through many changes throughout its lifetime, this latest revision is fairly substantial and sweeping compared to its predecessors. The complete TALAS redesign gives better ride performance and alterable travel settings, and it utilizes an updated air spring and a new travel adjustment system and fewer seals.
Read the 2014 FOX TALAS follow up review here.
The CTD has the three on the fly adjustments (Climb, Trail, Descend), and in addition, there are three fine tuning settings for the Trail mode (soft, medium, firm). For 2014, they increased the compression damping on all CTD models, and the Descend mode has more support and better control and keeps the fork up higher in its travel, while the Trail mode has an all-around tune and the Climb mode gets a firm tune. The 32 and 34 FOX chassis retains the CTD damper, while the 36 versions get the RC2.
The updated air spring uses a similar design to the 2014 FLOAT, with fewer seals (from three to one) for smoother and lower friction movement. The left graph shows how much easier it is to initiate or activate the travel due to lower breakaway friction, while the lower dynamic friction makes the first 2/3 of travel closely mimic a coil spring, before ramping up at the end for bottom out support. The right graph shows how similar the long and short travel are, and that the short mode is just as rideable in a wide variety of conditions.
Taking inspiration from the 2003 TALAS rear shock, they have decoupled the travel adjustment from the air spring, and now use an inline hydraulic adjust system that is cartridge based for easier serviceability. The two-position travel adjuster uses two check balls to regulate the oil flow, and the oil doesn’t cycle except during travel changes.
The difference in travel (between long and short) can be altered by adding 5mm plastic clip-on spacers, and it’s easily done by un-threading the top cap and popping them on the cartridge shaft. For example, you could change the default long/short travel settings of 140mm/110mm to a 140/115 or 140/120, opening up a slew of tunability for the TALAS. In addition, the total travel is customizable by adding 10mm shuttle bumpers at the bottom of the air spring assembly, to a maximum of 30mm for the 32 and 34 chassis, and 40mm for the 36.
The TALAS lever has been upgraded, and is easier to use on the trail, with a shorter 55-degree throw.