Fox Talas 140 RLC 15mm QR TA Review

Pro Reviews

2009 Fox Talas 140 RLC 15mm QR TA Review

Post by Robb Sutton (198)
Mountain Biking by 198
http://www.mtbtrailreview.com/

Earlier this year, Fox and Shimano shocked the industry with the introduction of the 15mm QR TA on the Fox Talas 140 RLC. Much of the debate and most of the articles have been written about this controversial subject which begs the question.

Does the industry need another standard?

The answer to this question will be sorted out over time, but for the purpose of this article…we need to see how the fork performs.

The Controls

Talas Travel Adjust/Air Pressure Adjust

One of the better features of the Fox is the Talas travel adjust. This three step travel feature is perfect for trail riding. For the 140 RLC, you can switch from 100/120/140mm with a turn of the non-drive side knob. Turn the knob clockwise and push down to decrease and a counter-clockwise click brings the fork back up automatically. It doesn’t get much easier than this for travel adjustment. Rock Shox has the 2 Step and U-Turn travel adjustments, but…in my opinion…the U-Turn is too many options and the 2 Step is not enough. The “3 Step” Talas option seems to be the best of both worlds.

To adjust the air pressure, unscrew the center cap and attach a shock pump. The redesigned Talas feature is easier to use, but that comes at the expense of the air chamber valve. It can be difficult to remove the cap and some pumps may be harder than others to get on the air chamber valve.

Rebound/Compression/LSC

On the top of the drive side fork leg you will find the compression/lock out lever, rebound adjust and low speed compression dial. Having the rebound adjustment on the top of the fork leg is a huge plus for my riding. There are other forks on the market that have to relocate the adjustment to the bottom of the damping leg. With it on the top, you can make necessary adjustments while riding.

Your lockout/compression lever is in easy reach and the low speed compression is easy to use. I didn’t notice a significant change in the LSC through smaller clicks, but going from one extreme to the other does create a change in pedal induced bob vs. small bump feedback.

Lock-Out Blow Off/QR TA Adjustment

On the bottom of the damping leg, you will find the lock-out blow off adjustment knob. When you have the fork locked out via the compression switch on the top of the leg, there is a threshold that the fork will “blow through” to suck up the obstacle. You adjust this through that blue knob.

The dial with the numbers 1 through 18 written on it is your thru axle adjustment. According to the Fox instructions located on the provided cd (pain that there isn’t an included printed copy…I am not next to a computer while I am wrenching.):

If the 15QR lever cam tension is either too loose or too tight when the 15QR lever is positioned between one (1) and twenty (20) mm forward of the fork leg when it’s closed, use the following procedure to correct this misadjustment.

It the forks shipped setting, it worked perfectly, so I didn’t change a thing.

How does it ride?

Ok…enough of the formal presentation. I installed the fork on the Ibis Mojo test mule and set everything to my liking. After messing with the air pressure some, I ended up around 70-75 psi for my riding style. At 140mm of rear travel and a sub 30 lbs. overall weight, the Ibis is a perfect match for this fork. The rear shock is a Push Industries tuned RP23 and the rest of the component group is a Hope, XTR and SRAM X.0 group on a Hope Pro II/Stans Flow rim wheelset built by John Kovachi at Kovachi Wheels. The switch to post mount brake mounts on all 2009 fork models make for a much easier install process. The Fox cable keeper is also a nice feature. I screwed in the Fox 15mm QR TA and was ready to ride.

For my first ride out, I took the bike to our local trail, Blankets Creek, to get a feel for the fork where I knew every rock. The second ride was at the Tanasi trail system in Tennessee. Tanasi offers some of everything…including one of the best cross country downhills in the southeast. Thunder Rock Express has worn out nets on the side of the trail to catch riders as they flew off the mountain. This rocky, rooty descent would really put the 15mm QR TA to the test.

Small Bump Absorption

This is one area where the fork really shined. It took the small bumps in stride and I never got the feeling that the fork was jarring under the bike. In the breaker bumps and small bumps in fast succession, some forks struggle to keep up. The Fox Talas was smooth over these transitions. Pedaling feedback was easily controlled with the LCS and compression switch. For most of my riding, I didn’t even touch the compression switch, but I did end up with the LSC a little less than halfway. This seemed to be a great compromise between small bump plushness and arm pump feedback.

I kept the rebound setting a little slower than halfway through its adjustment. This allowed the fork to recover fast enough without springing down. Overall, the damping performance in small bump situations was perfect.

Large Hits

Coming down from large hits and fast stroke situations was controlled, but the fork tended to ramp up through the end of its travel. Some of this ramping is positive as it doesn’t allow for hard bottom outs, but I found that I wasn’t using all of the travel as much as I would have liked to. For fun…I took the carbon ride off a 5 foot to flat and I still didn’t feel the fork bottom. The landing was smooth and controlled, but if the travel is there…I want to use it. I tried letting some air out of the fork, but that came at the cost of the small bump and climbing performance.

Stiffness

The Fox is stiff for a 140mm fork. For redesigned the crown and lowers for 2009, so when you combine that with a thru axle, the new Talas feels much stiffer than last years QR model. I also feel a noticeable difference between the current QR vs. the TA. Fox really stepped up to the plate to make sure that their forks would not deflect through the rough stuff.

This should be no surprise to anyone. Cross country riders are really starting to see the distint advantage of thru axles on light weight forks. The bike tracks better through corners, holds a better line through technical sections and it bulletproof by design.

Talas Conclusions

In every article, forum post or blog…no one has argued that Fox makes a great product. The large question is why Fox and Shimano went with a 15mm TA instead of the already proven 20mm. For the purposes of this review…that is an argument for another day. The Fox Talas had excellent beginning and mid-stroke performance with a ramping up effect towards the end of its travel. I never felt like I hit bottom, even on larger drops to flat. Overall, it is a perfect compliament to the Ibis Mojo.

The Fox TA on this fork weighed in at 93.55 grams for those that were wondering.

The Good

  • Great small bump absorption
  • Excellent Mid-Stroke Performance
  • Stiff
  • Easy to use thru axle
  • Post mount brake mount
  • Talas travel adjust
  • Easy access to necessary controls
  • Consistent rebound and damping performance
  • Lightweight – 1899 grams uncut w/axle
  • Less friction than previous Fox models

The Bad

  • High cost of entry – $850.00 does not include the need for a new wheel build.
  • Hub selection – As of right now, you are limited to Hope, Shimano, DT Swiss and Industry Nine. It is going to be some time before companies like Chris King are able to jump on board.
  • Spring ramping on high speed hits
  • Access to air pressure valve difficult

Last Thoughts

The 140mm fork market is in an all out fight. The reigning king…Rock Shox Pike 454…it being closed in on by some new TA 140mm counterparts. Fox has come out swinging. The good news…thru axles are taking over on the cross country side of mountain bike forks. Death to the QR is on the horizon…

Original Post Found Here: 2009 Fox Talas 140 RLC 15mm QR TA Review | Mountain Biking by 198

If you like this post then please consider commenting below and subscribing to my full feed RSS. You can also subscribe by Email and have new posts sent directly to your inbox. You can also follow me on Twitter. For instant updates from MTBR.com on this in depth review and other news, follow their RSS feed.

(Visited 14,536 times, 1 visits today)

Related Articles


NOTE: There are two ways to comment on our articles: Facebook or Wordpress. Facebook uses your real name and can be posted on your wall while Wordpress uses our login system. Feel free to use either one.

Facebook Comments:



Wordpress Comments:

  • Brodiegrrl says:

    Nice comprehensive review!

  • I’ve been using this fork for two weeks – leading duty on my new Blur LT2. I have similar results downhill, it rocks. I do seem to be using all of the travel, based on dirt lines on the stanctions, and have felt no hard bottoms. I went with the XTR hub, about the only thing on the market last month, it’s nice, but you may want to wait for something w/o center lock only option. I do appreciate droping the fork to 100 for climbs. With this fork and the RP23, the new BLT2 climbs as well as my Blur classic, at that bike only has 115mm travel in the back. 120mm is a good setting for rolling singletrack.

  • Louis says:

    Very good review, but I have a question. I have a Mojo Carbon and a Talas 08 QR. I am 185 lbs and mine seems to work best with 55-60 lbs. I do not get the degree of sag expected at this pressure, but the fork rides well. It has been serviced by the LBS who are excellent, but still the low fork pressure. To me it seems a slightly lighter grade of oil and more air pressure would ride better (maybe get to bottom-out when required). Also I am in Australia – is it possible ours are assembled differently; maybe different size air chamber, less oil or something else? Cause apart from the pressure difference between our bikes, the way you describe your ride is just the way mine feels. I run about 175 in the RP23, but it is not Pushed. To be fair, it is hard to imagine the front end feeling as good as the back end of the Ibis. What do you think?

  • I have a 2007 TALAS that came with my Stumpjumper, and I love it. However, I noticed that it, along with another unit of the same model year, wouldn’t use all of its travel. Adjusting air pressure, minor service (changing fluid and seals), and other tweaks didn’t help. When I had to change out the crown and stanchion assembly, I found that the TALAS portion had around 3 or 4 times the amount of the blue Fox fluid in it during drainage. Once I reassembled it, I had to increase the pressure from around 65psi to 95psi, and I measured 141mm of travel (up from 115mm) with the main air chamber emptied. The fork is truly amazing now, and since I’m familiar (read: no longer terrified) of simple TALAS disassembly, I will get this new version of the fork when I can afford to.

  • nowshon says:

    Nice review. May I point out to respondents above that shock pumps vary wildely in accuracy. Don’t go by the pressure reading, go by the sag you end up with. My Fox Float fork calls for 55-65 lbs of air pressure for my weight, yet I pump it up to an indicated 90 PSI to get the correct sag!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
*