Post by Robb Sutton
Mountain Biking by 198
I received the new Fox Talas 140 RLC in for review on Friday. This new fork from Fox has the controversial 15mm QR thru axle developed by Fox and Shimano.
First the stats:
- Redesigned 32mm crown that is now lighter and stronger
- New 140mm web brace lower that is lighter and produces lower friction throughout the stroke
- Talas III – More ergonomic with better air spring curves for improved mid-stroke support in all 3 travel settings
Stats from Foxracingshox.com:
- Claimed 4.13 lbs.
- Talas Travel Adjust – 140/120/100
- Low Speed Compression Adjustment
- Lockout Force Adjust
- Lever Lockout
- Rebound Adjustment
- Post Mount – Direct fit for 160mm rotors
- Titanium Color
- Weight of sample uncut with axle installed – 1899g or 4.19 lbs
I was right on board with the anti 15mm crowd from the beginning. It was actually my first post on this blog. The 15mm axle creates a problem for manufacturers and end users by creating yet another “standard” by which we have to live by. The increases prices and makes replacement parts harder to come by. On top of that, hub manufacturers are now struggling to catch up. Companies like Hope and Industry Nine have an easier job of just creating end caps for their existing hubs. However, companies like Chris King have to make new axle assemblies/front hubs to accommodate these new axles. The cynic in me wonders whether this is an attempt to create a Maxle (SRAM/Rock Shox) type axle without having to pay patent rights. With earlier reports putting the Maxle Lite at the same weight or less than the 15mm TA from Shimano and Fox, it does make you wonder.
Here is what I know is true…the traditional quick release system needs to be a thing of the past in mountain biking. Modern thru axles are light and much more dependable. As aggressive trail riding becomes more popular because our equipment is more capable, it is more important to have the front end of our bikes secure and stiffer.
With all of this said…if it takes a new 15mm TA to get rid of the conventional quick release, I am all for it. Fox claims that the new 15mm QR TA increases torsional stiffness by 15% and it increases transverse shear stiffness by up to 25%.
First Impressions on the Talas
Fox puts out an incredible looking product. The titanium finish and ano bits really look finished and of high quality. I recently got a chance to tear apart the F29, and the internals are what you would expect out of a high end fork. The improvements that Fox has made for ’09 are going to make it hard to beat.
In the suspension fork world, Rock Shox and Fox are battling it out for the top spot. The more they compete…the better it is for us. The Talas adjust feature is what I was hoping Rock Shox would emulate. The 3 settings are a perfect way to adjust the travel of your fork on the trail. I love the RS line, but the 2 step is too extreme and the U-Turn option is too many options. The “3 Step” feature of the Talas is a great compromise.
This fork is going to get bolted up to the Ibis Mojo build that you have seen previously in this blog. I figured it was the perfect test mule for this fork. Stay tuned for more updates on this review as it gets going.
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