We visited Mark Jordan, Marketing guru at Fox Racing Shox and he quickly gave us a peek into their new 650b/27.5 trail fork featuring 140mm of travel. Currently, they have a 160mm travel fork and a 120/160mm Talas CTD fork that feature 34 mm stanchions. Both forks are big and are well over four lbs. in weight so they are suited for burly, All Mountain bikes. Most of these bikes are very capable of going up and down any terrain but they are usually 30 lbs or heavier. Many of the new bikes are featured here in the 650b/27.5 Round Up.
Mark explained that this new fork will feature an all-new 32mm stanchion chassis so it will be optimized and very light. The crown is new, stiff and light and the brake posts are beefy and mounted low. Mark said they their goal is to be “the leader in this new wheel size platform” so expect great things from Fox when it comes to 650b/27.5.
The big question of course is availability and no one will be excited about this answer. “It will be featured on many bikes at Eurobike and Interbike 2013 so it really is for 2014 model year bikes.”Expect the consumer to be able to purchase these as original equipment on bikes at the end of 2013.
What are the specifics on the fork?
Well, this fork is a Float air fork on the all new 32 mm chassis so expect it to be light and stiff. It has 140mm of travel and of course will be available in Kashima and their standard stanchion coatings. The weight for the 15mm thru-axle, tapered steer version will be in between:
32 FLOAT 120 FIT CTD w/Trail Adjust – 3.22 lbs
32 FLOAT 29 100 FIT CTD w/Trail Adjust – 3.43 lbs
So expect 3.3 lbs. Given that the current Fox 650b/27.5 fork weighs about 4.38 lbs with 160mm travel, this new fork will open up a new array of trail bikes. The current big fork is really driving manufacturers to make big, capable bikes so most of the bikes weigh 30+ lbs. This new fork will forge the way towards 25 lb. 650b/27.5 bikes as pound shaving occurs in frames and wheels as well.
Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)
What else did we learn from Mark?
Well, Mark came from a bike shop, RST Suspension, Marzocchi, Decline Magazine and now Fox Racing Shox so he is one of the smartest and most respected guys in the bike industry. He said Fox Racing Shox participates in high-end motos, trucks and snowmobiles yet their bike division accounts for arond 70% of sales. “Most of the folks here ride and love bikes,” he says.
We also learned that almost all their forks now are air suspension based. The coil spring front fork is almost dead as the the advancement in front air suspension has been dramatic. Out of their 40 fork models, only a couple DH ones are coil spring based and even those are going away. Air is just so much more configurable, tuneable and controllable. “Even supercross forx are air forks now,” he said. So the technology should be able to handle all bicycle needs. “The new Honda 450 model motorcycle runs an air fork,” Mark also said. On rear shocks, coil spring still has its place in downhill applications.
Asked about dropper posts, he said “I wouldn’t ride without them.” In fact Mark says experienced riders are now using their dropper post remote lever more than their front shifter. “We want the dropper post lever to take the place of the front shifter.” he said. “Most often used is the right shifter, then the dropper post lever, then maybe the front shifter,” he explains. This is indeed enlightening as equipment is changing and dropper posts are becoming more important. Read about mtbr’s Dropper Post Round Up here.