What is it
Before explaining the what, it helps to understand the who. While DVO may not be a name some are familiar with. This is not a fly-by-night operation that popped up out of nowhere. Indeed, the majority of the suspension maker’s core team once served a similar role with Marzocchi, which before being driven into a financial ditch was one of the sport’s most respected suspension innovators. After some time to regroup, DVO sprung from those ashes and has quickly established itself among mountain biking’s top aftermarket sellers. Check out the Mtbr review of the DVO Topaz T3 Air Shock here.
As the name implies, the DVO Diamond 110 Boost is the wide-hub-friendly version of their popular trail/enduro suspension fork. Top line features include sturdy 35mm stanchions, travel that’s adjustable between 130mm and 170mm via internal spacers, and versions for both 27.5 and 29er/27.5+, which is what Mtbr has been testing. Our travel length was set to 150mm and the fork was spec’d on this tricked out Santa Cruz Hightower dream bike.
The rest of the Diamond’s elevator pitch includes easily accessible high speed and low speed compression adjustment, and what DVO calls OTT or off the top, which essentially means you can externally adjustment the preload on the negative spring, giving you 100 percent control over the initial stroke. Meanwhile, you set air pressure to dial-in mid-stroke support and bottom out. Axle configuration is 15mmx110 and pre-cut fork weight was 2170 grams (4.8 pounds), plus another 64 grams for the skewer.
- Highly adjustable
- Travel from 130mm-170mm
- Available in boost and non-boost for 27.5 and 29er
- Beefy and stiff 35mm stanchions
- Easy-to-access LSC closure for climbing
- Wide range of easy-to-access HSC
- OTT allows for initial sensitivity adjustment
- Superb small bump sensitivity
- Easy to discern detents in most adjustment knobs
- 29er boost version accepts plus tires
- Easy to service air cartridge unit
- Impressive durability
- Sleek, integrated fender mount with no zip ties
- Not one of the big boys
- No discernable off-the-top friction
- OTT adjustment especially useful for heavier riders
- Superb customer service reputation
- Easy-to-follow on-line set-up guides
- Smooth operating 15mm quick release
- Tool required to adjust OTT
- OTT adjustment can be tricky to track
- Heavier than other forks in this category
- No firm LSC lock-out
- Takes patience to get set-up dialed
- Doesn’t allow addition of volume spacers
The best mountain bike forks are the ones that you don’t have to think about. Aside from dialing in initial settings and occasionally checking air pressure, they just work and work well. Small bump sensitivity is buttery smooth, mid-stroke support is solid, and they rarely bottom out or flex when being driven hard.
DVO’s Diamond 110 Boost falls solidly in this high-functioning category — and brings a little extra to the table. For many riders, especially those on the heavier/aggressive side, suspension comes with inherent compromise between smooth off-the-top operation and providing enough big-hit support so you don’t bottom out every time you charge off a drop or launch a jump. In many cases, big guys are forced to put up with a stiff initial feel in order to preserve that all important end stroke.
DVO’s Diamond is different. Utilizing a function conveniently named Off The Top or OTT, users can tweak the preload of the negative spring. Yes, the adjustment requires a 5mm hex key and the knob on the bottom of the left fork leg has very subtle detents that are a little tricky to keep track of. But once sorted, this fork does an amazing job of smoothing out chop in the first 20% of the stroke, while still allowing for enough air pressure to preserve critical support further along the travel continuum. Press play for further explanation.
The Diamond also gets high marks for ease of on-the-fly adjustment. Both high speed (30 clicks) and low speed (6 clicks) compression are conveniently located within arm’s reach on the top of the right fork leg, and in this case both knobs are easy to keep track of when turning. It’s a similar story with rebound (20 clicks), which is in its usual locale at the bottom of the right fork leg. Rebound and HSC were mostly a set-and-forget proposition, but we often toggled the LSC adjustment into the closed position when climbing. We also loved the included fender and mount, which screws into place, meaning no ungainly zip ties messing up the look of your front end.
The Diamond also utilizes a closed cartridge bladder system, which is compressed rather than expanded. Without going too far down the tech rabbit hole, this set-up both improves durability and further enhances small bump sensitivity, which we found to be noticeably better than a Fox 36 spec’d on another test bike we’ve been riding recently. And because the Diamond’s air and damper circuits are sealed, you can remove them for service or replacement without having to jam the entire fork into a UPS box.
Bottom line, it’s not the lightest fork in this class (roughly 150 grams heavier), you can’t add tokens, and the price will make some eyes water. But the DVO Diamond is bar none one of the best trail/enduro forks we’ve ridden in a long time. It’s highly adjustable, has silky initial movement, and doesn’t blink when being pushed hard in non-stop high speed chunk. Just get air pressure set for your desired end stroke feel, tweak OTT for small bump sensitivity, and then go to work on LSC, HSC, and rebound. It takes some time at first, but the end result is a fork that will essentially feel perfectly matched to you and your riding style without compromises. And if you need help, DVO has a superb library of on-line tutorial videos.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
More Info: www.dvosuspension.com