Just when you thought there was nothing new in the world of bicycle suspension, Fox Racing Shox pulls a neat trick out of its hat at this year's Interbike show.
Mounted on the front of Rabobank-Giant team rider Adam Craig's Giant Anthem X was a prototype Float Ti fork, built with an experimental one-piece titanium tapered steerer and crown that race mechanic Mike Van Lienden says is not only more rigid than an equivalent aluminum piece but also lighter - despite titanium's higher density - owing to the thinner tube walls and more efficient one-piece construction.
Interestingly, Fox built the RAD (Racing Applications Development) crown with cast construction rather than forged as the hollow interior could be built right into the mould rather than have to be machined later.
And why not just go with carbon? According to van Lienden, the company simply has more experience with titanium than composites and also wasn't entirely confident in the long-term reliability of bonded joints.
For now, it's a race-only item as the company completes testing but consumers can probably expect to see it around spring 2011.
Another big surprise from the suspension company giant is the DOSS (Drop on Steep Stuff) dropper seatpost, which is a definite lock for release next spring.
Details are slim for now but we do know for sure that it's a two-position system with a 40mm intermediate setting and 100mm or 125mm total travel options, both using some sort of mechanical detent system and an air-charged return spring.
For the moment, Fox is evaluating the post with a Shimano remote lever normally paired to the company's fork or shock systems - press the lever about halfway to hit the very positive intermediate position or press it further to drop it down all the way.
Weight is said to be "competitive" with a one-piece aluminum head and upper shaft plus a one-piece aluminum lower shaft, all sealed up in between with a spring-loaded wiper seal. Fox was mum on the exact mechanism used to key the pieces together but play was admirably minimal on the demo unit.
Once the DOSS becomes available next spring, consumers will be able to choose from 30.9mm or 31.6mm diameters to fit the most common seat tube sizes.
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