Just when you thought there was nothing new in the world of bicycle suspension, Fox Racing Shox pulled a neat trick out of their 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.
Race mechanic Mike Van Lienden says the setup is not only more rigid than an equivalent aluminium 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 having to be machined later.
Why not just go with carbon? According to van Lienden, the company simply have more experience with titanium and also wasn't entirely confident in the long-term reliability of bonded joints. For now, it's a race-only item as Fox complete testing, but you can probably expect to see it in the shops in spring 2011.
The new Fox Racing Shox Float Ti fork uses a hollow cast titanium crown
Another big surprise from the suspension giants 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 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 are evaluating the post with a Shimano remote lever like that 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.
The middle position is set at 40mm and there's no mistaking whether or not you've hit it – the stop is intentionally loud and hard for positive feedback in rough terrain
Weight is said to be "competitive", with a one-piece aluminium head and upper shaft plus a one-piece aluminium lower shaft, all sealed up in between with a spring-loaded wiper seal. Fox were mum on the exact mechanism used to key the pieces together but play was minimal on the demo unit. Once the DOSS becomes available next spring, buyers will be able to choose from 30.9mm or 31.6mm diameters.