Oodles of travel, awesome looks and revolutionary technology make the DHS Mono incredibly drool-worthy.
The 2007 Foes 2:1 DHS Mono is a ground-breaking downhill race bike, but to find out why, you have to dig a little deeper than its faultless welding, pillar box red paint and surgical CNC machining. The clue is in the name; the '2:1' bit refers to the ratio between the rear wheel travel and the shock shaft travel - this is the important bit.
The frame delivers a whopping 250mm (10in) of rear wheel travel, and trying to squeeze this much from a regular downhill shock often results in problems with tuning and overheating. To get the travel without the sickness, Foes fitted a longer stroke rear shock made by the suspension gurus at Curnutt. The unique 125mm (5in) stroke shock works on a lower than normal leverage ratio of 2:1. This is a facet that's only found on the Foes 2:1 DHS Mono downhill racer and FXR trail bike.
In fact, 2:1 is the latest in a long line of mould-breaking designs that have sprung from the fertile mind of founder and owner of the company, Brent Foes. Back in 1988, when most mountain bikes were completely rigid with tubular frame structures, Brent was riding a prototype 6in travel monocoque full suspension bike, and he's continued to innovate ever since...
In all honesty, there's no need for a bike of this calibre in the UK because, with the exception of Fort William, we don't have many mountains gnarly enough to make the extra capacity worthwhile. It would be a bit like using an F1 car to nip to the newsagents. Ride this bike in a World Cup downhill race, though, and it's a different story. It's a very rare beast and you'd be one of the few riders out there who could nail any line on the course, no matter how rough or rutted, and still stay stuck to the ground as if the bike were velcro'd to the trail.
The 2:1 might not be ridden by many people at the moment, but it has a great racing heritage. After Intense, Foes downhill bikes are the rigs most commonly raced with other manufacturers' decals applied to them. A famous example is US downhill legend Missy Giove, who raced the predecessor of the 2:1 in the 2001/2 season when her teammates were all racing on another brand of bike.
The 2:1 is stable under power or braking, but we found ourselves riding at the outer limits of our comfort zone because the bike does its best to get away from you - in a good way. It feels like it's in charge of the gas pedal and, compared to other downhill bikes, which require a kick up the backside to get them rolling, this is a big bonus.
Brent believes that the best way to maximise the performance of any mountain bike is to integrate as many of the components as possible with the frame. That means the 2:1 frame comes with a Foes/MRP chain device, a custom Hadley 160mm width/12mm axle rear hub, and a floating brake arm to isolate the rear brake from the suspension action. These are all sized specifically to fit the Foes, so you can't replace them with other models - but then again you wouldn't want to because they're all super desirable, top-end parts.
One other feature worth noting is the 83mm wide bottom bracket shell that only works with Shimano Saint cranks (not supplied). It gives you a wide stance on the bike, which takes a bit of getting used to, but ultimately feels very stable. The rear end also uses a swing link that runs on four sealed cartridge bearings for a smooth action and high durability.
Of course, the rear suspension is only half the story on this bike. Foes (in association with Curnutt) are also responsible for the design and manufacture of the Foes Curnutt XTD F1 fork that's up front. This has the same buttery action as the famous Foes F1 Wet One fork but with a new body, and the same XTD damping that makes the rear shock feel so good.
The XTD F1 has an inverted design (the front wheel attaches to the stanchions rather than the sliders) and features a huge 30mm diameter four-bolt axle for virtually flexfree performance. Such a fork is just what you need to guide the 2:1 down the roughest trails - you can trust it to deal with whatever you throw at it.
What makes this bike a superbike?
- Entirely handmade
- The only downhill bike in the world to use a 2:1 suspension ratio
- The 'daddy' of all downhill bikes, with a massive 250mm (10in) of rear travel
Wide rear end
Foes don't play by the rules - they felt they needed a wider than normal back end on the DHS Mono for extra stiffness, so they got Hadley Racing to make a custom 160mm rear hub to fit.
Curnutt XTD shock
The Curnutt XTD rear shock is a doddle to tune and easy to reach when installed. One ride will convince you that it's the daddy of all rear shocks.
Thanks to a direct-mount stem (one that mounts directly to the upper fork crown and can be placed in a variety of positions), the reach can be adjusted to suit any size rider.
Superb CNC machining
Brent Foes knows how to machine alloy properly, and the time it takes to achieve this is reflected in the premium price of the DHS Mono frameset. If you want the best, you have to pay.
An inverted fork requires a larger than normal front hub axle to tie it together. The custom Foes 30mm through axle is just the job to ensure secure steering.
Foes/MRP chain device
World class downhillers can't afford to have the chain come off, so they keep it on using the best performing chain device on the planet.