The town of Finale Ligure on the Italian Riviera was the location for Round 8 of the Enduro World Series at the weekend, and we were there soaking up the sun and checking out the trails. We also took a look at some of the rider set ups and prototype products that were on show in the EWS pits.
The weekend was won by GT Factory Racing's Martin Maes on his GT Sanction and we took a close look over his bike yesterday, but finishing third overall was Nico Lau of CUBE Action Team. Along with his teammate Greg Callaghan, Lau was among a small minority of riders still using two chainrings in Finale.
It also looked like Lau was sporting a prototype version of Fox’s Float X shock. Look closely, perhaps very closely, and you’ll notice the piggyback reservoir is a slightly different shape to the current version. More obviously, there’s a blue dial at the base of the piggyback, perhaps to adjust the volume or pressure of the IFP chamber to tune the bottom-out characteristics.
A lot of riders at Finale were seen stashing a spare split-link on the brake hose and we also spotted a few riders using mismatching rims — with a narrower number on the rear for lower rolling resistance and a more predictable slide, with a wider rim up front for more cornering bite and to allow lower tyre pressures.
Alex Lupato ran a 25mm/30mm rim combo and we also saw Richie Rude and Nico Vouilloz using wider front rims.
Another spot in the pits was Öhlins' growing range of air shocks, with versions of the STX 22 to fit standard eyelets on Specialized’s Enduro and Stumpjumper.
Öhlins also showed us the inner workings of its twin-chamber air spring used in the RXF 34 and RXF 36 forks. Uppermost is the main chamber, underneath of which (in gold) is the negative spring that screws onto the upper part with the main piston separating them. So far so normal. Below that is the black internal floating piston (IFP), which sits inside the lower rod below the main piston.
When the ramp-up chamber is charged with air from the bottom of the fork, the IFP is forced up to the top, reducing the volume of the main chamber. The higher the pressure in the ramp-up, the smaller the volume of the main chamber as the fork approaches full-travel, giving a more progressive spring curve.