Formula Selva fork review£949.00

Tuneable trail and enduro fork

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Formula’s Selva is aimed at hard-charging trail and enduro riders who want loads of tuning options.

By swapping out the compression damping valve heads, you can drastically change the feel of the fork. This makes a much bigger difference to the spring curve than can be achieved with conventional high and low-speed compression adjusters, basically allowing you to re-valve your fork. It takes just a couple of minutes in the workshop, but isn’t something you can easily adjust on the trail.

The spring side of the fork combines an adjustable air chamber with a dual-rate coil negative spring to ease you into the stroke. Unlike a traditional negative spring, this doesn’t self-compensate for the weight of the rider.

I found that riders over 85kg (running 70psi or more in the main spring) needed to swap to a firmer negative spring. Otherwise, the fork was too reluctant to sink into the initial part of its travel, resulting in an unpredictable ‘all or nothing feel’ and limited traction.

The fork has plenty of tuning options
The fork has plenty of tuning options

With a firmer spring fitted, performance was impressive. I added 5cc of oil to the air chamber for a more progressive feel and settled on the firmest (red) compression valve head. This resulted in loads of stable support and good traction.

Swapping valve heads makes a noticeable difference to the balance of support and sensitivity on offer, which is great for those who like to fettle. With the red valve head fitted, the fork feels nice and controlled as it compresses, with decent sensitivity over small bumps, but without giving up too much travel under bigger impacts. This makes for a settled feel, which is great for slow, technical trails.

But even with the rebound adjuster on its fastest setting, I found the Selva returned a little too slowly. This gave it a slightly lazy, unreactive feel over high-frequency trail chatter and meant it couldn’t match the comfortable suppleness of my favourite fork in this category, Fox’s 36 Float. In fact, the Selva’s heavily-damped action seemed to sap speed through the rough when I tested the two forks back to back.

Tyre clearance is impressive, but the crown drops below the arch when the fork bottoms out. This meant it contacted my Mudhugger mudguard and pushed it into the front tyre.

These niggles mean Formula still has some catching up to do if it's to compete with Fox and RockShox, despite the impressive tunability of its damper.

Seb Stott

Technical Writer, UK
Seb is a geeky technical writer for BikeRadar, as well as MBUK and What Mountain Bike magazines. Seb's background in experimental physics allows him to pick apart what's really going on with mountain bike components. Years of racing downhill, cross-country and enduro have honed a fast and aggressive riding style, so he can really put gear to the test on the trails, too.
  • Age: 24
  • Height: 192cm/6'3"
  • Weight: 85Kg/187 lbs
  • Waist: 86cm / 34in
  • Chest: 107cm / 44in
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Steep!
  • Current Bikes: Focus Sam 3.0, Kona Process 111, Specialized Enduro 29 Elite
  • Dream Bike: Mondraker Crafty with Boost 29" wheels, a 160mm fork and offset bushings for maximum slackness.
  • Beer of Choice: Buckfast ('Bucky' for short)
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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