Fox has partnered with Bosch to integrate its Live Valve technology with Bosch’s Performance CX motors, becoming the only company allowed full access to the hardware and software of the motors.
Live Valve automatically adjusts the compression settings of the fork and shock on a mountain bike to best suit the terrain on which the bike is being ridden.
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Fox and Bosch’s relationship started on the Powersports side of their respective businesses and has now migrated to e-bikes.
Fox Live Valve introduction
Live Valve technology relies on accelerometers fitted to the fork and near the rear axle to measure wheel movement through impacts, along with a further sensor attached to the mainframe to measure pitch and acceleration.
These data are then sent to a microprocessor at a frequency of 1000Hz (hence it being a wired, not wireless system, which apparently can’t transmit data at this frequency).
This microprocessor then calculates whether the suspension should be open or closed, and a series of servos then adjust the suspension’s damping circuit to suit.The process takes a reported 3 milliseconds.
Once open, the suspension remains open for a set period of time, and this timer restarts itself should a further impact be detected while it is still open.
Changing to one of the five predetermined settings, on the original Live Valve system, adjusts how long the suspension remains open, and the bump force required for the system to determine whether it should be opened.
Furthermore, the pitch sensors on the mainframe can also adjust how the suspension reacts, depending on whether the bike is ascending or descending.
More information on the system, and our First Ride impressions can be found here.
Fox E-Live Valve
So, how does the E-Live Valve system differ?
The main differences are that the system plugs into the e-bike’s battery, and therefore won’t run out of battery, and that there’s more user adjustability available.
The system only works with the latest Bosch Performance CX motors with the Kiox display. The Kiox display, quite understandably, shows which of the modes the bike is currently in, and allows users to swap between them, depending on the rider’s preference for where and how they’re riding.
The five factory modes are:
- Commute – almost always closed, best for shuttling to and from trails on smooth roads and tracks
- Firm – a riding mode for moderate off-road riding, with plenty of climbing
- Sport – ideal for trail riding, with a mix of pedally and rough surfaces
- Comfort – largely open, the one likely most used on trail and enduro sections
- Open – most open setting, best used for setting up the suspension
Where the E-Live Valve largely differs from the ‘regular’ Live Valve is that these modes are further tunable by the user, using Fox’s Live Valve app.
Within each mode there are five sensitivity settings to fine-tune how the bike reacts.
Going forwards there will be more modes available, which will be downloadable by the end user.
For example, there might be an ‘Alpine’ mode, designed for long descents, or an individual manufacturer might want to design its own mode for its own bikes. These would then replace one of the five original modes.
Finally, the app itself also comes with a range of additional functions, including diagnostics, setup tips and ride data.
This system won’t be available aftermarket, but indicates that brands such as Fox are taking electronics on bikes very seriously.
It’s likely that in the coming years we’ll see more technology such as this appearing on bikes. It’s also great to see technology from the automotive and Powersport sectors being bought to the world of bikes, in my opinion.
Let me know in the comments if you agree.