With enduro-fluenza spreading like wild fire, I got the opportunity to check out the 2014 enduro-bred suspension from FOX at the opener of the Oregon Enduro Series in Hood River, Oregon. Accompanied by moto all-star Jeremy McGrath, a slew of Fox’s finest engineers, and top American enduro racer Lars n’ Bars Sternberg, we set out on the trails to get our fill of the amazing terrain. Although the days were socked in and gloomy, it made for an unreal mud shredfest! To top it all off, I got to put the new 2014 product to work against the best Pro enduro guys in the country. After leaving Oregon, I have managed to put the new suspension to the test in the dry Colorado high country. Smashing it through rigorous 30plus minute descents and strenuous hour-long climbs. Post yin and yang conditions, here is the lowdown on what Fox has in store for trail riding and enduro racing in 2014.
Talas 34: MSRP: $1085.00 Skip to Float X Shock Info
Tech For 2014 Fox has made some huge changes to their Talas lineup. Although the new Talas product line shares the name of its former technology, Fox has given the travel adjust system a complete makeover. Striving for better spring rates and far less friction, Fox has made a number of strategic changes to the Talas travel-adjust system. As their best selling aftermarket fork, the Talas was due for an update.
Fox threw out the previous design, and based their new system around a smaller version of the Float air spring and contains the travel adjust feature into a small hydraulic system separate from the air spring. The addition of a float air spring addresses a number of issues that the old Talas system could not over come.
The Float air spring allows for similar spring curves in either travel mode keeping the feel consistent with Float models in both travel modes. The Float air spring uses a coil negative spring unlike the Talas’ predecessor that relied on an air negative spring. The Float air spring allows Fox to reduce friction in the system with the use of one air seal versus the three seals found in the old Talas.
Contained in the upper portion of the fork leg is the new travel adjust feature in Talas. The new travel adjust uses a closed hydraulic system and a series of two check balls to control the flow of oil. Fox has reduced the throw on the Talas lever from 90 degrees to 55 degrees making the switch between travel modes easier on the fly. When the lever is turned to short travel mode, the oil is allowed to flow through the open check, across the top and into the outer chambers in turn reducing the travel of the fork. When turned back to long travel mode, the check balls simultaneously open and close allowing the oil to flow back into the main chamber.
The new Talas reduces the travel of the fork a maximum of 30mm in the 32mm and 34mm chassis and 40mm in the 36mm chassis. The amount of travel reduction can be decreased in 5mm increments with the addition of internal clip on travel spacers. The amount of total travel can also be reduced to preference by adding air spring spacers similar to any of Fox’s Float series models.
The 2014 Talas will be available as an aftermarket upgrade and can be retrofit on any of the three existing Float chassis (32mm, 34mm, and 36mm) adding 40 grams the total weight of the fork over a standard Float air spring assembly.
Also new for 2014 is an updated CTD (Climb, Trail, Descend) damper which now provides five low speed compression settings. Similar to 2013 models, CTD dampers have a fully open Descend mode, and near-lockout Climb mode, but for 2014 will have 3 separate Trail compression settings for terrain dependent tuning.
The Ride For those who were unsatisfied by Talas in the past, the new 34 Talas was approached with skepticism. Despite disbelief that Talas fork could perform on the same level as a Float air spring, the new Talas has proved to be worth a look.
Requiring a little bit of a different setup due to a reduced air chamber (100-200psi range), once set to the desired sag (25%) the 2014 Talas felt smooth and ready to rip up the trails. This fork is supple with the addition of the Float air spring offering a comparable ride to the Float forks with ninja climbing travel adjustability. Exceeding expectation, this fork is incredibly versatile. Slightly stiffer and more stable than the 32mm chassis and more flickable with less deflection than the 36mm chassis the 34mm chassis is a great fit for the 160mm travel range.-Fox's Scott Papola riding to 2nd place for Day 1 on the 2014 Talas 34 and Float X
With the addition of the Float air spring in the Talas system, the fork rides smooth and compliant. Tracking with confidence and holding you high in the suspension while on the brakes, the 2014 Talas is huge improvement.
Combined with CTD the 34 Talas is highly adjustable providing exactly the desired feel for the terrain. In Descend mode, the fork is as plush as ever, allowing you to charge through rock gardens. Trail mode is now even more useful with three noticeably different compression settings. In an enduro race setting as well as any variety of trail conditions, Trail 1, 2, or 3 allows for mid ride adjustments getting the perfect balance between pedaling efficiency and suppleness. With the ability to adjust the travel on the fly, the stiffness achieved in Climb mode becomes even more useful.
With the introduction of the new Talas system, Fox has created an enduro race and aggressive trail ride worthy fork. Giving their travel adjust system some life paired with 5 low speed compression settings make the 2014 34 Talas the swiss army knife of forks.Float X MSRP: $575 / $595 with remote Available: 7.5x2.0” to 9.5x3.0” Tech With the gaining popularity of 140-180mm travel mountain bikes, Fox has taken the initiative to develop a high performance shock specific to the travel range. The Float X is Fox’s answer to the high demands of Enduro race applications and aggressive trail riders. Evolving from and replacing the DHX air for 2014, the Float X uses a three oil flow paths to provide five low speed compression settings to match that of the 2014 CTD forks. The 2014 Float X is the first all-mountain shock to feature CTD compression settings.
Taking the piggyback design from the DHX air, the Float X has and increased oil volume that gives the shock much better heat dissipation, less fade in damping, and over all better performance over Float rear shocks. The 2014 Float X will use a new low volume air can for better heat dissipation, a decrease in weight, and rids the shock of the unwated air damping effect caused by higher volume air cans.
The 2014 Float X implements Fox’s new base valve design to provide adjustable CTD compression. In descend mode, the Base Valve allows oil to freely flow through all three (Climb, Trail, and Descend) oil circuits. The high-speed compression circuit adjusts the feel in Descend. Once Trail mode is engaged, oil is directed through Climb and Trail oil circuits. A stepped taper on the Trail oil circuit plunger is set in position by an internal cam when the setting is changed from Trail 1, 2, or 3 providing terrain dependent adjustment. In climb mode, the Base Valve closes the Descend and Trail oil circuits forcing oil to only flow through the Climb circuit which in turn provides an incredibly firm climb setting without compromising Trail and Descend compression settings.
For 2014 the Float X will be available with or without a redeisng and more sleak remote that can be used with a splitter for simultaneous fork and shock CTD control.
The Ride The 2014 Float X is the right tool for the job. The perfect addition to the Fox lineup, replacing and improving on the DHX air, this shock is an enduro racing machine and won’t let you down on long, demanding descents.
The new Float X seemingly gives you a much more bottomless feel out of the rear end when taking big hits and with the addition of CTD to the piggyback design, this shock is an all-around ripper. The CTD matches that of the front end incredibly well, allowing you to even up the feel of the suspension for desired performance. The new CTD design on this shock is executed with precision providing the same distinct, five low speed compression settings as the 2014 forks.-Mark Fitzsimmons, director of Fox's RAD program, has had enduro athletes testing the 2014 Talas 34 and Float X for a year and a half.
The increase of oil flow and piggyback reservoir make a huge difference on long descents, which is exactly what the 140-180mm travel range trail bike need as the shock can heat up on long descents. The damping remained consistent through a number of extended descents keeping the rear end lively and on point.
Paired with the 2014 34 Talas, the 2014 Float X is a worthy companion. Highly adjustable and ready for serious action, the new enduro suspension from Fox is a great improvement over 2013. -Dylan Stucki
Photos: Colin Meagher