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Pairing the above photo with this photo from Steve Jones' Instagram of an Ohlins cartridge ramjammed into a Fox 34, does this mean they're really going to release a fork?
I don't know, but one of the members of TEAM ROBOT has been on an Ohlins shock all season and is pretty impressed. And the ROBOTS that are not easily impressed.
Me personally, I'm still a Fox4Life kind of bro, but at this point there are only two real options for suspension anyway: Fox and Rockshox. You can make a good argument for either one, and by now both brands are clearly offering top level performance, but anything else is unrideable. Like if this were a Pepsi vs. Coke argument, the guy who runs in and argues the merits of RC Cola is the same guy who rides a Manitou in 2014.
"In my humble opinion, I think RC has a smoother finish..." blah blah, kill yourself.
In light of Ohlins increasing threat to break into the mountain bike fork universe, here's a ROBOT breakdown of the front suspension universe as it stands in 2014.
Clearly unrideable. Are you serious right now? Next question.
Seems to be doing alright for Bernard with another banner year.
I've heard good things about X-Fusion from riders who I respect, but I've also seen a lot of these go back for major service problems after one or two rides. The main sticking point for me is that their downhill fork in 2014 still runs on springs made of metal. Pretty weak. Air spring tech has come a long way, and it's pretty hard to argue for a coil on the front of your bike. At this point when companies don't offer DH air springs it seems like less of a performance-based decision, and more like a "it was really hard to do an air spring well so we just stuck with the coil for this model year" kind of reason.
Another easy choice.
If you had to choose between two springs that were equally supple off the top and both offered consistent performance, but one of them weighed a pound less and had a progressive spring curve to keep you from dying when stuff gets real, it's a no brainer choice. In 2014 and 2015 that's the choice that Rockshox and Fox offer. The 2015 air sprung 40 and air sprung Boxxer are both clearly better in every respect than their coil sprung variants, the only reason not to choose the air spring version is money.
Also, stuff like this sets your brand image back a couple years or decades:
Custom made for Camaro guys everywhere.
Mike Levy seems to like the new Manitou stuff, but he also runs Kenda tires. Unrideable.
I have no personal experience with any of the modern Manitou products, but that's sort of like when you go digging around in some bands history and you're like "hey I've never heard any of these songs." So you start listening to all these songs you've never heard, and even though you keep an open mind for the first couple, four songs in you realize they all suck. If you've never heard those songs, there's probably a good reason. It's not like all the people who were into that band conspired against you to hide all their best material. The reason you haven't heard all those songs is probably because they suck.
Morlando making the new Suntour stuff look good.
Honorable mention here. Being in the upper echelon of super pros, SR Suntour is obviously unrideable for me, but for the average consumer Suntour might be a real contender. The pricepoints they're hitting with the features they offer are no joke. That said, they're playing catchup and still have a big confidence deficit, and their marketing strategy is not doing them any favors. Garrett Buehler's a great guy and RAMPAGE!!! is rad, but I feel like his suspension requirements roughly break down to:
1. Goes up and down.
2. Doesn't kill me.
"I'm real happy for you Garrett, and imma let you finish, but you need a high profile race team that's winning races if you want consumers to take your suspension components seriously. Seriously."
Those Riding Addiction guys are doing alright on this stuff, and everybody who rides it raves about how good it is. Also if you ask half of Pinkbike, they'll tell you that Remi Thirion won Andorra because he was riding BOS suspension, so ignore the collective wisdom of Pinkbike readers at your own peril.
If you live in France, BOS is totally rideable. Kind of weird that they don't have a closed damper system, but it seems to be working so whatever.
On the other hand if you live outside of France and you have to mail stuff back and forth to all ends of the earth for service and wait weeks and weeks to ride your bike? Unrideable. Also, remember that buying French products means that you're supporting socialism, which is basically the same as spitting on an eagle while peeing on the flag, so think about that next time you toss an Orangina or Mini Babybel's in the shopping cart.
If you're buying this stuff you might as well set fire to the Constitution.
Markus Pekoll's had multiple banner years riding for the big red M, but his forks and shocks get the gucci treatment from this Pedro guy that's apparently pretty smart. If you're some off the street jamoke buying aftermarket, who knows what the performance gap is between what Markus rides and what you can buy? That gap can be HUGE when we're talking about suspension internals.
Maybe the new stuff really is great. I keep hearing good things about their new stuff, but I've seen and heard that same pitch about Marzocchi so many times."No dude, I know what you're saying, but the new stuff is good." I'm not sure I can get burned again. It's like that friend that keeps coming out of rehab and saying they're better now. If I'm going to believe that you've changed, I need to see more than words: