In case you missed the news on Bike Rumor, Fox has unveiled an electronic system to adjust suspension settings on mountain bikes. The system is shown on a full suspension Scott mountain bike that is ordinarily equipped with Scott’s multi-setting suspension system (locked out front and rear, partial travel, and full travel)…but now instead of having cable actuated controls, you have electronic controls.
The black box down by the BB is the battery, and the little black box under the shock is the motor that adjusts the shock setting.
According to Bike Rumor, the little red lever remains the external setting for external rebound adjustment.
That’s obviously the top of the fork.
The one advantage, at least compared to other Scott bikes, is that the control for suspension mode is pretty well integrated. At the far left here is the electronic switch:
And here is the comparable manual lever:
System cost is set at $1,999 for a full suspension bike, or $1499 for a hardtail. Other than the aesthetics and kludginess of the lever/switch, what are the advantages here? Too soon to tell, but likely more weight. More complication. Tiny electric servo motors and wired connections on a mountain bike. Sure, there’s faster actuation (claimed 1/4 second actuation on the electronic system), but when is the extra 3/4 second of a manual system going to hold you back?
Perhaps it’s just me, but I don’t really understand Scott’s philosophy on the bikes equipped with TwinLoc, either. I’d rather have a bike with an efficient and elegant suspension design that doesn’t have a ton of bob or squat, as compared to a design that requires constant adjustment between settings to perform effectively.
Anyhow, the system is out and we now have electronic suspension adjustments in the marketplace. Other companies are sure to follow. We’ve already talked about electronic shifting and wireless, electronic brakes. What’s next? Steer by wire (perhaps on a bakfiets)? Electronic seat droppers? (WHIRRRRRRRRRRRR). Electronic pumps on your water bottles, to gently squirt hydration into your mouth?
In all seriousness, I’d be more intrigued if they had put a little more thought into the design. Instead of bolting a motor to a shock, build a shock with an integrated motor that’s a bit more streamlined. Instead of having a monster battery that requires recharging, what about a system that recharges based on suspension movement, or even, gasp, rider pedaling? That’s the part of this that I find so intriguing…going electronic in the name of performance gains, but acquiring those gains by plugging in a battery that you recharge from external power. If the gains are there, power the darn thing off of the bike!
Maybe I’ve been hanging around with Mudge too much.