The newly developed Formula 35 arrived fresh from Italy for the test, which it passed successfully: the new kid on the block won over our testers with its super plush initial travel and a “soft and smooth” character.
Even before you hit the trail, the many fine features and adjustment options of the Formula strike you, including the light axle with removable handle, the compact arrangement of the delicately machined adjusters and levers on the crown and the Ballistol oil [Deutsch Balistol should be Ballistol?] kit for changing the suspension curve. Good thinking! On the fork crown, you can adjust the compression damping as well as the air pressure and rebound damping. The Formula also has a lockout option with a blow-off valve so that travel can be made available and damage prevented if you hit a sudden bump.
With so many options it’s great that you can really feel every click on every dial. For gearheads and connoisseurs, this means lots of scope to dial in the fork to your own tastes. Beginners and those who are less technically minded can be easily overwhelmed with it all. “Improve for the worse” is what springs to mind! On the trail it becomes clear that the default suspension setting suits both a relaxed and an aggressive riding style. Most riders will therefore get by without experimenting with the options too much. Formula’s fork uses the first two thirds of its travel willingly, and gets much more progressive towards the end. Using the compression damping, you can change the character of the fork from “stiff and sporty” to “soft and comfy” over a wide range. On the whole, however, the 35 doesn’t give as much feedback about the trail below as a Fox 34 Float or a RockShox Pike.
On the climbs the fork is very active and needs the lockout. Despite the blow-off function, we would prefer adjustable platform damping here.
The service policy of Formula is exemplary: the first two services are included in the purchase price and include any spare parts required. That’s how you keep customers happy!
Formula has a high-performance enduro fork in its range with the 35. It can definitely hold its own with the big players on the market. The fork is light and stiff, responds well at the beginning of the travel, remains active on the trail, and is highly adjustable thanks to the many compression damping options. Initial set-up requires more time than with other, simpler forks, but thanks to the fact that each click of a dial can be felt on the trail, even beginners can work it out if they are willing and determined enough.
Here you can read the overview article: “Review: Six suspension forks selected for testing”
You can read an in-depth feature about the group test and our conclusions in the actual ENDURO issue #009! As usual it’s free & only digital for iPad, Android-Tablets and Online-Viewer: Issue #009.
Text: Aaron Steinke Fotos: Fabian Rapp