Suspension components are very technically complex and they’re responsible for a big part of the bike’s overall performance. Fox Racing Shox started producing suspension components for bikes only about 15 years ago und used their knowledge – coming from the motocross-industry – to become the industries benchmark for a long time. Even though they kept innovating and working hard, the competition seemed to have run just a bit harder in the past years. Rockshox ‘s Charger dampers for the Pike and Boxxer forks work so well and set the battle in suspension-componentry on fire. For the consumer it’s a great thing, the competition pushes the products to new levels and really make a difference in performance compared to products that are only a few years old.
Next to the regular product-line FOX has been running their RAD-program for a while now. Shocks and forks only for team riders, tuned and tweaked with a lot of secrets. There’s no doubt that FOX has been working hard and we hope to feel improvements on the new 2015 34 Talas fork. The 34 Talas FIT CTD has been on our Mondraker longterm-testbike for some months now and it’s time to share our first experiences.
Visually there are some changes on the 2015 34 forks, but all that counts is the performance. The fork we tested has the Kashima coat and the remote CTD adjustment. There is a rebound dial on the bottom right leg and the compression can be set by the CTD (Climb Trail Descend) remote-lever. The air-sprung fork has 160mm of travel and can be lowered down with the Talas-knob on the top left. Lowering the fork results in a drop of 28mm (132mm left).
The fork is working super smooth starting in the sag-position (25% of the travel) and absorbs little impacts very well. Pushing the fork without a preload (no SAG) feels a little less “butter-smooth”. A good thing is that the fork uses it’s travel very efficiently, it has a large and rather linear range of travel. For enduro-racers the last bit of travel could be more progressive to avoid bottom-outs. Overall the fork works amazingly, it feels stiff, but also comfortable and is certainly built to a high standard.
The compression setting on the fork is adjusted with the remote CTD-lever. Climb, Trail or Descend covers a range between fork-performance (Descend) and pedal-efficiency (Climb). The Trail-mode is a bit in between and we found ourselves rarely using this setting, in reality we used the lever more as an ‘on-off’ switch. The lever on the handlebars is new and more compact than last years. Both knobs are located a bit high, but work fine. The trail-mode is a bit hard to find when you’re riding full on; it lacks the ergonomic ‘confirmation-click’ we were looking for.
- Available sizes: 26” & 27,5”(160mm); 29”(140mm)
- Travel: 160-132
- Headtube: 1.5” – 1 1/8” Tapered
- Spring: Air
- Adjustments: Rebound, CTD, Air pressure and travel
- Weight: 2,00kg
- Axle: 15mm
- Brakemount: Postmount
So far in the test the 2015 FOX 34 Talas has been a great fork, it’s light, stiff and works well. The CTD-lever is a nice feature, especially for those who are looking at the clock. Riders with an aggressive style of riding might be a bit disappointed as the fork is very linear rather than progressive on the last inch of travel. Reliability so far has been excellent, but it is too early in the test to draw any strong conclusions, we look forward to putting many more hours on this fork. You can always follow how well the fork is performing, plus keep an eye on all the other test bikes and products under review on the long-term-test time line.
Text: Ruben Torenbeek Photos: Klaus Kneist & Robin Schmitt