What do you do when you have an unused front shifter and a Fox AX suspension fork? If you’re Wolf Tooth Components/Otso Cycles, you think, “hey, that could be useful as a lock out switch.” Thanks to the number of bikes they were shipping with Shimano 1x drivetrains which lack a true 1x front shifter option, Otso thought they could make better use of the non-functioning front shifter. After confirming with Fox that it would work and having fox techs walk them through the set up, Otso was left with a way to make a Shimano 2x STI lever into a functioning Fox AX lockout lever for 1x gravel grinding awesomeness…

According to Otso, the hack doesn’t require any special parts – just a Shimano 2x or 3x front shifter on a 1x drivetrain and the new Fox AX fork with the FIT4 2-position remote damper. After anchoring the shift cable to the fork’s top cap, shifting through the trim to the full stop activates the lockout and downshifting to the “easiest gear” opens the system back up. Otso has only set these up with 2×11 road shifters since that’s what’s available for hydraulic drop bar shift options from Shimano, but theoretically a 3x front shifter would work as well if you were riding mechanical disc brakes. Using a 3x shifter and the 3 position FIT4 damper might even open up the ability to shift through Open, Trail, and Lockout modes.

The best part is that if you’re planning to order a new stainless Otso Warakin with the Fox AX fork, you can order this set up right from the factory. Warakins equipped with the AX hack start at $3849 complete, which is a $650 upgrade over the carbon fork and any bike with the AX fork is available with or without the lockout hack (provided it’s a 1x drivetrain with Shimano shifters).




    • from the patch. on

      It’s happening… heard it through the grapevine. Picture a beefy 105, it’s probably gonna be 2×11 though. The latest generation of ultegra can handle a 32t cassette, I imagine this gravel one can handle a 36t granny gear.

      • FFM on

        Seraph: “dedicated 1x road/gravel/cross drivetrain”
        from the patch: “it’s probably gonna be 2×11 though”
        Shimano in a nutshell.

    • Zak on

      Totally – I wish they’d do an Ultegra level CX/gravel group with a clutched derailleur. I’m running a super mixed up setup on my CX/gravel bike – RS685 DI2 Hydro levers, XT Di2 rear derailleur with a Wolftooth Goatlink 11, Sram X01 10-42t cassette, Wolftooth Elliptical 42t ring on Ultegra 6800 cranks, and a Wolftooth Gnarwolf chainguide. Really happy with how it performed at the Crusher in the Tushar last weekend. It’s rad – quiet and simple like all my 1x MTBs. Thinking about turning a 685 mechanical hydro lever into a dropper post remote – just need to swap my frame for one with a round post instead of the d-shaped post on my Giant TCX Adv.

      • btd on

        Same frame and shifter/rear derailleur setup. Shimano 11-40 cassette. Did you NEED the goatlink to clear the 42 cassette? Mine looks like it could easily do way bigger than a 42 without any extender.

  1. Someguy on

    Given how stubborn they are, they probably consider a compact or cross double just fine for gravel/cross. Remember how late they were getting their mountain stuff to 1x or even 2x before that? They still have mountain in 3x, which I really like.Besides, they didn’t quite start 1x off right with XTR only coming in 11-40.

    I kind of understand where Shimano is coming from. After all, their front derailleurs actually work. That said, I really am feeling the itch to build a 1x graveler and given a Shimano option, I’d go for it.

    I kind of wish that 1x/2x/3x stick around, options are cool. Thing is, 3x does seem to be dying, notice how SLX 11 speed doesn’t come in 3x? Even the M7000 3×10 options aren’t listed on Shimano’s North American site anymore.

    Perhaps the most annoying thing about losing the front 3x setups is that you lose out on the larger chain ring options. The official Sram Eagle rings should come in 40-44t. As some one who rides on the road to my mountain biking destination, I would really miss my triple for no other reason than that id lose the 44t ring.

  2. js on

    I’ve set up MTB’s the same way, using a Shimano SLX 3x shifter on a Fox 3-position Fork. You obviously need to be careful with where the cable stops in the middle, but it works brilliantly!

    Now we just need Shimano to make a clutch rear derailleur that works with their road stuff. You know, so we can all enjoy riding ‘fun’ road bikes and Marianne Vos can be World CX Champ.

    • trevor on

      Look up “How to Install a Dropper Post on a Cyclocross Bike” on trainerroad’s website: How-to for Sram. I’m looking for one for Shimano, because I fully intend to do this for the next CX bike.

      • Masa on

        Thanks trevor, found the site, very helpful! I have Shimano on my CX bike too, will see if it is easy to disable the ratcheting mechanism.

  3. HillDancer on

    I’m glad to see the AX get some attention. Kudos for the innovation!

    I’m sure there are those who would find this added feature beneficial, but I don’t have a need or desire for a remote. With optimal tuned sag, standing pedal-bob on the short travel AX is relatively insignificant in medium mode, and there’s still just minor mush in open mode. Full firm is selected for long, steep, paved climbs. Also, the adjustment lever/dial is accessible and easy to index while riding if I want different settings. Compression ramp-up from the air spring mitigates brake dive too.

    Since I have use for all three compression damper modes, I recommend the three position FIT4 fork.

  4. Thomas Chapman on

    Dropper > Fork lockout.

    Most people don’t need a suspension fork on a gravel bike, and if you do, then you don’t need lockout.

    Dropper however is way more useful, way more confidence for drops/roots/jumps/steeps without a saddle right up your arse.

    • Marc L on

      I’ll say that I reach for the lockout more than the dropper on the gravel bike- mostly because I don’t get into especially rough or steep terrain. Imagine a mixed-media commute where you’re ducking in and out of trails on the way to work. On the mountain bike I use the dropper all of the time but never lock out my fork. YMMV


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