At Sea Otter we asked key suspension makers what they see as trends both in their own mountain bike fork & shock product development, and where the industry is headed overall. We filmed the chats, so we could share their unedited thoughts on how they look at bike suspension, making better bikes for every ride, and what’s coming in 2019…

Suspension Trends, from Sea Otter to 2019 Products

The overarching trend in suspension is the continued evolution of more capable suspension, generally to tackle more technical terrain – and that continues into 2019. Whether you are riding a new gravel bike or an enduro bike, frame reach is getting longer, head tubes are getting slacker, yet we are putting more weight on the front wheel. Rear shock design might be trending towards replicating coil-like performance, but the new geometry has driven fork progression as well, certainly not stopped by more wheel sizes popping up across all disciplines.

MRP

MRP Hazzard coil spring rear shock for enduro and trail mountain bikes

MRP sees that some mountain bike riders are heading back towards the performance and supple feel of coil shocks for proper enduro riding and racing, which drove development of their new Hazzard shock. They also see an industry honing off-road ‘modern trail’ geometry and appreciating the impact of balancing head angles, fork offset & trail figures, so they are adding a number of fork offsets to better match OEM specs. MRP also have their own take on offset measurements – something close to, but not exactly the same as, what’s found on most bikes. The intention there is to give riders yet another way to customize the handling of their bikes.

SR SUNTOUR

2018 SR Suntour Axon boost mtb fork for XC mountain bikes

The big deal from SR Suntour is Boost spacing. Sure nothing new there, but they’ve gone full in. There are other product updates from them, which we’ll outline in a separate post.Everything’s Boost spaced now.

ROCKSHOX

2018 Rockshox Boxxer World Cup and RC dual crown mountain bike suspension fork

RockShox just overhauled virtually all of their mountain forks, from the Boxxer to the SID, with new gripshift remote lockouts and Deluxe shock improvements thrown in between. Their ongoing direction is headed into larger negative air volumes and refined internals to make air forks and shocks feel more like coil springs. By which they mean instantly active, with no stiction, so they can react to even the smallest bumps.

RockShox are also looking at ways to keep their products simple and feeling good right out of the box. Make something instantly usable, but provide the right range of adjustments that actually offer useable benefits & improvement to your ride. Sounds like a nice idea to us.

MARZOCCHI

Marzocchi returns with Bomber Z1, Bomber 58 suspension forks featuring Fox tech

Marzocchi pretty much got us up to speed with their all-new fork collection and the return of the Bomber. They continue to work to make sure they have all the right fork offsets that riders and OEM partners will need. Their overall brand goal is to offer Fox’s proven technology in a burlier and more affordable package. That sounds pretty good too.

Where is Suspension Tech going from here?

fox grip2 dual compression knob controls high and low speed compression damping

These key points really hit pretty much across the board with all of the suspension manufacturers. We didn’t break it down with Fox who also made big fork introductions in recent weeks with their 120mm 34 Step Cast, new Grip2 damper & Float X2 shocks. But like with RockShox, for Fox “constant refinement” is the buzzword – always finding little ways to make their current stuff work even better – like the sneaky little bottom out bumper in the new X2 shock.


The fun never ends. Stay tuned for a new post each week that explores one small suspension tech, tuning or product topic. Check out past posts here. Got a question you want answered? Email us. Want your brand or product featured? We can do that too.

12 COMMENTS

    • You can’t be serious. Did you listen to what he was talking about or just look at the main cover image?
      Duncan seems like an extremely knowledgeable and experienced person, someone who is perfect for his job. Many reps and pr people don’t know their head from their ass. It’s great to see someone who knows what they’re talking about.

      Btw, have you ever tried to have a conversation with Fisher? Yeah, good luck with that

  1. BR should really look into having external microphones. I can’t make it through the Friday roundup videos, or this one either. It’s picking up everything around the camera and very difficult to hear conversational volumes. Anyone else notice this?

  2. “Their overall brand goal is to offer Fox’s proven technology”
    Ummmm marzocchi was streets ahead of anything fox has ever done, now it’s just a rebranded fox fork in a heavy chassis..

  3. Riffle can ride his ass off and knows what he is talking about. Despite BR’s jabs he did answer the questions if not without more information than was needed. I say good on Rock Shox/SRAM for allowing him to have his esthetic as there are not too many major companies that would hire someone that inked up for a PR spot. I don’t really care about his tattoos (they are impressive at least) and found him to be well spoken and mostly on point.

What do you think?