Suspension tuning is an absolute minefield for most people. For the majority of us, when we get a new bike, we set the fork up according the manufacturer’s recommendations, do a classic “car park bounce”, ride off and forget about it. Chances are though, you probably aren’t squeezing every ounce of potential out of your lovely new expensive suspension fork. High speed compression, low speed compression, rebound, damping… it can all get a bit overwhelmingly technical if you’re not of an engineering mindset. Formula set out to make the suspension tuning of their forks easy with the CTS; Compression Tuning System.
What is the Formula CTS “Compression Tuning System”?
Suspension tuning is often the job of a specialist mechanic. It can be quite easy to spend a lot of money sending your fork off for custom tuning, and it often invalidates the warranty of your fork. Formula say their “CTS Pack” offers everyone the chance to tune the damping of their formula fork, with 7 different valves for 7 different ride feels. It should be almost like having 7 different forks, one for each riding situation.
The 7 behaviours offered by the “CTS Pack” are as follows:
- The Gold valve is the closest to the “industry-standard” set-up of a MTB fork; great sensitivity in the first two centimeters of travel, the right amount of support at low and medium speeds, and a constant though gentle progressivity.
- The Orange valve is suitable for conditions where you need maximum sensitivity in the first two centimeters of the travel, combined with a greater support at low and medium speeds, all while having a more pronounced progressivity towards the end of the travel. The Orange valve be suit for those riders who are looking for more progressivity from their fork, without wanting to change the behavior of the fork at low and medium speeds.
- With the Green valve you get a setting that leaves a very sensitive first two centimeters of travel, but also gives maximum compression support at medium and high speeds. The Green valve is suitable for riders who aggressively load the front wheel.
- Silver valve is designed to give maximum comfort at low speeds as well as throughout the first part of the travel. A setting designed to get a feeling of infinite travel up to halfway through the travel, all without giving up the indispensable support at high speeds.
- The Blue valve has been designed to combine comfort and support. With this valve you get that feeling of having lots of travel available without giving up a sustained behavior at high speeds. The Blue valve has a more pronounced progressivity, for that reason it makes the fork more suitable for those riding styles that look for comfort at lower speeds and support at the higher speeds.
- With the Red valve you get a racing setup at high speeds combined with great comfort at low speeds. It’s particularly suitable for those riders which have a fairly central riding
position on the bike, and who have basically a very smooth style.
- The E-Bike setting. A setting that transfers the behavior of the Green valve onto the
typical stress of the E-Bike. Basically, a heavier bike with a greater inertia while braking.
The CTS valve is a fundamental structural part of the hydraulic cartridge of the fork coming directly into contact with the oil, so changing it has the potential to be a messy job if not done carefully. OK, it does sound like it could be super complicated, but you don’t need to be a mechanic for this job.
This video shows how you can change the valve in around 5 minutes, with the use of a shock pump, a 10mm wrench, the CTS tool and a 1.5mm hex key.
But they’ve had these for a while…what’s new?
True. Formula introduced the first three CTS tuning inserts a couple years ago. Then they added the next set. But until now, they all had to be purchased separately at $60 a pop. And unless you already knew exactly what you needed to do to your fork, it was an expensive gamble. Now, you can just get the whole set of 7 for $229. Strangely enough, it looks as though the CTS Tool is sold separately at $50.