Improved small bump compliance. Better sealing against the elements. Plus the ability to easily change and customize your fork’s seals all for less than $50? That’s the plan if DampferKlinik’s Sentinel fork seals reach their funding goals.
Created by Melanie Keding and Steffen Dittmar after years of their own research, Sentinel fork seals are a product of their suspension clinic based in Tübingen, Germany. There have been replacement fork seals/dust wipers before, but not like this. Instead of relying on a rubber body, Sentinel takes a novel approach and uses a combination of plastics with tuneable levels of protection.
Promising better performance in nearly every way, the Sentinel may be protecting a lot more forks in the near future…
Looking like no other seals before them, Sentinel owes its unique look to its patent pending two-part design. Rather than using a rubber body with a tapered lip to keep out the dust, Sentinel seals use a plastic body that house individual sealing inserts. Capable of holdingup to four different inserts, Dämpferklinik, tells us that the inserts will initially be made of specific types of chemical resistant polyurethane. They also mention that inserts of other materials will be released in the future. Based on the combination of inserts, Sentinel claims to offer the lowest friction of any seal/dust wiper as well as the best fork protection.
The availability of different types of inserts and the ability to run all four or less will allow riders to tune the seals to their intended use. While changing the inserts would require pulling the lowers from the stanchions, the changing of the insert itself is as simple as replacing an o-ring. Dämpferklinik says the body of the seal is robust enough to hit it with a soft hammer to install and from there it stays in place – no need to remove to change the inserts. The same goes for when the inserts wear out. Simply change over to new sealing inserts, change the oil, and you’re good to go. Theoretically this should save both time and money on routine fork maintenance. Since anodized aluminum is harder than PU, according to Dämpferklinik the seals will not wear out your stanchions.
Lighter than conventional fork seals, the Sentinel seals will also be available in a range of colors. Thanks to the use of technical plastics the bodies can be made in just about any color but for the Sentinel Kickstarter there will be 6 colors offered with two of those six chosen by backers. Unfortunately, we had this story ready to go, then the Kickstarter got pushed back and we missed the note that it was live so there is less than 48 hours left with a hefty gap in their funding goal. Who knows, maybe enough backers will come through in the closing hours to make it happen.
The seals would also be produced in 30, 32, 35, 36, and 40mm sizes for RockShox, Fox, BOS, X-Fusion, and other suspension forks initially with additional possibilities in the future. Retail pricing is expected to run 39 Euro for the complete Sentinel seal assembly with replacement inserts selling for 19,90 euro with availability in Spring 2016.