Every year, Fox Racing Shox ups the ante in the fork wars with either refinements or complete re-designs. At this point, their only real competition is with RockShox since everyone else has been reduced to a blip on the radar screen. While there are some good forks out there from other brands, there’s no doubt that Fox Racing has a serious leg-up on the competition due to their unmatched racing heritage and ongoing R&D opportunities in mountain biking, motocross and auto racing. Plus, look around at your local bike shop and most bikes are equipped with Fox suspension forks.
For 2011, Fox is introducing a slew of technology to go along with their entirely-new 29er model. Here are some features of the 2011 Fox 32 TALAS 29 Terralogic fork:
- FIT damper with Terralogic
- Kashima Coat stanchions for protection and ultra-smooth travel
- Travel: 120mm or 95mm via TALAS switch
- Axle: 9mm or 15QR (tested)
- Colors: Black or White (tested)
- Steerer: 1 1/8″ or 1.5″ tapered
- Weight: 4.12 lbs (tapered steerer – tested)
- MSRP: $1095
2011 Fox 32 TALAS 29er Fork Review
As I’ve become more and more familiar with Fox suspension forks, the more invisible they become. Not that I completely ignore them, but they do settle into the background of my mind so I can focus on other things — like enjoying the ride. That can definitely be said about the all-new big kahuna in Fox’s 29er lineup.
The test steed has been the venerable Niner RIP 9. Not only has this bike been the perfect match for this fork (120mm travel front/rear), but it looks mighty sharp when dressed for the ball. The white color lowers (also available in black) match the raw finish and white Niner logos. Ain’t she pretty?
Looks aside, the new 32 TALAS 29 is packed with great features. Tops on my list is the TALAS travel adjustment lever. While dropping the fork by 25mm may seem unnecessary for a bike built to take a 120mm fork, it makes a noticeable difference on long climbs without changing the quality of the travel. On extra-steep singletrack climbs, the reduced front-end height was oh-so-welcome. Not that the RIP is a bad climber (the thing climbs like a beast) and not that the front end wandered any in full-travel mode, but that drop really puts the bike on rails and keeps the front end tracking ultra-straight and glued to the trail. You’ve got to experience it to understand but believe me when I tell you it’s worth it.
The stanchions feature the new Kashima Coat which will become the gold-standard in stiction-free travel and durability alike. Curious about the technology behind this new coating, I dug up some details from Fox:
The Kashima Coat technology has been used for years across the motorcycle and automotive industries in suspension components and clutch and valve train assemblies because of its low-friction and ultra-wear resistance properties.
In the revolutionary Kashima Coat process, lubricating molybdenum disulfide is deposited, via electrical induction, into the billions of micropores on the surface of hard-anodized aluminum. The distinctive gold colored, Kashima coated stanchions maintain better lubrication characteristics, and the lightweight aluminum components treated with Kashima Coat attain a level of hardness and abrasion resistance four times tougher than standard hard-anodized aluminum.
The bottom line is with Kashima Coating, the stanchions are smoother, harder and more durable than any other coating on the market today. All I can say is that I agree. Out of the box, this fork has been the most supple and stiction-free of any recent Fox fork I’ve tested. There was a slight break-in period, yes, but I can confidently say that it has nothing to do with the stanchions. This fork is the epitome of stiction-free travel.
Setting the sag at 25%, the Terralogic in 5 clicks and the rebound right in the middle between slow and fast, I went out to terrorize the trails. As mentioned above, the TALAS system can change your bike into a superhero climber with the flick of a switch, but what about the down? Lets start with the tapered steerer. I’m a huge fan as it noticeably stiffens up the front end for steering precision. Add on top of that the QR15 front axle and the entire package just feels ultra-stiff and solid… definitely the most confidence-inspiring 29er fork I’ve ever tested. It simply laughs at rough terrain and drops that would make other forks whimper and flex.
While 29ers do roll better and provide an extra dose of smoothness, you’ve still got to have good quality squish to connect all the dots for the perfect ride. One of those factors is how well it performs in high-speed stutter bumps. That kind of trail chatter is enough to knock your fillings loose. While it did take a little bit of finagling, I was able to find (with some guidance from Fox’s superstar techs) just the right air pressure and rebound settings for the ultimate in smooth. The 32 TALAS 29er really shines in harsh trail conditions and absorbs big hits extremely-well. No, this isn’t going to be quite as supple as a 160mm travel Fox 36 fork, but it’s pretty darn amazing.
For 2011, Terralogic essentially replaces the “L” in the RLC model. Instead of an outright lockout, Terralogic acts a lot like Propedal in Fox rear shocks by setting a blowoff threshold. This can be dialed-in by adjusting the knob under the right fork leg. On the trail, it works well and remains firm until met with a rough trail. I could see this becoming more and more valuable for racers or extended climbs, but I just brought it in 5 clicks and pretty much left it. I felt it was the perfect balance of efficiency and bump absorption.
Just for kicks, I did some extensive testing of the Terralogic system at both extremes from all the way on to completely off. With it maxed, it still easily blows through the threshold upon hitting any obstacle (large or small), but there ‘s a noticeable blowoff point. In the off position, there was little noticeable threshold. By placing this at the bottom of the fork leg, this indicates that it’s likely a “set it and forget it” type of adjustment — that’s how I used it.
Not a whole lot to nit-pick about on this fork. It will set you back a cool grand, but the quality of travel and stiffness is unmatched. I’ll be comparing this fork to the 2011 Reba 29er in the coming months, so stay tuned.
Good TALAS 29er
- Love having the adjustable travel. Dropping to 95mm is perfect on the RIP 9
- Kashima Coating is smooth and durable… it’s the bomb
- Ultra-stiff and precise tracking
- Excellent quality travel in both big hits and high-speed chatter
- The 15QR rounds out the package for added stiffness and ease-of-use
Bad TALAS 29er
- With all the adjustments, finding the right settings can be difficult (stick with it though)
- This kind of good lovin’ doesn’t come cheap (but oh is it worth it)
Bottom Line: 2011 Fox 32 TALAS 29 Fork
The Fox 32 TALAS 29 Terralogic fork has really surpassed my expectations in stiffness and quality of travel. The new Kashima Coat and Terralogic and TALAS, you have the perfect triple-threat to crush your local trails. This is the fork to beat for your 29er trailbike.
Buy Now: Search for Fox Forks at CompetitiveCyclist.com
Could you give more details on how you find the Terralogic? How much does it help on standing climbs? Does it hider small bump sensitivity? Compare to a Fox fork without Terralogic… Thanks!
UKI… yesterday was the Tuesday Terralogic Trail Test. I rode over some moderately-rocky singletrack repeatedly with the Terralogic knob on its maximum and minimum settings. At its max, it really reminds me of the Specialized Brain system where it feels rigid until a bump hits it, then it quickly blows through the threshold and feels smooth.
Most people will set it and forget it, but it is like Lockout 2.0 in that it never affects the quality of travel, but instead allows you to set a specific blowoff threshold. It’s much more functional than a lockout, but the setting you choose depends on your personal taste and terrain.
Terralogic is something I do need to test more thoroughly. I basically goofed around with it at its max and minimum settings for reference, then settled in near the middle and left it. With the travel reduction, I didn’t really feel the need to stiffen things up that much more.
But… since you asked and since I’m still curious, that will be my next project. I’ll respond back in a bit once I get a few more miles of testing Terralogic extensively. I’m a little embarrassed that I didn’t do that as part of the review, but it just didn’t cross my mind once I got it set up. Hang tight.
Thanks for the feedback! It sounds great that you find Terralogic not affecting the quality of travel.
Jason – fantastic site. I definitely enjoy your insight and reviews. Regarding the new 2011 fox forks, what would you recommend for the Air 9 Carbon that is spec’d for 80-100 mm? This new Terralogic sounds incredible, but I need a tapered steerer. I could stick the front at 95 mm or would I be better off going with the RLC 100 mm? A terralogic tapered steerer appears to only come in the Talas….Riding in Aspen/Carbondale/Fuita, plenty of climbing and rough descents. Thanks for any advice if you care to take a stab!
Chris… thanks for the kudos! As far as your fork options. When manufacturers recommend a fork length, it’s done for two reasons: 1) to give the bike the “optimal” handling and 2) keep the frame within its working stress limits. While 20mm extra travel may not seem like a lot, it will dramatically change the handling and could (not sure there) void your warranty on that precious Air 9 carbon. I’d check with Niner on the latter.
Now if it doesn’t void the warranty and you are running it in 95 with occasional stints in 120 mode, I don’t see why not. Handling may be a little slower or it might be exactly what you’re looking for. This one is hard to say either way, but on the flip side an RLC 100 is the safest bet for worry-free riding.
It is odd that the F29 Terralogic 100mm doesn’t appear to come in a tapered steerer. Hmmm. I wonder if a call to Fox might reveal its availability. I don’t see why they wouldn’t offer the top-of-the-line fork in a tapered option.
Jason, what is the difference between the 32 Talas 29 FIT RLC and the 32 Talas 29 FIT Terralogic, Besides the Terralogic is a little heavier and more complicated? Denny
As far as I know, the Terralogic internal system is the only difference. It does allow you to dial in your blowoff threshold in a way I’ve never seen before. Once you pass that blowoff, the quality of travel remains intact whereas with a lockout, it seems to stiffen everything up. If it’s worth it to you to have that kind of pinpoint adjustments then I’d recommend it.
At least the 95/120mm appears to come in tapered in Talas 29 Terralogic.
Gerr… yes indeed. That’s the very same fork I reviewed. 🙂
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