When it comes to mountain bike suspension their are a lot of players in the market that produce some great products. The big two of Fox and Rockshox hold the biggest share of the market with brands such as DVO, Cane Creek and Ohlins all offering some worthy competition.
Now, if like me you have a bit of trail time under your knee pads, suspension like tyre choice is something that you tend to know what you trust and it is going to take a lot of convincing to get you to move away from that comfort zone and risk losing your front teeth.
So when we got a call from Madison the DT Swiss distributor asking if they can pop in for a chat about a new fork DT Swiss have developed, I’ll be honest we didn’t do any backflips. Now this isn’t going to be where I list a whole load of numbers and technical jargon, this is a review of our first impressions of how it felt on the trail. We will be happy to provide more in depth specification for those who want it or full specification and model options can be found on the DT Swiss website.
DT Swiss set out to design a fork that straight out the box required minimal setup with maximum performance. Fit, set air pressure and rebound to your weight from the DT Swiss recommended settings and go ride. They have even developed a handy setup App that keeps the process super simple. So we fitted the F535 (140mm travel) to our Evil Following MB, done a quick setup and went riding.
The first ride was mostly on natural trails with a mix of steep root infested sections to rock gardens, small drops and fast flowing singletrack, with the final blast of the day down the black trail at Laggan Wolftrax trail centre, one of the rockiest trail centre trails in the uk. Trail conditions were damp to wet so grip wasn’t going to be easy to find. Certainly a ride that was going to expose any deficiencies in a front fork fairly sharpish.
Straight away you could feel the small bump compliance was excellent providing great levels of grip and building confidence. Now this did give some concern that the trade off for this was going to be a lack of mid-stroke support, those fears were unfounded however, never once did the fork feel like it was sitting to far into the travel or blowing through it. As i grew more confident i was deliberately trying to upset the fork off drops and big compressions and pushing the grip levels in very slippy conditions. So with the first test done we headed of for a weeks riding with the Ride Sierra Nevada crew in Spain, trail conditions were the polar opposite to Scottish Winter, long, loose, dry dusty trails with some serious rock sections were all thrown at this fork all with the exact same settings as we dialled in out of the box.
I really can’t fault this fork, its not often you get a fork that works so well through its full range of travel as the F535 ONE does straight out the box. You very quickly forget you have a new fork plumbed in up front as it just gets on with its job and allows you to enjoy your riding. For some the F535 may not offer enough twiddling and tuning options but it certainly doesn’t require any. DT Swiss set out to design a fork that is easy for everyone to setup with the minimum fuss, rather than tying yourself in knots with your high, low speed compressions. Its early days but so far it looks like they have achieved just that, should the big two be looking over their shoulder they would be fools not to. Put it this way it might be a shop demo fork but it’s not coming off my bike without a fight. Give us a call if you want to demo one, you won’t be disappointed, just bring your boxing gloves.