Ever since RockShox introduced its Bottomless Token system to market in 2014 alongside the re-release of the Pike, extra riders have been contemplating air spring quantity as a authentic approach of tuning their suspension.
Quick-forward to 2018, and just about each main fork producer has a way of simply adjusting air spring quantity to change how progressive or linear their suspension feels.
Including to that listing, Method’s Neopos is a product that’s additionally designed to have an effect on quantity and the behaviour of the air spring. This nevertheless, ain’t no any unusual quantity spacer.
Components designed the Neopos spacer to regulate air spring quantity inside its forks.
I first examined the Neopos quantity spacer earlier this yr at Bike Connection in Les Will get. I had it fitted to Method’s new Selva R enduro fork, and was capable of carry out back-to-back runs on the bikepark to get a really feel for what the spacer was doing contained in the air spring. You’ll be able to examine my preliminary expertise with the brand new Selva R fork and the Neopos spacer right here.
I scored a couple of Neopos spacers at Bike Connection to take residence with me, and since then we’ve examined them in quite a lot of air-sprung forks starting from 120mm to 170mm of journey. We’ve run the spacer inside a Method 35, a Selva, a few Fox 36’s and a 34 Step-Forged, in addition to an X-Fusion McQueen.
And the outcomes have been fascinating to say the least.
Testing the Neopos spacer in Method’s new Selva R fork again in June. Photograph: Roo Fowler/Bike Connection.
So What Is It?
Components’s Neopos is a quantity spacer, and like these from RockShox and Fox, it’s designed to take a seat contained in the fork’s air spring. This spacer isn’t product of inflexible plastic although. As an alternative, it’s comprised of a squishy, compressible foam.
Method gained’t inform us precisely what materials the Neopos spacer is created from, however we do know that the spacers are manufactured in Italy by an organization that specialises in closed-cell foam and nanotechnology. The froth is aerated with a great deal of tiny air bubbles all through, and it’s these closed-cell air bubbles that permit the spacer to compress underneath strain, earlier than springing again to its unique form.
Maintain Up Sunshine, We’ve Seen Elastomers In Forks Earlier than!
Permit me to make clear – Neopos shouldn’t be an elastomer, and shares completely nothing in widespread with the MCU dampers utilized in suspension forks from final century. Neopos sits contained in the air spring chamber, and is simply designed to compress by air strain. Its perform just isn’t mechanical – nothing presses on it, and it’s undoubtedly not like some type of bodily bump-stop.
It’s like a quantity spacer, solely squishy.
Righto Then, How Does It Work?
Up till now, Components forks haven’t used quantity spacers. As an alternative, customers have been in a position so as to add or subtract oil from inside the primary air chamber to change the air quantity – a messy and considerably faffy course of. The Neopos spacer has emerged as a cleaner and easier answer for altering a Formulation fork’s spring price.
Identical to a daily quantity spacer, Neopos is designed to take up quantity contained in the air spring. You need to use as much as three of them, and the extra you employ the much less air quantity you could have, and the extra progressive your fork will really feel. Up to now, so regular.
Right here’s the place it will get fascinating. In contrast to a inflexible quantity spacer, the Neopos spacer compresses as air strain will increase. In order you undergo the journey and air strain builds contained in the chamber, the Neopos spacer bodily will get smaller in measurement.
And herein lies its magic:
The impact of this compressible spacer may be described as an ‘easing out’ of the spring curve. Most air springs are likely to have a really steep ramp-up within the final portion of the journey, the place the interior air strain builds quickly. That is good for bottom-out help, however it could possibly make the final third of the journey really feel harsh and fewer usable.
As a result of the Neopos spacer will get smaller as you push deeper into the journey although, it’s capable of give all of that constructing air strain just a little additional respiration room. The gentler improve in air strain leads to a smoother and fewer harsh ramp-up on the finish of the journey.
To place it one other method, the Neopos spacer helps to ‘linearise’ the air spring curve. It doesn’t make it utterly linear like a coil spring, however it does produce a barely flatter spring curve.
Notice how a lot flatter the top of the spring curve is with the Neopos spacer, in comparison with a daily quantity spacer.
Regardless of its obvious simplicity although, there’s been loads of testing because the unique concept behind Neopos was born in 2011.
Err, seven years to make a squishy bit of froth?
“So many!” exclaims Components’s Advertising Supervisor, Vittorio Platania, once I ask him what different supplies they examined. “We needed to discover the precise behaviour for each compression and enlargement time, then the best quantity and measurement, after which we examined it with so many various lubrication oils. Plenty of analysis.”
Throughout this testing course of to seek out the correct materials and properties they have been after, Components’s workforce found some sudden results. The compressible quantity spacer was doing what they hoped, however one thing else was happening.
One of many keys to the efficiency of the Neopos spacer is its fixed enlargement time, which is rather like a coil spring.
“The science behind the Neopos was very new for us”, explains Vittorio. “We found one thing that we weren’t anticipating at step one. We spend a number of time, since 2011, to know the physics behind the Neopos and to develop the appropriate product for MTB use”.
What Vittorio is referring to right here is how the Neopos spacer truly modifications the best way air behaves contained in the air spring.
To assist visualise this, image a coil spring by itself. Once you compress a coil spring, its motion is constant and linear. Its response can also be precisely the identical no matter how shortly you attempt to compress it. So it’ll compress the identical quantity whether or not you apply a pressure at low velocity, or excessive velocity.
As compared, the response of a standard air spring isn’t fixed, as a result of the pressure required to compress the air spring is velocity dependent. Attempt to compress it actually shortly, and also you’ll want extra drive to realize the identical quantity of journey.
An air spring will change its behaviour relying on the velocity of the pressure utilized.
If you add a Neopos spacer into the combination although, you’ve acquired one thing mushy and squidgy in there that modifications its compression fee relying on the pressure exerted on it. Put a small quantity of strain on it, and it compresses slowly. Put a load of strain on it, and it compresses shortly. The important thing attribute nevertheless, is its enlargement time. Regardless of how exhausting and quick that preliminary influence, the Neopos spacer will all the time rebound on the similar fee – like a coil spring.
It’s this fixed rebound attribute that goes some strategy to neutralising the speed-sensitive nature of an air-sprung fork. Once more, it doesn’t match that of a coil spring, however based on Method, the Neopos spacer will permit the fork’s motion to be extra constant in its response, no matter influence velocity.
The Neopos spacer gained’t flip your air fork right into a coil spring, however it should create extra consistency throughout a variety of speeds.
I gained’t admit to completely understanding the science behind what the Neopos spacer does inside a fork’s air spring. For these although, you’ll be able to learn extra concerning the concept of what’s happening right here. What I can say is that on the path, it really works.
Maintain Up – Right here’s The Boring Guarantee Bit
Components launched Neopos earlier this yr as an improve answer for its present forks. The brand new Selva R will come provided with a Neopos spacer inside its air spring, however house owners of present Formulation 33, 35, Selva and Nero forks will be capable of purchase a set of three Neopos spacers aftermarket for €29 and use it of their present fork.
Testing the Neopos spacer in a Components 35 fork.
Although the Neopos spacer has been engineered particularly to work with Method’s personal forks, theoretically you’ll be able to slot it into any air-sprung fork with 33mm or greater stanchions. In fact Formulation could be very eager to stipulate that it doesn’t advocate this, partly as a result of it hasn’t examined the Neopos spacer in different model’s forks, and partly as a result of these different manufacturers aren’t more likely to be happy that you simply’re placing bizarre squidgy bits inside their product.
Although I’ve not skilled any injury or wrongdoing induced through the use of the Neopos spacer within the forks we’ve examined, it goes with out saying that identical to becoming an MRP Ramp Management cartridge or a Push ACS3 Conversion Package, modifying your fork in any method will void the unique producer’s guarantee. Obtained it?
And testing it in a non-Method fork.
Becoming the Neopos spacer is as straightforward because it will get. After depressurising the air spring, you merely unthread the highest cap and plop the Neopos spacer immediately contained in the air chamber. You don’t want to string it into the highest cap such as you would with a traditional plastic quantity spacer, and it doesn’t connect to something contained in the fork. Though if floats round in there, it’s so mild and smooth that there’s zero probability of you noticing it.
On The Path
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|Worth:||€29 (pack of three)|
|Examined:||by Wil Barrett & David Hayward for three months|