Race Only Springs have gone from a handful of World Cup riders bikes to covering nearly the entire top 30 who use the Boxxer, true tried and tested performance which is now available to any level rider.
The highest grade of motorsport steel is used in the springs construction, this Super High Tensile Material is to ensure the highest standard of performance possible. The steel wire used was specifically developed for high performance motorsport use, this ensured a race cars suspension settings wouldn’t change due to a springs length or rate changing after heavy use. Essential to high performance machinery and also keeping suspension behaving as wanted.
After the springs have been cold coiled into their shape, they are put through a specific heat treatment process to ensure the springs rate and length are preserved throughout its lifetime.
The springs are bombarded with shot to stress the surface of the spring at micro level, this ensures no micro cracking on the surface of the springs and greatly increases the longevity of the spring.
Each individual spring is set to block to prevent the spring from shortening over its intended lifespan, this is a process used for high end motorsport to prevent a shortened spring from effecting suspension and performance characteristics.
Standard epoxy coatings are perfectly fine for standard springs, in line with the high performance nature of Race Only Springs, a coating normally reserved for F1 springs has been applied. This is a black KTL coating which is six times thinner than a standard coating, this preserves the springs stroke and more importantly preserves the springs rate as much as physically possible.
Due to the extremely high tech CNC machines that produce the spring, we were able to create the first truly precision Dual Rate spring in the mountain bike market. This enables us to take full advantage of the coil springs performance advantages, and now pair it with perfect ramp up deep in the travel. This is achieved by a change in rate at 70% spring travel and an increase of 15% in the spring rate. A feature currently unseen in the industry which has produced incredible performance benefits.
Low Friction Spring Isolator
Not content with the standard heat shrink applied to OE springs, we sought to find a solution. As a spring compresses inside a fork, it immediately deflects and bends inside the stanchion. This causes the spring to contact the inside of the stanchion and cause noise and friction. Heatshrink is a simple and effective solution to counter these problems. We found that the standard heat shrink caused unnecessary friction as the spring slides on the inside of the stanchion. After three phases of testing on the World Cup circuit we settled on a specialised Low Friction Spring Isolator. This see through sheath has a noticeable reduction in the stiction of the fork and also dampens any noise of the spring contact during use.
Reduced arm and hand fatigue
One thing became apparent from the testing of prototypes on the roughest World Cup tracks, the reduced arm and hand fatigue. This is mostly due to the slippy Spring Isolator which covers the middle of the spring, after testing numerous samples one stood out as being superior. The difference in sensitivity in the first few cms of travel on the trail was very apparent. Riders found big differences on the rougher World Cup tracks such as Fort William.
Increased Traction and feel
Another stand out benefit is the increase in traction and front end feel when using the upgrade spring. During the initial tests at prototype level the first comments after the first few runs were the increase in grip. Thanks to the springs high quality manufacturing processes it can react to the terrain better than a standard coil or air set up, it moves out of the way and extends back to the trail in a very dynamic manner. The greater feeling of grip and control is the combination of all the springs features working together to create the perfect ride characteristics needed to compete at the highest level of international Downhill racing. This is apparent from the top 5 finishing World Cup riders all the way down to the weekend enthusiast.
Superior Bottoming Control
The one stand out negative of using a standard coil is the lack of bottoming support. A standard spring is totally linear in its action, this is one of the main reasons riders will switch from coil to air. Air has a very steep ramp in rate toward the end of travel giving it a bottomless feeling. The lack of end rate support in the current coil spring line up was one negative we set out to solve. The dual rate aspect of the spring is its main feature, with a 15% rise in the spring rate at 70% compression, its represents a long R&D and testing phase for the product over two years. The 15% rise in rate was agreed after testing on the World Cup circuit for the entire 2016 season, where the spring was only outside the top 10 at one round. This rise in rate gives incredible support on large impacts, superior to that of air. With all the benefit of coil feel and grip, with an even better bottoming support the air. As close to perfection as is currently possible.
Reduced Feedback in Handlebars
Last but not least is the reduction of harsh feedback in the handlebars. This is a result of the smooth action of the spring allowing the front wheel to move over objects much more freely than standard options. As well as the bottoming support preventing harsh impacts at full travel use. This allows the rider’s handlebars to remain far more level during rough sections of track or through repetitive large impacts. This in turn allows the rider to concentrate on the track and not on holding onto the bike or on tired arms and hands slowing them down.