Fox Factory and Bosch have teamed up to transfer Intelligent Ride Dynamics (iRD) and the Live Valve from the bicycling world to four wheels. Today’s suspended bikes need to be firm for pedaling (preventing wasted energy) and soft to absorb bumps, so Fox Advanced Product Group (APG) came up with the Live Valve, a tiny magnetic solenoid that varies pressure on shock and fork valve stacks to instantly adjust hydraulic damping. Accelerometers sense impacts and reduce damping forces in five milliseconds (0.005 seconds), and electronic timers anticipate a second impact and momentarily keep damping soft before resetting.
Five years ago, Fox’s APG went to work on an electronic suspension control system. Fox’s cycling division already had the iCD electronic remote lockout (now called iRD) in production at the time, so they were no stranger to mixing batteries and buttons with shim stacks and hydraulic fluid. APG developed an automated suspension system capable of reading the terrain and modulating the hydraulic damping of the forks and shock to optimize pedaling without upsetting the mountain bike’s bump-leveling performance and traction. The technology has advanced light-years beyond the initial hard-to-soft suspension-bike Live Valve.
TRUE SMART SUSPENSION FOR UTVS
Yamaha has an exclusive with Fox to fit its revolutionary YXZ1000R and Sport Shift Special Editions with Fox 2.5 Podium X2 shocks with separate high- and low-speed compression and rebound adjusters. Fox and Bosch took the iRD Live Valve concept to the next level by fitting magnetic solenoids to the X2’s separate compression and rebound assemblies and controlling hydraulic damping via ECUs and a series of sensors – speed, brake pressure, acceleration, steering and inertia. Fox had the X2 display at the King of the Hammers as an example of the many projects Fox Racing Applications Development (RAD) is working on with its many motor-sports and action-sports athletes.
Live Valve stabilizes the UTV’s ride height and keeps it level while the suspension is absorbing bumps. It also levels the UTV while braking, steering, or accelerating, but its most important benefit is that Live Valve can eliminate body roll without adversely affecting the car’s suspension action. Push a button and the increase in its cornering ability is greatly enhanced. With Live Valve, the UTV can be adjusted on the fly for hard cornering or softened for a plush ride or articulation in rocks. Sensors and ECUs can prevent or enhance weight transfer during hard braking or acceleration, depending on what ride quality is desired. Such projects are Fox’s laboratory of where the technology could take us, but they’re just projects at this point; no products have come to fruition for the UTV world…yet.
The moment Fox RAD/APG does release a product with iRD/Live Valve technology, we’ll be all over it.
Bosch, which made paddle shifters for the YXZ1000R (UTV August, 2016), has teamed with Fox RAD to develop Live Valve technology, in this case, for the Fox Podium X2 shocks on YXZ Special Editions. Magnetic solenoids vary high- and low-speed compression and rebound damping, via terrain/sensors or rider inputs, to fine-tune the X2s at speed for desert, dunes, trail, comfort or full-race conditions. Fox RC2 and IBP shocks could also become iRD Smart Shocks.