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No matter how you cut it, no one in the suspension industry is held with as much esteem as Öhlins, and over the years, we've formed an exclusive partnership to develop suspension systems with truly low-hysteresis damping, full user adjustability, and unparalleled bump absorption.
The gravity world is at the forefront of mountain bike technology, as it puts unbelievable stress on equipment. So when we aimed to push the envelope of suspension technology in 2012, starting with downhill was the logical choice, and no suspension partner was better suited for the task at hand than Öhlins. The collective goal was simple: engineer a shock that delivers the control, performance, and adjustability that downhill riders demand. And what we came up with was the groundbreaking twin-tube design of the Öhlins TTX. And now, our collaboration has pushed the limits once again with the Öhlins single-tube air shocks (STX), drop-in cartridges, the Demo TTX shock absorber, and RXF-160 fork.
You might be asking yourself, who is Öhlins? Well, they're a Swedish suspension company that's been at the pinnacle of world-class suspension since its inception in 1976, winning its first motorsports world title just two years later. Öhlins development partners include Lotus, Ducati, and Lamborghini, and its captured championships in everything from Moto GP to Le Mans off-road.
Öhlins' attention to detail is unmatched, and its drive to win races and deliver the very best product is what brought our two teams together. Our first collaboration was on the TTX, which is the only shock technology that truly offers low hysteresis damping performance. This translates into a ride quality of bump absorption and traction that's unmatched in our industry today, and the performance gain is substantial and easily appreciated by riders, as straight-line stability and cornering speed improves dramatically. The shock uses Öhlins' patented twin-tube design to separate compression from rebound, and it's been custom-made for shocks bearing the Specialized name. That's right—you won't find it anywhere else. The TTX also takes proven cues from motocross by using spherical bearings on the forward shock mount that allow the shock to rotate while the bike is under side-load. Again, this dramatically improves cornering traction over rough terrain.
Meanwhile, the single-tube STX shock ushers in a new era in suspension design, as it's our first collaboration with Öhlins developing an air-sprung shock. Again, it's custom-made for Specialized, and it features both high- and low-speed compression, as well as low-speed rebound. It also has an extra-volume reservoir that allows for more oil, which results in more control, less stiction, and an ultra-plush ride quality.
Lastly, the Öhlins RXF-160 fork was designed to be the gold standard in frontend suspension. It operates off of a three-chamber air spring design (two positive and one negative), and it utilizes proprietary TTX damping technology. Combined, this allows both parallel and separated oil flow that controls the overall pressure levels. In a practical sense, this means that the fork is guaranteed to remain high in the travel, while also ensuring smoothness and predictable bump absorption throughout the entire ride. The shape of the spring force is also capable of being adjusted, which grants you more fine-tuning options for preferences, like increased sensitivity, without the threat of bottoming out. This fork has also incorporated an ultra-stiff alloy unicrown design that's comparable in rigidity to a 36mm stanchion fork, only in a 34mm package. This means that it'll experience less flex for more tire control, while also trimming down on some weight.