Bluetoe...what say you, those that know better and best?
Last week when this fork dropped for real, a reputable and informed source questioned its functionality in colder temps. This info-pinion has since been stricken from the record. I get it. Free speech can be a *****.
My question, as a relative noob regarding suspension, is this: Is there cause for concern around this fork's performance in real cold (say...sub -20 C or so)? I can accept that this tech might have limits, possibly to be overcome, but is this a three-season fork ideally, or will there be an after-market set of seals or a recommended oil to remedy these concerns, if they are actually warranted?
The price point seems pretty decent, and Rockshox puts out solid product by most people's account. But I don't necessarily want to drop cash on this thing if it won't perform adequately, or at least be tweaked to run decently in the temps I originally bought my fatbike(s) to ride in.
Last edited by frozenmonkey; 04-15-2014 at 09:20 PM.
I'm no suspension expert, but the Sram/Rockshox site touts Bluto as a fork to make fatbikes perform better on dirt, which implies they may primarily be targeting three season riders. Personally I have no need for a suspended fattie. Most of my riding is on snow and sand where it would be overkill. A suspension fork would occasionally be nice on some of my tundra tussock rides, but the remoteness of my location (nearest bike shop 500 air miles away) and extreme cold for much of the year make simplicity and reliability far more important. Shocks that work well in truly cold weather certainly are possible, or racing snowmobiles wouldn't exist, but I've seen nothing to indicate Bluto is that shock. I suppose we will see. I'll go further out on a limb and predict that the extreme winter fatbike racing crowd (ITI) will be the slowest to adopt suspension, though there will be experimenters. Speaking personally again, and as an avid fatbike rider since 2009, when I move south in a few years I will be shopping for a bike with suspension, but it won't be fat. 29+, maybe, but not fat.
Last edited by veloborealis; 04-15-2014 at 10:35 PM.
The older I get the better I was...
This takes me back many years when I used to ride motorbikes throughout the winter in Scotland. I regularly rode from uni each weekend across the highlands and back (hot chick motive). We had a particularly long winter so I got good at riding on icy roads (and falling off).
Originally Posted by veloborealis
One weekend I did the ride on an prewar girder fork motorbike. What surprised me was how much better the fork worked in subzero than the telescopic forks of the time. Not as cold as you guys get but probably -15º to -20ºC. It soaked up the frozen ruts and lumps better than what was regarded as a good fork on my normal bike. When I got round to thinking about it I realised that the friction dampers were unaffected by the cold whereas the telescopic fork oil was probably thickening up. Easy enough fix in those days, just use thinner oil. The closed system of dampers these days discourages that.
It will be interesting to see if the Bluto gets an alternative damper cartridge for very cold conditions, or for that matter if it has been tested for them.
And slightly OT, are there any forks these days that allow you to change the damping fluid?
As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
Latitude: 57º36' Highlands, Scotland
Fork speculation thread is specualtive.
I have no use for Bluto on my bike in snow or sand. That bike's set up with Bud and Lou on hundreds.
I'll probably put one on my Fatback with 29+ wheels if it will work. That'll be a three season bike.
Plenty of people use suspension forks in cold weather.
They do tend to be stiffer/ slower....as would be expected.
The Earth keeps turning and they don't explode.
Bluetoe...what say you, those that know better and best?
Back before fat bikes were all the rage some of us rode -gasp- regular mountain bikes in the cold. And yes, some of them had front and even -gasp again- rear suspension. Ok I'm a little dramatic here, but it is often below 0f where I live and suspension does fine. Maybe not perfect, since fluids can thicken and seals get hard, but the last thing I'm measuring when it's 0f and snowy is small bump sensitivity . For me, I think front suspension makes a fat bike a serious all season super fun bike. Switch over to a rigid fork for winter and it's all good!
I'm going to switch back and forth between winter/rigid summer/squishy. Not because I don't trust suspension in the winter but that I really don't need it with the riding I do.
I ordered a Blizzard to try it out.
Originally Posted by bdundee
I agree the Bluto may be overkill 95% of the time in winter...
But we get those times when the trails are a post holed mess....
So who knows
I put a Carver TransFat fork on my Beargrease last summer and enjoyed how it smoothed out the dirt trails. Kept it on and rode all winter and it never failed to perform as it should. Agreed, suspension is rarely needed once the snow pack smooths things out but it never gave me concern about cold weather performance and I used it regularly down to 5F (-15C).
"But we get those times when the trails are a post holed mess...."
^ This ^
If and when I buy a frame that can run this thing, I'll go from there. I'm in agreement that the added squish on the rigid fatbike is substantial, and I'm also not inclined to trade reliability for more squish. The ICTruck looks like tons of fun, but for now summer rollin' will be all Unkle Krampus (love that bike). Part of why I'm interested in the Bluto is that it looks to be the standout fork for running front suspended 29+ or full-fat.
I've been riding Bluto since January. Coldest temps on it were roughly -20. It still works but definitely gets sluggish at those temps. Just like me, and, uh, everything else on the bike.
I think the damper and seals are probably fine. I put a lighter weight oil in mine, as I typically do in my winter-use bikes. Feels great now--meaning in cold and not-so-cold.
I'd have to agree with those who say not a big deal.
Ridden many different forks (and rear squish) over the years, in plenty of cold weather (0 F and a bit below).
Yeah, the ride will change a bit, but it still works well enough, I still get a work out, and it's still way better than sitting inside, waiting for Spring, cursing old man winter...
My suspension fork not working optimally at sub zero?
Decidedly a first world problem.
Yep....it's usually the body that gets stiff at those temps ...I won't worry much about the fork probably....
Originally Posted by jonshonda
Are you feeling OK? That wasn't offensive in the least lol....
don't stir the hornets nest or you'll get stung...
Originally Posted by Shark
I know, but it's always so enjoyable to *poke the bear* haha
Originally Posted by nvphatty