BOS Suspension. You would be forgiven for thinking that Bos is a reasonably new player in the suspension scene but these guys have been around for a while and are big players in the european rallycar scene with damping systems that were originally designed for mountain bikes. We've not seen a lot of Bos in NZ until Hyperformance Hardware became the NZ distributor a couple of years back and then we saw Jamie Nicoll kick some ass riding Bos suspension. Then a wave of Bos forks and shocks came in last year with the popular YT Industries Capra Pro enduro bike, one of which ended up in my shopping cart. I wasn't a huge fan of the Capra as a trail bike due to the fact that the BOS suspension felt a bit dead until you pushed it hard on rough terrain and it opened up.
The thing with BOS (and this is me reading between the lines) is that they were never trying to appeal to bike manufacturers or Joe Bloggs out on the trail. They were trying to develop a race winning fork and shock. And they achieved this, and it's common knowledge that the Deville fork offers incredible ground hugging performance on the roughest terrain. BOS seem to have achieved this with a damper that isolates the ride force (body movements, pedalling etc) from the ground force (jumps and hits and rough terrain). To simplify it, BOS Suspension had a strong no pedal bob damper which kept the fork relatively inactive until the terrain started hitting it aggressively. This is what I didn't like as I'm in the plush club. I like an active bike that offers maximum squish to iron out the trails, I'm not too fussed if it slows my race time by a few seconds.
Let's get back to now. BOS have redesigned both the fork and shock, nothing has been left off the drawing board and the internals are all new so what we are looking at is a NEW fork and a NEW shock. Will there be an improvement for guys like me who want a plush ride? What about the famous high speed ,rough terrain, anti dive fork that has wowed everyone who has been lucky to ride a BOS?
I could only bolt the Kirk2 3 way shock onto my Bronson at first as the Deville fork is not Boost. My first ride was at the Dirt Merchants Enduro and I had no time to really fettle with the shock so I just went out and raced it with the stock settings....and won! Does that mean this shock is amazing? No. It's all about the rider. Ha! But the shock did perform magnificently.
it's a pretty standard looking shock with separate high and low speed knobs, a rebound knob and a pedal switch. You can add volume reducing o-rings to refine your end stroke, and any muppet can do this at home simply by releasing the air and unscrewing the air can cover and adding or subtracting 1-10 o-rings. What sets this shock part is the range of adjustment. There's hardly any. What? Bos aren't trying to sell you a shock on the shop floor. They don't want to offer a range of damping that will ruin your ride if you set it up wrong. There are still plenty of clicks from slow to fast, but the difference is minimal. They have set the damping up to be perfect, then given you a small range either way for personal preference, riding style, and bike design. You can't stuff it up. Riding the Kirk2 is a pleasure. Knobs are big and knurled and easy to adjust.The pedal switch isn't too firm when on, and buttery soft when open. Gone is the harsh compression stroke from last year, bonus. Added is a better bushing overlap which will help when the dreaded torsional flex hits. BOS are adamant that the shock will perform at 100% even when side loaded from twisted landings and corner compressions. The only gripe is there was an annoying compression "squeak" on harsh hits, but Bos tell me that this is the new damper settling in and will go away real quick. I don't know about real quick, it's still there 15 hours later, but it is getting quieter. It's real hard to compare rear shocks today, everyone is making great stuff, but apart from the squeak, I am very happy with the Kirk2 performance. Included in the box are spare bushings and a heap of spacer rings for the air can ramp-up.
Let's have a look at the Deville FCV RaRe 34mm fork now. All new again, but this FCV model still has the strong compression damping I wasn't a fan of last year, BUT it is in a much plusher package. It doesn't seem to "spike" as easily and it was really only noticeable when bring the front wheel down harshly from a manual or rear wheel landing. And that's what this fork is designed to do. Not compress under body weight. it works amazingly well. You can forget about brake dive into corners, this fork is so dynamic, I am absolutely sure that it will improve your race times.
Once again we have High and Low speed adjusters, and a rebound knob up on top. An air spring keeps the fork up, with a self balancing negative air chamber similar to a pike. Bos reckon they have minimised the stanchion binding that occurs under torsional flex and heavy braking by the design of the radar air spring. Whether your'e running a 15 or 20mm hub, the fork is the same , it just has a different axle and dropout thingy. What about RaRe? this stands for race ready 34mm stanchions. Please don't ask me what that actually means.
So I can't really complain about a fork that is noticeably higher in it's travel and will improve your race times, and possibly even decrease the over-the-bar episodes that randomly occur. Everything works well, the axle system is easy and secure. The fork looks great, with a beautifully cast arch and all in gloss black. weight is about 2050 grams which is pretty good for an open bath damper and all this FCV tech. The knobs are easy to adjust and it has a very strong ramp up at end stroke to prevent bottom out. If you are a hard hitting rider or a racer or just seem to have an issue with fork dive then this Deville FCV should change your life.
If you're worried about servicing, don't be. Hyperformance Hardware in Nelson can sort out any issues pretty quickly, but in saying that, from what I've heard, the Deville is a very reliable fork that will just go and go and go. With the fork comes a pump, spare oil, spare seals and a user manual in easy to understand lingo.