First Look and Impressions: 2014 FOX TALAS

by Brian Mullin on July 1, 2013

FOX never seems to rest on its laurels, and every year they crank out something new for the biking world. For the 2014 model year, FOX has made two impressive changes to their suspension lineup, including the revised TALAS
fork and the new FLOAT X rear shock. The TALAS is an acronym for Travel
Adjustable Linear Air Spring system, and although the TALAS has gone
through many changes throughout its lifetime, this latest revision is
fairly substantial and sweeping compared to its predecessors. The
complete TALAS redesign gives better ride performance and alterable
travel settings, and it utilizes an updated air spring and a new travel
adjustment system and fewer seals.

TALAS Specs:

  • 26″ – 32 140mm/110mm and 150mm/120mm (3.73 lbs), 34 160mm/130mm (4.3 lbs), 36 160mm/130mm and 180mm/140mm
  • 27.5″ – 32 140mm/110mm (3.83 lbs), 34 160mm/130mm 4.3 lbs)
  • 29″ – 32 120mm/90mm (4.2 lbs), 34 140mm/110mm ( 4.6 lbs)

CTD
The CTD
has the three on the fly adjustments (Climb, Trail, Descend), and in
addition, there are three fine tuning settings for the Trail mode (soft,
medium, firm). For 2014, they increased the compression damping on all
CTD models, and the Descend mode has more support and better control and
keeps the fork up higher in its travel, while the Trail mode has an
all-around tune and the Climb mode gets a firm tune. The 32 and 34 FOX
chassis retains the CTD damper, while the 36 versions get the RC2.

Air Spring
The updated air spring uses a similar design to the 2014 FLOAT, with
fewer seals (from three to one) for smoother and lower friction
movement. The left graph shows how much easier it is to initiate or
activate the travel due to lower breakaway friction, while the lower
dynamic friction makes the first 2/3 of travel closely mimic a coil
spring, before ramping up at the end for bottom out support. The right
graph shows how similar the long and short travel are, and that the
short mode is just as rideable in a wide variety of conditions.

TALAS
Taking inspiration from the 2003 TALAS rear shock, they have decoupled
the travel adjustment from the air spring, and now use an inline
hydraulic adjust system that is cartridge based for easier
serviceability. The two-position travel adjuster uses two check balls to
regulate the oil flow, and the oil doesn’t cycle except during travel
changes.

The
difference in travel (between long and short) can be altered by adding
5mm plastic clip-on spacers, and it’s easily done by un-threading the
top cap and popping them on the cartridge shaft. For example, you could
change the default long/short travel settings of 140mm/110mm to a
140/115 or 140/120, opening up a slew of tunability for the TALAS. In
addition, the total travel is customizable by adding 10mm shuttle
bumpers at the bottom of the air spring assembly, to a maximum of 30mm
for the 32 and 34 chassis, and 40mm for the 36.

The TALAS lever has been upgraded, and is easier to use on the trail, with a shorter 55-degree throw.

Impressions
I have been using the 2014 Factory 34 TALAS 29 140 FIT CTD w/Trail
Adjust on my Ibis Ripley for a couple of weeks, and I am pretty
impressed with this revised fork. The new TALAS is very FLOAT like, and
even with back to back comparisons it would be difficult to discern any
difference between them. The travel is smooth and supple, without any of
the drag issues of its predecessor, and has noticeably less stiction
throughout the stroke.

Transitioning
from long to short modes happens quickly, and the new lever is easier
to turn and has a more defined click with a shorter throw, although it’s
now in engaged in the reverse direction. You just engage the lever,
dump some weight on the fork and your in short travel mode. In the short
travel mode, it feels pretty close to the same as the long with perhaps
a bit more firmness, and it certainly doesn’t have the previous models
grinding into mud feeling riding. There were a few times I forgot to
swap out the setting between long and short, and it wasn’t that
noticeable. This is definitely a fork that could be ridden in the short
mode for more extended periods of time, without any undue loss of
performance. The revised CTD with the increased damping is really is
spot on, and it’s especially a highlight in the Descend mode, with less
diving and a more supportive and controlled feel. Slamming the fork
through gnarly terrain in full-on aggressive mode shows how much better
the performance is with the new spring curve and reduced seals. The
Trail mode with its three micro adjustments of soft, medium and hard,
gave a lot of additional tunings for the CTD, although I preferred just
leaving it in the soft mode. The Climb mode is quite a bit firmer and
feels close to a total lockout, and it really only useful for but smooth
trails and fire roads. Another oddity with the new system is that you
can’t switch to shorter travel while in climb mode since you can’t
compress the fork. It was nice to have a fork that doesn’t sacrifice
performance for travel adjustment. Dropping the fork from 140 to 110 was
greatly appreciated on really steep climbs and tight technical terrain,
and it kept the same progression throughout the stroke. Compared to
earlier models, the air pressure requirement has increased, so while my
2013 TALAS needed 65 psi, the 2014 wanted 120.


 Preliminary Rating: 5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers 

 2014 TALAS Key Features

  • Improved Air Spring – improved air spring curve and reduced seal friction
  • New Travel Adjust System – adjustable travel,  adjustable total travel, easier to use 55-degree throw lever
  • Retrofittableto older fork models
  • Easier servicing cartridge – no unique tools required
  • Pressure range – 100 to 200 psi
  • Updated CTD damper with increased compression tune
  • Remote option available

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