Live Valve Adapts To Terrain In Real-Time: Part One

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Our founder Bob Fox had a vision to suspend the world and win races. From motocross success in the 1970s; Indy 500, Superbike and snow success in the `80s; desert and off-road success in the `90s; mountain bike success in the 2000s, and a continuation of world-beating domination in all categories ever since, there’s no denying the future of suspension is electronic, and its leader is FOX.

For years, FOX’s Live Valve technology has been bringing intelligent, electronically-controlled damping to high-performance off-road vehicles and mountain bikes. By combining a fast, semi-active valve with a patented damping architecture, Live Valve can instantaneously adapt to any terrain by adjusting compression damping in real-time, based on driver or rider input and sensors tied to the vehicle’s computer to maximize comfort, handling, and bottom-out resistance.

Today, Live Valve technology is standard on vehicles from Polaris, Ford, Honda and Can-Am, and mountain bikes from Giant, Pivot, Scott and Rocky Mountain.

Here’s a technology overview:

How it began

Several years ago, the UTV market exploded, prompting off-road enthusiasts to go harder and bigger. FOX’s longstanding relationship with Polaris (snowmobiles, ATVs and motorcycles) fostered suspension technology designed specifically for long-travel adventure. This led to the pioneering DYNAMIX technology, with Live Valve at its technological heart.

Polaris RZR DYNAMIX:

Internal Bypass FOX shocks feature enhanced calibration for Polaris’s DYNAMIX Active Suspension system to optimize every single inch of the massive suspension travel for both low-speed comfort and high-speed performance. DYNAMIX continuously adjusts your shocks on the fly, so the suspension is always at the optimal setting to maintain vehicle stability and deliver confidence through the roughest terrain.

Desert-Proven | Matlocks:

Under heavy acceleration, the compression increases in the rear shocks to keep the vehicle flatter, and put power down to the dirt faster. When all four wheels leave the ground, compression is increased in all shocks to ensure a plush and controlled landing. Compression is increased in the outside shocks and decreased in the inside shocks, reducing body roll and keeping the vehicle stable. The compression on the front shocks increase as the rear shocks soften to keep the vehicle flat.

Mountain bike:

Before Live Valve, every shock system made by FOX was considered “modal.” There are various types of modal shock systems: GRIP2 forks and X2 shocks with four ways of adjustability; FIT4 forks and DPX2 shocks with three positions and a LSC adjustment; iQS UTV application with three modes adjustable via an electronically-controlled switch; and the list goes on.

There are two key aspects to a “modal” shock system:

  1. It has a select number of settings. For instance, eight clicks of the high-speed compression adjustment on a GRIP2 damper or four modes on the iQS snowmobile application.
  2. Arguably more important, a modal shock system is selected by the user. Unless you choose to make an adjustment, the shock stays in the same setting it was placed in.

This is why we keep talking about the thousands of data points the Live Valve system analyzes. Why we keep mentioning how shocks are adjusted according to the complex interpretation of these data points within 0.030 of a second. Why we keep talking about shocks being adjusted simultaneously and independently. 

On UTVs and the Ford Raptor, Live Valve uses four sensors (inertial, steering, braking, and acceleration) to gather data and determine what the best shock setting is for that moment in time. The Live Valve system then simultaneously adjusts shocks within hundredths of a second so that you can have the most ideal shock setting multiple times per second. Click here for more information.

Part Two of this report will explain how we worked with Ford, Honda and Can-Am to expand the portfolio of top-end vehicles specced with Live Valve.

// ridefox.com