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

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As we reported in Part One, FOX’s Live Valve technology has been bringing intelligent, electronically-controlled damping to high-performance off-road vehicles and mountain bikes for years. Part Two explains how we worked with Ford, Honda and Can-Am to expand the portfolio of top-end vehicles specced with Live Valve.

Fresh on the heels of Live Valve for mountain bikes came the news that Ford‘s popular F-150 Raptor was arriving at dealer showrooms with Live Valve under the wheel wells.

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor:

To take the 2017/2018 Ford Raptor’s 3.0 Internal Bypass shock package to the next level, FOX worked directly with Ford Performance to develop its all-new electronically controlled Live Valve damping technology for the upgraded 2019 F-150 Raptor platform.

Live Valve technology continuously and intelligently adjusts compression damping in real-time to deliver the ideal ride for any terrain or driving situation. By utilizing various vehicle sensors and accelerometers, the shocks can instantaneously adapt to inertial, steering, braking, and acceleration inputs to actively maximize handling, comfort, and bottom-out resistance.

FOX’s patented and race-proven internal bypass design provides position-sensitive damping that ramps up as the shock travels further in the stroke. At ride height, fluid is allowed to freely bypass the main damping piston to deliver a plush, compliant ride in light terrain. Transitional compression zones progressively decrease bypass flow for a smooth increase in damping as the shock travels further in the stroke. Hydraulic bump and rebound catch zones at full compression and extension prevent harsh bottoming and top-outs. The result is comfortable and controlled ride with extreme off-road performance. Click here for more information.

2020 Honda Talon 1000X-4 FOX Live Valve:

The Honda Talon 1000X-4 FOX Live Valve features advanced electronic suspension that incorporates all facets of the driving experience into a unified system that elevates performance. The system constantly monitors variables including compression speed, steering, braking, throttle position, RPM, vehicle weight, selected gear, vehicle speed and vehicle orientation (via a five-axis Inertial Measurement Unit, or IMU). Leveraging advanced algorithms and a sophisticated IMU with offering class-leading communication speed through enhanced signal quality, the system electronically adjusts the individual shocks accordingly, delivering optimal handling and performance that is appropriate for the selected drive mode.

Thanks to the new collaboration between FOX and Bosch, the system makes adjustments every 60 milliseconds (less than one-fifth the blink of an eye!) resulting in exceptional ride quality with reduced lateral roll and longitudinal pitch—but with no need for a ride-compromising stabilizer bar, and improved tracking and steering response. Two suspension modes — Normal and Sport — are operated independent of the Talon’s selectable engine drive modes and vary in terms of characteristics. In Normal, the shocks stay subtler to absorb small irregularities, while in Sport the shocks ride higher in the travel to keep more stroke in reserve for big impacts. The “sting” of deep whoop sections and bottoming out (g-outs) is reduced, yet the ride is plush and smooth in uneven, rocky or rooted terrain.

2021 Can-Am Maverick X3 Smart-Shox:

Building off the incredibly capable FOX 2.5/3.0 Internal Bypass RC2 shocks found on the Can-Am Maverick X3’s 2020 top-of-the-line trim levels, FOX and Can-Am have replaced the mechanical damping adjusters with an electronically-controlled, semi-active compression and rebound system on the 2021 Maverick X3 X RS SAS.

From the start FOX and Can-Am knew the goal was to design a suspension system that performed even better than the FOX mechanically-adjustable internal bypass shocks already available on the X3 without sacrificing durability. The obvious — but also most challenging — choice was to replace the external mechanical compression and rebound adjusters with a fast-acting internal electronically-actuated damping adjuster valve. Controlled by an onboard computer in the vehicle receiving inputs from multiple sensors, the electronically-actuated valve in the shock can adjust both the compression and rebound damping forces. Getting a system like this to work seamlessly in the background while you concentrate on driving flat out required FOX and Can-Am to work together during multiple testing trips and countless tuning sessions to perfect the onboard electronics and shock response.

By switching from mechanically-adjustable damping in the form of dual speed compression (DSC) and low-speed rebound (LSR) clickers to an internal electronically-controlled valve, the range of rebound control has increased by almost 5X. While the compression control range is smaller than with a DSC adjuster, it is important to note that the electronic valve can adjust with split-second speed meaning that the valve can adjust to any point within the damping range almost instantly, while a mechanical adjuster is set to one single point within the range. This means that the semi-active system can adapt its damping control to any situation on the fly.

Our next Live Valve article will describe the origins of the technology with an interview with its inventor, Everet Ericksen of our Advanced Development Group (ADG).

// ridefox.com