A top-performing fork at a low price
So what is the DVO Beryl? It’s a mid-priced trail fork with travel from 130mm in the 29er or 27.5in Plus version, right up to 170mm in 27.5in
DVO launched in 2012 with an ambitious promise: to compete at the very highest level along with the likes of Fox and RockShox. It has not got there yet, as stellar performers from these two giants still outclass the DVO Diamond, but perhaps the Beryl will put them on the map.
The DVO Beryl is Boost only, features a forged then CNC’d crown, alloy steerer and magnesium lowers, and 35mm stanchions like the RockShox Yari, Pike and Revelation. The Beryl basically uses the same chassis as its top-end Diamond sibling, which explains why it weighs pretty much the same. There’s no high speed compression adjuster, the Beryl is billed as a fit and forget fork, but on top of the left leg is a big gold dial with three pre-set low-speed settings, from fully open to firm but not locked out. The dial works effectively enough but I left it fully open.
On the surface there are some nice touches to the Beryl, like a bolt through axle with the thread on the inside of its hollow end so they don’t get gritty, a smooth surface on the crown to resist cable chafe, and the little mudguard that’s good enough for summer use (DVO, please make this bigger for winter).
It’s what’s inside that’s most interesting though, DVO uses its D2 damper, a sealed cartridge system like the Diamond houses. The Beryl also features the Off The Top (OTT) negative spring assembly we first saw on the Diamond, although this time it’s not externally adjustable and you have to pull the fork apart to add or remove spacers. This negative spring effectively preloads the fork into its travel and should make it feel more supple and easier for the fork to break into its travel. While RockShox and Fox use negative air springs DVO uses a coil version, which brings with it some complications (and perhaps a big advantage too): Add or remove air pressure to the positive spring and you’ll need a corresponding weaker or stronger negative spring to balance it, but unfortunately DVO doesn’t supply alternative coils to do this. Preloading the negative can only do so much to tweak the breakaway force.
The big advantage though is that if you happen to weigh 75-80kg then the air pressure you’ll pump in should perfectly match the negative coil’s force, and the fork will move into its travel almost effortlessly. So it proved for me, putting 115psi in to achieve the 20% sag I wanted on the front of a Specialized Stumpjumper produced a super sensitive fork that simply blew me away with its initial floaty feeling. A full day lapping at BikePark Wales usually leaves me with sore hands but the Beryl cushioned me from that first few millimetres of trail chatter you get on the fastest trails there. I ran the fork with one OTT spacer installed (the maximum is two), as per DVO’s recommendations, which should now be available in a setup booklet that comes with the fork. There’s plenty of mid-stroke support in the Beryl too, I never felt like it was collapsing mid-berm and that probably speaks for the strength of the negative coil, and there’s decent progression at the end of the stroke to help you pop the bike around.
It’s not all good though, the Beryl is heavy, there’s a bottom out clunk if you really slam it hard, and if you weigh more or less than average there’s a strong chance it won’t feel quite as slick. The lack of external OTT adjuster is a shame because we suspect that most riders buying this fork simply won’t be able to or be bothered to open up the fork to adjust the OTT. That said, the Beryl is a top-performing fork at a low price, incredibly supple yet with decent support and damping, and if you happen to land in the average weight band it’s worth every penny. DVO’s best fork to date.