You'll need patience to really delve in to achieve your perfect settings... but it's worth it
35mm stanchion Formula Selva R is one of the most tuneable forks on the market with its unique, swappable, compression damping system.
This damping system uses tiny, bolt-in ‘CTS’ Valves. Each valve completely changes oil flow and hydraulic curves with different piston holes, and switching them is an easy five-minute job with the included tool. Two different valves (of seven available) are included as standard.
The previous Selva used a factory set coil negative spring, but this 2Air version has separate independent, positive and negative, air chambers. Air is added in a specific order, and extra negative pressure can promote a more ground-tracing feel and ‘suck’ the fork into the travel to follow dents in the terrain. We found it best not to tip the balance too far to the negative, however, as the spring curve can lack support if overdone.
Inside the positive chamber, Formula’s proprietary take on volume spacers are clever, compressible, squishy, add-ins called Neopos. These elastomer-looking tubes effectively taper the spring curve in a more linear fashion as air pressure increases under compression, meaning that full travel comes with a less dramatic ramp-up than conventional solid spacers.
Formula’s Italian chassis is stiff, sleek and well-finished, and there’s a lock out lever some will appreciate on long climbs. We’re not sold on the 160mm direct brake mount though, and can’t see many riders using such a small rotor on a fork with this much firepower.
With methodical tweaking, it’s possible to eke out fantastic performance form the Selva. Fluidity and sensitivity off-the-top is excellent, and the Neopos give a very rounded feel to the spring with no dramatic ‘surge’ of ramp up, even if you smash through travel on a big huck to flat.
We could dial in a really calm, ground-hugging feel with excellent control and stability from both the blue and red CST valves we tried (with a tweak of the air spring). The damping feels very smooth and rounded in both directions, and you can dial in a chunk of compression on the blue dial (which affects both low and high-speed damping) without adding too much harshness or vibration at the hands. The rebound range was appropriate for our weight and silent and smooth in operation too.
When tuning on repeated loops on the same test track (chosen for variety in the first place), we got the Selva perfectly dialled for tracking and grip while our wheels were on the ground, but this didn’t always translate to enough support for rider weight when landing jumps or as the bike pitched off small drops on very steep, slow speed tracks. All the adjustment gives you a sense that top performance is always lurking though; as long as you can balance the sensitive changes needed to maximise performance.
The extra time and money required to dial in the ultimate suspension won’t be for everyone, but this impressive Formula Selva R offers a ‘factory’ level of tunability without the need to send it off for retuning, provided you know exactly what ride characteristics you’re looking for.