Sporting the same proven twin-tube damping technology as the TTX Coil, the new Ohlins TTX Air version even mirrors the external damping adjustments.
Ohlins TTX Air shock need to know
- Proven Ohlins TTX damping makes it way into a new air shock
- Standard, Metric and trunnion mount options to fit most frame designs
- Damping adjustments: low-speed rebound and compression. Two high-speed compression settings with a pedal platform on the high-speed compression lever
- Latest RXF 36 Trail fork gets 18mm TTX cartridge damper first developed for the Ohlins DH fork
- Custom SKF fork seals reduce friction and boost reliability
- Fork travel: 120-180mm Air, 130-170mm Coil
There’s no denying that Ohlins has a great damping pedigree, its twin tube coil shocks winning multiple world championships on all things two wheels.
Even with all that success though, the Swedish brand is first to admit that it struggled to crack the air-sprung MTB market. To address that it’s ditched the STX22 shock and replaced it with the new TTX Air.
Sporting the same proven twin-tube damping technology as the TTX Coil, the new air sprung version even mirrors the external damping adjustments.
So you get independent low-speed rebound and compression damping that both require an Allen key for adjustment. There’s also and easy to reach lever on the piggyback of the TTX Air that lets you quickly toggle between two high-speed compression settings. It’s the third position of this lever that’s caused the most confusion though.
Maybe it got lost in translation from Swedish to English, but on seeing the damping curves of the TTX Air it was obvious that the third position on the high-speed lever that’s reserved for a climb mode, doesn’t simply ramp up the high-speed compression, is also shuts down the low-speed damping to create more support. It’s not a full lock out by any stretch of the imagination, but it does elevate the dynamic ride height of the bike without rendering the rear suspension redundant.
It’s the air spring on the latest addition to the TTX family that’s seen the most work though, where Ohlins has focused on reduced friction and increased reliability. New lubrication, revised seals, a silent air transfer port and additional support from increased bushing overlap are just some of the ways it achieved its combined goal.
Lab testing has also been improved to better replicate the demands of real-world riding. With all of the revisions Ohlins claims to have considerably lower friction that its red or orange rivals. And while we can’t verify those claims, the TTX Air on the back of the Kona did feel buttery smooth.
It was a breeze to set up too. Once I got the sag and rebound damping to my liking I spent the afternoon at Järvsö bike park toggled between the two high-speed compression settings to see if I could feel the difference. The car park test didn’t reveal much, but fast rough trails quickly highlight the difference, position one allowing you to ride the spring for more comfort, while the second firmer position offers more stability and support from the high-speed damping circuit. It also made the bike feel less poppy, which is to be expected as the extra compression damping is absorbing some of the energy that would otherwise be returned by the spring.
Opening up the rebound damping by a couple of clicks at the same time as increasing the compression brings the bike back to life though. So remember to pack an Allen key when fine-tuning your suspension set-up. And if you really want to tweak your ride, the TTX Air has ten unique air-spring volumes to cover every frame configuration and riding style.
Interestingly, Ohlins hasn’t followed the trend for increase negative spring volume on the TTX Air. Its reason? Larger negative spring volumes require higher positive pressures, which in turn increase seal pressure and friction. And that’s something Ohlins was keen to avoid if the TTX Air was going to match the super smooth action of the coil shock.
The shock also gets a new air transfer post that’s been designed to reduce noise and the drop in pressure as the air piston passes over it. Taken together and combined with the low pressure TTX damper, the new TTX Air is a seriously sensitive shock.
On the custom built Kona Process 153 the new Ohlins TTX Air shock offer great small bump sensitivity, ample support combined with excellent damping control. I’ve not ridden this bike with the stock shock so I don’t have a solid reference point, but if the Ohlins TTX Air proves reliable it should rapidly gain popularity and not just on top-end Specialized bikes. In fact the only real barrier to entry is the £730 asking price.
There have been developments at the opposite end of the bike too. Taking technology first introduced on the Ohlins downhill fork, the latest RXF 36 Trail fork benefits from a self-contained cartridge damper… the piston size being reduced to 18mm for improved sensitivity.
With the original RXF 36 we thought Ohlins had been heavy handed with it’s damping tune, but it turns out that it was excessive friction that was making the fork response feel sluggish. Ohlins has addressed this with sized bushings and custom SKF seals.
The chassis has been revised too to accommodate the latest crop of fatter tyres and you also have the option of two offsets for both wheel sizes: 38mm and 46mm for 27.5in and 44mm or 51mm for the 29er version. The new Ohlins RXF 36 Trail fork is available in coil and air-sprung versions and with an RRP of £1,170 the pricing is right inline with the Fox 36 Factory Grip 2 fork.
With all of the revisions to the fork and shock, we’re hope Ohlins can draw a line under its existing range and get back to doing what it does best… Winning championships.