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Patent Patrol: Fox Dwell Valve is about to get much more “Lively”






This one covers two patents, one targeted totally on controlling a car’s movement, and the opposite creating an electronically absolutely energetic (predictive, even!) suspension that makes Dwell Valve look prehistoric.

I’ll begin with the simple stuff…

Why we’d like sensible, electronically managed suspension

Fox Live Valve latching solenoid uses a magnetically activated needle to open and close the high speed compression damping port
The present Fox Dwell Valve solenoid can solely deal with “Open” and “Closed” positions, albeit switching between them in a short time.

Technically, Dwell Valve is a really fundamental compression damping adjustment that switches between “open” and “closed”. There’s no center floor, however you may make some guide changes to how smooth the Open mode is, and you’ll choose between a number of preset packages.

The issue with this method (which is hardly a grievance, the Dwell Valve system may be very spectacular!) is that there’s no nuance. It could actually’t adapt to different terrain, or differentiate between large and small or quick and gradual impacts.

Admittedly, there’s NO present mechanical damping system that may, both. Positive, there are Excessive- and Low-pace damping circuits, however these are “dumb” passive techniques which have to attend for an impression to begin shifting the suspension by means of it’s journey. By the point they’re doing one thing, the body (your bike) and thus you’ve got already felt a few of that impression.

Electronically managed “sensible” suspension can do a lot better at minimizing the quantity of impression acceleration transferred to bike and physique. And Fox has two slightly outstanding options in thoughts…

Fox’s Adjustable Suspension Dampers

The less complicated of the 2 appears targeted primarily on controlling physique tilt (i.e. pitch & roll). This patent was an absolute bear to learn, so I’ll summarize closely: By placing an digital sensor on the body and suspension members (fork, and close to the rear axle), Fox can detect impacts quicker than any mechanical system, even when outfitted with an Inertia Valve (keep in mind their Brass Mass-equipped Terralogic forks?).

To this point, that’s Dwell Valve, which makes use of a Latch Solenoid to open and shut a port, thus adjusting oil circulate by means of the compression damping circuit.

This newest patent submitting provides some adjustability to that by permitting the system to additionally electronically management further ports that transfer fluid out and in of a secondary chamber that adjusts strain on the compression shim stack.

So, along with an Open/Shut answer, it will possibly additionally alter the shim stack’s conduct in real-time primarily based on impression forces. Or, additionally, primarily based on physique roll.

Which means for those who brake onerous, the sensor on the body can detect the deceleration AND ahead pitch, then agency up the fork to keep up a stage bike. Speed up onerous and it will possibly agency up the rear suspension. On four-wheeled automobiles, it will possibly do the identical to stop physique roll.

The sensors would work in tandem in order that the system balances suspension motion with body stability. And, the entrance suspension can talk to the rear, so it’s might be prepared for the impression earlier than it even reaches the rear tire. The objective being to keep up a stage journey that minimizes any impression forces from reaching your physique.

In addition they say that, as a result of there at the moment are each hydraulic and digital/magnetic forces performing upon the system, it will possibly open or shut a valve in as little as 4ms, which is far quicker than the ~20ms speeds of current techniques. Mainly, it will possibly react and alter in actual time.

If that sounds cool, it’s baby’s play in comparison with…

Fox Lively Valve is totally energetic suspension administration

patent drawing for fox active valve electronic suspension controls

This patent is wild. It was first noticed on The Lunch Experience, test their story for extra particulars and extra dialogue of proposed app updates.

This one is a bit simpler for example, nevertheless it’s a much more superior system. Mainly, Lively Valve makes use of further sensors on the bike and parts to speak extra data to the suspension’s management middle.

With further sensors on wheels, handlebar, stem, dropper put up, and cranks, it’s in a position to make use of information on pace, cadence, energy, your driving type, and extra to offer the system with extra data. They even point out transducers to detect piston rod velocity contained in the fork and shock, so it is aware of how briskly your suspension is compressing and rebounding.

All these additional information factors let it extra actively handle the suspension. A quick cadence or extra watts suggests a dash, so it may agency up the suspension. Dropping the seatpost signifies a descent, so it will possibly open it again up. An excessive amount of acceleration on the handlebar means it might need to open up excessive pace compression a bit extra. And so forth.

Right here’s the way it may try this: Relatively than a easy Open/Closed change like Dwell Valve, the Lively Valve idea makes use of a number of micro-reservoirs (452) to maneuver fluid (455) out and in of a chamber (407) behind a piston (405). That piston presses in opposition to a spring (415) that presses in opposition to a needle (412) that strikes in or out of the compression damping circulate port (402).

By controlling the quantity of fluid (455) going out and in of the chamber (407) with pistons (465) pushed by electronically managed pistons (465) and rods (475), they’ve granular management over that damping circuit…in actual time, with full adjustment vary anyplace between open and closed. An exterior adjustment (408) provides the rider management over the firmest place, so you’ll be able to nonetheless tune the minimal damping setting.

And the patent suggests this may very well be executed for any circuit…excessive, low, rebound, compression, and so on. That means full and complete energetic digital suspension management.

However wait, there’s extra…

Predictive terrain sensing? Bike-to-Bike signaling?

In addition they point out terrain sensing sensors, starting from lasers to radar to ultrasound. By pointing one thing a number of ft in entrance of the bike, the suspension may know what’s coming upfront and alter the damping earlier than you ever hit it. Or drop into it…it will work for holes and detrimental area, too. It’s about as near a real “hover bike” as we are able to get, till, you recognize, we even have a hover bike.

After which there’s bike-to-bike communication, permitting the lead rider’s suspension to speak to the rider behind them so their bike is prepared for what’s coming, too.

Far fetched? Overkill? Ridiculous? Sure, however have in mind Fox builds superior Dwell Valve suspension for some very costly motor automobiles (just like the Ford Raptor and Polaris quads), and all of this know-how is relevant there, too. The necessary factor to notice is that mountain biking is the one sport that (presently, anyway, please don’t mess with this UCI!) that enables energetic suspension administration in competitors.

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