There’s an old Chinese proverb which sums this up. “Wá tah aah sy am.” (say that five times really fast).
That’s about what I was thinking when I had put off buying a Ti spring for about a year. Up until recently, I never gave it a serious thought, as the steel spring on my Fox DHX 5.0 felt fine. I always thought, a Ti spring wouldn’t be much different in performance and was more for bling factor. All that soon changed when I decided to beef up my Knolly DT from 36 – 39+ lbs. My riding was getting more progressive and I was trying bigger things, which meant wearing more gear that put me at about 165-167 lbs from my previous weight (low 160’s). It was beyond the capacity of what a 350 lb spring could handle at the time.
Hearing my dilemma, a friend with a spare loaned me his 400 lb steel spring. As soon as I put it on and got out to the trails, I could tell immediately. The pedal bob was noticeably reduced and there was a nice pop when going off jumps. After a couple of weeks, I was sold on the 400 lb spring, but for kicks, I took a spin on my buddy’s bike who was running a Diverse Ti Spring. My reaction was, “Whoa!” There’s something different here.
It was time for me to pony up and go for it. I knew I’d get my money’s worth even though it was a luxury. I called Diverse and had a spring delivered to my door in just a few days…
RIDE & FEEL
The whole point of a Ti spring is to save weight and depending on your spring weight, you can shave from ½ lb to 2 lbs of dead weight. For my 400 x 2.5 spring, I would venture to guess I shaved at least a ½ lb. Holding each spring, steel in one and Ti in the other, the Ti was considerably lighter. It would have been nice to weigh it, just to get a apples to apples comparison, but that was not a big concern as I was more excited about the improved riding characteristics. Plus, I wanted to ride the thing.
Diverse’ literature explains… “the lower weight (of Ti) improves suspension dynamics and response. This reduced mass and inertia increases the natural frequency of the spring.” In caveman talk, imagine if you had to chase down your dinner and can last about a 100 yards. Somehow you managed to lose 40 lbs without losing any muscle strength. Just think of how many more rabbits you’d be bringing home to the ladies back at the cave. Well, that’s kind of a stretch but you get the idea.
What I noticed about the Ti was a more responsive spring, the rear end felt livelier and smoother through the travel. It seems like I could feel what the bike was doing more. Whether it was climbing or going downhill, it just made the ride more fun and enjoyable. With better performance out of the shock, the tires felt like they stayed planted to the ground better and gave me more confidence to push the bike more.
DESIGN & FIT
Considering how difficult it is to work with titanium, the Ti looks like a piece of sculpture compared to the neanderthal steel spring. Once on a bike, you get this “moto” look which just makes you want to get it out on the trails and do that “brappp brapp brapp” sound before you charge down the hill. Definitely trick looking.
Fit wise,something all Fox DHX 5.0 Coil owners should know, there’s gonna be a little play as the inside diameter of the spring is larger than the Fox’s preload adjuster. This is something unique to Fox and the work around is to use a rubber o-ring to eliminate the play which can be purchased from a hardware store. According to Diverse, the spring will work with: Cane Creek, Fox, Manitou, Marzocchi, Progressive and Elka.
I had an opportunity to try out the DSP-racing Dueler with the Ti spring setup but wasn’t able to give it a go. My Knolly DT frame didn’t have enough clearance at the front eye shock mount; so I was a little bummed to say the least. From a pure visual comparison, the shock looks well made and feels solid. There are separate LSC and HSC along with Rebound adjuster knobs. What’s nice is that they’re easily accessible and require no tools to adjust. That alone, made it compelling coming from my DHX; but even more compelling is the sticker price at $389.95 with a Ti Spring. At that price, I think some people would consider getting an additional one as a spare. I’ll have to give it another shot when I get a different bike built up.
Diverse is an easy company to work with. If you’re shopping for a Ti spring, hit up Fadi at 661.618.2644. He’s very helpful and will get you dialed in on the right spring. More info can be found at diverse-mfg.com.
GOOD: Obviously the weight savings. Ride and feel is greatly improved which translate to more fun and enjoyment for you. Your boring trails will take on a new life.
BAD: Larger inside diameter of the spring means play at the preload adjuster for Fox DHX Coil users. It’s neglible and more of a nuisance. I blame Fox more.
Reviewed by Qwan Pham