Englund Total Air Cartridges
Total Air cartridges are probably one of the best-kept secrets of the mountain biking world. These little units replace all the standard internals of your forks with a cigar-tube sized air spring unit. Not only does this loose you about half a pound of weight, you may not recognise your forks afterwards… They are made to fit most Rockshox, some White Brothers and Manitou SX forks.
The fitting instructions are clear and it should be a straightforward job if you’re used to servicing your forks. Next job is to tune them so they feel right. Spring rate is easily changed by altering air pressure but to set up the damping you have to fiddle with an adjuster inside the cartridge. Changing the adjuster for one with bigger or smaller holes (3 sizes are supplied) sets rebound and the number of turns on the adjuster sets compression. Deflating the fork, removing the cartridge, changing the settings, putting everything back together and trying it out is a pain but the results are well worth it.
When set up, the fork rides far better than it ever did with the Rockshox internals. It feels more progressive, but the biggest improvement comes on a long series of small to medium bumps, things like tree roots, rocky tracks and Yorkshire Pave – everything feels much smoother and the fork is more controlled, goading you to take things faster than before. If I’m really nitpicking the old internals were a bit better on rock steps and other slow drop-offs – the Englunds are a bit more prone to bottoming out.
Perhaps the only potential drawback is having to top up the air pressure regularly. Englunds use a small high pressure air chamber. Completely sealing 170psi in a moving part isn’t easy, so you loose a little bit of air over time though it takes a long weekend of hard riding or a couple of weeks of idleness for it to begin to affect the ride. Adding a quick shot of air only takes a minute so really it’s rude not to do it before every ride.
Overall, there’s probably not many ways to improve how your bike rides this much for £95. The fiddly set-up and the minor hassle of topping up the air are the only downers, but the improvement in ride quality, speed, control and comfort makes it all worthwhile.
More info -BPP – www.bppbike.com
From: Ison (01223 568351)