USE’s single-sided anti-dive suspension fork, is now officially out. The first batch of SUB, Stability Under Braking, forks are now in production. We spoke to Rory Hichens, “keeper of the worst kept secret” to give him his official title, at USE and asked him to give us the latest on what he calls a “very custom product”.
The basic concept behind the SUB is to eradicate the destabilising suspension dive which is often experienced under braking. That is to say: as you brake, weight is thrown forward which compresses the suspension forks, eating into the available travel. The SUB is designed to prevent this dive and allow you to brake over roots and bumps without losing shock-absorption capacity.How does it work?
The SUB uses a mechanical linkage that works with a disc brake. When the disc brake is applied to the wheel this creates a rotational force. The mechanical linkage transfers rotational energy into an upwards force which counteracts dive in the coil and air-sprung suspension when braking.What’s it like?
The SUB is a single-sided suspension unit, not unlike Cannondale’s Lefty ‘fork’. There’s no real technical reason for the SUB to be single-sided, say U.S.E, it’s more a case of “because we can” and matching the modernity of the technology with modernity of design. We’ll be getting some better pics from USE soon.
Made entirely of high-grade aluminium, the SUB looks bulky in appearance but weighs in at a respectable 3.9lbs. The unit only works with disc brakes and a needs a standard Hope bulb hub. It uses a U.S.E bolt-through axle which is integral to the fork. To make it retro-fitting to any mtb, USE have used an inch and an eighth headset system.
The fork is coil and air-sprung and air-damped. It uses a single Englund ‘Total Air’ cartridge and a large spring. For fettlers, there’s a cap in the top of the fork-leg providing easy-access to a standard Schroeder valve, you can then use a regular shock pump to increase the spring rate by adjusting the air pressure. As usual you can also adjust the ‘Total Air’ cartridge internally.
As you’d expect with a fork that costs £799, service is important. USE want to make the SUB as much a custom product as possible, and so plan to offer customers the chance to custom-match its graphics to their frames. At the BIKE 2002 they turned up with an Orange Sub5 replete with black SUB fork with graphics to match the Orange.
The choice of graphics isn’t going to be unlimited, USE are going to target the key XC models from different manufacturers that best fit with the SUB and develop graphics to match. The idea is that as a customer, you’ll be able to go onto the USE website and select from a display of different colours and graphics. USE are hopeful that this will be up and running in May.Where’s it at?
If you’ve read reports on the SUB before, you might be wondering why USE seem to have been dragging their feet over the project. Rory explained to us that with there being such a high demand for the U.S.E shokposts, they haven’t had the production capacity to move with the SUB. But the company has recently invested in increasing capacity and are now itching to get their new product out.
The fork will be available for punters to test in branches of Leisure Lakes and Evans Cycles in and around London from May onwards. Any other stores wanting to be a test point for the SUB should contact USE ([email protected]).A new sub-culture
As the SUB is a wholly new product and for the first year will only be produced in relatively small numbers. USE want those riders who do buy the product to play a part in its continuing development. That means that USE will directly involve the customers in the product development, encouraging feedback and making modifications which will then be added to the product as part of the package. Rory refers to this group as ‘SUB culture’.
USE will also be out meeting customers and potential customers at events like the Red Bull later this year, where they’ll be showcasing the SUB.
Another part of USE’s long-term vision for “SUB culture” is to give it webspace. Each fork could be given a unique serial number and page on the USE website, where riders can upload images and details of their bikes.
Phwew. And if all that’s not enough information for you, then you can drop USE a line at [email protected] to find out more.