By Montana Miller
For 2014 Magura is introducing an automatic electric compression damper. To lock and unlock the fork, the eLECT damper uses the same accelerometer technology that changes an iPhone screen when the phone is flipped from straight up to sideways.
When the eLECT damper senses that the bike is pointed uphill, it shuts off oil flow and locks the fork. Pointed downhill or on flat ground, it opens the damper and allows the fork to run through its travel freely. Unlike Specialized’s Brain system, which locks when the trail is smooth and opens when it hits a bump, the eLECT is completely unaffected by the condition of the trail.
The orientation of the bike and free-fall are the only things that the eLECT damper senses. Off a drop, the fork will automatically open to soften the landing. But on a rough technical climb the fork will automatically lock out, which could be a problem for some riders. For that reason, Magura says that the damper was designed primarily for race bikes using 100 to 120mm of travel. The eLECT seems ideal for a traditional cross country race course with fire road climbs and singletrack descents.
The system also has an optional wireless Bluetooth handlebar remote. Once the rider pushes the button, the automatic accelerometer in the damper will switch off. So with the remote, it’ll be possible to avoid times where a locked out fork would hurt, like on a rough climb.
To calibrate the system, a button under the top cap has to be pressed and held for a few seconds while the bike is on level ground. So if a rider only wanted the fork to lock only on very steep climbs, they could lift the front end of the bike while depressing the button, which would trick the damper into thinking that the slight incline was flat ground.
The damper responds in 0.2 seconds, so while it isn’t instant, it’s pretty fast. The system is charged by a micro USB. Charge time is three hours, and run time is approximately 40 hours. If the damper runs out of power, it will default to fully open. The system goes on standby after five minutes so it won’t eat battery power at a lunch stop or on a bike rack.
The system weighs 93g, which is 15g lighter than Magura’s mechanical DLO2 damper.
The eLECT damper will screw into all Magura forks, including older models. Price and availability are to be announced.
Stay tuned for more Magura goodies next week.
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