I finally had the chance to see Time’s new AKTIV "dampening" fork in the flesh last weekend. And, like everything from Time, it was a work of both engineering genious, as well as beauty.
Suffice to say, that Time has revolutionized the bicycle fork, with the first ever application of an internal dampening system, that was taken right out of the pages of Formula 1 Racing technology.
The AKTIV fork incorporates what Time calls a "tuned mass damper", that’s designed to reduce harmonic feedback as much as 30% throughout the critical range of 25 to 50hz.
Time’s research revealed that the fork was the best place to "treat" the issue of harmonic vibration, by virtue of the fact that it’s closest to the road, and therefore, is the most effective area to mitigate feedback throughout the bike (i.e. seat post, pedals and handlebars).
In addition, Time says that their new dampening system, differs from other technologies that merely rely on material elasticity, as a means of addressing vibration, which can often lead to the deleterious effects of flexibility and energy loss. Whereas, the AKTIV fork, incorporates an "active device" that calibrates itself with the rider onboard to create a sense of dampening and counterbalance – with no loss of physical properties or power transfer.
The "damper" itself is a precisely engineered piece, that consists of a small block of light weight aluminum, along with a strand of carbon, to create a sandwich effect. Moreover, each damper has been optimized to have a dedicated right and left side application. And, as always, everything is made in-house at Time’s facility in France.
According to Time’s representative here in the USA, Gilles Lalonde, the new AKTIV fork, will be available throughout the brand’s 2015 range, and it’s retrofittable on previous models as well.
Special thanks to Gilles Lalonde of Time USA and ATA Cycle for giving us the exclusive opportunity to check out the new AKTIV fork.
* Please note, the photos show a window-cut of the fork. The actual production version will not have an exposed damper.
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