FOX’s Pro Pedal three setting red lever on their shocks was so successful it became essentially a brand in its self, it became the generic term for just about any lever that gave you the ability to toggle between shock modes, quickly and easily. For 2013 FOX has revamped the system, calling it now CTD for Climb, Trail and Descend settings.
The increasing popularity of bar mounted levers to control our shocks different modes has been a blessing and a curse. It’s awfully nice to be able to lock out a fork as we climb, then quickly open it up for some fast descending, all without taking our hands off the bars in technical situations, but it does lead to very crowded cockpits. Between shifting, braking, lockouts and dropper posts you can potentially have 9 different levers on your bars. Add your Garmin and a mixed-use trail bell and it’s a bit ridiculous.
FOX, in partnership with Shimano, has an answer. Their iCD system is a Di2 derived remote control switch for front and rear suspension. Coming from their iRD (Intelligent Ride Dynamics) program iCD was a very welcome sight. It shows a commitment to the original mandate of that program, using novel solutions to improve riding. iRD was launched with a set-up app, but iCD is the first time we have seen real trail ready products (both Kabush and Pendrel have been racing with the system).
Undoubtedly FOX is not the first company to invest their suspension with some electronic control, and simply controlling shock settings isn’t the most hi-tech of capabilities. But coming on the heels of iRD this system seems to be just a foreshadowing of what is to come, active suspension control. Again, they would not be the first to try this, but the fact that none of their predecessors is still on the market shows there is plenty of room for improvement. A FOX/Shimano collaboration truly appears to be the foundation for a successful venture in this direction.
switchback has just taken delivery of a demo iCD set up and will be building up a Felt Virtue LTD with the system. Upon inspection of the initial gear a few items really spring to mind.Handlebar actuator:
Instead of a lever its a simple rotating thumb switch with an indicator window to quickly show the current setting. It looks like it will basically disappear on your bars, a nice contrast to the big, real estate killing levers we see now.Di2 Battery:
The system uses Shimano’s Di2 battery, a lot of power for what must be tiny valves to open and close. Why? We can only assume it is because FOX is forward thinking and knows Shimano Di2 XTR is not far off and their system will easily integrate with it thanks to the battery and the use of Shimano’s E-Tube system. All wires are interchangeable and carry both power and information making adding function like drivetrain control very easy.
With FOX’s launch of the CTD system and the old Pro Pedal Lever, the two positions of the iCD took us by surprise. Climb and Descend, but no Trial. Will this be missed on the bike? Again, the easy updating of the system does mean that three positions may be quite easy to transition to in the future.
As we build up our Felt Virtue and get trial time on the system look for a complete review in the pages of switchback and a full video review here. For now, here are the details on the system provided by Fox.
The Fork: Internal actuator unit, Factory series with FIT damper and Kashima-coated upper tubes, 100mm or 120mm, 26in or 29in wheel, and 9mm or 15QR axle options.
Shock features: External actuator unit, Factory series with Kashima-coated body and air sleeve, 6.5×1.5in to 7.875×2.0in sizes, and standard or large eyelet air volume options.
Remote Switch: Right or left mounting option, two or three position rotary switch, non-contact operation and integrated battery low feature.
Full Suspension System: System includes fork, shock, battery, battery bracket and remote switch with three cables linking the system together, left or right remote mounting options, three mode positions – Climb, Climb (Rear Only) and Descend.
Front Suspension System: System includes fork, battery, battery bracket and remote switch with two cables linking the system together, left or right remote mounting options, two mode positions – Climb and Descend.
Battery Life: In excess of 2.5 months (results may vary)
Actuation Time: 0.25 seconds for fork, 0.45 seconds for shock
Full Suspension Weight: Starting at 1860g / 4.10lbs
Front Suspension Weight: Starting at 1555g / 3.43lbs