2009 Fox Talas 140 RLC 15mm QR TA Review

by Robb Sutton

Earlier this year, Fox and Shimano shocked the industry with the introduction of the 15mm QR TA on the Fox Talas 140 RLC. Much of the debate and most of the articles have been written about this controversial subject which begs the question.

Does the industry need another standard?

The answer to this question will be sorted out over time, but for the purpose of this article…we need to see how the fork performs.

The Controls on the Fox Talas

Talas Travel Adjust/Air Pressure Adjust

One of the better features of the Fox is the Talas travel adjust. This three step travel feature is perfect for trail riding. For the 140 RLC, you can switch from 100/120/140mm with a turn of the non-drive side knob. Turn the knob clockwise and push down to decrease and a counter-clockwise click brings the fork back up automatically. It doesn’t get much easier than this for travel adjustment. Rock Shox has the 2 Step and U-Turn travel adjustments, but…in my opinion…the U-Turn is too many options and the 2 Step is not enough. The “3 Step” Talas option seems to be the best of both worlds.

To adjust the air pressure, unscrew the center cap and attach a shock pump. The redesigned Talas feature is easier to use, but that comes at the expense of the air chamber valve. It can be difficult to remove the cap and some pumps may be harder than others to get on the air chamber valve.

Rebound/Compression/LSC

On the top of the drive side fork leg you will find the compression/lock out lever, rebound adjust and low speed compression dial. Having the rebound adjustment on the top of the fork leg is a huge plus for my riding. There are other forks on the market that have to relocate the adjustment to the bottom of the damping leg. With it on the top, you can make necessary adjustments while riding.

Your lockout/compression lever is in easy reach and the low speed compression is easy to use. I didn’t notice a significant change in the LSC through smaller clicks, but going from one extreme to the other does create a change in pedal induced bob vs. small bump feedback.

Lock-Out Blow Off/QR TA Adjustment

On the bottom of the damping leg, you will find the lock-out blow off adjustment knob. When you have the fork locked out via the compression switch on the top of the leg, there is a threshold that the fork will “blow through” to suck up the obstacle. You adjust this through that blue knob.

The dial with the numbers 1 through 18 written on it is your thru axle adjustment. According to the Fox instructions located on the provided cd (pain that there isn’t an included printed copy…I am not next to a computer while I am wrenching.):

If the 15QR lever cam tension is either too loose or too tight when the 15QR lever is positioned between one (1) and twenty (20) mm forward of the fork leg when it’s closed, use the following procedure to correct this misadjustment.

It the forks shipped setting, it worked perfectly, so I didn’t change a thing.

How does the Fox Talas 140 RLC ride?

Ok…enough of the formal presentation. I installed the fork on the Ibis Mojo test mule and set everything to my liking. After messing with the air pressure some, I ended up around 70-75 psi for my riding style. At 140mm of rear travel and a sub 30 lbs. overall weight, the Ibis is a perfect match for this fork. The rear shock is a Push Industries tuned RP23 and the rest of the component group is a Hope, XTR and SRAM X.0 group on a Hope Pro II/Stans Flow rim wheelset built by John Kovachi at Kovachi Wheels. The switch to post mount brake mounts on all 2009 fork models make for a much easier install process. The Fox cable keeper is also a nice feature. I screwed in the Fox 15mm QR TA and was ready to ride.

For my first ride out, I took the bike to our local trail, Blankets Creek, to get a feel for the fork where I knew every rock. The second ride was at the Tanasi trail system in Tennessee. Tanasi offers some of everything…including one of the best cross country downhills in the southeast. Thunder Rock Express has worn out nets on the side of the trail to catch riders as they flew off the mountain. This rocky, rooty descent would really put the 15mm QR TA to the test.

Small Bump Absorption

This is one area where the fork really shined. It took the small bumps in stride and I never got the feeling that the fork was jarring under the bike. In the breaker bumps and small bumps in fast succession, some forks struggle to keep up. The Fox Talas was smooth over these transitions. Pedaling feedback was easily controlled with the LCS and compression switch. For most of my riding, I didn’t even touch the compression switch, but I did end up with the LSC a little less than halfway. This seemed to be a great compromise between small bump plushness and arm pump feedback.

I kept the rebound setting a little slower than halfway through its adjustment. This allowed the fork to recover fast enough without springing down. Overall, the damping performance in small bump situations was perfect.

Large Hits

Coming down from large hits and fast stroke situations was controlled, but the fork tended to ramp up through the end of its travel. Some of this ramping is positive as it doesn’t allow for hard bottom outs, but I found that I wasn’t using all of the travel as much as I would have liked to. For fun…I took the carbon ride off a 5 foot to flat and I still didn’t feel the fork bottom. The landing was smooth and controlled, but if the travel is there…I want to use it. I tried letting some air out of the fork, but that came at the cost of the small bump and climbing performance.

Stiffness

The Fox is stiff for a 140mm fork. For redesigned the crown and lowers for 2009, so when you combine that with a thru axle, the new Talas feels much stiffer than last years QR model. I also feel a noticeable difference between the current QR vs. the TA. Fox really stepped up to the plate to make sure that their forks would not deflect through the rough stuff.

This should be no surprise to anyone. Cross country riders are really starting to see the distint advantage of thru axles on light weight forks. The bike tracks better through corners, holds a better line through technical sections and it bulletproof by design.

Fox Talas 140 RLC Conclusions

In every article, forum post or blog…no one has argued that Fox makes a great product. The large question is why Fox and Shimano went with a 15mm TA instead of the already proven 20mm. For the purposes of this review…that is an argument for another day.

Where this fork performs its best is in the beginning and mid-stroke of its travel. The damping and rebound action is very smooth and controlled. Towards the end of its travel, the spring rate ramps up to the point that I never felt like I used all of the travel. Overall, this fork felt and rode like a perfect compliment to the Ibis Mojo. It is also stiff enough to handle the duties of a more “All Mountain” styled 140mm bike.

The Fox TA on this fork weighed in at 93.55 grams for those that were wondering.

The Good

  • Great small bump absorption
  • Excellent beginning and mid-stroke performance
  • Stiff
  • Easy to use thru axle
  • Post mount brake mount
  • Talas travel adjust
  • Easy access to necessary controls
  • Consistent rebound and damping performance
  • Lightweight – 1899 grams uncut w/axle
  • Less friction than previous Fox models

The Bad

  • High cost of entry – $850.00 does not include the need for a new wheel build.
  • Hub selection – As of right now, you are limited to Hope, Shimano, DT Swiss and Industry Nine. It is going to be some time before companies like Chris King are able to jump on board.
  • Spring ramping on high speed hits
  • Access to air pressure valve difficult

Last Thoughts on the Fox Talas 140 RLC

The 140mm fork market is in an all out fight. The reigning king…Rock Shox Pike 454…it being closed in on by some new TA 140mm counterparts. Fox has come out swinging. The good news…thru axles are taking over on the cross country side of mountain bike forks. Death to the QR is on the horizon…

Where Can I Pick Up A Fox Talas?

JensonUSA | 2009 Fox Talas

9 comments

9 comments

Dan Lockwood May 8, 2009 - 9:24 pm

OK, thanks. Out of curiosity, I called Ibis to get their opinion. One of their technicians said the Mojo SL was designed around 130mm fork travel as the sweet spot. They recommended installing the TALAS RLC 150mm QR15, but running it in 130mm mode most of the time (which is what they ride). They just use the 150mm setting for bigger AM/DH stuff.

Reply
Dan Lockwood May 8, 2009 - 12:40 pm

I’m building up a Ibis Mojo SL right now, and I’m going to put a Talas on it. Would you recommend pairing the Mojo with the 140mm version or the 150mm version of the Talas QR15? I’m a little sensitive to weight (150mm is about a 1/4 pound heavier). Would the bike gain significant performance by going to the larger fork? Or, is the 140mm version a better match to the rear suspension on the Mojo SL?

Thanks you very much.

Reply
198 May 8, 2009 - 2:48 pm

@ Dan

There are riders putting taller forks on the Mojo…but if it was my personal build…it would have the 140 on it. The bike felt very well balanced at 140/140. I actually tested/reviewed the 140 Talas with the 15mm QR TA on that frame for awhile.

http://bike198.com/2009-fox-talas-140-rlc-15mm-qr-ta-review/

Reply
MTB Buyers Guide - Mountain Bike Suspension Forks | Mountain Biking by 198 December 29, 2008 - 9:42 am

[…] on your suspension fork on the fly during a ride. As you can see from the picture above, the Fox Talas 140 RLC allows you to change the travel setting from 100-120-140 by during the left fork […]

Reply
Hope Pro 2 Hub Set Review | Mountain Biking by 198 November 20, 2008 - 2:51 am

[…] I received the Fox Talas 140 RLC 15QR TA fork in from Fox Racing, I needed a front hub that would take care of the 15mm front axle duties. After […]

Reply
2009 Fox Talas 140 RLC 15mm Thru Axle | Mountain Biking by 198 October 28, 2008 - 1:50 pm

[…] Thanks for visiting! If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to our RSS feed. This blog posts regular product reviews, industry news, riding tips, videos, ride reports and anything else mountain biking. Go ahead, subscribe to our feed! You can also receive updates from this blog via email. For the Complete Fox Talas 140 RLC Review…Read This Article 2009 Fox Talas 140 RLC 15mm QR TA Review | Mountain Biking by 198 […]

Reply
198 October 24, 2008 - 4:19 pm

@jk: As of right now…I still favor the Pike. I have a lot of 20mm TA front wheels and it would be really expensive to switch everything over. One of the best front hubs in the world…Chris King 20mm…is still not available in a 15mm.

The action on both forks are incredible but the Pike is more linear through it’s travel. The Talas travel adjustment is still much better though…

The new 36 from Fox is a great fork, but the Mojo is gone! Sold this week with a different 5.5″ DW-Link bike on the way as a replacement.

Reply
jk October 24, 2008 - 4:01 pm

great review. if you had to choose between this and your pike which would it be? Would love to see a review of the 36 float on the mojo too!

Reply
Some Links For The Weekend… | Mountain Biking by 198 September 19, 2008 - 3:14 am

[…] to run the new Fox Vanilla. It’s a great review and you can use this coil experience up against my review on the Talas. If you are looking to cut the cost of your front fork but still have a great performing product, […]

Reply

Leave a Comment

Related Posts