Conceptually, the Aktiv fork works on the same principle as a noise canceling earphone, via destructive wave interference. The movement of the damper itself is designed to mute out or dissipate unwanted vibration. In the Aktiv fork’s case, this is a small weight mounted to an alloy/composite lever arm inside the fork blade. It is simple in execution, but effective in practice. The tough part is first figuring out what frequency range you want to try to cancel. Luckily, TIME has years of research isolating which frequencies are fatiguing to our body or detrimental to controlling the bike. Ultra high frequencies don’t have the same negative effect on our body as a lower frequency. Second, how the damper performs in one size or model of frame is different than in another size or model. In other words, the damper has to be precisely calibrated for a frame based on stiffness of the frame.
So that’s a lot of science. Does it work? The answer is undoubtedly yes. The frame and fork are still surprisingly stiff, leaving the steering to be extremely precise instead of the elastomers and shock setups other brands use that leaves bikes feeling rubbery. In a world where spongier bar tape or swapping from 23mm to 25mm wide tires has everyone chattering about how much more comfortable their bike is, the Aktiv fork might be the start of the second French Revolution.
Our initial testing on Salt Lake City streets with a set of 23c tires has us amazed the fork’s effectiveness. Although you still feel the bigger bumps, the effects of cracks or seams in the pavement are greatly reduced and overall road chatter seems to be minimized. An Aktiv fork and a set of nice 25mm tires eats up chip-sealed roads voraciously, leaving riders better able to track their bike through high-speed sweepers better than nearly any other brand on the market.
While TIME was researching new methods to take their carbon frames a step further they studied the mass-tuned dampening systems found in F1 race cars and, in turn, filed a patent for what has become the Aktiv fork. This award winning development adds a tangible level of comfort through completely eliminating the vibrations caused by riding on asphalt, chip seal and other rough pavement.
Aktiv fork technology is only available as part of a complete frameset as the vibration tuning is calculated to match specific Scylon Aktiv, Izon Aktiv, and Fluidity Aktiv models.