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OnePointFive Gets Backing

It's been almost a full year since Manitou (in conjunction with Cane Creek, RaceFace, and Chris King) unveiled the evolutionary OnePointFive standard. And while most of the initial gee-whiz (or so-what?) factor has worn off, most of us are left wondering how an oversize headset, steerer and stem (not to mention frame) will really improve our riding? We’ve seen an increasing number of manufacturers producing OnePointFive standard components and forks, (a surprise move with once-skeptical Marzocchi adopting the standard) but most of us are still searching for some harder reasoning to

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Stiffness Numbers Back-Up Hype

By Andrew Juskaitis

It’s been almost a full year since Manitou (in conjunction with Cane Creek, RaceFace, and Chris King) unveiled the evolutionary OnePointFive standard. And while most of the initial gee-whiz (or so-what?) factor has worn off, most of us are left wondering how an oversize headset, steerer and stem (not to mention frame) will really improve our riding?

We’ve seen an increasing number of manufacturers producing OnePointFive standard components and forks, (a surprise move with once-skeptical Marzocchi adopting the standard) but most of us are still searching for some harder reasoning to invest in a whole new front-end (i.e. a new bike). We just received some hard data from Manitou’s Marketing Director, Joel Smith, which indicates some pretty impressive results regarding steerer tube stiffness of OnePointFive. Granted, the testing was overseen by Manitou and the numbers on 1.5-inch steerers were derived from 1 1/8-inch hard data (only 1 1/8-inch steerer tubes were physically tested, 1.5-inch data was mathematically extrapolated). Nonetheless, the numbers are impressive.

We keep hearing, “1.5-inch forks are so much stiffer than 1 1/8-inch forks.” But how much stiffer? According to Manitou’s numbers, its aluminum 1.5-inch steerer is 153 percent stiffer than its standard aluminum 1 1/8-inch steerer tube (in the same load test its steel 1.5-inch steerer tested 82 percent stiffer than its 1 1/8-inch steel steerer). According to Smith, ” The test is based on basic engineering principles–every fork manufacturer uses this same protocol. We calculated the results of our 1.5-inch forks based on material and size dimensions that are gained from statistical evaluation of material.” He went on to summarize, “In a nutshell, we have checked to see that the calculation result works for our current steerer tubes though physical testing, and then use them to calculate stiffness for the 1.5-inch steerer based on the material placement (butting), material consistency (7075) and finishing methods (shot peen versus straight ano).” What it all adds up to is phenomenal stiffness improvement over the single crown forks that you and I are currently riding (dual crown forks are almost impossible to beat for stiffness).

Even Cannondale agrees. According to Design Engineer Todd Sorzano (developer of the Lefty fork), the OnePointFive standard makes a lot of sense. “It’s always been Cannondale’s philosophy that going oversize is always a smarter way to improve a product’s stiffness without significantly adding weight or affecting its fatigue life.” He added, “With the emphasis on larger stanchions, sliders and increased bushing overlap, it’s natural for a fork manufacturer to want to improve the final flexing element–the steerer tube/crown interface.”

RockShox agrees with the numbers but according to its Marketing Relations Director, Rene Cormier, “RockShox has not had any steerer tube issues would require a rapid adoption of this standard, and will continue to give due diligence in investigatingvarious ways to meet the ever demanding challenges of today’s riders. We will continue to research oversized headsets, integrated headsets systems, and 1.5″ steerer tubes as some of the many possible ways increase strength and stiffness while containing weight. There will be no 1.5″ steerer tube forks in RockShox 2003 line.”

Which all brings us back to the original question, “Is OnePointFive right for me?” For the weekend warrior, cross country racer or the die-hard epic journey rider the answer is clearly, “no.” OnePointFive is design overkill for the everyday rider. It’s the aggressive freerider who needs to consider whether a six-inch travel, single crown fork is right for them. And while it’s still to early to give OnePointFive the definitive “thumbs-up,” with impressive stiffness numbers such as these, it’s becoming that much easier for aggressive riders to consider stepping-up to this alternative standard. OnePointFive does have a place in the off-road world. Ultimately, it comes down to the rider’s style and terrain ridden that will justify the added the expense. One thing is for sure, OnePointFive is more than just aesthetics, it’s a design based (and now proven) on performance.