The 34 Talas CTD 160mm is Fox’s answer for your long travel all mountain bike needs. I have tested more than a few Fox forks in the past, but never a 34mm chassis. This experience was both new and interesting… read on for more details.
The Talas 34 came in at 4.32lbs with the fork cut and the star nut installed–pretty close to what Fox advertises it at.
The 2014 Talas went through a bunch of internal changes to improve the damping curve. Taking rider feedback into consideration, Fox changed not only the shim stack, but the difference between the climb, trail and descend modes as well. Now, with a more definitive feel between modes, almost all riders can decide for themselves which mode is best for them.
The improved arch and 34mm stanchions increase chassis stiffness and tracking dramatically over the 32mm chassis, making this fork very trail worthy.
The only choice for the Talas 34 this year is a tapered steerer and a QR15 hub. Sorry, folks, but my firm belief is that more and more 34mm forks will come only in this configuration.
The Talas sports 160mm of travel, which can be set to 130 mm at a turn of the LS dial.
As far as adjustments, the fork features the prominent CTD (climb, trail, descend) mode switch. There’s also a strength adjustment setting. With three settings, you have further tuning abilities as far as compression goes. According to Fox, “the Factory CTD w/Trail Adjust features the three-position Trail Adjust control that regulates low-speed compression damping only in Trail mode. For firmer low-speed compression in Trail mode, turn the black Trail Adjust knob clockwise. For lighter low-speed compression, turn the Trail Adjust knob counter-clockwise. Trail adjustments (soft, medium, firm) only function in Trail mode.” Along with the complex CTD system, you can also adjust rebound and air pressure.
Finally, don’t forget that the Factory line of forks comes with Kashima Coating and low friction seals.
Out on the Trail
I rode this fork for quite some time before sitting down to write this review. On more than one occasion, I compared this fork right up against the Rock Shox Pike that I reviewed recently. The 34 Talas tackled everything superbly, as did the Pike. I can definitely say that, compared to the older 32 Talas I reviewed back in 2012, the 34 feels much stiffer and more precise.
The Talas 34 holds performed admirably. I found that the new damping curve works very well, and offers superior control, especially in trail mode. In fact, most of my time riding the Talas was in trail mode, fiddling between the 2 and 3 setting. I did run it in open for extended periods, as well as climb. In my opinion, Climb mode feels too stiff: there is very little give in that mode, which makes for a very bone-jarring climb. Nearly all things feel like a square-edged rock. In descend mode, the fork felt great at speed. When going slowly though tight, twisty descents, however, the suspension tended to compress a bit, making me ride a bit lower in the travel.
Switching between modes while stopped is totally fine. The knob and controls work flawlessly, even with gloves on. But riding on a rough rooted, rocky trail such as the ones that can be found at places like 3-stages in Collingwood or Bent Rim trail in Halton Hills, is a completely different story. The remote option would be best for these situations. I find that I just couldn’t take my hand off my bar and focus on turning the knob before having to get it back on the bar, and then turn or go over another rock.
I personally am still on the fence in terms of the height adjustment feature, as I find it takes time to go down and time to come back up again, which could be a slight distraction. But if you have a long, extended climb in front of you, that’s a moot point.
I even tested the Talas out on some black diamond downhill runs at Blue Mountain. On the fast, chattery sections of rocky, rooted terrain I felt very confident. However, on the bigger drops, the fork did go deeper into the travel than I wanted. Still, it did well overall.
The Talas 34 CTD performed admirably and tackled terrain well above its pay grade. Damping is improved, stiffness is vastly improved, and the controls work well. If you’re looking to upgrade the fork on your all mountain rig, the 34 Talas CTD is a serious contender.
Cost: About $1,120 US.
Thanks to the folks at Fox for sending down the Talas 34 160mm CTD for review. Stay tuned for a review of the Float X CTD.