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  • Writer's pictureMo Awesome

First Ride Impressions: The Brand New DVO ONYX 38!


DVO Suspension knows a thing or two about how to make a fork feel good. Afterall, the same guys running the company are the same people who were in charge of Marozocchi for 27 years before FOX decided to treat it as their budget “free-ride” brand. Bryson Martin, the founder of DVO, also has deep ties to SR Suntour’s Taiwan factory which pumps out thousands of forks a week. We have been lucky to ride for DVO suspension for the last 5 years before starting a media company and find it only fitting that the first set of suspension in for testing is the brand new Onyx 38! And before we dive into this I do want to say, I'm not a bar or graph guy. If you are looking for exactly what is going on inside of suspension I am sure there are a lot of great tech articles out there but that stuff puts me to sleep. This is how the fork feels to me on the trails, we’ll leave the bar graphs for the office. 



I personally spent a good majority of the last few years on the old Onyx with 36mm stanchions. The fork felt great but there was always that awkward pause in conversation when you tried to explain why it didn’t have 38mm stanchions like other free-ride forks. On top of that it had the traditional OTT spring adjustment DVO is known for. What is OTT? Well that was always a very interesting question to answer as it seemed the more I would try to explain it, the more I would get confused even though I had just dialed it in perfectly. When I had it set up, it felt so good and supportive on the top stroke while also feeling nice and supple. Clearly though, it needed a little more of a simple approach. 


Fast forward to the current Onyx 38 and now we have 38mm stanchions and the new SL air system! What does that combo mean in real life (once again graphs are for engineers and the office)? Well you get a fork that feels insanely soft and supple in the initial stroke but with plenty of mid stroke support, a stiff chassis, all in a super easy to set up package! How easy to set up? All you have to do now is air up the fork, set your compression and rebound, and hit the trails! After getting my test suspension set up on my Pivot Switchblade (160mm fork) and Ibis Mojo HD6 (180mm fork), we headed straight to Arizona for a full week of aggressive testing. I had very little time to work on adjustments and I just hoped that I would acclimate quickly to the new set up. And boy did I acclimate quickly! 





I do want to note quickly for all my fellow weight weenies though that currently I am testing the Fox 36 as well as Fox 38. I weighed all three forks and the new Onyx 38 is 100 grams lighter than the Fox 38 and 200 grams heavier than the 36. I know the bike industry currently thinks weight doesn’t matter but it does, sorry Norco. Also huge shout out to the guys at DVO suspension for making sure everyone actually gets taken care of equally. Ronnie, a suspension wizard, set up my fork and he is the same person who dials in customer forks as well! There is no special "pro's" only mentality which makes DVO super reachable to the end consumer. Have a question about your fork? You can actually call these guys and they will answer. Good luck with SRAM on that, I have been trying that with my Transmission for a bit and I will report back if it ever works.


As for how the fork felt, for me it was love at first compression on the new Onyx 38! Compared to the older Onyx, the stiffness of the fork is very noticeable and it constantly made the South Mountain chunk as well as all of the jagged rocks on La Milagrosa trail in Tucson feel almost muted. My test bikes made me feel as if I had spent a few extra days in the gym, and I consistently found myself blown away at how much I was able to get away with when it came to choosing lines blind on La Milagrosa, a trail known for not holding back at all when it comes to chunk! 


The other thing noticeable immediately is how supple the fork is in the initial stroke without blowing through the first bit of travel, something not easily achieved, especially for riders like myself that like to run our suspension slightly softer with faster rebound. The transition through the travel also felt very smooth and controlled and I didn’t notice any spot where it felt like I was blowing through any travel. This fork felt like it supported me like a weighted blanket supports a dog on a fourth of July evening. And just as the US went full freedom mode breaking away from Great Britain, I couldn’t help but feel like a rockstar myself for the entire first few rides on this fork! It truly is mind blowing how much confidence it’s given me while still not feeling overbearing like certain other freeride forks on the market. 




Now DVO pitches a lot of other updates to this fork including a one unit system and redesigned arch of the fork to create an insane ride quality. But like I’ve mentioned in previous articles I hate when reviews don’t break things down simply because at the end of the day, Im that simple guy. I want to know how the person felt when riding a product, and once again if I wanted tech specs, graphs and bar charts I would listen to my mom and get a real job. Plus DVO’s website explains all of that really well. As for how I personally felt while riding the new DVO Onyx 38, absolutely blown away would sum it up very well! The amount of smiles this fork brought to my face on both my HD6 as well as Switchblade was enough to give me premature wrinkles and I constantly found myself trying to find sketchier lines to send myself off of despite running a self insured medical policy. 


DVO truly has created the best fork I have ever tested. And the best part is? They now have it in a very stealth gray option that looks amazing in person! 


Check out DVO Suspension Here: https://dvosuspension.com/product/onyx-d1-38/


-Mo Awesome


2 Comments


jaykbartlett
Mar 04

How does it compare to the Fox 38?

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Cooper Barth
Cooper Barth
Feb 29

This is such an awesome first impression! I am working with Bobby at DVO to get the new Onyx 38 and can't wait! I was initially concerned about the weight but you totally squashed those concerns. Thanks for showing the weights! Cooper (MTB Co-op)

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