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After five plus years of development, the minds at Penske Racing Shocks, Trek, and FOX are excited to introduce RE:aktiv, a new suspension design using regressive damping - a technology proven in auto racing that has never before been applied to mountain biking.


A chance meeting between Penske Racing Shocks' Technical Director Jim Arentz and Trek’s Director of MTB Frame Technology Dylan Howes at a NASCAR race, lead to the two companies talking about the potential for Penske’s custom innovations in the world of mountain bikes. Penske has been a major force in Formula 1, NASCAR, and Indy racing for many years, and Trek was eager to collaborate with them when developing this new design. After putting their heads together, the teams landed on the remarkable potential of regressive damping to achieve what inertia valves have been unsuccessfully attempting in the mountain bike world for years.

Comparison of traditional shim and orfice dampers to RE:activ, a regressive design.

RE:aktiv is a regressive damper that balances pedaling performance with big-hit absorption without feeling harsh. The valve is capable of delivering lots of low-speed compression damping, fluid high-speed compression damping, and an instant, seamless transition between the two. It provides a much firmer hold in straights and corners for incredible support, but when it hits a sudden obstacle, like the square angles encountered on technical trails, the shock’s hold instantly gives way to a plush, controlled progression.

The new design makes use of FOX's easy to use CTD settings.

FOX was brought into the process at a pivotal moment of the development process, applying their expertise and manufacturing know-how to the new shock to help bring RE:aktiv to market. The shock uses the new RE:aktiv damper technology packaged alongside Trek’s proprietary DRCV air spring and FOX’s easy to use CTD settings.

"The unique thing about Penske and Trek is that we've really only scratched the surface," said Penske Racing Shocks Director of Research and Development Bill Gartner. "Regressive technology helped with one compromise that was there in mountain biking but there's a whole other world of technologies that may apply. Not only from Formula One but all the markets we work with." Given the prestige and demand for Penske's suspension designs in auto racing, the mountain bike world should be very excited about their future involvement.


Trek is launching several new products this week, including a new RE:aktiv equipped 120mm travel Fuel EX 27.5, Carbon Remedy 29 (which we got sneak peek of last week) complete with a new 148mm rear hub spacing, and Lush 27.5 for the ladies. AJ Barlas is on the ground for Vital MTB and will be bringing you all the details you could want and initial ride impressions in the coming days. The entire lineup is expected to be available later this summer.

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