Ridden to success by Tom Pidcock, could Suntour’s TACT suspension be the ultimate setup for XC racing?

Suspension detail on Tom Pidcock's Pinarello Dogma XC race bike
Suntour’s TACT suspension on Tom Pidcock's Pinarello Dogma XC race bike (Image credit: Paul Brett)

We've already featured Tom Pidcock's Pinarello Dogma XC race bike on Bike Perfect, but now is your chance to buy the same suspension setup he used to win the first round of the XCO World Cup. SR Suntour has been in the suspension market since 1995 and features in our suspension brands outside the dominant two guide. For a long time, the brand specialized in budget suspension, but this latest release is set to change that.

The new TACT (not an acronym) system is aimed squarely at XC racers and comprises a fork and rear shock that are electronically controlled using pre-set parameters set up via the accompanying app. Unlike RockShox Flight Attendant It's a wired system and uses a battery and controller that's mounted onto a bottle cage. Pidcock and the guys at Ineos have a prototype version with a hidden battery, but that's currently not an option open for us mere mortals.

The front fork on Pidcock's Pinarello Dogma XC race bike

The TACT system uses the carbon steerer and crown seen on the Axon Werx fork (Image credit: Paul Brett)

Race tech

The fork is a 100mm travel unit with a full carbon steerer and 34mm stanchions based on Suntour's Axon Werx fork. All units are made to order in Europe and will be custom-built and tuned to specific lengths, strokes, and kinematics to ensure optimum performance regardless of what XC bike you fit it to. Most of the technical sensors are located in the fork, with the data sent quickly to the control unit, which in turn sets the rear shock to mimic whatever function the fork uses.

Suntour’s offering isn't just a simple lockout system, as seen in some previous electronic setups. The app has eight possible settings, and the level of lockout and feel from the shocks is adjustable within each setting – from a full-on race setup to something plusher. Adjustment apart from air pressure is only adjustable via the app though, and it's not possible currently to have different settings for the fork and shock. The lack of any handlebar controller or unit does give a clean setup though which means the rider only has to think about gear changes and saddle drops mid-race.

The rear shock on Pidcock's Dogma XC

The TACT battery on Pidcock's race bike is hidden inside the downtube, but it will be externally attached on production versions (Image credit: Paul Brett)

The system reacts very quickly to changes in terrain, with compression damper changes happening within five to six milliseconds. This speed wouldn't be possible with a normal cable lockout. How much quicker that makes a rider is difficult to quantify, but the guys from Suntour said that Pidcock's suspension locked out 150-200 times a lap at the recent Nove Mesto round.

The fork can also detect if the rider is climbing, descending, or in mid-air and can react accordingly to provide the optimal level of damping. The speed of change is said to make the system feel way more natural than other auto lockout systems that rely on a high force to move the suspension instead of an electronic response.

Tom Pidcock's Pinarello Dogma XC race bike

Suntour had Tom Pidcock's race winning Pinarello Dogma XC from Nove Mesto on display (Image credit: Paul Brett)

SR Suntour TACT suspension cost and availability

All this tech and custom building of course comes at a cost, in this case, €4,999. The new TACT suspension is available to order now, but lead times and pricing outside of Europe were not available at the time of writing.

The TACT system isn't on the Suntour site just yet, but for info on the rest of the range, head to srsuntour.com

Neal Hunt
Freelance Writer

Neal has been riding bikes of all persuasions for over 20 years and has had a go at racing most of them to a pretty average level across the board. From town center criteriums to the Megavalanche and pretty much everything in between. Neal has worked in the bicycle industry his entire working life, from starting out as a Saturday lad at the local bike shop to working for global brands in a variety of roles; he has built an in-depth knowledge and love of all things tech. Based in Sheffield, UK, he can be found riding the incredible local trails on a wide variety of bikes whenever he can