What do you get when you take the race-proven FOX Live Valve system developed with Trophy Trucks and combine it with the all-new 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor? Upgraded FOX 3.1 Live Valve suspension provides a smooth and comfortable feeling on the pavement with aggressive control and stability at high speeds off-road in real time. Check out the video below to find out how.
FOX athlete Justin Lofton was victorious racing a Live Valve system adapted for Trophy Truck with the same high-force electronic valve being introduced commercially on the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor.
FOX increased the shock bodies and internals from the previous Raptor design, allowing you to drive full tilt off-road with increased handling performance while significantly improving control over bigger obstacles. With a dynamic range of twice the prior valve design, the new electronic valve architecture shrugs off significantly larger hits with the feeling of bottomless travel and smooths out the most rutted out teeth-rattling washboards.
Electronic and semi-active
Live Valve is a semi-active, electronic suspension system. This means that while you’re driving, it gathers information from driver inputs and vehicle sensors 500 times a second. Then, interprets that data in the onboard ECU, and intelligently adjusts all four shocks’ damping to the optimal setting within a fraction of a second. You don’t have to do a thing to achieve the best ride.
This is significant. Any change in the terrain or your driving style warrants a change in shock settings to maximize your comfort and control.
Sure, it’s convenient to be able to adjust your shocks by hand. But the inherent limitation is that you can only adjust them so much; so any adjustment made ends up being an inevitable compromise. Say you’ve set up your shocks to articulate over the rocky trails to the campsite, but now you’ve reached a wide-open clearing where you can really open up the throttle. You either have to (a) get out and adjust by hand or (b) deal with the loose feel of your shocks and dial back your top speed.
You can get out and adjust by hand. But do you really want to?
Pressing a button on the steering wheel is so much easier. Like the previous generation of Raptor, there are three modes you can use to dial in how Live Valve makes the shocks feel: Normal, Sport, and Off-Road.
When it comes to these suspension modes, the main difference between the all-new 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor and the previous generation is that Normal and Sport modes share an algorithm built around street comfort and stability, each with its own outputs tuned for a unique feel. Off-Road mode is a purpose-built, all-new algorithm made to drive off-road only.
Normal mode is the most comfortable and generally allows the shocks to compress and rebound easiest to smooth out your ride.
Whereas, Sport mode retunes some of the algorithm parameters to give you more stability features that focus on keeping your chassis level during corners, acceleration, and braking. This is great if you want to have a more spirited drive up a mountain road on your way to the dirt.
Off-Road mode is what turns the new Raptor into a totally different beast.
Built to go off-road
Different terrain requires different settings: you don’t want to use Normal and Sport modes off-road. They won’t be comfortable or supportive enough. You also don’t want to use Off-Road mode on the street for the same reasons.
The all-new Off-Road mode is purpose-built to give you the most capable truck whether you’re driving through canyons, carving dunes, rallying through whoops, or sending jumps.
What’s even more impressive about the system, though, is how the Raptor’s new Off-Road mode and algorithm pushes the boundaries of a semi-active system while driving off-road. It doesn’t just react to the data it gathers 500 times-per-second. It uses that data to chart, analyze, and predict both your driving style and what the terrain will do next.
Predicting your driving style
Because everyone has their own driving style, Live Valve monitors how you like to drive in order to predict what you’ll do next. It does this by creating a model based on your speed, the way you steer, and how you use the accelerator pedal.
If Live Valve notices you’re using less throttle and you’re slowing down, it’ll predict you’re going to drive less aggressively – and decrease damping in all four shocks to provide more comfort.
Conversely, if it notices you’re using more throttle and you’re speeding up, it’ll predict you’re going to drive more aggressively – and increase damping in all four shocks to provide more support.
Predicting the terrain ahead
While you’re driving, Live Valve monitors the position of each shock as it moves through the travel multiple times per second. It then combines that data with your driving style to create a predictive model that determines if the terrain ahead is getting smoother or rougher.
For example, if Live Valve notices you’re using less suspension travel, it will predict that the terrain is getting smoother – and decrease damping in all four shocks to provide more comfort.
But, if Live Valve notices you’re using more suspension travel, it’ll predict that the terrain is getting rougher – and increase damping in all four shocks to provide more support.
So whether you’re just going for a drive, or pushing the limits, the Live Valve system intelligently and individually provides the best possible settings to each of your four shocks.
Oops I did it again
As a kid, did you ever jump on the bed or take an extra treat off the dessert tray when your folks weren’t looking? There are some things in life that are just too fun to not do.
Now, as an adult, jumping the Raptor is one of those things.
Thankfully, Live Valve has built-in jump detection. So, when it senses that all your wheels leave the ground, it maximizes the support in all the shocks to make sure it feels like you land back on the comfortable mattress, not the edge of a dresser.
Like what you see? Check out all the FOX Academy videos for powered vehicles and mountain bikes here.