Are you are planning on buying a new suspension fork for your new bike build? Or maybe you’ve had the case of “upgradetitis disease” and want to change your current rig for no reason at all. Well, you would be pleased to know that the 2017 line of Fox suspensions and forks are already out in the market and now available in your “suking bike shops.”
If you are buying a Fox fork for the first time, you might still be sitting on the fence because of the price tag that goes with it. You’re probably thinking if it will be worth all the fishball lunches, “lakad or pajak” all the way to work, and other cost-cutting measures you will employ in order save and buy one.
We’ll help you decide if it will be worth all that effort.
What Sets Fox Apart?
Fox has been in the mountain biking industry since 1974. They have over 40 years of experience in developing high-quality components for the most aggressive riders. But, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Fox is better than any other brand simply because it has been in the business longer.
If you think about it though, newer companies can also produce components with the latest technology and fit a specific niche rather extremely well. However, Fox’s history of mountain biking means that it has streamlined its manufacturing processes, has advanced research and development, and spent decades testing its products on the trails.
One of the most important qualities of Fox, especially to cross-country riders, is that they emphasize producing the most lightweight forks possible. Fox uses lighter materials, better design, and more hollow components to achieve a lighter fork without losing strength.
Any model of Fox forks weighs less than almost any of its competitors. If your fork is light, you’re guaranteed to notice this on the trails because you can maneuver, hop over obstacles, and climb hills with more ease. Even downhill riders will want to reduce weight as much as possible, because it allows them to dodge, corner, hop, and jump with more agility.
What the Fox?
36-32-34, those aren’t the vital statistics of the sales lady you are crushing on at your fave bike shop, rather those are the models you will choose from depending on your riding style. Essentially, 32 models are made for cross-country, 34 models for aggressive trail riding, 36 for all-mountain, and 40 for intense downhill. Travel increases from 32 models to 40 models.
Fox 32 Models
The 32 models are made for long-distance cross-country riding, where the focus is traversing as much distance as possible in the least amount of time. They do not have as much travel, and they are not made to go off massive jumps. Fox’s goal in creating the 32 models for 2017 is to shave off as much weight as possible without losing performance.
The 2017 Step-cast 32 fork weighs in at only 2.98 pounds, the lightest cross-country fork Fox has ever produced. This also makes it one of the lightest forks in the world. Fox removed material from the lower legs and pushed the legs together to cut weight. This should not affect performance in any way, as the design was also improved to counteract the loss of material. With this lighter fork, you’ll feel faster and more agile than ever before. It is ideal for racing or beating personal records on cross-country trails.
Additionally, Fox used its latest Float air-spring technology on this fork. This will make the fork seem plusher on the trails. Even if you’re hitting large roots and going off three-foot drops, you will be comfortable and safe. The new air-spring technology makes the fork seem like it has more travel than it actually does.
Fox 34 Models
The newest Fox 34 model is designed for the rider who wants to be fast on the uphill but also needs a fork that withstand the pressures of aggressive downhill riding. It weighs around one pound more than the 32 models, but it makes up for the weight with better performance. Depending on your needs, you can choose 120mm, 130mm, 140mm, or 150mm of travel for your 34 forks.
In the new 2017 models, Fox offers a new technology called the GRIP damper. Essentially, this allows oil to flow more freely through the fork to provide more consistent performance and greater durability. Because of this, you’ll notice that the 34 models feel plusher, more consistent, and require less maintenance.
The 34 models also added material in some vital areas to increase the fork’s strength. On the other hand, Fox removed some material that does not matter as much so that the fork does not gain weight. Because of the design changes, you can feel more confident attacking the trails and going off features more aggressively than ever before.
Fox 36 Models
If you are interested in a 36 model, you have moved away from general cross-country riding and towards extreme riding and racing where every performance improvement matters. The 36 models are approximately twice as heavy as the 32 models, with the lightest 36 models weighing 4.34 pounds. Additionally, Fox 36 forks cost significantly more than the 32 and 34.
However, there are some crucial benefits to the 36 models that will certainly be noticed in intense trail riding. A lot of added material makes the 36 much tougher than the 34. To have a fork as thick and large as the 36 certainly inspires confidence and encourages you to take on challenges you never would have considered with a weaker, lighter fork.
If you find that you are bottoming out your suspension and having painful impacts when you use a cross-country oriented fork like the 32 or 34, it can help to move to a downhill fork like the 36. The 36 models also allow you to get 170 or 180 mm of travel, a change that can make your impacts on big jumps and drops much more agreeable.
Again, one significant disadvantage of 36 models is their weight. With a Fox 36 fork attached to your bike, it will definitely be harder to climb hills and get past obstacles. If you ride mostly downhill, though, these costs can be worth it.
Fox 40 Models
The Fox 40 models are almost exclusively designed for downhill racers. For example, Rachel Atherton used a Fox 40 to win the 2014 UCI mountain bike downhill world cup. The Fox 40 offers more options to customize your fork’s performance. It uses the HSC/LSC damper design, a new system that allows you to adjust your air spring pressure and rebound to anything you want for any course you’re riding.
The new 2017 models added some important features. They have a new upper tube finish, called the Kashima Coat, that makes the fork function more smoothly by reducing friction. It has a new Float airspring that requires less of a hit to initiate travel. On the trails, this means that you probably won’t feel any small bumps at all. The airspring can also be customized to provide more options for different trails.
There are three options for adjusting the fork’s compression. The first setting is completely locked out, the middle is slightly less plush, and the last setting completely unlocks your fork for more intense riding.
Often, riders just leave the compression in the middle setting unless they are planning on large jumps or aggressive riding. The rebound can be adjusted to basically any setting you need. Using the rebound knob at the bottom of the fork, you can change the way your fork bounces back from bumps, optimizing it for large features and jumps or normal trail riding.
Does this degree of customizability sound like more than enough to you? Great! For most people, these options are sufficient to adjust the fork for whatever they want to ride.
However, Fox forks do not have highly adjustable dual air springs. For some riders that want complete fine-tuned control over the performance of their fork, this can be a problem.
Our Take on Fox Forks
Fox forks are more expensive than some other options and this can be a disadvantage. If you are looking for a decent fork, but do not need truly phenomenal performance, then some other brands can provide better value. Overall however, they perform very well, and are not as expensive as some other high-end brands, so the price is very justifiable.
So, go ahead and start you your fishballs diet and save-up for a brand new Fox fork!
Photo Credit www.ridefox.com visit their website for full specs and details.