The 2017 Fox suspension lineup has kicked off with the wild new 32 Step Cast fork, shown on left, which we introduced with initial ride impressions and a full tech overview. But that’s not all that’s new for next year…or, um, this summer, really.
The Fox 34 is now available with Boost 110 axle spacing on both 27.5 and 29er wheel sizes, giving you the option of running it with Plus sized tires on the 29er version. They also reconfigured the shim stack to make the low speed damping a little lighter for better sensitivity without changing the mid- and high-speed damping that controls mid-stroke support. The 36 also comes in Boost 110, also for 27.5 and 29, and it also gets the refined low speed damping tune. The dual crown 40 DH fork carries over unchanged, no Boost option. Why not? Because there’s no demand for it yet.
They’re also adding new control options for the shocks and remotes, and a new price point level fork…
The fork lineup will now consist of Factory at the top, Performance Elite as an upper tier OEM option, standard Performance for mid-level aftermarket upgrades, and the affordable Rhythm line for sub-$3,000 bikes. It and the Performance forks use the new FIT GRIP damper, which switches from the FIT4’s bladder based system to a spring-loaded IFP to handle oil pressure in the return cycle. Fox’s PR manager Mark Jordan says it rides very well, and the Rhythm fork would likely retail for about $500 if sold aftermarket. To save money, it uses heavier 6000-series alloy upper tubes (rather than 7000-series on the higher end forks) and a less sophisticated casting on the lowers.
They’re also introducing Speed Pedelec e-Bike versions of forks that have beefed up bodies and a firmer tune because the bikes are usually 45lbs or more.
The Float DPS (left) carries over unchanged, but the Float X also gets a slight compression damping retune. They’ve rebalanced how the main piston and valves work together that, with the EVOL air can, they can build in a little more mid-stroke support without losing small bump sensitivity.
The Float X2 and DHX2, which let you adjust all of that high and low speed stuff on your own, get a new 2-position low-speed compression lever. It’s available as a stock option or aftermarket upgrade and adds a “firm” mode to the high and low speed compression, which essentially firms up the compression by shutting off the secondary valve stack inside the adjustment circuit. But it leaves the primary valve circuit alone so there’s still some squish. This makes more sense on longer travel bikes where these shocks are used than a full lockout on something like an XC bike. And, it does all that without limiting the adjustment range of the high and low speed circuits. Aftermarket upgrade will require a shock bleed, parts pricing TBD.
And what about Metric sizing? Thus far, Fox has been silent on the matter, so we asked. “We’re making and offering them, and we’ll continue offering everything we had before,” said Jordan. “We’ll make whatever our customers need.” As far as performance improvements that seem to be the reason for some others to get excited about the switch to a metric sizing, “We’re remaining neutral and will just make the best shock we can for the size needed.”
Lastly, they’ve got a new 2-position remote that’s a sealed design that can replace the usual 3-position remote for any compatible fork or shock. The sealed design is meant for people riding in nastier conditions, but since it only uses two positions, it means you’re giving up the Medium middle position and jumping straight from Open to Firm and back. It functions like a shifter trigger, with one lever pushing it to Firm, the other releasing it to Open. Aftermarket price is $40.