2016 Fox FLOAT 32 FIT4 suspension fork with Boost 110mm spacing first ride review

At Sea Otter this year, Fox unveiled their entire 2016 suspension lineup with some impressive sounding tech and major improvements from the prior generation of CTD forks. The best news of all was that the new FIT4 cartridge would spread from the 34 to the other forks to provide drastically better damping.

On the prior models, I simply never used the “Descend” mode because the damping essentially disappeared and the fork would dive through its travel under hard braking or even the smallest of hits. To remedy this, the FIT4 system reworked oil flow on both compression and rebound damping circuits and changed the controls around a bit.

I had the chance to ride a 2016 32 FLOAT fork with 110mm boost axle spacing around Fort Collins, CO, for a few hours and the improvements are immediately apparent and amazing.

2016 Fox FLOAT 32 FIT4 suspension fork with Boost 110mm spacing first ride review

The 2016 32 keeps the same chassis as the 2015 model, only the internals change. It’s available in 100mm (tested), 120mm and 140mm travel options. I can’t show you the bike it’s attached to, but this one’s a 29er with 110mm front hub spacing and 15mm thru axle.

2016 Fox FLOAT 32 FIT4 suspension fork with Boost 110mm spacing first ride review

In addition to the new FIT4 cartridge, the 32 gets the new air spring that uses an automatically adjusted negative air chamber in place of the old coil spring negative.

2016 Fox FLOAT 32 FIT4 suspension fork with Boost 110mm spacing first ride review

The new compression adjustment knob switches between open, medium and firm. Firm is not a full lockout, but might as well be. Medium splits the difference, and Open is where you wanna be.

The small black dial is the Open Mode Adjust and only comes on the top-level Factory editions. Fox claims 22 clicks of adjustment, but I wasn’t able to feel distinct indents with gloved fingers. But, it did turn easily and made several rotations worth of spinning. It did open up the fork a bit when turned all the way counter clockwise, but the change from firmest to least firm wasn’t as drastic as expected.

2016 Fox FLOAT 32 FIT4 suspension fork with Boost 110mm spacing first ride review

What impressed me most is I was able to keep the fork in Open for the entire ride. Climbing, descending, standing, seated – didn’t matter. The Open mode is now (finally) so good that it works across all types of riding. Technically I did switch it to the Medium mode for a minute just to see, but the Open mode had the right mix of support and suppleness that it’s almost a set-it-and-forget-it-mode.

I ran it with with approximately 18-20% sag (eyeballing it), so the fork could be set up with a bit more sag if conditions warranted a softer setting for rough descents, in which case the Medium setting might get a little more use.

Even with spirited standing sprinting or slow standing climbing, there was minimal fork bob. I experienced no undue brake dive, and steep technical descents with plenty of rocks, drops and angled transition bumps were no problem.

2016 Fox FLOAT 32 FIT4 suspension fork with Boost 110mm spacing first ride review

I never had to mess with the rebound adjustment. Wherever it was set worked great (I wasn’t the first person to ride the test bike), keeping the tire planted on the ground. I was running about 24psi, which felt rather soft in the 29×2.25 Schwalbe tires, and was a bit low considering they were running tubes, so that helped with traction also.

Considering how bad the Descend mode was (sorry Fox), the new forks are a giant leap forward in performance, and that’s something anyone could tell from just one ride. More than ever, we’re looking forward to more time on the new forks.

Now, about that Boost 110mm spacing: Part of the story is the entire package, and the bike I was riding was designed to be very, very laterally stiff. Even so, once I got used to the bike, it became more apparent just how stiff the wheels were. Everything went where it was pointed with zero hesitation, and that’s with Fox’s smallest stanchion fork. Hard corners and long swooping sections both showed off the wheels’ stability, but it was the latter where I had time to soak it in and think “Hmmm, yeah, this Boost thing might be just the ticket.” I’m optimistic, despite the PITA it’s going to be for everyone over the next few years, and look forward to trying a Boost version of a bike I’m more accustomed to.

RideFox.com

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18 Comments
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TJ
TJ
6 years ago

Judging by the Niner logo on the hub, I’ guessing that this is the new Jet9. Looking forward to seeing it.

phella
phella
6 years ago

a lot of clearance in that arch, wonder if they’ll fit a 29×3.0?

JBikes
JBikes
6 years ago

“I can’t show you the bike it’s attached to, but this one’s a 29er with 110mm front hub spacing and 15mm thru axle.”

Correct me if I am wrong, but this is fork specific, not bike specific (like a boost rear would be).

As for designing around that stiffness. I’ll take that with a touch of [marketing] salt. All FS frames are designed to be laterally stiff as it minimizes suspension binding and tries to correct for what is a innately a flexy design (pivots and links).

Note – I say all this as someone that sees the benefit of wider hubs. Just would like them to be back compatible via spacers.

Mr. P
6 years ago

Fox’s forks damping was not the issue, it was a soft midstroke in the spring. Spring controls the rider, the damping controls the spring. Using a heavier damping is a hack to try and fix the travel blow-through. That said, I’m glad Fox got it figured out and even took a leap forward.

Boost sucks with all the components it will require to replace (frame, fork, hubs) but like written above, should be great for lateral stiffness.

P

Eric E. Strava
Eric E. Strava
6 years ago

BYE FELICIA

a
a
6 years ago

i still dont feel a diff between boost and non-boost bikes, but it must be that im not pro enough 🙂

Morecore
Morecore
6 years ago

Built a bike last week with a FIT4 fork. While I did not get to ride it on a trail I did put it through the back of the shop urban test loop.

I agree with Tyler that the low speed compression damping adjustment was noticeable between the extremes but not as much as I would have hoped for with 20+ clicks on the knob. I did not perceive much difference between open and medium either, but like I said I did not have an extensive ride on it.

JBikes
JBikes
6 years ago

Scratch my last sentence. Spacers to go from “normal” to “boost” so I can at least use my old wheels.

Quickie
Quickie
6 years ago

Nice advertisement.

Mikey
Mikey
6 years ago

Am I seeing a new version of Schwalbe Rapid Rob? Don’t think they currently have a tubeless ready evo version of it.

Sardinien
Sardinien
6 years ago

A test ride for a new fork turned into a commercial for Niner.

MissedThePoint
MissedThePoint
6 years ago

Rapid Rob is their old Racing Ralph tread pattern. I’ve only seen them come stock on Niner bikes, oddly enough their AM HT (ROS9, Tubeless EVO as well).

benzo
benzo
6 years ago

Nice advertisement indeed.

joe
joe
6 years ago

Is the new air spring and damper compatible with the older chassis forks? Such as my 2014 Talas 34 160mm 27.5 on my Bronson.

Blake
Blake
6 years ago

How do these compare with the RockShox SID XX? I’d like to get the Trek Top Fuel 9.8, but afraid I’d be missing out on the ’16 Fox Forks. The custom top fuel is too pricey.

Ted
Ted
6 years ago

I have the fox34 on my evil following, I’ve had two rides on it , 2.75 ride at Galbraith mnt. and a 2.5 hour at mnt work. 65 psi, etc. I’m no pro when it comes to all the fancy stuff, but I love the fork so far!!

Matt
Matt
6 years ago

Where can I buy one of these? Fox does not have it listed on the web site. I can’t find one anywhere. Are these only OEM right now?

fred
fred
6 years ago

call fox to buy the fit4 cartridge