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Two years ago, FOX Racing Shox completely overhauled the chassis, shock, and damper of its 36 Float line. Those changes have since become general across the Float line, and they're intact and unaltered on the 2017, 51mm Rake 36 Float 29 160 3Pos-Adj FIT4 Boost Fork with one exception. The chassis itself, already stiffer than its predecessor, receives the added Boost of 110mm axle spacing.
The Boost axle is also kicked out with 51mm of rake, which decreases the bike's trail for less "dead" space between the steering axis and the hub. The design offsets the floppy, low-speed steering issues that arise from the longer trails produced by taller wheels and slack geometries, so handling stays 26er-sharp at all speeds, whether climbing, ripping, or navigating switchbacks and tricky terrain.
Compared to the prior model, the new 36 Float's crown and lowers were redesigned to be lighter, lower, and stiffer, resulting in a shorter axle-to-crown measurements across the board, so that the decreased trail is the only alteration of the bike's front-end geometry. The stiffness boost makes slugging up climbs that much easier and, more importantly, keeps tracking on point while cleaning lines. The fork also gets a newly formulated, higher-viscosity proprietary fork oil, which makes for more responsive rebound during consecutive hits.
The new Float air spring also enjoys significant revision, with FOX seeing off the old negative coil spring in favor a dual-chamber air spring. This neat trick of metal-to-air alchemy may be the single biggest contributor to the fork's weight loss, and when it's paired with the reduced number of smoother seals, it means the fork requires less force to initiate travel. The quick initiation can be offset by volume spacers to make the fork ramp-up harder.
The fork's other arm houses the fourth generation of the FOX Isolated Technology (FIT4) damper. For FIT4, FOX uses an air-tight bladder, as opposed to a more common open bath system, so it's more resistant to debris contamination and stays smoother and more consistent between maintenance intervals. The damper itself replaces FOX's old Climb, Trail, Descend settings with an Open setting — where we find ourselves spending most of our time — a firmed-up Medium setting, and a locked-out Firm setting that may only see use for fire road transitions and while sailing to the trailhead. The ramp-up curve can also be adjusted with internal spacers.
- Item #FRS005E
- Q & A
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
This fork… holy cow. It belongs on every long travel bike. I know, I know, blanket statement, but I think the fork is THAT good. I used to be nervous of square edges, rock gardens, roots, ruts, and plain old crap, this thing just soaks it up. “Confidence inspiring” doesn’t do it justice.
This fork tracks where I want it to go, doesn’t feel like dead weight, and is supple. I truly feel that at every moment, this fork is setting me up to literally overcome my obstacle.
With the new FIT4 damper, this fork has truly useful Compression modes and is simple an intuitive to adjust and tune. Unless you really like to geek out on suspension (I’m guilty!) the LSC, Rebound, and Air Volume adjustments are all you’ll need and are super easy to get dialed in.
And yes, I’ve ridden on a Pike. And yes I’d take the Fox. Every time.
Building a new bike? Upgrading the current whip? Give me a shout and I’ll make sure you get the perfect build.
Even if you’re not ready to pull the trigger, reach out if you have questions like:
- What do all the knobs and dials do?
- How do I set my suspension for me?
- Which fork is right for my bike?