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2016's overhaul of theFOX Racing Shox fork line was so effective that the company's engineers left the 2017 forks largely unchanged. The one standout exception being the 2017 Fox Racing Shox 32 Float SC 27.5 100 iRD FIT Fork. It features an entirely redesigned chassis, dubbed Step-Cast, and a narrowed crown to land with claims of being one of the lightest XC suspension forks available.
Step-Cast presents as stepped cutouts in the lowers of the fork that open up extra clearance for rotors and spokes while narrowing the fork's stance by 10mm. This means less overall material and less weight, which, when paired with the hollowed out lowers, results in claims that this fork is one of the lightest on the market. Whether you're out for a Sunday social spin or nervously toeing the start line, this lightweight construction makes for a precise, responsive ride.
The FIT iRD damper encompasses the much-loved features of FOX's FIT4 damper and adds a bar-mounted electronic switch for easy access to on-the fly damper setting control. It returns largely unchanged from last year save a few tweaks and a bit of extra machining to fit within the new Step-Cast lowers. This includes a puffed out, 10mm shaft, which increases oil flow to the base valve and allows the fork to ride high for quick, controlled recovery during everything from small, successive impacts to big, square hits. The 3-position FIT system also takes over in place of the old CTD system, changing the names from the overly-prescriptive categories of Climb, Trail, and Descend to a graduating scale covering Firm, Medium, and Open. While this change may read like an exercise in semantics, it entails a drastic realignment of the 32 Float's capabilities that addresses virtually every issue we've had with CTD's damper in the past.
FIT iRD migrates the adjustable sub settings from CTD's median Trail mode to the new Open setting. Open encompasses both Descend and Trail in order to take full advantage of the fork's high ride by handling most compression duties. This makes the fork that much more relevant to five-inch situations, combining better small-bump compliance with more confident tracking across root lattices and rocky moonscapes. It doesn't wallow and handling stays on point.
The Medium setting migrates much deeper into the firm side of compression than the Trail setting did, so it'll suffice in most conditions that don't require use of the big-bottomed Open setting. The Firm setting remains self-explanatory: an XC lock-out for turning on the afterburners when terrain allows. It'll likely see much less use in the new system, but we still appreciate Firm while riding to the trailhead or transitioning on gravel roads.
The Float air spring now omits the negative coil in favor of a self-equalizing air assembly. This is similar to the air spring chamber system that made the re-worked 36 series such a success, and its omission of a steel coil is a key contributor to the overall weight loss. Finally, its system of spacers lets you easily temper the air shock's volume for dialing the mid stroke.
- FOX's cross-country fork gets an all-new chassis
- Stepped lower design narrows stance without reducing rotor clearance
- 100mm of travel deftly softens bumps
- FIT iRD damper's bar-mounted switch adjusts on the fly
- Customize stroke with air spring volume spacers
- Item #FRS003T
- Q & A
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
Narrower; significantly lighter, and stiffer? Yup.
I was rather concerned about how this fork would ride after seeing it on the bike I was demoing, but it turned out to not only shatter expectations, it put all concerns of flex to rest rather quickly.
Even after dropper 3/4 pound compared to the standard Float 29, there was zero noticeable sacrifice in performance. Fox claims that the Step Cast forks are stiffer than the standard float, and I would be inclined to believe them.
If you are looking for the ultimate XC race fork, look no further!
If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with me directly.
Customer Account Manager
Can the FOX IRD Forks be used without the remote lockout? Are they set to trail mode by default?