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Just the right amount of squish.
The 2017 FOX Racing Shox 34 Float 27.5 150 3Pos-Adj FIT4 Boost Fork brings back all the much-loved reworking of the 2016 line with the addition of Boost axle spacing and 150mm off squish for impeccable control and smooth navigation of technical terrain. As with the 2016 version, this fork's steerer, crown, uppers, lowers, and Float Air spring all shed weight compared to earlier iterations. Despite the weight loss, FOX still manages an overall increase in stiffness for a sharp, responsive ride. Lighter and stiffer always look better on paper, but you won't fully appreciate it until experience its versatility out on the trail.
The Fit4's Damper's puffed out, 10mm shaft increases oil flow to the base valve, allowing the fork to ride high for quick, controlled recovery during everything from big, square hits to successive, small impacts. The 3-position Fit4 system also takes the reins from 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 radical realignment of the 34 Float's capabilities that addresses virtually every issue we've had with the CTD damper in the past.
Perhaps the most welcome change from earlier Fit dampers is that Fit4 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 all-mountain situations, combining better small-bump compliance with more confident tracking through rock gardens and rough terrain. 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 fire roads.
FOX's tinkering wasn't just confined to the damper, though, as 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, a new system of spacers lets you easily temper the air shock's volume for dialing the mid stroke and ramp-up.
- Item #FRS003W
- Q & A
Fox Back in the Game
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
It was no secret that the Pike swiftly knocked Fox out of the top spot for 140-160mm travel forks. The Pike came out and was lighter, stiffer, smoother, and had better dampening. It seems to me like it took Fox some serious R&D to mount a comeback, but based on the 30 or so rides I have on this fork I'd say they have pulled it off finally.
The 34 chassis makes for a super light fork, but they've got it plenty stiff. In a blind test there's no way I could tell you which is stiffer this or a Pike. Whatever they've changed with the air spring has definitely made the beginning stroke much more supple as well. My 2015 (maybe 2014? had the RC2 damper) 36 Float was very rough and chattery and made for numb hands on long descents, this are is greatly improved on this fork. The RC2 damper in that 36 I had was pretty decent as well, but it was unfortunate they used the CTD damper in the 34 chassis exclusive since the CTD gave you very little control over compression dampening. This Fit4 damper has the same useful on the fly adjust-ability of CTD, but with much more actual control over the dampening.
Overall this fork is light, smooth, and easy to set up (with some basic understanding of the fundamentals of suspension tuning, not as turn-key as the previous CTD). I still dig the Pike for sure, but it's nice that there is now a comparable offering from Fox to choose from based on exactly what you need. If weight is a priority then this fork is a no-brainer over the Pike. Other than that, I'd say you really can't go wrong either way. Got to love when some healthy competition in the market makes for such sweet products!
- 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.
It's also so light for how capable it is! Performance/weight ratio is spot on with this guy, it doesn't mind big climbs.
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?