For aggressive riders, it's been hard to find a fork that's stiff enough to inspire confidence, without weighing you down on the ride back up. Luckily, though, Fox Racing Shox has been paying attention, which has resulted in the 34 Float 26in 160 FIT CTD with Trail Adjust Fork. Sitting half-way between the XC oriented 32 chassis, and the burly 36 platform, the 34 Float 160 is light enough to climb for hours without complaint, but it's purpose-built for jumps, drops, and rock-strewn trails. So, don't hold back. The 34 will take it in stride and gladly come back for more.
Like recent generations of Fox's Factory series forks, the Float 160 controls its stroke with the venerable FIT damper. As you may have guessed, 'FIT' is an acronym, and it stands for Fox Isolated Technology. And, unlike a traditional open bath system, FIT means that the damper fluid is sealed in an air-tight bladder. This prevents contamination, which improves the consistency of the damper on long descents.
Long-time Fox riders will immediately notice Fox's Climb, Trail, Descend damper adjustments. And there's no need to worry, you're still getting the same adjustments to high- and low-speed compression, only it's now packaged in a more user-friendly format. Climb mode provides the most damping for a near locked-out feel. Meanwhile, it still provides a bit of cushion for any unexpected hard hits. Click the damper into the Trail mode, and you'll find that there's ample low-speed compression in order to keep the fork riding high in the travel through berms, jumps, and rocks. Better yet, it still provides plenty of compliance in order to smooth out the ride. Trail mode has three sub-settings that allow you to tune exactly how much feedback that you need from your suspension. And, as you may have guessed, Descend mode provides the lightest compression damping for a plush ride.
Depending on your tastes, many riders simply find the trail setting that works best for them, and don't feel the need to make on-the-fly adjustments. However, the CTD lever is easily accessible for those of you whose ride isn't complete until you've flipped your suspension levers a few dozen times. And best of all, those options are presented in a way that makes each adjustment instinctive. This way, you don't need a degree in fluid dynamics in order to correctly tune your suspension.
The 34 Float 160 comes with Kashima coated stanchions. And, in addition to being 100% 'gold-er' than the competition, Kashima coating is harder than standard stanchion coatings. This equates to a longer wear life, as well as smoother suspension action.
The 34 chassis is brand new to the Fox lineup, and it fills an obvious gap. Splitting the difference between the light overall weight of the 32 chassis, and the bombproof reliability of the 36 series, the 34 is built as a perfect companion to the latest generation of aggressive-use trail bikes. At just over four pounds, this fork is no heavyweight. Better yet, it's built to ride rough trails day in and day out, and it's more than stiff enough for most riders. And speaking of stiffness, Fox uses Shimano's 15mm QR axle assembly, which provides both added stiffness and increased security over a traditional 9mm QR skewer.
The Fox Racing Shox 34 Float 26in 160 FIT CTD with Trail Adjust Fork in the color Black and with a 1.5-inch tapered steerer tube. Please note that this fork is only compatible with 26-inch wheels and 15QR thru-axles.
|Fox Racing Shox 34 Talas 160 CTD Remote Fit 26" Fork||$1,085.00 - $1,165.00|
|Fox Racing Shox 34 Float 27.5 160 FIT CTD w/ Trail Adjust Fork||$1,002.50|
|Fox Racing Shox 34 Talas 27.5in 160 FIT CTD w/ Trail Adjust Fork||$1,120.00|
|Fox Racing Shox 34 Float 160 CTD Remote Fit 26" Fork Fork||$1,082.50|
I always miss the stiffness of the 36 and its 20mm axle when charging on the downs, but this little brother version does a very respectable job, and feels noticeably lighter when the wheels are pointed up. Pick your poison.