Fox Racing Shox's 36 series forks have a loyal following among the free ride and all-mountain sets. And the Fox 36 Float 160 RC2 FIT Fork represents the latest incarnation of this legendary platform. Its sealed damper keeps the stroke controlled over chunky descents and rough landings, while the 36mm stanchions and 20mm through axle keep this fork coming back for more.
Fox's employs its highly refined FIT damper technology in order to keep the 36 Float feeling consistent across variable terrain. Unsurprisingly, 'FIT' is an acronym, and it stands for Fox Isolated Technology. Basically, this means that the damper is contained within a sealed cartridge. This is a significant improvement over open bath systems, which expose the damper oil to air. The downside to an open bath system is that, under hard riding, the oil can foam, creates air bubbles. In turn, those bubbles cause inconsistencies in the damper's ride quality. But, with a sealed damper, such as Fox's FIT system, the damper oil is isolated from air, and thus it's protected from contamination. This means that your suspension feels the same at the bottom of a half-hour descent as it did when you started.
The RC2 designation hints at the external tuning options available for this fork. The R is for rebound, which controls how fast your fork returns to the top of its travel. The C2 portion refers to the compression damping adjustments -- high-speed and low-speed. Basically, having the ability to independently tune your high-speed and low-speed compression enables your fork to simultaneously feel plush over rough terrain, and ride high in its travel to provide a predictable steering feel. Having a light amount of high-speed compression damping lets your fork gobble up hard, sharp-edged hits. And running plenty of low-speed compression ensures that your fork won't dive under hard braking, or bottom out on the lip of a jump.
One of the eye-catching features of the 36 Float is its Kashima stanchions. In addition to being 100% gold-er than the competition, Kashima coating greatly improves the surface hardness of the stanchions. Also, it covers up any surface irregularities on a microscopic level. This equates to improved wear life over standard stanchion coatings, but even better, this coating translates to reduced friction between the stanchions and the bushings. So, you'll get the smoothest possible suspension action, while the 'bling factor' is just a nice bonus.
And while the 36 chassis has been a part of Fox's lineup for years, this version benefits from weight-reducing measures that keep it downright modern. Unnecessary material has been shaved from the lowers, while areas that see significant stresses, such as the disc-side dropout and the brake arch, remain characteristically burly. When combined with its tapered steerer tube, as well as a 20mm thru-axle, this may well be the stiffest single crown fork in existence. Better yet, it weighs in well under five pounds. And that means that you're looking at a fork that's strong enough for the most aggressive free riders, while still being light enough to pedal to the top of your favorite descent.
The Fox Racing Shox 36 Float 160 RC2 FIT Fork is available with a tapered steerer tube, 20mm dropouts, and in the color Black.