Why Doesn’t Tarzan Have A Beard?
Fox 36 Forks 2009 by Steve Jones.
Here we bloody go again. Seems like only yesterday I was trying to make a meal out
of a can of oil and washers and air from this company. And why is it no one else has
sent us any decent six–inch forks lately?
So here they are (half) the Fox 36 range, all totally too much money, I mean I
could buy two Peugeot 106’s with 12 months MOT for the price of a pair of these
bastards, but nevertheless by far the best range of six–inch forks that money can
Starting with the Talas RC2, the most expensive and third heaviest of the range.
But consider for a moment that at 5lb that’s still lighter than most of the opposition.
Adjustable from 100–130–160mm it is one of those forks everyone keeps harping
on about ‘well I need to lower the front for the climbs’, hey it’s a six inch bike you
should be worrying about more serious matters like whether you’re going to make
the downslope thirty feet away. I rode this fork in the Downieville Classic deep into
gold mining country back in July. It is handy to push down to 100mm for climbs but
as I was fannying around with my heart busting out Myles Rockwell breezed past.
I’ve since discovered the wonder that is the Float and completely erased adjustable
front ends from my head. The time difference climbing is hardly noticeable. More
importantly the Float is a better fork. So swiftly moving on…
Look I’ve got absolutely no friggin idea why these Float’s are so good. Maybe it’s
because they are so simple? Not burdened with the expectancy of hyper–adjustability.
They’re not trying to be everything for everyone. Hey, what I said earlier about
nobody sending us forks, well I was lying, I’ve ridden all the other brands, because
this fork is undoubtedly the best 160mm air fork you can buy. At 50psi its absolutely
incredible at low speed providing just the right amount of travel needed for the
business of grip. Wind that low speed compression as way out as you want and it’ll
still give you immense suppleness.
But not everyone rides slow, it needs the air to take the hits that will surely
be expected of it when bolted on to an equally suspended pushrod. This fork has
improved no end when compared to that first ground–breaking 36 of three years
hence, and the new cartridge has, as they say, improved the mid and high speed
damping, it’s just so much better than that fork of three years ago. Even with higher
pressure it continues to perform outstandingly. I’d go as far as to say it’s better than
a huge amount of downhill forks I’ve ridden, it simply grips and damps and steers
immaculately. What the hell more do you want? Cheaper please. At 4.72 lb its only 3g
heavier than the R version, but a hundred sheets more. Depends how fussy you are
And finally the Van. A while ago everyone swore this was the fork to get, now I’m
not so sure. Ok it’s a massive tenner cheaper than the Float RC2 but a half-pound
heavier. So why buy this over the Float? Don’t know. I wouldn’t…oh I tell you why, it’s
because a lot of riders want their forks in black not white. And that’s pretty much
how the decision is made. Do people really care about the subtleties in damping?
Listen if you’re comparing a pair of BoXXer World Cups (air) to Teams (coil) go for
the latter they’re so much better. The same rule doesn’t apply here. The Float and Van
are ridiculously close to call. Got a lot of respect for the Van. But I don’t love it.
So why then? Why buy Fox? The new QR system? All about ten teabags lighter
than last year. Well I guess Fox are the best people to tell us why. So here it is from
them…“35 years experience” blah blah blah “vehicle dynamic” blah, blah “sponsored
athletes”, oh come on who are you kidding? Come on why? “New dynamic pistons
on all forks improve the deep stroke rebound performance, reduce damping related
noise (shame they couldn’t sort the 40 spring rattle but then they do say ‘reduce’ not
‘eliminate’) and provide even more seamless transitions from the low speed to mid/
high speed rebound demands.
FIT cartridges (here we bloody go again) found within
our 36 and 40 platform forks receive a complete overhaul, resulting additionally
in more compression stroke damping control, improved bottoming resistance and
transition to the bottoming circuit, better distinction between the low speed and
high speed external adjusters, and improved reliability and durability through a new
See I told you didn’t I?
TALAS 36 RC2 £749 5.08lb 100-130-160mm
FLOAT 36 RC2 £699 4.72lb 160mm
VAN 36 RC2 £689 5.21lb
Check out Mojo.
Fox downhill mountainbiking forks, Talas, Float and Van