There are two strands to the changes and improvements to Fox’s 2008 suspension range – there’s the stuff that’s been changed on individual models and the stuff that’s been changed across the range. And being in a contrary mood, we’re now going to divide things up in a completely different direction…
Fox launched its fork range with essentially two forks – one air-sprung, one coil-sprung. Over the years its expanded considerably, and for 2008 there’s an all-new lightweight XC fork called the F-series. It’ll be available in three versions with 80, 100 and 120mm of travel – they’re not the same fork with different spacers in, they’re different forks with optimised steerer/crown/stanchions. As a result, the 80mm model is markedly lighter than the 120 at 1.53kg (3.38lb) against 1.61kg (3.56lb). There’s also a fork for 29in-wheel bikes in 80 or 100mm travel options.
The F-series forks also have a bunch of new or revised features that are shared across the rest of the fork range. All Fox forks are now post-mount, and a redesigned fork-top lever/dial combination means that you can move the lockout lever without accidentally adjusting the rebound damping at the same time. There’s also a redesigned integrated cable guide that’s a lot less fiddly than the old one.
The meaty 36 long-travel single-crown fork has also been redesigned, with a new (lighter, stiffer) chassis and a quick-release through-axle system strangely reminiscent of the old RockShox Tullio design of yore. Fox’s version uses a hollow-forged aluminium axle that’s claimed to be 10% lighter, 35% stronger in shear and 60% stronger in torsion than the old axle.
As is so often the way, though, the big changes are things you can’t see. Fox has revised its damping across the whole fork range (with the exception of the “budget” Float and Vanilla R models), adding low-speed compression damping, working on a smoother transition to higher shaft speeds and reducing “transition noise” – the slight flutter as forks move from rebound to compression phases or vice versa. The result is a fork that should answer most criticisms of previous Fox forks, sitting higher in its travel under braking and in corners. We’ve had a chance to ride a few different 2008 Fox forks, and find ourselves able to run 10psi less in the air springs for a more sensitive ride but without ending up with a plungy mess under braking. Good stuff.
Fox has also moved away from its “plush out of the box” stance, tightening up the bushings and seals to improve durability at the expense of a longer running-in time. We can’t see too many UK riders having a problem with that…
It’s mostly detail changes for Fox’s shock range. The Float series (RP23, RP2 and R, the latter two only available on complete bikes) has a revised eyelet forging including an angled air valve for easier pump access. Meanwhile the DHX Air loses its multi-position ProPedal click dial in favour of a two-position lever. All rear shocks have new bushings that are said to last up to three times longer than the current ones.