The 2016 line of FOX Racing Shox forks saw a massive revamping that extends into the 2017 line without any additional changes, except for in the 32 Float 100mm travel cohort. The FOX Racing Shox 32 Float SC 27.5 100 iRD FIT Boost Fork returns with an entirely new chassis leaner, meaner, and ready to burn through XC courses. Showcasing FOX's all-new Step-Cast lower leg design and a narrowed crown, this fork is billed at one of the lightest suspension forks available.
Step-Cast presents as small, stepped cutouts in the lowers of the fork that open up extra clearance for rotors and spokes while simultaneously narrowing the fork's stance by a whopping 10mm. This means less overall material and lowered weight, which, when paired with the hollowed out lowers, leads to claims that this fork is one of the lightest on the market. Whether you're out for a Saturday spin or nervously anticipating the start cannon, this featherweight construction paired with a stiff Boost axle makes for precise, responsive handling and flat out fun on almost any trail.
The FIT iRD damper encompasses the much-loved features of FOX's FIT4 damper and adds a bar-mounted electronic switch that provides easy, on-the fly damper setting control. It returns largely unchanged from last year save a few tweaks and additional machining to fit within the new Step-Cast lowers. This includes a puffed out, 10mm shaft, which increases oil flow to the base valve, allowing the fork to ride high for quick, controlled recovery during everything from smaller, successive impacts to big, square hits. The 3-position FIT 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 32 Float's capabilities that addresses virtually every issue we've had with CTD's damper in the past.
FIT iRD 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 five-inch situations, combining better small-bump compliance with more confident tracking across root lattices and rocky moonscapes. 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 gravel 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, its system of spacers lets you easily temper the air shock's volume for dialing the mid stroke.
- FOX's cross-country fork loses some weight and gains an all-new chassis
- Trim lower design opens up rotor clearance and narrows stance
- 100mm of travel deftly navigates bumps
- Adjust on the fly with the FIT iRD damper's bar-mounted switch
- Air spring volume spacers allow stroke customization
- Boost axle width resists torsional flex for confident cornering
- Q & A
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
Narrower; significantly lighter, and stiffer? Yup.
I was rather concerned about how this fork would ride after seeing it on the bike I was demoing, but it turned out to not only shatter expectations, it put all concerns of flex to rest rather quickly.
Even after dropper 3/4 pound compared to the standard Float 29, there was zero noticeable sacrifice in performance. Fox claims that the Step Cast forks are stiffer than the standard float, and I would be inclined to believe them.
If you are looking for the ultimate XC race fork, look no further!
If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with me directly.
Customer Account Manager