Fox have lifted the covers off part of their 2021 range. And they have gone big!
Fox have a big reveal every April, and even without the Sea Otter mountain bike festival, it's still the time of the year when they lift the veil of secrecy on what they have been working on over the previous months and years. And in 2021, Fox have worked hard to push the goal posts back with their bigger forks, with an all-new 36 and 40, and a new Fox 38 along with all-new Float X2 and DHX2 rear shocks.
Chassis updates on the new Fox 38 and updated Fox 36 fork
With the Fox 38 being seen in secret last year on Richie Rude's EWS bike in Zermatt, now all the details are out we can look at them more closely. Fox claim the updated 36 and the new 38 are their smoothest and most tuneable forks they have ever produced. Here's some of the key tech they are working with.
The new 38, 36 and 40 get the Floating Axle on the chassis. Fox say that it allows for precise alignment of the wheel regardless of flange height, and with their QR through-axle they have a system were you set the floating collar and then have tool free fitment - there's also a Kabolt option. The benefits are smoother action in the travel, as the chassis is perfectly aligned from top to bottom, not clamped or splayed at the axle.
The forks also have Lower Leg Channels - they look like a raised section down the back of the legs. They serve two purposes. One, they help oil flow from the lower bath up to the seals, to keep your fork seals properly lubricated. But they also help with the increase of pressure deep into your fork's travel, which can often restrict your fork from getting full travel.
And you probably spotted the bleeders. Like all these other features they are on the updated 36 and the new 38. They're a little press button to equalise pressure after big climbs or descents. Your air fork will experience a change in pressure with dramatic changes in atmospheric pressure (and so will your tyres FYI) and so relieving the pressure change helps you get all that small bump sensitivity back. This is likely to be less noticeable in Australia, but if you do some big shuttle runs in the Alps, and don't mind the odd jaunt to the European Alps or big mountains in Canada, you'll like this feature.
The lower leg arch on the 36, 38 and 40 has a new shape - it's really round and pronounced! Stiffness was the aim and that's what Fox claim they have delivered. But there is also more clearance, including for the head tube, as that was really getting pretty tight with short offset forks and bulky head tubes on big bikes. Fox reckon they have optimised the stiffness and clearance while only adding the tiniest bit of weight.
The Fox 38 also has an eliptical steerer. Fear not, it is eliptical internally and not externally. Theer is more material at the front and back of the steerer tube, creating greater stiffness and strength in the fore-aft plane.