If you want the best performing mid-travel trail fork in either 27.5 or 29in wheelsize, this is definitely the one we’d recommend.
Like the RockShox Pike, the Fox 34 is offered in different wheelsizes and a range of travel options (from 110mm to 160mm) and users can also change the travel by buying a different air spring assembly.
As the name suggests, the Fox 34 has 34mm stanchions, which, on this Factory model, get the slippery gold Kashima coating.
During our back-to-back runs, pushing the Fox 34 hard into turns and muscling it over obstacles, we did notice some flex with the thinner-diameter legs and slimmer crown, but it was only marginal.
Rather than a separate air spring and coil negative, the Fox 34 has a self-equalising positive/negative spring system.
To tune the progression and ramp-up, it comes with several 10 CC volume spacers in the box, which clip into one another and feature little wings to stop them rattling inside the stanchion.
The fork’s Fit4 damper has a three-position compression adjuster with firm, medium and open settings.
In the open setting, you can increase the low-speed-compression damping via the black dial, for which there’s a wide range, with around 20 clicks of adjustment.
The rebound adjuster is nicely recessed into the bottom of the lower leg, so doesn’t get scuffed when you remove the front wheel and put the fork on the ground.
We always spend a day dialling in the test forks, but the first thing we noticed about the Fox 34 was that it sat higher in its stroke, and that was without adding any tokens.
Usually if we want to prop the fork up we’d play around with a stiffer spring rate and more tokens, which reduces the small-bump compliance, but with the Fox 34 the damping is so good you actually get the mid-stroke cushion and it’s still incredibly supple.
Grip on slippery off-camber trails was the best here, and it felt fully propped up even on the steepest descents.