One of the best race forks out there
The Fox 32 Float Factory Step Cast is one of the best race forks out there; noticeable reduction in weight has come at minimal cost in terms of performance.
When Fox brought out the Step Cast version of its 32 Float fork it was with one thing in mind; to create the lightest production cross country race fork. And barring a few exotic and rare niche forks, Fox was true to its word. The Float 32 Step Cast is a true featherweight, entering the ring with nearly a two hundred gram weight advantage over a RockShox SID World Cup. And that is pretty considerable when cross country racers are still in the gram counting business. How Fox has managed to do this whilst still shoe horning in its top end internals is through a rethink in the chassis design. Fox has significantly narrowed the 32 Step Cast’s profile so the legs sit closer together. A cut-out or step at the axle end of the lower legs allow the 32 Step Cast to be Boost compatible, ensuring a bit of future-proofing of the design. Judicious shaping and machining of the crown and brace drop the weight further. If the RockShox SID looks more like a short travel enduro fork, the 32 is definitely XC through and through.
Design aside, Fox’s FIT4 compression damping unit provides a shade more adjustability than a RockShox SID unit. It has the same ability to adjust the low speed compression damping threshold in the Open mode but additionally offers a three position lever to add a mid-damped trail setting to the fully open and locked positions. As anticipated the 32 relinquishes its travel smoothly and with a similar progressive feel as a RockShox SID. When ridden back to back and with all compression wound off, the 32 has a noticeably firmer compression setting. Almost making a RockShox SID feel a little too wallowy in the initial part of the stroke. It is the better climbing and sprinting fork thanks to this firmer ride something to consider if you like smashing around out of the saddle.
The narrower stance and the focus on light weight does mean that the 32 Step Cast can suffer on repeated offset root and rock hits, as you might find on today’s technical courses. It noticeably gets knocked off line easier than a RockShox SID and pushing harder into corners at higher speeds can bring out a slightly nervous and vague feel in comparison.
For the die-hard XC racer, the stiffness issues and firmer compression are a fair price to pay for the 32’s sheer lack of mass.