Weight: 4.44lb/140mm of travel, adjustable low-speed compression and rebound damping, lockout
Contact: Mojo 01633 615815
Since we last looked at a 32 Vanilla, Fox has upped the travel 10mm to 140mm (5.5in). It has also beefed up the lower casting especially around the fork brace. The lowers now feature some quad taper butting, which saves a load of weight, and Fox has also tightened up the bushings, which eliminates the loose headset feeling on some of the previous models. Angled 45-degree dropouts are stronger than the older vertical ones and a line guide is bolted to the front of the fork leg, which next year will use a bigger bolt and all Fox forks will run post mounts.
There are five adjustments on this fork: preload, rebound, lockout, low-speed compression and lockout threshold. Increasing the low-speed damping reduces not only fork dive under braking or honking out of the saddle, but it’s also handy for propping the fork up on steep terrain. Lockout force lets you tailor the threshold at which the fork breaks away from the locked position. The lockout lever is easy to reach on the top of the right leg but we found dirt can get between the red and blue dials so that the rebound can get dragged round when throwing the lever. This is the reason Fox has redesigned the whole system for 2008.
The Vanilla gets a 300mm coil spring in the left leg, which weighs 250g. For our weight we normally run the medium (green) spring but in the ’07 fork we’ve been running the light spring. A heavier (blue) spring is also included in the box but you can order light (yellow) or really heavy (black) spring for £25, if you so wish. When changing the spring Fox recommends using a six-sided socket because the aluminium top cap is soft and can round off if you use a multi-face socket. We suggest buying one from Mojo.
We’ve been testing this fork for about six months and it’s been reliable and trouble free. It feels smoother and more progressive than the equivalent Float, and even though it’s packing an extra half-pound in weight we think you’d be hard pushed to notice when riding. If we really started bashing through the rough stuff it starts to ping around, but for most UK trails this fork is stiff and has more than enough travel.
There are several reasons to buy a coil Fox fork. It’s cheaper than the equivalent air fork, it offers better bump absorption, and it seems to track the ground better. The reason the RLC gets a nine is because we think you’ll get over the features, and the basic Vanilla R is £60 cheaper and has all the adjustments (rebound and pre-load) you really need. In every sense of the word, less is definitely more.
MBR RATING: 9/10