The Fox Factory Float 36 FIT4 is an unbelievably capable fork but at a price
Want the sturdy chassis of Fox’s 36 fork, but for a bit less cash and the option to firm up the damping easily for climbs? If the answer is yes, this fork could be the answer to your prayers. It’s a 36 with a FIT4 damper, available in various wheel and travel options for £60 less than the RC2 version.
FIT4 is the fourth-generation of Fox’s sealed bladder cartridge damper and it offers three compression settings — Firm, Medium and Open. Gone is the old CTD designation, and the top-end Factory version also gives you 22 clicks of low-speed tuning in the Open mode only.
There’s a dual-circuit rebound system, with separate high and low-speed assemblies, and violent fork return is controlled by a separate shim stack.
Can the Fox 36 compete with the Rockshox Lyrik
The Fox Factory Float 36 FIT4 has a self-equalizing air chamber — just like the RC2 — rather than a separate main air and coil negative spring. This saves weight, and means the negative pressure is automatically balanced for all rider weights.
Travel is internally adjustable from 110mm to 180mm, and the fork comes with optional clip-in volume spacers to increase mid-stroke support and bottom-out resistance.
The 36 lowers slide over slippery Kashima stanchions, and the FIT4 damper is sensitive enough off the top to iron out vibrations and chatter, even down long Alpine descents. The suspension action is silky smooth, and in the Open mode, with the low-speed compression at its minimum, there’s a magic carpet sensation that really prevents hand and arm fatigue.
Regardless of whether the impacts came fast and square-edged, or deep and wallowy, the 36 always isolated the terrain and tracked beautifully. Riding in gnarly terrain, chassis solidity and steering precision both feel excellent.
Despite the savings, the Fox Factory Float 36 Fit4 is still an expensive fork. On the other hand, reliability has been excellent, and the fork has functioned perfectly, without needing any servicing, for six months.
The big question is whether it’s better than a RockShox Pike? The answer is yes, and I also preferred the lighter touch of the FIT4 over the RC2 damper in back-to-back testing.
However, RockShox has just released a new Lyrik fork, which is doubtless a closer rival, so we’ll only know for sure when we compare the two. You can read all about the latest 160mm all-mountain forks, including the Lyrik, in the coming months.