PRODUCT REVIEW: THE ALL-NEW FOX 34 FORK
FOX 34 FORK
Fox is a leader in suspension for everything from off-road trucks to mountain bikes. The newest products to hit the lineup are two brand-new Fox 34 options that follow the recent updates seen to the 36, which builds off of the all-new 38. In fact, Fox will be moving away from the 32 fork after meeting its target weight with the new 34 Step-Cast fork. To give you a little better understanding of the two new 34 forks, one is designed for trail riding and the lighter Step-Cast model is made for cross-country riding and racing. In this test report, we will reveal all you need to know about this brand-new trail bike fork and explain why it could be the perfect upgrade to smooth out your ride.
Tech features: The all-new 34 received a ground-up redesign, including a new chassis made to boost performance and smooth out bumpy trails. Fox accomplished its goals by adding new air and oil channels for a more fluid feel and reshaped the arch to improve clearance for modern geometry bikes with shorter rake forks. The fork’s crown grew in size to 58mm diameter, improving stiffness, while an all-new EVOL air spring keeps the ride feeling plush. Damper options include FIT4, GRIP2 and GRIP, allowing riders to choose factory-level or value-driven performance.
The new 34 is offered with a range of travel from 120mm to 140mm, while the Step-Cast 34 is geared towards shorter-travel cross-country bikes. Additionally, Fox provides both 44mm and 51mm fork offsets to match the ride characteristics of different bikes. The 34 is designed for 29-inch wheels with Boost hub spacing and either bolt-on (Kabolt) or quick-release axles. Starting weight for the new 34 is 1698 grams. Retail pricing ranges from $769–$969, depending on the level of performance you choose. Serious racers will likely turn to Kashima-coated factory suspension, while the average rider will be more than thrilled with Fox’s Performance Elite model. Meanwhile, the Performance fork provides a top-notch design with less tuneability.
Field test results: Our test rider had the opportunity to upgrade from a Marzocchi Bomber Z2, which happens to feature Fox internals and 34mm stanchion tubes, to the all-new Factory-level 34. Just under double the price, there is no comparison between the two, as one fork is built for hard-charging riders on a budget, and the Factory suspension is the cream of the crop. That said, coming off a similar fork gave our test rider great perspective on how the new fork has improved.
After an hour tinkering with our new toy in the garage and getting it ready to ride, we hit the trails with great anticipation. During out-of-the-saddle climbing, we found the new Fox immediately provided more support while simultaneously smoothing out small bumps. We’re not sure how Fox pulled off that magic trick, but who are we to question? The real shocker came when the new fork was pointed down the trails.
Thanks to its full redesign, we felt confident as we pushed on down the trails, looking to hit everything a little harder and a little faster. Across the board, the new fork outperformed our expectations—from the added stiffness at the steer tube to the improved bottom-out support and, of course, increased sensitivity over small bumps. The new 34 is a great upgrade for any rider seeking more performance or a patient rider who will likely reap the benefits from the new 34 when it inevitably ends up as an OEM-spec’d part. Keep your eyes out for new Fox 34 forks, as this is a product you won’t want to miss.
• Increased stiffness
• Improved performance
• Impressive redesign
• None whatsoever