There are two big stories for Fox Racing Shox's 2011 model year: TerraLogic, the automatic lockout technology, is back, and the 36 fork is splitting into two new models – the 160, with a lighter chassis and the option of a RLC damper, and the 180, a tougher unit with an extra 20mm of travel.
TerraLogic: a lockout that works for you
We’ve already touched on the relaunch of TerraLogic with our exclusive review of the F100 FIT TerraLogic cross-country fork, but Fox are also pushing the technology into the trail bike world with a TALAS option that offers suspension travel up to 150mm.
The concept of TerraLogic is to isolate the damper from rider inputs but allow it to remain ultrasensitive to the terrain. A separate, adjustable, wide-range platform threshold bypass circuit allows tunes that range from heavy or light low-speed damping to full lockout.
Because the TerraLogic damper keeps the fork higher in its stroke, the 150mm travel version is only available with the new two-position TALAS travel adjustment system so that riders can reduce its travel to 120mm to compensate for its tendency to ride higher on the climbs.
The 32 TALAS FIT TerraLogic with 150mm of travel
TerraLogic is available on the entire F-Series line (80mm, 100mm and 120mm), F29 (80mm, 100mm), TALAS 29 and TALAS (140mm, 150mm).
The 36 model splits into two new forks for 2011: the 36 160 for lightweight trail and all-mountain riding and the 36 180 for park and freeriding. Both models come with a 20mm through-axle and the complete array of steerer tube options.
36 160 TALAS with a FIT RLC damper – Fox's new lightweight version of the 36
“When the 36 first came out in 150mm it was almost a freeride fork,” said Mario Galasso, senior vice president, bicycle division, Fox Racing Shox. “Now we have 150mm and 160mm bikes that are 26lb to 28lb, really pedal-able, all-day bikes, so we’ve brought more of those features into the 36 family.
"The FIT RLC, which was introduced in 32 [series forks] last year, is now brought into the Float and TALAS 160s. The chassis is very, very light for what it is. The 180 caters to a different category of bike.”
36 160mm is available in Float, TALAS and Vanilla versions. The first two rely on a FIT RLC damper, which has never been offered in the 36 chassis before. This damper trades high-speed compression adjustment – which is set smack in the middle of the RC2 damper’s adjustment range – for a lockout with threshold adjustment. Fox believe this is the better damper for all-day trail riding.
The coil-sprung Vanilla model relies on a new RC2 damper, which is skewed towards downhill performance and offers high- and low-speed compression damping. The new RC2 damper is flipped so that all of the compression control is at the top of the crown on the right fork leg – this is now the orientation for all of Fox’s dampers except the TerraLogic. The inversion of the original RC2 reduces the fork’s unsprung weight by over 100g and brings more frequently adjusted compression controls to a more convenient location. The 36 TALAS features a new two-position travel adjuster.
Fox's familiar RLC adjuster is now available on the lightweight 36 fork
“What we’ve found is that the lowest travel settings, which in theory are supposed to be your most efficient climbing mode, gave the perception of climbing slower,” said Galasso. “So we evolved the TALAS into a two-position setting that’s just beyond where the middle setting used to be. In a 150mm 32 model it goes from 150mm to 120mm; in a 160mm 36 it goes from 160mm to 120mm. It’s very easy and very intuitive, and leaves no opportunity to wonder where you are.”
The 36 180 models also come in Float, TALAS and Vanilla flavours; all feature the RC2 damper. The TALAS model offers two-position travel adjustment between 140mm and 180mm. At 5.22lbs the 36 180 Float is one of the lightest in its category. Fox made an extra effort to maximise bushing overlap and keep the crown-to-axle height of the new chassis in check. You’ll immediately notice the underhang of the lower legs’ casting, which keep the fork’s height in check. It ends up being the same height as the 40 and only 20mm taller than the 36 160.
The Talas travel adjuster on the 36 160
“If you look at our F-Series 80mm and 100mm forks, they’re designed specifically for that 80 and 100mm application, and the 120 is designed to that specific 120mm application,” said Galasso. “Fox design a specific chassis optimised for each of the applications. Rather than try to stretch the 36 that we’ve had in the past we've lightened it up and designed an all-new chassis for the 36 180.”
All of the aftermarket 36 RLC and RC2 forks feature the gold Kashima Coating in 2011. The RC2 dampers also have refined bottom-out control. Fox also offer both the 36 160 and 36 180 models with basic open bath R dampers. Finally, the Vanilla coil sprung forks all feature a new spring guide system that reduces friction and noise.
Constant and consistent improvement
While TerraLogic and the split of 36 into two models is the biggest news from Fox in 2011, the company have refined just about every product in their line. Here are a few of the highlights:
The only component that remains unchanged on the 40 downhill race fork is its lower legs. The fork gets the new inverted RC2 damper, a new spring guide system, new crowns and the Kashima Coat on the upper tubes.
Fox's 40 is basically a new fork for 2011
Four-cross world champ: Fox’s 831
The new – but already introduced – 831 features a FIT RLC damper which is valved with firmer high-speed compression damping and a new low-speed compression needle and circuit to maximise pedalling efficiency when sprinting out of the start gate and absorbing large jump landings.
The Float air spring has been optimised to provide more progression and push back on the rider during high cornering loads. Factory travel is set at 100mm, but is internally adjustable to both 110 and 120mm. It features chassis components normally found on the 32 Float and TALAS forks for increased stiffness, and also uses the Kashima Coat.
Full range for 29ers
All of Fox’s technologies are now offered for big wheels, including: 32 TALAS 29, which adjusts from 95mm to 120mm, and FIT TerraLogic. All of Fox’s steerer options are available on the 29in fork, as well as 15QR axles.
New rear shock: Van RC
Based on the same chassis architecture as the DHX shocks, Fox believe their new VAN RC offers the best combination of performance, durability and value. The coil sprung workhorse rear shock features new externally adjustable low-speed compression damping, linear low-speed rebound adjustability and DHX-based oil capacity.
The Van RC is a budget minded shock, but packs DHX level performance
The 15QR axle’s weight is reduced by 22 percent (21g) without sacrificing any strength or stiffness, according to Fox.
Fox's new, lighter 15QR axle