Fox 40 RC2 forks £1149

Refined downhill race fork

BikeRadar score 3.5/5

The Fox 40 forks have attracted a lot of riders despite their hefty price tag, thanks to their good build quality, light weight and prestige.

With huge 40mm stanchions, the 40 is by far the stiffest fork out there. It features externally adjustable rebound, spring preload and both high- and low-speed compression adjustments via an improved FIT cartridge. 

The top crown is the same direct mount standard as RockShox, which means there is a wide range of compatible stems, and everything is bolted together with handy 5mm Allen bolts.

And for such a burly looking fork, the 40 is very light – ours came in at 3.16kg (6.96lb), with the steerer cut down, making it the lightest current coil-sprung downhill fork.

In use, the improved cartridge certainly offers better ramp-up as stock, compared to previous years’ forks that we’ve tried, and has a huge range of adjustment. We can’t emphasise how important it is to set this fork up properly with your rear shock, because the fine adjustments on the low- and high-speed compression can affect the balance between front and rear suspension massively. Fox provide a starting point for your weight in the catalogue – we recommend starting here, rather than going by feel, or settings you’ve run on other forks.

The 40s are a little sticky to start with, so it is important to spend some time getting them bedded in sufficiently and tweaking the compression adjusters to suit during this process. Once bedded in though, the first couple of inches of travel are beautifully supple, keeping the front wheel sticking to the ground over the smaller bumps. They operate well in their mid-stroke once you get the low-speed compression damping set correctly, meaning you won’t suffer any nasty wallowing effects, and things like brake dive are kept to aminimum. Launch off any drop or jump and they ramp up toward the end of the travel in a very controlled manner that simply inspires confidence.

One big factor is how stiff these forks are, especially if you are coming to them from an older RockShox Boxxer fork. This will invariably bring with it pros and cons – a stiffer fork will potentially create more feedback and could also be considered to be more efficient and precise, although they do lose compliance, which can contribute to arm pump in the rough. No matter what, the action and weight of the Fox 40 is fantastic and much like the forks we see on the Athertons’ bikes, has huge tuning potential.

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