Fox F120 RLC review£509.00

The must-have five-inch fork for 2008

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The F120 is a totally new fork for 2008, and frankly, if your 5in travel bike hasn’t got one, you’re on a losing wicket already.

Since we rode our first F120 last summer, this fork has astonished us. It feels consistently controlled and capable in every situation. If you can afford one and it fits your bike, go and get one!

That’s a pretty bold claim to back up, especially when Fox has basically stretched a race fork that wasn’t particularly stiff in the first place. It’s not the outsides that make the difference here, though, it’s the insides.

Fox has revalved the damping circuits to ensure a totally consistent flow-through, even when the fork is working super hard on successive hits. That means even on the longest, stepped descents it never gets starved of damping oil at the crucial turnaround point between compression and rebound strokes. 

We're not exaggerating when we tell you this fork can be charged into a long rock garden or other random trail chaos harder than most 130-140mm forks and come out of the side with more control and confidence.

It gets the same full RLC damping tune options as the F100, but again it’s a fork that we spend far more time riding than fettling.

The superb trail connection amply compensates for the average structural stiffness in terms of steering and braking effect. In fact, we only ever notice the twist when we’ve come straight off seriously stiff forks like Maguras, DTs or Pikes.

We certainly always ride this fork a lot harder than the theoretically more capable but definitely more flexy 140mm Fox Floats with the same 32mm leg diameter.

Overall weight is lower than a lot of 100mm forks, too, so you can add a serious amount of chaos taming while still dropping weight. The neat new hose guide on the leg, plus Hayes-style post mounts, make set-up easy, and the fact that they’ve got the most even white paint finish all add to the seemingly endless list of plus points. If we had to pick a fork of 2008, this would be it.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 44
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster tfhan the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK
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