Fox DHX 5 £319

Deservedly popular heavy-duty shock

BikeRadar score 4.5/5

This shock is a favourite the world over. The DHX 5 comes from one of the best suspension designers in the world, and has a fantastic reliability record, too, thanks to Mojo Suspension which handles importing and servicing in the UK. For 2008, the DHX 5 remains largely unchanged.

The DHX 5.0's performance justifies its popularity. The shock is easily adjustable while you’re out on the trail, so fine-tuning the setup to match the trail conditions is easy.

The ProPedal bob-control feature really helps when out on longer rides – when the last thing you want is for half your energy to be wasted by pedal-induced suspension bob.

It’s on the descents where the DHX 5 really shines, though. It ensures that the back wheel stays firmly planted over rough sections of roots and rocks where traction is of most importance, and when tackling bigger wallows and square-edge hits. In the corners it really sits you down, lowering the centre of gravity and maintaining stability.

And it works as well on a small-travel bike as on a big downhill rig.

As with most rear shocks, it can take some time to get it feeling right, so be prepared to stop and have a fiddle when you’re out riding until you find the best setting for you.

Why so good?

The DHX 5.0 features a huge range of adjustment to enable riders to fine-tune their shock preferences. Central to this is Fox’s ProPedal damping system. The technology is designed to control the beginning of the stroke to help prevent rider-induced ‘pedal bob’, without compromising mid- and high-speed damping. The 15-click ProPedal adjuster lets you set the amount of damping you need, depending on your bike’s suspension system.

Externally adjustable rebound damping and tunable bottom-out resistance are also fitted. The bottom-out adjuster has three full turns of adjustment, and determines the final part of the shock’s travel. It can be turned using a 4mm Allen key – anti-clockwise for less bottom-out resistance and clockwise for more – enabling riders to fine-tune the way the shock reacts to drops or square-edge hits.

Last but not least, Fox’s unique ‘Boost Valve’ is one of the most important features on this shock. It creates a ‘position sensitive damping scheme’ – in other words, by adding or lessening the air pressure in the boost valve, you can alter how efficiently the ProPedal and bottom-out damping systems work. In addition, the Boost Valve lets the ProPedal and bottom-out systems work separately, so the adjustment of one does not affect the other. This is vital if you want a good pedalling platform and, at the same time, the ability to hit drops, rocks and any other big-travel obstacles.

Various upgrades are available for the Fox, one of the most popular being the TF Tuned Push upgrade (www.TFTuned. com, 01373 826800). This works together with Fox’s Boost Valve, but by using a custom piston kit it increases small bump sensitivity and big hit effectiveness.

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