Fox Float RP23 shock review£319.00

Deservedly ubiquitous air shock

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Fox’s Float RP23 air shock is almost ubiquitous on £1500+ full-suspension bikes. Is it really the best you can get?

Unless weight is a huge issue for you, it probably is. The RP23 is a Highly tuneable unit with top-level performance and a reputation for reliability. Sure, DT's carbon can is lighter, but if you want a  smooth, predictable shock that’ll work with any bike, this is the one.

After years of gradual evolution, Fox’s Float shock is certainly a well proven and refined way to absorb shocks. With its automatic negative pressure set system, it’s eager to start moving even over the small rooty, gravelly stuff. This means excellent long-haul comfort and the best grip-grabbing trail suction you’ll get from any current air shock.

If your current unit is a couple of years old, you’ll notice when you ride a new RP23 that Fox has really improved the compression characteristics deeper in the stroke. Now there’s a lovely smooth, steady progression right through until you pop the travel marking ring off the end. Even then, there’s no bump or jolt that’ll have you reaching for the shock pump as soon as you finish the descent, just a dangling rubber band to let you know that you’re getting ‘full value’ from your stroke.

The Pro Pedal low-speed compression damping is now a lot smoother and less notchy, too. Even when running mid to high levels of compression to keep bobbing bikes stable, there’s very little feeling of constipation in response to bigger loads. No sudden spikes or choking moments on landings or big hits like the original Pro Pedal Floats, either.

There’s still enough low-speed damping to calm even the most random pedal stroke and bob-prone bike at the highest setting, though, while setting 1 creates a nice tightness to cornering feel of already pert bikes on race days.

The lever itself feels nice and positive, with easy adjustment through the detented dial. For 2008, a repositioned valve spout makes adjustment easy on even the most well hidden shocks. Finally, the Float RP23 comes in loads of different sizes as standard and different-volume sleeve options give the potential for even more feel adjustment.

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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