Fox’s new 40 Float FIT RC2 has already proven its pedigree, notching up numerous world cup wins and two world champ titles. But how does all that translate for the weekend warriors and privateer racers who’ll be shelling out their hard-earned cash for this fork?
The switch to an air spring is a big move for the 40, but as well as contributing to overall weight loss, it also makes it easier to get the fork dialled in for your weight and riding style. Rather than swapping springs, it’s just a case of attaching a shock pump and finding your sweet spot within the 45 to 80psi working range. Progressivity can easily be tweaked too, via the adjustable air spring compression ratio (a nine-position volume adjuster).
The FIT RC2 damper still offers external high and low speed compression adjustment as well as rebound, but no longer has hydraulic bottom-out resistance and gets a lighter cartridge tune and a Kashima-coated damper shaft to help reduce stiction.
The other big changes are in the 40’s construction, where weight has been shaved from the lower leg casting, crowns and stanchions, leaving the fork tipping the scales at an impressive 2.8kg.
With this level of adjustment on offer, it’s worth taking your time to get the 40 properly dialled in. Since settling on an air spring pressure and rebound speed, we’ve only made small changes to the very effective high and low speed compression settings to get the right balance of comfort and speed.
The supple initial stroke and little effort it takes to get the 40 moving means it irons out small bumps with ease. Push harder and things remain smooth throughout the 203mm (8in) stroke.
Bigger, repetitive hits are dealt with in a composed manner. There’s support there too, letting you work the bike through rolling compressions without sapping speed or energy. When you do slam through the travel and bottom out, it’s not a harsh or unsettling affair and recovery is rapid.
The 40 remains one of the stiffest forks out there, providing accurate and precise steering when picking your line through root and rock riddled trails. But the new level of in-built compliance means your hands hurt less when you really start pounding through the bumps.
The only sticking point is the cost. If you’re serious about downhill riding though, the tunability, weight and performance on offer here go a long way to justifying the eye-watering price.
This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.