Buyer’s guide to Fox forks | The full line-up, from cross-country to downhill

We explain every Fox suspension fork and the brand's key technologies

Canyon Spectral:ON CFR electric mountain bike

When it comes to extreme sports heritage, few can match Californian suspension manufacturer Fox with its background in motorcycle, ATV and off-road racing.

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Fox has been delivering cutting-edge mountain bike suspension forks since 2001 and shows no signs of slowing down, locked in a battle of innovation with its main competitor, RockShox.

Let’s take a look at the latest crop of Fox forks and their applications and differences.

Fox suspension fork hierarchy explained

Fox’s MTB fork line-up is split into the following tiers, based on performance and budget.

  • Fox Factory Series
  • Fox Performance Elite
  • Fox Performance
  • Fox Rhythm
  • Fox ebike

Fox Factory Series

Fox 34 on the Yeti SB120
Fox’s Factory Series packs in the bling.
Andy Lloyd / Our Media

Fox’s Factory Series is the cream of the crop, offering the highest level of performance. Characterised by their golden Kashima-coated stanchions, Fox Factory forks get the latest GRIP2 or FIT4 damper and Float EVOL air spring.

The 36, 38 and 40 also boast push-button bleeders.

Fox Factory forks are most commonly seen on top-spec bikes costing upwards of approximately £4,500/$4,500.

Fox Performance Elite

Fox 38 Performance Elite suspension fork
The Performance Elite is Fox’s second-rung option.
Andy Lloyd / Our Media

Performance Elite is Fox’s next-best offering, boasting the same GRIP2/FIT4 damper and Float EVOL air spring as the flagship series.

They also share the same chassis, apart from the gold Kashima coating, which is replaced by black anodised stanchions.

Fox Performance

Fox 34 Performance fork on the YT Izzo Core 2 full suspension mountain bike
The Performance line is the entry point to Fox’s range.
Russell Burton / Our Media

The Performance tier is Fox’s entry-level aftermarket offering, sharing the same chassis and air spring as the more premium options, but relying on a less sophisticated GRIP damper.

The stanchions are black anodised and the push-button bleeders have to be purchased separately and retrofitted (only available on 36, 38 and 40 models).

Fox Rhythm

Fox Rhythm 34 fork on the Santa Cruz Chameleon hardtail mountain bike
We still find Fox’s Rhythm forks to be smooth operators.
Russell Burton / Our Media

Fox Rhythm forks are only found on complete bikes and cannot be bought aftermarket.

Designed to be budget-friendly, these forks use a less adjustable FIT damper and have a heavier chassis that is cast from a more affordable grade of aluminium.

Fox Step-Cast

A Fox 32 Stepcast Factory is specced on this CFR Team model.
Step-Cast forks are a common sight on the XC racecourse.
Oscar Huckle / Our Media

Available as part of the 32 and 34 series, Fox’s Step-Cast forks are all about saving weight. Narrower than their standard counterparts and with a stepped design that allows for a hollow lower section, these forks are for riders and racers looking to shed every last gram.

They’re commonly specced on cross-country bikes and some lighter downcountry bikes.

Fox ebike

Whyte E-160 RSX electric mountain bike
This 38 only gets a few internal upgrades.
Ian Linton / Our Media

Fox also offers the 34, 36 and 38 in a special ebike-ready configuration. These forks look identical to their non-electric bike counterparts, however, there are some differences under the hood.

Fox’s E-Optimized forks get a custom damper tune and progressive air spring, maximising traction for the heavier system weight.

The 34 and 36 also get beefed-up CSU (crown, steerer and upper tube) assemblies to boost their stiffness and strength. The E-Tuned 38 only gets the internal upgrades, because Fox claims it’s already stiff enough in its standard guise.

Fox suspension fork models explained

Fox’s suspension fork line-up consists of five main models, named after their stanchion diameter, covering all ranges of suspension travel from cross-country to enduro and downhill.

Fox 32

Fox 32 Performance
The Fox 32 is a budget-oriented cross-country fork. It’s still available with quick-release dropouts.
  • Intended use: XC
  • Travel: 100mm
  • Damper: GRIP
  • Wheel sizes: 29in

The Fox 32 is a budget-oriented cross-country workhorse, delivering 100mm of travel in a 29er-only chassis. It’s available at a Performance series level, with a three-position GRIP damper.

Fox 32 Step-Cast

2023 Scott Scale RC SL hardtail cross country mountain bike
Fox’s 32 Step-Cast Factory fork is a racier option.
Alex Evans / Our Media
  • Intended use: XC
  • Travel: 100mm
  • Damper: FIT4 and GRIP
  • Wheel sizes: 27.5in and 29in

The Fox 32 Step-Cast is a stripped-down version of the 32, designed with cross-country racing in mind. It boasts 100mm of suspension travel and is available in both 27.5in and 29in sizes.

Two models are available. The flagship Factory option gets a FIT4 damper, while the entry-level Performance model uses a simpler GRIP damper.

Fox 34

Fox 34 fork on the front of the Yeti SB120
The 34 steps the travel up to 130/140mm.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media
  • Intended use: Trail
  • Travel: 130 or 140mm
  • Damper: GRIP2, FIT4, GRIP
  • Wheel sizes: 29in

The Fox 34 is a versatile trail riding fork, designed to be light and tuneable with enough stiffness and support to tackle anything your local trail centre could throw at it.

The fork offers 130 or 140mm of travel and is available in three models – Factory, Performance Elite and Performance – which are all 29in only.

The 34 Factory is available with 130 or 140mm travel and a choice of Fox’s flagship GRIP2 damper (which offers maximum adjustment) or the FIT4 damper (which has an adjustable three-position lever).

The Performance Elite model is available exclusively with the FIT4 damper and 130mm travel, while the entry-level Performance option gets the basic GRIP damper and 140mm travel.

Fox 34 Step-Cast

Revel Ranger forks
The Step-Cast forks are light but sturdy.
Russell Burton / Our Media
  • Intended use: XC
  • Travel: 100 or 120mm
  • Damper: FIT4, GRIP
  • Wheel sizes: 29in

The 34 Step-Cast is made for the modern breed of burly XC racecourses. As with the 32 Step-Cast, it features a stripped-down, 29er-only chassis for maximum weight savings.

The 34 Step-Cast Factory is available with 100 or 120mm of travel and the adjustable three-position FIT4 damper.

The 34 Step-Cast Performance gets 120mm of travel and a three-position GRIP damper.

Fox 36

2023 Marin Rift Zone E2 electric mountain bike Fox 36 Performance Elite suspension forks.
The 36 is designed for bigger hits.
Andy Lloyd / Marin Bikes
  • Intended use: All-mountain
  • Travel: 150 or 160mm
  • Damper: GRIP2, FIT4
  • Wheel sizes: 27.5in and 29in

Bridging the gap between trail and enduro is the Fox 36. Offering 150 or 160mm of travel, the 36 gets treated to pressure-release valves to maximise its performance on big descents.

The 36 Factory is available with a choice of GRIP2 and FIT4 damper, the latter of which trades maximum tunability for an on-the-fly three-position lever. Also available is the 36 Performance Elite, which gets a GRIP2 damper.

Both models are available with 150 or 160mm of travel in 27.5in and 29in options.

Fox 38

YT Capra Mk III Core 2 enduro mountain bike
Fox’s 38 GRIP fork impressed us.
Ian Linton / YT Industries
  • Intended use: Enduro
  • Travel: 160, 170 or 180mm
  • Damper: GRIP2, GRIP
  • Wheel sizes: 27.5in and 29in

The Fox 38 is a hard-hitting enduro fork, designed for the roughest enduro race stages and gnarliest bike park trails. Designed for maximum performance, the 38 gets pressure-release valves and is only available with the tunable GRIP2 damper (Factory and Performance Elite models).

The flagship 38 Factory is available with 160, 170 or 180mm of travel in 27.5in and 29in options. It boasts the ultra-adjustable GRIP2 damper and pressure-release valves.

The 38 Performance Elite shares the same chassis and damper as the 38 Factory (save the Kashima stanchions) and is available with 170mm of travel for 27.5in and 29in wheels.

The entry-level 38 Performance is available with 170mm of travel for both 27.5in and 29in wheel sizes. It gets a simpler, three-position GRIP damper and is compatible with the retrofittable pressure-release valve upgrade kit.

Fox 40

2021 Fox 40 mountain bike suspension fork
The 40 is Fox’s dual-crown, DH fork.
  • Intended use: DH
  • Travel: 203mm
  • Damper: GRIP2
  • Wheel sizes: 27.5in and 29in

The Fox 40 is a triple-clamp fork designed for the world’s fastest downhill racers. It boasts a huge 203mm of travel and is available for both 27.5in and 29in downhill bikes.

Designed for ultimate performance, only the Fox 40 Factory is available to buy in the aftermarket. It gets a GRIP2 damper for maximum adjustability, Kashima stanchions and pressure-release valves.

Fox suspension fork technology

Kashima coating

Fox 38 Factory GRIP2 has Kashima coated stanchions and shock shaft
The Kashima-coated stanchions sure are luxurious.
Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media

Kashima is the name of the stanchion coating used on all Fox Factory series forks. The coating is claimed to reduce friction and wear as the fork moves through its travel, increasing sensitivity and traction.

GRIP2, FIT4, GRIP and FIT dampers explained

Fox 34 GRIP2 damper adjustment dial
The top-end GRIP2 damper.
Robyn Furtado / Our Media

Fox has several dampers it uses across its range of forks, offering a variety of compression and rebound adjustment.

GRIP2Maximum adjustability, high- and low-speed compression and rebound. 
FIT4Three-position (open, medium, firm) compression lever, additional low-speed compression adjustment, low-speed rebound. 
GRIPThree-position (open, medium, firm) compression lever, low-speed rebound.
FITThree-position (open, medium, firm) compression lever, low-speed rebound.

Float EVOL air spring

The Float EVOL air spring is used across the entire Fox fork range. The EVOL name stands for ‘extra volume’ and indicates a large negative air chamber for more small-bump sensitivity.

Push-button bleeders

Fox 36 lower leg bleeders against a black background
The lower-leg bleeders are designed to equalise the pressure.

Push-button bleeders, which are located on the rear of the fork’s lower legs, are found on the Fox 36, 38 and 40. These pressure-release valves enable you to easily expel pressure built up in the fork lowers. The pressure build-up can be caused by rapid changes in temperature or altitude and negatively affect suspension performance.

Kabolt axle

No 15mm QR here, just the lightweight 15mm Kabolt, which uses a 6mm hex wrench for installation and removal
The Kabolt needs a 6mm hex wrench for installation and removal.
Oli Woodman / Immediate Media
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The Kabolt axle is an optional replacement for Fox’s standard flip-lever axle. It’s lighter than the standard version, but requires a 6mm Allen key for installation and removal.