Fox has beefed up its once-revolutionary 36 fork even more for 2008 but the really important improvements are under the hood, says Guy Kesteven.
The immediately obvious improvements to the 2008 Fox 36 are small but significant flow changes to the damping circuits. The previous knife-edge balance between compression spiking or excessive dive are gone, and the fork now collects most hits very capably somewhere in the mid-stroke area, so the front end feels more stable and secure across extended ripple or rut sections or taking big sequential hits.
Fox's 36 was such a revolutionary fork when it first appeared in 2005 that it's still the lightest and one of the stiffest single crown forks with six or more inches of travel (150mm or more). There were some performance issues and features lacking compared to the latest forks though, so the 2008 version is the most extensively revised so far.
Starting at the top, the crown goes much deeper for a firmer grip on the legs, and the lowers are more swollen and sculpted round the seal heads for a better top end connection.
Attention will centre around the 'new' quick-release bottom end though - it's new to Fox anyway. The cammed clamp levers on each leg and pop out lever on the end of the screw-in axle are modernised versions of the Tullio system of RockShox Psylos a few years ago.
At the moment there's a slight amount of play and knock in the system and we're not sure how it'll stand up to a few months' grit. We'll keep you posted. It's certainly faster than the old four-bolt system and it should solve cracking problems with over-tightened forks.
In common with most manufacturers, the disc brake mount also changes from IS to post mount.