Fox's burly 36 rewrote the rules and the Vanilla is still a great all-rounder. The coil internals are smooth from the box, with spike-free action from small bumps to big hits.
You get harder and softer springs in the box - rather than having to pay extra - which is a great touch. It's not even that heavy when you consider how stiff it is, although the bolted axle and IS disc mounts are dated and a bit slow to work with.
If really pushed, it can dive excessively unless you get the end stroke tuned by Mojo, but it's a massively stiff and confidence-enhancing fork when the going gets gonzo. The price is high for only a rebound adjustable fork, but we ran this sample super hard all last year, sent it back for a pre-test service and fresh stickers and it's still going super strong.