Last October, we reported on the growth of the 27.5+ wheel and tyre combo and how it would be one of the largest trends in mountain biking in 2015. It now appears that Fox Racing Shox is confirming this with the introduction of a version of the Float 34 with a purpose-built 27.5+ chassis.
Related reading: Exploring 27.5+
One reason we expect 27.5+ to take off this year is the fact that wide 27.5in rims with 27.5x3in tyres can fit into many existing 29er frames. In fact, the handful of 27.5+ tyres currently on the market can fit into existing 29er forks. Though, clearance isn’t as good as it is likely to be with the size-specific chassis used for this new 34.
While not quite venturing into fat bike territory, this new fork can accommodate 27.5x3.25in treads.
The biggest story with this new fork is not tyre clearance, but the adoption of a new front axle standard.
Will 110mm-wide front spacing become the new normal in the coming years?
Fox stretched the chassis from the 100mm to 110mm. Yes, this increases tyre clearance, but more importantly, it allows the flanges on the front hub to be spread apart, increasing the bracing angle, thereby stiffening the wheel.For those thinking it, the pre-existing standard of 110 x 20mm doesn't make use of this wider hub flange spacing, but rather just additional axle width.
While Fox states this is a purpose-built 27.5+ chassis, the 110x15qr standard could really benefit 29ers. The fact that this new fork uses 51mm of offset — very common for 29ers — means that this fork is likely to pull double-duty as one of the company’s next generation 29er forks.
Fox plans to offer this 27.5+ 34 in a wide range of travels, from 110mm up to 150mm. No word on this fork’s axle-to-crown measurements yet, but we expect it to be the same or very close to the current 29er version of the 34.
On the inside, Fox has updated the damper with a fourth generation FIT4 cartridge damper. The air spring has also been updated. Fox has not released specific details, but we expect that some of the technologies developed for the latest version of the 36 have been incorporated into this new 34.
Pricing has yet to be announced, but we expect it to be in line with the company’s other Factory-level 34 forks.