Fox sheds weight and refines lower legs on updated 36 suspension fork

Mid-life-cycle updates to Fox’s popular 36 fork promise to bring performance improvements

Lifestyle shot of rider using Fox 36 2022/3 fork against a forest background

Fox has announced an updated 36 fork with a new, lighter crown design.

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The 36-series forks have 150 or 160mm of suspension travel and are designed for all-mountain and enduro bikes. You’ll need to opt for Fox’s 38-series forks if you’re after even more travel.

The new crown of the updated 36 has increased steerer-tube overlap, which Fox claims improves durability and maintains stiffness while dropping 20g in weight.

There are also refinements to the lower legs to allow the fork to more accurately achieve its full suspension travel. Forks may not always achieve their full travel because they compress as the air pressure in the lowers increases.

Fox says these updates improve the ride quality, provided the fork has been set up correctly.

The outgoing Fox 36 Factory Grip2 is one of best mountain bike suspension forks we’ve tested, so we will be looking forward to seeing how the updated design rides.

Pricing and availability are to be confirmed.

A floating axle with a new Kabolt X lever

The Kabolt X lever is optional if you prefer a cleaner aesthetic.
Fox

Fox has updated the floating axle system, which allows for minor adjustments via a sleeve when installing the wheel to achieve the correct spacing required for your hub.

Although hub spacing and the corresponding fork axle width should be a perfect match, there can be some inconsistencies between them, causing either the fork legs to get pinched on to the hub or separated apart, resulting in increased friction. This can be true even of two identical wheels from the same brand.

Without a floating axle system, the hub might not always be in the identical position when it’s installed, and there’s an increased likelihood of rotor rub on the pads in the brake caliper.

Fox claims its system allows wheel removal and installation in the same position, as well as enabling smoother suspension movement throughout the entire range of the available travel.

There is an optional new bolt-on lever called the Kabolt X, which Fox says combines the benefits of a floating axle system with those of a tool-free quick-release. Fox claims the system not only shaves weight, but also increases torsional stiffness via its sleeveless, single-sided pinch bolt design.

Refinements to the lower legs

The lower leg bleeders are designed to equalise the pressure.
Fox

Fox says it has also increased the air volume of the lower legs.

As a fork compresses, the volume or space within the lower legs decreases, which increases the pressure of the air inside the fork lowers. The consequence is that full travel can be prevented from being achieved because the compressed air within the fork lowers acts in the same way as the fork’s spring.

Fox says the increase in air volume in the lower legs mitigates unintended pressure ramping.

The brand says another benefit of these channels is that the lower leg bath oil circulates to the upper reaches of the legs, continuously lubricating the foam rings and bushings as the fork compresses.

The lower leg bleeders remain from the outgoing 36. The brand says this allows for atmospheric pressure equalisation at the press of a button. Fox claims improved performance, allowing full travel to be achieved, and increasing small-bump sensitivity and responsiveness.

Fox’s updated arch design is claimed to save 20g.
Fox

These refinements are all in addition to weight savings at the lower leg arch.

Fox explains that as head-tube profiles of mountain bikes have got larger and fork offsets shorter, the lower leg arch has been moved to protrude, and the shape of the arch revised. The brand claims a 20g weight saving, as well as a boost in stiffness.

Familiar details

The new Fox 36 retains the GRIP2 damper.
Fox

The new Fox 36 features the familiar GRIP2 damper, which the brand claims provides “unparalleled ride quality and ultra-precise adjustability”. Fox will also offer the new 36 with the simpler FIT4 damper.

The 36 retains Float EVOL, said to optimise small-bump sensitivity by increasing negative air-spring volume.

The brand claims the new 36 comes in at a 1,965g starting weight. This weight is quoted for a 29in wheel format with 160mm of suspension travel. The steerer is cut at 165mm length, with a star nut and disc brake guide installed. Our sample of the outgoing 36 came in at 2,087g.

Like the Fox 38, the new 36 has a mounting for Fox’s optional direct-mounted mudguard with its proprietary four-point attachment system.

Options

Fox’s three colour options. The left two forks use a Kashima coating, whereas the one on the right belongs to the Performance Elite line.
Fox

The Fox 36 is available in 27.5in and 29in wheel-size options, both available in three colours – Matte Black, Shiny Black and Shiny Orange.

The 27.5in option comes in 37mm and 44mm offset versions with 150 or 160mm travel.

The 29in is available in a 44 or 51mm offset, again with 150 or 160mm travel.

Both wheel-size options are available with FIT4 or GRIP2 dampers.

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There will be a Factory line fork option with Kashima coating and a Performance Elite version with black anodised stanchions.