From the Top: Bob Fox

Jun 11, 2013
by Richard Cunningham  
 
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Bob Fox at the opening of the Fox Museum
  Fox Factory founder Bob Fox holds the air-sprung shock that launched his company in the early '70's. The motocross bike behind him is the 500cc Maico that Bob raced while he was making prototype shocks in a friend's garage.


bigquotesThe raw truth - why most of us are reluctant to flesh our ideas into tangible things - is that in the end, the knowledge gained through the creative process teaches us that we could have done it better. It is a bitter pill that must be swallowed in secret, because advertising the faults of our newborn accomplishments would surely damn them to failure. It is for this reason that the truly creative push forward and rarely peer over their shoulders to admire their handiwork.
- Anonymous


Wednesday, April, 17, 2013 is a special one for Bob Fox. The founder of the company, best known to the mountain bike community as Fox Racing Shox, is shaking hands with some of the greatest names in cycling and motorsports. We have assembled to celebrate the grand opening of the Fox Museum, located in the foyer of the company’s Scotts Valley headquarters. Outside, the parking lot is adorned with off-road race cars and Trophy Trucks and inside, a parade of suspension components, mountain bikes, motorcycles and snowmobiles trace the timeline of off-road racing history from its seminal roots in the 1970s. Over thirty years of suspension innovation in one place – the museum is a compelling visual journey of success and of failure, and of the courage to create.

Bob Fox talks about ‘we’ and begins the stories of each fork and shock with the names of their inventors as familiar as family. He quotes key contributions by competitors as easily as he describes the inventions he attributes to his team at Fox. Bob’s technical understanding of suspension and of the way mechanical things work lies far beyond the reach of most, but his brilliance is masked by a childlike curiosity for that which lies beyond the scope of his knowledge. It becomes clear that, while the man is visibly proud to see his legacy compiled into one display, the soul of Bob Fox is off working on a future project. It always will be.




Bob studied engineering and physics in college (top). Bob checking
the rear-set center of gravity of his and brother Geoff's record-
setting C-class dragster. Preparing to race his Maico motocross
bike during the pre-Fox Suspension era. Fox photos

What are the proper names for Fox suspension? As we understand it, Fox Factory is the parent, and Fox Racing Shox is the bicycle brand under Fox Factory.

The company was registered and incorporated in California in 1978 as Fox Factory, Inc. We started using the words 'Fox Racing Shox' in the early ‘80s. Depending on the context, we’ve used this either as a DBA name for the company, or as a description or brand for our products. It is not in any way specific to only our bicycle products. We’ve used it extensively in all our markets. We began using 'Fox Racing Shox' several years before we got into mountain bike suspension - in fact before the market existed.


Fox began, as we understand it, as a vanguard motocross suspension company when the technical development of the bikes seemed to be all over the place. Paint us a picture of Fox in the early days.

My brother Geoff (founder of Moto-X Fox, Inc. in 1975 - now Fox Head, Inc.) introduced me to motorcycles in the early ‘70s. I started racing amateur motocross. In 1973 the Long-Travel Suspension Revolution for motocross bikes began...

The advantages of longer travel were soon obvious to all. But the best designs for achieving it - shock absorbers, suspension linkages, etc - were not. A lot of different ideas were tried over the next several years. There was a steep learning curve to climb. It was a time of great flux in motocross suspension, and it turned out to be a golden opportunity for me. As an amateur motocross racer, I had an up-close and personal familiarity with the long-travel problems. As a mechanical engineer, I was excited at the challenge of trying to design a better shock. I was fascinated with the idea of using an air-spring shock design to help prevent bottoming out and to make adjusting spring rates as easy as changing the pressure in a tire.

I got the basic air-spring idea from seeing prototype air-pressurized shocks on a few Honda factory bikes, as well as on CZ brand motorcycles circa-1974. I did my first shock designs in 1974. I machined parts on a manual lathe in a friend’s garage and tested the shocks myself, along with the help of professional riders, including Brad Lackey. After about a year of development and some very encouraging rider comments, I decided to go into production of the first Fox Airshox. I joined my brother’s company in Campbell, California. We sold 200 pair in 1975. However, by mid-year 1975, I realized the design needed to be further improved. A new dual-pressure design was developed and went into production in 1976. Ken Howerton won the AMA 500cc National Motocross Championship in 1976 using Fox Airshox on his Husqvarna. Marty Smith did the same in 1977 on his factory Honda using Fox Airshox. Sales exploded to over 10,000 pairs the year after that. Those back-to-back Championships truly launched my suspension career and the company. Fox Factory, Inc. (AKA 'Fox Racing Shox') was incorporated in 1978 in California.


You, and your brother Geoff, both own corporations that share the Fox name. How does that work?

It has caused a degree of confusion out in the market and among customers. More than we (I think I can speak for both companies here) would like. Both companies are always happy to support the media in any way needed to help minimize the confusion - by, for example, clearly identifying and describing the relevant company in any articles. The confusion is caused, not only by the fact that both companies include 'Fox' in the name, but also because we literally worked out of the same building - and after we had incorporated separately, all of 'my' shocks still continued to be marketed and sold through Geoff’s company (Moto-X Fox) for a few years.

We would like to think that the distinction between the two companies should be fairly clear nowadays. 'My' company is primarily in the suspension business, and Brother Geoff’s company is primarily in the action-sports clothing and protective equipment business (helmets, boots, etc). However, there is still more confusion than desired.


From the Top Bob Fox - Marty Smith s 500cc Honda Motocross racer
  Kent Howerton won the 1977 AMA Motocross 500cc National Championships using Fox's prototype Airshox. Fox's shock business exploded When Marty Smith duplicated Howerton with a 500cc National Championship win the following year on this Factory Honda. Colin Meagher photo


Fox diversified into other forms of off-road motorsport before the mountain bike came under your scrutiny. The physical differences between suspending a 4,000-pound Trophy Truck and a 19-pound XC bicycle seem irreconcilable. What motivates Fox to enter a particular market and how does it stay on top of such a wide landscape of suspension products?

When I started the company, our business was 100-percent motocross suspension. However, within five years, we found ourselves 'forced' to diversify into other markets in order to survive. We got into off-road trucks, road-racing cars and motorcycles, then into the snowmobile and mountain bike markets, among others. The cool thing is; although the weights and dimensions of the vehicles in the markets we serve vary greatly, the same laws of physics apply to all. For example: the classic F = ma (force equals mass times acceleration) is always valid. And good suspension is mostly about properly controlling motion. I suppose that’s a bit of an over-simplification, but there’s also a lot of truth there.

From the Top Bob Fox - Notos Sleds and Trophy Trucks
  Fox Factory successfully diversified into a wide range of motorsport racing venues, including snowmobiles, Trophy Trucks and ATVs. Mountain bike suspension turned out to be one of its most challenging products due to the cyclist's low power output and the demand for extremely light weight components. Colin Meagher photo


Although we were originally 'forced' to diversify into other markets besides motocross, we are now actively on the lookout for new markets where our racing heritage may offer an advantage. We find that involvement in many different markets broadens and strengthens us technically. We sometimes learn something new in one market that has application in a different market. We call this 'cross-pollination' - which we consider a major advantage of working in diverse high-performance markets. Notice the qualifier 'high-performance.' That’s important. We don’t want to waste our time making 'commodity products' for markets where a 'commodity product' is good enough - and all that matters is the lowest possible cost. That’s not what we’re interested in, that’s not what we’re good at, and that’s not what we want to do.

Although there are many 'common denominators' regarding good suspension design and performance in various markets, there also are unique differences sometimes. A perfect example is the mountain bike. The mountain bike is the only vehicle we deal with that uses human power for locomotion. That, as we all know now, makes a huge difference for suspension design. Shocks and forks with various lockout features, inertia valves, etc were the result. Also, designing for very light weight took on a priority beyond anything else we had done.

From the Top Bob Fox - Fox s first production shock First Production fork moto and first mountain bike shocks designed for Cannondale.
  Fox's first production shock was the air-sprung 'Airshox' (left). Their first production motocross racing fork (center) was a great performer, but did not fare so well in the Japanese-dominated market of the time. Fox developed the tiny ALPS-1 air-sprung damper for Cannondale - its first OEM mountain bike customer. Colin Meagher photo



Fox had to develop larger standards for stanchion tubes, new
crown construction and to perfect methods for casting one-piece
magnesium sliders before it could put its first mountain bike fork
into production. - Colin Meagher photo

Like motocross in the '80's, the mountain bike was also in a period of rapid and erratic development when Fox Factory entered the fray with an air-sprung shock. Candidly, what was the status of mountain bike suspension at the time?

As you know, we got into mountain bike rear shocks early on. But we didn’t get into mountain bike forks until 2001. We were what business-school guys would call a 'late entrant' by at least ten years. I would say a lot of interesting and innovative development had occurred in forks prior to Fox’s entry in 2001. I personally followed it closely and with much interest. I admired some interesting fork concepts that were developed in the 1990’s. In many ways, I would say that bicycle suspension design in the 1990’s was similar to the Long-Travel Revolution in motocross from 1973 to the early ‘80s. A lot of different ideas were tried. Everybody was sure that mountain bike suspension was the future, but nobody could be sure of the best designs to achieve it. It wasn’t until 2001 that we felt we had the resources and engineering talent we needed to produce a leading-edge new fork. Our philosophy is to not introduce a new product unless we believe it can be the best in its category

At the time Fox developed its first suspension fork for production, top suspension brands were focused almost exclusively upon racing development. Fox, however, entered the market with a sturdy, longer-travel fork, aimed exclusively at the trail rider. Later, Fox repeated that scenario with the 36-series fork when there seemed to be no call for a long-travel, downhill-capable, single-crown fork from major bike makers, and no forum of competition for it existed. Give us some history on those two successful chapters in the story of Fox.

Hmmm, let’s see... When we first made motocross shocks, the only thought was to produce them for sale in the aftermarket. I never thought about OEM sales. The aftermarket looked plenty big to me and besides, most of the OEM’s were in Japan. But, for mountain bikes, we immediately got involved with OEM’s. Cannondale was our first major OEM; they ordered a large quantity of rear shocks in, as I recall, 1992. Specialized and Trek weren’t far behind. So, when the time came to develop a fork we never considered developing one for sale just in the aftermarket. It was clear that the OEM’s were always on the lookout for an improved fork to spec on their new models - so there was a ready and waiting market.

One of the things we did was a very detailed mathematical analysis of strength, rigidity, and weight for different fork tube diameters. Other forks at the time had tubes no larger than 30 millimeters, but we determined that a new 32-millimeter fork design could give a significantly better combination of high rigidity and low weight. That’s what we came out with, and it was an immediate success. We of course worked with professional mountain bike riders to help with the development and marketing of the new fork. I believe Brian Lopes was one of the first top pros that we worked with.

Regarding the 36 mm fork; I would say mountain bike fork development was still in the “Long-Travel Suspension Revolution” mode like we’d seen in motocross before. Still, a lot of evolution and development [taking place and] not stagnant. So - we’d rather lead a revolution than be a follower. So, as mountain bike racing evolved and developed we felt this was a logical next step in fork evolution - so that’s what we did.

From the Top Bob Fox Wall O forks
  The wall of forks at the Fox Museum features a number of cut-away exhibits that depict the evolution of damping and spring strategies that its design team developed over the past decade. Colin Meagher photo


Looking from the outside in, Fox established itself firmly in the trailbike and OEM markets well before setting its sights into racing with the development of the 40 downhill fork, DHX shocks and XC-competitive Float forks and shocks. This seemed like a reverse strategy for Fox, which had always been a racing-driven company. How did those decisions come forth?

I’d say this goes back to the previous comments about our basic decision to go straight for the mountain bike OEM market - the largest was the trailbike. We felt the fork industry was somewhat in flux at that time. We wanted to seize the opportunity and gain market share quickly.


bigquotesI'm semi-retired now and only go in when I want to. At age 73, that's the way I want it. I still enjoy going in and working with the engineers on new projects. My favorite things are trying to solve tough engineering problems, and trying to come up with really creative solutions.


Those inside and outside Fox consider you to be a remarkable innovator and engineer. What was your involvement in the design of Fox suspension throughout the history of Fox Factory?

For the first few years I did all the design engineering. Motocrosser and production engineer Mark Jones joined in 1976 and took responsibility for much of our production for several years. Another motocross enthusiast and really good design engineer by the name of Bob McBroom joined around 1977 or 1978 and did most of the design work on the 44 mm Fox Forx we came out with then. For most of the ‘80s, business was down and I did most of the engineering again, including design of the Twin-Clicker shock.

Since the late ‘80s, we have been growing and adding engineers. Especially since the year 2000, we have steadily added engineers. I consider myself semi-retired now, but design engineering is still my favorite activity when I do go into work. We have dozens of talented engineers doing our designs now, but I still enjoy reviewing some of the new designs, offering ideas, and trying to solve problems.

From the Top Bob Fox - FWD off road truck with bypass damper detail
  Radically different from anything we'll see in the mountain bike world, Fox's long-stroke off-road racing shocks displace a huge volume of suspension fluid, so they utilize a number of bypass tubes welded to the outside of the damper tube. The bypass circuits are placed at different levels in order to make the damper position-sensitive. Each tube has its own adjustable valving. The two-stage spring is mounted to the suspension separately from the damper assembly. RC photo


You were among the first suspension designers to invent a successful air-sprung shock for motocross. You launched air-sprung suspension for the mountain bike and then returned to develop coil-sprung forks and shocks for DH and freeride. Can you comment on the trend towards air-sprung suspension for downhill and long-travel applications?

We continue to evolve our air-spring designs. I haven’t personally ridden our newest air forks. However, I’m told that the improvements we’ve made in the spring curve are very noticeable - and are being enthusiastically received by top riders.


Recent Pinkbike polls have established Fox suspension as the favorite among mountain bike enthusiasts. What do you feel is the most important aspect of Fox that contributes to its dominant position? What does Fox bring to the customer that may explain its popularity?

I think customers who buy Fox want to buy and own the best, and feel confident that that’s what they are getting. We take pride in producing the highest-performance, highest-quality suspension available. That’s what our customers want. That’s what we give them. We have a plaque in our lobby just outside the new museum, titled, 'Who We Are...' I think it captures why customers buy our products.

From the Top Bob Fox - Mike Schultz talks with visitors about his prostheses.
  Mike Schultz talks to guests at the Fox Museum opening night beside his moto. Schultz lost most of his leg to a sledding accident and, after designing a Fox -suspended prostheses, returned to action sports. The leg is aluminum and carbon fiber, with a number of air-sprung articulating joints that recreate the feedback and feel of the lost appendage. Colin Meagher photo


bigquotes...Many of us at Fox have a racing background.
We race motorcycles, mountain bikes, or other vehicles.
And when we race, we want to win.

Those same instincts motivate us in business.
We want to make the best products.
We want to be successful.
We want to win.

That's who we are.


- Excerpt from Who We Are

January, 2008, Fox announced that it had partnered with Compass Diversified Holdings, presumably to expand and to strengthen Fox's presence in the mountain bike market. How did that transaction work out for Fox so far, and how did it affect your role at Fox Factory?

In one word, 'terrific!' The company is stronger and better, and has more than doubled in size since Compass took over in 2008. New product development has never been greater. Our presence and popularity in the mountain bike market continues to grow. My role? I’m semi-retired now and only go in when I want to. At age 73, that’s the way I want it. I still enjoy going in and working with the engineers on new projects. My favorite things are trying to solve tough engineering problems, and trying to come up with really creative solutions. I’m also on the Board of Directors and attend all meetings.


Fox seems to have struggled a bit with industry partnerships. The Specialized Brain shock was a revolutionary concept that you personally worked quite hard on, and it was a success. The Brain-equipped Specialized Enduro fork, however, was a disaster. Trek's hybrid-spring 40 fork and its DRCV shock were both winners. The Fox collaboration with Shimano to launch the 15QR through axle standard proved to be well timed despite some push-back from the industry. Now, Fox is again collaborating with Shimano with electronically controlled suspension. In a perfect world, would you rather go it alone? How beneficial are technical partnerships?

In a perfect world, you bet - I wish Fox could come up with all the great ideas and the great designs alone. But - good as I believe we are - that’s not likely to happen anytime soon. So, technical partnerships have an important role in furthering innovation and technical development that, ultimately, benefits the consumer and the sport. I think the trick is doing it well - finding and working with a trustworthy partner who adds value, and developing a technical partnership that is balanced and fair.

iCD shock detail
  Fox has applied for a number of electronic suspension control patents. The iCD electronic-remote-control shock and fork system was developed in 2012 in partnership with Shimano and uses similar technology to Shimano's Di2 shifting to transmit and process signals. RC photo


Electronically controlled suspension is used throughout motorsport racing and in many applications on production vehicles. How do you perceive its potential use in the mountain bike's future?

I can’t imagine it NOT being part of the mountain bike future. The smarter the suspension, the better job it can do - at least in theory. The main downsides are cost, complexity and resistance to change - 'tradition.' I think those barriers will diminish as time goes on.


It would appear that mountain bike suspension has evolved to a high level of both performance and reliability, what is the possibility of a game-changing breakthrough in suspension technology happening in the near future?

I don’t think there will be any 'game-changer.' I think there will be evolution. I could be wrong, but I can’t imagine what it might be. Of course, if I could imagine what it might be - I wouldn’t be willing to talk about it!


Looking back, and perhaps into the future, what is the contribution to the sport that you are most proud of?

The inertia valve shock and fork designs. Next, probably the DHX shock design and the TALAS shock design. Then, the Twin-Clicker design back in the early ‘80s.


Must Read This Week

148 Comments

  • + 172
 The Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • + 1
 Hope he willing to implement batman tech to mountain biking.
[Reply]
  • + 49
 Thank you Mr.Fox.
  • - 3
 I came to this article looking for foxy girls...
  • + 1
 Their shocks clearly rule, but I believe the real success here is their logo, that thing goes with a lot people around the world, ride or not, they still wear it, sometimes they even think it's some kind of surf clothing line...
  • + 2
 Wrong fox bud. Your thinking his brothers company fox racing. Owned by Geoff Fox.
[Reply]
  • + 32
 Kashima leg... Now ive seen it all.
  • + 14
 Almost want one...
  • + 1
 lol, only the best of the best amputees can get one of those
[Reply]
  • + 30
 He sounds great and all, yet CTD completely sucks and in 3 years done little to rectify it .....
  • - 57
 That's just a dumb comment
  • + 55
 Come at me bro
  • - 56
 Your ignorance speaks for itself.
  • + 6
 no... ctd speaks nothing about wanting better performance like fox should be, they just took a good line of forks and made it so 5 year olds could tune them and left it like that, bet the writing in the manual is xl size font to
  • - 57
 Lmao abundance of ignorance.
  • + 30
 Just give up ....
  • + 18
 and jeff is still on the fox bandwagon, ctd rarely works and its a bad concept, good for beginner riders
  • + 3
 Haha CTD. What a joke.
  • - 43
 Yep cause I own ctd and use it everyday. And it's better than any fork or shock I have owned. All u haters that don't have a clue just talk shit. If you read about ctd it just needs the air pressure adjusted and its fine. I base my opinions on over 100 hrs of riding the product myself. Not by a bunch of amateur nobody's on the net who have never owned the product, and really are just jealous haters. I ride gnarly rough terrain with plenty of drops, jumps, rock gardens. Ohhhhh and by the way most pro enduro and dh racers are running a ctd fox setup. Go try to tell them its a joke and rarely works, they will laugh in your face.
  • - 50
 Enduro 27 I have your lyrik fork on my sons covert guess what doesn't compare to the ctd. That's just the truth bud!
  • + 97
 jeff, have a snickers
  • - 62
 Naw that's for the fat outta shape haters. But I do love a good cliff bar that new flavour coconut chocolate hits the spot after 30 km on my ctd!
  • + 1
 cutting down on the amount of travel doesn't help very much. you would be changing the the pressure it's takes before the fork or rear shock gives in from pedaling or the the shapes and the material the trail is made of like rocks and roots but that's just my opinion
  • + 6
 should have had a v8
  • + 30
 @jeff444 you act like a child and are getting more neg props than Protour could dream of. Good job wanker.
  • + 9
 Sadly and more to the point stupidly Ive got CTD back and front on my bike and its the worst pile of dog shit ive ever ridden. Its to harsh and sticky on the initial stroke and theres no getting away from it. Small bump sensitivity seems to be eradicated by the new platform. The more air you put in to eradicate bob and wallowieness kills any hint of SBS and then you let air out to fix that and the platform perfoms like your riding on top of a sea of custard. I think Jeff444 has the only correct functioning set of CTD produced. I cant get mine to work and ive tried all shapes. And the kashima coating is total marketing bollocks as I can not see any difference at all, its worse if any thing and less fluid and smooth. Im just gutted the new RS Pike wont fit my shitty 1 1/8th head tube or id get that for sure. Fox have gone 5 years backwards at least with this f*cking load of bollocks new CTD platform and they dont seem to be doing any thing about it from what I can see. I just spunked a whole load of dosh on 2 massive pieces of crap that dont work. Jeff444 want to buy some shocks dude ill do you a real good price.
  • + 5
 sladevalleydh jeff is canadian so would not get your joke haha
  • + 5
 That's awkward Big Grin
  • - 23
 Ya your right why should I debate anything with a bunch of 17 yr olds. Not really to concerned with negative props, more concerned with educating people that ctd can and does work just fine. Props are children. Like ohhh I must have first comment so I get most props who cares that's from kindergarten days. Zero u really let all this bullshit get to U WOW what started with a bit of brake dive has soured you on the whole ctd platform suddenly the entire product is no good lmao what a load of crap. Your just angry and probably have no idea how to set your bike up! Bottom line I am a experienced rider and I know when my fork and shock are not right. And there just fine for me. All the reports that came out said there was a small issue with brake dive if your pressure was not correct in the fork, now all you haters turned this into a load of bs! I will enjoy my ctd and all you haters can kiss my ass. Thanks for reading my last post on this issue happy trails!!
  • + 8
 CTD isn't 3 years old. It came out in '12 as the 2013 model - just for the record. I have it on one of my bikes and it's not the best, but I bought it for the Talas feature mostly. It could be improved on and I heard the '14 is better. If they could just get it to feel like a float....it'd be the shit. .
  • + 1
 Sure, the old CTD setups sucked but before you can continue to hate on it and Fox and the future of the concept, you have to go ride and test the new CTD fork they're coming out with and see if they really fixed the problem as they said they did. They claim they were listening to everyone's criticisms.. I guess we'll see... I must say though, I'm glad I didn't end up stuck with a CTD - I think I just narrowly dodged a bullet. Fox, I love your company and products - please fix the CTD - i hate to hear all these people (who are speaking the truth) hate on your company for your stupid CTD!

P.S. Please bring your prices down, even if just a little! And your fork servicing, while it fixes the problem nicely, takes a long time and needs to be done a tad too frequently in my opinion.
  • + 11
 Thanks guys, reading this thread was a few great minutes of entertainment! Big Grin
  • + 13
 Jeff - btw you don't know who any of us are, and just because we disagree with doesn't make us all '17' and stupid. The biggest problem with CTD, is that it's on the best of the best forks, well according to fox, and fox being one if the biggest if not the biggest suspension brand in mtb, released their top forks with all if its problems, people bought these forks, with hard earned money and trusted that what they were buying was best of the best, and fix only this year have tried to fix this problem. To me it's not good enough, people are mad and rightly so ....
  • + 2
 CTD is fine, if the compression setting is correct for you, but adjustability makes for a better fork, remember when the 2010 boxxers came out with hi/lo speed rebound? that was some pretty awesome stuff, now with fox 3 years later you just get three compression settings and rebound... that's not very adjustable, only thing they've done right so far this year is the new 40 float and dhx IMO
  • + 8
 Jeff you are one ginormous wanker arent you. Ive been mountain biking since I was 17 you f*cking fool and have purchased countless forks over the years. Im well aware of how to set up a fork and rear shock. I bet your probably one of those all the gear and no idea wankers arent you, you probably only ride on tarmac hence why you think your set up is working well. And when I spoke to a tech from mojo he said the problem is with the damping system and no matter how much you fettle with air pressure it wont rectify the problem, adding oil on the talas side will help to eliminate brake dive but wont stop it. You though, the BIG I AM probably could teach the boys at Mojo a thing or two about shock set up I suppose. Admit when your wrong you prick and stop arguing with a bunch of "uneducated kids" as you put it, your nearly 40 ffs and I bet most of them on here know more now than you ever wil you twat. What a complete numpty, if nothing else you have cheered me up I was pissed off today but reading your ludicrous, uniformed and quite frankly ridiculous comments has made my day. keep up the good work douche bag.
  • + 7
 wow i have never seen one person -1 so many time on one article.... my life is complete Wink
  • + 4
 jeff has no idea what he is talking about. My solo air rc2dh lyrik will rape any ctd fork. I work at a shop and we deal with an immense amount of ctd forks. None of them work!!! Its almost a joke among shops how bad fox products are.
  • + 1
 @Jeff444, care to explain why the fox 831 has ctd since its a DJ and 4X fork. I dont understand why you would not want it perfectly dialed for jumps all the time. Oh how i wish they would make a 32 van 140mm like mine with an RC2 damper. oh and its only 1.7Kg same weight as a float.

Oh and to fox, thanks for doing such a good job and giving many many people the tools to race and the support to help them.
  • + 2
 FOX I WANT A REFUND!
  • + 2
 No need for a refund just send all your problem ctd shocks to jeff444 AKA the most neg propped Pinkbike member in history and hell do all the correct set up for you and get it working like a dream no doubt
  • + 2
 The float is a work of art. it's reliable and relatively simple.
But fox forks with travel adjustment? no thanks
  • - 15
 Or here's an idea....who gives a fuc what your dic sucking mouth says, your just a zero! Internet tuuuuuuff guy!
  • - 3
 Your a persistent fucker aren't you
  • + 3
 That's not really an idea - it's more of a question...
  • + 2
 ^^LOL. Or heres another idea, stop making redonkulous statements and get a grip of yourself. All this dick sucking talk, first you PM me talking about dick sucking and now here, are you sure your not the one who wants a big fat one in his gob or what? You sound like a repressed and frustrated closeted homosexual. Look just come out man theres no shame in it if thats your thing. Rejoice in your homosexuality, come on after me, im GAY, im free, I love my CTD. Sing it with me!
  • + 1
 nice, you got a pm from him haha
  • - 7
 Truth hurts doesn't cock gobbler. Enjoy a lifetime with sore knees!
  • - 9
 The only time I have sore knees is when Im finished fucking your MOM in the ass you fucking GAYTARD.
  • - 8
 You can get therapy for your desires and also deal with the anger problem maybe take some self esteem classes so u don't feel the need to lash out at your peers on the Internet and act tough hiding behind a computer. I luv that you get so angry makes my day haha........
  • - 10
 Ohh and sorry my fun is done wont be replying to this thread anymore so neg prop that zero fucking brains in your head.
  • + 0
 Errr, im not the one whos attacking everyone here spouting shit and replying with silly childish nonense. And im quite calm thanks Jeoffry. It takes a lot more than a complete retard like you to make me angry. Id be more offended if I could make sense of your comments.
  • + 1
 Hhaha, thanks for the entertainment. This jeff444 guy makes me feel good about myself. I had a crappy day at work, and reading his comments just gave me a boost. Oh the internet, it doesn't make you more stupid, it just makes your stupidity readily accessible to more people. Thank you Mr. Fox for bringing your products to our market. For all of the money I have shelled out for your products over the years, they have been trustworthy and reliable.
[Reply]
  • + 21
 Thank you garage tinkerers who push innovation. Thank you off-road motorcycle culture of the 1970's for helping make our knobby hobby what it is today.
[Reply]
  • + 17
 Clever PR piece. Nothing but respect for the man but lately the company is slipping in product and customer service and shop owners/riders are taking notice. There is talk of low moral and harsh management. Sounds like the all mighty dollar has once again corrupted something that was good.
  • + 7
 I agree. I feel bad for their r&d department. Their product is great, but there customer service is terrible.
  • + 5
 Too much effort on adding superfluous crap and not enough on increasing service intervals and reliability so that you don't need customer service to begin with.
  • + 4
 Go with Marzocchi. Bombproof reliability and performance.
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  • + 14
 Respect to Fox for what they did in the past. With the caveat that I'm in the camp that thinks that Fox is taking several steps back to mediocrity, questions I would have liked to asked Bob Fox:

- Where do you feel the company could improve?

- Where do you see the company going in the future?

- Does the company sometimes adopt the position that the customer isn't right and perhaps try to adopt positions that aren't "popular"? Eg - if customers want weigh weenie components at the expense of durability do you pander to them?

- Are you happy with where you see the company going in the future?
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  • + 13
 One of the most informational articles ever . Big Grin
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  • + 10
 The prosthetic leg is literally incredible. If I lose a leg, please replace it with one of those. Or one half of the Air 40. Either really.
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  • + 7
 Ummm.... Fox was by no means the first suspension fork maker to go to 32mm stanchions. They weren't even the first suspension maker that branched from motorcycles and automotive suspension to bicycles to go to 32mm. That claim belongs to Noleen, which did it in 1999, with of all things, a telescoping fork with a computerized electronic compression damping circuit in their Smart Forks, and they followed that up with their Air-Spring/Air-Damped MegaAir model in 2000, again with 32mm stanchions.

Fox is a great company for taking ideas from other companies/inventors and re-marketing it as if they actually were first. They did the same thing with inertia valve forks... took Don Richardson (of Ricor Racing)'s US patented idea, who unfortunetly has a patent that mentioned every wheeled vehicle class except bicycles, and then filed a patent for it for bicycles without disclosing the known prior art...there's a joke in the motocross world that the quickest way to get a Fox sponsorship is to tell them you're testing out Ricor's shocks.
  • + 4
 A little before my time, but I believe White Brothers debuted 32mm stanchions in 1997.
  • + 1
 I'm waiting for the interview with deeeight... ... or waki. I'm not fussy.
  • + 5
 Its possible, but white brothers got into producing bicycle suspension forks by buying out the ProForx brand around 1996 and the first five or six years of the White Brothers forks were labeled White Brothers ProForx and then a model code (like SC70, DC110, etc) and I don't recall what their previous work was but their start in bicycle parts was making coil springs and replacement thrushaft damper cartridges for Rockshox Judy forks which were originally aluminium in the racer-only mid-season Diablo development forks, became plastic for the production Judy forks in 1995 and then quickly developed problems with overheating, swelling, and cracking...which became leaking leading to a whole cottage industry springing up selling CNC machined from billet replacement cartridges which were rebuildable and more tunable (rockshox would go back to Aluminium cartridges the following year).
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  • + 11
 THE MAN. THE MYTH. THE LEGEND.
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  • + 12
 excellent article!
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  • + 6
 Fox make the best performance fork out there. Others claim they don't need as much servicing, that is true as they arnt as highly tuned. Buy a ford focus and service every year. Buy a Lamborghini and service every 1000 miles or more. Performance parts need looking after.
  • + 19
 Part of performance is reliability, so if a fork requires alot of maintenance I'm not impressed with the performance. Most people who buy their product are recreational mountain bikers who would rather ride their bike rather than have it sitting in a shop for days waiting for new seals and oil, so the comparison to expensive cars is not impressive. I have seen too many 40 legs destroyed from scratches and I know 2 people who are off their bikes for weeks now cause they had too send their rear shocks back for nitrogen. It's always expensive too. I like the companies history and that's a great interview, but I won't drink the kool-aid.
  • + 2
 You probably never tried a BOS fork then. Fox is good but nothing comes close to BOS or Cane Creek suspension.
  • + 3
 Cane Creek DB and a BOS fork is a beastly combination.
  • + 1
 Elka over Fox any day.
  • + 3
 nitrogen in a rear shock is a load of crap, I tapped my nitrogen valve on my DHX5 and added a schrader so now I can service it myself and add air (which contains mostly nitrogen) shock is working a treat!

I'm no mechanic by any means, just a guy who refuses to pay over £100 once or twice a year for someone to service a shock. Its not rocket science, just a load of marketing hype designed to make people part with their hard earned cash.
  • + 1
 That's awesome, great idea. No performance lost without nitrogen?
  • + 1
 @Shacky: A) Marzo has ALWAYS been the most plush/best feeling fork on the market, B) having nicely made internal parts is totally irrelevant when the product as a W OLE doesn't work, C) now that 650B is here and making a huge surge, Fox no longer MAKE a good 650B fork. So no, they do not, nor have they ever made "the best" anything. They'v made "good" stuff, but never "the best" for any length of time.

I'll give you this: Their DH forks and coil based suspension and the 36 Float RC2 are GREAT products, but the 36 is now screwed as it no longer fits 650B (it USED TO, but they made a conscious choice to make them incompatible so as to FORCE us to use the 34... THAT is bullshit IMO). Their 34 platform is useless to anyone over 150lbs and even then it's pretty weak. CTD is f*cking stupid and again does NOT work as described nor is it a good platform in general (34/15/160mm is a STUPID combo...esp when the old 36 was just fine/better). When you have to run an air spring 2x higher then the suggested pressure to keep the fork up in its travel, something is inherently WRONG with the design and application.

I however I've been dealing with Fox on several fronts for MANY years (MX, Mtn. Bikes, 4wds and on my Rally cars) and I can tell you that unless you're buying their UBER high-end "pro" level custom bypass-shocks, they're overpriced and less the top performers. I'm now running Ohlins/Kowa on my MX bikes, Old Man Emu (SO much better then Fox) on my Toyota Hilux, KYB's on my Rally Cars and my next bike build this year (AM/Enduro) will be either X-Fusion or RS based suspension (Monarch + or X-Fusion HLR Air shock and probably an X-Fusion Vengeance Air up front cause it's the only "big" SC fork that'll fit 650B anymore).
  • + 1
 Taping and adding a valve. Great idea! Elka and Curnutt do it right. 2 knobs and decent internals. Marketing and maximizing lifecycle by purposedly engineering obsolescene is what sets them apart. That is why I limit my exposure to Bob Fox products. Now Mr Fox. I ride Boxxers because they have a propper coil and oildampers, dont stick and they last for a long time and yours dont. Kashima that! My Fox Airshock sucks right out of the box and the DHX Coils are just adequate and full of marketing gags that hinder performance. So you gained marketshare but you lack heart and soul and decent products. That is why my Jeep runs KYB and my rallycar used to run KYB and my hillclimb Ranger runs crappy Fomoco. They outperform Fox, last and are generally good value.
  • + 1
 I wish I could deny it but my 34 Float 29 is average at best. I'm thinking about ordering an Avy cartridge for it as there's nothing wrong with the chassis and I'm afraid it'll take a while before BOS makes a long travel 29er fork..
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  • + 7
 good read. always cool to find out the history of motorsports design. having said that, i'll stick to my lyrik and ccdbair. waiting for the neg props..
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  • + 7
 Finally,,,,some explanation about the link between the suspension and clothing Fox brands....I just thought it was a coincidence.... Great article. Thanks PB.
  • + 0
 I thought the same, why are two companies named fox.
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  • + 7
 "Our philosophy is to not introduce a new product unless we believe it can be the best in its category" love this words man!
  • + 11
 "Yeah...except in 2013. We're sorry about our 2013 forks. But we fixed it for 2014!! So we're all good right?"

I'm sure they cut that part out if the interview.
  • + 2
 That sounds about right.
  • + 1
 Funny though that they DID release new products that were NOT "the best" (in fact their new CTD and 34 line is "the worst") in any category so their full of shit plain and simple. They're releasing new products to gain market share, NOT out of some "noble" duty to give us the "best". By turning the 36 Float into a 650B NON-compatible fork they've pretty much proven this. Wouldn't have cost them ANYTHING to leave it alone so it would still fit 650B but NO, they felt it necessary to CHANGE the arch and legs to make them NOT fit 27.5" wheels to essentially FORCE the market to use their worthless 34 forks.

FOX is currently at the bottom of the barrel in terms of AM/trail bike suspension. Don't care if the OEM suppliers use them 100:1 over other brands, their AM/Trailstuff is crap for anything but XC racing. RS Reverb + KS LEV: both INFINITELY better then the POS "KOSS" dropper, X-Fusion Vengeance AIR Fork: 650B compatible. 20mm axle, 36mm stanchions and VASTLY better then the 34 anything. X-Fusion HLR Rear Air-Shock with Res. and RS Monarch + RC3: Both WAY better shocks then the Float RP23, DHX Air or the new Float X (seeing as it's CTD and won't work). I will not be running Fox anything in the future...

Got rid of the Fox shocks on my Toyota for Old Man Emu a year and a half ago... SO much nicer (and cheaper) then the Fox crap I wasted money on. Unless it's their high end "pro" level Bypass shocks, Old Man Emu is SO much nicer and last longer too. Should have stuck with what I know and used in Australia instead of trying out this Fox bandwagon crap.
  • + 1
 @ The-Medic: Great points stated there. And further up. Market share through hype. Much respect for the early years of this co., but now??

Oh yeah, thanks R.C. for making it abundantly clear on who to blame for pushing this 15mm thru axle on us. Larger fork tubes and smaller axles. Hmmmm.
  • + 1
 after reading numerous comments..complaining about 650B fitment ... i think fox doesnt want you running 650B tires.. lol
after the CTD mistake maybe they dont want to lose face anymore, than it allready is..?
and i cant blame them.,. we need to stop this consumerism trend...and all the people who want to ride MTB on city bike and road bike sized wheels..
for us/me dutch its pretty funny seeing this wheel size.. since we are a country full of bikes.. it stands out.. cause it looks like you downgraded your mtb to city standards..
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  • + 4
 So one side of the fox brothers makes suspension and the other makes gaudy race gear. Go figure, they make good stuff I just dont like the frequent service intervals. I've seen marz forks go for 10 years no service. Fox is like 10 weeks. If your racing or sponsored they have alot to offer. Us privateer riders look to marz or avalanche, or send an old fox to avalanche and retool it haahaha. Nothing feel like an avy-showa.
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  • + 8
 hmmm no comment on the shit ctd dampers of 2012?
  • + 2
 third comment down... bunch of very stubborn people duking it our over the very subject!
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  • + 7
 Hey, nice ass in the zebra dress! That guy's redefining his limits Big Grin
  • + 1
 haha priceless!
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  • + 7
 Interesting read, that Red factory Honda is Mint!
  • + 4
 I know I was thinking the same!
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  • + 2
 I was watching a video of an ex-Fox employee rebuilding a fork in a parking lot. He mentioned that one of the patents Fox bought for forks was originally designed in France for use on office chairs.

m.youtube.com/watch?v=RbmI5LHK4T0
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  • + 2
 I've started trying out other manufacturers as Fox & rock shox are just ripping everyone off the new x fusion stuff is superb and very competably priced but. As most mountain Bikers seem to be sheep I get looks of disdain for not running fox and rock shox on the trails but I think more and more people' will make the break
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  • + 5
 i want a boxxer elbow a marzocchi spine and a fox penis please, thanks. ps make my penis kashima!!
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  • + 2
 So, not a damn thing wrong with the CTD system. Before you begin bashing a system that is extremely USER-FRIENDLY and RELIABLE think about what you say before you say it. All this negative feedback over something that's made simple for the average NON-sponsored rider is completely uneccessary and a waste of your time. You don't like it?? Don't use it. Simple solution for the whiners out there.
  • + 2
 Most people don't have a choice to use it. In large part it's OE. Your opinion about it (you quite wisely didn't opine that it performed well) is just that; your opinion.

Calling people who despise CTD is incredibly small-minded on your part
  • + 1
 Actually now that you mention it I didn't.. so I will very much credit Fox's CTD as it works extremely well for me. I had to call it out as it is. There's just no pleasing people these days and somebody needs to call a spade a spade. Everybody can say whatever they like.. what I am basically saying is users who don't like CTD can stick with Marzocchi or Rockshox and forget about company-bashing. Small-minded or not it's truths.
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  • + 3
 so is the 34 float 2013 not any good? i just got that less than a month ago and then they come up with 2014 thats all redone. please explain.
  • + 1
 I also owned a 2013 34 float. In my own opinion the compression damping was not to my liking. They did change it for 2014. You can also upgrade your 2013 cheap and easy, just call fox and they can mail you the parts. That is if you are unhappy with yours. At the time there was no upgrade for me, so I sold the 34 and got a 36 float RC2. The RC2 is great and the air feels wonderful. The weight penalty is worth it to me. The axle to crown is 8mm different between the two forks.
  • - 1
 Don't worry. The 2014 Float 34 isn't any good either.
  • + 1
 The 34 in general is garbage. Flexy 15mm axle, USELESS CTD "damper", 34mm Stanchions... And all with the goal to be their ONLY 650B fork... BOOOOOOOO CTD sucks, 15mm axles suck and the 34 in general SUCKS. Bring back the 650B compatible arch for the 36, it's your only good SC fork unless you're a Lycra loser.
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  • + 1
 Fox is on most OEM since they are big enough and can offer better pricing for their products to the LBS. Which are then bumped up by the LBS to the 200-400% mark up called the MANUFACTURERS SUGGESTED PRICE and passed on to us!
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  • + 1
 I'm surprised that no one has mentioned American manufacturing? Aren't Fox the only mainstream guys to do that? (I know the Magnesium legs of made off shore or something). I think it's cool when companies actually make their own stuff, and they should be acknowledged for it. Anyone is welcome to correct me on this if I'm wrong.
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  • + 1
 Mike Schultz is the man, the leg uses titanium bolts because of their strength and reduced weight over steel. and his wife has to change them all after each heat at a snocross race because he bends them. the guy is an animal
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  • + 2
 "Other forks at the time had tubes no larger than 30 millimeters...." ummmm, White Brothers had 32mm stanchions back in 1997.
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  • + 4
 Yeah, thanks for 15mm axles when 20mm was already here! So awesome!
  • + 1
 Agreed 15mm is for Lycra wearing XC riders... and thanks for making the pointless 34 and trying to FORCE it on the emerging 650B market when the Float 36 was a vastly better fork that USED TO fit 650B...
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  • + 1
 I did not hear any mention of Ricor, uuuhhhmmmm.. I think someone who had idea and implemented it first but failed to properly patent idea for bicycles should get some credit for Inertia valve concept..... credit given...
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  • + 2
 They can make a product that'll work, but why? If they do, they'll go out of business becuase they will run out innovation!
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  • + 1
 Somebody BAN that jeff444 character. Nobody should read a great article about Fox history and be inundated with negative comments by some angry a$$hole.
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  • + 1
 my damn mountain biking addiction has me wanting to put a set of fox shocks on my cafe racer motorcycle build why is my addiction so expensive. i love my fox shock on my bike
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  • + 2
 OMG INVERTED FOX DH FORK!!
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  • + 2
 MARZOCCHI ALL THE WAY WOOOOOO !!!!!!!!!!!
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  • + 2
 I'm blown away by that "terminator" leg
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  • + 1
 Dear Bob: WHAT THE f*ck HAPPENED in 2013??? CTD??? 34??? KOSS??? Worst product line yet...
  • + 2
 "Regarding the 36 mm fork; I would say mountain bike fork development was still in the “Long-Travel Suspension Revolution” mode like we’d seen in motocross before. Still, a lot of evolution and development [taking place and] not stagnant. So - we’d rather lead a revolution than be a follower. So, as mountain bike racing evolved and developed we felt this was a logical next step in fork evolution - so that’s what we did."

This scares me... What you "thought" was WRONG (BTW your cliche "lead a revolution" BS is beyond stupid...) and the 34 is a POS platform... If they dump the 36 then Fox will be utterly useless to anyone but DH and XC racers who can use/need a 40 or a 32/34... Good knowing you fox, I'll never buy another product from you if you don't make a NON CTD 650B 36 or dump it all together. I don't race DH anymore and the 34 simply DOES NOT WORK.
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  • + 2
 Anyone else notice the tiny-hiney in the black and white dress???
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  • + 1
 That Leg is AWESOME.... like could you ramp the rebound waaay up on it and then just huck ( jump ) off a huuuuge cliff. Big Grin
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  • + 1
 Aaron Gwin probably has a job waiting for him at fox when he's done racing bikes.
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  • + 1
 i want that trophy truck or jeep thing either way is awsome
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  • + 1
 THIS INTERVIEW DESERVES A VIDEO!
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  • + 1
 Looks like he's got a dog collar for her to wear too Big Grin
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  • + 1
 Man does that Honda bring back memories of my motocross days.
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  • + 2
 The fantastic Mr Fox
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  • + 1
 Wow Fox is branching out to prosthetics!
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  • + 1
 that prosthetic leg is the coolest thing
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  • - 1
 This man has done more to improve/enhance my quality of life than any single organic entity i can think of besides my mum.
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  • - 1
 very interesting article! Thanks Mr Fox to do one of the best suspensions and clothes ever
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  • + 1
 Fox rocks! Way to go!!
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  • + 0
 Thank you Mr. Fox!!!
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