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Suspension Product of the Year Nominees


Taking a modern frame with decent geometry and adding some subpar suspension is a surefire way to mess everything up because, aside from geometry, your bike's fork and shock are some of the biggest factors in how it performs. Low-end drivetrain? Not a real issue. Heavy or flexy wheelset? You'll still get by and have fun. Totally shit suspension? You're missing out. Thankfully, there aren't a lot of turds out there these days, and the price-to-performance ratio seems to be getting better every year. For example, Fox and Manitou both have forks that cost hundreds less than other pro-level stuff but offer true pro-level performance. And if you want to drop big money on the best, you won't be disappointed either.

Fox is nominated twice in the Suspension of the Year category, which will probably rile up some readers, but there's no denying that their new GRIP damper-equipped 34 is good enough to keep a smile on any rider's face and a few hundred extra dollars in their wallet. As for the Factory 36 Float, Fox has made constant small improvements since 2014 that make this very adjustable fork the king of the all-mountain world. And then there's Manitou's Mattoc Pro 2, which might be a surprise to some until you consider the extremely effective and novel adjustments that are squeezed into this fork. With a little reading and fiddling, a rider can make the new version of the Mattoc feel however they want it to via some pretty unique tuning options.

Three forks, one winner. Who will it be?










Why it's nominated:
At this point, it'd probably be easier to eradicate obesity in the western world than manufacture a fork that challenges the Pike and 36, but that's exactly what Manitou set out to do with their Mattoc when it was released back in 2014. They nearly did just that; not end the pudgy pandemic, I mean, but create a mid-travel fork that was ever so close to trumping the best from RockShox and Fox. Others have tried to do the same - specifically DVO and Ohlins (reviews on both in the works) - but it's this updated version of the Mattoc, the $799 USD Pro 2 model, that earns the nod here thanks to its novel and effective adjustments and price-to-performance ratio.

Manitou's top tier mid-travel fork employs their MC2 damper that offers high- and low-speed compression adjustment, as well as low-speed rebound, and also the ability to adjust the bottom-out resistance via the fork's crown-mounted Hydraulic Bottom Out dial. This nifty tool can be tuned by simply turning the small external dial atop the right fork leg, and it's quite effective on the trail. Feeling really proactive when it comes to setup? The spring rate can be tweaked with the IVA (Incremental Volume Adjust) system, allowing riders to adjust the air volume by simply repositioning spacers - you don't need to add or remove any. But wait, because there's still more.
Manitou IRT Infinite Rate Tune Assembly

The aftermarket IRT (Infinite Rate Tune) kit allows for even more customization of the spring rate, with Manitou claiming a specific focus on the fork's mid-stroke while separating it from affecting performance at the bottom-end. They believe that riders want to be able to adjust the feel of the mid-stroke of a fork and that this adds more value than ramp-up adjustability. The system makes for an extremely wide setup window, and the Mattoc Pro 2's performance is also impressive, all the more so because it costs hundreds of dollars below its less tuneable competition.

From the review
bigquotesThe updated Mattoc and its added customizability represents fantastic value for the money, and it cuts incredibly close to the competition in terms of performance for considerably less. Regardless of all of the adjustability, the fork doesn't quite mute some of the smaller trail feedback like the competition does; chatter is more noticeable, especially during long descents. But this is comparing it to forks that cost hundreds more, and in reality, if you're looking for something in this price bracket, there isn't anything out there that offers up as much customization and adjustment. - AJ Barlas








Why it's nominated:

Fox's high-end forks, specifically the 34 and 36 Factory models, employ the company's FIT4 damper that, as we all know by now, works really fricken well. It works so well, in fact, that the FIT4 equipped 36 sees itself nominated once again this year (see below). But this here is about the 36's smaller and less expensive brother, the 34 Float GRIP that costs $739 USD and weighs just over one Snickers bar more than the Factory 34 Float. Oh, and you can bet your Kashima that you couldn't tell the difference between the two forks in a blind test.

The reason for the 34 Float GRIP's performance, besides it featuring the same air-spring as the Factory fork, is its less expensive GRIP damper that offers not-so-less-expensive performance. With the FIT GRIP damper in their Performance Series forks, and specifically the 34, Fox is able to produce a closed cartridge that offers much more consistent control compared to the older open design, but at a lower price point than their Factory Series forks come in at.

Sure, it's marginally heavier - just 70 grams - and is less adjustable than the Factory version, but you could maybe just not eat that Snickers bar and call it even while also saving $140 USD.
Fox Performance 34 Float Grip

The 34 Float GRIP's performance is impressive, and I'd argue that it would have been game-changing only a few years ago, which is why it's a worthy contender for Suspension Product of the Year.

From the review
bigquotesOffering a lot of performance for a lot of money isn't good enough these days; it's simply expected. But coming to the table with a product that performs as well as more expensive options, and even better in some cases, is a much more noteworthy achievement. And that's what Fox has done with the new 34 Float GRIP. It's still not inexpensive, and there are lighter forks out there, but the 34 Float GRIP offers performance that would have been unheard of only a handful of years ago, let alone in a package that saves you money compared to forks that offer basically the same sort of performance. - Mike Levy









Why it's nominated:

Hello, old friend. The 36 may have seen a complete overhaul worthy of a Pimp My Ride episode in 2014, but it feels like the current iteration of Fox's big-hitting mid-travel fork has been around for much longer than just a handful of seasons since its Xzibit-like reworking. Keeping the same name will do that - I've always thought Fox should have renamed the 36 given that it was an entirely new beast when it was reintroduced in 2014 with a new chassis, new damper, and new air-spring.

Just in case you haven't seen reviews of the 36, or even the bikes that have been reviewed that come stock with a 36 on the front of them, this fork is impressive in every which way that you could judge it. It's slipperier than greased up trout, offers a load of effective tuning options, and its FIT4 damper (shown to the right) is the best on the market. Is it better than a Pike, Lyrik, Ohlins, or DVO fork? We believe it is; there's no fence-sitting on this one.

Not only is it mega-adjustable, but you don't actually need to do much adjusting if that sort of thing isn't how you get off. You can set-and-forget if you want, or you can twiddle with dials and volume spacers until it's just right. Then again, those who have a dial fetish know that nothing is ever "just right.''
FOX 36 Photo by Colin Meagher

Yes, I know that the 36 won this whole shebang in 2015, shortly after the fork was reintroduced, but Fox hasn't exactly been sitting around during the intervening years. Subtle tweaks to the fork's damper have further improved its performance, as have new friction-reducing efforts, and the result is a fork that literally leaves riders asking for nothing in terms of performance.

From the review
bigquotesUp front, the Fox 36 Float RC2 was flawless. I'd probably add a volume spacer or two if I were going to spend most of my riding time rubbing my ass on the bike's rear tire, but that's more of a terrain-specific comment than an actual complaint. It's extremely adjustable, extremely active, and an extremely nice fork overall. - Mike Levy





One mega-tuneable fork from a company in the midst of a comeback, another from a proven player that offers fewer adjustments but great performance and a bit of savings, and a third fork that's a no-holds-barred take on the best suspension that money can buy. I wouldn't be complaining about having any one of these three on the front of my bike, but which one is worthy of being called the Suspension Product of the Year? - Mike Levy



Click here for information about the judging and selection criteria for Pinkbike's Year-End Awards




Posted In:
Industry News



186 Comments

  • 351 2
 Fox x2 for its explosive performance?
  • 49 3
 They really shocked me by not including it
  • 74 3
 Is there a "Pun of the year" award this year? If not, there really should be.
  • 8 99
flag hitarpotar (Nov 15, 2016 at 1:32) (Below Threshold)
 @wipz07: May be it has to do with Fox's recal regarding the Float X2.... Smile
  • 97 0
 This guy doesn't miss a trick.
  • 5 1
 Lol to be fair, with the other nominations I'm genuinely surprised it's not in there, maybe that late exclusion allowed the Manitou to sneak in
  • 27 8
 Stop it! Float X2 is failing inline with other products on the market!
  • 3 8
flag hitarpotar (Nov 15, 2016 at 5:18) (Below Threshold)
 @WAKIdesigns: How so? Smile
  • 9 7
 I hope Fox can rebound from it next year
  • 3 23
flag pinnityafairy (Nov 15, 2016 at 5:37) (Below Threshold)
 FUX SUX
  • 19 7
 @hitarpotar: with failing inline I meant that some stuff can creak
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: and what you meant with some stuff must be a couple of double barrel(s)
  • 8 1
 @WAKIdesigns: things only start to creek if you give them a proper caning
  • 10 6
 CCDB Coil has been a kind shock to me.
  • 1 1
 @bluumax: I see what you did there
  • 6 0
 I want to know why Sr Suntour dissapear from the reliable/affordable suspension like Epicon, Axon and Durolux front and rear version. Another one ? Marzocci has dissapeared too, those big companies thinking about the real meaning of us: price/reliability
  • 11 0
 If you don't RECALL, the Fox X2 won last year's award.
  • 6 0
 @jrbrandon: that's because its a BLAST to ride
  • 2 0
 @Husker2112: Gave me a lot of pop off the lip.
  • 2 1
 I think Fox is X0rry about the explosiveness
  • 3 0
 I see you were just bursting to get that out.
  • 59 1
 Mattoc.. because of 170mm for 26er, much love
  • 22 0
 Mattoc, because of top level performance and tunability at a not taking the piss price.
  • 4 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: your not wrong. Its a damn good fork. I was never a manitou fan until the mattoc showed up. love mine and their support team in europe are well helpful
  • 56 9
 Wonder how much fox are paying for this article?
  • 37 3
 Fox rigged the election and I will not accept the results!!!
  • 22 8
 I tried to upgrade the damper on my float to FIT4, but the Fox rep didn't tell me the offer was ending that week. Two weeks later when my LBS service schedule opened up, I went to order it and it tripled in price. They wouldn't honour the price. So, this is how I thanked fox:
I bought a Pike.
  • 7 1
 Probably nothing
  • 8 1
 I recall people commenting here that SRAM was paying PB for positive reviews. Now that RS isn't on the list and Fox is, suddenly Fox is paying for PB articles?
  • 3 1
 @rrolly: similar thing happened to me mate. Bought a pike. Fit and forget
  • 2 1
 hahaha not one rockshox fork and 2 fox forks and 1 fucking manitou smh
  • 2 0
 @vinay: If PB completely manipulated their site based on sponsorship, they wouldn't be allowing these open forums.
  • 1 0
 @jamesdippy: Ya, couldn't believe it. I explained to the guy on the phone that I had no idea it was a limited time, etc, and he wouldn't do a thing for me. Ended up getting a sweet deal on a dual position pike from a PB ad.
  • 1 0
 @rrolly: I personally don't believe any of that, that PB articles would be influenced by advertisement money. It is just an observation. A while ago after some some positive reviews on SRAM drivetrain components people in the comments section were claiming that this was the case however and now that RS didn't make it to the list and Fox did twice, suddenly I'm reading insinuations here that Fox is paying for the article.
  • 40 8
 dissapointment like very year. this is just marketing haha
  • 22 0
 What products do you think should be in here? Not trying to be snarky I'm just curious
  • 13 2
 Shockwiz should be here. Telemetry for the average Joe.
  • 3 0
 @natemeyer: None, there hasnt been anything particularly new all year
  • 4 3
 @natemeyer: Honestly, I think the x2. Yes, they have unfortunately had the recall, but the x2 really has made the airshock mainstream on DH bikes. For many bike brands the x2 is "stock" on their high-spec DH and Enduro rigs, which I think is very much an achievement and says a lot about the confidence the brands put in the shock. Yes, the CC Double Barrel and Rockshox Vivid Air are proper airshocks as well that are DH proof, but they haven't had the same impact on manufacturers and consumers as the x2 has.
  • 1 0
 @MTB-Colada: well and the DHx2 had zero issues and is an amazing shock. Super easy to setup
  • 1 0
 Well, it's all marketing Wink If it was an eBike you know it was rigged but these seem like actual contenders. What were your picks?
  • 3 0
 @natemeyer: ccdb inline coil cs, it actually just came out and is a really good shock.
  • 2 1
 @martinmolestina: It's very interesting, but it's also not released.
  • 5 0
 @Kitejumping: I've been riding one and it is great so far. It feels exactly like their other coil-sprung shocks, but in a smaller and lighter package.
  • 7 0
 @MTB-Colada: The X2 won last year and hasn't seen any changes since then. It's a great shock, but with no updates and the air can issue, do you really think the X2 should be in here?
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Ah, ok, forgot that it won last year. Then fair enough! An amazing shock despite the recall. Still need to bring in mine....
  • 25 3
 Where is the DVO Diamond??? Its an absolutely awesome fork with incredible small bump compliance and the added bonus you run it between 10-20% sag.
  • 9 1
 We had a Diamond in for testing and its air spring failed due to an assembly issue. We had been waiting for another one that we received awhile back - it still needs to be ridden for a longer period of time so we can talk about reliability. It's a great fork so far, but it's not a 36.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: thanks for the ping back! Interesting about the 36 Beer
  • 18 2
 Manitou sales will reflect if they turn the arch around.
  • 2 0
 I thought it looked weird but then I realized THERES NOT A SINGLE SPOT OF DIRT FLUNG ON MY STANCIONS ANYMORE!!!! brilliant idk how anyone else hasn't caught on
  • 11 1
 Why not the shock wiz by quarq? Its something that could improve 75% of riders bikes without costing a fortune. Thats the suspension product of the year if you ask me, something that means you get the most from your suspension no matter brand or cost.
  • 3 0
 Not available enough yet, I just got my kick starter one last week
  • 1 0
 @russthedog: fair enough, maybe next year then, I for one will be ordering one when theyre available, thought they were already.
  • 3 0
 ShockWiz is super interesting! We've tinkered with it, but it's not released yet. Stay tuned.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: @russthedog: is it actually any good? I am so interested in getting one but want some opinions. Even hearsay is fine...
  • 2 0
 @witica: It's awesome. I've used it on my trail bike and one of my mates all mountain bike. Haven't done the dh or enduro yet. I was a long way off a good score which surprised me, made the changes and it was a massive improvement. I was very surprised, I'm an experienced racer and rider and play a lot with my suspension so thought I'd be close to good. It was different for my mate, his stock setting was pretty good, it just recommended one click of rebound and two of lsc. His score went up and he said it also definitely rode better. The settings are really good - he wanted playful so set it to that. Some of the app recommendations aren't very intuitive so you have to read the help to really understand it. I'm looking forward to see what it says about the dh bike and putting some times down. Overall highly recommended
  • 1 0
 @russthedog: Great! This is exactly what I'm looking for. I too play wit suspension a lot but sometimes feel that without a teacher it's difficult to know what "good" should really feel like. Definitely going to get on it when it comes out for realz.
  • 1 0
 @witica: I change my tunes all the time and do it whilst timing myself on certain trails so id assumed i got to a pretty good tune as it was faster...turns out there is more to it...my original score was 62! now im tracking mid 80s so still more work to do. My mate started at 85 and is now 96. If you want any more detail send me a pm
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: I see what you did there
  • 9 0
 most people think suspension is the most important component, and maybe theyre right, but I'd rather ride down my favorite trail on my hardtail running a nice set of HRs than riding a fully running bad tires anyday, how about an award for best tire?
  • 5 0
 Ganaría el Maxxis DHF de lejos.
  • 5 0
 Maybe there's a tire in the Component of the Year...? Maybe not.
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: Tire of the Year should be the Michelin Rock'r or Grip'r. If it's not its because they don't adverti$e enough here on P.B or you've been too busy trying overweight, flimsy plus size meats.
  • 2 0
 @Boardlife69: Those are good tires. I've been using the new Conti mud tire and it's blowing my mind everywhere, not just in soft conditions.
  • 2 0
 @Boardlife69: Yeah - I want to know what Michelin model Cam Zink was working on 6 months ago.....radio silencio.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: What's the TPI on those Contis? Never had much luck with sidewall durability on Contis. The reinforced sidewall on the Michy's however have been bombproof. Never though I'd find a tire that could outclass the mighty DHF but I feel the Rock'R2 has done just that.
  • 1 0
 @endlessblockades: I belive it was just a Rock'R2 in 2.5 flavor which is long overdue. But I could be wrong.
  • 2 0
 @Boardlife69: They're the Der Baron Projekt tires. Coni says it's a "4/240'' TPI casing, which I think means that it's a 60 TPI casing with four layers. They weigh 1,100-ish grams in a 29 x 2.4 size, but damn do they work well. I've been running between 18 and 23 PSI with them on a set of those new Stans wide rims.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: if it really is just 4 layers of 60 TPI (weight seems right) I might give them a go. I loved the Der Baron years ago but the knobs squirmed on rock slabs. (I hate squirmy tires) One more reason I love the Rock'R2 so much is they have no knob squirm on slabs or in the corners or anywhere for that matter. Just a solid tire you don't have to worry about. Best comment I've read about them (ride monkey) "smack everything on the trail with zero fu*ks given". Sorry, I'm a tire geek.
  • 1 0
 @Boardlife69: Haven't noticed any weird knob squirm from not enough support, and the casing is super burly. I would kill for an 800 gram 29er version.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: I'll stick with the burly 1,100+ gram version. I have yet to find a sub 1k tire that lasts for more than just a few runs here in the Alps. I had high hopes for EXO but that hope was crushed after the second week. I even gave EXO a second chance but with the same results. That lead me to believe I needed Procore with EXO but before I dropped all that cash I had to try these reinforced sidewall tires from Michelin that my friend was raving about. Don't need procore anymore. Lol
  • 1 0
 @Boardlife69: Sounds rocky as f*ck. We have plenty of that here as well, but it's not the sharp and scary kind that always looks hungry for tires. EXO works well here in the PNW, as does anything mid-weight in build. These Der Barons are so badass that I'm running them on my XC bike right now (it's super muddy and the winter, so IDGAF about weight right now), but I'd prefer something lighter in the spring.

Horses for courses.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: I agree the Michelins have been very durable even here in Arizona. They need to come out with a 2.5 though.
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: I'd buy them. We need more 27.5 and 29 2.35-2.4 Double Down or tough casing (TC) style tires for 160mm bikes. EXO is not cutting it.
  • 4 0
 @Boardlife69: After ripping sidewalls and punctures, I switched to the michelin wildrockr2. so far no trouble. they have to be hands down the most durable trail tire on the market, and they grip, too. EXO, Pro tection, Grid...none of that last.
  • 9 1
 Let's not pretend the Fox Grip fork is some great bargain. It's 140$ cheaper. This nomination is to make you feel better about the junk the OEM's are putting on bikes to juice their profit margin.

There is zero reason to buy one of these aftermarket when there are may better options for not much money more.
  • 4 0
 Yeah exactly who is going to pass on the better fork just for $140 of so called savings. $140 is nothing.
  • 3 0
 @Jokesterwild: $140 USD is a lot of money for some people, including myself. But I suspect the bigger savings and performance advantage is at the OEM level. A bike company can cut a chunk of money off of the MSRP, and the stock bike comes with much better performing suspension than the older open-style fork.
  • 1 0
 @Jokesterwild: however, comments like yours will make buy/sell prices lower. Hopefully. I can't afford a brand new pair of undies let alone a new fork.
  • 3 0
 @Jokesterwild: .. ... Unlike undies, I can't operate without a fork.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Y'all ride for free, though. Money & Women & Clothes & Beer.
  • 6 0
 @endlessblockades: Yes, that exactly describes my life.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: None of that savings is being passed on to the end purchaser. The MSRP is still going to go up a few percentage points like it does every year.

And two years ago your 5k bike would have had a fork with kashima and a real dampener. Now it comes with no adjustments and stanchion coatings that tell the world how poor you are.
  • 4 0
 @wibblywobbly: Go back a few more years and you'd get way less for your money, that much is pretty obvious. Sure, you can easily spend $7 - 10k on a bike, but now you can get a decent little trailbike for just over $2k that comes with a dropper post, a 1X drivetrain with a killer range, and a fork with a great damper. That wasn't possible not too long ago! That same bike would have had a shit fork two years ago.

It's easy to feel jaded, and a lot of it is justified, but you get more for your money these days, both in spec and performance. Zero doubt about that in my mind.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: No doubt the stuff at the low end is better than ever. And at the high end there are amazing machines for 10-12k.

But in the middle, I just feel like 5k doesn't get you what you use to. You get stuck with all kinds of annoying cost cutting moves such as lousy hubs, pinned rims, no suspension adjustments, cheap house brand parts, etc.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: I don't follow. Takes $60-$130 to fill up a car/truck. $70-120 to take your ol lady out on a fancy dinner. To cheap out on a definite performance increase because of $140... with a item that will theoretically be with you for at least a year if not longer.
  • 1 0
 @Jokesterwild: But that's the thing: I've ridden both the GRIP damper and FIT4 damper extensively, and I don't think anyone is going to tell the difference in a blind test. I'd bet money on that. Sure, it is less adjustable, but I'd wager that most riders don't tinker with the dials on a FIT4 damper anyway. So you're saving that money and, in my opinion, getting pretty much identical performance. Sorry, but that's a win in my books.

I guess what I don't follow is how that's not a really good thing, especially when it means that the fork on the front of your $2,100 trailbike performs basically as well as the fork on the front of your buddy's $6,000 trailbike...
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Well ill have to take your word for it as I have not the opportunity to try out the "budget conscious" model. The best money I have spent on a Fox fork has been getting a Push tune. Now that's a noticeable difference!
  • 1 0
 @wibblywobbly: Giant trance advanced 1 comes stock with Fox factory 34 and fox float factory rear shock for $4950 USD retail. Yes there's a lot of house brand parts but that doesn't bother me especially when it lowers the price.
  • 7 1
 How can 2 fox own 2/3 of this...
Fox 34 float grip suspension product of the year ???
There so many other really great products, (Suntour Auron/Durolux, Bos Deville, DVO diamond, MRP Stage without even mentioning RS), that's a shame !
  • 6 1
 The Suntour won Best Value Product last year - who's to say they're not nominated again? We've had a BOS fork in and, despite the mystique surrounding them, it's not amazing. Also, rumor has it that BOS won't be in the MTB world for much longer. We had a Diamond in for testing and the air spring failed; now we have another one but it has to be ridden for much longer to make sure that it lasts. The MRP stage is a great fork, but it's not a 36. The Pike is the same as last year, and the Lyrik is a big Pike. Anything else?
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: yeah, how about the Formula 35? I thought the review was pretty glowing, plus there is some very unique tech going on. I want to hear more about it.
  • 1 1
 @DrStairs: We haven't reviewed the new Formula 35 yet, only ridden it for a short period of time at a tradeshow in Europe. It does look and sound promising, though. More to come.
  • 3 2
 @speedy38racer: We've had the RXF on the front of a bike for about eight months now. There will be a review within the next month or so. It's been reliable and is very tuneable, but it's also heavier and more expensive than others. I don't believe that it's better than a 36.
  • 1 0
 @speedy38racer: The Only Name and suspension you need
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Thanks for the explanations. I tried the 36, and I have to agree that this fork works well stock. But from my point I don't understand how the 34 deserves to be here. It's under most of other forks in terms of performance, and not cheaper as more high-end forks.
By the way I don't think it's a good money value for products made in Taiwan...
And once again, I'm sad to see 2/3 of the ranking taken by the same brand while there's a plethoric offer on the suspension market.
Just my point...
  • 7 0
 No CCDB Inline Coil? Easily one of the best upgrades in suspension ever. Totally transformed my Carbine into a silky smooth descender. I haven't tried Ohlins but I bet they blow Fox out of the water.
  • 7 1
 Isn't there like 6 or 7 different suspension manufacturers? I feel kind of short changed by the narrow selection. At the same time I'm no expert, but give me 3 similar green apples, and I could give a f*ck.
  • 7 1
 "Couldn't"
  • 1 0
 @stumpymidget: Honestly all three of these are probably up to almost anyone's duty, and I'm sure they're all pretty great, but I'm also sure there's other ones you could say the same about, that's all.
  • 5 0
 My Manitou Magnum 34 fork has proved itself over a couple of years of winter riding in the UK Peaks. Lots of mud and water and grit and regular longish sections of continuous rock hits, taken at enough pace to get through the 110/120 travel regularly. Fellow riders who climb on my Stache for a mid-ride test session find it at least as good as their Fox 34's and with less flex on the hard edges and drops. They are on full sussers, whereas a hardtail asks more of the Fork. No troubles, no maintenance - just works well and responds to tweaking. Give Manitou a vote for opening up the options!
  • 5 0
 This is really setting my OCD off, the 'review' of the 36 says the fork is completely new with the introduction of the FIT4 damper, which is "shown to the right". The damper that is pictured is not the FIT4 though, it's the older RC2 damper which has been used for years and is simply the 40 damper scaled down. The quote from Mike Levy is also about the RC2 damped fork, but the banner picture is of a FIT4 damped 36 on a Pivot.

2 different dampers with completely different internal architecture that are designed for different purposes and perform differently. Is one nominated? Are they both nominated? Is the chassis as a whole nominated regardless of the damper configuration?
  • 8 0
 Only these 3?????? Common Pinkbike you can do better than this.
  • 4 0
 I've got a question, how noticeable is the damping consistency stemming from a closed cartridge? Isn't the better performance of newer forks caused more by their refined valving? Or do people actually notice that their open-design forks' damping is inconsistent (Because I don't, and all my forks are open design. Then again, I'm hardly a pro or close to it.)?
  • 2 0
 I thought closed design was for weight reasons but I might be wrong?
  • 1 0
 I'm not sure about that, the cartridge is basically extra material and I imagine the oil amount will be similar.

Anyways, I based the question on this sentence in the article: "Fox is able to produce a closed cartridge that offers much more consistent control compared to the older open design"
  • 3 0
 @russthedog: closed damper is to prevent air mixing with the oil, which will make damping inconsistent when bubbles pass through the valves and shim stacks.
  • 1 0
 @stumpymidget: So there's no air inside the closed damper?
  • 1 0
 @russthedog: Not in most, they use an expanding rubber bladder to allow for displacement of oil, the bladder then shrinks back under rebound to force the oil back to where it needs to be and prevent cavitation. Other forks use an internal floating piston with air behind it, but kept seperate and never allowed to mix. The air gets compressed as the fork compresses, then pushes back, serving the same function as the bladder. This is why closed dampers have to be bled.
  • 9 1
 nothing new, a new marketing campaign.
  • 5 1
 For what it's worth I ran the Pike for 2 years, a Mattoc with IRT for 1 year and now a 2017 36 rc2 that has been custom tuned by Push (all 160mm on rocky, big mountain trails) It's interesting how different they are from each other. The Mattoc's adjustability is a blessing and a curse. When dialed, which can be a process, it is amazing on fast/rocky downhills but I could never get it to do slow techy as well as the Pike. The Mattoc really likes to be driven hard and the adjustments outside of irt /main chamber psi seem to only add stiction in lower speed sections (my settings are all 1).

The Pike is idiot proof and performs right in the middle on everything. It's easy to service, setup and just ride. I found it felt taxed on fast sections comparatively but still solid.

The 36 is truly in a league of its own but that is likely the result of Push "fat guy" tuning. I would expect that given the price. I've only had it for a few rides but am noticeably faster and more comfortable in all situations. The thing that really blows my mind is how much better it works in turns. I feel like I have a new bike, which is far cheaper than upgrading. Just as an FYI you can buy the 36 from Push (tuned for you) for roughly the same price as retail.

Spare no expense performance: 36
Simplicity: Pike
Budget/adjustability: Mattoc
  • 9 2
 I think the credibility of this award has taken a bit of hit with this
  • 4 0
 "At this point, it'd probably be easier to eradicate obesity in the western world than manufacture a fork that challenges the Pike and 36"

Really? DVO, MRP, Bos, SR Suntour, Manitou, Ohlins...
  • 4 2
 The Suntour won Best Value Product last year - who's to say they're not nominated again? We've had a BOS fork in and, despite the mystique surrounding them, it's not amazing. Also, rumor has it that BOS won't be in the MTB world for much longer. We had a Diamond in for testing and the air spring failed; now we have another one but it has to be ridden for much longer to make sure that it lasts. The MRP stage is a great fork, but it's not a 36. The Pike is the same as last year, and the Lyrik is a big Pike. We do have an Ohlins that we've been riding fork eight months now - it's been great but it's not better than a 36, weighs more and costs more, and is trickier to setup. Review soon on that one.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: Not arguing for nominations from any of the companies listed. I think the products you nominated were the right choices. I just thought the quote was funny, because I think most of those brands offer a fork that at least "challenges" the 36 and the Pike. For the record, I think the 36 is the best fork in the group, but I wouldn't put the Pike in a higher category. I personally like the Stage even better.
  • 3 0
 Not surprised by all the Fox hate. Great suspension, but pricey and no real reason for them to be here. The 36 is nothing new. The 34 Grip it seems in most people's opinion isn't cheap enough to warrant a spot. I think the X2, even given the recall, should be on here, also the Lyrik maybe. Isn't the Lyrik considered the RS competitor to the 36 now, not the Pike?
  • 1 0
 Yes on the Lyric bs 36. Why people can't seem to get that straight is beyond me.
  • 7 1
 Mattoc because BEST. FORK. EVER.
  • 3 0
 Sorta surprised to not see any Rockshox. In many peoples opinions it far more reliable then Fox. Rockshox is also far more tunable with out having to send your suspension to PUSH.
  • 5 0
 No Push Eleven6 ? Fail
Not one DVO product ? Double Fail
Multiple Fox products ? Triple Fail
Three strikes your out PB..
  • 2 0
 For the Mattoc:"... the fork doesn't quite mute some of the smaller trail feedback like the competition does;.."
These are bull@@@s. The mattoc is just superior to its rivals. You need to find something to say since RS & Fox have higher marketing budgets to spend? Well there is nothing.
  • 3 0
 Please Manitou, make a burlier version of the Mattoc! 170mm of travel, 36mm stanchions would do. Aand a climb-switched revox!
  • 1 0
 And 20mm axis
  • 1 0
 Look around. Revox and swinger air are running out....there is definitely some shock developement going on. ..we just Do not know when. I unfortunately doubt, they will produce a burly sc fork.many people often asked them and they just continued denying it. Cannot understand why they will not give us what many people would want buy.
  • 1 0
 @torero: , @moferenc : if they do so, it would be a180mm fork and i'm pretty sure they'd call it Travis! Wink
That would be sweet and would piss all over Lyrik and 36! Big Grin
  • 6 1
 Surely something from X-Fusion should be in here?
  • 10 0
 Nope.
  • 5 0
 I would vote Mattoc, despite riding Fox. Way better value.
  • 2 0
 As great as the 36 is it still seems overpriced to me. I mean I have a pike and price wise it isn't much cheaper, but still compared to that mattoc offering which seems to be pretty sick it is just way too much.
  • 3 2
 Wow.. I had the brand new Fox 36, 180mm, 27.5 and replaced it with a much nicer Formula 35, 180mm, 27.5. EVERYTHING about that shock is nicer. Not even joking. Also it's made in ITALY.. not CHINA! Their customer service is amazing too.
  • 3 0
 Fox is made in Taiwan, not China. The Formula fork is super nice though!
  • 1 0
 I was under the impression that the Factory are still made in the US and the "more affordable" ones are made in Taiwan. Still I haven't tried the Lyrik, but I love the 36.
  • 1 0
 @Jhou: I know their chassis are Taiwanese made. It's possible that the cartridges are USA made, but I doubt it.
  • 2 1
 Almost any fork now a days could be in here....products just keep getting better..every year. At least it gives people something to complain about....complain on PB and maybe Balance that out with a ride on your favorite suspension.
  • 1 0
 How dare you tell the truth. Setup, setup, setup. I love my DVO emerald and diamond. My son loves his Mattoc and Dorado. My buddy's son spent a bunch of time on my emerald and the Dorado, both set up for him. He chose to replace his 2016 boxxer team with a Dorado. I am putting a fox 34 on my new plus hardtail. Why? The DVO Saphire isn't out yet and the Manitou Magnum is heavy. I have no doubt the 34 will work wonderfully. The only thing I don't like is that I can't rebuild the fit cartridge (to many special tools), wheras the DVO and Manitou stuff is easily rebuilt (rockshox forks are also pretty easy to service).
  • 3 2
 "They nearly did just that; not end the pudgy pandemic, I mean, but create a mid-travel fork that was ever so close to trumping the best from RockShox and Fox."

"...ever so close to TRUMPing the best..."

*triggered*
*starts protesting*
  • 2 1
 LOL at Fox "Save $140! with our $740 fork!"
I never knew fox was owned by the same Pharmaceutical company that makes Epi pens. The savings are.......nowhere.

Thanks for the laugh and reminding me why I spend more interest on CX now. Decent laugh and still overpriced as ever.
  • 2 1
 You mention the manitou because it is nearly as good as a pike but then fail to mention the pike as a nominee. The manitou, which you actually say in the first paragraph of the review that it's "nearly as good as the pike". Surely the manitou should instantly be left out and the pike put in its place?
  • 1 0
 what about suspension grips????????oh well maybe next year huh....

seriously though i have a fox 32 factory, 36 van r and a fox 40 factory and several fox rear shocks i am gonna go with the manitou next as i still wanna ride 26" wheels and i like the price of the mattoc and i do like the appeal of an underdog option hence why a have a magura fork on my carbon hardtail.
  • 1 0
 "earns the nod here thanks to its novel and effective adjustments and price-to-performance ratio"
I read this, and my first thought was, 'gee, that's great criteria(I've never ridden said forks, so I have no idea whether they're 'worthy' of the award, I'm just commenting on the criteria)', but then I read the other 'of the year' selections: a run-of-the-mill helmet, run-of-the-mill knee pads, and BLACK [FUGLY] SUMMER PANTS? Nobody's ever gonna wear those things, nevermind the fact that coming from POC, you'd need to up the limit on your credit card just to afford them- I wonder if the same people came up with both 'awards'/articles?
The former..perfecto(again, not ever having ridden said forks, I'm only commenting on selecting forks for the award, and the criteria for selecting the winner)!
The latter...fecies smeared on the wall would've been a better selection
  • 5 1
 Shock Horror: Nothing that great new so lets butter up fox again.
  • 2 0
 They should blind test the Foxes against RS and Manitou forks. Bet the testers would not be able to tell the difference there either....
  • 3 0
 MRP, dvo and online please
  • 3 1
 @headshot - such test would suck, given the fact that the only way to give quality feedback is to take few rides on each fork to set it up well (unless you get professional help) then ride it for prolongued period of time. And well setup simple fork will always feel better than a badly setup great fork.
  • 7 0
 The 36 will win because it's got gold stanchions.

Colour is more important than performance for 99% of riders 75% of the time.
  • 2 1
 @jaame: A G R E E D. interesting you bring that because 4 years ago, there were no black stanchions and black was a symbol of "super forks" since DLC (diamond like coating - diamond, think of it! So much better than gold) was considered even better than Kashima. Some cheap forks had black stanchions (Manitou, Suntour) but these were wearing out and looking like crap. RS was the first to try lasting black coating, at least on a massive and affordable scale. Now, most forks have black stanchions, off course this is no Diamond Like, rather Svarovsky crystal, so Kashima Gold is back in the game. At the same time, since Enduro vomited colours all over the place, the murdered out black "schemes" are more fashionable than ever.

So yes it's about looks > Unique looks. I will spare you all another rant on why Enve sucks because of that...
  • 4 0
 @WAKIdesigns: my marz dirt jumper 1 on my 2006 spec p2 had black stanchions

i was way ahead of the tech curve
  • 3 1
 @jaycubzz: aaah fk... I forgot Marzocchi had black stanchions since 2004... my 2006 66RC2X had black ones too...
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: my 08 dj had it and it never wore out
  • 2 0
 Second paragraph; Fox 36 Foat, I guess dropping the L was one of the improvements they made since 2014 ! Maybe it was developed for the Goat .
  • 2 0
 I wish fox got there shit together and made a more reasonably priced DJ fork, like an 831 with Fit Grip. That would be primo
  • 3 0
 Nothing from DVO? It's fixed...Since my Topaz and Diamond blow away any Cane Creak, Flox and Rock Shux I have ever owned.
  • 6 2
 dull dull n dull..
  • 3 1
 No shocks worthy of a mention?

CB Inline? RockShox Deluxe and SuperDeluxe?
  • 8 0
 RockShox Deluxe is scheduled to win next year, because currently this is mostly OEM solution, so why do the marketing if no one can buy it?
  • 2 0
 especially those three
  • 1 0
 Better ask:
No marzocchi 053 s3c2r (R2D2 C3PO)?
That little tiny shock rocks. It even can handle a ccdba in the damping department, is only around 315 grams at 216*63 shock size and only costs 320 USD!
That is a bargain highend shock!
  • 2 0
 I guess metric shock sizing and design won't change the world a such as a couple of fox forks.
  • 4 1
 Metric is bullshit
  • 3 0
 No Ohlins? Just sayin'...
  • 1 0
 The Fox 34 grip is only 60$ cheaper than the Mattoc. And it's less tuneable than the 34 who's already less tuneable than the Mattoc...
  • 1 0
 Hey, stop talking up the Kuro-Coated forks so much would ya? $739 is not a deal when everyone wants full list price.
  • 2 0
 How does the Mattoc ride?
  • 4 2
 Where's the Fox Float X2-M203? Surely it's a "hot" product.
  • 2 0
 It will always be Fox for PB - 2 out of 3 for Fox this year. Ok.
  • 1 0
 Can we have awards for:
- Post with the biggest sh1t storm in the comments section
- Comment of the year
- Pun of the year
  • 1 0
 Thumbs up
  • 3 0
 Pun of The Year award seems like something we should do.
  • 1 0
 Why are there only 3 forks in the running, forks should be user nominated. Pro determined.
  • 2 0
 The Mattoc is the mid travel sleeper hit. Fabulous fork.
  • 1 0
 Que dietary trolling madness.
  • 1 0
 I want a new beafy coil fork, Bring back the totem & bomber 66.
  • 2 0
 DVO TOPAZ, Cmon guys!
  • 1 0
 Anyone remember Revolution Suspension Grip? ????
  • 3 0
 It feels like yesterday. They're super neat. I haven't got around to re-installing that set on my current bike, but I will.
  • 2 1
 mrp stage blows all of those away. This election is rigged.
  • 1 1
 I thought if you buy 2 you get the 3rd for free.
  • 1 1
 There are a lot of better forks then these.......
  • 1 0
 MRP Ramp Control...
  • 1 3
 comment font is larger now
  • 1 0
 I think that's your browser's Zoom setting.
  • 1 0
 @endlessblockades: it's back to normal now but at the time it was larger than the other articles comment sections.
  • 1 0
 @MmmBones: I broke something in the matrix but it's fixed now.
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