Fox's New 36 Float GRIP2 Fork - First Ride

Apr 10, 2018
by Mike Kazimer  



In the mountain bike world, the concept of technology trickling down is nothing new – a company initially releases their fanciest, most feature-rich product, and then over the course of the next few seasons less expensive, slightly modified versions of that item hit the market.

But does technology ever go the other way? With Fox's new GRIP2 damper, that sure seems to be the case – the design first showed up in their budget-oriented forks back in 2016, and after being tested by some of the world's fastest racers (and spotted by us during last year's Crankworx event in Whistler), it's now been implemented in the top-of-the-line 36 and 40.
Fox 36 Factory GRIP2 Details

• FIT GRIP2 damper, EVOL air spring
• Adjustable high- and low-speed compression and rebound
• Max travel: 170mm (29"), 180mm (27.5")
• Reduced offset options (37mm for 27.5", 44mm for 29")
• Weight: 2,060-grams (160mm 29")
• Lower colors: orange or black
• MSRP: $1,065 USD
www.ridefox.com

The GRIP2 damper isn't exactly identical to what debuted on those less expensive forks, but the concept is the same. It's a cartridge-style damper, but it eschews the expanding bladder design found in Fox's FIT4 damper in favor of a coil-backed internal floating piston that's used to compensate for the increased oil pressure that occurs when the fork is compressed.

While the original GRIP damper only had externally adjustable rebound and low-speed compression, the GRIP2 damper adds on externally adjustable high-speed compression and high-speed rebound damping. The fork's rebound is adjusted using what Fox call their Variable Valve Control (VVC), which is designed to act the same way that changing shims would rather than just adding preload.


Fox 36 2019
A look inside the GRIP2 damper.

Love twisting dials? The Float GRIP2 has no shortage of setup options – by my count, there are 15 clicks of LSC, 27 clicks of HSC, 16 clicks of LSR, and 8 clicks of HSR. Luckily, suggested numbers for all the dials are printed on the sticker that's affixed to the left leg to help simplify the initial setup.

According to Fox, the new damper has less overall friction than an RC2 damper, which should help improve small bump compliance even further. For riders looking for a little more simplicity when it comes to set up, the FIT4 damper will remain in the lineup, priced at $994 USD for the Kashima-coated Factory version, and $899 for the Performance version.


Fox 36 2019
Fox 36 2019
Tinkerers rejoice - the new 36 has adjustments galore.


Initial Impressions

Even with all of those adjustments, it didn't take me that long to get the 36 dialed in and feeling exactly the way I wanted it to. I started with Fox's suggested settings, and so far I haven't had to deviate more than a few clicks from those recommendations. It's still too early in the testing process to issue any sort of conclusive verdict, but it does feel a bit more supple over chattery bumps compared to the previous version, and that's saying something since the prior version was no slouch in that department.

Even with the fork set on the firmer side of the scale there hasn't been any harshness or unwanted feedback – the 36 may be well suited for racers, but it doesn't skimp on comfort. It's smooth over the small stuff, there's plenty of mid-stroke support to prevent it from diving, and the ramp-up is easily tuneable – it hits all of the marks that a high-end fork should.

There are loads of hard miles in our test fork's future, as well as some head-to-head battles against other contenders in this category – stay tuned for the final verdict later this season.



Fox Float X2 2019


Float X2

The 36 wasn't the only suspension product that received an update – the Float X2 shock has also been revised with a new air can that's rated up to 300 psi, and a new progressive bottom out bumper that should help prevent any excessive end-stoke harshness. The set screw that secured the air can in the previous model is gone, replaced by a metal retaining ring, welcome news for anyone who's lost precious time scouring their shop floor for that tiny screw. MSRP: $625 USD / $655 with lever.

Fox 40

The 40 also receives the new 4-way adjustable FIT GRIP2 damper, and a 29"-wheeled version has officially been added to the mix. There's also a gloss orange paint option for riders looking to add a little extra color to their bike, or to emulate their favorite racer. MSRP: $1,699 USD


112 Comments

  • + 116
 I'm so happy to see it comes in a midlife crisis color.
  • + 52
 I've always referred to that color as "nutmeg fart"
  • + 8
 Wow, he's still alive!! and funny!!
  • - 12
flag jrocksdh (Apr 10, 2018 at 8:50) (Below Threshold)
 Pretty similar to barf chunks.
  • + 15
 If you combined it with a yellow mudguard, it would look like Trump.
  • + 1
 @Extremmist: and once it gets muddy...?
  • + 72
 so i got a shock that i was fine with running over 250+psi, then had it recalled and told i could no longer run over 250psi, and now they release the air can that SHOULD HAVE BEEN the correct recall fix. thanks fox. thanks.
  • + 48
 I agree. I had an original X2 and I need 290psi for it to run proper sag on my bike, then get it recalled and it now can only go up to 250psi and I can't use it on my bike. Now the new ones can hold 300psi again?! I called Fox and they said that it is not backwards compatible and they cannot send me a new can to put on my X2. They also won't trade in my new recalled X2 or really do anything for me to resolve this problem. Weak Fox, very weak.
  • + 3
 @Nolan17: i would love to see a lawsuit come about over this. so disappointed with fox right now.
  • + 8
 HOW TO TOAST YOUR REP.......is this another reason why Mojo split?
  • + 1
 @Travel66: bikes come OEM equiped with it, pros run it, so people want it, who cares about rep, eh?
  • + 10
 @novajustin: Infomercial - If something, anything, everything (or nothing) is wrong, call 1-800-GETMEMONEY today! Got a faulty Fox? Call us. Got a beef with new standards from Rockshox? Call us. Can't get Cushcore on? Call us. Broke your carbon wheel going down a MOUNTAIN at 50kmh? Call us. You could be entitled to millions of dollars.

Termsandconditionsapply.Getmemoneyreservestherighttoninetyninepercentofallsuccessfullawsuits.sarcasmnotincluded
  • + 41
 I misread 'gloss orange' as 'gross orange'
  • + 20
 You have it right. Its clearly a typo.
  • + 2
 Oh good...they managed to get all the all the colors on one fork
  • + 0
 no, you read it correctly.
  • + 27
 VTEC rebound?! So tuner. Must have.
  • + 12
 VTEC just kicked in!
  • + 6
 Gonna be a good thing to have when my bike is on my Accord
  • + 3
 @vtracer: for when you wanna ride but you dont wanna leave your VTEC in the car
  • + 1
 LS VTEC
  • + 0
 Only works when you redline it.
  • + 0
 i don’t want anything that has to do with a lawnmower on my bike Wink
  • + 13
 Good to see Fox right there with Rock Shox in terms of exciting made up terms and acronyms. The new Lyrik has DebonAir, FastBlack and Charger2 RC2. This Fork has GRIP2. High resolution adjusters, Kashima and a honed pressure tube!

Just glad it has adult adjusters. Wonder if GRIP2 is better than FIT4 or if it's just cheaper and easier for them to manufacture?
  • + 8
 the answer is always both, why do you think its a new design every year, chasing the quadfecta. Better performing lighter more profitable more durable
  • + 8
 GRIP2 should be more durable as it cycles a small amount of fluid. You'll never worry about overpressurization or air getting in the damper which isn't harder to fix than cycling the damper several times.

It should have less friction as it doesn't have to have as tight of tolerances as the enclosed FIT4. It should be more supple.

It is heavier than the FIT4 but we're talking less than 200 grams which isn't too much considering the performance and durability advantages.

With the added weight and more simplicity, I'd be shocked to see it costing more than the FIT4. If I'd guess, it would be the same price if not $50 or so bucks cheaper.

In short, I'll be swapping my FIT4 RC2 damper for this as it has performance and durability advantages over it.
  • + 3
 @dirtworks911: $1065 according to Vital
  • + 8
 @DeLaRosaMTB, and according to the details section of this article Wink The GRIP2 Factory fork is $1065, and the FIT4 Factory is $994.
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer: Ah yes, I too skipped over that to read the ride review.
  • + 4
 The cheaper internals sold as "new and better" was definitely the case with the EVOL air springs. I'm not saying their worse, but I've been inside a lot of Fox forks and the EVOL system is basically about having less parts and simpler assembly.
  • + 7
 FIT4 and GRIP2 have two different target audiences. FIT4 is for someone who can't be fussed with adjusters, someone who wants something quick and easy to setup, and/or wants/needs easy lockout functionality/a remote lockout. GRIP2 is for someone who doesn't necessarily want or need something easily locked out, and wants the functionality of super adjustability. I don't understand why everyone here has to break balls, at the end of the day these are companies that need to make money and we are reaping the benefits of progression(if you're willing to pay for it). Fox was never a budget option to begin with so if you're surprised or bitching about it then do something about it and get an MRP or RS. Or maybe a new hobby.
  • + 5
 At least a few of Fox's terms actually mean something... Honing is a manufacturing process that produces extremely tight tolerances and really good surface finishes. High resolution adjusters mean just that, high resolution (small clicks = adult adjusters). Kashima is a proprietary surface process that resists wear, they have to call it "Kashima" because they don't own the name, from google: "Kashima Coat is a proprietary hard anodizing processing that Miyaki Company of Japan has invented, lubricating molybdenum disulfide deposited via electrical induction into the billions of micro-pores on the surface of hard-anodized aluminum for better lubrication and less abrasion and wear."
  • + 1
 @jcav5: exsqueeze me...baking powder?
  • + 14
 MRP coil fork is amazing
  • + 2
 MRP ftw.
  • + 2
 Was thinking that would be my next fork... though my Fox 36 with the Push coil conversion is pretty bada**.
  • + 5
 @DrPete: you'll most likely regret that decision...I agree the push coil isn't bad but the damper is the essence of damping.
  • + 9
 Coil backed ifp? 4way adjusters? Is that a repainted durolux?
  • + 3
 Does that mean it’s slightly worse than bladder but much more reliable? One for me please...
  • + 6
 Will the X2 air can and bumper be a retrofit option for the previous model shock?
  • + 5
 This. X2 needs more room for more volume spacers.
  • + 4
 So are we all going to get replacement 300lb air cans for the 250 ones issued in the recall?
  • + 1
 @Travel66: Seriously. When a company releases an obvious fix to an acknowledged issue that sure seems like the right call.
  • + 1
 @Travel66: Nope. Look up a little bit... @Nolan17 already called Fox and they stated that the new air can is not backwards compatible with the old body and Fox is not willing to do a trade in on the old X2. So basically we're screwed. Anyone here a good attorney?
  • + 4
 @heatproofgenie: american companies are okay with treating customers as beta testers on the customers dime.
  • + 1
 @Travel66: nope. Someone above commented Fox told him to pound sand : the new air is not backwards compatible.
  • + 5
 And we're basically full circle to a TPC+ cartridge...
I've found the bogo stocko grip better performing than the FIT4 on identical forks.
  • + 6
 Yeah but does it have V-tec
  • + 2
 It has always been mu understanding that bladders are lower friction, simpler, and lighter way to build a closed carteidge damper. With the only drawback being that perhaps one may find it more cahllenging to bleed a bladder than ifp.

Bladders work better, lower friction.

All the top of the line moto forks use bladders, as had past fox stuff.
If they did the same honing and low friction damper seals, and used a bladder, that would surely be lower friction than any ifp.
Heck, in the name of progress, admisister a diamond like coating or “kashima” to the damper shaft

So why go with an IFP?

My guess is cheaper assembly and easier service for the uninteligent worker bee’s and novices.
  • + 5
 That stupid little screw on the Float X2, promptly lost it and just continued on with life.
  • + 3
 Can you buy the Air spring, and change it with the current 2018? or do you have to buy the new fork to get eh GRIP 2? Thanks!
  • + 1
 Fox is almost always backwards compatible, so i'm betting you can swap in that damper or spring. It may not be easy and it definitely won't be cheap, but i'd put my money on "possible".
  • + 1
 @TheRaven: Thanks for the reply! I hope it can be changed, I have the 2018.... and I really need that extra Rebound adjustment Wink
  • + 1
 It is compatible. You'll just need Fox's 5w fluid as well. If your fork has a harsh knock on the return is probably upgrade to the 19 air shaft as it has a bigger return bumper. Not too much more and makes a big difference.
  • + 1
 @TheRaven: The evol air spring needs the new crown, steerer assembly, at least on my '17 34, 36 may differ. I waited until it was our of warrantee in Jan and fitted a luftkappe and got a push tune. Was significantly less than the new parts from fox
  • + 1
 @danielshiels: the 36 is the same
i had to change the csu under warranty, as they only had the 2018 model, they had to upgrade the air spring too
  • + 4
 Fox forks change every 3 months. What is this the 2045 model??
  • + 4
 Don't make me work for SR Suntour, because I'll do it.
  • + 0
 Just a sugestion Mr.Mrs.FOX sell your products without internals.Plain simple .They must be cheaper for sure. Then we send them to Push or other tunners and we choose what cartridges we want.Coil ,air ,high,mid,low compression and rebound ,electric lockouts etc Dont waste money and resources in defect concepts and faulty products Leave complicated stuff with real experts and save our planet and money.
  • + 1
 After fox has tried every type of damper to make the fork new and improved. They will move on to making coil spring forks so you can feel like your air sprung fork is old teck.
  • + 3
 Continuous product improvement is the point... correct?
  • + 1
 its a rehashing of old ideas presented as an improvement It's a repetitious cycle of ideas being branded as new and improved. Just for people like you.
  • + 2
 @Sshredder: reinventing the wheel...for suckers
  • + 3
 So is the travel of the 49er still 200mm or has it been reduced?
  • + 1
 reduced to 190mm for 49er
  • + 2
 There is a 26 option according to this: enduro-mtb.com/en/fox-36-float-2019-first-review
  • - 1
 Oooooorrrrr... just wait for the DVO Suspension Onyx 180mm SC coming out, and get it done right the first time with great factory support and amazing customer service! I've owned 2 Fox Forks over the year. Lets just say I'd never own another by choice.
  • + 1
 I hear DVO's are great when they are working properly but Ive been reading alot of neg reviews on peoples forks shitting the bed out of nowhere.
  • + 1
 @mhoshal: Fox forks have been exceptional for me.
  • + 4
 Availability Dates?
  • + 1
 Ships out May 1st
  • + 3
 Nice! My 2018 Fox Float 36 is already outdated! NOT
  • + 2
 So I just bought 2018 and haven`t use it,and there is the 2019, f$ck all this marketing bullshit
  • + 1
 I litterally just purchased a 36 rc2 for my new build. And then this is released. I give up.
  • + 2
 Is Fox learning from the Marzocchi ????
  • + 1
 "Rebound adjusted via Variable Valve Control"...what's next Turbocharged air springs?
  • + 2
 all theses forks and I'm starting to forking lose it
  • + 1
 grip2 cartridge... is it now a bigger diameter piston? have they improved the port flow like used in my andreani piston kit?
  • + 0
 One thing i have to say Fox have a good net/site support for their stuff.
The main problem is RELIABILITY and dont look only for $$$$$
  • + 2
 "Variable Valve Control"? My Honda has that - VTEC!
  • + 2
 Great fork is you are into spending significant time servicing it.
  • + 2
 I'm more interested in the Formula Selva
  • + 2
 I thought coil backed ifp were crap
  • + 3
 thats what they want you to think becasue they cant manufacture them reliably. MRP does fine with em.
  • + 1
 @mm732: I have heard mixed reviews on the MRP... positive to start, but way too many nightmare stories for me to buy one.
  • + 1
 Sell 2018 Fox 36, Buy New Marzocchi Z1 = have money left over
  • + 1
 And now for the new Float x2......
  • + 1
 Is the article website link correct? (www.foxshox.com)
  • + 4
 Oops, that should be www.ridefox.com.
  • + 2
 When are they available
  • + 1
 Fox is ditching their tried and true RC2 dampers Eek
  • + 1
 Bet it's going to cost a grip
  • + 1
 Anyone know if they will sell just the damper?
  • + 0
 probably
  • + 5
 They do, but the top end Fox dampers are almost as much as as a custom-for-you Avalanche damper.
  • + 1
 Is this the new RC2 version or an updated FIT4
  • + 1
 Fingers crossed hi lo rebound on rc2 soon
  • + 1
 Its the new RC2. The Fit4 is still the same as it was.
  • + 1
 is orange the only available colour?
  • + 3
 Nope, there's a much more low-key option that has black lowers.
  • + 1
 See, black for Asmodai
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer:
that's nice
  • + 2
 Looks like a Marzocchi.
  • + 1
 Looks like a SR Suntour.
  • - 3
 Where is the 26" option?
  • + 8
 Let it go, bud.
  • + 0
 Buy a Manitou?
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