Fox 34 Float GRIP - Review

Oct 12, 2016
by Mike Levy  
High-end mountain bike suspension doesn't come cheap these days. The fact that a mega-expensive suspension fork performs impressively isn't really news; it damn well better, and for a long time. The story of mountain bike suspension now and over the coming years will be about how companies will bring that sort of performance to lower price points - which is exactly what Fox is hoping to do with their $739 USD Fox 34 Float GRIP fork that's tested below.

The fork reviewed here costs $140 USD less and is just 77 grams (0.16lb) heavier than the equivalent, higher-end Factory Series Float 34, largely due to the use of Fox's new GRIP damper that the company says is less expensive to manufacture compared to the FIT4 damper employed in their Factory forks. The question that needs answering, then, is how this new and less expensive fork compares to its pricier brother, and which one makes the most sense for you.

34 Float GRIP Details

• Intended use: trail
• Travel: 140mm (120mm tested)
• Float air spring
• New GRIP damper
• Three-position compression w/ micro adjust
• Rebound adjustment
• 15mm Boost or standard 15mm thru-axle
• Black-anodized stanchions
• Tapered steerer tube only
• Weight: 1,906 grams / 4.2lbs (w/ axle)
• MSRP: $739 USD / @foxracingshox
Fox Performance 34 Float Grip

New FIT GRIP Damper

The 34 Float GRIP shares the same chassis (minus the gold treatment on the stanchions) and air spring as the high-end Factory version, but it's the damper side of the fork where things are different. Fox's Factory-level offerings come equipped with their closed FIT4 damper, whereas less expensive Fox forks previously made use of an open damper that didn't offer the same kind of consistency and sophistication. Open dampers allow the oil to slosh around more and mix with air in the system, which causes foaming (otherwise known as cavitation) and an inconsistent feel. This is why most high-end suspension forks use some type of closed damper.

Now, with the FIT GRIP damper in the Performance Series, Fox says that they're able to produce a less expensive closed cartridge that should offer much more consistent control compared to an open design, but at a lower price point than their Factory Series forks come in at.

Fox 34 Grip

How is the FIT GRIP damper, pictured above, different than the FIT4 damper?

The FIT4 damper is closed, meaning that all of the damping oil is sealed inside of the cartridge, it's bled free of air, and it also uses an extruded rubber bladder as a compensator for oil displacement as the fork is compressed. The FIT GRIP damper is also closed, but it employs a spring-backed internal floating piston as a compensator - it does the same job as the bladder in the FIT4 damper - and, according to Fox, a completely different anatomy. ''They are both FIT (Fox Isolated Technology) sealed cartridges, but use different design architectures,'' Mark Jordan, Fox's Global Marketing Manager, explained.

''Simplifying things a bit, the FIT4 design uses different flow paths to achieve different compression damping settings, while the GRIP damper increases / decreases force on the shim stack to regulate the compression damping.''

Rather than being a budget version of the FIT4 damper that's manufactured with more cost effective components, the FIT GRIP damper is so different that it doesn't actually share a single part with the FIT4 design.
Fox 34 Grip

Lowering costs was Fox's main goal, and Jordan went on to explain their approach. ''The design goals were different between FIT4 and GRIP. GRIP needed to more affordable, didn’t need to offer as much adjustment, and wasn’t as focused on weight as much. But we still wanted a damper that performed well and took a different approach to the project,'' he said of the new design. ''Rather than designing a simple damper with fewer parts to reduce cost, we focused on taking a quality damper, reducing cost while maintaining performance. We wanted to design a damper that anyone could ride and be happy.''

A spring-backed IFP is something that's been around for years in both mountain bike and the moto worlds, but the FIT GRIP damper does have something that you probably haven't seen before: a small bleed passage, called the 'Purge Port,' that's located on the spring-side of the IFP. This allows oil to actually back-fill slightly behind the IFP as it passes over what is essentially a small dimple in the shaft. ''During bottom out, the Purge Port can relieve any excess oil or air out the top,'' Jordan said before going on to explain that it also makes for easier bleeding during manufacturing because it allows them to skip the vacuum bleed process that the FIT4 damper goes through - it can essentially bleed itself by way of over overfilling during assembly.
Fox 34 Grip
The Purge Port is the teardrop shaped dimple at the center of the damper rod.

The FIT GRIP damper on Performance Series forks, such as the 34 that's reviewed here, provide Open, Medium, and Firm compression modes for riders to choose between by toggling a crown-mounted dial, as well as additional micro-adjust settings between those modes. Low-speed rebound is still tuned via an anodized red aluminum dial at the bottom of the same leg.

Fox Performance 34 Float Grip
The GRIP damper offers three settings, as well as micro-adjust positions between each that allow you run the dial anywhere between fully open and fully closed.

Same Chassis and Float Air Spring

While the Performance 34's FIT GRIP damper is all-new, the fork's chassis is the same as its more expensive Factory brother. That means that it uses the identical 7000-series aluminum crown and stanchions, minus the pricey Kashima coating that has always been more show than go in my mind. Instead, Fox has gone with a sharp-looking black finish for the fork's stanchions, one that the company says doesn't offer any performance advantage over a standard surface, but that's obviously less expensive to manufacture than Kashima-treated tubes.

The lowers are also the same as what you'll find on the Factory 34, although they get more subdued graphics, and that means that you'll also find the same tool-free, 15mm thru-axle that Fox puts to use on most of their fork range.

Fox Performance 34 Float Grip
Fox Performance 34 Float Grip
The fork's stanchions, crowns and steerer, and lowers are all exactly the same as found on the more expensive Factory Series forks.

The Performance 34's Float air spring is exactly what you'll find inside the Factory-level forks as well, with it taking cues from their Float shock. ''On the 36, the transfer port was on the shaft, allowing travel changes with spacers and by repositioning the shaft height,'' Jordan said of the difference between the 34 and 36's air spring system. ''On the 34, we’ve removed the shaft and the need for a seal to make it lighter, and now the transfer port is on the upper tube, just like with our Float shocks.'' This should also offer less friction due to the system depending on one less air seal.

FOX 34 Float review test

Need to adjust the fork's progression? A set of simple clip-on volume spacers snap into place under the fork's top cap, and each accounts for 10 CCs of volume. The first one slides onto the underside of the fork cap, while each one clips onto the one above it. They're shaped not to rattle against the inside of the stanchion tube, with small fins of sorts that extend out to keep them from moving around.

Those who spend a lot of time on steep terrain, ride at a high level, or are heavier might want to run more volume spacers than someone whose trails are less vertical or isn't as aggressive on the bike.
Fox Performance 34 Float Grip
Clip-on volume spacers are used to tune the fork's progression.

Riding the Fox 34 Float GRIP

Sensitivity and Air Spring - The GRIP fork doesn't get the Kashima treatment or see the low-friction seal head used in the FIT4 damper - this fork is supposed to be a price-conscious alternative, don't forget - so it shouldn't feel as slippery as its costlier brother. But it does, and I'm not just talking about out-of-the-box freshness here, as I've had the blacked-out fork on the front of my bike for months on end now and have given it little to no love. Sure, I've wiped off the seals now and then, but I've yet to feel the need to drop the fork's lowers, and its performance hasn't given me any reason to think that I should.

Fox Performance 34 Float Grip
I spent months on the 34 Float GRIP, swapping the fork between a Kona Honzo CR and an Ibis Ripley.

As I've said in the past about other supple forks, the 34 Float GRIP's near frictionless stroke means that you can run a firmer spring rate if required but without seeing as much chatter passed up through the fork and into the rider's hands. More traction? Probably.

For comparison's sake, I also have a Factory Series Float 34 - Kashima, FIT4 damper, and all of Fox's tricks are inside of it - and the two forks feel equal on the slipperiness scale, both on the bike and just giving them a push on the floor. The 34 Float GRIP matches the pricier Factory Series fork, and it's also comparable to anything from RockShox, X-Fusion, or anyone else.

Fox Performance 34 Float Grip
Fox Performance 34 Float Grip
Float is Float, no matter what the price point. The 34 Float GRIP's air spring is the same as used on the Factory fork.

Given that the two share the same air spring, it's no surprise to see the 34 Float GRIP employ the same clip-on volume spacers used inside the Factory Series fork. A single spacer accounts for 10cc of volume, and just one can make a big difference in how the fork ramps up. No surprise, then, that I ended up running either four or five spacers inside the Float GRIP depending on where I was riding, much like I did with the Factory 34. Pressure-wise, I would usually range between 70 and 75 PSI depending on where I was riding; fast and rough laps down Top of the World, Khyber, and Kush in Whistler saw me run less air and an extra volume spacer, whereas my faster but less demanding home mountains would see me run more air and remove a spacer.

Chassis Performance - The 34 Float GRIP is assembled around the exact same chassis as the Factory 34 that I've already reviewed, including the same stanchions (sans Kashima), crown and steerer tube assembly, and also the same lowers, so I'm going to say the exact same thing:

Torsional rigidity is my least favorite thing to make a call on. I could ramble on for hours about damper and spring settings, but one man's perfect can be another's not enough when talking about flex. My disclaimer is always this: given all the possible variables - basically everything on the front of your bike - this is always a tough one to gauge. Simply using a different front wheel, a tire with a stiffer or more forgiving casing, or even changing tire pressure, can alter your perception of a fork's torsional rigidity. I know that some of the European media is all about putting forks and frames on testing jigs to measure this and that, with them basing a lot of their reviews on what machines tell them, but a lab is not the real world, and flex can be a good thing.
Fox Performance 34 Float Grip
The same chassis means the same torsional rigidity as Fox's more expensive 34 forks.

Anyways, is the 34 torsionally rigid enough? Yes, and I didn't feel anything in the way of imprecise steering feedback. At 170lbs, I don't think the 34 needs to be one iota stiffer in this regard. Keep in mind that my 34 Float GRIP was set at 120mm of travel for testing, not 150 or 160mm. The 36 and Pike are obviously going to be more rigid at those numbers, but there's also a weight gain there, so it all comes down to what sort of balance you're looking to hit. For me and how I ride, I'm more than happy with what the 120mm-travel 34 offers.

Ibis Ripley. Photo by James Lissimore
James Lissimore photo

Damper Performance - The reason for the existence of the GRIP damper is because Fox wanted to create a lower priced alternative to their FIT4-equipped Factory-level forks but still offer better performance than the open system they had been using. And they've done exactly that; GRIP puts the older open-style damper to shame in every way possible, but that's kinda to be expected, isn't it? Of course, but the GRIP damper also does something else...

It matches the FIT4 damper's performance in most ways, at least when talking about subjective feel on the trail. I'm sure that Fox has charts and dyno graphs showing how, when, and why the FIT4 damper is superior to the supposedly lower-end GRIP system, but the two feel basically identical to me in nearly every regard, which is a win for anyone wanting or needing to buy a new fork.

Fox 34
The Factory and Performance 34 forks are very different, in both price and damper design, but offer similar performance.

With the three-position compression dial turned all the way to the left and fully open, the GRIP damper still offers more than adequate low-speed compression control. The front wheel tracks the ground exceptionally well, and this was my go-to setting when it was wet, loose, or I simply needed a more forgiving feel at the front of my bike. The damper's middle setting is comparable to the middle setting on the three-position FIT4 damper, with maybe a bit more support, and the closed setting is also firmer than the closed setting that the FIT4 damper offers.

I spent a lot of the time with the GRIP compression dial turned roughly one-fourth of the way in from fully open, a setting that still offered plenty of forgiveness from but also a touch more support to make the bike playful and lively.

Fox Performance 34 Float Grip
Fox Performance 34 Float Grip
The GRIP damper supplies more than enough low-speed compression control, and is also easily tuneable via the crown mounted dial.

The GRIP damper's three settings feel similar to the three modes that the Factory fork has, and while there are also vaguely defined micro-adjust settings in between each of the three modes on the GRIP damper, it's still less adjustable than the ultra-tuneable, twenty-click low-speed compression dial (in Open mode) of the Factory fork. Did I miss this? Not at all, but only because Fox hasn't skimped on low-speed support with the GRIP damper. I also believe that the very, very large majority of riders would be just as happy with the three modes and micro-adjust combo dial on the GRIP damper as they would with the three modes and twenty-click low-speed compression dial of the more expensive FIT4 system.

In my mind, a lot of riders might be more likely to adjust the GRIP damper purely because it's simpler to understand, but the best part is that while it's less tuneable in a way, it offers nearly identical performance compared to the FIT4-equipped Factory forks.

I doubt many (or any?) riders could tell the difference in performance between the pricier FIT4 damper and the money-saving GRIP design. Riders will need to decide if they want to spend the extra $140 USD to get gold coloured stanchions, save a negligible 77 grams, and have a bit more damper adjustment. And me? The pricier Factory Series 34 is still leaning up against the wall in my workshop while the GRIP fork is on my bike, and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

Pinkbike's Take:
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

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  • 125 2
 This review feels candid and honest, while providing tons of useful/interesting information. It sounds like Fox has made a great fork that isn't intentionally crippled since it's not the flagship product. I can't wait to try it.
  • 41 14
 It really is a gripping review.
  • 24 20
 @seismicninja: I know, shocking isn't it?
  • 21 27
flag paul-bee (Oct 12, 2016 at 19:23) (Below Threshold)
 I like that the new fork will help dampen the shock on your wallet compared to the factory series.
  • 25 29
flag will-burr (Oct 12, 2016 at 20:13) (Below Threshold)
 @paul-bee: When you're at the fork in the road, you need to get a grip on what exactly your inner "shockrah" needs are.
  • 25 0
 is this why FOX bought Marzocchi's bike suspension? For the patents on this dampner? Or just for a manufacturing facility? Just wondering...
  • 16 8
 This fork may FIT my budget.
  • 3 5
 Yeah but they are kind of avoiding the elephant in the room. They grip and factory forks are basically identical in all but looks - like this tester, I've ridden both, back to back. So don't try to dress it up otherwise
  • 6 15
flag cikudh (Oct 13, 2016 at 0:13) (Below Threshold)
 look like FOX gave up kashima
  • 5 12
flag Garpur44 (Oct 13, 2016 at 0:15) (Below Threshold)
 @will-burr: sorry dude, negged propped you by accident, not sure why the hate, everyone likes a good pun
  • 14 30
flag WAKIdesigns (Oct 13, 2016 at 0:22) (Below Threshold)
 @cikudh: You shall be corrected for you are wrong on the internet! No they didn't drop Kashima. It is reserved for the high end models with FIT4 dampers. The black sliders are for poor people.

@stiingya - that is possible. Why not use your stupid brother to clean the attic. You know the one that repeats the same phrase to answer 10 different questions in one interview:

"We are actively seeking potential buyers for the business. I cannot tell you any more at this time as I cannot speculate on what the outcome of those talks might be, but we sincerely hope that the Marzocchi mountain bike suspension business can continue under a new owner, and we intend to do everything we can to help make that happen"
  • 23 2
 @WAKIdesigns: ffs chill out man. Go for a ride and come back when you've calmed down
  • 7 21
flag WAKIdesigns (Oct 13, 2016 at 4:06) (Below Threshold)
 Maybe if I could go for a ride I wouldn't be typing sht... anyways, I wrote it with a smile on my face. No stress involved
  • 8 1
 One thing that the article didn't mention is that the GRIP damper comes from their Moto/ATV division and it's proven and tested.
  • 1 0
 @stiingya: from what I understand, Fox didn't get the Marzocchi factory... but, I do believe the main reason Tenneco bought Marzocchi in the first place was mainly for the factory..
  • 8 12
flag WAKIdesigns (Oct 13, 2016 at 7:11) (Below Threshold)
 @enrico650: RC2 surely also came from their Motocross division. It took Rockshox 6 years to make a similar one. It says a lot about MTB, that it was 2014 when players like Öhlins or EXT came to MTB, using tech developed in 1980s or earlier. Companies were shagging their brains out to sell sht by making up stupid acronyms to pseudo engineered suspension systems, where decent fluid dynamics can solve most bobbing and bottom out issues. I'd rather have Orange 5 with Öhlins TTX than Bronson CC with some silly Monarch. And it's a cheaper deal...

Now let's take a minute of silence for all those Floats X2 getting recalled... air shocks almost made it... again...
  • 3 2
 @WAKIdesigns: The problem with the X2 shocks was fixed on August and all shocks shipped after Sept, 9 are fine.
  • 29 8
 @enrico650: I am just jelaous. If Fox would only be less strict about their MSRP I'd be riding a 36, not a Lyrik... I'd be boasting with superlatives on how great fork that is, how much better is the ratio of plushness to stability on a 36... but well... There are quite a lot of things you could buy to go with a Rockshox Lyrik for the price of Fox 36 Factory...

1.You could buy a Lyrik and a Pike
2.Lyrik and a lot of parts that when put together could make a hardtail...
3.Lyrik and Öhlins piston kit to Lyrik, and Reverb.
4.Lyrik and 5.10 shoes, helmet with detachable chin, goggles, lumber sexual outfit and a fanny pack
5.Lyrik and a weekend in Alps or Hafjell, flight+ food+ accomodation
6.Lyrik and 10 bottles of single malt Whiskey

Do I need to write more... the question is... who is the a-hole here? Rockshox for selling OEMs to online shops, or Fox for stucking the nose up...
  • 3 1
 @scottzg I have been riding it on my '17 Fuel EX 9.8 and it is great. I'm coming off a 36 FIT4 Kashima, and I'm not really missing anything from the old fork. I am 195lbs + gear and ride aggressively, and so far the fork has handled itself superbly.
  • 2 1
 @seismicninja: This fork must be new as I don't recall seeing it before.
  • 91 3
 140$ really isnt great savings when it comes to an expensive piece of suspension...
  • 22 0
 Thats what I was thinking too, for that price difference on a $4k bike I would definitely go for the factory. Seems like it will be used a lot by manufacturers
  • 22 1
 For a lot of these parts the major cost difference isn't at the retail end. They don't like to undercut aftermarket retail sales of their high end line too much. The big price difference is to bike companies ordering in bulk for OEM builds. The wholesale cost of these second tier parts is much much lower than the top of the line ones.
  • 5 0
 It's a lot more than that in Canadaland....
  • 5 1
 exactly what I was thinking. Make it $240 and you might have me intrigued.
  • 10 4
 My thoughts too. I think a 'budget' version should be a budget price. 300 less would make sense. 140 is next to no difference. Mountain Bike pricing systems make no sense..
  • 3 0
 @clarky78: Agreed, that's the kind of price jump that I'd say what the hell, shell out for the higher specced one
  • 3 1
 I would go the x-fusion RL2 damper route if on a bidget aftermarket option.... this is too close to top of the line
  • 3 0
 the difference in future: 8kbike build by manufaturer will have pro kashima star powder cartridge with external adjustments-forks, 4k bike will have this watervalveblueknob black stanch 34...obviously in the aftermarket you will get a kashima one rather than this...but i think this new architecture is better thanfit 4 rubber, but Problems are external adjustments..Now you have to pay ALOT to set your fork
  • 3 1
 Agree that 140 is too low. You've completely changed the dampener, the coating is type 3 hard ano vs kashima, the air spring is cheaper, and all they can lop off is $140?
  • 37 1
 Not surprised to see a Marzocchi DBC "Dynamic bleed cartridge" adaopted by Fox after the acquisition.
  • 6 0
 Yep, although the dynamic bleed was brought to the MTB world by Avalanche with their 40 cartridge, and has been around in the moto world for 20 years or more. Funnily enough, other than the lack of external adjustment, this has the potential to be a higher performing damper than Fit4 on paper, if only because it actually has a pressurised cartridge. Great to see this coming to mid range bike suspension.
  • 2 0
 @Socket: I am actually looking into getting this for my 2012 34. The CTD on it is so bad I swapped forks.
  • 34 2
 Now give me a 36 with GRIP and Im in. Good job Fox (still trying to forget 2010's early models).
  • 2 1
 Got one on my new Yeti... it's pretty sweet!
  • 1 0
 @twowheelfury: Likewise, I am thoroughly impressed. Same with the Float in the rear. Both have performed above my expectations. Can't imagine the need for Kashima
  • 1 0
 @Klainmeister: settings
  • 1 0
 @cauboi: I weigh 170lb loaded, so front is....i believe 7 clicks of rebound and 48psi, rear is 210psi and 5 clicks. I'd have to double check, but it feels just as smooth as my Pike RT3 and Debonair combo on my Trek.
  • 1 0
 @Klainmeister: ok maybe next time if you wait the next basic basic version with only Rebound adjust you save 50 bucks more
  • 2 0
 @cauboi: Ah now see what you were saying. You know, it's nice to have something that just 'works' without much thought. But yes, I'll glue some knobs on there to make me feel like I am a better rider.
  • 1 0
 @Klainmeister: sorry for my english, I agree with you when you say simple is better, but not for 750 bucks. Internet and PB are full of tips to set a rc2 or r2c2 forks and shocks, for safety (jumps and landing for example) and skills improvement, great for sunday riders like me and you Wink
  • 1 0
 I have one on my Warden and it is very good.
  • 19 0
 Foaming or air in the oil is NOT cavitation. Cavitation is pretty much the oposite of this.
  • 10 0
 That's right, cavitation is not simple foaming.
Cavitation happens when the pressure of the oil reduces enough for the dissolved gasses (eg. air) to separate into tiny bubbles, which will then collapse and burst when the pressure rises again.

Cavitaton can happen in dampers, when the piston is moving fast enough. The pressure behind the piston will reduce, and if there is no sufficient back pressure provided with pressurized IFP for example, cavitation can happen.
  • 1 0
 @verskis: aren't IFPs, in mountain bike dampers at least, in front of the piston, on the high pressure side during compression? How would this help maintain back pressure during compression? Not trolling, just interested.
  • 3 0
 @LAT2: IFPs go on the back side of the damper shim. However it doesn't really matter which side the pressure is on, since any increase in pressure affects the whole body of oil and therefore increases the pressure on the back side of the shim.
  • 2 0
 The seriousness of the article dropped significantly after reading the foaming and cavitation part. Further, the 34 chassi is stiffer than the Pike chassi. German tests have shown that.
  • 1 2
 Can you explain it in your words?
  • 1 0
You have to pay to access the articles and giving the info for free here will not help them to do further tests so please support them!
  • 17 1
 Sounds like they took some of marzocchi DBC technology.
  • 3 0
 It looks similar to the DBC but it is not the same.
  • 2 2
 @bogey: I didn't mean it's a complete clone just that they are using some of the technology, mainly the spring loaded IFP and blow off system
  • 4 0
 @Jesse221: it's very longstanding moto technology actually. Avalanche brought it to bikes before Marz did.
  • 4 0
 @Socket: I'm aware of that I was just pointing out you can see some of the purchase influence from buying marzocchi.
  • 10 1
 Am I the only person who prefers the black stanchions to Ka$hima?

Just ordered a black Fox Transfer to match my Lyriks :-)
  • 6 1
 What i have noticed is the RS products are far easier to find at prices well below list and comparable Fox products which is why I didn't upgrade to a 36 but a Pike instead. I bet you can find a Pike for less than this fork too.. Stiffer, lighter and with a bladder sealed damper. Nice fork though and at least the price is looking better....
  • 1 0
 Bru the struggle is real in SA! These "cheaper" Dollar products are still a helluva lot in Rands in proportion to our earnings... JZ vs PG is cramping my MTB style!
  • 2 0
 @Spark24: Thats no maybe. I upgraded my fork via Germany. in Euro and cheaper shipping too.
  • 6 0
 Quick technical question, was it some sort of spacer that reduced the travel from 140 to 120 or a different length air piston?
  • 1 0
 yea me too me too! can I do that?
  • 2 4
 you can adjust a screw that would set the travel in increments of 10mm on the damper . i heard about a guy that made his own holes to get the travel he wanted, wouldnt trust it but wow o.o volume spacers just reduce the amount air volume inside the fork so as you push through the travel it gets harder to get through it because of the quicker pressure buildup
  • 3 0
 I believe it's a different length air spring. I raised my 2016 Fox 34s from 130mm to 140mm travel and I needed to buy a new air spring, I believe it was $35 USD and then changed it myself. I'm not a suspension expert but once you get the lowers off it's pretty straightforward and there's a PDF online.

Can't say 100% for reducing the travel but I'd think a 20mm change would require a different air spring
  • 1 0
 @kylemcnulty23: i believe fox air springs are 140-160mm (changeable with reducers), but if you want to go to 130mm or lower (or vice versa), you need a different air spring
  • 5 1
 Seems like they spent a lot of time and money making this fork cheaper to manufacture and it didn't really save all that much money. they probably could save more money if they just made more of the good one and simplified the number of different things they need to produce. Also, treat us like adults and give us real adjustments.
  • 4 0
 A lot of these in the OEM market, however.
  • 5 0
 120mm and 34" stanchion fork should be stiff enough. Does this mean factories will stop selling their lower end 150mm travel bikes with a 32mm fork? Probably not.
  • 8 0
 The 32mm Fox doesn't come in 150mm anymore.
  • 3 5
 @MTB-Colada: actually the 26 inch wheel, standard chassis, performance version does
  • 7 0
 Damn i want that Honzo..!
  • 5 2
 @mikelevy: "lighter than Pike" is the oft-touted selling point for the Fox 34, but at 1906g this Grip model is *heavier* than my 1868g Pike w/ standard QR Maxle. For that matter, with a bolt-on Maxle Stealth, that same Pike is 1830g. Based on the numbers you've cited, this makes my Pike just 1g heavier than the Factory 34.
Having spent significant time on a 150mm 34 Factory this summer, for me the stiffness/precision question is cut and dry: Pike is a cut above. Since this article reveals they're actually in the same weight class, I'm not sure I see the point in putting a Fox 34 even on a medium-travel bike, unless I can swing a significant bro-deal on Fox that I can't get on RockShox.
  • 8 3
 Or, ride the one you like the feel of, and don't get in a twist about 50g...
  • 2 2
 @blitz66: That's the point. 34 is inferior, and claims of lightness are false.
  • 9 6
 Had to laugh out real loud at "offers performance that would have been unheard of only a handful of years ago". NO-FRIGGIN-WAY. Remember, a handful of years ago most longer travel forks ran on coil and people were preferring coil over solo air at the time. For good reason.
Air springs in most forks still suck big time and that is the first thing that should be addressed by the manufacturers because it is so obvious. People seem to have forgotten about coil and are now used to sucky air spring spring curves, it seems. Even Pike is not nearly as good as some people and reviewers make it.
Only Manitou offer a great product with their IRT spring and german AWK air spring for Pike. And damper tuning already existed a handful of years ago and I am convinced that you can get even a semi open bath damper to more than a decent level given the right piston geometry and shimstack.
What I am trying to say is, that current air sprung forks have not nearly reched their potential, I think. Stock dampers are getting better indeed, but nothing that would outperform older tuning dampers imo. And with air springs - there is still a long way ahead of us...and then you hear shite like "offers performance that would have been unheard of only a handful of years ago". Nah, reality will prove that wrong...
  • 7 5
 I have both forks, as both work as they say in the review. the fit4 does have a more supple feel and more adjust-ability. And as for pricing, you'll find new take offs for less than $300 mostly because people just don't want to run them. Also they do not share the same air spring. the internals are completely different and are not interchangeable. you have to get grip fork specific air shaft/spring parts if you want to change the travel. you cannot use the fit 4 air spring fork air shafts. I believe the weights would actually be identical or less actually if they used the same air shafts. I think from the engineering side of it all they actually reduced the bore of the lowers to "add" weight. So the difference seems like more. cause who would not buy a much cheaper fork that weight considerably less and performed as well.
  • 13 0
 Both forks share the same air spring,and you could upgrade the grip cartridge to a FIT4. Stanchion tubes have the same inside diameter, topcap is the same thread, and share the same volume spacers. Not sure where you got your info from but it is not correct.
  • 3 0
 @ElricMelnibone: +1 for being the Eternal Champion
  • 5 3
 My experience with this fork was very different. I tested one on a Trek Fuel EX at Crankworx and while it felt really supple it dove like a soccer player at the sight of trouble. It actually wrecked the ride of the bike for me. Adding clicks on compression dial helped combat the diving but added too much harshness to the fork. It really, really reminded me of the CTD forks which is a shame.
  • 3 2
 Volume spacers fix that. I had the same issue with my pike until I put three in.
  • 1 0
 @ilovedust: The fork already four spacers which is plenty for a Fit4 34. It was using its travel very nicely so stacking any more in there would have made it short on travel. I've had three Pikes and two 34s and none of them were so finicky. Sure, I had to add volume spacers but they never plunged through the travel like this even with no spacers.

Maybe it was a bad fork but all of the adjusters worked as they should so it is highly unlikely.
  • 2 1
 @ilovedust: volume spacers don't fix dive, volume spacers only fix harsh bottoming out. proper damping fixes dive
  • 1 0
 @ilovedust: To prevent support mid-stroke you need to TAKE OUT volume spacers to make the spring more linear, but then again add more pressure to prevent bottom-outs. Unfortunately this also lessens the SAG, but most riders are having too much SAG anyways, just to brag about how smooth it is...

No really: I've seen multiple riders complain about not having enough mid-stroke support, but had over 30% SAG and a lot of spacers installed. This is just wrong.
  • 3 0
 ''Rather than designing a simple damper with fewer parts to reduce cost, we focused on taking a quality damper, reducing cost while maintaining performance."

I guess you say it best when you say nothing at all...
  • 2 0
 My bike came with this GRIP fork, and I surely haven't been able to tell a difference from my previous FIT4 fork, but I am by no means an expert. I do like the simple adjustment. If I was buying a fork alone, I'd probably spend the extra $140, but I wouldn't let it be the deciding factor if purchasing a complete bike.
  • 1 0
 What will the real world price be? $749 is about the same as what you can get a Pike for online if it sells for that, and the fork is still heavier and not as good. Previously the main selling point of a 34 over a Pike was weight but thats gone with the GRIP version, so if real world price isnt $600 or less then whats the point?
  • 1 0
 i have a fox 40 kashima, 36 and 32 factory and a few different rear shocks but even i think the price difference isn't worth bothering with. i mean who buys fox to save money.there are plenty of other much better value forks to save money on that also do a decent job if cost is an issue. and if you dont care about flex then i hear rs1's are pretty cheap now people have finally realized there rather noodley in turns.
  • 3 0
 Hi how does the Fox 34 Rhythm compare? Is it an open or closed damper system?
  • 4 0
 It has the grip damper as well I believe. Only difference really is you don't get the black coating and the aluminium is 6000 series instead of 7000
  • 6 2
 Suntour is nipping at your heels fox! Look out.
  • 9 5
 What a gripping review. I am having trouble damping my excitement.
  • 1 5
flag jfkusa (Oct 12, 2016 at 18:44) (Below Threshold)
 reviews that directly reference other products make me feel all squishy inside. Thanks PB
  • 4 0
 Fox's version of the Yari
  • 3 3
 "For the everday low price of just $739 you too can buy into the hype of a deal while you forfeit your monthly auto insurance, groceries,child care or any other financial obligation of equal or lesser value. You'd be foolish to think you should spend your money wiser. Most important continue to buy these products at hiked prices so we can keep rich and you can stay poor."

Yeah no. $500 or less is a deal. $739 is a joke, not a "deal".
  • 2 0
 Then don't buy it if you're that strapped for cash. They aren't forcing you to buy anything, but clearly enough people are buying that they can, and will, keep charging the prices they are charging. Get over it.
  • 2 0
 It was only a matter of time before Fox realized that black stanchions look killer! Arguabley better than the Kashima coating.
  • 1 0
 So you can adjust the travel. But how? Is there any spacer?
By the way,a certain manufacturer uses a 110 mm version of this fork. If it's possible to reduce the travel to 110 mm by everyone than I might buy one!
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy Thanks for the great review Mike. It's wasn't expressly clear in the review though whether the travel in this fork is adjustable. Do you know if it is?

  • 1 0
 These new performance forks are an excellent idea, it allows manufacturers to build more competitivly priced bikes. This new fox suspension is a big reason you can get into a new carbon yeti for 4799$ instead of 8000$
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy. Good write up. Thank you. Will now more seriously consider bikes with a GRIP damper instead of dismissing them and dimply looking for a model with the Elite level fork.
  • 1 0
 Nice Review Mike! I'd love to see a comparison with the Yeti, as that seems to be the Rock Shox version in this pricepoint. Any revues in the pipeline?
  • 1 0
 A few years ago you could up grade the rubbish fox and rockshox were churning out with some nice BOS internals, in the same way Ohlins do for boxxers now.
  • 1 0
 For £100 more i could just get the OHLINS fork, seems like fox's pricing is way out
  • 1 0
 Hows that Norco Optic C 9.1 riding? Review release date?
  • 2 1
 It looks good. Reminds me of Rock shox
  • 1 0
 Nice to see IFPs finally coming to forks.
  • 2 0
 Rockshox pure dampers. Closed. Spring or air backed ifp. 15 years ago.
  • 2 0
 @fastandbulbous: Suntour is using them too now. It always seemed like a simpler solution than bladders to me. I know it's one more seal and a little more weight for the spring, but does one more seal really effect performance all that much? It's obviously a well proven design in rear-shocks seems obvious to use it in forks too.
  • 1 0
 How do you like the Honzo?
  • 1 2
 But can 34s recover from their bad rep? They feel like a relic from the old pre pike days. And given all the new choices. Just don't seem to be cool any more.
  • 1 0
 omg that Honzo CR, FOX combo :O want this so badly!
  • 2 0
 Looks like a Pike!
  • 1 0
 At that price point why not get a slightly used Pike instead?
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy where did you find your sweet spot on the rebound?
  • 1 0
 Will Fox make the GRIP damper available as an upgrade for CTD 34s?
  • 1 0
 i just saved 739$ because there just no 26"
  • 1 1
 beautiful fork in black
  • 1 3
 Dear Fox, please makes black CSUs for the 34 275 PLUS model. Thanks!
  • 4 0
 They already do.
  • 1 0
 @lccomz: It's my understanding that currently they only offer that fork in Kashima or Grey Coating. Maybe that has changed.
  • 1 0
 @pheller I believe this fork is the same for 29er and 27.5+. At least my Fuel EX 9.8+ came with the 29er fork and 27.5+ wheels.
  • 1 0
 @vicrider: One way to definitively check would be enter the code found on the back of the fork into Fox's Product Code search found here:
  • 1 0
 @PHeller: Yeah, it says 29er model on the fork and that weblink confirms it.
  • 1 0
 @vicrider: Yea so that's not the 275 Plus model. The 29er Boost and 275 Boost are seperate models from the 275 Plus model, which can fit a 26x4.0, 275x3.5 or 29x3.0. It's kind of in a league of its own and because of that it doesn't get the black stanchions...yet.
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