Fox Float X2
The Float X2 has been a staple of downhill-oriented mountain biking for the past few years, setting a high bar of performance and adjustability in a premium package. Fox has a massive catalog of tunes, fitments, and spec levels to suit a wide variety of riders and bikes, with the X2 sitting at the top of their stack when it comes to downhill prowess in an air shock. But with a colored history when it comes to reliability, and with the new crop of high-end air shocks hitting the market, can the X2 defend its position?
Float X2 Details
• 2-position Open/Firm lever
• High-speed compression - 8 clicks
• Low-speed compression - 16 clicks
• High-speed rebound (w/VVC) - 8 clicks
• Low-speed rebound - 16 clicks
• Weight: 730 grams
• Price: $699 USD
The Float X2's colorful dials and numerous clicks can be a bit daunting for users with limited experience setting up a shock, but then again maybe those infinite combinations of settings are what you need to eke out that last bit of performance gain. Like any suspension item you can get things honed in fairly quickly by bracketing your settings on a repeatable track, which is what we did on the Nomad in order to get our shock feeling dialed.
We were aiming for about 18-20mm of sag on the Nomad, which for my riding weight of about 180 lb resulted in 210 psi in the air can. Counting from closed, my clicker positions were as follows: LSC: 13, HSC: 7, LSR: 11, HSR: 5. These are all either the same or very close to the Santa Cruz recommended settings for my weight, which speaks to their ability to hone in on a solid baseline for most riders. I ran the rebound a little bit faster on our test tracks for better grip on the chattery roots and loose corners.Climbing
I rarely found myself reaching for the Firm switch on the X2, one because the Nomad pedals quite nicely with the shock open, and two because the Firm switch doesn't provide a drastic change over the Open mode. Essentially the switch firms up your low-speed compression, making the shock move a bit less under shifts in weight and smooth undulations. You can feel the difference, but for me it's easier to forget it's there and cope with the perhaps slightly bobbier-feeling suspension with things open. Little bumps are absorbed well, and the grip the X2 provides makes steeper, looser sections that much easier.Descending
This is what the X2 is meant for, and boy does it do it well. The feel of the shock is quite fluttery, without feeling like you're using too much of the travel to gain that ease of movement. That sensitivity is what shock designers are after when trying to rival the performance of coil springs, though just about any air shock is going to have a slight bit more breakaway force than a coil, due to the inherent stiction in an air spring. The X2 has the widest and most finely-positioned range of adjustment of all the shocks on test, to the degree that it might be daunting to some less experienced owners.
That said, the control that range of adjustment offers is part of what makes the X2 shine - particularly the high-speed rebound control. As an external adjustment, this is unique to Fox's shocks, and can be key to controlling the shock's movement deep in travel and on sequential square-edged hits. When the HSR is dialed in, it feels like the shock can recover perfectly from a series of hits, without getting packed in or pushing you up in the travel.
No one adjustment or feature is going to make or break your ride, but if you're after one of the most adjustable shocks on the market, the X2 remains a strong contender. The smooth and sensitive action provides excellent traction, while the support and damping range can be set to suit your frame and ride preference. Durability
This is going to be a standalone category for the X2, simply because it's an endemic issue worth touching on. The Float X2 has been plagued by frequent durability issues that don't seem to affect other shocks quite as often. Fox has made a host of changes for the 2024 product, most of which are focused on longevity, so hopefully that mixed past can be left in the rearview. I reached out to Fox for comment on this issue, and received this response:
Very sensitive stroke+
Highly adjustable compression and rebound, many clicks+
Smooth and composed when set up well
Poor durability, frame-depending-
Perhaps too many clicker positions for noobs-
Firm lever is a subtle change
Stay tuned for more Shock Week content, including a roundtable discussion of all the air shocks we tested.