Fox 38 Factory Suspension Fork [Rider Review]

Our "Rider Review" article series features the honest reviews from verified purchasers of Worldwide Cyclery. They contain the photos, thoughts, feedback & overall review you are looking for.

A couple of years ago, Fox released the 38 to their line of forks. The fork satisfied those that like to climb to the gnarliest descents. The fork compareably handles very closely to their 40. Our customer has been running the 38. See what they think!

Fox 38 Factory Suspension Fork


It's the best fork of all time. I'd love to stop my review there and I think that it would suffice. But alas,

Looks Different from the 36:

The first thing you notice about the 38 is that it looks much bigger than the 36. That might seem obvious, but for many years and for many reasons the Fox 36 was considered king...the 38 takes that crown, at least if you are looking at racing more serious enduros. I think if you are looking for a quiver killer - the 36 is still the best bet.

Fox 38 Factory Suspension Fork

Feels Different from the 36:

It is stiff - very stiff. I am not sure I have ever put enough pressure on a 36 to cause some bend, but where I ride, the mid-Atlantic, I know my forks take a beating. Whether it is large awkward boulders that throw the bike all over or natural huck-to-flats that land on slanted roots, my experience shows that if you like to plow, the 38 with its 170 or 180 travel plows in a way the 36 cannot. That is just an easy way of saying that with the 38, one does not have to be as precise with line choice. The same is true when making mistakes, the 38, being stiffer than the 36, keeps you online a bit more.

The weight is not so significant that the fork keeps you from wanting to climb either. I think the ability to ascend better largely is the result of bike geometry, but fork weight does impact climbing ability. In the few months, I have had my 38, my climbing times have been insignificantly different...and sometimes have been better. My last 36 was on a Revel Rascal and my current 38 is on a Rail 29. Despite a bigger heavier bike...really no difference in climb times or feel. I think, in the end, if you are doing big enduros, do not let the weight of the 38 keep you from getting it.

Fox 38 Factory Suspension Fork


This is simple but important. Sag, rebounds, compression...start all the way out. It's important to note that the guide on the fork fox offers is less precise than their online numbers. Use the Fox Tune ID. This is one place where Fox loses to RS and others. Fox should just put numbers on their dials. Not sure what is so hard about that...I have a terrible memory ... visuals help. The other complaint I have sort of deals with setup. However, it's probably necessary from an engineering standpoint. I love the OneUp EDC tool and with the 38, you can only run the EDC Lite and not the full tool. But I mean...

Final Thoughts

After riding a lot of Fox 36 and two 38s, I think they are both incredible forks, and the decision as to which to get should come down to only one factor: Are you running a big enduro bike? If so, get the 38. If not, or if only on occasions are you hitting the big stuff, the 36 is legit AF and 160mm of travel is plenty. I think with the 38, Fox figured out the right weight and stiffness ratio to turn a dual crown fork into a single crown. I love it.

 Fox 38 Factory Suspension Fork

March 31, 2023

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