Fox Shox 36 Fork and Float X2 Rear Shock: Rider Review

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

There are tons of mountain bike suspension companies out there, but Fox Shox might be the most well know. Their forks and shocks can be seen all over the EWS, on the trail, and online. Our customer Christopher was looking to replace his stock Santa Cruz Nomad suspension with some shiny Fox goodies. He opted for a Fox 36 fork and X2 rear shock, scope his review to get his thoughts!

Fox 36 and Float X2 rear shock rider review


There is a wealth of knowledge and information out there regarding these products (including a review posted by WWC of the X2 by another Nomad 4 rider that was helpful to me), so I think I will be able to contribute most usefully by discussing my personal experience with these products rather than tech specs, etc. Obviously different components work better than others for different riding styles, build goals, and leverage curves, so take this information at face value. Your mileage may vary...


After riding my Nomad for a few months, I decided I wanted a little more out of the suspension. The bike came with the RockShox Super Deluxe R shock and the Fox Float Performance 170 fork (this is the OEM-only version with the “FIT GRIP” damper). This was a solid stock suspension setup for my riding, consisting mostly of earn your turns trail/enduro riding and occasional lift-accessed downhill outside of Santa Fe, NM. The rear felt planted and stable, keeping composition and rarely bottoming on bigger hits, while the fork felt plush off the top and maintained composition as well (MRP ramp control helped with this). Still, I felt the rear of the bike could have been a bit more playful and the fork could benefit from an increase in adjustability, mainly to prevent midstroke wallow in corners. Gearing up for my first enduro races next season, I wanted the best suspension I could possibly get and some time to dial in the settings. I hit up WWC for a special order and in came the Fox Float Factory 36 170 GRIP2 fork and Float X2 Factory shock…


Let’s start with the obvious: these suspension components are a real pleasure to the eyes. I was concerned that the bright orange accents and Kashima-coated stanchions might have clashed with the carbon/olive military/stealth look of the bike, but this turned out not to be the case. The matte black body matches the carbon frame perfectly, and the orange accents complement the olive Santa Cruz branding. I decided to add some orange anodized components to the bike and decals to the shock to really set it off. I love the look of it and get compliments all the time. These components make the bike look like a beast; whether I can develop the skills to tame it is an open question.

Fox Float X2 Rear Shock

Float X2 Installation and Adjustment

The shock came with three volume spacers installed and one extra volume spacer in the package. Volume spacer installation/adjustment is very simple following the instructions on Fox’s website. The air sleeve slides right off after rotating the metal retaining ring. This process was much easier than the first time I removed the Super Deluxe air sleeve, which was on very tight and required a struggle with a vise and strap wrench. WWC also hooked me up with free mounting hardware, making the installation a breeze. The included 6mm/3mm key for adjusting the rebound and compression damping is also a nice bonus. The piggyback sits on the opposite end of the shock compared to the Super Deluxe so the air can is toward the rear of the bike, this allows the Kashima shaft to sit more forward, protecting it from mud and debris.

The Ride

The shock provided an enhancement to the ride that was immediately apparent. Actually, “immediately apparent” is a vast understatement – the shock completely transformed the feel of the rear end. The bike wants to pop off of everything, effortlessly enhancing my *very much developing* jumping skills. This aspect of its performance is night-and-day compared to the stock Super Deluxe. I feel like the bike just sails off of lips when in the past, I had to put in significant effort to get the rear end airborne. The low-speed compression and rebound damping allowed me to fine-tune the shock to feel just how I want it to during takeoff. On landings I feel equally as composed as I did with the Super Deluxe; perhaps some fine-tuning of the progression and high-speed compression and rebound damping (along with improved technique and confidence) could change this.

The other area in which I notice a major enhancement with the Float X2 is cornering. I am no expert rider, so I am always amazed when I watch pros and advanced riders rip through corners and berms, pushing the bike to its limit by balancing on the edge between grip and centripetal force with full control – all at speeds that would send me over the bars before I knew what was happening. I’m not saying the shock suddenly made me ride like this, but it definitely has opened my eyes to new possibilities. On tracks I am very familiar with, I was immediately able to keep speed through corners and combinations of berms without doubting my traction where I had previously. I’m not sure what the technical explanation is for this, but the shock has made the rear end just feel right – almost like floating. I’m excited to keep advancing my cornering abilities with the X2.

Shop Fox Float X2 rear shock

I did not notice a major difference between the Super Deluxe and the X2 in terms of high-speed chatter and small bump compliance – both shocks feel incredibly supple and avoid packing down in these events. The X2 may have a small leg up on the Super Deluxe with its high-speed compression and rebound settings, but I haven’t dialed them in enough to notice a major improvement.

I should note that I have had to deviate significantly from Fox’s recommended settings to get the shock feeling how I like it. Riding at ~195 lbs, I am running a pretty high pressure of 245 psi in order to prevent the bike from sitting too low in its travel and diving into it prematurely. Perhaps this can be fine-tuned; I plan to experiment with lower pressure, more volume spacers, and low-speed compression damping.

Final Thoughts on the X2

I’ve made a number of upgrades to my bike, and I can confidently say that the X2rear shock is by far the most significant. I highly recommend that anyone who wants to improve their bike’s handling and make it more playful try out the X2, you won’t be disappointed. Although I am still dialing in the settings, I couldn’t be happier with the effect it has already had on the ride. I know it will only improve as I nail down the adjustments. 


Float Factory 36 Installation and Adjustment

The fork came with extra volume spacers (which I replaced with the MRP ramp control cartridge), a star fangled nut, and a long top tube that needed to be cut down to fit my bike. This is the first fork I have installed on my own, so the idea of cutting down the steerer tube and properly driving the star fangled nut sounded very sketchy. I looked online for instructions and purchased the necessary tools – a hacksaw blade guide, star fangled nut driver and a fresh hacksaw blade. The installation can be done with a pipe cutter, dowel, and mallet, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to invest in the proper tools to last into the future. The X-Tools saw guide and nut driver turned out to be highly effective for a reasonable price; I highly recommend them. The cut on the steerer tube was perfectly clean and the star nut drove into the proper depth with minimal hassle. The installation of the MRP ramp control cartridge was a breeze.

Fox Shox 36 fork

The Ride

Unlike the X2 shock vs. the stock shock, the new fork rides very similarly to the Float Performance 36 FIT GRIP fork it replaced. I would not say the new fork has transformed the ride as the new shock has, but it has enhanced it somewhat. The GRIP2 damper allows for more adjustability than the FIT GRIP damper. Adding low-speed compression damping has allowed me to run the new fork at slightly lower pressure, making it more supple off the top for small bumps without sacrificing midstroke support. I did not expect the Kashima stanchion coat to make any difference in the feel, but I do notice a slight reduction in friction. I plan to use the two forks interchangeably when the other is in for service and may install a GRIP2 damper to replace the FIT GRIP in the stock fork.

Final Thoughts on the Fox 36 Fork

I must say that although the level of adjustability of both the fork maximizes freedom, it is fairly intimidating and confusing. For example, I am still working to understand the difference between volume spacer/ramp control progression and high speed compression damping, and the interplay between rebound damping and its corresponding compression damping setting. I anticipate it will take me some time to get the settings all figured out, but I am sure I will have a blast doing it. I highly recommend that anyone looking for a bit more out of their suspension make the financial commitment an take the plunge into dialing in settings on Fox Float Factory suspension components.

Shop Fox 36 fork

May 24, 2020

36 › Float X2 › Fox › Rear Shock › Rider Review › Suspension ›

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