It's been tested, it's been raced, it's been photographed and leaked, but finally we get to talk about the new Fox 38 fork for model year 2021. If you know about the Fox suspension fork lineup, you could guess by the name alone that this fork rocks new 38mm upper stanchion tubes to beef up what a single crown fork is capable of doing. Made for the long travel enduro and freeride bikes that are getting more and more popular, the Fox 38 fork will be seen on many EWS racers’ bikes, as well as some freeride bikes I imagine. Having taken 3rd place at the final round of the 2019 EWS as well as winning the EWS Trophy of Nations under Richie Rude, it's safe to say this fork can handle quite the beating and is made to go fast. Another cool feature is that Fox made a new fender that will now bolt onto the lowers, so not only does it look good but you can get rid of your current fender with zip ties. Oh, and there is a new color as well...
From Left to Right: Fox 38 Factory in Pistachio, Fox 38 Factory in Shiny Orange, Fox 38 Factory in Black, Fox 38 Performance
Yeti Factory Rider Richie Rude Riding the Fox 38 Factory in Shiny Orange
There are so many new features on the Fox Shox 38 fork, so buckle up because we have a lot to cover.
First, of course, is the larger diameter upper stanchion tubes. Previously, Fox forks either had a Fox 36 option that covered the enduro range of bikes or you bumped up to the dual crown Fox 40 with 40mm diameter upper stanchions. Now the 38 slides right between those two and can offer a stiffer chassis with increased control for the hardest hitting riders out there.
Fox also completely redesigned the lowers which feature lower leg bleeders similar to what we have seen on the big brother Fox 40 for the past few years.
Additionally, the arch has been designed to create more front end clearance on frames with large head tubes that might have had some close calls at full bottom out. Still staying on the lowers, the axle design takes a new approach with Fox’s floating axle. This uses a bushing in the drive side lower dropout to help reduce the amount of binding on the lowers when tightening in the front wheel. This should help improve installation and wheel alignment as well as keep the bushings inside the fork running smoothly without any side load or pinching as the uppers travel down in the lowers.
From Left to Right: Updated Fox Grip2 Damper, Fox new lower leg bleed ports, Fox new floating axle design with pinch bolt
The GRIP2 damper also received a few updates to make that damper perform even better. The GRIP2 gets some updates to the Variable Valve Control, or VVC for short, which in part is what is responsible for having two independent rebound adjustments, both low and high speeds. The VVC is responsible for the high-speed compression and uses a very untraditional way of making that happen. By having the high speed rebound run on both shim stacks as well as some leaf springs, Fox is able to change the high speed rebound with an external adjustment and get the needed range of 8 clicks to make all riders happy. High speed rebound is incredibly important for forks of this nature, as it not only helps them ride higher in the travel but also stay composed over repetitive hits, keeping you in control and the confidence high. The GRIP2 damper gets 16 clicks of low-speed rebound and 8 clicks of high-speed rebound.
The new Fox 38 Factory in the extremely limited Pistacio colorway. This fork is part of the Heritage collection and once these forks are gone, their gone!
Some of the final new details of the Fox 38 are going to be what most people are drooling over, a new color, as well as a bolt-on fender option, both of which are pleasing to the eye. First, the new color for the Fox 38 is Gloss Pistachio. It has a subdued green, almost creamy avocado, look to it. The color makes a statement and will look equally as good on a blacked-out bike as a statement color on your flashy bike to make it just that much more unique, as well as hold some cool factor with the color being a limited option. The fork will also be available in the classic Black and the Shiny Orange that all the other Fox forks are also available in. Lastly, the new bolt-on fender uses two small screw taps on the back of the arch as well as bolting onto the two bleed ports on the lowers. The fender gets a bit more coverage to help keep the muck and grit out of your face and as well as off the stanchions of the fork, keeping the performance high even in the worst of conditions.
Fox new mud guard fender options, bolts into threads on the back of the arch and the lower bleed ports
Richie Rude doing what he does best on the Fox 38 Factory Fork
What would you expect this fork to ride like? Or why would you think you need this fork to upgrade on your bike?
Well to start, if you are pushing the limits of what can be ridden on an enduro bike, then this fork was literally made for you. That means if you are riding your enduro bike down trails that maybe were ridden on full DH rigs just a few years ago, you are probably one of these riders.
Another reason would be the size. If you are on the upper side of the hundreds or in the 200 lbs range, then you might want that extra stiffness that comes from the Fox 38. The fork is 31% stiffer in transverse shear, 9% stiffer fore/aft, and 20% torsionally stiffer than the 36, and the Fox 36 was already a pretty stiff fork option. I hear a lot of people ask why there aren't parts designed for the big boys? Well, here you go, throw what you got at this fork, I doubt it will care. I would expect the Fox 38 to ride like a dream when you get in the 170 and 180mm travel range.
With the improvements to the chassis and the upgrades to the damper, Fox has taken a top-performing fork with the Fox 36 Factory and taken that up at least two levels. The Fox 38 will be a great upgrade to your long-travel enduro rig as well as the new color and optional fender will make you look good while riding well.