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.
The Fox 36 is one of the most recognizable forks on the market and is arguably one of the best all-mountain forks available. Check out what our friend Jaco has to say about his experience with the Fox 36 featuring the GRIP2 damper.
If you are looking at buying a fork mid-way through its release cycle you are getting a great deal, or you are living in the southern hemisphere like me and summer is upon you! You also have most certainly read all the reviews and you might have a riding buddy with a shiny Fox 36 fork, or you might have ridden one yourself.
You are probably aware of the reports of the slightly confusing HSC adjusters with 30+ clicks. With Worldwide Cyclery’s no-frills return policy, I could order 2 different forks, to let me pick a “good one”, or just ease my OCD. I ordered and received 2 forks in September, which were both manufactured a week apart in early July, not too long after the media release in early April.
One of the forks had 30 clicks HSC, and the other fork had around 20 clicks. The fork with 30 clicks also had a “notchy-ness” when cycling the suspension through its stroke. I returned the version with 30-clicks, with the refund promptly processed.
I came off a 2017 Fox 36 RC2. The 2017 version was known for its composure at speed while charging through rock gardens, but with a renowned harshness over the small stuff. On that fork, I fitted he MRP dual-chamber and the Ramp control, which actually made it worse. I settled on a larger negative chamber modification, similar to one after-market modification with a German name. The fork was better, but still missed that well-rounded performance I was looking for.
As you know, Fox redesigned the air shaft in 2018 with a larger negative chamber, and the way air equalized between the chambers, but the RC2 damper stayed put. For 2019, the major news was the GRIP2 damper with a high-speed rebound adjustment, much like the X2 shock of recent years.
Compared to my 2017 fork, 2019 has much-reduced harshness over the small bumps, and mid-stroke support not present on my 2017. My Yeti SB6 sits higher in the travel, and this is especially evident in the corners. The increased mid-stroke combines well with the initial stroke and gives the fork a more linear response, akin to a coil. Compared to the 2017 RC2 fork, the change in a few adjustment clicks is more distinguishable.
As far HSC clicks go, the correct spec is a range of 16 clicks from full counter-clockwise (closed). However, on many forks (including mine) finding the fully closed position is not completely straightforward, as the dial doesn’t come to a sudden stop, it just stiffens up. The Fox documentation confirms this “soft” stop: “FOX recommends turning adjusters fully clockwise until they come to a gentle stop (approximately 0.2 Nm torque) then turning counter-clockwise to the recommended setting.” *
All and all, the fork feels more intuitive, as if it dissipates the “bad” energy retains the energy needed to pop out of a corner. My hands hurt way less after those five to ten-minute rock-strewn downhills, and I want more!