Welcome to the all-new 2016 Fox 34
After a couple of quiet years being overshadowed by other players in the suspension market, Fox is back in true form with their revamped 2016 lineup. In 2015, Fox gave their 36-series suspension forks a number of improvements that trickled down from the RAD (Racing Application Development) program. Now for 2016, the 34-series gets the same treatment with a number of notable improvements including the all new high flow FIT4 damper, stiffened chassis, and overall weight reduction. The FIT4 damper is the biggest change, so read on to see what's new.
3-Position FIT4 Damper
The all new FIT4 damper is somewhat similar to the Fox's previous CTD system, but it has been reworked in several ways. Fox has ditched the Climb/Trail/Descend nomenclature, and opted for Open/Medium/Firm which correlate to the three main compression settings offered on forks using the FIT4 damper. In the open position, the fork's oil flow is maximized, providing a very plush and responsive feel overall. The medium position stiffens the initial compression, allowing the fork to ride slightly higher in it's travel, reducing pedal bob/feedback. The firm setting will be increase initial compression resistance even more, and will offer the firmest ride of the three settings. Naturally, the open setting is intended for downhill trail sections, the medium setting is intended for primarily flat trail sections, and the firm setting is intended for climbing. In the open mode, the FIT4 damper offers 22 clicks of low speed compression, though it does lack the externally adjustable high speed compression that the RC2 damper offers. Why offer such a range of compression adjustment in the open setting when you could just flip the knob to the medium setting? Good question. The medium setting is intended for a quick on-the-fly switch to a firmer platform. On the inside of the fork, the medium setting, the fork has to push through a shim stack ever time it is compressed, which results in slightly harsher small bump performance. The open setting however does not utilize that shim stack, resulting in unadulterated performance - so it makes sense to give those extra 22 clicks of compression adjustability in this setting, as that is where you'll likely be spending the most time when riding. The FIT4 damper also includes some other notable changes and improvements over the previous CTD damper. Fox's CTD system was met with a fair bit of criticism from riders and media, and folks primarily complained that the CTD forks were overdamped, somewhat unresponsive, and wallowed in their travel too much in the Descend/Open setting. Meanwhile all the forks using the RC2 damper were generally very well received, and didn't suffer from these issues. So it comes as no surprise that the new FIT4 damper borrows much of it's technology from the RC2 damper. The FIT4 utilizes a 10mm shaft and seal head design that increases oil flow to the base valve, same as what's used on Fox's 36 and 40-series forks. Fox also increased flow through the rebound circuit for faster recovery from hard hits. With the increased oil flow throughout the entire damper, as well as improvements to inner seal heads, the new FIT4 forks will be very plush and responsive in the open setting.
Fox managed to shave a fair bit of weight from the 2016 34 Float 27.5" - about half pound lighter than last year's model for that matter. Since the entire 34 chassis is completely new, it allowed Fox to shave grams from every part of the fork. The resulting weight is 3.85 lbs for the 160mm travel version, which is quite impressive - and nearly a half pound lighter than the competing Rock Shox Pike. As with all Factory Series Fox forks, the 34 Float utilizes Fox's famous Kashima buttery smooth coating on the stanchions. This fork is backed by Fox's limited 1-year warranty.