Well known in the motorsports world for producing top-tier dampers, Ohlins is still relatively unknown in the mountain bike world. They partnered with Cane Creek back in the days of the original Double Barrel, which you may recall was sporting Ohlins "Twin Tube" technology. This was one of the first rear shocks with fully separate tunable high/low speed compression and high/low speed rebound. More recently, Ohlins partnered with Specialized to produce suspension specifically for their bikes. Naturally, as mountain bikers caught on, they demanded suspension for other brands other than Specialized. While Ohlins is approaching the mountain bike market fairly tentatively, they do have a few standout suspension products available to the masses. One of those products is the RXF 34 fork, a lightweight mountain bike fork intended to compete with the likes of the Fox 34 and Rock Shox Pike.
The RXF 34 uses similar nomenclature to what we've seen from other suspension brands. As one would suspect, the RXF 34 is sporting 34mm stanchions, and is available in 120mm and 140mm travel options. Ohlins claims stiffness is on par with the Pike, even though the Pike uses wider 35mm stanchions. The gained stiffness on the RFX 34 is gained by using a one-piece crown/steertube unit. More on that later. Unlike offerings from Rock Shox and Fox, the travel on the RXF 34 cannot be internally adjusted with travel spacers, so you'll want to make sure to get the proper option for your bike. The fork features a twin tube design, enabling parallel and separated oil flow to ensure optimal pressure at all times. There are three air chambers, two positive and one negative. The two positive chambers allow you to fine-tune your compression curve without needing to add internal bottom-out spacers. The negative air chamber is internal and self-balancing. Controlling the pressure levels ensures initial smoothness and staying high in travel with maintained bump absorption, traction and stability. Low and high speed compression are externally adjustable, as well as low speed rebound.
Given the tune-ability of the RXF 34, and it's tendency to ride high in the travel while climbing, Ohlins did not see the need to add a lockout feature to this fork. If you find it to be too squishy for your liking on the climbs, you can quickly increase your low speed compression, which will provide a stiffer platform for climbing. One interesting feature of the RXF 34, which we touched on earlier, is a one-piece upper crown and steertube, all machined from aluminum, including the crown race interface. Typically the crown race is provided with your headset, so be sure you don't try to install the crown race that comes with your headset, as it simply will not fit. That said, it's important to note that certain headsets will not be compatible with this fork. The main contender that's not compatible is the Chris King Inset (all models), as they use a proprietary bearing that doesn't fit the integrated crown race. Most Cane Creek and FSA headset options will be compatible, as long as their lower bearing is 52mm external/40mm internal dimensions with a 45-degree angle where it seats onto the fork.
At this time, the RXF 34 is available with 15x100mm hub spacing - no Boost options are available yet for this model, but check out the RXF 36 if you're looking for an Ohlins fork with Boost spacing, as well as the ability to run 27.5"+ and 29" tires.