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 36 fork, an aggressive mountain bike fork with it's sights set squarely on the likes of the Fox 36 and Rock Shox Lyrik.
Building on the success of it's little brother, the RXF 34, the RXF 36 uses similar nomenclature to what we've seen from other suspension brands. While the 34 is sporting 34mm stanchions, the 36 bumps it up to 36mm stanchions, along with a wider overall stance to support Boost hubs, as well as 29" and 27.5"+ tires. The RXF 36 is available in a wide range of travel options, including 120mm, 140mm, 150mm, and 160mm. Unlike offerings from Rock Shox and Fox, the travel on the RXF 36 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 36, 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 36 is an integrated crown race. The entire upper crown and steertube are one piece of machined 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.