News | FOX Factory Series 34 and FLOAT DPS Shock
For a few years, FOX lost some ground to Rockshox, especially in the trail/enduro market. With the new 36, they made an impressive recovery. Its outstanding damping, weight and rigidity have made it a top contender. So good that it was stepping on the toes of the 34, offering better performance with only a marginal weight difference. It seems they are taking that same approach to weight saving and performance, and applying it to the new Factory Series 34 Fork and FLOAT DPS shock:
34 FLOAT Fork
The FOX 34 remains in the same middle ground between the 32 and 36 (referring to the diameters of the stanchions). It covers a wide range of travel – from 120 to 160 mm. The difference is the entirely new damper, chassis and air spring giving it improved stiffness and performance to weight ratio.
At 1,746 g in 27.5″ 160 mm and 1,769 g for the 29″ 140 mm model, FOX have saved well over 200 g from the 2015 versions. This places the 34 in a competitive position balancing weight and performance for aggressive trail riding.
The CTD damping cartridge is replaced with a seemingly similar one with significantly different function. The 4th generation FIT damper still has a 3 position lever or remote with open, medium and firm. Riders are no able to fine tune the open position with 22 clicks of low-speed compression adjustment. The rebound characteristics are improved with a dual circuit chamber, allowing for more controlled return from hard hits and quicker recovery from successive impacts.
The new air spring is is where much of the weight saving happened (125 g). The performance improvement should be similar to the new 36, with much better sensitivity and vibration reduction at the handlebar. There are also optional air spacers which significantly increase the progression towards the end of the stroke, aiding bottom-out resistance.
FLOAT DPS Shock
FOX FLOAT DPS shocks feature a dual piston valve design, separating the firm from the medium and open modes. That provides full lockout without compromising ride control and efficiency, something lacking in the “firm” CTD position, which was criticized for being to soft. Just like the fork, it is now possible to fine-tune the open compression damping.
After testing new air chambers and dampers for a few seasons on the World-Cup Downhill circuit, FOX have revealed the EVOL high-volume negative air chamber, which will provide a much more linear spring curve and better damping characteristics. It will require less force to initiate the travel, resulting in a smoother ride and better grip. Mid-travel, the “spring rate” will increase, which should keep the shock from rushing though its stroke.
The updated technology definitely looks promising and serves as a much needed upgrade to the current 34. Common complaints were that it rushed into its travel and didn’t have enough compression adjustment outside of the pre-set CTD points, including the too-soft climb setting. It looks like FOX listened to that feedback and created exactly what user’s are looking for, we’ll be back with a review soon!
Text: Tyler Malcomson | Photos: FOX Press Release