FOX FACTORY SERIES 32 FLOAT FORK
WHEN I FIRST started planning my bike build, based around a New Old Stock (NOS) 2010 Rocky Mountain Blizzard frame, there were a few obstacles. One was that, not only was I – shock, gasp! – building a 26-inch-wheeled bike, now viewed by ‘the industry and its new-order of 27.5 and 29ers’ as passé, but I had to source a positively ancient 26-inch straight-steerer fork, which have been superseded near-totally by tapered-steerer forks.
This led to a fair bit of research, with a pleasant outcome: FOX had the exact fork with the exact travel (120mm) that I was after, and it was available with the company’s FIT4 (the short version of FOX Isolated Technology, now in its fourth generation of development). You can get it in 9mm QR front axle, or 15QR.
So, what is FIT4? It is a closed-cartridge system that allows riders to adjust the fork’s performance via three damping settings – Open, Medium and Firm. The Factory Series, which is what I have fitted to the Blizzard, offers low-speed compression adjustment (in Open mode only) over 22 clicks, providing oodles of fine-tuning, as well as Kashima-coated stanchions. For this 2017 model, the company tweaked the tune of the FIT4 damper for more small-bump sensitivity while maintaining support deeper in the travel when braking hard, so as not to induce diving of the fork. And it works; the low-speed damping definitely feels like it smoothes out the trail ‘chatter’ and movement of the tyre when riding over small rocks, loose gravel, twigs, etc., which has the added effect of upping traction. Big-hit performance seems fine as well; the Blizzard is an XC/Trail rig so I am not dropping off six-foot ledges, but a few smaller jumps and drops have not seen any uncomfortable fork diving.
By fitting this new-tech fork, have gained brilliant suspension performance that complements the Blizzard’s sweet steel frame.