We’ve ridden a lot Fox 34 forks and Float CTD rear shocks and they’ve been reliable performers that just needed a few changes to really bring them to the next level. While you could send your suspension bits away for tweaking, it seems that Fox has been paying attention to what riders are after, and updated the Factory Series 34 Float fork and Float rear shock to make them more tunable for riders’ tastes.
Last year, the Fox 36 fork was updated with a self balancing air negative spring, a positive change for riders outside the range of the one-size-springs-all coil negative spring. For 2016 this change moves to the 34 chassis, a great move for riders that could never balance sag settings, small bump performance and bottom out control.
Fox’s FIT damper gets updated as well, and is now called FIT4, for fourth generation. It is still a sealed cartridge unit, but includes the 10 mm shock shaft from the well-loved RC2 damper in the 36. The larger shaft moves more oil through the damping valves, which in turn provides more ability to fine tune suspension action. A new dual circuit rebound valve should provide better follow up for repetitive hits and more control after big impacts.
The CTD (Climb, Trail, Descend) compression damping setting names are replaced with the more technically correct Open, Medium and Firm settings. Most hard charging riders on the previous 34 never used the Descend setting, or needed excessive air pressure to prevent brake dive. The new damper should be able to avoid this with a 22 position low speed compression adjustment for the Open setting.
The positive/negative air spring system is self adjusting, via a transfer port, a technology Fox first used on the the Float rear shock in 1999. Makes one wonder why it took until now to put in the Float fork. The main spring rate is easily tuned with air volume spacers to control bottom out and provide more mid-range support.
Strangely enough, most of this technology was revealed last week with the release of the 27plus specific 34 Float fork with Boost 110 front spacing, but few details were available for the new FIT4 damper and new air spring. The standard 34 retains its 15×100 axle.
DPS stands for Dual Piston System, which splits the compression circuit into two, one controlling the Firm setting (lockout) and the other for Open and Medium settings. Like the new FIT4 damper in the 34, the Open setting has adjustable low speed compression damping for fine tuning suspension feel.
The air can is new as well, and dubbed EVOL for extra volume. Rather than just cranking up the main spring size, the negative spring volume is increased in relation to the main spring. This decreases the force needed to get the shock moving, and increased the mid-stroke support to prevent the dreaded wallow.
Pricing and Availability
2016 FACTORY 34 FLOAT FIT4 fork – $875
2016 FACTORY FLOAT DPS shock – $450
Available May, 2015
We’ve got a matched set of fork and shock headed our way, stay tuned for first impressions, and a full review later this year.