By Josh Patterson
Fox is introducing two changes for 2012: one that makes their suspension forks even smoother, and one that makes their shocks more adjustable.
Up front, Fox forks will be using new low friction wiper seals manufactured by SKF. Aftermarket seals are now available to for your fork.
The kit includes SKF low friction wipers seals, foam rings, O-rings and crush washer. The kit is available for 32, 34, 36 and 40 series forks. Retail is $25 for 32mm forks, $30 for 34 and 36mm forks, and $35 for 40mm forks.
Swapping out seals is an easy process but the SKF seal installation differes from the standard process by requiring the wipers to be lubricated both inside and out before being seated with a special driver tool. The driver tool is specific to each seal diameter and retails for $35, or $140 for the 32-40mm driver kit.
In back, Fox is now giving riders the ability to tune their own shocks.
Why would a rider want to do this? Air shocks are very adjustable, but some riders fall outside of the bell curve that most stock shocks are tuned for. Clydesdales in particular stand to benefit from this aftermarket adjustment. Riding style or local terrain can also necessitate changes to the stock spring rate.
To change the spring rate of an air-sprung shock one must increase or decrease the volume of the air chamber. Increasing the air volume will result in a more linear spring rate. Conversely, decreasing the volume of the air chamber will result in a more progressive spring rate., the shock will “ramp-up” quicker.
The $25 Air Spring Volume Tuning Tit includes three spacers which decrease the volume of the air chamber by .2 .4 and .6 cubic inches. Installation is straightforward, and can be done with the shock still mounted on the bike. With all the air pressure released from the shock, unscrew the air sleeve from the shock body and snap spacer onto the air canister’s shaft.
Safety note: There are combinations of air spacers and shock volumes Fox does not recommend due to the resulting compression ratios being either too high, or too low for safe riding. Visit Fox Racing Shox’s service website before making these adjustments.
Service instructions for seal installation and air volume adjustments can be found online.