First Ride -Fox DPX2 – twin tube air shock for aggressive trail bikes

The Float X was feeling a bit off the back these days. With the DH-worthy Float X2 holding down the gravity racing side of the spectrum, and the newish Float DPS supporting the XC side, the Float X was never a terrible shock, but it felt and looked outdated. It’s large size and barely-accessible rebound knob didn’t help it make any friends either. 

Enter the new DPX2. Taking the best parts of the DPS and X2 shocks, the DPX2 might be the Goldilocks shock for aggressive trail bikes. Obviously, it incorporates the EVOL extra-volume air spring, but hidden inside the shock is a twin-tube damper, allowing for independent compression and rebound circuits and much lower pressures in the damper. Low pressures = better small bump sensitivity = better mountain biking.

The control knobs are on either side of the shock, which makes them easy to reach and out of the way when removing bottles. There is a low-speed adjustment on all Factory lever shocks, 10 clicks with a 3mm hex wrench.

Here are some diagrams of how the damping works, click to make bigger:


Ride Impressions

I’ve been fortunate to still be riding the Pivot Switchblade I reviewed a few issues ago, and it seemed the perfect place to test out this new shock, especially since the 2018 Fox 36 had found a home on the front of the bike. The DPX2 replaced the stock DPS shock.

The new knob placement and shape are well thought out. The compression knob has just a slight bit of lever to work with, but it is plenty for its intended purpose and is low-profile enough to avoid snagging on shorts. Being able to change rebound setting while riding made it much easier to dial in settings as I was experimenting with air pressures. No need to stop and dig out a tool to make a few clicks of adjustment.

Open mode works as expected, and between the anti-squat of the Switchblade’s dw-link and the low-speed compression adjustment, I felt little need to switch to either Medium or Firm settings. But after some prodding from Fox to try them out, I was happily surprised to find the Medium setting to work very well at controlling unwanted movement from pedaling while still remaining active. It also seemed to control mid-stroke a bit better, something that is very important for a bike like the Switchblade that asks a shorter-travel rear (135 mm) to keep up with a longer-travel front (150 mm).

Firm setting now uses reed valves that have a much more effective “blow-off” threshold. Mostly this means it will be easier to deal with riding rough terrain with the shock in the wrong setting, but it might also help on mostly smooth climbs with a few rocks here and there.

The external reservoir has a lot of advantages. It increases oil volume and gets more of the oil out from under the insulating jacket of the air sleeve. This should keep heat dowm and performance will remain more consistent on long descents.

The shock also includes a pile of air spring spacers to tune progression. I’ve been riding with the second largest in the shock, and that feel just about right, although, with only one more size to go up, it might be a problem for bigger and/or more aggressive riders on this shock/bike combo to find the progression needed. More tuning time is needed before making the call on what spacer I’ll settle on.

Take Away

We are already seeing this shock show up on a lot of build kits for 2018. With more and more bikes being ridden on rougher terrain, the DPX2 is a needed shock that will hit the middle ground between the DPS and X2. It has enough adjustments to keep most riders happy, but not so many as to confuse or frustrate riders who aren’t so into fiddle with clickers and air pressure.

We only have pricing for the Factory level shock, which is $549. Hopefully, we’ll see some other less-expensive aftermarket options as well. Fox will make shocks to fit both imperial and metric sizing. Check out the rest of the goodness at the Fox website.