Fox 34 Float On Test | Fox completely overhauls its lightweight trail fork for 2022

The Fox 34 Float has been totally revamped for 2022, with a brand new chassis that brings much of the styling and technology down from the big-hitting 36, 38 and 40 forks. As the premium trail fork from Fox Racing Shox, the new 34 is claimed to be around 100g lighter than before, while actually promising to be stiffer, smoother, and more tunable too.

To see how the new 34 performs on the trail, Fox sent us the all-singing Factory Series model, complete with the hugely adjustable GRIP2 damper, which Mick has promptly fitted to his Santa Cruz Tallboy in place of a RockShox Pike Ultimate. Before we go any further though, let’s take a closer look at where the new 34 Float fits into the Fox 2022 lineup.

fox 34 float grip2 factory series fork
Forks of the past with the fork of the future – the new 2022 Fox 34 Float has arrived in the workshop!

Fox reshuffles fork lineup for 2022

With the introduction of the huge 38 last year, Fox has used the opportunity to reshuffle its entire fork lineup. The focus has been narrowed to hone in the performance for more specific riding intentions, and no longer does each fork doesn’t have to cover as wide a range of travel as they have in the past. Here’s how the fork lineup looks for 2022;

What’s new with the Fox 34 Float?

As part of that refocussing process, the Fox 34 Float is now exclusively a 29er trail fork with 130mm or 140mm of travel. Whereas Fox used to offer the 34 with up to 160mm of travel (!), that’s now the domain of the Fox 36 and 38. Instead, the 34 is purpose-built for hard-charging, short travel trail rippers like the Santa Cruz Tallboy, Specialized Stumpjumper, and Pivot Trail 429.

Much of the fork is entirely new, and is claimed to be around 100g lighter than before. In its lightest configuration, you’re looking at a 1,738g claimed weight. Despite the extra weight however, Fox reckons the new chassis is stiffer too.

The new magnesium lowers also receive the lower leg bypass channels, just like the latest 36 and 38. These channels allow the bath oil to better lubricate the bushings, which in theory will result in smoother performance and reduced wear over time. These channels also increase the total air volume inside the fork lowers – something that Fox says reduces the unintended progression that can occur when the fork compresses.

fox 34 float grip2 factory series fork
The 34 borrows design cues from the latest 36 and 38, and manages to shave some weight in the process.

2022 Fox 34 Float – The key details

Testing the Fox 34 Float GRIP2 Factory Series fork

We’ve got our hands on the very top-end Fox 34 Float GRIP2 fork, which is setup with 130mm of travel for Mick’s Santa Cruz Tallboy. Confirmed weight for our test fork is 1,780g with a chopped steerer tube and the Kabolt axle.

Of note is that the GRIP2 damper is a little heavier than the FIT4 damper due to the higher oil volume. However, you do get more adjustability with independent control of high and low-speed compression, and high and low-speed rebound damping. These adjusters are built on Fox’s patented Variable Valve Control (VVC), which manipulates the physical resistance of the shims to improve damping consistency throughout the adjustment range.

Nice to see is the direct-mount brake tabs when pairing the 34 Float to a 180mm rotor, which gives it a clean look. The crown is also significantly bigger than before, and that’s to help blend the 34 more seamlessly with modern frames with chunky head and downtubes. There’s also heaps of clearance around a 2.4in Maxxis Dissector, and according to Fox you can fit up to a 2.6in wide tyre.

fox 34 float grip2 factory series fork
The RockShox Pike Ultimate and Fox 34 Float – the two biggest hitters of the trail fork world.

Fox 34 vs RockShox Pike

Previously Mick had a RockShox Pike Ultimate bolted into the front of his Tallboy, complete with the latest DebonAir C1 spring and Charger 2.1 RC2 damper. It’s the obvious competitor for the new 34 Float, with both forks targeting the aggressive trail bike market.

In direct comparison, the Pike is heavier at 1.86kg, also weighed with the same steerer tube length and a bolt-up Maxle. You get a touch more tyre clearance with the Pike, and the stanchions are slightly larger with a 35mm diameter. The Charger 2.1 RC2 damper also gets you adjustable high and low-speed compression damping, but only a single rebound adjuster (the Fox GRIP2 damper gives you high and low-speed rebound control).

The other difference worth mentioning is price. You can currently source the Pike Ultimate online for around $1,400 AUD, which is a good couple of hundred bucks cheaper than the Factory Series 34. The current Pike chassis has been in the market for a few years now though.

As to how the two forks compare directly on the trail? Mick will be hitting the dirt shortly with the new 34 Float to put it to the test. Stay tuned for the full review!

fox 34 float grip2 factory series fork
How does the 34 Float GRIP2 compare to the RockShox Pike Ultimate? Mick will be hitting the trails to find out!

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