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 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;
- Fox 40 – 203mm Travel, Downhill
- Fox 38 – 160-180mm Travel, Enduro
- Fox 36 – 150-160mm Travel, All Mountain
- Fox 34 – 130-140mm Travel, Trail
- Fox 34 SC – 100-120mm Travel, XC & Lightweight Trail
- Fox 32 SC – 100mm Travel, XC Race
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.
2022 Fox 34 Float – The key details
- Brand new chassis for 2022
- Available with 130mm or 140mm travel
- 29in wheels only
- Around 100g lighter than previous 34 Float
- New lower leg bypass channels to increase air volume and improve oil bath circulation
- Three damper options: GRIP, GRIP2 & FIT4
- Available with Kabolt or QR axle options
- Designed for 180-203mm rotors
- Fits up to a 2.6in wide tyre
- Claimed weight | 1,738g (Factory Series, FIT4 Damper)
- RRP | $1,265 AUD (Performance Series) – $1,689 AUD (Factory Series)
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 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!