Recently while up at Whistler, we’ve had our first few laps on the new Fox Float X2. This shock is Fox’s first successful attempt at a worthy air sprung shock that can not only handle the rigors of top level Downhill racing but also out perform its coil sprung counterparts on many setups. Ask Aaron Gwin, Sam Blenkinsop or Brendan Fairclough. They all prefer this air sprung version to the coil sprung DHX2, but keep in mind – kinematics, leverage curves and axle paths are all different on various bikes. With that in mind, the Float X2 seems to work for them on their respective setups. In fact, Aaron Gwin just won the last race of the year at Val Di Sole as well as the overall title aboard this unit all year.
It’s quite big – some of that is exaggerated by the fact that we’re running the largest/longest shock size out there – 10.5″ X 3.5″. The best part about bigger shocks is that they usually offer a lower leverage rate, thus offering a broader range of tuning and the ability to run at cooler temperatures.
A massive high volume air can and 4 way adjustability. Low and High speed compression and rebound with a broad usable range are easily accessible externally via 3mm & 6mm allen keys respectively.
Top : volume reducers for the positive air chamber. Bottom : Right to left, how to open up the air spring and add reducers. Deflate the pressure all the way, twist the air sleeve and pull it off carefully. To reinstall, just go in reverse but mind the two seals – make sure they’re in line. On the far right pic, notice the notch near the eyelet? That keys into a nub on the air sleeve so you know you’ve lined it up right and it’s time to twist it and lock it up. Genius.
More details. It’s early on and we’ve got a few more months of hammering on this unit before we can go into full detail, but so far it’s buttery smooth and we’ve been loving it. We started out with 8 volume reducers and have worked our way to up 11. IT GOES TO ELEVEN!(shameless spinal tap reference). We thought that seemed like a lot, but Neku Mulaly and Brendog are also using 11 or so as well. Additionally, the Gambler is a relatively linear bike so we found it necessary to add all of those spacers to provide more ramp at the end of the stroke. That also gives you a good frame of reference for just how much volume the air chamber has and how much usable range in spring curve tuning the shock allows. We’ll keep you posted on our long term musings down the line. Also, check back shortly for our interview with Bill Brown – the Fox suspension engineer who helped bring the Float X2 to fruition. Bill discusses the X2’s 3 year development history as well as how easy it is for users to custom tune the Rod Valve System as the main piston at home via some sneaky features built into the shock.
Here is a video explanation of Fox’s new Rod Valve System.