2022 Fox 34 forks focus on downcountry

Fox’s brand-new 2022 34 and 34 Step-Cast (SC) forks receive a host of updates to make them lighter and stiffer with a focus on trail, downcountry and cross-country riding, with between 100mm and 140mm of travel.

Updates to the 34 and 34 SC include an all-new lower chassis with bypass channels, an “organic lower leg shape” with an all-new further-forward lower arch, and a 58mm diameter crown.

Prices start at £879 / $799 / €1,069 and rise to £1,119 / $1,089 / €1,459 for the new models.

2022 Fox 34 and Fox 34 SC details and specifications

Headlining the changes on the 2022 Fox 34 and 34 SC fork are its new lower legs, which have been painstakingly designed to be the lightest and stiffest iteration yet.

Redesigned stiffer and lighter lowers for the 2022 Fox 34 and Fox 34 SC forks

The new arch makes space for modern trail bike head tubes, according to Fox.Fox Suspension

The lower leg arch – that spans from one side of the fork to the other just above the tyre – has been redesigned to “optimize [the] critical ratio” of stiffness to weight, shaving as much material as possible while still remaining stiff and strong for the demands of “modern trail riding”. Computer modelling was used to create an “organic” lowers shape.

Furthermore, the 2022 34 and 34 SC’s arch has been designed to be more compatible with modern trail bike head tubes, which Fox claims have been increasing in diameter and when coupled with a trend for shorter offset forks combine to require more clearance. The lower arch now sits further forward compared to the old model to create this extra room.

The lowers also feature air and oil bypass channels shaped into the rear of the legs just beneath the seals. Fox claims the benefits are two-fold; one, oil is able to circulate more freely inside the lowers as the forks cycle through their travel, lubricating the bushings and foam o-rings; and two, the unintended consequence of pressure ramping is avoided.

2022 Fox 34 Factory mountain bike front suspension fork
The lowers have air and oil bypass channels to improve oil flow and reduce the chances of unintended pressure ramping.Fox Suspension

As the fork compresses, air pressure builds up inside the lowers, but by increasing the available space inside the forks – with the bypass channels – the potential issue of pressure ramping is mitigated against.

The crown’s diameter – where the steerer tube is bonded into the crown – is now 58mm

Increased negative air spring volumes feature on 2022 Fox 34 and Fox 34 SC forks

Elsewhere, the 2022 Fox 34 and Fox 34 SC air spring has been updated with an increased volume negative air chamber. This should help improve off-the-top sensitivity making the fork easier to compress in its initial travel and Fox also claims it will assist mid-stroke support.

The 34 SC fork gets an adjustable negative air spring where it’s possible to use a volume spacer to reduce its size to decrease sensitivity. Fox says running the volume spacer gives the 34 SC an XC race feel, while without it, it’ll feel plusher at the start of its travel.

To install the negative air spring volume spacer, the lower leg and air spring assembly must be removed, however the spacer simply clips into place.

Which dampers are available on the 2022 Fox 34 and Fox 34 SC forks?

2022 Fox 34 Factory mountain bike front suspension fork
Pictured is the FIT4 damper.Fox Suspension

The 2022 Fox 34 is available with Fox’s top-of-the-range GRIP2 damper, also available on the Fox 36, Fox 38 and Fox 40 forks. The damper features external high- and low-speed compression and rebound adjustments that are made possible with Fox’s Variable Valve Control (VVC) tech.

Next in the range and featuring on both the 2022 Fox 34 and Fox 34 SC is Fox’s FIT4 damper.

This has a three-position compression adjuster with open, medium and firm settings, but also features an open mode low-speed compression adjuster and low-speed rebound adjustment. The FIT4 damper is approximately 75g lighter than the GRIP2 version and is compatible with a remote adjuster.

The standard 34 and 34 SC are also available with Fox’s GRIP damper with a three-position compression adjuster featuring open, medium, and firm settings. It also has externally adjustable low-speed rebound.

How much travel do the new 2022 Fox 34 and Fox 34 SC have?

The 2022 Fox 34 SC fork is available with 100mm, 110mm and 120mm of travel. Forks with 120mm of travel do not come with the negative air spring volume spacer installed, but forks set at 100mm do. A 110mm travel air spring kit is available to buy separately.

The standard 2022 Fox 34 is available with between 120mm and 140mm travel.

How much do the 2022 Fox 34 and Fox 34 SC weigh?

2022 Fox 34 SC Factory mountain bike suspension fork
The Step-Cast version is the lightest 34.Fox Suspension

Fox is a little cryptic with its claimed weights. The 2022 Fox 34 is claimed to weigh from 1,698g – a full 108g lighter than its claimed weights for the old generation 29in 34 (1,790g).

The 2022 Fox 34 SC version is claimed to weigh from 1,496g, which is significantly lighter than the 1,623g claimed weight of the old 34 SC 29in-version fork.

2022 Fox 34 and Fox 34 SC configuration options

2022 Fox 34 Factory mountain bike front suspension fork
The new 34 has up to 140mm of travel.Fox Suspension

The 2022 Fox 34 is available in Factory, Performance Elite and Performance model ranges while the 34 SC is only available in Factory and Performance variants.

Both versions of the new 34 are only compatible with 29in wheels at present. It’s possible to spec either a 44mm or 51mm offset in all 100mm to 120mm (34 SC) and 120 to 140mm (34) travel options, although not all offsets are available in all model variants.

All models use a Boost 15×110mm axle, but only the Factory versions get the Kabolt axle, while the Performance Elite and Performance versions have a QR axle.

What’s missing from the 2022 Fox 34 and Fox 34 SC fork configurations?

Notably omitted from the new 2022 Fox 34 lineup is compatibility with 27.5in wheels.

All outgoing models of the 34 were 27.5in wheel compatible, so it’s a bold move. As I’ve been trying to prove with my Yeti SB 165 long-term test bike, 27.5in wheels aren’t dead in the water just yet.

Also not present on the 2022 34 series forks is Fox’s floating axle, seen on the new 36 and 38 forks. Fox says the shorter travel chassis of the 34 is less likely to suffer from chassis misalignment and therefore doesn’t need the floating axle.

Equally, air bleed ports located on the rear of the 36 and 38 forks are also missing. Fox says it decided to omit these from the 34 to keep the weight as low as possible and “encourage riders looking for this feature to move up to a 36”.

What type of riding are the 2022 Fox 34 and Fox 34 SC designed for?

By its own admission, Fox says the 2022 34 is designed to be fitted to lightweight trail bikes. Arguably, since the introduction of the Fox 38, the brand’s range of forks has been distorted slightly.

Previously the 36 was the heavy-hitting enduro-focused chassis, but the 38 dethroned it of that title and we’ve seen brands such as Devinci and Specialized fitting the 36 to their harder-hitting trail bikes.

It doesn’t look like the new 34 is trying to reset that trend, though, and I think we can expect to see the 34 specced on the lightest trail bikes around, while anything with slightly more burlier intentions is more likely to get a 36.

Hopefully the new 34 chassis addresses some of the criticisms the older model received for feeling quite flexy when ridden hard, like when it was fitted to the Marin Rift Zone Carbon 2, Specialized Stumpjumper Expert and Devinci Django Carbon 29 GX.

The 2022 34 SC fork looks like it’s a cross-country and downcountry model, and I think we can expect to see it specced on the lightest, highest-specced bikes from many manufacturers, such as Canyon and Orbea.

2022 Fox 34 and Fox 34 SC models and pricing

Prices start at £879 / $799 / €1,069 for the Fox 34 Performance and rise to £1,119 / $1,089 / €1,459 for the Fox 34 SC Factory fork. Across the two ranges, five models are available in total.

2022 Fox 34 Factory

2022 Fox 34 Factory mountain bike front suspension fork
2022 Fox 34 Factory.Fox SuspensionWheel size: 29inTravel: 130mm / 140mmOffset: 44mm / 51mmDamper: FIT4 three-position / GRIP2Axle: 15×110 QR / Kabolt 110Stanchion finish: KashimaClaimed weight: 1,698gPrice: £1,139 / $1,039 / €1,389 (GRIP2) / £1,059 / $969 / €1,289 (FIT4)

2022 Fox 34 Performance Elite

2022 Fox 34 Performance Elite mountain bike front suspension fork
2022 Fox 34 Performance Elite.Fox SuspensionWheel size: 29inTravel: 130mmOffset: 44mmDamper: FIT4 three-positionAxle: 15×110 QRStanchion finish: Black anodisedClaimed weight: 1,738gPrice: £959 / $869 / €1,159

2022 Fox 34 Performance

2022 Fox 34 Performance mountain bike front suspension fork
2022 Fox 34 Performance.Fox SuspensionWheel size: 29inTravel: 140mmOffset: 44mmDamper: GRIP three-positionAxle: 15×110 QRStanchion finish: Black anodisedClaimed weight: 1,800gPrice: £879 / $799 / €1,069

2022 Fox 34 SC Factory

2022 Fox 34 SC Factory mountain bike suspension fork
2022 Fox 34 SC Factory.Fox SuspensionWheel size: 29inTravel: 100mm / 120mmOffset: 44mm / 51mmDamper: FIT4 three-positionAxle: Kabolt 110Stanchion finish: KashimaClaimed weight: 1,496gPrice: £1,119 / $1,089 / €1,459

2022 Fox 34 SC Performance

2022 Fox 34 SC Performance mountain bike suspension fork
2022 Fox 34 SC Performance.Fox SuspensionWheel size: 29inTravel: 120mmOffset: 44mmDamper: GRIP three-positionAxle: 15×110 QRStanchion finish: Black anodisedClaimed weight: 1,560gPrice: £929 / $849 / €1,129

Did you miss our previous article…
https://bike-gizmos.com/?p=62

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *