FOX Racing Shox debuted their long awaited Downhill Fork at the Big Bear, California Norba Nationals. The latest addition to FOX’s Fork line is the Downhill Factory Edition, currently available to a select group of international racers. “We are going into an already mature product segment, just as we did when we introduced our current line of XC and Trail forks. From that experience we knew we had to be functionally differentiated in the Fork’s chassis performance, damping performance, adjustability, and packaging,” said Mario Galasso, V.P. of FOX’s Bicycle Division.
From its inception, the Downhill Fork was designed to provide the rider an extremely strong and lightweight fork with the extraordinary performance and durability that FOX Racing Shox products are known for. The oversized 40 mm upper tubes and huge lower legs give the Downhill Fork unparalleled stiffness due to its superior strength to weight ratio. The Internal Travel Spacer System allows the Fork to be internally adjustable from 8 to 6 inches in half-inch increments, allowing the rider to adjust the travel to the terrain requirements.
The internals are a coil/oil spring/damper system with externally adjustable spring preload, externally adjustable rebound damping, and externally adjustable compression damping. From its low axle to crown height, to its exceptional lock-to-lock turning radius, no detail was left untouched. The Fork has a stepped 20 mm thru-axle allowing the lower leg to settle into a lower friction point and a new DH disc brake mounting standard allowing the consumer to mount their caliper to the fork via normal XC mounting. “We worked with disc brake manufacturers to develop this new Downhill disc brake standard, which creates a lighter and stiffer way to mount up a caliper for DH rotor applications,” said Bill Becker, Senior Product Engineer of the Downhill Fork. Bill went on to say, “The consumer will use the already available XC mounting brackets (if needed).”
The racers on the FOX Factory Downhill Fork are: Jared Graves and Ross Milan of Team Yeti, Kyle Strait and Curtis Keene of Specialized, Marla Streb and Kathy Pruitt of The Luna Chix, Lisa Sher of Chumba Wumba and Melissa Buhl of KHS. This past weekend at Big Bear Jared Graves rode to 5th place in the downhill mania, while Marla and Kathy raced to 2nd and 4th respectively. “We had several test sessions with the riders prior to Big Bear, but you never know how things will go until the real racing begins. We’re very encouraged for the rest of the season after seeing this weekend’s results from a brand new design,” stated Mark Fitzsimmons, FOX’s Race Manager. During a test session Jared Graves commented, “I don’t need to adjust this fork anymore…I just want to keep riding and getting faster on it.” Marla said, “FOX engineers were on hand to check settings after our runs and they (FOX DH Fork) are awesome…for sure the best Fork I’ve ever ridden.”
The production version of FOX’s Downhill Fork will weigh sub 7 pounds and be available in late Fall 2004. Look for more details as the race season progresses.