Wednesday, September 21

The Fox Stepcastki

The Fox 32 SC.  I received mine at the end of July (ordered back in April tho), so almost two months of time riding around with it mounted to the front part of my bike... aside from that week in Durango riding the other bike with a Pike.  I've got 250-300 miles on it, what with the Shenandoah 100, the Fool's Gold 60, SSUSA, a couple rides in the Pisgah mountains and a handful of local jaunts.  Enough to have, like, an opinion, man.

So, I get the fjork and mount it up and take a few stabs at getting the settings right.  A few rides in and either I'm way wrong or this thing sucks bowling balls.  Some local rides and a sketchball trip to the mountains, all tainted with an ill-performing component.  I take a moment and ponder the situation in a pontifical manner... because it certainly can't be me.

The fjork came with a manual, but I'm so used to this extra piece of packing material being pretty much useless, it didn't matter to me.  They were talking, but I'm sorry.  I wasn't listening.

Eventually desperation sunk in, and lo and behold once I turned past page three, the information washed over me like a tsunami of knowledge gleefully crashing into the shores of my gray matter.

Adjustments to make.  Almost max-out the rebound damping, jack up the Open Mode Adjust, remove all the clip-on volume spacers, and head back to the mountains once more.  Did it work?

I tripped on a cloud and fell eight miles high.  The fjork is an absolute dream, without all the bowling pins and upskirts.  I'm almost as comfy cozy descending with the Step Cast 32 on my Vertigo Meatplow V.7 as I am with my slacker By:Stickel Meatplow V.6 with a 120mm Pike.  As far as stiffness goes, I'm not noticing a lack of it at all.  This thing is pretty point and shoot like a 110 camera.  I'm not even running the Boost version of the fjork.  Argue against it all you want, but with only 100mm of travel, I feel like the 32mm stanchions are plenty... at least for a 130-135lb rider (which sadly, I am right now).  Never once did I feel like I was riding a "wet noodle."

The three different compression adjustments?

Firm.  Maximum damping.

Did what it's supposed to do, pretty much locked the fork out entirely.  I thought I'd do all my extended climbing in this mode, but that chunder-fuck mess climb at the Fool's Gold 60 and the Ardent 2.2 at 21PSI had me reaching down for...


I'd pretty much written this setting off as pointless.  The fork did so well on regular trail rides in the open position on everything but the extended climbs, it seemed silly... until the chunder-fuck climb.  Firm was too firm and the fjork was bobbing quite a bit with all the effort I was putting in trying to get over the lumpy stuff in the open mode.  Medium was the Momma Bear it needed to be.

And that open mode?

Perfect.  This thing can rally.  Not necessarily bottomless, but about as bottomless as a 100mm fork can feel.  Hell, I've still probably got about 8mm of unused travel, so either I continue to get fatter or I can probably let a few PSI out before I find absolute perfection.

The downsides?

Since I was running front suspension and no longer needed the volume of the 2.4 Ardent to make the rigid crabon frok tolerable, I dropped down to a 2.2 Ardent Race.  While it felt fast as shit on flats and climbs of most (but not all) sorts, I just didn't have the same confidence on the downhills when things got loose.  Sure, I was probably going faster than I'm used to when riding rigid, certainly adding to the excite, but mang... things got pear-shaped and sideways more than a few times on me.

Full disclosure:  I had moved the slightly-worn Ardent Race 2.2 that had been on the back of the bike since April to the front.  And the rear tire?  I used the pretty much worn-out Ardent Race 2.2 I ran all last year.  Brilliant, I know.

Final words?

I still love riding a rigid bike. Not all the time, but if I had to choose between rigid and sqaushed? Still rigid.  That said, I like trying different things sometimes (like gears every 2-3 years).  I've been somewhat disappoint with almost every 100mm fork I've purchased since... I dunno.  2010?  This one did not disappoint.  I don't know when exactly I'll use it, what the impetus will be that will sway my decision, or why actual "performance" will probably have very little to do with my selection.  Whim, fancy, laziness and peer pressure will end up being the deciding factors, with laziness coming in a strong first place, peer pressure a close second.

Like right now, just as I was ready to go back to rigid and plusser tires but thinking about racing in three and a half weeks and not wanting to do it on plusser tires and the easiest thing being just leave things the way they are despite doing things the way I might want to do them... assuming there's not a rainy Sunday between now and then, in which case bored beats lazy every time.

I like this fjork.  My apologies to whomever put dibs on it as soon as I said I was going to buy one.  I like it enough to put it aside when not in use and keep it around until... I dunno.  Whenever.

But I'm not getting rid any time soon for sure, which means that I guess it gets my Seal of Semi-Approval.

I simply can't say it any better than has already been said (my apologies for the non-Lebowski content):

This is much, if not all, the buenos.


Anonymous said...

Just dropped in to see what condition your condition was in. Wednesday post a cause for concern, or just working through the constipated remnants left over from a week or so of not blerghing? Sounds like the fjork abides...

wvustew said...

And the award for bestest ever use of gifs in a blog post...

Rob said...

Lebowskis has the best Beef on Weck in CLT.

G Matt said...

why do you have all of the lucky numbers upside down in that last pic?

dicky said...

It's the rule.

Anonymous said...

The goldilocks fjork?