Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fox Fork F29 - first impressions

First, the color really does not match my dos niner, but then again I admire function over form. I was hoping to review the Fox fork and how it differed from my Reba, but a mechanical changed this a bit.

On our weekly Wednesday night ride, I ran over some punji stick that punctured my rear tire but good. Why when people snip small saplings do they leave a perfectly shaped spear-like remnant? Anyway, my rear tire was punctured by this evil object, leaving a gaping hole. Besides the sloppy work of putting a tube in to a tubeless tire, I was now in need of new tires. I really didn't want to buy new tires when my new fork was installed, as I wanted to test the fork with as few variables changed as possible.

So anyway, forced to buy new tires. Ended up with Kenda Nevegals, they went on easily with the Stans sealant. Mark the master mechanic put on my fork, and I was ready for a test ride.

Went for a ride at North Park. I probably rode about 20 miles in 2.5 hours, on all of the trials that I've ridden for years. I wanted to see how the bike reacted to familiar trails. So instead of reviewing the fork, I ended up reviewing the fork and the new tires.

First impression: awesome. The tires gripped great, even with (dry) leaves covering the trails. Cornering was really good, I was able to stay off the brakes more than ever.

I think not only did the tires help in the cornering, but I felt as if I had very little to no brake diving from the fork. The fork will still need to be tweaked a bit until I'm completely satisfied (rebound seems fast and not exactly sure about the compression), but overall the fork is set up pretty nice. The improvement in lateral stiffness was obvious as I rode over the rocky sections. Unlike the Reba, I came out of the rocks pointed in the direction I intended. The extra travel was very noticeable (I went from 80 mm Reba to the 100 mm Fox) and seemed much more plush.

But as always, I often wonder, is it the new fork or the mental game that I play with myself. The confidence that I gain with new equipment may be the only real difference, I'm never sure.

What I didn't like. I really wish Fox would have made a remote lockout for the 29er version of this fork. Hopefully they will have one to add on next year. I really don't like having to reach down to lock out the fork. And while I move the lever, I often accidentally move the compression dial which is located beneath it. But these are small problems in the big picture. In return I get a better, stiffer ride, and yet more plush.

The real test will be how it handles the motorcyle trails of the Punk Enduro on December 14. If you're in the Pittsburgh area and have never done a Punk Enduro, well, you need to. And really the weather can only be better than last year (all, and I mean all, day rain, argh).

1 comment:

  1. Stiffer fork good, my Reba's got a lot slop in it. Something I've noticed in general is a little sloppiness in your bike has a huge impact on how accurate your bike is going to track. I've got a little play in my rear wheel, the bearings need repacked, and the last couple of rides I was really surprised the impact it had on keeping the bike on the line I want it to, especially when you get onto the off camber stuff.