Fox F-29 Fork: First Impressions

At the Big Wheeled Ballyhoo I was able to test ride a Fox F-29 fork for the first time. Since it has an offset mated to work with the Paragon’s geometry that it was mounted to, I’ll reserve comment on certain aspects of the handling. look for a report on the Paragon to follow which will include these points.

For this post, I want to focus in on the forks attributes that are not specifiaclly tied to the Paragon’s G2 geometry. Let’s take a short look here.

First you have the all white finish. I’m not against white for a fork; however, I’m not really sure I like the white crown yet. It’s perhaps something that will grow on me, or it looks 80’s cheesy, like painted stems. I’m not sure how that’s going to go for me yet. I think a nice clear annodized crown may have been a better choice here. Regardless of the crown, the rest of the fork looks very beefy and well done. The typical annodized aluminum knobs adorn the top of the right fork leg and the graphics are not too obtrusive.

Leaving the looks department, we get into the set up for this shock. I will say it was amazingly intuitive to figure it out. The demo mechanic did not have a proper manual, and did not know how to set up this 29″er fork for sure. (It might have proven easier if Fox would put a sticker on that showed a set up table like Rock Shox does) That said, the shock proved easy to figure out, and we played with the air spring just a bit before settling on a pressure of 85psi for my 240lbs weight. The lock out knob was easy to activate and seemed to work seamlessly. The rebound knob was easy to tweak with bare hands, but it might prove to be a fussier adjustment if you are wearing full finger gloves since the knob is a low profile affair.

Now it was time to ride. I usually ride a Reba SL fork when I use suspension up front, so that is my benchmark. I think the Fox is very close in feel when it comes to compression. Perhaps the Fox is a bit stiffer and not quite as “buttery” as a Reba, but again, I didn’t have a clue if I could change that by an adjustment. I liked the slightly stiffer feel anyway, so I’d probably leave it alone. The lock out worked as advertised, but I didn’t use it much at all. Out of the saddle grunts didn’t seem to cause too much bobbing, so I ran with it as it was.

Off camber trails highlighted the stiffness of this chassis. I can say it felt rock solid in that respect with no hint of flex in my mind. I felt very confident in this forks ability to track online, so I didn’t hesitate to attack roots and rocks strewn across my path. I think it was a bit less forgiving on the smallest trail chatter than a Reba, but again, that perhaps could be adjusted for if I’d have had the knowledge to do so.

Big hits were sucked up right off. Once in awhile I would hear a distinct hiss when the hit was more violent. I suppose the internal valving was working overtime right about then! Nothing seemed to upset this fork though, and I am impressed with my initial ride on it.

All in all a welcomed arrival on the 29″er scene. I remember just a few years ago when most of us 29″er freaks thought we’d never see the day when Fox would have “29” emblazoned on a model of theirs. Well, that day has come, and I say it’s a good thing!

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No Responses to “Fox F-29 Fork: First Impressions”

  1. the_Goat Says:

    any word yet on price and release date?

  2. Guitar Ted Says:

    the_Goat: I have not seen a MSRP on the F-29 yet, but I suspect it will be in the $600-$700 range. The fork should become available in the Fall. Fisher bikes with the 51mm offset G2 fork should be available after August sometime.

  3. beastie B Says:

    Damn, I wish I’d have held off on my Paragon purchase for a few months.

  4. bobway Says:

    Will the 51mm offset be available aftermarket or only on the Fisher bikes? I would like to buy the 51mm offset version…

  5. George Krpan Says:

    I hate painted stems too, 80’s cheesy, hee hee.
    Anodized fork crowns DO keep their looks longer.

  6. John Wm. Says:

    Guiter Ted: Who knew you were in the Big-Boy Club? Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention. It’s hard for me to translate ride characteristics when the review was done by someone 60, 80, or 100 lbs. lighter — it’s just not the same.

    P.S. Why knock a white fork? — the bike is baby blue. (Just Kidding).

  7. michael Says:

    Will the Cobia and X-Caliber hardtails have the same new G2 geometry frame as the Paragon?
    Also, what larger-offset forks will they be using, since the Fox fork is probably too expensive for them, especially for the Cobia?

  8. Guitar Ted Says:

    bobway: I believe it will be available as Fisher does not have an exclusive like they did when the Reba came out.

    George Krpan: Glad I tickled that funny bone for ya! πŸ™‚

    John Wm.: Not sure I’ve mentioned that I was a Clyde before. I’ll have to remember to stick that fact in from time to time. The baby blue and white is a bit feminine, but I will say it’s a welcome change from all that darkness we’ve suffered through the past ten years or so. Too much black! But now that you mention it, it reminds me of those old ramp bikes from the 80’s. Where’s my Kuwahara? πŸ™‚

    michael: Yes, the entire hardtail line will eventually be this new hydro formed frame, but I also wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Cobia carries over unchanged for a year. Spinner is making several versions of a 29″er fork and some are pretty low budget looking affairs. I’d not be surprised to see it done with maybe a 47mm offset if not 51mm. Also, RST already has a 43mm offset fork out, not as much as the G2, but certainly more than standard 38mm.

  9. George Krpan Says:

    I was wondering what the offset for the RST was. Looks like it’s a ‘tweener.
    Might be just the thing if you want to spice up the handling of your first wave 29er JUST A LITTLE.

  10. Guitar Ted Says:

    George Krpan: It’s 43mm. Just like the old Marz forks and current White Brothers suspension forks.

  11. Cloxxki Says:

    Come on, tell us your initial thoughts on the G2 geometry package!

    New frames look awesome. More like an upgrade to a higher spec than a new frame for the same bikes.

  12. Guitar Ted Says:

    Cloxxki: I am posting concerning just that very subject probably tonight. Look for that and you’ll see my opinion of it at least.

  13. Twenty Nine Inches | A 29er Bike site » Blog Archive » First Impression: 2008 Fisher Paragon and G2 Geometry Says:

    […] In an earlier post I detailed my first impressions of the new Fox F-29 fork. This fork has the new 51mm offset that was developed for the Fisher G2 29″er geometry. In light of this, the Fox fork really becomes essential to the geometry package and in a way it can be looked at as a proprietary component to the frame. It’s an interesting move on the part of both Gary Fisher and Fox. Is it worth it? Does it work? That’s the big question on a lot of folks minds these days. […]

  14. velomatt Says:

    Anyone know the crown to axel length ?

  15. mike morgan Says:

    I just installed one of these on my Fuji tahoe 29er pro and love it. An unbelievable upgrade from the stock Tora, not to mention i dropped almost 3 pounds of weight. The hissing is noticable but not bad and the motion is seamless and smooth. By far the best fork i have ever owned. I got this off a Fisher 29er so it is the 51mm version that was not released to the public. I was a little worried about the offset but the steering is sharp and crisp and it tracks very well. The offset difference is balanced out by the increased travel from my stock Tora that was 80mm. Just thought i would toss in my two cents.

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