Fox 32 Float 140 FIT CTD w/Trail Adjust review

Voilà un test qui confirme mes premiers essais: une bonne idée, pas encore tout à fait aboutie.
Fox a voulu pour 2013 remplacer les réglages existants, nombreux, par 2 ou 3 options simples.
Adieu donc les compressions hautes et basses vitesses, le lock-out, le rebond, la vitesse de détente.
Remplacement par 3 modes: montée, chemin, descente. Et seule l’option chemin est réglable, tant que vous ne prenez pas la commande au guidon.

Résultat: le mode descente est trop souple car insuffisamment freiné en hydraulique.
Le mode montée ne se règle pas en blocage, donc ne fonctionne que sur la route, et le mode trail est finalement la configuration qui correspond le mieux à un pilotage engagé…mais surtout ne prenez jamais la commande CTD au guidon, car vous perdrez le seul réglage de compression applicable au mode chemin. La fourche devient alors difficilement exploitable, car toujours trop souple et talonne souvent.

Une bonne idée au départ donc, visant à rendre accessible au plus grand nombre les réglages parfois pointus de suspension, mais finalement une idée pas suffisamment aboutie qui fait perdre à Fox l’un de ses principaux atouts: des réglages suffisamment riches pour adapter les fourches à tous les pratiquants. Vivement 2014!

Fox 32 Float 140 FIT CTD w/Trail Adjust review

Fox’s new 32 Float 140 FIT CTD w/Trail Adjust fork sports all the bells and whistles: the new three-position CTD (Climb, Trail and Descend) compression damper, Kashima-coated stanchions, the latest 32mm-diameter chassis with 15mm thru-axle dropouts, and a more linear air spring.

The new features undoubtedly make the fork more user friendly than before, but some of the predecessor’s awesome performance seems to have faded as well.

The new CTD damper is the heart and soul of the new fork, with three distinct positions and a simpler interface that should be less intimidating to non tech-savvy riders. Gone are the old low-speed compression, high-speed compression and lockout knobs, in favor of more readily comprehensible Climb, Trail, and Descend modes where the appropriate damper settings have already been determined for you.

Advanced riders might miss the old damper’s greater tuning flexibility, but CTD works and will likely be more popular with the masses. Climb practically locks things out for efficient pedaling on pavement and fire roads, Trail provides a good do-everything compromise and Descend yields an ultra-buttery ride.

The crown-mounted ctd trail adjust dials work as intended, offering three distinct settings that are available at the flick of a wrist. we found the fully open descend mode too soft in most cases, though:

The crown-mounted CTD Trail Adjust dials work as intended

Three months of testing later, we’ve grown to like the ‘set and forget’ style of adjustment. However, we can’t say we fully agree with how all the settings are tuned, and we can’t help but feel that Fox has sacrificed some all-out performance for high-end users in order to cater to well-heeled buyers who might not have understood previous forks’ panoply of tuning parameters.

In particular, we found the fully open Descend mode too light on compression damping, offering an ultra-smooth ride but with lots of brake dive in hard corners and technical sections. With so little compression damping, we also found there was almost no platform to push off from when attacking berms and jumps.

Exacerbating the situation is the revised spring rate. Fox has flattened the spring curve for all its forks with 130mm of travel or more – to make it easier to achieve full travel – and it’s not a move we’re particularly fond of.

Adding enough air to keep from blowing through the travel on typical trail rides (Fox recommends 15-20psi more pressure than before) sacrifices small bump sensitivity, while prioritizing suppleness results in frequent bottom-outs on even modest drop-offs, plus brake dive that’s almost excessive to the point of being unmanageable.

We eked out the most performance from our test fork with a whopping 20-25cc of extra oil in the air chamber, to ramp up the progression to our liking. Combining that with the Trail mode at the lightest intermediate setting retained enviable small bump compliance, especially with the slippery Kashima stanchion coating and new low-friction wiper seals. It also provides a more performance-oriented spring rate and enough of a platform for more advanced maneuvers. Indeed, Fox finally seems to have squelched the small-bump demons of early FIT damper-equipped forks.

The kashima coating on the stanchions makes for excellent small bump sensitivity:

The Kashima coating on the stanchions makes for excellent small bump sensitivity

Moreover, front wheel traction and control with this setup reminded us of some of our favorite Fox forks of yesteryear, with outstanding mid-stroke and bottom-out control plus a generally planted feel that inspired confidence on fast, technical trails.

Finally, Fox’s latest 32mm chassis drops a few grams – it’s now just 1.73kg (3.81lb) uncut without the axle – and remains an impressive balance of light weight and stiffness, particularly for riders of smaller or medium stature.

That said, our test sample’s 140mm of travel falls near the upper limit of what we feel this platform can comfortably handle, especially coming off bigger jumps and dropouts or attacking high-load bermed corners at speed. Riders who are heavier or especially aggressive might want to consider stepping up to Fox’s 34mm platform.

Overall, the Fox 32 Float 140 FIT CTD w/Trail Adjust fork is a great piece of hardware – and is utterly fantastic with a little time invested. However, the latest stock tune feels like a step in the wrong direction, and with competitors now nipping at its heels Fox needs to stay on top of its game.


À propos ldonnay
Associé dans une grande Entreprise de Conseil, heureux papa de 3 charmants enfants, profondement amoureux de leur maman, passionné de sport Outdoor: planche à voile, VTT sous toutes ses formes, trail, course à pied, ski sous toutes ses formes, alpinisme, voilà de quoi bien remplir une vie.

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