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Last year, suspension specialist Fox released a range of forks specific to E-Bikes. That sticker “E-BIKE OPTIMIZED” keeps on popping up, begging the question of what makes these forks suited to the rigours of E-Mountainbikes. We got up close and personal with the Fox 36 in its E-Bike optimised guise to find out.
Is an E-Bike specific fork really necessary? The short answer is a resounding: Yes, absolutely! The fork needs to deal with the additional weight of an E-Bike, needs to sit higher in its travel and needs to avoid blowing through all of its travel. Fox has recognised this, resulting in its offering of E-Bike specific forks. These models use a number of novel construction features to deal with the different loads and stresses that come from an E-Bike platform.
On the surface, the “Fox 36 E-Bike Optimized” looks exactly like the normal 36 version. It’s only when you compare them in detail that you start to notice small differences, but even then, most of them are hidden from view in the fork’s internals.
- Weight: 2200 g with uncut steerer
- Price: 1309 € (RRP)
E-Bike Optimized Forks – The Details
The Fox engineers have employed a lot of know-how to design a fork that can withstand the rigours of the heavier weight of eMTBs. Optically similar, most of the differences are hidden in the internals of the forks. What are the differences between a normal Fox fork and an E-Bike specific one? Chris Trojer, marketing manager for Fox Europe told us.
“Our ‘E-Bike Optimized’ 36 forks are characterised by their steering precision, stiffness and lack of flex during braking as well as our renowned damping performance. The steerer is reinforced with thicker walls, whilst the forged crown isn’t hollow and the stanchions also use thicker walls. This means that a FIT4 damping cartridge from a 34 Fork is used, because the stanchions have a 2mm larger diameter.
Obviously this does result in a higher weight, but this shouldn’t be a problem on an E-Bike – instead the overall ride characteristics will be noticeably improved. On the trail, the feel of the stronger chassis is extremely positive.”
Fox 36 E-Bike Optimized – On The Trail
Chris is completely right – the differences are immediately noticeable whilst riding. For the first test ride he suggested to us “There are some berms up there. Approach them at full speed and then try braking with your front brake.” The results were obvious: the stiffness of these forks is superb. Super stiff, these forks steer incredibly precisely through turns. There is no noticeable flexing anywhere – we had to check repeatedly if we weren’t inadvertently riding a double crown Fox 40. The Fox is sensitive yet sits high in its travel, which is particularly nice for steeper descents.
Setup Guidelines from Fox
We often get asked what pressure forks need to be run at. However, everyone has their own preferences: one person will like more sag, another will prefer a stiffer feel. Instead, we’ve provided links to Fox’s guidelines below.
Stiff! Stiffer isn’t possible. Everything that we could wish for in an E-Bike specific suspension fork is here with the Fox “E-Bike Optimized” forks. The fork is resistant to wind-up, has excellent suspension characteristics, sits high in its travel and has won us over with its sensitivity. Whilst the small amount of added weight is not noticeable on the trail, the increased steering precision definitely is. Corners can be railed like you’re on tracks and the E-Bike goes exactly where you point it. 10 points for this great product, that has us totally convinced!
Do you have an E-Bike specific Fox fork? How have you found it?
Text & Edit: Rico Haase, Benedict Pfender | eMTB-News.de
Photos: Rico Haase
This post is also available in: Deutsch