Fox Racing Shox 36 TALAS 180 FIT RC2 Review

Forks Pro Reviews

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Bottom Line
The 2011 Fox 36 TALAS 180 FIT RC2 is one amazing fork, and it has a uber butteriness and superb plushness throughout almost all of its 180 mm (7.1 inches) stroke, without any determent’s like diving or wallowing. The fork is very stout, using a great combination of the 36 mm stanchions, elongated bushing overlap, and a below axle tube design, for an increased stiffness and a lower axle-to-crown (568 mm). The Kashima coating has been very durable, and adds another layer of buttery smoothness to an already slick fork. The TALAS system is easy to use, and has been incredibly useful and functional, and the 180 mm and 140 mm combination are a great tag team. The tunability of the adjustments is quite nice, and alerting the rebound, high and low speed compression, and air pressure, opens up a plethora of micro functional changes to the fork characteristics.

This is an excellent fork, and it has opened up riding to a new level, and has made technical and rough terrain more enjoyable, and less abusive. It climbs like a goat, and descends like its floating on air. Fox has created a world-class fork with incredible attributes, and a slew of synonyms comes to mind, such as outstanding, superlative, phenomenal, but I am just going to call it the new Benchmark in forks!
Strengths

  • Plush Meister
  • FIT RC2 damper
  • TALAS 180-140
  • Stiff
  • Highly tunable
  • Slippery and durable Kashima coating
  • Excellent traction and braking characteristics

Weaknesses

  • Expensive
  • Needs remote control lever for TALAS

MSRP: $1065.00 – $1080.00

Overall Rating: 5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

Reviewed by Brian Mullin http://www.gramslightbikes.com/

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Fox Company Specs:

  • Visit the TALAS 180 website at http://www.foxracingshox.com/bike/11/forks/36_TALAS/180_FIT_RC2
  • Weight
    • (1 1/8″ steerer) 5.40 lb / 2.45 kg
    • (1.5″ taper steerer) 5.37 lb / 2.43 kg
  • Travel – 7.1 inches / 180 mm with TALAS [2-position] 180-140mm
  • Adjustments
    • Low-speed compression
    • High-speed compression
    • Travel – TALAS [2-position]
    • Air spring pressure
    • Rebound
  • Damper – FIT
  • Stanchions – Kashima Coat
  • Lower Leg – 20QR thru axle system,
  • Post style disc brake mounting
  • Steerer
    • Standard: 1 1/8″
    • Optional: 1.5″ Taper
  • Spring – Air
  • Color – Black Diamond
  • Intended Use -DH, FR, AM

About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • Lee Lau says:

    “The Kashima coating has been very durable, and adds another layer of buttery smoothness to an already slick fork. ”

    To be honest. I can’t tell the difference between Kashima and non-Kashima. Perhaps it adds wear-resistance but I haven’t used the fork long enough to tell

  • Chris says:

    I was also blown away when I got this fork last summer. It works better than anything I have owned up to this point. At some point I want to try out the Manitou Dorado as I have only heard good things about it but for a single crown for I think the 36 180 is hard to beat.

    One think I wanted to comment on was the use of the Talas feature. It seems that there is a lot of negative press about this feature out there, or that if nothing else they say it is not of any benefit. Personally I find that in the right situation such as climbing really steep sections or going around sharp switchbacks it actually does help to be in the 140 mode. I’ve actually tired a steep climb several times without success then remembered that I could drop the fork and cleaned it the next time. It is also good for longer climbs with out of the saddle efforts because the lower setting will reduce bob. Another place it is a plus is on downhill sweep turns because it speeds steering up a bit and reduces dive.

    So to others, don’t write it off because someone else has said it doesn’t help until you have given it some time. I just wish that there was a bar mounted actuator to go between 180 and 140.

  • Mark says:

    Kashima: Scam. Doesn’t make much of a difference in the durability of the stanchions and no difference I’ve noted in friction. Marzocchi and Rock Shox has been making forks for years with conventional, durable anodization, yet Fox can’t figure it out.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Chris: Thanks, never did try the 140 going down switchbacks? You just reminded of a weakness that I will add, bar mounted actuator!
    Lee: The Kashima and non-Kashima difference is subtle, but it’s smoother, and I mainly feel it as less stiction.

  • Lee Lau says:

    Brian – it might be that Fox’s non-Kashima coated forks are so good. I’ve got a Kashima and non-Kashima 160 and I can’t tell the difference in a blind test

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Mark: Marzocchi now uses Nickel coated (and the EVO has Ti Nitride), while Rock Shox still has normal ones, though they have been playing coatings themselves. I live in a very sandy, dirty and rocky place, and the Kashima coating has shown less scratching and gouging in direct comparison to the normal coatings? Öhlins has been using coatings for shocks (motorcycles) for a very long time. Regardless of marketing hyperbole, I think it actually works, and the durability is definitely obvious, while the smoothness is more subtle.

    Lee: stop riding your bike blind!

  • nicholas poetker says:

    Great review!
    You gave great detail to the fork and its awesome riding attributes.
    I have been on the 180mm float for about 6-7 months now correlated with a banshee rune and love it.
    The fork is superb with all the same riding ability as you have mentioned about the talas.

    However My one gripe is the fork which seemed very stiff without any noticeable flex has become very flexible recently.
    It kind of scary. The forks action is superb and unharmed but it makes the loudest of pops and clicks as I tune corners hard or land a jump or drop.
    Just pushing the fork still in the parking lot makes horrendous clicking cracking nosies.
    I dont know if this is of good measures but its becoming increasingly worse.
    Do you have any suggestions?

    Outstanding review!
    The fox is a smooth stable fork and would be enjoyed by anyone!
    RidEOn!
    Niko

    • Derek P says:

      you need to get a rebuild your oil seals and dust wipers have become to loose and the stanchions are just rattleing around inside the lowers

    • Derek P says:

      you need to rebuild your fork and replace all the different seals because they have become weakend by the long use and now your stanchions are rattleing inside your lowers.

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