Reviewed by Brian Mullin http://www.gramslightbikes.com/
I have been thoroughly enjoying the last couple of months testing the new 2011 Fox 36 TALAS 160 FIT RLC fork. It has been bashed, trashed and tossed into as many rugged conditions as possible, and it has turned out to be a light, stable and stout beast, that thrives in technical terrain. The features make it terrific package, and include adjustable travel (TALAS), the slippery Kashima coating on the stanchions, the new FIT RLC damper and a lighter crown.
Fox 36 Forks
For 2011 the Fox 36 has two versions, a 160mm (All Mountain) and a 180mm (Freeride) fork. The 36 160 comes in three flavors: the TALAS FIT RLC, FLOAT FIT RLC and the VAN RC2 (coil). The 36 180 also comes in three flavors: the FLOAT FIT RC2, TALAS FIT RC2 and VAN RC2. A slight change to the TALAS, it now uses two steps instead of three. The 160 variant is 160-120, while the 180 is 180-140. The 160 version has changed to the RLC in contrast to the RC2 (except for VAN), while the 180 is all RC2. RLC trades the RC2′s high speed compression for a lockout with threshold adjustment. The FIT RLC damper has gotten a revamp this year, and it’s lighter and has been inverted to mimic the 32 series. The 160 series went on a diet itself, with a new light crown and upper tubes.
The Fox 36 TALAS 160 FIT RLC fork, has 36mm stanchions, a 20QR thru axle, either 1-1/8″ straight or 1.5″ tapered steerer, post style disc brake mounting, two-position TALAS (160-120), FIT RLC damper, Kashima coated stanchions, Black Diamond color scheme, and adjustments for low-speed compression, lever actuated lockout, lockout force, air spring pressure and rebound.
The new Travel Adjustable Linear Air Spring system (TALAS) on the 36, has two positions, allowing the fork to be dropped from its fully open 160mm down to 120mm, using the knob on the top of the right fork leg. The travel adjustment gives the fork good versatility, offering climbing efficiency, or copious plushness and full travel. A pop up cap for the air pressure resides in the middle of the TALAS lever.
The FIT RLC damper is located within the right fork leg, and offers a wide range of low-speed compression and rebound adjustments, along with a lockout, and lockout threshold adjusts. The rebound knob is located on the bottom, while the other adjustments are reside on top. The FIT (Fox Isolated Technology) system uses a damper cartridge, and the suspension fluid is isolated, so that it’s sealed away from air and crud, so that fluid aeration and contamination won’t occur, which causes damper performance degradation. The new FIT damper design reduces oil volume, which helps lighten the fork. The cartridge uses a rubber bladder, which provides low friction, and allows fluid expansion as the suspension system’s temperature fluctuates (heats up) during usage, creating a linear damping throughout the travel stroke.
The Kashima Coat technology has been used for years across the motorcycle and automotive industries, and Fox has teamed up with the Miyaki Company of Japan, to add this slippery coating to their forks. The hard anodized aluminum tubes are sent to Japan, where they add molybdenum disulfide via an induction process that deposits the material into pores of the anodized surface at 70 billion pores per cm². The MoS₂ adds better lubrication characteristics, higher hardness and abrasion resistance (durability), and a significant decrease in friction.