Reviewed by Brian Mullin aka Gram and MTBR.com Pastajet
I got around 5 weeks of enjoyable testing of the new 2010 Fox 36 TALAS FIT RC2 fork while I was demoing a Yeti ASR 7 (review forthcoming). The TALAS has just about every adjustment possible crammed into the fork, making it a functional and practical beast. And it sure is a beast! The stout 36mm stanchions, and stiff arch keep any hint of flex virtually unnoticeable, giving forth a stable and smooth platform. The FIT cartridge damper system is a really nice feature, as is the upgraded crown, which is lighter and stronger. The TALAS was one primo All Mountain fork!
Note: For cross comparison I have had short term use of the 2010 Fox 36 Float, 2008 Fox 36 Float, 2010 Fox 32 Float 150, Rock Shock Lyric 160 and long term use of the DT Swiss EXC 150.
The 2010 Fox 36 fork suite is comprised of the FLOAT (air spring, fixed travel), TALAS (air spring, travel adjusted 160-130-100) and VANILLA (steel spring, fixed travel) models, all using the FIT damper. TALAS stands for Travel Adjustable Linear Air Spring, and with a twist of the knob on the left leg, you can adjust the travel from 160, to 130 or 100mm. The new TALAS III system has changed air spring curves in each of the three travel settings (they call it optimized), and has better seals to prevent external contamination. The damper is the Fox FIT (Fox Isolated Technology) cartridge, which is a hydraulic position-sensitive damper. The FIT damper is a sealed system, so the damping oil and lubricating oil are isolated, reducing foaming issues and their ill effects, and offering more consistent damping during a ride. The FIT includes a bladder instead of a floating piston for reduced friction, and as an oil compensator and separator.
Additional adjustments are the air spring pressure, rebound, low and high-speed compression. The air is located in the middle of the TALAS knob, while the rebound adjuster is on the top right leg, nothing too fancy about either of their functionality. On the lower right, are a set of covered stacked knobs for the high and low-speed damping, each separately adjustable, allowing a plethora of tunability. A new crown, steerer and chassis produce lighter weight, and enhanced stiffness.
“You Can Tune a Piano but You Can’t Tuna Fish”
The 36mm lowers feature post-style disc brake mounts, 20QR quick-release thru axle system, an axle-to-crown measurement of 545mm and comes in 1-1/8″, 1.5″ or 1.5″ to 1-1/8″ tapered steerer.
Sag is controlled by the air pressure, and Fox recommends between 20-40mm, but I rarely go by the book, and instead tweak it until it feels right on the local terrain and my riding style. I ended up with slightly more air than recommended. I set the rebound faster, but kept it pretty close to average.
High and Low Speed Compression Adjusters
I set low speed compression (small blue knob) in the middle, and high speed compression (big blue knob) to the firmest setting. Setting the high speed to firm helped alleviate the fork dive on slow speed drops and big hits, and it really didn’t change the amount of available travel. Due to the nicely engineered Yeti ASR suspension system, the low speed adjustment didn’t require much tweaking.