Fox 36 Van 160 FIT RC2 Review

Forks Pro Reviews

Bottom Line
The 2012 Fox 36 Van 160 FIT RC2 is a impressive fork, with incredible control and steering attributes, especially in technical and adverse terrain. It has excellent small bump compliance, and functional coil spring plushness and linearity in the bottom two-thirds of its 160mm (6.3 inches) stroke. It rides high in the saddle and sits statically at the sag, and the latter offers incredible stability and maneuvering qualities, in both technical and normal terrain. One of the key characteristics of the fork is its ability to have supreme control in the ugliest, gnarliest and rockiest terrain, no matter what the speed is and command that it’s asked to perform, giving extreme confidence, stability and performance. Tuning is quite simple, and once it’s done, it rarely needs to be done again! If needed, small adjustments can be made to the rebound, high and low speed compression, or swap out the coil for a different spring rate. It has great features, including the slippery Kashima coated stanchions, beefy 36mm stanchions, double clamped 20mm thru-axle, low stiction and silky-smooth SKF seals and the much-improved FIT RC2 damper.

The Van 160 fork has plushness, simplicity, stiffness and the control it offers in technical and rugged terrain is amazing, making for a tried-and-true coil fork, which can be used for climbing to the top, and descending to the bottom.

Note: Unfortunately, Fox has dropped the 160 size variant from the Van lineup for 2013, which is a shame, since I think that travel range is perfect for AM riding.

Strengths

  • Incredible control and steering attributes
  • Excellent traction and braking characteristics
  • Stiff
  • Plush and linear in bottom 2/3rd’s of stroke
  • Simple tuning
  • FIT RC2 damper
  • Slippery and durable Kashima coating
  • SKF seals – low stiction

Weaknesses

  • Expensive
  • Sits high in the saddle
  • Not the plushest on large bumps
  • Heavy

MSRP: $949-955 (steerer dependent).

Overall Rating: 4 Flamin’ Chili Peppers
36 Van 160 FIT RC2 Specs:

  • Factory family
  • Visit the Fox Van 160 website
  • Weight (w/ 20QR axle) – 5.13 lb / 2.33 kg (1 1/8″ steerer), 5.12 lb / 2.32 kg (1.5″ taper steerer)
  • Travel – 6.3 inches / 160 mm
  • Steerer – 1 1/8″ straight aluminum, 1.5″ tapered aluminum (optional)
  • Adjustments- Rebound, Low-speed compression, High-speed compression, Spring preload
  • Lower leg – 20QR thru axle system, post style disc brake mounting
  • Spring – Coil
  • Fork color – Black Diamond
  • Riding Style – All-mountain, Freeride
  • Kashima Coat
  • Damping – FIT RC2
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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  • Warp says:

    Is the sag figure correct? 35mm of sag on a 160mm fork is 21%. That maybe was why it was riding high in its travel.

    OTOH, if that figure is with the Purple spring, you weight 155 pounds and you only get 21% sag, then lighter riders may be out of luck with this fork. I weight 140 pounds, so even the purple spring would be too heavy for me, if your numbers are correct.

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