2021 new Fox 38 fork, revamped forks and shocks

Massive revamp of the line-up


ALL-NEW 36, 38 & 40

One fork family bound by a common bond of race-ready performance, driven to help you deliver your very best. In 2005, we changed the game with the introduction of the 36, pioneering a new category in mountain bike suspension—and Enduro was born. The very same year, we introduced a big brother into the fold with the 40, forever changing the landscape of downhill racing—defying both gravity and expectations of what dual crown suspension should be. 15 years and countless world cup and EWS wins later, our award-winning suspension family is poised to redefine the game once again with the brand new 38. This rebellious middle child is a hard-hitting, long-travel enduro menace, set to carry on the evolution and winning traditions of its champion pedigree.


Q: Why do the 36 and 38 have a 15mm axle instead of 20mm?
A: Boost 15mm is nearly as stiff as 20mm, much easier to use, and more versatile?

Q: Can Bleeders be added to Performance Series 36 and 38?
A: Yes, Bleeders can be purchased separately and added to any 2021 fork with the Bleeder bosses on the back of the fork legs.

Q: Why is the elliptical steerer tube just on the 38?
A: It is only on the 38 for now but might find its way to other forks in the future.

Q: Why does the 38 use an inner air sleeve/cartridge tube and higher air pressures than the 36?
A: Because of the large diameter upper tubes of the 38, in order to achieve optimum air spring function and progressivity, positive air volume needed to be reduced. This is the reason for the inner sleeve. A: The piston diameter in the 38 is smaller than the 36, therefore, the piston area of the 38 is less than the 36. The smaller piston area requires more pressure to achieve the same force.

Q: VVC was added to the compression circuit on MY21 Grip2-equipped forks, was VVC also added to DHX2 and FloatX2 this year?
A: VVC was added to the rebound circuit of DHX2 and Float X2 for MY21.

Q: Is the new 36 and 38 mudguard compatible with earlier
models of 36?
A: No, it only works on the new forks as the lower legs which the mudguard attaches to are an entirely different shape.

Q: Is the longer 40 mudguard compatible with 36 and 38?
A: No, the 40 mudguard only fits the 40.

Q: Why does the DHX2 have detents on the spring preload collar? A: Ideally, spring preload should be as light as possible. The detents allow the preload collar to be set just snug enough to hold the spring in place without the collar backing off due to movement and vibrations that occur while riding. If more than a few turns of preload is needed then it is better to upgrade to a firmer spring.

Q: What happened to the 49?
A: It’s still here! It’s just called 40 now

Q: What’s up with the new arch design, why does it lean forward so much? A: The new arch design is the optimum shape for max stiffness and min weight, and the forward lean is to provide clearance at full compression for modern, large profile head tubes.

Q: What are the ridges on the back of the fork legs?
A: Those ridges are internal channels that dramatically increase air volume in the lower legs, reducing pressure buildup near bottom out, and allow
bath oil to lubricate the foam rings, seals and bushings as the fork compresses and extends.

Q: What’s the difference between the QR15 axle and the KaboltX axle on the new 36 and 38?
A: The short answer is that we typically recommend the QR15 axle for riders who frequently remove their front wheel and the KaboltX for riders who rarely remove their front wheel. The long answer is that the QR15 axle allows for easier front wheel removal and it also allows for perfect chassis alignment with repeated front wheel removal and reinstallation. The KaboltX axle requires an Allen key for removal and chassis alignment should be reset each time the wheel is removed and reinstalled. But, the KaboltX axle shaves about 75 grams over the QR15 and it increases stiffness somewhat due to pinching the drive side of the axle to the dropout, which the QR15 axle does not do. So, it’s really a question of do you prioritize marginal gains in the categories of weight and stiffness, or do you prioritize ultimate convenience? You can’t go wrong either way!


Twin it to win it. The all-new FLOAT X2 & DHX2 have changed everything, including the game. This award-winning, gravity-defying duo holds nothing back, especially not you. Both models boasting a complete redesign for 2021, including new chassis’, dampers and matching 8-click HSC and HSR adjustment—following in the footsteps of their GRIP2 cousins. Featuring progressive MCU bottom-out bumpers unique to the specifications of each shock, these fraternal twins are both guaranteed to get you to the bottom–without ever bottoming.

Q: Why did the outer body on the DHX2 change from aluminum to steel? Isn’t steel heavy?
A: Steel has a much higher modulus of elasticity…it stretches less than aluminum of equal wall thickness under high pressure. This allows for faster pressure responses to shaft motion leading to less hysteresis. Less hysteresis equals more grip and control.

Q: Are different MCU bumpers available?
A: The DHX2 and FloatX2 both use different MCU bumpers but each is specific to each shock model and cannot be interchanged. There is only one size of bumper available or each model. Additional tuning is handled via spring rate, spring volume, compression, and rebound.

Q: Why don’t the new shocks have RVS anymore?
A: We replaced RVS with VVC. VVC offers greater inability.

Q: The new shocks have an independent Firm Mode Circuit, what does that mean?
A: With the change to VVC, we were also able to make the 2-position switch on its own circuit, making for a notably firmer “lockout” and more efficient climbing as compared to the prior shocks. The firm mode tune no longer has any influence on the open mode tune; they’re now completely independent.

Q: DHX2, why did we switch from tri-nitride on the DHX2 damper shaft?
A: Shaft finish and seal design go hand-in-hand, we went to a new low-friction seal for 2021 and through extensive testing we found that a hard chrome shaft coating performed best with the new seal, providing the lowest friction and longest durability.

Q: Why do the new X2 shocks have the high-speed rebound knob at the eyelet?
A: The switch from RVS to VVC to on high-speed rebound meant the HSR knob needed to be located in line with the damper shaft, as the HSR dial is connected to a small shaft within the damper shaft, that directly adjusts the VVC unit.

Q: What is new about EVOL air spring across the 3 new fork models?
A: All three forks benefit from more negative volume in the air spring and
more volume in the lower leg. These two features combine to provide a more linear spring curve and greater tuning options on progressivity.

Q: Why is the number of volume spacers on the new FloatX2 shocks so different than last year’s model?
A: The air springs were completely re-worked for 2021, as a result, fewer spacers are necessary to achieve the same progressivity.

Q: Does needing fewer volume spacers mean there are reduced
tuning options?
A: For 2021, our engineers redesigned the balance of damping force and spring force. The high-speed compression adjuster now has a more significant tuning range that changes how the shock feels and rides on big compressions, reducing reliance on volume spacers.

Key Technology Improvements:

Floating axles might look similar to other axles, but in fact, they offer a distinct performance advantage due to their unique ability to match the exact width of the fork’s wheel mounting surface precisely to the front hub flange spacing, thus creating perfect chassis alignment and eliminating unwanted friction between the upper and lower fork legs. Floating axles provide much smoother suspension movement throughout the entire range of the fork’s travel, notably improving sensitivity and overall ride quality.

The all-new 36 and 38 come equipped with a new quick-release lever-operated patent-pending floating axle system, combining the benefit of a floating axle with the ease of a tool-free quick-release. With this system, spacing is locked in via a floating sleeve, allowing repeated front wheel removal and reinstallation while maintaining perfect fork alignment. Floating sleeve positioning comes preset from the factory so if you are unsure of how to operate the floating axle system or simply don’t want to bother with it, you can just install the front wheel and get on with your ride.

Available optionally is the new Kabolt-X, a lightweight bolt-on floating axle exclusively for the all-new 36 and 38 that not only shaves grams but also increases torsional stiffness via its sleeveless, single-sided pinch bolt design. The all-new 40 utilizes a double-pinch bolt floating axle design to provide maximum stiffness for Downhill racing applications. Chassis alignment must be reset each time the front wheel is removed and reinstalled on both the Kabolt-X and 40 floating axles, but the end result is the same – perfect alignment and perfect performance.

As a fork compresses, the air volume within the lower legs decreases, increasing air pressure. The more the fork compresses, the more the pressure increases. This effect can have the unintended consequence of preventing full travel from being achieved. Our lower leg channels help alleviate this issue by dramatically increasing air volume within the lower legs and thereby reducing the amount of additional unintended pressure ramping.
Another benefit of these channels is that lower leg bath oil is circulated to the upper reaches of the lower legs, continuously lubricating the foam rings and bushings as the fork compresses and extends through its travel.

Our lower leg bleeders allow for atmospheric pressure equalization at the simple press of a button. Pressure build-up in the lower legs dramatically decreases fork performance, preventing full travel from being achieved, and diminishing small bump sensitivity
and responsiveness

Stiffness-to-weight is the ultimate metric for bicycle design. Engineers invest countless hours poring over every ounce of material in an effort to optimize this critical ratio. The all-new 38 pulls out all the stops, shaving every possible gram while making sure not to compromise stiffness or strength requirements of modern, hard-hitting long-travel Enduro riding.

Modern frame designs and geometry trends require modern suspension design solutions. The arch design of the all-new 36, 38, and 40 are designed to pair perfectly with modern Enduro and Downhill bikes. Head tube profiles have grown larger and larger, and fork offsets shorter and shorter. Our new arch shape takes this need into account by jutting forward to provide ample headtube clearance at full compression. State-of-the-art computer modeling techniques helped us to create an organic lower leg shape that optimizes stiffness with the absolute minimal amount of material.

The 38’s elliptical steer tube is one of many ways we’ve further optimized stiffness-to-weight, placing more material only where it is needed, and eliminating every ounce of it where it’s not.

EVOL technology increases negative air spring volume, optimizing small bump sensitivity. EVOL’s linear spring curve delivers plushness off the top, extra mid-stroke support, and more tunable bottom-out progression.

The benefits of EVOL are further enhanced by our new Lower Leg channels and Bleeders, which both function to reduce air pressure captured in the lower legs, allowing the EVOL air spring to operate freely without unintended interference.

The limited-edition 2021 Heritage Collection draws inspiration from the original 36 and 40 – the iconic forks that shaped modern enduro and downhill riding 15 years ago. The all-new 38 ushers in a new era of hard-hitting, long-travel enduro riding and come adorned in a unique pistachio hue, commemorating this historic moment and keeping the tradition of launching category-defining forks in a very special limited edition colorway. All Heritage Collection forks feature special black adjuster knobs, a Kabolt-X axle, and include a matching graphics kit, compatible with all 2021 and 2020 models of FOX rear shocks.

Heritage Collection forks are available in extremely limited numbers at the time of launch only. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

For more information check out www.ridefox.com

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.

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