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Fox Factory is a culmination of some of the most exciting brands – and stories – in off-road cycling.
First, there’s the story of amateur motocross racer Bob Fox, who pioneered long-travel suspension in the early 1970s. Merging his experiences on the track with his expertise as a mechanical engineer, Bob and his brother Geoff established Fox in California in 1978 to build air shocks for motocross bikes and ultimately branched out into off-road trucks, road racing cars and road motorcycles.
When mountain biking emerged in the 1980s, Fox set a new benchmark by developing a fork with a revolutionary 32mm stanchion and the company has never relinquished its position as an industry leader.
Story two: the exploits of a group of Vancouver mountain bikers who pushed their equipment beyond its limits and decided to make their own. The result … Race Face was born.
Determined to do things differently, they used the mountains near Vancouver to devise and test equipment that has become the stuff of legend.
And what about Italy’s Marzocchi brothers, who left prestigious motorcycle manufacturer Ducati in 1949 to build their own bikes but ultimately decided to specialise in hydraulic suspension. By the 1950s, Stefano and Guglielmo Marzocchi were providing suspension parts to some of the world’s most prestigious Italian motorcycle brands and in the 1980s was the suspension supplier for Ferrari’s Formula 1 cars.
When mountain biking took off in the 1980s, Marzocchi developed one of the most influential suspension forks of all time, the Bomber Z1. They’ve since backed that up with the first upside-down full carbon single crown fork, developed in 2000, many more innovations and bold designs that have made Marzocchi forks a favourite among a legion of MTB riders.
All this revered cycling heritage was brought together into one stable when Marzocchi, Race Face and another Canadian brand, Easton, became part of the Fox Factory family in 2015. The acquisitions created a company with an unsurpassed history in cycling suspension and a comprehensive range of other premium components for MTB, gravel and road riding.
Fox Factory stepped up its presence in this country when it established Fox Factory Australia earlier this year, taking over the distribution of Fox, Marzocchi and Race Face from Sola Sport and acquiring some of the assets of the former Sydney business.
Fox Factory Australia only distributes the four brands owned by Fox Factory, so the team knows its products inside out and complements that knowledge with close and responsive working relationships with retailers.
Fox Always at the Front of the Pack
When Fox entered the MTB suspension market in the 1990s, all the other manufactures were working with stanchions of 30mm or less. Fox raised the bar with a 32mm platform that offered the best combination of high rigidity and low weight.
It continues to focus on the performance, premium end of the market, utilising patented technology including its ‘Live Valve’ electronically controlled suspension system.
Designed from the ground up by Fox’s Advanced Products Group, Live Valve uses ultra-fast reacting sensors and the fastest valve ever created by Fox to automatically adjust the fork and shock independently as the terrain changes.
Accelerometer sensors on the fork, rear axle, and main frame read bump input at the wheel and the pitch angle of the bike, sending 1,000 updates a second to the suspension controller. The system also includes pitch detection, to recognise when the rider is climbing, traversing or descending, and tailors suspension accordingly.
The latest Fox range comprises the lightweight 32 and 34 Step-Cast for XC and trail riding, the all-mountain performance of the 36, a 38 option for enduro riders, and the perennial 40 for the downhill crowd.
Four performance levels are available across most of the options: Rhythm (only available on complete bikes), Performance, Performance Elite and the Kashima-coated, highest spec Factory series.
Fox has also introduced an AX fork for the evolving gravel and adventure market, based on the 32 Step-Cast fork.
Fox’s suspension range is also evolving to meet the explosion of e-bikes, with 34, 36, 38 and AWL forks tuned specifically to deal with the unique demands of e-bike riding. In some models, such as the 34 and 36, e-bike specific components have been introduced to deal with the constant heavy loads and impacts.
For every fork option, Fox has a matching rear shock in three categories: Performance, Performance Elite and Factory. They are available in two ranges, the air-sprung Float series and coil-sprung models.
Fox also turned its knowledge of springs and hydraulics to become a leader in dropper posts. They are also available in many variations to accommodate different needs and budgets – starting with the Performance models and stepping up to Factory and new SL models.
The Factory and Performance Transfers are designed for trail and enduro riding – offering 100mm, 125mm, 150mm, 175mm and 200mm drops – while SL models focus on XC and lightweight trail disciplines.
The SL is 128grams lighter than the 2021 Transfer and offers drops of 50mm, 75mm and 100mm.
Race Face and Easton
Fox Factory purchased Race Face and Easton as a package deal and reworked the two brands so they better complemented one another and the Fox range.
Easton had previously straddled road and MTB, while Race Face focused exclusively on MTB. Both provide cockpits, drivetrains and wheels found on complete bikes for many premium brands, as well as being popular aftermarket components.
To end the double-up, Easton now focuses on road componentry and has become Fox’s gravel and adventure brand.
Race Face’s MTB range incorporates the dependable ‘Ride’ (XC and trail focused), ‘Chester’ (enduro/gravity) and the premium ‘Next’ (XC/trail) and ‘Atlas’ (enduro/gravity) options.
The brand also brings an extensive clothing and protection range that has that unique North Shore feel, so it sits perfectly against Fox’s own collection of garments.
The Marzocchi range offers performance-level forks and shocks at a mid-price point. While they sit alongside Fox’s Rhythm range, which is only available on complete bikes, the Marzocchi range is available as Original Equipment (OE) and aftermarket.
Marzocchi brings a heritage that also includes a joint project with Gary Fisher to create the first 29er fork.
The current Marzocchi range continues to blend striking aesthetics, rider-inspired function and the latest technology to deliver class-leading shocks and forks that withstand a pounding.
Its Bomber Z2 targets trail riding, based on a 34mm stanchion and with Marzocchi’s rail damper. Travel options for the Bomber Z2 are 100mm, 120mm and 130mm for 27.5” and 29” wheel options, and 145mm and 150mm for 27.5” only.
The Bomber Z1 comes in coil-sprung or air float-sprung options, for 27.5” or 29” wheels. Its beef and travel options make it a perfect choice for all-mountain and enduro use. It offers 140mm, 150mm, 160mm and170mm travel options for both wheel sizes, as well as 180mm for 27.5”.
Marzocchi has always been popular for downhill and dirt jumps. Its downhill offering, the Bomber 58, draws on the legacy of Marzocchi’s Monster and Shiver forks, with an air-sprung fork based on 40mm stanchions. The Bomber 58 is only available for 27.5” wheels.
The Bomber DJ shares the same 36mm chassis with the Z1 and comes in a dedicated 26” wheel configuration. It features a 20 x 110mm axle as standard but can also run a 15 x 100mm axle by using a conversion kit. The Bomber DJ provides maximum stiffness, legendary Bomber durability and front hub compatibility options.
The Bomber CR coil shock delivers an amazing feel for trail riding and a planted feel and consistency during long shred sessions. It works best on bikes with travel from 130mm to 200mm and offers high-level performance and durability. The Bomber CR comes in imperial and metric sizes, with standard or Trunnion eyelets.