This fork has outlasted two broken bike frames and I've rebuilt it three times. There is at least 7,000 miles of steady singletrack riding on the fork and yet still rides great and exhibits no slop and the dropouts look great too. If people have problems with seals or scratches on there stanchions, you have to remember to be a little careful in handling your bike.
Scratches on stanchions occur when you cram bikes on a rear hatch rack, leaning the bike up with others on a wall, bike racks at stores. I scratched a Marzocchi fork by having a hammer fall off the work bench and wrecked the seal.
I highly recommend this fork after 2 and a half years of riding and the newer versions. Fox has always supplied the seals and part and customer support that a superior company does. Pay a little more and you won't be sorry.
Similar Products Used: Marzocchi, Rock Shox, Manitou
Bike Setup: Was NRS, was VT1 now Mount Cycle Rumble
a Cross Country Rider
from Tacoma, WA
Date Reviewed: September 23, 2004
Strengths: Superb action, tracking, and easy tuning.
Weaknesses: Reliability and durability (inferior seals), doesn't deliver advertised travel (90mm max), more brake-dive and climbing-bob than some other forks, useless warranty and poor customer support.
I ride a lot, at least two or three times a week, year-round, in the Pacific Northwest (2100 single-track miles over the last six months alone). So reliability and low maintenance are high on my list of priorities. Thus, how a fork works while its working is just a small part of total performance, to my mind, and, as many reviews here already attest, the Float certainly works very well in that regard. So I won't add to the rave, except to point out that
It would work even better if it delivered the FULL 100mm advertised; it doesn't. The exposed stanchion measures at exactly 100mm. Subtract 5mm bumpers to prevent an ugly collision between crown and lowers and you're down to 95mm. Add some air and you lose some more when it's fully compressed. Running at 60-65 psi my fork delivers at most 90mm. That's not what I paid for. And there's nothing you can do about this either -- it's not a matter of tuning -- or so Fox Tech Support confirmed, by their own admission, when I confronted them. (Of course, you can opt to not put any air in.) So, if you purchase one of these forks, just remember that -- however superb the action -- you're going to be sacrificing a good half inch of travel, compared to your buddies who run bona fide 100mm forks. Note: a comparable fork, say, an 02 Marathon SL, shows 110mm of exposed stanchion and delivers 100mm out-of-the-box. With a little tweaking, it will deliver more -- in fact, some subsequent models were advertised at 105mm, when Marazocchi realized this! And that extra 10mm can make a big difference. My Marathon has a 'bottomless' feel and seems more capable, handling big hits, especially on ugly descents. The Float is more supple, fluid, works better on the level, but inspires less confidence on the the downhill, and even on the level, in some circumstances. In fact, my Float has face-planted me a couple times now -- on level ground! -- when it reached full compression, after encountering a large root or something, and one huge pedal stroke is all it took to pivot bike and rider instantaneously around the front axle and over the bars, just like grabbing a fistful of front brake. This has never happened with other forks I've run, in similar situations -- and I'm no newbie -- and, needless to say, it can be quite unnerving. On one occasion, in fact, this happened while I was out of the saddle and going UPHILL! Before the stars cleared, while I was still spitting out dirt, my partner pulled up and could only exclaim: WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED??!!! He couldn't understand it, nor could I at first, until I figured what was happening after a couple more unexpected endos. Ok, I guess I should skip the Wheaties from now on and run a little more air, BUT that means losing even more travel, and -- again -- that is something I don't have to do with other forks, which allow me to run a full 25% sag, which I prefer, WITHOUT making me nervous and wary. Ok, so much for how it actually works when it works. What about reliability?
My ride weight with water is only 165 and -- after twelve years -- I like to think that I ride with at least some finesse, although I am an aggressive rider. But four months is all it took (for me that's roughly 80 hours). Four months of dry, summer conditions, ordinary trails, no stunts or big air or other abuse. First my left seal blew (audibly) and left a trail of oil all the way down to my dropout. A week later, the right leg seal blew and now both seals were squirting me in the eye. Fox insists that some oil on the stanchions is normal during operation (part of the design, in fact – a built-in oil leak!), but that shouldn't mean stopping every five minutes to scoop oil off with your finger, to prevent it from contaminating your rims! Anyway, convinced that something was amiss, I returned the fork to Fox and they replaced the seals. They charged me for this, claiming it as fair wear and tear -- after only four months! -- and refused to treat it as a warranty issue, because their tech had determined, even BEFORE disassembling the fork, that it had been inadequately maintained. Why? BECAUSE there appeared to be some rust and dirt on the star nut. Yes, you read that right -- my STAR NUT was dirty!!! A few days later they called back to inform me that they had discovered a tiny nick on the left stanchion -- news to me -- that was barely visible but could be 'felt'. (This is when I discovered that they hadn’t even disassembled the fork to determine whether it was a warranty issue!!!) So they wanted to replace the stanchion assembly and were willing to cut me a break on the labor: it only cost me $250 to get my fork back. Plus, they refused to return my old stanchions so that I could inpect them myself. I should've insisted because that didn't explain why the other seal had blown, although the stanchion was in perfect condition on that side. So much, then, for reliability and low maintenance, Fox warranty, customer service, and product support. I only sent the fork to them to determine what had caused the problem, so that I could prevent something apparently so rare from happening again. $250 later and I still don't know. And for the first time ever, on long trips away, I actually carry a spare fork now – a Bomber of course -- along with my extra wheelset, JUST IN CASE! That’s not good ju-ju for a $600 fork.
And if the Float should fail again – action be damned -- I'm going to bolt it upside-down to my pickup bed and use it to transport front wheels! and my Bomber can stay on for keeps.
I hate to be the odd man out here – given all the rave reviews – but I know at least one other rider who’s had the same problems with seals on an earlier Float, and one credible enough to have generated some doubts in my own mind when I purchased my own Fox. I wish now that I’d gone with my instincts and stuck with a Bomber. At the very least, I’d really have 100mmm, and wouldn't have to worry about changing seals for a long time, if ever.* So, for those of you shopping and comparing, at least you can no longer say that you haven’t heard at least some negative things about the Fox Float 100, and from two different riders. That other fellow, incidentally, after a total of three seal-set failures, just purchased a new Marathon and his Float is now simply sitting idle in large pile of throw-aways.
* I have a Z2 Atom 80 that's been on three bikes now, still in use, with 6-7000 miles at least, only TWO oil changes, and still betrays no slop or leakage with ORIGINAL SEALS! Now why can't a top offering from Fox match a mid-level offering from Marazocchi? And, yes, that Z2 is every bit as buttery smooth as the Float (and don't forget, it only has about 10mm less travel)! :-o
Similar Products Used: Numerous from Tange, Rock Shox, Manitou, Marazocchi, Amp Research, et al.
Bike Setup: Hammerhead 100X
a Weekend Warrior
from Fort Collins, CO
Date Reviewed: September 17, 2004
Strengths: Really stiff, great adjustibility, plush
Weaknesses: horrible reliability - see below
When I first got this fork I was really excited. It was super easy to use, easy to overhaul, rediculously stiff, fairly light, and it felt better than just about any fork I had ridden.
Six months down the line the right leg started weeping oil. Before I got this fork I had read that regular mantainance was absolutely necessary with this thing so I was religious about it. (Cleaning seals, changing oil, etc) Never-the-less a pretty bad leak. So I had the seals changed. Six months later same thing. Changed the seals again. About this time I noticed that the lockout ceased to work. It would stiffen up the fork but no more.
Fast forward another six months - (just about present day) the seals are leaking AGAIN and the fork has a horrible creak from the crown. I call up fox, and they're really nice on the phone as they tell me another 40 for seals and 250 to have the crown replaced. Unfortunately their warranty is only one year from purchase, so I'll have to pay for this myself. Besides, they say, the creak isn't a safety issue, just a "minor annoyance." I didn't even ask about the cost of a new damper.
Are you kidding me?!? This is a $600 fork, and I'm expected to put another 400 bucks into the thing over only a YEAR AND A HALF to keep it running like new? F-ing rediculous.
These all seem like manufacturing defects to me anyway, as I only weigh 150lbs. I shouldn't be wrecking this fork no matter how hard I ride. And for the record I'm not riding drops or anything, just hard cross country.
Bottom line - I'm gonna spend $100 more than that repair quote and get a Z1. Anyone wanna buy this thing? It's going cheap...
Anyway I won't give it the lowest possible because it does feel like an expensive fork when everything is going well - it just doesn't last long.
Strengths: Stiff. Durable/Reliable Changeable travel. 80-100mm. OK customer service.
Weaknesses: Compression knob does little except inadverdently turn when using the lockout. Not as easy to work on as a Zoke. Expensive.
Good stiff xc fork. Even in the 100 mode not very plush. This is good and bad. Good if you want to hammer out of the saddle but not the best for bump compliance. It's not as plush as a Talas or a Marathon. Overall, a good xc race fork. I've been riding the fork quite hard for 2 seasons and it is still performing like new.
Similar Products Used: Many. Zokes, Manatous, Talas.
a Cross Country Rider
from Seattle, WA
Date Reviewed: May 13, 2004
Strengths: Very responsive, fully adjustable, easy to understand manual
Weaknesses: finish flakes off at skewer mount after some use
This fork is great! It's not too plush, but can be tuned to exactly how you want it too feel. On the ride adjustments are super easy (and noticable)! Rebound adjustment is awesome and a must for these air shox. I haven't had a single problem or squeak from this fork. Never loses air.
Similar Products Used: Fox Vanilla 125 RLC, Marzocchi SL, Marzocchi Comp
Bike Setup: SC Blur 5th Air
Uthman Ray IV
from Los Angeles, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: February 23, 2004
Strengths: Large range of adjustability--Precise air spring, rebound, compression, and lockout adjustments make the fork very easy to adjust for any race course or riding condition. Crown never made creaking noise as other forks I've ridden in the past have. I particularily found the blow-off threshold adjustment useful--it allowed the fork to be set very firm for mountain cross and slalom riding conditions, as well as more supple and active for cross country and general trail riding.
Weaknesses: Can't think of a single weakness.
This fork is AWESOME! By far, this has to be the best fork I have ever ridden. The adjustments actually change that way the fork feels when you use them, which is not that case with many other forks on the market. On top of the high quality, reliability, and impeccable design of the fork, the guys who run the Fox race support are extremely helpful and willing to listen to any concerns you might have...
Similar Products Used: Similar Marzocchi and Rock Shox forks, all of which have now been replaced by Fox products.
Bike Setup: I have had this fork on two bikes: my mountain cross race bike: Intense Tazer, w/WTB, Truvativ, Hayes, Easton, Sram, Thomson, and Stealth components, and my cross country bike: Diamond Back hardtail w/WTB, Truvativ, Hayes, Sram, Easton, Thomson, and Stealth components.
a Cross Country Rider
from Santa Cruz, CA USA
Date Reviewed: February 10, 2004
Strengths: Stiff. Rebound, compression, and lock out features. Blow off threshold. Smooth ride.
Weaknesses: Haven't found any yet.
I have used ths fork in several XC races, trail rides, and commutes. This is by far the best fork I have ever ridden. The rebound and compression adjusters actually work as opposed to the Rock Shox I previously had. The fork is buttery smooth and flows through its travel on the large bumps.
I will get another when it comes time to building the second bike.
Similar Products Used: Rock Shox Psylo 2001 Race, Psylo 2001 XC, Marzocchi Marathon S 2002.
Bike Setup: '03 Blur with full XTR, Fox Float 100 RLC, Chris King disk hubs and headset, Thompson stem and post, Selle Italia Fluid saddle, Crank Bros pedals.
from San Anselmo
Date Reviewed: February 8, 2004
Strengths: Stiff, light, quality build
You get control and precise steering from this. Plus, you can lock it out on-the-fly so climbing gets very efficient on an NRS. The low-speed compression dial actually works and I will adjust it on-the-fly before I go through rocky stuff. Out of 80 mm travel I seem to be getting 70mm. Maybe after a decent breakin period it will extend, but I will go to 100mm after its first service.
This is a great fork, and when World cup mechanics like Steve Gravenites recommend it, believe it.
Similar Products Used: Marzocchi Atom bomb, EXR air
Bike Setup: NRS3, Avid disc and this bad boy fork
from steamboat springs, CO
Date Reviewed: January 27, 2004
Strengths: see previous review
Weaknesses: see previous review
I just received a phone call from Fox after sending in a letter stating my problems and concerns. They voluntarily agreed to refund me all costs (shipping and repair)related to my lastest fork problem. That was a huge step for Fox to restore my dedication and support. The agent even gave me their extension # so that I could call if I have problems in the future!
My concerns about the fork's durability over the long term will only be answered after miles and hours of single track attacking. But based on the fork's great performance and my recent experience with Fox, I encourage you to give a Fox fork a try IF you want the best fork out there for non-flex slicing and dicing on a light weight cross country/trail bike.
a Cross Country Rider
from steamboat springs, co
Date Reviewed: January 20, 2004
Strengths: it goes where you point it without deflection, adjustable and supple
Weaknesses: air leak, knob failures, reliability, serviceability and Fox service dept's attitudes.
When this fork works right, its the best all round fork I've ridden since suspension forks came out - bar none. It holds the line you want and sucks up the rough and not so rough stuff all at the same time. BUT... the fork slowly leaked air right out of the box (~ 4 psi/day) in 02'. This past summer it worked great for only a short time before the lockout and then the rebound adjustments quite working. Then the entire rebound knob and rod came FLYING out along with the oil in the leg which got all over me! That repair cost me $$$ again. Nice touchs for a $600+ fork and from a company that touts realibility. I've sent letters to Fox explaining my frustrations and issues and hoping for some resolution but no response. Bottom line: best fork for serious single track attack work - when its working!
Weaknesses: It failed once. Pissed oil everywhere and the dampning was gone.
The fork TOTALY ROCKS. I had an issue with Fox customer service and bashed Fox for their customer service ( May or June of last year). Fox came through and I am again very, very happy with their product. MTBR, WHAT HAPPENED TO MY NEGATIVE REVIEW? Seems it's gone. Makes me wonder about this sites credibility.
Bike Setup: Bike on bottom, me on top (most of the time)
a Cross Country Rider
from Aveiro - Portugal
Date Reviewed: January 5, 2004
Strengths: Rigidez - Qualidade de Construção - Funcionamento - Assistencia
Bem esta suspensão é uma surpresa, uma caixinha de surpresas. Quando montei a suspensão nunca pensei sentir diferencas pois tinha uma Psylo Race Air e nunc tinha andado em nada tão bom, e pensava não haver nada melhor, mas enganei-me e muito. A Float 100 RLC é uma maquina. Em curva com buracos não é preciso fazer nada basta segurar o guiador e pedalar pois a frente tem um precisão e uma estabilidade tal que "nem aquece nem arrefece". Com uma sensibilidade notavel é em grandes irregularidadews que a eficacia se torna mais evidente, nem mexe. Mesmo quado se vai mais cabeça no ar a tolinho e se cometem alguns erros de trajetoria basta pensar é está tudo de novo sob control. Bem uma surpresa bem agradavel e uma nova dimensão nas voltinhas do fim de semana. Fica uma bike completamente diferente.
Similar Products Used: Psylo Race Air - Duke Race Air - Maraton SL - Black
Bike Setup: Commençal Doctor. Suspensão total
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: December 23, 2003
Strengths: To many to mention
Weaknesses: Lock-out afecting the damping knobs.
This is the best investment I have made since I started Mountain biking. This shock rocks. I am able to go faster and the bike handles better than anything I have used in the past. I have also noticed my spectacular crashes have diminished due to the better handling chacteristics. The weaknesses are more of an inconvenience. I just have to stop to readjustthe damper knobs when I need to unlock the shock. I have not had had leak nor any of the other problems other people have complained about.
Weaknesses: weight. But i will take the extra weight for the great handling!!!
This fork is great!!! I bought this bike to do some xc riding/ training / trecking. I used my Fuel 100 for racing. I cannot believe how this fork works. Extremely smooth. I have no problems in the rough stuff.
Bike Setup: Stock 2004 Klien Palomino XV. Speedplay. Thompson seatpost. Ti seat. Easton carbon bar. DT 240 wheel set.
a Cross Country Rider
from Santa Rosa, Ca, USA
Date Reviewed: October 27, 2003
Strengths: Stiff, very adjustable.
Weaknesses: leaks oil, leaks air, compression adjustment moves closed when lockout is used.
This fork came on my bike as part of the X-disc kit from Santa Cruz. I don't know if I would have picked this or not. I know Fox has had problems with their seals. My fork started leaking oil after about 60 miles, and air from day one. I had to rate this product as poor, due to having to send it back, and not having my bike for two weeks. I have three friends that have this fork, two of us have had to send it in for warranty work. Since I don't know of another product that offers all of the features of the Fox Float, for any price, I guess I will stick with thing.