The true possibilities of the 29er platform are finally coming to light now that forks like the 140mm travel Fox 34 Float 29 CTD FIT are available. This fork's oversized stanchions, redesigned lowers, and large amount of travel, along with Fox's new approach to fork tuning will let you open up a new realm of aggressive trail riding aboard a 29er. Fox forks have traditionally been featured packed, offering the ability to make any adjustments needed to tune the fork for any condition. The only problem was the difficulty for the average rider to make knowledgeable tweaks to the forks. High- and low-speed compression, lockout threshhold, preload, and rebound are all common adjustments, but, for the guy who wants to ride, and not relentlessly and aimlessly tune a fork, this can have a negative effect on performance and user experience.With CTD, one lever quickly and easily switches the fork's compression to ideal settings for the task at hand. The Climb setting adds plenty of low-speed compression to mitigate bobbing when standing on the pedals. Trail mode offers moderate low-speed compression to balance efficiency with optimum trail manners, it's also independently adjustable with three settings; soft, medium, and firm. Finally the Descend setting features the optimum high- and low-speed compression for plush action on steep and aggressive sections of trail.Another key feature to this new Fox is a redesigned spring curve for forks 130mm and above. There's now a more linear spring rate. This is achieved by using a longer negative spring and by reducing the air springAAAs compression ratio. The resulting curve gives these air forks a more coil-like feel, and it also uses more of its travel because the preload won't ramp up.The 2013 29er lowers are now nearly a half pound lighter than last year's comparable model.
Strengths: Lighter each generation. Smooth travel. Reasonably stiff.
Weaknesses: See below.
The lack of ramp up could be a good thing if there was adjustable compression dampening in the Descend mode to dial it in.
So I've been riding my 34 Float 140 CTD with Trail Adjust for a couple of weeks and I thought I would give a quick review.
My basic over view is that it is OK but not great. I apologize ahead to those who only like positive reviews.
It is really light for what it does which is nice, but I think I would take the little extra weight for the added stiffness of a 36mm stanchion with a little more overlap too. You can apply the front brake and rock the fork back and forth and feel something moving like a loose headset, but the headset is tight as far as I can tell. It does seem to track well enough however so it's not a deal breaker.
You can still adjust rebound on the bottom of the right leg. It did seem like I had to add a lot more of that than usual to get control but I didn't have to go to the max. Perhaps this is a result from slicker stanchions and seals.
The CTD is probably the most disappointing aspect. Mainly because they have done away with compression dampening adjustment on all settings except in Trail. You can't change compression on Descend or Climb externally. Plus in Trail there are only 3 settings making fine tuning impossible. I know, according to some press release, they were trying to dumb it down for the dumb, but maybe they went too far.
This wouldn't be as big of a deal if it came set better from the factory but I have had to add 15 psi to the fork over the average I run in all other Fox forks to keep it from bottoming out in Descend. And at 15 over normal it was too stiff to track bumps well. So Descend mode is pretty much out as an option for the moment. I'll test some more but it's not looking good.
Perhaps for some the Climb mode would be good for them because they like a really stiff fork, but for me it's too much lockout unless I'm on really smooth trail or on pavement. Neither happen often enough to worry about. So that's not too useful to me either.
The compromise I have arrived at is to leave it in Trail mode all the time, in the middle compression setting, with only 10 extra psi and that seems to work pretty well. The fork came set to high in Trail and that was too stiff for me and since the middle setting works I haven't tried the light setting yet.
While still new to the fork, and since it was available, I ordered an $80 remote kit so I could take advantage of the CTD easier than reaching down to the fork every time I want to change, but with more evaluation I'm afraid I'm going to be leaving it in the Trail setting almost all the time and for the few times I want to change it I could have just reached down. But it's on the way and I'll go ahead and install it anyhow since I have yet to have remote control on a bike.
Another thing, and I'm not sure how it happens, but when I was still switching between all three settings while riding (before I lowered the compression dampening for the Trail mode and left it there) when I was trying to ride in Descend mode and hitting hard edge rocks while climbing the selector ended up in the Trail setting 3 times on it's own in one ride. The detentes aren't very strong I guess. It did however stay in Trail mode all day today without moving.
So I guess all in all it might as well not even have the CTD. For me at least.
Or maybe having 2 settings would be better. Full open Descend mode with compression and rebound adjustments #1, and full Terralogic in #2 for climbing. I've found Terralogic works pretty well when you want it stiff but still want blowoff for bumps.
And while they are at it take the plunge and make it 36mm with 160mm travel. Do all that stuff and Fox would have the top of the heap covered for big hit 29ers.
If we're dreaming how about low AND high speed adjustment for compression AND rebound?