Conventional wisdom suggests 29ers are only viable at high speed on smooth hardpack. FOX Racing Shox doesn't give a damn. The brand's 34 Float 29 140 3Pos Adj FIT4 Fork with 51mm Rake combines five inches of generous travel, a high riding tendency, and an offset axle to aid in low speed maneuvers in short, all of the benefits of wagon wheels' high angle of attack and none of the downsides that relegated earlier generations to the XC life. A fork with 51mm of rake decreases the bike's trail, which results in less dead space between the steering axis and the hub. The design is an attempt to offset the floppy, low speed steering issues that arise from the longer trails produced by taller wheels and slack geometries, so handling stays 26er sharp at all speeds, whether climbing, ripping, or navigating switchbacks and tricky terrain. The Fit4 returns unchanged for 2017, so it still toggles between a menu of Firm, Medium, and Open settings. The Open setting encompasses the range that FOX's old model, CTD, divided between Descend and Trail. We tend to spend most of our time in Open in order to take full advantage of the fork's high riding tendencies, combining better small bump compliance with more confident tracking across successive impacts and rough terrain. The Medium setting is much firmer now, handling duties ranging from rooty trails to climbing, and the Firm setting is now largely relegated to fast hardpack and fire road transitions. FOX's tinkering wasn't just confined to the damper, though, as the Float air spring now omits the negative coil in favor of a self equalizing air assembly. This is similar to the air spring chamber system that made the re worked 36 series such a success, and its omission of a steel coil is a key contributor to the overall claimed weight loss of 297 grams quite a feat when you consider that the latest 34 Float 29 also retains the 2016 model's gains in stiffness.
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