Ah, Fox suspension. Probably the most widely recognised and used suspension brand in South Africa. But why? Why are most mountain bikes, especially in the mid-to-high end ranges specced with Fox? And why should you consider Fox first when you’re in the market for a suspension upgrade or dropper seatpost? We ran some questions by Fox South Africa Brand Manager Steve Bowman to find these and other answers.
Paid partnership with Fox South Africa
First of all, it’s worth mentioning that Steve Bowman is the original South African pro mountain bike racer. In the mid 90s, just as the Internet was making an appearance, Steve headed overseas to ply his trade as a pro racer when XCO was still XC on long, lapped courses that took the winner two-and-a-half hours to complete! So you could say Steve knows more than most about mountain bike performance and the importance of riding bikes with appropriately specced components.
Which Fox products are the most commonly found in South Africa?
Pretty much the full range of Fox products (suspension forks, droppers and shocks) are popular in South Africa. Fox is huge with OEM so this really gets it out into the marketplace.
Note: OEM = Original Equipment Manufacturer, which essentially means that the brands that make bikes decide which components they want to sell the bike with. Many choose Fox.
What sort of warranties do Fox products have?
Fox has a one year warranty from original date of purchase. Some issues we can push further out past that.
Do you know what Fox’s suspension fork market share is in South Africa?
I’m guessing it must be around 70% based on OEM speccing, but that is a guess and no one really knows.
What would you say are the best features of the Fox 34 Stepcast fork?
The new Fox 34 Stepcast has everything needed for the SA market. Lightest in class, 120mm travel and exceptional damping and ride quality.
Why should a trail rider/enduro racer choose Fox suspension over other brands – what does Fox have that the others don’t?
The big difference with Fox is what the consumer buys is what the pros ride. Yes, the pros might have a custom tune here and there but basically they ride what you ride. That’s pretty amazing! A lot of other brands have custom fork programs for the pro riders, which is not available to the consumers.
How popular is Fox in terms of dropper seatposts in South Africa?
Again because FOX is so widely used on OEM bikes, it is very popular. It is a premium product so not the cheapest but still is super popular here.
Have you found there’s been an increase in the purchase of after-market Fox components since bike stock has been so sporadic?
We are still selling the same products as normal, the biggest difference is how irregular the sales are now. We have to take backorders now, which is not something we have had to do before because we have had a steady flow of product. Until now, it’s been good. It will probably even out again as stock supplies stabilise.
You do servicing of Fox components, is this for consumers or only bike shops? What is the typical turnaround time on a straightforward service?
We service for both consumer and shops. The turnaround is generally two days. They normally get sorted the day after we receive them, or sometimes same day depending on current workloads. The biggest delay is the shipping to us and back from us. The couriers can be the biggest headache post-Covid, but it seems to be settling down a bit now.
Do you also do customised suspension tuning for individual rider preferences?
Yes we do, but it really isn’t a big part of our work. The reality is the product is so well setup from the factory and has such good adjustability, that there really isn’t a need for custom tunes. Custom tuning really is necessary when you get very light or very heavy riders. Suspension is basically tuned for 75kg riders so when you’re well below or well above this, some extra tweaking can be necessary to get the bike to feel better.
To find out more about servicing your Fox suspension fork, shock or seatpost, check out this link for information.
For the South African mountain biker, specifically marathon/XCO/gravel/stage racers looking to get something more out of his/her bike’s performance, Steve recommends two of the Fox’s premier products: the Fox Transfer SL Dropper seatpost and the Fox 34 Stepcast suspension fork.
Fox Transfer SL Dropper seatpost
The new Transfer SL (Super Light) is 128g or 25% lighter than the standard Fox Transfer dropper seatpost. It comes in two models, Performance Elite and Factory. The former retains all the same internals, diameter options, drop options, shortened stack heights, new head design and proven factory internals as the latter. The only difference is the Factory has a Kashima-coated upper, you know, the one used by World Cup racers and those with no budget limit when it comes to performance components.
The Fox Transfer SL Dropper comes in three diameters – 27.2, 30.9 and 31.6 – and four travel options – 50mm, 70mm, 75mm and 100mm, making it ideal for XCO, Marathon and Gravel bikes. It also comes with two lever options for 1x and 2x drivetrain bikes
For more detailed information, click here.
Fox 34 Stepcast suspension fork
The Fox 34 Stepcast was named Pinkbike’s Suspension Product of the Year in 2021. And it’s not really difficult to see why. It’s smoother, stiffer and more tunable than its predecessor, which was already a category benchmark. At 1860g, it’s the lightest suspension fork in its category and the newly designed rounded arch bridge optimises it’s strength-to-weight ratio; while the new Grip 2 Damper, which includes Variable Valve Control technology, allows for external fine-tuning of suspension performance.
Available in both the Factory and Performance models, the Fox 34 Stepcast is engineered for 29-inch-wheel bikes and comes with 100m or 120 travel. It incorporates Fox’s patented FIT4 closed cartridge system that provides three on-the-fly compression damping positions – Open, Medium and Firm – and low-speed compression and rebound fine-tuning adjustment.
For more detailed information, click here.