Mountain Biking Review – Fox Suspension Fork 32 FLOAT RLC

In the last 2 years I have been fortunately to have spent a good amount of time mountain biking on Fox suspension set ups. I have driven the Fox 40, the TALAS and FLOAT series forks. What I have learned over the years is simply put; Fox knows mountain bike suspension. In this review we will cover the air sprung 08 Fox 32 FLOAT RLC.

This fork sits comfortably between the XC and all-mountain class of suspension. Of course we all live in different neighborhoods of the world, so definitions may vary depending on where you ride. The FLOAT offers 5.5 inches of air sprung travel, and in my part of the world (Pacific North West) that sits as an aggressive XC fork, and that is how we rode it.

The RLC version is loaded with all the goodies one could ask for in a performance fork. The fork's interface is convenient and easily adjusted. Redesigned levers with smooth edges compliment the forks ease of use, but also compliment its look looks. Rebound is located at arms-reach on the top of the right leg; Low speed compression is on the outer ring of the rebound and below the lockout lever, providing easy adjustments for action on the go.

It is really hard to find any fault with the plush qualities of this high-end offering. Adding improved dampening to an already proven system furthered the Float's luxurious performance. I honestly did not feel a huge difference between the 07 and 08, but that is nothing to complain about.

The compression lockout is the only area in which I found any weakness to the FLOAT. Not to be misunderstood, the compression lockout functions flawlessly but being locked out at 5 inches of travel will set the bike up with a higher front-end. Which is where the problem lies, the higher front-end pushes the rider back on the saddle and on up hills is where the lockout is not a perfect system. We found on certain bikes it was a chore to keep the front wheel on the ground during moderate to steep climbs.

This is not really a weakness, because you should know this before you buy. It is not something that any manufacturer is hiding but comes with any fork without adjustable travel lockout. The way around it is to spend a few more bucks and get a model (TALUS, Rock Shox U-Turn, etc …) that is capable of locking out at adjustable intervals. This will add a small amount of weight, but well worth the trade off in uphill efficiency but I think it is one of situations where, if you have never experience the better version then you might not even care.

While in lockout mode, you still have the comfort of not being completely rigid. The 'blowoff' sets waiting for any unexpected impact and will give you relief in the form of suspension to help keep you on your bike. The blowoff is adjustable to suit your needs and is located at the bottom of the leg, out of the way.

All who spent time on the FLOAT raved about its steering, stiffness and abilities to keep the track tracking the ground, and not bouncing us off of lines or the trail. The plush suspension certainly transported us through a few rough and rocky moments. Which is why I call this an aggressive XC to all-mountain fork. The performance allows you to be confident and predict the ride, which is crucial if you like to come in hot.

After a long summer of abuse, in the form XC racing, epics, all-mountain climbs and descents our test pilots, and myself all agreed that the FLOAT RLC is an extremely smooth riding high performance mountain bike fork. None of us had any complaints except that we all at one point or another wished for the adjustable lockout; Other than that the fork is tops and ideal for your all mountain – mountain biking adventures.