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First Ride: Fox’s New DPX2 Shock

Fox's cross-bred shock breathes life into the welterweight class

The 2018 Fox DPX2 shock blends technology from Fox’s DPS (Dual Piston System) trail and X2 downhill and enduro dampers to create one hell of a shock.

Last year, Fox’s trail and gravity offering saw significant updates, leaving the poor old Float X shock off the back. This here is the Float X catching up, and it’s been re-jiggered so much that it got a whole new name to signify its cross-bred design. So then, you can probably guess which of the many mountain bike niches this new shock is aimed at.

The DPX2 is for those of us who ride hard, but maybe not quite as hard as EWS champ Richie Rude. You might know this segment as ‘all-mountain’ but the industry has now decided to refer to it as ‘aggressive trail’. Whatever you call it, if you prefer high-quality damper performance on your go-to trail bike, the DPX2 fits the bill.

The DPX2 features three-position low-speed compression compression valving, with 10 clicks fine tuning in the open mode via a 3-millimeter hex at the center of the knob.

The first thing you’re likely to notice about the DPX2 is its appearance. I’ll be honest, at fist glance I thought the horizontally oriented base valve looked bulky and awkward, but I’ve grown to really love the look of the shock. The new chassis design positions the valving in a better location for oil flow and puts the controls in an ultra-convenient location.

On one side you’ll find the three-position compression lever, and on the other, a large rebound knob. Both adjusters feature defined detents that can easily be felt while adjusting the shock on the fly with gloves on—which I found myself doing often now that they’re so easy to reach.

Fox’s DPX2 features more clearance around the eyelet than the Float X, making it compatible with more frames. The reservoir is shorter as well, which also allows for better water bottle clearance.

The ‘X2’ in the name is the stuff that came from the DHX2 and Float X2 shocks, and it refers to the system’s recirculating oil flow design. This architecture results in lower internal pressures, delivers better small-bump sensitivity, better control and mid-stroke support, and allows for the valve design, which decouples the compression and rebound circuits.

The ‘DP’ in the name stands for Dual Piston (though I can think of at least one Bible of Bike Tests contributor who has a different acronym in mind). The Shock features dedicated compression and rebound pistons in the base valve, which increases consistency and allows the user to adjust one without affecting the other.

The DPS design also improves compression damping by giving the firm setting its own oil path. This allows the open and mid positions to be tuned without the firm position’s rigid compression stack affecting damping in the other two settings. On the trail, it means you feel less chatter when you want ultra-buttery suspension, while retaining the ability to apply a firm pedaling platform when the situation arises.

Making volume adjustments to the EVOL air spring is a simple affair, though not one you’ll be tackling trailside.

Making sure the DPX2 has all Fox’s bag of tricks, the shock also features the EVOL air spring, which has a large negative air volume. Each size—the DPX2 is available in traditional and metric lengths—has an EVOL air can to match, ensuring all sizes have the same spring rates.

Fox offers five volume spacers, ranging from .2 to 1.02 square inches. Without any installed, the shock felt very linear on the Evil Wreckoning I was running it on. The .4 spacer gave a bit better bottom-out resistance, but I still wanted the stroke to be a touch more progressive. Fortunately, there are five sizes to try.

Riders can choose between five different volume spacers to tune the spring curve and bottom-out protection. Don’t try stacking the spacers— only one will fit at a time.

Unfortunately, I broke my hand before I was able to get very deep into testing the DPX2, so I’m going to hold off on detailed ride impressions until I can get more time on it. What I could detect right away, however, was that the DPX2 feels fast and responsive, not over-damped like the Float X could sometimes be.

It provides a sophisticated damper feel, similar to the Float X2, but with dead-simple adjustment. It has all the makings of a superb all-mountain, err, aggressive trail shock. Now all I need is for my bones to fuse back together.

Fox DPX2 Factory price: $550

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