Specifically designed for aggressive MTB rides, the Fox Suspension 34 Float Rhythm Boost Fork, also known as the “Fox 34 Rhythm,” gives you exceptional impact resistance on the roughest of mountain bike rides. So what makes this fork worth having?
Whether you’re competing or riding for leisure, the Fox 34 Rhythm is engineered for brilliant off-road performance on your mountain bike. They feature hard-wearing aluminium construction, which allows them to handle all the abuse that’s associated with all-day epics in the mountains. Fox Suspension has also equipped these trail-ready forks with an anodised finish, which protects them against corrosion on the wettest of rides.
Essentially, this means you’ll enjoy their fantastic shock absorption in all weather conditions, without worrying about the elements spoiling your fun. In this guide, we will take an in-depth look at the Fox 34 Rhythm and see how it stakes up against other fork models.
What Is the Fox 34 Rhythm?
Equipped with a Float air spring for enhanced small bump sensitivity and control over a range of rough and ready runs, the 34 fork takes on every trail using responsive performance and a Rhythm GRIP damper for fine-tuning every off-road assault.
There’s the new rounded arch that sits farther forward. This, in today’s shorter offset forks, provides more clearance between the arch and a bike’s head tube when the fork is deep in its travel.
Though the arch design is stiffer than before, the 2022 34 is roughly the same stiffness as the 2021 model. The 2022 is slightly stiffer in some planes and about the same in others.
Though stiffness doesn’t change much, the new 34 is lighter by about 50 grams, giving the 2022 fork an improved stiffness-to-weight ratio.
The air spring gets a host of refinements. The new 34 has increased negative air spring volume for improved sensitivity, and air channels on the back of the casting to reduce pressure captured in the lower legs. Combined, they should make the spring feel more consistent through the fork’s travel.
Harder to see is the new 58mm diameter crown. This is larger than before and mostly an aesthetics thing, so the area around the fork steerer better blends into modern head tubes.
Two things that didn’t carry over from the 36 are the floating axle and bleeder valves, This basically means that the 34 is designed to be as light and capable as possible. Bleeders, while offering an advantage in certain conditions, do add a marginal amount of weight.
In shorter-travel applications—such as the 34—there is less opportunity for chassis misalignment. Therefore, the floating axle was not necessary.
The new 34 comes in 130mm or 140mm travel and with either the GRIP2 damper or Fox’s familiar (and simpler) FIT4, which is 75 grams lighter, fits a remote, and has one rebound knob and a three-position (open/medium/firm) lever. The GRIP 2 offers more tuning options and, I think, does a better job sucking up bumps.
But it’s heavier, and the four adjustments can be overwhelming for some riders. What is most impressive is that the new 34 fits up to a 2.6-inch tire. This fork is offered for 29-inch wheels only and with a boost axle. Available offsets are 44 and 51mm.
For weight-conscious riders, there’s a new 34 Step-Cast (SC). Offered in 100mm or 120mm travel, this fork comes in at 1,496 grams (Factory level, FIT4 crown adjust), making it about 130g lighter than the 2021 34 SC and only a bit heavier than the 32 SC (about 1,440g for the 29er). Though it’s a bit heavier, it should be a lot stiffer and might give XC racers some actual, you know, directional control. The maximum tire size for this fork is 2.4 inches.
Features and Specs
Like the normal 34, this fork gets the new arch and air channels. One 34 SC-only feature is an adjustable negative spring. Riders can run a larger negative spring volume for more sensitivity or add a volume spacer to give the fork a firmer feel off the top.
Expect to see the new 34 SC get a lot of use under Fox’s cross-country pros. You might occasionally see a rider choose the 32 SC for a short-track race or other scenarios where 100mm is enough and stiffness isn’t paramount. But more than 90 percent of the time, many athletes will be on the new 34 SC. Which is not to say the 34 is lacking.
The 34SC is offered for 29-inch wheels only and with a boost axle. Available offsets are 44 and 51mm.
Even though the new 34 isn’t stiffer than the old, it rides like a stiffer fork. It’s less twangy in the rough and holds a line better in high G situations, and tracks over repeated small and medium bumps with more accuracy.
I suspect that it feels stiffer because it is smoother and more reactive and is soaking up more of the impacts than the previous generation 34. All that, and it’s lighter than before too.
On the trail, and with the same(ish) setup like the old 34, the new 34 also seems to ride a bit deeper in its travel and is less progressive. For example, if you are running a typical 20 percent sag—Fox’s weight/pressure chart seems pretty close, but, as always, you can trust your ruler more than you can trust a sticker—but compared to the previous generation 34, many find that rethinking their compression settings a bit, and the preferred number of volume spacers.
This is something that still needs to be sorted out, but so far, running an extra volume spacer (four total in a 130mm fork) and a click or two of added low-speed compression damping (most of the time, you can run your low speed fully open), you will find that the high-speed compression setting is the same (four clicks back from closed).
Overall, this is a better fork than the outgoing 32, and it narrows the gulf between this platform and that of the 36. It’s so much better that riding the new 34 doesn’t make longtime MTB pros long for a 36—that’s not something that can be said about the previous generation.
The fork category the 34 finds itself in has a lot of complex competing demands: It needs to be almost XC-fork light and with almost enduro-fork stiffness and performance. The new 34 balances those demands much better than before. This is a tough fork to get right, and Fox got it right.
All Fox forks follow the same naming convention, where a number tells you the upper leg diameter in millimetres, which in turn gives you an idea of the end-user the fork is suitable for.
Roughly summed up, the 32 series of forks are made for cross-country and light trail use, the 34 forks are meant for all-around trail use, the 36 is for heavy-duty trail/all-mountain use, the 38 is for enduro riding and racing while the dual crown 40 is made for downhill and extreme gravity riding. All of Fox’s aftermarket forks use air springs.
In addition to these base chassis designs, here are a number of different specification levels for each of them, which is why the Fox fork range adds up to around 160 different models…
This is the highest level of Fox fork and is priced accordingly. All these models have high-end FIT4 and FIT GRIP 2 dampers and use the distinctive golden ‘Kashima’ coating on the upper legs to reduce friction and increase wear life. The Kashima treatment creates microscopic pores on the upper legs that retain lubricating oil as the forks cycles through the travel, making it much slippier.
This is the middle of the Fox forks range and while they share the same high-end damper technologies as the Factory forks with FIT4 and FIT GRIP2 options, the upper legs just have a black anodised finish rather than the Kashima coat.
How Does the Fox 34 Rhythm Compare to Other Forks?
This is the entry-level specification of Fox forks that are available on the aftermarket. Different, less complicated FIT GRIP dampers are used and the upper legs are again black anodised. The lower legs are the same as the higher end forks, however.
The standard chassis range is topped by the 34 Factory which comes with the FIT4 three-position damper for 2022. Like its Step-Cast sibling it only comes in a 29″ wheel option but unlike the Step-Cast model, there are 130mm and 140mm travel options. A tapered steerer is the only option but you can get it in Boost and non-Boost spacing for a 15mm axle. This model can also fit up to a 2.6″ tyre,
The 34 Performance Elite does without the Kashima coating but retains the FIT4 damper. It only comes in 29″ options and with 130mm of travel.
When it comes to e-MTB specific models, there’s only one. The 34 E-Bike Performance gets a GRIP damper and black anodised upper legs made from thicker-walled tubing than the conventional range.
It only comes in 120mm travel with Boost spacing, whether in 650b or 29er form. All Fox Shox forks allow the user to control how progressive the ending stroke of the fork is by using volume spacers. These require you to undo the top cap of the fork’s air spring side leg and then add or remove clip-on spacers.
Adding more increase the resistance to bottoming out, while removing them does the opposite. The volume spacers are specific to fork models and colour coded to match. The thicker legs on E-Bike specific forks require you to use a spacer from the fork below it; a 36 E-Bike fork would use the spacer for a standard 34 fork, not a standard 36 fork.