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FOX vs FOX vs FOX - DHX2 Coil, Float X2 and Float DPX2 Shock Comparison 16

Coil, big air volume, and small air volume rear shocks in a head-to-head comparison on a Pivot Switchblade.

FOX vs FOX vs FOX - DHX2 Coil, Float X2 and Float DPX2 Shock Comparison

What's up, mountain bikers? Have you ever thought about changing your rear shock and how it can impact your rear suspension? In this feature, we're going to ride three of the new 2021 FOX shocks on a Pivot Switchblade, back-to-back, and give you our impressions. Does the coil out-perform them all? Big air volume or small? By the end of this, you'll know our favorite.

 

Basic Overview of Each FOX Shock

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The FOX Float DPX2. This is a relatively lightweight trail shock. It has a three-position compression lever with Open, Medium, and Firm modes. The open mode offers 10-clicks to fine-tune low-speed compression damping via a valved circuit. The one-piece EVOL (that's extra volume) air sleeve is said to improve responsiveness and sensitivity. For 2021 they've updated it with a new base valve design inside the shock.

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Next is the Float X2. This is a higher volume air shock with more adjustability, and an all-new chassis and damper for 2021. In addition to low-speed compression and rebound adjustments, you get 8-clicks of HSC and HSR. The high-speed rebound features FOX's variable valve control, or VVC for short, which improves tunability. The shock has an independent firm mode circuit with a firmer lockout than the previous FLOAT X2. It also has new lower friction air seal and a progressive bottom out bumper inside. 

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And finally, the DHX2 Coil. In addition to a new high-flow main piston, it shares a lot of the same damper updates as the Float X2 and has the same adjustments. There is a new low friction hard chrome damper shaft finish, and the spring now has detents to help lock it in place when you're running minimal preload for that ultra sensitive ride, plus it gives you some more clicks to count! The independent firm mode circuit means the lockout can be firmer, and it no longer impacts the open mode tune.

Pivot Switchblade Test Bike

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For this test, Brandon is using the 142mm-travel Pivot Switchblade with a 160mm FOX 36 FACTORY GRIP2 fork up front and 29-inch wheels. The progressive DW-link suspension design is compatible with both coil and air shocks. See a full rundown of everything on this custom build.

Brandon is 153-pounds, 5'10" tall, and riding a size large. He spent time tuning each of the shocks beforehand and runs a consistent 30% sag. His Durango test loop has a mix of technical, rocky terrain, some jumps, some steeps, and some fast, pumpy flow to round things out.

Float DPX2 on Trail

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DPX2 Preferred Settings:

  • 180 psi, 30% sag
  • 0.6 cubic-inch volume spacer
  • Clicks from closed: 8 lsc, 9 lsr

This is actually the stock shock for the Pivot Switchblade. The new base-valve design helps it pedal really well and navigate tricky climbs without the need for the climb switch.

It's compliant over the small bumps, however it provides some really nice support when you really lay into the pedals. This makes the bike feel the lightest of all three of the shocks, both in terms of actual weight and in terms of how the bike rides. This combination shines on fast-flowing, pumpy terrain. It has a very lively feel to it and it seems Pivot and FOX were aiming for kind of that play-bike feel. It's super springy, really active feeling, and provides a lot to push with a very progressive ramp that allows for great pumping and last-second maneuvers.   

The DPX2 works quite well in rockier stuff too, allowing the rear wheel to get out of the way on fast hits. Pivot did a phenomenal job with the stock shock, and this little damper is pretty dang impressive in a lot of ways. There is a bit of a kick at times with some slight hangups, though. In deep compression moments it isn't as controlled as some of the other options. Some additional high-speed rebound could be used to control it when deep down in the stroke with how progressive the suspension/shock combo is with the stock volume spacer configuration.

FOX Float X2 on Trail

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Float X2 Preferred Settings

  • 157 psi, 30% sag
  • 1 volume spacer
  • Clicks from closed: 9 lsc, 8 hsc, 12 lsr, 3 hsr

Right off the bat, the Float X2 gives the bike a bigger, deeper, more forgiving, less harsh feel all around. It's almost like the bike has more travel. The bike has a much calmer demeanor in the preferred settings, making it a bit less skittery with much improved control on those big impact scenarios. It just comes out of those instances in a straight line and doesn't ping around as much. Holding a line through repeat hits is better, allowing us to point, shoot, and hang on without having to correct as much.

A range of air spring settings and volume spacers can adjust the shock's rampiness, which can take it from something that pumps really well to providing a cushier ride.

One drawback on the Float X2 is that it's definitely more active and bobby feeling when pedaling along. It needs the climb switch in those pedal-mashing scenarios.

DHX2 Coil Shock on Trail

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DHX2 Coil Preferred Settings

  • 450 lb/in spring, 30% sag
  • Clicks from closed: 7 lsc, 10 hsc (open), 14 lsr, 3 hsr

This one was really interesting. It's kind of a combination of the two worlds. There's a bit more of that lively feel of the DPX2 when really pushing into the shock while retaining the deep control found on the Float X2.

Small bumps disappear underneath the bike even more-so with the DHX2 to help it glide along. There are some moments of harshness mid-stroke, pushing into the shock and hitting a square edge. It's not too bad, though. The coil is a phenomenal middle ground between the high- and low-volume air shocks. The DHX2 coil was enjoyable when pumping through terrain, and in a lot of ways it jumped the best of the three shocks. It simply felt more controlled, but still gave good pop off of hits.

Now, because it's a linear coil spring, reaching bottom is easier, but the Switchblade's progression, plus the new MCU bottom-out bumper do a great job of masking the end of stroke, so there's no harsh transition.

The climb switch is required for the best pedaling efficiency, and was used for the majority of our test rides. We're okay with that, considering how easy it is to access on the Switchblade.

Shop FOX Shocks at Jenson USA

FOX Float DPX2 | FOX Float X2 | FOX DHX2 Coil

What's the Bottom Line?

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All three of the shocks work well, and each gives the bike a different character and things that it excels at.

Which one was the favorite overall? On the Pivot Switchblade, the DHX2 Coil wins for the majority of terrain. It retains a lot of liveliness of the stock DPX2 while gaining some additional control when deep down in it. The ability to  tune out some of the occasional harshness of the stock setup is a bonus.

FOX has done a great job with their entire 2021 lineup, including the heavily updated 36 fork that pairs really well with the new rear shocks. Check out the video below and visit ridefox.com for more details. We'll see you on the trails.

 

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