FOX FLOAT DPX2 Factory 2018 Rear Shock

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FOX DPX2 Rear Shock
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Tested: FOX DPX2 Factory Shock

Trail tuned X2 architecture in a smaller, lighter, and more affordable package.

Rating: Vital Review
Tested: FOX DPX2 Factory Shock

Fitting the internal architecture of a full-featured gravity shock into a smaller, lighter package, the FOX DPX2 takes steady aim at the ever more popular “enduro” and “trail” categories of riders. The love child of the heavy-hitting Float X2 and the older Float X, the DPX2 is based on a twin-tube, recirculating damper design with simplified external adjustments. We’ve been curious to see what this translates to in real life, so we’ve had it on the trails for a few months now and we’re here to tell you all about it.

Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Low weight
  • High quality finish
  • Smooth and controlled damping action
  • Good pedaling modes
  • Effective adjustments
  • User-adjustable air volume
  • No external control over high-speed compression circuit
  • No sag markings
  • Bottom out bumper transition can be felt

Fitting the internal architecture of a full-featured gravity shock into a smaller, lighter package, the FOX DPX2 takes steady aim at the ever more popular “enduro” and “trail” categories of riders. The love child of the heavy-hitting Float X2 and the older Float X, the DPX2 is based on a twin-tube, recirculating damper design with simplified external adjustments. We’ve been curious to see what this translates to in real life, so we’ve had it on the trails for a few months now and we’re here to tell you all about it.

Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Low weight
  • High quality finish
  • Smooth and controlled damping action
  • Good pedaling modes
  • Effective adjustments
  • User-adjustable air volume
  • No external control over high-speed compression circuit
  • No sag markings
  • Bottom out bumper transition can be felt

FOX DPX2 Factory Highlights

  • X2 architecture
  • Recirculating oil damper design
  • One-piece EVOL air sleeve improves responsiveness and sensitivity
  • Three position lever with adjustable Open mode offers 10 clicks to fine tune compression
  • Remote control option
  • Imperial, trunnion and metric sizes
  • Factory Series models feature Genuine Kashima Coat
  • Weight: 457 grams (230x60, verified)
  • MSRP: $554 USD (Factory), $575 (Factory w/ remote)

Initial Impressions

Kashima everything – FOX didn’t just make the shaft shiny and bright on this one, they literally covered the whole shock body with the slippery stuff as well. Since Kashima is quite fickle and sensitive to the material of the surface you apply it to, the shades of gold don’t really match, but the result is still a unique and in our opinion pretty cool look. If you prefer something a bit less flashy, the Performance Elite version features the same internals with an all black, non-Kashima finish (body and shaft).

Beyond the looks, what really matters here is what is on the inside of course. In designing the DPX2, FOX took the independent compression and rebound adjusters of the excellent Float X2 shock and shrank them down to fit inside a slimmer chassis. The overall damping architecture is based on a twin-tube, recirculating layout where the oil constantly flows back and forth through different tubes/paths, passing by the appropriate valves in each direction. Part of the oil flow is also directed into the piggyback reservoir where an internal floating piston pressurizes the system and provides space for the oil circuit overflow. FOX says this design “creates low hysteresis, quick hydraulic response, better sensitivity and improved heat dissipation.”

The DPX2 wouldn’t be a 2018 shock unless something special was going on with the air spring. FOX calls their version “EVOL”, which basically refers to a larger negative spring and transfer port placement optimized for the size of each shock. The job of the negative spring is to help the shock initiate its travel in order to overcome the stiction inherent to air springs, and getting the volume and ratios between the positive and the negative chambers just right goes a long way towards making the shock feel good on the trail.

To tune the shock on the trail, the DPX2 offers external low-speed and rebound damping adjustments. The low-speed compression lever lets you switch between Open, Medium, and Firm pedaling modes, while an additional adjuster allows you to fine tune the low-speed compression damping in Open mode. The high-speed compression tune is set from the factory and requires a full strip down and rebuild to modify internally, a procedure which is out of reach for most home mechanics.

On The Trail

To test the DPX2, we elected to mount it up on our long-term Commencal Meta AM V4.2. It would replace the excellent RockShox Super Deluxe RT Remote, a shock that has always impressed us and that is a particularly good match for the Meta – in other words, the DPX2 was up against some pretty stiff competition right off the bat here!

Our DPX2 test sample featured a medium compression and rebound tune, and came with a 0.4 cubic inch air volume reduction spacer installed from the factory. For the dimensions of this particular shock, you can run anything from no spacer to a 0.8 puck, which means plenty of options in either direction should you need something different. The Meta AM V4.2 is a moderately progressive bike that relies on the shock to provide part of the ramp up, particularly deeper into the travel (although it is progressive enough to function properly with a coil shock as well). Either way, the 0.4 option seemed like a good starting point.

To land on the same 30% sag we had been running with the stock Super Deluxe shock, we had to run a bit more pressure in the DPX2 (~190 psi vs ~220 psi). We set the Open mode compression adjuster at about the middle of the range (5 out of 10 clicks), and added rebound damping to taste, and headed out on the trail. Right away, the DPX2 felt really good, with good small bump sensitivity and plenty of support. In fact, throughout our testing we would only deviate from these base settings by a few clicks, without ever really feeling like something was missing. We also tried removing the volume spacer but we preferred putting it back in for this bike. We eventually settled on 8 clicks from closed (out of 12) on the low-speed compression in Open mode, and 7 clicks from closed on the rebound.

The 3-position compression lever on the DPX2 provides two additional, fully usable modes. The Medium setting adds extra low-speed compression for those trails that require you to dial in a bit of extra support on the fly, while the Firm mode is closer to a locked out feel. The Medium mode is particularly effective for technical climbing, where you don’t want the bike to wallow too deep into its travel under sudden bursts of power but still need plenty of traction, while the Firm mode is best for non-technical climbing and long liaisons. What we particularly like about both of these modes is that the shock still remains sagged and active, so if you forget to switch back after the climb or just want to enjoy a more responsive ride on some trails, your bike won’t needlessly rattle your fillings out.

On this bike, the stock RockShox Super Deluxe and the FOX DPX2 go about their business in the same unflappable manner, but with a somewhat different feel. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what the difference is, but the Super Deluxe feels a bit more “fluttery”, while the DPX2 has a more direct feel to it. This is mostly noticeable on smaller chatter and/or at lower speeds. Both shocks do a great job when absorbing bigger hits or plowing through bigger stuff.

To further evaluate the performance of the DPX2, we also ran the same bike for a couple of months with one of our favorite shocks, the Float X2. To get the progression of these two shocks close to feeling the same on this bike, we loaded up the X2 with all the volume spacers it can take. 30% sag was achieved with about 190 psi or so on the X2, which also resulted in similar use of travel on the same trails. With this set up, we were able to isolate the general characteristics and the feel of each shock, most notably the behavior at bottom out. The X2 is quite simply not fazed by anything, providing a perfectly controlled response right through to the bitter end. The DPX2 offers much of the same level of poise under duress, but the transition to the bottom out bumper can be felt in a more marked manner. We never felt like the DPX2 was overwhelmed, but on this bike it would run out of reserves before the X2. Of course, the X2 offers near unlimited amounts of user tunability which is part of the value proposition of that particular shock, but it also costs $100 more while adding 200 grams to your build as well. You should also know that the Firm mode on the Float X2 is a bit less firm than the Firm mode on the DPX2, and there is no dedicated Medium setting on the Float X2. The X2 is first and foremost a gravity-oriented shock, a great match for big-hitting enduro bikes but not necessarily the first choice for those looking to improve the liveliness of their ride - that is where the DPX2 really shines.

Things That Could Be Improved

The lack of a dedicated high-speed compression adjuster could be considered a shortcoming on a shock of this level, but if that is the degree of adjustability you are looking for, you might well be in the market for the Float X2 instead. The DPX2 hits the mark in terms of performance, weight, and price, and we never felt like the stock high-speed compression tune caused us any kind of problems on the trail - in fact our medium factory tune seemed a perfect match for the characteristics of this test bike. We would love to see some sag markings on the stanchion however, as this is really helpful when it comes to setting up your air pressure.

Long Term Durability

We’ve had the DPX2 out on the trails for a good three months now on this particular test bike, and we've ridden other samples on different frames as well, and we have not noticed any kind of performance degradation or any other issues. It has held air extremely well, and the suspension action is every bit as smooth as it was when the shock was new. Our previous experiences with FOX’s current shock line-up have not revealed any shortcomings to be aware of either, so we fully expect the DPX2 to provide you with many happy miles and good performance between the service intervals (FOX recommends a full shock service including damper rebuild every 125 hours, which translates to about 8-12 months for the weekend warriors).

What’s The Bottom Line?

The FOX DPX2 is an awesome option for those looking for a shock that offers close to the same performance characteristics as the bigger and heavier Float X2, with a more pronounced pedaling platform and less adjustability. The twin tube design provides smooth and well-controlled damping with an effective and usable range of adjustments, without adding too much extra weight to your trail or enduro build.

More information at: www.ridefox.com.


About The Reviewer

Johan Hjord - Age: 45 // Years Riding MTB: 13 // Weight: 190-pounds (87-kg) // Height: 6'0" (1.84m)

Johan loves bikes, which strangely doesn’t make him any better at riding them. After many years spent practicing falling off cliffs with his snowboard, he took up mountain biking in 2005. Ever since, he’s mostly been riding bikes with too much suspension travel to cover up his many flaws as a rider. His 200-pound body weight coupled with unique skill for poor line choice and clumsy landings make him an expert on durability - if parts survive Johan, they’re pretty much okay for anybody. Johan rides flat pedals with a riding style that he describes as "none" (when in actuality he rips!). Having found most trail features to be not to his liking, Johan uses much of his spare time building his own. Johan’s other accomplishments include surviving this far and helping keep the Vital Media Machine’s stoke dial firmly on 11.

Photos by Nils Hjord and Johan Hjord

First Look: FOX DPX2 Shock

Combining the Float X2 and Float X: twin-tube damper performance with simplified adjustments.

First Look: FOX DPX2 Shock

Ever thought to yourself "wouldn't it be awesome to combine such and such product with this other one"? Well, in the case of the Float X2 and the Float X, you were perhaps among those who were intrigued by the twin-tube damper performance aspect of the Float X2, but slightly daunted by all the adjustments on offer. Or perhaps you found it just a bit too DH-oriented, or the Float X not enough so. In any case, the crew at FOX thought they could do better, so they came up with what might be the ultimate Goldilocks porridge - neither too hot, nor too cold. Enter the DPX2.

DPX2 Factory Highlights

  • Air Sleeve and Body Finish: Kashima Coat
  • External adjustments: Lever actuated Open, Medium, Firm modes / Open mode adjust tuning range (10 clicks) / Rebound / Air spring pressure
  • Air can volume

Ever thought to yourself "wouldn't it be awesome to combine such and such product with this other one"? Well, in the case of the Float X2 and the Float X, you were perhaps among those who were intrigued by the twin-tube damper performance aspect of the Float X2, but slightly daunted by all the adjustments on offer. Or perhaps you found it just a bit too DH-oriented, or the Float X not enough so. In any case, the crew at FOX thought they could do better, so they came up with what might be the ultimate Goldilocks porridge - neither too hot, nor too cold. Enter the DPX2.

DPX2 Factory Highlights

  • Air Sleeve and Body Finish: Kashima Coat
  • External adjustments: Lever actuated Open, Medium, Firm modes / Open mode adjust tuning range (10 clicks) / Rebound / Air spring pressure
  • Air can volume adjustable via tokens
  • Sizes (currently available): 7.25 x 1.75 / 7.5 x 2 / 7.875 x 2 / 7.875 x 2.25 / 8.5 x 2.5
  • MSRP: $549 USD
  • Availability: Mid July 2017

The new DPX2 combines FOX's "Dual Piston Base Valve" with the twin-tube recirculating design of the X2, to create what FOX calls "the ultimate trail shock." The Dual Piston Base Valve has dedicated compression and lockout circuits for each of the three modes on offer here: Open, Medium, and Firm. Thanks to a recirculating damper design as found in the more DH-oriented X2 shocks, the DPX2 should also offer good small bump sensitivity, mid-stroke damping support, and more control in transitions and g-out situations. Compared to the Float X, FOX has also managed to reduce the overall profile of the DPX2, to make it compatible with frames where space around the shock mount or indeed the water bottle comes at a premium.

X2 Architecture

Using the oil flow architecture from the FLOAT X2 design, the DPX2 is the X2’s little brother. FOX claims this system creates low hysteresis, quick hydraulic response, better sensitivity and improved heat dissipation. It also provides a wide, usable tuning range and checked low-speed compression and rebound flow paths for better tuning and consistent performance. If you want to dig into the nitty gritty of it all, there are a couple of slides from FOX below that lay it all out for you. Whilst we have yet to ride the new shock, we can certainly attest to the validity of the claims made here, based on our experience with the X2 shocks.

Compression Circuit:

Rebound Circuit:

EVOL Air

FOX has been introducing EVOL air springs across its line up of both shocks and forks over the past couple of years, so it comes as no surprise to see it appear on the new DPX2. In a nutshell, EVOL provides a size-specific negative air chamber that helps the shock start into its travel, thus improving small bump performance. The overall spring rate curve is thus shifted towards a more progressive shape, with less force required to compress it in the early part of travel. For the DPX2, FOX optimizes the size of the EVOL chamber and the placement of the transfer port between the positive and negative chamber for each shock size. They have also managed to shave some weight from the can itself.

We'll have to wait until we can get some time on the new shock to bring you our real-world impressions, but it certainly seems like FOX have taken their premium trail shock in the right direction with the X2 recirculating architecture in a simpler and lighter package. We'll have a review for you at some point down the line, in the meantime, you can find more information at and keep up with the latest news at: www.ridefox.com.


Specifications

Product FOX FLOAT DPX2 Factory 2018 Rear Shock
Riding Type Cross Country, Freeride / Bike Park, Trail
Spring Type Air
External Adjustments 3-position lever modes (open, medium, firm), open mode adjust tuning range (10 clicks), rebound, air spring pressure
Available Sizes 7.25" x 1.75"
7.5" x 2.0"
7.875" x 2.0"
7.875" x 2.25"
8.5" x 2.5"
210mm x 50mm
210mm x 55mm
230mm x 60mm
230mm x 65mm
230mm x 57.5mm
210mm x 52.5mm
Weight 1 lb 1.6 oz (499 g)
Miscellaneous Above weight is for 230mm x 57.5mm shock length
Dual Piston System with X2 oil flow architecture
One-piece EVOL (extra volume) air sleeve
Recirculating oil damper design
Kashima coating on air sleeve and shock body
Air can volume is adjustable via tokens
Price $549
More Info

ridefox.com

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