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2025 fox mountain bike forks with new grip dampers explained

Oooooh boy! Lots of really cool new suspension tech and bikes this week! All the new components are up top, bikes are at the bottom. For mountain bikers, the new Fox suspension is incredible, so I dive deeper than normal to explain it. A new Marzocchi gets most of Fox’s upgrades, and MRP says hold my beer with their new Lift damper.

For bikes, ENVE has a new all-road model, the Rocky Altitude and Yeti SB165 are updated, and DirtySixer unveils the “world’s biggest e-bike” with 32″ wheels! Lots more, because Sea Otter Classic is next week, so everyone is dropping their new stuff before the show! Here’s the best new stuff this week:

  • New Fox GRIP dampers (DEEP DIVE!)
  • Fox 32SC fork
  • Marzocchi Super Z
  • MRP Lift
  • Ohlins RXF34 m.2
  • Race Face Era bar
  • Michelin Wild Enduro tires
  • Chris King AeroSet 1&2
  • Fair Bicycle saddle offset hack
  • Project 321 G3 hubs
  • SDG Tellis V2 dropper
  • ENVE Fray
  • BMC Roadmachine
  • Rocky Mountain Altitude
  • Yeti SB165
  • Knolly Fugitive
  • DirtySixer “32er” eMTB
  • Stinner photo stick

New Fox GRIP dampers are lighter, faster & better in every way

The 2025 Fox forks will all get entirely new GRIP dampers for Factory and Performance Elite levels, and they’re amazing. Three distinct dampers – SL, X, X2 – provide unique damping and features specifically for the intended user. All three share new “Pressure Balancing” designs that provide more support and more supple small bump compliance.

To understand how it works, you need to know how a typical fork damper works:

  1. As a fork compresses, the damper’s PISTON SHAFT slides through a MID VALVE, displacing oil inside it.
  2. That displaced oil has to go somewhere.
    • The MID VALVE is typically just a guide to keep the PISTON SHAFT sliding straight and is “transparent”, meaning oil flows unrestricted through it. Meaning, the oil pressure on either side is nearly the same.
    • The displaced oil is forced through a BASE VALVE, which is where the high & low speed compression damping circuits are.
  3. This setup means that the BASE VALVE is doing all of the work, so it needs to have a strong high-speed compression (HSC) circuit to manage all of the oil flow on a big, fast impact. That means it takes a lot of force to activate it, which means it takes a bigger hit before it can start working.

For the rider, that delay in activation (which is literally ~5ms) is felt as harshness, but it also means a more abrupt (also minor, but it’s present) transition between low- and high-speed damping. From a practical perspective, this is why most of us set our HSC wide open so the fork feels softer, but at the expense of it having full damping control on bigger hits.

Fox’s solution was to add compression damping to the MID VALVE, which now works in conjunction with the BASE VALVE to control HSC as a team. This lets them run lighter compression in both places, so the fork can react much more quickly. The practical result is that the fork is very supple on the little stuff, but lets you run more HSC damping to handle the bigger hits for better control on really gnarly, fast trails.

They also moved away from the bladder-based FIT4 damper entirely. All forks now have GRIP dampers with coil-backed IFPs, which are “self healing” against oil intrusion, so they’re more reliable over time. (FYI: The IFP compresses as oil enters the chamber above the Base Valve, accommodating the extra volume, then helps push it back through as the fork rebounds without allowing any air gaps to form).

Doing away with the FIT4 bladder also made more room for a larger diameter compression circuit and taller shim stack, which gave them more tuning options for the GRIP X2 in particular.

This new design comes in three iterations (shown above, left to right):

GRIP SL: The lightest damper, comes in 32TC (gravel), 32SC, and 34SC forks. It’s 60g lighter than FIT4, optimized for weight and gravel/XC use with simple 3-position compression adjustment and firm lockout with blowoff.

GRIP X: For trail and all-mountain riders, it has a new HSC knob with indicator that gives you full, indexed HSC adjustment range in half a turn, then starts closing off both HSC & LSC to create a “climb mode” all from a single adjuster. Separate LSC center dial remains, but is unaffected by the new climb mode. LSR knob on bottom. Available on 36/38/40 forks.

GRIP X2: This one has the most adjustments – HSC, LSC, HSR, LSR – plus a new 23-shim HSC circuit that gives custom tuners way more range to play with (good for their pros and something their team guy had been asking for), but no “climb mode”. Available on 36/38/40 forks, plus 34 as an OEM-only option.

All new GRIP dampers are backward compatible to at least MY21 forks. They’ve also updated the bushing design for slightly less friction, but these will only work in MY25 lowers. Otherwise, the chassis for everything except 32SC carries over unchanged, and all Performance Series forks will get the prior GRIP damper.

Fox 32SC fork gets it backwards, now lightest ever

The new Fox 32SC (Step Cast) uses a generatively-designed reverse arch that, combined with new lowers and crown, makes it 40% stiffer than before. Claimed weight is just 1,287g, which is 101g lighter than the prior 27.5″ model. Now, it’s 29er and 100mm travel only, aimed at XC and Marathon racing.

Weight savings come from the GRIP SL damper, an internally butted damper-side upper tube, new crown, lighter Kabolt SL thru axle, and even the cable guide is 1g lighter than before. The crown has no offset, instead the upper tubes are angled to give it a 44mm offset. Fox says this and the reverse arch only works for the smaller (2.4″) tires and shorter travel of an XC fork, so don’t expect it on longer forks.

Marzocchi Super Z is an affordable beast of a fork

The new Marzocchi Super Z was field tested at Red Bull Rampage and is designed to be the most affordable premium long-travel fork on the market. It gets the same new bushings and GRIP X damper as the new Fox forks (Fox owns Marzocchi), but with overbuilt crown and lowers letting it stretch to 190mm travel with a single-crown design. MSRP is $999, available in gloss red or black.

MRP Lift damper & FullFill 2 air springs custom tune your fork

MRP’s new Lift Dampers come in five distinct compression damping tunes, each for a different weight rider. Compared to typical forks with an adjustment range that needs to suit every rider, Lift gets your fork in the sweet spot for you so that the entire adjustment range is useful to you. It comes on their new Ribbon forks and is available separately for most Fox & Rockshox forks, too.

Their Ribbon LT trail fork also gets a new FullFill 2 air spring, which lets you independently set the pressure in your positive and negative chambers. It also lets you adjust the negative’s volume so you can tune the initial plushness. Their Ramp Control cartridge then lets you adjust how hard the fork ramps up, making this one of the most adjustable, finely tuned forks on the market.

Ohlins RXF34 m.2 forks mix longer travel w/ lighter damper

The new Ohlins RFX34 m.2 is adding a longer 140mm travel option to the 120/130mm forks, giving it the same lighter OTX18 damper, which is 27% lighter than the TTX18 used on their bigger forks and is tuned differently. It keeps the 16 clicks of low-speed compression and rebound and the 3-position high-speed compression damping dial.

It gets a new trail-specific crown-and-steerer unit, keeps the floating axle, and fits 29×2.6″ tires (no 27.5″ version offered). Weight is 1,752g, MSRP is $1,190. The 120-130mm travel versions are still available, too.

Race Face Era & Turbine bars get size-specific compliance

Handlebar compliance makes a huge difference in ride quality, but thus far every brand has optimized the flex for a single specific width, usually 800mm. But most of us ride 760-780mm bars, and as soon as we cut them down, they lose a lot of that engineered flex.

The new Race Face Era (carbon, $170) and Turbine (alloy, $90) bars come in 760, 780, and 800 mm widths with 10/20/40mm rise options, and each is tuned for its specific size and rise. And, it maintains a typical round shape, no ovalization, because that lets them provide a wider range of rotation without diminishing its compliance.

Michelin Wild Enduro Racing MTB/eMTB tires

Michelin is making a fresh effort for North American riders by sponsoring the 2024 UCI Mountain Bike World Series and dropping new MTB tires. The new Michelin Wild Enduro Racing tires are 10% lighter thanks to a new casing w/ two-ply 55tpi construction to support the tire and resist punctures. Magi-X compound retains high grip even in near-freezing temps, with two compounds for hard or soft surfaces and front/rear specific treads.

New E-Wild Racing tires add additional nylon protective strips for even more support, puncture protection, and pinch flat prevention on heavier e-bikes. They also come in wider 2.6 sizes.

Chris King AeroSet 1&2 stealth headsets

The original Chris King AeroSet 3 used press-in upper and lower cups, giving many custom builders a way to add full stealth cable routing to bikes with a standard 44mm headtube. Now, they’ve added AeroSet 1&2 headsets, using their DropSet design that sit flush inside frames with bearing cups molded or machined directly into the headtube. The difference between #1 and #2 is the lower bearing race/frame interface angle, which is part of your bike’s spec.

They’re compatible with ENVE IN-Route and FSA ACR systems. MSRP $295 (steel bearings) and $415 (ceramic). Which is a lot, but A) they’re available in all of King’s 2024 colors, and B) Chris King makes both the bearings and races in house. And they use their GripLock system to prevent the headset from coming loose over time.

Fair Bicycle Drop Best UC adds offset to any seatpost

Aimed at dropper posts because they almost all have 0mm offset, the Fair Bicycle Drop Best UC saddle clamp re-locator lets you add 27mm forward or backward offset to any seatpost. This is especially helpful for older bikes with slacker seat angles. For tall riders that have maxed out seatpost height, that usually puts the saddle too far back for optimum reach and pedaling position.

This effectively makes the seat angle 2º steeper. Or slacker if you reverse it to create more rearward offset. The device comes in several versions to fit most seat posts with the common two-bolt adjustment. It replaces the stock upper and lower saddle rail cradles, works with round and oblong rails, and adds about 64g in total.

Project321 G3 hub’s clever design fits any brake rotor

They’re also wicked fast, with just 1.25º engagement from eight magnetically actuated pawls working in pairs of four across 144 teeth for 288 points of engagement. And they come in 12 colors, mix and match the hub shell and endcap colors as you wish.

But the tricky part about the new Project321 G3 hubs is their 6-Lock rotor mount, which puts a stainless steel threaded mount behind a groove on the hub shell Slide the spacer over it and bolt your rotor on and it’s all locked into place. Or, remove those parts and slide your Center Lock rotor on like normal. Weights are 155g F and 292g R, the 6-Lock hardware adds 20g/hub. MSRP $650-$675/set. (video here)

SDG Tellis V2 dropper upgrades everything, gets 55-230mm travel

The all-new SDG Tellis V2 dropper post gets a lot of upgrades and offers the widest range of sizes and travel ever with 75/100/125/150/170/200/230mm travel and 30.9/31.6/34.9mm diameters. Travel reduction shims let you change travel by 5/10/20mm increments, and it can be serviced at home with no special tools.

The upper stanchion is a stronger 26mm diameter. Inside are self-lubricating IGUS bushings, new polycarbonate+copper keys, and Trelleborg main seal with 3 add’l internal seals. Stack height is 15mm lower (-10mm saddle clamp and -5mm actuator heights), and side clamp bolts make saddle adjustments easier. MSRP $199-$224. (video here)

ENVE Fray all-road bike tames the Melee

Sitting between their Melee race bike and the Mod gravel bike, the new ENVE Fray has all-road tire clearance and geometry better suited to most modern roadies. It’s still fast, with aero shaping, full internal stealth routing & 900g frame weight (painted, no hardware). But it’s optimized for 31-35mm tires and fits up to 700×40 when things get rough. And there are now four different fork rakes to dial in your preferred handling and fit.

The downtube’s Cargo Bay internal storage fits a tool kit and windbreaker in the included bags (0.6L total storage). Top tube bag mounts and a third bottle cage mount under the downtube add more capacity. Like the other bikes, it’s sold as a chassis ($5,500) with your choice of ENVE bar, IN-Route stem, and seatpost. Complete bikes available through dealers. (video here)

BMC Roadmachine 01 TWO endurance all-road bike

The new BMC Roadmachine boosts their endurance/all-road bike family with bigger 40mm tire clearance (that’s 8mm than before, but geo is optimized for 32-25mm tires). The layup and shaping combine aerodynamics with rear-end compliance thanks to their “kinked” seatstays and flex seatpost. Reach is slightly shorter, stack slightly taller, for a more commanding rider position.

It has internal downtube storage and stealth cable routing like the Fray, but takes integration a step further. A custom bottle cage streamlines aerodynamics, a built-in chain catcher protects the frame, and a taillight sits flush behind the seatpost. Top tube bag mounts included, too.

MSRP $12,999 with Dura-Ace Di2, claimed weight 7.1kg (15.65lbs). It’s also available in Roadmachine X versions with a 20mm suspension stem, flared handlebars, and fender mounting points.

Rocky Mountain Altitude enduro bike gets new, lower suspension

Packing 160mm rear wheel travel w/ 170mm forks, the new Rocky Mountain Altitude has come a long way from its XC roots. The new design has the same reach as the prior one, but with +/-5mm of adjustment, and a steeper 77.5º seat angle & slacker 63.5º head angle. It’s their first bike with size-specific chainstays and one-piece rear triangles, too.

The new LC2R suspension puts the lower linkage’s main pivot concentric with the bottom bracket, providing more useable travel in a compact design, good small bump compliance, and lower center of gravity. Shorter, stiffer links make it much stiffer.

Wheel size varies by frame size, with Small getting 27.5″ and M/L/XL getting 29er with the option to run it as a mullet. Available in alloy and carbon frames, and air & coil shocks. Updated downtube storage is big and has integrated AirTag holster. Bikes from (promo video here and explainer here)

Yeti SB165 gets a bigger tire & more room up front

The prior model had 27.5″ wheels all around, but the new Yeti SB165 delivers better roll-over with a 29″ wheel up front, but keeps the shreddy, playful nature with a 27.5″ rear. Updated geometry has a longer wheelbase but shorter chainstays, helping you keep your weight balanced on both climbs and descents.

It keeps 165mm rear travel with their Switch Infinity Link suspension design, but this one’s tuned specifically for coil shocks. And it’s all packaged in a smaller space, which let them improve ground clearance in front of the BB and made room for a larger water bottle and 2.6″ tires. Forks are 170mm travel. Bikes from $4,800 to $9,200.

Knolly Fugitive refines its frame & kinematics

This 3rd-gen Knolly Fugitive gets an all-new alloy tubeset, straight top tube, and Enduro bearings on all pivot points. Updated geo add size-specific chainstay lengths and seat angles. It’s a do-it-all 29er mountain bike that’s “more than a trail bike, less than an enduro bike”, aimed at all-day riders conquering epic climbs to enjoy equally epic descents.

Rear travel is adjustable between 125-140mm with their Fourby4 linkage, which sees improved pedal responsiveness and refined kinematics to keep you floating in that mid-stroke range. Forks are 140-150mm, fits 200mm droppers, rear axle is SuperBoost 157mm. MSRP $4,599 to $5,799.

DirtySixer launching 32er & 36er e-Mountain Bikes

For the truly tall, DirtySixer has been the boutiquey mainstream option by offering bikes with 36″ wheels. Now, they’re launching e-bikes with 32″ and 36″ options thru Kickstarter, fitting riders from 5’10” up to 7’4″. The 32er will have 2.4″ tires, and the 36er gets 2.25″ tires, both with custom Vee T-Monster MTB tires.

Front hubs are 150mm wide with custom dual brake rotor mounts, and both bikes get dual 4-piston front disc brakes to rein them in. They’re powered by a 600W Bosch Performance CX motor with 85Nm torque. Planned MSRP is $8,999, get on their email list on their website for a heads up on discounts when the crowdfunding campaign starts on May 7.

Stinner x MADE Photo Stick

Can’t find a real stick but need to prop up your bike for a ‘gram? The Stinner Photo Stick a three-piece stand that packs slim and assembles like a tent pole (except you thread the legs in, no snap cords here). Rubberized tips keep it from slipping. Cerakoted steel version out now ($59.99), and a raw blasted titanium version ($79.99) coming soon.

On Stage

Check out more about this project, Parkin, and his kit at Backcountry.com.

Small Bites

Hot Deals

Parting Thoughts

I won’t say who, but one of the new products mentioned above isn’t even on their website yet. And the direct product link they just promoted on their social media is broken.

Which seems like a big fail. Maybe a disconnect between marketing and sales. Or their “web guy” just hadn’t gotten to it yet.

For better or worse, that’s exactly why I do all the content/marketing/design/coding things myself. Or, at least, I have a general idea of how to do them so I can outsource effectively.

I’ve found that many riders have a similar disconnect with their bikes. I have a LOT of friends who have no idea how to fix, install, tune, or set up their bikes.

Which is great for the local bike shop, but I think bad for them. Not because they’re spending money to have everything done for them…the economy (and our local bike shop) needs that.

But because I don’t think they’re getting as much out of their bikes as they could.

Fiddling with tire pressure or going tubeless on a road bike is a game changer.

Dialing in suspension settings and sag will bring a bike to life on the trail.

Even something as simple as rotating your handlebars a degree or two to get your hand position perfect can pay massive dividends in comfort and control.

But, unless things are adjusted horribly wrong, many riders may just ride what they ride without ever knowing how much better it can be.

I get it. Most of us have full time jobs and we “just wanna go ride”.

But the next time you’re out, pay attention to one aspect of your bike. Maybe it’s traction. Do you need more? Do your tires feel like they’re bouncing off things? Or squirming under you? Are they slipping? Sliding? Or gliding?

Then think about what might improve that. If you’re not sure, change something (anything) just a tiny bit and see how it feels. If you’re still not sure, type “why do my bike tires ______?” into the web and see what you get. It may not be perfect advice (it is the internet, after all), but it should at least get you thinking about what things make tires behave the way they do.

And that’s the real goal – learning how to think.

The more I learn about anything, the more I learn how to think about that thing and ask better questions.

Which leads to better outcomes.

And I’m still learning, which is why I loved talking to Fox’s engineers about those new GRIP dampers. Pressure Balancing? WTF? But now I sort of understand it, which helps me understand how all damping works, and how I can tune my fork to perform better.

Here’s to learning something new this weekend!

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