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I'm super stoked to hear more on this fork and how it compares to the Fox 36:
After riding a long line of RS Pikes and Lyriks, the Fox 36 Grip 2 blew my mind with its incredible composure and mid-stroke support (almost too much mid stroke support with the Vorsprung Luftkappe). As a big guy I can huck into the worst, rockiest landing and know what the airspring and damper are going to do every time. It rides so high in its travel normally that according to my shockwhiz its dynamic sag averages 5-10% less than its static sag! It never wallows or bottoms with a metallic clang and never suddenly and unexpectedly blows though its travel. The same cannot be said of the RS forks I've had. It may not be the softest fork on the hands but it has saved my a$$ more times than I can count.
However, the Fox is pretty flexy for a big guy like me (both fore and aft and torsionally) and creaks (to me it doesn't seem like this is the 'normal' stanchion / CSU interface creak that seems so common, it is more of a 'ping' that sounds like the headset getting loose and they settling again as if the steerer is elongating under stress). In any case I'm now looking for that unicorn that has the support of the Fox combined with a stiffer / stronger chassis and yet is still easier on the hands over long rough descents. :)
Incidentally Andrew, about your remark:
"if I was buying a Fox fork I would choose a FIT damper over GRIP every day of the week because I ride a lot and I find they perform consistently better over the full period between service"
I've had my Fox 36 Grip 2 for over a year of pretty regular riding (summer and winter) and have done nothing to it other than periodic lowers service and air spring re-lube and to me it still feels as good as the day I got it. Since the damper is auto bleeding I thought it should actually be more consistent over the service interval as long as you keep the damper side oil clean. I'm very curious to hear about what issues have you heard of or experienced with the Grip 2.
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