FOXes!

How great they are is SHOCKING!

As I've mentioned elsewhere, I work at Flyin' Miata (FM). One of the many things we sell at FM is FOX shocks. They're crazy light (not the case with the GW version, unfortunately), very durable, and work spectacularly well. FOX actually came out to our local track (twice!) and revalved shocks over and over again until they were perfect. Plus, I've had FOX shocks on my mountain bikes for a long time and I've always been very happy with them. Suffice it to say, I'm a fan. When I started chatting with GoWesty and they offered me a (hugely appreciated) deal on their FOX shocks and 1.5" lift springs, I couldn't resist. On the one hand, they weren't cheap, even with the help. On the other hand, they're still half the price of the FOXes we sell at FM. So, I bit the bullet and ordered them. Worth it or no?

First, some numbers. When I first pulled them out of the box - and got over the shiny newness of them - I noticed they looked pretty long. I ran some numbers, and it turns out that looks aren't deceiving - here, at least. The front shocks were 5/8" longer than the generic Monroes I had laying around (the Konis that the FOXes replaced had similar dimensions), but the rears were 2.5" longer. Not insignificant. What does it mean? When you compare the overall length to the body length between the different shocks, it shows that the front FOX have 5/8" more droop and 3/8" less compression travel. For the rear, the FOX have 2-9/16" more droop and 1-1/8" less compression travel. I was concerned about this with the stock springs. Those numbers mean (theoretically) I would be more likely to bottom out while having more droop travel than I could use. That's only true with the stock-height springs, but still a consideration. However, I was surprised at how well they worked. My biggest complaint with the Konis was the compression damping - the van was prone to relatively harsh bottoming out in the front, particularly when fully loaded. To be fair, the Konis were a turn and a half off of full stiff, and I never tried them all the way stiff. With the FOX, even with the decreased compression travel, I had no bottoming out issues. I didn't put a ton of miles on them with the stock springs, but I did drive on roads I was very familiar with, and the behavior was definitely better. I liked the Konis, but I like the FOXes much better.

Once I put the GW lift kit on, everything got that much better. I was surprised at how much stiffer they were than the stock springs, although there's no telling how much my 35 year old springs had sagged. Regardless, the ride is quite good. Once we went off road, the difference was even bigger - it's crazy how comfortable the van is on rough-ish dirt roads.

The FOXes seem to be designed for the lift springs. The springs essentially mean that you gain compression travel and lose droop travel, but the FOXes get that (and more, at least in the rear) back.

Pros:

Very good ride, especially on dirt roads.

Lots of droop, to keep the tires hooked up for burlier off road stuff.

FOX quality, backed up by GoWesty.

Cons:

Expensive - everything's relative, though.

I'd like a tick more rebound damping in the front. Really, I'd pay more for adjustability so that I could tweak it to my preferences.

The Verdict:

Would I do it again? Yup, definitely They work very well and look awesome - at least the rears, which you can actually see. My biggest concern now is the jealousy of friends that don't have the FOXes.

#Vanagon #GoWesty #FOX #dirt #offroad

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