Our goal is to improve the ride dynamics for the rider,” says Christoph.
Any Mtb Rider Knows That Suspension, Especially The Front Forks, Plays An Integral Role In How Their Bike Performs. Fox Racing Shox Has Been At The Forefront Of Mtb Suspension Design, Continually Redefining Ride Dynamics. Meeting With Christoph Ritzler, Fox’s Managing Director For European Operations, And Tony Hedrich, Asia Pacific Director Of Sales And Marketing, Allowed Us An Insight Into Fox And Their Philosophy.
Fox Racing Shox had their beginnings in 1974, when company founder Bob Fox began making rear air suspension for motocross motorcycles. Working out of a friend’s garage, the initial prototype rear shock was hand drawn, and Bob Fox made use of his friend’s mill and lathe to create a rear shock that was lighter and more compliant than the traditional coil and oil design. The performance of the Fox shock was revolutionary in more ways than one, and motorcycle racers, knowing a good thing when they saw it, were soon using Fox suspension designs and components to win races. Adoption by Baja, Indycar and superbike racers, as well as motocross riders, led to Fox suspension being ubiquitous across the field. Fast forward 20 years, and Fox Racing Shox enters the bicycle suspension market when Cannondale begins using Fox suspension on their MTB range.
Fox’s foray into the MTB suspension market began in earnest in 2001, with the introduction of FOX FORX. The very next year, Brian Lopes wins the UCI Mountain Cross World Championship using a FOX FORX FLOAT 100 RLC. Going from strength to strength, 2008 saw Fox suspension equipped sibling Gee and Rachel Atherton winning both the men’s and women’s Downhill World Championship crowns. Further championship laurels came with wins in succeeding years by Tracy Moseley, Mathias Flueckiger and Aaron Gwin. With this, Christoph gave us some information on what’s coming up for 2015.
“We have 2 main high- lights for 2015. First high- light, and the most visible one, is a completely new enduro racing fork, which is the new 36 RC2. This is a product which we developed during the racing season and has now won the Enduro World Series Men’s and Women’s categories,” says Christoph. “So, it has been a good start, and at the moment (the fork) is working well. It is the product you need to win endure world series races.” He continues, “The other part that is really new for 2015 is an overall improvement of ride quality, of our forks. We did that by addressing several main subjects. Calibration of tolerances, the surface finish, a new oil, the Gold oil, which has better surface adhesion.”
It is critical for the rider to get the best experience from our product,” says Tony.
“Our goal is to improve the ride dynamics for the rider,” says Christoph. “Make the ride dynamics more capable. Most of the time, in our perspective, means I can ride faster, further with more control over a longer time. That’s a very lofty goal, but that is our definition of high performance. The additional challenges today we have to realise, the best technology is only as good as its use, and I think that is one of the biggest challenges of the bike industry.
We Are Always Talking About Technological Advancements, Where People Are Always Expecting The Next Step From Year To Year.
Fox is a very engineering driven company, where we have a clear picture of what the customer is expecting.”
Tony is new to Fox, and is currently traveling around the region talking to distributors, making sure they have an adequate service infrastructure in order to service the needs of their customers. Local Fox distributor Khcycle has made a substantial investment in ensuring that Fox products are adequately supported in Malaysia. Asked about the level of investment Tony has this to say, “There is different levels of service that’s done. Our distributors are trained to do the full level of service, and the investment there, from the tools, the different inventory that is required to support all our products is nearly US$150,000.”
“That’s an important area for the manufacturers that use our products, and the riders who use our components. If they have any issues after so many hours of using the products, or if there is any sort of warranty issues, they can send the product back and get the products serviced properly and get back on their bikes as quickly as possible.” says Tony. “Every Fox distributor that we are involved with has shown a capability and the willingness to invest in a service center. We will not open a distributor if they will not make the investment to have a fully stocked, fully trained service center,” he adds, “because it is critical for the rider to get the best experience from our product.”