Fox’s 2022 Float X and DPX Raise the Bar for Trail Shocks

Matt Phillips
·9 min read
Photo credit: Matt Phillips
Photo credit: Matt Phillips


“Hearst Magazines and Verizon Media may earn commission or revenue on some items through the links below.”

The Takeaway: The new Float X and DPX raise the bar for trail shocks

  • New Float X air shock runs lower pressures than DPX2

  • New medium-duty DHX coil-over for trail and all-mountain bikes

  • Numbered clickers on Float X and DHX make tuning easier

Float X Weight: 485 grams (210x50mm, no eyelet hardware)
DHX Weight:
470 grams (210x50mm, no eyelet hardware)
SLS Spring Weight:
339 grams (61mm X 550 lb.)

Float X Price: $499 to $569
DHX Price:
$549 (no spring)
SLS Spring Price:
$130

View Fox 2022 Gallery

Accompanying the new Fox 34 the company rolled out today are a pair of all-new trail shocks. The Float X replaces the very popular and widely spec’d DPX2 (so you’ll see it everywhere), while the DHX is a new medium-duty coil-over for trail and all-mountain bikes.

You can read my reviews of both new shocks below, and find a review of the new 34 here.

Photo credit: Matt Phillips
Photo credit: Matt Phillips

2022 Fox Float X — What You Need To Know

Reviving an old model name for a new shock, Fox’s 2022 Float X replaces the Float DPX2, Fox’s medium-duty piggyback air shock. Coincidentally, in 2018, the DPX2 replaced the then Float X. The X2 remains Fox’s biggest and heaviest-duty air shock.

The DPX2 is/was a prevalent shock with tons of spec, which means you’ll soon see the Float X everywhere.

The Float X is larger and heavier than the DPX2: my scale says the Float X weighs about 70 grams more than the DPX2 (both shocks 210x50mm with hardware for my Marin Rift Zone Carbon test sled).

But larger was one of the main design goals. The Float X has a larger air sleeve bore, and the air piston has more surface area. According to Fox, this reduces the average air pressure required to support the rider by about 40 psi. I’m about 180lb.-ish kitted to ride, and on some DPX2 equipped bikes, I was running 280psi to get proper (usually 30-percent) sag. The DPX2’s maximum pressure is 350psi—some mental math says that 200+ lb riders ran into issues getting proper sag on bikes with higher initial leverage ratios and the DPX2 shock.

Photo credit: Matt Phillips
Photo credit: Matt Phillips

Another significant improvement is the addition of a microcellular urethane (MCU) bottom-out bumper. The DPX2’s bottom-out bumper, such as it was, was a three-millimeter rubber O-ring. “It is a huge improvement for bottoming and opens up some doors on spring tuning since you don’t have to rely so much on spring ramp to avoid those hard bottom-out events,” said Chance Ferro of Specialized’s suspension R&D department.

The next improvement is related to tuning and bottom outs. Fox cooked up a new set of air volume spacers for the Float X. They come in smaller increments (-0.1, -0.2, -0.4, -0.6, -0.8, -1.0 in3), plus you can stack the -0.1 with one of the other spacers. This gives the rider which gives you 12 possible air volume options (zero to -1.1 in3).

The Float X employs a different damper architecture than the DPX2. While the latter was a twin-tube damper, the Float X is a monotube design, “By going to a single tube, we were able to build in a much wider tuning range,” said Fox’s Estes.

Photo credit: Matt Phillips
Photo credit: Matt Phillips

I discussed the Float X with multiple brands, and they all agreed that the Float X is a better performing shock than the DPX2.

“The new architecture of the damper is much better at separating low, mid, and high speed, which in turn allows more control of the final ride quality of the shock and bike together,” said Matthew Cipes, Marin’s mountain bike product manager.

Pivot’s CEO Chris Cocalis said, “With the tunes that we are running, the actual range of the [DPX2’s] damping adjusters was not as wide as we would like it to be. The New Float X is interesting in that it can still give us that lively, poppy feel that we achieved with the DPX2, but there is more oil volume, lower air pressures, and a larger damping range.”

Specialized’s Ferro agreed with Cocalis’s assessment of the Float X’s available damping range. damping range. “The rebound adjuster range is much broader, allowing it to fit a wider range of riders. On the compression side, the tuning options are broader, and the low-speed compression adjuster does a better job of effecting low-speed compression,” he said.

Photo credit: Matt Phillips
Photo credit: Matt Phillips

Deeper in the list of newness is a two-position climb switch (open or firm) numbered clickers which makes set up straightforward—no more counting clicks back from all the way in), and more rebound damping adjustment range when compared to the DPX2 (Trek was the first to get Fox to make numbered clickers). There’s also a repositioned air valve which should eliminate pump fitment options, as we saw on Niner’s RIP 9 RDO. Fox also says the Float X is quieter than the DPX2, and you can, if the frame allows, fit the brand’s cartridge bearing eyelets on both ends.

2022 Fox Float X — How It Rides

I tested the new Float X on a Marin Rift Zone Carbon frame. It’s the same bike I used to test the new 34 and the DHX coil-over (see below).

Before I installed the Float X, I got some rides on the DPX2 shock that comes on 2020/2021 versions of the frame. On the trail, and with both shocks properly set up, I have to say I didn’t notice a huge performance difference. The biggest distinction was the Float X provided a slightly more supportive ride and stayed a bit higher in its travel without any tradeoff in small bump sensitivity.

Photo credit: Matt Phillips
Photo credit: Matt Phillips

For me, the biggest improvement the Float X offered versus the DPX2 the improved tuning resolution offered by the new air volume spacer system. With the new MCU bottom-out bumper, I felt I could set the shock up with a bit less progression without fear of a nasty-sounding bottom-out. And with the -0.1 volume spacer increments, I could make the shock’s end stroke feel *just* right instead of mostly right. And because the shock is a bit more supportive, running the Float X slightly less progressive doesn’t result in a wallowing mid-stroke.

But the thing about me and shocks is: I’m an average-ish height and weight male, and I ride a medium frame. Most brands tune their stuff for someone like me. So, unless something goes off the rails, most stock shock tunes are in the ballpark for me. Set my sag, set my rebound, and I’m usually good. Maybe a volume spacer change and/or a couple clicks of added low-speed compression damping, but that’s about it.

But for riders on the ends of the bell curve, that’s where things get tough. And I think that’s where the Float X will really set itself apart from the DPX2. With the Float X’s increased tuning range and resolution, more riders should be able to, more easily, get their suspension to work optimally and feel and perform like it almost always does for me.

Photo credit: Matt Phillips
Photo credit: Matt Phillips

2022 Fox DHX — What You Need To Know

The DHX is a new shock option from Fox that doesn’t supplant anything in the brand’s line. It is essentially a Float X with a coil spring: A medium-duty coil-over shock for trail and mountain bikes. It is a simpler and lighter shock than Fox’s DHX2 coil-over, which sees use on DH and enduro bikes. The DHX does share one feature with the DHX2—a spring preload collar with detents.

Like the Float X, the DHX has a two-position climb switch and a numbered low-speed compression knob. However, the rebound knob is not numbered on this shock and is located at the lower eyelet but can take several formats (tooled or tool-free adjuster).

Photo credit: Matt Phillips
Photo credit: Matt Phillips

2022 Fox Float DHX — How It Rides

This shock was also sized and tuned for my Marin Rift Zone Carbon, so I could swap this into the same bike I used for testing the Float X and the new 34.

I’m already a sucker for the sweet, sensitive ride of a coil-over shock, so I figured I’d love this shock. I wasn’t wrong—it is magnificent. That said, it is not as lively and springy (no pun intended) as I anticipated. Like the Float X, it offers excellent support and rides high in its travel with a buttoned-down ride.

But even though—with the low-speed adjuster wide open—the compression circuit feels somewhat firm based on the parking lot seat of the pants test, on the trail, it is velvety smooth. Smooth enough that I could dial in a few clicks of compression damping for even more support without compromising sensitivity and grip in low-traction situations.

Photo credit: Matt Phillips
Photo credit: Matt Phillips

The interesting thing for me was that, with this shock installed, I largely didn’t feel what the shock was doing, but rather the effect of the shock on the bike. The bike seemed preternaturally calm and predictable. It was like time slowed down even though I was riding faster. Without pushing or trying, I was surprised to see some personal best times pop up on trails I ride often.

At the time, I didn’t feel like I was going for-me fast: I was jamming along and havin’ some fun—it was just that easy to go PR fast.

Though it is quite a weight hit compared to a Float X—the DHX for my Marin was, with spring, 322 grams heavier than the Float X for the same bike—I think this shock will be a very popular upgrade for a lot of owners of trail and all-mountain bikes. It has a deliciously smooth feel and amazing sensitivity while offering the support for climbing and pedaling that trail riders need. And it is lighter and much easier to dial in than the DHX2.

You Might Also Like