by Tom dB
February 16, 2009
Foes FXR 2:1 Price: £1,849 frame only From: Balfa.co.uk The Bike The 6in travel ‘aggressive trail’ FXR has been part of the Foes line-up for the past few years. This latest incarnation introduces their 2:1 Curnutt shock ratio into the mix (where an inch of shock shaft travel equals two inches of rear wheel travel). […]
Foes FXR 2:1
Price: £1,849 frame only
The 6in travel ‘aggressive trail’ FXR has been part of the Foes line-up for the past few years. This latest incarnation introduces their 2:1 Curnutt shock ratio into the mix (where an inch of shock shaft travel equals two inches of rear wheel travel). The basic idea of having as long as possible shock stroke is that it’s much less hard work for the damping circuitry to do and it’s much easier to tune the shock to behave as desired.
By using a swing-link, side load forces going through the shock have been eliminated and chassis stiffness is improved. All the pivots look very sturdy, the swing-link is short and stiff and the simple, but highly effective, single pivot suspension design all help contribute to an incredibly robust handling chassis.
The 68.5˚ / 72˚ angles are fairly standard All-Mountain numbers. The top tube is roomy enough for long days out (23in effective on the 18.5in frame). The impressively short 16.8in chain stays both help maintain climbing traction and when lofting/manualing the front wheel over obstacles – allowing the awesome shock to deal with it all. The full length seat tube allows total saddle-droppage and takes a regular front mech.
The Verdicts from the testers…
Chipps: “Ugly but purposeful looking bike. Huge shock and big tubes for something with ‘normal’ amounts of travel. It climbed really well – no bob and long road and fireroad climbs were despatched with a surprising amount of ease.
“Downhill – it goes a lot faster than I can and much of its talents are wasted on me, but it did handle drops and bumps very stably and there was a lot of ‘I’m on the wrong line – oh what the hell, I’ll just go this way then’ and as long as you had the speed and conviction to see it through, nothing seemed to knock it off line.”
Matt: “It pedals really well. I know I say that about every full suspension bike but I was quite prepared for the Foes to bob about, but it didn’t. Because it felt very firm under power it was great for surging and pumping along rollercoaster singletrack where I thought it might be a soggy chore. It’s a very ‘American’ feeling bike in this regard – I kept picturing the bike hammering along endless uninterrupted dusty California singletrack. ‘Aggressive trail’ is a good name for its genre. It might not be so suited to the stop-starty nature of UK trails though I’d love to give it a spin around some UK trail centres.”
Jon Woodhouse: “The back end doesn’t appear to work at first – then you realise it’s because it’s subtle and very active over the lumps. Seems to prefer being twatted into things rather than finesse – might be a side effect of the chosen componentry build kit though.
“Fast handling front end, and it isn’t overly nervous when climbing. It climbs a lot lighter than it is, very good traction, impressively non-bobby, only really gets moving when you’re out of the saddle and honking. Nice and fast and fun on the fast swoopy stuff. On steeper, more on-the-brakes stuff it occasionally made a rabbit’s nose appear in my shorts.”
Ed: “Fast as f***. Great for riding the trails that are so overgrown you can’t see lower than your hubs. Amazing traction on the climbs. Even with the tyres pumped up hard (just to see) I was impressed with the adhesion and I deliberately went through the loose stuff rather than round the edges.
“On descents I found I sat back into that shock more than on other bikes rather than getting over the front like I usually do. It was even fun on moorland singletrack when I got on top of the bike and threw it around. It felt like a motocrosser in this respect.”
Overall: A classic Yankee mountain bike. Made in America, by Americans, for American trails (well, Californian ones probably). A fantastically executed bike with very impressive suspension qualities. You may struggle to find enough suitable natural terrain for it in the UK but it has all the hallmarks of a trail park demon.