Results 1 to 14 of 14
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: hikerdave's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    885

    Avalanche damping cartridge upgrade for Fox 36

    I've been riding fast rocky downhills and taking a pounding. Checking the suspension travel, I found that I was only getting around 2 1/2 inches of travel out of my 6 inch fork, even in the fully open position.

    The fork is (was) a 2016 Fox FIT damper with 3 position lever, no open mode adjust, but rebound adjustment, so no possibility of improvement after setting sag way too low and removing all volume spacers.

    Considering all my options, I went with an Avalanche Downhill Racing cartridge. After filling out all the boxes and sending payment, I followed up with a letter to Avalanche explaining my riding style and what I wanted.

    Next day, Craig from Avalanche called me at work, interviewed me about riding, and gave me his view on front suspension performance while making sure that my expectations about what the fork would do were reasonable.

    He shipped out the cartridge the next day. After an unreasonable wait for USPS's so-called priority service, the cartridge came. I installed it and went out for a ride this afternoon.

    I was blown away! The Avalanche cartridge totally transformed my fork. The low speed compression has been firmed up, so much less fork dive. Landing jumps and rolling ledge drops are both much improved.

    The fork moves a lot more on mid and high speed bumps. For instance, riding along at around 6 miles per hour, a 5 inch high or so rock just gets eaten up. Or riding uphill, smacking into a ledge the bike will just roll over. (Instead of manually lifting the front wheel over small ledges, you can just impact them and let the bike roll over these like they aren't there.)

    On high speed rocky downhills I'm now using that middle 4 inches of the fork travel. (Craig doesn't think that last bit of an air suspension fork is very useful because the air volume in the last bit of travel is so low that the fork has ramped way up -- something I learned in the afore-mentioned lecture.)

    Chunky high speed corners are good too. The fork just eats these up now, without drama.

    I feel like I've gone from having a bicycle with a fork-shaped object to a bicycle with a real suspension fork. I weigh 215 pounds so I'm no lightweight, and still needed less compression damping than what Fox chose for this fork. Why? What does Fox think we are doing with these forks?

    If you bought a low-end (2000 to 3000 dollar range) all mountain or Enduro bike, you can probably benefit from the same upgrade. No need to send in the fork, you just get the cartridge and a new top cap and add you own oil. Installation is fairly simple -- I cheated and didn't even take the fork off my bike to perform the upgrade.

    Next upgrade -- rear shock.
    "Thank you, God, for letting me have another day"
    The Milagro Beanfield War

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Fix the Spade's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    2,725
    Welcome to the Craig Suspension Magic club, you'll like the rear shocks too.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Posts
    262
    Good to hear! Most people are very happy with their Avalanche upgrade. I went cheaper and got a Yari fork over a Lyric for this purpose. I'm impressed that he called you and took the time to explain everything and maybe shift your thinking about how the fork should perform based on the hardware limitations.

    Can you do us a favor and report back after a few months of riding? To see how she's holding up, and if you're still as happy with it.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    894
    I bought one of his shocks, and discussed the fork upgrade. I bought the yari at his recommendation and will get the cartridge as well. Just got to get the rest of the bike built, and break the yarI in so I can get the correct psi for sag.

  5. #5
    Elitest thrill junkie
    Reputation: Jayem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    27,342
    It's amazing (if you haven't experienced it) how tuned suspension can let you "have your cake and eat it too" as far as firm low speed compression that gives you stability and resistance to dive, and then you take the thing through a massive root-complex at 30mph and it just sucks it all up without bucking or diving. Traditionally, if you ran the OEM fork cartridge with enough low speed compression to make it that stable, it would simply be a jackhammer on any bumps at speed. The biggest issue (again if you've never experienced this before) is how under-performing it makes the other end of the bike feel, makes you want to get tuned performance on both ends.

    I've had the cartridge since somewhere around this time last year in my Lyrik. I had one a few years ago in an 888, so I knew what it was about before I bought it. No fussing with bladder dampers, easy oil changes/service, amazing performance, etc. It "holds up" great because there are no bladders to slowly leak over time as with the Charger or FIT dampers.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: bugaroo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    502
    His work is magic! And the performance is consistent no matter how long the downhill is.
    AKA: G-wat

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: hikerdave's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    885
    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    It's amazing (if you haven't experienced it) how tuned suspension can let you "have your cake and eat it too" as far as firm low speed compression that gives you stability and resistance to dive, and then you take the thing through a massive root-complex at 30mph and it just sucks it all up without bucking or diving. Traditionally, if you ran the OEM fork cartridge with enough low speed compression to make it that stable, it would simply be a jackhammer on any bumps at speed. The biggest issue (again if you've never experienced this before) is how under-performing it makes the other end of the bike feel, makes you want to get tuned performance on both ends.

    I've had the cartridge since somewhere around this time last year in my Lyrik. I had one a few years ago in an 888, so I knew what it was about before I bought it. No fussing with bladder dampers, easy oil changes/service, amazing performance, etc. It "holds up" great because there are no bladders to slowly leak over time as with the Charger or FIT dampers.
    Yup. I'm already trying to figure out what to do with the Float DPS shock that blows through the mid-travel so fast that I've had to add volume spacers to avoid bottoming.
    "Thank you, God, for letting me have another day"
    The Milagro Beanfield War

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    541
    Quote Originally Posted by hikerdave View Post
    I found that I was only getting around 2 1/2 inches of travel out of my 6 inch fork
    How do you go from malfunctioning fork directly to spending hundreds on a custom tuned replacement damper? If you had multiple failures I could understand but why wouldn't you at least try to get your FIT4 setup functioning correctly?

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: hikerdave's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    885
    Quote Originally Posted by PhillipJ View Post
    How do you go from malfunctioning fork directly to spending hundreds on a custom tuned replacement damper? If you had multiple failures I could understand but why wouldn't you at least try to get your FIT4 setup functioning correctly?
    Your question starts with the false premise that I can't diagnose a malfunctioning fork and proceeds with the assumption that I didn't try to setup my fork correctly.

    I removed the volume spacer, decreased the sag, decreased the rebound damping, and ran compression wide opening. Of course I could get full travel by smashing the fork down on a jump. The fork was functioning 'correctly' in that it was working as designed.

    For the same price as ordering an RC2 damper with a high speed compression adjustment I could get a damper custom-built for my weight and riding style.
    "Thank you, God, for letting me have another day"
    The Milagro Beanfield War

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    9
    Can anyone provide a thorough review of the Avy fox 36 cartridge and how it might compare to 2017 Lyrik, fox 36, BOS closed and open bath cartridge from a performance, service, and reliability perspective? I'd be going with a 160mm travel cartridge with optional Optional FvAT/HSB Floating Valving Assisted Threshold High Speed Blow-off System. I think this is a better option than a simple tune from Push Factory Tune for $286 with HV piston mod.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: macming's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    2,004
    Quote Originally Posted by nicolai22 View Post
    Can anyone provide a thorough review of the Avy fox 36 cartridge and how it might compare to 2017 Lyrik, fox 36, BOS closed and open bath cartridge from a performance, service, and reliability perspective? I'd be going with a 160mm travel cartridge with optional Optional FvAT/HSB Floating Valving Assisted Threshold High Speed Blow-off System. I think this is a better option than a simple tune from Push Factory Tune for $286 with HV piston mod.
    I wouldn't compare any factory fork to a cartridge custom tuned for you. The Avy setup is designed to use a lot more oil than most stock cartridges and therefore, it has much more consistent damping performance.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: stepneo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    25
    I was running a VAN 36 awhile back with the Ti Coil and Avy Cartridge. The install was straight forward. I applied the recommended settings specified by Avalanche that first day. I had no issues with it after three years of riding. During that time, I went to change the oil, to find it hadn't changed color, with no dirt, or silver color like forks I've had in the past. 160mm VAN ate up anything in it's path. The 36 was installed on a Knolly Chilcotin at the time. I've since built up a Knolly Warden C with a Yari fork and Any cartridge. The install was as easy at the 36. Applied recommended settings from Avy, and have been on it for a year now. I've checked the PSI in the fork only a couple of times since the build, and it remains at 80psi. Solid. The ride of the Yari with the Avy cartridge matches the Any Woodie shock, setup evenly. It's noticeable when railing through a berm, where the suspension doesn't lag, but, moves through the bumps evenly. One of the significant differences I've found with running Avy, is it performs for years without issue.

    Fox 36 w/Avy w/stock Fox caps.
    Avalanche damping cartridge upgrade for Fox 36-fox-36-avy.jpg

    Rock Shox Yari Stock
    Avalanche damping cartridge upgrade for Fox 36-fork-before.jpg

    Rock Shox Yari w/Avy
    Avalanche damping cartridge upgrade for Fox 36-fork-after.jpg

    Hope this has helped.

    Have been riding Avalanche suspension, front/back, since 2001. In my experience, once you go Avy, you don't turn back.
    THE RIDESTOKE COLLECTIVE
    https://ridestoke.com

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    791
    It took me awhile to get warmed up to it and get it dialed in but I'm actually pretty amazed at my Avalanche suspension front and rear now. It has this really dead and non-active feeling it's just whatever you hit just isn't there anymore, it doesn't really matter if it's big or little the bike doesn't Pogo about or do anything weird. It's a really secure confidence-inspiring sensation.
    When I drop the bicycle out of my lifted truck, the tires hit the ground and the bike just stops. It's weird to watch when with stock suspension the rear usually bounces a couple of times.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk

  14. #14
    Elitest thrill junkie
    Reputation: Jayem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    27,342
    Quote Originally Posted by Suns_PSD View Post
    It took me awhile to get warmed up to it and get it dialed in but I'm actually pretty amazed at my Avalanche suspension front and rear now. It has this really dead and non-active feeling it's just whatever you hit just isn't there anymore, it doesn't really matter if it's big or little the bike doesn't Pogo about or do anything weird. It's a really secure confidence-inspiring sensation.
    When I drop the bicycle out of my lifted truck, the tires hit the ground and the bike just stops. It's weird to watch when with stock suspension the rear usually bounces a couple of times.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk
    Hitting insane speeds in rough sections...
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 02-27-2015, 05:32 AM
  2. AVALANCHE: Fork cartridge review
    By bullcrew in forum Downhill - Freeride
    Replies: 30
    Last Post: 10-14-2012, 10:29 PM
  3. E150 damping cartridge oil amount?
    By J-HY in forum Specialized
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 12-23-2011, 03:50 AM
  4. Replies: 121
    Last Post: 05-02-2011, 04:21 AM
  5. Avalanche 20mm cartridge
    By n2fire in forum Shocks and Suspension
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 01-05-2011, 12:51 PM

Members who have read this thread: 183

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •