KTM Motorcycle tests
WHAT IS IT? The Fox Podium RC3 shock is the most adjustable and creative aftermarket shock on the market. The KTM shock is a new addition to the Fox family.
WHAT’S IT COST?
$895.00 (with spring).
www.foxracingshox.com or (800) 369-7469.
WHAT STANDS OUT?
Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Fox Factory KTM 450SXF Podium RC3 shock.
When we say that this is “the most adjustable” shock, we aren’t kidding. The Podium RC3 comes with adjustable high-speed compression, low-speed compression and rebound like every other shock, but Fox has added its unique Bottom Out Control to the mix. More options allow you to find the perfect setting for your speed.
(2) Ease of use.
No shock is as easy to adjust. Here are the reasons why: (a) Spring preload is as simple as loosening one 4mm Allen bolt and spinning the spring. The coil spring is locked to the preload adjuster ring (which rides on Acme load-bearing threads) and is amazingly easy to turn. (b) All the adjusters, including high-speed compression, have 24 optional clicks. On the Fox Podium RC3, you don’t have to count how many turns out you are on the high-speed compression; all you have to do is count the clicks. Clicks are a lot easier to keep track of than turns.
(3) Bottom Out Control.
Fox Factory’s Bottom Out Control sets the Podium RC3 shock apart from every other shock on the planet. It is essentially a third compression adjuster that gets its inspiration from the bottoming cones used on front forks. In the last 30mm of travel, the Bottom Out Control hydraulically slows the shock to keep it from bottoming. A 24-click adjuster lets the rider set his suspension up for small and mid-size bumps and then use the Bottom Out Control to stop it from slamming through its stroke on jumps.
We struggled with it. Our test riders range from pros to novices, and the vast number of combinations caused some consternation. We needed more low-speed compression damping to stop the boingy feeling. We sent the shock back to Fox Factory to get it revalved. Then, once we had that working well, we turned our attention to the Bottom Out Control. Excessive bottoming (under certain loads) has always been a KTM bugaboo. We thought that the Bottom Out Control would stop this, but it didn’t.
We ran the high-speed compression on 9 clicks out, low-speed on 10, rebound on 15, and Bottom Out Control on 2. But, we were never satisfied.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK?
This shock just never worked for us. We tested it, disliked the settings, had it revalved (which seemed to make it worse), then we sent it back for a second revalve (and that was the last time we ever saw it).
Fox Factory has the most high-tech shock on the market, but they haven't found the perfect balance between plush action and big-hit absorption; we think they will, but we aren't so sure that they think they will. We loved the shock's features, but didn't love the supplied valving.