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35mm Boxxers: years or models to go for/avoid?

Discussion in 'Downhill & Freeride' started by MarkDH, Jun 29, 2014.

  1. MarkDH

    MarkDH Monkey

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    My old Boxxers are getting quite tired (06 uppers, 05 lowers) and it seems more economical to get a set of newer ones second hand than keep the old ones running (new seals, bushings, crush washers and all that required).

    I've not paid much attention to Boxxer developments since they went 35mm, so I'm not sure if there are years or models that had problems? There are plenty of reviews online but not much on what they are like after the six weeks or whatever the testers had them, so any advice on what to look for and what to avoid? Not really bothered about sprung vs air but imagine the air will take a bit more maintenance?
     

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  2. saruti

    saruti Turbo Monkey

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    from my experience , since 2010 (35mm)
    the BOXXERs are great.
    I have a 2010. WC. still works great. just change oil once in a while
    in 2011 they' changed the internals a bit. but it feels the same.
    the 2015 is again changed internally.
     
  3. gemini2k

    gemini2k Turbo Monkey

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    Why get a boxxer again when you can get other forks that are essentially generations ahead for cheaper?
     
  4. TrumbullHucker

    TrumbullHucker trumbullruxer

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    i say get a cheap 35mm boxxer and swap the right leg internals for their new charger damper

    totally different fork with the new damper
     
  5. MarkDH

    MarkDH Monkey

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    Have to admit I have no idea what the last two posts are about. What can you get cheaper than a boxxer? Is the charger damper 2014/15?
     
  6. wysiwyg

    wysiwyg Monkey

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    My new bike comes with an RC and I've got a charger due. Ditching the 888rc3 ti, better not be a school boy error.
     
  7. TrumbullHucker

    TrumbullHucker trumbullruxer

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    the 2015 boxxers come with a brand new dampening system.. called "Charger" or something

    the incredibly cool thing that they did was they allowed any 35mm boxxer ( ? 2010-2014 ? ) to allow this charger damper to fit into the old boxxers.


    no custom fitting or anything.. i swapped my old boxxer right leg dampening and installed the Charger in 15 minutes

    so i would say... find a good condition 2010-2014 boxxer race or team for cheap, then the charger for $380
     
    #7 -   Jun 29, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014
  8. MarkDH

    MarkDH Monkey

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    I see. Any particular problem with the Mission Control (?) damping that the Charger is meant to solve?

    Tbh, I think any newer Boxxer is going to feel better than the antique I'm running. :-)
     
  9. tacubaya

    tacubaya Monkey

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    I'd avoid 2010 Boxxers, the machining on the lowers wasn't very good.

    Anything with a serial 16T11 (April 2011) and newer will also have the possibility of upgrading to the latest Solo Air spring.

    2013+ have excellent machining on the lowers and crowns and should work well with the new Charger damper and also with the black stanchions.
     
  10. Jm_

    Jm_ Turbo Monkey

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    Avoid pairs of boxxers.
     
  11. HardtailHack

    HardtailHack used an iron once

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    I second that but RS forks seem to still be quite hit and miss, two new forks can feel completely different to each other(with the same settings).

    As the OP said, anything would be better than his fork, I'd still take a 2010 Marz fork over a Boxxer any day of the week though.
     
  12. Sandwich

    Sandwich Pig my fish!
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    2010 and prior. Anything with an indent in the zip tie mount. These forks were prone to cracking at the arch in that spot and rs later changed the casting. By now most will be fixed, but you'll also potentially face problems with the top out spring and rebound head if they were not updated. Lots of people also didn't get full travel due to stiff drop stop elastomers. There was a "silent recall" on these models due to all the problems.

    I had an early 2010 which was replaced entirely by a 2011. It was a little better. Eventually I got a 888 rc and knobs did things and there was small bump performance. Not even "better" small bump performance, but movement over small bumps, something I never experienced with the boxers. Fwiw, my 2008 wc performed better than my 2010 team or 2011 r2c2. I now have a pike and it's not as supple as the Marz but it's far more controlled.

    If I were you, I'd grab a 2010 or later 888rc3, unless you need the light weight of an air fork.
     
  13. gemini2k

    gemini2k Turbo Monkey

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    Typically the chassis on boxxers has been truly second rate. Poor seal/bushing tolerances, poor seal material, etc. Now they claim to have addressed this is the 2015's but.....It's been 15 years of this garbage, I have no reason to believe them now. I have not tried a new one yet.

    All this leads to forks that feel really sticky. You can rebuild them, and they'll feel okay, but then after a day or two of hard resort riding, they need it again. And to everyone who says "Not mine, blah blah blah". No, you're wrong, go feel your friends' 888s or Dorados, or DVOs (maybe 40s, haven't tried too many of the new ones, but the ones I have are definitely better than boxxers). Totally different world.

    In the end, no improved cartridge whether its an avy or a charger will fix that. If the 2015 boxxers are totally different, great! Another good fork is always a good thing. But again, I doubt they are. Plus with a dorado expert or 888 CR being cheaper than say a boxxer r2c2 on pricepoint, I don't see any reason to gamble on a boxxer. The above mentioned forks are not perfect by any means, but significantly better.
     
  14. MarkDH

    MarkDH Monkey

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    Well, I have a mate who went from Boxxers to 888s and he did say it was night and day, he could actually hold on through the rough!

    I have considered 888s but came round to Boxxers for three main reasons a) ignorance on my part about what to go for, heard they moved factory and went sh1t for a few years b) I ride a Sunday which isn't quite a plush plough machine so thought the front and rear might feel mismatched, but mainly c) there are 10 times more Boxxers kicking round the UK secondhand market compared to Marz.

    Never been sure about 40's, seemed pricey to buy and get parts for?
     
  15. Sandwich

    Sandwich Pig my fish!
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    Boxxers are definitely way more popular. Marzocchi shipped their manufacturing from italy to taiwan in 08 and the 08-09 product line truly suffered because of it. In 2010 they figured out what went wrong, but most people had jumped ship to RS or Fox. The 2010+ product lines are all pretty good. I know there are plenty of people out there who are happy on their 2011+ boxxers, but I personally would not choose one on another bike. For me the stroke action was just terrible, and no damper is going to change that enough to compensate, though I would wager that the 2014 or 15 forks are probably pretty good in the smoothness department.

    I would think you can find a 888 RC3 or RC3 ti from somebody jumping ship to a newer 380 for not much money. The 888s are not terribly refined in terms of damper but the chassis is well built. The FOXes are probably better with their skf seals and tolerances and such, but you typically won't find a cheap fox 40, ever...
     
  16. gemini2k

    gemini2k Turbo Monkey

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    The last bad year was almost 6 years ago now (2009). Zoke chassis are top notch, seals, bushings, everything. I think they are probably superior to a 40 because the 40's tend to be too stiff. The stanchion coating is also superior (yes, the kashima is mostly a gimmick on the 40!) Even the zokes are probably on the stiff side as well. The ideal stanchion diameter appears to be around 35-36mm. Anything bigger is just marketing. You'll notice how Fox has continually refined the 40 chassis to gradually be more and more compliant. I think this is a recognition that 40mm is a big too big, but they are too invested from a marketing standpoint to go smaller. You'll notice how DVO and Manitou who have no stake in sticking with a bigger size, have selected ~36mm. Stanchion size is the one thing boxxers get right!

    I would definitely stay away from the boxxers. 888's are pretty reliable, you don't really ever have to worry about buying new parts. I think on my 2008/2010 hybrid 888 I put about 1-2 milllion feet of vert on it and just did 1 or 2 seal changes, and a couple oil changes.


    Edit: It's not as if RS has incompetent engineers who can't make a proper fork. They know the tolerances are a problem and are most likely aware of how to achieve the proper tolerances (I really really hope the last 2 sentences are true). The poor tolerances and seals are simply a cost saving measure. The boxxers are way cheaper to mfg. than other forks. Gross margins on those things are GIGANTIC.
     
    #16 -   Jun 30, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014
  17. monkeyfcuker

    monkeyfcuker Monkey

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    I'll take your old Boxxer off your hands Markus...reach around and a nice cuddle afterward?
     
  18. TrumbullHucker

    TrumbullHucker trumbullruxer

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  19. MarkDH

    MarkDH Monkey

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    You mean you wouldn't even look me in the eye Mike? That's cold. Regardless, was thinking of keeping them as spares but have enough clapped out forks kicking around so don't see why not. You wanting spares?

    Back on topic: a combination of my mates findings and the advice on here has put 888s in the mix. Just need to find the right pair, if it takes forever I might say sod it and pick up a pair of boxxers.
     
  20. monkeyfcuker

    monkeyfcuker Monkey

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    Haha I'll look you in the eye if that's what you'd prefer...

    Na, seriously, fork has been dead on the Sunday for a long long time but I really fancy racing Fort William in September. If it was uber cheap I'd rip the brakes off another bike and scrounge some other bits and enter!

    I really only need the damper stanchion and its internals, rebound shim exploded in the old one.
     
    #20 -   Jul 2, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014
  21. Udi

    Udi RM Chief Ornithologist: “I Brake for Birds”

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    I think this post is misleading at best, and incorrect on a few counts.

    1. Fox haven't continually refined anything to do with the 40 lowers, they've been virtually unchanged from 2005-2013 apart from an arch update in 2006. There has been only one significant update to the 40 lower casting since 2005 and that came in 2014. I currently own both '13/'14 items and cannot feel a functional difference in stiffness between them, having tested both on the same bike/setup. I'm sure there is some variation but I'd say the "compliance" claim is more to do with positively marketing the weight reduction in two ways (vs. weight alone) than an actual functional change.

    2. You're equating stanchion size to stiffness between inverted and conventional forks, this is unrealistic. The two are significantly different from a structural perspective and thus there is no direct correlation. A 35mm conventional fork will be significantly stiffer in torsion than a 35mm USD fork, at least within the constraints of the forks you listed. Some of my previous thoughts on this here and here.

    Without going into too much detail, I have felt noticeable advantages to a stiffer fork - especially when trying to hold a line or corner in rough, steep terrain (RDS at Whistler is a great example). Wide bars give riders much more leverage over the steering, so these days there is little need for torsional "compliance" to decrease steering feedback.

    Torsional flex is an uncontrolled and undamped oscillation (aside from material damping) - which equates to reduced steering precision and reduced predictability. Steeper terrain moves the COM further forward, thus applied deflection forces are significantly greater, along with the amplitude of resultant oscillation. Higher speeds and rougher terrain further increase these forces. Given these factors, increasing torsional stiffness is far more desirable than decreasing it.
     
  22. gemini2k

    gemini2k Turbo Monkey

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    Touche.
     
    #22 -   Jul 2, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014
  23. Udi

    Udi RM Chief Ornithologist: “I Brake for Birds”

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    The 35mm Boxxer chassis works fine in my experience. The friction a lot of people are referring to is most commonly traced back to the stock seals, and/or using incorrect oils which actually causes a small amount of swelling in the polymer bushing coating, thus greatly increasing friction. This isn't well documented so it's an easy mistake to make. Have a push on any you are considering buying, if they feel good, you're good to go. The stock seals are also a big part of the problem, switching them to something like Racing Bros will net a fork that slides as well as, if not better than a Marzocchi (less sealing lips).

    The MiCo damper is a little crude, it's functionally an improvement on the MoCo, but the stock compression geometry is a bit strange and thus the damping curve tends to be a bit harsh. Rebound is nice. It's not really a big deal if you're not that picky, all round it should still be an upgrade. The solo air spring isn't brilliant so I'd opt for the coil personally.

    You can always upgrade to the Charger damper later. I think a coil Boxxer + Charger damper + Racing Bros seals would make for a brilliant fork, and there's no need to buy it all at once. As tacubaya said, the 2010 is the only one to avoid.
     
  24. Sandwich

    Sandwich Pig my fish!
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    My first fork I may have screwed up with the wrong oil, but the second one I only used the good stuff and it still was just OK. Switching to the zokes was a significant improvement. It's interesting that there are alternative seals now. I always wanted to try the 32mm fork with the fox SKF seals.
     
  25. tacubaya

    tacubaya Monkey

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    I personally haven't had too much luck with Racingbros seals on Boxxers (especially spring side on RCs), on the other hand my Boxxer customers are loving the 35mm seals intended for the Pike, not as low friction as the Racingbros but they seem to be lasting much longer.

    Anyways, I concur that the main issue with sticky Boxxers is the stock seals and also lack of lubrication oil. Switching to low friction seals and Maxum 0w30 or Fox Green does miracles on those forks.
     
  26. Udi

    Udi RM Chief Ornithologist: “I Brake for Birds”

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    Yeah I've had the same issue with Boxxers I've done for people, those seals feel incredible but don't last particularly long. I've experienced the same thing with spring side failures being more common (regardless of seal brand), perhaps it's due to lower pressures in that leg and lower resultant sealing force.

    I've had an idea to deal with that though, have been meaning to email you about something else so will add it to the mix.
     
  27. TrumbullHucker

    TrumbullHucker trumbullruxer

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    i snagged the Enduro seals for my '11

    i have only had them for one season but they are doing the job.. those seals along with the charger damper; the fork became so much more "alive" :happydance:
     
  28. SkullCrack

    SkullCrack Monkey

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    How long does it usually take the Racing Bros. seals to fail? I just got a set and was going to put them in before my trip to Whistler next week, but I'd like to not have any issues with the fork while I'm there.
     
  29. blindboxx2334

    blindboxx2334 Turbo Monkey

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    you guys are all vaginas for thinking the 40 is too stiff, that was one of the main reasons why i bought one..

    its also the same reason why i put a lowered 36 (vengeance) on my fuel ex. i dont like my front end to be flexy. :)