2009 Fox Vanilla 32 RLC 15QR Fork - Quick Review

August 29, 2008

When the new 15mm QR standard was introduced this summer by Fox Racing and Shimano, I was STOKED! Not because of all the marketing hype that typically surrounds such launches (remember the hype that surrounded the OnePointFive head tube?), but because this was something that I could believe in because it simply makes sense. I've been riding 20mm thru-axles pretty much exclusively and am still weary of anything with a standard 9mm quick-release axle. Why? Well, think about how spindly those things are AND... think about when they were first introduced into the cycling world. Those things date back to 1930 when Tullio Campagnolo first introduced them to the sport. Yeah... you read that right, 1930! At that time, this was revolutionary, but also at that time, mountain biking wasn't even a glimmer in anyone's eyes and suspension wasn't commonplace until the late 1990's. So, to sum it up... a suspension fork has no business still using a standard 9mm quick release in my book. They simply lack the stiffness and burl to match the forces put on them by today's suspension designs. Fox Vanilla 32 RLC 15QR Fork - Quick Thoughts I've been lucky enough to get ahold of a 2009 Fox Vanilla 32 RLC fork with the 15mm quick-release platform. After a few weeks of trouble acquiring the right hub (thank you Shimano for coming through), I was finally able to lace up my front wheel with the proper hub. When you switch over, you'll have to do the same, so be glad I'm blazing the trail for you. The new Vanilla 32 sports 140mm travel via an open bath system. That means, this fork is drop-dead simple to set up and tweak. There's no air pressure valve to worry about, you just hop on and ride. Overall stiffness is outstanding and noticeably superior to a standard 9mm dropout. I can definitely feel the fork tracking straight--thus providing even more confidence over rough terrain. At only 4.46 lbs for 5.5 inches of travel, this looks to be the lightest open bath suspension fork with this much travel on the market today. Travel thus far seems smooth and consistent--I've forgotten just how smooth oil forks are. The only minor complaint is the inability to reduce travel on long climbs, lockouts are great, but travel reduction is that much better. All the fork adjustments are noticeable and allow you to tune the fork with the flip of a switch or the turn of a dial--again, no shock pump needed. Good Love the 15mm thru-axle... super stiff and super easy to use Very smooth travel... dare I say plush? Lateral stiffness Easy adjustments without shock pump Includes two springs to adjust pre-load compression Bad 15mm hubs are hard to come by, but coming in stock quickly Your fork-mount bike rack will be obsolete Look for a more detailed, long-term review of this fork on in the coming weeks. Here are a few more specs on the 2009 Fox Vanilla 32 RLC 15QR Fork: Travel: 140mm (5.5 inches) Weight: 4.46 lbs (15QR) Adjustments: Low speed compression, lever-actuated lockout, lockout force adjust, coil spring preload and rebound Disc Brake: Post mount (Hooray!) Price: $675 MSRP Buy Now: Search for Fox Vanilla 32 Forks

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