2013 Fox 34 TALAS 26 FIT CTD Fork

2014 Revisions

It’s worth noting that for 2014 CTD forks, Fox has revised the CTD damper a bit and added a level of adjustability to some of their models. The new “CTD with Trail Adjust” forks have an adjustable “Trail” mode, which gives three settings within that mode. So basically, “C” and “D” remain non-adjustable, but the low-speed compression on “T” can be adjusted to soft, medium, or firm. The compression circuits in all settings have also been revamped, supposedly solving the diving issues.

Despite these improvements, I remain pretty skeptical. The basic premise of the CTD system is still that the Fox engineers know better than I do how I want my fork to feel. While I have no doubt that their engineers are really smart people, I still want to be the one to dial in my suspension, and the CTD forks still don’t allow me to do that to the degree that any other high-end fork does.

A Bottom Line, of Sorts

There may be quite a few riders out there who can’t tell much of a difference between marginal suspension performance and dialed suspension performance. However, these are not the people who will ultimately benefit from top-of-the-line suspension.

If you don’t intend to ever touch the knobs on the top of your fork and are pretty happy with the performance without tweaking anything, the good news is that you can save yourself a bunch of money and buy a middle-of-the-line fork. There is and will continue to be a strong market for intermediate-level suspension that has preset damping positions that will serve intermediate riders well at an affordable price point.

And to be clear, I don’t mean to disparage intermediate riders at all. Every rider out there started as someone who didn’t know much about shocks, and probably couldn’t tell much of a difference between mediocre suspension and spectacular suspension. But as riders progress and begin to notice more of a difference, the benefits of high-end, highly tunable suspension become more apparent. In theory, this is where high-end forks like the 34 come into play. It’s just that this particular high-end fork doesn’t offer those benefits. It offers the limited tunability of a mid-level fork, but at a top-of-the-line price tag.

Absent a custom program where Fox will tune their CTD damper for each individual rider, there simply isn’t any way a factory preset fork is going to offer the performance of a user-adjustable fork. So, while the CTD damper has merit in theory, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Not only do the existing settings provide sub-par performance, but the lack of tune-ability makes this fork a poor option when compared to the other options at this price point.

If you still really like the idea of having three completely different compression settings easily available, then this is the fork for you. Personally, I’d rather just have one setting that worked well.


11 comments on “2013 Fox 34 TALAS 26 FIT CTD Fork”

  1. I’m pleased to report that the Fox 2014 CTD damper is not quite the over – underdamped spiking piece of crap that is the lamentable 2013 dungheap. Sorry to 2013 CTD buyers. who got the raw end of the deal on this one.

    There’s no denying Fox took a pretty big step backwards with the CTD

    Thanks for the frank review

  2. Interesting that your OEM model came without Trail Adjust. I was unaware that Fox was offering CTD forks without it.

    It’s my understanding that Fox just changed the damping for 2014 – the Trail Adjust was available on 2013 models. My fork, which was a take-off from a Yeti SB-66 has it and AFAIK is a 2013.

    • From the mixed information I can find, it looks like some of the 2013 CTD forks had Trail Adjust and some didn’t, so it appears that you’re right; trail adjust is not a new thing for 2014.

      Not all 2014 forks have it though; based on Fox’s website, you get a choice of either a remote (you gain a handlebar mounted switch but lose the external trail adjust), or the external trail adjust with no remote.

      I have no idea what OEM models will be offered. Specialized has a long history of working with Fox to come up with “special” suspension, so there’s a possibility that the lack of a trail adjust on my fork is just a Specialized thing.

  3. Myself and a few friends all have 2013 CTD forks (or is it Forx?) with the Trail Adjust feature. This goes a long way in the tunability of the fork, and I’ve found a careful balance of air pressure and the Trail “3” setting has yielded the best results for my style of riding. The Descend mode is straight garbage for me—it requires so much spring to keep from blowing through the travel there’s no trail feel left. Do I lament the absence of “simpler and yet more adjustable” HSC and LSC adjustments? Yes. Does mine still spike or bottom out occasionally? Yes, but after riding it for a year or more, at least it seems predictable when it will behave “poorly”. Do I think CTD is a step backward? No, but I think it’s a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist… with people that know how to adjust their suspension. For the 87% of riders who don’t, it could be the solution they’ve been needing all along.

    • An additional comment for clarification: all of the 2013 CTD forks I have encountered are the Float model and do NOT have the TALAS adjustment.

  4. The guys at the LBS told me that the 2014 Fox 32 is going to be more progressive, but will continue to have the CTD. Any updates on your end regarding next years model? Any plans on reviewing the 20124s when they come out ( I heard June of this year). Thanks

    • You LBS is correct; the 2014 CTD forks (both the 32’s and 34’s) have revised dampers. The basic CTD system is the same, but supposedly they’ve fixed many of the issues I complained of. I haven’t had a chance to ride one yet, but I’m hoping to get my hands on one sometime this summer. I think it’s safe to say that the 2014 models will be better, but the jury is still out on whether they’re actually good.

  5. Regarding the 2014 models, I’ve heard the all new talas cartridge will be easily and cheaply retrofit table into 2013 talas forks. Seems like, if you want travel adjust, picking up a 2013 talas on sale could be a smart move.

  6. Hey Noah, when do you think you guys will be able to do an eval of this versus the 2014 and the new Pike? Really curious how the 2014 and the Pike will stack up next to each other as I’m not overly stoked with my 2013 32.

    • Hey Jeff – agreed that a 2014 CTD vs. Pike comparison is in order. Apparently the new CTD is *better* and I hear rumors that the Pike is pretty sweet. I’m not sure what the exact timeline for taking a look at those will be, but to get a thorough review, we usually like to spend at least a month or so on the fork. Check back in from time to time, and hopefully we’ll have some updates on this front!

      • Will do Noah, thanks for the info. I’m hoping to see both of them out at the 2014 Giant launch in a few weeks but you never know what the new bikes will be kitted out with.

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