PUSH ACS-3 long term test review by Craig Richards

PUSH ACS-3 long term test review by Craig Richards
Jun 11, 2018
PUSH ACS-3 long term test review by Craig Richards

So my new coil finally arrived for my ASC3-equipped F0x 36 Float fork in November – after lots of waiting J. I ended up getting the blue spring, with a life changing decision to be made between the orange and the blue coil with my weight of 75 kg sitting nicely in between the orange and blue spring – I ended up going for the blue spring seeing as though I am approaching middle age I am bound to start adding some handicap belts to my waste soon.              

As soon I got it, I did some mandatory setting up by trying to set the air pressure in the bump stop correctly. This was actually quite hard to do because the small volume of the chamber makes it difficult to set the pressure using a normal shock pump. I played around with a few pressures and tested them over a smallish drop to flat and decided to settle on 20 Psi in the air chamber. I left the rebound where it was and then it was to the trails.

Out the trail, the fork with the new spring felt really great. Cornering traction and the ability to handle chatter are vastly improved over the standard air spring which translates into faster traversing of technical terrain and cornering. I remember at one point when descending a rough rooty section feeling like I was in a slow motion scene from Lifecycles with the camera zoomed in on the suspension moving up & down, some rain falling with some nice laid back music in the background. Sections that used to feel quite rough to me the front just glided over and I now find myself on a continuous mission to seek out any rocky/rooty sections.   

A good indication of the improvement in small bump performance was how stiff and non-compliant my rear suspension suddenly felt with the ACS3 fitted – this is something that was evident even on gravel roads. I had to do quite a bit of tinkering to try get the rear end performance to match up with up with the front end – something which I never really quite succeeded in doing. The fork handles rough stuff effortlessly and is so composed – I think that is one thing which defined the ACS3 for me – composure. Air shocks have undoubtedly come a long way and I think setup correctly could come close to matching a coil but to me air shock feels like it is working much harder to do the same thing – or at least close to same thing.

In terms of bottom out performance, I didn’t really notice any sudden uncomfortable ramp up or any discontinuity when the air bump stop engages. The force of a big hit is well absorbed with the fork keeping its characteristically composed feel. After the initial setup I felt no reason to change the pressure in the bump stop, more aggressive riders, or riders on a softer spring would want to play around with tuning this a bit more but I have been happy with things the way it is currently setup - with just enough travel preserved for the really, really hard hits.

In summary, I feel the Push ACS3 offered considerable performance improvement over the standard Fox 36, with exceptional traction due to the initial stroke sensitivity and mid-stoke support and the ability to handle big hits with grace. The system does what it says – combines the best traits of a coil and air sprung fork into one package. Yes, you pay a weight penalty but for me this didn’t noticeably impact the ride on the trail and I think anyone in the market for a Fox 36 is someone who won’t mind paying a small weight penalty for improved suspension performance.

The kit also oozes quality, with the bits and pieces evidently been designed and manufactured by someone who takes pride in what they put out and puts form and function above cost. While most of this is internal, so once it’s installed you will never see it, the kit comes with a machined raw aluminium air cap which replaces the standard Fox air cap – a nice understated addition.

 

 

A coil also offers improved reliability as there are no pressurised seals to have to worry about. In the 3 months I have had the ACS-3 system I have had no problems and performance has been rock steady all the way through. I really have no complaints about the upgrade and think it is an addition to my bike which has transported it from a mid-to-high range performer to a really top end machine which would get most riders foaming at the mouth.

 

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