Throughout this year the crew from FOX Factory has been touring the country holding a series of events known as the FOX Experience. Equal parts education and thrill ride, the FOX Experience has helped give users a more in depth look at the various shock offerings, the features and the benefits of each sequential shock tier (2.0 Performance Series, 2.5 Performance Elite Series, and 3.0 Factory Race Series). From shock cutaways, and educational videos to a Q&A session these sessions helped provide a deeper dive into shock tech. BDS Suspension and sister company JKS Manufacturing were on site to show off our suspension packages and support the truck and Jeep performance lift systems.
What set FOX Experience apart from your typically product training day was the 4 Jeeps lined up on site and an offroad course tailored to show the performance improvements gained by upgrading the shock package. Each participant had the chance to go through the progression of Jeeps to experience the improvements first hand through a mix of hill climbs, off camber and rutted out trails, a high-speed short course, frame twisting articulation and more. For this particular FOX Experience the team gathered at Holly Oaks ORV Park in Holly Oaks, MI just outside Detroit.
The first Jeep, a bone stock JKU to provide a baseline for the experience. Out on course it didn't take long to see the shortcomings of the factory suspension. A few bumps and turns into the 2.5-mile obstacle course had the Jeep's stock twin tube shocks hot and ineffective at damping through the terrain. With the suspension on this Jeep worked well beyond its limits it was easy to see the room for improvement. The shock internals hot and the fluid a frothy consistency this Jeep definitely didn't impress as it beat the passengers along the way to complete the course showing excessive shock-fade.
After the lackluster ride in the stock Jeep, the fun started. The experience gave participants to ride along for the progression through three FOX-equipped Jeeps to feel and experience the performance improvements first hand. The first Jeep was the aluminum-bodied Performance Series 2.0 IFP shock equipped Jeep JKU. This offered a noticeable improvement as the vehicle was able to soak up the terrain much better, limit bottoming out the suspension and adapt to the various terrains. This are similar to the 2.0 shocks provided in most BDS lift kits for both trucks and Jeeps. While these shocks were a large improvement to stock, there is a point these shocks can be pushed to hard and over-driven over time out on rough terrain. While they weren't hot, the spirited drive through rough terrain did have them warm as with the aluminum-body helping better dissipate the heat with only mild shock-fade by the end.
Stepping up to the Performance Elite Series 2.5 shocks is once again a massive leap into performance suspension that can is such a stark contrast to the damping qualities of the stock Jeep and greatly surpasses even the Performance Series 2.0 IFP shocks. The shocks feature the race-developed high-flow pistons and vehicle-specific valving improve both off-road performance and on-road balance. The 2.5” diameter one-piece aluminum bodies and external reservoirs increase oil volume to combat heat buildup from extended off-road use at speed, with dual speed compression (DSC) adjustment to dial in your ride. This FOX-equipped Jeep soaked up the terrain with ease and allowed us to push the Jeep harder, faster, and push the limits while out on course. This setup was able to soak everything up this course had to offer and was ready for more.
When it comes to next level performance and technology, FOX 3.0 Factory Race Series shocks pull out all the stops for true race-winning technology packed into a bolt-on shock package for the Jeep. The position-sensitive internal bypass technology contains regulated ports that allow fluid to bypass the piston as it moves through the initial travel, and then forces fluid through the piston at the extreme ranges of compression and rebound. This allows for a plush, predictable ride over normal off-road driving conditions with the ability to ramp up damping force to counteract harsh bottom-outs or top-outs that could buck you off the trail. The shocks themselves are a hard-anodized, aluminum-body with recirculating reservoir bridge with external fins that act as a heat sink for increased heat dissipation to maintain optimal shock oil temperature for consistent damping through the harshest conditions. To say these shocks are impressive would be an understatement. Putting the 3.0 Factory Race equipped Gladiator JT through its paces pushing it even harder, even faster was a blast to ride in and see what this Jeep is capable of out on the trail.