When it comes to off-road parts, Fox shocks are one of the go-to’s. They’re standard on SUVs like the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon and Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro. Trucks like the Ford F-150 Raptor, Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, and Jeep Gladiator Rubicon also get them. So does the Ford Ranger Raptor. And soon, US Ranger and Bronco owners will be able to install them. But if you’ve been dreaming of swapping on your overlander’s shocks, you may be interested to know Fox has been developing electronic shocks, dubbed “Live Vale”. Are they as good as the company’s other products, though?
What’s different about the Fox electronic shocks over normal Fox shocks?
Fox’s Live Valve electronic shocks function much like the rest of the company’s products. The Live Valve-equipped shocks have a fluid chamber with a piston inside, with fluid reservoirs to keep the fluid cool. When the truck or SUV’s wheel hits something, the piston moves up or down, and the fluid and attached discs slow it down, letting it ‘absorb’ the impact.
Where the Fox electronic shocks differ is the additional Live Valve components. Basically, on top of the shock is a kind of computer-controlled needle valve. As TFLoffroad explained, the shock gets information from the vehicle’s various sensors: throttle, braking, steering input, acceleration, and so on. Using all this data, the needle in the valve moves to either raise or lower the pressure inside the shock to provide a smoother ride.
The Fox electronic shocks also have other benefits. As Jalopnik explained, because the shocks are linked to the off-road truck or SUV’s electronics they can also be integrated into the vehicle’s various off-road features and driving modes. For example, in the F-150 Raptor’s off-road cruise control (aka “Trail Control”).
Or, you know, if you really want to #sendit, the shocks will know you’re going airborne, and adjust to give you a pillowy landing.
Can you fit your off-road vehicle with Fox electronic shocks?
At the moment, the only production vehicles that have the Fox electronic shocks from the factory are the Ford F-150 Raptor (2019 model year and newer) and Polaris RZR side-by-side. Fox has a searchable guide to see if your truck or SUV is compatible. But they aren’t the only off-road vehicles to get them as standard.
Fox doesn’t only make shocks for trucks and SUVs: the company also makes mountain bike shocks. That includes the electronic Live Valve shocks.
How much do they cost, and do they actually work?
The Fox Factory Race 3.0 Live Valve electronic shocks with external bypass reservoirs start at $3799.95 for the front and $3399.95 for the rear. If you want to shred some slopes on your mountain bike, the system costs roughly $2k as an upgrade to a new bike, or about $3200 as an aftermarket upgrade on an older one, reports Outside Magazine.
As for how effective they are, TFLoffroad walked away very impressed with how smooth the F-150 Raptor was with the electronic shocks, especially in Baja mode. Riding on the bike Live Valve shocks, Outside Magazine reported they made the mountain bike more stable, gave it better traction, and again, improved the ride.
Seems like this is one upgrade that might be worth it.
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