The OTX 18 damper is said to be “optimized for faster and more fluid trail riding,” which, in part, means a somewhat lighter compression tune than the RXF 36 and RXF 38 get — which makes good sense for a fork that’s meant to be ridden on shorter-travel bikes that are going to see less aggressive descending and super hard hits. And it’s also worth noting that the RXF 34’s bigger siblings are notably firmly damped, particularly compared to Fox’s lightly tuned Grip2 forks. It’ll be very interesting to see how the RXF 34 compares, and we’ve got one in for testing so we’ll have a lot more to say on that subject soon.
The air spring in the RXF 34 is also substantially different from that in the RXF 36 and RXF 38. Both of the bigger forks use a dual-positive air spring design that has some very real benefits when it comes to tunability and midstroke support, but the RXF 34 forgoes that design for a more conventional spring design with a single positive air chamber, similar to what Fox and RockShox have been using across their ranges for a while now.
[For a whole lot more on that dual-positive spring design, check out the “Design & Features” section of our review of the RXF 36.]
As with the Fox and RockShox implementations of the design, the RXF 34’s air spring is filled through a single valve and equalizes pressure between the positive and negative chambers automatically. In lieu of the second positive air chamber, the RXF 34 adds adjustable volume spacers, which clip into the top cap very much like Fox’s version. And like Fox and RockShox’s spring designs (and unlike the RXF 36 and RXF 38’s versions), the RXF 34 uses the inside of the stanchion as the outer part of the air spring, instead of having a self-contained cartridge design.
The RXF 34 m.2 is only available for 29’’ wheels and with 120 or 130 mm of travel. Öhlins says a shorter-travel version might come later, but that the chassis can’t handle anything longer than 130 mm. The axle is the same 15 x 110 mm Boost floating bolt-on version used on the RXF 36 and RXF 38, and the brake mount is for a 160 mm rotor; Öhlins condones up to a 203 mm one with an adapter.