FOX 2.5 Podium X2 Shocks Ride Test

Rick Sosebee
by Rick Sosebee
New shocks available exclusively on the Yamaha YXZ1000R SE

Many things on the new Yamaha YXZ1000R SE make it stand out from the other models in the same family, but few top the newest engineering marvel from FOX Racing Shocks that are a part of the Special Edition package.

Shock Knowledge: Understanding How Your Shocks Work

FOX racing has been in the forefront of the Side-by-Side industry for many years and it seems that almost every performance off-road rig is equipped with products from this company straight from the factory. The new FOX 2.5 Podium X2 may be the biggest advancement yet for Side-by-Side shocks.

When searching for the best in fluid dampening dynamics, Yamaha had very specific demands for its premier edition 2017 YXZ1000R and the new Podium X2 was designed to fit the bill. One thing Yamaha did want was exclusivity to this particular machine to help it stand out even more as an industry first. These Podium X2 2.5 shocks have features that are unlike any other. Combining both high and low speed rebound with high and low speed compression adjustments, you get an idea of the versatility there. But look closer and you will see adjustable crossover spacers for comfort and bottoming resistance as well as spring preload tune-ability for ride height and additional comfort. This gives an owner the tools to make the ride happy no matter the trail conditions or speed. Add all of this into the basket with biggest news inside the shock, internal fluid bypass, and man it gets deep fast.

FOX 2.5 Podium X2 Cutaway

This cutaway gives you an inside look at the FOX 2.5 Podium X2 shocks.

In order to get a full multi-level test without spending massive amounts of hours, or days for that matter, in the desert of Utah’s Sand Hollow State Park, Yamaha and FOX had set up four different YXZ1000R SE units with four different types of shock settings. In order to keep each car separated and the confusion, Yamaha added a small piece of colored tape to each SE YXZ so we could tell the set up on the different machines apart. The machines were all the same and with the exception of one Standard shifting model, all others were sport shifted. The standard shift model, or original YXZ1000R, was the “Factory Spec” machine and it was set up as delivered to the dealer.

Yamaha YXZ1000R SE Beauty

The stunning Sand Hollow State Park in Utah acted as our testing ground.

Here is how that plan was laid out.

Stock Settings: Standard Shift model YXZ SE.

Blue: Comfort with spring preload taken all the way out. This one was not on the clicker card we received, but was introduced to us during the ride.

White: Comfort with factory spring preload setting.

Yellow: Aggressive suspension / High Speed

FOX 2.5 Podium X2 Settings

Here are three of the different shock settings we tested.

The first setting in the standard shift YXZ1000R SE would be the base or factory clicks that your X2 shocks are set at from the dealer’s floor. This gave us a baseline as sold to the consumer and also something to compare the other three set ups to. It also gave us a place to start should we want to soften or stiffen the shocks. It wasn’t until we had driven the other YXZs that it was determined this car was a little on the stiffer side. I personally started out in the “White” marked YXZ, so it was evident immediately that these stock clicks were a bit harsher. The slow crawl and slower speeds through rocky sections just didn’t feel as smooth as I like.

FOX 2.5 Podium X2 Rear

My next ride was the very aggressive or “Yellow” marked YXZ and it was noted that as the speeds picked up to a very spirited pace, this machine worked well but was still way too harsh for me. I would say this may be a more practical race mode setting where the rough terrain really beats on the driver as most of the action worked well above my speed zone. It was good to experience it, but I need a little more comfort. Stepping out of that car and into quite possibly the plushest ride of the day made my body smile.

The “Blue” YXZ was determined by many to have been just a little too soft as bottoming was “imminent”…even though it only happened once during our testing. The YXZ would almost float and took the serious bumps out of the trail, but it also revealed a pretty good push from the front end as the car was not eager to turn as well. The preload collar had been adjusted completely out so there was no preload on the springs at all out back.

Yamaha YXZ1000R SE Action Front

The “white” comfort settings were my favorite of the day as it just seemed to suit my driving style. This would be the winner in my book as the overall performance of the machine’s handling and suspension comfort had really stuck out in my mind.

Suspension Setup Tips

I think what I would take away from this testing is the incredible adjustability of the shocks. Not only the adjustability, but also how minor the tweaks were able to change the total attitude of the shock; one click up or down really changed the performance of the entire system.

It really didn’t matter what driving style each of us had as there was a shock set up for everyone and it was pretty obvious that the “white” comfort machine was really popular at Sand Hollow. FOX says there should be no need to re-valve or re-spring these shocks with this vast adjustability. The incredible internal bypass design was indeed mesmerizing and it appears to be something I just need to trust FOX engineers on.

Yamaha YXZ1000R SE Action Cornering

If you own a new YXZ1000R SE and want to try these set ups for yourself, then we urge you too. You can feel the difference immediately.

Rick Sosebee
Rick Sosebee

Whether he is in Mexico covering the Baja 1000, building ATVs for local racers, or out enjoying the trails, Rick’s passion shows in his stories. Learning to wrench his own machines from his grandfather, Rick also has an undying appreciation for the mechanics of off-road vehicles. Do not let the dirt and mud fool you, though, as Rick also has a deep love for street cars.

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