The 2019 Ford Raptor and Polaris RZR are the only two vehicles on the market right now with FOX Live Valve active shocks, and we took them to a dirt track to see what really makes them work.
The key to the active shocks from FOX is that they continuously and intelligently adjust damping forces, based on a number of inputs. An ECU crunches all the data coming from the machine to make decisions on how stiff the shock should be. Info used includes things like steering input, throttle, braking, inertia and more.
A small electric needle valve at the top of the 3.0-inch shock body is what allows the shock to adjust its damping. In the video embedded above, you can see an internal schematic of the shock to fully understand how it works.
How each one is setup and controlled is where the two machines start to differ. The Polaris RZR has three different drive settings, where the Raptor has seven different modes. And of course, Polaris and Ford engineers worked closely with FOX to make sure that in each mode, the shocks work as the manufacturer intended.
The Polaris has comfort, sport and firm, adjusting the shocks from the softest to stiffest settings. But what’s interesting about the Live Valves is that they are continuously adjusting, which means that you can set them up for approaching and initial contact for a event, like whoops lets say, but the shock will still think for itself based on all the inputs.
The other part of the shock that is important to mention is the internal bypass system which allows the Live Valves to be position sensitive. So depending on where the shock is in the travel, a different amount of damping will apply.
All of this technology comes together to give both the Raptor and RZR a best-of-both worlds appeal, allowing them to be soft when you want comfort and stiff when you need peak handling.