VIDEO: Skeptical automotive journalist learns to love off-roading

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“I’ll try not to kill you,” says Dane Garvik, driver of the 2017 Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited Sport as we are about to descend straight into a mud hole in a forest outside of Road Atlanta.

A quick glance reveals that we should really tie a bungee cord to the vehicle, but Garvik, the marketing maven of FOX Shocks, seems to have done this a few times before (actually dozens), so the plunge is fun. rockin ‘, not unlike a roller coaster, except we’re only doing 15 MPH.

I also hear a mess of gravel during this first race hitting the skid plates here and there. The sound is satisfactory.

“You can tell we’re going through tons of body roll,” Garvik says.

“YES. THAT. IS. APPARENT.” the rest of us manage to say while being punched left, right, up and down.

Drive, all that remained was to say: “Let’s go again!” Let’s go! “

Being from the city and having almost no off-road experience other than the odd Volvo or Land Rover press event over the years, I could nonetheless tell that each successive Jeep was taken through the woods to how much more balanced and enjoyable the rides were, rather than the gentle violence of the first ride which, while a thrill, would probably wear you out pretty quickly.

The invitation itself was obvious: “Use the FOX Proving Grounds next to our tech center outside of Road Atlanta,” he said, “We will have four vehicles to live with, from stock to our factory. Suspension of the Race series and a digital concept. ”

A ticket was bought, a bag and a guitar were packed and before long I mingled with these down to earth guys and brothers who had prepared a harsh off-road course and jeeps for me to do. smash down the river and through the woods to help demonstrate their premium handcrafted shocks.

But, of course, it was also pure education, part of what makes this job always exciting. I used to think offroad was a dubious use of time, gas and energy. I would take pictures in the forest sooner than cross one. This event changed my mind. I just hadn’t done it right before.

Comparison rides have been delivered in four Jeeps, each equipped with a more detailed arsenal of gear designed to maximize the fun factor of off-roading, 2021. Without sounding too much like an ad for Fox, here’s what’s in it. had on the menu and what it would cost you to do the same. (You don’t need to have a Jeep – you can do this with any rugged machine you own.)

· Vehicle one2017 Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited Sport (100% stock)

· Vehicle two2017 Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited Sport with FOX Performance 2.0 Series shocks ($ 169 x 4 shocks + stabilizer $ 169 = $ 845), JKS 2.5 “Suspension Lift and 33” BFG KO2 tires on 17 “Method wheels

· Vehicle threeJeep Wrangler JL RMT Overland 2020 with FOX Performance Elite 2.5 Series shocks ($ 1,399 – front / $ 1,349 – rear + stabilizer $ 289 = $ 3,037), JKS 3.5 “JKS Suspension Lift, 35” BFG KO2 tires on 17 “Method wheels

· Vehicle Four – 2021 Jeep Gladiator JL with FOX Factory Race Series 3.0 shocks ($ 2,949 – front / $ 2,649 – rear + stabilizer $ 439 = $ 6,037), 3.5 ” JKS suspension lift and 37 ” BFG KM3 tires on 17 ” Method wheels

With each successive Jeep, on the same bumpy course, our driving has become smoother and smoother, although “smooth” in this case is relative.

It was more than just a spin around the forest – it put us all back in contact with the ground. Mud. Green leaves on the trees. The air. The things that matter, in other words. After a year of a world in turmoil it was truly a welcome outing.

A guy by the name of Bob Fox started the business designing and manufacturing motocross shocks in the early 1970s – a different world, and when gasoline was 59 cents a gallon.

It then developed into Superbike, Indy 500, Snow, Desert Racing, ATV, Truck, Jeep, ATV and UTV racing. The company Fox built went public on the NASDAQ stock exchange in August 2013, and Braselton became FOX’s new headquarters at the end of 2018.

Will all-terrain vehicles singularly blacken the sky? No. Frivolous? Absolutely. But it will still be fun when we all go electric. And fun is important, after all. Ask anyone who was alive in 2020.

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