Top 10 Best Bike Shock
DT Swiss XR Carbon Bike Air Shock
DT Swiss is a reputed company that makes detailed and reliable suspension for vehicles. XR Carbon is an ideal shock for XC racers and it is an extremely light weight bike shock covered with carbon fibre air can. It is a fully adjustable rear shock that comes with lockout and rebound adjust.
If you are trying to build a light weight cross country bike in a hurry then this bike shock will truly help you save few grams on your full suspension bike. This weight weenie bike shock is 71 grams lighter than Fox RP23 but technology wise this shock has lesser control than Fox shocks. It weighs just 142 gms in 165mm of travel.
The latest version has automatic negative air spring setup for precise setting in air chamber to achieve better performance. DT Swiss XR bike shock is little expensive when compared to other shock with the similar performance and related feature. You are paying extra money for its lightweight structure and performance that gives extra edge for race feel. This light weight shock gives a firm feel similar to Fox RP23 when set to medium on low speed compression.
The mount bushing is specially designed to avoid any damage caused by stress. The functional lockout lever has the ability to put the rear suspension locked out on the fly and delivers full power to the drivetrain without bobbling up the hill.
This titanium lever is placed at the front side of the shock and easy to reach but little fragile. This adjustable oil damping shock has remote control facility and the adjustment kit is totally machined to reduce the weight even further. The rebound adjustment has quite a wide range with red colour dial placed at the top. Though this adjustable bike shock is expensive it is worth considering for warrior/XC race bikes and it suits most of the cross country riders. It works best on bikes which are designed around DW-link, VPP rear suspension but does not suits single pivot bikes.
|Good: Lightweight, performance similar to Fox RP23, precise setting with automatic negative spring setup, remote control|
|Bad: Little expensive shock in its class|
Manitou Swinger PRO DC Air Shock Suspension
Manitou Swinger PRO DC is an adaption of the previous model Evolver ISX-6 but it is made with different damping system called shim based damper. This damper gives adjustment on low speed and high speed compression. Normally swinger models are highly tuneable bike shocks with compact air canister.
The new Swinger PRO DC is designed with easy to operate lockout lever and maintained the same features such as high and low speed compression damping with No tool volume adjustment facility. The other factor you can notice in this shock is the size of the bushing to accommodate suitable bolts. This air shock gives absolutely zero bob and performs well even in single pivot bikes. The shim based damping will also works well with horst link suspension design.
This bike shock gives greater control, even when set with smaller adjustments it gives big notice and ride like a trial bike. Only thing matter is that you need to fiddle around with volume/air pressure during the initial set-up to find the shock’s perfect spot.
It is known to everyone that Swinger shock is little less sensitive to small bumps and you need to set the shock with proper sag setting and air pressure volume. You can make the shock as plush as you want or as stiff as you want by adjusting air pressure. The wider adjustments of this air shock provide the ability to adjust the progressiveness of the bottom out.
You can easily dial-in the beginning stroke and make them firm or supple with ease. There is no spiking in the mid-stroke and the active mid-stroke helps you to go for a long ride with comfort. It is little difficult to get some of the after sales parts of Manitou Swinger and most of the riders complain about Manitou manuals that still does not provide clear set-up procedure.
So, you need to gather up the initial set-up tuned by some mechanics or from some other experienced riders. If you want to try a new shock in an old rig may be Swinger PRO DC would help you to achieve desired plush. Remote control is also available for rebound and you can also get custom spring curve and custom shim stack for precise setting.
|Good: Highly tuneable shock, new shim based damping, same sag as Fox shocks, easy to use rebound dial and remote control for rebound|
|Bad: Need a better and proper manual and set-up guide|
Rockshox Monarch Plus RC3 Rear Bike Shock
Rockshox has made the New Monarch Plus RC3 shock with new damping system and named it as RC3 because it got one rebound and three compression adjust.
This shock is more refined and can be tuned well to improve the small bump rides with the help of new solo air spring.
Rockshox took an elaborate research and development on Vivid Air shock in-order to incorporate the same technology and improvement in Vivid coil shock. This helped them to create a better Monarch plus RC3 shock for all mountain bike. The refinement made on this bike shock is based on previous Monarch models and new Vivid air shock. The overall built quality of this shock can withstand the aggressive ride.
Even if you tune the shock for big hit it gives a smooth ride and soaks up all the terrain bumps. The new damping system with the solo air spring and air pressure chamber contributes to superior small bump sensitivity. This air shock comes with dual flow rebound which is nothing but an independent damping circuit to control the rebound speed for both beginning stroke (small hit) and ending stroke (big hit).
This gives a good compression performance and recovers the shock quickly after big hit. The piggyback reservoir has larger oil volume when compared to Fox RP23. More oil volume withstands the heat and helps the shock to work on high speed on longer-travel trail bikes that got the best bicycle cover.
The shock suspension is significantly lighter than its competitors and plusher than Fox RP23. You will notice pedal bob while climbing even though you adjust the compression lever. The three position compression lever gives only a slight difference and does little to rectify pedal bob issue but it is very dramatic between full close and full open positions.
Minimum and medium compression setting works great for fast decent and the maximum setting would do well for fire road climbs. You cannot expect them to perform like a propedal in Fox RP23 that gives no pedal bob. But this bike shock performs extremely well in downhill when compared to its rivals.
|Good: new damping system, dual flow rebound, specially designed for all mountain ride, gives smooth and plush on decent, small bump sensitivity|
|Bad: Not much|
Fox Float RP23 Mountain bike Shock
Fox Float RP23 is the most versatile and popular bike shock. Its propedal platform and boost valve technology are the well known features among many riders. This bike shock suspension in much similar to Monarch plus RC3 in performance and features but does not come with piggyback reservoir for high oil volume.
The new Float RP23 for 2011 comes with new damping system called Adaptive Logic Boost Valve technology and feature Kashima coat body to give greater control and small bump sensitivity. Adjustable propedal function of this shock gives wide range of compression tuning with close and open position including light to medium level. If you expect your shock to be more responsive, punchy at speed and little bit of climbing then you can adjust the lever to 1st or 2nd position.
The third position is fully opened propedal platform that makes the shock firmer and ride like hardtail. With the help of various compression tuning the bike can exceptionally perform well with consistent traction and best suits XC, Trail and All mountain ride in Britain. Fox has specially designed this air shock to deliver supreme small bump suppleness.
The accuracy and sensitivity will never be missed at any point of the stroke. Rest of the features are similar to what you would have seen in the previous model, all the same tuning methods light, medium and firm, same boost valve tuning options and red colour dial rebound tune options.
It is not easy to tune this shock suspension without trail and error, further the pre-set of ProPedal compression damping with boost valve technology makes the tuning more complicated. Some beginners are not able to find sweet spot on this shock because it is difficult for them to tune and play around with air pressure.
Propedal platform is the only highlighting factor in this XC bike shock and other compression speed and rebound adjustment has not been clearly reached to the rider’s point of view. The previous model with simple propedal adjustments with boost valve technology was less complicated but the new reversed logic of pre-set compression damping needs little time to get used for possible setting. This air spring shock weighs just 208 gms.
|Good: Propedal platform, light weight shock, Kashima coat body|
|Bad: It is difficult to tune the shock based on the riding style, the pre-set compression damping with boost valve technology is little complicated|
Fox DHX Air 5.0 Bike Shock Suspension
DHX Air 5.0 is a progressive and linear bike shock that best suits for freeride and downhill mountain bikes. First thing you will notice in this shock is the Kashima coating all over the body that improves the overall sensitivity to smoothness of the shock. It also allows the new Boost valve damping technology to work to the fullest and boost the small bump sensitivity.
This mountain bike shock features a big volume Air Can that withstands the heat of the shock when subject to heavy rocky terrain ride. It also makes the shock suitable for long travel downhill bikes but it must be tuned properly to synchronize with freeride or downhill bikes.
This light weight air shock is almost similar to Fox Float RP23 in adjustments and even if you pump up the shock with excessive pressure it will never blows up. The Air Can has a volume adjuster at the bottom and it is an independent external adjustable bottom-out resistance.
For better bottomless performance you must fine tune the volume adjuster and adjust the air pressure accordingly. It gives total control over the big hits and never bottom out easily. This progressive bike shock got wide range of slow speed and high speed compression tuning using propedal lever at the top which is easy to flip on the fly.
Rebound speed can also be controlled using the separate knob that provides good traction on fast decent. This linear air shock can be easily tuned to suit different freeride or downhill frames but it requires bottom out bumper and smaller Can to be fixed on the main shaft to avoid bottom-out at extreme condition. It works well with linear linkage suspension design frame but do not try in single pivot bikes. This bike shock is little expensive and need patience to find correct adjustment for a desired ride. It really encourages both beginners and amateur riders to try different riding style.
|Good: wide range of adjustments, more progressive and light weight suitable for heavy decent|
|Bad: Little difficult to find the correct shock setup, expensive|
Fox DHX RC4 Coil Bike Shock
DHX RC4 is a new edition to the gravity oriented coil shock line from Fox. It is designed for a race circuit and named RC4 because this coil shock has rebound adjust and four compression range. It features independent high and low speed compression adjuster which can be easily tuned even wearing a gloves.
Fox has increased the diameter shaft of this bike shock to allow lower internal pressure and to push more fluid inside the system for keeping consistent smooth travel. It is a pure race breed shock born in the race circuit and designed with big volume Air Can reservoir. A separate volume adjuster via air valve is provided at the bottom of the reservoir.
The same Boost valve technology which was found in past Fox DHX Coil 5.0 is used in this coil shock to maintain the ability to adjust boost valve for small bump sensitivity. Fox has slightly redesigned the boost valve position and they have strategically placed the valve above the volume adjuster that boosts the ability to control the bottom-out resistance to the core.
The wide range of compression tuning helps the riders to tailor the beginning and end stroke. Unlike other shocks, you can actually feel the difference when you make any adjustment on the RC4.
The adjustment of this linear coil shock matches very well with different downhill bikes and you can easily tune the shock for world cup race level. You cannot find a propedal lever here because Fox thought it is irrelevant to such a downhill specific shock. This progressive coil shock excelled in its performance when ridden in Whistler and it never bottom-out on square edge big hit. Its all depends on how you setup the high and low speed compression. This shock suspension has proved not only in hard decent but also in jump trails, it gives necessary boost and quickly ramps up for big jump.
|Good: wide range of compression adjustment, volume adjuster for bottom-out resistance, big shaft diameter for consistent travel|
|Bad: Having separate High and Low compression adjustment is bit tricky for people new to shock tuning. But once learned it is an excellent shock for downhill bikes|
Manitou Revox PRO Mountain Bike Coil Shock
Manitou Revox design is based on past Swinger SPV coil shock and it is one of the most promising shocks ever built by Manitou for World-cup series. It is easy to set-up and any fine tuning can be easily done without any requirement of tools while out riding. Once you tune the shock with correct sag setting and fix perfect spring rate based on your weight, the shock would be more responsive and gives plush ride.
This progressive shock is much suitable for all types of popular downhill bikes. You need to set-up the shock based on the instruction given by Manitou and the air pressure should be factory set to 130-140psi. Too much air pressure can cause stiction, lose of sensitivity and excessive ware of seals. We cannot say Revox is far superior to Fox DHX RC4 and Cane Creek Double Barrel but it is an effective shock with proven damping technology.
Tool-free external adjustment and the new intrinsic damping system are the highlights of this coil shock. Manitou was not popular until they have created Revox, It is extremely adjustable shock and does not bottom-out easily. It provides all the necessary traction on faster big hits and low speed bumps. Even at the high speed the shock is very controlled and felt stable, gives super smooth ride on square edged corners.
Custom Shim Stack and Bottom-Out Bumper rate comes as an option and you can also choose between 250 to 650 lb for spring type in 50lb. Similar to all other favourite linear coil shock in the market Revox also feature rebound, low speed and high speed compression adjuster.
The damper shaft is fully finished with hard anodized material that gives long life for the shock. This bike shock is reasonably priced and much cheaper than Fox and Marzocchi. It provides more adjustments and better features for the price you pay. The damping system has in-built Stable Platform Valve (SPV) put in side the air chamber that creates pedalling platform.
This platform valve will only open when the shock hits a bump and after absorbing the bump it is then returns to stable mode. Both small and large impacts can be controlled by adjusting compression speed adjuster. Additionally, bottom out adjuster with four position adjustment provide from firmest to the soft setting. Air pressure is applied via air valve at the bottom of the piggyback and it gives the ability to adjust for bottom-out resistance and control the SPV valve.
|Good: Tool-free adjustments, extremely adjustable, cheaper than Fox and Marzocchi, proven damping technology|
|Bad: Not much|
Marzocchi Roco RC World Cup Coil Shock Suspension
Everybody knows that non-platform shocks are good in plushness and provide better bump feeling but how far the non-platform damping design of Roco performs in bigger hit without losing rebound is the question. Yes, this highly adjustable coil shock does not have platform damping to mess up with low speed compression adjust.
This coil shock is known for its smooth and buttery suspension action throughout the stroke. It is basically made for bigger hits and jumps. Marzocchi has put forth one of the best predictable damping system in this shock with simple external adjustments for fine tuning. It suits any bike frame and easy to bleed and rebuilt.
All the compression and rebound adjustments are only for high speed and they are super smooth throughout the stroke even if you switch off the bottom-out resistance. This shock suspension is much cheaper than other shocks in its class because it does not posses any modern platform functions which are commonly found in premium shocks. So, you can save some money to tune the shock rather than spending huge cash to buy specialised downhill/freeride premium shocks.
This progressive bike shock nicely takes up big hits and handles the rough rocky terrain with ease; it turns the hucks/drops to jelly. You can quickly adjust the compression speed depending on the terrain and it is durable enough to take up any downhill or freeride ride.
This linear coil shock performs even better than DHX on every big hit landing and never bottom-out. It drives better than Swinger 6 way coil for plusher ride. No platform damping so, the sensitivity of the shock is high and gives amazing control. The shock feels super supple on small bump with quicker rebound and provides fast stutter bump sensitivity.
You might quickly blow up on hard hits with other premium shocks but Roco does its job well and never fail to give plush ride. The high-speed compression and air valve adjust works perfectly for VPP frame design. Adjustable compression, rebound, spring preload and bottom-out resistance are all put together to give a long lasting downhill experience.
|Good: buttery and smooth ride, cheaper shock, only high speed compression setting and no platform damping|
|Bad: Not much but it is not a modern shock with all novel damping setting but does well what it has promised|
Rockshox Vivid R2C Coil Shock
This mountain bike shock is very versatile and has an effective compression adjust to try Downhill, Freeride and All mountain ride including lots of climbs. Preferably good air shock would do better climbing job but surprisingly Vivid RC2 would obey the rules and does climbing effortlessly. When the shock is set with low compression you can enjoy buttery smooth trail absorption down the hill.
Mostly you can enjoy All mountain ride with the low speed compression. It is the effective compression adjustment that makes Rockshox Vivid RC2 shock more versatile. This simple linear shock is made with strong steel coil that provides good mid stroke and a solid end stroke. It also gives the ability to dial in beginning and end stroke rebound effectively.
This versatile coil shock gives greater control and quick rebound action when riding fast over the trail chatter and it rapidly responds to small bumps like rock gardens and roots. At the same time it also provides controlled slow rebound on big hits so, you would not have any bouncing or bucking when taking big landings.
All this is possible with two rebound adjustments based on Rockshox own Dual flow technology. This bike shock uses air volume adjustment or bumpers (optional) to quickly ramp up the spring on hardest landing to avoid harsh bottoming out. Using just rubber bumpers for bottom-out resistance is seems to be a basic tool but it works for Vivid RC2. This shock does not come with high speed compression.
Although the rebound adjustment is a marketing gimmick, this effective coil shock has little more to offer and cheaper than Fox Shocks in its class, bomb-proof for the price you pay. It seems to be easy to setup the shock and has pretty neat compression adjust that works well for fast ride. But keep in mind that you need patience to test and fine tune the shock for different riding style.
This coil shock is little heavy but you can buy Ti spring if you want to save on the weight. The Rockshox uses bigger spring with specific size and it is only available from rock shox, other branded coil will not fit.
|Good: no problem on big hits and works good on small bumps, easy to setup, versatile adjustments, bumpers used for bottom-out resistance|
|Bad: need patience for fine tuning, heavy and big spring, not easy to adjust|
Cane Creek Double Barrel Mountain Bike Shock
Do you need a shock that can be adjusted on the trial for different course of rides then Double Barrel does the job for you. This bike shock has wide range of adjust capabilities then any other shock in the market. It features multiple external adjustments that fulfil the need for different damping requirements on wide range of riding style.
This coil shock has 4-way independent adjustment for both high/low speed compression and high/low speed rebound which suits most of the long travel suspension bikes. All these adjustments are independent to each other and there is no crossover effect.
Two bleed screw adjusters are provided for low speed and two hex screw adjusters are designed separately for high speed. High speed setting needs 10mm socket to adjust and low speed setting requires a screwdriver to adjust the setting on the trail.
This valuable bike shock gives good traction on the ground when driven on fast descent in high speed corners. It sucks up all the braking bumps without diving into corners, usually in such situation bike would jack up the rear wheel.
This progressive coil shock tracks the small bumps nicely when the low speed compression set relatively soft. The shock is very stable and feels no pedal bob. Unlike other shocks that are limited in their tuning range, Double Barrel can be adjusted in a usable range so, fine-tuning is very easy. But this rear shock will take some time to fine tune for optimum setup.
This mountain bike shock would make the rear end more stable and controlled over big hits and travel eating bumps. Double Barrel is a high quality shock which is handcrafted based on rider’s weight, suspension linkage of the bike and riding style.
It is available with both steel and Ti spring and this makes the shock more valuable in the market. The design of this shock is based on Öhlins twin-tube technology that separates compression and rebound circuit with oil circulating all through the valve for optimum performance.
|Good: Tuning is very easy and the shock can be adjusted in a usable range, independent adjustment for both rebound and compression and does what it promise, great value|
|Bad: It will take time to fine tune and setup the shock based on your riding style|