a Cross Country Rider
from Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Date Reviewed: July 12, 2003
Strengths: excellent upgrade for low grade shox
Weaknesses: air leak over time
I got this cartidage back in 98 right after I purchase my bike (it wasn't even patented yet). The cartridage is a nice upgrade for low-end shox. The air-shox feel is great. The only bad thing is you have to pump it up all the time due to the air leak, but if you are not a big xc rider, or only ride on weekend, I will say this is a great bargain compare with high-end air shox.
Bike Setup: DEAN Colonel, XTR, Chris King, Raceface, yada yada
a Weekend Warrior
from Brighton, Colorado USA
Date Reviewed: January 5, 2002
Strengths: Inexpensively converts a 'wishy-washy' shock to something very useable. Once you understand what the product is capable of, the TotalAir cartridges maximize your investment in a shock that might be dated by changes in recent shock technology. Or if like me, you bought a lower line shock thinking it would work for you only to find it's not acceptable and now can't afford that $600 to buy the one that you really wanted, this is an affordable upgrade path.
Weaknesses: *only that the average rider might not fully understand the time and effort it takes to get them properly setup. The instructions stress the importance of replacing if necessary and setting the internal bleed valves but not everybody reads the fine print.... ;-) And this upgrade might be better targetted specifically at cross country, path/trails or average down-hill riders. The people that are experiencing difficulties or failures are probably not taking this into consideration. I am not sure that if you are an highly aggressive rider doing big drops, urban assault or hardcore downhill you are going to be happy with anything short of a heavy-coil setup designed for that kind of punishment as you are going to be replacing blown cartridges or seals from any manufacturer's airshock or upgrade. You get what you play for. (pun intended)
*First, my review is on the newest version of the cartridges. If you are just now doing research on this as a possible upgrade please take into consideration the older cartridges have a very different internal design. *Second, I have systematically upgraded a very rideable hardtail to a amazing mountain machine by reading, corresponding with riders who have posted to this site and evaluating my needs from many reviews this web site. My Airborne came with full XT & a Judy Race(Hydra/coil). Quickly I realized that while the JR was a better shock than I had used previously, I wanted the kind of responsiveness that only an air shock could provide. I could not afford to replace the shock and needed another option. I opted to try the TotalAir's on my old bike, my wife's new bike..;-) It had a Rock Shox Indy SL, 97 vintage, 63mm, elastomer/spring setup. I ordered a kit with a pump, and a jar of Slick Honey lube. I installed the kit, pumped it up to the specified psi and took it for a ride. I was blown away by the performance difference!!! Amazing! Within the week I ordered a Rock Shox long-travel kit to extend the useable shock ability on the Indy to 75mm,(approx. 3in). This was even better! I couldn't believe that I had ridden this bike for 4 years with such a 'dead' shock. Next payday I ordered the kit for my Judy with the oil kit add-on, installed it, test rode it in the neighborhood and took it to the hills. I experienced the same feeling of amazement in how much this improved the way the bike/shock handled, absorbed trail abuse and kept the tire on the ground,(which is one of the main reasons to have a suspension component in the first place.) Now comes the stupidity on my part. I weigh approx. 160lbs. The wife weighs 125lbs. I never adjusted and/or changed the internal bleed valve for her weight. Months later as I was raving to a friend about our satisfaction of this $200 upgrade,(between the 2 bikes), when she said her's wasn't that much smoother. 'What! You have got to be kidding me?' I said,'Show me'. We went out and she rode up and down the curb and over the lawn a few times as I was watching when it hit me. I bled the air out, pulled the cylinders, took out the #2 adjusters and put in the number 1#'s that came with the kit. I installed the adjusters @ 7 turns back,(3 in from the click), aired the shock up to 95psi,(30psi less than she had been using), and had her ride it. Now she was happy. Oops. So I got to thinking what I was doing with mine and opened it up and reset the the adjusters and dropped the psi and went for quick city run. The next ride in the hills, I took the pump and made mulitple adjustments during the ride to feel the differences. My point: You have to tailor the settings and pressures to the kind of riding you are going to be doing. This is not a set it and forget it functionality. Cross Country, trials, bike paths, downhill, freeride, whatever. Bottom line is this. If you want the performance characteristics of an airshock for maintaining traction, soaking up bumps, etc., this is an excellent and a very intelligent upgrade. Prior to throwing my bike in the truck for a ride in the mountains or riding off from the driveway, I always check tire pressures, brakes, etc., and set the shock pressures for the day's ride. Hope this helps.
Bike Setup: Airborne Lucky Strike, RaceFace crks, rgs, stm, BB, Chris King hdst, hbs, Sram, Thudbuster, Titec Ti hbar, Speedplay Frogs
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: August 31, 2001
Strengths: Light, better than Judy elastomers, adjustable, great for XC riding.
Weaknesses: Not good for downhill - wouldn't trust the seals.
First generation felt GREAT - very plush and kept me in control over stuff my buds couldn't hang with me on. I blew the seals after three months. Their customer support is great - sent out a second generation right away at no charge. These had better seals but lost that responsive feel of the first ones. So I complained and they sent the third generation with negative spring. These are adequate but still not nearly as nice as the first gen. was. Maybe they'll get it right one of these days? In the meantime, I'll keep sending mine back for upgrades!
Bike Setup: Santa Cruz Tazmon (3" travel rear air shock), XT grouppo, Machine Tech hubs, Profile Stiffy Stem, Club Roost riser bars, King headset, Time ATAC pedals (RULE!), Bullet Bros. chain tensioner, Selle Italia Ti Flite Gel Saddle, Panaracer 2.1 Fire XC Pro tires, Shock Bone fork brace (NEED this if you have a "piece o junk" Judy).
a Cross Country Rider
from Boise, ID
Date Reviewed: February 21, 2001
Strengths: Plush suspension. Light weight. Affordable. Good Customer Support.
Weaknesses: Leaky air chamber
I had the Englund total air cartridge for about 3 months when I hit a "bump" in the mountains and the dang things shot out of my uppers, and left an oil mark on my cheek. I was outraged at the product. I sent them back to the company with some "heated" e-mails. It ends up the local dealer had given me the cartridge for the Judy instead of the SID. The threads were not the same, but they did insert in with little force (I assumed an interference fit). To make a long story short, they sent out a new set of cartriges for cost, and I "returned" the old set to the dealer. I have not had any serious problems since. I have to "pump" the shock up every two weeks, but it has performed just fine. The company acted very graciously. I still don't like the idea of plastic threads, but they have held up Ok.
Similar Products Used: Rock Shox, White Bros-Hard Body
Bike Setup: Trek 9800 OCLV. SID upper, and STIFF Lowers. XTR/Raceface/King Components
a Weekend Warrior
from Kingwood, TX
Date Reviewed: October 9, 2000
Weaknesses: They will break on you when you need them the most. Really lousy product.
I took a trip to Moab. I had a choice of either taking an SID or a Judy with the Englund Air cartridges. I was afraid of blowing out the front shock, so I decided to go with the Englund Air, and take some rebuild kits I bought from the manufacturer. That way, if it blew, at least I could fix it. On the second day of the trip, the o-ring on the schrader valve blew out. The rebuild kits didn't have a replacement o-ring for the valve. All because the company is too cheap to include a 2 cent o-ring in their rebuild kits.
This product is just good enough for you place confidence in it and begin to rely on it, and then when you need it the most, it will let you down, which makes it the worst kind of product to buy. I will never buy from them again!
Similar Products Used: Rox Shox SID, Marzochi Superfly 2, and a bunch of Coil sprung forks.
Bike Setup: Schwinn homegrown 4 banger with a Judy fork containing the Englund cartridges.
a Cross Country Rider
from Sunnyvale, CA
Date Reviewed: July 24, 2000
Strengths: Light, excellent feel when holding air, LONG travel
Weaknesses: Doesn't hold air
I used the 1st gen. inserts for about 3 years and thought they were OK (a little bouncy and noisy), but they eventually gave up the ghost. I "upgraded" to the long travel latest gen. design and have had nothing but trouble so far, mostly from lack of QC by the company.
Problems: 1) Top schrader valve missing internal threading- unable to fill with Risse inflater (btw- you HAVE to use a no bleed inflater with these- not a flaw, just the way it is). -Factory sent new one.
2) Leakage around new valve sent by factory. -Gas station tightened valve core- OK.
3) Leakage around top threads. -Teflon tape and a little grease.
4) Leakage around shaft on one side. -Disassembled, found a small hair on O-ring. Put extra honey on o-rings. We'll see if it works this weekend. It at least maintains pressure over a period of 6 hrs now and passes the underwater bubble test.
I have ridden the new shocks a total of 3 times. I am 6'5" and I weigh 185#. I am mostly a roadie who doesn't have the balls for big air so I am not very hard on equipment.
Similar Products Used: Stock Judy SL, 2nd Generation Rock Shox, rigid
Bike Setup: Bontrager Race XXXL, random parts
a Cross Country Rider
from San Diego, CA
Date Reviewed: July 14, 2000
Strengths: Light, better feel than stock Judy internals, easy to install and adjust. Also, waranteed several times quickly with no problems
Weaknesses: I have blown out two sets of these cartridges in two years, and I only weigh 140 and ride a few times a month. The seals on these things are badly designed, and I suggest these only for light riders who enjoy taking their forks apart to send back for repairs
I have a set of Total Air carts in my Judys, which hold air perfectly, but one is 'sticky' for the first 1/2" of travel.
Does anyone have instructions of how to disassemble the cart?
PhillRead More »
Who knows anything about these ?
Just scored a killer deal on the bay, Judy DH with extra sliders, top caps, a crown, and these. Eyeballed 'em, cleaned 'em up, and put air in them. Lo, and behol, they seem to hold air !!! (haven't done the dunk test, yet. I'll just check again in the morning)
... Read More »
just the right bike/fork for a [URL="http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?p=7195950"]little jaunt on the colorado trail[/URL] (buffalo creek trail system)...
:thumbsup:Read More »
I'm trying to rebuild a couple of old Judy's with Englund Total Air Cartridges. Both forks are no longer holding air. Before I just tear into them, I was wondering if anyone has instructions that they can post so I don't butcher the carts too badly... I searched the Eko website and past posts wit ... Read More »