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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have this Enduro and always wondered how it would feel with a bigger shock on. The original Specialized AFR shock was/is great. I didn't put on the Roco Air because I was unhappy with the AFR shock, but I guess it was rather more of a curious thing in me that wanted to try.

So I picked up a 2009 Roco Air on Ebay. The hardest part of installing this shock is to get the reducers to mount the shock on! I got a friend of mine to fabricate the reducers for me, but you could go to many bike shop and asked to order the reducers for you from Marzocchi.

So what are my impression?

First off, the Roco is massive and weighs a lot more then AFR. The Roco weighs a tad over 500g compared to 300g of the AFR! Some may think a 200g difference is a massive amount on a bike that weighs 27.7 lbs, but once you get going, you won't notice the weigh difference (read below). I held the two shocks in my hands side by side and it was immediately evident that the Roco was design for big boys who likes to hit big things! Now I'm only 130 lbs naked, and I'll doubt I'll ever fully utilitze this Roco,.. and lol I don't have the skills to take the Roco to anywhere near its limits.

The Roco Air has a bigger shaft than the stock AFR. Roco has a 32 mm shaft; AFR has 28 mm shaft. So compared to the AFR, the Roco looks massive on the Enduro! The Roco shaft barely fits between the mounting brackets, and in fact, the shaft even hit the mounting brackets and chipped off some paint (but that's it, the brackets are not deform in any way). I think the aluminum version of the Enduro actually has a wider bracket width than the S-Works carbon Enduro, so the Roco might fit on the aluminum Enduro even better!

The Roco overall does have a more linear feeling, and easier to tune to rider's weight. With the AFR, I had to get the PSI just right, or else it's either too stiff or too soft. Setting sag on the Roco is much quicker and easier. With the AFR, I sometimes have to reach for the shock pump a few tries to set the correct sag.

On the climb:
I don't notice much difference in terms of traction on a typical dirt pack trail. Climbing over rocks 1 ft - 2 ft in diameter, the Roco tracks better because it has a more progressive linear compliance (feels more like a coil). The AFR has a harder initial movement, that is, the first 1/4 of the travel of the AFR feels harder, so because of this, sometimes I break traction with AFR. But overall, the two shocks give the same efficiency on the climb. I can't really say I favor one over another here.

On the down:
now this is where the Roco shine! The Roco feels like a coil! The Enduro tracts so much better, and it eats up baby heads like nothing. It gives the Enduro a more plush and progressive (coil-like) feeling even though the overall travel is the same (6 in travel). I would say with the exception of the hardcore downhiller boys accustomed to riding downhhill rigs, most people would not be able to tell if the Roco Air is air or coil Goes to show just how good this Roco Air feels on this bike. One of my friends who rides an Ibis Mojo, and he's a very good rider (above average rider), and when he jumped on my bike, he was all smiling and saying "oh yeah I can see myself going down faster on this!". Coming from a person riding an Ibis Mojo, that says a lot. He also love the E150 forks too (which I had it rebuilt by Specialized, and yes, it feels better than when the shock was released in 2007. I give Specialized major props for rebuilding all E150 forks to the latest specs!).

Another major difference between the AFR and Roco is that the Roco doesn't have a lockout like the AFR. Personally I rather prefer this way! I never use lockout on the AFR because locking it out puts the shock near its bottom, lowering the clearance of bike, which means more bashing on rocks (not good!). And personally, I have never liked locking out the AFR shock because the rear tire actually loses grips more easily since there is no suspension movement now. The Roco does have what's called a "climb" position, and in this position, the shock is very stiff but does move a little bit (ie, it's not completely lock out) and personally this little bit of movement gives better overall traction when climbing over rocks.

What about jumps? Sorry folks, my skills don't allow me to do this stuff, and to be honest my time has kinda passed for doing this sort of activity! lol so I can't comments here.

This modification project was due to my curiosity with tinkering with stuff, but I must say results turned out great! And I just wanted to share the finding with the community (especially you Enduro owners). Well that's it for now.
 

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Hey Im glad your happy. When I replaced my afr shock for a dhx 5 coil, I looked like the guy from the viagra commercial. Thats how much I was liking it. Going uphill and downhill the shock feels soo much better in my opinion over the afr. Especially when you hit those more aggressive dh like trials.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Yep. I was debating whether i wanted to go with a coil or a big-shaft air shock. So I narrowed my choices down to 3 choices: fox dhx 5.0 coil, marzocchi roco air, or marz roco coil.

These several factors affected my decision:

1) I'm a light weight at 130 lbs. So perhaps a big shaft shock would feel like a coil under such load.

2) a coil would added more weigh, which defeats the point of having a carbon frame. And no way I'm paying for titanium spring! I admit though I like keeping the bike as light as possible, which gives me the satisfaction knowing that there isn't many "all-mountain" bikes out there with the stiffness of a double crown fork, 6" suspension with plushness of a coil.. with heavy 2.35 Kenda wired bead tires.. all for under 29 lbs! (btw, my bike is a size medium)

3) putting on a coil might attract too many youngsters looking for a challenge. I'll get wasted and get hurt. Not good!

4) RED! The roco matches the black and red theme totally. Never liked the gray ugly looking color of the AFR!

5) I did a lot of research online rading about guys who have ridden at least 2 of these shocksl. Between the roco air and roco coil, many seem to agree that unless you're an extremely aggressive rider (ie, you tend to plow down rather than pick a line), then go with roco air. One guy even mentioned that he's a downhill racer and actually prefers the roco air over coil! Then there is the dhx 5.0 coil versus the roco coil, and many guys were swearing by the roco coil over the dhx 5 (and those who picked dhx 5 coil did it for reason being that dhx is easily serviceable and rebuild kit readily available for cheap). There wasn't any direct comparison between the roco air and dhx 5.0 coil, but putting all anecdotes and logic together, I went with the roco air.

6) and lastly, the roco air at the time was being sold by a seller on Ebay for a relatively cheap price, in almost brand new condition, so made my decision a lot easier.

So taking in the above factors, it was a no brainer for me. I really wanted to do this because i wanted to experiment a bit, and now very happy with the results.


edit:
if some of you are wondering if I was looking at the dhx 5.0 air, and yes I did, but the dhx air one had the same shaft diameter as the AFR, so it would be a side-step rather than an upgrade. So I didn't consider the dhx 5.0 air.
 

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Looking good, pity the E150`s weren't black & red though like the roco shock
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
^ yep. I've been entertaining the thought of anodizing the E150 to red. I wonder if the stanchions could be anodized red and still keeps its smooth gliding property? This sounds a bit risky since if things don't work out, I'm looking at close to $1000 to replace the E150 wholly! But everyday the fork color is a bit of an eye sore!
 

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chauzie said:
...so the Roco might fit on the aluminum Enduro even better!
Warning!

I own an 2007 (i think) aluminium Enduro SL. I tried to fit Roco Air RC WC on it and it did _NOT_ fit in the way it does on your bike. The shock shaft was slightly chewing on the mounting bracket in the slack HA position. I had to turn the shock upside down and remove the HSC knob to fit the shock to the frame.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
^ uzuraptor,
thanks for your post! there you have it people.

I only remember reading somewhere that some guy was saying that the aluminum frame would have a wider space between the brackets, but apparently you have shown it it not the case!

Like I said previously, the roco shaft did chew some paint off of my mounting brackets too, but it was only the paint. I examined it very closely, then finally tested on the trails, and to this date, the mounting brackets hold (ie, no further chewing).

But hey where did you get your reducers? did you have to order them from Marzocchi? or did the LBS have them for you? Could you let me know?? I'm interested in ordering another set of reducers myself (rather than bothering my buddy to fab them). I'm interested to know.

edit:
I just noticed your shock is Roco Air WC (world cup) version. Mine is Roco Air TST (supposedly more for trail/FR). Having said this, it appears the TST and WC versions have the same shaft diameter of 32 mm. I know the TST is 32 mm because I measured it with a digital caliper.
 
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