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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is air really necessary on 5"+ travel bikes? A new, brand spanking, 2005 Fox Float R went south on its very first ride on an Ellsworth Distance. Yes, it was set up right, with correct sag and pressure for rider, an expereinced rider (road), but new mountian biker, so this is to say, the rider did not abuse the shock.

My argument is, what's up with putting air on longer travel bikes?? Is this necessary? I put a coil (Romic D) on the bike after and it made a world of difference. I can understand on 4" and less travel bikes, but you know how and where the 5"+ bikes will be ridden.. Is it that we are saving a precious pound on a bike when we're going to add beefy cranks, rims, and stems anyway? Where's the logic in that? XC set yeah, but the freeride/trailbike set?? Oh, and then, gotta carry that trusty pump too!! Personally, every single air item that's been around me, whether I touched it or not, has had major complications... From Marzocchi, Fox, and White Bros to Manitou and RockShox. Can't wait to see the '05's. Oh wait, already did...

Leave the air to the XC gram counting set. We're gonna put burly parts on our bikes anyway making them heavier but more reliable...

So my question, to all of you, is: What do you prefer.. AIR or COIL? Or a little of both? And what do you think is better for Trailbike/Freeride?
 

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noMAD man
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Maybe not quite that black & white.

sugardare said:
Is air really necessary on 5"+ travel bikes? A new, brand spanking, 2005 Fox Float R went south on its very first ride on an Ellsworth Distance. Yes, it was set up right, with correct sag and pressure for rider, an expereinced rider (road), but new mountian biker, so this is to say, the rider did not abuse the shock.

My argument is, what's up with putting air on longer travel bikes?? Is this necessary? I put a coil (Romic D) on the bike after and it made a world of difference. I can understand on 4" and less travel bikes, but you know how and where the 5"+ bikes will be ridden.. Is it that we are saving a precious pound on a bike when we're going to add beefy cranks, rims, and stems anyway? Where's the logic in that? XC set yeah, but the freeride/trailbike set?? Oh, and then, gotta carry that trusty pump too!! Personally, every single air item that's been around me, whether I touched it or not, has had major complications... From Marzocchi, Fox, and White Bros to Manitou and RockShox. Can't wait to see the '05's. Oh wait, already did...

Leave the air to the XC gram counting set. We're gonna put burly parts on our bikes anyway making them heavier but more reliable...

So my question, to all of you, is: What do you prefer.. AIR or COIL? Or a little of both? And what do you think is better for Trailbike/Freeride?
I will agree that a coil shock is better for 7" and bigger FR/DH bikes, but when you're talking 5-6 inch models there is some lattitude. The most gray area that any of us can debate on is this 5-6 inch "trailbike" category. For so many riders there are too many variables. That measley pound you refer to may be somewhat important to those in the Rocky mountain trail riding areas. Plus air shocks have evolved. Manitou is suppose to be coming out with an air DH shock with a giant air volume capablity. That Float R you referred to is almost an obsolete piece compared to other offerings available recently. There's really no definitive answer to the debate in this travel range unless you specifically lay out all the exact elements that a rider needs and wants for a specific use. It may not even be possible to make that Trailbike/Freeride comparison. It means so many things to so many people. I put myself in that category. I'm not a freerider in the sense of doing urban or really big drops. However, I'm definitely no XC'er because any of those bikes and components for that use don't stand up to the kind of trail that I like to ride. I guess I'm more of a DH'er (even though I never raced on a DH course but have ridden on them) because I like to go fast, downhill, over rough terrain. I don't know...it all gets fuzzy when you try to nail down some of these bikes for specified uses. This forum is called DH and FR. However, look at the difference between Steve Peat's Orange and a Specialized Demo 9. I have an air shock (piggybacked Manitou 4-way air) on a burly Bullit trailbike, and it works exceptionally well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
TNC,
I see your point, and yes, I know this is a DH/Freeride forum, which is why I ask this in this forum since I too ride a 6"/7" bike and use a coil. I wouldn't bother asking this type of question in an XC forum..

I thought of getting the Manitou you run, but the new technology with air still doesn't rub me the right way. I saw that huge Manitou that Intense was putting on their M3 at Interbike and talked with Jeff Steber, he said it works flawlessly. If he said it works, then I'll take that. Yeah, there are several different kind of pivots, frame designs, and user needs, and it is all so specific, but I am only suggesting and pondering a question to the public of which they PREFER. Maybe this would change my mind a bit...
 

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I'd prefer air suspension on any bike I'm climbing on. Of my arsenal that includes a 7 and 7 travel Norco and a 5 and 5 travel enduro. The norco is all coil, the enduro is all air. I take the enduro on rides up to 6 hours sometimes and a pound or two makes a huge difference. All my xc suspension bikes previously were coil sprung and I just couldn't ride nearly as long without exhausting myself.

There's nothing wrong with air shocks these days. Even a regular fox float R is leaps and bounds better that the air suspension even 3 years ago. Sounds like your friend just got a lemon. I've seen coil manitou swingers blown in both the box they came in and on the bikes they came oem on. All shocks are pressurized and sh!t happens. Doesn't mean you have to give up on the technology. That's one good thing about the 4-6 inch travel frames you're talking about though. You can go either way depending on what your priorities are.

Where I live, longer travel xc bikes are a pretty much a given with the terrain we've got, assuming you're not just out to beat the crap out of yourself with a hardtail or short travel bike. And the lighter that bike is, the more riding you get.
 

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Depends...

Generally speaking, air is best for agressive XC, light freeriding, DS and such with the coil best for real freeriding, black diamond, urban, and DH.

Of course that is generally speaking and our terrain, style, experience levels all differ greatly. Heck, I've ridden a air shock on a beginner DH race at Sea Otter years past and it was fine. Basically the rule should be your own. If you kill air shocks, then change to coil. If you don't have any problems with your air, then keep it.

Each has it's pros and cons but in the end, it's all about having fun! :D
 

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noMAD man
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By golly, the best technical advice ever!

nickweidinger said:
I have always ridden with a coil and loved it. I got a giant dh frame and im kinda worried about the air shock part of it. I always thought air was for sissys
LOL! I liked that part about air shocks being for sissys. Anyway, I was curious about the air shock on the Giant DH frame you have. What kind is/was it, and did it come on the bike as OEM?
 

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TNC said:
LOL! I liked that part about air shocks being for sissys. Anyway, I was curious about the air shock on the Giant DH frame you have. What kind is/was it, and did it come on the bike as OEM?
I lied, its not an air shock. It is a Manitou Swinger coil w/6 way adjust rear shock with 8.25" of travel and remote reservoir. I think the big reservoir thing threw me off. I just got the frame in today and it is beautiful. Dont know how it feels yet though, still have to build a rear wheel. Now i can still say air shocks are for sissys
 

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noMAD man
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Dang!

nickweidinger said:
I lied, its not an air shock. It is a Manitou Swinger coil w/6 way adjust rear shock with 8.25" of travel and remote reservoir. I think the big reservoir thing threw me off. I just got the frame in today and it is beautiful. Dont know how it feels yet though, still have to build a rear wheel. Now i can still say air shocks are for sissys
I was hoping that maybe you had one of those new Manitou air DH models, but I guess they're not out yet.
 
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