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Formerly PaintPeelinPbody
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought a Revved Trail Pistol from Guerrilla Gravity. 210x50 shock. I'm 240lbs. I'm a fairly aggressive rider, but these days I'm mostly riding trail.

I was all set to send my Deluxe RT off to Avalanche, but before I did so I wanted to get Craig on the phone to pick his brain.

Craig's thoughts: my weight and chosen shock stroke with a tiny little air shock are not compatible. He can tune it, but I'm just too heavy to really get the optimal benefits of that tune. Removing all the tokens to make it more progressive will have me blowing through travel and bottom it out, jamming it full of tokens to make it more progressive will require max air pressure.

His suggestion, albeit biased, is that as a heavy, more aggressive rider, coil is the best use of my money.

Now, I've ridden air shocks on all my past bikes. I've learned that lower leverage ratio helps. My last bike was a Guerrilla Gravity Smash with a Deluxe RT, and honestly, I felt like it rode fine. Not great, but pretty good. I removed all the tokens, and turned the compression knob to full-slow. It didn't provide much small bump sensitivity, and that's what I was hoping Craig could tune towards.

So here are my questions:
1) Is an air shock for a heavy rider always going to be a losing proposition?

2) If air isn't all bad: are there air shocks that might be better suited for this purpose but aren't DH shocks like the Vivid, X2, etc. Would a heavier rider be better served by something like the Manitou McLeod, DVO Topaz, Suntour Triair etc?


If money was no object and you could choose any air or coil shock with a custom tune, would you still choose air, and if so, which shock/tuner?
 

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Shartacular Spectacular
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I just bought a Revved Trail Pistol from Guerrilla Gravity. 210x50 shock. I'm 240lbs. I'm a fairly aggressive rider, but these days I'm mostly riding trail.

I was all set to send my Deluxe RT off to Avalanche, but before I did so I wanted to get Craig on the phone to pick his brain.

Craig's thoughts: my weight and chosen shock stroke with a tiny little air shock are not compatible. He can tune it, but I'm just too heavy to really get the optimal benefits of that tune. Removing all the tokens to make it more progressive will have me blowing through travel and bottom it out, jamming it full of tokens to make it more progressive will require max air pressure.

His suggestion, albeit biased, is that as a heavy, more aggressive rider, coil is the best use of my money.

Now, I've ridden air shocks on all my past bikes. I've learned that lower leverage ratio helps. My last bike was a Guerrilla Gravity Smash with a Deluxe RT, and honestly, I felt like it rode fine. Not great, but pretty good. I removed all the tokens, and turned the compression knob to full-slow. It didn't provide much small bump sensitivity, and that's what I was hoping Craig could tune towards.

So here are my questions:
1) Is an air shock for a heavy rider always going to be a losing proposition?

2) If air isn't all bad: are there air shocks that might be better suited for this purpose but aren't DH shocks like the Vivid, X2, etc. Would a heavier rider be better served by something like the Manitou McLeod, DVO Topaz, Suntour Triair etc?


If money was no object and you could choose any air or coil shock with a custom tune, would you still choose air, and if so, which shock/tuner?
Why are you ruling out air shocks like the X2? Despite the label, the X2 comes with a lockout and is relatively common these days on non-DH bikes for good reason.
 

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The problem with Coil shocks in this application is getting a spring hard enough, but if you can do it then it will work great

In my experience the Deluxe RT isn't a great shock for tuning so you will get a better result out of something else

I don't particularly find Air or Coil is inherently worse for larger guys, the main thing is getting the damping valved properly, and once you valve a shock firm enough it puts a lot more stress on the piston and seals which is where a piggyback shock, especially a float X2 or RS superdeluxe or CCDBair works really well. You can do it with an inline shock but it takes a bit more care and needs the IFP pressure to be raised appropriately to maintain the pressure balance in the damper
 

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Formerly PaintPeelinPbody
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Why are you ruling out air shocks like the X2? Despite the label, the X2 comes with a lockout and is relatively common these days on non-DH bikes for good reason.
For the purposes of this thread, I'm just trying to determine if a smaller/lighter shock has any chance of providing the performance (with tuning) of a coil. Even if its only 80% performance of a coil. If there are smaller shocks out there that can compete, what separates them from a smaller/lighter shock like Deluxe or DPS or McLeod? Is the Reservoir (or overall size like the X2 or Vivid) or lack of it the limiting factor in taking an airshock to the next level?

The X2 might be good, but it's also $500. That could buy a used Super Deluxe Coil or Bomber CR and send it off for a custom tune.

The problem with Coil shocks in this application is getting a spring hard enough, but if you can do it then it will work great.

I don't particularly find Air or Coil is inherently worse for larger guys, the main thing is getting the damping valved properly, and once you valve a shock firm enough it puts a lot more stress on the piston and seals which is where a piggyback shock, especially a float X2 or RS superdeluxe or CCDBair works really well. You can do it with an inline shock but it takes a bit more care and needs the IFP pressure to be raised appropriately to maintain the pressure balance in the damper
With all those increased pressures, are you putting more force on the sealing surfaces, and therefore creating more friction/wear?

If I was trying to stay on a budget and wanted to improve an inline air shock like the Deluxe, could I inexpensively tune for more compression damping without going whole-hog full-blown $190 Avalanche tune/SSD/HSB? Or are there better options in that light-weight non-reservoir category that provide easier or better tuning for heavier rider?
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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It's more bike specific with the leverage ratio and curves the manufacturer choose, although another general trend is how the overly-restrictive factory high speed damping causes most people to run whatever form of low-speed compression (trail adjust, propedal, actual low speed, etc.) "open" and the flat mid-stroke of an air shock is exaggerated and you blow through travel like crazy. Then they use giant air cans which makes it even worse. It's not all that bad though, if the frame is correctly matched to the shock, it can work fairly well. I say fairly well because an equally good damper on a coil shock will always feel better IME. The manufacturers don't always put a lot of care into this aspect of the bike though, so it's often possible to improve upon it, or in some cases they just designed a wildly inappropriate leverage curve.

Once you are getting into the 5" and greater range, coil still rules IME. If you can find a spring that is heavy enough for your weight given the bike's leverage ratio, I'd say go for it, no question. Otherwise, you probably need something with more tuning possibilities, like an X2, where you can dial in more LSC to prevent blowing through the travel as bad and give more chassis support.
 

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For the purposes of this thread, I'm just trying to determine if a smaller/lighter shock has any chance of providing the performance (with tuning) of a coil. Even if its only 80% performance of a coil. If there are smaller shocks out there that can compete, what separates them from a smaller/lighter shock like Deluxe or DPS or McLeod? Is the Reservoir (or overall size like the X2 or Vivid) or lack of it the limiting factor in taking an airshock to the next level?

The X2 might be good, but it's also $500. That could buy a used Super Deluxe Coil or Bomber CR and send it off for a custom tune.

With all those increased pressures, are you putting more force on the sealing surfaces, and therefore creating more friction/wear?

If I was trying to stay on a budget and wanted to improve an inline air shock like the Deluxe, could I inexpensively tune for more compression damping without going whole-hog full-blown $190 Avalanche tune/SSD/HSB? Or are there better options in that light-weight non-reservoir category that provide easier or better tuning for heavier rider?
The increased pressures from more compression damping/reservoir pressure creates more friction yes, but a big problem is causing cavitation if the compression damping is too firm and the reservoir pressure isn't high enough. So if you go down the road of tuning a shock, you need to make sure it's done by someone who knows how to balance these things or else it won't work very well and lead to sucking in air or damaging the shock. Most piggyback shocks are better balanced and can handle more damping at lower reservoir pressure (~200psi vs 350-300psi)

Apparently the Mcleod works well for bigger guys, but you aren't really gaining anything by going with a lighter shock. If you don't want to spend much more money then fine, but if it was me I would be putting any money towards one of the shocks you mentioned like the Super deluxe and Bomber CR, or a fox DPX2
 

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It's more bike specific with the leverage ratio and curves the manufacturer choose
No it is more the rider weight that is important, it just gets "filtered" through the frame. Most damping rates are relatively linear so you just have to offset it one way or the other if it's a particularly funky leverage rate
 

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Formerly PaintPeelinPbody
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So what is it about the McLeod that makes it better for heavier riders? The yellow piston upgrade that allows for higher pressure behind the IFP? A more tunable shim stack?
 

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The only issue you will have with a coil shock will be getting a spring to provide the proper support you need base off your frame, but at your weight what are you worried about between an air shock vs a coil shock? The weight of a setup won’t matter.... Really it comes down to your preference of riding characteristics... While an air shock at high pressures will have more stiction, to a certain point your weight helps over come that. Really it comes down to what you want... the pop of an air spring due to its natural progressiveness you can achieve, or the sheer traction and compliance of a coil. Maybe with MRPs new progressive springs you can get close to the best of both worlds


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

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So what is it about the McLeod that makes it better for heavier riders? The yellow piston upgrade that allows for higher pressure behind the IFP? A more tunable shim stack?
I say apparently because I don't have first hand experience with it, but looking at their standard valving it looks firmer than most so I would say it has something to do with that
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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No it is more the rider weight that is important, it just gets "filtered" through the frame. Most damping rates are relatively linear so you just have to offset it one way or the other if it's a particularly funky leverage rate
If it was a low-leverage frame, such as 2:1, then the shock wouldn't need as much damping and could accommodate a heavier rider.
 

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Short-Change-Hero
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So what is it about the McLeod that makes it better for heavier riders? The yellow piston upgrade that allows for higher pressure behind the IFP? A more tunable shim stack?
Shoot Dougal a message. I was wondering if the McLeod would be good for the Smash as well but ended up going the coil route since I liked it on the two different Smash's that I demoed. However, I am a good 50lbs lighter than you so it would be a hard decision as the riders I demoed with are my size.

With that said, Manitou is also releasing their new MARA (and Mara Pro I think as well) piggyback shock that may better suit your needs. However that will be another 6 months or so down the road.

In my experience, having been the one that started the McLeod thread and rode a bike like yours (Thumper) I have seen that the McLeod had the opportunity where it seemed to fit many different bikes and riders leverage ratios better than any other shock. But again, talk with Dougal as he is going to be your expert on this.
 

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Formerly PaintPeelinPbody
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Greg,

Despite my Switchback having similar leverage ratio I always felt like my Monarch RT3 Debonair was struggling to control it. My guess was that I actually had too much volume.

Then I got the Smash with the Deluxe RT and was pleasantly surprised with how much better it performed. It wasn't ideal, especially in small bump compliance, but at least I could hit drops without getting bucked and it seemed to deal with repeated hits ok too.

Mind you, through some technical sections of my local, rocky trails, I was almost as fast on my hardtail as I was my Smash, so I could handle a stiffer, poppier, more lively full-suspension setup.

I decided that on the new Revved Trail Pistol that I want to try both options - a stiffer, lighter, air shock setup, and a buttery smooth coil as well. I just wanted to better validate my own feelings on the topic, as the costs involved aren't anything to sneeze at, but I do have the opportunity to try a custom tuned coil setup for less than some new air shocks, and I got a Deluxe RT setup for practically pennies.

I do find it interesting that the McLeod is one of the few mass-market shocks Avalanche doesn't tune. That must be saying something...

Perhaps I'll keep an eye out for a used McLeod - surprised at how rare they are!
 

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Basically all coil shocks are very high end and they work very, very well. Its not so much that the coil is better, its that the whole shock is WAY better and it happens to have a metal spring.

I think debonair style cans suck. For heavy riders, they sometimes just flat out dont work. Swapping those to a standard can fixes the issue similar to how a coil would fix the issue.

Out back, the suspension bit is leveraged, so unlike a fork, there is a LOT of force behind getting the thing moving and avoiding initial stiction. It can be >3 times the leverage on a lot of frames.

The mcleod has a great damper and a heavy rider friendly low-pressure air spring. Its just designed differently and doesnt need 300psi to function.
 

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Short-Change-Hero
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Greg,

Despite my Switchback having similar leverage ratio I always felt like my Monarch RT3 Debonair was struggling to control it. My guess was that I actually had too much volume.

Then I got the Smash with the Deluxe RT and was pleasantly surprised with how much better it performed. It wasn't ideal, especially in small bump compliance, but at least I could hit drops without getting bucked and it seemed to deal with repeated hits ok too.

Mind you, through some technical sections of my local, rocky trails, I was almost as fast on my hardtail as I was my Smash, so I could handle a stiffer, poppier, more lively full-suspension setup.

I decided that on the new Revved Trail Pistol that I want to try both options - a stiffer, lighter, air shock setup, and a buttery smooth coil as well. I just wanted to better validate my own feelings on the topic, as the costs involved aren't anything to sneeze at, but I do have the opportunity to try a custom tuned coil setup for less than some new air shocks, and I got a Deluxe RT setup for practically pennies.

I do find it interesting that the McLeod is one of the few mass-market shocks Avalanche doesn't tune. That must be saying something...

Perhaps I'll keep an eye out for a used McLeod - surprised at how rare they are!
See I found the same thing when I had the FOX CTD on the Thumper. Just felt underwhelming and like it really was struggling to control the bike. When I swapped to the McLeod all of that went away and also got the added benefit of small bump and square edge compliance like I had been looking for. To this day, the McLeod has been one of the best feeling Air shocks I have ever ridden, regardless of bike. Recent rides have been on demos with FOX DPX2, Float X2, RS Deluxe, RS Super Deluxe and all of them seemed to lack here or there. Jumping back on my bike to the McLeod and it just felt and did SOOOO much better. Only thing that seemed to really compete is when I road a Smash with the SD Coil last summer, then road another Smash with a Deluxe and then again with the SD Coil not long after. The SD Coil had a very similar feeling and just kept that back end planted but offered compliance where needed. Hence why that was the one upgrade I wanted to do straight off.
 

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Formerly PaintPeelinPbody
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Have you considered the Topaz from DVO? Give Ronnie a call, and I bet he would re-tune the shock based on your weight before it went out the door.
I think people wrongly believe I'm looking to buy a shock. I'm not. I'm looking for the theory behind why one shock might be better than others for heavier riders. Or if tuning/mods can remedy issues for shocks that aren't good for heavy riders from the factory.

It seems like the McLeod is probably one of the few <300g (in 210x55) Metric shocks available that could be classified as being "well suited" for heavier riders.
 

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Formerly PaintPeelinPbody
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I think debonair style cans suck. For heavy riders, they sometimes just flat out dont work. Swapping those to a standard can fixes the issue similar to how a coil would fix the issue.
Craig at Avalanche didn't have much good to say about all the high-volume air cans that the manufacturers are trying to sell.

He was more impressed with Rockshox's new MegNeg negative spring volume increase. Said that might actually have some benefit to a heavier rider...if the factory damping didn't suck so bad.
 

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Short-Change-Hero
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I think people wrongly believe I'm looking to buy a shock. I'm not. I'm looking for the theory behind why one shock might be better than others for heavier riders. Or if tuning/mods can remedy issues for shocks that aren't good for heavy riders from the factory.

It seems like the McLeod is probably one of the few <300g (in 210x55) Metric shocks available that could be classified as being "well suited" for heavier riders.
Ah yeah I was thinking you were looking to add another shock for comparison sake... not realizing that you were simply doing some theorycrafting.

But yes I believe you are right in that the McLeod has the unique ability to be well suited for a large rider weight range straight off.
 

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300# on a McLeod here riding a 2017 Diamondback Release. Can't tell you why it works. I can only tell you it does. I admittedly am pretty uneducated about shocks and honestly...suspension in general and how they work and why they do or don't work for certain riders.
 
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