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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This past week I received my Manitou Evolver ISX-6 shock. I haven't had a chance to try it yet. The temperature was 17 degrees here in New Jersey this morning and it didn't get much better. I like riding but not that much! Murphy's Law! After a balmy, warm December without a bike.

Anyway, I wanted to ask if anyone understands this shock properly, as I don't. The manual is not very good, covering the whole of the 2007 shock range and its not good on specifics.

What do pressure changes in the piggyback do? It is not a SPV shock but has Intrinsic damping. I'm also very familiar with the No-tools bottom out feature from my previous SPV shock, which this also has.

Also they are very vague about the High and Low Speed adjusters. On a page titled:

"SPV SET-UP REFERENCE GUIDE - 2007"

It says:

"LOW-SPEED COMPRESSION DAMPING (EVOLVER ISX-6, SWINGER X6, AND REVOX ISX ONLY)
Turning the red adjustment knob to increase chassis stability (also may decrease supple feel of shock).

HIGH-SPEED COMPRESSION DAMPING (EVOLVER ISX-6, SWINGER X6, AND REVOX ISX ONLY)
Turn in the black adjustment knob to increase high speed bottoming resistance."

What the hell! I thought that's what the No-tools adjuster was for.

I've never had or used a shock with high and low speed adjusters before. I'd appreciate any input.

Ronnie.
 

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from what I gathered, don't change the piggyback puressure too much. I tried to add more and made the whole shock really stiff. I'm keeping it around 100psi.

The low speed compression is for compression damping for slow speed movement of the shock, so if you turn this in, then it will be less sensitive to small bumps. High speed compression will damp towards fast movement of the shock, so by turning this, it will limit the movement on square bumps or larger drops.

In your case, you wanted to make the shock without SPV, so try keeping the low speed and high speed open all the way, then if you feel that the shock is moving too much towards your pedaling then turn the low speed in a little. And if you think the shock in moving too linear toward drops and square hits then turn in the high speed.

I was expecting little more on the manual (mine didn't come with the frame) but seems like tips from this forum will easily exceed the content of the manual.
 

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noMAD man
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I responded fairly extensively on the PM that we were discussing on these issues, but I'll summarize a couple here. This shock will set up very similarly to the 5th E coil and coil Swinger 6-Way...except the piggyback air pressure controls bottomout only and not SPV on the Evolver ISX-6.

That crap about "chassis stability" is funky engineer-speak referring to compression preference to keep the rear tire in contact with the ground IMO.

The ISX-6 is a "no-tools" shock as it pertains to the piggyback bottomout chamber adjustment.

There's also a confusing description contained in the setup instructions that tell you to completely open the 2 compression controls/knobs and piggyback chamber volume knob before putting air in the piggyback bottomout chamber. It sounds like you have to open up all 3 adjusters before putting air in the piggyback chamber...anytime and everytime. In reality I'm sure they're just referring to "setup" for starting to tune this shock so you have a clear base from which to start your tuning...just like you'd do on a Swinger 6-Way or 5th E coil.
 

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One thing you must be careful of is that the 1.275mm screw that tighten the high speed compression knob can be stripped very easily. Don't ever force it to turn. You have to be very gentle. I almost stripped it and had hard time to put it back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Guys, thank you very much for your input, also in your PM, TNC. I think I'm starting to understand how it works. I'm going to start with the pressure low in the piggyback (about 60psi.), set sag at 30% which is Intense's recommendation and play around with each of the three adjusters separately to see how they effect the ride. Then I'll try it with slightly higher pressure.

I was worried while I was waiting for the shock to arrive that there might be a problem using the PUSH Industries Monolink as it was designed for the Swinger but as you can see it fits fine.:D

Ronnie.
 

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noMAD man
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Nomad with Evolver ISX-6

Ronnie, I wound up having to make one set of spacers as Manitou only sent a pair.:rolleyes: I couldn't wait, so I manipulated another sized set I had on hand. I've only had the parking lot test and some things on my property that I use for quick setup feedback. It feels good so far, and it looks the weather will cooperate this weekend for a real test. Right now I'm running 170psi in the main chamber, 75psi in the bottomout chamber, #1 or full open on the bottomout volume, 1 click from fully open on both low and high compression, and 13 clicks from fully open on the rebound. A lot can change from these starting setup numbers, I'm sure. Hopefully I'll have some solid numbers after the weekend. I hope to get in about 3 days of riding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi Thad,

You are a lot luckier than me if you get to ride in the next few days. The five day forecast has the temperature never going above 32 degrees with 17 as a high on Friday.:eek:

The stroke on your shock looks much longer than mine. You can see how much further back the piggyback sits. The 5point5 is 7.5" X 2.0". I've also been playing around in the yard with my Labrador trying to retrieve me! At the moment I've got it set much the same as you except that I put 60psi. into the piggyback only because that is what I always used with the Swinger. Did you have a reason for starting at 75psi? On the Swinger I also always left the SPV chamber at full volume, so I'll start out that way. I set the sag at 30% which is Intense's recommendation. That required 200psi. as I'm 220lbs. Roughly what I used to put into the Swinger as well. The high and low adjusters at the moment are set at one click from full counter clockwise. The rebound adjuster is really effective, being very slow when fully closed. I can't remember where I left it but I think its somewhere in the middle.

Have you noticed that the No-tools volume adjuster can continue to rotate in both directions? I first realized this when I put the pump on. When the pump was tight enough the knob started to turn, past the #4 and back to #1. I hope this has no ill effect and the volume simply goes back to the indicated number.

Ronnie.
 

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noMAD man
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Yeah, that no-tools adjuster works exactly that way...nothing wrong with yours. I forgot to mention that I'm 185# with no gear. I started with 180psi in the chamber, and it was too stiff, but as I said, these may change as I get on a real trail and have all my stuff on. On the Nomad shock length, it's 8.5 X 2.5. Hey, I just noticed something different on our shocks beside length. It means nothing, but your decals are in different positions on the piggyback and shock body compared to mine. Oh the humanity...LOL! We don't get any Intense bikes here at our shop. That red looks good. Polished was my first choice on the Nomad, but the ano slate was available and looked decent. Well, hopefully the weekend weather holds out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
TNC said:
Yeah, that no-tools adjuster works exactly that way...nothing wrong with yours. I forgot to mention that I'm 185# with no gear. I started with 180psi in the chamber, and it was too stiff, but as I said, these may change as I get on a real trail and have all my stuff on. On the Nomad shock length, it's 8.5 X 2.5. Hey, I just noticed something different on our shocks beside length. It means nothing, but your decals are in different positions on the piggyback and shock body compared to mine. Oh the humanity...LOL! We don't get any Intense bikes here at our shop. That red looks good. Polished was my first choice on the Nomad, but the ano slate was available and looked decent. Well, hopefully the weekend weather holds out.
I assume it is like the Swinger. Any change in reservoir pressure affects the main spring pressure so if I increased the piggyback then I'd have to reduce the main. No, the decals are the same. On the Intense there is no space between the shock and the top tube for the piggyback so it has to be rotated down 180 degrees. Intenses are like Ferraris, they are supposed to be red!:D They even call that "Intense Red".

Ronnie.
 

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noMAD man
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Piggyback/main chamber pressure.

Ronnie said:
I assume it is like the Swinger. Any change in reservoir pressure affects the main spring pressure so if I increased the piggyback then I'd have to reduce the main. No, the decals are the same. On the Intense there is no space between the shock and the top tube for the piggyback so it has to be rotated down 180 degrees. Intenses are like Ferraris, they are supposed to be red!:D They even call that "Intense Red".

Ronnie.
Ronnie, I'm not so sure about that piggyback pressure on this shock affecting main chamber pressure requirements...at least like it does in our SPV shocks. I mean, yeah, if you have your main pressure jacked up too high to control bottomout, then turning up the piggyback pressure will probably allow you to drop main pressure. But really I think on this shock you just find your ideal sag and mid-stroke compliance that you like, and if that yields a little more bottomout than you like occasionally, then you add air or turn up the piggyback to fine tune it. On our SPV shocks, you have to drop main air pressure, or on coils even spring rate, because the SPV is such a strong influence at beginning stroke right up to mid-stroke. At least that's my take on it at this point. It'll be interesting to see if that theory holds up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
TNC said:
Ronnie, I'm not so sure about that piggyback pressure on this shock affecting main chamber pressure requirements...at least like it does in our SPV shocks. I mean, yeah, if you have your main pressure jacked up too high to control bottomout, then turning up the piggyback pressure will probably allow you to drop main pressure. But really I think on this shock you just find your ideal sag and mid-stroke compliance that you like, and if that yields a little more bottomout than you like occasionally, then you add air or turn up the piggyback to fine tune it. On our SPV shocks, you have to drop main air pressure, or on coils even spring rate, because the SPV is such a strong influence at beginning stroke right up to mid-stroke. At least that's my take on it at this point. It'll be interesting to see if that theory holds up.
I'm not that clued up on how these things work and I may be wrong but here's my take. I thought that there is a piston behind the piggyback air chamber and behind that the shock oil. By increasing air pressure (or reducing volume) the oil will be pushed back harder into the main body of the shock, making it more difficult to compress and therefore reducing sag. I also thought that the high and low adjusters work by controlling the oil flow through the connection. I guess it is easy enough to confirm. Just pump up the piggyback substantially and see how that effects sag.

Ronnie.
 

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noMAD man
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Yeah, it's going to take a test to really confirm for sure, but the tech guy said they've designed this shock to have no pedal platform. Through either valving/porting or otherwise, their apparent intent is to not apply damping pressure to the beginning stroke of the shock in the manner that SPV obviously does for a pedal platform. It sounds more like the design in the '06 Marz 66 forks that have the PAR adjustment. Those forks have no pressurized pedal platform but do use air for bottomout control. It doesn't seem like a hard function to achieve...surely easier than SPV. But yeah, the proof will be in the actual ride test to see if they achieved it.

Manitou tech said they were missing the boat in supplying a high end rear shock that was more suitable to the pedal platform suspension designs like VPP, DW, Maestro, and others...and riders with big hit bikes who didn't want pedal platform in their DH/FR rigs. It seems Marz Roco, CCDB, Avy, and others were the only options.

Oh, and Ronnie, I just noticed that Manitou is supplying this shock all the way up to a 9.5 X 3.0. That definitely seems to indicate the intended use for this shock.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Perhaps then my assumption is incorrect. I'll give it a static check though. I'll put an insane pressure in the reservoir as the limit is 175psi. and see if it affects the sag.

I see that the 2007 Rear Shock Service Guide is available online. Perhaps that can shed some light. I haven't looked at it yet though.

Ronnie.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
TNC said:
You'll put you eye out!...sorry...couldn't pass that up...LOL. I can tell you have cabin fever. Still have my fingers crossed for this weekend.
Who.... me? Never, I even got a half hour in on a spinning bike at the gym this morning!:madman: It looks like I won't be riding for so long you're going to get this shock sorted by the time I do.

Anyway I tried it. I've also been looking at the service manual and I'm getting really smart.:rolleyes: They call the piggyback "Internal Floating Piston (IFP) chamber" and it looks like that is all it is. Oil one side, air with an adjustable chamber the other.

I re-checked my sag as I left it with 60psi. and measured 14mm. to the "O" ring. I then pumped the IFP:D up to 160psi. and measured only 9mm. So IFP pressure definitely affects the main chamber. In that regard it appears to be the same as a SPV shock. It is a little difficult following the manual without seeing the shocks guts. As usual they have the whole range mixed in, so one moment they are talking about a Swinger and the next an Evolver. I was always under the impression that the piggyback somehow contained the SPV on my Swinger but I was wrong. It is mounted on the end of the damper shaft. Makes sense now. Once pressure reaches a certain point it will open and allow the shaft to move.

Ronnie.
 

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noMAD man
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On the IFP designation, my understanding is that actually any piggyback shock with a moving piston in it has an IFP...even the old Fox RC, which definitely had no pedal platform. So it may be hard to qualify anything by that alone. Now, I would think that what valving or porting within the body and/or piggyback attachment on the shock that allows the piggyback internals to affect the shock performance or be affected by it would be the more important issue.

Anyway I took the Nomad to the shop today. Outside we have some features that can test the suspension much better than anything at my house. I don't know Ronnie...this shock is very different. None of us could detect a "platform" in the classic sense...like in my 4-Way or 5th E coil. And even though this is a VPP designed bike, you could get a little sloppy in the pedaling and actually see some bob...Oh the humanity! Here was another pleasantly different surprise, especially compared to the DHXA. This Evolver sits higher in its travel stroke at rest than the DHXA did. So I'm thinking...a platform?...but then roll over something, and the suspension reacts immediately and smoothly...and it doesn't bottomout at all. This characteristic isn't like the 4-Way or the 5th E. It's very linear and seamless. Yeah, it's gonna take some actual trail this weekend to really test it...and do some more setup surely. The higher ride height, like the one provided by the PUSH'd RC and this Evolver, was a real pleasant issue as the DHXA sags so much into its mid-stroke on the Nomad and resulted in some serious pedal smack in rocky terrain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
TNC said:
Now, I would think that what valving or porting within the body and/or piggyback attachment on the shock that allows the piggyback internals to affect the shock performance or be affected by it would be the more important issue.
I just wanted to establish whether IFP pressure/volume changes would affect main chamber pressure, which it obviously does. Your statement is exactly correct. This is what the Service Guide says:

" If you are servicing an ISX-6, remove the red and black knobs, use caution as the detent balls and springs are VERY small. Next remove the Intrinsic damping assembly by unscrewing it counter clock-wise. Pull the assembly out of the damper body. Do not disassembly the Intrinsic damping unit as there are no serviceable parts inside and several of the parts are easily lost or damaged."

Now the above begs the question, what exactly is "Intrinsic" damping. Although Manitou had it on some of their forks last year, I had no dealings with it. What I understand is that it is a kind of "SPV" in the last part of travel but is completely subtle in the first part.

TNC said:
Anyway I took the Nomad to the shop today. Outside we have some features that can test the suspension much better than anything at my house. I don't know Ronnie...this shock is very different. None of us could detect a "platform" in the classic sense...like in my 4-Way or 5th E coil. And even though this is a VPP designed bike, you could get a little sloppy in the pedaling and actually see some bob...Oh the humanity!
Intense has an instruction in the owners manual to pump SPV to 50psi. if your frame comes with a Swinger as they contended that the design does not need a platform. I always ran my shock like that. When coasting along on flat ground, I could look down and see a small amount of shock movement. Maybe 5mm. As soon as I started going uphill and applied torque to the pedals, the rear suspension would show no movement. It will be interesting to see if the Evolver behaves the same way on a real climb.

TNC said:
Here was another pleasantly different surprise, especially compared to the DHXA. This Evolver sits higher in its travel stroke at rest than the DHXA did. So I'm thinking...a platform?...but then roll over something, and the suspension reacts immediately and smoothly...and it doesn't bottomout at all. This characteristic isn't like the 4-Way or the 5th E. It's very linear and seamless.
Intrinsic? Could that be why. I would like to find out exactly how it works or at least what it is supposed to do. Manitou have no explination on the website at all.

TNC said:
Yeah, it's gonna take some actual trail this weekend to really test it...and do some more setup surely. The higher ride height, like the one provided by the PUSH'd RC and this Evolver, was a real pleasant issue as the DHXA sags so much into its mid-stroke on the Nomad and resulted in some serious pedal smack in rocky terrain.
I wonder if the ride height will improve at all with my setup. Pedal strikes are one problem I have and with a Swinger but rocks is what New Jersey is about. As for riding this weekend....well, its 12 degrees right now.:bluefrown:

Ronnie.
 

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noMAD man
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Hey Ronnie...got 3 days of riding out at our roughest riding location this weekend...lots of rocks, ledges, ruts, etc. I was hoping for this Evolver to be as good as the PUSH'd RC I've been running. Additionally I thought I was in for a decently lengthy and tedious tuning episode with this shock...since there are plenty of adjustments and no existing info on application.

I didn't get a mile down the trail when I realized I had to up the main chamber pressure to 190...but then go back to about 180...still not exactly sure...maybe 185?...LOL! Anyway most of the trails at this place...actually a ranch with 75 miles of hardcore dirt motorcycle trails that I've been riding since '79...are very rough...and I mean rocky rough...and almost constantly up and down. All I could notice from this shock was that I didn't really notice it. I concentrated on hustling the bike up or down the trail, and the rear tire just did what it was supposed...to that extent that you almost don't realize it's there. On rocky decents with drop-in ledges the rear was about as compliant and yet controlled as any shock I've felt...yeah, slightly better than my RC.

I'm still running the compression adjusters just one click in, the bottomout chamber fully open, and 75 psi in the bottomout chamber. Why didn't I putz with the adjustments? We were having too much fun, and I didn't want to screw with a good thing. I'll play with these for experimental sake at our local trail on the edge of town to see what impact they provide. Here's another strange thing. Remember me mentioning the vague feel of something that I thought might be akin to a pedal platform in the beginning stroke of this shock? I'm getting the idea that I may actually be able to feel that mysterious VPP pedal efficient axle path or something. It's too vague and soft to really feel like a pedal platform. I could never feel anything in the DHXA, but then that shock on this Nomad blew through its mid-stroke so fast, it was hard to detect anything. The PUSH'd RC has no platform, but it sags a little more into its travel and then yields a very nice linear action. This Evolver rides strangely high in its stroke, which is an extreme blessing against pedal smack on the Nomad, but then I was suspicious that might turn out to be a harsh spot, instead becomes a nice soft seamless transition into the mid-stroke. Maybe it's the mysterious Instinsic damping, maybe it's the VPP, maybe it's some of both.

At this point, I'm quite pleased with this shock. The damping seems to suit the Nomad extremely well almost immediately right out of the box. If there's more to milk out of it as I putz more on the adjusters, it'll be icing on the cake.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hey Thad,
Well at least someone is getting to enjoy his new toy. Its still 25 degrees at mid day here. Your riding location sounds like the average park here in North Jersey.:D I'm not from around here but they tell me the glacier ended here during the last ice age dumping half a Continent's rocks just where we live.

I'm really happy that my gut feeling about this shock seems to be right. Your comments about not using the high and low speed adjusters is interesting. I first got interested when I noticed that Intense was showing their bikes at Interbike with ISX-4s on the frames. I think they knew something we didn't. I'm assuming the ISX-6 with the compression dampers open are the same as our ISX-4.

I know I asked you but you probably missed the question. Did you arbitrarily decide on 75psi. in the IFP? When you get to it I curious to know what changes in IFP pressure do. I've been doing searches and trying to learn as much about the Intrinsic damping as I can. I may be wrong in my understanding of it but I'm getting the impression that it has a platform towards the end of the stroke and that it's onset may be affected by IFP pressure. I started a thread to see if anyone can explain Intrinsic but got only one interesting reply thus far.

Ronnie.
 

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noMAD man
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Yeah, I saw your post on asking about the design points of Intrinsic...who the heck knows...LOL! Yes, my 75 psi was totally arbietrary. It's one of those elements that I'll play with here closer to home. I wasn't kidding on how well the shock worked in my initial setup. I didn't mention on this weekend's ride that the most stroke used on the shock appeared to be 2.25"...but the shock felt bottomless. The damping and action up to max stroke was so good, I could never feel any harshness on the worst rock drops. If there's another full .25" of stroke in this shock, things will only get better. I know Manitou uses an elastomer or similar type of topout/negative spring in their air shocks, so I don't know if they calculate the height of that elastomer into their final 2.5" stroke or not.

Interesting observation on the ISX-4 as it applies to VPP and the compression adjusters. I'm thinking that someone who's going to do some more dropping and such will appreciate them, even on the VPP. And I can't swear I won't benefit from some additional compression as I really get to know the shock better. I'm not sure I've ever used a nicer "out of the box" shock than this one. I'm hoping that familiararity will only yield even better results.
 
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