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· www.derbyrims.com
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6,756 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can a shock be too good? ;)

It's true that "the best you know is the best you've ridden." Maybe there is better than this X-Fusion HLR coil, but I haven't ridden better, including CCBD coil, Elka Stage 5, Fox Vanilla RC custom tuned by PUSH, stock Fox DHX and Van-R, Romic, Progressive 5th Element, and a many mid level air shocks on demo rides, such as the Fox RP23 through the years to current.

Wanting the very best option from X-Fusion, I added their custom internal tune option better tuned specifically for my bike, my weight and ride interests. The custom tune is $50 extra when purchased with a new shock. A used Vector shock can be sent in and custom tuned for about $150. The Vector shock maintenance, the periodic oil and seal change recommendation, is the same as other shocks with similar pricing. X Fusion Shox - Service

Having more than 10 years riding coil suspension on my trail bikes, I was able to adjust a very good balance quickly with the head start recommendations from X-Fusion's marketing manager and pro-downhill racer, John Hauer: ...."I would start rebound where ever it naturally feels best. Then on the trail you may quickly find you need to bump a click or 2 in either direction. That might get you to the best rebound speed for the conditions a bit quicker. With compression you have about 16 clicks for both low and high speed compression. I would start a bit into the range with about 4 clicks from open on Low Speed and 6 clicks from open on high speed. I would set the reservoir pressure at 180 psi. I would keep my bottom out forces light and keep the reservoir volume backed completely out to maximize volume. This is the reason I started with a little more compression. To start with a setup that should still give the bike some compression support and away from bottom but allowing it to sit a little deeper in the travel, ramp up later, and in theory track to the ground better. Depending on conditions I would first make adjustments to my rebound and compression adjusters before changing any reservoir pressure or volume adjustments. I would save those until I had a situation where the compression adjustments were not able to compensate for what I needed the shock to do while on trail."

The Vector coil has an very soft rubber bottom bumper having no effective bottom travel compression support. The Vector HLR instead uses an adjustable bottom out air spring, specifically an externally adjustable reserve chamber volume and air pressure. And this works excellent in combination with the speed sensitive damping, by increasing compression damping as the shock slows near bottom travel transition, making a smoothing rising compression rate before transitioning to rebound.

Following the recommended starting points by Hauer for bottom travel adjustment, I checked the pressure and chamber volume to be set at the minimum of the required range, 180 psi, with a range up to 300 psi for big jump landings. And as recommended to start tuning, I unscrewed the volume adjuster all the way out. The low pressure and largest volume together, making the most linear rate of bottom travel progression.

The shaft speed sensitivity is visually obvious when standing beside the bike and compressing the suspension and watching it rebound. The rebound is fast from bottom transition, but slows noticeably near top out. Turning in the Rebound knob firmer extends the depth of the transition from fast to slower damping, but the deep to mid travel rebound speed is always visibly faster. With this speed sensitive rebound, damping pack down is tunable to be able to adjust dynamic sag and stability, without reducing big hit rebound speed where traction is maintained.

While riding, this speed sensitive Rebound damping allows a more effective ability to pump the backsides of rollers and preload for popping jumps, while not loosing stability and smooth traction at slow ride speeds. Fast ride speed downhill over rubble is noticeably more stable and smooth, bringing more braking traction than my prior well adjusted Push Industry custom tuned coil shock.

On the compression side at first I needed to set the coil weight and damping for my local NorCal tight twisty often rough tight turning trails with much climbing, with my Lyrik coil u-turn lowered to vary around 140mm in travel for quicker handling. With my previous shock I had been using a 450# coil, and but after one ride I swapped to a 50# lighter weight coil for compression compliance that is ideal for my local trails. With the softer coil John's recommended compression adjustments worked very well immediately, allowing about 1/2 click softer adjustment in rebound.

In the future I'll go another 50# softer in coil weight and raise the Lyik u-turn to the full 160mm fork travel for more sharp hit desert rides, and higher speed bike park days. Also I'll try more air pressure and/or reduce the bottom travel air volume.

The external damper adjustment clickers I've used so far in a couple weeks of riding my new Vector HLR coil makes a noticeable change.

Both the High Speed Compression (HSC) and Low Speed Compression (LSC) are speed sensitive, like the Rebound damping, and the change in damping is noticeable between each half click of the adjusters. With the proper coil firmness, and starting Compression adjustments recommended from Hauer, I tried a couple clicks in and then out from the recommended. The HSC changes had noticeable firming or softening effects on suspension firmness with out changing the smallest bumps feel at all. Adjusting LSC a couple clicks softer did change the feel of the smallest bumps to reduce traction feel and increase wallow a bit, but was not really smoother than the recommended 6 clicks in. And adjusting LSC firmer not only increased the small bump feel and limit of traction and reduced wallow, increasing LSC also noticeably increased overall firmness of the HSC on smaller to medium bumps, and the opposite when LSC adjusted softer.

After quickly getting a very stable and smooth balance of the Vector HLR on my familiar trails, I noticed my 6 month old Lyrik felt unusually firm. This fork had been very well balanced with my previous custom tuned coil, using softest LSC and 2 or 3 clicks in HSC and a mid range Rebound with Soft rated coil u-turn. I stopped a few times and turned the Lyrik's Rebound adjuster softer 1 to 3 clicks softer settling now for 2 clicks softer. The faster ride speed balance is pretty close to the Vector now, but the Lyrik now has more low ride speed bump bounce than I like. The Lyrik just doesn't have the speed sensitive quality damping of the Vector.

Is there a fork good enough to match the quality of the custom tuned Vector HLR coil?

Now I'm spoiled now by this X-Fusion shock's amazing stability and surface feel while gaining the smoothest traction trough the faster loose rocky and choppy descents. As soon as I can afford it I will be getting the X-Fusion Vengeance HLC. Possibly I'll try the DLA version with external switch 2 step air fork, having 170mm and 140mm travel options, since I mostly set my u-turn fork around 140mm travel for the quicker handling on local tight twisty trails, and raise to full travel for steep and faster downhill, park, desert and high mountain rocky rides.

Unfortunately, the Vengeance fork is not available with a more versatile handling infinitely adjustable travel u-turn type coil. I may custom adapt my u-turn spring assembly to fit the Vengeance.

The X-Fusion Vector HLR has both air and coil shock options. Both have 6 external adjustments. High and Low speed Compression, Rebound, hence the HLR tag, also bottom-travel air pressure and air-volume, and the air spring version has main spring pressure adjust, coil has preload.

I'll add more observations of the X-Fusion Vector HLR later as my experience grows.
 

· beater
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6,229 Posts
It's nice to see more knowledgeable people posting impressions similar to my own.

I installed a Vector HLR Air on my bike a few weeks ago. It didn't take too long to get it feeling dialed, and on my first steep, loose, rocky climb I though "Oh, so this is what good suspension feels like." I'd never before felt the sensation of the rear being pretty near invisible.
 

· "El Whatever"
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18,874 Posts
Sounds good, are these user serviceable?
They don't explicitly say they are, but they do. Both the Vector Air and Coil are not any more complex than, say, an equivalent DHX and they're air pressurized. So you can service them at home.

Parts can be ordered from X-Fusion directly.

They don't have Service Guides available yet, though.

My Vector Air also really surprised me in a good way. It's basically the same shock as the Coil but with an air can. Really nice too.
 

· moaaar shimz
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9,108 Posts
They don't explicitly say they are, but they do. Both the Vector Air and Coil are not any more complex than, say, an equivalent DHX and they're air pressurized. So you can service them at home.

Parts can be ordered from X-Fusion directly.

They don't have Service Guides available yet, though.

My Vector Air also really surprised me in a good way. It's basically the same shock as the Coil but with an air can. Really nice too.
Almost the same shock. The Vector air displaces more oil and has more oil volume capacity.

Service guide for Vector will be available in the future.
 

· J:
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6,098 Posts
They don't explicitly say they are, but they do. Both the Vector Air and Coil are not any more complex than, say, an equivalent DHX and they're air pressurized. So you can service them at home.

Parts can be ordered from X-Fusion directly.

They don't have Service Guides available yet, though.

My Vector Air also really surprised me in a good way. It's basically the same shock as the Coil but with an air can. Really nice too.
Once service guides are out, prolly sell the RC4.. Don't get me wrong the dhx is great, but once I cracked open the RC2 to get the fork perfect, performance left the rc4 in the dust since there's no service guides:rolleyes:

At this price point need be able to adjust the oil and maybe base shims on this kind of stuff or else what's the point.. ya know

You need a hollow hex tool to remove the compression assembly, other than that you can service it yourself.
You mean security tool? same as used for tamper screws (MAF sensor) on cars?
 

· Registered
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627 Posts
I went ahead with the initial purchase of the Vector Air RC. I'm having X-Fusion do the $50 tune specific to fit the Mojo HD DW linkage. I went with the RC rather than the more expensive HLR after talking with John at a X-Fusion demo event here in Sedona. I did ride their outfitted bikes with the HLR shox, and their fork (don't remember its model) . On my short 20 minute initial ride, on a typical chunky trail out here, the low speed compressions settings worked very well. I twisted the LSC all the way in and rode it for a couple of minutes. Noticeable but not grabby. Then I twisted the LSC all the way out. Pillowy but not springy or noodle like. So I'm sure I'd find something good with a little tweaking. Next was the HSC. It was a little tough because the trail I was on didn't offer enough speed and time to really do a proper test. Speeds over 15mph for maybe a few seconds before nailing the brakes for a steep turn and chunk. But again with the fully open and fully closed positions I could see that there was enough range to work with on say a racers agenda to tune the suspension to specific conditions. Out here in rocky Arizona, I'm learning that tuning is speed sensitive as well.
So would a recreational rider be using the adjustments to justify the expense? I decided not in my case. Comparing the HLR to the RC (a price difference of about $100) and with X-fusion offering a tune for my bike, I think I'll get really close to a great ride without all the dial adjustments. I'm really looking forward to this change on the bike. I'll report back on how things are riding.
Thanks for the great writeup Derby. I'm slowly learning about this suspension thing, it seems like you have a good understanding of the product and process. There is so much mis-information about suspension and tuning, and it seems like suspension engineering has jumped forward rather quickly and its very difficult for the regular rider to get things right after spending plenty of coin. The racing department is doing it, but how am I going to figure it out?
 

· Registered
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4,728 Posts
I went ahead with the initial purchase of the Vector Air RC. I'm having X-Fusion do the $50 tune specific to fit the Mojo HD DW linkage. I went with the RC rather than the more expensive HLR after talking with John at a X-Fusion demo event here in Sedona. I did ride their outfitted bikes with the HLR shox, and their fork (don't remember its model) . On my short 20 minute initial ride, on a typical chunky trail out here, the low speed compressions settings worked very well. I twisted the LSC all the way in and rode it for a couple of minutes. Noticeable but not grabby. Then I twisted the LSC all the way out. Pillowy but not springy or noodle like. So I'm sure I'd find something good with a little tweaking. Next was the HSC. It was a little tough because the trail I was on didn't offer enough speed and time to really do a proper test. Speeds over 15mph for maybe a few seconds before nailing the brakes for a steep turn and chunk. But again with the fully open and fully closed positions I could see that there was enough range to work with on say a racers agenda to tune the suspension to specific conditions. Out here in rocky Arizona, I'm learning that tuning is speed sensitive as well.
So would a recreational rider be using the adjustments to justify the expense? I decided not in my case. Comparing the HLR to the RC (a price difference of about $100) and with X-fusion offering a tune for my bike, I think I'll get really close to a great ride without all the dial adjustments. I'm really looking forward to this change on the bike. I'll report back on how things are riding.
Thanks for the great writeup Derby. I'm slowly learning about this suspension thing, it seems like you have a good understanding of the product and process. There is so much mis-information about suspension and tuning, and it seems like suspension engineering has jumped forward rather quickly and its very difficult for the regular rider to get things right after spending plenty of coin. The racing department is doing it, but how am I going to figure it out?
Just an FYI, but from your post, I get the impression you think high speed compression is used when your bike is moving at high sppeds.. This is not true, hsc is when your suspension is moving at high shaft speeds(compressing quickly). The speed at which you are riding is irrelevant.
 

· Registered
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It is sort of related. The faster you're moving, the faster your suspension will compress over the same bump. You're not going to get into much HSC going really slow. This doesnt hold true for LSC, but you do need some speed to get into the HSC circuit.
 

· Registered
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4,728 Posts
It is sort of related. The faster you're moving, the faster your suspension will compress over the same bump. You're not going to get into much HSC going really slow. This doesnt hold true for LSC, but you do need some speed to get into the HSC circuit.
this is somewhat true, but you can have a high speed compression event going just a couple miles an hour. Hitiing a square edge bump or doing a drop to flat for example is going to be a high speed event regardless of speed. You can also have lsc events when going 20mph. My point was that if you are setting you compression settings based entirely on speed you would be doing it wrong, and should look into what the settings do so you can set it up properly.:thumbsup:
 

· Outcast
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8,575 Posts
" Is there a fork good enough to match the quality of the custom tuned Vector HLR coil?"

Yes; your Lyrik with an avalanche 20mm cartridge in it. Lots less expensive that buying a new fork, and it keeps what you like about your Lyrik. It's a fabulous cartridge; I'm loving mine.
 

· www.derbyrims.com
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6,756 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
" Is there a fork good enough to match the quality of the custom tuned Vector HLR coil?"

Yes; your Lyrik with an avalanche 20mm cartridge in it. Lots less expensive that buying a new fork, and it keeps what you like about your Lyrik. It's a fabulous cartridge; I'm loving mine.
Yes, I'd been thinking to do this since I read about the Avalanche cartridge becoming available. :thumbsup:

My second Lyrik u-turn, bought last fall due to a cracked lower, has a MC damper which feels is a little better than my original '08 of the same model. And the damping quality of the MC is almost a close balance in quality to the PUSHed Vanilla RC I had been using since '08 until the much better Vector HLC now.

I just ordered a Vengeance HLC coil. I want to first try to go with matched dampers by design at both ends.

But without having two bikes, the U-turn feature is pretty much a need of mine for the wide variety of trails I frequent. I often fine tune the balance of weight over the wheels with a half u-turn or more. I'll be trying to convert the Vengeance to adapt my u-turn coil assembly, or my Lyrik to adapt the HLC cartridge. If neither is feasible, the Avalanche cartridge in my Lyrik seems like the best, if not only, option to maintain the u-turn feature and have top quality damping. At least without much trial and error trying to improve the Lyrik's damper shim stack and other tweaks.
 

· www.derbyrims.com
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6,756 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Reserve chamber pressure increase

After a month or so riding the X-Fusion Vector HLR, I added the top of the line X-Fusion Vengeance HLR coil fork, and modified it to use the u-turn coil from my previous Lyrik fork. Details are in another posted review, here: http://forums.mtbr.com/shocks-suspe...ork-too-good-801163-post9498737.html#poststop

The Vengeance fork upgrade improved the ability to fine tune the Vector shock. Going softer with LSR damping improved balance with the more stable and smooth quality of the Vengeance rebound damping, and improved speed sensitive compression damping with bigger hits. And the Vengeance is noticeably stiffer than the Lyrik.

Today I tried increasing the reserve chamber air pressure, up from the minimum 180psi to 210psi, well below the 300psi range maximum.

Reserve chamber air pressure is effectively air spring assist for a coil spring shock. In an air shock it would generally isolate deep travel rate compared to the main air spring that affects the whole range of travel. And while compressing travel, an air spring is rising rate in resistance, and has a falling rate of digression during rebound. Adjusting air assist pressure with linear coil rate has most of the noticeable effect in middle to deep travel.

The shock immediately felt firmer and ther rear suspension was a bit higher in its travel in every situation. This was no problem during the start of my favorite local ride that starts with about 800 vertical feet of climbing in 1.5 miles with many switchback turns.

As soon as the trail leveled out to a fast pedaling traverse, weaving turns with gradual rises and descents around a ridge, the rear felt too high and firm. So I reduce the coil preload 1/2 turn, effectively I calculate that to about 10# rate lighter spring into deeper sag. And I softened HSC 1/2 click, allowing the increased air pressure assisted coil spring to do more of the deep travel resistance.

And then rode some more. It felt like the dynamic sag was much better and there was still more ramp up in deep travel, reducing squat during hard cornering and g-loading, which balanced well with the modified Vengeance u-turn coil set to a more forward rider loaded, firmer feeling, and quicker handling 140mm travel, for the twisty trail.

But the rebound was a bit more bouncy with the firmer air assisted deep travel snappier rebound. So I firmed the external LSR knob in 1 click in, and... it was magic!

Now there is firmer mid to bottom travel with no loss at all in smoothness and smaller bump compliance, and static sag is unchanged.

I raised the fork's u-turn coil 15mm to 155mm travel for the final faster DH run. The rear suspension supported deep travel g-loads and fast cornering much better with not so deep travel squat. And landing jumps felt more stable, and more balanced with the custom u-turn Vengeance fork.

Next I will experiment with the reserve chamber air volume external adjuster. I'll first note today's magical feeling adjustment settings of the Vector HLR coil, and go back to the previous adjustment settings, except turn in the reserve chamber air volume. Reducing the reserve chamber air volume theoretically would increase the rising rate progression of deep travel, without changing shallow and minimal change to mid-travel spring rate.

X-Fusion suspension has been a huge step up from everything I've previously owned. Only a CCDB coil demo came very close in the feel of quality suspension, although the Vector HLR has more adjustment options and can adjust progression rate to ideally balance a wider range of swingarm leverages.
 

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