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  1. #1
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    2017 Balance shock: Fox Float X2 or DVO Topaz

    I plan to get a 2017 Balance to replace my 2015 Balance. I'd like some advice about the best shock for it. I have a Float X2 now on the 2015 Balance, and I love how it feels. It is supple on small rocks, plush through big rocks, supportive in the mid stroke, and adjustable to match changes in conditions. I have the option to get the 2017 Balance without a shock and get a new X2 for it. Or I could just get it with the Topaz. Buying the frame + X2 will cost more. Mainly for that reason, I'm leaning towards getting the Topaz. But I don't want to end up missing the adjustments or feeling like the overall performance is inferior.

    I have read many good things about the Topaz on this forum and others. The consensus seems to be that it is a better choice than the CCDB air, Float X, and Monarch. However I have not found any comments from someone who has ridden both the Topaz and X2 on the same frame. Any thoughts from fellow Canfield riders?

    Thanks guys!

  2. #2
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    Unfortunately I can't comment on the x2 vs the Topaz.

    But, have you given any thought to a coil?

  3. #3
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    I'm wrestling with the same decision. Decided to go with the X2 because I really enjoyed the tuning options with my CCDBA.

    If DVO released a more tuneable Topaz then it would have been no contest just because of the fact you can rebuild it yourself.

  4. #4
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    I want an air shock. Sometimes I ride with a rather heavy pack. An air spring lets me easily stiffen the shock to compensate and keep sag reasonable.

    For what it's worth, the X2 on my 2015 Balance feels better than the PUSH MX tuned DHX and Diverse Dueler on previous bikes. I don't mean that as a general statement about coil vs air. Those shocks were on FSR frames, so not really a fair comparison. But I do mean to say that I know I'll be satisfied with a good air shock on my new Balance.

    I will give the Topaz a chance unless anyone posts discouraging feedback on it before I pull the trigger. I'm curious to see if the +/- air chamber volume and bladder pressure adjustments will make up for the lack of external damper adjustments. Plus, I like the idea of a shock that I can service myself and even change shims without exotic tools and with the full approval of the manufacturer!

    I agree, jminus. If the Topaz at least had a normal LSC knob in place of the 3 positions switch, I wouldn't hesitate to get it. Wouldn't even have posted...

  5. #5
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    I'm still waiting for the 2018 X2 to get released, so I do have to say I am tempted by the Topaz. I really like the concept of the bladder instead of an IFP, but I am skeptical that simply changing spring rates can really replicate the same kind of control you get from tunable damping circuits.

    It is a bit of an expensive test to buy one and decide it needs to be replaced by the X2.

    I wish I could just ride a balance that had one

  6. #6
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    Yep, a test ride would be very helpful. Also for sizing to take the guesswork out.

    About skepticism, my Mattoc also uses trick spring rates with the IRT spring. It works well in that application. I have been running the compression dials wide open and using the two air chambers to dial in the fork's feel. But I do wonder sometimes if I could make it feel even better with a damper that has more than 4 clicks of HSC and LSC adjustment.

  7. #7
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    A little update:

    I finally have a few rides in after some delays in building my new Balance. First impression is that the Topaz is better than average for an air shock, but so far inferior to the X2. Specifically, there is less support in the mid stroke and a harsher ride over square-edge trail features. This is after a few rides and tweaking pressures, volume spacers, and damper settings. The X2, after the same amount of basic setup, got me much closer to a magic carpet ride.

    I will continue to tweak things to see how much improvement I can get. I'll also likely end up making some changes to the shims down the road after the ride as good as I can get with the external adjustments. I suspect that I will benefit from less high speed compression and more low speed compression.

    Two things I don't miss with the X2: The need to cycle the shock through 1/2 of it's travel several times after each pressure adjustment, and the Damocles Sword of upcoming downtime for service at Suspension Experts. I can do the work myself!

    I'll update again after further tuning!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by miniwisejosh View Post
    A little update:

    I finally have a few rides in after some delays in building my new Balance. First impression is that the Topaz is better than average for an air shock, but so far inferior to the X2. Specifically, there is less support in the mid stroke and a harsher ride over square-edge trail features. This is after a few rides and tweaking pressures, volume spacers, and damper settings. The X2, after the same amount of basic setup, got me much closer to a magic carpet ride.

    I will continue to tweak things to see how much improvement I can get. I'll also likely end up making some changes to the shims down the road after the ride as good as I can get with the external adjustments. I suspect that I will benefit from less high speed compression and more low speed compression.

    Two things I don't miss with the X2: The need to cycle the shock through 1/2 of it's travel several times after each pressure adjustment, and the Damocles Sword of upcoming downtime for service at Suspension Experts. I can do the work myself!

    I'll update again after further tuning!
    Any updates on your experience with the X2? What settings did you land on?

  9. #9
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    Update on the Topaz you mean? It is feeling much better after further break in on big mountain trails. I'm running 195 psi main, 180 bladder, middle on rebound, compression wide open. I still think the X2 is a superior shock for performance, but the Topaz is a worthy alternative at a lower price point (both up front and in the long run).

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SB666 View Post
    Any updates on your experience with the X2? What settings did you land on?
    You weren't asking me, but I bought the 2018 X2 in June and put it on my bike. After getting the settings dialed, I thought it was great. It was performing exactly how I wanted it to. I rode it 678 miles and then it blew the compression damping circuit 😥 It is headed back to Fox now for warranty. According to the service interval (125 hours), I should have had about 200 more miles of riding before needing damper service.

    I'm a bit put off now. I bought the X2 precisely because I was sick of blowing up CCDBAs (did it twice in 8 months) and was looking for something more reliable. I'm starting to wonder if something about the balance (or my balance) is causing pre-mature shock death.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jminus View Post
    You weren't asking me, but I bought the 2018 X2 in June and put it on my bike. After getting the settings dialed, I thought it was great. It was performing exactly how I wanted it to. I rode it 678 miles and then it blew the compression damping circuit 😥 It is headed back to Fox now for warranty. According to the service interval (125 hours), I should have had about 200 more miles of riding before needing damper service.

    I'm a bit put off now. I bought the X2 precisely because I was sick of blowing up CCDBAs (did it twice in 8 months) and was looking for something more reliable. I'm starting to wonder if something about the balance (or my balance) is causing pre-mature shock death.
    How much do you weigh? How much sag are you running?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SB666 View Post
    How much do you weigh? How much sag are you running?
    Weigh about 167 geared up. Running the 19mm (30%) sag recommended in the manual. I never felt like it was bottoming out excessively, but I do find the bottom at least once or twice a ride, but usually gently enough that I don't notice it when it happens.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jminus View Post
    Weigh about 167 geared up. Running the 19mm (30%) sag recommended in the manual. I never felt like it was bottoming out excessively, but I do find the bottom at least once or twice a ride, but usually gently enough that I don't notice it when it happens.
    Perfect-
    Bottoming out is GOOD!

    It might be time for a coil.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by cSquared View Post
    Perfect-
    Bottoming out is GOOD!

    It might be time for a coil.
    Iíve been considering a coil because they seem to be considered more reliable. But coil shocks essentially have the same type of compression damping as an air shock right? I keep losing the compression damping on the air shocks but the air spring is fine. Iím wondering if I would still have the same issue on a coil shock.

    I am tempted to get an elevensix, because I havenít read about a single failure. Tough pill to swallow though. I could buy a whole new balance frame with a jade for the same price and have it as a backup

  15. #15
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    I was asking your weight because it sounded like maybe you were heavier and would benefit from a coil (not that a lighter rider wouldn't benefit also), figured you were blowing up the air can. Maybe the damper rebuilds were just bad luck? I run the DVO Jade on my balance but just scored a deal on an X2 that i couldn't pass up. Not gonna sell the Jade but want to see how the air shock feels for trail riding - keep the coil for park days.

    You are pretty much same weight as me - what setup were you running on the X2? Right now I am set at 180 psi with 2 tokens and pretty much their recommended tune with a bit more LSC and HSR

  16. #16
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    I just built up a 2017 Balance with a 2016 X2. Came off of a 2015 Nomad with a 2016 Vivid air.

    The X2 didn't blow me away, but I need to get it dialed. I used the base tune from Fox but has anyone seen one specific to the Balance?

  17. #17
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    Iíve had the x2 on my Balance for a week or so now, love it! Iím hanging on to the jade coil for bike park riding (so quick to swap) but I think for trail Iím going to stick with the x2. Itís the best air shock Iíve personally ridden and it feels way snappier. If I lived in Moab or the northeast or somewhere super chunky everywhere, I might just stick to the coil full time. Iím 175 lbs with all my gear on and my current settings are:
    180psi 2 spacers
    HSR: 6
    LSR: 8
    LSC: 9
    HSC: 7

    ^those numbers are clicks from fully OPEN. So all the way counter clockwise then clockwise 6 clicks, etc...

  18. #18
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    Thanks man. I'll give those setting a rip tomorrow and report back.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by SB666 View Post
    Iíve had the x2 on my Balance for a week or so now, love it! Iím hanging on to the jade coil for bike park riding (so quick to swap) but I think for trail Iím going to stick with the x2. Itís the best air shock Iíve personally ridden and it feels way snappier. If I lived in Moab or the northeast or somewhere super chunky everywhere, I might just stick to the coil full time. Iím 175 lbs with all my gear on and my current settings are:
    180psi 2 spacers
    HSR: 6
    LSR: 8
    LSC: 9
    HSC: 7

    ^those numbers are clicks from fully OPEN. So all the way counter clockwise then clockwise 6 clicks, etc...
    These settings are much different than the recommended. Did you try the default settings at all?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by flatlandersk View Post
    These settings are much different than the recommended. Did you try the default settings at all?
    Yep, started at fox recommended and slowly made my way to these. Still think I could use a bit more experimenting.

    - keep in mind, the numbers on the fox chart are clicks counted from fully CLOSED - so they are starting at all the way clockwise then counting clicks back counter clockwise. My numbers are from the other side of the range, that just makes more sense to me.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by SB666 View Post
    Yep, started at fox recommended and slowly made my way to these. Still think I could use a bit more experimenting.

    - keep in mind, the numbers on the fox chart are clicks counted from fully CLOSED - so they are starting at all the way clockwise then counting clicks back counter clockwise. My numbers are from the other side of the range, that just makes more sense to me.
    Great, thanks.

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