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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!

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

    But, have you given any thought to a coil?

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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.
    [URL="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Canfield-Brothers-Downhill-BikesC2-Components/163956136971393"]

  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.

  22. #22
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    Another update:

    I am very happy with the 2018 Float X2 that I picked up a couple weeks ago. Even in the initial parking lot test, I could feel that it was smoother than the Topaz. There is simply no perceptible initial resistance to get the shock to start moving. And yet the damper does a good job of resisting unwanted or excessive motion. The result is that the X2 feels more efficient and less fatiguing than the Topaz. It does a better job of soaking up small to medium sized chatter (e.g roots and goat heads), and it supports my weight well through dips and in berms without sinking deep into the travel. It is a perfect match in performance and adjustability for my Manitou Mattoc IRT.

    I will say some words in favor of the Topaz, because it really isn't a bad shock. It's actually one of the best air shocks I have ridden. I was happy with it when I rode in the southwest this summer (Moab, Grand Junction, Tahoe, Sedona). It did well on on those fast desert trails with large square-edge impacts (big rocks/ledges) and smooth sections in between. The shock never felt overwhelmed by rapid fire rock edges or drops to flat that were way bigger than I expected. I must also give a shout out to the DVO customer support team. They were great to talk to and helpful with setup questions. I did have the option to pull the shock open and start fooling with shims/oil weight with their guidance, which I think is cool! But decided I didn't want to invest time on that kind of project right now.

    My verdict: the Topaz would be good enough if I only rode in the desert or had the time to play with the internals. It's lighter, less expensive, and user serviceable. But for the whole range of trails I ride, the X2 out of the box is enough of an upgrade to warrant the additional cost up front and the down time later when it must be sent away for service.

    I have heard that DVO has a beefier air shock in the works. Something along the lines of an air-sprung Jade, I hope. That could have a lot of potential to be a winner.

    My current settings (tuning still in progress)
    Sag in standing attack position: 20mm
    Pressure: 190 psi
    Volume: 2 spacers
    LSC: 17 clicks from closed
    HSC: 19
    LSR: 18
    HSR: 15
    No I don't know my weight these days....sorry.

  23. #23
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    I realize OP is already settled on a shock and is happy with it, but since this is the first Balance/Riot shock thread i've come across, i just figured i'd throw it out there that i've been super happy with my Manitou Mcleod on both bikes.

    I originally had the Topaz on my Balance but was unhappy with the square-edged hit performance and it does tend to ride pretty low in the travel (not sure if that's my lack of tuning or what).

    Either way, the Mcleod is by far the best shock i've tried on these bikes (vs. DBAir, DB Inline, Topaz). I run the king can on my balance and the standard can on my Riot. Doesn't hurt that it's really cheap ($190) and reliable to boot.
    Last edited by Porch; 12-24-2017 at 09:07 AM.

  24. #24
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    +1 on the McLeod. I briefly rode one as a loaner on my 2015 Balance. It rode pretty well even though it was due for service. I imagined that a fresh one would be even better, but I'm (pleasantly) surprised to hear that you prefer it over the Jade.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by miniwisejosh View Post
    Another update:
    Any thoughts on how jumpable the Balance feels with an X2 vs CC Air? I still have a hard time throwing this thing around.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by madamfunk View Post
    Any thoughts on how jumpable the Balance feels with an X2 vs CC Air? I still have a hard time throwing this thing around.
    I can only describe how the X2 feels on jumps - can't help with a direct comparison because I never rode a CC Air.

    I like to set my suspension up for traction and stability, not liveliness. Speed over big air. With that in mind, the shock has nice support in the mid stroke to push off lips and clear every jump I have attempted so far. No unsettling dive into the travel like the Topaz. But it feels more like a plush, fast DH bike than an agile, poppy trail bike. The McLeod definitely gave me more of that trail bike feel. I guess the real question is if the X2 could be set up to feel more lively without becoming harsh? I haven't owned it long enough to test that yet.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by miniwisejosh View Post
    +1 on the McLeod. I briefly rode one as a loaner on my 2015 Balance. It rode pretty well even though it was due for service. I imagined that a fresh one would be even better, but I'm (pleasantly) surprised to hear that you prefer it over the Jade.
    Whoops, i meant to say Topaz. I haven't tried a coil on these bikes yet - already a little hefty as it is.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by miniwisejosh View Post
    I can only describe how the X2 feels on jumps - can't help with a direct comparison because I never rode a CC Air.

    I like to set my suspension up for traction and stability, not liveliness. Speed over big air. With that in mind, the shock has nice support in the mid stroke to push off lips and clear every jump I have attempted so far. No unsettling dive into the travel like the Topaz. But it feels more like a plush, fast DH bike than an agile, poppy trail bike. The McLeod definitely gave me more of that trail bike feel. I guess the real question is if the X2 could be set up to feel more lively without becoming harsh? I haven't owned it long enough to test that yet.
    Thoughtful response thank you.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by miniwisejosh View Post
    I can only describe how the X2 feels on jumps - can't help with a direct comparison because I never rode a CC Air.

    I like to set my suspension up for traction and stability, not liveliness. Speed over big air. With that in mind, the shock has nice support in the mid stroke to push off lips and clear every jump I have attempted so far. No unsettling dive into the travel like the Topaz. But it feels more like a plush, fast DH bike than an agile, poppy trail bike. The McLeod definitely gave me more of that trail bike feel. I guess the real question is if the X2 could be set up to feel more lively without becoming harsh? I haven't owned it long enough to test that yet.
    More lively without being harsh is how I would describe my experience with the X2 thus far. Thatís coming from the Jade though, not uncommon for an air shock to be more lively than coil.

    I think the bike jumps great though, with the coil or the X2, mine has loved to fly. More so with the X2 for sure though, took some adjustment, was overloading and overshooting jumps pretty often when I first made the switch.

    FWIW Iím still holding on to the Jade for lift days or any rowdier DH, itís definitely more planted than even the X2. I donít think you can compare any air shock to a well tuned coil shock when it comes to high speeds on rough terrain.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by madamfunk View Post
    Any thoughts on how jumpable the Balance feels with an X2 vs CC Air? I still have a hard time throwing this thing around.
    I was really happy with how the CC rode and jumped. The bike (and shock) definitely doesnít pop as hard as other bikes but it is far more forgiving on the landings and it has helped me progress my jumping to bigger jumps than I ever thought I would hit. You just have to preload a bit harder and/or go a bit faster than a poppier setup.

    I bought the X2 to replace the CC because I wasnít happy with reliability. I would say that it performs about the same (which is really good). Also reliability has been about the same (which isnít good).

    So to summarize, if you donít like how the CC performs (assuming it isnít blown) the X2 isnít especially different in terms of traction or jumping.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by jminus View Post
    Also reliability has been about the same (which isnít good)
    What reliability issues did you have with the X2? Other than the recall a few months back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by miniwisejosh View Post
    What reliability issues did you have with the X2? Other than the recall a few months back.
    My 2018 X2 was installed in June and it lost all compression by September after 600 miles. Rebuilt under warranty but that is basically the same lifespan I was getting from the CCs before they failed.

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    Just rode a brand new X2 on my 2016 Balance today. Surprising pedaling in climbing mode given it isn't a real climb switch like the CC DB Air CS. My rider weight is 172lbs I am running stock settings and ~180 psi to get 19mm (30%) sag. I am noticing that the shock ramps up a little fast for bigger table tops and other jumps. I can't tell quite yet if its a disconnect between the fork and the rear shock or just general tuning.

    Did anyone else get this initial first impression? Found myself getting side ways in the air way more

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by madamfunk View Post
    Just rode a brand new X2 on my 2016 Balance today. Surprising pedaling in climbing mode given it isn't a real climb switch like the CC DB Air CS. My rider weight is 172lbs I am running stock settings and ~180 psi to get 19mm (30%) sag. I am noticing that the shock ramps up a little fast for bigger table tops and other jumps. I can't tell quite yet if its a disconnect between the fork and the rear shock or just general tuning.

    Did anyone else get this initial first impression? Found myself getting side ways in the air way more
    How many spacers do you have? Maybe take one or 2 out if you aren't bottoming out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by miniwisejosh View Post
    How many spacers do you have? Maybe take one or 2 out if you aren't bottoming out.
    I didn't install any and can't find out online how many it ships from fox with by default, if any. Looks very easy to play with spacers with their new clip version that lets you leave the shock on the frame. https://www.ridefox.com/help.php?m=b...rvolumespacers

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by madamfunk View Post
    I didn't install any and can't find out online how many it ships from fox with by default, if any. Looks very easy to play with spacers with their new clip version that lets you leave the shock on the frame. https://www.ridefox.com/help.php?m=b...rvolumespacers
    Mine came with 3 installed. Yep, dead easy to install/remove. The hardest parts are cleaning the shock and pumping it back up.

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