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  1. #1
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    Elka Stage 5 = me not impressed at all

    I had high expectations of this shock. For whatever reason I could not get it to feel good on my bike (Giant Reign X1). Apparently other people like it, so it must work on some bikes for other people. Not for me on this bike!


    [SIZE="5"]Update: They took a look at the shock and found it was indeed defective. I will be trying a different one next week. [/SIZE]

    I've also got to give props to Go-Ride. They really have proven to me that they care about their customers and will bend over backwards to help them out in tight situations. Their turn around time on getting the shock back, tested, and another one sent out to me is great.



    NEW REVIEW!

    New shock is for sure better and more controlled.

    Good:
    - Compressions feels amazing! Can't stress enough how tunable and buttery the compression is on this shock. Utterly amazing. Helps eliminate small bumps into nothing.
    - Shock stroke is very supple and smooth. My last shock had bad stiction.
    - Shock feels better in a lot of ways than my Roco TST but is still somewhat lacking.
    - Rebound is a little better on this one than my last Elka Demo.

    Bad:
    - Damn rebound just isn't cutting it even though it feels better than the last Elka demo. Way too little low speed rebound and then once the adjuster starts getting some, it ruins the high speed. Still major fail IMO. My Roco TST still puts the Elka to shame in rebound. I guess I could pay a lot more to have it custom tuned, but then I don't know how much I want tuned, which might add up to a lot of trips back for retuning the high speed rebound and lots of money. I like the PUSH rebound feeling the most where it is more damped on the low speed stuff and opens up for higher speeds.
    I'm sure some people like having little or no low speed rebound, as it does help pop the wheel off of jumps and keep it higher in the travel. I find that in conjunction with the good compression and the preloading of the air chamber spring, the back of the bike actually JACKS UP when hitting multiple fast hits. This does not feel good to me personally, and has caused my feet to bounce off the pedals and other crap.
    - Top Out. I'm sorry, but the damn air spring is really pissing me off. I don't know how you guys think of this, but the top out from an unchecked air spring drives me bonkers. Even with a stupidly lighter coil spring, it still feels funky.

    The combination of the air spring preloading effect and the backwards damped rebound leave me not so blown away on this shock. Time for a CCDB and to be done with it!
    Last edited by YoPawn; 02-18-2010 at 03:38 PM.

  2. #2
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    I know elka and go-rideboth have good cs. Also, are you sure the shock was "tuned for your bike" as I have heard elka does. Mine feels great on my demo 9. Also, I know Elka asks about your weight and riding style when you go to buy one.

  3. #3
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    Really surprissed to hear about your experience of rebound adjustment. I find my Elka to be really sensitive to every click of rebound.

  4. #4
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    Are you sure the Elka was valved for your bike or was it just a generic tune for go ride test shock? If its just a generic tune, then id guess thats why it feels like crap on your bike

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick_M2R
    Are you sure the Elka was valved for your bike or was it just a generic tune for go ride test shock? If its just a generic tune, then id guess thats why it feels like crap on your bike
    Compression tune felt great and dead on. Rebound should have been the slowest they make, which is what they recommend for the Reign X.

    Even if the rebound was better, I would still have to say it isn't going to blow me away like I was expecting. I think big monotube "air sprung" shocks just are not going to be my cup of tea.

    I expect a CCDB to cure everything I didn't like about the Elka:
    - Adjustable slow/high speed rebound
    - No air spring preloading effect or air spring feel in mid stroke.
    - Costs more, thus is better by fact!

    That to me might be worth the extra $200.

  6. #6
    Oh, So Interesting!
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    Thanks for the review, but please ask Go Ride to check if the rebound damper is malfunctioning, from what you said I wouldn't be surprised if there was a problem.
    .




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  7. #7
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    It seems weird because most people have been having awesome luck for it.

    just curious how go-ride happened to have the right size shock with the right internals specifically for your bike and weight. I know they have a large selection but it seems they would have way to many to cover every specific situation.

    Also i wonder how new the shock is. The program is pretty new and the shock might be as well. maybe it hasn't even had a break in time yet.

    Everything you mentioned seemed strange because i had one and it was amazing and didn't suffer from the things you mentioned. especially the stiction. i found it quite the opposite.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by davec113
    Thanks for the review, but please ask Go Ride to check if the rebound damper is malfunctioning, from what you said I wouldn't be surprised if there was a problem.
    Totally. Although I am not going to screw around with this shock again regardless.

    Altogether, I don't think this shock provides what I am looking for.

    I'm not trying to make any wide claims about the shock, but I think it is important to let people know my experience. If there was something wrong with the shock, does Elka have quality control issues?

    It's not a bad shock, I just don't see it ever being the mind blowing change people expect from something like a Bos or Double Barrel.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by climbingbubba
    It seems weird because most people have been having awesome luck for it.

    just curious how go-ride happened to have the right size shock with the right internals specifically for your bike and weight. I know they have a large selection but it seems they would have way to many to cover every specific situation.

    Also i wonder how new the shock is. The program is pretty new and the shock might be as well. maybe it hasn't even had a break in time yet.

    Everything you mentioned seemed strange because i had one and it was amazing and didn't suffer from the things you mentioned. especially the stiction. i found it quite the opposite.
    I got lucky that it was the right tune.

    One thing that could be going on here... My Roco TST might, by blind luck, be the best tune I could want, and it just happened to come that way stock. I have never had any problem with it. It always works as I wish. I just could not help but think a "better" shock would be better.

    It could be that the Elka was performing just fine, but since my Roco is by dumb luck so well tuned for my bike and rider, that I didn't get the improvement I was looking for.

    I guess the take away here is, "if it ain't broke don't fix it". Sometimes you have to try something else to realize what you had was perfect already. I am still hopeful that a CCDB will turn out better for me than the TST.


    Also, the compression adjustments on the Elka were very impressive. If I had a single pivot, that shock would have turned out more beneficial. Since my bike like really light compression, it didn't help my bike much. Compression and adjustment wise, USDA top choice T-Bone!

  10. #10
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    Interesting. Useable adjustment range is pretty friggin important. My AVA tuned 5th has a very sensitive rebound and it sucks. Fortunately it has no detents, so I can set it anywhere in the rotation and it stays.

    One thing to note, even good mfg put out bad shocks from time to time. I had 2 shocks this last year that despite being new had to go back to the factory for rework. Not that I want to condone that failure rate, just sayin it happens.

    The GoRide demo program is a very cool way to see if a shock fits you. In this case it may just not be a good fit for you and your preferences. I am with you, far better that it turned out to only be a $50 experiment. I have toyed with the notion of testing out a couple of other shocks just to see if they are an "upgrade".
    Quote Originally Posted by saturnine
    that's the stupidest idea this side of pinkbike.

  11. #11
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    How about the rider : 0

    My friend i ride two elka 5's, one on a M3 with 9.5 travel and the other on a uzzi set at 6.75 both shocks ride completely different.I think maybe on your frame the shock might not be so happy for what ever reason but i can tell you that the rebound is not the problem.On my M3 if i am in only 3 or 4 inches of travel the rebound is very fast and snaps me out of turns and ruts just the way i need it to be, only when the travel gets going deeper will the rebound slow down and not buck no matter what setting i have it on. So do not give up on the ELKA 5 just maybe it's time to give up on your old style of riding and take it to a new level where the shock can shine. Trust your shock,trust yourself and go rip it up !!! : 0

  12. #12
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    I will agree with only one statement you've made and that's on the rebound. I find the shock to perform noticeably better than both the DHX 5.0 coil and the Roco WC on my Cove STD. My Elka came directly from the factory custom tuned for me and the bike which may make a difference. I have no complaints about the feel of the shock in any situation and do not share the feeling that it has poor midstroke performance. It keeps the back tire glued to the ground without feeling dead.

    On the rebound...I do have my dial turned way in but the clicks before and after my current setting make a small but noticeable difference and do not change it so drastically that the performance goes to hell.

    It's not for you and that's okay. I hope you find what you're looking for.

  13. #13
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    Nuff said!

    Been using the CCDB since it was available in 2006. I have not been on anything that feels as good.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by boogenman

    Nuff said!

    Been using the CCDB since it was available in 2006. I have not been on anything that feels as good.

    CCDBs are definitely nice. I want to try the new Diverse shock as well. It's nice having so many good options out there.
    Last edited by GearTech; 02-10-2010 at 10:10 AM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by YoPawn
    I got lucky that it was the right tune.

    One thing that could be going on here... My Roco TST might, by blind luck, be the best tune I could want, and it just happened to come that way stock. I have never had any problem with it. It always works as I wish. I just could not help but think a "better" shock would be better.

    It could be that the Elka was performing just fine, but since my Roco is by dumb luck so well tuned for my bike and rider, that I didn't get the improvement I was looking for.

    I guess the take away here is, "if it ain't broke don't fix it". Sometimes you have to try something else to realize what you had was perfect already. I am still hopeful that a CCDB will turn out better for me than the TST.


    Also, the compression adjustments on the Elka were very impressive. If I had a single pivot, that shock would have turned out more beneficial. Since my bike like really light compression, it didn't help my bike much. Compression and adjustment wise, USDA top choice T-Bone!
    You got a shock that either had issues or was the complete wrong tune for your bike.

    This fact is backed up by your statement that the Roco TST feels better than the Elka. I have ridden Roco TST shocks on a few bikes and always felt they were choked down and spiked way too much w/o a useable range of compression adjustment. Good for a pedal bike that may need lots of low speed damping at the expense of traction. The Roco WC is better for gravity riding, but can have a bit too much wallow for me.

    The Elka offers the most seamless performance I have experienced in a shock to date. The hi and low speed compression adjusters work beautifully, have a very large usable range of adjustment and stay decoupled (they feel truly independent of each other). The increase in traction and control when switching to an Elka is quite significant. I passed the Elka on my DHR around to a few of my (dhr riding) friends at Northstar last summer and after just a single run every one of them could not believe the difference in performance. They went from "is it worth the effort to switch shocks?" to "do I have to give it back?"

    Mini link bikes do require very specific shock tunes to behave properly, and the Elka shines on this suspension design when tuned for it.
    One other thing to keep in mind, Elka custom tunes each shock for your bike and if you don't like the initial tune they will revalve your shock to suite your needs for free. I don't know of any other suspension manufacturer that will do this.

    It's too bad the test didn't give you a good idea of how well this shock can perform, and this brings to light one of the difficulties involved in running a shock demo program.

  16. #16
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    well said.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1soulrider
    One other thing to keep in mind, Elka custom tunes each shock for your bike and if you don't like the initial tune they will revalve your shock to suite your needs for free. I don't know of any other suspension manufacturer that will do this.
    Avalanche will do it again w/o charge in the first 60 days. Not sure about CC, I know they are very helpful in the setup of the shock. But I can't say if they will revalve or not (no 1st hand exp with them).
    Quote Originally Posted by saturnine
    that's the stupidest idea this side of pinkbike.

  18. #18
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    The CCDB's are all the same. No need for a re valve.

  19. #19
    FM
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    Quote Originally Posted by YoPawn
    I got lucky that it was the right tune.
    Eh... apparently not.
    I've previously owned Fox DHX 5.0, Roco TST and WC, Avalanche Chubbie, and Push'd Vanilla... the Elka is my fave so far.

    Not sure what the dealio with yours was, but don't slag the shock off based on your brief demo experience. Ive got one on my new ride and am impressed so far. How impressed? I've only got 3 rides on it, and it's on a new bike so I can't really make fair comparisons against the shocks I've owned on previous bikes. However... for sure I can say it feels very good so far.

    Also! No tools required for compression adjustments. Gimme a freaking break, I've owned and Avy and it felt great when it was tuned in, but no way in hell a $600 shock like the Avy or CCDB should require tools for adjustment. Weather changes, traveling to ride, and just coming to understand the shock are 3 reasons I want to be able to change those adjustments every ride, no tools required.

    I was also very impressed with the documentation provided by Elka. Much as I liked the Avy on my last bike, it took several calls to Craig to figure out how to tune it (since the adjustments weren't labeled on the shock, and were labeled incorrectly in the manual )

    Couple other things I dig.
    • Backing off the HSC completely does not bypass the LSC circuit on the Elka.
    • The adjustments do what you would expect them to, unlike "pro-pedal", "boost valve" or other cool marketing terms that don't explain what's actually happening inside the shock.
    • Cool that Elka provides awesome hardware- steel sleeve with aluminum spacers, instead of aluminum step-down reducers that focus the load on the center of the shock bolt.

    I also dug the price- I think mine was under $500 shipped? Thats cheaper than a fox rc4.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by FM
    Eh... apparently not.
    I've previously owned Fox DHX 5.0, Roco TST and WC, Avalanche Chubbie, and Push'd Vanilla... the Elka is my fave so far.

    Not sure what the dealio with yours was, but don't slag the shock off based on your brief demo experience. Ive got one on my new ride and am impressed so far. How impressed? I've only got 3 rides on it, and it's on a new bike so I can't really make fair comparisons against the shocks I've owned on previous bikes. However... for sure I can say it feels very good so far.

    Also! No tools required for compression adjustments. Gimme a freaking break, I've owned and Avy and it felt great when it was tuned in, but no way in hell a $600 shock like the Avy or CCDB should require tools for adjustment. Weather changes, traveling to ride, and just coming to understand the shock are 3 reasons I want to be able to change those adjustments every ride, no tools required.

    I was also very impressed with the documentation provided by Elka. Much as I liked the Avy on my last bike, it took several calls to Craig to figure out how to tune it (since the adjustments weren't labeled on the shock, and were labeled incorrectly in the manual )

    Couple other things I dig.
    • Backing off the HSC completely does not bypass the LSC circuit on the Elka.
    • The adjustments do what you would expect them to, unlike "pro-pedal", "boost valve" or other cool marketing terms that don't explain what's actually happening inside the shock.
    • Cool that Elka provides awesome hardware- steel sleeve with aluminum spacers, instead of aluminum step-down reducers that focus the load on the center of the shock bolt.

    I also dug the price- I think mine was under $500 shipped? Thats cheaper than a fox rc4.
    So you have an Elka now, my question is what is this new bike that it is mounted to?
    Also must note that back to back testing of the Elka vs the RC4 (same bike) left the Elka out front in my opinion.

  21. #21
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    Just out of curiosity, I have a question for you Yo Pawn. What year is your Reign x1 from?

  22. #22
    FM
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1soulrider
    So you have an Elka now, my question is what is this new bike that it is mounted to?
    Pardon the crap phone picture....
    Anyways only have 3 rides in on it so far, but she's a keeper
    Got the K9 cups slackening it out to 66.5 degree up front. But still low 30's with the elka & float 36. Feels like a really good match for our local stuff, I'm pushing or climbing for everything and our trails are fairly smooth, so a light bike is nice. But the rune is very stiff and the suspension & geometry are dialled in nicely for steep trails with booters and drops.



  23. #23
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    Trade shocks with Krispy and see if he has the same problems... He probably won't want to part with his CCDB.

    (The old and new Reign X run the same size shock BTW.)
    Quote Originally Posted by kidwoo
    The internet sounds like a tough place to ride.

  24. #24
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    I know they have the same stroke and eye-to-eye but the 2007-08 and 09 had the glory hole. On Elka's site, they don't list the pre-2010 Reign x1 as compatible with their shock...

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightnerd
    I know they have the same stroke and eye-to-eye but the 2007-08 and 09 had the glory hole. On Elka's site, they don't list the pre-2010 Reign x1 as compatible with their shock...
    It may just need a test fit. I remember you could run a CCDB in the old frame, but it had to be upside-down with the roost guard removed. The Elka may be the same way...
    Quote Originally Posted by kidwoo
    The internet sounds like a tough place to ride.

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