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  1. #1
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    My own thoughts on running the BOS Vip'r & Devile

    As you all know I had a little 'off'' in September and while I am now fully recovered, it turns out that my spine is in pretty poor shape. The off that broke my clavicle, also gave me a compression fracture of my T12 vertbrae. A scan shows that this is not the only fracture I've suffered to my spine and so the prognosis from a bike riding radiologist friend of mine is to stop riding a hardtail. So the ti hardtail is sold but I wanted to then lighten the AM so that I still have a relatively light bike to ride. I thus switched out the CCDB for a BOS Vip'r and decided that I may as well go with the Devile fork as well (well I had the funds from selling the hardtail )

    The AM now weighs a shade under 29lbs and feels wonderfully lively. I'm still running it with the -7mm shuttle mount, so the BB is a lot lower (spot on 13" as far as I can measure it) and the static HA is 65.5 degrees. But, the Devile is a 545mm A2C so I am running it a little softer to lower the front a touch and am running more LSC and HSC to balance the ride.

    So, the BOS units. I've only managed to get out three times so these are still early impressions and I've not yet put the bike through a full workout. I've done some of the smaller drops around here, but bear in mind that I'm still trying to be a bit circumspect given what I'm coming back from.

    Having said that, the conditions have been pretty atrocious on the times I've been out so the ability of the suspension to control the bike and give grip has been very well tested.

    There are two things that immediately strike me.

    The first is that the set up and way that these units work is really different to anything else I've ridden; they just don't 'feel' the same when compared to the RP23BV or the CCDB that i've had on the AM in the past. That is perhaps not wholly surprising given that there's no logical reason why they would, except that I suppose I was anticipating the way the CCDB worked to be a benchmark for what 'good' felt like and so therefore partially expected the Vipr to resemble that. But it doesn't by quite a long way.

    It has its own definition of 'good' and it feels very different in that sense.

    I have the CCDB set up to be quite 'dynamic', to allow the bike to pop when you want it to and thus give quite a lively ride (something to do with the amount of pressure behind the low speed circuits - as it was explained to me - and the way the LSR works to give the bike a pop when you load up the suspension and then unweight the bike; it has the ability to feel like a launch control button).

    The CCDB is also a game changed in its ability to control the bike over fast, rocky ground. It feels very 'plush', very smooth, controlled, grippy etc. It's not that the way it works is dramatic or 'theatrical', but it is very engaging; I have had a sense of being 'entertained' by the bike when the CCDB is bolted on, all still in what I've previously described as being still a very neutral way. That neutral character though, is very much how I would describe the AM regardless of what damper you've got strapped to it.

    Now the BOS Vipr, if it were at all possible, adds another level of neutrality to the bike's ride characteristic. It doesn't have quite the same dynamic feel as the CCDB; the LSC is very good and the bike sits very nicely in its travel as a result and it doesn't blow through the mid stroke like the RP23 would do at a moments notice. That's a big plus because with the shorter shuttle mount, the bike is effectively sitting about 18% into its travel even before you sag the bike. With the RP23, that meant the bike either had the right air pressure for the initial part of the travel with a tendancy to get really progressive very quickly (i.e. the suspension ramped up a lot and you could feel this through the pedals) or it was all baggy and saggy and blew threw the mid stroke but felt good at the end stroke. Now the bike feels well balanced, with the right degree of progressivity and a wonderfully supple initial feel.

    It still feels more on the firm side than the plush side and the LSR isn't quite as dynamic as how I've got the CCDB set up, so the bike doesn't pop quite so readily, even if there is a very useful firm feel to the unit when you load the suspension up. Incidentally, that feel gets even more noticeable/better (depending on the terrain) when you switch on the, well I'm not sure what BOS call it, but it would be analogous the propedal lever on Fox units and adding more LSC on the CCDB. I'm still not sure how this system works though. The BOS literature says it works in the same way as the TRC does on the Devile fork, which is to say it limits the air chamber and shuts down the travel a little, giving an overall firmer characteristic akin to more LSC.

    I have to say, that it is really very good indeed. It's very controlled, very measured in how it works and I think it's this measure that gives you so much bike control. As I said, if it were possible, it actually adds a further degree of neutrality to an already very neutral bike. It doesn't in any way divorce you from what's going on under the contact patch; far from it. You get bags and bags of feel, you just don't have the same 'theatrical' sense as the CCDB does when it's doing its thing.

    I do really like it so far as a result of that, partly because I still have almost as much control and grip as I do with the CCDB, but mostly because it drops a chunk of weight whilst still maintaining that control.

    So what is the second impression? It's that actually, the very best feature of the Vipr is how well it works in conjunction with the Devile.

    I have heard that other people have had difficulty setting up the Devile and ended up with it feeling way too firm. I've ridden a friend's bike a few times as well and I've often felt the same thing. What I think it came down to was that in order to get the fork to feel supple enough for general riding, I ended up with such a low air pressure that no amount of LSC or HSC prevented the fork from blowing through or diving like submarine. However, I've never really made the effort when riding my friend's bike to really set it up correctly having read the instructions.

    First time on my fork and I ended up feeling the same as when I had tried Adams. With the right air pressure, the fork felt just way too stiff (incidentally this is story I've read of elsewhere and when I loaned my bike to someone else who was thinking of the BOS set up as well, they came back and said the same thing; just way too stiff and over damped even with the right air pressure).

    Then I read the instructions more carefully and took note of Roger's (UK importer) direction that it was vital to equalise the air chambers when setting the fork up. All you need to do is gently cycle the fork after the initial set up and that does the trick. The difference having done this is night and day. The fork suddenly feels right; it's incredibly supple, better than you would ever believe an air fork could be; it has Marzocchi coil like plushness. It is also amazingly controlled and measured in the way it works and it perfectly mirrors the Vipr in that respect. It's undramatic, controlled, supple and stiff. In conjunction with the Vipr, the bike has an overall balance far better than when I had the CCDB and Fox 36 Float on there.

    I am not sure I'm good enough to reap the benefits of that balance though; I can feel what it feels like for the bike to be better balanced (if that's makes sense?) but I can't feel how where that adds an advantage in anything more than about 5-10% of the most extreme terrain. I know that balance would allow me to carry more speed, but I think there are other aspects of my skill and ability that are greater hinderances to carrying that speed than the bike not being as well balanced as it could be.

    Where I did feel it was in two sections of local trails. The first one involves a steep drop in over some roots, left hander then right hander and into a fairly rough, blown out section where there's also quite a lot of mud. On that section the bike felt so balanced, no pitching forwards or backwards, just nice level and stable attitude that meant the bike was easier to control.

    The other section is the rooty drop with the fast flowy section of turns then fast over the roots and into the two steeper drop sections. Again, the bike felt well balanced fore and aft.

    The fork then seems to be working just brilliantly, easily better than the Fox 36 and not at all how I had experienced it on my firend's bike. But overall, I think the real value to either of these two units, is to run them together. I think there is a synergy there that makes the sum of the parts greater than the individual units.

    I am going to try and get the bike into the Peak District to give it some welly over big rocky tracks and see how well that works. Ironically, it might be the case that the Vipr is as good as the CCDB over big rocky terrain, but looses a little of faster flowing and pumpy single track, where the dynamic feel of the CCDB allows you to carry more speed. That would be ironic because it would mean the CCDB is better over less demanding ground!

    So, hope this is helpful and interesting. It is just my experience of it and I'm by no means an expert in this field!

  2. #2
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    not much else i can say to that!
    www.gravity-sports.co.uk

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  3. #3
    steep fast and loose :)
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    other than a 29"er offers better roll, better grip and is less sensitive to shock set-up anyway............?


  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Lecht_Rocks View Post
    other than a 29"er offers better roll, better grip and is less sensitive to shock set-up anyway............?

    oh? ridden BOS forks and shock have you?
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  5. #5
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    bad **** about the back! i've had to have 2 separate microdiscectomies over the years (im only 30!) due to ruptured discs in my spine so know the problems back issues cause all to well. Hope it all sorts itself out as soon as possible for you and wishing you a speedy recovery to full heath.

    second point can we at least have one thread on here that ISN'T hijacked by the "29'rs do this, 29'rs do that yadda yadda" ...yawn. Maybe in a few years time we will all be riding them but right now the constant banging on about them is just getting beyond tedious. Please please please don't let it be the new 'pedal strike'!!

    apart from that merry crimbo

  6. #6
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    Nice write up geetee, similar to what I thought... Which is why I might take the plunge this year.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by thepimpmessiah View Post
    Nice write up geetee, similar to what I thought... Which is why I might take the plunge this year.
    Vipr or stoy? I happen to have a 2nd hand stoy here tuned for an am and a new deville on its way!
    www.gravity-sports.co.uk

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  8. #8
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    Mirrors my thoughts too, the fact that the bos foks don't come in 29er version was my biggest issue when ordering a 29er.

  9. #9
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    geetee, very informative review, thanks. I have a Stoy/Deville set-up and like it a lot. I have read that the Vip'r feels very similar to the Stoy, the Stoy probably slightly better for DH?

    dipper, have you an opinion on Stoy vs Vip'r?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dipper View Post
    Vipr or stoy? I happen to have a 2nd hand stoy here tuned for an am and a new deville on its way!
    Your a dreadful tease

  11. #11
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    Nice write up geetee, similar to what I thought...
    It was your original reviews that persuaded me to give it a try

  12. #12
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    Geetee-Nice write up mate.
    Bad news on the back,But you can still ride,so all is good.
    would like to try a Vipr on my AC.would be a good match to the deville

  13. #13
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    An excellent write up GT...

    Glad you are still riding and that your back is in a better way...
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by loamranger View Post
    geetee, very informative review, thanks. I have a Stoy/Deville set-up and like it a lot. I have read that the Vip'r feels very similar to the Stoy, the Stoy probably slightly better for DH?

    dipper, have you an opinion on Stoy vs Vip'r?
    Not really. Not spent enough time on the vipr. Had a few rides with it on the afr and a couple on an am but have had a knackered shoulder so not gained anything meaningful. Pilot has ridden both back to back on heid am and eventually went for the vipr.
    www.gravity-sports.co.uk

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  15. #15
    "El Whatever"
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    Damn you wanna make me want one... I have only felt that "engaged" with a shock when I rode the 5th Element Air. Yeah, you can laugh, I don't care.

    That shock of course traded off initial plushness and a tad of traction. However, the midstroke, progression and damping were astonishing. It had that mythic "sports cars" feel.

    And since then, I embarked myself in quest of something plusher but that would have that feel past the small bumps.

    I certainly have used and tuned shocks to be plush, but all have failed in having that beautiful midstroke and damping control.

    Sounds like BOS hit it...
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  16. #16
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    sorry for being late to the party. I have indeed ridden both on my AM.

    Must say the Stoy is better DH. it has a totally velcroed to the trail feeling. It pedals great, not quite as good as a vip'r, but its strength is in unbelievable grip and control when nailing it. But with a stoy your more likely to give up a little pedalling for the DH performance.

    The Vip'r isn't quite as plush, doesn't seem to deliver quite the same glued to the trail feeling flat out, but its pretty close. I'd say very similar for 90% of the time and 85% as good when pinning it DH. I can't describe how well the Stoy seemed to track the ground, amazing.
    The vip'r does pedal better and has great mid stroke control. I also have a new Kashima RP23 on my RC and whilst very plush its not as good in the mid stroke, but BOS don't do a 38mm stroke viper so I had no choice.

    My only reason for going to vip'r over my Stoy was weight as in the Enduro racing I do I'm covering 40 miles or so with over 1500m of climbing and it was noticeable for me.

    If I was just trail riding and out for that distance in the UK without the massive climbing I wouldn't have bothered to change.

    So in summary. Stoy outright performance for going fast is better than the vip'r and a wonderful feeling (Makes me smile just recalling the Sestri Levante DH's on it)but the Vip'r is close enough for rock n roll for what I want the bid for and a old slow hack like me :-)

    They both work great with the Deville. I am 'looking' at a custom 29er somewhere between an AC and an AM, for the same reasons, lots of uphill as well as DH, and I would much rather design it with a 140mm Deville 29er fork! Vipr at the back and Fox on the front will have to do for the short term...
    Aka chainline...

  17. #17
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    Warp, you would love a Stoy!! or Vip'r ;-)
    Aka chainline...

  18. #18
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    @the_pilot - do you know what hydraulic tune and how many O-rings are there inside your Vip`r ?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by pergamonx View Post
    @the_pilot - do you know what hydraulic tune and how many O-rings are there inside your Vip`r ?
    I don't but I can try and find out. not sure if Roger keeps records or not but I can ask the question?

    I should also say the vip'r is nice and sensitive with small bumps, its just not as plush as a Stoy at the beginning of the stroke, but that's why it pedals better. It feels every bit as good in the middle particularly if you run upwards of 35% sag. I ran it that way for a while and whilst it did feel very good on the downs it was a bit too much of a pedaling/climbing compromise for me, but mainly due to the amount the bike sat into its travel and the resulting slacker seat angle etc. rather than it being wallowy.
    Aka chainline...

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_pilot View Post
    I don't but I can try and find out. not sure if Roger keeps records or not but I can ask the question?
    Asked that only because of curiosity
    There are two factory_tune hydraulic settings used in Vip`r - they`ve named those 1 and 2 - 1 is mostly used with AC/AM when upper shock mount holes are in use, 2 when lowers ones.
    Opening air can takes 30 secs and checking how many o-rings there are is simple. Also taking them away or adding some is simple issue, my point is not to know what are the specs of your shock, but to remind you that you can change the behaviour of your Vip`r totally by yourself only adjusting nbr of those o-rings ... Roger can deliver instructions how to do that.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by pergamonx View Post
    Asked that only because of curiosity
    There are two factory_tune hydraulic settings used in Vip`r - they`ve named those 1 and 2 - 1 is mostly used with AC/AM when upper shock mount holes are in use, 2 when lowers ones.
    Opening air can takes 30 secs and checking how many o-rings there are is simple. Also taking them away or adding some is simple issue, my point is not to know what are the specs of your shock, but to remind you that you can change the behaviour of your Vip`r totally by yourself only adjusting nbr of those o-rings ... Roger can deliver instructions how to do that.
    Nice... me likey.

    Thread highjack... do you have more time on the 36 on your AC?
    I have very little and little quality time on a Nixon 160mm and I think I like the geometry more. However, I haven't tried it with steep climbs.
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  22. #22
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    Pilot, thanks for your comparison between Stoy and Vip'r.

    Any news on Deville 29er?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by pergamonx View Post
    Asked that only because of curiosity
    There are two factory_tune hydraulic settings used in Vip`r - they`ve named those 1 and 2 - 1 is mostly used with AC/AM when upper shock mount holes are in use, 2 when lowers ones.
    Opening air can takes 30 secs and checking how many o-rings there are is simple. Also taking them away or adding some is simple issue, my point is not to know what are the specs of your shock, but to remind you that you can change the behaviour of your Vip`r totally by yourself only adjusting nbr of those o-rings ... Roger can deliver instructions how to do that.
    Thats great news cheers. Cos I am about to move it onto a 29er but I haven't decided yet how much travel.

    It's either 120 or 140 at the rear, custom AC with 140 up front, leaning towards 120 to stay with a lighter bike and not offset the seat tube but be able to run up to a 2.5 tyre.

    Question for everyone 10-20mm of travel OR. Big tyre?

    As such Iight have good cause to change between the two.

    And you welcome Loamranger.

    I too would love to see a Deville 29 in 140mm. Someone said they are finishing a stoy air first. I will have to run Fox for a while again..

    Loved my Devilles
    Aka chainline...

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warp View Post
    Thread highjack... do you have more time on the 36 on your AC?
    I have very little and little quality time on a Nixon 160mm and I think I like the geometry more. However, I haven't tried it with steep climbs.
    I had more time on the 36, but not anymore : )
    Started with DT Swiss EXC150 (ac-height ~525mm) when got the frame in 2009. Soon changed to EXM150. It was mid 2010 when picked up 36 VAN RC2, one of those first delivered kashima-coated ones. Ac increased up to 545mm and there was ~8mm rise because of CC external lower cup. After that change I never came back to lower fork - liked bit slacker steering angle so much. Then got Deville 160mm last summer, no change to geo because of same 545mm ac-height. Used that combo to mid-November 2011. Then my AC-frame went to deserved retirement - it`s hanging now on the wall and wait new owner...

    For me and my likes longer ac (and longer fork) was definately better - front end came bit lighter in steepest one climbs, but that was compensated easily by bit different body position and longer gears. Still cannot say that same is valid for everyone, there are so many variables existing - fork lenght is only one...

  25. #25
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    What are you running now Pergamonx, bike I mean?
    Aka chainline...

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