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  1. #1
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    Smuggler shock options

    I've had my smuggler for a year and I'm frustrated with the stock monarch. Rebound seems finicky between packing up and losing stability. For reference I am 190lbs, running 170 psi with 2 bands @ 35% sag. Choppy rocky terrain seems to cause the most noticeable issues.

    Options I am looking at are:
    Dvo topaz
    Monarch plus
    Cane Creek dbi air
    Cand Creek dbi coil

    Any experience with any of these would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
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    35% sag seems like it would give any shocks fits, check out vorsprung suspension tech talk series on vitalmtb, I have to run my ccdb air closer to 25% to get it to feel real right even.

  3. #3
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    What makes you say that? Transition optimized the linkage around 35% sag. Running 25% on the smuggler made it feel off

  4. #4
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    How does it feel off at 25%, what are you feeling? Shocks in my experience at 35% sag produces the effects you describe. check out this vid, it has some really great info on air shocks, volume spacers, and the effects they have on each other. I think the highlight for your question starts at about 11min, Too much sag and a lot of spacers results in a shock that only have a small amount of usable travel that ramps up like crazy and produces a harsh effect. Hopefully this helps!

    The Tuesday Tune 3 - Air Springs and Volume Spacers Video - Pinkbike

  5. #5
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    25% (higher spring rate = higher frequency) made the issues with rebound worse. I had to dial in more rebound to keep the rear wheel from kicking around in choppy terrain. The result was a dead feeling that packed up, or no chassis stability. The higher the spring rate, the smaller the usable range of damping seems to be. Two spacers and 35% sag is the baseline setup recommended by transition. I have ran between zero and 4 spacers, sag from 20% to 40%. Finding a rebound setting has been a trade off between bouncy and dead no matter what.

  6. #6
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    I had same problem with Monarch Debonair on different bike. Had to revalve it and after several tries it is perfect. The shock was stock MM tune. There was disbalance between high and low speed rebound. When I opened the lsr enough to avoid packing up on successive hits there was too few hsr and bike was kicking back in case of bigger hits. I made the hsr stiffer - all details are in RT3 tuning thread in shocks forum. I was able to reduce the lsr from 7 clicks to 4 clicks - it is not packing up and it is not kicking back. Other change that I made was to reduce the preload on the main compression stack - it gave me much better small bump compliance. It is really worth it.

  7. #7
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    That is good info. Thank you!

  8. #8
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    Depending on your riding style and weight the suggestions from Transition might work - or not
    In my case the recommendation with 35% SAG and two bands inside of the Monarch did not work well. It bobbled too much while climbing and I had harsh bottom outs in landings. By the way: Rider weight 75kg
    So, I installed a third, a fourth and a fifth rubber band just to realize, that for my riding style and weight four bands are fine. I increased as well the air to approx. 30% SAG. I also went lower than 30% SAG with the Monarch but I totally agree - then the damping system feels dead.

    Ok, back to topic. I had the chance of getting a Marzocchi 053 Damper which I do run right now in the Smuggler. It is quite a progressive Damper so overall it fits to my demands (by adding the rubber bands you just increase the progressivity of the Monarch). I strongly recommend this damper for the Smuggler.

    As the Marzocchi has a superb slippery feel right from the beginning I dropped the SAG to 25%. I also checked the leverage ratio before that on linkage. There you realize that this will not have any negative effects. 25% SAG results for the Smuggler in a much more effective pedaling feeling while the shock is full open while I am still using all of it´s travel (not as often as before with the Monarch, probably only every third ride). Also you will come up with your bottom bracket a bit, so I do not have any problems with the crank while climbing.
    Hope this helps a bit.
    Greetings from Germany!

  9. #9
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    I will add my 2 cents to this thread. I had an older Float X from my Bandit 27.5 frame that I ended up keeping when I sold that frame. I knew it would fit my Smuggler so I was happy the guy who bought it didn't want the shock.

    This particular shock seems to work fantastic with this frame. If I add air to give it better bottom out and more support it still feels like butter off the top and super smooth through the travel. I have run the Monarch and the Float X back to back on the same trail on the same day and the difference between the two is substantial. The only drawback for me is that I cannot use a water bottle due to the piggyback on this shock (running a medium frame).

    The bike does feel more active during pedaling with the Float X but in my mind that just translates to better traction over technical features when climbing.

  10. #10
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    Thanks everyone for your experiences. I'm going to put a DB inline on the bike (got a good deal) and start fresh with tuning. The monarch needs service so I considering changing the tune just for fun. I will keep it around in case the inline has issues.

  11. #11
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    Hey guys,

    Monarch blew up but was having similar issues to the OP regarding feeling hung up on choppy rocky terrain so decided not to fix it and bought a 2017 Fox Float X evol. I'm 76 kg kitted up and am running it at 170 psi with a .4 volume reducer to achieve 33% sag. Done multiple runs on tracks I know well and I am very happy with the upgrade. I have just left it in the full open setting the whole time. It climbs equally to the monarch but pedals a bit nicer on flat efforts when going for it. In terms of descending it handles big hits in a similar manner to the monarch which I never had an issue with but tracks heaps better over fast choppy stuff. It just seems to track the ground a lot nicer and holds pace easier without getting as hung up.

    Cheers

  12. #12
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    I'm also happy Smuggler-owner now.

    Transition has done a really good job at the suspension design. The bike pedals very well. On a steep rooty climb where you need to lift the rear wheel over the step created by big root and press harder on the pedals, the bike does not sag, but rather springs forward.

    But the shock tune selection is strange. Low compression and low rebound damping on an XL frame with leverage ration 2.3 is not a good choice. I'm 100kg and run 220psi to get 35% sag.

    I tried the stock shock tune on two rides, but as I expected was not able to find a good setting for rebound that works on both big and small bumps.

    On the compression side RockShox has heavily preloaded main stack to make the lockout work. You can feel it even when the compression adjuster is in the open position. I don't want lockout, I want to smooth the rooty trail.

    So I revalved the shock. On the rebound side tried something similar to medium tune first, on the compression side something like medium minus, but with greatly reduced preload. The bike was too wallovy and used bit too much travel. Compression adjuster had very little effect.

    I increased the rebound further and used high rebound stack. On the compression side I increased the low speed compression damping and increased platform tiny bit.

    I just came back from testing and it felt good. I'm running rebound adjuster in the middle and compression in the open position. It feels like I'm riding through the roots not over them. Pedalling efficiency is still good, no bobbing. I'm going to run this tune for some time and see if I want to fine tune it further.

    If somebody wants to try it, here is my setup:

    rebound stack (from nut, stock H tune)

    19 x .1
    19 x .15 + 16.3 x .1 ring shim
    19 x .1
    11 x .2 - 2 pcs
    11 x .3 - 3 pcs
    19 x .15 - 3 pcs
    19 x .3 + 16.3 x .15 ring shim
    19 x .15

    compression stack (from piston, custom tune)

    22 x .25 - 2 pcs
    22 x .4 + 19 x .1 ring shim
    22 x .15 - 2 pcs
    11 x .2 - 2 pcs
    11 x .3 - 3 pcs
    22 x .2 - 2 pcs

    And another thing - I lowered the IFP pressure to 250psi, to help to reduce the seal stiction.

    I might try to increase the HSC in the future and put a shim between the 22 x .25 shims and ring shim.

    If you are heavier rider I really suggest to try M or H rebound tune.

  13. #13
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    After not liking the DB Inline, I traded it out for a MM monarch plus. At 190lbs, I'm excited to try it

  14. #14
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    I just slapped on a DB IL Coil last night and my initial ride around the block was pretty nice and plush but still gave me enough pop to bunny hop easily. I'll get a true feel later today when I go for a ride. Looks pretty sweet to me though and feels matched to my Rockshox Pike with an Avalanche cartridge.

    Smuggler shock options-img_3597.jpgSmuggler shock options-img_3596.jpgSmuggler shock options-img_3593.jpgSmuggler shock options-img_3592.jpgSmuggler shock options-img_3590.jpg
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  15. #15
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    How did the coil go Arashi? Would love a ride report and to know if the bike lost much pop as a result of the coil?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Excelsior01 View Post
    How did the coil go Arashi? Would love a ride report and to know if the bike lost much pop as a result of the coil?
    The coil shock was great! Amazing traction on the climbs and if you want more efficiency you could always flip the climb lever which really settles down any movement in the rear. It's not a lockout though so keep that in mind. I kept it open even on the climbs because there were some rocky techy sections that would normally cause me to spin up rocks but with this setup it had a lot more traction. On the descents it felt great eating up all the small bumps and still giving me pop to get it in the air whenever I wanted. I was only going to use this coil for big rides or going to Big Bear for park runs but now I don't think I'd want to go back to an air shock ever again!

    Smuggler shock options-image-1.jpg
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  17. #17
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    Thanks for letting us know. My buddy loves his cane creek coil on his scout. Nice to know it works well on the smuggler too. I may have to save up for a while...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by arnea View Post

    compression stack (from piston, custom tune)

    22 x .25 - 2 pcs
    22 x .4 + 19 x .1 ring shim
    22 x .15 - 2 pcs
    11 x .2 - 2 pcs
    11 x .3 - 3 pcs
    22 x .2 - 2 pcs

    And another thing - I lowered the IFP pressure to 250psi, to help to reduce the seal stiction.

    I might try to increase the HSC in the future and put a shim between the 22 x .25 shims and ring shim.

    If you are heavier rider I really suggest to try M or H rebound tune.
    Initially this compression stack felt ok, but after I got my Manitou Magnum tuned, the shock felt bad. When I was moving over medium sized roots at medium speed, the shock did not compress as easily as fork and hardtail like feeling. Still too much platform.

    I revalved the shock once again:

    22 x .25 - 3 pcs
    22 x .4 + 19 x .1 ring shim
    22 x .15 - 1 pcs
    11 x .2 - 2 pcs
    11 x .3 - 3 pcs
    22 x .2 - 2 pcs

    So - less preload and stiffer speed stack. I also removed two spacers from air camber (only one left) and increased little bit the air pressure. The idea was to make spring more linear (more support at the middle at same bottom out force). The initial force increased also, but this was offset by much less platform on the compression side, so the total force probably decreased.

    Today I had finally chance to test the bike on my local tracks. Rear end felt balanced with fork. Very nice and plush over roots, especially on fast descents, I would say that support on larger hits was also good, but I really had not time to test it. Rear end was lively - perhaps little bit too much, I must look at rebound side again.

    I would say it was another step in right direction.

    Just one thing - with this stack one will loose the lockout and pedal platform features almost completely. Because there is so few preload on the main stack, it will flow very easily. I did not test the compression lever though - I run the shock always open. Giddy Up suspension has very good anti-squat curve and I don't see the need for lockout or platform.

  19. #19
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    ride your bikes.

  20. #20
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    I'm not sure why my images disappeared cause I could have sworn they loaded when I posted. Oh well here they are again if anyone wants to see a coil on a Smuggler. Smuggler shock options-img_3597.jpgSmuggler shock options-img_3596.jpgSmuggler shock options-img_3593.jpgSmuggler shock options-img_3592.jpgSmuggler shock options-img_3590.jpg
    Instagram: @steven_bikes

    2018 Transition Sentinel Carbon aka Sledge Hammer

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by arashi View Post
    I'm not sure why my images disappeared cause I could have sworn they loaded when I posted. Oh well here they are again if anyone wants to see a coil on a Smuggler. Click image for larger version. 

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    190x50?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by deserat View Post
    190x50?
    That is correct...This was the only coil shock I've found that came in that size.

    Cane Creek DB Coil Inline Rear Shock > Components > Forks & Suspension > Rear Shocks | Jenson USA

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by arashi View Post
    That is correct...This was the only coil shock I've found that came in that size.

    Cane Creek DB Coil Inline Rear Shock > Components > Forks & Suspension > Rear Shocks | Jenson USA
    Yep. I have the same on my Devinci Django 29 (plus a few other tweaks). Went with the Django for the carbon, boost, slightly better peddling.... can't stop thinking about the smuggler that I demoed, though. I know they're close to releasing new models so we'll see what the future holds. But I kinda like the ideas of throwing my inline coil on a smuggler.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by deserat View Post
    Yep. I have the same on my Devinci Django 29 (plus a few other tweaks). Went with the Django for the carbon, boost, slightly better peddling.... can't stop thinking about the smuggler that I demoed, though. I know they're close to releasing new models so we'll see what the future holds. But I kinda like the ideas of throwing my inline coil on a smuggler.
    How did you fit a DB IL Coil on a Django? I thought they came with a 7.25x1.75 (184x44) shock. The Cane Creek DB IL Coil is 7.50x2.00 (190/51). I don't think they make one in 7.25x1.75 from what I see or are you just running a long shock in your Django?

  25. #25
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    Smuggler shock options

    Quote Originally Posted by arashi View Post
    How did you fit a DB IL Coil on a Django? I thought they came with a 7.25x1.75 (184x44) shock. The Cane Creek DB IL Coil is 7.50x2.00 (190/51). I don't think they make one in 7.25x1.75 from what I see or are you just running a long shock in your Django?
    Yes, 7.50x2.0 with a 2mm offset bushing. It's a tight fit but I like it. By my rough measurements it's about 130-135mm travel on the rear now. MRP ribbon at 140mm still at about 77.5 - 78 degrees. I'll post a short review and some pics over in one of the Django 29 posts soon.

  26. #26
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    Arashi,

    I am thinking about putting the db il coil on my 2016 Smuggler. Did you have a hard time getting the spring weight correct? Did you call Transition and cane creek to get help figuring it out? I am about 195 with gear. Thanks.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullit21 View Post
    Arashi,

    I am thinking about putting the db il coil on my 2016 Smuggler. Did you have a hard time getting the spring weight correct? Did you call Transition and cane creek to get help figuring it out? I am about 195 with gear. Thanks.
    There's a spring weight calculator on Cane Creek's website but it is only an estimated spring weight so keep that in mind. It told me to go with a 400lb spring but the lowest Volt spring available was 450lb so I took the chance and it worked out for me. The 400lb spring might have been too soft for me so I got lucky. I'm 160-165lbs geared up. There might be a bit of trial an error but that was one of the advantages of air springs over coils so this is nothing new. I'd imagine you're either going to need a 500lb or 550lb spring so it's not like you'll be buying a bunch of different springs. Keep in mind if you're not comfortable tuning your suspension this might not be the route to take since you could get lost adjusting the high/low compression and the high/low rebound. I love it!

  28. #28
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    Not trying to squish the smuggler with a coil idea - I was initially psyched about the idea too. But I had a chance to do a couple laps in on again the other day and it's already a pretty linear curve, in my opinion. Didn't seem to have the built in progressiveness that would benefit from a coil in my opinion. So for me, im not sure if it's worth it. Just my $.02.


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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by deserat View Post
    Not trying to squish the smuggler with a coil idea - I was initially psyched about the idea too. But I had a chance to do a couple laps in on again the other day and it's already a pretty linear curve, in my opinion. Didn't seem to have the built in progressiveness that would benefit from a coil in my opinion. So for me, im not sure if it's worth it. Just my $.02.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Thanks Deserat. I actually just heard back from Transition via e-mail and they agree that the bike will work better keeping an air shock as the bike has the linear curve. I think I am going to go with the DB Air IL and see how it goes.

  30. #30
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    I recently purchased a DVO Topaz T3 Air for my small 2016 Smuggler. It mounted fine and I took it out for it's first ride. What an improvement over the Monarch! The back end was way more planted and supple. Instantly noticeable in the chunder.

    Unfortunately, when I got home I noticed a nic in the paint on my downtube... it looks like the reservoir on the shock hits the downtube on small Smugglers before reaching full travel. . I tried mounting upside down but reservoir hits before the shock mount. I'm pretty bummed to go back to the Monarch after sampling the DVO but imagine someone with a medium or large frame will make use of it.
    Rollin just to keep on rollin'. I don't want to leave this heaven so soon. - Mark Lanegan

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    Hmm. Perhaps you can reduce the travel little bit? If it is only small nick then couple of mm-s might be sufficient. BTW, can you take picture with compressed shock?

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by arashi View Post
    I love it!
    Are you still riding with the IL Coil ?

    Any feedback on how it's going ?

    Pretty keen to check out the Topaz otherwise, assuming it has no fit issue on a L frame...

    -P

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nhbrooks View Post
    After not liking the DB Inline, I traded it out for a MM monarch plus. At 190lbs, I'm excited to try it
    How did the MM tune work out for you?

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    I'll chime in on the DBCoil IL for the Smuggler.

    I put mine on about two weeks ago and have a few decent rides on it. I really hate fiddling with all the LSC/LSR/etc knobs, I'm kindof OCD and feel like I'm constantly tweaking them, but Transition recommended a fairly low compression tune, so I went with that and worked with it until it felt right.

    The tricky part was the sag setting. I tried it at 30% and felt it was too firm, initially figuring running a little less sag would work better since it's such a smooth shock compared to the Monarch. I was wrong, it felt really bad, so I went back to 33% and retuned to adjust for the change and it feels great. I think a lot of the reason it felt so off was the change in geometry and fit, less sag means you are up higher and pushed further forward, it felt kindof awkward there.

    With it setup correctly, the bike climbs better and is a lot more planted in the rear. I have not had any issues with harsh bottom outs.

    For reference, I ride in WNC, mostly in Pisgah, so a lot of natural terrain with a lot of high speed chunky sections and some large, ungroomed features. I don't ride park or hit a lot of jumps.

  35. #35
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    The '18 smuggler seems like it'd be an awesome all around rig, only thing that's frustrating is the rear shock. Anyone have any feedback on the Fox DPS Performance Elite? I had the evol on my 5010 and absolutely hated it.

  36. #36
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    I thought the DPS was as bad as the old CTD stuff. I swapped mine out for a Topaz as soon as I could.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by cunningstunts View Post
    ride your bikes.
    shut uppppppppp

  38. #38
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    For those interested in the coil on a Smuggler. I had this on my Scout and really liked the way it transformed the bike. The Scout and Smuggler use the same size shock, 7.5x2.0

    https://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/2263568/
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  39. #39
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    So I assume this is the metric version of the Topaz? How does it feel different than the DPS shock that came on it?

  40. #40
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    Anyone else run into clearance issues with the Topaz on larger size smuggler frames? Wondering if it would fit on my XL.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by amish_matt View Post
    I thought the DPS was as bad as the old CTD stuff. I swapped mine out for a Topaz as soon as I could.
    What mounting hardware did you use for the Topaz? I'm looking to buy one but can only find 22mm x 8mm, the smuggler uses 21.8mm x 8mm.

    Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finksta View Post
    What mounting hardware did you use for the Topaz? I'm looking to buy one but can only find 22mm x 8mm, the smuggler uses 21.8mm x 8mm.

    Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk
    I tried a CCDB with 22 x 8 on my Smuggler and it fit alright. You can always sand/grind down the bushings if they don't fit.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finksta View Post
    What mounting hardware did you use for the Topaz? I'm looking to buy one but can only find 22mm x 8mm, the smuggler uses 21.8mm x 8mm.

    Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk
    The Topaz came with bushings and I reused the hardware and spacers from the Fox shock.

  44. #44
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    Awaiting my 2018 Smuggler but considering a coil chock for it. The only one I can find in 210x50mm is Öhlins TTX 22, anyone seen any others?

  45. #45
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    Cane Creek DB Coil IL is available in 210 x 50....
    Last edited by jpg; 02-18-2018 at 04:00 PM. Reason: sp

  46. #46
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    The super deluxe coil comes in 210x50. I'm considering it but it's hard to find online.

  47. #47
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    Another Shock Option

    I went with a Super Deluxe. These can be ordered in the new metric size. They are custom tuned for the Yeti SB5 but fit on the Smuggler if you run it upside down. I don't have any trail time on it yet since winter decided to return to Idaho but I will report on it when I get some trail time. According to Project Bikes in Bend, whom I got the idea from, this is a fantastic upgrade to the stock shock that comes on the Smuggler.

    https://projectbikebend.com/portfoli...tion-smuggler/
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Smuggler shock options-img_9268.jpg  


  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by caspar View Post
    How did the MM tune work out for you?
    can't speak for the other guy, but i just put a monarch plus with a MM tune on my 2017 smuggler. I've only ridden it once since then and it was on an unfamiliar and much bumpier trail than what I'm used to, so ill need some more time but so far i think i may have made a mistake. feels very harsh, ended up running it at about 40% sag and seemed to ride okay but still harsher than expected, felt similar to what i imagine it would feel like if my rebound was way too high. once some snow melts ill take it out on my usual trails and try to fine tune the settings, but so far I'm a little worried. i did email transition ahead of time to ask what the stock setting was on the monarch and told them i might get a monarch plus MM and they basically said "that should work. you should get a fox they're awesome."

  49. #49
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    I really like my V1 smuggler with the MM monarch plus. I feel like all of the monarchs I've used work better with the low speed rebound set kind of fast. The MM time felt more composed at high speeds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nhbrooks View Post
    I really like my V1 smuggler with the MM monarch plus. I feel like all of the monarchs I've used work better with the low speed rebound set kind of fast. The MM time felt more composed at high speeds.
    Do you know what the stock tune is on the V1? Ill still need another ride or two to get my new MM tuned monarch sorted out, but man it feels harsh so far.

  51. #51
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    The stock tune is pretty light for both rebound and compression. I would open your shock up and make sure it's lubed. I have found several that felt harsh because they were dry. Check your air seals also.

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    its lubed, they actually did a pretty good job with that. the rebound on the MM isn't so bad but the compression just feels harsh. kind of like every bump is a square edge bump and my tire has way too much air.

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    Hmm, what are you running the rebound at? There is a bit of crossover once you get past halfway. With 115mm of travel, packing happens and can feel like that. I thought going a bit faster than normal felt good.

  54. #54
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    Ivan, any time on the Smuggler so far? Would be great to hear your thoughts on the Deluxe.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan the Terrible View Post
    I went with a Super Deluxe. These can be ordered in the new metric size. They are custom tuned for the Yeti SB5 but fit on the Smuggler if you run it upside down. I don't have any trail time on it yet since winter decided to return to Idaho but I will report on it when I get some trail time. According to Project Bikes in Bend, whom I got the idea from, this is a fantastic upgrade to the stock shock that comes on the Smuggler.

    https://projectbikebend.com/portfoli...tion-smuggler/

  55. #55
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    I have quite a few miles on it at this point in a variety of terrain. This shock is a huge upgrade over the stock shock. The mid stroke support and superior damping qualities make the back end of the bike behave the way it should and like it has more travel than it does. I also put a Lyrik at 150mm in the front. I feel like the bike is pretty damn capable at this point. Be advised, this shock will not fit the medium or small carbon Smuggler. On the alloy Smuggler the low speed compression knob needs to be removed so it does not contact the frame.

  56. #56
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    There are some more exotic options available for the smuggler.
    I was looking for a lightweight adjustable and non-platform shock. Got the Marzocchi 053 S3c2r and put some miles on it.
    For me it supports the bottomless feel of the smuggler and ads some good support.
    Will need some more rides to adjust it, but it got a good start.

  57. #57
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    Hey,
    Any new experience with coil ( DB Coil il or others) with the Smuggle
    r somebody like to share?

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    Quote Originally Posted by NETTA170 View Post
    Hey,
    Any new experience with coil ( DB Coil il or others) with the Smuggle
    r somebody like to share?
    I had one, I really liked it. I am actually a bit annoyed with the air shock on my new Carbon Smuggler and thinking of going with the coil.

    It helped the bike a lot on technical climbs and concerns over bottoming out too much seemed unfounded to me, although it did happen, but I think that's gonna happen with an air shock too. It seemed to mainly occur on really fast, deep repeated hits. I don't really ride at the bike park, so it may be more of a problem there, but I found little downsides to it.

    Transition recommends a light compression tune. I had the LSC set based on pedaling and dive, but the HSC pretty much open.

    The Cane Creek spring calculator lies, it was off by one spring size for me, so keep that in mind.

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    Thanks Adodero for sharing .
    What spring are you useing? (and you full kitted )

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    Quote Originally Posted by NETTA170 View Post
    Thanks Adodero for sharing .
    What spring are you useing? (and you full kitted )
    215-220lbs geared up, 550lb spring. I forgot how much preload, I think about 2 turns

  61. #61
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    Manitou Mcleod

    Few thoughts on a good budget option for the OG smuggler, the Manitou Mcleod. After a season on the stock monarch I really wasnt happy with the damper behavior. Too much LSC/LSR and not enough HSC/HSR. The rebound curve on the Mcleod is more linear so it neither packs up nor bounces deep in the travel. The compression circuit is also more linear and has 4 clicks of adjustment that go from full open to fairly stiff pedaling support. The stiffest position is not a hard lockout, and each setting adds spring preload to a shim stack changing both HSC and LSC unlike the LSC/blowoff circuit on the monarch.

    Overall the Mcleod has a lower breakaway force than the monarch and feels much smoother. This can especially be felt while climbing as the rear end is more active. The bike rides noticeably faster through chunk and with real HSC support from the damper I have been running a bit softer air spring feel than I did in the monarch. This makes the bike less poppy but deals with chunk and big hits really nicely.

    The monarch air spring was however very well matched to the smuggler linkage and the Mcleod is less than perfect. The stock air can on the Mcleod is surprisingly linear and honestly I dont think even the lightest rider could use it without volume spacers.... which Manitou doesnt sell. I ended up cutting some EVA foam and pushing it into the top of the air chamber where it gets held in place by the damper shaft retaining bolt.

    I've been running 30% sag, 1/2 turn of rebound (no detents), and 3 clicks of compression. Definitely recommend this to anyone thats frustrated with the stock shock.

    Smuggler shock options-trsm.jpg

  62. #62
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    Thanks for sharing your experience with Mcleod. I have been wanting to try it out for a long time, but the retuned Monarch was too good to justify the expense. Good to know about the air spring. How much do you weigh, btw? And did you try to running higher pressure and less compression damping?

    On the Monarch I went with linear stack (no pedalling support), increased high speed rebound damping to match my weight, just one spacer in positive side and around 200psi pressure to get ~37% sag. It feels really good both on small roots and handles bigger hits as well. I weigh 100kg.

  63. #63
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    I saw an Ohlins TTX22 coil on a 2018 carbon Smuggler yesterday. So want.

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by arnea View Post
    Thanks for sharing your experience with Mcleod. I have been wanting to try it out for a long time, but the retuned Monarch was too good to justify the expense. Good to know about the air spring. How much do you weigh, btw? And did you try to running higher pressure and less compression damping?
    I'm about 180lbs / 82 kg in my riding gear. I have been experimenting with the air spring / compression damping and with more air the bike does jump a bit better at the expense of stability through the rough. With a short travel bike like the smuggler I feel like I can pump the bike well enough with the softer air spring that not much is lost and I prefer to run more compression damping. Definitely a personal preference, and the bike could be set up either way.

    I had actually read your posts about tuning the monarch but I had tried to tune an older one and was never quite happy with the results. On the older versions the rebound circuit was fully checked, but on the smuggler the rebound feels like there is free bleed during compression and running more LSR makes the initial stroke harsh. Did you find this to be the case?

  65. #65
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    Hmm. Not sure what you mean by "fully checked rebound"? I think pre-2013 Monarch had concave piston so it was harder to reduce shimstack preload. Newer Monarch have flat piston and preload is achieved using ring shims and can be fully customized. Running more LSR definitely makes the shock feeling harsher because it will pack down on small successive hits. You must open rebound knob and then in order to control the large movements you must increase the stiffness of the HSR stack. What I don't get is why Transition is specing low rebound tune shocks even on XL frames. You need medium or probably even high rebound damping tune for your 82kg weight. My experience is that getting the HSR tune right is crucial thing.

    On the compression side I was looking for total forces generated by spring and damper. You want smaller forces during small movements and larger forces during large movements. The problem of the stock heavily preloaded compression stack is that damper is creating too big force even when the shock is "open". To compensate for this you should reduce pressure to make spring force smaller so the total force is acceptable. But then you are bottoming out. In order to control bottom outs you must add spacers and make shock more progressive and then you will loose mid-stroke support.

    Solution is to get rid of the preload on the compression side. I kept reducing and finally removed it altogether and went with linear shimstack. Transition has such a good linkage kinematics that it still pedals very well even without pedalling platform support from shock. I reduced number of spacers and increased the pressure by almost 30psi - spring is more linear, I will never bottom out, but the small bump-compliance is amazing.

    Mcleod has different internal construction. I would say that it has right construction - instead of having fixed preload and controlling the free bleed you will control the preload. If you like you can remove the preload and get fully linear stack. If you like more support you will get it.

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by arnea View Post
    Hmm. Not sure what you mean by "fully checked rebound"? I think pre-2013 Monarch had concave piston so it was harder to reduce shimstack preload. Newer Monarch have flat piston and preload is achieved using ring shims and can be fully customized. Running more LSR definitely makes the shock feeling harsher because it will pack down on small successive hits. You must open rebound knob and then in order to control the large movements you must increase the stiffness of the HSR stack. What I don't get is why Transition is specing low rebound tune shocks even on XL frames. You need medium or probably even high rebound damping tune for your 82kg weight. My experience is that getting the HSR tune right is crucial thing.
    Arnea I think you are spot on here, the biggest problem with the stock LL monarch is the HSR being too light for nearly everyone. That basically forces you to choose between too much LSR or not enough HSR. The tune you are describing sounds like a good match for the smuggler and is by far the most cost effective option to improve the rear end. I had tried to tune a 2012 monarch and the concave piston really did make things tricky so I'm glad the new ones are better. By fully checked I meant that check shims would prevent oil passing through the rebound circuit during compression so the circuits are independent. You are probably correct that what I was feeling was in fact the shock packing up rather than the rebound circuit contributing to the compression stroke.

  67. #67
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    DBCoil il CS on my Transition Smuggler 2017

    Smuggler shock options-smuggler-cane-creek-dbcoil-il.jpgSmuggler shock options-dbcoil-il-smuggler.jpg
    I would like to share the experience I have with new DBCoil IL on my 2017 Smuggler frame.
    1st, you should forgive me for my English, it's not my mother tongue

    Bit History:
    I had a Transition Bandit 29 (great bike BTW), I replaced all the components with 2017 Smuggler after getting 50% off by TR through their “crash replacement" (cracked chain stay). New frame came without a shock. But the Bandit has same shocks size - it was a "Modified" RP23 XV Kashima that it's Boost-Valve removed and tuned to my weight and riding style (Singles, quite rocky with "flowing" drops up to 4 feet), So that Shocks installed on the new frame as well.
    Bad Surprises:
    Before my first ride, I set the SAG to 35% per TR recommendation and hit the trail, it felt BAD, very bumpy nervous ride, harsh, low traction, etc. I try several of rebound settings, SAG settings, and nothing helped.
    I bought a new Vorsprung CORESET air can with a bunch of air tokens (spacers) and over a month tried the get everything feeling “right”, but without success, it bottom out or was too harsh (I try the Tokens with the Fox can as well), The CORSET had a 1-month trial, So it returned it to the shop (I must say that the owner Actually told me NOT to expect it will be as a coil )
    Having doubts:
    In the past, I had a Santa Cruz Blur LT2 which I put a magnificent ELKA STAGE 5 coil shocks (Today's "MRP" I think...), so I know how Good shocks should feel... CORSET was not even close. Did a lot of browsing to find hints about "Smuggler with coil shocks" and seem to have not many in Google, on the way, I learned a lot about "bike kinematics" & "Leverage ratio" So I had doubts what to do, the Smuggler's Leverage ratio is not MADE for Coil shocks, But it is (bit) progressive …
    The two options were bad - to live with unsatisfying bikes or to sale the bike.
    Taking a chance:
    I ordered the DBcoil with 450lb VALT spring ( I’m 186 pounds kitted),DU hardware swapped from my old Float, the SAG was 33% with 1.5 preload – Exactly what I need. Took some pictures and hit my "Test trail".
    It was much much better right from the beginning, I reduce HSC/HSR to 1 but felt bottoming out next drop, so increased by half to 1.5 both HSC/HSR
    No more bottoming out at that ride!
    I complete the test with those settings:
    HSC 1.5, LSC 7, HSR 1.5, LSR 8
    Next Day, I went to a different trail with a lot of technical climbs and long decedents and few G-outs, partially rocky & loose. It was amazing! Seems like the rear end is staggering to grub any bit of gravel to let you move on...
    I never had a DH bike, but the cliché “descending like a mini DH bike" felt quite right. I think that the rear end also making life easier on the front side, due to the fact that the fork doesn't have to fight the rear nervous jumps all the time.
    Yes, I had one time of harsh bottoming out, it was due to a deep ~6" trench which I bumped into - So it does not count
    On the other end, as some mentioned, the bikes have so much "planted" feeling which make the bike feels less "Happy" and less willing to let you airborne easily - I think, that I should learn how to use body weight shifting instead relying on the rear shock preloading for the jumps ...

    I didn't have the opportunity to use the Climb Switch in those rides,
    but when I tried to force the saddle down, it seems I couldn't feel any change of force to compress, but the rebound get veeeery slow.
    It's not actually ON-OFF switch but acts as a lever which changing (LSC?
    LSR) infinite.

    As you probably already understood, for my application and riding style,
    The CC DBCoil il making my Smuggler a great bike and let me smile again!

    Enjoy...
    Last edited by NETTA170; 05-26-2018 at 07:17 AM.

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by JQualey View Post
    I saw an Ohlins TTX22 coil on a 2018 carbon Smuggler yesterday. So want.
    So I’m getting the carbon smuggler frame, and the first thing I’m doing is tossing on a coil. At first I thought the best option was the DBCoilIL, but now that you mention it...the TTX22 would be a sick addition. I think the MRP Hazard might also be worth looking at. Anything else for the carbon smuggler?

  69. #69
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    So what coil shock mfr makes a size that fits on a 2018 Smuggler? The bike takes a 210 x 50 mm, and I can't find any in that size.
    I didn't just drink the koolaid, I stuck my head in the punchbowl.

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by sirbikesalot View Post
    So what coil shock mfr makes a size that fits on a 2018 Smuggler? The bike takes a 210 x 50 mm, and I can't find any in that size.
    As of right now I know the Cane Creek DBCoil IL can fit, and I think I saw the new Ohlins Coil can also fit.

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manslug View Post
    Few thoughts on a good budget option for the OG smuggler, the Manitou Mcleod...

    ...Definitely recommend this to anyone thats frustrated with the stock shock.
    Thanks, I just built up a 2015 Smuggler. I am strongly considering making this change in lieu of servicing the original shock, considering how good the pricing is on the McLeods. Is it still working out well for you?

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velodonata View Post
    Thanks, I just built up a 2015 Smuggler. I am strongly considering making this change in lieu of servicing the original shock, considering how good the pricing is on the McLeods. Is it still working out well for you?
    Still digging it. I reduced the air can volume a bit more and adjusted the IPA lever detents so each position is a little stiffer. Its a very adjustable shock. If the bike is new to you, running the monarch for a few rides cant hurt but if you decide to swap it out I really do think the mcleod is better in every aspect except maybe heat management.

  73. #73
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    I let all the air out of the shock and compressed the suspension all the way. It looks like there's about a 1cm or more gap between the seatstay bridge and the seat tube at full compression. Could a 210x55mm shock work and give you a bit more travel?
    I didn't just drink the koolaid, I stuck my head in the punchbowl.

  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manslug View Post
    Still digging it. I reduced the air can volume a bit more and adjusted the IPA lever detents so each position is a little stiffer. Its a very adjustable shock. If the bike is new to you, running the monarch for a few rides cant hurt but if you decide to swap it out I really do think the mcleod is better in every aspect except maybe heat management.
    Cool, thanks. I got one on the way! No point putting any money into the Monarch when I got a new McLeod for less than $200 shipped.

  75. #75
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    This looks yummy!


    Skickat från min iPhone med Tapatalk

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    How about the smuggler for enduro / bikepark?

    Is the shock absorber finished with 120mm?

    I say it, because it has a very smooth progressivity

  77. #77
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    If you are looking for an alternate (i.e., better) shock for the Smuggler and have a size Large or XL Aluminum frame, not carbon, I have a brand new RockShox Super Deluxe RCT Rear Shock 210x50mm Bearing 2017+ shock that I bought but did not fit my large carbon frame. Can't return it where I bought it without a restocking fee. Bummer for me but could work out great for you. Please PM me if interested. I'll be posting it in the classifieds soon after I take some photos.
    I didn't just drink the koolaid, I stuck my head in the punchbowl.

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