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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 its 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.

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