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  1. #1
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    drcv worth the trouble?

    I got a 2011 ex7 and of course they change the rear shock the next year, on the site they are pushing the drcv rear shock hard, is it worth the upgrade?

  2. #2
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    Yes it is! I have a 2011 with the drcv rear and love it, bottomless feel when u need it and Xcode feel when in smaller bumps. Now I'm drooling over the drcv forks on the 2012's.

  3. #3
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    The DRVC shock and fork are really good. Good wIth small bumps and big hits. Love the fact I could comfortable ride over dirt tracks with dried out 4x4 tire tracks and do a 2 foot jump right after. The rippling effect from the uneven tire tracks use to bothers me, DRVC suspension smoother it out slightly.

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    I'm going to say "no"

    I recently picked up a 2012 EX9 - first experience with DRCV. I'm not impressed, but I will add the caveat that I like to run my suspension pretty plush.

    The DRCV fork is great but to be honest I don't think it works any better than a non-DRCV fork that is tuned properly and has fresh seals & damper oil. (I say that because people always compare their old worn suspension to a new model - of course the new one feels better than your tired old kit.)

    But I really don't like the DRCV rear. I also have a 2008 Remedy 9 - back when the Remedy came with a Fox 36. With a shimmed HV or LV air can (or the DHX5 that I was running for awhile), I run the Remedy at ~30% sag, which I think is a good match for the 36 fork (which I find plusher than the 32-series forks). If I run 30% sag on the DRCV shock, it blows through the travel really quickly once the DRCV chamber opens. In order to not blow through the travel in the bottom 50% "DRCV open" part of the travel, I have to run the shock at a much higher PSI, which results in a harsher ride for the top 50% "DRCV closed" travel.

    Now many people like that "more efficient" pedaling and stiffer top end. I think that's the reason that many like DRCV. It feels like an efficient XC pedaler, but opens up on bigger hits and doesn't feel harsh. But for me, I ride a lot of rocky terrain and prefer a slightly plusher initial feel feel to soak up the choppy terrain, at the expense of less efficient pedalling on smoother terrain.

    So at the end of the day, I'll say that I think the DRCV shocks fit some riding styles well, but don't fit all riding styles. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't make riding suck or anything - and it makes a greater difference between my Scratch-like Remedy (DH bar/stem, Hadley/823 wheels, etc., 2.5 tires). But I really would prefer a slightly plusher feel on the EX also.

  5. #5
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    My area tends to be pretty rocky (Northern Cali) and the DRCV is sweet for soaking up the small and large stuff...

    Mtnbkaz makes a very solid point about worn shocks vs new DRCVs so it may be worth borrowing a demo Trek 2012 EX 5 and EX 8 so you can feel the difference (EX5s have reg shocks, EX8 are DRCV front and rear)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoingOffRoading View Post
    My area tends to be pretty rocky (Northern Cali) and the DRCV is sweet for soaking up the small and large stuff...
    DRCV can't "soak up" small and large stuff with the same tune - unless your definition of soak up is significantly different from mine - which was my point that DRCV is a good match for some riding styles/preferences but not for others.

    Think about it - no matter what pressure you're running, the volume of DRCV increases at 50% travel. So the spring rate will always be lower for the 2nd half of the shock stroke than the 1st half of the stroke. So if you set it up for a plush initial feel (what I would consider to "soak up" the rocks), once you hit 50% travel the shock rate drops and you will blow through the rest of your travel.

    If you increase the pressure so that you don't bottom out on bigger hits, by definition the first half of the travel will be harsher than a non-DRCV shock. Now from an individual rider's perspective, it may still be plush enough for your needs, but it is impossible for the first half of the travel of a DRCV shock to be as plush as the bottom half.

    I think DRCV works best for people who predominantly like a XC feel (for lack of a better term) with efficient pedaling but with the higher volume bottom end to soak up bigger bumps. If you prefer a plusher ride, you'll probably not be happy with DRCV.

    What would be interesting is seeing if Push can optimize this system for a better balance. I might look into that once my shock needs an overhaul.

  7. #7
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    I agree with mtnbkaz. I just got a 2012 Rumblefish with DRCV fork and shock. I set it up
    with 30% sag rear and 25% front. In normal riding conditions it works amazingly well but
    when you try to ride more aggressively (steep rollers, small drops or fast and rocky) the
    fork just blows through it's travel and bottoms hard. I don't notice the bottoming on the rear as much.

    Bumped up the fork pressure to 15% sag and the fork is harsh and STILL BOTTOMS sometimes.

    Called up Fox and the tech said "yup that's the way Trek designed it"
    He did tell me that I could put a regular Float air cartridge in there and throw the DRCV in the trash.

    I think I will go back to the 25% sag and see if I can get use to the different feel. If not I will deffinetly be swapping for a Float cartridge in.

    Maybe Trek designed the DRCV for riders where the trails are less steep and rocky?

    JP

  8. #8
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    Interesting discussion. I'm no engineer, but here's my amateur take. The volume does increase when the shock gets through 50% of its travel, but the pressure in the second chamber is going to be significantly higher. This is where Fox's engineers came in. I'm sure they did some math (to determine air chamber size, etc) to insure that the at 55% of shock stroke, the rate isn't significantly higher or lower than 45% of shock stroke. That was their objective anyway.... if the functional size of the air chamber changes, at the right moment, the whole shock will feel more linear and less progressive (than a single air chamber shock).

    If you are doing a bunch of jumping and big drops (6 foot plus? I mean real feet, not mtbr feet) then maybe you want more progressive feel.

  9. #9
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    I also agree with mtnbkaz. I have a 2010 Remedy (first year with DRCV rear) and find that in order to have a nice, plush ride on rougher terrain, I have to run more like 30% sag but I find that at the end of rides, my O-ring has slipped off the bottom of the shock. I don't feel harsh bottom outs but it would seem clear that I'm using all of my travel.

    I've been riding this bike for two full seasons now and love it but am always curious how it would compare to a non-DRCV set up.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfxc View Post
    Interesting discussion. I'm no engineer, but here's my amateur take. The volume does increase when the shock gets through 50% of its travel, but the pressure in the second chamber is going to be significantly higher. This is where Fox's engineers came in. I'm sure they did some math (to determine air chamber size, etc) to insure that the at 55% of shock stroke, the rate isn't significantly higher or lower than 45% of shock stroke. That was their objective anyway.... if the functional size of the air chamber changes, at the right moment, the whole shock will feel more linear and less progressive (than a single air chamber shock).

    If you are doing a bunch of jumping and big drops (6 foot plus? I mean real feet, not mtbr feet) then maybe you want more progressive feel.
    I am bottoming the fork on 3-4 foot drops(real feet) and I'm bottoming HARD. Also on steep rollers I'm hitting bottom. Trust me this fork bottoms WAY too easy at 25% sag. Bump it up to 15% and it bottoms a little less but it's way too harsh on everything else.
    This fork has ZERO Progression. It is a great fork for XC rides though when you start pushing harder that's when the lack of any progression shows. I really wish there was a way to add a little bottom out progression. The concept is good but I believe the execution is a little flawed.

    JP

  11. #11
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    I have a 2011 Rumblefish One. I have had the DRCV rear shock replaced (on warranty) once already and just took my bike back to the LBS because the shock propedal stopped working. The LBS says, the shock will likely go back to Fox.

    I like the feel of DRCV when it's working, but I have not had good luck with it's reliability.
    fesch
    Riding in snow is for the desperate.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfxc View Post
    Interesting discussion. I'm no engineer, but here's my amateur take. The volume does increase when the shock gets through 50% of its travel, but the pressure in the second chamber is going to be significantly higher. This is where Fox's engineers came in. I'm sure they did some math (to determine air chamber size, etc) to insure that the at 55% of shock stroke, the rate isn't significantly higher or lower than 45% of shock stroke. That was their objective anyway.... if the functional size of the air chamber changes, at the right moment, the whole shock will feel more linear and less progressive (than a single air chamber shock).

    If you are doing a bunch of jumping and big drops (6 foot plus? I mean real feet, not mtbr feet) then maybe you want more progressive feel.
    Maybe I'm misunderstanding the DRCV marketing, but I believe the DRCV chamber is connected to the main chamber. That means that as soon as the chamber opens, the air pressure is equalized between the chambers. So there is no magic voodoo for Fox engineers to work here. They just manufacture to Trek's design specs.

    My guess is that Trek designed the suspension with a focus on pedaling efficiency, realizing that 90% of their customers don't push the limits of suspension. For the 10% that do, DRCV isn't optimal.

    Edited to add:
    Don't take the DRCV criticism the wrong way - I love my EX. I think Trek nailed the designs on pretty much everything since adding ABP. And the slightly slacker angles and thru-axle front & rear on the 2012 are awesome. I just think I'd prefer a non-DRCV suspension to match my riding style & terrain.
    Last edited by mtnbkaz; 11-20-2011 at 06:44 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyPedals View Post
    I am bottoming the fork on 3-4 foot drops(real feet) and I'm bottoming HARD. Also on steep rollers I'm hitting bottom. Trust me this fork bottoms WAY too easy at 25% sag. Bump it up to 15% and it bottoms a little less but it's way too harsh on everything else.
    This fork has ZERO Progression. It is a great fork for XC rides though when you start pushing harder that's when the lack of any progression shows. I really wish there was a way to add a little bottom out progression. The concept is good but I believe the execution is a little flawed.

    JP
    It's possible to make a fork ramp up faster by adding fork oil to the air and damper chambers, effectively creating a smaller air chamber. I've never taken a fox fit/drcv fork apart though, so I wouldn't be sure where to add it. Normally Fox says to add 5cc to the air chamber to keep it lubed IIRC, so you could increase by 5cc until you get the progression you want.

  14. #14
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    Fox tech actually said that adding oil wouldn't work.I don't know why. I was told the only "fix" is to replace the DRCV cartridge with a standard Float air cartridge.

    JP

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyPedals View Post
    I am bottoming the fork on 3-4 foot drops(real feet) and I'm bottoming HARD. Also on steep rollers I'm hitting bottom. Trust me this fork bottoms WAY too easy at 25% sag. Bump it up to 15% and it bottoms a little less but it's way too harsh on everything else.
    This fork has ZERO Progression. It is a great fork for XC rides though when you start pushing harder that's when the lack of any progression shows. I really wish there was a way to add a little bottom out progression. The concept is good but I believe the execution is a little flawed.

    JP
    how does the rear feel on the 3-4 foot drops? i would say that's the max air im comfortable with on my current set up. im not too woried about the fork for now if i upgrade i will be upgrading to a tallas

  16. #16
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    The rear actually feels pretty good to me. I am definitely using all the travel but I never feel it bottoming.

    JP

  17. #17
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    I have a 2012 Remedy 9 and agree with JP and mtnbkaz. When riding slowly the suspension willingly uses its travel and feels plush. When you start going fast or it starts getting rough it feels too harsh and will skip around instead of maintaining traction. It does pedal and climb amazingly well but I bought this bike to get aggro on the descents.
    I'm disappointed because I demo'd the 2011 Remedy 9 and absolutely loved it. It felt perfect from the moment I jumped on. So plush and so much control. Didn't have to fiddle with a thing. On my 2012 no matter how much I fiddle I can't find the sweet spot.
    The 2011 had a DRCV rear shock and regular Fox Float fork ( with a custom trek tune).
    The 2011 rear shock felt so plush and bottomless so it can be done with DRCV and I assume it's a tuning issue with the new one.
    I have my new bike in the shop now and and they are checking oil levels etc. ( it is not leaking or losing pressure). I believe it is a tuning issue though.
    I am considering changing the fork cartridge to a regular float.
    Has anyone thought about removing the pin that activates the DRCV on the rear shock and just turning it into a virtual HV air canister? I talked to a suspension guy who said it is easily do-able but would it solve the problem?
    I do love everything else about the the bike though so hope I can get it sorted.

  18. #18
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    [QUOTE=Linkdog8;8802883
    Has anyone thought about removing the pin that activates the DRCV on the rear shock and just turning it into a virtual HV air canister? I talked to a suspension guy who said it is easily do-able but would it solve the problem?
    [/QUOTE]

    I'm thinking about doing that once the new bike smell has worn off. No data yet to prove this, but eye-balling it, I'm guessing that the volume of a fully open DRCV is somewhere between a standard and HV air can. A fixed volume should provide a consistent spring rate and be more tunable.

    Another option would be to fill in the DRCV chamber (not sure if this is possible yet), similar to how people add shims to the HV can to reduce the volume and tune the spring rate.

    Yet another possibility would be to cut the DRCV valve rod/pin to prevent it from opening, effectively eliminating it and treating the shock as a standard air can.

    For now, I'm just keeping my bike tuned more for XC and I take out the Remedy when I want a plusher ride (although my Remedy is setup more like a Scratch Air).

  19. #19
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    I think you described it best when you said " a fixed volume should provide a consistent spring rate."

    I took out a 2012 ex9 from my lbs for a blast this afternoon.
    It is nearly identical in spec to my remedy 9 except for tires and travel.
    I wanted to see if it suffered the same suspension issues.

    It did.
    The head mechanic has been riding it and he described the feel as " inconsistent" and that really does sum it up well.

    I am really tempted to swap the fork cartridge and remove the drcv bits from the rear shock but it is going to cost around $500 I'm guessing as once they pull them apart they have to replace all the fluids and seals anyway.

    Hopefully someone else does it first!
    I'll probably just keep riding it for now as it is still so fun to ride and it doesn't seem to slow me down anyway.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Linkdog8 View Post
    I am really tempted to swap the fork cartridge and remove the drcv bits from the rear shock but it is going to cost around $500
    $500?? I don't think it should be that much. No idea what the Fox air cartridges are going for these days, but last time I had to replace one, it was in the ~$120 range. If your seals are still good, you don't even have to rebuild the whole fork for that. It's a 5 minute job to pull the air spring, top off the fluids (they're just for lubrication on the air side - no damper to mess with), pressurize the chamber, and go.

    You could probably even sell the DRCV internals to someone who bought an EX8 to cover the entire cost. For that matter, peel off the DRCV sticker from the fork to go with the cartridge if someone wants it.

  21. #21
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    @mtnbkaz - How do you "tune” a rear shock? Can my LBS do it? As @Linkdog8 said the 2011 he demoed had a properly tuned shock. @cowboypilot says the same thing about a 2011 and others have said that it works great.

    I have posted more about my issues on the DRCV problems as well. My bike is a 2012 Remedy 9.8.

    Mark

  22. #22
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    I had the same problems with my DRCV shock on my '10 Remedy.
    Had to ride at +30% sag to be plush but then it blew through travel to easily.
    Since I installed RWC needle bearing kit instead of DU bushings on lower mount, the shock is more plusher and I ride now with 15 psi more pressure, which helps with bottoming.
    Stock DU bushings were so tight that it was causing huge amount of restriction ...

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mark747 View Post
    @mtnbkaz - How do you "tune” a rear shock? Can my LBS do it? As @Linkdog8 said the 2011 he demoed had a properly tuned shock. @cowboypilot says the same thing about a 2011 and others have said that it works great.

    I have posted more about my issues on the DRCV problems as well. My bike is a 2012 Remedy 9.8.

    Mark
    Tuning can mean multiple things. In this thread, "setup" is probably a better term for what I've been talking about rather than "tune" since we're mostly referring to properly setting up air pressure for a shock. (And the challenges of doing that when the spring rate changes 50% into your shock stroke.) Setup is also subjective, which is why some people have no issues with the way DRCV works and others do. A firm suspension setup to me, may feel too plush to you.

    True "tuning" usually refers to the internal valving of the compression & rebound circuits in the shock. In general, all rear shocks are factory tuned to try to match the characteristics of the suspension design (rising rate, falling rate, compression ratio, etc.). Most bike companies market this as "custom-tuned suspension" but it's really just matching an out-of-the box tune from Fox to match the design characteristics of the frame. If you look on a Fox shock, there is a sticker indicating the stock tune for the compression and rebound circuits. (E.g., on my 2012 EX, the compression sticker indicates "L" for low compression, rebound indicates "M" for medium rebound damping. A different bike might use a stock Fox shock with a "M" compression and "H" rebound tune.)

    Companies like Push can modify the internals to customize the compression damping to match your riding style/preferences, but local shops generally can't do this. (Many local shops don't even change shock seals in house.)

  24. #24
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    Hi, I came across your post about possibly removing the DRCV plunger on your fox shock to basically create a HV canister that would be more tunable than the DRCV. I have a Gary Fisher Rumblefish and my riding is leaning more toward AM and light DH for which the DRCV shock is really no good. If I had been a little more knowledgable about the design of this shock and the lack of upgrade options due to the side mount design I never would have purchased the bike but too late now.
    So have you tried this yet? I have had my bike for 3 years now and am willing to be a guinea pig on this one but would like some extra input before I possibly render my shock a paper weight haha. I do all my own work and am pretty familiar with the workings of this shock so let me know what you think, thanks.

  25. #25
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    I did pull the DRCV valve from my shock. It's really easy to do - it's just a plunger rod held captive by a spring and c-clip.

    The DRCV chamber is much higher volume than I would have guessed. Running in HV mode makes a more consistent spring curve but you still need to run the same high pressure for bottom-out resistance (that didn't change from the original shock of course). In HV mode, I get a lot of pedal bob with pro-pedal wide open but running it in the middle pro-pedal setting works well.

    What I want to do (kind of haven't thought of this for awhile so thanks for the reminder) is find something like a block of hard rubber that I can shape to fill up the DRCV chamber, effectively reducing the air volume. That should allow running a lower air pressure which I think will work better for my riding style.

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