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  1. #1
    No, that's not phonetic
    Reputation: tscheezy's Avatar
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    We the people ... I tried a Swinger 3-Way Air on my Spot.

    Barny and I met up with DGC in Auburn on our way down to SF and we hooked up for a nice ride. He was kind enough to bring a 3 way air along and I slapped it on. The riding was on very smooth packed dirt with some imbedded rocks for the climbing sections, and the descents were generally similar to the climbs or very choppy bedrock outcrops and loose rock. The trails were a mix of singletrack and doubletrack and many were motorcycle trails and had numerous jumps in them. DGC went first and I did my best to keep up despite being on tires I had never ridden before (Barny's Schwalbe King Jims) and being unfamiliar with the trails.

    I started out with DGC's SPV valve pressure of about 30psi. The normal range for the SPV chamber is about 50-175psi I think, so he was below the normal range of "soft". The shock showed no filtering at all and was too active for standing pedaling for my taste (and I like an active shock), so we bumped the SPV up to about 70psi (I think). We left it there for the rest of the ride. Sag for each shock was similar. I run the minimum reload on my Romic coil, medium-slow rebound.

    Seated climbing was similar to my Romic set with the "bob-knob" set at full soft (out: counter-clockwise). This is where I leave the shock set almost all the time. The only time I add 5-6 clicks of compression dampening to the Romic is if I am going to climb on roads for many miles, and even then I often don't bother. I don't see a need. I sensed some rocks going by under the bike with the Swinger, but the shock reacted to the small stuff adequately. It was perhaps slightly less active than the Romic, but without riding them both back-to-back on the same trail, it is hard to compare. The feel was similar though the shock did seem to "lock and unlock" as the SPV chamber decided to react or not to each bump in a very subtle way. This was extremely mild, though perhaps less fluid than the Romic's valving.

    Interestingly, when I stood and spun or mashed a gear, the shock seemed more active than the romic. It exhibitited about twice the movement as the Romic would under similar circumstances. For instance, if the romic would have moved 1/8" at the shaft, the Swinger seemed to move about 1/4". This was my initial impression for standing climbing. I thought about adding more SPV at this point, but decided to wait until after a descent to see if it was smooth enough on the downhills first. Frankly after this first surprise at the amount of shock movement, I forgot about it and the shock seemed to be more Romic-like during standing efforts.

    The shock's real strength is on descents. It is even smoother and does a better job controlling deep compressions than the Romic. Wild, huh? It has a very smooth stroke and the bottoming control is excellent. The initial stroke was as supple, or more so, than my Romic, yet with the SPV it resists bottoming easily. It is like they took the dampening which makes the Romic so nice on medium to big hits, and amplified the benefit of that behavior even more. It really has a wonderful, buttery feel at speed and I would not hesitate to say it handled the rough stuff even better than my coil.

    I cannot account for the different feels the Swinger exhibits between seated and standing pedaling. It is adequately dampened not to bob at all when seated, but the SPV seems to be easily overcome when standing (at the pressure I ran anyway). DGC said it was valved for a lower leverage ratio than my bike has, so that may have been part of it. I should have tried a higher SPV valve pressure at the time, but the behavior was not annoying enough to take action and I rarely stand to climb, and the descending was so good I didn't want to mess with it at that point. The Swinger exhibits a little more of an "on/off" feel than the Romic does, but it is not overly obvious. The Romic seems to transition more smoothly in and out of filtering dampening so you don't notice it happening. DGC mentioned that the 4-Way may have a slightly greater platform effect than the 3-Way does.

    Take all my comments with a grain of salt as I only spent about 90 minutes on the shock and didn't go through a very large range of settings, but based on my short ride I thought the shock was very well suited for the bike assuming the rider is not obsessed with eliminating all shock movement. At that point I'd get a 5th Air which has a VERY aggressive platform effect, based on the behavior I saw on the Yeti 575 I rode.

    Big thanks to DGC for playing guide for the morning. It was great to finally meet him and get a chance to take a spin together.

    See ya,
    tscheezy
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  2. #2
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    tscheezy,

    Knowing that you were going to ride with DGC I've patiently waited for this review. And as always you've provided a detailed and in-depth review. Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by tscheezy
    It is even smoother and does a better job controlling deep compressions than the Romic. Wild, huh? It has a very smooth stroke and the bottoming control is excellent. The initial stroke was as supple, or more so, than my Romic, yet with the SPV it resists bottoming easily. It is like they took the dampening which makes the Romic so nice on medium to big hits, and amplified the benefit of that behavior even more. It really has a wonderful, buttery feel at speed and I would not hesitate to say it handled the rough stuff even better than my coil.
    Knowing what I know of your technical prowess, I don't think I'd believe this if it wasn't coming from you. Very surprising to say the least.

    Quote Originally Posted by tscheezy
    DGC mentioned that the 4-Way may have a slightly greater platform effect than the 3-Way does.
    So America wants to know. Are you sold? Did you order one? Perhaps the 4-Way?

    Take it easy,
    Crash

  3. #3
    Lay off the Levers
    Reputation: Bikezilla's Avatar
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    Many thanks for the analysis!

    Food for thought indeed. I think in the very least could make a great backup for the Romic...and might not come off so quickly after the switch.
    Faster is better, even when it's not.

  4. #4
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    Tscheezy, I always respect your reviews and I was eagerly awaiting your comments about the Swinger 3-Way. I am leaving town in 10 days, so I am going to use that down time to send my Vanilla RC in to Darren at Push. I hope that the results are nearly as impressive as your take on the Swingers 3-way!

    -Ryan
    Last edited by bikerx40; 04-04-2004 at 12:53 PM.
    I stopped driving my bike into my garage - I'm now protected with Roof Rack Ranger app for my iPhone.

  5. #5
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    @ Tscheezy :

    Nice review! Do you know which version of the 3-way you tried? IIRC they make two versions, one with a higher air volume.

  6. #6
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    Air or coil?

    Sorry to sound stupid, but is the Swinger you tried a coil or air?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by blippo_uk
    Sorry to sound stupid, but is the Swinger you tried a coil or air?
    "I tried a Swinger 3-way Air on my Spot"

    My guess is, it's an air shock

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve71
    "I tried a Swinger 3-way Air on my Spot"

    My guess is, it's an air shock
    LOL, sorry its just gone midnight here in the UK. Missed that didn't I

  9. #9
    No, that's not phonetic
    Reputation: tscheezy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve71
    Do you know which version of the 3-way you tried? IIRC they make two versions, one with a higher air volume.
    I'm not positive and was wondering the same thing, but I think the longer stroke ones are twin tube. I asked DGC and he was not sure either, but we both surmized the larger volume version. I don't know if there are any markings on the outside where you can tell the difference.

    As for Blippo_UK, I tried a Swinger 4-Way coil on a Gemini, and even though the Spot and Gemini are quite differnent bikes, I could tell the SPV system was similarly executed. This surprised me since I figured the Manitou air would be more like the 5th Element air than the Manitou coil, but the opposite seemed true. The 5th air had a very aggressive platform while the two Manitous had a more moderate effect.

    tscheezy
    Last edited by tscheezy; 04-04-2004 at 09:53 PM.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve3
    Now that Supergo is rolling out those 3 way equipped Burners, I wonder what the results of that would be. Hope someone reviews one soon. The other issue that was brought up by Tscheezy's post was that the shock was not valved specifically for the bike. This makes me wonder if the 3 way shocks for the Burners are tuned for it. I thought the shocks were supplied by Supergo, if I'm not mistaken.
    I got the Burner with the Fox RL, but I'm getting a 3-way, hopefuly sometime this week. I'll post a review when I get a chance.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by tscheezy
    I'm not positive and was wondering the same thing, but I think the longer stroke ones are twin tube. I asked DGC and he was not sure either, but we both surmized the larger volume version. I don't know if there are any markings on the outside where you can tell the difference.

    As for Blippo_UK, I tried a Swinger 4-Way coil on a Gemini, and even though the Spot and Gemini are quite differnent bikes, I could tell the SPV system was similarly executed. This surprised me since I figured the Manitou air would be more like the 5th Element air than the Manitou coil, but the opposite seemed true. The 5th air had a very aggressive platform while the two Manitous had a more moderate effect.

    tscheezy
    I'm not sure which sizes are available but I know Answer doesn't make a twin tube 7.87x2 to fit my bike. The 5th Air has a higher platform threshold than the Swingers. How did you like the Big Jims?

  12. #12
    No, that's not phonetic
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homebrew
    I'm not sure which sizes are available but I know Answer doesn't make a twin tube 7.87x2 to fit my bike. The 5th Air has a higher platform threshold than the Swingers. How did you like the Big Jims?
    Interesting. Perhaps it was a single tube. I thought the 1.5" stroke shock was the only one too short to do the twin tube thing. You could be right though...

    I liked the Jims a lot. It was my first time on them. I wasn't sure what the trail would be like and thought it may be soft, and those are Barny's mud tires (err... everyday tires) at home. When I realized the trails would be firmly packed and very rocky, I was worried about squirm from the tall/narrow knobs, and pinches from the small casings, but they handled extremely well. No squirm, they grip well, roll fast, they're light, and generally were a pleasure to ride. I think I'll try them some more when I get home.

    tscheezy
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  13. #13
    No, that's not phonetic
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    Goddamndoublepostcrap.

    tscheezy
    Last edited by tscheezy; 04-05-2004 at 09:30 AM.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  14. #14
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    Was the weight, or rather the lack of it, noticable?

  15. #15
    No, that's not phonetic
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrashTheDOG
    Was the weight, or rather the lack of it, noticable?
    Sort of. I was paying close attention to the shock's behavior, but not so closely to the overall bike. I guess it was lighter overall due to the tires being lighter than anything I had mounted in a few thousand miles, and losing a pound plus from the shock, but it did not feel like a revelation. Peppier, but not mind-blowing.

    And yes, Ventanarama is getting me a 3-Way. Better get your wife used to the idea that you NEED a backup shock, eh?

    tscheezy
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by tscheezy
    ....... but I think the longer stroke [3-way Air] are twin tube. I asked DGC and he was not sure either, but we both surmized the larger volume version. I don't know if there are any markings on the outside where you can tell the difference.
    I spoke to Manitou today. They told me that the "twin tube" version is going to be a 2005 product, it doesn't exist yet.

    BTW the guy I was talking to from Manitou rides a Turner Afterburner

  17. #17
    No, that's not phonetic
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve71
    the "twin tube" version is going to be a 2005 product, it doesn't exist yet.
    That pretty much clears that up. I wonder if a less progressive spring rate curve would actually be a good thing at this point. It seems like you would have a higher initial pressure to control the deeper end of the stroke. The current shock felt pretty good to me.

    tscheezy
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

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