Air vs Coil, and go....- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Air vs Coil, and go....

    This is my last season on my 2014 5010C as my primary (and right now, only) whip. I've mod'd it out in most parts except suspension. So before I upgrade to a new bike, I thought I'd play with the suspension this season. Namingly coils.

    I live in Marin County, CA and trail riding is 90% of my jam. So what I'm looking for is SMALL BUMP COMPLIANCE. my air system takes the medium stuff pretty good. But I get rattled on the small stuff pretty much at any speed. If I could get down Schultz at Annadel without my hands getting numb I'd be tickled.

    I can pick up a Cane Creek DB CS coil on Pinkbike for $300 which seems pretty good. I'll have to buy a new spring for my weight (140lbs). Not sure about what I could put up front without spending $$.

    Thoughts? Air vs Coil, and go....-p4pb15814102.jpg

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  2. #2
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    That bike is not supposed to be plush over rough terrain. Get a Bronson if thatís what you are looking for.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBoardman View Post
    That bike is not supposed to be plush over rough terrain. Get a Bronson if thatís what you are looking for.
    I guess you missed this part of the post:

    "So before I upgrade to a new bike, I thought I'd play with the suspension this season. Namingly coils."
    Veni vidi velo!

  4. #4
    jms
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    First, is it the fork, shock or your riding position that's responsible for your hands going numb on the bike, and why? Maybe determine that first? Wheels and tires can have an effect on that too. CCDB's are amazingly tuneable shocks - it's all just a big kinetic puzzle - have fun playing with the pieces!
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jms View Post
    First, is it the fork, shock or your riding position that's responsible for your hands going numb on the bike, and why? Maybe determine that first? Wheels and tires can have an effect on that too. CCDB's are amazingly tuneable shocks - it's all just a big kinetic puzzle - have fun playing with the pieces!
    They don't actually go numb, I was exaggerating, I'm just looking for a plusher ride overall.

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  6. #6
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    Shock isn't going to help your hands. I have both that I switch between for a lot of Marin trails. Shock has less effect because of your legs.

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    Yeah, sounds to me like you'd be more interested in something like the Push ACS3 conversion kit.

  8. #8
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    cane creek sucks

  9. #9
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    I swapped out a 160 Monarch+ RC3 with a 170 DHX2. The coil is harder (for me) to tune but it Ďfeelsí really nice to me (not a tuner- just a parts swapper). I have convinced myself that itís Ďplusherí but mainly I just ride.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cassieno View Post
    Shock isn't going to help your hands. I have both that I switch between for a lot of Marin trails. Shock has less effect because of your legs.
    Care to elaborate a bit on some differences? Not alot of us have $ to use both air and coil on 1 bike(?). Your opinion is helpful, or have you posted in Suspension forum in regards to air vs coil? Thanks. Novato style with loooooong DH's ? Or More Southern Marin popular trails?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by veloborealis View Post
    I guess you missed this part of the post:

    "So before I upgrade to a new bike, I thought I'd play with the suspension this season. Namingly coils."
    Ok, then here is my honest opinion.

    I do not think the OP should spend money upgrading an older bikeís suspension, because the difference on a short travel trail bike will be insignificant. He should save his money and be that much closer to upgrading to a completely new bike with better suspension and updated geometry.

    And if thatís not helpful enough... I personally do not plan on running a coil shock again. Been there done that, and I personally did not like itís more linear nature.


  12. #12
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    If you weigh 140lbs why do you think you need a coil for small bump compliance?

  13. #13
    NRP
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    Wouldn't speeding up rebound help with harshness over higher speed chatter?

  14. #14
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    Install volume reducers an lower air pressure a bit, oh and service your fork and shock, can make a huge difference, I just installed some tokens for my fork and volume reducers for my shock, as well as changing the oil on my fork and its f#**ing awesome, it a cheap mod as well

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  15. #15
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    Air vs Coil, and go....

    Quote Originally Posted by hoolie View Post
    Care to elaborate a bit on some differences? Not alot of us have $ to use both air and coil on 1 bike(?). Your opinion is helpful, or have you posted in Suspension forum in regards to air vs coil? Thanks. Novato style with loooooong DH's ? Or More Southern Marin popular trails?
    I'll play.....

    I live in Novato, grew up in Novato, and ride everything across Marin.

    My bike is a a guerrilla gravity trail pistol, which is a short travel 29er.


    I have 3 shocks for my trail pistol. This is how I feel about them.

    Cane creek dbcoil inline 450 lbs spring:

    Very good initial stroke but has a bit of a dead feeling in the mid and high speed hits. I don't run this shock because it just tends to sit too low in the travel for my liking. I also feel like it doesn't recover as well from successive hits.

    RockShox super deluxe coil 450 lbs spring:

    Firm initially with good mid and high speed support. It does take a lot of small trail chatter out of the equation. This shock definitely doesn't have nearly as wide of a range of adjustment but works very well for me.

    RockShox deluxe air 195psi,
    1 volume spacer:

    This shocks damping feels similar to the deluxe coil (expected), it is firm initially with a nice progressive spring curve. It also rides higher in its travel but works very well for me and my trails. I feel a lot more of the small chatter and bumps but I'm ok with that. This shock is on my bike 90% of the time.

    For reference the bike is always in crush mode and has 130mm lyrik.

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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by cassieno View Post
    Shock isn't going to help your hands. I have both that I switch between for a lot of Marin trails. Shock has less effect because of your legs.
    That's true, but 70% of the weight is on your pedals, and easier to lean back to relieve your hands. I'm in the coil camp, quiet, grippy, and comfortable. Often air to coil users miss the poppy feeling of an air shock. That's because an air shock ramps up (and rebounds), coils don't do that, they feel more 'dead'. But to me, it helps me go faster, because I can keep the bike on the line I want. Sure if I want to bunny hop or lighten the bike for a bump I have to use more body english to do so.
    NB, I have four shocks for my bike, Fox CTD, RS Monarch Plus RC3, CC Inline Air CS and Ohlins TTX. The only time the Ohlins gets a break is when it's being serviced, then I'm reminded why I don't like air shocks (the CTD was a particularly terrible shock).

  17. #17
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    The biggest factor for me in regards to numb hands is brake lever position.

  18. #18
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    Numb hands / arm pump on a mountain bike is also from lack of working out those muscles.

    When I used to ride moto regularly I would laugh at anyone complaining about sore hands at the bottom of long DHs. Now that Iíve been exclusively on my mountain bike for the last 2 years, (and not working out in a gym) I definitely feel it on any DHs longer than 3 minutes or so.

  19. #19
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    ^^^ Yep. Find a pull up bar and hang for a few minutes everyday. After a month youíll have hands like vice grips.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    The biggest factor for me in regards to numb hands is brake lever position.
    I swear I got numb hands changing from an alloy handlebar to a carbon one. I know carbon is stiff, but I never got the numbness with my old bars. Pretty sure my hand position was the same too.

  21. #21
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    Although I've never tried it and am definitely not an expert, putting a coil on a 5010 just doesn't make sense to me especially for the trails you typically ride - you've got a super playful, agile, and efficient bike that is probably ideal for the relatively tame trails it is typically ridden on - putting a coil on it will take away from the poppy, playful feel of that bike and I don't think the leverage ratios match up you will probably have to compromise the setup to avoid bottoming out

    I think you are much better off putting the resources toward servicing the current suspension / pivots and maybe playing around with your rebound settings to get a plusher feel - especially since it sounds like you don't intend to use the bike much longer

  22. #22
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    Coil all week and on the weekends.

  23. #23
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    Little twin, good insights. Contrasts with RBoardman. I really need to just try a demo bike with a coil, then air shock.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoolie View Post
    Little twin, good insights. Contrasts with RBoardman. I really need to just try a demo bike with a coil, then air shock.
    I don't think our feelings are too far apart. With a coil everything needs to be right. The bike needs to have a leverage curve that plays nice with the linear nature of a coil spring, the shock needs to have enough damping to control compression and rebound, and the rider needs to have the proper expectation.

    Briefly touching on point number two above, damping. Too often in this industry I see people using the spring to control shock compression and bottom out. In motorsports the spring is simply to keep the vehicle and rider in the ideal static position, compression and rebound circuits control the rest. While this isn't entirely applicable in mountain bikes it still has some merit and really should be considered more than it is.


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  25. #25
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    I came from a similar situation. Trying to make a bike without great small bump compliance, more "compliant". Mine is an Intense Recluse and it was terrible on small bump. I was able to get it much better by tuning the shim stack to try and soften that initial hit. But eventually went to a coil and have never looked back. I absolutely love the bike with a coil, but each person will have a differing opinion.

    At the end of the day you will only improve it so much, as the linkage curve is going to dictate a large portion, and you arent going to change that.

  26. #26
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    What shock is currently on your bike? If it's one of those older Fox pro-pedal shocks (Float CTD, RP?? etc.) - those were plain terrible. I had 2 bikes with those, ended up sending both of them to PUSH, and they were only slightly less terrible when they came back.

    Modern air shocks have a way better, both the air-spring and the damping. Picking up a cheap used DPS/Monarch would be a worthy upgrade without having to go coil.

  27. #27
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    Coil will definitely help small bump compliance. The fact that it's a 5010 and doesn't have a ton of travel doesn't change the fact that first couple inches of travel is a lot more supple with a coil than air is. I've run Monarchs, Cane Creeks, Ohlins and have put great effort into dialing in each shock. The coils stick to the ground and are much smoother in the early parts of travel.

  28. #28
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    I just switched to a coil on my new bike. It's quite the noticeable difference over the bumps, but it's a push eleven six which costs half of some bikes I guess.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    If you weigh 140lbs why do you think you need a coil for small bump compliance?
    I don't. I'm just curious about the differences between the two.

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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstrkrft69 View Post
    I don't. I'm just curious about the differences between the two.

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    I'm no expert, but I would think increasing rider weight would show the differences more in the bumps as deeper in the range the coil is supposed to be more linear than the air shock? For me, I weigh 190lbs and the coil just feels like I'm jumping on a waterbed, very muted and not springy at all. But in all honesty, I never took the time to truly examine this, I should.

  31. #31
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    Coil will beat air every single time in initial stroke suppleness.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by R_Pierce View Post
    Coil will beat air every single time in initial stroke suppleness.
    Good to know. I tend to care more about jumping than small bumps.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    Good to know. I tend to care more about jumping than small bumps.
    I noticed you said it feels like jumping on a water bed. Are you running the correct spring rate? If so, maybe try going up to the next highest rate? Coils will definitely not be as "poppy" as an air shock, but thats what makes them more supple. Definitely a different feel between the two.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by R_Pierce View Post
    I noticed you said it feels like jumping on a water bed. Are you running the correct spring rate? If so, maybe try going up to the next highest rate? Coils will definitely not be as "poppy" as an air shock, but thats what makes them more supple. Definitely a different feel between the two.
    I honestly haven't explored it very much as I've been happy with my air shock. But I should.....

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by R_Pierce View Post
    Coil will beat air every single time in initial stroke suppleness.
    Unless you have to run a spring so stiff because your bike is not progressive and you donít want to bottom out on every aggressive compression.

  36. #36
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    Ok, I can comment quite a bit on coil vs air as I swap often but I really want to bring a few things to the OPís attention first as there is probably a much better use for your money than a coil.
    1) are you riding flats or clipped in? (Iím not going to use the term clippless as itís confusing) If clips I think you should spend a month riding flats. A lot of clipped in riders donít understand how to properly pump their legs, keep their heels down and absorb the trail. You can go back to clips after your form is dialed in, and you can jump comfortably in flats. My advice would be to buy Five10 shoes and race face Chester pedals. This will do more for your riding than any coil.
    2) If thatís not the issue, get your fork serviced and maybe setup professionally. $100 service on a fork will do more for hand shake than a new rear shock. But it sounds like you need to get some of the weight off your hands and stop expecting the bike to do all the work for you. Youíve got a 130mm fork, and a 500mm suspension system in your legs.
    3) Finally, consider replacing your bearings. Thatís a 2014 bike and Iíll bet the bearings are blown by now. If you are ever wondering why new bikes feel so smooth itís because the have fresh bearings and a new shock. You can get 95% of the new bike feeling with new bearings and a fork/shock service.

    .... if all this isnít scratching the new bike part itch than yeah a coil will be a little better with small bump compliance they often have a nice dampened planted feeling when tuned perfectly. The problem some people already mentioned is that harsh feeling of the 5010 is sort of built into that design. But fiddling is fun so go for it if you want, but please at least try flats if you are bouncing around those trails in carbon soled spdís.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dpca10 View Post
    Ok, I can comment quite a bit on coil vs air as I swap often but I really want to bring a few things to the OPís attention first as there is probably a much better use for your money than a coil.
    1) are you riding flats or clipped in? (Iím not going to use the term clippless as itís confusing) If clips I think you should spend a month riding flats. A lot of clipped in riders donít understand how to properly pump their legs, keep their heels down and absorb the trail. You can go back to clips after your form is dialed in, and you can jump comfortably in flats. My advice would be to buy Five10 shoes and race face Chester pedals. This will do more for your riding than any coil.
    2) If thatís not the issue, get your fork serviced and maybe setup professionally. $100 service on a fork will do more for hand shake than a new rear shock. But it sounds like you need to get some of the weight off your hands and stop expecting the bike to do all the work for you. Youíve got a 130mm fork, and a 500mm suspension system in your legs.
    3) Finally, consider replacing your bearings. Thatís a 2014 bike and Iíll bet the bearings are blown by now. If you are ever wondering why new bikes feel so smooth itís because the have fresh bearings and a new shock. You can get 95% of the new bike feeling with new bearings and a fork/shock service.

    .... if all this isnít scratching the new bike part itch than yeah a coil will be a little better with small bump compliance they often have a nice dampened planted feeling when tuned perfectly. The problem some people already mentioned is that harsh feeling of the 5010 is sort of built into that design. But fiddling is fun so go for it if you want, but please at least try flats if you are bouncing around those trails in carbon soled spdís.
    This is the most logical post Iíve read on mtbr in a while.

  38. #38
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    Air shocks are so good nowadays with the large negative chambers that the small bump compliance ain't that big of a deal anymore. It's even gotten to the point where if you dont weigh enough, you actually get negative travel with the chambers that big. Might want to check your setup and make sure you are running the right amount of air in the main chamber and maybe run less compression damping so that you'll ride higher in the travel and in the sweet spot. Also maybe faster rebound as if you're feeling like your teeth is falling out, might be suspension packing.

    That said, going back between air and coil, i find the air to be much better as there is more support for when things get REALLY rough. The extra support means you can hit shit harder without blowing through the travel. That coupled with the weight savings makes the bike easier to throw around as well. If you can throw your bike over a the thing, then the thing is not there...Keep in mind like someone mentioned earlier, some frames are probably not going to play well with a coil due to the leverage curve... I've no idea what the 2014 5010 is like but i'm more likely to bet that it's got a regressive leverage curve before getting progressive somewhere in the middle meaning if you do go coil and unless are going to be oversprung, you're probably going to be riding deep into the travel a lot...

    Here's my thoughts on going between a Vivid Air and Vivid Coil on my 2014 Park Operator. Quite a different bike but the leverage curve on that bike is sorta similar i think with a regressive curve to the sag at 33% and then progressive.


  39. #39
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    I haven't watched your video yet. But, what I think is interesting is that a lot of DH riders are still using air for the extra support when you hit shit hard, but enduro riders are switching to coils.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by cassieno View Post
    I haven't watched your video yet. But, what I think is interesting is that a lot of DH riders are still using air for the extra support when you hit shit hard, but enduro riders are switching to coils.
    And then you have teams that have riders on the exact same bikes, using both... Like Intense for example. Gwin and Mulally run air, Moir runs coil.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by cassieno View Post
    I haven't watched your video yet. But, what I think is interesting is that a lot of DH riders are still using air for the extra support when you hit shit hard, but enduro riders are switching to coils.
    That's because you can't change parts in an Enduro race. So coils can go much longer* without a service. Whereas at a World Cup DH race, in theory the shock only has to last until the bottom and it can be changed. Also over the course of several days, temperature and elevation can affect an air shock more than a coil shock, so that removes one variable.
    *Please service your suspension.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstrkrft69 View Post
    This is my last season on my 2014 5010C as my primary (and right now, only) whip. I've mod'd it out in most parts except suspension. So before I upgrade to a new bike, I thought I'd play with the suspension this season. Namingly coils.

    I live in Marin County, CA and trail riding is 90% of my jam. So what I'm looking for is SMALL BUMP COMPLIANCE. my air system takes the medium stuff pretty good. But I get rattled on the small stuff pretty much at any speed. If I could get down Schultz at Annadel without my hands getting numb I'd be tickled.

    I can pick up a Cane Creek DB CS coil on Pinkbike for $300 which seems pretty good. I'll have to buy a new spring for my weight (140lbs). Not sure about what I could put up front without spending $$.

    Thoughts? Click image for larger version. 

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    As mentioned above and from my inquiries on putting a coil on my 5010(v2.1 same weight as you)they're really not designed for one and provide more cons than pros doing so.

    As for numb hands not sure the shock has much to do with that. Do you get in fingers or palm etc?Could be fork,grips,lever position,bar width/height or combination there of.

    Besides all that, Schultz is one of the smoothest trails to go down in Annadel!
    Last edited by JMac47; 6 Days Ago at 12:26 PM. Reason: Typo
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  43. #43
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    I've owned a handful of bikes where I've swapped between air and coil shocks and forks on the same bike.

    - Coil has generally felt better in terms of small bump compliance. Coil shocks/forks have less seals and therefore less friction.
    - Fork chassis matters. My current air fork has better small bump compliance than my coil converted fork due to less stiction in the chassis. The winning combo is a coil spring in a low stiction chassis.
    - Not all coil shocks/forks are the same - damping architecture and valving for your weight/frame/riding style matters in multiple terms, including how much small bump compliance benefit you get.
    - I like to match the front and rear wheel rate for handling balance. In other words since your fork has a linear leverage rate, if your rear has a linear leverage rate use the same spring type on either end. If the rear has a rising/falling rate to make an air shock feel linear, consider coil on the front and air in the rear.

  44. #44
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    Whomever is saying that 130mm isn't enough for a coil shock is bat-sh*t-crazy.

    It's great on a coil, and I'd argue that some of the shorter travel "down country" or whatever they are calling them bikes are perfect candidates for something like a CC coil in-line. They should have this option from the factory, if they are in fact really "down country".

    The choppier and rougher the terrain is, the more the coil really shines. On hard bermed trails where you are constantly loading the frame bike for preload, air works very well and tends to be my preference, but on a real epic ride on varying trails, with rocks, roots, and everything, I'd rather be on the coil every day and sunday. The only exception is when the manufacturer has put a big air can on there combined with flat mid-stroke leverage, which makes it blow through the travel on the harder bermed trails, but any manufacturer that knows what they are doing avoids this. I have to wonder if some people have actually ridden coil bikes that are discussing this. As an example, I was riding in the tech Prescott "dells" a few weeks ago and I noticed on my 29er with beefy grippy tires that I just didn't have the traction of a coil setup. It was significantly harder to "hook" up on a climb or power-stroke due to the rear shock not being able to react like a coil shock, even though it was a nice tuned air shock that works fine out on the trail. Coil shocks still move much easier and they will absorb high speed (sharp edged) hits much better. Most of the higher end coil shocks tend to have more tuning options, although this has changed somewhat in recent years with stuff like the DHX2 float, but you aren't going to put that on a lighter trail rig usually anyway.

    Coil pedals a little more "soggy" due to the lack of stiction that makes it so much better on the high-speed hits, so you rely more on having a good suspension design to start with, otherwise some of the low anti-squat bikes will really bog down with a coil shock when trying to pedal uphill.

    But to suggest that 130mm is too "short" for a coil is insanity. As good as air shocks are, they aren't "that" good as to overcome the benefits of a coil for bump absorption.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  45. #45
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    You have a plethora of bike knowledge but in this case the OP is inquiring specifaclly about the 5010. And I'm sure more people are putting the x2 on them vs coil with better results, especially to keep decent climbing traits, wouldn't you agree?
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

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    Quote Originally Posted by JMac47 View Post
    You have a plethora of bike knowledge but in this case the OP is inquiring specifaclly about the 5010. And I'm sure more people are putting the x2 on them vs coil with better results, especially to keep decent climbing traits, wouldn't you agree?
    I assume you mean dpx2?
    Because fox also makes a float x2, and the dhx2.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JMac47 View Post
    You have a plethora of bike knowledge but in this case the OP is inquiring specifaclly about the 5010. And I'm sure more people are putting the x2 on them vs coil with better results, especially to keep decent climbing traits, wouldn't you agree?
    Actually the 5010 has a regressive/progressive leverage ratio which performs better with a coil than it does an air shock.

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    Quote Originally Posted by djjohnr View Post
    Actually the 5010 has a regressive/progressive leverage ratio which performs better with a coil than it does an air shock.
    First I've heard of that....
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

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    Quote Originally Posted by RBoardman View Post
    I assume you mean dpx2?
    Because fox also makes a float x2, and the dhx2.
    Yeah. Just generalizing on the piggyback shock upgrade.
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

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    Quote Originally Posted by JMac47 View Post
    First I've heard of that....
    Santa Cruz 5010 2016 - Linkage Design

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    Quote Originally Posted by djjohnr View Post
    Actually the 5010 has a regressive/progressive leverage ratio which performs better with a coil than it does an air shock.
    i would think that would not be a good match as you'd get a wallowy midstroke and blow through the travel unless you're running a high spring rate

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrpercussive View Post
    i would think that would not be a good match as you'd get a wallowy midstroke and blow through the travel unless you're running a high spring rate
    The leverage rate of that frame is very similar to the force/travel curve of an air shock - regressive to progressive. The result is you're basically doubling down on that with an air shock - you wind up with something that's very stiff at top-out, wallows in the middle, and ramps up really hard at the end of travel. The linear progressivity of a coil spring will result in less wallowing and won't run into a wall of ramp up like an air shock would on that frame. The leverage rate of that frame has ~20% progressivity AFTER sag point, so you wouldn't need to run a really stiff spring to prevent bottom out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by djjohnr View Post
    Actually the 5010 has a regressive/progressive leverage ratio which performs better with a coil than it does an air shock.
    Um...no. It is only very slightly progressive overall, nearly flat, which by itself is bad for a coil shock, and then at the end of travel it tapers off and goes regressive, which is alsol bad for a coil shock, because this is where you encounter the biggest forces, like casing a jump, etc., which will make the shock slam into the end and possibly damage something.

    The rising rate mid-stroke looks optimized for an air shock, as they have flat mid-stroke, and the end of travel is optimized for an air shock because they get progressive at the end of travel.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMac47 View Post
    You have a plethora of bike knowledge but in this case the OP is inquiring specifaclly about the 5010. And I'm sure more people are putting the x2 on them vs coil with better results, especially to keep decent climbing traits, wouldn't you agree?
    True, I was referring to comments like this:

    I do not think the OP should spend money upgrading an older bikeís suspension, because the difference on a short travel trail bike will be insignificant.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Um...no. It is only very slightly progressive overall, nearly flat, which by itself is bad for a coil shock, and then at the end of travel it tapers off and goes regressive, which is alsol bad for a coil shock, because this is where you encounter the biggest forces, like casing a jump, etc., which will make the shock slam into the end and possibly damage something.

    The rising rate mid-stroke looks optimized for an air shock, as they have flat mid-stroke, and the end of travel is optimized for an air shock because they get progressive at the end of travel.
    Dude, look again - check 2014 curve (what the OP has), not the 2016 one. Santa Cruz 5010 2016 - Linkage Design

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    Quote Originally Posted by djjohnr View Post
    Dude, look again - check 2014 curve (what the OP has), not the 2016 one. Santa Cruz 5010 2016 - Linkage Design
    That looks better, beginning and end leverage ratio, so overall rate, but still wonky as hell. A straight progressive line (not curved) is best for a coil shock and that's going to probably be pretty wallow-y pedaling due to the very flat mid-stroke, but at least it won't bottom easy. The overall leverage ratio there should support a coil.

    This is what I mean when I say that some of the manufacturers have some wonky as hell leverage curves that don't really make much sense. SC is fixing these by slowly changing over to bottom-mounted shocks that allows them to tweak the links to do this, but some of the stuff out there is just crazy.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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    Yeah, that leverage curve isn't really ideal for anything, it's a pick the lesser of two evils situation. The newer Nomad and Bronson are definitely better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by djjohnr View Post
    The leverage rate of that frame is very similar to the force/travel curve of an air shock - regressive to progressive. The result is you're basically doubling down on that with an air shock - you wind up with something that's very stiff at top-out, wallows in the middle, and ramps up really hard at the end of travel. The linear progressivity of a coil spring will result in less wallowing and won't run into a wall of ramp up like an air shock would on that frame. The leverage rate of that frame has ~20% progressivity AFTER sag point, so you wouldn't need to run a really stiff spring to prevent bottom out.
    Correct me if i'm wrong but air shocks these days have such a huge negative chamber to negate the effects of stiction i dont think it's really a problem anymore as the curve on air shocks arent regressive to progressive anymore. If anything because of the shock's progressive nature you would get better support mid and end stroke where as if you did run a coil on a leverage curve like that you'd bottom out as I dont think it'll be anywhere close to progressive enough to keep that from happening let alone have enough support to keep it high in the travel rather than going in deep for every curb you run into...

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrpercussive View Post
    Correct me if i'm wrong but air shocks these days have such a huge negative chamber to negate the effects of stiction i dont think it's really a problem anymore as the curve on air shocks arent regressive to progressive anymore. If anything because of the shock's progressive nature you would get better support mid and end stroke where as if you did run a coil on a leverage curve like that you'd bottom out as I dont think it'll be anywhere close to progressive enough to keep that from happening let alone have enough support to keep it high in the travel rather than going in deep for every curb you run into...
    The force/travel curve of the larger negative volume air shocks are closer to linear than their predecessors, but still not anywhere near as linear as a coil. Given the same ending spring force a coil spring will always have higher force at the middle of its travel than an air spring due to the nature of air when it's compressed. I've spent a lot of time swapping between both coil and air shocks/forks on the same frames and the actual difference in spring behavior you feel is pretty noticeable. That doesn't mean I think air shocks are bad, there's some bikes I prefer them on, and overall the newer ones are worlds better than what we had just a few years ago, let alone twenty years ago.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by djjohnr View Post
    The force/travel curve of the larger negative volume air shocks are closer to linear than their predecessors, but still not anywhere near as linear as a coil. Given the same ending spring force a coil spring will always have higher force at the middle of its travel than an air spring due to the nature of air when it's compressed. I've spent a lot of time swapping between both coil and air shocks/forks on the same frames and the actual difference in spring behavior you feel is pretty noticeable. That doesn't mean I think air shocks are bad, there's some bikes I prefer them on, and overall the newer ones are worlds better than what we had just a few years ago, let alone twenty years ago.
    i think i may have been not unclear with what i meant. The reason why i think the air shock would be better for that curve is not because it's linear like a coil but because it's progressive. I understand that a lot of it will also come down to riding style and preferences and when it all comes down to it my opinions dont matter anyways. That said, i had been swapping back on forth 2014 Vivid R2C Air and Coil on a 2014 Park Operator which has a similar curve with a little bit more progressivity at the end. Ended up deciding on the air because I just kept bottoming out the coil and it wouldnt have time to recover for the next hit. Granted the Vivid's dont have HSC adjustments, but it shouldn't have been that bad... The air fixed my issue on top of being able to ride higher in the travel letting me hit shit harder and better recovery for the next. Both shocks were tuned similarly with fast HSR and slow LSR with a touch of LSC. Ran both at 30% sag and both were MM tunes... Once again, a lot of it is probably my preferences on how a bike should feel so yea take it as you will

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by djjohnr View Post
    The force/travel curve of the larger negative volume air shocks are closer to linear than their predecessors, but still not anywhere near as linear as a coil. Given the same ending spring force a coil spring will always have higher force at the middle of its travel than an air spring due to the nature of air when it's compressed. I've spent a lot of time swapping between both coil and air shocks/forks on the same frames and the actual difference in spring behavior you feel is pretty noticeable. That doesn't mean I think air shocks are bad, there's some bikes I prefer them on, and overall the newer ones are worlds better than what we had just a few years ago, let alone twenty years ago.
    Yeah, IMO custom tuning makes a big difference and there's a lot working against air-shocks from the factory. From the factory, most OEM suspension is valved too stiff for HSC and it's done like this to prevent "fatties" from blowing apart the shocks in rough terrain, but for many riders, it's over-damped, to compensate, we run compression "wide open" much of the time, the suspension companies "programming" us that if we want to ride aggressive terrain, we want minimal compression damping and lots of chassis movement/dive/dip/bob, etc. The intermediate and "climb" settings are usually fairly unusable for riding anything rough, or the low-speed compression adjuster only makes things harsher. Then you add the linear nature in the mid-stroke of an air spring into the mix and you have a perfect recipe for wallow, excessive chassis movement, blowing through the travel, etc. Although you can't "fix" the leverage curve, you can fix a large part of this with shock tune and air spring (chamber volume) tuning. With decent compression damping you won't dive through the travel like crazy and can actually run a significant amount of compression and the bike will get "smoother" as you push it faster through rough terrain, unlike most OEM stuff that gets harsher the faster you try to push through the same.

    Air shocks are great for the tunability. I don't want to touch a DH bike at a bike park that has a coil on it, because most certainly, it's the wrong coil for my weight. Having the bike park knowingly set you up with a bike with the wrong coil is downright negligent, as in it could cause injury and harm. If it's all they got, then I'd write on the release form in pen that they are knowingly setting me up with the wrong coil spring, for legal purposes. This is where air shocks are great though, a float X2 is perfect for this role, along with an air front-fork. Sure, there might be a little hit in performance/suppleness, but having the spring tuned to your weight is far more important here and will be far more optimal. It's easier to make changes for different rides/aggressiveness.

    An additional problem is that at least until recently, there were no good air spring options for those that wanted to ride aggressively. There was also the idea that XC riders should just be "happy" with their "3 settings" of compression damping, the "blow through travel" setting, the "harsh" setting and the "unbelievably harsh climb setting". With more complex compression circuits, you can tune a good compromise and have good chassis stability and still have it usable for bumps. This has not been the traditional view of the suspension companies though. On many bikes, they tended to go with these crudely-damped XC air shocks that were usually terrible in OEM form. Thankfully, we seem to be turning the tide to some extent here with things like the CCDB IL and others.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrpercussive View Post
    i think i may have been not unclear with what i meant. The reason why i think the air shock would be better for that curve is not because it's linear like a coil but because it's progressive. I understand that a lot of it will also come down to riding style and preferences and when it all comes down to it my opinions dont matter anyways. That said, i had been swapping back on forth 2014 Vivid R2C Air and Coil on a 2014 Park Operator which has a similar curve with a little bit more progressivity at the end. Ended up deciding on the air because I just kept bottoming out the coil and it wouldnt have time to recover for the next hit. Granted the Vivid's dont have HSC adjustments, but it shouldn't have been that bad... The air fixed my issue on top of being able to ride higher in the travel letting me hit shit harder and better recovery for the next. Both shocks were tuned similarly with fast HSR and slow LSR with a touch of LSC. Ran both at 30% sag and both were MM tunes... Once again, a lot of it is probably my preferences on how a bike should feel so yea take it as you will
    - Personal preference always wins out
    - Your operator has a leverage rate curve that is much closer to linear (while overall progressive) than the OPs '14 5010 - Kona Carbon Operator 2014 - Linkage Design. This means you won't have as high of an initial spring rate to overcome at top out which should be easier on your hands/feet - remember this thread is about the OP trying to get more small bump compliance.
    - Since you set sag the same between the two the end stroke force will definitely be higher on the air spring due to the shape of the spring curves. If the end stroke force were set to be the same you'd have less sag on the coil.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Yeah, IMO custom tuning makes a big difference and there's a lot working against air-shocks from the factory. From the factory, most OEM suspension is valved too stiff for HSC and it's done like this to prevent "fatties" from blowing apart the shocks in rough terrain, but for many riders, it's over-damped, to compensate, we run compression "wide open" much of the time, the suspension companies "programming" us that if we want to ride aggressive terrain, we want minimal compression damping and lots of chassis movement/dive/dip/bob, etc. The intermediate and "climb" settings are usually fairly unusable for riding anything rough, or the low-speed compression adjuster only makes things harsher. Then you add the linear nature in the mid-stroke of an air spring into the mix and you have a perfect recipe for wallow, excessive chassis movement, blowing through the travel, etc. Although you can't "fix" the leverage curve, you can fix a large part of this with shock tune and air spring (chamber volume) tuning. With decent compression damping you won't dive through the travel like crazy and can actually run a significant amount of compression and the bike will get "smoother" as you push it faster through rough terrain, unlike most OEM stuff that gets harsher the faster you try to push through the same.

    Air shocks are great for the tunability. I don't want to touch a DH bike at a bike park that has a coil on it, because most certainly, it's the wrong coil for my weight. Having the bike park knowingly set you up with a bike with the wrong coil is downright negligent, as in it could cause injury and harm. If it's all they got, then I'd write on the release form in pen that they are knowingly setting me up with the wrong coil spring, for legal purposes. This is where air shocks are great though, a float X2 is perfect for this role, along with an air front-fork. Sure, there might be a little hit in performance/suppleness, but having the spring tuned to your weight is far more important here and will be far more optimal. It's easier to make changes for different rides/aggressiveness.

    An additional problem is that at least until recently, there were no good air spring options for those that wanted to ride aggressively. There was also the idea that XC riders should just be "happy" with their "3 settings" of compression damping, the "blow through travel" setting, the "harsh" setting and the "unbelievably harsh climb setting". With more complex compression circuits, you can tune a good compromise and have good chassis stability and still have it usable for bumps. This has not been the traditional view of the suspension companies though. On many bikes, they tended to go with these crudely-damped XC air shocks that were usually terrible in OEM form. Thankfully, we seem to be turning the tide to some extent here with things like the CCDB IL and others.
    Yeah, tuning can make a huge difference, and an air shock has a much wider tuning range. The new air shocks are worlds better than what we used to have. I had a DPS of all shocks on a frame last year that impressed the hell out of me. The X2s I've had so far have all been impressive for what they are. The DB IL I had was good when it worked.

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by djjohnr View Post
    - Personal preference always wins out
    - Your operator has a leverage rate curve that is much closer to linear (while overall progressive) than the OPs '14 5010 - Kona Carbon Operator 2014 - Linkage Design. This means you won't have as high of an initial spring rate to overcome at top out which should be easier on your hands/feet - remember this thread is about the OP trying to get more small bump compliance.
    - Since you set sag the same between the two the end stroke force will definitely be higher on the air spring due to the shape of the spring curves. If the end stroke force were set to be the same you'd have less sag on the coil.
    that's not my bike... the 2014 Park Operator and the Operators are different. The Park Operators are closer to the previous generation which has a leverage curve similar to OPs bike...

    Kona Operator 2011 - Linkage Design

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrpercussive View Post
    that's not my bike... the 2014 Park Operator and the Operators are different. The Park Operators are closer to the previous generation which has a leverage curve similar to OPs bike...

    Kona Operator 2011 - Linkage Design
    That's more similar, although your Operator turns progressive about ~20% of the way through it's travel vs ~33% on the 5010. Either way, if you like it that's all that matters.

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