Advice needed: air or coil full suspension?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Advice needed: air or coil full suspension?

    Hi everyone,

    I've been a forum stalker for a long time now, and finally get to make a post

    I have been riding a year and am in the market to buy an upgrade to my mid-level IronHorse hardtail. But, even after researching for days, I'm hitting a snag: do I move on to air or coil full suspension? I am moving on to a FS because the terrain i ride (explained below) causes me to hover for my entire "washboard" type ride.*I know that there are many factors to making the choice, so here's some of my info that might explain my situation and I shared my thinking as well. Please let me know if I'm correct/mistaken in anything...

    -I'm a 5'7", 135 lb stronger-than-I-look girl and my current 17.5" bike fits like a glove (Advantage: air because of my weenie weight?)

    -I live in Central Florida: Santos is my home trail. The most we ride in one day is 30 miles. The terrain on the Florida trails I ride includes: LOTS of roots; limestone/coral rock quarries; stairs; winding, technical climbs as high as 40 feet *but most within 5-10 feet; and 3 foot (hopefully 4 foot soon!) platform drop/jumping. I'm NOT into flat XC ride-for-a-gajillion-miles and I don't plan to race. (Advantage: I have no flippin' clue..up in the air)

    -Temperatures here vary from crazy hot, to nice, to cold...yes, cold. (Advantage: coil because of temperature changes?)

    -My husband has an air suspension, purchased at the suggestion of our biking friend who only rides air and mostly only flat XC trail. My 185lb/6 foot husband has struggled for over a year to get it to a setting that works efficiently for him. (Advantage: coil...because Ain't nobody got time for that. I'd throw my bike into the forest if I had the difficulty he's run into.) And, he's an excellent, experienced rider with the same terrain preference as me. I will say that I've never had problem with my Rock Shox Dart...but I'm oblivious because it's only my second bike.*

    -It probably doesn't matter, but I ride with 5Tens rather than clipped. I save those for the road. I love my Sam Hills and have no desire to switch. (don't throw tomatoes at me)

    So, what are your thoughts? *I really appreciate any ideas you have!

  2. #2
    mtbr member
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    What is your budget? I was a long time coil lover but the newer air shocks/forks are amazing. On my Banshee Rune I am currently running a Float-X CTD shock out back and it is awesome. It really has a coil like feel with excellent small bump and on our DH coarse it does not heat up and fade! Up front I have a Pushed Float 36 RC2.

  3. #3
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    Air suspension would be friendly to a lighter rider. If you are set on coil suspension find out if they have coils rated for your weight.

  4. #4
    aka dan51
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    Having just converted my bike from coil fork/shock to air fork/shock I can say I can't wait to go back to coil. Anyone who says "this air fork/shock is coil-like" is lying or has no idea WTF they are talking about. Air is still not a bad choice if you get good quality stuff, but there is no comparison between like models.

    However, at your weight you have no choice but to go air. I tried to get my woman on a coil fork a few years ago, and even the x-soft spring was way too firm.

    You could also be less sensitive to suspension settings than your husband. I mess with mine and am constantly tweaking, while my woman just gets on and rides and has a great time. I often wish I could be like her and just pedal with a smile on my face regardless of bike settings.

    There's also more than just coil or air, suspension design will play a huge difference in how it feels and performs.

  5. #5
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    For you it's gotta be air , nothing beats a coil shock/fork in terms of supless and it's just pick the bike and go ride , gives almost no problems it's the best , but air shocks and forks are getting very very good the only problem with them is "consistency"they just seam to work very good and then they just feel strange, different,it's weird , but go for air cause they very good this days, they just need more love.RIDE ON😜😜😜

  6. #6
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    I agree with the posts above. I have a mojo hd with an x-fusion coil rear shock and a van 160. The bike kills it everywhere. I can ride northstar or my local xc trails and its buttery smooth yet pedals efficiently. Air has just never felt right to me. The 1 1/2 lb penalty is so worth it!

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