Coil vs. air durability.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    Coil vs. air durability.

    Let's get some opinions? What kind of aggressive riding have you done on your air rear shock or fork. Is air now more durable than in the past or is coil the only way to go for the heavier hits? I have a Zoke 66rc and need something shorter and lighter. Iam thinking of the pike air or coil u-turn.
    Last edited by TimZ; 11-24-2005 at 07:44 AM.

  2. #2
    TNC
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    There has been a ton of discussion on air vs. coil performance here on this forum lately and even quite a few posts about air shocks developing a "stuck down" condition and other issues. Many of these are just in the last month with a lot of good input from many posters with experience with both types of shocks. If you haven't read them, don't miss that informative stuff.

    That said, if you look over on the DH/FR forum, you'll hear reports of some people running some newer air shocks like the DHX Air on their DH/FR bikes for some pretty hardcore riding. Zachdank has been running one on his Banshee Scream for some time now. Chris Canfield runs one on one of his regularly ridden bikes. Many others are doing the same, apparently with excellent reliability. A couple of weeks ago I had installed a new Van 36 fork and a DHX Air on a Bullit. The second day I went riding the DHX Air developed a "stuck down" condition, and I had to send it in to Fox. However, I also have two DHX coil shocks, and they too had to be sent in during the first month of use for the notorious "clunk"...they have been fine since. Many have had issues with 5th E coils, but many more have had excellent service and performance from their 5ths. I've had two 5th Es, and never had any issues with them. I have a couple of Manitou 4-Way Air shocks, and these have been trouble-free and have performed perfectly. Specifically these "piggyback" model air shocks seem to have gotten fairly reliable and produce a much higher level of performance than any air shocks of the past. Maybe the biggest knock against an air shock is that when it has a catastrophic failure of the main air chamber, it sets the rear end down where you can't ride the bike back to the trailhead. I've been riding for years with big groups of people, and I haven't seen this type of failure yet, but it does occur. Even when my DHX did a stick down, it just settled into the last 1/3 of its travel. I was still able to motivate on the bike, even if it did suck.

    Front air forks seem to be a different story. They seem to be more reliable, probably due to bigger air chambers and seals as compared to a rear shock...less internal forces too. The hot setup seems to be a hybrid fork system that incorporates air and coil issues. Tuneability and plushness are greatly enhanced with these systems.

    Currently I have 4 high-end mountainbikes that I ride regularly...I usually get to ride 4-5 times a week. Right now all of them have rear air shocks...one Cloud 9, two Manitou 4-Way Airs, and one DHX air...and these are on 6" big hit bikes, not just XC rigs. I've been riding full suspension bikes with both air and coil shocks since '95. I've never had a rear air shock just blow up or completely fail while riding until this DHX Air. All of the others that ever had issues were just because of normal use where over an extended time, it was ready for the shock to be serviced because damping was getting crappy or the shock was drooling some oil...the same thing that a coil shock goes through when you should have serviced it 6 months prior.

    My bikes have always been used in rocky, fast conditions both where I live and in places like Moab, Arizona, and other points out west. I feel that both the air and coil systems that I have been running were given a decent test of performance and reliability issues over the years. I'm no Cedric Gracia, but I'm no Pee Wee Herman either...LOL! I think air suspension systems are here to stay, and they don't seem to be getting anything but better.

  3. #3
    aka greyranger
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    air?

    You looking to lighten up the Bullit? Or build a different bike?

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by redranger
    You looking to lighten up the Bullit? Or build a different bike?
    Lighten it up I am at 43lbs. now.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimZ
    Lighten it up I am at 43lbs. now.
    Wait til you see (fondle) Dereks new Bullitt. All the parts off his Heckler, 5th coil, gotta' be under 35lb. A bit heavy for my taste but I didn't hear him complaining any today.

  6. #6
    aka greyranger
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    weight

    How low do want to go? Are you selling parts ao will you have 2 different builds for 2 purposes?

  7. #7
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    Some thoughts...

    TNC always has some good advice. I know I though about lightening up one of my 2 Bullits with a DHX Air. However, I heard too many not so good things regarding reliability. I'll stick with my 5th E coil. Typically, bigger bikes weigh a whole lot more to begin with, so shaving off the weight of a coil isn't going to get you very far anyway. This is only an opinion but... seems like the small gains you get from going full air (vs coil) is not _yet_ worth it.

    Mike

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimZ
    Lighten it up I am at 43lbs. now.
    Hey Tim,

    I know your Atomic wheelset is pretty heavy, Have you thought of making some changes there to improve the weight problem? Cutting rotational weight...particularly UNSPRUNG rotational weight is probably one of the most effective ways to improve your bikes trailability. Not sure what tires you're running but you might be able to make a weight saving change there too.

    I'm sure that Atomic wheelset would sell on ebay to help finance some lighter stuff .

  9. #9
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    My Bullit build up at 35lbs.

    Quote Originally Posted by TimZ
    Let's get some opinions? What kind of aggressive riding have you done on your air rear shock or fork. Is air now more durable than in the past or is coil the only way to go for the heavier hits? I have a Zoke 66rc and need something shorter and lighter. Iam thinking of the pike air or coil u-turn.
    Hey Tim, just built up a Bullit frame (04)- transferred the parts from the Heckler. It weighs 35lbs. compared to 33-34 lbs of the Heckler, which is not a bad trade off for the extra travel, higher BB, etc. I only have one ride on it, but it felt much like the Heckler in terms of trail worthiness, yet obviously more huckable. Only more time will tell though. Give me a call or email and we'll hit CPX or something while the trails suck with this crappy mud! Here's the build: 05 Z1 FR1 (150mm), Thomson post/stem, RF Atlas cranks, King rear hub (HD axle)/ Hadley front to Mavic 321 rims, Avid BB7's (7 inch front, 6 rear), Sram X-7 shifting, TrailBears 2.25 (still experimenting with tires).
    I think Ricko is right about the wheels, get a set of trail riding wheels to switch off. My 321's have been perfectly round and true for 2 years now...and I'm anything but smooth. They seem to be a good strong wheel that aren't pigs either. Let me know, I'll build you up a wheelset...I'll post some pics in a few.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by santaheckler
    Hey Tim, just built up a Bullit frame (04)- transferred the parts from the Heckler. It weighs 35lbs. compared to 33-34 lbs of the Heckler, which is not a bad trade off for the extra travel, higher BB, etc. I only have one ride on it, but it felt much like the Heckler in terms of trail worthiness, yet obviously more huckable. Only more time will tell though. Give me a call or email and we'll hit CPX or something while the trails suck with this crappy mud! Here's the build: 05 Z1 FR1 (150mm), Thomson post/stem, RF Atlas cranks, King rear hub (HD axle)/ Hadley front to Mavic 321 rims, Avid BB7's (7 inch front, 6 rear), Sram X-7 shifting, TrailBears 2.25 (still experimenting with tires).
    I think Ricko is right about the wheels, get a set of trail riding wheels to switch off. My 321's have been perfectly round and true for 2 years now...and I'm anything but smooth. They seem to be a good strong wheel that aren't pigs either. Let me know, I'll build you up a wheelset...I'll post some pics in a few.
    Thanks for the replys, very helpful.

  11. #11
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    Take a look...

    Here's the picture Tim! Not a bad build for 35#...
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by santaheckler
    Here's the picture Tim! Not a bad build for 35#...
    Nice where did you get it? I know I need some lighter wheels on mine.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimZ
    Nice where did you get it? I know I need some lighter wheels on mine.
    He bought a complete bike off ebay but it was set up for DH...888 fork, full Saint gruppo, Hopey damper, mongo DH rims and Tires. Cool bike if you live somewhere that has lift access. He's gonna ebay off all the heavy-duty parts and end up with the frame for pretty cheap.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricko
    He bought a complete bike off ebay but it was set up for DH...888 fork, full Saint gruppo, Hopey damper, mongo DH rims and Tires. Cool bike if you live somewhere that has lift access. He's gonna ebay off all the heavy-duty parts and end up with the frame for pretty cheap.
    How much for the hopey damper?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimZ
    How much for the hopey damper?
    He's got it on ebay right now for $75 with one bid so far, here's a link to the ad...

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...MEWA%3AIT&rd=1

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