Curious about the chain tensioner, what does it offer compared to taking a couple links out of the chain
Well the chain is as tight as it can go anyway, but that still leaves slack in anything but big/big. What this does is 1/2 the length of chain that can flap about. I was very sceptical, but having got utterly fed up with the stinger on my Uzzi (forever bending it), and not having the space below/behind the BB to try any other, more solid, 2 ring device, I gave it a go and it works very well. Haven't dropped a chain yet and there's very little drag.
How are you finding the Vipr?
The short answer? It's a shock, it goes boing.
The long answer (it IS long, you have been warned!):-
I've never been a big fan of air shocks. All the FS bikes I've owned have had coil shocks on, and whilst I've demoed a fair few bikes with air cans, I've always been left with the impression that the shock either needs a custom tune to work right, or is simply not up to the job. When I demoed a Rocket this time last year, I was pretty taken with the Kashima RP23 - very smooth and comfortable for normal trail riding, but it did wallow horribly on the big bombholes on my local DH run.
Go forward a year, and Cy recommended the Vipr, as he's really not impressed with the Fox CTD forks or shocks - soggy midstroke apparently, and that's largely backed up by the reviews on the web I've seen. Coming off the Uzzi, which has an inch more travel, a DHX4 coil and being a VPP an axle path that's very good at square edge hits (but also does some strange things in the granny ring), the Rocket definitely feels different. It's not sticky in any way, but it does feel busy - certainly no magic carpet ride. One man's "precise and supportive damping with loads of feel and feedback" could be another's "bit harsh, really". Not yet made a decision as to which side of that I fall yet. Also - it's still not bedded in yet, I guess.
I did a few runs with Cy last week, and riding at the same speed over the same trail, we were using identical amounts of travel F&R (to the mm), so I seem to have it working the way he intends to.
Off to Riviera Bike next week, so we'll see how I feel after ragging it round Molini for a few days...