Suspension in general, and rear suspension in particular, is complicated to set up as you ideally have to be on a repeatable bit of trail and have the knowledge and tools needed to tweak your suspension to work for you. In order to simplify things, and reduce the tools needed, today the Cane Creek DB Kitsuma rear shock has been announced. With a simple, tool-free adjustment, it should be simpler to get just right and let you get on with riding your actual bike and not fiddling with it.
The DB Kitsuma joins a now venerable range of Cane Creek Double Barrel shocks, with the first appearing over ten years ago, which is a lifetime in bike design.
As Jeff Laforge, Cane Creek’s Design Engineer puts it: “From our time meeting and riding with riders and dealers at events across the country it became clear that most riders’ suspension settings are not optimal – in many cases the suspension may be hindering riders. One of the reasons is that dialing in suspension is largely a trial and error process on the trail which is hampered by access and the need for tools. Thus, we set out to make it easy for riders to get the most out of their shock by making adjustments easier and less intimidating.”
So, how will the Cane Creek Kitsuma make your life easier? For a start, you won’t be looking puzzled at a red Allen key hole and a blue one wondering which one you turn to make the suspension quicker to work. There are some clearly labelled, classy looking black and gold knobs that tell you if you’re adjusting low or high speed compression or rebound and whether you’re making the compression firm or soft and the rebound slow or fast. And there’s no counting 15 clicks back from zero, the knobs just go from one bit on the dial to the other extreme and that’s your lot. Simple!
Additionally, labels on the adjusters have been simplified to “soft” and “firm” for compression and “slow” and “fast” for rebound to better illustrate how the adjustment effects ride feel and to give riders confidence to make trail-side adjustments. If you’ve struggled to work out what it is you’re trying to achieve when setting your shock up, this might help. Although if you don’t know your LSC from your HSR, it might not help that much at all. The new gold on black pointers will certainly give far more of a visual cue though.
The Cane Creek DB Kitsuma is equipped with a three-position climb switch that moves the shock between three distinct modes. The new three position climb switch retains Double Barrel’s ‘Descend’ mode and its ‘CS’ mode which provides a stable, responsive pedalling platform. But there’s now more – DB Kitsuma also adds a new ‘Firm’ mode. By using a design that closes off the common bleed port, the Firm mode allows some proper pavement pounding back up to start the next lap.
In addition to improvements in accessibility and tuning range, DB Kitsuma has seen a series of significant improvements over previous Double Barrel shocks. These include an improved oil piston that’s been ported and polished to increase responsiveness (how ‘hot rod’), a new monoblock design oil seal head for improved alignment and durability, progressive bottom-out bumper for a more gradual bottom out and longer shaft bushings, larger shaft quad rings and uncut back-up rings on the air pistons to improve performance and reliability.
Redesigned with the geometry of modern bikes in mind, the DB Kitsuma’s new valve body and tapered air-can cuts 16mm of length off the external reservoir and reduces the air can’s outer diameter at the end-eye. This adds up to a new low-profile design which allows DB Kitsuma to fit more bikes free of frame-clearance issues.
Oh, and the ‘Kitsuma’ name? The Cane Creek Kitsuma is named after a mountain bike trail near Cane Creek’s headquarters in North Carolina, where the shocks are built.
The DB Kitsuma is available in both coil and air in metric lengths ranging from 185mm to 250mm with a retail price of £624.99 for air and £599.99 for coil (without a spring). They will be available in the UK by the end of September 2020 and available through bike shops from Extra UK.
There’ll be all sorts of info and good stuff on Cane Creek’s website – canecreek.com