Issue 145 Kit Essentials – Coil Shocks

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Mortal Coils! Benji and the crew look at coil shocks and explain why they’re for trail riders and not just for downhillers.

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Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Issue 145 Kit Essentials – Coil Shocks
  • steamtb
    Full Member

    Totally agree, I went from a good air shock to a RockShox Ultimate Deluxe coil on the same bike. The difference is huge, especially on very fast, rough, slippy trails, the coil is just plush and very controlled. I can’t imagine ever going back to an air shock 🙂

    doomanic
    Full Member

    Another coil lover here. DVO Jade X on the rear and Smashpot in the forks. Silky smooth.

    jamj1974
    Full Member

    Coil rear is definitely preferable – coil front not so much…

    jimthesaint
    Full Member

    Something that you might need to bear in mind before slapping a coil on your bike is whether the suspension kinematics can cope with the linear nature of a coil. Most frames sold now have a significant chunk of anti-squat designed in so they’ll be ok, not all though.
    If you’re a big unit (like me) you need to consider whether the air shock on your bike is also a structural part of the frame that has to resist side-loading forces. Air-shocks are big, thick, stiff tubes that are really good at resisting twisting side-loads, coil-shocks aren’t. This isn’t an issue if the shock is isolated from side loads, most frames with rocker links without additional yokes/clevis to drive the shock are good at isolating the shock (Giants, latest Pivots, etc). Frames that use a yoke to drive the shock (Specialized, etc) increase the leverage on the shock so it’s not un-common to hear of coil shocks failing at a greater rate on these than other designs.

    mildred
    Full Member

    Something that you might need to bear in mind before slapping a coil on your bike is whether the suspension kinematics can cope with the linear nature of a coil. Most frames sold now have a significant chunk of anti-squat designed in so they’ll be ok, not all though.

    I think the linear nature of a coil spring is one of the most misunderstood/misquoted things on MTB forums (I’m not saying you misunderstand, but as you mention it, it’s a good talking point).

    Some people speak of this linear nature as though on some frames, once you’ve set your sag, if you hit a big bump you’ll blow through your travel instantly; “you need air for the ramp up etc”.

    My understanding of a coil spring is that as you try compress it further, the more force is needed. So my 650lb spring, to compress it 1 inch takes 650lb of force, but to compress it another inch takes a further 650lb of force (meaning it takes 1300lb of force to compress my spring 2 inches). This means that the spring does indeed “ramp up”, but in a wholly predictable “linear” way.

    I also think it’s this misunderstanding that prompts folk to make statements such as “you can’t use a coil on an Orange”. Because Orange have fairly consistent (flat??) leverage rates/kinematics, the leverage acting upon the spring is consistent through the whole travel meaning ramp up comes from the spring weight/rate, with the speed/suddenness etc. of compression & rebound being controlled by the damping. Indeed, I think it’s the constant leverage rate and consistent linear nature of how a coil compresses that makes coil shocks suit Orange bikes so well.

    I’m guessing here that on bikes with funky leverage curves, because coil shocks are linear (consistent) throughout their compression they remove a variable i.e. the S shaped curve as described by Ben above. Which could serve to “flatter” less than optimal suspension designs. Again, just a guess here, but as you can probably tell, I’m a big fan of coil shocks.

    tetrode
    Full Member

    Coil rear is definitely preferable – coil front not so much…

    I converted my Selvas to the coil version and they are incredible. I have no complaints about good coil forks, they’re insanely good.

    grahamt1980
    Full Member

    Love the ohlins i fitted to my transition scout. Much better than the air shock it came with, so much so it made the forks feel crap so they got upgraded to ohlins coil too

    sharkattack
    Full Member

    I’ll be going coil soon but probably with a Formula Mod.

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