Having never been happy with the RS monarch plus on my Transition suppressor I was on the look out for a new shock. I was never able to get the bike feeling great over small bumps while still soaking up the big hits without bottoming out. Adding bands to the positive air chamber did ramp up the spring and prevent bottoming out but you could feel it and made the shock nasty on landing. Over all the tune of the shock, coupled with the linkage curve made for a soggy handling.
Having previously using a push tuned van RC from TFtuned I was all set to get a coil but concerns over the piggyback of the shock hitting the down tube put a damper on that idea. Although I haven’t actually tried any other shock on the bike, the CCDB air just fits the medium patrol, while the DHX2 and X-fusion Vector doesn’t appear to. I appear to have the only small suppressor/patrol on the planet so don’t have any conclusive proof that they don’t fit. I could have got the monarch shim stack tuned by TFtuned or J-tech suspension or even had an avalanche SSD/HSB conversion fitted by sprung suspension in the UK but I wasn’t prepared to take the chance that it wouldn’t actually improve it.
The release of the DB inline coil appeared to solve my problem and keep the weight down (DBCS coil with standard CC coil is ~950g in 216×63 + 400lb spring, 485g). The Damper unit weights in at 295 g including hardware compared to ~454 g for the DB coil CS. As well as the new IL coil damper, cane creek have released a lightweight steel spring, the Valt, similar to that of Fox’s SLS and Push’s hyperco coils. The weight difference between the standard spring and the Valt varies between 50-211 g with a weight saving of approx 123 g for the 2.5 400 lb unit ( Valt spring ~382 g) Most of this weight loss is from the lack of piggyback on the IL coil and for the average joe the extra cooling afforded by a piggyback (more oil volume) shouldn’t be noticed. The inline air shock has ~50% more oil than a standard non-piggyback shock and couple that with a lack of air spring to get hot it should be more than enough for the trails in the UK.
I ordered the IL coil from TFtuned with a standard steel spring (400 lb) although this turned out to be too heavy due to my mother in-laws scales over reading. I’ll keep the 400 lb spring for more hardcore days and fort william or inners. With the 400 lb spring, the unit tipped the scales at 790g compared to 410g for my monarch plus. I can feel the difference when lifting the bike but not on the trails
Fitting was easy on the suppressor frame and I adjusted the LSR slightly from the settings TFtuned had made.
You can instantly tell the difference between a coil shock and air as the initial compression doesn’t have to break the friction of the air seals so pushed down easy. The IL coil also uses a bladder to separate the oil and pressurised nitrogen rather than an IFP traditionally found in shocks which adds to the sensitivity of the shock. This is translated into much better small bump sensitivity making for a smoother, faster ride.
My first ride on the shock was a gentle 2 mile jaunt round my local park trails with my son and his transition suppressor. While the park isn’t inners or even glentress it does provide a technical climb and rooty decent which was perfect for the first try. Unlike the DHX2, the climb switch on the DB IL coil (and other CC products) increases both LSC & LSR which doesn’t lock or totally stiffen up the shock allowing some shock movement which makes for more traction as the rear end of the bike can still respond to bumps. The suppressor/patrol is quite an active platform and you do get a bit of pedal bob sitting, the coil still had this but it wasn’t any greater than the monarch plus set to open. Compared to the monarch plus set to climb, the DB IL coil isn’t as still but makes for better traction over roots.
On the way down the shock felt instantly better than the monarch even though I wasn’t running as much sag. it soaked up the roots with ease and didn’t feel soggy over the jumps or g-outs that I felt with the monarch. I’ve purchased a nukeproof SLS spring from chain reaction cycles as the Valt spring doesn’t come in the weight I need so I’ll update this once it arrives and give a better review of the shock once I’ve set it up properly with the lighter weight spring.
Edit – SLS spring arrived and weighs 360 g for the 350 lb version.
Overall I’m really happy with the initial ride of the bike with the CC DB IL coil fitted and looking forward to the lighter spring and longer more technical rides.
oh and thanks to Russell @tftuned for the advice