RockShox have two new rear shocks on the way for 2017, the Deluxe and Super Deluxe. But it’s not new shocks, with the Super and Super Deluxe RockShox are also taking the bold step of attempting to introduce some more standardisation into this super convoluted area of bike design.
Metric sizes for shock length/stroke:
The whole domain of rear shock is incredibly confusing. Over the years, the approaches to shock sizing and mounting have developed in a very random kind of fashion. As new bike designs and suspension configurations have been introduced, new shock sizes and mounting hardware dimensions have had to evolve too. The absence of any real kind of standardisation has meant things have frankly gotten a bit out of hand and the huge combination of shock length and stroke measurements makes interchangability a massive drama. To make things worse, shocks have continued to defined in Imperial measurement terms – furlongs, leagues and inches… stupid stuff! Imagine being a bike shop trying to stock it all, it’s enough to make you weep!
Now we see RockShox attempting to reign this sprawling beast in, restore a little bit of common sense, and hopefully benefit bike designers, retailers and riders in doing so. In short, with their new Super Deluxe and Deluxe shocks, they’re introducing a metric range of shock sizes, plus a new system of shock mounting that promises more compatibility, performance and better fitment options. While the common senses side of all this really appeals to us, RockShox make the point that it’s not just about convenience, but also performance. They feel that all the compromises made over the years have resulted in a huge accumulated loss of performance. It’s a pretty fair call, and we agree.
Take a look at the table below and you’ll quickly see the logic in this new approach. On the left are the current Imperial sizes, on the right are the new metric sizes for the Deluxe and Super Deluxe shocks (we’ll explain more about the new mounting options below too), with logical and even steps in shock length and stroke.
New mounting systems:
In addition to attempting to introduce a bit more common sense into shock sizing, RockShox are using the Deluxe and Super Deluxe to tackle the issue of shock mounting. According to RockShox there are currently 82 different ‘standard’ shock mounting hardware dimensions. 82?! Furthermore, RockShox feel that the methods currently employed for the mounting of shocks have huge performance compromises, both in terms of friction and also frame sizing. As such, RockShox are using this new shock release to unveil their proposed mounting systems.
The first is a ‘shaft end bearing mount’, which is not dissimilar to the current bushing arrangement found on most shocks, with the obvious difference being the inclusion of a cartridge bearing in the shock eyelet instead of a press-in bushing. RockShox feel that the friction present in a bushing system is of serious detriment to a shock’s performance (especially on some frames that see huge rotation at one eyelet), and that a bearing would offer a big improvement. They see this system being ideal in bikes were the rear shock is mounted horizontally (think a Pivot Mach 4, Scott Spark or Norco Revolver).
The second system proposed by RockShox is a trunnion mount, which is essentially what Trek employed on their DRCV shocks. With this arrangement, the shock mounts are located lower down on the air can of the shock, with the mounting hardware threading into the shock itself. There are some clear advantages to this mounting system, especially on bike where the shock is mounted vertically (think a Giant Trance, Norco Range, or Canyon Strive for example). The Trunnion mounting allows for a much shorter overall shock length while maintaining the same shock stroke, which means it’s possible to run lower top tube heights on smaller frames without needing to use short-stroke shocks. Smart!
Check out the below table to see the current range of shock mounting options versus those proposed by RockShox.
What about the shocks themselves?
The Deluxe and Super Deluxe shocks aren’t just vehicles for the introduction of metric sizing and new mounting standards, but they’re entirely new shocks themselves. Both shocks gain a few new technologies, some of which has been made possible by the new metric chassis.
Improved bushing overlap: Both the Deluxe and Super Deluxe have significantly more bushing overlap than the current Monarch or Monarch Plus, which should mean less friction when under load and consequently improved durability and less binding.
DebonAir specific air can: The well-received DebonAir air can is standard on both the Deluxe and Super Deluxe, which also means both shocks are compatible with RockShox simple Token air volume adjustment system.
Counter Measure negative spring: A feature initially debuted on the Vivid Air shock, the Counter Measure spring reduces the force needed to overcome any resistance from the pressure of the internal floating piston (IFP) and improve breakaway performance.
Better sealing: A larger, smoother Scraper Seal has been introduced on both shocks, which should increase service intervals by keeping crap out!
A lightweight cross country and trail riding shock, the Deluxe takes the proven damping from the current Monarch and incorporates all the new features listed above (both in terms of sizing/mounting, and the internal and sealing features listed).
The Super Deluxe:
Higher volume, and designed for more aggressive riding, the Super Deluxe is essentially the next generation of the Monarch Plus which we love so much. It too gets all the above listed features. Interestingly, the rebound adjustment dial on the new Super Deluxe is now a ring that rotates around the top of the air can, rather than the traditional small dial. It’s available in two variants, with or without externally adjustable compression.
Take a squizz at the table below for all the variants of both shock coming your way soon.