We ride lots of different bikes on a regular basis here at Flow, and while we know what base settings we like on certain suspension models, things like differing travel amounts, geometry and suspension tunes mean that setting up suspension can become a bit of a headache.
Introducing the ShockWiz, originally a Kickstarter start up set up by Australian Nigel Wade before being sold to SRAM’s technological division Quarq, this nifty little device is designed to take the stress out of setting up and fine tuning your suspension.
How does the ShockWiz work?
The ShockWiz is a telemetry unit that’s designed for air sprung suspension. It works by attaching to and monitoring the behaviour of a fork or shock over the course of a ride by sampling the air pressure 100 times a second, and the information collected is then sent to the ShockWiz smartphone app at the end of the ride.
From the information gathered, the app offers suggestions on how to better setup your suspension- simple!
Is it simple to install?
The ShockWiz is very simple to install, but we would recommend watching Quarq’s installation video, as it has some helpful tips about the best way to go about installation that are better explained in video format- it’s worth being patient for eight minutes on this occasion!
What about if my suspension is already setup well?
ShockWiz founder Nigel Wade says that the ShockWiz identifies an ideal ‘window of performance’ for your suspension, which varies depending on what you’re looking for from your suspension as well as your riding style.
So, if your suspension is already setup well, the ShockWiz will identify that the component in question is setup within its ideal window of performance.
Despite this, the application can still offer slight adjustment recommendations, as well as changes to make the suspension characteristics more efficient, balanced, playful or aggressive depending on your preferences- there’s always room for more fine tuning!
The ShockWiz website does a good job of explaining what these different words mean in terms of the actual performance of a suspension component.
How does the app work?
Once you’ve got the app setup, it very straightforward to use, which we’ll discuss later. The initial setup however requires a couple more steps, which are once again explained clearly in Quarq’s app setup video below.
Do I need a fancy phone to use the ShockWiz app?
Not really- the ShockWiz app is compatible with IOS 9 or later for Apple users, and Jellybean 4.3 or newer for Android devices.
Does the ShockWiz work with fork and shock manufacturers other than RockShox?
It sure does! ShockWiz will work with the majority of offerings from the suspension duopoly of RockShox and Fox, and other lesser seen brands providing the component is a single air chamber offering.
Dual position travel adjustable forks, such as a RockShox Lyrik or Fox Talas fork aren’t strictly speaking compatible, but ShockWiz have approved them for use if they’re kept in the same travel setting for the entirety of the ride.
If the travel amount is changed, the ShockWiz will need to be recalibrated, which requires fully deflating the fork.
Suspension components with both positive and negative air chambers are not compatible with the ShockWiz, for example Öhlins’ RXF Fork range.
If all this compatibility talk is hurting your head, ShockWiz have a comprehensive list of what works and what doesn’t in their ShockWiz Manual, so head there if you’re in any doubt!
Now that we’ve set it up, do the suggested changes work?
We’ve only had a brief play with the ShockWiz so far, but it’s already told us to slow down our rebound, and that our shock pump was out by nearly 10psi!
You’ll need to go for a decent ride to get enough data for the ShockWiz to make legitimate recommendations though, as it tracks things such as the amount of times you bottom out in a ride, and how much the fork is diving under braking, so going for a ride that encompasses a variety of terrain is needed to get accurate recommendations.
How much does it cost?
The ShockWiz will retail in Australia for $529. A steep price, but if you’ve got a high-end bike and no idea about setting up your suspension, you’re missing out on a whole heap of potential benefits.
ShockWiz also have a direct mount offering specifically designed for inverted forks such as the RockShox RS1, which will retail for $579.
Another perspective is if you’re tossing up between two new bikes that’re relatively close in price, getting the slightly less expensive model and the ShockWiz could allow you to better setup the bike for the type of riding you want to do.
We think it could be worth sacrificing a couple of components that offer a negligible performance increase at a slightly reduced weight for having the ShockWiz at your disposal, as having properly tuned suspension is going to be far more valuable out on the trail.
Another option is for bike shops to jump on board and offer ShockWiz rentals, as over the course of a weekend you could definitely gather enough data for the ShockWiz to give you recommendations for how you should setup your suspension for your style of riding, at a fraction of the price.
Where to now?
As we said at the outset, we setup a lot of suspension here at Flow, so the ShockWiz has the potential to be a hugely positive asset in reducing the time we spend knob fiddling, and increasing our trail time- a win win in our minds!
We’re planning to run the ShockWiz on a few different bikes and suspension brands to see how it goes, so stay tuned!