deniz merdano ryan walters formula wr1 bell 19
REVIEW

Formula MOD Shock

Words Ryan Walters
Photos Deniz Merdano and Ryan Walters
Date Nov 8, 2022
Reading time

Air? Or coil? Choose one and be a d!#& about it.

The air vs. coil suspension debate has been a hot button issue for mountain bikers ever since we first added squishy bits to our bikes. Advocates of air tout the advantages of the lighter weight and superior tunability of their gaseous spring, while coil loyalists espouse the virtues of better sensitivity and greater reliability for their metal windings.

There have been excellent (and awful) examples of both air and coil sprung suspension over the years, and while it seems that air has mostly won over the domain of the suspension fork, coil sprung shocks are well-represented in the gravity-focused mountain bike arena.

Aside from the obvious advantages stated above, coil springs are generally more consistent in operation, particularly during sustained periods of intense riding, where excessive heat buildup can seriously undermine air spring performance. Ambient temperature and pressure (altitude) swings can also cause changes to air spring pressure, whereas a coil remains unchanged. There’s also the dreaded “spike” that coil converts certainly don’t miss about air shocks - the sensation that the air spring resists compression when experiencing a very hard or fast hit. Generally caused by friction in the system, this “spike” sensation is one that I know fairly well, and it always seems to strike at the worst possible moment, sending you offline, or possibly over the bars.

deniz merdano ryan walters formula wr1 bell 45


My personal ride is a Specialized Enduro, and after riding a slew of mountain bikes over the last few years - both air and coil sprung - I’m convinced that the Enduro is a bike whose suspension kinematics work very well with an air shock. The Enduro’s high shock leverage ratio is likely the biggest contributor to this, as a higher ratio renders the inherent friction of an air shock less noticeable while riding. Unfortunately, higher shock leverage ratios also mean higher loads, and when you add in the increased maintenance required of an air shock + a heavy rider + poor line choices, you start to understand why I generally need to have my Float X2 rebuilt more often than I care to admit. And it doesn’t seem to matter the brand - air shocks, with their extra complication, seals, and friction mean that they just need more love than their coil equivalents. I love the Enduro, but it’s a bike that is notoriously hard on shocks, and forking out $220 every few months to rebuild an air shock is enough to make anyone coil-curious.

Formula is a brand that is better known for brakes, and they’ve been making discs for mountain bikes longer than anyone else. But Formula has also been quietly churning out suspension products since 2012, serving a healthy dose of Italian flair on a handful of suspension forks, and more recently, their unique MOD coil shock.

IMG_7366

The MOD includes three CTS cartridges (orange installed by default), travel reducer clips and a shock pump. Note that springs are sold separately.


The MOD is Formula’s first, and currently their only mountain bike shock and unsurprisingly, it's aimed squarely at the DH and enduro crowd. It features a single tube damper body that allows a massive 30 mm diameter piston to push higher oil volumes through the shock. This translates to more consistent damping, improved sensitivity, and better heat management. All that displaced oil has to go somewhere, so the MOD also features one of the largest reservoirs found on a mountain bike shock. Inside this reservoir, Formula has another trick up their sleeve, and that is the use of a pressurized rubber bladder, instead of the more common IFP (Internal Floating Piston) found in other shocks. The bladder system does away with the extra dynamic seal required of an IFP, allowing for lower friction and heat buildup, leading to better sensitivity and damper consistency.

External damper adjustments on the MOD include a single knob for rebound, and one for compression. There is also a climb switch that toggles between “locked” and “unlocked”. The compression circuit also features what is likely the most unique feature on the MOD shock; Formula’s own Compression Tuning System (CTS). Also found on Formula forks, CTS allows you to change the compression characteristics of the damper by swapping out a small valve cartridge. Included with the MOD are three colour-coded CTS cartridges, each with distinctly different compression damping curves. The best part about CTS is the fact that any home mechanic can swap these cartridges out in minutes - no suspension tech required.

CTS CHART

Super-scientific graph showing compression damping characteristics of the three CTS cartridges. I think the takeaway here is that the biggest differences between the cartridges can be expected during high-speed compression events.


The MOD is available in several standard eyelet and trunnion sizes, and Formula provides ultralight steel springs from 300 lb/in to 600 lb/in in 50 lb/in increments (with heavier weight springs soon to be available). Springs are available in a unique Ultraviolet purple finish, or Titanium silver. Formula could certainly be faulted for causing confusion in naming their silver coloured steel springs “titanium,” as some online sources have incorrectly stated that these silver springs are indeed made from atomic number 22. They are not. They are steel.

The 205x65mm-sized trunnion shock body weighs in at 504 g (actual weight, no spring, no hardware), and it’s worth noting that the 205x65 mm shock body is adjustable down to 57.5 mm stroke in 2.5 mm increments by easily inserted stroke reducer clips. These clips are brilliant, and can even be swapped in or out with the shock still mounted to the bike - which is great for those nerds out there who have done their research, and want to play around with different shock strokes on their bike.* The 600 lb/in spring that I used for the majority of the test period weighs in at 390 g, which gives a total weight of 894 g for the complete shock. For the weight watchers, this is 233 g heavier than my Float X2 air shock.

*I definitely DO NOT endorse or recommend experimenting with “non-stock” shock strokes on your mountain bike. No, like seriously - you will void all the warranties, possibly injure or kill yourself, and your bike will most certainly burst into flames.


A DISCLAIMER ON YOKE-EQUIPPED REAR SUSPENSION DESIGNS:

One week into the review period, it was discovered that Formula does not recommend installing the MOD on any bike that utilizes a yoke (or “strut”) to drive the shock. Formula’s reasoning is that a yoke can place unanticipated loads on the shock body - particularly if a bearing isn’t freely rotating, or if the shock eyelets are misaligned. Through some back and forth discussion with Formula, I was made aware that other shock manufacturers also have stipulations regarding the use of yoke-driven coil shocks. For example, Fox permits their coil shocks to be used in certain cases where the yoke length falls below a threshold, thereby limiting the bending and/or off-axis loads that the shock might encounter. Click here for a deeper dive into Fox’s rules for yokes and struts. As the yoke on the Specialized Enduro is extremely short, it easily falls within Fox’s allowable parameters.

Formula doesn’t recommend the use of their MOD shock on ANY yoke-equipped bike, regardless of the yoke length. Failure to heed this warning is done solely at the user’s risk, and will undoubtedly void any applicable warranties. This is a bit of a shame, as there are several yoke-equipped bikes that are technically “off-limits” for the MOD. I understand where Formula is coming from, but I have personal experience with multiple non-yoke bikes whose shock eyelet misalignment was so bad, they were definitely much harder on shocks than an aligned yoke could ever be.

It is the humble opinion of this reviewer that eyelet / trunnion alignment is far more important to the function of the shock than whether or not it has a yoke driving it. If there’s a takeaway here for folks with yoke-equipped bikes, it’s to first check that your eye-to-eye / eye-to-trunnion alignment is good, and periodically check that your yoke bearings rotate smoothly. A bit more transparency from Formula would have been appreciated on this subject as well, as their only mention of it is buried in the MOD user manual. This is the kind of important info that should be clearly stated in the technical specifications on the MOD website, saving people the disappointment and expense of ordering a shock that isn’t compatible with their bike.

For the record, I completed the review period with no ill effects to shock, bike or rider, but I absolutely DO NOT recommend going against Formula’s guidelines.

Mod Strut Warning

My bad for missing this warning buried in the owner's manual, but in the interest of transparency, this is really the kind of info that should be posted on the product's main webpage.


Once installed on my contraband bicycle, the very first thing I noticed about the MOD is how unbelievably smooth its action is - almost too smooth, to the point where I wondered if I needed a stiffer spring, firmer damper settings, or both. As I already had the stiffest spring at my disposal installed (600lb/in), I wondered if the medium (orange) CTS cartridge should be swapped out for the firm (green) cartridge. As I sat there debating whether to dig into this brand new shock without it even seeing dirt yet, it dawned on me that I was already late leaving the house for a group ride, so further faffing would have to wait.

deniz merdano ryan walters formula wr1 bell 13

Yoke-driven suspension is not a crime. Also, purple.

The Ride.

Starting with a steady fireroad climb, I naturally experimented with the climb switch in both the locked and unlocked positions. The climb mode on the MOD is very stiff. It's basically a full lock-out that features a blowoff valve, allowing the shock to compress if it encounters any bump bigger than trail chatter. It’s a bit of an odd sensation riding with the climb switch engaged, and I personally wouldn’t employ it for any terrain other than smooth asphalt. When a bump force overcomes the blowoff threshold while in climb mode, the MOD does allow movement, but it’s sometimes accompanied by a screeching sound that was very disconcerting the first time I heard it. Alba Distribution confirmed that this noise is sometimes present in the MOD shock, and it’s normal, but can apparently be lessened through some revalving during a rebuild. For the noise reason alone, I rarely used the climb switch throughout the review.

Thankfully (and quite surprisingly), climbing with the MOD fully opened up didn’t result in an acute case of sea sickness. It seems that Formula has worked some magic into the low-speed compression traits of the MOD, and while there certainly was some pedal-induced suspension movement, it was far calmer than I expected. Even on the Enduro, which is not known for its climbing prowess, climbing with the MOD unlocked was almost enjoyable, as if every watt of pedal power that was stolen by the compressing shock was generously returned on the rebound stroke. Traction and comfort while climbing with the MOD unlocked were fantastic, as this smooth damper was all too eager to get out of the way of any obstacle in its path.

deniz merdano ryan walters formula wr1 bell 18

The lockout lever has two positions, with the "locked" mode being among the firmest platforms I've ever encountered.


When putzing around on mellow grades, the MOD certainly felt like it was wallowing a bit, and I found myself wishing the bike would sit just a touch higher in the rear, particularly while seated. A slightly stiffer spring - even just a jump of 25lb/in would have likely put me in the goldilocks zone. In spite of this, my MOD-equipped Enduro was happy to cruise along on mellow stuff, smoothing out and muting everything in its path. As comfortable as the ride was, I did kinda miss the playful, poppy character of my Float X2, but what the gooey-soft MOD lacked in pop, it made up for in ridiculous, ground-hugging traction. The MOD sports a substantial bottom-out bumper, and while I know I was massaging it frequently, I never once felt a harsh bottom-out. It seems that mountain bike shocks are finally taking a hint from the motocross world, and we’re now seeing big, fat bottom-out bumpers that factor significantly into the last portion of stroke.

While not necessarily unique to the MOD, I did encounter a fair amount of coil rub on the damper body. The inner diameter of the 600lb/in spring rests very close to the outer diameter of the body. When the suspension is compressing, those fat, purple coils occasionally rub the plastic shield protecting the damper. This was at times noticeable while riding, and I can only hope that this rub would begin to diminish as the plastic wears down a bit. Wet weather seemed to make the rubbing less noticeable, and I would expect that lower weight springs might have more clearance, and not exhibit this behaviour.

deniz merdano ryan walters formula wr1 bell 51

With the orange CTS cartridge installed, the MOD was a magic carpet ride through the forest.


Also related to the heavy 600lb/in spring I was using, I found the rebound damping range far too light. With the standard rebound tune, I spent the entire review period with the rebound adjuster in the fully closed position, and it was just barely enough damping for my tastes. While I think the rebound was pretty close to where I'd run it anyway, it was pretty hard to bracket my settings with only one direction to adjust, and even just two clicks open was too fast. Fortunately, any Formula service centre should have no problem revalving the rebound circuit if you need something different - just something to keep in mind if you plan on running with a heavier weight spring on the MOD.

After several rides with the orange CTS cartridge installed, I was curious if the firmer green cartridge would help alleviate some of the wallowing and provide a bit more support. I am usually the type to add pressure or spring rate in these situations, but seeing as I was already topped out on available spring rate, a firmer compression tune was my only option.

As evidenced in the video shown below, swapping the CTS cartridge is a fairly straightforward task, and I was able to finish the swap before draining a single beer.

Green means GO!

With the green CTS cartridge installed, the MOD was a completely different animal. Compression damping felt much stronger across all stroke speeds, and was particularly noticeable during high speed events. Not that I expected any different, but the green cartridge did nothing to help the bike sit higher in its travel, although suspension movement was definitely more muted compared to the orange cartridge. Cruising along at regular trail speeds, the green CTS felt overdamped and tiring after long periods of riding, and it wasn’t until I attacked a proper DH style track that the true colour of the green CTS shone through. And when I say attacked, I mean ATTACKED. Suddenly, the whole point of the CTS system became apparent to me - the green CTS equipped MOD is a true FRO (for race only) piece of kit. If you’re not absolutely hauling balls, the green MOD feels all wrong, but the harder you push, the better it feels. I was truly at the edge of my limits, and the shock was begging for more speed. Big compressions that typically overwhelmed my Float X2 were shrugged off, and my previously great feeling Zeb suddenly felt like it was losing badly at a violent game of tug-of-war with the MOD. It was absolutely uncomfortable to ride at this level for any appreciable length of time, taking every ounce of my dad bod strength to stay on the bike. All the while, the MOD never skipped a beat, feeling sure and composed the whole time.

As incredible as the performance was with the green CTS installed, I seriously don’t think it’s a setup I could live with for everyday riding. Unless you’re the type who pushes a terrifying pace at all times, the green CTS just doesn’t make much sense. That said, if you’re a heavy, aggressive racer type who has a history of destroying bottom-out bumpers, then maybe the green CTS is your silver bullet.

IMG_7369

These little valve cartridges are the beating heart of Formula's Compression Tuning System. Swapping them out is straightforward, and doing so completely changes the nature of the shock.


Contrary to what you might be thinking about the CTS cartridges, and the range of adjustment offered by the compression adjuster knob, it seems that the characteristics of each CTS do not necessarily “overlap” by way of the adjuster knob. For example: the green CTS with the compression knob wound fully open was noticeably more damped than the orange CTS with the knob fully closed. While the compression adjuster knob did make a difference to the damping characteristics of the MOD, the changes were quite subtle compared to the drastic differences realized by swapping the cartridges.

With the orange CTS cartridge re-installed, I was whisked back to that gooey, traction-hungry feeling I first encountered with this shock. While it might not be the "checkers or wreckers" performance of the green CTS, it certainly made a lot more sense for the greasy, slippery jank of our local trails. Sometimes you just want your rear wheel to get out of the way, and the MOD feels unmatched in this regard. This was not my first rodeo with a shock equipped with a bladder-backed oil reservoir, and my experience with these shocks has proven to me that the lack of an IFP does indeed result in improved sensitivity throughout the entire stroke.

deniz merdano ryan walters formula wr1 bell 50

Blown out, unsupported corners over roots and debris - this is where the MOD was at its best. Traction for days.

Final thoughts.

The MOD is a very cool piece of kit, and while it certainly has quirks, most of them were directly related to the heavy 600lb/in spring I was using. At $1099 CAD. for the damper (with springs costing about $150), the MOD is not cheap, and it’s hard to ignore the fact that you can get more adjustability at a lower cost in the Fox DHX2 - a shock with fewer quirks, and a fairly good track record.

While I didn’t get enough time on the MOD to truly gauge its long term reliability, I had no maintenance issues whatsoever during the review, and the damper oil is free of air bubbles. If your number one priority is traction at all times, then the orange CTS MOD is definitely a worthy candidate. Alternatively, if you’re a heavy-set racer type, or an absolute bike park crusher, the green CTS MOD might be the shock you’ve always been looking for. And while I can’t speak directly to the gold CTS cartridge, extrapolating from my experience with the other two, this cartridge would be best suited to lighter riders, or possibly bikes with low shock leverage ratios.

If you’re coil-curious, and looking for something a little different than the status quo, the MOD is a shock whose personality can be changed drastically without the typically expensive teardown. For riders and racers who are intrigued by the tuning options available through the CTS, Formula is currently the only player in town doing anything like this, so that alone is reason enough to take a good look at the MOD. In the meantime, the trails are getting treacherously slick in my neck of the woods, so I think I’ll capitalize on the MOD’s phenomenal traction for just a little while longer.

Formula MOD

$1099 CAD. / $829 U.S.

Formula

Alba Distribution

rwalters
Ryan Walters

Age : 40

Height : 1803mm

Weight : 86kg

Ape Index : 1.03

Inseam : 787mm

Bar Width : 780mm

Preferred Reach : Pretty comfy at 487mm these days.

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Comments

Kenny
Kenny
3 months ago
+8 Lu Kz T0m Cam McRae Ryan Walters Pete Roggeman Mammal GB Jenkins5

When I see a review come up of a product I've owned and had issues with, I'm always curious to give it a read and see if my bullshit detector starts blaring as some media Weiner praises some part I fully know is far from flawless. 

So credit where credit is due here, I agree all around. 

My mod came stock on a frame I bought new and I had all of these issues. The "screech" when locked out was insane and alba was not able to fix it. I've heard there's another fix available but I since sold the bike. 

I also needed about a 600lb spring but felt by about 550 the rebound was maxed out. It also made a slight sort of "clunk" when initially compressed, unless the compression was set wide open. 

I also generally concluded that it might be better for lighter riders, at least in stock form.

That said a DVO jade has a larger shaft, approved for yoke style suspensions, and HSC adjustable from a dial, and it's nearly half the price. Sooo... Yeah. I'm sure it can be made to run nice but you won't see one of these on any of my bikes again any time soon. 

Anyways really appreciate the accurate and thorough review.

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 months ago
+1 bishopsmike

I'll take this as a compliment, cheers! I definitely try my best to dig deep into the stuff I review.

The MOD definitely strikes me as a niche product, but for the right situations, I think it has its merits.

Reply

4Runner1
4Runner1
3 months ago
+2 Mammal Jenkins5

Coil curious for my Ripmo v2. The DVO seems to be a great place to start.

Reply

Distrakted
Distrakted
3 months ago
+4 Ryan Walters Mammal Pete Roggeman Jenkins5

I will have to 2nd the DVO props. After spending a fortune trying to keep my X2 in working order on my Spec Enduro I decided I wanted something easy to service as a home mechanic. 

I have had quite a few bikes with various coil and air shocks over the years but out of all of them it was a custom Push tuned Fox DHX 5.0 back in the mid 2000's  that had that  just do everything right magic feel. On a hunch that no amount of shiny knobs or euro exotica could make up for a poor shim stack tune, I purchased a DVO Jade X for serviceability and ease of tuning. 

Out of the box, the stock compression tune was way too light even for a light rider. That being said, shims are cheap and the shock is so easily serviceable that I was able to work out a great feeling tune relatively quickly. Simple, reliable, inexpensive to purchase and maintain and just feels great out in the woods.

Reply

trioofchaos
trioofchaos
3 months ago
+6 T0m 4Runner1 Mammal finbarr bishopsmike badgerracer

At that price I would have a hard time not paying the extra $170 for an EXT.

Reply

SuspensionLab_JonoChurch
SuspensionLab_JonoChurch
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+4 Morgan Heater Heinous Mike Ferrentino Kenny

The problem with Yoke-driven shocks isn't really just alignnment, its that they usually remove any lateral compliance in the eyelet, as well as increasing the length which makes it more susceptible to buckling moments. Coil shocks can make it worse because the spring itself is also try to buckle when compressed (unless its a Push Hypercoil - *plug plug*).

Also, whats with people reviewing coil shocks and not using different springs?! Would you test an air shock and never adjust the pressure? I know its not always straightforward but thats fundamental stuff.

Apart from that whinge, its a pretty good review - I haven't ridden one but got to spend a day running one on the dyno and came up with very similar conclusions. Apparently they are starting to ship with a firmer rebound tune too as I posed the question when I discovered the very light valving there as well. 

I really like the CTS system - it strikes a nice balance of performing well enough to make it worth changing, but the parts and procedure is simple and easy to do without fear of ruining the piston

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+2 Lu Kz Tim Coleman

Wow. This is the second time in a week that I’ve been accused of not doing something in a review that I actually did do! Tough crowd, haha!

If you read the review carefully, I said I spent most of the time with the 600lb/in spring. I also tried a 550lb spring that was far too light for me (it’s even in the pictures). And there are currently no springs available for the MOD heavier than 600lb/in. As far as using springs from other manufacturers, I was advised to not do so for the review, and even if I could find a heavier one, the rebound damping wouldn’t have worked with a heavier spring.

Reply

SuspensionLab_JonoChurch
SuspensionLab_JonoChurch
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Ryan Walters

Sorry Ryan, that was a bit unfair. It seems like you did actually get as much out of it as you could, I think the bit that irked me is I wish whoever supplies these shocks had the the skills or data to have seen that you would have been on the limit of available springs, and the rebound tune needed addressing. This is a big part of what I do, because it eliminates that wasted period of time puzzling over adjustments and always wishing you had a different spring or tune. Or worse, not realising you need a different tune and running around in circles trying  to figure out why your shock isn't working that great. It seems like reviewers get told "a good suspension shop can revalve it for you" but how many actually get that done reality?

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Thanks. I definitely did my best to test this shock, and explored several avenues to get it to an ideal state for me. I have no doubt the MOD could be modded to work great for me, haha! Unfortunately, the review window wasn’t as long as I hoped, and the shock needed to go back to distributor.

And re: your calculations of rebound tune vs. spring rate (mentioned below) - it’s always cool when personal experience is backed up by actual data and measurements.

Reply

velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
3 months ago
+2 T0m Ryan Walters

I'd like to read an update once you've tried a stiffer spring and revalved rebound.

I found myself chasing my tail with coil setup until I went +50lb over the recommended spring rate. Once the firmer coil was installed I didn't need to use the damper to keep off the bottom, and the mid-stroke is magical, somehow without losing the beginning stroke traction.

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 months ago
0

While I probably won't have the MOD in my possession long enough to try a stiffer spring and rebound tune, I wholeheartedly agree with going up in spring rate before adding loads of compression damping.

Reply

ohio
ohio
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I'm kind of surprised at the spring rates needed with this shock. I run an EXT on my Spec Enduro, and at 75kg I'm running a 425# or 450# - and the 450# ends up very lively, running almost no preload. Granted you're 86kg but just extrapolating the 550# would be enough on the EXT for you.

Curious what about the damper gives it less support... maybe that bladder, but the shaft size should give it an air pressure boost. Or maybe just lighter comp valving.

In either case, seems like a tough sell in north america vs a custom valved EXT, a DVO that's easily tuned at half the price, or a new Rockshox Superdeluxe which sounds really good also at half the price, and maybe even less as they show up used or oversupplied to the aftermarket.

Reply

RG
RG
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I don't know if its the bike kinematics. I have the same weight as Ryan, and run my MOD with a 450 spring and I am very happy.

Reply

Spooky817
Spooky817
6 days, 17 hours ago
0

I too am the same weight and run either 400 or 450 in the Crossworx Dash with the MOD, so yes, the kinematics to play a part here. Also, not mentioned in the article is that Formula make a 650 and a 700 spring (although they only became available around mid last year) but are available.

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 ohio

You're not the first person to ask me about the spring rate. When I first got the 600# on the bike, I was a bit surprised that it still felt soft to me. I do tend to run my suspension quite stiff though - for the record, my setup with the Float X2 is 252psi and 2 volume spacers (the maximum). I still manage to bottom the shock about once or twice per ride.

Reply

danithemechanic
danithemechanic
3 months ago
+2 T0m RG

Transparency from Formula? 

Their suspensions might be good (their brakes surely are) but their comunications about parts spec is sub par.

It's kind of an early 2000's situation where you can only gather informations through rumors heard on the trails or at the shop.

Reply

craw
Cr4w
3 months ago
+1 T0m

Anyone who bought anything from Formula based on rumour and shop talk from the early 2000s should have known better lol.

Reply

Jotegir
Lu Kz
3 months ago
+2 T0m Timer

I think they moreso mean that buying nearly anything in the 2000s was based on rumour and shop talk. Tech docs were only invented in 2011 after all.

Reply

craw
Cr4w
3 months ago
+1 danithemechanic

I know what they meant. But I specifically meant that anyone who worked in or around shops in the early 2000s and ad anything to do with Formula products is probably having a PTSD eye twitching Vietnam flashback right now.

Reply

Jotegir
Lu Kz
3 months ago
+2 domdb bishopsmike

Formula  must get one hell of a margin on these  (because I'm sure the Canadian distributor does not) when the retail is $1100 and you can pick one up strapped to a Bird bike for a price less than $500 CAD on top of the frame sans-shock price...

Reply

Timer
Timer
2 months, 4 weeks ago
0

Something seems a bit off with the overseas pricing on this shock. In Europe the MOD is almost 300€ cheaper than a Fox DHX2.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
2 months, 4 weeks ago
0

It's tough to compare OE to RP, especially btwn different countries, triply so when you consider the current trifecta of inflation, currency volatility, and differing duties and taxes.

Reply

RG
RG
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+2 bishopsmike Pete Roggeman

I have a MDE Damper (beautiful Italian stallion) with a yoke. MDE sells their bikes with Formula MOD from the factory. I don't know what to think about that. Italian bike manufacturer sells Italian shock that is not allowed for the type of shock mount. Is now no problem or not?
As for my short (1.5 year) experience, there is no issue so far.

And yes, the screeching in lock-out mode makes me wince every time. It sounds as the shock is about to break down.

I ride a 450 coil and I can confirm the coil rub on the damper body as well. So it's not just with the heavy one. 

But I like the MOD, as well as the Formula Selva C (coil) in the front.

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 RG

Ha! Thanks for pointing this out! Had to look it up, but here it is:

MDE Damper

Reply

Spooky817
Spooky817
6 days, 16 hours ago
0

Formula have approved the MOD on the MDE, hende the factory spec. If you have a yoke bike, then contact Formula and see if your bike is on the list of yoke bikes they have tested and approved as compatible, as there are a few, the MDE Damper being one of them. It is simply stated as not compatible as a general rule, but should read "unless tersted and approved by Formula" in that particular bike, that's how it should have been worded.

Reply

Flatted-again
Flatted-again
3 months ago
+1 Justin White

I’ve often wondered why Specialized (I guess Yeti too) made the design decision to use those mini yokes instead of bolting the shock directly into the linkage. It’s probably some smart reason.

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 months ago
+1 Justin White

While yokes gat a bad rap (sometimes for good reason), there are a few reasons they exist. They often allow frame designers to accommodate design constraints (like seat tubes, etc.) without adding a bunch more bearings and links (think Specialized Stumpjumper), and in the Enduro's case, they also allow for a fairly simple way of geometry adjustment via a flip chip. You could also argue that yokes can help keep suspension linkages more compact in certain cases.

Reply

Flatted-again
Flatted-again
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 Justin White

Makes sense. I guess the narrative of yokes + misalignment = exploding shock makes me wonder if removing the yoke from the equation is the answer, or if stronger shocks is the answer, or if avoiding misalignment in the first place is the answer, and which of those is easiest to do at scale.

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 Justin White

I'd say alignment is by far the most important factor. I wouldn't hesitate to suggest that anyone buying a high-end full suspension bike from a shop, have a mechanic verify the alignment, or at the very least, if you're mechanically savvy, check the alignment yourself before letting the bike see dirt.

Reply

Hbar
Hbar
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

I bet there are good ways to check the alignment, and less good ways? For example, how to best reference your alignment jig. Maybe this is a good topic for one of NSMB's tech articles? Or has that already happened? Anyway, I'd certainly read it.

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+3 Mammal Hbar Justin White

If you're reasonably certain your shock and eyelets are straight and correct (new shock and non-sloppy reducers, etc), the easiest way would be to tighten one eye of the shock to the frame, and see by eye if there is any misalignment between the non-fastened end of the shock and the other frame / linkage / yoke / etc. If you find you need to "flex" the shock in any direction to get it to slip into place, this is a bad sign.

No frame is going to be perfect, but I've seen a misalignment of 3mm - which seems like an awful lot to me. 

And while I don't have data in front of me, I'm sure a lot of misalignment happens over the life of the bicycle, whether through bent structures, bearing drift or bearing seat damage, etc. I'm sure it's not impossible for alignment to improve over time for the same reasons, haha!

just6979
Justin White
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 Ryan Walters

I'd have to agree with Ryan's idea of locking one end down and just seeing if it's aligned at the other end. I know that if I snug the upper bolt on my Stumpy, the lower end (the yoke end) just slides right in, no wiggling or tweaking needed. That's pretty aligned, and after three hard years, my DPX2 shows more wear inside the reservoir*, compared to the (seems to be completely fine) damper body and shaft.

*(From the silly IFP that is stabilized only by it's own sealing o-ring. New Float X added a glide ring to the IFP to fix this, and it's the same diameter... time to try some Franken-shocking!)

Kenny
Kenny
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+2 Ryan Walters SuspensionLab_JonoChurch

I think in the context of the enduro's suspension layout, that might be true. 

On other layouts like the stumpy, Revel. Etc where there's a much longer yoke and it's driven from the top of the rear triangle/seat stays, how well it's lined up sitting there static on the shop floor doesn't mean much. 

Dynamically, everything flexes as you load up the suspension and you'll get side loading regardless. 

I have a Revel which has a fairly long yoke, maybe not quite as long as a stumpy, but they recommend coil shocks with larger shafts, like dvo or push. 

These shocks have shafts more in the 14mm diameter range as opposed to 10mm  ish as seem on fox, formula. Etc. 

IMO running one of these small shafted shocks on a bike like the stumpy Evo or revel is just asking for trouble, regardless of how well the alignment checks out unloaded. It's kinda irrelevant.

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 Timer

I fully agree - a longer yoke is more likely to side-load the shock. For the record, the shaft diameter on the MOD is 13mm (anodized aluminum). 

There is certainly some debate as to what is more durable for a shock shaft - small diameter chrome steel, or larger diameter anodized aluminum.

Kenny
Kenny
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+2 Ryan Walters Pete Roggeman

Can't reply to your post below, so replying here  regarding aluminum and steel, steel always. Should have clarified. 

Push make an "HD" elevensix specifically for yoke driven suspensions and ebikes, difference for the HD version is they use a steel shaft. 

Rock shox also make a specific part number for the super deluxe especially for specialized, the difference is... You guessed it. Steel shaft. 

I think actually both of these special versions were born because of the levo and then used for others. 

If push and rock shox are specifically changing to steel shafts for these bikes, I think that's enough for me. :)

Revel spec the elevensix specifically for that reason.

kyle-doherty
Kyle Doherty
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 Ryan Walters

Can you manipulate the shim stacks of each CTS cartridge, or are they closed source? In other words, are you stuck with these three tunes?

If you can mod a MOD cartridge, seems it would be huge for the garage tinkerer. You could swap shims without having to bleed the damper. Could even try it trailside

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
2 months, 4 weeks ago
0

While I think a trailside shim swap would be a bit of a stretch, I don't see why a competent mechanic couldn't play around with the stacks themselves. As you can see in the picture below (visible on the green cartridge), the shims are easily accessible.

Formula MOD CTS

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just6979
Justin White
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 Ryan Walters

The piston doesn't displace oil, the shaft does. A big piston potentially flows more oil, putting those shims/valves more in control of the damping, rather than the size of the passages being a limiting factor for high speed events. But a bigger shaft is what moves more oil into the reservoir and gives the resi valves more authority over the damping.

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
2 months, 4 weeks ago
0

You’re right. I was kinda generalizing about the big proportions of this shock mean more oil flowing. You’d think with all that oil going through the rebound circuit on the piston head, it shouldn’t be too hard to get that rebound slower!

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just6979
Justin White
2 months, 4 weeks ago
0

Generalizing about bigger is better is fine; but you actually got more specific, twice, by mentioning both the piston (vs shaft or just the entire thing) and moving/displacing oil (vs oil flow or just total oil amount).

As someone who already runs their rebound "too fast" (low speed at least, high speed is more moderate), one might think Formula might be trying to say something with that stock rebound tune and range.

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 Kenny

I like my rebound fairly quick too (recovering DH racer), but the MOD range was not usable in stock form for me. Somewhere in the comments here, someone mentioned that Formula is firming up the rebound for future MODs.

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Kenny
Kenny
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Ryan Walters

Agreed. Mine was very marginal with a 550 (with rebound fully closed), with a 600 is was crazy fast.

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SuspensionLab_JonoChurch
SuspensionLab_JonoChurch
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Ryan Walters Kenny

By my calculations, I think a 450 was about the limit of achieving damping ratios that people actually use. 350-400 was in theory the optimum

Flatted-again
Flatted-again
2 months, 4 weeks ago
0

This comment has been removed.

morgan-heater
Morgan Heater
2 months, 4 weeks ago
0

Is there any reason a coil shock would be more sensitive to side loading than an air shock? Wouldn't an air shock be worse?

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jgshinton
John Hinton
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+2 Morgan Heater Jerry Willows

Air shocks have a stanchion, like a fork. This makes them stiffer in bending. Coil shocks have only the shaft, which is much narrower, usually 12-14mm. It is inherently more flexible side to side due to lower diameter.

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Kenny
Kenny
2 months, 4 weeks ago
0

It's not really a stanchion, it's the actual damper body, but yeah. 

They're as sensitive or more so to side loading than coils in that they have more seals and tighter tolerances, so sideloading can cause more maintenance issues, but they're less sensitive in that side loads won't typically cause them to fail catastrophically.

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Spooky817
Spooky817
6 days, 16 hours ago
0

Coil shocks are way more sensetive and prone to wear from side loading / bending. Compare the diameters of the shaft of a coil shock (the MOD is 13mm, and this is big, many are smaller) to that of an air shock, commonly around 25 - 35mm which provides better resistance against bending of the entire shock structure.

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