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Dec. 20, 2016, 12:37 a.m. -  Udi

#!markdown Not to disagree with Steve, but I think using the word "hackjob" is a little harsh when that final iteration of the RC4 (1/2″) is arguably one of the best shocks in the history of mountain biking, particularly from a reliability standpoint. The reason they kept the oversize reservoir and simply re-labeled the volume adjuster is because the shock was an end-of-the-line product: it wouldn't have been economically viable to redesign the parts for a shock that was in its final year of production. Despite this lack of *further* optimisation, the shock is lighter than virtually all competing products (BOS, CCDB, Vivid, and also lighter than the outgoing 5/8″ shaft version of itself). Functionally there's no real disadvantage to keeping the old form factor provided that IFP depth is adjusted to suit. The B/O adjuster can be removed to save a few more grams if desired since it no longer does much. However - this shock (the 1/2″ / small shaft) is certainly the best of the lineup - because the fat shaft and BV cater for an era of frames that no longer exist (ones that require a pedalling platform and greater end-stroke support due to frame design). The circlip design on the piggyback also saw multiple iterations, and the small-shaft shock has the final version which involves a thicker lip on the DSC retention forging, and a single thick circlip instead of the multi-wrap design which had a tendency to pop itself out. The very last iteration of the 5/8″ shaft shocks did get the updated circlip but the 1/2″ shock guarantees it. Thus, the final iteration is the best performing (in a modern frame) and most reliable shock of the lot in my experience. Unless you have an older frame that specifically warrants the use of the 5/8″ shaft version, then I think your original assumption is indeed the correct one - the 1/2″ shaft version is the one to get. It has a significantly lower breakway force than the 5/8″ shaft and in my experience is competitive with modern shocks (if not better - I run it by choice over the X2 and DB).

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