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Coil vs Air shock

Oct. 24, 2019, 8:56 p.m.
Posts: 114
Joined: Dec. 6, 2017

I've noticed some Enduro bike are coming stocked with a coil shock, like the Norco Range.

What's the reason for coil shock replacing air shock on their previous years model?

What do you guys prefer on your Enduro/trail bikes, coil or air? Why?

Oct. 24, 2019, 9:04 p.m.
Posts: 11068
Joined: June 4, 2008

I prefer coil 100%.  I'm a big dude though.

Oct. 25, 2019, 5:06 a.m.
Posts: 2276
Joined: Sept. 5, 2012

Coil , swapped my in a year or so back . No turning back IMO. My bike is only 120mm and coil made a big difference.

Oct. 25, 2019, 11:03 a.m.
Posts: 475
Joined: March 15, 2013

The biggest difference is that one goes "spring" and one goes "sproing".

Oct. 25, 2019, 2:36 p.m.
Posts: 314
Joined: May 11, 2018

I've got a 150mm evil with air and a 155 Knolly with coil. Can't say I notice a huge difference. I was told the coil is 100g heavier. I chose it for maintenance. Weighing >200lbs, the air shock needs service every year with new parts needed due to wear. This is expensive in the long run. If the stupid thing would hold air for 24 months, you could just replace the shock every two years for about the same price as the annual service x 2. Unfortunately it doesn't last that long for me.

Oct. 25, 2019, 3:30 p.m.
Posts: 19
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

Depends on the frame progressivity, and if you're happy trading the extra tunability of air for the lower maintenance and different feel of coil.

Assuming the leverage rate of your frame will be OK with coil then try one out to see if you like it. I got a second hand dhx5 super cheap to test. It's not an instant winner, but different, and good to have ready to swap in when the air shock is being serviced.

Oct. 25, 2019, 9:35 p.m.
Posts: 114
Joined: Dec. 6, 2017

Posted by: RAHrider

I've got a 150mm evil with air and a 155 Knolly with coil. Can't say I notice a huge difference. I was told the coil is 100g heavier. I chose it for maintenance. Weighing >200lbs, the air shock needs service every year with new parts needed due to wear. This is expensive in the long run. If the stupid thing would hold air for 24 months, you could just replace the shock every two years for about the same price as the annual service x 2. Unfortunately it doesn't last that long for me.

My last service on my DPX2 cost me over $400(aircan was scored and needed to be replaced). Had I known how much it was going to cost, buying new would've been a better option.

So other than less maintenance, you found the ride comparison the same between the two?


 Last edited by: Ouch on Oct. 26, 2019, 8:32 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
Oct. 26, 2019, 10:23 a.m.
Posts: 1314
Joined: Feb. 17, 2009

My coil shock can go 2 years before service, air usually goes for a year. Even then, since it’s on a 165mm bike that doesn’t see any park riding, they oil is still respectable at the end of two years.

Oct. 27, 2019, 7:18 a.m.
Posts: 857
Joined: June 26, 2012

I also think of the impact on geometry/ride height. Coil shocks probably need to be run with less sag than an air shock to avoid excessive bottom-out, whereas an air shock can be run at something like 35% sag if desired, and have progression adjusted by spacers.

In theory, a coil shock has less stiction so it will still feel sensitive with less sag, but you end up with a bike riding higher in its travel, which can be a good or bad thing depending on your bike setup goals.

This is purely theoretical, though. I haven’t tried an air and coil shock on the same frame.


 Last edited by: D_C_ on Oct. 27, 2019, 4:18 p.m., edited 3 times in total.
Oct. 27, 2019, 1:57 p.m.
Posts: 314
Joined: May 11, 2018

Interestingly, the majority of rampage bikes had air shocks. They don't have to worry about service though.

Oct. 27, 2019, 2:10 p.m.
Posts: 114
Joined: Dec. 6, 2017

Posted by: RAHrider

Interestingly, the majority of rampage bikes had air shocks. They don't have to worry about service though.

Well a quick look; 14 use coil and 7 use air. Personal preference obviously, both very capable!

Oct. 27, 2019, 2:11 p.m.
Posts: 114
Joined: Dec. 6, 2017

Posted by: D_C_

I also think of the impact on geometry/ride height. Coil shocks probably need to be run with less sag than an air shock to avoid excessive bottom-out, whereas as air shock can be run at something like 35% sag if desired, and have progression adjusted by spacers.

In theory, a coil shock has less stiction so it will still feel sensitive with less sag, but you end up with a bike riding higher in its travel, which can be a good or bad thing depending on your bike setup goals.

This is purely theoretical, though. I haven’t tried an air and coil shock on the same frame.

Thanks, something to keep in mind.

Oct. 27, 2019, 9:25 p.m.
Posts: 314
Joined: May 11, 2018

Posted by: Ouch

Posted by: RAHrider

Interestingly, the majority of rampage bikes had air shocks. They don't have to worry about service though.

Well a quick look; 14 use coil and 7 use air. Personal preference obviously, both very capable!

You are right. The first five were all air shocks in the article, I was surprised there were so many and then my first impression took over.

That being said the three podiums were all on air cans.

Oct. 29, 2019, 10:25 a.m.
Posts: 1510
Joined: July 11, 2014

They might like air shocks for Rampage because they can max out air pressure and progressivity with volume reducers to avoid harsh bottom outs (as well as custom valving rebound to slow it down) on the massive drops which would send riders out of control.

I've been running a DHX2 coil on my 160mm trail/do-it-all bike for about a month now, only had time for 3 rides unfortunately, but so far I'm very happy with it. Bike came stock with a DPX2, but given that the frame was already progressive (YT Jeffsy), that the DPX2 is progressive by nature and I'm heavy (205lbs before gearing up), it was very hard to get the DPX2 to feel good on small bump/chatter without blowing through travel... or it would feel harsh on small bump if I wanted it to stand up better. The coil feels amazing over chunky terrain, much more composed/comfortable and better grip, and handles bottom outs fine. It feels less poppy/playful, at least how I have it setup now, so I might play with LSC/LSR a bit but overall I'm very happy with the setup.

I will say that I had a DVO Topaz on my previous bike (also a Jeffsy) and that shock was superior to the DPX2, at least for me... was much closer to the DHX2 in feel once i had it setup well.

Oct. 29, 2019, 2:41 p.m.
Posts: 114
Joined: Dec. 6, 2017

Posted by: grambo

They might like air shocks for Rampage because they can max out air pressure and progressivity with volume reducers to avoid harsh bottom outs (as well as custom valving rebound to slow it down) on the massive drops which would send riders out of control.

I've been running a DHX2 coil on my 160mm trail/do-it-all bike for about a month now, only had time for 3 rides unfortunately, but so far I'm very happy with it. Bike came stock with a DPX2, but given that the frame was already progressive (YT Jeffsy), that the DPX2 is progressive by nature and I'm heavy (205lbs before gearing up), it was very hard to get the DPX2 to feel good on small bump/chatter without blowing through travel... or it would feel harsh on small bump if I wanted it to stand up better. The coil feels amazing over chunky terrain, much more composed/comfortable and better grip, and handles bottom outs fine. It feels less poppy/playful, at least how I have it setup now, so I might play with LSC/LSR a bit but overall I'm very happy with the setup.

I will say that I had a DVO Topaz on my previous bike (also a Jeffsy) and that shock was superior to the DPX2, at least for me... was much closer to the DHX2 in feel once i had it setup well.

Thanks for the feedback.

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