- Industry moves towards standardised metric shocks
- Claimed improved performance and integration over former standards
- Two models on offer
What are metric shocks
To explain it as simply as possible, ever since mountain bike manufacturers started building full-suspension bicycles, the process has been to design the frame and linkage first, and let the shock company finish the equation — literally and figuratively.
The system worked, obviously, as evidenced by the incredible new bikes available each year. But now RockShox, along with five other shock manufacturers, is hoping to standardise the shock market with new metric measurements.
Will the shocks be different to what we already have?
That’s what RockShox is hoping. We currently have 82 varieties of possible rear shock hardware and nine combinations of eye-to-eye lengths. This will be simplified down to 18 and six respectively.
The gaps between the sizes in the new shocks will be uniform and logical which should simplify things for the consumer. RockShox also reassures us that a lot of manufacturers are on board too, which is no small ask, considering the fact that existing bike designs would need to be reengineered to work with the new shock sizing.
RockShox has today unveiled its first shocks that use the metric sizing – the Deluxe and Super Deluxe.
How are they better than the current shocks on the market?
RockShox wanted to improve in two areas: performance and integration.
RockShox claims the Deluxe and Super Deluxe have greater bushing overlap and an improved scraper that both increase durability and reliability. The shocks also have a dedicated Debonair chassis, this effectively allows for the integration of the larger air volume can without adding any weight.
The biggest change is the new metric sizing. The sizes have come about as part of a coalition between suspension manufacturers and frame designers, the theory is that fewer eccentricities in shock measurement will lead to better and more consistent frame design.
RockShox also claims that the new Trunnion mounting systems that can deliver a shorter eye to eye while keeping the same stroke. This, in turn, will allow for frames with lower standover height, which is not only bang on trend for frame design but will also benefit smaller and female riders.
Tell me about the shocks then
The RockShox Super Deluxe seems to be the pick of the two. RockShox wanted to create a shock version of the Pike and this is what it came up with. It claims the Super Deluxe is the lowest friction shock in the world thanks to some new bushings in combination with the benefits outlined above.
The Deluxe seems to be a Monarch with metric sizing, a lower budget option for when the metric frames roll out of the factories. We’ll let you know how they both perform when we get some in to test.
You won’t be able to get your hands on these shocks until summer and unless you have a metric sized bike there’s not really much point in picking one up. Until then though, this seems to be the next step forward in shock and frame design. The key thing to remember is that RockShox will continue to offer the legacy sizes as long as the market exists.