The coil rebounds.
When Specialized released the Öhlins Enduro it signalled a return to coil shocks. What’s good about coil? Should you switch from air to coil?
Air springs are about as ubiquitous as air filled tyres on today’s mountain bikes, which makes is pretty surprising that Specialized just produced a fully coil sprung trail bike. We’re talking about the Specialized Enduro, which you can now buy with Öhlins suspension front and rear, making it one of only two trail bikes we can think of that doesn’t come with air damped suspension. Check out Evil’s The Wreckoning for the other, which comes with a push 11.6 shock option.
Back to the Enduro, and perhaps it’s not such a surprising move given that Specialized has been dabbling with Swedish suspension brand Öhlins for a few years now — most recently, in 2016 they added the air-sprung Öhlins shock to the Enduro range. This year the Specialized Gravity downhill team including 2015 world champ Loic Bruni has switch to Ohlins, while Enduro World Series racer Curtis Keene has now opted to run this Öhlins Enduro bike for the 2017 season.
The rebound effect
So what’s going on, what advantage does coil bring? Simple really, coil beats air in terms of pure suspension performance, according to experts TF Tuned. “You’re much more in control on the bike because the suspension is more responsive to the terrain,” explains Paul Byrom. “So in the middle of a berm you lose that flat tyre feel you get with air, and the back end of the bike will sit up and hold you up ready for the next hit.”
Curtis aggress: “Öhlins coil front and rear has been next level for me. The way it tracks the small stuff is unreal—you feel everything on the trail but it completely erases all the square edges, and gives you just the positive feedback.”
So what’s changed now to bring coil back to the shorter travel masses? “It’s logical progression,” Paul says. “Trail bikes now can have nearly the same travel as downhill bikes, they’ve got similar geometry, they’re comparably stiff. So now people are thinking, lets go for the coil spring too.”
Add that to the increased availability of uplifting, the gnarlier tracks we’re riding and the enduro race scene maybe it’s no wonder we could all be opting for coil again.
Three great modern coil shocks
Put a spring in your riding. Best for huge descents where air shocks overheat.
Ohlins TTX 22
When it was first launched in 2013 the TTX 22 would only fit in the Specialized Enduro. Thankfully, the Swedish suspension experts now make it in loads of lengths or strokes so everyone can sample the twin tube design.
Push Industries Elevensix
The Elevensix is individually assembled for you and your bike… we should think so too, when you’re spending over £1,000 on a shock. Made in Colorado, the shock has something called Dual Overhead Valve technology — basically a pedal platform lever.
RockShox Super Deluxe Coil
£OEM only (for now), zyrofisher.co.uk
Just released this month, RockShox has made a coil version of its metric Super Deluxe. There’s an option to get a bar-mounted two-position threshold adjustment too if you’re a serious enduro racer.