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​The Ultimate Guide to 'Metric' Shock Sizing and the RockShox Super Deluxe 21

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For over two years RockShox has been quietly working on a major project they feel will take mountain bike rear suspension to the next level, and today they draw back the curtain. What we present to you here is an in-depth guide to the new "metric" shock and hardware sizing, a close look at the new RockShox Super Deluxe shock that capitalizes on that sizing, and our personal impressions following multiple back-to-back test sessions on the trail. We also provide the important answers as to why things are happening.

Why should you care? Because bikes are changing moving forward, this movement is backed by several big companies, and many parts of it are still misunderstood. It won't be an overnight change, but a few years from now every bike may use what's discussed in this feature. While RockShox straight up says this isn't one, metric is essentially a new standard - one created to eliminate current constraints and limitations in order to create the best shocks possible.

There's a lot to digest, but by bringing you the full picture we hope we're able to answer your questions and more. It's time to really dig in...

What Is Metric?

Last week a press release was issued by RockShox, DVO, Cane Creek, Manitou, SR Suntour, and X-Fusion indicating that we will see several new rear shock lengths and fitment options starting in 2017 . These new shock sizes "are based on metric dimensions" and said to "provide performance benefits to suspension and frame designs."

Due to some confusion over the term "metric" and a poorly timed release around April Fools' Day, the internet went ablaze with comments like: "I thought my shock was already measured in metric? Do they need a calculator?" "This has to be a joke." "Conspiracy, I say!"

Well, it's not a joke at all (or a conspiracy). As we wrote in our response to the press release, shocks have been produced in several convenient imperial eye-to-eye and stroke sizes for years (6.5x1.5", 7.875x2.0", 8.5x2.5", etc). While these numbers can certainly be converted to the metric system using some simple math (1" = 25.4mm, ya dummy), "metric" isn't just a switch in listed dimensions, and this whole thing has little to do with metric versus imperial systems. "Metric," as it's referred to here, is actually a new set of sizes for rear shocks that have been agreed upon by several suspension and frame manufacturers. That means new eye-to-eye and stroke measurements in conveniently chosen increments of millimeters.

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

Metric Shock Sizing

The metric sizes outlined below look a bit more logical, don't they? The new sizing falls on 5mm stroke and 20mm eye-to-eye increments, and you'll notice lengthened eye-to-eye measurements for each stroke length. If a frame designer wants to limit the travel or reduce the stroke, they can do so in 2.5mm increments.

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

According to Chris Mandell, RockShox Rear Shock Product Manager, "This is the first real effort to look at the needs of the frame designer and the end user, and to organize a system from the shortest travel bikes to the longest travel bikes to get a coherent, progressive shock sizing system... and a shock that will deal with what we're doing with bikes today."

Metric is currently focused on trail and all-mountain/enduro sizing which makes up the bulk of the market, but RockShox indicated that they're experimenting with longer versions for downhill bikes as well.

Trunnion Mounts

What's this trunnion thing? Not every frame can accommodate a longer shock, especially on smaller sizes that need super low standovers. Trunnion shortens the required eye-to-eye length 25mm by running the upper mounting hardware through the shock body, but still provides shock designers some added benefits inside. Visually they're similar to what Trek has been doing on their bikes for years.

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

How Did Metric Begin?

To understand how this all began and why RockShox feels it's needed, we spoke with RockShox Design Engineer Tim Lynch:

"This project started out in a conversation with [Jeremiah] Boobar. He laid it out to me, 'Hey, we really love what we were able to do with Pike, what's it going to take to do that in a rear shock?' I had been dreaming about this kind of stuff for a while, so my immediate answer was we're going to need to change the standard eye-to-eyes and strokes that everyone is familiar with. We talked it through and sorted out who that would affect and if that was something they could tolerate. I'd say it took a decent amount of courage on his part to take this project on. It really has given us the chance to do cool things with a little bit more space."

That last bit contains the key to this whole thing - "a little bit more space." In order to create a shock on par with the ultra smooth performance of the Pike fork, RockShox needed more room to work inside the shock. While most of us just see the relatively simple outside appearance of a shock, what goes on internally is very complicated and every millimeter is precious.

Metric Deluxe Trunnion shock up top, current Monarch on bottom

And so began the task of determining how to add more space inside a shock in a logical manner that not only benefitted shock design, but RockShox's biggest customers (frame manufacturers) as well.

How Did The Current System Come To Be?

If we look back at how the current shock sizes came to be, it starts to sound like a bit of a free-for-all. Several years ago, as early full suspension bikes went from being an odd thing to something people saw as a real benefit, the demand for more travel began. To meet those longer travel needs, bike companies would design a new frame and determine that a shock of X by Z dimensions would likely get the job done. Then they'd call up RockShox or another suspension manufacturer to tell them what size they needed. If the company was ready to place a big enough order, RockShox made it.

Then, months later, when a different bike company saw it and asked for the same size RockShox would make more. The cycle continued for several years and that's essentially how we ended up where we are today. Of course there has been some refinement along the way, but even now we see proprietary shock sizes popping up left and right. RockShox admits the current system was basically a result of several single-serving conversations.

Shortsighted? Possibly so, although you have to admit the bike industry is still in its infancy. All those years have allowed RockShox to learn what works best inside a shock and frame designers to come up with much better designs. One big goal with metric is to create a more universal solution that also looks at the needs of frame designers.

Metric Hardware Sizing

Just like shock sizes, the vast array of hardware sizes is also a result of ad hoc conversations and needs. "You'd like slightly narrower hardware because the finish on your frame was too thick? Okay, we can do that." "You'd like another size because it allows your rocker to just fit around your seat tube? Deal."

While frame companies have no doubt improved their tolerances over time, things were a little rough years ago, and the number of hardware options spiraled out of control. Metric provides a much simpler solution for the end user (that's you), and if you've ever been into a bike shop in search of shock hardware you'll surely appreciate this move.

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

The new system provides standard hardware widths in 5mm increments, and reduces mounting hardware options from 80 to 18.

Introducing Super Deluxe And Deluxe

Now that you know how metric began and what sizes are available, let's explore several ways RockShox is using that extra space to create better shocks. The new Super Deluxe and Deluxe air shocks address several design limitations, issues, and restrictions for improved performance.

More Bushing Overlap

"The regular handshake is kind of weak, but the super bro handshake is much stronger. It's not rocket science." - Tim Lynch

Every shock relies on bushings to keep the shaft centered relative to the body, and the shaft glides in and out along the bushings. The distance between two bushings is known as bushing overlap. When that distance is small, binding can occur under lateral loads. Of course bike manufacturers do their best to prevent the shock from seeing these loads by making stiff frames, but it still occurs to a large extent on some designs. This can result in worn out shock components, leaking, etc.

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

By increasing the overlap you make the shock more resistant to binding, which results in better traction and improved durability. The Super Deluxe has 20mm of air can bushing overlap (blue arrows) versus 15mm on the Monarch Plus. That's a 33% increase. The piston/sealhead bushings (green arrows) see an increase from 9.3mm to 17.7mm, or 90%.

On trail this is most noticeable near top out when there's side loading in the frame, like when you're coming into a corner unweighted and looking for traction. With more overlap the shaft moves easier as your wheel touches the ground.

Simplified, Consistent Air Spring

Every shock needs to be tuned to its frame. When a new frame is being made, the designer will send the kinematics to RockShox, who will then upload it into a sophisticated in-house program that spits out a recommended starting tune. This recommendation is based on many years of previous tunes on thousands of bikes, and typically gets them close to the desired ride feel. After some experimentation and ride testing by the frame company, RockShox will then visit the company to dial in the final tune by doing back-to-back runs on the company's preferred trails. In addition to figuring out various damping settings, part of this process is dialing in the air spring. Previously this meant choosing from a myriad of combinations involving two eyelets, three air cans, and a wide range of volume spacers. That's a lot of possible combinations.

The design of the Super Deluxe and Deluxe makes life easier as a frame designer because they reduce the number of options to two air cans (SoloAir and DebonAir) and a range of red-colored volume spacers (now called Tokens, like in their forks). As a rider this means you're more likely to get a shock and frame combo that really works. It also means getting a replacement shock will be easier if it's needed. We often talk about suspension performance in our bike reviews here on Vital MTB, and the chosen air spring has a big impact on that ride quality.

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

Picking the right air spring volume has a lot to do with how much progression (rise) a frame's suspension design has. Bikes that have a flat rate typically need small air volumes to resist harsh bottom-outs, and ultra rampy bikes need a high volume or riders may struggle to get full travel. With a huge range of suspension designs on the market, shocks need to work for a lot of bikes. Thanks to a machined eyelet, the Super Deluxe DebonAir volume is equivalent to a Monarch Plus DebonAir with a high volume eyelet, but can easily be reduced to the other side of the range using Tokens.

On a similar note, if a frame designer chooses to limit the stroke, the limiter automatically adjusts the air spring so it's consistent between sizes.

Another factor that can drastically impact a shock's total spring curve is the pressure behind the internal floating piston (IFP). It turns out the popular inline 7.875x2.25" (200x57mm) shock size - which originated at frame designers' requests - is so tightly packed inside that there is very little room for this charge to compress near bottom out (blue arrow). This results in a huge and unfavorable addition to the spring curve in a super rampy way.

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

Thanks to metric sizing, the inline Deluxe shock now has consistent room for gas compression across all sizes. This was actually a major driver of the sizes ultimately chosen. In combination with the air spring design, consistent gas compression room keeps the spring curve the same from shock to shock, size to size. All this consistency means it's easier to design suites of bikes, from short to long travel, that behave in a similar fashion. Previously designers had to consider how individual shock sizes interacted with a frame's kinematics, which made it more difficult and complicated than it needs to be.

Less Friction With Bearings Mounts

RockShox claims they've created "the world’s lowest-friction shock" with the Super Deluxe. That's a big claim, but they've done the lab tests to ensure the claim is true - this includes static (breakaway) and kinetic friction. A major part of that friction reduction is a new bearing mount system.

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

For years frame designers have been trying to eliminate friction in the rear end of their bikes, and we've seen many bikes go from bushings to bearings in the pivots, so it's only fitting that the rear shock mount is the next progression to ensure the most friction-free and supple suspension possible.

As a bike's suspension is compressed there is often a lot of rotation at one of the two shock mounts. If you watch the linkage relative to the shock as the shock compresses you'll notice a big change in their relative angles. Most shocks currently rely on a bushings at the two mounts. Bushings + rotation = friction.

The new shocks have the option for integrated bearing mounts at both the body and shaft ends, though most bikes will be spec'd with a bearing mount only at the end with the highest rotation. If it's a trunnion mount the bearings go in the frame. Didn't Trek and Giant already put them in the frame? Yeah, on some models, and for good reason:

So why not use spherical bearings or needle bearings? It comes down to durability and availability. The bearings spec'd by RockShox have expected lifetimes comparable to those already used in your frame, and are readily available around the world in any bearing shop. If you don't feel like replacing the bearings by pressing them out, the whole bearing mount assembly can be easily replaced and comes with fresh bearings pre-installed.

Why couldn't the bearings and new hardware have been integrated into existing shock sizes? They likely could have been, though RockShox would be asking nearly the same thing of bike designers at that point (new frame mounts, etc).

Improved Damping Technologies

With all that friction gone thanks to the bearings and extra bushing overlap, the shock is now able to operate more freely. Oddly, reducing friction can actually make a bike feel less controlled unless the damping effect it had is replaced by actual compression and rebound damping. This is a great opportunity though, because - as anyone with a bone dry fork will attest - friction is the worst way you can damp a system because it's inconsistent and sticky. Damping inside the shock itself is much better.

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

RockShox now adds extra low- and mid-speed compression damping to their metric shocks. The high-speed compression remains very similar to avoid spiking issues, and friction is less of an issue at higher rates. This extra damping adds to the ride feel by helping you stay in control and improves acceleration while pumping, among other things.

Rebound damping is added, too, through a toned down version of RockShox's Rapid Recovery system that's a little more linear and less digressive (a touch slower deep in the travel).

Aside from simply adding damping, RockShox is using the extra space to develop how they damp the shock. On the Monarch Plus the system is "unchecked," meaning some compression fluid can flow back through the rebound circuit, effectively but momentarily killing your low-speed compression control. The new Super Deluxe has several checks to control how and where oil is flowing, and the new damper has dedicated mid and lock compression pistons. There's no crossover or compromise between compression and rebound, which was a common problem on older shocks as you'd close the rebound and shut off free-bleed in the system, impacting low-speed compression.

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

Thanks to the new three-piston design, bike companies can now pick the tunes for each compression mode (open, pedal/medium, and climb/lock) . There are four open compression tunes, two pedal compression tunes, one climb compression tune, and three rebound tunes.

With all this talk of air shocks, what could theoretically be improved in a coil shock? For starters, RockShox's 8.75x2.75" (222x70mm) coil shock faces a similar space deficiency which leaves designers worrying about how many shims they can put on the piston and still fit everything inside. More space here is again a good thing. Coil shocks can also improve from added bushing overlap, and there's a chance to work a similar system of rebound checks into place to rid the shock of free-bleed issues.

Other Features

Other notable updates to the Super Deluxe and Deluxe shocks include:

  • Larger diameter damper shaft - This increases oil flow and compression control.
  • Improved scraper seal - The scraper seal (the one you see at the base of the body) is larger, more durable, and works better in cold temperatures.
  • RockShox's Counter Measure technology - This spring system opposes the effect of IFP pressure, lowering initial breakaway force.
  • New rebound dial - The new design on the Super Deluxe avoids compromises frame designers previously had to make to gain access to the rebound knob, but is still tool free.

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

Super Deluxe And Deluxe Specs

(Click to enlarge)

New Bikes On The Horizon

RockShox has been making a metric push at the OE (bike company) level for close to two years, which means some early adopters will likely have production bikes using the new shocks available between now and June, 2016. We've been asked to stay hush about specific names for now, but we know of 15 bike companies that plan to use metric shocks on their 2017 models, and a good handful of brands beyond that who have expressed lots of interest. Some of these brands are very popular among riders.

We do get the sense that some frame designers still haven't fully wrapped their head around what RockShox is selling, though, so some companies may be far behind. Development cycles on bikes are around 18 months depending on the brand.

The biggest pushback has been from small bike brands due to limited resources. These new shock sizes will require new carbon molds for many frames (not cheap), and manpower is limited. Bikes that simply require a new link, like the Transition Patrol we tested below, will be much easier to produce with a metric shock.

On The Trail

We had the opportunity to test the new metric sizing and RockShox Super Deluxe during a three day ride camp in rainy North Vancouver, and have continued to test the shock in recent weeks in Arizona.

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

Transition's Patrol served as pretty much a best case scenario for trying this system out. It has lots of bushing rotation at the top mount and there's room for a longer shock, provided it was equipped with a new link.

The replacement test links were designed by Transition and machined by RockShox. Changing it out resulted in very similar kinematics (there's just 2mm stroke difference in the 216x63mm to 230x65mm shocks), which allowed our back-to-back tests to hone in on the shock and mounting performance.

Will there be less noticeable differences on a bike with less bushing rotation? Possibly, but keep in mind that all bikes will benefit from the tech discussed above, and bikes that put stresses on the shock as a structural member will really benefit from the added bushing overlap.

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

We started our first back-to-back test with a RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 DebonAir installed, rode several trails to the point that we were very familiar with them, then swapped out for the Super Deluxe RC3 DebonAir. Both shocks used the medium open compression tune, and both shocks were set to 33% sag.

At the end of the day our on trail experience spoke volumes. Thanks to the performance of the new Lyrik fork and Super Deluxe, we were able to overcome a fear of (most) wet roots and rocks that previously scared the bejebus out of us. We're desert rats at heart, grew up in dusty and dry conditions, and the ability of the equipment to provide traction in conditions where we didn't think any existed was nothing short of impressive.

On repeat laps of Pingu, a rowdy North Shore trail, switching from the Monarch Plus made a few things immediately apparent. The trail starts off with three consecutive drops into a very rocky entrance to a right hand turn where having your stuff together is really important. With the new system installed there was gobs more control coming into that turn, and the bike just seemed quieter and wasn't dancing about beneath us. That quiet feel and added chassis stability allowed us to ride a little bit harder and try new gaps along the root and rock infested trail.

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

While the DebonAir can does a very good job of improving off the top compliance on the Monarch Plus, the Super Deluxe felt better deeper into the stroke with a smoother, more consistent feel, which again helped create traction in scenarios when we previously wouldn't have counted on any. By the end of the trip we were willingly hucking into and over roots without abandon just to see what we could get away with.

The added compression damping had a very positive effect on the bike, too, and we appreciated the speed and stability gains while pumping, jumping, and turning.

Another area that an improvement was very evident was on slippery climbs. We were impressed by the shock's ability to help keep the rear tire on the ground. It's something that we noticed as we were able to make more climbs than before, whereas previously when we'd be putting power down we'd occasionally get slight hops in the rear wheel and momentarily lose traction and momentum. As a result of the traction provided by the new system, consistent power transfer made tricky climbs seem easier. The middle pedal compression setting also seemed easier on our ass, with a firm but dead feeling that was able to conform to the ground better without hopping about.

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

Back on Mingus Mountain in Arizona we did several back-to-back laps on a downhill bike worthy trail littered with high-speed, full-on rock gardens that require you to stay on your toes at all times. It's the type of trail where slight but precise side-to-side movements are needed to hit the good lines and stay in control. Again, the quietness of the bike allowed us to ride more comfortably, and we were able to ride sections smoother with the new shock.

With the Monarch Plus we occasionally felt firm but subtle kicking sensations as the rear end would pitch us forward ever so slightly. This typically occurred when coming off a fast, smooth section as we'd pull back to hit the first rock of many, and would continue to occur when jumping through the rocks rather than staying down in travel. The little kicks throw you off ever so slightly. This isn't a huge deal - we've dealt with them for years - but when you experience the new system with the bearing and improved shock there's definitely an improvement that could be blindly identified.

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

Braking traction also felt far better with new shock as a result of its smooth feel and ability to keep wheel on the ground. Rough off-camber corners were met with improved rear wheel wheel traction as well.

We also noted that we consistently used more travel on the Monarch Plus by about 10-15%. Even though we were using more travel on the old shock it often felt rougher and less controlled.

At our final rebound settings for both shocks (they started very similar), we found that the Super Deluxe has a slower feeling rebound when bouncing on the saddle, but it works like a charm on the trail.

We overheard a quote from Adam Billinghurst, who tested the shock last year, that summed up our experience well: "I ride these trails every day, and I feel like I've got this stuff wired, but this just opened my eyes to a whole different world."

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

Are There Any Downsides?

It can't all be sunshine and butterflies, can it? No. In our minds these are the biggest negatives with metric:

It's bigger - This means bike frames will have to change, and accommodating the longer shocks could be difficult on some bikes. Frames that previously worked with water bottles may not anymore, for example.

It weighs more - Our 230x65mm Super Deluxe RC3 DebonAir and 216x63mm Monarch Plus RC3 DebonAir test shocks weighed in at 480g and 410g, and the links+shocks weighed in at 850g and 750g. That's with an upper bearing mount on the Super Deluxe, which likely adds a bit of weight in exchange for a big performance gain.

It might cost more - We weren't given prices, but bearings and new tech can't be cheap. We do think that RockShox's consolidation of parts and resulting higher volumes could get close to evening things out, however.

It doesn't fit your current ride - This is a future bike thing. While we were able to test the shock on an existing bike, it's unlikely that many companies will offer retrofit kits to work with these shocks. Plus, many bikes will need to be redesigned.

Things will be more complicated, at least for now - While the long term intent is to simplify things with fewer hardware sizes, air cans, stroke lengths, etc, for a minimum of 3-5 years companies, riders, and shops will have to juggle the old and new sizes of shocks and hardware.

If demand drops, aftermarket options may be limited for existing frames - RockShox and the other suspension companies committed to making metric shocks will make the current size shocks "until demand dies." In reality the aftermarket is tiny, though, so for these to continue demand will likely have to come from bike makers, meaning they wouldn't be using the latest tech.

It may not improve every shock - Suspension companies like FOX and Push (who will also make metric shocks) have worked hard to fit within the existing package and to optimize their designs around the current sizes. It's possible that not all will see a true improvement in their designs as a result of the extra space, though there may be some unrealized potential. Over the coming months we'll no doubt see many new shocks.

It may not help every suspension brand - RockShox obviously has a nice, pretty, streamlined package to offer their customers. While other suspension brands were told long ago about the new sizing, and many agreed to it, others may have some catching up to do. Smaller suspension companies may also struggle with having to make more shock sizes in the short term.

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

What's The Bottom Line?

"Would you like a DebonAir to go on that DebonAir?" That's basically how the new Super Deluxe feels on trail. As far as our riding experience goes, there is no doubt in our minds that the new shock and metric sizing that made it possible offer better performance. We often talk about bikes that suffer from off the top issues, and we think that we'll see far fewer of those bikes if they adopt this system. Bikes that were previously firm will now feel supple, and those that were supple will flat out feel amazing.

Are the issues outlined in this article limited to just RockShox designs? Do other brands' shocks face similar limitations? Can they also add a noticeable increase in performance as a result of the extra space? As we all well know, the ways in which each brand chooses to utilize the space available to them varies depending on their technologies and design goals. Whether or not it's a benefit to them (or their customers) is the crux to this whole metric thing really taking off or not, and one we'll have to wait and see. Given RockShox's execution, however, we know there's promise for every brand. What lies ahead is a transition period, and whether or not this new system is fully adopted by the industry will likely take a few years to sort out.

This feels like a genuine attempt to improve things for all, but much will have to change to make it happen. Ten years from now we hope to see RockShox's vision come to life as it will make things simpler in the long run.

Visit www.rockshox.com for additional details, and be sure to check out their Decimals story for more info.

Feature by Brandon Turman // Photos by Adrian Marcoux and Brandon Turman

View replies to: ​The Ultimate Guide to 'Metric' Shock Sizing and the RockShox Super Deluxe

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2021 super deluxe thrushaft travel spacer.

  • Thread starter Slapbassmunky
  • Start date Jan 30, 2021

Slapbassmunky

Slapbassmunky

Active member.

  • Jan 30, 2021

So, I performed an air can service on my 2021 superdeluxe thrushaft shock. There's a blue spacer under the bumpstop that looks like it could be carefully cut off to increase travel, it sits in place of the thin steel washer that's there on all other RS air shocks. Didn't think to take pictures, sorry, a serious DOH moment once it was back together. Looking at the available service PDF from SRAM it would seem the standard thrushaft shock is the 62.5mm version off the 2021 slash, possibly just limited to 57.5 for the rail using this spacer. there's no mention of the spacer in the PDF. Normally i'd be brave and just hack the thing off to try it, however, replacing this spacer involves a FULL teardown of the shock with all the special tools involved in doing so. My concern isn't frame clearance, it's if the damper body has enough space for the extra piston movement. Has anyone tried cutting this blue spacer off? Is there anyone with inside information that knows if the rail shock is just a travel limited slash shock? Thanks for any advice.  

Good question, I'd be keen to hear a informed answer also. I haven't serviced my air can yet so not eyeballed inside shock. I have looked on the SRAM parts drawing, 2 damper body's available 57.5 & 62.5 they might be same dimensions but different sag markings? & 2 different air cans 57.5 - 65 But it's not a complete drawing with all part numbers so couldn't work it out. Looked highly possible though. Did you measure the spacer?  

  • Thread starter
JMD said: Good question, I'd be keen to hear a informed answer also. I haven't serviced my air can yet so not eyeballed inside shock. I have looked on the SRAM parts drawing, 2 damper body's available 57.5 & 62.5 they might be same dimensions but different sag markings? & 2 different air cans 57.5 - 65 But it's not a complete drawing with all part numbers so couldn't work it out. Looked highly possible though. Did you measure the spacer? Click to expand...
  • Jan 31, 2021
Jamo said: You can cut these off and increase travel, yes. Although see other threads for clearance issues on certain shocks/frame sizes when the stroke is longer than 57.5 Click to expand...

Not that particular shock but have done it on a fox dpx, same thing, just be careful when clipping it out its quite firm material  

Jamo said: Not that particular shock but have done it on a fox dpx, same thing, just be careful when clipping it out its quite firm material Click to expand...
Slapbassmunky said: Are you talking with experience on this exact shock, or making a general statement about the reservoir clearance? I'm not being difficult or a smart ass, but my concern is if the piston has enough room in the body to accommodate the extra travel, not if it will clear the frame. Click to expand...

Historical that is correct how Fox manufacture their rear shocks. But that's not been the case how Rockshox do it (different internal parts, no spacers) Need some good knowledge on the 2021 thru shaft deluxe. Would be good if a Slash owner could tell us if the the spacer was missing in their shock. But they won't be on this forum.  

Jamo said: My reason for thinking its likely to be ok, is these shocks all start as the same (230x65) and are then spaced down according to the particular frame and travel requirements. So if you take the spacer out, i can’t think why the stroke would not work dueto a lack of internal clearance. External frame clearance issues, yes quite possibly, but internal issues less likely. appreciate thats not actual experience however, so will bow out and shut up Click to expand...

zerofunds

  • Feb 2, 2021

It works fine without the spacer, the rear tire gets very close to the seat if you have it slammed all the way down in the frame, but everything clears fine on a large rail 9. Shock and frame work perfect with blue spacer removed.  

zerofunds said: It works fine without the spacer, the rear tire gets very close to the seat if you have it slammed all the way down in the frame, but everything clears fine on a large rail 9. Shock and frame work perfect with blue spacer removed. Click to expand...

I think Rockshox lists different part numbers for different lower eyelets/bodies based on stroke. There are no travel spacers on parts diagrams visible so I don’t think they use them on air shocks. Coil and Fox are different.  

zaykay said: I think Rockshox lists different part numbers for different lower eyelets/bodies based on stroke. There are no travel spacers on parts diagrams visible so I don’t think they use them on air shocks. Coil and Fox are different. Click to expand...
Slapbassmunky said: And yet there's a big blue spacer in my shock.....? Click to expand...

Sorry lads, I'm in NZ. Will send a pic when I get home from work tonight ?  

  • Feb 4, 2021

Just gave it a quick wash and let all the air out of the shock for you guys to see  

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zerofunds said: Just gave it a quick wash and let all the air out of the shock for you guys to see Click to expand...

Will measure it when I get back home, pretty sure it was 7.5 making it 65mm  

zerofunds said: Will measure it when I get back home, pretty sure it was 7.5 making it 65mm Click to expand...

Zebs def clear downtube on a size large.  

Rob Rides EMTB

Rob Rides EMTB

Administrator.

So removing this stock spacer takes stroke from 57.5mm to 65mm and travel moves up to 169mm ? is it an easy hack?  

Rob Rides EMTB said: So removing this stock spacer takes stroke from 57.5mm to 65mm and travel moves up to 169mm ? is it an easy hack? Click to expand...

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

Easy to work out the numbers, divide travel by stroke, multiply answer back up by new stroke: 150mm travel / 57.5mm stroke = 2.608. 2.608 x 65mm stroke = 169.56mm rear wheel travel. Things to consider. The brace on the seat stays comes 'very' close to the seat tube with the increased travel. I run mine at 62.5mm & only have ~2/3mm on a hard bottom out, which is a little close for comfort when you allow for frame flex. Bear in mind mine is a L frame, there may be more clearance with an XL. Also consider the tyre may buzz the seat tube and or saddle.  

Hob Nob said: Easy to work out the numbers, divide travel by stroke, multiply answer back up by new stroke: 150mm travel / 57.5mm stroke = 2.608. 2.608 x 65mm stroke = 169.56mm rear wheel travel. Things to consider. The brace on the seat stays comes 'very' close to the seat tube with the increased travel. I run mine at 62.5mm & only have ~2/3mm on a hard bottom out, which is a little close for comfort when you allow for frame flex. Bear in mind mine is a L frame, there may be more clearance with an XL. Also consider the tyre may buzz the seat tube and or saddle. Click to expand...

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RockShox Super Deluxe Volume Reducer Kit: Rider Review

I purchased this volume reducer/token kit (Rockshox calls them tokens in their service manual) for my Santa Cruz Nomad V4 before a weekend trip to Arizona which I knew would have some aggressive huck-to-flats. Adding tokens allows the rear suspension to maintain similar small bump compliance while increasing the spring force ramp rate deeper in the travel to reduce bottom outs on hard hits. There isn't necessarily a one-size fits all way to set up the suspension on your bike. The setup will be dictated by your specific bike, your size, the trails you ride, and mostly personal preference. There are a bunch of good articles and videos explaining this in more detail around the internet so I'll focus on installation and usage tips here for the Super Deluxe tokens specifically.

RockShox Volume Reducer Kit Review

Installation:

  • Removed all the air from the shock. Don't forget this step!
  • Unscrew the air can. A strap wrench might be required. Be careful to not scuff up the stickers on the air can with the strap. Rockshox recommends putting a rag through the shock eyelet to prevent the air can from shooting off due to remaining pressure in the negative chamber. Wear some safety glasses.
  • Pop in volume spacers at the top of the air chamber behind the big metal washer.
  • Screw back on the air car.
  • Inflate the shock.

Here's some additional advice and tips about the install:

  • It is possible to install the volume spacers while leaving the shock on the bike since the air can doesn't need to be completely removed. This is different than the older style rubber bands that were installed on Rockshox Monarch Debonair shocks which required at least one shock eyelet bolt to be removed. In practice, you will likely have to remove the shock from the bike in order to reinstall the air can because there will still be some air in the negative chamber of the shock that resists you pushing the can back up to screw it on. Usually, I loosen the air can with the strap wrench while the shock is on the bike, remove the shock, unscrew the air can, install the token, screw on the air can, put the shock on the bike, then finish tightening the air can.
  • There is 2mL of Maxima Maxum4 Extra 15w50 oil in the air can, 1mL on each side of the air piston. If you are careful when unscrewing the air can you will not lose much if any of this oil. If you do let some of the oil drips out you should add a little bit more. If you are extra cautious you can clean out all of the old oil then add the recommended 1mL of oil on each side of the air piston as noted in the Rockshox service manual.
  • If you have a Super Deluxe with bearings be careful about the sharp, square edges of the bearing carrier that can contact the air can dust seal when the air can is unscrewed. If you damage this seal you will need to replace it so dirt doesn't find an easy way into your expensive air shock.

RockShox Super Deluxe Volume Reducer Review

Conclusion:

"All in all, installing and removing volume tokens in the Rockshox Super Deluxe is not that hard, but it will take a bit of time and be a little oily. Even though the process is more involved than adding tokens to a fork, this is something most home mechanics will be able to do. Be sure to take notes of the changes you make to your shock and how it felt while riding to reduce the number of times you will need to open the shock to add or remove tokens so you have more time to ride :-)" -  Danny Hajicek

RockShox Volume Reducer Kit Review

June 05, 2019

Customer Review › product review › Rear Shock › Rider Review › RockShox › Super Deluxe › Volume Reducer Kit ›

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RockShox Volume Reducer Kit Super Deluxe/ Deluxe (2017+)

RockShox RockShox Volume Reducer Kit Super Deluxe/ Deluxe (2017+)

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RockShox - Super Deluxe Volume Reducer Kit - Black, 1 Negative

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Super Deluxe Volume Reducer Kit

Elevate your cycling performance with the RockShox Super Deluxe Volume Reducer Kit. This state-of-the-art kit offers enhanced suspension sensitivity, allowing for smoother rides over challenging terrains. The kit includes volume reducers designed for precise tuning, promising the perfect bike feel tailored to your style. With easy installation, your outdoor cycling experience becomes a thrilling, personalized adventure. Experience the joy of mountain biking like never before with RockShox, ensuring superior control and unwavering confidence on every trail.

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Santa Cruz Hightower 3

Santa Cruz Hightower 3 release date: June 21, 2022

What type of mountain bike is the Santa Cruz Hightower?

Versatility reigns supreme with the all-new Santa Cruz Hightower full suspension mountain bike. This pure-bred trail machine is ideal for riders who traverse a variety of terrain, equipped with enough travel for the gnarliest routes while staying nimble and efficient for everywhere else.

Forget about the three bears, Goldilocks is busy hitting the trails with the Santa Cruz Hightower that surely hits the sweet spot.

Santa Cruz Hightower 2023

  • Wheel size: 29 inch
  • Front travel: 150mm
  • Rear travel: 145mm
  • Tire clearance:  29x2.5"
  • Size range: S - XXL
  • Frame: Aluminum, C or CC carbon
  • Colors: Translucent Purple or Matte Emerald

Want to get the scoop on inventory?

Chat with us about availability

Or keep scrolling to compare and contrast each model.

Hightower Overview Megatower Video --> Hightower Features Hightower Geometry Hightower Models Hightower FAQs

Santa Cruz Hightower 2023

Who’s it for?

The Santa Cruz Hightower 3 is built for the renaissance rider who doesn't limit themselves when it comes to where to ride. 

This 29er mountain bike thrives on local loops and hard-hitting descents with its mid-length travel and tuned geometry. 

Ride outside of the box with this perfectly balanced trail machine.

Santa Cruz Hightower 2023

Why you'll love this mountain bike

Now in its third iteration, the Santa Cruz Hightower has proved its trail capabilities and all-mountain superpowers. 

It’s the ideal choice that splits the difference between the long-travel Megatower and short-travel Tallboy models. 

This year, take advantage of improved VPP rear suspension settings and a redesigned frame that gives you the confidence to push the limits.

Top Santa Cruz Hightower Features

Here's what makes the Hightower a such a bad ass bike

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

29 Inch Wheels

Conquer the hardest-hitting trails with the Hightower’s 29” hoops for maximum rollover and speed. There’s clearance for knobby tires up to 2.5” wide.

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

Travel For Any Trail

The 150mm front fork and 145mm rear shock is deemed the full suspension sweet spot to tackle a variety of terrains. No matter the ride, the Hightower comes prepared.

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

Suspension & Geo Tuned For Versatility

Each frame size comes with its own custom specs to ensure the best possible ride feel and provide balanced geometry.

What's new on the Santa Cruz Hightower 3?

The Hightower got some sweet upgrades for the new model release. 

Take a look at what's new below.

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

Updated Geometry

Chainstay length and seat tube angle are now customized to each frame size to preserve balanced geometry across all sizes. There’s also size-specific stiffness via tailored front triangle flex to optimize performance.

The Hightower 3 has a slacker head tube angle and lower bottom bracket to enhance the suspension updates. Increased reach and stack modernizes the fit to work with contemporary MTB handlebar designs.

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

New Frame Storage

The all-new Glovebox neatly stows ride essentials like tools or nutrition inside the downtube. This sleek storage solution comes with a compatible Tool Wallet and Tube Purse for staying organized. Move aside fanny packs and saddle bags— the Glovebox has arrived.

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

Improved Suspension

Compared to the previous model, there’s reduced anti-squat in the first 40% of rear travel, boosting suspension sensitivity and keeping pedaling efficient. This minimizes chain influence while climbing the slopes and smashing descents.

The Santa Cruz Hightower 3 is more progressive towards the end of its travel and has upgraded bottom-out resistance and predictable damping. Check out the frame's new sag setup window where riders can easily peek at rear shock settings.

More Hightower specs

Here are some other key specs on the Santa Cruz Hightower 3:

Lifetime warranty on frames, pivot bearings, and carbon rims

Max tire width: 29 x 2.5

Boost 148mm spacing

Post mount brakes w/ 180mm rotors

ISCG05 chain guide mounts

Threaded BB

Santa Cruz UDH

Santa Cruz Hightower Geometry

Santa cruz hightower size chart.

Find out which frame size is right for you with the chart below. Santa Cruz customizes geometry specs for each frame size so every rider, no matter their height, receives an optimized ride feel.

Here is the Santa Cruz Hightower size chart. Keep in mind that these are approximations. In order to get the best fit possible, you should consider the geometry chart above, your preferred riding style, and if possible, test ride the bike.

Santa Cruz Hightower For Sale

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

Hightower 3 C R

Frame : Carbon C 

Fork : Rockshox Lyrik Base 

Shock : FOX Float Performance DPS 

Drivetrain : SRAM NX Eagle, 12-speed 

Wheels : RaceFace AR Offset 30 29" 

Brakes : SRAM G2 R 

Price : $5,499

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

Hightower 3 C S

Frame : Carbon C

Fork : FOX 36 Float Performance

Shock : Rockshox Super Deluxe Select+

Drivetrain : SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed

Wheels : RaceRace AR Offset 30 29"

Brakes : SRAM Code R Price: $6,799

Price:  $6,799

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

Hightower 3 C GX AXS

Fork : FOX 36 Float Performance Elite

Drivetrain : SRAM GX AXS Eagle, 12-speed

Wheels : RaceFace ARC Offset 30 29"

Brakes : SRAM Code RS

Price : $8,499

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

Hightower 3 C GX AXS RSV

Fork : FOX 36 Performance Elite

Wheels : Reserve 30IHD 29"

Price : $9,799

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

Hightower 3 CC XO1

Frame : Carbon CC

Fork : FOX 36 Float Factory

Shock : Rockshox Super Deluxe Ultimate

Drivetrain : SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed

Wheels : RaceRace ARC Offset 30 29"

Brakes : SRAM Code RSC Price: $6,799

Price:  $8,799

rockshox deluxe travel reducer

Hightower 3 CC X01 AXS RSV

Drivetrain : SRAM X01 Eagle AXS, 12-speed

Brakes : SRAM Code RSC

Price : $10,699

Santa Cruz Hightower FAQs

What is the santa cruz hightower good for.

The Hightower is a do-it-all trail bike that excels on the rough stuff. The mid-length suspension and Goldilocks-zone geometry give riders the confidence to conquer the gnarliest parts of the mountain.

Is the Santa Cruz Hightower an Enduro bike?

No, the Hightower is classified as a trail bike due to having slightly less suspension and steeper geometry than an enduro bike.

Is Santa Cruz Hightower a trail bike?

Yes, the Hightower is a pure-bred trail bike because of its mid-length travel designed to perform well all over the mountain. The wide tire clearance eats up the rough stuff while the moderate suspension won’t overdo it.

Which is better, Tallboy or Hightower?

The Hightower has longer travel and is best suited to harder-hitting climbs and rough descents. The Tallboy is an XC-inspired setup for more snappy riding that doesn't overcook the suspension specs.

Can you put 27.5 on a Hightower?

No, the Hightower runs exclusively 29” wheels, ideal for maximum rollover and ultimate traction.

What does Hightower mean?

The bike's name refers to the amount of travel, with Hightower’s suspension falling in between two other popular Santa Cruz models: the shorter-travel Tallboy and the bigger sibling Megatower.

Is Santa Cruz Hightower tubeless?

Yes, the bike ships tubeless with the appropriate rim tape and valve stems already installed. Riders simply add sealant and inflate the tires and they’re good to go.

What year did Santa Cruz Hightower come out?

The Hightower originally launched in 2016 and is now in its third generation, complete with significant improvements to the suspension and geometry.

Can you run a coil on a Hightower?

No, there isn’t a coil spring option available for any of the Hightower models.

How much travel does a Santa Cruz Hightower have?

The Hightower has 150mm of travel up front and 145mm of rear travel.

Hightower vs Megatower

As the name suggests, the Santa Cruz Megatower is the big sibling of the Hightower. The Hightower comes equipped with a slightly smaller full-suspension package with 150mm fork and 140mm of rear suspension. The frame comes in C or CC carbon like the Megatower, but riders can also choose an aluminum version which is not available on the Megatower.

Both models have flip chips to change between High and Low geometry settings. The Megatower is more robust, and excels in its natural environment of downhill parks and enduro races. The beefier suspension of the Megatower is for riders expecting the hardest-hitting trails.

Hightower vs Tallboy

The Santa Cruz Tallboy is a XC-inspired trail bike with shorter travel than the Hightower— this versatile 29er is built around 130mm of travel up front and 120mm of rear travel. The Tallboy shares similar geometry to its longer-travel cousin and offers a more nimble and snappy ride. The Tallboy is a winner for all-mountain riders to dominate the trails and take advantage of the reined-in suspension specs.

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2023 YT Decoy MX Core 2

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Cool Features

IMAGES

  1. RockShox Deluxe Select+ 2020 Rear Shock

    rockshox deluxe travel reducer

  2. RockShox Volume Reducer Kit (Super Deluxe/Deluxe) (2017+) [11.4118.042.001]

    rockshox deluxe travel reducer

  3. ROCKSHOX Rear Shock DELUXE RT3 210x52.5mm Black RCZ Bike Shop

    rockshox deluxe travel reducer

  4. RockShox Deluxe Volume Reducer Kit

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  5. RockShox Volume Reducer Kit Super Deluxe/ Deluxe (2017+)

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  6. Tokens Rock Shox Volume Reducer pour amortisseur Deluxe et Super Deluxe

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VIDEO

  1. RockShox Bar service

  2. Adjust travel of rockshox recon fork. [ tagalog language ]

  3. 2023 RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Coil RC2T, Rear Shock

  4. ROCKSHOX lower leg SERVICE #mtb #rockshox

  5. Should I put a new Fork on an old Bike?

  6. 2024 Rockshox Line up Explained

COMMENTS

  1. The Ultimate Guide to 'Metric' Shock Sizing and the RockShox Super Deluxe

    What we present to you here is an in-depth guide to the new "metric" shock and hardware sizing, a close look at the new RockShox Super Deluxe shock that capitalizes on that sizing, and our personal impressions following multiple back-to-back test sessions on the trail. We also provide the important answers as to why things are happening.

  2. 2021 super deluxe thrushaft travel spacer.

    #1 So, I performed an air can service on my 2021 superdeluxe thrushaft shock. There's a blue spacer under the bumpstop that looks like it could be carefully cut off to increase travel, it sits in place of the thin steel washer that's there on all other RS air shocks.

  3. Rockshox shock stroke lenght change.

    If you shock is specced with a stroke lenght of 60mm, you will have 2x2.5mm spacers. Remove 1, stroke lenght = 62.5, remove both stroke lenght = 65mm. Reducing the stroke lenght is a way harder ...

  4. RockShox Super Deluxe Volume Reducer Kit: Rider Review

    RockShox Super Deluxe Volume Reducer Kit: Rider Review I purchased this volume reducer/token kit (Rockshox calls them tokens in their service manual) for my Santa Cruz Nomad V4 before a weekend trip to Arizona which I knew would have some aggressive huck-to-flats.

  5. Rock Shox Deluxe RT

    #1 · Dec 14, 2018 Can a 2018 model (I assume) Deluxe RT be changed from 201x50 to 210x55? Somewhere I thought I read it can be, by removing a spacer or something. I can't find the original article/post anymore and all my searches are coming up empty or talking about volume reducers. Reply Like Sort by Most reactions Warp 18874 posts · Joined 2004

  6. Deluxe Ultimate

    Features DebonAir+ air spring maximizes fine-tuning potential, allowing you to tune both the negative and positive air volume to perfectly match your bike, desired ride feel, and the trail ahead. Castled bottom out bumper reduces harsh bottom out, leaving extra room for the bold to go big.

  7. PDF 2023+ Super Deluxe

    • RockShox IFP Height Tool V2 - Super Deluxe/Super Deluxe Coil (00.4318.041.002) • RockShox Rear Shock IFP Puller (00.4318.041.001) ... Travel reducer (2.5 mm, 5 mm, 7.5 mm) Damper shaft Sealhead / air piston Damper piston Rebound needle Low speed compression adjuster knob (LSC)

  8. HOW TO: Rockshox Deluxe volume reducers

    HOW TO: Rockshox Deluxe volume reducers MTB Beta 906 subscribers Subscribe 167 32K views 5 years ago Quick guide to adding volume reducer/volume spacers to your RockShox Deluxe. Includes R,...

  9. Super Deluxe

    Super Deluxe Flight Attendant. RS-SDLX-UFA-C1. Super Deluxe Ultimate ThruShaft. RS-SDLX-THRU-C1. $624. Super Deluxe, RockShox.

  10. RockShox Volume Reducer Kit

    Volume reducing tokens help increase the progressiveness of your Rock Shox Super Deluxe/Deluxe rear shock. This means your suspension stays lively and sensitive off the top and ramps up at the end of the travel to provide support for big hits. This reducer kit comes with 3 reducing tokens which is the maximum amount that can be installed in a

  11. 2023 RockShox Super Deluxe Shocks

    As with the MY23 suspension forks, the key design goal for the new Super Deluxe shocks is complete independence of the various settings in the new RCT2 damper - HSC, LSC, and Rebound. Even the HBO is designed such that it only affects the last 20 or 25% of the stroke (for Coil and Air, respectively) but outside of that pocket, it's imperceptible.

  12. How do I change travel in my RockShox fork?

    Travel is extended by removing spacers or reduced by adding them. The chart below illustrates air spring configurations for corresponding travel. Check out the Judy, 30, Recon service manual for instructions on how to install or remove All Travel Spacers.

  13. PDF 2018-2022 Super Deluxe

    Learn how to service your RockShox Super Deluxe rear suspension with this detailed and comprehensive manual. You will find step-by-step instructions, diagrams, and tips for optimal performance and durability. The manual covers all models of Super Deluxe from 2018 to 2022, and is available in four languages.

  14. RockShox Volume Reducer Kit Super Deluxe/ Deluxe (2017+)

    Travel Cases ; Storage and Display ; Accessories ... RockShox RockShox Volume Reducer Kit Super Deluxe/ Deluxe (2017+) RockShox Volume Reducer Kit Super Deluxe/ Deluxe (2017+) In stock and ready to ship! $12.95. $17.00. Quantity + ...

  15. RockShox Super Deluxe Volume Reducer Kit

    Tech Specs Super Deluxe Volume Reducer Kit Elevate your cycling performance with the RockShox Super Deluxe Volume Reducer Kit. This state-of-the-art kit offers enhanced suspension sensitivity, allowing for smoother rides over challenging terrains.

  16. Mountain Bikes For Sale

    The tech you get A full OCLV Mountain Carbon frame with 160mm of travel and a RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate shock with an updated Thru Shaft damper, a RockShox ZEB Ultimate fork with extra-beefy 38mm stanchions. A wireless electronic SRAM X01 Eagle AXS drivetrain with a 10-52 cassette, Reverb AXS dropper, Bontrager RSL integrated bar/stem, and ...

  17. Just Released: 2023 Santa Cruz Hightower

    Hightower vs Tallboy. The Santa Cruz Tallboy is a XC-inspired trail bike with shorter travel than the Hightower— this versatile 29er is built around 130mm of travel up front and 120mm of rear travel. The Tallboy shares similar geometry to its longer-travel cousin and offers a more nimble and snappy ride. The Tallboy is a winner for all ...

  18. Deluxe

    LIGHTWEIGHT CONTENDERS THAT PACK A PUNCH. The all-new Deluxe product line is packed with performance across the board. Highlighting the playful prowess and new-era tunability of our most advanced air spring to date, housed in a lightweight inline shock package. A family of unassuming grit and progress, tailored to level up hard-hitting trail ...

  19. 2021 Fluid FS A1

    The Fluid FS 1 provides evolved fit, handling and full suspension design that'll elevate every trail experience. Compare +. Additional Photos +. Colour: Black/Silver. Size: SALE $2,589.00 $3,699.00 Save $1,110.00. Out of stock.

  20. 2023 YT Decoy MX Core 2 For Sale

    ROCKSHOX SUPER DELUXE SELECT Shock Length: 230 mm | Shock Stroke: 65 mm ≙ 165 mm Travel | DEBONAIR | Custom Tune | DB2 Adjustable Rebound, Air Pressure DRIVE UNIT SHIMANO EP8

  21. PDF 2023+ Deluxe

    • RockShox Deluxe RCT / NUDE Lock Piston Tool • RockShox Rear Shock Vise Blocks 3-hole • RockShox Rear Shock Body Vise Block • RockShox Shock Pump (600 psi max) ... Travel reducer Eyelet bushing Piston nut Piston O-ring Glide ring Shims Shims Inner o-ring Backup ring (fixed) Backup ring Inner underside o-ring Sealhead/air piston