Does Stratos Suspension Still Exist

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Does Stratos Suspension Still Exist
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Posted: Jul 20, 2009 at 12:45 Quote
Hey, I have been riding an old Stratos Helix pro rear shock and its has now busted, does anyone know if I can get it repaired or if Stratos is still in business?...NEED HELP

Posted: Jul 20, 2009 at 12:47 Quote
Stratos is the brand of boat my dad owns.....

Posted: Jul 20, 2009 at 12:49 Quote
Todd12 wrote:
Stratos is the brand of boat my dad owns.....
lol good try...

Posted: Jul 20, 2009 at 13:43 Quote
bike-person wrote:
Todd12 wrote:
Stratos is the brand of boat my dad owns.....
lol good try...
I know right ?!

Posted: Jul 20, 2009 at 14:02 Quote
Stratos was bought out (EDIT: sorry, Specialized SUED Stratos out of existance over a questionable patent infringement) by Specialized to use for their in-house suspension parts. Though even if they were still in business, I would still have highly recommended NOT sending them anything to repair. They were total idiots, and often made problems worse. This was my experience with both their Canadian distributor/service center and the head office in California. You'd cringe at the stories I have about them.

In the end I finally got so frustrated, I learned how to open up my Helix Pro DH and service it myself. The first time I got mine open (and after coming back from Stratos for the third time), I found the rebound shim stack installed upside down, which explained why the rebound adjuster did absolutely nothing and the shock rode like a pogo stick.

The shocks are pretty dead simple inside. The stuff that looks like it could break easily would be shims. If something major is bent or broken, you may be SOL. I haven't heard of Specialized offering old parts for Stratos products.


Posted: Jul 20, 2009 at 14:48 Quote
Hey Chris

Thanks for the info, would it be wise then to contact specialized and explain my situation. The shock is doing the exact same thing as you described, as well the lockout doesn't work anymore and the shock needs a serious rebuild with new oil, valves and other parts. Do you know of anywhere online where I can find a help guide to try and rebuild this shock myself?

Again, thanks for the info


Posted: Jul 20, 2009 at 15:16 Quote
I did a little more reading on Specialized/Stratos, and it doesn't look like Specialized bought them. It looks more like Specialized destroyed Stratos using the courts system which guaranteed that Spec. would be the ONLY bike company to exclusively have suspension with inertial value technology. Even after Stratos conceded and offered to not pursue inertial valving any further, Specialized kept going and beat them into bankruptcy. It looked like a pretty clear message to anyone else to not try and make a 'brain' shock.

As for getting a Helix apart, I had to figure it out myself. I've done motocross rear shocks before, so a mountain bike shock looks WAY simpler.

I also needed to make a few simple tools which were pretty much just a few circular clamps made of wood to stick in my vice. This let me hold the shock tight so I could screw the main body apart and the end off the shaft.

Is your Helix Pro with or without the piggy back reservoir? Do you know the eye-to-eye length?


Posted: Jul 20, 2009 at 15:21 Quote
shoot this guy an email he may know where to get parts and white papers, or can rebuild it for you. who knows?

Posted: Jul 20, 2009 at 19:09 Quote
Hey Chris

I'm assuming a piggy back reservoir is the kind that extends off the side of the shock, I am not to familiar with this stuff as I am only getting back into the game after a long recess, I'm not up on the new tech. No the shock doesn't have a piggy back reservoir and the eye to eye length is 7-1/2 inches.


Posted: Jul 21, 2009 at 11:29 Quote
Hey Joey,

I happen to have one of each type of Helix Pro. My piggy back is 7.5" and my regular is 6.5". I originally bought the larger DH, and after the Canadian service center completely screwed it up (and took my money twice to fix it), they gave me the smaller one as their way of saying sorry.

I've only opened the piggy back so any instructions I can give are for that shock. I imagine the regular will come apart similar, though it may be different as the rebound circuit looks to be on the opposite end.

Here's a photo of the two:

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Hopefully you can get the spring off easily? The spring on my smaller Helix is too long for the lock collar to slip off with the preload collar screwed all the way out. I don't know what the Canadian tech center was thinking when they put that shock together. I need a spring compressor to get it off. The DH doesn't have that problem.

Let all the air out of the shock. Open the bleed hole for the oil and drain the shock. It helps to have all the dampers wide open and the spring off. Stroke the shock through it's complete travel to get the oil out.

This next picture shows the two simple clamps I made from wood. The larger is used to hold the dark grey shock body where the preload collar threads onto. If you have a firm grip on that, you can unscrew the entire end assembly that has the eyelet (and remote reservoir on my piggy DH). Note the direction of the grain of wood. It'll help to keep the clamps from splitting.

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When I got the end off, l saw the piston inside. If I remember correctly, there is a bolt holding the shim stack to the piston. You get that off, then you can unscrew the piston from the teflon coated shock shaft. To unscrew the piston off, you'll need a typical Park tool spanner to get a grip on it. You'll see the holes where the spanner fits into.

With the piston off, you can pull the shaft out from the main shock body.

On the DH to service the rebound damper circuit, I needed to remove the other eyelet assembly from the shock shaft. That's where the smaller wood clamp comes into play. The hole is actually larger than the shaft diameter. That was so I could wrap the shaft in some soft rubber to protect the teflon coating when I clamped it. The end assembly just spun off.

If you want to get the little red rebound dial out, you have to get a nail and pound out the little steel shaft from the side that holds it in.

In my DH, there was a long needle with two o-rings installed on it that controlled the rebound adjustment. It ran down the center of the shock shaft. Note that it can only be installed in one direction, and that's pointy end first.

The compression/lockout/air pressure chamber on my DH was all in the remote reservoir, very separate, and VERY simple. I'm not sure how tightly integrated it's on the regular version.

Assembly is the reverse.

To fill it with oil, I had a syringe that fit (lightly screwed in actually) into the bleed hole. I took the syringe plunger out and filled it with shock oil (Mobil 1 Synthetic Automatic Transmission Fluid). I slowly stroked the shock through its complete travel many many times to get all the bubbles out. I didn't pressurize the air circuit, and I tried to get as much oil in there as possible. When the shock stops making sucking noises while going through its travel, it's bled.

Well, I hope that might help some. It's everything that I remember from doing mine. If you say the rebound circuit is not working, it could be the shim stack broke apart. I had a few stacks shatter in the past that Stratos replaced.

And if anyone is interested, the big problem I had with my DH is that the Canadian office originally installed a spring on there that when fully compressed was longer than the the shock fully compressed. You can imagine what would happen! I'd blow through the travel and have these VIOLENT bottom outs and destroy the preload collar. Canada tech couldn't figure out what was wrong after two rebuilds and blamed my riding. I boxed it up to California where they figured out the spring was totally wrong. They got me the right spring, but screwed up my rebound in the process. What a nightmare that shock was.

I also have a Stratos Super Star 8.0 front fork. Not a very impressive fork. That fork experience has made me swear off of upside down forks. They are a gimmick and a flexy mess for mountain biking. They just don't have the size and weight like a motocross fork does to be effective. The right side up forks with the lower arch are SO much stiffer. Hell, my single crown Fox 36 will run circles around that Super Star.


Posted: Jul 23, 2009 at 21:18 Quote
yay for chris!! tup

what a champ! Beer

Posted: Sep 9, 2009 at 13:30 Quote
Hi guys,I`also got a Stratos Helix Pro and a Pro DH that I run on my 2005 Kona Coiler.At present the "lock out" has nearly stopped working on the Pro DH.I`m currently looking on eBay for Stratos shocks to use as spares in case I need them.

Posted: Nov 3, 2010 at 0:40 Quote
If anyone is interested, I have a brand new Stratos Shock TR1 available. It's not the piggy back type. It's 7.5" (maybe slightly longer) eye to eye and has a 300 x 2.6 spring. or 651-485-3771

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