Cane Creek Double Barrel Air - Interbike 2011

Sep 14, 2011
by Mike Levy  
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Inside Cane Creek's DBair

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It hasn't exactly been a secret that Cane Creek has been working hard on an air sprung version of their much lauded Double Barrel coil shock, a damper that is regarded by many as the best of the best when it comes to performance and tuning options. With the DBair, Cane Creek wanted to create a shock that is not just lighter than the original coil version, but is especially suited to bikes that perform best when fitted with an air shock - bikes that use a flat or even falling leverage ratio for example. They also wanted to carry over all of the DBcoil's immense tuning range, including its low and high speed compression and rebound adjustments that allow the user to set the shock up as they see fit. On top of the damping and air spring adjustments Cane Creek also allows you to alter the volume of the air canister, effectively changing the spring curve, by adding or removing spacers. All told, the DBair looks to be the most tuneable, air sprung shock available.

Cane Creek DBair Details:
• Air sprung
• Adjustments: low speed compression and rebound, high speed compression and rebound, air pressure and air can volume
• Twin-tube damping
• Auto adjust negative air spring
• Rotatable air can for best fit on different frames
• Weight: 530 grams (8.5" x 2.5")
• Availability: January 2012
• MSRP: TBD (similar to Double Barrel coil)

DBair lengths available:
• 190 x 50mm
• 200 x 50mm
• 200 x 57mm
• 215 x 63mm
• 222 x 63mm
• 222 x 70mm
• 240 x 76mm
• 267 x 90mm

Interbike 2011

The DBair is shown here on Intense's new 5.5" travel carbon fiber Carbine trail bike, but the shock will be available in many different sizes to fit a variety of models, including the 9.5" and 10.5" eye-to-eye length shocks that are common on downhill bikes. As with the original Double Barrel, the DBair's tuning range is wide enough to allow riders to dial in nearly any feel that they are looking for from the air sprung shock by adjusting the low and high speed compression and rebound, but Cane Creek adds another element with adjustable air can volume as well. By using a strap wrench to remove the air can and either adding or removing spacers you can control the ramp up at the end of the stroke - add spacers for more ramp up and bottom out resistance, or remove them for a linear feel. The air can is also rotatable to allow the schrader air valve to sit in the correct orientation on different bikes, allowing you easier access when the time comes to adjust your spring rate.
bigquotesWe wanted to keep the tuneability and traits that people came to know with the Double Barrel Coil and put them into an air shock - Devon Sullivan, Cane Creek suspension design engineer

While the DBair will no doubt see plenty of action on all-mountain and trail bikes, Cane Creek chose to not outfit the shock with a lockout or pedal assist lever of any kind, something that may put off some riders, but they were clear in stating that the DBair is intended for aggressive riders who generally leave their suspension open to deal with the terrain. Interestingly, there was some hinting that we may yet see another air sprung model that does include a pedal assist feature, and we're willing to bet that it will come on an in-line damper intended for lighter duty use and without a piggyback.

Cane Creek DBair

The cutaway shown above is a prototype version of the DBair that uses slightly different hardware, but it gives us a look into the damper's inner workings. If you look closely you can see small gap between the main shaft and inner tube that gives the layout its twin-tube name. This allows the oil to circulate throughout the damper far more than a more standard layout allows, helping to keep the feel consistent despite rising temperatures due to prolonged use.

Riding impressions: Cane Creek mounted their new DBair shock onto Intense's new Carbine trail bike in order for me to get some early impressions of the air sprung shock's performance. While the hour long ride certainly doesn't qualify as a true test, especially considering the venue's unfamiliar terrain, it did provide me a chance to put together a first impression of what the shock has on offer. Cane Creek's suspension design engineer Devon Sullivan said that they have gone to great lengths to reduce the amount of friction that is usually associated with air sprung shocks, caused by the added number of seals that a coil sprung damper doesn't require, and I'd have to say that they have been successful. The DBair is incredibly sensitive at the top of its stroke, more or less on par with a many coil shocks, which is astounding when you consider the amount of seal contact area that it has compared to its coil sprung brother.

Interbike 2011

That slippery feel did wonders to erase much of Bootleg Canyon's notoriously rocky trail chatter, closely mimicking the feel of a coil sprung shock, but the middle and latter parts of the stroke didn't suffer as a result, something that can occur when you are tuning an air spring for sensitivity. In other words, the DBair didn't tend to use excess amounts of its stroke as you might expect such an active air shock to do, but rather the bike sat calmly into its travel. While I would have liked to get into tuning the DBair's many adjustments, there simply wasn't enough time to fiddle too much. The new DBair uses the same adjustments as the Double Barrel coil, a shock that we're intimately familiar with at Pinkbike, so we have no doubt that its tuning range will allow users to dial in the feel that they are looking for on the majority of bikes.

The limited time that we spent on the DBair showed us that it has the potential to be a game changer, but we'll need more time on it before passing judgement. One thing is for certain though, trail and all-mountain riders are in for a treat if Cane Creek can translate the coil sprung Double Barrel's performance to the lighter DBair, not to mention downhillers who are looking to shed some weight from their bike. Stay tuned for a full review as Pinkbike will be among the first to put the DBair through a proper test.

Visit the Cane Creek website to see their entire lineup.

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  • 23 5
 Looks pretty sweet..........that is, if it actually performs. I'm always nervous about jumping on a company's new technology or item as soon as it hits the market. I typically let at least a year go by and let the engineers figga out the issues on version 2.0. If I'm going to spend my money tomorrow on a shock like this, sorry, but I'm going with a Fox DHX 5 air can. I wish CC the best with this shock, if it even comes close to the feel of their coil version, the shock will be spot on.
  • 13 0
 Antmav- I run the Vivid Air and it feels like baby jesus between my shock mounts. The coil Vivid I have always liked set up properly, but the air is on another level. I'm interested as to why you would go to a DHX Air over a DB, or even the Vivid air


Can they not basically apply the same rule (piston valving) to a air sprung fork?

If so, will we see a air sprung fork from CC in the future?
  • 2 1
 He is saying that becuase the DHX5 is well-established, and has been around for so long. So he can trust it will work well and last long (it has a good reputation). With this new DBair, nobody really knows how this shock will perform under certain circumstances, and also the durability and tuneability of the shock. Until more people ride it, and reviews come out, it is a bit of a gamble to buy a new release of a product, especially when it costs that much money.

That being said though-after seeing the origional DB, if this thing is anywhere close to its performance and durability, I would buy the DBair in a heartbeat... Probably not for downhill but for a slopestyle, short travel freeride, or all mountain bike.

Can't wait to see how it turns out!
  • 2 0
 Thanks Vano, I understood what he meant, it was kind of rhetorical.

The DB is a Ohlins product. Along side the BOS sex toy, they are the only two shocks that have no breakable parts in them (Elka might be the same).

I would have no issue spending the extra dollar for a first year product from Ohlins that has 4 way damping.
Even compared to a 2012 Cashima coated DHX 5 Air.

Now if Fox could replicate the RC4 into an air version . . . !
  • 7 0
 @Waldon83. I have both the Vivid Air and the Vivid coil for my V10.
I love the "feel" of the Vivid air, as you have said and have been an Air fan forever.
I time tested between the Air and the Coil using Freelap on 3 different tracks, each track a different type of track/trail and the test performed on the same day between shocks, switching between the shocks every 3 to 5 runs depending on the track I was testing on (different days ad conditions for different tracks).
I changed the setup of the bike to what I ran for that shock every time I changed over.
As amazing as the air "felt" this was because I was going so much slower.
For me, on each test Coil times were significantly quicker than the Air and more consistent.

I am a design engineer when not biking, so guess the geek in me never goes away :o)

I still love the "feel" of the Vivid air. On a mid travel bike the Fox PR23 performs better for that type of riding IMO (I have a 6 point so could use the same Vivid air as a comparison)
  • 5 7
 The vivid coil is a garbage shock. you know how to make a vivid coil shock feel better- you take it off yer bike. heard that one in whis haha. the air does feel pretty nice tho they got the air spring sorted on that for sure. Vivid coil is a kids shock tho just sayin'
  • 4 0
 DHX Air is a horrible, horrible shock that does not work properly (I've owned too many as they have come stock on bikes / frames I've owned...) Frown

really weak 'midstroke', squatty feel in corners / jumps / pedalling and lack of tuning potential

I've found its smaller brother the RP23 a much superior performer (bolted to the same frame which gave a true comparison)

I'd take the DB Air over the DHX Air any day...Cane Creek and Ohlins know their *shit for sure Wink
  • 3 0
 I, too, have had the misfortune of owning a DHX Air on my old Wilson. Worst shock I've ever owned, by an order of magnitude. I agree with hampstead - the total lack of midstroke control is unacceptable for DH. the only way to get it to not squat like mad in corners, or use 65% of its travel with each pedal stroke, was to either crank up the main spring pressure, or max out the propedal and boost valve (destroying any form of small-bump compliance). my DHX Air was reliable, but an absolutely horrible DH performer.

having rocked a CCDB on my Glory this season, I'm pretty pumped to see how the DBAir performs.
  • 2 0
 It's interesting to read your complaints about dhx air. Before buying my Nomad I had read so much similar stuff that I went for DHX coil. It was the owners of different linkage bikes mostly, as those wit spivots were pretty happy wit dhx air. 2 years later, Fox released RP23 with the boost valve and said that thanks to that, they improved the midstroke issue both on float and on dhx air... Wait wait wait... DHX air always had a boost valve - ahaaa! a clue Sherlock! Someone in the room is not telling the truth! So your guys statement just confirms it is still a crappy shock. I actualy bought RP23 and Pushed it. As far as trail riding goes it totaly... honestly... Totaly rips the DHX coil apart. It doesn't blow too easily through the travel as long as bigger jumps are not included. It keeps composure on rough rock gardens, even on drop offs, but as soon as I hit a dirt jump it bottoms, even if I land smoothly. Just as if he couldn't cope with medium speed, high force hits, because he does cope very well with pedal bob, harsh square hits, or tough landings, dunno.
  • 1 0
 i did experience the same thing with my dhx ,feeling super but in the high jump always bottoms ,went whit the rocco insted ,not the same good feeling to it ,but in the big jumps did a great job
  • 1 0
 I also agree that the DHX Air is was a poop shock. I am running the Monarch RC3 and loving it !
  • 1 0
 My pre-2011 DHX air had no control of midstroke ramp I agree with you guys completely, blew straight through it. Had to get it re-shimmed at suspension experts in Asheville and it was perfect. My '11 DHX Air is quite the contrary though, seems to ramp perfectly on my rune on trails and freeride.

As for the CCDB Air, definitely going to buy one. I've haven't heard a single bad review of the coil, good to see so much success from a WNC based company. Would definitely be willing to test one? Come on Cane Creek
  • 2 0
 bmbass- The only negatives you would hear about a CCDB are from people that;
A. Have not set it up properly
B. Don't know how to set it up properly according to conditions

This was the same with the BOS sextoy. The bad reviews were from people that did not have/know how to set the shock up.

These two shocks have such precise adjustment over a wide range.

For example;
The CCDB and the Vivid both use the same double barrel oil system
The CCDB has about 24 clicks of adjustment per stroke (just an example)
The Vivid has about 12

Therefor each adjustment is so supple and precise on the DB and BOS, while the the Vivid has to compensate for 2-3 clicks with one click.
  • 2 0
That is really interesting!

I think that the Vivid Air dives a lot more than the coil (only due to it having the coil rather than just the rebound like the air)

But it is interesting for sure.

I have the Vivid with a Ti 350 and the Air can is significantly lighter still.

I will try simular tests to yourself and see how I go.
These are the kind of tests I want to see from pinkbike

A lot of people don't know 'heaps' about their rear suspension (me included) but it would be REALLY REALLY good to see this kind of comparison on PINKBIKE !!!!
  • 1 0
 Air shock will always dive into mid travel more than coil with current linkage frame designs. Coil and Air are just too different to work at highest performance level on one frame, no matter what compression wonders are inside. I will not get into nerdy shock rate curves and stuff - go into Joe Graney's corner on SC website for reference.

Developing a Dh air shock working consistently all the way from start to end of the trail is a beginning of the road, we need frames designed 100% to work with air shocks. And in the current state of people's attitude towards air shocks no frame designer will dare to do that. I just feel we may never come to this era as there are folks like Manitou who promote DIY tuning sets with shims and valves. People will just fk up their bikes as never. If it takes months for Dave Weagle to put together a good marriage of frame and shock with all it's bullocks and reservoirs, volumes etc. then no bike nerd will ever get close to achieve good result if not by divine intervention...
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns, have you seen what BOSE developed with an electromagnetic shock?
  • 1 0
 WAKIdesigns, dont rate joe graneys opinions at all, from what ive seen of his, hes missed the point on every point hes tried to make. plus all bike manufactors make it sound a lot harder to design a bike then it actually is, any one who understands priciples of bike design and how each part influces the feel of the bike can design a desent bike in 3 minutes flat. creating the 3d models for hydroforming, cnc processing and manufactoring is the hard bit, designing a bike takes no time at all excluding aesthetics.
  • 1 0
 I got a lot from reading his rants, and I enjoy his cut the bullsht style. Unlike some blokes from Trek or Spec who can only tell you how groundbreaking their new design is, or some nerd encouraging you to start messing with your shims. I don't look for a philosophical correctness of making the point on a bike site Big Grin
  • 1 0
 he may appear to have a cut the bullsht style, but he still spouts it everywhere Wink
  • 6 0
 Don't forget it's ohlins technology Wink
  • 1 0
 you're partly Swedish to give them credit or what? Big Grin
  • 5 0
 gota say that looks damn nice
  • 4 0
 Damn! That looks so nice! Cane Creek is getting even better I think......what do you guys think?
  • 8 0
 few more of these and coil sprung suspension will be a choice of conneseurs and susp fetishists...
  • 1 0
 and people who want durable suspension... cuz air sprung suspensions takes a but load of maintenance
  • 1 0
 I think you confuse durability with service intervals. That means they are not for lazy people... and definitely not for lazy people with no money Big Grin But I agree service intervals on air suspension is a btch...
  • 1 0
 im pretti sure I understand the difference....???
  • 1 0
 Ya, air is lighter tho I think, but it needs service a lot, sprung once are light but not so light, and they need care but not as much as the air suspension..... I like sprung suspension that airs.
  • 1 0
 I have read a first look of the cane creek DBair on another site where the mag crew were with the cane creek team and they said that there wasn't a huge weight saving. They also said it wass more expensive and less reliable then the coil because of the larger number of parts in the shock.
  • 2 0
 Was wondering what they mean by "flat or even falling leverage ratio" what kinda bikes are like that? Is a Dw link bike in that area?
  • 1 0
 the M6 has a falling leverage ratio IIRC and it blows through its travel because of it...
  • 1 0
 I've had 4 CCDB's on 4 different bikes. All have worked perfectly. This is set up to be the best air shock on the market I suspect. And I suspect you won't see so much as a blip of trouble with them.
  • 3 0
 can make it look even better with a gold stansion
  • 2 0
 Wish they made it for my Trance X. Frown
  • 1 0
 Now that is something i need to consider for my trek session,looks awesome.
  • 1 0
 That thing looks really good! Can't wait until early 2012 so I can pick one up.
  • 1 0
 love cane creek! i love the coil one so this one is probably better! cant wait till next year!
  • 2 0
 looks alot better astheticaly than the vivid air imo
  • 1 0
 looks sick, but dont forget the Vector Air is in the works too. and from what i've heard it should be damn good too...
  • 1 0
 I hat it when they get you all excited and then BAM! "It actually won't be available for over a YEAR"
  • 1 0
 Would love to see the shaft in a black color on this shock. I hope this thing is as sensitive as a Marzocchi Roco Air WC.
  • 1 0
 Products and explanatory interview such as this sell products! Explicitly well thought and presented! Benchmark! ?
  • 2 0
  • 1 0
 Cane creek have done it again Big Grin
  • 3 3
 does it have the auto temperature adjust????? (expanding air in heat... etc..)
  • 2 5
 Of course. I also comes with a built in speed adjust valve as well. If you are going too fast, the valve will pull the breaks for you, to avoid danger and injury. :-)
  • 2 0
 Pretty sure he is referring to Srams "hot rod". The little peice of thermoplastic on the compression rod that compensates compression when the shock heats up. I'm sure that that is patent pending and I'm sure ohlins has a few tricks up their sleeve that will make the shock compensate for heat.
  • 1 0
 Good question. That is one of the selling point on the Vivid Air.
  • 2 0
 sorry it sounds super faggy to say I bought vivid because of his hot rod...
  • 1 0
 hot rod works on the rebound circuit. Keeps you from losing rebound and going over the bars on jumps.
  • 1 0
 Is the DB Air made by Ohlins? I see no Ohlins markings on it.
  • 1 0
 its made by cane creek………..
  • 1 0
 Ohlins designed
  • 1 0
 Cool, i didn't know that
  • 1 0
 I will install this on my Demo when it gets released.
  • 1 0
 Defienetely loved it...cane creek = Drool
  • 1 0
 me personally prefers coil
  • 1 0
 the double barrel coil is like this must be like sex +2 (:
  • 1 0
 I want the carbine!
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 Do want.
  • 1 0
 Nice! Big Grin
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 Awesome Wink
  • 2 3
 Im sure it will work on some frame designs better than others! Personally I think its UGLY!!!
  • 2 0
 Who cares what it looks like?! If it performs half as well as my coil DB, it'll be the best air shock on the market!
  • 1 0
 until the vector air comes out... Wink

the lack of owner servicability is a big turn-off for me
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 Fork it over

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