is a relatively new name in the cycling world they have been producing high end suspension products in the motorized segment for many years. Well known within the ATV circles, Elka also has a full line of rear shocks for both street and track use, as well as fork piston kits for road racing motorcycles. Now they are taking that experience and applying it to mountain bikes. Elka takes a slightly different approach than other manufacturers when providing customers with their Stage 5 damper, as they do not have a 'generic tune' to fit most bikes. With so many vastly different rear suspension designs that produce varying leverage ratios, as well as differing needs from the actual riders, Elka sees fit to tune the shock for each specific bike and rider. That strategy has already earned Elka a strong following in the short time they have been available as it has brought a semi-custom tuning option to the average rider, and at a very competitive price.Check them out inside and see why they are a true player in the rear shock after market and OEM spec market
,Last year at Interbike, Patrick and the Elka crew were on hand hoping to get the attention of those in the know and tell them about why they should try Elka rear shocks. One year later and how things have changed. Patrick and the crew are being sought after and even getting their shocks spec'd OEM on select brands for 2010.Watch the video and let Patrick from Elka Suspension fill you in on their Stage 5 shock
Because Elka tunes the Stage 5 for a bike's specific leverage ratio and rider needs, in most cases the shock is very close to being dialed as soon as it's installed on your bike. The adjustments provide a wide and useful range that is relevant to your bike's design. The Stage 5 seems the perfect candidate for those bikes with very low leverage rates, and there seems to be more and more of those springing up lately. Designs with aggressive falling or even rising rates can also be accommodated. It is worth noting that Elka has forgone letting the consumer adjust pressure within the reservoir, instead it is set at the factory leaving you with one less thing to worry about.
Elka Stage 5 external adjustments
• Low speed compression
• High speed compression
Anodized aluminum knobs provide a wide range of adjustment
Where great shocks and maple syrup come from!
The following is information supplied from Elka Suspension for you the readers of Pinkbike.com in order to give you the most comprehensive look at their company and bike shocks.
Elka Suspension's Philosophy
Our goal is to provide our customers with high-performance, quality products backed by the very best in customer service. From the beginning, Elka Suspension has been committed to its customers. We believe that each and every one deserves the same high-quality products and attention as any professional racer, regardless of their riding abilities. We have earned our reputation one customer at a time by offering products that are adapted to their needs, delivered within the fastest turnaround time in the industry and backed by the best customer service.The unique concept behind the Elka Stage 5 shock
Elka Suspension’s approach to the mountain bike market is the same that made it successful in other markets such as ATV, Side-by-Side Vehicles and Motorcycles: we analyze the vehicle’s geometry (bike) and adapt our product to get the most out of it. Our customers thus benefit from the same advantages they would get from a personalized suspension tuning (i.e. Push) straight from the factory, without any additional charges.
The Elka concept was specifically developed for downhill racing and gravity-assisted riding. The suspension on those types of bikes needs to address several issues that needs antagonist approaches. Long-travel bikes require stronger overall damping to effectively absorb major impacts but also needs to be sensitive on the smaller bumps and obstacles. Their suspension needs to be plush over rough terrain but still needs to offer efficient pedaling. It also needs to be compliant over small undulations without sacrificing chassis geometry when cornering.
Most competitor products try to provide a “pedaling platform” by exaggerating the damping either at the beginning of the stroke or at very slow shaft speed. Some also provide additional ramping at the end of the stroke to prevent bottoming out. Although this approach may have some advantages, our opinion is that those features were developed to mask a much deeper problem: those shocks have a poorly calibrated damping range that is not adapted to the bike’s suspension design. It’s not surprising to see that most of those competitor products evolved from a cross-country background that was further adapted for gravity riding.
Both low speed and high speed compression adjustments are atop the reservoir
Elka Suspension’s design is a high-speed and low-speed adjustable compression system paired with a standard De Carbon main damping system (shim stack main piston). This design provides infinite internal tuning possibilities and intuitive external adjustability. The hydraulic valving (internal shim stack) can easily be tuned for each bike’s suspension design. The adjustment range then becomes fully usable for the rider, allowing more precise fine-tuning with smaller increments (more precise clicks).
When properly calibrated, this design enables our technicians to dial in the perfect amount of low-speed damping, usually on the strong side. The overall feeling of the suspension that results is firm, nimble, stable and quick. The chassis tends to maintain its ride height, use less travel, reduce unwanted suspension movement and weight transfers do not affect geometry as much. In short, the bike has a strong “platform” feeling throughout the entire travel, the shock reduces the force transmitted to the rider and this general feeling can easily be adjusted in the parking lot via the low-speed compression adjuster.
The main difference between our product and the competition is how it reacts to major impacts, vibrations and in situations where traction is limited. Most competitors are using “poppet valves” systems that are either open or closed based on the pressure building inside the shock upon an impact. With those, you have to compromise between plushness and comfort vs. chassis firmness and bottom-out protection.
Our exclusive high-speed compression circuit is in fact an adjustable progressive blow-off valve, based on a piston and shim stack design that is preloaded by a spring which controls the initial resistance of the valves. The high-speed compression adjustment actually increases or reduces the preload on that spring. The adjustment then controls the threshold where the blow-off circuit opens to reduce the pressure building up in the shock upon an impact. Since this circuit is parallel to the low-speed compression circuit, the transition between the “firm” state and the “plush” state is progressive and smooth and proportional to the force of the impact. In short, the shock is firm unless an impact overcomes the set threshold point and become plush, but only as needed to “erase” any bump or obstacle. The resulting comfort is unique and traction is optimal in every situation.
Elka’s rebound circuit is also a feature that is beneficial for hardcore riders and racers. With a single knob, riders can easily dial in the rebound, yet inside the shock the rebound shim stack is speed-sensitive. The rebound can be fast and nimble (based on the rider’s preferred settings) but still be significantly slower upon major impacts to prevent any “bucking” effect that could catapult the rider off the bike. Unlike competitors that have position-based dual-stage rebound (i.e. RockShox Vivid), the Elka rebound circuit is based on the speed at which the shock goes back to full extension. In our opinion, this is more predictable and much easier to set because the shock will always feel the same over different kind of impacts. This makes it easier to preload the suspension to bunny hop over obstacles without affecting how the shock reacts on big square-edged impacts. Elka’s rebound thus have all the advantages of a high/low-speed rebound circuit (similar to a CaneCreek Double Barrel) without the inherent complexity to adjust the settings.
On a race course, the Elka Stage 5 makes the bike firm and stable, fast and nimble and pedals well. Corner exits are quick and precise because the rear end won’t dive as much and won’t use as much travel unless it's needed. This shock can help a rider gain confidence by providing the impression that the more you throw at it, the more it can handle.
Elka Suspension has always pride itself on providing one of the best customer service in the industry. That’s why we offer a 30-Days Satisfaction Guarantee. Within 30 days from the purchase date, if for any reason a customer is not fully satisfied with their purchase, we will take it back and revalve it for free until complete satisfaction. To our knowledge, no other suspension company offers such security upon purchase.
If you believe that all of the above sounds too good to be true, keep in mind that our products are designed, built and sold by riders who could not find what they were looking for in the market, so they went on to make them. We truly understand the needs of the riders because we also are riders in the first place.Key Features and Benefits
•Performance: Better bump absorption and stronger overall damping, which is both faster and more comfortable
•Easy to use: Shock is about 80% preset for the bike model, making fine-tuning simple and making it easy to achieve optimal results
•Price: We offer high and low-speed compression technology at a very competitive price
•Custom-tuning: Our shock features a custom valving for the bike design, with the proper spring for the rider’s weight
•Quality: Elka shocks are crafted from CNC-machined aluminum and only use premium-quality materials
•Durability: All seals are motorcycle-grade quality that can withstand heavy abuse, seal heads use triple seals that were successfully tested above 2000lbs of pressure without leakingCheck to see if Elka currently makes a shock that will mount to your bike.Information required from customers when ordering
•Bike model and year: Refer to the provided application list to validate availability for that model and check compatibility of the stock mounting hardware and spring
•Rider’s weight: Allows to select the appropriate spring rate for the rider’s weight on that bike within the application list
•Intended type of riding: May be used to provide further customization if needed, can also be used to select an alternate valving if available
•Customer’s selection: When stock mounting hardware and/or spring is compatible, customer can choose to order the shock with or without them; customer can also choose his preferred spring rate
•Billing and shipping address: Enables Elka to provide after-sale service by linking that information to the unique serial number on the shock and with the complete pedigree of the rider and shock, also needed when drop shipping orders, finally allows traceability in the event of a recall Elka Suspension Warranty
Elka Suspension products are guaranteed against any manufacturing defects for a period of one (1) year from the purchase date. This warranty does not cover damages resulting from any of the following situations: obvious abuse of the products, racing accidents, improper installation, disassembly or modifications, unauthorized oil changes, damage occurring during transportation.30-Days Satisfaction Guaranteed
We also have a “satisfaction guaranteed” program where if you are not satisfied with your purchase, you can simply send us back the products within 30 days to have them revalved for free (you only pay shipping). This is our way to ensure every customer is fully satisfied with our custom-tuning process.Servicing & Maintenance Schedule
We recommend servicing to be done once a year for racers and hardcore riders. Recreational riders that don’t ride much can extend the period between servicing to 2 full seasons. Servicing and warranty work can be done by the Elka Factory or any Elka Authorized Service Center. Our power sports Service Centers can also offer basic service.Frame-Specific tuning
Although the shock is valved and sprung for your bike model and your weight, it can easily be modified and re-sprung to fit another bike model for a nominal fee. If a length/stroke change is required, it is still possible to modify the shock but it is more expensive because we need to entirely rebuild the shock. Many bikes will still share the same tuning when the shock size, wheel travel and leverage ratio are the same or close, so the shock might even be already compatible, just call our customer service to check. Titanium Springs
Elka Suspension offers a titanium spring upgrade to retail customers, which are sourced either from Renton Coil Spring (RCS) or Diverse Suspension Products (DSP), both are priced at 295,00$. We usually recommend going with a DSP spring as they are faster to get and have a better quality.Frame Compatibility
Our shock is compatible with most popular, recent frames. Please refer to our application list for specific details.
Usually, most bikes that came stock with a Fox, Marzocchi or Manitou shock will be compatible. We only list bikes for which we have checked the fitment but we still have many other frames to evaluate. If a bike is not listed, it might be in development and become available soon so please check with our customer service for any unlisted bike applications.Spring and mounting hardware compatibility-
•Spring size: 35mm minimum ID, 55mm maximum OD
•Spring compatibility: Fox, Marzocchi, Manitou, CaneCreek, Progressive, Renton (RCS), Diverse (DSP)
•Mounting hardware size: 1/2” DU Bushings (12.7mm)
•Mounting hardware compatibility: Fox, RockShox, Progressive, CaneCreek (non-spherical bearing model)
Additional details and conditions for dealers, distributors and manufacturers
•All prices on the price list do not include tax or shipping
•All orders must be fully paid before shipping
•All orders are FOB our factory
•Quantity for pricing level is calculated based on annual expected volume, all orders and sizes combined
•We accept “blanket” purchase orders to grant next-level discounts, invoicing is then per release as you need
•A minimum of 10 units is required for custom-tuning as per the customer’s needs
•A minimum of 100 units is required on all orders that require special-designed parts and componentsProduction delays
•Our usual production delay is about 10-15 days on orders of less than 50 units
•Minimum production delay is about 15-20 days on orders of 50 to 100 units
•Production delay is 90 days on orders of more than 250 units
•Shipping by Elka is done through FedEx or through the customer’s carrier upon requestUpgrades and options
•Custom decals are available upon request for OEM customers, quote upon request, minimum order quantity of 1000 decals
•Titanium spring upgrades are available upon request, quote upon request
•Due to high manufacturing costs for titanium springs, these are exclusively available to OEM customers or retail customers
•Custom spring rates, colors and sizes are available upon request, minimum order of 100 units per rate/length, minimum production delay is 4 weeks
•Custom anodizing colors are available upon request, minimum order of 250 units per shock sizeAfter-sales servicing and warranty
•All Elka products are guaranteed to be free of any manufacturing defects for a period of 1 (one) year
•All shock absorbers undergo extensive quality control, including individual dynamometer testing
•All shock absorbers are engraved with a unique serial number to allow traceability
•Unique serial numbers refer to complete shock pedigree
•Warranty servicing and after-sales servicing in Europe is available through Fast Suspension, France ( www.fast-suspension.com
•Complementary training on servicing is available at Elka’s factory in Quebec, Canada (travel fees, lodging and food costs not covered)
•Replacement parts, service kits and service manuals are available exclusively to OEM customers and Authorized Service Centers
Below is a list of frequently asked questions that Elka wants to pass along in order to help you out with any questions that you may be having.
What makes your shock different than the other coil shocks on the market
Our Stage 5 coil shock feature Elka’s intuitive concentric dual high/low-speed compression adjuster, rebound and preload adjustments. The dual compression adjuster allows the rider to set the desired level of plushness and stability without having to compromise for small bump absorption. Unlike most of our competitor’s, this makes it easy to adjust your damping and dial-in your suspension. Also, by working closely with the bike manufactures and our professional riders, we custom-tune each of our shock’s internal valving to maximize the performance for a frame geometry and intended use so the full range of adjustment can effectively be used.How does your shock feel like compared to the other shocks on the market
Typically, our shocks tend to have a firm overall feeling which provide good stability under pedaling. The speed-sensitive system acts like an adjustable blow-off that allows the shock to become plush and active upon an impact. The overall feeling is best described as plush yet stable, predictable, comfortable and fast.What is “custom” about your shocks
We adapt the damping range for each bike design (leverage ratio, travel, rising or falling rate, etc.) and provide the appropriate spring rate for the rider weight. We are also able to fine-tune the hydraulic internals (valving) to suit specific needs expressed by the customer, whether a manufacturer or individual.Do you offer a remote reservoir version
Elka is working hard to offer compatibility with most bikes. We will soon offer a remote reservoir option to ensure OE bike manufactures can design their frames the way they intended. We do not believe bike manufacturers should have to make sacrifices in their frame designs due to the dimensions of the shock.What bike manufacturers are specing Elka shocks
At the moment, you can get an Elka shock on the following bike brands straight from the distributor or factory: Corsair Bikes, Cove Bikes (USA), Canfield Brothers, Intense (Canada), Turner (Canada), Tomac (Canada), Morewood (Canada), SolidBikes (Germany), Zumbi Cycles (Poland). Other manufacturers will be added soon as they release information about their 2010 lineup.What springs do you have available and what’s the retail price
We offer a variety of popular spring rates in hi-tensile alloy. Check our website for prices, rates and sizes at www.elkasuspension.com
or refer to your dealer pricing list. New spring models are constantly being added.What does it take to become a dealer for your MTB shocks and are there any minimum initial purchase requirements
Visit our website at www.elkasuspension.com
and download our MTB Dealer Application. Complete the dealer application and fax it to our sales department at 450-655-2821. Our inside sales personnel will contact you once you’re approved. There are no initial purchase requirements to become a MTB dealer with Elka. What is a dealer’s discount on your MTB shocks
Once a dealer has been approved, we will provide the dealer pricing and discount information. (Note: WE DO NOT give out dealer discounts or pricing to callers unless they have been approved as a dealer.)Can a dealer order shocks now
Absolutely. Take all the necessary order information and be sure to note the year and model of bike, the customer’s weight and riding or racing level (Riding: extreme, moderate, enthusiast – Racing: pro, expert, sport, beginner)Can dealers or retail customers buy Stage 3 or 4 shocks
No, these will only be available to bike manufacturers for OE models.Are any Pros currently using the shocks in competition
Yes, we are working with several pro riders, you can find their names on our website which will also be announcing more riders in the near future.Will customers have to send their shock to Canada for service or warranty
We have several service centers worldwide, a complete list is available on our website.How do I know if your shock can be fitted on a certain bike
Look for the MTB Application List on our website at www.elkasuspension.com Can riders and teams get sponsorship from Elka for mountain bike racing
Look for the MTB Support Program on our website at www.elkasuspension.com What’s up with the Stage 6 shock previously announced last year
The Stage 6 model was intended to feature an additional adjustment to allow the rider to adjust the volume of the reservoir. Varying the volume and pressure, was a way that we explored to allow tuning of the bottoming resistance when the shock is deep in travel. After extensive testing, we came to the conclusion that this feature did not provide what we were looking for so we completely canceled this feature. We started working on another system that will make it to market on a revised Stage 6 model to be introduced next year.Where are your shocks produced
Like all of Elka products, they are hand-assembled in-house at our factory in Boucherville, Quebec, Canada.How much does each of your shocks weigh
Weights all Stage coil shocks will be available soon on our website at www.elkasuspension.com Which length/stroke combinations do you offer
We offer the following length/stroke combinations: 7.5x2.0, 7.875x2.0, 7.875x2.25, 8.5x2.5, 8.75x2.75, 9.0x2.75, 9.5x3.0 and 10.5x3.5. Other custom dimensions are available upon request to manufacturers.Is your MTB shock a scaled-down version of your pit bike shocks
Absolutely not. Our mountain bike shocks have been specifically designed and tuned for MTB applications.What spring size can be fitted on your shocks and what size hardware is required
Our shocks use a standard spring size of (1.37”/35mm min ID) and 1/2” DU bushing mounting hardware.Do you have a U.S. Distributor or are you shipping dealer direct
Elka Suspension will be the primary distributor in North America and plans to partner with other global distributors and service centers to ensure all our customers receive excellent technical support and service. We sell directly to OE bike manufacturers, racing teams, independent bike dealers and will also accept retail customer orders when no other options are available.Will you attend any events this season to offer technical support
In 2009, we will attend the Sea Otter Classic, Interbike and select NMBS and UCI World Cup events. We will also be offering technical assistance at the Canada and Quebec Cup Series events. I already sell your power sports products; can I sell mountain bike shocks
Only if you meet the requirements on our MTB Dealer Application and are approved by Elka.If my new bike comes equipped with a Stage coil shock, can I have it revalved or upgraded by Elka
? (similar service as offered by Push Industries, TF Tuned Shox, CR1, etc.)
Elka will offer custom revalving and rebuild services for all our MTB shocks.Who does a distributor contact that is interested in selling Elka shocks
Please contact Patrick Tellier (Director of Marketing & MTB Products Manager) at 1-800-557-0552 ext.227 or by email email@example.comWho does an OE bike manufacturers contact that is interested in Elka shocks for their bikes
Please contact Patrick Tellier (Director of Marketing & MTB Products Manager) at 1-800-557-0552 ext.227 or by email firstname.lastname@example.orgPrice
: $495 CDN and $475 USD (Does not include spring or hardware)
Head over to elkasuspension.com
for more information!Mike "Kakah" Levy