popular DB InLine and DB Air shocks have become the first choice for the sport's more talented trail riders and enduro competitors as much for their multi-adjustable damping features as they have for their climb-switch levers. Up and until today, however, Cane Creek's coil-shock customers did not have that option, but the release of their DBCoil CS shock will handily fix that problem. The Coil CS incorporates the same climb switch as its air-sprung brothers, but with a firmer tune to compensate for the more active feel that a coil-sprung damper has due to its reduced seal-swept areas. Presently, the DBCoil CS is intended for enduro/AM bikes with 150 to 160millimeters of rear-wheel travel, with an MSRP of $665 USD. The spring is not included in that price.
DBCoil CS Details:
• Weight: 454 grams, damper only (weight varies by size)
• Damping: Twin Tube independent externally-adjustable compression and rebound, in two high-speed and four low-speed damping circuits
• Climb Switch On/Off
• Shock shaft: Steel
• Finish: Anodized and laser-etched
• Lengths: 200 x 50mm (7.87” x 2.0”), 200 x 57mm (7.87 x 2.25”), 216 x 63mm (8.5” x 2.5”)
• Mounting: High performance low friction bushing .5" universal axle
• Hand built in North Carolina
• MSRP: $665.00 - without spring
• Lightweight spring upgrades are coming soon
• Available for purchase globally - August 25th, 2015
• Contact: Cane CreekConstruction
Inside, the 'CS damper is essentially the same as the original DBCoil,
so all of its default and custom settings remain the same. The external high and low-speed damping adjustments are also unchanged, so owners can tune the shock with a three-millimeter Allen key either at home or on trail to get the perfect ride. Cane Creek will ship the new shock with its standard coil springs until it has sourced a lighter-weight alternative, so initially, the DBCoil CS will not be remotely competitive with air-sprung dampers.
Cane Creek pegs the weight of the damper alone at 454 grams (one pound), but with the steel spring added, our test shock weighed 2.2 pounds (998 grams). Switch it out for a titanium, or a reduced-coil high-performance steel spring, and you could knock 200 grams off of that figure. After riding the shock, we got the impression that Cane Creek devotees will shrug off the weight penalty in exchange for its potential benefits on the downs, while enjoying the divine novelty of having a firm-pedaling bike on the ups.
Rather than explaining the inner workings and the potential benefits of Cane Creek's Climb Switch, I will quote the folks who make them in North Carolina:
|The Climb Switch changes the low speed damping of Double Barrel shocks in one simple switch, to optimize suspension dynamics during climbing. It does this by turning on and off a set of internal climbing circuits that are accessed when CS is engaged. These circuits are heavily damped and tuned specifically to limit low frequency motion of the bike's suspension, but not to the extent that traction during climbing is sacrificed. When the rider is ready to descend, with the flip of CS, the shock returns to the traditional low-speed circuits of the DBcoil.|
As with all Cane Creek suspension products, customers can access in-depth tuning, setup, and ordering information on line, and also take advantage of their extensive library of default settings
for nearly every mountain bike that is cross-compatible with their shocks.
Many thanks to Norco for allowing me to thrash a brand new carbon fiber Range
for two days on Whistler Mountain's trail network. The Range's four-bar suspension felt smooth when descending, and it tended to stiffen up and ride slightly high in the rear when climbing torque put a lot of chain tension into the system. As a result, I had an opportunity to judge whether the Climb Switch function served to maintain the bike's ride height - which it does admirably. Initially, I used a minimal amount of damping, as it had been my experience that Cane Creek's shocks were a bit slow on the rebound and offered plenty of support in compression. I learned after my first day, however, that the shock's damping circuits passed a lot more fluid when the bike was bouncing around the trails than they appeared to be passing during my "parking lot" tuning sessions.
With the high-speed rebound screwed in about half way, the Norco stopped bounding around in the loamy rooted bomb holes that punctuated the EWS course and life became much more fun at Whistler. Set the damping too light and the DBCoil CS feels great until you really start hammering, and then its valves come to life and it feels as if the damping is fading. Compared to a Fox Float X or RockShox Monarch Plus, the correct setup for the DBCoil CS feels too slow in both compression and rebound, but once up to pace, the Coil CS comes to life. I did notice that the shock was a bit noisy when it was repeatedly asked for full compression - which is a trademark of the steeper descents around Whistler - but that is not a trait that is exclusive to Cane Creek dampers, so I passed it off as normal.
Getting to the most important aspect of the DBCoil CS, the Climb Switch is, in my opinion, how the Cane Creek shock platform should be on all of its CS models. There was a lot of climbing to be done to reach the choice descents, and much of it is steep and littered with rocks - not the kind of climbs that favor a locked-out suspension. It was there that I realized how well the tail of the bike was keeping my weight centered over the cranks - each stroke of the pedals feeling like I was moving solidly forward, and all the while, my Norco was blunting the multitude of once-bothersome embedded stones.
The climb switch is easily accessed (although part of that was due to the Norco's convenient vertical shock position), and because there are only two positions, I never had that Fox/RockShox hesitation: "Should I use the middle, or should I go for the full lockout?" I'd say that Cane Creek's decision to boost the resistance of the switch on its coil shock was a wise one. I never needed more, and there was just enough suspension action available with the switch engaged to save my butt if I forgot to turn it off. First Impressions:
| So, it a winner out of the box? Many riders will swear it is, just because they have been waiting so long for a Climb Switch on a DBCoil shock. Considering that the DBCoil CS is intended for enduro racing, it safe to say that it is too chubby to be competitive. I'd put up with less performance from an air-sprung shock to save over a pound from my bike - and the latest crop of air-sprung dampers are awfully close to duplicating the feel of a good coil-sprung shock. As it stands, though, if Cane Creek can get a lightweight spring in production that won't double the cost of the damper, it will have a lot of customers lining up for the DBCoil CS. I'm sure that many of those happy souls will be racing enduros. - RC|