First Ride: Cane Creek DBCoil Shock Gets a Climb Switch

Aug 25, 2015
by Richard Cunningham  



Cane Creek's 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 Creek


Construction

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 DBCoil CS shock 2016
Cane Creek is presently sourcing light weight reduced-coil springs for the DBCoil CS. Our test shock used their standard spring, which doubled the weight of the damper.

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.

Cane Creek DBCoil CS shock 2016
The larger gold-anodized dials are the high-speed compression and rebound clickers. The smaller screws tune low-speed compression and rebound forces. The climb switch dramatically slows both low-speed damping circuits which helps to stabilize the suspension at its pre-set ride height in addition to providing a firm pedaling platform.


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:

bigquotesThe 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.


Norco Range 2 with Cane Creek DBCoil CS shock 2016
F I R S T R I D E
DBCoil CS Shock
We tested the DBCoil CS shock mounted to a Norco Range on Whistler Mountain's back country trails.


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:
bigquotes 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




MENTIONS: @CaneCreekCyclingComponents, @norcobicycles


116 Comments

  • + 113
 Looks so sick. Great to see good innovation which could truly change the way things would be ridden. Just as good up, and rip down. Take notes bike industry, we want this stuff. Not 27.5+.
  • + 22
 Wait for Boxxer gets Dual Position, mount both of them on a sub-15kg Session.
  • + 8
 Don't you remember the Boxxer u-turn's?
  • + 11
 Praise the Lord! Finally we can have a fit and forget shock with a climb switch. I don't care what anyone says about air shocks. tHey don't work as well as coils and are unreliable. Weight and ease of spring rate tuning are the only benefits.
  • + 7
 Did You try Kirk or DB Air ?
  • + 33
 i saw Gwin on sunday racing with an air shock on the gnarliest DH track i know.. i kinda feel that something is wrong.
  • + 19
 Before you judge 27.5+ give it a go. It kills me that the industry has a new standard (with both new forks and axle spacings, help us lord) but I got to ride a demo 27.5+ hardtail and I gotta say it was incredibly fun. It had so much grip, but rolled much faster than a fat bike.

I know most pinkbike readers are racing for strava KoM's, but I actually enjoy riding my bike, and 27.5+ is fun. So much fun.
  • + 10
 The super long descents that enduro races have arguably require the need for a coil shock with a piggy back reservoir. DH races, on the other hand, do not have the super long descents that enduro races have and can therefore successfully use a DH-specific air shock.

Gwin, Fairclough, Brosnan (mostly), Blenki, and many many others raced every DH race this season with an air shock. Anyone who is doubting an air shock for DH simply hasn't tried the BOS Void yet nor the Fox Float X2 (the latter for the obvious reason of not being available yet). Coils are obviously great options that work super well but don't discount air for DH. The aforementioned shocks feel awesome, perform great, and shed a lot of weight (especially on bikes that use long shocks, like the Gambler).
  • + 4
 @ka-brap We have Float X2's at my local shop Smile
  • + 1
 @MTBCAM perfect, so now there's no excuse haha
  • + 0
 @ka-brap Even with my team rider discount I still cant afford hahahahaha
  • + 11
 Can't even compliment a good product without bashing another. Ride your goddamn bikes, and stop worry about shit you don't want, Pinkbike!
  • + 7
 Not wishing to sound like deeight.....but Stratos had a coil shock with lockout around 15 years ago.
  • + 1
 IF ONLY f*ckIN FOX OR RS COULD GET THEIR SHIT TOGETHER AND DELIVER A SIMILAR PRODUCT!!! they're so behind the ball, CCDB has coil and air with CS. fox clearly has coil and air with CS just won't release them to the public... because it'd sell too well? idk. and Curtis Keene had a CS Vivid. i've been saying it for years, just f*cking release it so i can buy a new shock.
  • + 11
 or you could just buy the CCDB...
  • + 1
 Fox has a version of the DHX2 with a climb switch in the works:
www.bikeradar.com/mtb/gear/article/enduro-world-series-round-5-tech-highs-sad-lows-44942
  • + 6
 Or whine cause the pro's are using prototype shocks and you aren't haha. Why's everything gotta be Fox or RS? CCDB's rule!
  • - 3
 Gwin likes his suspension stiff. So when his air shock stiffen up, it doesn't really matter for him.
  • + 1
 @wallheater, CS != lockout. It is a separate damping circuit tuned for climbing. Read the part of the review where he talks about how it keeps the rear wheel stuck to the ground when climbing over rough terrain. That has been my experience as well with the air sprung version.
  • + 73
 enduro goes coil... downhill goes air...
  • - 40
flag zede (Aug 25, 2015 at 4:05) (Below Threshold)
 enduro goes stupid and DH goes smart
  • + 13
 As dampers get better and gain more tuning options, air spring and coil spring shocks get increasingly better. They are both viable options. I like having more options.
  • + 5
 @zede the last thing you need in a ride is an overheated rear shock. Even the best air shocks are very prone to overheating and cause dampening problems, this rarely happens in Spring shocks.
  • - 9
flag zede (Aug 25, 2015 at 8:08) (Below Threshold)
 @carfreak2000 just try to put a temperature probe on your shock. I can guarantee you that you will see no overheating. Coil shocks are even more unstable than the demo
  • + 3
 What do you mean unstable? Coil shocks is obviously better than air shocks when it comes to dampening, small bump compliance and reliability, Air shocks are just lighter and easier to set than coil shocks. After a long descent I noticed a fair bit of heat radiating from the stancion of my Fox Float CTD shock and it gave the shock kinda of an inconsistent dampening feel.
  • - 9
flag zede (Aug 25, 2015 at 11:42) (Below Threshold)
 "Coil shocks is obviously better than air shocks when it comes to dampening, small bump compliance and reliability" : www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9uRCKtaOCU

"Air shocks are lighter and easier to set than coil shocks" this, you got it right. clapclap

"After a long descent I noticed a fair bit of heat radiating from the stancion of my Fox Float CTD shock and it gave the shock kinda of an inconsistent dampening feel" feelings does not mean actual facts... Try with a T°C probe, you will get the truth
  • + 3
 How am I wrong about coil shocks being better and dampening? So far you have said nothing to validate your statement. Regardless what results may come up with that Probe your talking about the fact remains that my EXPERIENCE with air shocks have been exactly what I described and many others have experienced this same problem. My rear shock would perform firm at first then suddenly loses all the firm dampening and suddenly bobs around like a pogo stick with no dampening.
  • - 8
flag zede (Aug 25, 2015 at 12:40) (Below Threshold)
 yeah but your issue is due to CTD, which is crap ; but it's the same with the fork right? (also, I tought they had improved the CTD system because everybody was complaining about it?)

now back to the coil pb : The coil has an intrinsic rebound properties which vary depending its material, size and etc...So when you adjust your damping (air part of the shock), your adjustements will be limited/affected by your coil properties. a coil shock has two differents rebound speed, which make it unstable except if it has been perfectly set.

Also, the small bump compliance is better with air shock, because they are not linear. With coil, you shock will perform well either on big hits either on small bumps
  • + 6
 When riding air shocks on my trail bike I've registered shock temperatures over 70 °C, and on trails that are only a few minutes long. This increases spring pressure and reduces damping resulting a double negative affect. A coil spring produces less heat when cycling through it's stroke repeatedly than a comparable air spring. With most air springs they isolate and insulate the oil from atmosphere thereby decreasing the heat transfer to the air moving over the shock. Without a doubt a coil sprung shock will produce less heat, dissipate heat faster, and provide more consistent damping.
  • + 8
 At this point I think Zede is trolling us.
  • - 2
 @timmigrant
update : I checked today, my shock (2012 fox float RP2) was at the same T°C before and after a short downhill (500m elevation). I will check if I find a T°C probe in my lab and I will try again this week end.

70°C seems really high, it should be enough to be painful when you touch you shock?... So I highly doubt it has ever reach such a T°C on my bike.

Do you have jump and drops on your trail? maybe I don't compress it enough to increase significantly the temperature.
  • + 20
 When people realised saving some grams vs losing the performance of a coil was a bad compromise.
  • - 29
flag zede (Aug 25, 2015 at 4:03) (Below Threshold)
 When people suddenly went batshit crazy and decided to loose performance and to gain weight.
Wait. Are these "pro coil guys" americans? Oh I get it
  • + 2
 Air is really good if you don't want to stock coils. Like when you sell the shock/a bike with the shock.
  • + 15
 The reviewer would rather have a worse performing shock to save 500g. Oh dear. That 500g will not be noticeable in a blind test. What will be noticeable is that the coil shock will still work at the bottom of a five minute downhill.

If that little bit of weight is worth the drop in performance, how about go full retard and use a cx bike? That will yield a pretty unreal weight saving!
  • + 2
 ^do it!
  • + 7
 Loosing a pound on your butt and riding a coil can fix the problem too.
  • + 2
 Would be nice to see some factual evidence regarding weight vs performance .
I mean how much time is 500g worth ? more than a marginally better performing shock ?
  • + 3
 I think the 500g in weight will be picked up in seconds because of the performance of the shock, so nothing to worry about! This shock is very interesting!
  • + 1
 I am guessing there are some people (Austria) that would not know the difference from a XC bike to a tuned coil spring enduro bike.
  • - 9
flag zede (Aug 25, 2015 at 8:54) (Below Threshold)
 @MX298 I am guessing there are some people (USA) that think the vivid air and the void are for xc bike...
  • + 2
 The thing is that it's YMMV-ish, so come on, get move on.
  • + 3
 Without a doubt I'm substantially and measurably faster on most enduro tracks with the coil shock on my bike vs. any of the 10+ air shocks I've tested. One only has to look at the number of coil shocks showing up on pro Enduro race bikes, both locally and internationally. When riding I honestly can't even notice the additional 500 gram (worst case) that is located in the best possible spot on the bike.
  • + 13
 Myself and pretty much everyone I ride with leaves their shocks in descend mode for everything, though I can see the use of the climb switch for fire roads I don't think I would be rushing to get one if I already had a Cane Creek.
  • + 5
 It depends on what you ride. I find my E29 to benefit a lot from the propedal platform. Especially true with the Corset can, because it sags a lot and it has a very soft initial stroke. I'd happily take the weight gain in exchange for the coil feel but the Corset and Debonair cans are a step in the right direction as well.
  • + 6
 I used to leave my shock on open and still do so with my Fox float bike. Then I bought an Enduro with the CC DB Inline. That shock is a game-changer. The climb mode is outstanding and works very well on long technical ascents. It remains very active over roots/rocks yet has almost zero bob. Simply the best air shock I"ve ever ridden.
  • + 1
 you need to come to California and you'd understand.
  • + 2
 depends on the bike you ride and how tough the climbs are, some bikes will be really helped out, one example is the Knolly Chilcotin
  • + 2
 I ride the suuuper active Slash. So I've been looking for a CS shock that can mounted to my linkage. Hopefully this is the one.
  • + 6
 This makes me laugh a bit.
Some time ago, not so long ago, I was using a coil shock on my enduro bike.

Then the air trend came in and I switched to an even better coil shock (some people were "What, still runnig a coil?")

Now, guess what, coil is becoming the new trend and I am already on the trend!! :-D

I was already on the forefront of suspension and I didn't know....:-P
  • + 6
 You should of heard the comments I used to get back in the early 2000's about my 780mm bars being stupid/over kill/retarded while every one else was on 700mm...
  • + 5
 "the latest crop of air-sprung dampers are awfully close to duplicating the feel of a good coil-sprung shock"

Am I alone in being in utter disagreement with this? I DO NOT consider myself a suspension expert by any means, but i can feel a fairly significant difference between my ccdb air and coil shocks...still favoring coil heavily.
  • + 6
 Anyone who races/ rides gravity events and would sacrifice suspension performance for a little less weight especially non rotational is a fool. Just my 2 cents.
  • + 2
 Also as a second opinion please read this:

nsmb.com/cane-creek-double-barrel-coil-climb-switch

While using this shock as intended it sounds like it is un beatable.
  • + 3
 I'm surprised that there isn't more discussion about freeride here. This shock will definitely be popular at Whistler and the North Shore. Knolly nicely timed the introduction of their new Delirium which will pair nicely with this shock . knollybikes.com/bikes/delirium-296
  • + 8
 jesus fuck i love norco
  • + 2
 Norco looks the money with DB Coil. I take a XL crap before hitting the trials to make up the weight difference for my coil shock. CC please stop farting about and make a Fork. Fox's new Electronic system featured on PB recently is fair competition, to bad there suspension is so hit and miss. CC take a page from that chapter, the future is upon us and your CS tech alone ain't gonna cut it.
  • + 2
 The reviewer kind of nailed it though. I've been riding a Float X all year and I'm amazed at how coil like it feels. I'm just a weekend warrior type but I don't want an extra pound on my bike unless the performance is a monster upgrade.
  • + 1
 How much would that pound slow you down on an average run in seconds ?
  • + 2
 I don't know about you guys, but I can definitely tell a difference in a pound of weight on my bike. Especially in a higher position on the bike like a shock is. I recently put a dropper post on my v10 for an endurance downhill race and it rode like absolute garbage compared to the bike when it had the stock seatpost.
  • + 2
 This is awesome news! Having used a CCDB coil on my v10 and an InLine on my Bronson, all I can say is the performance of this shock will be incredible! I'm really considering one for the Bronson now (just needs to have a lighter spring offered). Nothing else on the market can match the tuning and predictability of how active these shocks are on the trail. I should start to throw my money at the computer screen now Razz
  • + 5
 Dropped my Big Mac after seeing this in pedestrian - finally God hear our needs!
  • + 5
 Good. It's bad for your health anyway. I fully agree aswell!
  • + 2
 For all the Catholics out there... "Lord, hear our prayers"
  • + 1
 Yep, I'm Catholic, so I'd say "Amen".
  • + 3
 Good thing I can't afford it, now I don't have to stress about whether the weight vs performance would be worth it for my fat ass!
  • + 2
 Same, although I am reading these pointless comments.
  • + 3
 Do they make a right handed and left handed switch. .? How about a remote lever to go beside my seat post lever and my tilt a stem lever.?
  • + 1
 "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."

There is actually an infinite number of positions as it is more of a dial than a switch, the middle position for instance is ideal for keeping traction on technical climbs.
  • + 1
 I liked the reviewer and this post, down to earth, and I felt I could relate to what he was saying. My fox 36 and my fox x2 both seem to feel slow in the parking lot, but come alive on trail. Good post.
  • + 2
 With a lot of modern bikes designed around the ramping up of air shocks, I wonder if this would be for specific bikes with heavy rising rates deep in their travel only.
  • + 4
 Dying for a direct compare-o with a Push Eleven Six!
  • + 2
 Direct conpare-o it's much cheaper, in turn you can get beast brakes and a great shock for the price of a GREAT shock. I don't think we normal riders can really tell the difference. And the pros just get theirs specially tuned
  • + 2
 8.75x2.75 would have been nice, it is a coil shock after all and the db air with cs is available in that size.
  • + 1
 The linkage would take off my finger if I tried this on my bike. You still rule Cane Creek even though your new switch is useless to me.
  • + 1
 What do you ride?
  • + 1
 cannondale perp for park / downhill
  • + 1
 Air is on par with coil, but it's just not the same. IMO air tends to 'deflect' as opposed to 'charge' when things get rowdy.
  • + 2
 I am sure most riders can afford to save that pound off their ass if it was that much of a concern
  • + 3
 Oh man, I'll be selling my air CS for this !
  • + 2
 What about that Norco Factory front tire?
  • + 3
 it's a Kenda. don't get too excited mate
  • + 2
 Only three lengths!!? My capra is saddened by this news
  • + 2
 for this price they could have put a titanium spring Big Grin
  • + 2
 August 25th.... As in, today!
  • + 3
 At last!!!
  • + 2
 nice - sent mine (ccdb air) in for warranty today ;-)
  • + 1
 Wonder how this would stack up against the DVO Jade.
  • + 1
 Yesssssss,the shock I've always wanted
  • + 1
 dream machine, this is rad!
  • + 1
 Finally. Can't wait to try one!
  • + 1
 Hopefully this one will be more reliable than inline
  • + 1
 Didn't marzocchi do something similar years ago?
  • + 2
 They're not on a twin tube platform, though.
  • + 1
 Any info on release dates?
  • + 1
 I've been waiting for this!
  • - 2
 Can it handle the weight of bigger riders???? The previous model was for 160 to 185 lbs riders anyone bigger kept blowing them up....
  • + 0
 What? The damper doesn't have a weight limit. You use the spring rate that corresponds to your weight and the amount of sag you want. I know plenty of 200+ lb riders that have been running DB coils for years with absolutely no issue.
  • - 4
flag idafreerida (Aug 25, 2015 at 11:55) (Below Threshold)
 Doesn't need a weight limit they break under heavy riders and blow up I'm 240 and 6'4" tuning is truly for 160-185# riders. Ride Fox its better!
  • + 3
 Fox better, hahahaha that's rich!
  • - 2
 Think what you want I don't ride those have seen to many issues with them and big peeps....... My fox never fails from my fox r all the way to my rc4....so go ride what you want. I had a question not the answer...but when you grow up and gain some weight maybe you will ask the same thing....
  • + 1
 Besides I ride dh not enduro......
  • + 0
 "Ride Fox its better!"

said no one ever in the last 5 years...
  • + 2
 I had a db coil on my demo, destroyed 2 of them (under warranty) sold it for a fox shock, it's never let me down. I'm not hating on the db or saying it's a bad shock, just not as reliable as I'd like.
  • + 1
 DB FTW!
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