First Ride: Formula's New Mod Shock

Sep 22, 2020
by Dan Roberts  



Back in 1972, when the sports of motocross and enduro were emerging in Italy, a small company by the name of AIM was founded. This firm lasted fifteen years making off-road motorcycles using proprietary two-stroke engines from the likes of Sachs, Minarelli and Franco Morini.

Fast forward to the end of the eighties and a new sport, mountain biking, was emerging. Imagined by the same minds behind the AIM brand, a new company came to life - Formula. Formula continue to make brakes and suspension for the motorcycle world, but most of us might know them from their pioneering in the disc brake world and their latest range of suspension forks.
Mod Details
• Coil shock absorber
• CTS adjustability
• Standard eyelet - 210 x 55 & 230 x 65
• Trunnion mount - 185 x 55 & 205 x 65
• 670g (210 x 55 with 300lb coil spring)
• £643 / €699 / $829 USD
• Available for pre order now, shipping starting 2nd November
rideformula.com

With the new Mod shock, they now cater to the rear end of suspension bikes. This isn't their first rodeo into dampers either - they have experience in designing and manufacturing them for motorbikes since as far back as 1993.





Formula Mod Shock Photographer Mountain Bike Connection - Rupert Fowler
Early, rough around the edges, prototypes (left) transitioned from proof of concept, through more refined prototypes (middle) all the way to the final shock (right).


Function, Details & Features

The Mod is a coil spring shock that uses a monotube design. That mono, or single, tube being the one we see on the outside with the threaded spring collar on. On the end of the shock shaft is the main piston that moves back and forth inside the outer tube, which is full of oil, flowing through it to control the compression and rebound of the damper.

That monotube design means that the vast majority of the damping force is generated from the main piston and valving on it, and also why Formula will sell the shock tuned for the bike that it will be going onto.

Formula Mod Shock Photographer Mountain Bike Connection - Rupert Fowler
Compression adjustment lives on the back of the reservoir.
Formula Mod Shock Photographer Mountain Bike Connection - Rupert Fowler
Rebound adjustment lives at the other end of the shock on the eyelet.

There's a 30mm diameter piston on the inside that Formula claims allows them, along with an increased number of oil passages, to increase the oil flow inside the shock for better heat management and consistency in performance.

Compression and low-speed rebound are externally adjustable with the red rebound knob on the shock eyelet and the compression knob on the end of the reservoir. There is also a lockout lever to up the overall firmness of the shock for climbing.

Formula Mod Shock Photographer Mountain Bike Connection - Rupert Fowler
There's a lockout lever with a simple open or closed setting.
Formula Mod Shock
A bladder is inside the reservoir and separates the oil and air and allows for expansion with the change in volume during the shock's use.

Inside the reservoir is an expandable bladder that separates the oil from the air inside the reservoir volume, since as the shock compresses some compensation for the volume of shock shaft needs to happen. Formula say that the bladder design offers less friction than a standard IFP, or internal floating piston, design due to the reduction in moving parts.

Situated on the end of the shock shaft is the bottom out bumper, which has been carefully designed in shape and material to assist in managing the energy in the last portion of travel. Often overlooked, the bottom out bumper is pretty damn important for your shock's performance and not just to stop metal on metal contact. Formula stated that while they could have gone for a less visible bottom out bumper color, the engineers said that if they wanted the right performance, the sandy color, and its associated material, was the only option to get it.





Formula Mod Shock
CTS, or Compression Tuning System, is a unique feature on Formula suspension allowing easy fine tuning of the suspension feel.

CTS Adjustability
As the oil moves from the main shock body to the reservoir during use the valving assembly on the neck also generates damping, and is the place where we find one of Formula's unique selling points - Compression Tuning System (CTS). First seen on their forks, it's an interchangeable assembly that can change the feel of the shock.

Perhaps this is a system inspired by true twin tube damper designs, where all the damping was generated by these externally accessible valves, giving the riders or engineers ability to adjust the vehicle performance quickly and easily in a racing situation. But the essence is the same with the CTS system and allows the rider or mechanic to swap out the small assembly for one of three options.

Formula Mod Shock
Three CTS assemblies are available for the Mod ranging from soft, in gold, through a firmer orange version to the firmest green option.

Gold is the softest setting and is for light riders or those searching for a softer than usual suspension setup. Orange is for more aggressive riders looking for more support, and green is for heavier riders or riders with a very aggressive riding style wanting increased support all the way through the travel.

While the thought of opening your shock to swap the CTS might be daunting, we had some hands-on experience of the procedure, and one of the best product presentations of recent memory to boot, at the Bike Connection Agency event in Tuscany back in February. Simply put, it's a doddle to do for anyone with a basic mechanical idea of bikes, and it's even surprisingly simply for people who aren't as confident in the workshop. That ability for the user to change the whole feel of their shock, and fork too with the Formula forks, can offer quite the advantage over the competition if you like to chin scratch and experiment, or even for the shop mechanics who could offer the service to Formula equipped customers.





Options, Price & Availability

The Mod is available in 210 x 55mm and 230 x 65mm standard eyelet lengths and 185 x 55mm and 205 x 65mm Trunnion mount lengths.

Springs are available from 300 to 600 in 50lbs increments in ultraviolet and titanium colours.

Hardware for the Mod is available in 8mm diameter with 20, 22, 25, 30, 35 and 40mm widths and 10mm diameter in 22, 25 and 30mm widths.

It retails for €699, £643 or $829 which includes the Mod shock absorber, three CTS valves and a shock pump.

It's available immediately for pre-order with shipping starting from 2nd November.






Formula Mod Shock Photographer Mountain Bike Connection - Rupert Fowler

Ride Impressions

Back in February at the winter edition of the Bike Connection Agency event we got to ride the Mod shock on the wonderful Tuscan trails around Massa Maritima. On our full Formula equipped Geometron the performance of the Mod felt very promising. The trails were a good mix of dirt and small embedded rocks interspersed with bigger compressions and even some larger rock rolls.

Over the high frequency hits of the small rocks the Mod felt like it fluttered along nicely, absorbing all the harshness of the hits while still transmitting just the right amount of information to let you know what was going on at the contact patch. That sensitivity then transitioned into some really nice control when hitting the larger compressions, holes and hits at speed without kicking your feet. It made the bike feel very controlled during both bump absorption and rider input.

Formula Mod Shock Photographer Mountain Bike Connection - Rupert Fowler

In between runs we had the luxury of talking to the chief suspension engineer Luca Rossi, who would then take our feelings and adjust the bike to suit. From the first run the comfort and control of the suspension and whole bike were already at a high level, and while we didn't adjust the CTS in the shock, we did on the fork to try and achieve a bit more balance front to rear. The simple and quick procedure did just that, and led to the afternoon's testing leaving me with a healthy interest in the Mod, and Formula suspension as a whole. I'm keen to get it back home on the home trails of Champéry and Morgins.

Often when a bike or component begins to disappear below you, allowing you to just focus on riding, it's a good sign and that began to be the case with the Mod over only a limited afternoon of runs. In Tuscany we settled on the orange CTS assembly in the Mod shock and a 400lb spring, combined with the orange CTS in their Selva C fork.

Hopefully in the coming months we'll be able to not only give some more long term impressions on the Mod, but also give a behind the scenes look at how a brand like Formula goes about setting up a base tune for a new bike.









111 Comments

  • 119 5
 I winced at these photos. Gotta use an aluminium / wood / teflon shoe/cover for your bench vice when you're wrenching on parts like this.
  • 15 0
 Yeap, it hurt me to watch that too...ouch!
  • 47 0
 Advertisement:

Formula's new mod shock is so strong you don have to use aluminum / wood / teflon shoe/cover in your bench vice.
  • 1 0
 Yup. @rupertfowler, were you trolling PB?
  • 7 1
 Yeah, that was the first thing I noticed, not what a decent mechanic would do, so ….
  • 54 0
 You can see the effects of the vice on the last photo
  • 13 1
 @kbakes:
Yeah but what about the effects of the shock on the vice? That's what I want to see. Likely unusable after trying to grapple that new formula shock. LOL
  • 16 9
 Its clamping the plastic mount hardware not the shock
  • 4 0
 "Don't scratch the trim"
  • 1 0
 immediately scrolled down hoping for this comment...ouchy!
  • 1 0
 Kids, dont try this at home, Im professional... :-)
  • 12 0
 @spicysparkes: zoom in on the last photo...definitely looks like marred anodized aluminum to me
  • 3 0
 Formulas new shock dents steel vices.
  • 3 0
 Was thinking the exact same thing. And then in the last photo you can 100% see the jaw marks on the bushings. Faux Pas.
  • 2 1
 Their table is aluminium.
  • 5 0
 Mountainbike mechanics - The life and soul of a party
  • 1 3
 I mean if you doing any wrenching on it yeah, but just clamping the spacer for a picture literally hurts nothing...
  • 3 2
 @takeiteasyridehard: it marred the spacer, which you would never see on the shock/won't effect the performance of the shock.
Yeah I would never do this to a customers shock of I'm servicing it, but it's not harming anything but the looks of it when it's not of the bike...and who admires thier components not mounted?
  • 2 0
 @nurseben: something tells me that a mechanic was not on hand to coordinate this photoshoot. so sad. this is the first thing i noticed as well.
  • 2 0
 Couldn’t read past the vice photo. Came here to say the same thing. ????
  • 1 1
 @kbakes: No you can not
  • 3 0
 @devon607: They switched the original photo out...
  • 1 0
 @vjunior21: Chuck Norris territory
  • 1 3
 Or just don't clamp it tight enough so it doesn't damage the surface? I'm sure Formula have taken your advice on board and will promise never let you down again. Get a grip, it's a shock bush.
  • 1 0
 @thewho07:
Next week we will see Lezyne add a leverage bar to their tool sets so you can tighten the stem clamp bolts against that carbon handlebar. Make sure it is as tight as you can get it. LOL
  • 39 0
 Testing on the geometron should mean a perfect opportunity to compare the Mod to the EXT Storia. Any thoughts on how they stack up against each other, @dan-roberts?
  • 1 0
 Great Question and comment. EXT is the standard for aftermarket race stuff. Would be neat to see how Formula stacks up against it. 1000Cdn vs 2200 CDN.
  • 17 0
 That swappable damper is an awesome way to get people familiarized with suspension tuning... After the small taste of improved performance they'll be heading to the tuner for full custom!
  • 3 0
 I run the Selva fork and I can tell you that the level of adjustment is striking compared to the big brands. The CTS makes a noticeable difference, even to non-experienced tuners. Add on external compression and rebound, air adjust positive/negative, and their internal volume spacers (Neopos) and you have a lot of home-made custom tuning options. The best is to set a baseline and then change out the provided CTS to see which one works the best for you, and then tweak your tuning with air pressure and Neopos, and then round it out with compression and rebound. It takes time and multiple laps down a test section you know well, but the result is astounding for the home mechanic. It looks like the Mod will offer similar adjustability without the costs of a lot of custom tuning.
  • 2 0
 @ridingloam: spot on, that's exactly what I see the MOD offering. No more need to send off for custom tuning. Also, there are currently 3 CTS valves. This is where the forks started too, grey, blue and red. Then, as their test riders requested other tunes they just developed them and added them to the base range and made them available for everyone to be able to retrofit as needed. I see the same happening with the shock. Perfect chassis for an endless amount of tunes at a low axtra cost and without sending the shock away.
  • 15 4
 This looks like a nice shock. There is a lot of choice for nice shocks at the moment.
What I would like to see is a Marzocchi Roco or Bomber coil, whatever it’s called, with a climb switch. A cheap and cheerful shock, built to be reliable, but with a lockout. That’s what you should do Formula.
Yet another high end shock released into a saturated market with more choice than demand cannot be a good business plan. Mid range coil shocks - that’s a definite growth area.
  • 2 0
 Agree with you totally. And high end top of the line coild shocks, should have strict custom tune policy (frame/weight) and some way of hydraulic bottom out, adjustable internally, (as previous good shocks, now used by EXT and more recently new Push 11/6). mi range shocks like DVO jade X are waht I recommend for mid-range.
  • 14 1
 That's a damn good looking coil shock.
  • 8 0
 Great shock, creative design and CTS valving which balances not having a HSC adjustment, as most coil shock only get LSC. The western hemisphere price at 180$ more than ie a Fox DHX2( not saying its the best in any way) with full adjustments in both compression and rebound, isnt a great offer.
RS coil offering is 280$ cheaper, Marzocchi is 500$ cheaper, Ohlins is 130$ cheaper, Cane creek w coil is 270 cheaper, DVO is less than half the price, MRP is 180 cheaper..
Imo when you are okay with an 800$ price bracket, might as well go EXT or Elevensix full custom for not much more.
  • 2 0
 Or send your whatever stock shock you have on your bike to Avalanche and for $300 and get performance on par with Push and EXT.
  • 6 0
 Cool to see more companies (big or small) engaging in the shock market. Keep the big ones on their toes.
It’ll be to everyone’s profit!

Can’t wait to get my EXT ERA & Storia in the next two weeks!
  • 3 0
 Crikey ladies, it's just an artistic photo to show us all what the shock looks like, no need for all the drama. And for the record, it's a bush, not bushing. And that the exact way the linkage will clamp the mounting hardware on the bike, so no problem at all. No one even know how much that vice was torqued up anyway.....
  • 2 0
 My biggest complaint about Formula is the service. If I need some parts I could wait for months and need to pay big time. Just looking at you Selva dust wiper and seal. The hydraulic oil for that Fork was also strange. I would buy that shock and a bigger Selva instant if I can get the parts fast. Well the distributor suck ass here in Germany, same for DVO. Waiting almost 2 months for a freaking spacer ....
  • 3 0
 All those possible colours for the CTS, and they went with gold vs. metallic-orange for two of them... I could never get those mixed up!
  • 7 0
 You right man, the pics does note give them justice, we need new pics for sure. They're very different in real life, you can't mess that up. Wink
  • 6 0
 @rideformula: LOL, thanks for the response! And I've got a great deal on a "gold" watch for you, it just looks a bit different in photos... Smile
  • 2 0
 Wish they would have kept the polished finish of that prototype in middle of the second image.

Pretty excited for this. Been waiting months for this to release after seeing those "spy" shots, if you call them that.
  • 1 0
 Ooh spicy, can’t wait on trying this. Was waiting so long to get a selva fork on my bike, and honestly will not look back. Saying this had the chance to try all the offerings from the top dogs in the last year or so. Great stuff as per usual from Formula, not only on suspension but their braking sweetness as well

P.S. tho this usually cost me frame and a bit it’s worth every penny Big Grin
  • 3 0
 Looks like a tidy piece of kit, kudos Formula! Coil shock grouptest please PB!
  • 3 1
 I love this kind of stuff with no huge brands on it but just looks so well engineered and custom
  • 2 0
 I have no need for a coil shock...but if I did it might be this. That looks really goodp
  • 1 1
 ‘It retails for €699, £643 or $829 which includes the Mod shock absorber, three CTS valves and a shock pump.’

shock pump? - am I missing something here or is that a typo?!
  • 14 0
 Shock pump is required to perform the CTS change youtu.be/qixrLvfBhKY
  • 1 4
 @rideformula: ma anche in viale zara usano le shock pump, che valvola dovrei utilizzare per le bionde? E per le more? Se è inclusa anche la cts per le rosse vi compro l’azienda. Paypal va bene? Così se mi pento mi rida i sordi...hehehe
  • 1 0
 @rideformula:
Nice.
Will there be other metric sizes in the future?
And what's the weight?
  • 1 0
 Sorry I forget to write that I meant the weight for a 230x65 with a 450 lbs sping.
  • 5 0
 @OneTrustMan: Yes, we'll release more sizes next winter.
  • 2 0
 @rideformula: 222/71 and 216/63 please. There are a lot of G16 / G15 bikes with demand.
  • 2 0
 @rideformula: Id like this for my santa cruz 5010 v3 but I need 210x50 size.
Could I somehow run a 5mm stroke length reducer? Or will there be a native 210x50 released next winter?
  • 2 0
 In the last photo you can see the damage from ignorantly putting this shock directly into a vice.
  • 1 0
 Looks very promising. Easy and effective adjustability is always good. Also having the valving pre-tuned for the bike that it's meant to go on is a very nice touch.
  • 1 0
 It does look like a good shock, but as far as I understand, the shock is built for enduro bikes, not downhill ?
  • 21 0
 is there a difference anymore?
  • 4 0
 @maglor: Lockout lever might be the only difference?
  • 1 0
 It's sold as enduro and DH shock
  • 1 0
 Enduro: More $$$$$ and technobabble.
  • 2 0
 Where are all the weight weenies? This things as light as fox x2??
  • 2 0
 If those numbers are accurate than yea, it'd be a pretty lightweight coil, especially for having a reservoir. There has gotta be a catch.
  • 1 1
 When you say "Fox X2" are you referring to the DH X2 (coil) or the Float X2 (air)?
  • 1 0
 @PHeller: That's the smallest rate spring, so the lightest. It may still be lightweight.
  • 2 0
 I chuckle at people who complain about weight with a coil suspension. The Ohlins on my bike weighs about HALF just one tire.
  • 8 0
 @JSTootell: I chuckle at people who chuckle at people on the internet.
  • 2 0
 @JSTootell: True true.
  • 3 0
 @richard01: Made me chuckle
  • 1 0
 @rideformula: will we see a multi chamber air shock in the future? Haha

But seriously when is the updated Selva coming?
  • 1 0
 which updates do you need?
  • 1 0
 @m4k1: 38mm stanchions, duh.
  • 2 0
 @SkullsRoad: 29" 180mm fork for starters.
That is the reason I switched to RS because there are almost no options.
  • 4 0
 @SkullsRoad: a few months and we'll have something way lighter and waaaay stiffer. But, 38? mmmmmmmmm, not thx!
  • 1 0
 @rideformula: Maybe an USD-Fork?
  • 1 0
 @rideformula: we definitely need a 170-180mm ,29" single crown fork.
If you also can use standardized dust wippers/seals that would be awesome.
If you could bring something soon I won't buy a Zeb.
I am happy to use the CTS system and valves I have left from my Selva.
  • 6 0
 @Serpentras: Selva 29" in 170mm and 43mm rake is available on request through our distributors starting from now. If you're talking about 180 or 190 and you want to make it way stiffer and way lighter 38 is not our vision, and maybe not even SC...
  • 1 0
 @rideformula: That is good to know, I consider that.
Well I would not care about single crown if most frames could handle a dual crown fork. But to my knowledge most frames can't.
Certainly all frames I had looked into except the YT Capra but I don't want that frame.

Maybe I should give Ancillotti and Nicolai a call.
  • 1 0
 @Serpentras: Try RAAW, that will handle DC.
  • 1 0
 @jezso: really? Well they are not that far from me and I had some interest in their frame.
  • 3 0
 @rideformula: yes yes yes!
I’m surprised the shock release didn’t include an updated Selva blurb.

Really think a sub 200mm dual crown is the way to go for an über-enduro bike. Lol
  • 2 0
 @Serpentras: G1 handles a dual crown
  • 1 0
 @rideformula: a DC enduro fork would be Nice. I still don't get why noone is making them instead of long travel flexy SC. Maybe some Nero C with CTS?
  • 1 0
 @Serpentras: I did ask the main guy there, I think Ruben and he confirmed. I was planning to use their frame with my beloved Dorado. Eventually ended up on a Specialized again...
  • 2 0
 @mclimondi: MRP Bartlett
  • 1 0
 @rideformula: it was sarcastic. Looking forward to what you guys release.
  • 1 0
 Sweet, maybe it'll be chea-- [reads $829] - damn, back to dreaming. Maybe time for a Bomber CR Big Grin
  • 2 0
 Ironically, catering to rear ends is still illegal in parts of Italy.
  • 2 1
 Had mine for a month. It's amazing Smile
  • 1 1
 Another coil shock where adjustments are unaccessible for bike where trunion mount the lower mount .
  • 2 0
 Haha you make do. On my Banshee Rune V3 I use a skinny tire lever to adjust the rebound on my DVO Jade.
  • 1 0
 Well I have a 60x230 and I can't access the air valve and can't access the rebound. I need to remove it from the frame. There are just stupid bikes around...
  • 1 4
 Always wanted to build my own shock, but since never got round too setting up any shock to its full potential,
So does not seem to be much point?

But do need to finish building up a full linkage frame & fork design that could really do with a well tunes shock,
Any one got a shock with a shim stack for a 250lb spring?
  • 3 4
 My experience with formula is that when you need a replacement bolt, they sell you one in a pack of 6 different bolts for 50 bucks. No thanks, never again.
  • 2 0
 Finally
  • 1 0
 BEST COIL SHOCK EVER TESTED!
  • 1 0
 P U R P L E. N U R P L E.
  • 1 0
 Mono = 1. Rail = rail.
  • 2 2
 Super deluxe on cracks
  • 1 3
 Is Mod french for Jade?
  • 1 0
 You mean italian? Because formula is italian. And the Jade doesn't have swappable shim stacks. Or climb switch. Actually the only thing they have in common is they both have a spring and a bladder.
  • 1 2
 @SkullsRoad: French? Yeah, dunno why I typed that. Too much EWS coverage, maybe.
Regardless, it still looks suspiciously, let's say 'inspired by', a Jade. Which is not a bad thing.
That said, I'm not sure why I care. The chance of me dropping a grand (CAD) on a shock is precisely zero, and I can't think of a bike that's easily accessible to me that would spec it. And who would even service it?
In conclusion, Jade.
  • 2 0
 @CarbonShmarbon: Hey, we are the official distributor and service point in Canada, based in Squamish, BC. Get in touch if you're interested in one of these!
  • 1 0
 @AlbaDistribution: It seems I stand corrected, twice in one thread.
A new personal best!
  • 1 0
 You should know a bit of french by now... Tabarnac man...
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