The ShockWiz suspension data acquisition device first appeared back in 2015, the creation of Nigel Wade and his tuning company, Dusty Dynamics. Initially, the unit could be purchased only via a Kickstarter campaign, but the device caught SRAM's attention, and they decided to acquire ShockWiz, and to bring Nigel onboard to continue the development process. Now called the Quarq ShockWiz, the device is currently available to anyone with $399 USD in their bank account.
ShockWiz Details• Automated shock and fork tuning recommendations
• Works with air sprung forks and shocks with a single volume positive chamber
• Includes two air hoses for mounting
• Smartphone app for Apple and Android
• Waterproof and dustproof
• Price: $399 USD
I've spent the last couple of weeks experimenting with the ShockWiz, enough to get used to the app interface, setup, and performance. There are still a few scenarios I'm planning on putting it through in order to suss out exactly how accurate its recommendations are; look for a more in-depth examination once I have some more time with it.
Before we go any further, though, let's start with the basics: what exactly is the ShockWiz, and how does it work? ShockWiz is a tuning tool, a way to monitor your suspension's behavior over the course of a ride. It does this by constantly measuring a fork or shock's air pressure as it extends and compresses, and then using that information to calculate things like sag, number of deep compressions, rebound speed, etc... The device itself is waterproof and dustproof, powered by a CR2032 battery, and in addition to monitoring the changing air pressure, it has an accelerometer that can be used to calculate the average time spent in the air per jump.
Installation only takes a matter of minutes and a couple of zip ties – one side of the air hose is threaded to the ShockWiz unit, and the other is threaded onto a compatible fork or shock. Once it's hooked up, it can be paired to a smartphone via Bluetooth, and then calibrated following the steps laid out by the app.
Calibration involves letting the air out of the shock, cycling it a few times, pushing it to the end of its travel, and then pulling it to full extension. This gives the app the baseline numbers required to accurately measure how the shock is behaving.
After the calibration is complete, the next step is to go for a ride. If you'd rather leave the electronic leash at home, it's not necessary to bring a smartphone along – the ShockWiz will still record the data, and then it can be reviewed at a later time, once you're reunited with your phone.
The app contains a series of screens that display overall shock health, recommendations, and detections.
For my first few rides with the ShockWiz I installed it on a Fox Float X2 mounted to a Trek Slash. In the weeks prior I'd dedicated more time than usual to getting this particular shock set up to my liking, so I was curious what the ShockWiz would have to say about my settings.
One nice feature of the ShockWiz is that you can check sag before heading out on a ride without needing to get out a shock pump. Just sit on the bike, cycle it a few times, then open up the app to confirm your settings.
Out on the trail, I did a couple laps of a two-minute downhill, one with a mix of rough sections, jumps, and drops. The ShockWiz will even tell you if it needs more information in order to provide accurate recommendations, such as riding a rougher section of trail.
After those two laps, I checked in with the ShockWiz. My score was 96/100, but on the suggestions page it recommended letting out some air pressure and speeding up the rebound. I gave that a try, and after starting a new session (a necessary step after any changes are made), I took another two laps, and took another look. I'd felt like the changes were beneficial – decreasing the air pressure improved the small bump compliance, and as it turned out, the device was happy with those changes as well, bumping my score up to a 98.
You can even find out how much air time you racked up during the course of a ride.
It's worth mentioning that there are four different tuning settings – Efficient, Balanced, Playful, and Aggressive. You can switch between them at any time, and the recommended settings will change accordingly, although there's sometimes a slight delay as the new recommendations are calculated. What goes into each of those modes is detailed on the ShockWiz website, but the names are fairly self-explanatory – Efficient creates the firmest tune, and Playful is similar to the Balanced mode, but with the goal of achieving a livelier feel.
To me, the 'Aggressive' name is a little misleading – following the suggestions in that mode will create the softest tune, ensuring that all the travel is regularly used. It's aimed more at DH riders, but even then, I feel like the Aggressive tune should be firmer, rather than softer – more like what a racer would run and less like the settings preferred by someone wants their suspension as soft and squishy as possible.
The other feature that's missing in the app is a way to record the data gathered in each session. As it is, when you tap on 'Start A New Session,' that previous data is erased. I'd like to have a way to easily record the pertinent data, or at the very least have a section to record notes in the app itself. I'm sure we'll see the app continue to progress as more and more users give ShockWiz a try – it'll be interesting to see how it evolves.
Do You Need It?
As it is, ShockWiz is sort of like a game for bike nerds, with the end goal of achieving a perfect score, that elusive 100%. Is it an absolute necessity? Of course not – the ShockWiz is simply one tool that can help take some of the mystery out of suspension setup. In particular, I can see it as being useful for bike shops working with customers to dial in their ride; the customer can go out with the device attached, come back, and the shop employee can take a look at the data gathered and see what steps might be worth taking. The same goes for coaches, or avid consumers keen to keep a close eye on their suspension's behavior. Or what about integrating the technology into the shock itself, eliminating the need to buy an aftermarket device? Now that would be something to see.