Spotted: RockShox Flight Attendant XC Shock

Aug 14, 2023
by Ed Spratt  
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Those extra wires and the rod above the shock are part of a data acquisition system.

The Glentress World Champs brought plenty of thrilling racing but it also had some fresh tech on full display as more riders are now racing with an XC-oriented version of RockShox's Flight Attendant system.

After first spotting a RockShox Flight Attendant equipped SID fork at the Lenzerheide World Cup on Nino Schurter's bike we now have a full look at the shock that until now was hidden inside the frame of Nino's Scott Spark. It comes as no surprise that the shock looks very similar to the already available SIDLuxe, just with the added electronic controller and battery.

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Along with the standard SIDLuxe version of the Flight Attendant shock it looks like RockShox has already developed the system to be added to its new SIDLuxe IsoStrut rear shock built inside the also new Trek Supercaliber. Electronic suspension does seem to make a lot of sense for XC racers as it allows the rider to fully focus on the course and not on messing around with remote lock-out levers.

SR Suntour who have launched their own electronic XC suspension told us that Tom Picock's suspension was adjusting its settings between 150 and 200 times a lap at the opening World Cup round in Nove Mesto, something that would be quite the task if being done manually.

Whether electronic suspension is actually necessary is still up for debate, but it has picked up a few impressive top results so far this year including both elite XC World Championship titles under Pauline Ferrand Prevot and Tom Pidcock.

Author Info:
edspratt avatar

Member since Mar 16, 2017
3,145 articles

90 Comments
  • 254 2
 Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce the pig-E-back shock.
  • 13 1
 well done
  • 23 1
 Please copyright the name and use it in the next Gen mrp suspension.
  • 16 2
 “Pig-E-Bank”

(because you’ll need the contents of one to afford it)
  • 12 0
 @Corinthian: you must have one big arse piggy bank
  • 78 0
 Please just do wireless remote lock out. The application feels so obvious, just assign a button on an AXS pod. I historically prefer Shimano drivetrains but don't love their 12 speed, but I do get along with RS suspension. I'd be ready to switch to SRAM with my next build, and jump into eShifting, if I could run suspension, drivetrain and dropper off my AXS controls.
  • 8 4
 Seems like a good area for development, you've got a kernel of a good idea there, take it and run with it. Be the change as they say
  • 11 0
 Yeah let's hope that's a "lower tier" option in future. Obviously all the tech is there to do it; just remove all the motion-sensing guts and make the lockout responsive to an AXS button instead. If that added ~10-15% to the cost of the suspension (rather than 100% like FA) I might actually consider it.
  • 31 1
 And for god sakes a 200mm AXS post
  • 5 0
 @Slope-Style: Mind boggling why this doesn't already exist. They work flawlessly but the length is holding them back.
  • 5 0
 @Slope-Style: I feel like they might be waiting for whenever they release the gen 2 axs post. It's been many years for gen 1 so I have to imagine it'll be coming sometime soon.
  • 3 0
 Flight attendant is just that. You can use the button 2 ways, push it and it switch between lock, pedal, and open in manual mode. Or leave it an auto mode and use it as "override" to switch to whatever mode you define (probably open or lock realistically) until you hit the button again and it goes back into auto. But really, auto works super well.
  • 13 0
 @Slope-Style: I asked about that at Sea Otter. They said they hadn't gotten feedback from their customers that they needed a longer dropper. Keep in mind they only have like 5 real customers. Specialized, Trek, Etc. But they didn't really wanna talk about it because they wanted to keep their last mover advantage.

It honestly seemed like the RS guy I was talking to didn't know literally everyone else makes a longer dropper.
  • 3 0
 It should be really easy for RS to do that. Use the existing components, strip out the sensors, program it to use only the existing 'manual' mode. Whether that would actually bring the cost down or make commercial sense for RS, I don't know.
  • 2 0
 Another product I'd like to see: A small servo motor and wireless remote that can clamp to any shock and turn the lockout lever.
  • 4 0
 @Glenngineer
The Left electronic controller for Flight Attendant controls dropper (Reverb AXS) and provides manual override to the automatic settings of Flight Attendant. One can assign either function to either button in the AXS App.

That said Flight Attendant is so fast (and one can set the preferred bias in the system between Open/ Pedal/ Lock) switching between modes based on what it is detecting from the trail that the manual override is rarely needed. However it is there is the rider thinks it is.

Debate about electronics and batteries aside it is a truly game changing system. The rider either saves energy or gains time depending on the focus of the rider.

I feel that any hesitation in adopting it at elite levels (eg Enduro) is because the best riders will adjust their compression settings on different stages and to meet the track conditions and the Flight Attendant versions of the Zeb & Lyric Ultimate (and the Super Deluxe Air Ultimate shock) do not have user adjustable High Speed Compression switches at this stage of development.
  • 2 0
 @andrewbikeguide: I think the debate was more about bringing costs down, and how best to do that. By removing the "sensing element", and the ability for it to work automatically, there might be some cost savings available.
Im not sure thats the aim of the design, I dont think SRAM has much intention to make the system more cost effective, not in the near future anyway.
Maybe in the future there will be a way to pre-program your suspension settings, and be able to toggle between them if necessary
I'm assuming its all leading up to a bike that can shift, adjust suspension, and provide pedal assistance all on its own.

How often do people toggle traction/stability control on and off their in their cars?
  • 1 0
 @onawalk: define cost effective.
I spent 150 riding hrs on my FA bike (155/170 Sight C9) last year (as I have other bikes to ride and parts to test) and if I only got a 2% efficiency I ended up with 3 'free' hours or I had 150 hrs where everything was slightly better or more effective.
At retail the FA component cost me $800 more than the cost of the non FA equivalents on my already outrageously priced bike.
The only thing I am missing out on is external HSC which isn't that relevant as I don't race and if I did I would not be battling it out with the top 10% of the field (i would just be giving my money to the organisers for some flagging and little print out!).
This discussion (the analytical one rather than the "piss and moan about the wealth of dentists" one) is being had by people that drop $8-14K so relatively the additional money represents a small increase and is therefore, in my analysis, quite cost effective.
And for those that bemoan the manufacturing - wholesale - retail mark up they just need to remove themselves from the entire modern commercial reality and move to a cave in the countryside and start wear the hides of the animals they club for food as clothing. Not really a great #bikelife.
  • 1 0
 @andrewbikeguide: I gotta be honest, you might have lost me a bit, but that’s cool.
Not sure I understand the argument for 3 “free” hours, as any efficiency would be near impossible to quantify. Surely there’s moments where there are losses as well, but you’d have no idea when, where, or how.

I’m assuming you like your FA equipped bike, but slapping it on an existing platform, that is inherently a compromise anyway, just makes for another set of compromises. Not necessarily good or bad, but different for sure.
If Norco had built a suspension platform to take full advantage of the FA system, that would be more interesting to me, or putting it on the Range, cause that bike is more of a compromised bike, leaning into the descents much more.

As far as defining cost effective, that seems like a personal decision, as we all have a different relationship with money.
And people who spend $8000 on a bike have every bit the opportunity to wish they could have better/different tech for less money, as does someone who spends $2000.
It’s a recreational pastime for adults to play on the woods on bicycles, there’s nothing serious about any of it
  • 37 0
 Scott’s handlebar switch maker quietly files for bankruptcy.
  • 17 0
 Makes way more sense here.

The amount of bikes for 2023/24 that stopped offering flight attendant makes me thing the enduro one was a major flop.
  • 15 0
 added a lot of weight and price is high. Hard to find any benefit.
  • 4 0
 @jaydawg69: was two bikes in one! rock the enduro and xc race it….. not

A friend got a slash FA. Already for sale.
  • 1 0
 I haven't seend any livewirde bikes being announced too.
  • 14 0
 I am still waiting for the day where my bike sets itself up perfectly based on the GPS and weather data of the route I planned in Komoot. It will then go out ride by itself producing a perfect GoPro and DJI Mavic Livestream for me to watch with my Meta Quest 3 at home, while enjoying my Craft IPA. It will make me feel like I am there.
  • 1 0
 Interesting that it’s on a website that sure makes it seem like a product launch. That shock isn’t on their website. Not on their insta either.
  • 1 1
 Definitely waiting for this to bin the super deluxe. Vivid is the best platform
  • 1 0
 God damn that is an expensive air shock! Looks like my Float X isn't getting retired any time soon
  • 2 0
 @FaahkEet: old one
  • 11 0
 Please dont make Live Valve 2.0 just make an it an AXS remote lockout from a blip on the bar.
  • 8 0
 Seems cool, and eliminates cables and switches from the bar. If someone gave me these I'd love to run 'em on my XC bike, but pricing of the Flight Attendant system is bonkers.
  • 1 0
 Yeah, pricing is really what will keep any of this stuff off my bike. I'm a nerd at heart, so all this wireless stuff really speaks to me. I just can;t spend that kind of money on what will be marginal gains at best. Hell, the price of a flight attendant component and T-type would buy me a new bike.
  • 3 0
 @grnmachine02: I’d say wait a few years for the cost to come down, but who am I kidding — that’ll never actually happen.
  • 2 0
 @Hayek: its mtb, the price doesn't drop until the part is obsolete.
  • 4 0
 Surprised it fits in Nino's Spark. There must be a custom version for Scott, otherwise you would have to drop the shock to change the battery.

bikerumor.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/2022-Scott-Spark-900-XC-trail-mountain-bike_light-fully-integrated-cross-country-MTB_internal-shock-detail.jpg
  • 4 0
 “And the problem being”? I wouldn’t put it past them …
  • 3 0
 His suspension is probably rebuilt with the same frequency as battery charges.
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: Fair point. This would only matter if they plan on selling a race replica version.
  • 1 0
 I wouldn't be surprised if they used the AXS e-bike power extension cord to relocate the battery in a more convenient location.
  • 5 0
 The Cannondale Lefty had the ELO (electronic lock out) version in the early 2000's. Had a little blip style button and ran on a 9 volt. One of those things that worked great until it didn't.
  • 3 0
 Tell me about that, the mechanism was literally made in a swiss watch factory and was impossible to repair and after about 5 years impossible to replace as it was not supported for spares. Pop lock was good though following it. Shame that by the end they were as heavy as two legged forks because when you got the damping tuned for weight the roller Bearings offered great sensitivity. Rip lefty supermax
  • 2 0
 Only a decade in the making....Lapierre was working on this with RockShox.
www.bikeradar.com/news/lapierre-and-rockshox-launch-auto-adjust-suspension

Nothing to see here....move along, move along
  • 4 0
 Yeah but where is it now? Just cus the idea is super similar, it doesn't mean the commercial success, or in that case commercial failure, will be the same. Let's see how this pans out for RS this time.
  • 4 0
 The real question is, when can we get paint jobs like that offered as standard?
  • 3 1
 It is standard if you pay the S-Works Tax.
  • 5 0
 So full AXS + flight attendant is how many batteries?
  • 3 2
 So i guess at the highest level its pretty sick. If you are a dentist racer.

I race xc and im like a mediocre 4 lap expert class. My 100mm/100mm top fuel i put a twin lock on needed the levers. I would race in pedal mode. Climb in firm. Fly down hills in open. Used it a ton. Add on a dropper lever for downs, and shifting… it was exhausting.


Now i have a 23 element, and it has its own flaws (bike length, slightly too slack for tight turns)…. The seat angle and suspension design makes it so damn efficient.

I would bet a new specialized epic evo or blur tr would be unreal for a new age xc race weapon for is near mortals.

So if your still here…. This is a cool device for elite and rich but not needed haha the new bikes are just so damn good.
  • 1 0
 Agree. Been running an Epic Evo for three seasons. All kinds of terrain. I can count the times I've flipped the lockouts on one hand. It's just super efficient as is. So yep - this is really only for the pro racers.

That said - a wireless button that locks/unlocks both dampers is interesting. All the in-between faff, not so much for me.
  • 1 0
 it's not just for mere mortals, some of the Specialized race team like Blevins are using Epic Evos with a lockout rather than the new Epic.
  • 3 0
 @knutspeed: " this is really only for the pro racers."

I think you may be underestimating the impact of Strava on the everyday rider. Have you never gotten out of the saddle to sprinted the last 50 feet of trail because you Garmin said,"Go, your 1 second behind your PR!"
  • 2 0
 @GlazedHam: I switched off the Strava/Garmin integration after the first ride. Everybody knows to get the KOMs you need to use a smartphone rather than a Garmin Big Grin Anyways, most of the trails I get tempted to fight over for the Strava glory do not run well without suspension.

But point is, modern bikes have gotten so good that you really don't need lockouts on anything other than the flattest/smoothest climbs. I ride 7-10 hrs every week, and have done so for most of my adult life, and find that I'm often faster on gravel + climbs on my Epic Evo than on my Diverge.

Anyways, might be different overseas, but the Strava boom is way past over here it seems, just like racing, sadly.
  • 3 0
 While I fully agree with you I caution that this was the sentiment only a couple years ago regarding AXS drivetrains.
  • 2 0
 Really I would like to see another try at shimano’s “air lines”idea. That shit was pretty cool for its day. Also, 7 speed.
  • 1 1
 Why hasnt a thrid party come up with an alternative to live valve or flight attendant. They exist for non live valve fox truck shocks and are close to live valve feel. Someone do it.
  • 2 0
 as per the article, SR Suntour already has one on Pidcock and PFP's bike, but its also crazy $$$.
  • 3 0
 SRSuntour E Piggybacks for Rainbows 2023.
  • 3 0
 Only one, right? Pauline was riding without rear suspension.
  • 2 0
 @vinay: I think she still used it in the fork
  • 1 0
 @SonofBovril: That's true. Would you still call that an "E Piggyback" ?
  • 1 0
 Would they somehow compensate for that data acquisition slider not being parallel with the shock or doesn't it matter that much?
  • 1 1
 I'm surprised the Flight Attendant can't relay the data directly, does it not have the tech from the shockwiz built into it?
  • 1 0
 @SonofBovril: I think ShockWiz is connected to the positive air chamber of an air sprung fork. Flight Attendant seems to be limited to the damper side so it would take a bit more to measure air pressure. I don't think it would add much that just the use of a separate ShockWiz unit wouldn't do already.
  • 2 0
 Unless my eyes are stupid that slider is parallel.
  • 3 1
 You have a bike with less than a 100 mm of travel and the riders worry about a perceived lack of efficiency?
  • 2 0
 I suspect this will end up in a "Mtb trends that never stuck" article in about 20 years.
  • 2 0
 Go away RS - more batteries and high cost for dubious gains. You'd think they'd have learned by now.
  • 1 0
 iNnOvaTiOn
  • 3 1
 When Fox comes out with Live Valve, and Sram says - "Hold my beer."
  • 2 0
 Spotted 2012 Enduro linkage
  • 2 0
 But what about the rear arched Fox proto fork?!
  • 1 0
 SRAM in a competition with themselves to see how many batteries they can hang off one bike.
  • 2 1
 just what we needed, an e-piggyback
  • 1 0
 That's what you see with all those electronically controlled rear shocks, don't you? Lapierre e:i, Magura eLECT, Fox Live Valve, the Suntour stuff... Now that SRAM is giving it a shot, no one would have expected it to be any different, wouldn't it? If there would be one to try that, my guess would be Cane Creek or Romic.
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