SRAM Acquires ShockWiz Suspension Tuning Tool - Crankworx Whistler 2016

Aug 17, 2016
by Mike Kazimer  
ShockWiz

A little over a year ago, a small Australian company called Dusty Dynamics announced a new product that had home suspension tuners reaching for their credit cards before they'd even finished reading the full details. Called ShockWiz, it's a pint-sized telemetry unit that's designed to help riders of all ability levels get the most out of their air sprung suspension. It monitors the behavior of a fork or shock over the course of a ride, and then offers tuning suggestions on a smartphone app after the data is gathered.

The invention caught SRAM's attention as well, and the company recently announced that they had acquired the project. Inventor Nigel Wade will remain in charge of the development, and will continue to work on improving and refining the device's hardware and software in conjunction with engineers from Quarq and RockShox. Once the initial orders that came in via Kickstarter are fulfilled (the units will be manufactured at Quarq's factory in South Dakota) there's no concrete timeline for when a SRAM / Quarq branded product will hit the market, but it's possible that we may see something by next summer.

Nigel Wade was at Crankworx Whistler with several prototype devices that he was testing with athletes, including Giant Factory Off-Road's Yoann Barelli and Josh Carlson. The riders went out on a predetermined lap and then returned to the pits where the data could be analyzed via the ShockWiz app. According to Wade, the overall goal behind ShockWiz is to help riders find their “window of happiness” when it comes to suspension settings. Because rider preferences vary, there isn't one perfect setting, but there is relatively small range where a fork or shock will work best, and that's what the ShockWiz is designed to determine.


ShockWiz
The ShockWiz attaches to a fork or shock's Shrader valve.
ShockWiz
After a run is completed, the results are displayed on a smartphone app.


How Does it Work?

The ShockWiz unit monitors the air pressure inside a fork or shock's air chamber during a ride, information that can be used to determine how often the suspension bottoms out, how quickly it's rebounding, and whether or not any unwanted behavior is occurring, such as pogoing or packing up. That information is transmitted to a smartphone, where an app offers suggestions on what steps to take in order to improve the suspension's performance, whether that's by increasing or decreasing the amount of rebound damping, adjusting compression settings, or altering the amount of bottom out resistance.


ShockWiz
ShockWiz inventor, Nigel Wade, discusses the results with Josh Carlson and Yoann Barelli

In the case of Barelli and Carlson, when they came back from their lap, the data showed that both riders' suspension was within that “window of happiness,” which you would hope would be the case when it comes to two professional athletes that have a full-time mechanic ensuring that their bikes are running smoothly. All the same, the ShockWiz did show that there were steps that could be taken to further optimize the suspension, and after a few tweaks Carlson rode away to experiment with the new settings. Yoann wanted to take things a step further, so he decided to let a bunch of air out of his fork, set the rebound as slow as it would go, and back the low speed compression all the way off to see how it felt. Of course, this is the same guy who decided to race A-Line on his cross bike - his methods aren't exactly recommended for mere mortals.

It's easy to see how the ShockWiz could become an invaluable tool for teams to use during pre-season testing, reducing the amount of time it takes to find base settings for the suspension products that arrive prior to the start of race season. The same goes for consumers and shops as well, simplifying a process that to many seems like a dark art.

We'll be keeping tabs on the product as it nears completion, and putting one to the test as soon as possible.

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100 Comments

  • + 93
 I always felt like there was potential just waiting to be unleashed from my riding. I'm going to set up a system of 10-12 of those all over my bike, and become the rider I've always knew I could be.
  • + 168
 Yeah, me too. *Takes another mouthful of cake*
  • + 40
 Just have 10-12 shots and you'll be the rider you've always wanted to be...
  • + 5
 I, for one, suck at tuning my suspension, and Id be willing to try just about anything that could help.
  • + 1
 @rallyimprezive: Me too, this sounds like a very usefull tool.
  • + 1
 @rallyimprezive: One could get better by reading and asking questions. There are plenty of options from all suspension companies out on the web.
  • + 2
 @peterguns: I've asked the questions and I don't get consistent responses. Different experts have different ideas of, for example, which compression circuit effects g-out issues on the face of jumps. Some have said that its slow speed compression, while others say its high speed compression. Some say low speed compression is for the small bumps, but others say that if you are hitting even small bumps at high speed (square edge) that even though the shock movement is relatively small, it is moving quickly, so I actually need to adjust high speed.
Screw all that noise, id rather make a change and compare the results in a graph.

And I totally get that high speed compression or rebound relates to quick movements, and that with a CCDB, it actually has a popet valve that blows open in a high speed event, and the oil then passes through the highspeed circuit. In low speed events, the popet stays closed and oil passes through the low speed circuit. But getting a straight answer on which events are high-speed vs slow speed is harder than I thought it would be. Thankfully, rebound is hard to dispute, as its really the spring's energy that dictates the speed of the rebound event. The only issue there is understanding how much preload on the spring will impact when a specific rebound circuit is active.
  • + 3
 @rallyimprezive: School in session.

You forgot to mention HSR. As the shock or fork is compressed, that spring, whether its air or coil has been compressed. SO, if you start at, say 80psi in the fork, and you compress it half way thru its stroke, are you saying that there is still 80psi in that fork? NO, depending on the chamber, it has grown a significant amount. Just as a coil. if it is a 300X2.8, and you compress it an inch, it takes more force than 300lbs to compress it.

Back to compression. Compression velocity, or damping, is affected by the shape, size, and the speed at which you hit a given bump.

Low Speed Compression, relates to shaft speed. That shaft speed can be via shock or fork damper. Anything that you do to the bike, your input to the bike is Low Speed Compression. You as a riding can not induce High Speed Compression, without hitting something. With that being said, LSC in in fact a G-Out, diving/compressing into corners, diving/compressing into the face of a jump, etc...

HSC is, well high shaft speed compressions. An impact that makes the suspension move fast. This is where square edge, and braking bumps come in. They may not make you go through full travel, although the impacts are quick.

Since you have referenced the Cane Creek Double Barrel, here is a link to there tuning guide. I must first warn you, it only gives a starting point. Meaning, that not everyone rides the same bike the same way. One rider could sit off the back, while another likes to ride more centered over the bike, and another over the bars. Where you shift your weight, the speed you ride at, Smoothness, and etc.... all come into play. You may have to adjust one way or another to find the right settings for you.

Generally though, any manufacturers guides are not to far off. If you need others, such as Rockshox, Fox, BOS, XFusion, or etcc.... let me know.

www.canecreek.com/products/suspension/tuning-field-app
  • + 2
 If you continue to have questions, please feel free to ask
  • + 2
 @peterguns: Thanks a bunch man. This all jives with what my logical brain understands. So tell me if I am getting this correct: Lets say im going 30+mph through a bunch of braking bumps, and small rocks and roots. Because I am hitting these things hard, the shock is compressing QUICKLY, then its high speed even if its a small shaft movement. If Im on a flow track, carving through turns and pumping through small jumps and such, that's all going to be low speed (except for landing from jumps.) In addition, if I am traveling slowly, but hit a big ass square edge rock, its high speed compression. Am I right?

And for clarification, I do understand that high and low speed compression are not directly linked to the speed of the bike...just that if you are going really fast, your likely to be hitting things harder. At least I am, I dont have much grace..."Thor smash."
  • + 30
 The one main downfall I see from SRAM acquiring the tech is that if it had remained an independent company it's likely they would have worked out specifics for many different brands and types of shocks. So when making suggestions to your tune, it could offer model specific tuning suggestions. With SRAM owning it, they might only have RS specific model info available.
  • + 16
 Sram's business department is wiser than that. They would lose a ton of customers with that move.
  • + 6
 Is that how this thing actually works though? From everything I can find about it there doesn't seem to be any mention of anything shock or brand specific about what this product does. I don't think it's analyzing anything or giving tuning suggestions that are model specific. I think it's just more of a general readout of how the shock is moving so that you can make adjustments.
  • + 3
 @sino428: they can make it brand specific in no time.
  • + 1
 This is part of the reason why it's being brought to market under the Quarq brand.
  • + 2
 @mate1998: Yes they likely could, but all they would be doing is maybe creating a database of specific shocks so that the software could make more specific suggestions of adjustment. Instead if it just showing you that you need more compression or rebound, it may be able to try and suggest exactly how many clicks. But at the end of the day the product right now is universal and I would assume it will always be able to be used that way. At the end of the day all the thing is doing is reading the air pressure changes in your shocks air spring to give you an idea of how the shock is moving.
  • + 13
 So will this device tell me if I need to set up my Pike in Open, Trail or Closed? Or are we finally gong to get our HSC/LSC adjusters back? I seriously don't need an app when our suspension is dumbed down to the point of almost being useless. Maybe this is something Fox should have acquired as they at least have a cartridge with meaningful adjustments.
  • + 18
 sell you Pike, go to the store, buy a different fork....
  • + 10
 @Boardlife69, if you have a Pike RCT3 you still have LSC adjustment. But you are correct that not all tuning options will be possible (at least externally) on all forks or shocks.
  • + 7
 @mikekazimer: yes I have the RTC3 with LSC but dear god I miss my HSC. That's the most useful external adjustment IMO other than rebound. Wouldn't mind to have HSR/LSR either. One size does not FIT all.
  • - 2
 @Boardlife - you can buy tuning kits for Pike and Lyrik. The word out there says it makes the fork fantastic. It is undoubtedly a first world problem but in my humble experience LSC damping on stock RS is not as good as on Fox which gives better stability to suppleness ratio. Sweet spot on my Lyrik is a thin red line, within 3 PSI and one click of LSC.
  • + 7
 @WAKIdesigns: I thought about getting an Avy cart. But then I'd need to upgrade the Monarch plus so I can get them to match. After all is said and done($$$) I'm not too far away from getting a new Capra with all those adjustments (FOX) anyways. I'll just deal with it for now since the Pike is a good fork. It would be even better with a dedicated HSC adjuster as I tend to run it hard for the first few runs then back off as fatigue sets in. I like playing with my knob.
  • + 3
 @Boardlife69: If money were no object I'd get a 36 RC2 right away, but trusted sources tell me that Öhlins kit for RS is amazing. It is cheaper than Ava and still easy to install yourself.

This data acquisition looks cool. Looks like you could get a couple of guys and share the price. It's not like you are going to use it frequently.
  • + 4
 RS is the dumbed down consumer friendly stuff. If you want more adjustments get fox.
  • + 15
 @poozank: I like RS for this exact reason.
  • + 2
 @cravks: and some people do and that's great and they make a good product but if you like tinker or really dial things in doc is a better option
  • + 0
 @poozank: I liked that about my Van RC2. Medium spring and little HSC for local trails, tossing a hard spring and turning up HSC for bike park. However I must say that ramp up in air spring covers up a bit for the lack of HSC adjustment.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Isn't the Ohlins kit for the Pike just their own shim stack? I had a Pike RC 160mm for 26 and it was so harsh, I had half the shim stack removed to and get more usable travel. Don't get me wrong, great Park/DH fork, bit too harsh for trail and xc riding. I was able to fix it by buying a Mattoc.
  • - 1
 @ChazzMichaelMichaels: there were three shim stacks in the kit my friend bought for his PIKE
  • + 15
 @mikekazimer: So what happened to Barelli with his crazy settings? We want to know what the readings were on the thingamajing?
Or hasn't he returned yet? ????
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: If you're talking about the shim kit Avalanche had for the Pike, they don't sell it anymore: www.avalanchedownhillracing.com/Rock%20Shox/Pike%20Charge%20Piston_Valve%20Upgrade%20Kit.htm

Notice is says "Discontinued". Full Cartridge or nothing at all.
  • + 1
 If you want HSC/ LSC adjusters on your fork buy a Fox 36. If you insist on running a Pike then install a FAST cartridge which is a: custom tuned for your weight and riding style and b: has independent, meaningful HSC/ LSC and RB.
  • + 0
 @groghunter: I am speaking of the kit from Andreani group, 3 shim stacks, some high fly fork oil, SKF seals and Öhlins piston.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Apparently my google-fu is crappy, I've been looking for tuning options for Pike for the last few weeks, & neither this kit nor the FAST upgrade showed up. Thinking that kit will be going on my bike, although I'd love the FAST upgrade (since I have an RC, not an RCT3, it would be more worth the cash) it just doesn't make sense to send my fork all the way to Europe, especially for an install I could do myself.
  • + 0
 @groghunter: madelkcycles.com/forks/807-andreani-mtb-fork-piston-upgrade-kit.html

Apparently I'd get that and then the coil spring from SAR, as soon as they release such kit. It will be max 300$, so considering I've spent like 800$ on Lyrik, I will still be saving money compared to buying 36RC2 for fifteen fkng hundred dollars! I can buy myself an Argyle and I will still have some beer money left. Fox has to sort this sht out...
  • + 2
 @xoderberg: exactly. why mention it if you're not going to tell us what the resulting data was? did it provide meaningful feedback, or was it also in the "zone of happiness"?
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Seems like I'd be ordering from the same place. Only US distributor I could find was SuspensionWerx, & they only do service+install, not just selling the kits. & I don't really want to ship my fork to Canada, either(& if I was going to ship it off, might as well send it to FAST, rather than just get a different rebound piston.)
  • + 1
 @ChazzMichaelMichaels: The piston kit is from Andreani (the Italian Öhlins distributor), and it included a new rebound piston, new shim stack for the rebound, and an option of firm or intermediate for the compression. The intermediate stack was wonderful. *edit* -didn't see the explanation below, apologies.
  • + 1
 But for tuning something like the CaneCreek Double Barrel Air shock, this thing would be awesome.
  • + 0
 Here's a revolutionary idea... we'll design a first ever chainless specific DH bike... and put a dropper post on it!
  • + 7
 Ok, can I say something? Why would I want to 'BUY' one? Renting would make more sense! Bike shops could hold a security deposit and charge per hour/day and that would allow everyone to get the best from their bike. The same process is used in MX for telemetry gear.
I think SRAM may be betting on a very small market here (unless they integrate the technology into the forks and shocks)
  • + 2
 I could see it being helpful for amateur racers as well. You could tune your suspension more accurately depending on the track.
  • + 6
 That looks like a brilliant product / idea. If it is expensive which I fear it may be, then I would like to see shops / dealers investing in these for customers free or hired use to dial in their own suspension. Although I have a reasonable understanding of suspension, I have 2 bikes with completely different fork / shock products and its' never the easiest of things to get right given how different terrain I ride and also the lack of time I can attribute to tuning and sessioning trails to gain feedback. Can't wait to see this product in action.
  • + 4
 I hadn't heard of this one, but there's a similar project here: www.sussmybike.com/mountain-bike-suspension-setup-dynamic-sag also on Kickstarter. Perhaps since this one wasn't acquired by SRAM it will be the better choice for Fox/Manitou/MRP/DVO/etc. riders. sussmybike in case the link doesn't work

I look forward to trying one of these. I want the best settings possible, but I don't have the patience to be fiddling all the time. Once I start pedaling I just want to ride!
  • + 2
 I think this one would also work for coil shocks/forks.
  • + 4
 I wonder how this might affect SRAM's sale of new season products.

Let's say I buy this and use it to tune my RS fork and suddenly Wham! The fork is head and shoulders above all of my previous other suspension products. Whereas I might have been inclined to turn over the fork after a couple of years, could I be so happy with the tuning improved version that I'm more inclined to stick with the fork for a number of years until it's truly shagged out? A friend has a 10 year old Avalanche tuned coil for his Heckler and says that despite trying other newer shocks he's so happy with how the shock feels, he can't justify spending the money for a new unit.

I like my new toys as much the next MTBer but I also see the value in getting something that's well suited / bespoke and making that work for you.
  • + 4
 Be interesting to see a comparison between the same fork with the same settings on a dual sus and on a hardtail. How the shockwiz would interpret the data and prescribe settings!?
  • + 2
 If you put it on a HT It would say: the fork is fine, get that arse moving!
  • + 9
 @WAKIdesigns: shockwiz as a suppository maybe??
  • + 2
 For such an incredible product, realised with the help of Kickstarter backers (and has me wishing I kept an eye on Kickstarter more often), having the backing/funding/R&D assistance from a company as large as SRAM is really great to hear. They'll be able to develop it into something they probably wouldn't have had the chance to if they'd stayed a relatively small company. However I really hope SRAM don't take advantage of it, if it becomes Rockshox dedicated or has loads of features that don't work on other brands, even if it only has Rockshox attachments then they will have ruined what is a fantastic product. Obviously they were the ones to buy it and invest, so they deserve to make some of it all Rockshox-y, just please don't go overboard
  • + 2
 Agree, beginning of 2015 an Australian buddy told me about it and I pledged for an EARLY BIRD reward straight away, the project has been delayed several times and plagued with technical and logistic hurdles, so I think it's a good thing to have a big brand behind it providing all the required support, but I hope RS won't go over the top making it RS specific (I love my BOS)
  • + 2
 I'm curious how much volume this adds to the air spring...and if you need to compensate by adding volume spacers when gathering data to replicate how the shock/fork will behave without the device attached. I would imagine it would be designed with a port from the air chamber to the pressure transducer small enough to be insignificant, but it has to also be large enough so that flow restriction does not create a lag in the pressure readings, these two characteristics could be borderline exclusive from one another...
  • + 1
 My guess is not much. I'm sure the pressure sensor is right against the valve
  • + 3
 Pretty handy if your rocking a top of the range shock or fork. When I finally get a x2 this would be pretty handy just to speed things up.
  • + 1
 With the x2 the baseline settings are pretty spot for aggressive riding
  • + 1
 This really does look and sound like a sweet little gadget! I'm not one for teck in my bike, but this little guy could potentially make ridding and tuning so much easier, not to mention the peice of mind knowing you had beauty settings all the time.. I ride rs, but hopefully sram makes it compatible with other brands too. Not bloody likely tho.
  • + 1
 This is beautiful. Simple and a very effective way to get your shock dialed! I feel like my rebound is just outside this "window" of dialedness and I'd be curious to see if my spring rate (pressure) and compression settings are too hard or still too soft. Maybe I should rig up my own little device...
  • + 3
 So perhaps in a couple of years this will be built in to our forks? Maybe with a reserve high pressure chamber to allow it to adjust air pressure on the move??
  • + 5
 So sick. Definitely gonna pick one up when they come out.
  • + 2
 Does anyone have an idea of the projected price?? Did anyone catch a glimpse of targeted price point while it was on Kickstarter. (Perfect for someone like me who can't stop "trying" to improve my ride
  • + 3
 If I remember correctly the pledge without any discounts was at something like $250USD.
  • + 2
 www.pinkbike.com/news/first-look-shockwiz-suspension-data-aquisition-device-2015.html

"The final price is expected to be $239 USD for a single unit or $449 for two, but lower pricing will initially be offered as part of the company's upcoming Kickstarter campaign, with the units expected to ship by early 2016."
  • + 0
 @LucWicklund: Very reasonable
  • + 1
 @LucWicklund: Seems like they blew past that early 2016 date.
  • + 1
 @JC9won4: i found quite expensive since for the same money or less you can get custom valving of your fork or shock
  • + 2
 @Happymtbfr: I hear what you're saying. (I have an avalanche'd custom Fox rear)

I will say, I have a couple of bikes.....and am constantly "fiddling". I also build bikes for all my friends and past setting the sag, they tend to be on their own. When I ask for feedback they generally have no idea. This would be a great tool to get multiple bikes "in the ball park".
  • + 2
 @JC9won4:

you mean it WAS very reasonable. I don't normally complain about the cost of mountain biking gear and accessories, but mark my words.... SRAM will at least double the price on this thing.

Sure, they will refine it, but the cost of entry for this is gonna be painful enough to keep most people from buying them.

I'd prob pay $250 for one since I ride enough varied terrain that I could justify it's use. But at $500 (just my guess here) I'd most likely just rent it from someone for a day to get my local trails dialed in.

Again, just speculating, but I can't see SRAM not gouging people on this.

But mainly, cheers to the dude who created it and sold it, a nice payday for him I'm sure. Regardless of ultimate cost, it's good to see innovators rewarded.
  • + 1
 @Happymtbfr: The perks of this are you can use them on multiple bikes. It does seem expensive, but if it works as well as they say it'd be something I consider buying.
  • + 1
 @trevor426: yes for multiple bikes it becomes less expensive. @andrextr has a video where he explains how to do the same with a pov camera, see here youtu.be/4BRbtkiW2tg
It is less user friendly but it should work just as good if you know what you are doing.
  • + 1
 Perhaps I spoke prematurely as I've since read that both the accompanying app and the hardware itself both require SRAM's considerable resources to even actually deliver on Kickstarter pledges. And I'd much rather see something like this actual get made and sold, even if the price is too high for me.
  • + 1
 I love the idea and believe that this is a very helpfull tool for most of the riders our there. It would be great to see Rock Shox suspension units coming with this product in the box, just like the pumps today.
  • + 0
 How the f*** can mountain bikers live without tis for decades? Am I the only who think this is bullshit? I dont need f***in computer to know, how to setup my fork!! Expectin 1 million restriction rules for race, to be safe, to be nice, to make money....same as boring F1 racing Wink
  • + 1
 This is great, love seeing innovation + acquisition in the bike industry! Gives motivation for other garage engineers with new ideas!
  • + 4
 Sham wow!
  • + 1
 Awesome to something great coming out of sleepy little Perth and onto the world stage. Great work guys. Hope to see these devices around Kalamunda soon.
  • + 3
 Will this work with a fox fork???
  • + 1
 Attaches to the valve eh? Just a shame that all of us using coil rather than air get no benefit then... Frown
  • + 2
 Look up SussMyBike, same idea as this but works with coil too
  • + 0
 All of those adjustments are needed just to get an air shock to feel as good as a coil.
  • + 1
 just wish they would get it out to there kickstarter backers as the season will be gone by the time we get them !
  • + 1
 I wonder how does it know the amount of travel used, just by the air pressure change?
  • + 1
 There are several ways of calculating it by just riding with it, however for it to really know you have to bottom it out at least once. Either they measure the max air pressure and if it is the same twice then that has bottomed out. Otherwise they could calculate it based on the fact that if you travel through the travel to bottom out the suspension suddenly stops travelling where as if it was being slowed by air pressure increasing it will always decelerate at a moderately constant rate of change until it reaches the top. There is a good chance you could tell the app how much travel you didn't use by the travel o ring and it'd calculate how much air to remove to use all of it.
  • + 1
 I would imagine you will need to input various details about your fork into the app, travel etc. Then surely the device will be able to figure everything out from there.
  • + 3
 So so keen !!!
  • + 1
 I feel like I am a pressure sensor and an Arduino away from my own version . . . . .
  • + 2
 I get the pressure sensor, but why do you need a pokemon?
  • + 2
 So now that sram has taken over we can expect the price to sky rocket
  • + 1
 Has it been reverse engineered to work with 26" wheels?
  • + 1
 Josh Carlson got third in Whistler... looks like the gadgets DOES work!!!
  • + 1
 awesome job Nigel !!! perth australia represent
  • + 0
 Does it come in metric or imperial?
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