You've probably heard this before, but this air-sprung shock is designed to mimic the action of a coil shock. I know, that's what they all say, but Cornelius Kapfinger of Intend Suspension is doing things very differently than the big boys, and the result is the Hover shock that he says is impressively sensitive, has good heat management, and a more linear-like rate of a coil.
Before we get to what's inside, let's go over the numbers. Kapfinger told me that a 210mm Hover shock weighs 410-grams, and that he's able to configure any eye-to-eye length that customers might need, as well as custom-tuned damping if the bike or rider calls for it. Price? It's a lot; Intend manufactures their products in relatively small batches, and everything is done in Germany... €1,000 for the production version that will be available in a few months time.
The air-sprung Hover shock costs 1,000 EUR and is like nothing else on the market. It can be built to suit trail, enduro, or downhill use.
External adjustments include low-speed compression, low-speed rebound, and there might be a future version that has some sort of pedal-assist lever. Kapfinger is all about sensitive, active suspension, and turning it off isn't really the priority with his small-scale production, high-end shock that isn't intended to be used by anyone and everyone.
Pushing on the Hover shock that was bolted to a Pole Stamina revealed that yes, it is incredibly sensitive and feels essentially like a coil, with the first few millimeters of stroke being impossibly smooth. Kapfinger accomplishes this with a very large negative spring chamber that's set to a slightly higher pressure than the positive chamber. But instead of a common bleed valve that would fill the negative chamber from the positive, there's a port connecting the two that's opened and closed by a small silver dial. If you want, you could use it to tune how sensitive you want the shock to be.
The small silver dial (left) is the valve that joins the positive and negative air chambers. See that thread-in cap (right) that looks a bit like a tophat? If you remove it, you can install O-rings that act as volume-reducing tokens to provide more ramp-up.
Next, he wanted a relatively linear spring rate, not something usually associated with air-sprung shocks. The answer is air volume, and a lot of it, but he's also included a clever way to tune the amount of ramp-up. A cap on the side of the shock can be removed to let you add up to seven small O-rings that reduce the chamber's volume to provide more bottom-out resistance. Being an air-sprung shock, it's going to ramp-up eventually, but Kapfinger wanted it to be as linear as possible for more tuning possibilities.
The heat management was a more complicated challenge, and he ended up separating the air spring from the damper to tackle it. On a common air-sprung shock, the damper actually sits in the middle of the air spring, with the air can sliding up and over it during assembly. Air springs have a lot going for them, but dealing with heat isn't one of them; temps rise as they get used harder and longer, which raises the air pressure, AKA your spring rate, and damping can be affected as well.
The large silver piston (left) pushes oil through the damping circuits. The two concentric dials (right) adjust your low-speed compression and low-speed rebound.
So Kapfinger moved the air spring somewhere else, as you do - it's the second hard-anodized tube that's joined to the damper body at each end. Now, instead of the air spring insulating the damper, the two are entirely separate and, most importantly, the outer wall of the damper can better dissipate heat.
The Hover shock is a few months away from production and, to be honest, I don't have a clue how it performs on a trail, but there's something awesome about Kapfinger doing things his own way, isn't there?
Intend's Hover shock and inverted downhill fork on a Pole Stamina.
From suspension to stems, but definitely not suspension stems. Intend's range of Grace stems just grew by one with this 25mm rise direct-mount unit, pictured above on a 180mm-travel Pole Stamina, that stands out from the crowd of low-as-possible options out there. Why would you want a high-rise stem, and especially one that's angled forward like the Grace?
Kapfinger says that he sees it being used on downhill bikes with 27.5" wheels where it's not all about getting your handlebar as low as possible. The forward angle is to combat how a high-rise stem of the same length would effectively shorten the bike's reach.
The 25mm-rise direct-mount Grace stem is for those who don't want to go as low as possible.