First Look: Intend Hover Opt Shock

Feb 23, 2024 at 3:33
by Seb Stott  

After five years, Intend have updated their radical Hover shock. The new version is called the Hover Opt, which stands for optimised.

Updates include a one-piece black anodised external shaft, new dynamic seals from Trelleborg, new seal groves, and bushing shafts that are sized for each individual DU bushing.

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The Hover's unusual design places the damper in series with the air spring, rather than in parallel to it. This arrangement requires only three dynamic seals instead of the usual four. Nevertheless, Intend decided to switch seal manufacturers to further reduce friction. Intend say the new Trelleborg seals "use a softer PU elastomer material, which, with the same compression, exerts less contact pressure, thereby noticeably reducing basic friction." The new seal groves (which hold the seals in place on the piston) are tighter to reduce something called seal slap - a jolt or lag which can happen when the shock starts moving into its travel.

The bushing shafts (the cylinders that slide through the shock eyelets and connect the shock to the frame) are now made in six different diameters, varying by 0.01mm increments from 12.70mm to 12.75mm. Intend say that the Igus Z bushings they use have a wall thickness tolerance of around 0.02mm - this is the part that is pressed firmly into the shock eyelet and should rotate freely around the bushing shaft. Intend install the Igus bushing into the shock, then find the bushing cylinder diameter that best fits inside that particular bushing, for minimal friction and no play. If your shock develops play, you can ask Intend for the next size up of the bushing shaft.

It's also available with Intend's Refrigerator cooling fins that are claimed to minimise temperature changes during rough sections, thereby keeping the performance more consistent.

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Rebound and compression dials (black), plus a lockout lever.
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Instead of a transfer port, this valve allows the air to flow between the positive and negative air chambers during setup. Once closed, the pressure in the negative chamber can be independently adjusted to fine-tune the beginning stroke.

Unlike many high-end shocks, the Hover lacks independent high-speed compression and high-speed rebound adjustability, but each shock is tuned for the intended frame, rider weight and riding style. The price includes one free re-tune if you're not satisfied. Each shock is made by hand in Freiburg, Germany.

• Intended use: everything from trail to DH.
• Available sizes: Trunion: 165mm | 185mm | 205mm | 225mm; Metric: 190mm | 210mm | 230mm | 250mm. Strokes from 45 - 75 mm in 2.5 mm increments.
• Claimed weight (w/o bushings): 165/190: 390g | 185/210: 406g | 205/230: 422g | 225/250mm: 438g
• Adjustments: Rebound/Compression, Air pressure, air spring fine-tuning valve, Lockout, Progression
• Price: 1079 € incl 19%VAT
intend-bc.com



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*Bike sold separately.


Author Info:
seb-stott avatar

Member since Dec 29, 2014
298 articles

82 Comments
  • 78 5
 This shock looks amazing, but I would never buy anything (again) with custom Trelleborg seals. Bought a very high end espresso machine that had these lifetime Trelleborg seals that only lasted two years. The espresso machine company switched design after the massive failure rate, and did not carry replacement seals. I contacted Trellborg to get a new set, and although very nice, they told me that if I wanted replacements, I would need to fork out around 5k for a production run. Custom seals make for future paper weights!
  • 23 1
 Yeah just use standard parts, I never understand making super custom one off parts, not user friendly or right to repair friendly
  • 20 0
 Too funny. When I read that part about Trelleborg I laughed a bit because they supplied some parts for my former employer in a different industry and nobody in our organization was impressed with their stuff. We would never have "bragged" about using a Trelleborg part in any of our literature.
  • 27 0
 Trelleborg is one of the primary manufacturers of wiper seals for most MTB suspension brands, along with SKF and NOK. Most of those wiper seal designs are also custom p/n's, but they're readily available to the consumer because the OEM's are stocking them in huge quantities.

Your issue sounds more like the fault of the espresso machine company that came up with a poor seal design and then didn't back it up with good customer service by stocking replacements for the custom seal they specified after making a design change. Not Trelleborgs fault the espresso company didn't order enough seals for replacements, and a small batch run of custom seals will have a high production cost so 5K isn't surprising to me personally.

The fact they would even offer to do a new production run of OEM custom seals for an end-user is honestly not something most of their competitors would do in my experience.

I wouldn't call myself a fan of Trelleborg, but I have worked with them in a previous role on some dynamic custom seal designs for rotary hydraulic equipment, and their solution worked better than any other seal manufacturer we had tried.
  • 3 0
 @koncretekahuna: So makes me wonder why they didn't just go the SKF route. Every bike i've ever had SKF seals on have been extremely buttery.
  • 1 0
 @koncretekahuna: Yeah, not knocking Trelleborg, Intend, or Olympia Cremina (well, kind Olympia). Trelleborg was upfront and responded quickly to me on this issue. I think they handled it properly. But the situation did change the way I approach items that are long term or require a lot of maintenance.
  • 4 0
 @koncretekahuna: I can confirm nothing but good experiences with trelleborg and their service and engineering support in hydraulics.
  • 2 0
 @cwise73 as far as I read it it doesn't say custom Trelleborg seals, just new seals made from a different material made by Trelleborg. Could be an off the shelf part. Would make sense for it given the likely production numbers of Intend stuff...
  • 48 0
 I love the note below the photo... *bike sold seperately
  • 53 8
 since this is not obvious if you look at the pricetag of the suspension alone
  • 18 5
 @kazwei: Good point, because not everyone knows a race ready DH bike can't be had for 1079 €.
  • 28 1
 "each shock is tuned for the intended frame" - no pun intended!
  • 44 0
 “No pun intended” - no pun intended
  • 21 1
 @appltn: no, pun intended.
  • 60 2
 I read all these comments to see if any would make me laugh. No pun in ten did.
  • 5 1
 @CCtimber: No, no pun intended, intended.
  • 3 2
 @speed10: you deserve more credit for this one
  • 5 0
 I intend to buy an intense Intense with an Intend shock intended for the Intense.
  • 16 0
 I am always fascinated by the innovative products that come out of such a small company. And from my town, too. But the V-brake was also invented in Freiburg by Florian Wiesmann, the suspension fork lowering was invented by Wolfgang Ebersbach, which Rockshox then licensed as U-Turn, and now Specialized has its development center here under the direction of Peter Denk. Trickstuff is also only a few kilometers away.
  • 8 0
 As a fellow German I want to agree. But the Japanese had V-brakes on motorcycles over 50 years ago.
  • 3 0
 @drjohn: Okay, cool, I didn't know that. Then I would say Florian brought them to the MTB.
  • 7 0
 Yup, I have a frame coming from Germany by Kavenz, had a Nicolai, the quality and design is exceptional
  • 3 0
 @sanchofula: excellent choice of frame
  • 2 0
 When did Wiesmann release his V-brakes*? I was under the impression that Ben Capron's Marinovative Stop-Lites were the first, ~1990. There were several other brands that released similar products at the time, so there was probably a lot of convergent thinking.

*Or "Linear-Pull" brakes, as "V-Brake" was Shimano's trade name.
  • 1 0
 @anoplura: He finished his Protype in Autumn 1990
  • 3 1
 Ah Ze Gehmanz. Always casually reminding the world of their engineering superiority.

(Rightfully so, mostly)
  • 2 0
 @johnlord82: yea I would agree. The motorcycle story was interesting, it was a Yamaha (I believe) and then V-brakes on…. Geez, 50-60mm wide MOTO wheels. And the brake hose was one of the steel-bead kind, like some company made them in the late 90s for mtbs, too.
  • 14 0
 Great presentation and please give me that Supreme.
  • 8 0
 "The Hover's unusual design places the damper in series with the air spring, rather than in parallel to it. This arrangement requires only three dynamic seals instead of the usual four."

Could be argued that most inline shocks put them in series as well, as do pretty much all the Lefty setups. And the few shocks that use bladders instead of IFPs can have 3 or less dynamic seals, but no one really cares.
  • 2 0
 dont confuse reservoir air pressure with the actual air spring.
  • 3 0
 @VinzenzFSR: reservoir? We're talking inline shocks, there is no "reservoir".
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: you might want to Google this.
  • 2 0
 @cavegiant: why? Inline MTB shocks don't have what is traditionally called a "reservoir". Their IFP is inside the damper body, inline (hence the name) with the main oil chamber. Even a twin-tube inline design with the IFP replaced by a bladder that is located at the other end (relative to a normal IFP), and thus the damper body contains only oil (no air chamber) similar reservoir shock, such as a DB Air, doesn't have a reservoir per se, as a reservoir is traditionally external to the main portion of the damper.
  • 12 4
 i intend to give intend a try with the intention of seeing what i think about intend products tuned indepenently for intended frames with the intention of producing a good performing shock
  • 5 0
 Would love to see a head-to-head comparison of this product vs. the EXT Storia Lok V3 and EXT Aria. All three are decidedly "high-end" aftermarket pieces, with custom tuning done at factory for bike, rider specs and preferences, and they all come in with nearly identical pricing.
  • 6 1
 I dont have anything EXT but I do have a Push 11.6 R-Series shock and an Intend Hover Gamechanger shock. I love both but the magic carpet feel of Push is always better across rocky trails. The Hover comes very close though and has a great soft and smooth movement but still manages to make bottom outs feel like nothing. Going off of the recommended set up from Cornelius, I actually bottom out quite a bit more than normal but its weird because I haven't really noticed. Im still messing with it now but so far I'm pretty have with the Hover and look forward to maintaining it as that part looks very easy compared to other shocks.
  • 3 0
 @hubertje-ryu: I wish I bought the Aria in leiu of my Storia Lok.
I never use the lok out and having control of the hydraulic bottom out would been more useful. On a Kavenz btw
  • 5 0
 I want to start off by saying I'm super stoked with my Hover Gamechanger and the team at Intend has been super helpful and responsive. I am quite a bit bummed that they didn't tell me a new version of the shock was going to release a month or so after I purchased mine. Also I purchased mounting hardware with my shock and the got something completely wrong, I couldn't use any of it for my bike... which was a waste of like 55 bucks. So while I really like my Hover Gamechanger, there's a few things I would've changed about my experience with getting it.
  • 2 1
 Agreed would be nice to know ahead of time. I want to know, will these upgrades be available for previous versions of the hover? Hopefully so. It seems like it could be…
  • 3 0
 Hi, can it be that you bought the shock discounted?

Which mounting hardwhere was ordered and what was delivered?
  • 1 0
 @Bommelmaster: I did get 10% off my shock purchase. I’m not sure what was delivered but It didn’t fit so I just pulled the mounting hardware off my last shock and made it work.
  • 5 1
 Would love one. But do not want the hassle of dealing with something so European based. I know I’m just asking for issues finding parts and service in the states.

Hey intend start something, at least a service shop state side.
  • 4 1
 You guys have Avalanche
  • 3 0
 I can get replacements within a week from Trickstuff, try even getting SRAM to respond that fast.
  • 6 0
 @Plancktonne: Avalanche is amazing and I'm always surprised they're not talked about more.
  • 1 0
 @Plancktonne: this is the way
  • 8 5
 For a high end shock like this to not have independent hi and lo speed rebound adjustability seems like a miss to me. Having to send it to Germany (I guess?) for a retune seems dumb when those are adjustments I normally make depending on what kind of riding im planning to do that day.
  • 1 1
 I know right. I don't know why these comments are getting downvoted. I guess some people are so technically inept they can't comprehend adding some HSC if you're gonna hit jumps, or ride faster trails? Lemme go add a volume spacer real quick because I'm at the right sag, but I have no high speed adjustments, facepalm!
  • 6 1
 That commencal is a fine piece of kit Drool
  • 5 0
 Wild! Rear triangle still in one piece!
  • 1 1
 @itslightoutandawaywego: V5 seems to be a lot more durable than V4
  • 1 0
 I want same design for Trail and Enduro bikes.
  • 3 0
 Wow, the variety of bushing sizes to prevent any play sounds ridiculus. It does make a lot of sense though.
  • 4 0
 Anyone else's attention span feel violated?
  • 3 0
 Only question is why make a DH fork without direct mount stem holes?
  • 4 3
 to not break the handlebar when crashing?
  • 4 0
 This seal slaps
  • 2 0
 Very nice video! That shock looks amazing,that stairs part of the video was sick.
  • 3 1
 Looks great for stairs and wall drops for city folk. Can you make one for Mountain Biking now?
  • 3 4
 Enduro and DH shocks (Especially Air) NEED HSR, and probably HSC for the tinker-ers. Nobody wants to break down a shock, or have it re-tuned just to make an adjustment that could've been done externally. On short travel bikes It's kind of whatever, because you're not using so much travel all the time, but fine tuning the end-stroke behavior of a DH shock can make a big difference if you go from riding tech trails to jump lines and vice versa.
  • 1 0
 Exquisite design & engineering aside, that’d look well sexy with lots of kashime & bronze anodised fancy bits. Want!
  • 1 0
 Great video, now I want one even if I just bought a cc inline for my trailbike. Can confirm I did the same fiddling and listening after mounting it on the bike
  • 1 0
 Great video, now I want one even if I just bought a cc inline for my trailbike. Can confirm I did the same fiddling and listening after mounting it on the bike
  • 1 0
 It's great that Intend HAS (not have) done this. Outside the box thinking is always welcome, and sometimes causes actual change for the better.
  • 2 0
 Would love to see a review.
  • 2 0
 Also, how is the weight so low?
  • 1 0
 I was getting a little excited about the oil dripping seductively on the threads...........
  • 3 0
 sick vape, bro
  • 1 0
 well. freaking.done.
wow! is there anything bad about this shock or brand? what is there to say?
  • 1 0
 Have they submitted one for review then? Don't think I've ever seen their stuff reviewed.
  • 1 0
 Is that Mr. Kapfinger himself doing a cameo @3:52?
  • 1 0
 Top tier right there. True craftsmanship.
  • 1 0
 my storia does the same end?
  • 1 0
 Germany. Where Intend pun you.
  • 1 0
 hover_opt_2_final_new_THIS_ONE.cad
  • 1 0
 The production quality of this shock service/setup video is pretty good.
  • 1 0
 Change the soundtrack to Barry White & we have a whole different vibe.
  • 1 0
 It doesn't exist until we see a shot of it next to Dangerholm's thighs...
  • 1 1
 i intend to try one, one day
  • 1 0
 Best air shock there is
  • 1 0
 thats freakin amazing
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