Much like the new Rockshox forks, their rear shocks get a lot of internal and tuning updates to refine their performance. But here, we do see one completely new model, and it’s called the Deluxe Ultimate. It’s a new inline shock that brings the tech typically found in a piggy-backed model down to a more streamlined size for shorter travel bikes. Or frames with fitment issues that prevent a piggy back reservoir from fitting.
There’s also a new air can called the Meg Neg, which probably isn’t for you, and a new way of thinking about external compression knob functions that should make it a little easier for everyone to use, including OEM customers. Here’s the details…
Rockshox Deluxe Ultimate gets inline
The new Deluxe Ultimate brings a “fully checked damper” to an inline design.
An “inline” shock is one that doesn’t move any of the damping functions out to a piggy back reservoir, like on the Super Deluxe (shown center, top photo). Obviously, there are size constraints as to what you can put inside the shock body, and Rockshox says that on many inline shocks, there’s no check valve that closes down over the low speed rebound circuit. So oil is able to flow backwards thru it when the shock compresses. Which makes it really hard to tune the low speed (shaft speeds of 2-5 inches per second) compression damping because the low-speed rebound needle could be anywhere. Meaning, however you have your low speed rebound set, that’s going to influence the low speed compression, too.
Seems like we should fix that.
They did. Rockshox added a shim stack above the low speed rebound’s adjuster needle, which serves two purposes. First, it acts like a check valve to stop flow from going the wrong way. Which means that when you hit something or press down on the bike, oil can’t flow backwards through the rebound circuit. Second, it also lets them better tune the low speed rebound while still giving you user friendly external adjustments.
What’s the benefit?
It means that when you’re pushing on the bike, like when driving into a berm and need more support, it’s better able to push back and help you stay in control. But when it hits something big, it’s still able to get the wheel out of the way quickly. All of this is tech that was available in the Super Deluxe with the piggy back reservoir, but now they’ve fit it into the non-piggy-backed inline shock body.
“Zero” Compression Adjustments
The other big change is the external compression settings. Old models would have something like Locked/Firm, Pedal/Trail, and Open/Descend modes. Now, they have a “zero” setting in the middle, with a + and – to either side. They’re working with the bike brands to get the ideal tune for the shock at the zero center setting, then the + and – settings simply give you a little bit of fine tuning. The dial will only have those three settings, there are no intermediate steps between them.
They say these new settings provide a 30% change in damping from end to end at 2” per second shaft speed, but when you get out to 100 inches per second (i.e. big hits), the change is more like 12%. That might still sound like a lot, but at the high speed end of things, it’s going to be virtually imperceptible. But for low speed parking lot tests, it’ll feel like a lot, and that’s what translates to the support in the berms.
Why Zero? Because it clarifies the message to the end user compared to having something with 10 or more clicks and trying to explain where someone should start. It’s psychology.
What about the air can?
Over the past few years, they’ve introduced larger volume DebonAir air sleeves that added volume to the positive chamber. Most people spec’d and used the DebonAir over the smaller SoloAir can. But bikes continue to evolve, so they wanted an option for bikes that they thought could benefit from more mid-stroke support.
So, they have a new one called MegNeg, which adds a lot more volume to the negative chamber, the goal being to make it feel more like a coil spring at first, then add more mid- and end-stroke support. It’s oversized, for sure, so they have red volume reduction bands that you can use on the inside the negative chamber to tune it to your liking. It’s not for everyone or every bike, and they admit that there are plenty of bikes that won’t benefit from it. It’s also not intended as a mass consumption product. But, it’s available as an aftermarket part for anyone that wants to try it…and they do recommend that if you do try it, you run through many, many test laps to find the right setting for you and your bike.
When would I want this?
They say if you’re constantly riding big berms hard and fast and need that mid-stroke support to carry the bike through those corners, then it makes sense. If your corners are flatter, maybe not so much.
There’ll be three options for shocks with 75-67.5mm / 65 to 57.5mm / 55 to 47.5mm strokes, and it fits all current Deluxe and Super Deluxe shocks.
Yep, all of the shocks use the same new Maxima Plush oil as the 2020 forks, so things are a bit more slippery inside. For the Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate, there’s a new red spring to match the Boxxer Ultimate.
Also like the forks, the shocks get a new naming scheme where Ultimate is the best of the best, Select+ is a mid-level version aimed at OEM customers, and Select is a base level model with simplified controls. The Super Deluxe Select+ shocks will get a two position low speed compression knob, and the OE customer (aka “bike brand”) can set how firm the closed position is, from full lock to more of a platform. Available on air and coil versions.
How ’bout them specs?
On our scale, the Ultimate versions of the rear shocks came in at 352g, 468g and 852g. Here’s the official info:
2020 Rockshox Deluxe
- 315g to 345g claimed weight range
- Price TBA
- Ultimate gets the -0+ low speed adjustment plus threshold and rebound. There’s also a remote version that keeps all adjustments, putting the threshold controls on your bar.
- Select+ gets threshold and rebound controls
- Select gets only external rebound adjustments
2020 Rockshox Super Deluxe
Upgrading to the Super Deluxe gives you more low speed compression adjustments settings on the standard Ultimate model, and the piggy back reservoir for better fluid and heat management over longer, more aggressive descents. There’s also a DH version that loses the threshold knob…because why would you firm that up?
- 440g to 485g claimed weight range
- Ultimate: ($579 / €645 / £575)
- Ultimate Remote: (price TBA)
- Ultimate DH: (price TBA)
- Select+ (OEM)
- Select (external rebound only, price TBA)
2020 Rockshox Super Deluxe Coil
The Rockshox Super Deluxe Coil comes in “enduro” versions with more threshold controls and a remote option, because you will want that for climbing up to the next stage. And there’s still (always) a DH version without it.
- 393g to 441g claimed weight range, without coils
- Ultimate: ($549 / €610 / £545)
- Ultimate Remote: ($599 / €665 / £595)
- Ultimate DH (no threshold control, price TBA)
- Select+ (OEM)
- Select (external rebound only, price TBA)
All EU/BP prices include VAT. The Meg Neg upgrade kit runs $90/€100/£90. Check out the new MY2020 Rockshox SID, Pike, Lyrik and Boxxer in this post.