Rockshox has been testing and prototyping the Vivid shocks for six years, and now they’ve put all that into a coil and air versions that have taken victories at World Cup DH and FMB freeride events.
The original Vivid Air was introduced in 2010. Now, several new and updated technologies are incorporated to make them smoother and customizable, including Counter Measure, Dual Flow Adjust Rebound and Rapid Recovery. The result is a pair of shocks that initiate movement with virtually zero pounds of force, which should offer insane small bump sensitivity and traction and separate rebound adjustment for big and small hits.
What’s really interesting is how they did it. Bounce past the break for the tech details…
UPDATED: Video added at bottom of post.
UPDATED AGAIN: Weights and pricing chart added above video.
Most shocks have an internal floating piston (IFP) that traps a nitrogen charge, which puts pressure opposite the main chamber. As it does that, it wants to push the entire shaft and piston assembly out towards full top out (aka rebound). FYI: Nitrogen is used because its molecules are larger and it’s more inert, so it’s less likely to degrade or leak. In order to move the shock into its travel, you need to overcome this pressure and start the shock’s movement. In the case of the Vivid, the damping systems in the coil and air shocks are the same, and that’s what’s shown in the image above.
Counter Measure is essentially a negative spring, except that it’s working on the damper rather than the air chamber. As an easy example, think of their recent Dual Air forks. If you put air in the negative, it’s easier to move into its travel. Release the negative air and it becomes much harder to get the fork moving. Same concept here, except it’s acting on the damping system rather than the spring.
Rockshox engineer Jeremiah Boobar told us: “As the team was looking for ways to make the shock more responsive, they noticed the damper put a considerably amount of positive pressure on the system, up to 60lbs, so this was a main target for them.”
In the image above, the space above the white (left) and blue (right) pistons is normally filled with damping oil. The small coil spring on the left, below the white piston, is the Counter Measure negative spring that’s pushing against the damping fluid. There’s a good diagram in this post that better explains how the internals work.
DUAL ADJUST REBOUND CONTROL
The new Dual Adjust adds and external knob to control the ending stroke rebound, whereas it used to require a 2.5mm hex tool to adjust. Now, there’s a second red rebound knob near the blue compression knob. The beginning stroke rebound adjustment is on the other end of the shock.
As an aside, these adjustments really are position-sensitive, not simply high and low speed rebound adjustments, but the names are a bit counterintuitive. Boobar explained that beginning stroke adjustment is first part of travel, like small bumps or lightly pushing down on the saddle in a parking lot. Ending stroke is the last 2/3 or so of total travel. The reason it’s important to differentiate damping characteristics is so that the bike can recover quickly from big hits without topping out harshly. So, you can set it to rebound quickly from half or full compression, then slow down as it comes all the way up. This is essentially what they’re calling…
Rapid Recovery was introduced on the Monarch RT3 last year. Difference is, with Vivid you can adjust it a little more by controlling the ending stroke rebound, versus the Monarch which is factory preset.
Click image to enlarge for pricing and weights and size options.