In this article I’m going to give you a number of the best coil shocks for enduro riding.
I believe one of the biggest benefits of coil shocks from a short term perspective is the way you can plough through long descents without your teeth being rattled to stumps. The feel of riding with a coil shock is immediate, definite, distinct, and addictive.
There’s much to say about an air shock’s ability to maintain speed going up and down, but personally speaking I’m no racer and I’ve started to favor comfort during prolonged stretches of trail over getting down as fast as possible.
Talking about speed, since every major brand has joined the coil shock craze, there are fantastic specimens that undeniably let you dial in a rider specific setup which will let you fly. From excellent entry-level standard adjustability all the way up to 4-way adjustment with custom tuning, there’s something for everyone from a tech standpoint (maybe not from a financial standpoint).
A thing to keep in mind before deciding to dive into coil shocks, is to ensure your suspension linkage is progressive enough to aid the non-progressive (e.g. linear) nature that’s inherent to coil suspension. That being said, coil shocks and high-quality high-speed compression adjustment, and bottom-out control take away a lot of the traditional risks at the end stroke.
Enough with the tech stuff, let’s dive into my list of the best coil shocks for enduro riding.
Fox DHX2 Factory
I think the best thing to do when reviewing the Fox DHX2 Factory is when you compare it to the DHX.
Although I’m not entirely sure, my guess is the 2 in DHX2 stands for the way the damper is designed, which is a twin-tube shock (whereas the DHX is a single-tube shock). The advantages of this design are most usable for fast mid- and end stroke scenarios, e.g. enduro and downhill riding. This is not a blog about the ins and outs of twin-tube shock, so let’s just say friction with heat buildup and fading is significantly reduced, and the shock is lighter than its single-tube cousin.
The lockout lever isn’t as easy to flick as the DHX, while sitting at almost the same position at the top of the piggyback. But it works just as great.
By far the biggest advantage of this damper is the addition of 4-way adjustment, meaning you have the ability to finetune high-speed compression. It is a feature understandably lacking in the DHX, which means a lot of fiddling trying to get your mid and end stroke support right.
When I have to explain the feel of a coil spring I go to the extreme and say it operates like a tractor, doing all the work for you, and comfortably plowing through the trail. The DHX2 is just as good as the DHX, and adds improved support for the latter half of the travel as well. Including a large bottom-out bumper when smashing into holes and miscalculating landings.
Of course, (externally) adjusting a coil shock is never as fine grained as the single PSIs you can put in your air shock. But the 4-way adjustment goes a long way in combining the benefits of coil suspension with more than enough adjustability, with alternative springs and internal custom tuning an option as well. So don’t tell me an air spring is better. World Cups are won with this thing.
RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate
Apart from its crazy name there’s very much to love about the RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate, with one of the biggest brands in mountain bike suspension implementing a number of excellent features in this latest edition of their most premium coil shock.
The biggest change is the amount of adjustment. Oftentimes dialing in your settings means adding or subtracting 2 or 3 clicks of compression. That wouldn’t do with this shock which only offers 5 clicks for both low- and high-speed compression adjustment.
With both extremes of the setting the same, it means RockShox simply threw a number of options out the window. Your lowest setting is just as low as before, as is your highest setting. But obviously there’s a more noticeable difference with each click. And the dial has a little nick that shows you exactly where you are with your compression.
This doesn’t take away from the fine-tuning process but actually makes it easier to set it up, because the change feels more distinctive and offers better aid in whether or not it constitutes an improvement. And unless you’re some pro-level rider, you’ll never need the no longer present in-between settings.
Furthermore the shock has an interesting piece of technology called a Hydraulic Bottom Out (HBO) adjuster. It’s a 5-click adjustable circuit located inside an additional shaft at the top of the damper body, which diverts oil flow to the piggyback. When the top of the piston reaches and moves inside this shaft, it means the last 20 percent of travel has been reached, and the shock needs to ramp up to prevent bottoming out.
Since coil shock progression is linear, the HBO does a marvelous job of fine tuning this last section of travel for a piece of technology which is notorious for having difficulty providing control in exactly this region. The addition of this bottom-out feature alone is what sets it apart from its main competitor, which is the Fox DHX.
If you pile a cheaper asking price on top of that, as well as lower weight, it becomes really difficult to justify any other choice than this one for the average rider who’d like to start experimenting with coil suspension. A no fuss setup, easy adjustment, firm support with the climbing lever, excellent low-speed comfort and traction, solid control in the mid-stroke, and innovative control in the end stroke with bottom out prevention.
Maybe the Fox has better small-bump sensitivity when tested back-to-back, but the rest of this shock really feels like an unbeatable formula. For now at least.
Cane Creek DB Kitsuma Coil
The Cane Creek DB Kitsuma Coil is the U.S. based flagship product in the coil shock lineup. Responsible for reintroducing the coil-craze it has quite a reputation to live up to. The question remains, does it?
For starters, you get 4-way external adjustability with dials. So no fidgeting with allen keys in hard to get places. And considering the range of distinct adjustments you can make, that’s quite a necessary feature as well.
Maybe not as important for everybody, but this thing is the most gorgeous shock I’ve ever seen. Especially decked out all black with the gold highlights on the dials, it looks like some alien piece of technology from a Halo game or something. If I would build myself a new full-suspension mountain bike, the looks alone would make me want to create an all-black rig.
Anyway, with that out of the way, let’s head over to some specifications. DB stands for “double barrel”, which means the shock offers a twin-tube design, similar to the DHX2 and with all the benefits already mentioned there. It means it’s a hard-hitting piece of equipment with a wide range of applications, including enduro and downhill.
Compression and rebound resides in individual circuits, meaning the already impressive range of tunability offers distinct configurability with little to no crossover. And with a custom spring the shock can be tuned for riders upwards of 200 pounds.
Usually 4-way adjustability, either with your front suspension or in this case with the shock, offers the high-speed tuning you want to adapt your bike’s ability to deal with particularly rough terrain.
The lockout lever, which Cane Creek calls climb switch, offers three settings. Your standard open, a soft-lock, and firm(er) lockout probably meant for pedaling to the trail. Easy to reach, and located to the side of the piggyback, which is either left or right depending on your frame.
Coil shocks are even less straightforward than 4-way front suspension, because you have to take into account the amount of leverage the frame generates and take that into account when choosing the spring. So you have high- and low-speed compression, high- and low-speed rebound, spring weight and spring preload (sag). That’s a lot to take into account.
It’s highly recommended you dive into the nitty-gritty of which dial does what and how all of your settings work together before buying such an expensive piece of equipment. But for those of you who don’t want to, which I guess is the majority, Cane Creek offers a handy Quick Tune Sheet, which offers a range of unwanted ride characteristics and how to solve them with external adjustments (compression and rebound).
It doesn’t make this shock a fit-and-forget component, but it goes a long way in simplifying setup, even for those who think they know what they’re doing. I’m the first to admit I get confused sometimes with which dial to turn which way, let alone how many clicks.
The product excels across the entire range of trail characteristics when properly set up. From climbing to descending, your bike keeps traction in the rear without turning your ride into a dull affair. It makes this shock a true upgrade over any other shock you might have been riding. And 99 percent of how your bike rides is a question of proper tuning anyway, and these shocks offer the widest range of all shocks out there.
The price might be something to worry about, yet with proper care I don’t see why the already more durable coil shock couldn’t last you for years and thousands of miles. I’ve already stated that for a bike build I’d choose this shock, but the same goes for a shock upgrade as well.
Marzocchi Bomber CR
The Marzocchi Bomber CR takes up a special place around coil shocks. Offering the basics of suspension (low-speed-compression, rebound adjustment and coil preload) it’s one of the best shocks for people moving into coiled rear suspension.
Where other brands are in a race to cram more technology into ever lighter chassis, Marzocchi has gone the route of offering standout suspension products which keep riders their sanity from a tunability standpoint, for a more than respectable price point.
Its relatively simple design ensures an increased durability, easier serviceability and tunability, with about the same ride quality for the average rider as you would get out of a shock which is twice as much. As a companion to the great Bomber Z1 (or more expensive Z2) fork, you’ll get a suspension setup to tackle just about any trail out there.
Obviously it has to deal with the shortcomings of just about any coil shock, which is end stroke and bottoming out support, caused by the lineair spring curve. But there are many ways to deal with this or at least mitigate its effect to some degree. And knowing which frame is well suited for coil shocks is one of those things.
On the flipside the Marzocchi Bomber CR offers the expected small bump sensitivity and traction anyone who installs a coil shock is looking for, for a small sacrifice in liveliness and pop.
Comfort, traction, the ability to ride longer with less fatigue, all for a decent enough price are part of the winning formula that’s called the Bomber CR.
Specifications coil shocks for enduro
standard imperial sizes
standard metric sizes
Trunnion metric sizes
buy at Amazon
Fox DHX2 Factory
7.875×2.0, 8.5×2.5 (2-position Adjust Lever)
9.5×3.0, 10.5×3.5 (w.o. 2-position Adjust Lever)
210×50, 210×52.5, 210×55, 230×57.5, 230×60, 230×62.5, 230×65 (2-position Adjust Lever)
250×75 (w.o. 2-position Adjust Lever)
185×50, 185×55, 205×60, 205×65
(optional) open, firm lever
8-click high-speed compression
16-click low-speed compression
8-click high-speed rebound
16-click low-speed rebound
detented coil-spring preload
504 (w/o spring)
RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate
210×47.5, 210×50, 210×52.5, 210×55, 230×57.5, 230×60, 230×62.5, 230×65, 250×67.5, 250×70, 250×72.5, 250×75
165×45, 185×47.5, 185×50, 185×52.5, 185×55, 190×45, 205×57.5, 205×60, 205×62.5, 205×65, 225×67.5, 225×70, 225×72.5, 225×75,
open, firm lever
5-click high-speed compression
5-click low-speed compression
5-click hydraulic bottom out adjuster
507 (w/o spring)
Cane Creek DB Kitsuma Coil
210×50, 210×52.5, 210×55, 230×57.5, 230×60, 230×62.5, 230×65, 250×70
185×50, 185×52.5, 185×55, 205×57.5, 205×60, 205×62.5, 205×65, 225×70, 225×75
Tool free 4-way adjustment
3-Position Climb Switch
468 (w/o spring)
Marzocchi Bomber CR
7.5×2.0, 7.875×2.0, 7.875×2.5, 8.5×2.5, 8.75×2.75, 9.5×3.0
210×50, 210×55, 230×60, 230×65, 250×75
185×52.5, 185×55, 205×60, 205×65, 225×75
10-click low-speed compression adjustment
10-click rebound adjustment
coil-spring preload adjustment
390 (w/o spring)
Johan van Seijen
Johan van Seijen is the founder of restoration.bike. His passion for cycling in general, and restoring older bikes turned into a website to share his knowledge with a broader audience. Starting out on his father’s road bike and riding classics as the Amstel Gold Race and Liege Bastogne Liege he has shifted his attention to trail, XC, and gravel riding since. No matter how much he loves writing about everything related to cycling, nothing beats actually using his ever-expanding bicycle collection.
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