So today a parcel arrives at home for me. I haven’t bought anything or am I waiting for anything so it was pretty cool and a huge surprise. I opened the parcel, and the thick bubble wrap tells me about the contents….precious cargo! After getting halfway through the roll of bubble wrap I notice what it is, it’s a sleek black rear shock! Now I remember, Robbie (suspension guru of note and my suspension sponsor) had told me he was going to build a rear shock for me, from the ground up. Here it is, in my hand and I’m like a dog with two tails!
RBC is a small company from Port Elizabeth that imports/distributes and services Push Industries Tuning kits/parts and Shocks. But don’t let the “small” part of the company sway your opinion of this company. Small means that every customer is known by every employee. Personal service is the name of their game. Robbie Powell is the captain of this ship and he has an impressive racing history. Robbie has ridden most things two wheeled, he’s a legend in observe trials and has represented RSA in DH! Robbie has experienced the revolution of the mtb with suspension forks becoming prevalent in the 90s. He has seen the good ideas become standard and the bad ideas fail. Robbie has years of riding experience, shop experience and mechanical experience that you just don’t find nowadays. In short, when it comes to understanding suspension, Robbie’s the real deal.
In my previous Review I had my standard rear shock tuned up by Robbie……read the review, because it was awesome. This article is to explain the huge difference I experienced with my shock today. When Robbie told me he was going to cook something up for me that was bespoke for my riding style, he wasn’t kidding. What Robbie did was take a standard Fox RP23 Rear shock, and throw away the following parts: Normal Alloy Annodized Shock body (normally the gold coloured shaft that you see on your shock that is the thinner part of the shock), Plastic Independent Floating Piston or IFP (the pistion that sits between the oil and the nitrogen), Fox piston (medium flow), Medium Shimstack tune for Compression and rebound. He replaced all these parts with Push Industries upgraded components, the Shock body on my new shock is Epoxy coated for durabilty and smoothness, this coating is more scratch resistant than standard annodizing plus it’s way more slick so the shock is more responsive on small bumps. The new Push IFP is ceramic instead of plastic so it doesn’t buckle under the opposing pressures of the oil vs nitrogen inputs. The magic with only starts happening now though as Robbie knows my style of riding, my weight and what type of suspension my bike has. He fits a high flow piston kit and then fits a FIRM tune shim stack to get the desired ride feel, but he’s not done. Knowing my weight and what “feel” need, he fills the shocks nitrogen chamber with a custom pressure for me! So now the effect is sublime. I’m such a unique rider you see, I like a plush suspension (meaning I like it soft so it can gobble up small bumps and float along) but I don’t want it banging through it’s travel on medium and big bumps. So what happens on standard tune off the shelf shocks is, you control the shock movement with air pressure, which means you lose sensitivity and traction. So Robbie knows I like running low air pressure and has used the valving (custom valve and shim stack tune) to control the shocks movement, but then has tuned the nitrogen pressure to keep the shock riding at the right height in it’s travel. So this means if a 80 kg rider gets on my bike and sets air pressure for his weight, the shock still won’t ride correctly for that rider. This truly is TAYLOR MADE SUSPENSION.
My bike ride today was so composed and balanced today, I forgot I had a new piece of hardware attached. It was such a incredible ride, I had forgotten about the shock, and that is a good thing. Think about what I’m saying, it did it’s job so well, I didn’t notice. It didn’t have any situation that it didn’t cope with. It’s so hard to nitpick here, there’s just nothing to report that is negative. I set my desired sag on the bike, and I tweaked my rebound feel, and I rode my bike. Why is that such a big thing? It is because I’m “Mr stop and fiddle” when I ride, I like tweaking and faffing with the settings. This ride was bliss, the shock didn’t need faffing…….Robbie has built me a Taylor Made shock.
In the weeks to come I will review more and give me detailed feedback.
For now, keep it rubber side down.