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What Is The Difference Between Air Rear Suspension And Spring Back Suspension Of Mountain Bike?

January 24 , 2023

Mountain bike rear shock suspension come in many shapes and sizes, and can be customized according to the very specific needs of different riders such as XC or DH, and different terrain of use. For many, changing a rear shock is an expensive and anxiety-inducing task that requires some math and a lot of research to find the right product for their needs.

The Fox DHX spring rear suspension has some adjustability, and the springs have more linear travel, but it's not that easy to make a choice. The debate between riders about the choice of air suspension and spring suspension basically involves fit, ride feel and riding style.

Mountain bike rear shock suspension

1. What are the benefits of air pressure rear shocks?

Air shocks are basically used on short-travel bikes, they are usually lighter than spring shocks, and have a progressive force through the travel, which means that when the shock is compressed, it takes more force to move through the travel , which reduces the probability of bottoming out, this is very important for short-travel vehicles.

benefits of air pressure rear shocks

However, due to the internally pressurized components of an air shock, there are usually more points of friction that can cause slight kinks as the shock progresses through its entire travel. In addition, the hydraulic oil in the air shock absorber tends to heat up during riding, especially when the shock absorber moves frequently. Long-distance technical downhill sections will cause friction inside the shock absorber and heat the oil inside And air pressure, the viscosity of the hydraulic oil decreases, resulting in a gradual decrease in riding feeling.

Shocks such as the Fox Float X and Float X2 can alleviate this problem with piggyback oil circuits, but piggyback shocks are usually only suitable for longer-travel models, not shorter-travel XC bikes

2.Which riding types are more suitable for air suspension?

Air shocks are great for trail riders and anyone looking to save weight, spring shocks tend to be heavier than air shocks and for many riders this weight difference is unacceptable.

XC bike air suspension

In addition, air suspension is not only used in XC, many experienced DH riders will also use air suspension, one of the biggest benefits of air suspension is adjustability, modern bicycles are widely used, many people hope that the same bike can be used in downhill It's free in the park, and it's also fun to ride on flat roads. Being able to adjust the suspension to handle different off-road conditions is very important for an all-rounder.

3.What are the benefits of spring shocks?

the benefits of bike spring shocks

What the spring lacks in adjustability, it makes up for in smoothness and responsiveness, and most people use the word "soft" to refer to the spring. Unlike the progressive nature of air shocks, spring shocks typically have very linear travel, meaning that the same amount of force is required to move the shock through its travel, which provides consistency and uniform response to rider force input.

Not all bikes can handle sprung shocks, and to get the most out of sprung shocks, riders should choose a frame that accepts this type of shock and compensates for linear compression.

While not as easy to adjust, the spring shock still has some adjustability, it's just a little more complicated. In order to change the spring pressure on the shock, riders often have to buy new springs, which are not necessarily cheap and can require trial and error before finding the perfect fit for them.

Since spring coilovers are built around the outer spring, they generally don't suffer from the same problems of friction and hydraulic fluid heat build-up as air coilovers.

4.Which riding types are more suitable for spring suspension?

spring suspension enduro bikes

DH is the springs' strong point in most conditions, and their responsiveness helps the rider feel more connected to the bike and closer to the ground. Enduro riders also often use spring suspension, and since the speed of the climb is not as important, many prefer to find a smooth and soft suspension on the descent.

As long as you find the spring that suits you, it is more efficient when climbing. Although the spring shock absorber will bring a certain weight loss, in daily off-road riding, the benefits brought by a more consistent shock absorber and cushioning feeling are even greater.

5. Which one is more easy to maintenance?

Air shocks are easy to maintain and adjust at home, especially for lower-travel bikes, and offer a lot of functionality to help riders adjust their ride to different road and weather conditions, with extra weight room. With the help of the shock pump, the rider can adjust the resistance according to his body weight, and quickly adjust the damping after carrying a large water bladder or the weight of the external car bag on the car. These designs can easily adjust the air chamber and reduce bottoming.

Air shocks bikes

Rebound control and lockout switches are also available, often consisting of two or three stages of wide open, mid open, and locked positions for more efficient climbing or off-road riding. For example, the Fox Float X2 includes 8 different high-speed rebounds and 16 low-speed rebounds.

Fox’s DHX and DHX2 spring shocks aren’t without adjustability, though, and both come with an optional two-position open/hold lever for opening/closing on climbs. DHX offers 16-bit low speed rebound and 11-bit low speed rebound adjustment range. DHX2 provides 8-bit high-speed rebound and 16-bit low-speed rebound. It also offers 16-bit low-speed rebound and 8-bit high-speed rebound thanks to Fox's proprietary VCC technology.

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