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RockShox claims that the company’s new Vivid and Vivid Air long-travel rear shocks are so advanced that professional mountain bikers will benefit most from the new technologies inside. In a short promotional video, the company even suggests that only riders with professional racing licenses can purchase the new shocks. In reality, the new models will be available to all riders, and come on some bikes that will hit retailers this month.
RockShox engineers spent six years redesigning the Vivid and Vivid Air, and the shocks have been tested for the past two years by the company’s sponsored downhill racers. Last May, RockShox turned prototypes over to its freeriders to test in bike parks, as well. The new shocks have a wide range of adjustments that allow skilled riders to fine tune how their bike responds to large and small bumps, not unlike Cane Creek’s acclaimed Double Barrel shock.
The Vivid is not a copy of that popular model, however. The redesigned shock has plenty of new technologies that should give it a distinct feel. One of the more interesting features is something RockShox calls Counter Measure—essentially a spring placed behind the shock’s main piston assembly that reduces breakaway threshold at the beginning of the stroke. It acts as a negative spring that counteracts the forces that come from the piston inside the reservoir. Rockshox says the design reduces initial breakaway forces from about 60 pounds to almost zero, which significantly improves sensitivity and rear-wheel traction.
The new Vivid was designed for pros, but will be available to everyone. (Courtesy)
While many other shock makers, including RockShox, have focused on making sliding surfaces as slippery as possible, the Vivid goes in another direction. Engineers use a proprietary coating that is actually porous. According to their logic, the small surface pockets trap oil, which allows the seals and bushings to slide easily across an ultra-thin layer of oil.
Not every feature is new. The Vivid models borrow RockShox’s Dual Flow rebound adjustment, which is found on some of the company’s other suspension. The design splits the shock’s rebound circuit into two, allowing riders to tune one for big hits, like riding over a drop, and the other to absorb high-speed impacts when you want faster rebound, like careening across braking bumps. RockShox says the Dual Flow circuitry also improves rebound control, allowing the shock to recover faster between successive hits without packing up. As is its custom, the company also gave this feature its own name: Rapid Recovery. Additionally, Vivid and Vivid Air models have and external compression adjustment and can be further tuned by swapping internal shim stacks.
The new Vivid shocks won’t turn you into a pro, but they have new features and technology that could make you faster and smoother. The coil-sprung Vivid costs $430 (without spring) and the Vivid Air costs $674.