DVO has been gaining serious popularity lately and if you check out their product line you will understand why. The Topaz Air Shock is one of our favorites and the reason many are switching to DVO. In this review, our customer compares his Topaz with the likes of Fox and Rockshox. Check it out!
One word to describe the DVO Topaz – Controlled.
It’s been one month since I’ve been on the DVO Topaz and have been riding it every day comparing it back-to-back with my Fox Float DPS. For reference this shock went on my short travel trail bike – Intense Spider 275C w/ 130mm rear travel + Fox 36 140mm travel up front. I’ve been testing it on various trail conditions in Park City, UT (bike park, hardpack, loose, rocky, etc) to get it to where I want it. Rides typically are 5-20 miles total. I’m after a stiff rear shock where it’s pedal friendly until you reach the top to bomb down, pretty much truly a do-it-all shock.
First time airing up and cycling the shock, I could tell how plush this was going to be. With the DVO Topaz bladder, it doesn’t take much to get the shock moving (very little effort). This is where it gets interesting, some people view this as a good thing (for small bumps compliance) – but it could also be a “bad” thing. I found that I didn’t like the active shock off the top so much when I was trail riding, I like my shock to stay put while climbing/traversing. I remedied this by adding 3 positive spacers and 2 negative spacers for support, along with 200 PSI in the bladder. This keeps it put until you start getting rough and the shock breaks away and does its magic.
The 3-compression “Climb, Traverse, and Descend” switch does work, but think of it as cranking the low speed & high-speed compression knobs a few clicks in for each mode. The climb mode wasn’t as “stiff” as I like it. I knew this when purchasing the shock, DVO listed this on their website that it wasn’t a full lockout, and many other reviews mentioned it as well. Based on other reviews, I knew I needed firmer dampening and had plans to re-shim the shock since I’m riding my short travel bike aggressively, full days XC with some bike parks (7-10ft drops). I gave DVO a call and they set up an RA#, I sent it in, they charged me a small fee ($45), Ronnie re-shimmed my shock, and now it’s working just like I want it.
My DVO Topaz now gives my Intense Spider 275C a bottomless feel when charging rough downhill, great climbing lock/out with traction, and no issues doing 8-10ft drops (smooth decline landing) at the parks. Perfect in my books.
The shock came with too much grease inside the air can (not air sleeve) that blocked the orifice from air transferring from Positive to Negative pressure. I noticed it when I took the air sleeve off to add volume spacers, grease was oozing out of the negative orifice. No big deal, I’d rather have too much grease than no grease. I just unscrew the air can, wiped off excess grease, and re-screwed the air can back on and good to go.
Compared to other shocks I’ve been on: Fox Float DPS, Fox Float DPX, Fox Float X, Rockshox Monarch, Rockshox Monarch RC3 Plus, Fox X2 – I’d rate this shock to be just below the X2. The X2 just has more adjustments, Fox and Rockshox did have firming dampening, but this could also be on their tune ID’s (e.g. M/M, L/L, etc) from the factory. However, the DVO Topaz wins at everything else.
The DVO Topaz is very close to the Fox Float X & Rockshox Monarch RC3 Plus in terms of performance, but it has an upper edge from using the bladder instead of IFP. From a consumer perspective, the DVO Topaz makes more sense – you can service it at home and if you buy the 7.875x2.0 (200x50/51) you essentially have 2 shocks. DVO placed a tan nylon spacer in the internal airshaft to reduce its stroke from 2.25 to 2.0 (200x57 to 200x50, respectively). This is handy since these 2 sizes are extremely common when it comes to trail/ all mountain bikes. When it’s time to switch bikes/frames from a short travel trail to all-mountains that uses a 7.875x2.25, you can remove the spacer and transfer it right over!
2017 Intense Spider 275C with Fox 36 fork 140mm (set @ 20% sag).
DVO Topaz re-shimmed by Ronnie for firmer dampening
185 LBS geared up
245 PSI in main air can (20% sag)
200 PSI in bladder
3 Positive spacers, 2 negative spacers.
Style: XC to Bike Park.