My current bike is the reliable and affordable Hawk Hill. A short travel bike with some good components but also some drawbacks. The biggest one for me was the X-Fusion Pro R shock it comes with. This shock is what made me start shopping and settle on the Fox Float Performance.
My old shock was a drag. At higher psi it smoothed out larger hits but rougher, natural trails overwhelmed it. Taking a rough line meant my legs were working hard to absorb the bumps and the spiking rebound. At low rebound, the rear shock was lifeless and I felt more rattling and poor cornering. At high rebound, harsh terrain could be ridden slowly and carefully but with any speed the bike became uncomfortably twitchy and springy, only getting its confidence on manicured, sterile trails. It’s not to say X-Fusion shocks are all bad - I have no experience with their other shocks. I’ve heard their forks are quite good and affordable. Before the Fox Float Performance, I had nothing to compare it to at all.
With the upgrade, my rear suspension feels awfully like my front suspension, something I can manipulate at any time by shifting my weight. Cornering over chatter and landing on uneven ground is now intuitive and fun because the shock performs like it should. Bumps and impacts are still felt but they don’t destroy the bike’s handling. Drops are now mercifully quiet and I think it’s because the new suspension doesn’t just plow straight through, it’s eager to soak up small bumps without bottoming out the large ones. The shock was also a natural fit for the frame which has a very progressive, short cycle. I was a bit worried it would bob on climbs but I lucked out - the stock tune works great going uphill or downhill. My favorite part of the new shock is how it’s turned unbearable rocky descents into something I can control. They no longer upset my posture, and the shock no longer sends me nosediving off of poorly timed jumps.
I’m not entirely sure it’s worth upgrading if you have a shock with similar features. I can now add volume spacers and have a compression damping lever. Once on the bike, the shock performs really well but I imagine I’d be just as happy with a cheaper one - such as the shock that is probably on your bike. But if you have a crappy shock that hates to be used and tuned, and one that is a glaring weak link of your ride, then I’d go with this one. It’s smooth, attractive and has breathed new life into my Marin bike.
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