Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Opinion: Is coil suspension dead?

Recently I was asked by Singletrack magazine to contibute to a feature entitled "are coil springs dead?" this is what I said...
Dan Jones, marketing manager at Marzocchi importers Windwave.
“Absolutely not! In terms of outright suspension performance a coil shock or fork will outperform its air counterpart hands down; of course the answer can never be as simple as that.
Air forks and shocks are now well developed, easy to set up, lightweight and, most importantly for bike manufacturers, any bike supplied with an air shock requires no additional springs to get the bike performing correctly. Coil shocks and forks can be made lighter with the addition of titanium coils, however this adds cost and with the simplicity of an air spring set up you can clearly see why air has become so popular, especially as OEM fitment.
Coil shocks and forks for the aftermarket make a lot of sense, riders looking for higher quality suspension that will give a genuine performance benefit need to try coil – air will feel almost blunted in comparison.
Coils are more active, almost fluid-like in feel and take out pretty much everything, air forks work hard but feel dead in comparison, like sitting on your hands waiting for them to go numb then trying to type; you can type, but it’s all just a little vague…
The benefits are obvious, you are better isolated from the terrain so suffer less fatigue in your hands and forearms, get greater traction and more confidence. Stick a GoPro looking at a coil fork and an air fork and do the same run, the coil fork will look hyperactive; it’s not hyperactive, it’s just doing what suspension should do.”