Selecting a rear shock

Manitou Mara rear shock

High on my list of components to finalize was the rear shock. Partially because the rear shock cool and part because I had a suspicion something was going to be difficult.

Let’s start with the frame. The specs provided by Light Carbon:

Mount 165*38mm or 40mm shocks get 100mm travel
(compatible with standard mount and trunnion-mount)

That is it. Lots and lots of websites later I find that 165mm is a fairly small shock and that with a trunnion-mount I get more travel. But wait, what is a trunnion vs. a standard mount? A standard mounted rear shock has 2 eyelets for running mounting hardware and bushings. In a trunnion-mount, one eyelet is replaced with mounting screws directly on the barrel. The advantage of the trunnion-mount is that you get additional travel in the same length. Cane Creek has written a great resource for rear shocks.

Choosing a shock

There are a dizzying array of rear shocks. Here are the models that made the shortlist:

DVO and Manitou made the list based on a recommendation from a friend who does DH. I liked the DVO Topaz 3 Air. But, I thought the accent colors were going to be hard to match. I ended up going with the Manitou Mara. But, I should’ve gone with the DVO Topaz 3 Air. Why? I found out Manitou doesn’t very good manuals online and the overall packaging and experience of the shock is not very nice. Look at what you get with the DVO.

The box of goodies for a DVO Topaz Air includes a pump and other tuning supplies. Nice.

Installing a rear shock

Installation is where I thought I would have no trouble. What could go wrong mounting the rear shock; it all looks so simple?

But, I could not figure out how to mount the shock. I seemed to be missing parts. I didn’t have bolts nor the bushings. Scrounging through the spare parts that came with my frame, I eventually found the trunnion-mount screws. Once that mystery was solved, the bigger problem remained; how do I get the upper eyelet correctly mounted? The bolt that came with the frame didn’t fit very tight. Something was needed. To the Internet.

Many, many sites later, I found that I needed a bushing. One might argue, the bushing should’ve been supplied with the frame, but it didn’t. Eventually, I found an article about mounting and bushing kits for rear shocks hosted by TFTuned.com. Based on the information from TFTuned, I ended up ordering a mounting and bushing kit. This requires a caliper to measure all of the aspects of your frame, the attachment bolt and the shock to get the right fit.

I’m still waiting for my kit to arrive. I’ll do an update when I get it and have it installed on the frame.

I am a designer specializing in interaction design, information architecture, UI architecture, patterns, and design systems. I also ride bicycles.

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