At what point do you call a rear shock blown out?

Bmoha7311
Specialized Jeremy

November 01, 2013, 11:02 AM

Bear with me... This is in this section because I am seriously considering buying a 2014 Specialized Enduro Expert EVO. Coil spring front & rear.
Seems like I am just too heavy a rider for air spring rear shocks. I had a '11 Specialized Camber comp and blew out the rear shock within a few months with me @ 295 pounds. The manufacturer says maximum rider weight of 300#. But fox air rear shocks have a maximum rider weight of 250#. I have had 3 full suspension bikes with cool spring front & rear and have never had a problem. Of course I weighed a max of 210# then. I blew out the Float Triad rear shock on my SJ FSR within 50 miles of new. I weighed 295 when I got it but got down to 259. My weight has fluctuated a bit. I'm back @ 276. Dammit. I'm back on the diet. Goal is sub 220#. I have figured out that the psi the rear shock on the FSR needs to be @ is equal to rider weight with gear. Autosag feature is neat but really unneccesary. My problem is... I weigh 275 with gear on. Fox says rear shock should never be pressurized past 250psi while riding or risk blowout. I have experienced this firsthand. So I have been running it lately @ 250psi. I constantly lose oil and psi. Usually 15 psi from beginning of ride to end over 2 hours time. I am sick of it. How the bike handles from beginning of ride to end is completely different. It starts to suck on the climbs. I feel I am sinking too low in the rear. I lose pedaling efficiency. It's a drag. With my camber I did one jump at Rays and lost the hundred psi. So that was blown out in one stroke. When I first blew out the first rear shock on my SJF SR, it spit out a bunch of oil. I didn't really lose PSI but lost a lot of oil. Now I am losing PSI and oil. Just how much oil does an air shock have in it?  The SJ FS uses a proprietary rear shock mount that makes it so you can only use the particular rear shock it comes with. If I had my druthers I'd swap in a FOX Van RC coil spring and be done with it. No hardware exists currently to do that.
Some of this is just me thinking things out. I do think that things are quite different when you're a Clydesdale class mountain biker. much of this doesn't apply to lighter weight riders. So the question is do I selloff this frame or bike to a lighter weight rider and pull the trigger on new coil spring Enduro? Or maybe just abandon Specialized altogether and buy a full suspension coil spring frame from the likes of Intense etc? Input is welcome.
Interesting thing is I have now ridden 2 different air sprung front forks and have not had any problems whatsoever.

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Gary S
Board Member, co-Trail Steward Blue Mound SP
Administrator

November 01, 2013, 03:29 PM

Seems like you've got a good plan. I don't think the fork takes as much punishment from rider weight as the shock does. Good luck!

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November 01, 2013, 03:45 PM

My buddy is right at your size, I feel sorry for his Enduro every time I ride with him


~ Burn rubber


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Bmoha7311
Specialized Jeremy

November 01, 2013, 08:29 PM

I think you're right Gary. Rear is where most of the bodyweight is.
Enduro are just slightly more burly than the SJ FSR. Has a better rear shock. Still air...
Coil spring is the way for me.
Most everything on a mountain bike is designed for a max rider weight of 100kg. Some things push it to 110kg. There are some interesting exceptions.  Specialized 26" Carbon fiber Roval wheels are rated at max rider weight of 250 pounds.
I ride very aggressively. Most people don't expect to see a 275 pound man get air on a mountain bike : ) Surprisingly I don't break very many parts except rear shocks.
Although I did break a spoke in my rear wheel last Tues.  Kind of a mystery why it happened. haven't really seen one break right in the middle of the nipple before. I landed everything straight and didn't wreck.  odd

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Walt Hougas
Trail Steward - Blue Mound SP
To Be A Man...

November 02, 2013, 06:30 AM

My opinion only.

Specialized makes nice stuff, but their bikes have tended toward expensive in recent years. In your weight range I'd be looking at DH equipment. Coil rear makes sense. Air shocks aren't going to last with high pressure. I sold my Enduro to Dave's brother in law. With all respect, he is a stout fellow. A bike that had been reliable for a long time suddenly started breaking, including multiple rear wheels.

Unfortunately for big guys, bike companies manufacture for smaller, lighter riders.

Buy what works for you. Your loyalty toward Specialized is admirable, but they aren't taking care of you.

Walt

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Bmoha7311
Specialized Jeremy

November 02, 2013, 07:38 AM

good points Walt

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Gary S
Board Member, co-Trail Steward Blue Mound SP
Administrator

November 02, 2013, 08:21 AM

FWIW I noticed on the frame that I'm building up, the Fox shock has a max PSI of 300. It's a new Float CTD. I'm not sure if that equates to increased rider weight, but thought I'd mention it. I'd tend to agree with Walter's and your thoughts about a coil shock.

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« Last Edit: November 02, 2013, 08:23 AM by Gary S »

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Bmoha7311
Specialized Jeremy

November 02, 2013, 09:12 AM

Right. 300psi. Unfortunately it just means that the shock can be pressurized to 300psi. 250psi is the maximum psi it's functional to while riding. I got read the riot act by FOX when getting the first one warranted.
I forgot to mention a funny story. Sort of. When I first blew out the rear shock I took the bike back to Eric's. They took off the shock & sent it back to FOX. New England somewhere. 5 weeks no shock. No news from FOX. I have to admit I was getting pissy. I kept calling the bike shop. The bike shop kept calling FOX getting no news. No loaner bike. I was to say the least annoyed. After 5 weeks FOX finally called to say they got the rear shock. Finally got the rear shock?! Turns out FEDex shipped the rear shock from the store to FOX by train. And that particular train derailed in Boston. I forget the details. So my rear shock was part of the accident investigation from the train derailment. Hence the 5 week delay. FOX did find a problem. Replaced innards. Shipped it back. So that rear shock has already been thru a lot.
I have to agree that Specialized's quality has really taken a dive. But to clarify I would say it is on the rebound and has been for a couple years. At least since '12. I have owned 5 adult (won't include the myriad of kids bikes I've bought for children) 3 of those have been full suspension. I had a 98 ground control FSR Comp with full XTR that was nothing short of incredible. Coil sprung front and rear. FOX Vanilla Rc rear shock. It was the bike with the wild extruded manipulated front triangle. It was 27 pounds bone stock with mostly XTR components (with Specialized parts like cranks and front hub.) The only shortcoming was bushings in the rear suspension instead of cartridge bearings. That bike was made in Japan. That was the only year they used that extruded manipulated front triangle. The next year the FSR line was made in Taiwan and the quality fell hardcore. To be honest tho that period of time was when most every bike manufacturer switched to frames made in Taiwan and quality fell as whole throughout the bike industry. In my opinion the bike industry suffered a recession of sorts and it really seemed like bike technology was not being pushed. Many bike companies (or companies that made bike parts) were shuffled combined sold or went out if business. Bikes for the most part are still made in Taiwan but I think the quality has really started to come back.
For the most part when the FSR is working right and really the only thing that ever doesn't work right is the rear shock, I haven't had any other problems otherwise, it's really really good. It's stiff as hell. Light. As it sits it weighs less than 27 pounds. It climbs like a deranged billy goat. It carves corners. The geometry is stable at high speed and still has no problem with tight and twisty. If I could put a a FOX Vanilla Rc coil read shock on it I'd probably never look @ another bike. I deeply regret selling my '98 Specialized Ground Control FSR Comp. Sucks you had to buy a new bushing kit for the rear linkage every year but I'd deal with it. 

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Walt Hougas
Trail Steward - Blue Mound SP
To Be A Man...

November 03, 2013, 06:11 AM

With regards to the rear shock bushings: I had a similar issue with the Enduro. The shock was mounted in such a way that dirt was flung onto it directly from the rear wheel.

I ended up buying a tool to remove and install the bushings. At a guess it was under $50. The bushings themselves were inexpensive, certainly under $10. The whole job was under an hour. What started out as a big problem turned into a trivial issue.

Walt

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Bmoha7311
Specialized Jeremy

November 03, 2013, 06:34 AM

Interesting Walt : ) I have seen others that had similar problems fabricate a small fender of sorts about 3" long to block debris from getting to the bottom of the rear shock. Taking the SJ FSR to Rays today. We'll see how the rear shock fares. I might demo a Slash or something similar too.

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TheMayor1
Trail Steward - CamRock
Trail Steward
608-772-7833

November 03, 2013, 02:11 PM

I still have a '98 Specialized FSR Comp gathering dust in the garage. It was my only ride for about 10 years. Awesome steed.


~ Chuck Hutchens


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Bmoha7311
Specialized Jeremy

November 03, 2013, 03:04 PM

Amen Mayor. I'm @ Rays today just getting my ass handed to me. Rear shock has lost 50 psi so far. Is just not working for gettin air.

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Bmoha7311
Specialized Jeremy

November 03, 2013, 06:48 PM

Correction; it felt like it lost 50 psi. I took a break and found it lost no psi but bizzarely the rebound adjustment dial had spun 10 in the complete wrong direction within an hours riding. The rear shock has a flip switch between full plush and pro pedal which sort of translates to lock out. Just active during big hit. I have noticed if the switch gets lost somewhere between the 2 positions or the rebound knob gets lost between clicks it can be an absolute mystery as to how the rear shock will perform.

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Bmoha7311
Specialized Jeremy

November 08, 2013, 06:34 PM

I had a talk with the FOX rep and he assures me I can run this thing all the way up to 300 psi.  I set it at 275psi tues and did 8 miles at camrock.  Much improved.

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Bmoha7311
Specialized Jeremy

November 08, 2013, 07:06 PM

Long-term I am looking at replacing the frame. Manufactures I'm looking at our Santa Cruz, Norco, intense, foes, knolly and Pivot.

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