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  1. #1
    Back in black cydewaze's Avatar
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    Should I upgrade my rear shock?

    I have an 01 Jamis Dakar Expert with (I think) a Fox Vanilla R rear shock. It's a coil spring unit, which I run most of the way to full preload. Given how old the shock is (time-wise, not usage-wise) I'm thinking there's something better on the market from a performance perspective.

    I do mainly cross-country riding. Lots of twisty single-track, with lots of climbs. No jumps, no drops, nothing like that. I'm thinking an air-sprung unit might be better.

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    In search of moar cowbell dminor's Avatar
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    Sounds like you're trying to make the poor shock do what it wasn't meant to do. If you have the preload cranked all the way up, it's probably because it's either undersprung or (more likely) you don't want it to move much. That poor Vanilla R was meant to stroke; and you're getting little good out of its rebound damping capability overdriving it like that. Get one of the new stable platform shocks and/or one with a lockout for the climbs.

  3. #3
    Back in black cydewaze's Avatar
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    I'm curious, if the Vanilla R was not meant to be run at 85% of full preload, then why are did they provide for the adjustability to do that? I have around 15% of the threads still showing, so someone somewhere assumed that they might get used.

    Isn't the preload just used to compensate for rider weight to achieve the proper sag? I have around an 3/4" to 1" of sag, so I am getting some travel. How much sag is the thing meant to have? I have no idea - I bought the frame last season on a closeout.
    Last edited by cydewaze; 03-01-06 at 12:16 PM.

  4. #4
    Winter commuting mode Tequila Joe's Avatar
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    Your preload is fine. It is to compensate for the rides weight and your sag sounds correct.

    I would stick with the existing coil shock because my wife's 03 Dakar & a buddy's XLT both use Vanilla Coils w/o platform. They both have much better small bump compliancies than my Fox Float w/Pro-Pedal. IMO. The only real advantage of a air shoick is a weight savings as Coils are tougher and gives a better ride all around.

    Any how,, if you are planning on switching out, if memory serves me right, you would be looking for a 6.5" i2i shock w/ 1.5" stroke. Consider a Manitou 4-way over a 3 way or Float. You can adjust its progressivness to adapt it better to your frames leverage ratios and will give you more adjustability to your ride preferance than a coil. You might get lucky and be able to re-use your reducers. Otherwise my LBS was charging $15 for the two bushings.

    T.J.
    Last edited by Tequila Joe; 03-01-06 at 12:05 PM.

  5. #5
    Back in black cydewaze's Avatar
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    Thanks Joe, that's very useful information. After reading what you wrote, I think I'll stick with the current shock. I wasn't unhappy with the performance; I just assumed in 5 years the technology would be making better shocks.

    My bike has a horst setup, so it's already very active and has good small bump control. I'll save my money (and use it on some other senseless upgrade ).

  6. #6
    Winter commuting mode Tequila Joe's Avatar
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    The only advantage I have with the Float Pro-Pedal platform is more efficient pedaling with less bob as the coils w/o platfrom. The sacrifice is small bump compliancy. To be honest, I wish I had a 03 Float without platform.

    T.J.

  7. #7
    don't misunderestimate me BoSoxYacht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cydewaze
    Thanks Joe, that's very useful information. After reading what you wrote, I think I'll stick with the current shock. I wasn't unhappy with the performance; I just assumed in 5 years the technology would be making better shocks.

    My bike has a horst setup, so it's already very active and has good small bump control. I'll save my money (and use it on some other senseless upgrade ).
    I wanted to call dibs on the old one.

  8. #8
    one less horse cryptid01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cydewaze
    I'm curious, if the Vanilla R was not meant to be run at 85% of full preload, then why are did they provide for the adjustability to do that? I have around 15% of the threads still showing, so someone somewhere assumed that they might get used.

    Isn't the preload just used to compensate for rider weight to achieve the proper sag? I have around an 3/4" to 1" of sag, so I am getting some travel. How much sag is the thing meant to have? I have no idea - I bought the frame last season on a closeout.
    You shouldn't judge your preload by threads showing. You should really be running just a few turns of preload. Much more than that and you're better off switching to the proper spring. Go to the tech center at Fox's website and download your shock's owners manual.

  9. #9
    Back in black cydewaze's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gastro
    You shouldn't judge your preload by threads showing.
    I'm not. I'm judging it by sag.

    BUT, the link to the owners manual was very handy. It looks like someone swapped the shock or something, because according to the manual, it can't be an R because it has no dampening adjuster. So I think it's just a plain Vanilla (no pun intended). The spring is marked 500#1.6

  10. #10
    don't misunderestimate me BoSoxYacht's Avatar
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    I'm curious , how much do you weigh ? I've got the same shock+spring on my Dakar and weigh about 160-170#'s . It seems to work great , but I don't have much FS expirence to compare it to . BTW is that Tyler in your avitar ? I'm pretty sure I tuned his bike once.... of course he was just a little kid back then.

  11. #11
    Back in black cydewaze's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoSoxYacht
    I'm curious , how much do you weigh ? I've got the same shock+spring on my Dakar and weigh about 160-170#'s . It seems to work great , but I don't have much FS expirence to compare it to . BTW is that Tyler in your avitar ? I'm pretty sure I tuned his bike once.... of course he was just a little kid back then.
    The last time I rode the Dakar was the middle of last summer and I was right around 197-200. I've lost a bit of weight now (185, and plan to be 180 by riding season) so things might be different after that.

    And that's Jens Voight in my avatar.

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