Summary at the bottom for those with ADHD
It's a massive improvement-- totally transformed the ride of my Blur, which was using an old Float R AVA shock. My bike has a first-generation VPP suspension which doesn't bob like a single pivot, but it definitely needed a shock with some platform. Pedaling efficiency is vastly improved. I rode about 10 miles in Trail 3 and still got full travel out of the shock on some mild jumps, and the bike did not bob out of the saddle. Obviously, small bump compliance suffered in Trail 3, but it still was nothing like riding a hardtail or rigid MTB.
Writing some notes, I put the shock in Trail 2 and headed back to the trail. I could feel a bit of movement if I pedaled hard, but it still was a dramatic change over the old shock. You didn't need a hill to notice-- the bike accelerated much better out of corners and felt way better over slow, rooty sections. Less than a mile in, I heard a loud BANG. It was similar in volume to firing a .22, but it wasn't the same tone at all. I was mystified because the trail was nearly smooth at that moment. The tires still had air and I was in the woods so I kept riding. About a mile later-- yes, I'm that dense -- I noticed the rear end kicking back over bumps and roots.
I checked the main blue knob to see if I was accidentally in Descend mode. Nope, still in the middle, Trail mode. I flipped it to Climb mode, which is nearly locked out. No change. I bounced on the pedals and the bike bounced a lot. Locked out the fork and bounced the pedals again--- nearly the same bounce.
I pulled over and got my shock pump out of my Camelbak. Upon connecting it, some oil came out of the valve. That's not normal. It was still at the 120 psi I had set.
I finished my lap carefully because the trail is uni-directional and I couldn't ride back out without risking a head-on with someone. (It's counter-clockwise 4 days a week, and clockwise 3.) Messed with the shock a few more times. No compression or rebound damping at all.
I called Fox and all they can do is repair it and send it back out. They will put it at the top of the queue and express ship it once fixed. I asked what the problem could be and the phone tech said they'd have to disassemble it to see full details, but the bang was likely the nitrogen letting go, and it might be a main seal but there are other possibilities.
I packed it in a small box and it was light-- under a pound. Nevertheless, FedEx Kinkos wanted $40 to ship it overnight insured, and that would actually be Monday since it was after 8pm last night when I got there. I chose ground because it'll get there Weds-Thurs ish and it was $15. So, hopefully I will have it back by Nov 9th. If Fox somehow turns it around in 24 hrs, then I could have it as early as the 5th, but I'm not getting my hopes up.
New shock let go less than 12 miles in. Shipped back to Fox for repair. From the little riding I got in before it failed, it's a massive improvement and I'm excited to get it back, but very disappointed that it failed.