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Cane Creek release their new Double Barrel CS rear shock

Cane Creek release their new Double Barrel CS rear shock


I’ll start at the beginning for those who’ve been living in a Double Barrel free cave…

In 2005 Cane Creek first introduced their coil sprung Double Barrel shock and to say it re-wrote the rule books on rear shock performance is a massive understatement. The twin tube design allowed Cane Creek to offer external adjustments for high and low speed compression, and high and low speed rebound damping. These adjustments also operate truly independently of each other. To achieve this level of adjustability on a rival shock you’d have to open it up and tinker inside, which is not something that many riders can do, plus it can’t exactly be done out on the trail and tweaked easily.

Overall the Double Barrel offered incredible grip and control which could often completely transform the way in which a bike performed. At first these shocks were only really fitted to DH bikes, but it wasn’t long before we realised the benefits that they could bring to a trail bike. It’s not exaggerating to say that we’ve even had some DB equipped trail bikes that have outperformed many DH bikes fitted with lesser shocks. It simply comes down to the control that the DB offers.

Obviously fitting a weighty coil shock to a trail bike wasn’t a compromise that many were willing to make so a few years back Cane Creek finally introduced an air version of the Double Barrel; the DBair. Once again this changed our perceptions of how well an air shock can perform and it transformed many a trail bike just like the original coil version had transformed so many DH bikes.

When it came to trail bikes though there was one thing that some riders felt was missing, and that was some form of climbing mode. With the ability to fine tune the low speed compression and rebound damping you could tune the shock to improve even the worst pedalling frame designs, but this always came at the expense of grip when you started heading down again. Basically you had to decide where you wanted to compromise, was it in descending prowess, or was it in climbing efficiency? This new CS ‘Climb Switch’ puts an end to that though.

The little black lever may be small and simple, but don't let that fool you into thinking it can't unleash something special.
The little black lever may be small and simple, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it can’t unleash something special.

With the new CS version of the DB Cane Creek have added another two low speed damping circuits, bringing the overall total up from four to six. The four previous circuits (LSC, LSR, HSC & HSR) work in exactly the same way as before, but they are now joined by an extra LSC and LSR which are engaged via the new ‘CS’. With the switch turned off your shock works exactly like a non-CS shock, but when you switch it on it engages the two new circuits, which in turn increases both the low speed compression and low speed rebound damping.

Unlike previous versions of the Double Barrel the low speed adjusters no longer sit in the middle of the high speed ones.
Unlike previous versions of the Double Barrel the low speed adjusters no longer sit in the middle of the high speed ones.

What this means is that you can run your optimum settings for descending duties, and then when you’re climbing you can easily increase the low speed damping to improve pedalling performance. Now you might be thinking that this sounds awfully similar to all the climbing modes that we’ve seen on other shocks in the past, but it isn’t due to one crucial difference. That difference is that everything that has come before has purely relied on increasing low speed compression damping, and not both compression and rebound. That is more of a big deal than you might at first think as to get the same kind of pedalling efficiency by just altering the compression you have to increase it considerably more than you would if you altered rebound at the same time. The consequence of having to increase it more than is absolutely necessary is that you lose out on grip. With the Cane Creek CS system you still get a fully active shock with incredible grip. In fact you still get the kind of grip when climbing that you get from a DB when descending.

As you'd expect from a Double Barrel this is also one classy looking piece of kit that's finished to the highest possible standards.
As you’d expect from a Double Barrel this is also one classy looking piece of kit that’s finished to the highest possible standards.

That last sentence might sound impossible seeing as you have increased the low speed damping (and as I said before that reduces grip), but because you are climbing the shaft speeds of the shock are lower and so the slight increase in low speed damping does not detract from the suspension performance. Yes if you engage the switch when descending you will notice a marked drop in grip, but that’s because the shaft speeds are now higher again. As for the amount of increase in low speed damping when you engage the switch, this is set internally (and can be adjusted internally) and tailored for each specific frame design. It’s important to note that the switch doesn’t just switch to a standard setting though, instead it increases the damping relative to your main settings. Also, it’s not just a case of on or off because as you move the switch from the off position it gradually increases the low speed damping until you reach the maximum predetermined change at the far end of the levers travel. If that maximum change isn’t enough for your needs (it should be though) then any Cane Creek service centre will be able to increase it internally.

The prototype DBair CS that I've been testing aboard an Ibis Mojo HD-R
The prototype DBair CS that I’ve been testing aboard an Ibis Mojo HD-R

So, the killer question…does it work? Well I’ve been lucky enough to have been testing a prototype version of this shock and the short answer is most definitely yes. First impressions were that it was very subtle compared to other designs, so much so that I wasn’t sure if it was actually making that much difference at first, especially as I was testing it on an Ibis Mojo HD-R, a bike that climbs well as it is, but it wasn’t long before I started to realise that it was this subtlety that made it so special. If you really start to try and hammer up a technical climb with the CS turned off there is definitely a fair bit of unwanted movement going on, but then when you turn it on everything is far more composed, there’s no annoying ‘bob’, yet you still have incredible levels of grip and suspension that works every bit as well as it should do. It just doesn’t seem like you have to compromise at all, it really is bloody impressive when climbing, and of course when you head down again with the CS switched off you’re again treated to the kind of composure and grip that most other shocks can only dream of. Even when running the HD-R in 130mm travel mode it never felt phased even when giving it some serious stick on beaten up DH tracks.


Downsides? Well apart from a slight increase in cost compared to a standard DB (which will still be available) there are none as far as I am concerned. I mean it works every bit as well as we’ve come to expect from a DB when heading downhill, and then at the flick of a switch it provides you with the kind of climbing performance that you’ve previously only dreamt of. Oh, and there’s another added benefit, and that’s that all the damping adjusters can now be tweaked with a single 3mm allen key rather than a selection of spanners. Personally I am also totally happy having a simple, reliable and easy to use lever on the shock rather than yet another bloody lever on my bars, but I am sure some riders will be saying ‘but I want a remote switch’, and in answer to that I am equally sure that Cane Creek are working on such a thing.

Finally, for those riders who want the ultimate suspension performance of a DBcoil it also looks like Cane Creek will be adding a CS version of that shock too, which should make pedalling your bike up the hills a little easier no matter how much it weighs.

Anyway, here are the tech spec’s of the new shock and Cane Creek’s promotional video…

  • Weight: 509g (weight varies by size)
  • Damping: Twin Tube independent compression and rebound in two high-speed and four low-speed damping circuits.
  • Adjustments: Air spring rate, High speed compression, Low speed compression, High speed rebound, Low speed rebound, Climb Switch On/Off.
  • Finish: Anodized and laser-etched.
  • Lengths: 190 x 50mm (7.5″ x 2.0″), 200 x 50mm (7.87″ x 2.0″), 200 x 57mm (7.87″ x 2.25″), 215 x 63mm (8.5″ x 2.5″), 222 x 63mm (8.75″ x 2.5″), 222 x 70mm (8.75″ x 2.75″), 240 x 76mm (9.5″ x 3.0″), 267 x 90mm (10.5″ x 3.5″).
  • Can Sizes: Standard (all lengths), Extra Volume (200, 215, 222, 240)
  • Mounting Interface: High performance low friction bushing, 1/2″ universal axle.
  • Manufacturing: Hand built in Fletcher, NC, USA.
  • Availability: September 2013


Featured in this post

  1. Cheeario

    CC Triple Barrel?

    1. Cane+Creek+Cycling+Components

      Ha ha Cheeario — it’s actually Triple Barrel times two — SIX way. Yeah, we said it.

  2. Mike Cooke

    Yum. Can’t fit one on my Foxy XR though which makes me cry a little.

    1. Cane+Creek+Cycling+Components

      Sorry Mike. Nice ride, but yeah — tough fit on “pierced” tubes.

  3. dirt dodger

    Those new dials look sick as f**K !! I have been a CCDB user now for 4 years, I cannot make an argument against them despite all the muppets out there saying they are over priced or complicated which isn’t true – i suggest most people slagging off a CCDB have not experienced them personally or are too damn lazy to take a day getting the settings right for their bike/style. Not so long ago people were using the argument if they are so great then why don’t they appear on more bikes? – – HAHAAAA have you looked around lately? they are everywhere :-)

    1. Cane+Creek+Cycling+Components


  4. Olly

    How long before we see a CTD version, with an “in-between” setting for undulating terrain? 😉

    1. Hancock

      Creek are way ahead of you there, just move the lever half way on this one. Like CTD, but good!

    2. Ed

      I was just about to say the same.

    3. Cane+Creek+Cycling+Components

      Olly, it’s designed to be off or on (that’s where the stops are), but since when do any of us do what we’re supposed to?

  5. Matt Damon

    Can a standard CCDB Air be upgraded?

    1. Ed

      I don’t see why at least in theory it couldn’t be done, but I can’t imagine it would be cheap as the stuff that would need replacing is a big chunk of the complex parts of the shock.

    2. Cane Creek Cycling Components

      Thanks for your question. The DB-Air CS is a completely different damper from the DB-Air, and it isn’t possible to retrofit or upgrade to the CS platform. The DB-Air CS is a new shock separate from the DB-Air.

  6. Bob

    Is this what Fabian Barel has been hiding inside his mysterious suspension “bag” at the last few EWS rounds, or would that be another proto shock from Fox? (I guess the bag could just contain a standard shock from someone other than his principal sponsor…)

    1. Hancock

      Journo: What’s in the bag Fabien?
      Fabien: Vivid Air
      Fox management: ಠ_ಠ

    2. Cane+Creek+Cycling+Components

      While it would be pretty rad to have a guy named “Barel” on a “Double Barrel”, and our marketing folks would have a blast with it, we’re thinking no. “What’s in Fabien’s bag” is not a game we’re playing right now.

  7. Kirk

    Curious to know if this would suit VPP suspension designs (specifically a SC Bronson). Older articles in DIRT had always said the two don’t get along.

    1. Cane Creek Cycling Components

      Hey Kirk — The beauty of the DBAir is that it can be rider-tuned for just about any suspension platform. Suspension is personal, and the CS adds to the adjustability. We’ve already had quite a few inquiries about the Bronson, and we’re figuring it’ll be pretty fantastic …

  8. James Hetfield

    The DB Air was the deal maker for me buying the new Enduro. As perfect as the geo and fit was for me on the bike, there was no way I could ride an RP23 after running customed tuned coil shocks on my last bike. The DB Air is head and shoulders above the other air shocks out there, and this feature makes it even more so. Great job.

    1. Cane Creek Cycling Components

      James — First, we’re all big fans here at Cane Creek. The work you did on Master of Puppets … well, let’s just say “mind altering” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

      Seriously though, thanks for the kind words. We’re excited to be at the forefront of putting suspension tuning into the hands of you, the riders. Define Your Great!

  9. ChrisG

    There are few and perhaps no air shocks in the class of the DBair. Certainly, with these appearing stock on Specialized MTBs we should take seriously Specialized’s massive vote of no confidence in what it once claimed was a key technology – the Brain inertia shock.

    The inertia shock idea will undoubtedly live on (and deserves to) with some bright designer being able to realise the promised advantages without letting the crummy implementation details – thresholds, brass masses, lockouts (whether maintained by weight or magnetism) – get in the way.

    One thing is certain, all other MTB air shocks, whether they exist today or are as yet just some squiggles on a sheet of paper, will be measured against this one.

    1. Cane Creek Cycling Components

      ChrisG — Thanks for the kind words. We’ve worked closely with Specialized for a number of years now; the aim is to spec the right shock for a given bike/suspension platform. We’re glad you like the DBAir!

      1. ChrisG

        Your words in response to my praise of the shock were very kind but I am of the view that there should be very limited latitude for manufacturers comments in a place like this. To correct errors or confusions is fine but not to use the occasion as a promotional opportunity.

  10. James

    I think all brands should reply to people’s comments on here! Nice one Cane Creek keep up the good work!

    1. Cane Creek Cycling Components

      James, it’s the least we can do!

  11. steve

    Ive ran a Cane Creek coil on my trail bike (nicolai) and dh bike when i had it for few years now and i cant say enough good things about the company or the product.
    Malcolm especially has been awesome at gettin back on emails with tuning tips help etc.
    I would say anyone put off by all the setting and setup that cane creek are awesome at helping you set the shock up.

    Again cheers Cane Creek for such a great, helpful and easly contactable top firm (are you listening BOS!!!!)
    keep up the good work

    1. Cane Creek Cycling Components

      Steve, thanks. We’re glad all our efforts to teach Malcolm to read have paid off. :-)

  12. RONIN

    ccdb coil has pushed my riding ability to scare the piss outta myself constantly without fear of losing grip! effin amazing product and company to have dealt with.

    1. Cane Creek Cycling Components

      Right on Ronin! Our head of retail sales promised his wife he wouldn’t buy armor when he started his job … so much for that …

  13. Brizzle Rider

    As a CCDB coil rider I can imagine this will be the gert lush of air shocks, but when are CC going to really shake things up and take on the fork market?

    1. Cane Creek Cycling Components

      Brizzle — thanks for the suggestion. We’ve asked before here and on other forums — what would YOU want to see in a Cane Creek fork?

      1. Ronin

        Same great adjustability and damping and at this point 26″ compatibility for us retro grouches. Haha

      2. Ed

        Simple…the performance, adjustability and reliability that you’ve managed to produce in the DB, just in the shape of a fork.

      3. Cane Creek Cycling Components

        Ed — Thanks, that would be a given. We don’t do something unless we can do it right! I know it’s tough, but what are you all seeing in the UK? 27.5? 29er? A/M? 140? 160?

      4. Brissle Rider

        Personally I’ll have an air sprung (ie adjustable) 160mm 26″ wheel fork capable of taking on decent downhill tracks / alpine descents and riding back up again if I can be arsed or miss the van. Thanks! As for the mass uk market I suspect you could sell scrap metal as long as you put on nice stickers and called it “optimum wheel size enduro forks”…

  14. Gabe

    Dh 200mm 26″ PleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePleasePlease

    1. Gabe

      Although that may be a bit much to ask for a first foray into forks (check the alliteration) in which case I would say anything that doesn’t ride like a wet noodle and goes up and down as nicely as your shocks do. Before moving up to 200mm a year or two later.

      1. Cane Creek Cycling Components

        Gabe, like we said, if we do anything, it’ll be right the first time!

  15. SwissTony

    How about a future proof AM fork that can fit a 26 and 27.5 wheel with a 20mm axle that has a simple way to reduce the amount of travel, that can be set up by the rider to work just as well if they weigh 60kgs or 100kgs. Make that and I will buy one for myself and one for my wife! Thank you!

    1. Cane Creek Cycling Components

      Ha — SwissTony, what about all those 29er riders?!

      1. Ed

        Screw 29’ers :)

  16. lovely boy

    I’ve asked all the 29 riders, they said they will wait as they have more canal tow paths to ride along so please concentrate all your efforts on proper mountain bikes for now 😉

    1. Cane Creek Cycling Components

      Lovely, c’mon over to Pisgah sometime. Hardly a canal tow path to be found!

  17. ronin

    since you guys are workin with spesh now is there any possibility to get pre 2013 enduros(there’s a Sh*tload out there!) a retrofit for a ccdb air? Better yet this new CS? the mid stroke wallow with the fox spec is ass. Even just a small run of say 25-50 of ’em?

    1. Cane Creek Cycling Components

      Ronin, thanks for the suggestion. At this time we have no development or production plans, but we’ve heard this quite a bit. We’ll see!

      1. Ronin

        It would be like christmas morning. Yes, Virginia. There is a Santa claus. Please let it happen.

  18. robbonzo

    Hey guys, I also want to see a highly adjustable air fork, with 20mm axle that will fit both 26 and 27.5 wheels, that would be a great place to start. 160-170 mm adjustable travel. oh and can it please be cheaper than Fox. As for 29ers I think a long travel 29er fork with 35mm stanchions is needed.

  19. Pete C.

    Sounds like quite a concensus? 160mm, 20mm axle, to fit 26 and 27.5.

    1. MrB

      Personally I’d be strongly against 26 and 27.5 compatibility because of the compromises such flexibility would bring.

  20. ronin

    Ed- where can i order my “screw 29ers” shirt?

  21. Jesse

    160mm 20mm axle 35-36mm stanchion (a REAL AM/Light fr) fork air or coil but if air has to work. then all the great ccdb features and im in.

    DH fork later

  22. Jon P

    Loved the CCDB on my 224 evo, changed the bike for the better. Will this shock fit a 2011 Specialized Enduro and do you fancy sending me one to test for you?! Real world ham fisted, jump casing, berm t-boning skills!

  23. Antlees

    Him looks like the bloke in shameless with Tourette’s
    Fuck cunt twat!


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