It goes up and it goes down. It relies partly on the suspension kinematic and we rely on it to deliver us to the bottom of the hill with as much grip and support as possible. The ‘it’ we are we talking about is a mountainbike shock absorber, an integral part of a full suspension bike and yet one that is presented to us in so many guises.
Compression damping, rebound damping, in both high and low speed, lock out, low friction coatings – these are the bread and butter of the modern shock. The type of oil, assembly of shims, main pistons and valve pistons all impact on the nature of the damper. The build quality affects reliability and performance. But at its heart it’s the philosophy of the designer that gives the rear damper its feel, its dynamic ride characteristic and gets you access you into the soul of a suspension boffin.