Ooops. That didn’t last long.

So when I ordered the frame, I had a choice of two shocks. Cotic offer the X-Fusion O2 RCX by default, with the option of a Cane Creek DB I-line for £300 more. Clearly the DBi is a better shock, but it isn’t without its foibles. Its a bit prone to wear from bending and the droplink design of the FlareMAX has seen a fair few shocks wearing their shafts and leaking. Its also not the best for the larger rider, though Cane Creek have changed the rebound shim springs since launch to better address that issue. The O2 is a fairly basic shock, nothing like the adjustments of the DBi and it has a pretty shit reputation for exploding with regularity when ridden enthusiastically.

You can buy the frame without a shock for £100 less, and I considered that, but in the end I figured I’d get the X-Fusion, run it and see how the bike was and go from there. What I hadn’t banked on was it going back for warranty after only 4 rides! The shock doesn’t have much rebound damping even when new, with me maxing the rebound to get anything remotely ridable with the 260psi in the shock I need. Even then its a bit quicker than I’d like. However after just five and a half hours of riding it had no rebound damping; top-out-tastic!

Thankfully Cotic got me booked in with Upgrade the same day I dropped them an email (a Monday). So I popped the shock off in the post and the next day I received an email from Upgrade saying they’d got the shock and it would be 7-10 working days for them to look at it and fix it. 2 weeks!

My local riding, which is all I’ve done on the FlareMAX thus far, is very woodsy, rooty and muddy. There isn’t anything fast, rocky or involving drops. The O2 shock has been, well, uninspiring. It has the unfortunate habit of “trap dooring” and leaving you with your pedals on the ground and if you pop it into its first (of 3) compression modes it helps with that, but means if you happen across a faster section of roots, it spikes annoyingly.

So, I always knew I’d be buying something better than the O2 and with Upgrade saying 2 weeks to get it fixed, I asked the guru’s at TF what I should get instead and added some bling in the form of a Fox DPX2 (which is a 50mm travel shock, but you can stick a bigger bottom out pad in to limit the travel). That was fitted on Thursday, then on Friday morning there was a knock on the door and a nice courier man had a box for me from Upgrade, my shock, fixed. 3 days….

Now I have two shocks and can compare and contrast. For now though I will say this, the fixed O2 has way moe rebound damping that it did originally. I’m one click off of max and its about right. More soon.