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Existentialism-- Just a bloody good excuse to go riding...

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Vector HLR Air

Finally... my first ever air shock with a piggy.

Since I'm pretty much bias against Fox these days, consideration for any of their latest offering with , Kashischmucks or whatever C.atered T.o D.ummies technology just didn't cross my mind. The Monarch Plus look good but given the experience now with RS shocks in the last 1.5 yrs... I didn't want to chance it.  Seems like RS through the years are still having all sorts of seal and funny little issues with their rear units.
Even with my affinity for X-Fusion, the choice wasn't easy to make.. Having tested an early Vector Air can-- quite frankly I didn't like it. There is a  "staggered" feel as it moves into the travel.. kinda like pulling or shortening a triple sectioned telescope and so I waited for it to be improved.. Been guinea pig and sending feedback to companies on how to improve their first generations components too many times. Besides this one isn't something I get to play for free...

Again when it comes to finishes, X-Fusion is impressive. No change in my take on this aspect for the Vector HLR Air. Very nicely machined bits. Nothing flimsy externally. Everything is clearly marked, no confusion as to whether turning it left or right is firm or soft.

33 clicks for the rebound and from a static "sit-down" test you can tell it has a very wide usable rebound damping range.

16 clicks of LSC and same for the HSC.

All's good and positive except for the HSC clicks.. rather faint and while adjusting, I can't help feeling like some safecracker. Almost needed a stethoscope. But then I'm used to the "no-click-dial-style" knobs on my DSP Duelers so it wouldn't be a problem for me. But for those fastidious folks who have to stick by exactly X no of clicks to swear by their perfect setting and needed a fast tune on the trail- this won't make you a happy camper.

Its a big shock. The piggy package and where all the dials are may make this a tight fit on some frames... mine had only 6-8mm clearance after installation

Thankfully LSC is still easily enough to access with just fingernails. A 2.5 hex from your multitool  makes access to rebound and HSC a lot easier than by hand

Oh for the weight conscious... ok it comes in at a whopping 24gm more than advertised. Big deal!

 Im really more concerned now how it rides...tinkering with setting and air pressure on the main and the piggy, my initial thoughts is to run it high (relative to other shocks) on the piggy, 250 psi, as that seems to really bring out the reactive-ness. However that was just a sit-N-bounce assessment so corrections at the trail is highly likely.

Another reason for the higher pressure on the piggy is the stated range is between 180-300 psi. Unlike some shocks where the minimum is ~120 psi. Also in the Xfusion site-- they explicitly stated that emulsification due to under pressuring of the piggy will not be warrantied... Im no engineer but given all the information I would say its probaby safe to stay at a pressure that is ~ mid range of the 2 extremes 240psi +/- 10   psi.

Main chamber is ~102 psi giving ~30% sag-- the "default" for Guapie frames...
But I have a strong feeling I might go with ~25% sag with this shock eventually... somehow at that sag it gave a better "feel good" factor... it was almost like a snappy coil like feel for those that like to use coil for trail riding... Well anyway there are always more way than one to achieve a particular feel... there's also a second option where the rocker can mount to give a different feel to the shock on this frame, so...let's see what goes later on.
(update: when shock has broken in 30% sag was at 95ish psi. Strange.. would have thought when seals break in it should go softer. Any the movement of the shock is even more linear with the break in)

And yes it pays to wait, didn't have that "telescopic" feel on this one after doing some bounce test.

All ready to rock but with the bloody haze condition in SG now there is just nowhere to go..


  1. sooo, how do you like it after riding? whats your setup now (clicks, pressure and your riding weight??

  2. Using it primarily on my "light" trail bike. So setting is a little firm. Geared up riding weight ~77kg
    Set at 30% sag as with all shocks I use on El Guapo frames.. Key is in the piggy psi. Have gone higher than usual... @ 250 psi (workable range is 180-300) Lo comp fully open (0) and Hi comp (8-10) clicks. Basically haven't touch the compression much as it works fine for me. Once piggy dropped to 220 psi-- it starts to have that "coil feel" a little more sluggish but rear end tracks a lot more. Since this setup is gunned for a firm snappy feel -- i kept it up at 250 for my weight. Will play around with the lo comp more in the next few weeks. Rebound is between 45-60% depending on the ride of the day. Will be switching it over to the other bike running coil and see if I can get it to work on the other setup soon. Got swarmed with too many parts recently -- still catching up to really note down everything on this shock now.