The Cane Creek Double Barrel is one of the best All Mountain rear shocks on the market today, and the 4-way tunability has been a hallmark of this excellent product. It had some subtle issues when climbing, in which it lacked enough platform during long pedaling sessions on smoother terrain or cranking up the chunder. Cane Creek designed a new selectable climbing mode feature for the DB, which kicks that issue right out the door. The lever actuated Climb Switch, dubbed the CS, offers low speed damping for both compression and rebound when engaged, and reacts like the existing DB when it’s turned off. They accomplished this trickery by having six damping circuits, which is two more than the normal DB.
The DBAir CS is an air sprung rear shock, with four-way independent adjustability, an auto-adjust negative air spring, tunable air volume, and Twin Tube damping technology. It comes in eight different lengths and strokes from 190 x 50mm (7.5” x 2.0”) to 267 x 90mm (10.5” x 3.5”) and three XV (extra volume) sizes, and weighs in at 509 grams, and retails for $695.
Cane Creek Technical Info
Double Barrel shocks with the CS feature have four low-speed damping circuits: LSC1, LSC2, LSR1, LSR2 in addition to the 2 high-speed damping circuits: HSC and HSR. In the “off” position of the Climb Switch, the low speed damping is controlled by LSC1 and LSR1; this is analogous to traditional Double Barrel shocks without the CS feature. In the “on” position of the Climb Switch, the low-speed damping is controlled by LSC2 and LSR2, the ‘climbing circuits’. These circuits are heavily damped and tuned specifically to limit low frequency motion of the bike’s suspension, but not to the extent that traction during climbing is sacrificed.
As noted, this isn’t a pedal assist, lockout or low-speed compression damping, but a combo meal package of low-speed compression and rebound when engaged, and together they offer efficient pedaling and riding in both climbing and moderate terrain conditions. The CS prevents inefficient wallowing and energy loss, while providing better traction and riding comfort. The amount of the CS’s LSC and LSR damping are factory preset by Cane Creek for particular bike brands, and they work closely with the vendors for the most ideal tune. There are five levels of tunes or firmness for the CS, which companies can spec for their bikes.
Besides the additional lever and circuits on the CS models, the new design required the separation of the low-speed and high speed adjusters. The shiny gold dials are for tuning the high speed, while the steel gray ones are for the low-speed. Another great improvement is the switch to a normal 3mm hex key for adjustment of the dials or knobs, instead of the funky double ended box wrench of its predecessor.
The Double Barrel lineup includes the DBAir CS and the existing DBcoil and DBAir versions. Unfortunately, the new design is not backward compatible or retrofittable to the original DB, so you’ll have to buy a DBAir CS shock if you want the CS functionality.