Gear Review: Cane Creek DBinline Air Shock

Cane Creek launches twin-tube damper performance and adjustability in a compact and lightweight single tube shock package


Cane Creek DBinline

Back in January during the Enduro Compare-O, we tested the Specialized S-Works Enduro29, a bike that ended up winning not one, but two of our five “Golden Pliny” awards for Best Descender and Best Overall Bike. An integral part of what made this bike such a standout was the Cane Creek Double Barrel Air CS rear shock – an air-sprung, twin-tube damper with individual low-speed compression and rebound and high-speed compression and rebound adjustment capability along with a Climb Switch.

The tunability of the DB Air has made it a popular choice for bigger all-mountain rigs, but what about mid-travel 120-150mm rigs that would like the superior performance and tunability of a twin-tube damper shock without the added bulk and weight?

Cane Creek DBinline

On Monday Cane Creek officially launched the DBinline Air Shock, delivering twin-tube damper performance and adjustability in a single tube shock package. The release of the DBinline Air Shock is a significant step forward in the ongoing suspension wars because it’s a shock that’s first of its kind, doing away with an external reservoir so it can fit on a wider range of mid-travel bikes.

Without getting too mired in the techy details of this new offering from Cane Creek, let’s instead focus on the big picture of what this means for most consumers who don’t spend hours tinkering with their suspension. With the DBinline Air Shock, riders with 120-150mm travel bikes will be able to bolt on the bigger-bike performance of a double barrel shock in a compact package without paying a weight penalty.

Additionally, for those who have no interest in messing with dials and settings, Cane Creek works closely with a number of manufacturers including Specialized, Intense, Kona, Ibis and a slew of other brands to tune the DBinline to an ideal “base tune” – optimized for the individual bike it will be outfitted from the factory with.

Cane Creek DBInline Cross

For those suspensionphiles who love to tinker with settings, the factory tune can be enhanced with four setting adjustments: high and low speed compression as well as high and low speed rebound. A 3mm allen key controls all four click settings to dial in suspension to suit individual tastes; a philosophy that Cane Creek strongly believes in. Why a 3mm allen key? Vice President of Engineering, Josh Coaplen, explained it quite sensibly.

“We don’t want people just turning dials, not knowing what they’ll do. Pulling a tool out of your pack is a commitment to taking time in adjusting the suspension properly.”

Cane Creek DBinline Adjust

The CS, or Climb Switch is located in the center of the four adjustment screws, which is relatively easy to reach depending on shock orientation. Cane Creek informed us that a remote handlebar Climb Switch will be available later this year, designed for ergonomic use on bikes with and without front shifters.

Another clever aspect of the DBinline is its adjustable air can that can be rotated depending on frame orientation for easy air valve access and shock pump adjustment. The four-way adjustment assembly can also be rotated at the factory to fit specific frames.

Cane Creek DBinline Aircan

Cane Creek has a resourceful website to not only help people fit the right shock to the right frame, but also to help them tune the shock to recommended settings. The Fit Finder makes life easier for bike builders, The Lounge is a meeting place for folks to discuss tuning tips and tricks and the Base Tunes page lets you select a specific make and model of frame, then shows you the number of turns required on each of the four settings to reach the base tune setting from the factory.

Because of its twin tube design, the DBinline has as much as 48 percent more oil than its monotube competitors. Although this adds about 80 grams in weight to the shock, the added oil volume is much better suited to resisting heat and fade when descents get long and demands of the shock increase, part of what gives the DBinline its bigger-bike suspension feel. Besides, if you’re really fretting over 80 grams more weight, you should be riding a hardtail.

Continue to Page 2 for DBinline riding impressions and full photo gallery »

About the author: Kurt Gensheimer

Kurt Gensheimer thinks the bicycle is man’s most perfect invention. He firmly believes ‘singlespeed’ is a compound word. He sometimes wears a disco ball helmet. He is also known as Genshammer. He is a Gemini and sleeps outside in a hammock.

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  • Bikethrasher says:

    Just what my little 5010 needs.

  • hellbelly says:

    Great review, ASS. So here is the question. Cane Creek now has the DB Air CS and the DB Air Inline. They have the same adjustments and features, but the Inline weighs and costs less. Cane Creek suggests that it is for bikes having between 120-150mm of travel, but lines get blurred. So is it going be more beneficial for let’s say a 160mm travel bike to have the DB Air CS in terms of performance or durability over the Inline? Is there a benefit for a bigger bike, heavier or more aggressive rider to use the bigger shock? BTW, I prefer the color orange for my Endor-O outings/accents, obviously the opposite of blue so does this disqualify me from being a proper Enduro rider?

  • Shawn says:

    Nice! I hope they come up with a base tune for a Santa Cruz Nickel. Although, it would probably be the same as their VVP bikes.

  • terrible says:

    Now if they’d just make it on a 8.5×2.5 I’d love to have one on my SB66a

    • EMR says:

      They do make that size, check cc’s website. Fit finder will give you options for the 66, with the inline being one of those options.

  • PJay says:

    The Enduro (26) is actually 165 mm travel in the rear, stock. The E29 is 155 mm stock. I don’t point this out to be a dick, I am genuinely curious to know if this shock is actually recommended for the Enduro (26) since I own one. Does it affect the head angle, the BB height, among other things when you mount this shock? Or have CC compensated for these concerns through adjustments that don’t seem to be addressed in this review?

  • bryan girton says:

    I know where my next upgrade is going to be!

  • Doral says:

    I have a mounting question. I bought a 2014 Titus Elgupo 29er and the DBinlineShock. Which way should I mount the shock? Air can forward or rear.

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