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?
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.
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.”
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 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.