Today we take a look at the Ohlins TTX twin tube rear air shock, but before we dive into that discussion, let’s grab a little context. I’ve been riding variants of the Fox Float X2 since 2014, when an engineer at Fox asked me to test an initial prototype on my old Ibis HD3. Ever since, I’ve had a ton of experience with that shock, and really liked how I could adjust the HSC so much. I would use that as a tool to help correct the HD3’s geometry for my own needs. Since then, the X2 has improved massively, and my own needs and tastes have shifted slightly as well. So let’s look at a few shocks, and finally, hone in on the Ohlins TTX!
The HD3 was the first “modern” enduro bike I was able to ride extensively, and in hindsight, the head angle was a little too steep for me, and the rear suspension wasn’t as progressive as I’d like. Enter the Fox Float X2! This is a spot where a shock with such adjustable high speed compression (“HSC”) can really shine- if you need to run more sag than ideal, like 40-45% instead of 25-30%, you can dial in a little more control to prevent excessive bottoming with the HSC. I would leave the low speed compression (“LSC”) nearly wide open to keep the small bump compliance as good as it could be, and would add a bit of high speed rebound (“HSR”) to keep things controlled.
Fast forward past the HD4 and into the world of enduro 29ers- the Ripmo is born. For the first 6 months or so, I rode it with an early X2. This worked, but it hindsight, it wasn’t the best set up for my own riding style. I really enjoyed that bike, but after some time on the Fox DPX2 rear shock in late 2018, I realized I much preferred the feel of the DPX2. If I could put it in one word, it would be “lighter”. The Ripmo became much better in the small bumps, as the more open feel of the DPX2 allowed it to react faster. The smaller air volume means the shock is a lot more progressive, and for my riding style of constantly jumping and putting input into the bike, pumping and manualing, the support and progressivity of the smaller air can feels great.
I will say one thing though- the latest X2s are really, really good, much better that the first few years, but the main drawback is that they don’t fit as many volume reducers as the DPX2. The Evil Offering is a unique example of different suspension needs, so let’s move on to that bike, as that’s where I’ve ultimately tried the Ohlins.
Big thanks to Jenson USA for sponsoring this video, and arranging for me to try out all three of these different shocks! Anything purchased from the following links will directly help support my channel- thanks!!!
I wanted my Evil Offering to feel a little more “poppy”, with less damping and a more progressive spring. The Offering is an amazing bike for a “wheels on the ground” riding style, which is great. But my style is a little more active and “hoppy”, and I wanted the suspension to absorb less, and instead, push me forward. I was able to borrow a DPX2, and really liked it- it was much closer to the feel I wanted. However, the difference wasn’t as drastic between the newer X2 and the DPX2 as it was back on the Ripmos.
Logan and I made a quick visit to the guys at Cascade Components, where I got a few links to try- including one for the Offering. While I had a half dozen rides with the DPX2 and the stock links, I was excited to try the Cascade link, as it increases the leverage ratio earlier into the shock’s stroke. This would again be great for a rider with a “wheels on the ground” style, but for me, it exaggerated the bike’s ability to soak up my own input.
Then I went ahead and bought this Ohlins TTX Air shock. It’s expensive, and I admit I had my doubts, but holy cow, things started to go in the right direction.
All of these shocks are twin tube dampers, which means oil is circulated through two concentric tubes as a part of its circuitry, but the way in which the damping happens is VERY different between Fox and Ohlins. I have a hunch that this is due to patents, but I’m not totally sure on the reason. Anyhow, Fox has oil passing through the main piston of the shock, then damping fine tuning happens up at the poppet valves within the eyelet end. The adjusters use a needle to create an adjustable passageway for the oil. This is a tried and true style of damping, and is certainly legitimate. But is it for everyone?
Ohlins, however, has a solid main piston that only pushes the oil- no oil passes through the main piston. Damping happens via traditional shims up at the eyelet. This design is somewhat simpler, and is a lot closer to what motorcycle suspension systems use. But before we get too excited about such smooth, consistent damping, let’s back up a moment. I certainly notice air spring a lot more than damping- and especially so on these shorter travel bikes. Yes- I consider a 140mm travel frame to still be “shorter travel”. So on to the air spring- I packed the Ohlins shock as full as I could with volume reducers. And wow- that set up hit the sweet spot!
The damping is extremely smooth. The Fox shocks work awesome, but I’ll be darned, the Ohlins is indeed smoother. I went for the maximum volume reduction within the TTX Air, and the way it ramps up works very well on the Offering. I’ve been riding this shock for only 6 weeks, so I can’t comment on the long term durability, but I’m optimistic that the traditional shim stack and simple design will prevent cavitation and that it should last.
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