ShockWiz is a unique product that connects to your bike's front or rear shock; takes some smart air pressure readings, and inputs them into a smartphone App, to provide a high-tech tuning device. Staff rider Steve Kitchin takes a look…
One of the dark arts in mountain biking is getting your suspension set-up right. When your shocks are dialed-in correctly, the bike works for you; ironing out the bumps, and keeping things in control in the trickiest of situations.
The shock is the heart, or actually more the brain of your suspension. As suspension shocks get smarter, with more scope for fine tuning and control, the more knowledge we need to set them up correctly.
The big pro teams will meet up with their suspension supplier pre-season; to tune in the shock set-up for their individual style and bike design. With ShockWiz you can now do that too.
I have been using the ShockWiz for a few weeks, and have found it an interesting and worthwhile product.
Having ridden full suspension bikes exclusively since my 1992 Mongoose amplifier, I feel I'm pretty good at setting up the suspension. I started by setting my suspension as I normally would, keen to know if ShockWiz could improve my ride.
The bike in question is Vitus Bikes Escarpe 29 VRX (2017) Mountain Bike - as the name suggests, it rolls on 29er wheels, with 150mm front and 135mm rear suspension.
Before getting started, you need to calibrate the shock. Quark's own video explain this far better than I can.
Once calibrated, ShockWiz states that you need to have the shock reading 0-2% of travel while stationary.
To double-check calibration it's worth doing a sag test using the rubber o-rings on your shock. I set the air pressure to achieve 30% sag, while the bike is stationary with my rider weight.
My Rock Shox Pike forks and Rear shock both have sag % printed on them; so just sitting on the bike you can check they tally up - as your phone turns into a digital gauge show sag %.
You also need to consider your riding style -you can pick one of four Tuning styles to suit your style: Efficient, Balanced, Playful, or Aggressive.
When you're ready to go, hit the 'Start New Session' button and ride.
ShockWiz has these 3 videos explaining Installation, Calibration and Tuning info:
- Quarq ShockWiz: Installation
- Quarq ShockWiz: Calibration and App SetUp
- Quarq ShockWiz: Use and Data Analysis
What did I learn?
More fork tokens required
Within 15 mins, ShockWiz made the suggestions that the Pike fork Air Spring Ramp needed more spacers / tokens. This was a simple job once back home: release the air, unscrew the 24mm air cap with a socket, and you'll see there is one plastic token already fitted as standard.
The Vitus Escarpe VRX 29 came with two additional tokens in the kit, so I screwed them both on, re-fitted the cap, and pressurised the forks. Then, I re-calibrated it - something you have to do every time you remove the ShockWiz.
The plastic tokens take up air volume, meaning with less air in the forks it gets firmer quicker. Instantly the bike felt it had better poise. The bike sat up higher in its travel keeping the head angle suitably slack.
After another single track loop, the ShockWiz indicated it was improved and I moved down to the next adjustment on the list.
If you tap the recommend adjustment on your phone, a new detailed page opens up explaining why and how. After each adjustment you have to hit Start New Session on the app to count.
Shock tuning score
As you adjust the dials, the Shock tuning score goes up. I'm at 96% on the Rock Shox Pike. I was stuck at 92% for a while, but then with some Low Speed Compression adjustment got to 96%.
Happy at a 96% score, I decided to go the other way and do the opposite of what the ShockWiz guide said, and am pleased to report ShockWiz picked up this wrong adjustment, and advised the correction. It's clever!
Who is ShockWiz for?
Having considered myself an expert, I'm pleased to say that ShockWiz not only helped me fine tune my set-up, it also got me thinking about how the bike was behaving.
For less experienced riders it will take you through the steps and help you to get the basics right, then educate you in the tuning.
What bikes does it work on?
ShockWiz works on most air shocks. The higher spec your shock, the more tuning adjustment it will have, and the more ShockWiz can help you set it up.
Is it quick to use?
No. After each adjustment you need to 'Start A New Session' and ride for around 20 minutes, on demanding trails offering technical single track, and as much demanding terrain as you can fit in.
The harder you ride, the faster ShockWiz will work. I thought I would set everything up front and back in a couple of hours. In fact it's more 2-3hrs for each end.
Start with the fork, then do the rear shock. If the rear shock had a fair bit of adjustment, it will effect the balance of the front; so it's worth going back and doing the fork again once rear is set.
It also a unit that will help you fine tune between different riding location.
It is however an expensive piece of kit, personally I think I would look to pool in with my riding friends to spread the cost.
I'm impressed with the ShockWiz. It will help high level riders fine tune their suspension, and allow less experienced riders to ensure their bike is doing the right thing.
View the Quarq ShockWiz at Wiggle