Cane Creek Double Barrel Air shock review£475.00

State of the art, rider tunable suspension

BikeRadar score4/5

Cane Creek’s big air can shock is a serious investment in super smooth, state of the art, rider- tunable suspension. It’ll only pay off if you really know what you want to do with your ride though.

At 554g (215mm) the Double Barrel Air is around 200g (depending on size) lighter than the titanium coil shock and also comes in shorter sizes – down to 190x50mm – both of which make it more suitable for trail bike use. It’s still heavier than Fox and RockShox piggyback air shocks if you’re really counting calories, and the big can will also foul on some smaller or tighter clearance frames.

If it fits your bike and budget though, there’s no other shock that matches it for external adjustability. Rebound and compression both get separate high- and low-speed adjusters, which can be tweaked easily with a flat screwdriver or the nifty little tool provided. You can also adjust the air volume to make it more or less progressive. 

If you read that without really knowing what it meant, then either save your money or be prepared to use Cane Creek’s interactive online tuning and do a lot of on-the-job learning.

The ability to separate rider movement, braking and pedalling control from drop and block reaction in terms of both absorption and return opens up a whole new world of fettling.

The range of adjustment is massive, so while tactile tuners will notice each click, it’ll cope with a big range of suspension types and rider weights. Once the seals are bedded in, its super smooth right through the stroke, so even small pressure changes make a noticeable difference.

Cane creek double barrel air shock:
Cane creek double barrel air shock:

While the default performance is extremely well metered, movement control and excellent traction boosting ground connection, the amount of adjustment is obviously a double-edged sword. 

If you’re prepared to spend the time tweaking, know which direction to make those tweaks in, and you’ve got a bike with suspension issues you really want to solve, then there’s nothing to match it. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could easily spend £500 making your bike ride worse. That price doesn’t include the mounting hardware either. 

We’ve also had no wear or servicing issues in a wet summer of abuse everywhere from the Megavalanche to the Yorkshire Dales, but the steel fixtures have started to rust, so smear a bit of grease on if you want to keep it shiny.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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