Having seen the prototype RockShox Vivid R2C on various pro riders’ bikes, we were keen to find out just how good it was. Once we got our hands on a production sample, we wasted no time in seeing how the feature-packed damper performed on the hill.
Weighing in at 1,055g (with spring), the R2C is light for a coil shock, especially considering the punch it packs. The minimal yet effective five clicks of adjustment make it easy to get the low-speed compression damping dialled in, and once we were happy with our settings, we didn’t need to change them on any of the R2C equipped bikes we rode.
Rebound damping is a similarly easily adjustable affair, with an end of stroke rebound dial next to the low-speed compression adjuster and a beginning stroke rebound dial at the opposite end of the shock. All the adjusters are neatly machined and easy to turn, even in gritty, muddy conditions. Even the least technically minded of riders should be able to get the shock riding well, while committed shock fettlers will rarely find themselves twiddling the knobs.
The first noticeable trait of the new Vivid is how easily it moves into its stroke – the Counter Measure negative spring definitely does the job it’s intended to. That smooth initial action is retained throughout the stroke too, making for the most supple coil shock we’ve had the pleasure of riding. Despite the feeling that every small trail undulation is being soaked up, the Vivid never uses more travel than it needs to, remaining composed and offering seemingly endless support.
This gives you the confidence to drop your heels and smash through that rock section or hit that steep take-off flat out, safe in the knowledge that you know exactly what the bike’s back end is doing. Things remain lively when they need to be and planted when they don’t, with masses of rear wheel traction.
Banging out 15-minute downhill runs in the Spanish sunshine, the shock’s piggyback chamber got pretty warm but the damping remained unbelievably consistent, even on those big, harsh square edges where you’d expect the rebound to lose at least some of its control. Durability has been impressive too. We’ve put in some serious hours on our long-term test unit – close to a year’s worth of riding for most people – yet it’s as smooth, supple and consistent as it’s ever been.