Suspension setup guides that come with your bike and/or suspension will often get you close. But it often requires a more experienced hand to get the very most from your shocks.
Designed in Perth, Australia and currently seeking Kickstarter funding, Dusty Dynamics’ ShockWiz is a small gauge that connects to your air spring, recording pressure data at a hundred times a second and in turn providing data for personalised tuning recommendations.
We’ve seen some professional mountain bikers use advanced and heavy telemetry systems to tune their bikes. These are, however, complex and extremely expensive. The ShockWiz looks to be a simpler, user-friendly option.
The ShockWiz works by determining a percentage of travel used. It seeks events in the suspension, such as compression spikes or packing down of the suspension over repetitive bumps.
“If an undesirable characteristic is severe enough, or is persistently happening, then ShockWiz will determine the suspension adjustment required to fix it and display this output via a smartphone app”, explained Nigel Wade, the product’s designer.
Following a ride, the ShockWiz app will make suspension tuning suggestions
Wade continued: “I can't go into too much detail about how the algorithm works. But as an overview, once it has converted from pressure into percentage of travel, the device scans through the data and looks for the shape of particular suspension movements.
"Once it has found 'events' of importance, it can characterise them (determine if they are undesirable or not, class their severity, time the duration of your jumps...). From here, it will determine what specific suspension adjustments are required to stop the undesirable event from occurring again.”
With this, based purely on air pressure, the ShockWiz can provide data on pressure, rebound, high and low speed compression damping, bottom out control and compression ratio. This latter feature is useful for the growing number of air chamber adjustment options: such as replacement air cans, tokens and/or changing oil volumes within the spring.
Once your suspension is dialed in, you can then remove the ShockWiz from the bike. Although it's likely you'll want to come back to it again as your riding skills progress.
The unit is rather small
Weighing in at a claimed 45g, the ShockWiz is claimed to be waterproof and dust-tight (IP67). The device uses a replaceable coin-cell battery, which is said to last for months of use.
Installation is a matter of attaching the device body with a zip-tie to your shock/fork, and threading on the Schrader valve. In addition to the attachment valve, a male valve is given, enabling pressure adjustments with the ShockWiz installed.
After calibrating the unit and going for a ride over varied terrain, the ShockWiz app turns this data into useable and relatively simple information
The ShockWiz will transmit its data via Bluetooth 4.0 (Bluetooth Smart) to both Android and iOS devices. The app doesn’t need to be connected to the ShockWiz during operation, and can be paired after the ride for a look at the collected data.
ShockWiz is designed to be universal so that it suits all brands of mountain bike air suspension. However, we’re told the shock or fork needs to have a positive air chamber that consists of a single volume. So, suspension systems with variable chambers, such as Trek’s DRCV, are currently not supported.
Another catch is that adjustable travel forks (such as FOX Talas and RockShox Dual Air) need to be kept in the same travel setting, otherwise a recalibration of the system is required. Further compatibility issues arise with ‘bump detecting’ dampers such as Terralogic, Brain, and E:I. – Wade says that with these the ShockWiz “won’t work as well”.
Wade already has working prototypes, and if the ShockWiz Kickstarter campaign is successful, expects to start shipping units by January 2016. Based on Kickstarter incentive pricing, the first 100 backers should expect to pay US$199, with the following 200 devices selling for US$224. Remaining units will sell for US$239. There is also incentive pricing for those looking to buy two units.