The Kitsuma continues Cane Creek’s commitment to its DB (Double Barrel) technology, which delivers four-way external damping adjustment via two internal tubes housing independent compression and rebound circuits.
What’s new here is the adjustment is tool-free, so you no longer need to fiddle around with multiple Allen keys to alter your settings.
The dials are all within easy reach, too, above the piggyback reservoir.
Cane Creek DB Kitsuma Air shock specifications
Cane Creek claims the shock should work on most mountain bikes without the need for any internal tuning to make it compatible with your frame, due to the wide range of external adjustment.
The dials are indexed, but their limited rotation (one full turn for the low-speed circuits, two for high-speed) means you can check your settings at a glance, based on their positions. Soft/firm and fast/slow labels provide simple guidance.
Internally, the shaft diameter is wider (9.5mm) to increase lateral stiffness.
There’s also a new polished and ported main piston for better responsiveness, a monoblock oil seal head and larger shaft rings for improved durability and alignment, plus a more progressive bottom-out bumper.
Cane Creek DB Kitsuma Air shock performance
I ran the high-speed compression and low-speed rebound fully open on my test bike, but settled on 11 out of 14 clicks of high-speed rebound. That leaves enough adjustment for lighter riders to get a sufficiently fast rebound speed.
With the low-speed compression, I switched between fully open and seven of 11 clicks (from closed), depending on the trail.
Being able to change the settings on the fly was welcome when riding high-speed flow trails, where I could dial in a bit more support, or steep tech trails, where I could open things up for extra traction.
The rebound can be set fast enough so the suspension can recover between repeated bumps, stopping the shock from packing down and feeling harsh, and enabling you to use your bike’s travel effectively.
It gave my test machine a lively yet supple feel, and helped smooth out the trail.
The compression damping was light enough that the Kitsuma Air tracked the ground well and delivered plenty of grip, but smaller riders may find it harsh. It comes alive when ridden hard, rather than cruising.
Spring progression is good and can be tailored with volume bands. Another plus is the three-position climb switch.
The ‘Descend’ mode maintains your open settings, ‘CS’ is great for undulating terrain and chunky climbs, and the ‘Firm’ setting almost locks out the shock.
Cane Creek DB Kitsuma Air shock bottom line
Overall, the Kitsuma Air is impressive, but the high-speed dials are stiff to turn, and if you’re a fit-and-forget rider, all this adjustability might not be important to you.