PUSH ElevenSix rear shock
Each PUSH ElevenSix shock is made and assembled by hand in Colorado, USA and tuned especially for the bike and rider.
PUSH says that it focuses on “matching the shock’s characteristic to the specific bike, including pistons and valves that are machined to have a certain flow rate, different densities of bottoming bumpers, valving strategies, etc. The rider then tunes the last 20 per cent via the external dials to suit it to their riding style.”
This level of quality control doesn’t come cheap, making the ElevenSix one of the, if not the, priciest shocks on the market. At the time of writing though, it was being offered at a discounted price of £800 by UK distributors Saddleback.
You can reconfigure your shock to fit a new frame should you upgrade, and PUSH will even replace parts if they’ve been updated (for an extra fee). The ElevenSix won’t work with every frame out there though, so be sure to check on PUSH’s website for compatibility.
The shock’s big party trick is its Dual Overhead Valve system. This design means it has two individual, switchable compression damping circuits. So, you can have one set up for maximum traction and the other for pumping and jumping. Or, in my case, one set up for downhill and the other far firmer for pedalling back up.
My ElevenSix was tuned for my GeoMetron G16 test bike. After initial testing, I ended up going back to PUSH because, while the shock felt controlled, it wasn’t as forgiving as I’d have liked.
After a retune, it felt far more comfortable. External high- and low-speed compression damping and rebound dials let you adjust things further, and give a wide enough range to make a big difference to ride feel, but in incremental steps, which helps when refining the ride.
On the hill, the ElevenSix goes about its business almost silently, except for the occasional ‘whoosh’ when it’s working particularly hard.
The level of control and composure is seriously impressive. Pummel into a string of square-edged roots or rocks and it’ll soak up the hits while keeping the bike feeling steadfast and planted, letting you keep things under control and stay confidently on your line.
On lengthy downhill trails with prolonged rocky sections, the ElevenSix does feel marginally less forgiving than EXT’s Storia shock (which is what I did most of my back-to-back testing with), with more feedback through the pedals – something that’s more noticeable as fatigue kicks in.
Backing both compression adjusters off a touch from the base settings did help somewhat, but the Storia definitely has the edge here. The PUSH also doesn’t deliver quite the same level of traction when the trails are in poor condition, but then the EXT is exceptional in these circumstances.
The ElevenSix doesn’t lack support though, and when you want to load the bike hard, there’s plenty to push against. It certainly helps to create a lively, dynamic ride, while keeping things calm and collected when things turn rowdy.
On the climbs, I appreciated the firmer setting of the shock’s second circuit and liked the way I could tune it to maximise traction without losing much pedalling efficiency.
While the PUSH shock doesn’t come cheap, Saddleback’s back-up is great and the tuning options are vast.