Cane Creek entered the downhill suspension category nearly a decade ago with a coil shock. Now, the North Carolina company has several twin-tube dampers that use its ‘4-way’ adjustment to satisfy the demands of trail and downhill riders. Its new coil shock with ‘Climb Switch’ is directed toward the enduro discipline, which often involves descending terrain equivalent to World Cup downhill tracks on 160-millimeter-travel rigs. The dilemma here is that the fun starts at the top of the mountain. Even though bikes equipped with shocks optimized for descending climb better than ever before, they do still sacrifice some efficiency on ascents. This is where the Climb Switch shines.
For the majority of my testing, I mounted the Double Barrel on a Santa Cruz Nomad, a bike content with everything from all-day epics to ripping park laps. Once I found the correct spring rate, I began the tuning process. The wide range of adjustability would be daunting, but thankfully Cane Creek’s set-up guide provides plenty of advice for finding a base setting. Repeating runs on the same trail aided in dialing in the shock by allowing me to tune for certain trail features and my desired feedback. When the climb switch is engaged, compression and rebound damping firm up, removing nearly all unwanted suspension movement while still providing plenty of traction.
With today’s air-spring dampers nearly matching the performance of coil shocks, why would one sacrifice almost a pound for the coil? The linear rate of a coil spring keeps the bike riding higher in its travel on aggressive descents, providing a very supportive mid-stroke during g-outs, drops and berms. Additionally, a coil shock is an easier platform for tuning, whereas the progressive rate of an air spring often complicates adjustments. After finding a dialed tune, the CCDB CS was fade-free, allowing the bike to track straighter and more confidently into rough trail, and it felt like the bike was only using the necessary amount of travel for each impact. This shock turned the Nomad into a downhill behemoth, inviting speeds previously reserved for the downhill bike. However, fearless plowing comes at a price. There is a notable weight increase and the lively pop of the bike is diminished. Cane Creek was among the first brands to create a coil shock that maximizes downhill suspension performance yet, with the switch of a lever, changes the damping to favor ascending. If turning your all-mountain shredder into an all-out downhill brawler is your thing, the CCDB CS will not disappoint.