After six years of prototyping and real-world testing on both the
World Cup stage and FMB World tour, RockShox has announced that they’re ready to roll out new and improved versions of their Vivid and Vivid Air rear shocks, the $430 Vivid R2C and $674 Vivid Air R2C, respectively.

The new Vivid incorporates a technology (in classic RockShox fashion it gets a catchy nickname–Counter Measure) which reduces the breakaway force of the shock to virtually zero pounds, and in RockShox’s words “transforming small bumps into traction-generating performance.”

Here's a cut-away of the Model Year-2014 Vivid: up top is the main piston assembly, Counter Measure and seal head; below (in the piggy-back) is the Internal Floating Piston

Pressure behind the internal floating piston (IFP) provides damper consistency, but that force also pushes the shock to extension, which to some degree, reduces the shock’s sensitivity over trail chatter. RockShox says Counter Measure balances the IFP pressure, eliminating the 60 pounds of force traditionally needed to initiate shock movement. The result, says RockShox, is “..extreme sensitivity in initiating shock movement, transforming small bumps in to traction-generating performance.”

The new shocks also receive dual-rebound circuitry (in RockShox nomenclature, Dual Flow Adjust Rebound): one circuit handles small bumps and pedaling forces and the other circuit controls rebound on big
bumps, like smashing rocks or sending big jumps.

Dual rebound adjusters enable you to fine tune the shock's small-bump (beginning stroke) and big-bump (ending-stroke) performance.

RockShox claims to have also bestowed the Vivid and Vivid Air with a new internal friction reduction technology in the rebound circuitry (i.e., “Rapid Recovery”) that should make the shock more responsive on successive hits, and should greatly reduce the odd squelching noises that most of us just shrug at and accept as the cost of pushing so much oil through so many shims and tiny orifices.

Per the official PR…

Rapid Recovery allows the shock to recover more quickly between consecutive bumps, letting the wheel track the ground with greater precision. This more active suspension system doesn't pack up and enables the bike to ride in a higher and softer part of the spring rate. Rapid Recovery gives the rider access to more available wheel travel, bump after bump, to achieve a smoother and more controlled ride.

So, there you have it: better initial stroke performance and better rebound damping on small hits, big wrist slammers and repeat hits.

Does all this pan out in the real world? We’ll try and get our hands on the new shocks and will let you know.