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Forum Hot Seat - Dave Camp, RockShox Design Engineer

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11/19/2015 10:42 AM

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We're kicking off the Vital MTB Forum Hot Seat with our long-time friend, ripper and mad scientist, Dave Camp. We've seen Dave come up from collegiate shredder to DIY garage-builder to industry engineer. Dave is fast on a bike and creative in shop.

A little background info:
Name: Dave Camp
Age: Just turned 30 sad
Years riding: 26; 16 for real
Education: ME degree from CU Boulder
Competitive result highlights:
-One time I beat Eric Carter in a dual slalom race (he crashed because I intimidated him with a nasty holeshot)
-Recently got 4th at Snowmass Big Mountain Enduro 2015
-Qualified for Slopestyle finals at 2007 Crankworx Colorado
-Won some Mountain States Cups back in the day
-Crashed a lot

Some of Dave's garage-made bikes from the last few years
DC Special 1.0
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DC Special 4.0
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Camp keeps it fun with the skinsuit and the Giant Faith w/ swinglink flipped for a slacker, lower bike
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Employment history:
-Bike shops all through high school and college... Big Kahuna Bikes in Littleton was the best
-Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for 3 years, fresh out of college. I did lots of paperwork and ran around on submarines looking for leaking pipes.
-Trek Bicycle suspension office in SoCal for 3 years. I helped design the Re:aktiv shock and did a bunch of other research projects and stuff that never made production like the patented seatpost project you guys showed, a bunch of other stuff.
-Currently at RockShox for a year so far.

Current job/position title
RockShox Rear Shock Design Engineer. I design shocks and help with testing and starting production. On-going production problem support. TPS reports. etc.

Post your tech or riding questions here today and Dave will respond as best he can.

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11/19/2015 10:47 AM

This thing working?

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11/19/2015 10:50 AM

what's with the bike in your avatar?

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11/19/2015 10:53 AM
Edited Date/Time: 11/19/2015 10:55 AM

Amphibious bike we made in freshman engineering class. it was rad

https://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/600/avatar/s1600_water_bike.jpg?1291496885

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11/19/2015 10:55 AM

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11/19/2015 11:02 AM
Edited Date/Time: 11/19/2015 11:02 AM

I wonder if anyone will ask if Rockshox will ever gonna sort the problem with the infamous 'sagging' Reverb dropper smile

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11/19/2015 11:02 AM

Hi Dave, what are your favorite recreational rides in Colorado?

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11/19/2015 11:03 AM

What's your preferred suspension design and why? Thanks!

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11/19/2015 11:04 AM

jan.czugalinski wrote:

I wonder if anyone will ask if Rockshox will ever gonna sort the problem with the infamous 'sagging' Reverb dropper smile

It's a known issue smile someone is working hard on it...

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11/19/2015 11:05 AM

David Sholts wrote:

Hi Dave, what are your favorite recreational rides in Colorado?

My favorite ride would have to be getting dropped off on top of Vail pass and going Bowman's shortcut to 2 Elks EAST down to I-70.

I also am enjoying a lot of the canyon rides here in Colorado Springs

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11/19/2015 11:06 AM

Dave, what does a typical day of testing for a new suspension product/prototype involve for Rock Shox? What metrics do you try to quantify and how?

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11/19/2015 11:08 AM

mcclane wrote:

What's your preferred suspension design and why? Thanks!

I've really enjoyed my Transition Patrol- (horst link/FSR). I think that design lends itself well to making a bike pedal, brake and absorb bumps well. Leverage rate is easily tuned and adjusted. It's also easy to package (room for waterbottles etc) and make stiff. Now that Specialized's patent is up a lot of bikes other than Specialized are using that design with good results.

Currently that's my favorite.

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11/19/2015 11:09 AM

Hi, I am a senior in high school and have a strong interest in CU Boulder for a degree in ME. How much did Boulder prepare you for a job in the cycling industry?

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11/19/2015 11:10 AM

Also, what are some of the best and worst ghetto fixes/mods you've made to your bikes over the years? I remember when you JB Welded a schrader air valve from a tube into your coil sprung Boxxer, for example.

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11/19/2015 11:13 AM

Yo Dave!

Have you (or anybody else to your knowledge) experimented with dual-rate springs for MTB suspension? Everybody is always looking for small bump compliance + big hit ramp-up...could dual spring rates help address that need, or am I missing something?

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11/19/2015 11:13 AM

bturman wrote:

Also, what are some of the best and worst ghetto fixes/mods you've made to your bikes over the years? I remember when you JB Welded a schrader air valve from a tube into your coil sprung Boxxer, for example.

haha, i think that fork is in here - http://www.vitalmtb.com/photos/features/DIY-Dave-Camp-and-the-DC-Special-Gearbox-Bike,53/Slideshow,644/sspomer,2 (flash feature only unfortunately)

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11/19/2015 11:13 AM

bturman wrote:

Dave, what does a typical day of testing for a new suspension product/prototype involve for Rock Shox? What metrics do you try to quantify and how?

Lots of short (repeatable) loops or shuttle laps with swapping only one component each time. I also like to go A-B-A-B so I'm sure about my decisions. I think it's pretty critical to test components on only one bike. So if I'm testing forks, it has to swap on my frame with the same seat and grips etc, you can't jump on another bike and expect to get fair results. Shocks are easy to do blind tests with, so sometimes we do that.

Testing is extremely hard- you have to be disciplined enough not to ride (or at least evaluate) product if you're tired or conditions change. You can easily make opposite decisions if you're getting tired and hungry vs feeling fresh and rested at the beginning of the day.

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11/19/2015 11:16 AM

dirtcrazy wrote:

Hi, I am a senior in high school and have a strong interest in CU Boulder for a degree in ME. How much did Boulder prepare you for a job in the cycling industry?

It prepares you somewhat, but I went out and did my own side frame projects and made bike parts in the ME department machine shop to gain more experience. Working in a bike shop part time is also awesome experience- and you get deals on bike stuff smile

I'd say you need to go above just getting a degree. Racing, wrenching in a shop, side projects- all those things are excellent preparation for bike industry jobs.

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11/19/2015 11:19 AM

bturman wrote:

Also, what are some of the best and worst ghetto fixes/mods you've made to your bikes over the years? I remember when you JB Welded a schrader air valve from a tube into your coil sprung Boxxer, for example.

Oh man...

-I've taped rags around my stanchions to prevent oil from dribbling down my lowers and getting on my brakes
-used beer can shims between axle and lowers to compensate for bent lowers on a dirt jump bike (QR fork)
-bolt through frame and seatpost to prevent wrong sized seatpost from twisting

plenty of other scary stuff

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11/19/2015 11:23 AM

Can you explain to us the situations in which high and low speed rebound come into play and how to get a base-line setup regarding those two adjustments?

And, why did RockShox omit externally adjustable high speed compression on both the Vivid R2C and Boxxer platforms?

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They call 'em fingers, but I've never seen 'em fing.

11/19/2015 11:23 AM

iceman2058 wrote:

Yo Dave!

Have you (or anybody else to your knowledge) experimented with dual-rate springs for MTB suspension? Everybody is always looking for small bump compliance + big hit ramp-up...could dual spring rates help address that need, or am I missing something?

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I think a few bike suspension companies have played with dual-rate springs, but no one has been able to make them work. Not sure why. I think springs are pretty hard to make in general, and adding another tuning option to a rear shock might be difficult for frame manufacturers and people to understand.

If you think about it- the regular coil and bottom out bumper are already a sort of dual rate spring- just right at the end of stroke you get a massive increase in force.

Also- air springs are generally adjustable in this manner by using volume reduction.

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11/19/2015 11:23 AM

Which shock tune do you recommend for the vivid air r2c on a giant glory advanced (2016) my bike came stock with a M/L tune and it seems to go through the travel quite easily, even with oversprung by 50lbs. (i'm at a 450lb spring) I weight 180lbs and i'm an agressive rider trying to find faster lines and make mistakes haha

I did the math and seems like with a 2.66 to 1 ratio a medium compression tune "should" work.

if it should be a m/m why on earth was a m/l specced?


Also, whats the difference between the B1 (i had in 2014) B2 and B3 shocks?

Thanks Dave!

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11/19/2015 11:27 AM

Hi Dave.
Air or coil based on performance alone?
If the answer is coil then why can't I get a spring for my boxxer that is properly x firm.Any suggestions on how to get the best out of my boxxer team & vivid r2c.I'm using a 500lb on the rear and x firm in the front of my dh but it still feels too soft for my weight.I'm pushing 250lbs and struggle with suspension set up other than using air but I prefer the feel every time of coil.

Stoked you ride a patrol, I do also and have just fitted the push 11/6 to it.Man it sure does rip.

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11/19/2015 11:28 AM

iceman2058 wrote:

Yo Dave!

Have you (or anybody else to your knowledge) experimented with dual-rate springs for MTB suspension? Everybody is always looking for small bump compliance + big hit ramp-up...could dual spring rates help address that need, or am I missing something?

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Dave_Camp wrote:

I think a few bike suspension companies have played with dual-rate springs, but no one has been able to make them work. Not sure why. I think springs are pretty hard to make in general, and adding another tuning option to a rear shock might be difficult for frame manufacturers and people to understand.

If you think about it- the regular coil and bottom out bumper are already a sort of dual rate spring- just right at the end of stroke you get a massive increase in force.

Also- air springs are generally adjustable in this manner by using volume reduction.

I'm thinking the dual rate would help on the compression, but not the rebound? and it would add another dimension of tuning which may not be consistent enough. You would almost need a hard, soft, hard wound spring. The current valving systems do a great job, I'm looking at it like the edision DC vs tesla AC. sure DC can work in most applications if you throw enough tech at it, but it won't work well naturally.

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11/19/2015 11:30 AM

ziph wrote:

Hi Dave.
Air or coil based on performance alone?
If the answer is coil then why can't I get a spring for my boxxer that is properly x firm.Any suggestions on how to get the best out of my boxxer team & vivid r2c.I'm using a 500lb on the rear and x firm in the front of my dh but it still feels too soft for my weight.I'm pushing 250lbs and struggle with suspension set up other than using air but I prefer the feel every time of coil.

Stoked you ride a patrol, I do also and have just fitted the push 11/6 to it.Man it sure does rip.

and too bad they don't have in between lb ratings for boxxer coils.. I'm in between and red and blue.

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11/19/2015 11:30 AM

Gnarnia420 wrote:

Can you explain to us the situations in which high and low speed rebound come into play and how to get a base-line setup regarding those two adjustments?

And, why did RockShox omit externally adjustable high speed compression on both the Vivid R2C and Boxxer platforms?

Low speed compression comes into play on inputs like pedal bob, weight transfer due to braking, pushing into a berm or the lip of a jump. Your low speed adjuster can help keep your fork from diving or help tune out pedal bob on your rear shock. This adjustment is easy to feel bouncing around in the parking lot and can add chassis stability.


High speed compression is more in effect on square-edged hits, large drops and other sharp impacts. Generally we find the high speed adjustments are a lot harder to tune and usually only add harshness.


I think the HSC adjustments were omitted due to cost and the fact that most (definitely not all) consumers didn't gain much performance by twiddling the knob.

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11/19/2015 11:36 AM

ziph wrote:

Hi Dave.
Air or coil based on performance alone?
If the answer is coil then why can't I get a spring for my boxxer that is properly x firm.Any suggestions on how to get the best out of my boxxer team & vivid r2c.I'm using a 500lb on the rear and x firm in the front of my dh but it still feels too soft for my weight.I'm pushing 250lbs and struggle with suspension set up other than using air but I prefer the feel every time of coil.

Stoked you ride a patrol, I do also and have just fitted the push 11/6 to it.Man it sure does rip.

MR.KOOTNIKOFF wrote:

and too bad they don't have in between lb ratings for boxxer coils.. I'm in between and red and blue.

Certainly depends on the bike and situation. Air is lighter and generally more tune-able, however for suppleness and traction it is hard to beat coil. I'm currently air only, but mostly because I only ride one bike and I like having a lockout and being able to tune the ramp of the spring using the tokens/bands.


That's a tough situation- if you are maxxed on coil springs and it's still too soft- you might have to go air or air assist of some kind.

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11/19/2015 11:37 AM

Hello David,

What are your thoughts about stuntin' on jumps mid race run?

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MRP - VP of Business Dev.

11/19/2015 11:38 AM

If money weren't an object, what upgrades or modifications would you make to your suspension to help it perform as best as possible?

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11/19/2015 11:39 AM

NoahColorado wrote:

Hello David,

What are your thoughts about stuntin' on jumps mid race run?

I think you know smile

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