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DVO Jade X Rear Shock

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DVO Jade X Rear Shock
 DVO Jade X Rear Shock  DVO Jade X Rear Shock  DVO Jade X Rear Shock  DVO Jade X Rear Shock  DVO Jade X Rear Shock  DVO Jade X Rear Shock  DVO Jade X Rear Shock
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Simple, durable, amazing performance!

Rating: Featured Member Review
Simple, durable, amazing performance!
The Good:
-Durable and reliable
-14mm shaft strong enough for yoke-driven shocks
-Simple to set-up
-Super effective lockout
-Piggyback shape is compatible with more frames
-Easier to service and tune at home than most shocks
-No annoying sounds or clicks coming from the damper
-Can easily be converted from 65mm, 62,5mm, 60mm and 57,5mm with stroke limiting spring clips
-Awesome customer service by DVO
-Comes in a padded plastic case -Competitive price vs other high-end options
The Bad:
-Depending of shock size, might have too much travel from stock
Overall Review:

Choosing a rear shock for a new bike built from scratch can be a hit or miss. Most manufacturers spec their bikes with shock tuned specifically for a particular frame’s kinematics.When buying something on your own, you have to make sure that the stock tune fits with your frame or else you’ll have to get a custom tune to get the best performance.

The frame that I was building up (’20 Commencal Meta AM 29) was sold without a shock, but their stock builds came with air or coil shocks. Right from the start, I knew I wanted to use a coil shock even if it was not too progressive (around 20% from what I’ve found). To make sure it had enough progression, I’d use the shock with a Valt progressive spring from Cane Creek.

The Jade X fitted on my 2020 Commencal Meta AM 29.

Why this shock ?

Since I am a tinkerer and I knew I wanted to stay with DVO suspension for the quality of their products and service, my first choice was the “regular” DVO Jade. Unfortunately, due to COVID-related parts shortages, I was unable to find a Jade in stock anywhere for the beginning of the season or else I would have lost a month and a half of riding. The Jade X was a bit over my original budget and I thought it wouldn’t have enough external tuning options, but I still thought that 5-6 weeks of riding was worth more than the price difference, so I bought it before they would be out of stock of those too!

The Jade X comes in a nicely padded plastic case

One of the things that differentiate DVO shocks with the others is the big 14mm shaft. Some people say that bigger shafts = more friction, but to me the stiffness advantage out-weighted the possible friction increase. EXT also use big shafts for their shocks, and they are also rated as one of the top shock manufacturers on the market so I think that it’s no big deal when the right materials are used to reduce friction. What is a big deal though, is that when a shock is mounted on a bike using a yoke, the shaft can be exposed to added leverage and side-loading. We’ve seen some bikes break shock shafts in the past (like the Specialized Demo a few years ago), and even Ibis specify to use a “yoke-approved” shock in their owners manual. The Meta’s shock is driven by a yoke, so the bigger shaft diameter is something that I was looking for to reduce the risk of breakage or uneven wear on the shaft.

Weight-wise, I didn’t care at all of the outcome because I knew I wanted a coil shock to start with and it would be heavier than a piggyback air shock. The 230x65mm Jade X’s damper body weights 384g, but add the 436g Cane Creek Valt progressive spring, the DVO spring clip and preload collar, DVO plastic spring spacer and you end up at 820g for the whole package. Comparatively, the Marzocchi Bomber CR of the same size is 380g and a regular steel MRP 450lbs spring is 450g.

Extra travel issue with the 60mm size

First, I will get a major issue out of the way that needs to be looked into before you buy one : depending on the length, it might have 5mm more actual stroke than listed so make sure that you have enough clearance or ask DVO about this before installing it on your bike. On my 230x60mm version, DVO use a 230x65mm shock paired with a 5mm stroke reducer spring clip to get 60mm, but even including the 5mm limiter, the shock still has 65mm of stroke, and it will use all the length it can use until your bumper is fully compressed. I hadn’t measured it before installing it on my bike, but when I saw on a forum that a Transition Sentinel user had dented its seat tube using a regular 230x60mm Jade (same longer travel issue), I got pretty stressed out and checked clearance without a spring. The seatstay bridge was almost touching the seat tube just half-compressing the bumper. At full compression I’d have had a pretty dent in my brand new frame, which wouldn’t have made me happy at all. 

In the stock setting (230x65mm shock body with 5mm stroke limiter spring clip), I had 2mm clearance left when sitting on the shock without a spring. The bumper was compressed at 9mm thick, so there was still 6-7mm of stroke left, which would have dented my seat tube in a big bottom out.

Some people reassured me that with the correct spring it wouldn’t happen, but still, I rushed to the specialized hardware store to get myself some nylon washers to limit the stroke and keep riding without worry. Geoff @ DVO USA was super nice and sent me a longer stroke limiter spring clip to reduce travel to 62,5mm, and I left a 2,5mm nylon washer to keep the shock from going over 60mm travel. Maybe the other sizes are fine, as IBIS use the Jade X on their Ripmo AF and nobody seems to have this issue. Now that thing being out of the way, on to the review! 

It's hard to tell with the angle, but rest assured the ruler's 0mm was at the shaft's end but the camera was set up to see where 60mm arrived.  2x 2,5mm thick 30mmODx17mmID nylon washers were installed to limit the stroke to 60mm before I had received the 7.5mm spring clip from DVO. The -5mm stock one that came with the shock left 65mm travel. I still left one washer for safety with the -7.5mm clip, as the bumper compresses to 2-3mm when fully bottomed out.

Adjustability

The Jade X comes with only a few adjustments: low speed rebound, bladder pressure and compression lockout. They had to nail the tune because there is no high speed rebound or compression adjuster to be found. I was a bit hesitant because of the lack of adjustments, but everything I was reading on the shock seemed to be right in line with what the Meta needed.

Being a coil shock, one needs to start by finding the perfect spring rate, and the Jade X accepts coil springs from a few different companies without the need for adapters. Based on an average of all the available online calculators, I was right between 425 and 450 spring weights. Since I wanted to compensate for the relatively low progression of the Commencal’s kinematics, I chose a 450-550 Cane Creek Valt progressive spring. DVO now offer progressive springs too, and I might buy one of their 425-500 Prorate spring as the 450 is maybe a touch over-sprung for me without any preload. One nice thing with DVO shocks is that you can easily adjust the stroke externally with the spring clips they sell. I have the 230x65mm shock used with a 5mm spring clip to make it 60mm stroke, but they sell 0mm, 2,5mm and 7,5mm stroke limiting spring clips too if you ever get another bike with a different shock stroke, and it makes it easier to sell because it fits more bikes without having to open it up.

I set the bladder pressure right in the middle range at 185psi (between 170 and 200psi), started with rebound fully open, set the open lockout position, and went for my first ride. My favorite rebound setting ended up at 32 clicks from closed (14 clicks from open) and at that setting, it is exactly how I like it: no packing up at all and no bucking of bigger hits. The is one trail that I’m riding frequently which has a jump with a weird landing spot into a compression where you need to absorb quite a bit with your body to not bottom out hard, and this is one situation where I am always surprised at the way the shock deals with it. At first I expected to get bucked a bit since my rebound is fast, but the stock high speed rebound setup manages those kind of hits super nicely. One thing to note: I have an “active” riding style and move a lot on the bike. My friends always find that my rebound settings are fast and I usually end up on the fast end of adjustment range of forks. DVO nailed the rebound range on the Jade X, as there is still a lot of place for anyone to make it faster or slower. The rebound adjuster has very well definite clicks and is easy to turn, and everything on the shock is well made. By the way, the overall construction quality of the shock is really nice and it feels like a high-end piece of equipment.

One could replace the compression loader and play with shims or get it directly from DVO and get it custom tuned right from the start. This is something that they were already doing, but officially started to advertise it on their website recently. After riding the shock with the stock shim stack, I don’t need so send it for a custom tune at all. 

Firmest lockout ever

The Jade X’s lockout is probably the most effective lockout on the market. On the “locked” position, the shock barely moves at all and the bike literally feels like a hardtail. Honestly, I have tried it once on my usual 45-minute access-road climb, and it just felt weird for me. The Meta AM isn’t a bike that bobs much when climbing seated, so after a few minutes, I just switched the lever to “Open” and never ever used it afterwards. That’s right, not even on the middle setting as I didn’t feel like I needed it. It’s nice to have the option for those who need it though, and it’s a great idea for the shock’s intended use (enduro-type riding which often have long climbs).

Durability and reliability

After a 600km season (around 50 hours), I have absolutely nothing to report durability-wise. No leaks, no weird noises, no use or discoloration on the shaft, everything has been perfect so far. The bladder pressure has stayed constant all summer. There are some very slight visual wear marks on one of the shock’s eyelet, but I’m pretty sure it’s because of my frame’s yoke not being perfectly machined. The Jade X is still looking and feeling brand new! 2 years of warranty combined with the best customer service in the business makes you feel secure about the durability. You're in good hands!

Nice looking even with a white spring, but it would look better with DVO's own ProRate spring!

Conclusion

All in all, once properly set-up travel-wise, this is an awesome shock. I like to fine-tune things and overthink most things bike-related, but the Jade X was really satisfying with its simpleness and reliability. Once I found my correct spring rate and rebound sweet spot, there wasn’t anything to check outside of bladder pressure once in a while. A small bonus but it’s still one I appreciated: the shock comes in a nicely padded and organized plastic box that’s useful for shipping it back to get serviced. I’m glad that I ended up with this shock due to shortage of the regular Jade and it would have had 5 stars if it was not for the longer travel issue, which in my opinion needs to be looked into by DVO. Maybe it's sorted now, but they should just make sure that the stroke stops at the right travel, or sell the shock with longer stroke-limiting spring clips.

N.B.: For science I also bought a regular Jade as soon as they became available and will compare them next season! 

Fantastic Upgrade from Air

Rating:
The Good:

- Excellent small bump compliance
- Excellent big hit absorption
- Lockout switch for climbing
- Trail switch for medium terrain
- Great price!

The Bad:

- The weight...

Overall Review:

Put this on my 2019 Transition Patrol to upgrade the Rockshox Monarch air shock. I absolutely put that RS Monarch through the paces, with lots of sustained downhill runs and multiple large huck to flat hits.  My issue with it was that it would start acting like it would lock out towards the bottom of a run and I couldnt get full travel out of it.  I am sure its because the pressures were varying wildly inside from top to bottom as it started heating up, so I started looking at coil options. 

I picked the DVO Jade X for two reasons - 1) The piggyback on almost every other coil shock (including the old Jade) hits the frame on the Patrol at full compression, and 2) the JadeX has a full (and I mean FULL) lockout mode for climbing.   I knew going into it that the Patrol kinematics were deemed not progressive enough for a coil, but I felt I could overlook that in order to get the benefits of consistent performance top to bottom.

Right off the bat, I had issues fitting it to bike as the spacers on the Monarch didnt quite fit the JadeX.   So I called DVO and they picked up literally on the first ring.   They were super nice, knew exactly what I was trying to do, and told me how to fix it.  Within 15 minutes, I had the shock mounted on the bike ready to run.   A+ for service!

I had a tendency to run a lot of fast rebound on my air shocks, and I knew based on what I read that the coil would deaden how the Patrol felt - especially when jumping.  Imagine my surprise as I was immediately jumping much higher and farther than I ever did with the air shock.  I had to slow the rebound down to just 2-3 clicks in order to make it manageable, and even then the bike is still super playful.   There was a definite adjustment period of not pushing into the lips of jumps as hard, because it is very easy to overjump stuff.  However, even with a massive overjump-huck-to-flat-omg situation, this shock still has you covered.  When you land, it actually sticks to the ground instead of being a pogo and bouncing you up and over the bars.   

This shock has outperformed my expectations.  Not only has it given me the ability to do sustained fire road climbs easier,  it has great small bump sensitivity with a super consistent feel all the way back down the mountain.  It can handle the biggest of hits with ease, while still maintaining a the playfulness of bump-jumping off roots and rocks all the way down the trail.  The only -and I mean only- bad thing is that the Monarch was ~300g and the Jade X with spring is ~900g.  You do feel that weight when climbing, and I might switch out to a Light Steel spring at some point in the future to counteract it.  Otherwise, I feel this was the best upgrade I could have done - other than my Yari -> DVO Diamond Fork.

Specifications

Product DVO Jade X Rear Shock
Riding Type Enduro / All-Mountain, Trail
Spring Type Coil
External Adjustments - Coil spring preload
- T3 3-mode (open, support, firm) compression lever
- Rebound
Available Sizes Standard Sizes (in inches):
8.5x2.5
7.875x2.25

Metric Sizes (in mm):
230x65
230x62.5
30x60
230x57.5
210x55
210x52.5
210x50

Trunnion Sizes (in mm):
205x65
205x62.5
205x60
205x57.5
185x55
185x52.5
185x50
Weight N/A
Miscellaneous Spring options: LS (light steel) or regular steel spring
Price $550
More Info

dvosuspension.com

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