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2016 MTB PRODUCT OF THE YEAR - Shreddy Awards 14

2016 Product of the Year - RockShox Super Deluxe Rear Shock

For the past few years Vital's Product of the Year Shreddy Award has gone to a suspension product. Why is that? Well, technology improvements in the suspension game have the potential to make arguably the biggest gains in on-trail performance, and suspension companies have REALLY been upping their game in recent years.

This past Spring we were introduced to some shiny new bits designed to take mountain bike rear suspension to the next level. By considering how to make the best shocks possible, the winner of this year's Shreddy Award redefined our way of thinking about a shock's relationship with a frame.

Vital's 2016 Product of the Year? The RockShox's Super Deluxe rear shock.

It all started when Jeremiah Boobar asked RockShox Design Engineer Tim Lynch, "Hey, we really love what we were able to do with Pike, what's it going to take to do that in a rear shock?"

Part of the answer was creating a little more space inside the shock. While most of us just see the relatively simple outside appearance, what goes on internally is very complicated and every millimeter is precious.

And with that added space came a simplified shock sizing system known as "Metric," complete with new eye-to-eye, stroke, and hardware measurements in logically chosen increments.

By doing so, the list of design limitations, issues, and restrictions RockShox was able to eliminate all add up to improved performance. It includes things like increased bushing overlap for less binding, new bearing mounts to reduce friction, proper damping in place of that friction, and a simplified, consistent air spring that makes it easier to design suites of bikes that behave in a similar fashion.

Our testers have noted gobs more control thanks to a dramatic improvement in off-the-top suppleness, a quiet feel, and added chassis stability when the trails get crazy. The traction gains are also very impressive, both up and down the hill, allowing them to ride a little bit harder and try new obstacles and gaps along way.

During a time when few products are being introduced that make truly awesome improvements, it's refreshing to see something capable of not only changing our perspective, but also making things better in the long run.

Congratulations, RockShox, on a job well done and earning the Product of the Year.

Read More: The Ultimate Guide to 'Metric' Shock Sizing and the RockShox Super Deluxe

Credit: gordo, Brandon Turman, video footage provided by RockShox

sspomer sspomer 12/28/2016 8:48 AM

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14 comments newest first

This is definitely an amazing air shock, would put it up against most coils. There's gonna be one on my new bike...

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Product of the year for a rockshox product that isn't even out yet?!
And everyone here knows consumer anticipation is the RECIPIE for a rockshox warranty avalanche!
Theres a bag with dollar signs on it changing hands over this one for sure....

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what's with all the "money exchanging hands" conspiracy theories over an award? half of the awards we've given over the years aren't even for products of brands that even advertise here. rockshox didn't even know they received this award until i published this video the other day. as for metric stuff not being out not out yet? it's on plenty of bikes you can get right now.

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I have a feeling all those conspiracy theorists will blend into the crickets as these shocks start appearing in the wild.
For right now, there's no real way to evaluate the shock independently of the frames built around them (admittedly will be confounded anyway), but not being able to get one without a frameset means there's no real way of comparing that shock heads-up against something else... and considering how many great frames are already out there which can be ran with legacy sized Float-X2 and Vivid-Air setups, but Metric sized anything currently require purchasing the complete frameset, my issue remains that it's outside of the SRAM-Transition intro days where they had both flavors of rocker/control link handy to run, there's no way to compare the performance side by side from those.

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Only complaint: the 2016 product of the year is a product not actually available in 2016 (except as part of a frame set)...
I'm excited for the trunnion Super Deluxe as a long shock possibility, but right now the only reason I'm not running it is: you guessed it - not available.

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I look forward to the introductions of these awards almost more than the actual awards.
Actual comment: Just looked this up on Sram's website for a personal clarification, and was interested to see that these are only being sold already on frames/bikes, and not individually as aftermarket items. Boobar knows what the score is though, and it's cool to see the new pieces that have come out under his guidance.

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Yeah, no doubt that'll be a near future item, but the OEM priority on those because of the revised I2I figures means that it's not really an available item... and aftermarket will probably be filled with OEM take-offs sooner rather than later.

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That's because they wouldn't fit in your frame and if you somehow did get it to fit in your frame, the suspension kinematics would be all sorts of wacky.

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