The Vivid was designed from the ground up to deliver the best downhill performance the RockShox team could offer, with a new architecture and damping platform to achieve that goal. They promise coil-like sensitivity with all the easy-to-use adjustments their current line-up is known for, but does this shake out along the way?
• Intended use: Downhill, Enduro, eMTB
• TouchDown position sensitive damping
• Adjustable hydraulic down out
• External LSC/HSC/Rebound adjustment
• 100 hour service interval
• Claimed weight: 670 grams (230×65, without hardware)
• MSRP: $699-$729 USD
• More information: rockshox.com
It’s been about a decade since Vivid last saw an update, with the previous generation ending before suspension manufacturers made the switch to metric shock size. This previous generation was unique to RockShox in using dual rebound adjusters, but that’s far from the only difference from the new model. The 2024 Vivid implements some very clever designs that allow it to meet the performance targets set out, while hopefully remaining much more durable than its predecessor.
Most of the new tech for the Vivid is wrapped up in what RockShox calls TouchDown technology. TouchDown is a position-sensitive damper that allows the shock to operate in three distinct phases, with characteristics optimized for each part of the full travel stroke.
Think of this series according to the slope.
0-10% This is one of the most unique aspects of the Vivid, as in this first stroke increase the oil flow actually bypasses the compression damping of the main piston, instead of flowing through a series of holes found only in this phase of stroke. The goal here is to make the initial ride of the Vivid as supple and responsive as possible without affecting the rest of the travel.
10-80% This is where you’ll spend most of your time, and this is where the Vivid should feel more or less as you’d expect. The air volume of the shock has been maximized to give this midblock as linear a feel as possible, with the ability to add progression via Bottomless Tokens. This is also where the high- and low-speed compression adjusters do their job, providing the ride characteristic best suited to your frame and riding style.
80-100% The last bit of travel features the Adjustable Hydraulic Bottom Out (AHBO), which allows the user to tune the resistance from the bottom out at the end of the travel. This separate circuit has a different feel than the rise you get with bulk spacers and is more of a soft circuit that slows down the shock at this high load moment.
You have to drop the air tank to add or remove volume spacers, but the main adjustments can all be made externally. LSC adjustment is via a knurled knob, while HSC, AHBO and rebound use a 3mm hex. Fortunately, the recovery adjustment button contains a hidden 3mm that you can simply pop out and use to make the other settings – a clever detail indeed. While RockShox only provides access to low speed rebound externally, you can change the high speed rebound via internal rebound tuning. Definitely less convenient than an external adjuster and best done by professionals, but know that it’s an option.
The Threshold lever (aka climb switch) is pretty solid, both in physical feel and how stiff it makes the shock. I only really used it on a few paved climbs, but I was happy with the support it provided. If you happen to like a fairly soft setting for the descents, the Threshold should be able to hold you up for the pedal back to the top.
A final detail worth noting is the service interval on the new Vivid. Where most shocks require a basic service every 50 hours, the Vivid specifies a 100 hour interval before you need to worry about breaking things down. Of course, it’s always worth taking such claims with a grain of salt until they’ve been thoroughly tested over the long term, so we’ll see how things pan out.
I’ve had a chance to ride the new Vivid on a few bikes at this point, but the majority of testing has been on the Santa Cruz Nomad and Yeti SB160. Two very different bikes in terms of how their shocks ride, but equally capable over rough and difficult terrain. They even use the same 230x65mm shock size, albeit with very different tunes. This made for a good range to compare in and see how the shock performed given the differences in frame design.
I’m happy to say that the main commonality between the two was how well they played with Vivid. Both bikes maintained an active feel, moving through the suspension as smoothly and predictably as you’d like. This allowed for excellent traction and damping, while still providing enough support to push through compressions and keep the ride height neutral.
A satisfying realization was how different the Vivid settings were between the two bikes, and I was able to find the optimum setting on both after just an afternoon of racing the various compression settings. Like the recently updated SuperDeluxe, each compression adjustment position provides a clear and distinct difference, with the visual reference helping you gauge between multiple settings if you want to change certain clicks for specific tracks. Bonus points to RockShox for continuing to use the slack markings, now I just wish they would release that patent so every shock on the market is this easy to adjust.
The final distinction worth noting is how quiet the shock is. This, combined with the very silent feel it provides, helps the bike fade into the background and keep you focused on the trail ahead. Some shocks have a distinct feel or characteristic, but so far I’d say the Vivid’s strong suit is how neutral it can feel when dialing in the settings.
Vivid is available in 5 different specification levels, with Ultimate aimed at the wider market. This is the main aftermarket option, with the DH shock obviously focused more on gravity powered bikes. The lower 3 specs will likely be more common on OEM spec sheets and can be modified into the Ultimate customization range with some aftermarket parts. If, for example, you have a Vivid Base but want the full Ultimate package, you’ll be able to purchase the TouchDown RC2T canister upgrade and screw it in place of the Base. This upgrade tank costs $235 USD and could be a great option for bikes that will come with lower spec Vivids in the lineup.
Another aftermarket element to the Vivid’s launch is the introduction of RockShox’s bearing adapter kits, which can replace the standard DU mount with bearings where frames allow (requires 8mm x 30mm ID hardware). This kit also fits the 2023 SuperDeluxe Coil shocks, adding some tuning options to the existing range. Bearing mounts can help reduce friction in the linkage and greatly improve the sensitivity of some kinematics. The bearing adapter kit costs $30 USD.
We’ll be spending a lot more time with the Vivid on a variety of bikes over the coming weeks and months, so stay tuned for long-term thoughts. Meanwhile, the short story is positive, with the Vivid upgrading its smaller SuperDeluxe sibling and providing a real challenge to the Fox Float X2.
#Ride #RockShox #Vivid #Ultimate #Shock #Pinkbike