Aug 25, 2023

RockShox Vivid Air Shock Launches with Position

Following many sightings, RockShox has finally dropped the Vivid Air Shock for DH, Enduro and eMTB, with a DebonAir air spring said to deliver a coil-like ride feel. In addition to the larger volume air can, all shocks in the RockShox Vivid lineup boast the new TouchDown damper. And, all get an adjustable hydraulic bottom-out, a feature that has until now been reserved RockShox Super Deluxe coil shocks.

Another point of note is the reduced maintenance required by the Vivid shock versus Super Deluxe Air shocks. Service intervals for the air can are up from every 50 hours to every 100 hours. That’s thanks to an updated dust wiper seal and increased oil volume.

The Vivid shock’s improved performance comes at an increased price point: the Vivid Ultimate will set you back $699-$729 USD, making it one of the most expensive RockShox shocks ever made.

Here’s a closer look at the Vivid range, along with some key details on the new technology packed inside.

The new RockShox Vivid is designed for everything from Enduro, to Downhill, to eMTB. We’ve seen it bedecked in Black Box decals throughout the 2023 season, on Jack Moir’s YT enduro bike, the new Norco DH bike, and most recently on Bodhi Kuhn’s Trek Session at the World Championships in Fort William, where he sent it to a Silver medal. Finally, it is available to you and I.

The larger volume DebonAir air spring is the most obvious difference between the Vivid and the RockShox Super Deluxe air shocks, but there’s some other key tech packed inside this shock that would suggest it is the higher performing option.

The aim with the RockShox Vivid was to combine the linear spring curve of coil with the reduced weight and increased adjustability of air. Achieving that goal is nigh-on impossible given the progressive nature of any air spring. But, the comparatively larger volume air can of the Vivid brings RockShox closer to that goal.

The air spring can be tuned in the usual way: as is clearly shown in the graph below (provided by RockShox), reducing the volume of the DebonAir air spring with bottomless tokens boosts its progressivity, increasing the force required to access the last few millimeters of travel. These bottomless tokens are specific to the Vivid, snapping onto the inner air can.

While the Vivid shcoks can take up to 6 bottomless tokens, the Vivid DH can accomodate only four.

Riders looking to swap out their Super Deluxe shock for the Vivid will need to check their frame has sufficient clearance to accomodate it. RockShox engineered the air can so the valve position is rotatable, helping with fitment issues on tighter frames.

We don’t have an exhaustive list of frames that the Vivid is compatible with, but RockShox tell us they have (so far) developed tunes for Canyon, Commencal, Nukeproof, Santa Cruz, Pivot, Specialized, Trek, Transition, YT and Yeti. Model-specific shocks available at launch are listed at the foot of the article.

Continuing with the ambitious goal of creating an air shock with a coil-like ride feel, RockShox has developed the new TouchDown damper for the Vivid. Bypassing the compression damping circuit through the first 10% of the stroke, the force required to push the shock into compression is markedly reduced, as compared to an air shock fitted with a “standard” damper that engages right away. This early stroke compression damping bypass is said to quieten down trail chatter for a smoother ride feel.

Deeper into the travel, between 10% and 80% of the stroke, the compression damping is active. Then, beyond 80%, a hydraulic bottom-out circuit takes over to reduce end-stroke harshness. In fact, this is the same hydraulic bottom-out feature boasted by the most recent batch of RockShox Super Deluxe air shocks. Bettering that, on the Vivid, the circuit is externally adjustable over five discreet increments. This adjustability has only previously been available on the coil versions.

A rider can adjust end-stroke ramp with bottomless tokens, and have control over the feel by adjusting the hydraulic bottom-out. All models of the new RockShox Vivid benefit from this feature.

All five models of the RockShox Vivid also get the new DebonAir air spring, varying only in their configuration of the TouchDown damper.

The Vivid Ultimate gets the TouchDown RC2T damper with independent control over high- and low-speed compression damping, 20 clicks of rebound damping adjustment and a Threshold Lever for a firmer pedaling platform. Meanwhile, the Vivid DH Ultimate gets all that minus the Threshold Lever.

The Vivid Select+ RCT damper offers a more basic compression damping adjustment where both HSC and LSC damping are affected.

Looking at the entry-level shocks, the Vivid Select with the TouchDown RT damper gets no external adjustment for compression, only the 20 clicks of rebound adjustment that are available on all Vivid models, and the Threshold Lever. The base-level Vivid shock has rebound damping adjustment, but lacks the Threshold Lever.

No word yet on future availability of a Vivid Coil shock. As for a Flight Attendant option, SRAM say, “We are always testing and looking at options but this is not something we are offering at this time”.

An overview of the new RockShox Vivid Shocks, including their features and retail price, can be seen in the following table.

Only the RockShox Vivid Ultimate and Vivid DH Ultimate shocks are available aftermarket, with an MSRP of $699-729 USD / €839-874 / £749-779.

Riders wishing to upgrade a Vivid Select+, Vivid Select or Vivid shock, can with purchase of the TouchDown RC2T damper at a cost of $230 USD / € 245 / £220. You’ll need to perform a full tear down to switch out the damper. RockShox recommend this be completed by a seasoned mechanic.

Finally, there is a Bearing Adapter Upgrade Kit for Vivid-equipped frames that can accommodate an 8mm x 30mm bearing. It has an MSRP of $30 USD / € 32 / £29.

Vivid shock dimension options are as follows: 185×55(TR), 205×57.5(TR), 205×60(TR), 205×62.5(TR), 205×65(TR), 210×52.5, 210×55, 225×67.5(TR), 225×70(TR), 225×72.5(TR), 225×75(TR), 230×57.5, 230×60, 230×62.5, 230×65, 250×70, 250×72.5 and 250×75.