In recent weeks, Öhlins announced two big pieces of news : first off they told us about their new rear twin tube rear damper – the TTX 22 M Universal. The second bit of big news mainly pertains to consumers in the US : Specialized no longer holds an exclusive on Öhlins so they’re becoming available for all other bike brands. After receiving prior notice we reached out to the renowned Swedish brand to inquire about testing the new coil damper on our Dream Bike. They obliged and we’re going to be providing them with some feedback on the shock and its tune in accordance with the Maiden as this is the first time they’ve fitted a shock to it. Anyhow, here’s what you need to know about their new high end unit…
• 3 level high-speed compression adjustment
• 16 click low-speed compression adjustment
• 7 click rebound damping adjustment
• Shock length/stroke: 8.5×2.5”, 8.75×2.75”, 9.5×3”, 10.5×3.5”, 7.87×2.25”, 7.87×2.0”, 7.5×2.0”
• Metric sizing options to follow
• Spring weights have been reduced 25 – 30%
• 23 pound spring increments
• Spherical bearings eyelets offered as an option on widths up to 22 mm
• Nitrogen pressurized bladder reservoir system
• Weights from 423 grams to 454 grams including ball joint
• Price : $750 US (with spring)
• Availability : Universal – NOW
• Availability : Specific Fitment Gold Series – “Early 2017”
• Aimed at the Enduro/Gravity segment, the TTX 22 M is essentially split up between the two disciplines and tuned according to either shocks that will be pedaled or shocks that wont.
Looking back, the original side by side TTX reservoir(left) that we first saw from Öhlins on the Specialized Demo looks dramatically different from the new inline one(right). According to Öhlins, functionally and internally the shocks are essentially the same but the reservoir is simply configured differently. Öhlins will continue to sell both versions to broaden compatibility options for frame clearance as well as water bottle clearance.
As far as fitment is concerned, our contact stated “We are going to offer off the shelf dedicated fitments including hardware and tunes for most of the popular trail and DH bikes, taking the complication out of buying a shock and following what we have done with Specialized, we’ll give consumers the adjustment they need without any of the head scratching.”
3-Position High Speed Compression
This new shock isn’t solely aimed at the DH crowd. Öhlins also looks to outfit those racing enduro, or riders looking to transform their mid travel bike into a monster by slapping a coil sprung shock on it. For shocks with a stroke shorter than 2.5″, Öhlins incorporates much heavier damping at the 3rd position on the high speed adjuster. This isn’t a full on lock out, but it should make pedaling much more efficient. For DH applications with anything over a 2.5″ shock stroke, that 3rd position is simply a firmer setting for faster and/or heavier riders looking for more support.
Öhlins reduced their spring weights by 25-30%. Out of curiosity we compared their spring to one that we had laying around. On the left is a 400# X 3.0″ steel spring from another brand, and on the right is their 411# X 3.0″ spring. The Öhlins spring is also steel, but using a special alloy, helping it come in at an impressive 199 grams lighter. It might be unconventional and can be awkward trying to keep track of springs in 23 pound increments, but we’re all for a brand providing more options. Far too often riders are stuck between 50 pound spring rates so props to Öhlins for offering a better solution.
On first glance you might not notice, but like other premium companies such as Push and Avalanche, Öhlins use a spring collar with a machined in lip that hugs the tapered bottom out bumper. This provides a nice progressive bottom out by preventing the bumper from completely pancaking out and getting fully smashed. The devil is in the details…
Lastly, this subtle feature keeps the shock running silent. The TTX 22 M has a high density plastic sleeve around the middle of the shock body. Under fast and heavy compressions, particularly under side load, if the spring rubs on the shock, it won’t be metal on metal – meaning it will be much quieter under said circumstance.
Our standard 9.5″ X 3.0″ size rear shock came in at 481 grams with DU bushings installed. The damper itself comes in at a relatively average weight, but the new springs and their weight loss are quite impressive.
For fitment applications with shock hardware that comes in at 22mm or narrower, Öhlins offer vastly superior spherical bearings. Not only are they much stronger and longer lasting than a conventional DU bushing/shock pin combination, they help to eliminate side load on the shock. The aforementioned side load can come from or be exacerbated by flexy frames, less than ideal shock hardware spec and a few other culprits. By alleviating the shock from side load, you’ll end up with more traction, better performance and it will avoid premature seal/bushing wear.
We’ll be following up in the coming months with a long term review, but our initial impressions are really good. All of the high end features are quite promising, and out of the gate the damper feels perfectly matched for our bike…Not bad considering it is Öhlins first stab at tuning a damper for the Maiden. Our last musing is that we think the 7 click rebound adjuster is brilliant. Considering most riders only have a 2-3 click usable range for rebound, why can’t understand why other brands utilize between 16 and 24 clicks; it’s just unnecessary. Speaking of adjusters, we love the feel of the detents on all of them and we’re really looking forward to fiddling with them…stay tuned.