February 27, 2017
DB Air IL (200/57) 2017
-Huge range of adjustability
-Low breakaway force
-Climb switch works well
Requires allen key to adjust
I owned the DB Inline for 17 months. I loved the performance and ability to dial it in exactly how I wanted it. It did fail on me after about 4 months. Damper shaft scoring, seal leakage, air in the damping oil, oil in the air spring. Cane Creek was quick to rebuild under warranty. Their customer service was good, quick response. It is nice when a company is willing to deal with customers directly, rather than force the customer to go through a middleman (local distributor/dealer)... I'm looking at you SRAM...
After the rebuild, the DB Inline worked great for an entire year. Though the shock was still working properly, I was overdue for a service and was getting ready to send it in for a rebuild. Same week the DB Air IL was released and they made commitment to upgrade existing DB Inline owners for $225.
The valve body is the same as the DB inline, which is a good thing. Only real differences other than the looks (which, let's be honest, the thing is beautiful) are seal head and bushing changes for durability and the air can for performance.
My frame is a VPP2 linkage (Intense) so my leverage curve was already less than ideal for an air spring in terms of small bump compliance and mid stroke support. The new air can (LinEair) promised a more linear spring rate in the first 2/3 of stroke to help with that, and after a few rides I can confirm that it delivers. Suspension feels more supple on small chatter, and more supportive in mid stroke than the DB Inline. The breakaway force required to get into the travel is noticeably less than with the Inline with same air pressure. I set it up with the same basic settings I had on the Inline in terms of damping settings, air pressure, and volume spacers and it is pretty damn close to where it needs to be. A couple small tweaks to the damping and it can be tuned in for whatever trails I intend to ride.
Obviously too soon to vouch for the "improved durability" claims, but the engineering explanation for the claims seems sound. I gave it a good hammering on its first ever ride this past weekend in Pisgah. The performance was flawless. Climb switch was nice for the long climbs. It got pretty hot by the bottom of the trail, but performance never faltered. Dead consistent. They took a great performing shock and made it that much better. As long as the durability claims hold true, this shock is a winner.