Right around the time Öhlins released the RFX36 m.2 fork that we tested, they paired it with a new shock, the TTXAir. The TTXAir is the Swedish company’s newest air shock, built around their twin-tube damper technology that’s in the TTX22 coil shocks and Öhlins’ other suspension components.
The twin-tube damper design helps maintain consistent damping performance and response by keeping gas pressure consistent in the shock body and on the correct side of the damper piston. The Öhlins STX22 has been on the market for some time, first made for Specialized, but that was a single tube damper style, while their more burly twin-tubed TTX22 coil shocks have graced the bikes of many downhill riders.
The new TTXAir now fills a spot for the aggressive trail and enduro rider who want better and more tunable performance in a lighter air shock. The TTXAir is designed around metric 190/210/230mm lengths, with metric trunnion-mounted lengths in 165/185/205mm. It’s also possible to change the stroke length without much more than a bottom bracket tool and a crescent wrench. On another note of simplicity regarding the seemingly complex TTXAir, users now have detailed instructions from Öhlins on how to service the shock at 100-hour intervals.
The TTXAir has adjustable low-speed compression and rebound and a simplified high-speed compression dial with two HSC settings. All the way open, the shock provides optimized traction and small bump compliance. One click more adds a more supportive feel with a higher aptitude for big hits. The third position down is the “pedaling platform,” for a firmer feel. The low-speed compression and rebound are all independent adjustments.
My 210x50mm test shock weighs 478g. The retail price on the TTXAir isn’t cheap; the twin-tube and adjustable performance brings a $780 price tag.
Shock setup with the TTXAir was about as simple as it gets; the shock mounted right up to my Revel Rascal. I double checked my sag, added some air, and got to riding. The recommended air pressure from Öhlins for my weight, 117psi, was far too low. I aired it up to 160psi, giving me about 30% sag.
On my first ride with the TTXAir I noticed a few differences compared to the stock Fox DPX2 Performance shock I had installed prior. Traction increased and the rear wheel felt much more responsive to bumps with greatly reduced stiction. The TTXAir felt like it had more usable travel also and I was getting deeper in the stroke without any negatives like harsh bottom outs or the loss of a supportive feel.
Now, I hadn’t messed with the LSC. Direct from Öhlins, the shock felt incredible. My compression was at 4 of 10 clicks and my rebound was set at 7 of 12 clicks. The TTXAir gave me the perfect balance of support, reactivity, and traction through corners, small bumps, and rutty/rocky/rooty trail. It feels like a spectacular wrestling match between two greats; Support and Traction, but all they do is push each other against the ropes for an hour and eventually the ref calls a draw because neither one of them overpowers the other. For mountain bikers, it’s a winning formula.
I installed the TTXAir right when the MTB season was kicking off and the peaks in Colorado dried out. I took my Revel to big descents in Crested Butte, Salida, and Summit County. Pulling to the side of the trail after knocking out a big chunk of descending, the shock has been warm to the touch, but I haven’t noticed a loss in damping performance. The TTXAir has remained consistent across huge downhills in a variety of conditions.
I mostly left the shock open. With my bike’s suspension kinematics and the TTXAir’s performance, I didn’t feel the need to close it much. If I was on a road climb to a trail, I pushed the HSC lever forward to its pedal position, which feels like a soft lockout. The shock still gets a reasonable amount of traction going uphill if you forget that it’s on.
Adding a click of the HSC noticeably firms up the suspension feel, but also does a great job at keeping the shock sensitive. I didn’t have any harsh bottom outs with the shock, so I didn’t feel the need to tune in additional HSC damping often. The dial does feel a little different though, being that it’s labeled as an HSC adjustment, but it also acts as a climb switch. It’s not a big deal after you get used to it, but it’s not as intuitive as most dials out there, which generally change the LSC from open to firm and are usable as a pedal mode.
The Öhlins TTXAir is a superbly smooth-feeling air shock that can easily manage big descents without fading and it provides a noticeable increase in traction. The shock isn’t the most tunable one out there. Others like Cane Creek, or the Fox Float X2 will give you more tunability with an HSC adjustment. The Öhlins shock is also pricier than those options at $780.
It is great to see that Öhlins is making their suspension more serviceable at home to save consumers money, and the time they would need to get a shock to a certified service center like other high-performance suspension components require at times. The TTXAir is a great shock and many who want a higher level of performance in a light package will find it worth the extra money.
Thanks to Öhlins for providing the TTXAir for testing.