I needed a rear shock for a TTF2 project bike I’m building. But what to buy?
Bearing in mind this bike houses a prehistoric Ducati Pantah engine in a steel tube frame and sits on 18in wheels, was spending six or seven hundred quid-plus on a full spec race unit worth the money?
For this old-school race bike all I needed was the right stroke, eye-to-eye length, spring weight (350lb/in) and the right damping parameters to work with the non rising-rate shock linkage. Seeing as I’ve been waiting for nearly two years (!) for a friend to build me a shock as a ‘favour’ it has recently become evident that I’d actually have to dig deep and just buy one.
I looked at all sorts of options (mostly eye-bleedingly expensive and way, way more advanced than the rest of the bike) and seeing as this bike will be used mainly on the road with a daytime MOT, that extra bling just didn’t seem necessary. Funny how practical you become when you’re spending your own hard earned.
By a sheer quirk of Facebook fate, I stumbled across an old acquaintance from yesteryear...
Back in the Jurassic period, I built a 695cc steelie CBR600 as a project bike for Performance Bikes Magazine. Using Fireblade pistons on the stock crank and rods it was a massive improvement on the original FM model with improved torque everywhere in the rev range and the sort of fuelling that made riding it a joy.
I used an EMC shock in it, made by an ex-racer called Mike Capon. Considering it was aimed at the budget end of the market this shock did a really good job. I even finished third at the Aberdare National road races on this bike (still with tax disc). Aberdare possesses the biggest bumps you have ever experienced. Mothers and Fathers of bumps, in fact. A great test for suspension (and steering dampers). The EMC unit fared well.
Seventeen years later, Mike Capon pops up on Facebook. He’s now living and working in France having established the Shock Factory. The Shock Factory specializes in manufacturing no-nonsense modular gas monoshock units with a two-year, unlimited mileage warranty.
My M-Shock turned up last Thursday. Three hundred and fifty English pounds including VAT and UPS delivery to my front door.
Initial impressions are goodly. Not only did it bolt straight in and cleared the finned rear rocker cover at the top mount (which an eBay purchased second hand Ohlins unit didn’t) but its spring rate and damping are spot on. Quarter of a turn of spring preload gave me just the right amount of static sag. Just bouncing up and down on it in the garage, the damping feels spot on.
There’s another upside to this gas unit. There’s no remote reservoir to clutter up the packaging. So it's nice and simple, clean, easy to adjust (the synchronised damping adjustment is rebound and compression in one) and easy to remove for maintenance. Braided remote resevoir hose always seems to end up acting like a bastard file on anything it touches.
For the same money as a second or third-hand full race shock, I’m really pleased with my brand new M-Shock unit.
Shock Factory build road-based units and can ship any one of 300 versions within 24 hours for £350 inc vat.
Check out their website by clicking this link or give him/them a call on 01858 288021. One off units (like mine) that are longer or shorter than standard are also available - usually within 24 hours.
More updates soon... anyone know the RAL powder coating code for Ducati Performance Red?