What are the different kinds of shocks?

Smooth Bodies:

- Smooth Body shocks are the simplest shock on the market.

- They do not hold the vehicle up, they only dampen. They must be paired with something that holds a vehicle up, such as a leaf spring, coil spring, or air bag.

- A majority of shocks on the market are monotube shocks that have an internal piston to seperate oil and gas.


- Bypass shocks are similar to smooth body shocks in that they do not support the weight of the vehicle.

- A bypass shock will have directional tubes welded to the shock body which allow some oil to "bypass" the main piston.

- These tubes can quickly be tuned by turning the external adjusters to increase or decrease damping in the zone.

-On the fly adjustment and the ability to have a soft and comfortable ride zone are what sets this apart from a standard shock.



- Coilovers are smooth body shocks with threaded body's and metal structures to support springs.

- The most common universal coilover is a dual rate coilover which uses 2 springs. Typically you will use a heavy spring that is +2" the length of travel, and a softer spring that is the length of travel. For a 14" coilover you could expect to see a 16" 300 lb spring underneath a 14" 250 lb spring for example. Because both springs compress at the same time initially, this shock would have a main spring rate of 136 pounds per inch.

- A coilover both holds a vehicle up, and dampens. Most IFS coilovers are single rate, but are progressive in nature due to mounting angles.

Air Shock

- Air shocks are emulsion shocks that use air pressure to hold the vehicle up and provide damping.

- While these are not a good fit for a majority of builds, lightweight rock buggies lend themselves well to the design.

- One giveaway for this kind of shock is the large shaft size. In a traditional shock, having too large of a shaft can create jacking as the hydraulic pressure ramps up, however these are used at such low speeds it doesn't typically effect the ride.

Air Bump

- Most air bumps are simply short stroke air shocks.

- The air bump pictured here is actually an IFP style one with seperate oil and gas.

- These slow down the final bit of travel of a suspension, and do not jounce out like rubber bumps will. They have valving on both the compression and rebound side.

- Air Bumps give you external adjustments via air pressure, the longer and larger diameter an air bump, typically the harder it is to fully collapse at the same pressure.

Internal Bypass Coilovers

- This style of shock gives you seperate tunable zones without welding tubes to the outer body of the damper, where it would hit the coilover springs.

- Fox and ARB uses a second internal cylinder with direcitonal holes in it to provide different zones of damping, King uses a needle and seat that proportions fluid to a second piston.

- These are great for folks with packaging constraints who still want bypass performance.

Reservoir Styles

Remote Reservoir:

-The first style of shock reservoir is the remote reservoir.

- The reservoir is attached with a flexible tube. This allows for easy positioning.

- The reservoir must be secured seperately from the shock.

Piggyback Reservoir

- This reservoir is attached to the shock body.

- These reservoirs do not need secured seperately.

- Fox uses a rotating bridge so you can position their reservoirs 360 degrees around the shock.

No Reservoir

- This is commonly called an IFP shock.

- There is a floating piston in the shock body that seperates the oil and gas.

- These will be the cheaper version of shocks offered.

Reservoir Adjusters

Foxes Dual Speed Compression Adjusters:

- These offer individual adjustment over low and high speed compression by turning knobs in or out.

- Low speed compression is controlled by a needle and seat that occludes a port for free flowing low speed oil.

- High speed compression is controlled by preloading deflective valving discs located in the reservoir.

King's Mid-range adjuster:

- A single knob controls "mid speed compression"

- First couple clicks primarily target low speed, after that its a mix.

- Preloads deflective discs to adjust valving.

ADS Compression and Rebound Adjusters:

- ADS has adjustable compression and rebound on their new IBP shocks.

- Their IBP design is similar to foxes with a second cylinder inside the shock with ports. The base of the shock has holes in it that connect the inner cylinder to the outer cylinder on the rebound stroke. The oil from the rebound side is forced through the hose to the rebound adjuster, that is why there are 2 hoses to their reservoir.


- Here you can see the seal head assembly with the ports for directional oil flow. There is also a large washer held on by a spring that indexes into the seal head assembly to create the final top out zone.