2019 to 2021 Turbo Levo Which Coil Shocks Are Supported on Turbo Levo?


Bigtuna00

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Many coil shocks are failing or wearing prematurely on Levo and Levo SL. Several manufacturers no longer recommend their coil shocks for Levo (Fox being one of them; official statement from Fox; note this includes Marzocchi; note this is still true for the new DHX with 14mm shaft).

Meanwhile some manufacturers are actually addressing the problem instead of ignoring it...

We've contacted several manufacturers to see what they had to say. Replies found in this thread:
There's also a reply from Specialized.

I encourage you to do the same.

I'm hearing a lot of negative feedback about using coil shocks on the Levo; not in terms of performance but in terms of failures. My own shock (Cane Creek DB Coil CS) seems to have several problems after ~93 hours of use (the recommended service interval is 100 hours, so it failed early). On the other hand a coil shock is the single best upgrade I have made to the bike in terms of performance. To put that in perspective, the only thing stock on my Levo is the frame and headset.

About me: 2019 Turbo Levo Expert. I'm a fast and smooth trail rider, 185 lbs. I value plushness for sure. I rarely do any jumps, never been any good at it. The trails I have access to don't really have any drops. Most if my riding is on hard-pack or loose-over-hard.

I am currently riding a Cane Creek DB Coil CS with 550 lb spring. I have been super happy with the ride. Sag is right around 30% and I don't know if I've ever bottomed, certainly not hard since I've never noticed. Not so happy with the shock failing after ~90 hours (oil leaking out). Also the top bushing "migrated" somehow:

PXL_20201227_063712627.jpg

Also, there's a LOT of flex in the shock. You can flex it easily by hand when on the bike and the shaft has noticeable play now that I've removed the shock from the bike. I have read a rumor or two that Cane Creek is no longer recommending the shock for the Levo.

I have heard rumblings that Specialized don't recommend coil shocks for the Levo as well. In addition to forum rumors, this info came from my LBS after talking with Specialized about my bike.

And I've read on this site that Fox no longer recommends their coils for Levo either, due to shaft failures.

I really don't want to switch back to air! I'm looking at the EXT Storia v3 and the Push Elevensix. Both seem to offer a build specifically for the Levo. I like that the Storia has a 14mm shaft. I couldn't find any info on the Elevensix shaft diameter? It seems like the Levo puts a lot of side load on the shock? Obviously the fact that Push offer the Elevensix for the Levo in the first place means they've put some thought into it.

As of now:
  • Cane Creek says they are running 40 business days behind on service. Lovely. I reached out to a local service center 2 weeks but have heard nothing back.
  • I've reached out to Push and Suspension Syndicate (EXT dealer in USA) to get more concrete info about using their shocks on the Levo.
    • Edit: I reached out to MRP as well, updates below...
  • The warranty manager at my LBS is hopefully going to get some more concrete info from Specialized about what's going on form their perspective.
  • Meanwhile my Levo is dead, with no shock. Time for some acoustic suffering I guess...
As for this thread, it would be lovely to start gathering some concrete info on what these manufacturers really mean by "not recommended"; will they stand behind the product, or not? Feel free to contribute.

Thanks for reading.
 
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jbodnar

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I asked TFTuned about using a Cane Creek DB IL Coil on a Levo SL, here is the response I received (I weigh about 220 lbs suited up):

“Hi Jeff,

These frames/ combined with rider weight need a burlier shock. You need to spec something like the Ohlins TTX/ the Cane Creek Kitsuma or an air shock.

Call us, we can advise.”

It looks like the Kitsuma coil has a thicker shaft.

That said, I’ve been running a DB Coil IL on my Turbo Levo with a progressive spring (I was running a 650 lb spring) with no issues, I am probably a less aggressive rider than you.

I also have an IL coil for my SL which I’m going to mount for riding this weekend...

If I was doing big jumps/drops, I wouldn’t run the IL (those are above my skill level).

I’ve been riding both air and coil shocks, 210 x 55.

I currently have a McLeod (air) out for service and I’m taking a DPX2 off my SL to send in to Fox for a custom tune.

I still have the stock shocks that came with my Levo and SL, the Rockshox Deluxe Select + and the Fox DPS (never rode it), so I don’t have to worry if my coil shocks fail (knock on wood).
 
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Bigtuna00

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It looks like the Kitsuma coil has a thicker shaft.
The DB Kitsuma Coil stanchion is the same as the DB Coil CS; 9.5mm. (The DB Coil IL was 8mm). I wouldn't use the DB Kitsuma Coil on a Levo after my experience with the DB Coil CS. The TTX looks pretty small as well but I couldn't find the exact size.

I still have the stock shocks that came with my Levo and SL, the Rockshox Deluxe Select + and the Fox DPS (never rode it), so I don’t have to worry if my coil shocks fail (knock on wood).
You are a smarter owner than me! :p

Mike from Suspension Syndicate replied (while on vacation!) with a bit of a generic answer, saying they have lots of customers using the Storia on Levo and no reported failures. They also pointed out that if you don't need a "climb switch" (aka EXT Lok) you can go with the Arma, which has adjustable HBC instead. This is starting to sound like a really good fit for me.

(Somewhat related footnote, they service Cane Creek products and should be able to handle my shock much faster than Cane Creek)

Giving it more thought I'm not really interested in the dual-compression circuit on the Elevensix, that would definitely be a wasted feature on me, and therefore unnecessary bulk. I like the idea behind the spherical bearings, on paper at least. Push haven't replied yet so I'm curious to see what they have to say.

I edited the first post to mention I also contacted MRP. Gradyn said that they also do not recommend the Hazzard on the Turbo Levo...yet. They have developed a stronger steel stanchion (they already use 14mm stanchions) for this application. Dealer testing has gone well. It's supposed to launch in a few days. Same pricing as the regular Hazzard, and only 60 grams heavier. This could be a killer coil solution for a lot of Levo owners not looking to spend $1000+ for a shock.
 

DtEW

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Maybe the asymmetric “SideArm” design of the Levo produces a torque axis along the top tube that isn’t successfully contained by the frame, resulting in twisting around the upper shock mount, which results in a side load on the shock.

Maybe the Levo really should have been designed with a spherical bearing for the upper shock mount?

For nothing more than curiosity, what is the frame material of your Levo, OP?
 

Bigtuna00

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For nothing more than curiosity, what is the frame material of your Levo, OP?
Good question, I updated the first post with bike info: 2019 Turbo Levo Expert, so carbon front + aluminum rear.
 
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Bigtuna00

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This is an "official reply" from Specialized sent to my LBS:

Since it's an aftermarket product, we defer to the recommendation of the shock manufacturer and if they have any compatibility issues with out frame/bike.

I know that Fox does consider their coil shock as not being compatible with the Levo or Levo SL. I don't know about CaneCreek specifically. But, in the case of Fox they claim that the length of the shock extension used on the bikes is too long and can apply forces the shaft has trouble handling.
I assume "shock extension" is referring to the yoke?
 

Bigtuna00

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Reply from Push:

You are correct in the fact that the Levo's mounting system does put a lot of side loading on the shock. There have been reports of coil shocks breaking shafts on these types of mounts on multiple different bikes. However, we have completely eliminated any problems with side loading due to the introduction of our spherical bearing eyelets. The spherical bearings allow the shock to move freely in the mount, preventing rotational friction and shaft friction under load. Additionally, the Levo uses our new steel shaft, over aluminum, for additional support and durability.

We have found the ElevenSix to be a fantastic upgrade to the Levo, and you won't need to worry about any failures with the shock.
 

jbodnar

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Interesting...$1200 with a max rider weight limit of 235 lbs for the Levo.
 
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Rosemount

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Ohlins collaborated with Spesh a few years back .
Tuned coil shocks for Stump Jumper , Enduro and Demo .

I bought the Stump Jumper version . Then had it set up for a Levo .

The delay in warranty and service is one of the reasons I went with Ohlins . Read about Cane Creek and others . Seemed like a lot more complicated to get warranty .
 

Rosemount

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EDIT: tl;dr
  • Meanwhile my Levo is dead, with no shock. Time for some acoustic suffering I guess...
As for this thread, it would be lovely to start gathering some concrete info on what these manufacturers really mean by "not recommended"; will they stand behind the product, or not? Feel free to contribute.
Thanks for reading.
I have the orig Rock Shox air shock sitting on top my fridge .
Where do you live ?
 

Bigtuna00

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Interesting...$1200 with a max rider weight limit of 235 lbs for the Levo.
If you're balking at the price tag for Push, take a look at MRP. The price for the new/stronger version of the Hazzard is the same as the regular one, $650. Looks like it's not live yet on the website but you can request it when ordering, they have the parts already.

I have the orig Rock Shox air shock sitting on top my fridge .
Where do you live ?
Appreciate it, thank you. I have someone local with a stock shock, just have to arrange pickup. And I decided to go with EXT so hopefully my Arma will arrive quickly! :)
 

Bigtuna00

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the arma is a DH shock I thought?
It's marketing. The Storia and Arma are largely the same. The Storia has a "lockout lever", which I will never use, and a fixed HBC tune (the tune can be changed, but not externally). The Arma has no lockout and adjustable HBC instead. The Arma is also slightly lighter and more compact. I may never need the adjustable HBC but at least it's a feature I *might* use, whereas the lockout is useless to me, I hate fiddling with levers. So I chose the Arma.
 

BAMBAMODA

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It's marketing. The Storia and Arma are largely the same. The Storia has a "lockout lever", which I will never use, and a fixed HBC tune (the tune can be changed, but not externally). The Arma has no lockout and adjustable HBC instead. The Arma is also slightly lighter and more compact. I may never need the adjustable HBC but at least it's a feature I *might* use, whereas the lockout is useless to me, I hate fiddling with levers. So I chose the Arma.
Nice man. Didn’t know that stuff.
 

Bigtuna00

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Are the spherical bearing eyelets exclusive to Push? Or is that something anyone could add to a Levo combatible shock?
The first generation EXT shocks had spherical bearings. I've actually reached out to SS to ask if they know why they were removed. Haven't heard back yet.

I also wonder if the Push eyelets are larger. I'm not sure it would be a good idea to squeeze a bearing into the same space occupied by a bushing. The axle would have to be smaller diameter. But I suppose that would be ok as the shock is no longer under lateral load.

After thinking about it some more, I'm not sure spherical bearings are a good idea for the Levos (and by extension the Stumpy). Whether we like it or not, the shock is part of the suspension structure. Not only that, it receives enough load to cause small diameter shocks to fail. The spherical bearings completely remove this structural element. Now all the load is on the suspension and the shock no longer factors into lateral stiffness. I realize there are advantages to this too. The rear *will* have more lateral flex when spherical bearings are used. Obviously Push says it's fine and you'll never notice when riding. It may be a minor point but it's on reason I chose EXT.
 

TBL79

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Just want to share my experiences about moving to coil on Levo comp -21. I have raced in the past motorcycle enduro races and funny how, those days come to my mind,when I moved to Ext Storia. It just is different feeling with good way. Storia feels like its stiff but still eats all bumbs. I wanted some race tune it,because I'am going some enduro races in summer. Though as its winter and everything is frosen,real experience will come in summer but so far I'am super happy with Storia. 575 spring fitted and 600 spare. I'am about 90kg. I haven't bottomed it,or feel it. Also Storia feels quite playful,you can hop and pop as with air. Whole bike behaviour changed also,had to stiffen front also(rhytm) but I have Zeb waiting.
 

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This is an "official reply" from Specialized sent to my LBS:



I assume "shock extension" is referring to the yoke?
That is odd, I spoke directly to Fox when I ordered my DHX2 and no issues were quoted, I honestly have had my fox on my bike since September, and I probably have over 50 hours on it and it is fine. I love it and I am a heavy guy. Again only trail riding no jumping. If it does break then I might consider going back to air but to me that would be a downgrade. i would probably really only do that if I had it fixed in warranty then it broke again
 
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Bigtuna00

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Finally got a reply from Cane Creek about my shock, here's the relevant bit for this thread from Nate Field at Cane Creek:

First and foremost, we are still very much recommending our old Coil CS and it's replacement, the Kitsuma Coil, for use on the Levo. It is a great shock for that application. We HAVE discontinued the Coil IL for the Levo and Stumpjumper frames due to an unusually high number of our limited warranty issues with that shock being related to those models. Those frames have pretty high leverage ratios (over 3:1 at sag) and coupled with a Clevis mount lower, they are harder on shocks than most other frames.
 
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losgatosgtr

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I have the Storia on my levo and love it. It does make some noise though as part of the hydraulic oil circuits but it is normal. Clicks and squishy sounds.
 

Bigtuna00

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As much as I appreciate the anecdotes, the goal of this thread is to gather concrete info, as in official feedback (or as close as we can get, it's the internet after all :) ) from the manufacturers. You said Öhlins "backs it up". Do you have a source for that? Even just an email reply is ok, just trying to engage the manufacturers directly.

Full disclosure: I'm unconvinced about Öhlins for a couple of reasons: 1) Specialized stopped using their stuff 2) the shaft on the coil shock looks pretty wimpy. I couldn't find any specs on the actual diameter or material used. Maybe it's fine, but would be nice to have specific info.

I want to change the thread title to something more useful, just having trouble capturing the goal and expectation. Like "official coil shock thread" is too presumptuous. Anyway will try to fix it.
 
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NewLifeLevo

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As much as I appreciate the anecdotes, the goal of this thread is to gather concrete info, as in official feedback (or as close as we can get, it's the internet after all :) ) from the manufacturers. You said Öhlins "backs it up". Do you have a source for that? Even just an email reply is ok, just trying to engage the manufacturers directly.

Full disclosure: I'm unconvinced about Öhlins for a couple of reasons: 1) Specialized stopped using their stuff 2) the shaft on the coil shock looks pretty wimpy. I couldn't find any specs on the actual diameter or material used. Maybe it's fine, but would be nice to have specific info.

I want to change the thread title to something more useful, just having trouble capturing the goal and expectation. Like "official coil shock thread" is too presumptuous. Anyway will try to fix it.
I have deleted my anecdotal post since I do not have any specific info to add. To clarify, it's the Öhlins dealer that has set up the shock and will "back it up" . I do not have any factory info to validate either the functionality or reliability of the shock. It would be useful, and for my piece of mind, to get factory input. Thank you.
 
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kombos

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The DB Kitsuma Coil stanchion is the same as the DB Coil CS; 9.5mm. (The DB Coil IL was 8mm). I wouldn't use the DB Kitsuma Coil on a Levo after my experience with the DB Coil CS. The TTX looks pretty small as well but I couldn't find the exact size.
I just installed a TTX22M on my Levo. Shaft looks to be 10mm.
 

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I want to change the thread title to something more useful, just having trouble capturing the goal and expectation. Like "official coil shock thread" is too presumptuous. Anyway will try to fix it.
How 'bout "coil shock specifications and Levo compatibility"
 

RebornRider

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I have a contribution to the thread, and a question:

1. I received the following email reply from Extreme Racing Shox:
EXT-ShockReply.png


2. Big Tuna, did you consider a progressive rate spring? The kinematics analysis I ordered for my Levo shows that the geometry is not very progressive.
 
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Bigtuna00

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Thanks for the contribution, I'll link it in the OP.

2. Big Tuna, did you consider a progressive rate spring?
Not really. Based on my experience with the Cane Creek DB Coil, I've had no issues running a standard spring. But I'm not a jumper. If you do a lot of drop off and jumps, you might need something more progressive. Also the HBC on the EXT shocks should help with this, especially the Arma which is externally adjustable.

(My Arma should arrive Friday!)

The kinematics analysis I ordered for my Levo shows that the geometry is not very progressive.
Isn't this is a good thing? If the geometry was more progressive you'd need a progressive spring rate to compensate for the leverage increase. Or maybe I have it backwards, I can never keep it straight in my head.
 

NewLifeLevo

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Follow up response from the Ohlins dealer regarding the TTX:

The concern is for coil shock with an 8mm shaft like the older generation of FOX DHX2 and Cane Creek DBcoil.
Ohlins has 9.5mm steel shaft diameter, it is a shock coming stock on multiple Specialized models so you are good to go. Just for reference, the new 2021 FOX DHX2 and Cane Creek Kitsuma have changed to 9.5mm steel shafts as well.
 
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jonpress

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Been riding the TTX on my Levo for about 2 years now. Best upgrade to the bike!
I’m looking at the TTX and have been advised to go with the 708 lb spring. I’m about 106kg in riding gear. I don’t want to end up smashing through the travel and since I don’t think there’s a bigger spring available I need to be sure it’s the right thing. How do you find shock in terms of is it still poppy and do you run through the travel too quickly.
I’d also be interested if anyone on here is running a coil and around my weight for comparison.