Rockshox Updates Vivid, Vivid Air Shocks w/ Counter Measure Damping, More!

2014 Rockshox Vivid Air counter measure long travel mountain bike shock

Rockshox has been testing and prototyping the Vivid shocks for six years, and now they’ve put all that into a coil and air versions that have taken victories at World Cup DH and FMB freeride events.

The original Vivid Air was introduced in 2010. Now, several new and updated technologies are incorporated to make them smoother and customizable, including Counter Measure, Dual Flow Adjust Rebound and Rapid Recovery. The result is a pair of shocks that initiate movement with virtually zero pounds of force, which should offer insane small bump sensitivity and traction and separate rebound adjustment for big and small hits.

What’s really interesting is how they did it. Bounce past the break for the tech details…

UPDATED: Video added at bottom of post.

UPDATED AGAIN: Weights and pricing chart added above video.



2014 Rockshox Vivid shock internals shown without coil over spring.

Most shocks have an internal floating piston (IFP) that traps a nitrogen charge, which puts pressure opposite the main chamber. As it does that, it wants to push the entire shaft and piston assembly out towards full top out (aka rebound). FYI: Nitrogen is used because its molecules are larger and it’s more inert, so it’s less likely to degrade or leak. In order to move the shock into its travel, you need to overcome this pressure and start the shock’s movement. In the case of the Vivid, the damping systems in the coil and air shocks are the same, and that’s what’s shown in the image above.

Counter Measure is essentially a negative spring, except that it’s working on the damper rather than the air chamber. As an easy example, think of their recent Dual Air forks. If you put air in the negative, it’s easier to move into its travel. Release the negative air and it becomes much harder to get the fork moving. Same concept here, except it’s acting on the damping system rather than the spring.

Rockshox engineer Jeremiah Boobar told us: “As the team was looking for ways to make the shock more responsive, they noticed the damper put a considerably amount of positive pressure on the system, up to 60lbs, so this was a main target for them.”

2014 Rockshox Vivid Air mountain bike shock

In the image above, the space above the white (left) and blue (right) pistons is normally filled with damping oil. The small coil spring on the left, below the white piston, is the Counter Measure negative spring that’s pushing against the damping fluid. There’s a good diagram in this post that better explains how the internals work.


The Vivid's new Counter Measure spring pushes against the damping oil opposing pressure from the IFP



The new Dual Adjust adds and external knob to control the ending stroke rebound, whereas it used to require a 2.5mm hex tool to adjust. Now, there’s a second red rebound knob near the blue compression knob. The beginning stroke rebound adjustment is on the other end of the shock.

As an aside, these adjustments really are position-sensitive, not simply high and low speed rebound adjustments, but the names are a bit counterintuitive. Boobar explained that beginning stroke adjustment is first part of travel, like small bumps or lightly pushing down on the saddle in a parking lot. Ending stroke is the last 2/3 or so of total travel. The reason it’s important to differentiate damping characteristics is so that the bike can recover quickly from big hits without topping out harshly. So, you can set it to rebound quickly from half or full compression, then slow down as it comes all the way up. This is essentially what they’re calling…


Rapid Recovery was introduced on the Monarch RT3 last year. Difference is, with Vivid you can adjust it a little more by controlling the ending stroke rebound, versus the Monarch which is factory preset.

2014 Rockshox Vivid Coil Over counter measure long travel mountain bike shock

2014 Rockshox Vivid and Vivid Air pricing and weights

Click image to enlarge for pricing and weights and size options.


Bill - 03/08/13 - 2:00pm

I think the policy is BS!!! If you can afford it, you should be able to buy it!!! This IS AMERICA isn’t it!!

Morgan - 03/08/13 - 2:07pm

Seriously. Who gives a flying f@#$ about something that you can’t even buy?I’m pretty sure if it really is that good, that everybody could benefit from it. I bet they are just having their pro mechanics tune them personally on an individual basis to the needs of the rider.

Saris - 03/08/13 - 2:38pm

Only the top 50 UCI Pros are eligible to receive one of these shocks, “because only the best riders in the world need a vivid,” check the full list on their Facebook page:

Notice there isn’t a single woman on the list?

– Saris

iperov - 03/08/13 - 4:23pm

how about maintenance-free electric shock absorber?

Jon - 03/08/13 - 4:35pm

People… it’s a joke, they aren’t serious, calm down.

Morgan - 03/08/13 - 5:32pm

@iperov The weight of the battery and/or battery alone to create a totally electric shock would be way to heavy to be beneficial. Plus “maintenance-free” for a dynamic part is non-existant. There is always something that will wear out.

Saris - 03/08/13 - 6:43pm

They have now updated the list to include twenty top pro women riders.

MotoPete - 03/08/13 - 8:50pm

Can a DH racer that may not have the time or money to go full pro, punch that elitist jerk BooBoo in the head for me. Hey RS… FO!

Mindless - 03/08/13 - 10:42pm

Is not it the same as high and low speed rebound on CCDBA? HSR helps recovery from deep hits.

Mindless - 03/09/13 - 2:13am

..and most idiotic marketing move award goes to Rock Shox!

iperov - 03/09/13 - 3:58am

@Morgan I can pay $1000 for electric shock absorber, I dont care about weight

Kelvin - 03/09/13 - 10:19am

I get this was supposed to be a joke, but they totally missed on it. It’s not funny at all.

Rock Shox looks like a bunch of elitist jerks and Boobar especially seems like a complete douchebag. How could you not realize that most of your customers would be insulted. It may be true, but you don’t rub it in the face of paying customers.


KJR - 03/09/13 - 1:54pm

Epic social marketing failure. They have effectively just made their suspension either only for the elite (new Vivids) or only for sh!tty, unskilled riders (the rest of their product line). F*ing bravo, Rock Shox. Fire the dude that came up with this marketing angle…

Upsidedownbiker - 03/09/13 - 9:54pm

Real or fake. This is absolutely the worst marketing I’ve ever seen. After viewing it I thought, “no wonder I ride Fox Sh!t.”

bin judgin - 03/10/13 - 12:23am

this ad is terrible. boobar runs a great team at rockshox, though.

greg - 03/11/13 - 12:07am

it’s funny when people think an extra little coil negative spring is going to make the rear shock more sensitive in small bumps. that tiny spring isnt even being touched when the bike is at its sag point. it is activated when the bike is in the air or immediately after full rebound, that’s it. nothing about small bump performance, unless you include moving to a lighter weight main coil spring while increasing preload…

Ripnshread - 03/11/13 - 1:04am

Horrible…horrible marketing… The idea was to say this was made to meet the expectations of pro riders, because they have had a serious problem with that in the past. Instead he came off alienating and elitist… major fail.

Bog - 03/12/13 - 5:49pm

@greg, it seems like you don’t understand the function of a negative spring then. The only time it needs to work is when the suspension is at top-out because this is when the forces are most unbalanced and static friction has to be overcome. All coil forks and most air forks also have small negative springs that mainly work to reduce initial breakaway force.

Mindless - 03/12/13 - 6:31pm

@Bog, it seems like you do not understand the concept of sag.

dank - 04/04/13 - 5:27pm

i love the hypocrisy of sram. right on the vivid air page it says and i quote “we believe race-proven technologies shouldn’t just be for racers.”

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