Quarq ShockWiz Suspension Setup Computer Review

Quarq ShockWiz Suspension Setup Computer Review

Pocket Sized Suspension Wizardry

Words & Photos by Mike Wirth

Quarq is the electronic widget division of the SRAM Corporation. It’s where all the data acquisition nerds gather to design what they call “invisible” electronics to harvest useful data and improve your ride. Their products are used to measure everything from power output to tire pressure, and in this case, to measure suspension vectors to hone-in your suspension setup. Elite racers have been using suspension data acquisition equipment for years. But until recently, the systems have been clunky, hyper-expensive, and really only designed for professional engineers and race teams. Quarq has taken that same technology and packaged in in a lightweight little black box that fits in the palm of your hand, and mounts neatly to the back of your fork or side of your rear shock for inconspicuousness sake. We zap-strapped a couple of these little wonder squares to one of our test bikes to see if they could truly deliver the “wizard tune.”

THE LAB
The ShockWiz is an add-on gadget that records and evaluates suspension performance for nearly any air-sprung fork or shock. After crunching all the numbers through the smartphone app, it makes suggestions on how to dial your suspension to get the most out of it.

ShockWiz is available for purchase on the Quarq website, as well as through bike shops worldwide. It’s a nifty add-on that weighs a scant 45 grams and costs $329. Some bike shops also offer rental programs starting at about $25-50 a day.

The ShockWiz monitors your suspension travel by measuring the air pressure, used travel and shaft speed, which is the term suspension nerds use to describe how quickly the damper shaft is moving when hitting obstacles. It works by monitoring air pressure 100 times per second to detect pressure changes and travel depth. It then uses algorithms to detect poor setup characteristics such as pogoing, pack-down or bob. It then offers suggestions for improving your suspension setup once the data has been collected and downloaded to your device. This can be done either mid-ride, if you have your device and a shock pump on hand, or afterwards in the garage. ShockWiz stores all data to be downloaded, so there’s no need to ride with the device if you don’t want to. All that data comes via a Bluetooth connection right to your smartphone and filters it through the ShockWiz app algorithm to judge your shock tune.

Quarq ShockWiz Suspension Setup Computer Review

SETUP TIPS
Setting the ShockWiz up proved to be relatively simple. This system installs with a pair of zip-ties and hoses to fit nearly any air-sprung configuration. Once the ShockWhiz is connected to the bike, you can sync it to your smartphone or other Apple or Android device. The free app profiles your bike suspension, terrain and conditions and then gives you a score with a maximum of 100 on your setup. It then offers suggestions from the data to improve your settings and increase your score.

Start to finish, the ShockWiz goes from the box to ride-ready in about 30 minutes for a first-timer including the app download, and much less for somebody familiar with the process. Here are a few tips we learned working with the system:

  • The setup wizard does most of the hard work for you once you have it mounted and connected to the app. Simply follow the step-by-step instructions to find your baseline settings.
  • Start a new tuning session each time you make an adjustment. This will allow you to continuously improve your tune step-by-step to work closer to perfection.
  • Don’t go in with preconceived notions about what your suspension “should” be. Just because your ultra-firm setup feels fast, that may not actually work as well as a more-plush tune that hugs the ground. The beauty of the ShockWiz is being allowed to experiment with a variety of settings and quantify what’s actually working.
  • Long rides will work for collecting lots of data, but short tuning sessions with small adjustments work well too. In fact, being able to get almost instant feedback from the app makes finding a baseline setting on a brand new bike a much quicker process, and is one of our favorite uses for the Wiz

THE DIRT
We set up the ShockWiz to a wide array of bikes during our test from XC rockets to DH sleds.
We found that after only a few quick rips on our favorite practice loop we would land on a reliable baseline setting. Typically that would be with the air pressure and all adjustments near the middle of their range, but set up to match rider weight with the bike’s suspension kinematics. All this to say, it’s simpler to get to a solid starting point, but fine tuning will still require some ride time. But it’s a really easy way around the old-fashioned method of using sag to set up your fork and shock.

Our favorite feature of the ShockWiz is its ability to distill all the suspension lingo into an easy to use app. Even riders who don’t fully understand the theory behind things like air volume spacers, or the difference between high and low speed damping controls can reap the benefits of a high-end suspension tune with the Wiz.

The app simplifies because the adjustment procedure in plain language and makes it into an easy step by step process to dial in each of your adjustments. Want your bike to feel more playful? Simply put that into the app and go collect some data. The shock wiz will tell you how to dial it in.

After only a couple rides with each bike, we were able to utilize the easy to follow suggestions to shake out inconsistencies in our tune, and land on setups that felt either glued to the ground, or light and playful depending on the parameters we put into the ShockWiz. As an added bonus, the ShockWiz gives some very fun statistics to watch, including total number of jumps, total time in the air on any given ride, average “dynamic sag,” and number of deep compression (bottom out) instances you had.

Quarq ShockWiz Suspension Setup Computer Review

The Wolf’s Last Word

On this particular test bike, the app suggested that we add a bit more rebound damping, keep our air pressure unchanged, and turn the compression damping down a bit. Now, riders who pay over three hundred dollars for this system might expect a little more than a suggestion of a couple clicks one way or the other. Seriously, that’s an expensive upgrade considering it’s over a “hundy” per click; however, we were impressed with the ShockWiz and its ability to fine-tune our already dialed setup. Ultimately, we found the ShockWiz to be a fine-tuning tool, and a fine one to add to any toolbox at that.

The ShockWiz is expensive for what some would consider a “use-it-once” gadget. That said, it gives you the ability to actually see what you’re already feeling in the form of digital readouts, it gives useful information that’s easy to digest, and It’s fun as hell to use whether you need to fine tune your suspension or not. Riders who are constantly changing equipment will love how easy it makes finding a baseline setup. Bike shops may also find use for these setting up riders on new bikes from their store. We also know of both local and mail order bike shops that offer the ShockWiz for rent with a daily fee. If you can get ahold of one of these little black boxes, it will take the guesswork out of tuning your shocks to whatever your riding preferred feel is.

Price: $329
Website: Quarq.com

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We Dig

Takes the Guesswork Out of Shock Tuning
Easy to Use App
Fun Bonus Features to Play With

We Don’t

Expensive Gadget if You Only Use it Once

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