Product Test: PUSH INDUSTRIES ELEVENSIX SHOCK
The Push ElevenSix shock was born when the suspension masters at Push Industries asked themselves, “What would happen if we built the ultimate shock, no matter what the cost?”To give a little background on what makes Push special, it’s a company that was founded in an 800-square-foot warehouse in Irvine, California. The founder, Darren Murphy, a long-time riding and moto enthusiast as well as suspension geek, quickly garnered favor as an expert tuner and worked with some of the biggest names in the sport to dial in their bikes. Eric Carter, Steve Peat, Nathan Rennie and a host of other riders owe at least part of their success to Darren’s efforts in the early days of Push.
Years later, Darren relocated Push Industries to the Front Range of Colorado, where it resides now. Push has been known for many years as a custom suspension tuner that can take your stock fork or shock and “Push It” to improve the performance. The company built its reputation by taking existing products and modifying them to suit the specific needs of riders, custom-tuning pistons, regulating oil flow, adjusting air volume and performing a host of other adjustments. Recently, however, Push has branched out and made its own shock. This is a test of Push’s first from-the-ground-up shock, the ElevenSix.
In the box: The ElevenSix is far from an impulse purchase. The shock comes custom-tuned for you and your bike based on the information you give Push when you purchase it. In the box, the shock comes ready to install with a base tune that should be ready to hit the trail immediately.
WHO IS IT MADE FOR?
The ElevenSix is as purpose-built as it gets. The coil shock is built for the increasing demands of enduro racers and aggressive all-mountain riders. It’s designed to handle the roughest, most technical and longest descents, yet still remains light and efficient enough to climb to the top of the hill. You won’t find a downhill version of the ElevenSix, nor will you find a lightweight and air-sprung version—at least not yet. For now, this shock is built for the 5- to 6-inch-travel rider who wants to make the most of their suspension travel.
WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?
Serious technology—that’s what. The shock is manufactured at the Push factory in Loveland, Colorado. That doesn’t just mean it’s put together there; it’s designed and machined in the Rockies from blocks of metal on Push’s CNC machines. It’s then handassembled, tuned for your specific bike, weight and riding style, and then checked on a dyno to ensure everything in the build process went to plan. The ElevenSix relies on a patented dual-overhead-valve design, which basically means the shock can be toggled between two entirely different settings with the flip of a switch. Those settings are completely and independently adjustable. Riders can adjust this shock to have a climb and descend mode, but are not forced to tune it that way, as is the case with all other on-the-fly adjustable shocks on the market. The two settings on the Push shock are not preset at all and can be completely adjusted by the rider.
WHICH BIKE SHOULD I PUT IT ON?
Push currently has baseline tunes for roughly 60 bike models, all in the 5–6-inch-travel range. As an added bonus, Push offers upgrades and reconfigurations, meaning that the shock can easily be swapped to another bike in the future. The shock (like nearly any other on the market) should be serviced roughly once a year. With the $125 service fee, a rider will not only receive any updated components, such as shims or pistons, but can also opt to have the shock re-valved for a completely different bike. Compared to our stock Fox Float X shock, the ElevenSix added about a 1/2 pound to the total bike weight.
WHAT DID WE RIDE IT ON?
We had Push build our ElevenSix for our long-term enduro test bike, the Pivot Mach 6. This proved to be a bigger undertaking than we originally thought, because the Mach 6 is designed for the kinematics of an air shock. In fact, Darren had to work hard to adapt the ElevenSix to the needs of this bike. The Push ElevenSix is the only coil shock approved by Pivot for use on the Mach 6. It should be noted that this is not as simple as a bolt-on “upgrade” to a coil shock. This shock needs to be engineered to work with the kinematics of your bike. If you don’t see your bike on the list, contact Push to find out if the ElevenSix is a good choice for your ride.
HOW DID IT PERFORM?
Installation: It’s pretty easy breezy. Push includes the specific mounting hardware for whichever bike the shock is tuned for. That means you only need to swap out two bolts to install the shock. Not all frames have the clearance for the large damper assembly, so be sure to work with Push before pulling the trigger to make sure your bike is compatible.
Setup: You’ve already told Push your riding preferences, weight and bike info, so the shock shows up ready to rock with the recommended baseline tune dialed specifically for you. Push also includes a handy printout of your suspension info, so even if you fiddle with it, you can always get back to the basic recommended setting.
Our shock showed up with a 450-pound spring, which was a little on the stiff side; however, riders who frequently fall between spring rates will love that instead of coming in 50-pound increments, the Hypercoil springs supplied with the ElevenSix come in 25-pound increments. Our between-two-springs rider finally found the perfect rate for his softer suspension preference.
On the trail: The ElevenSix feels supremely supple on small bumps, yet has a very supportive mid-stroke that keeps the shock from feeling too hammocky in the middle of the travel. The shock feels like it’s simply moving a high volume of oil through its ports. This thing doesn’t feel like a hypodermic needle plunger; it feels like a diesel-engine piston. While the shock does add some weight to the bike, the supple feel coupled with the quality of travel will be worth it for some.
This shock feels like it was built with the most aggressive riders in mind, riders who will appreciate the fade-free performance on long descents and strong damping control on big hits. We took this shock down several of our favorite shuttle runs and rode many laps in the bike park, and we were very impressed. Down one of our favorite lines that’s well-known for boiling the oil in a shock from so many successive hits, we reached down to find the ElevenSix damper cool to the touch—something we’ve not experienced with any other shock to date.
Not for everyone: Push is very particular about the tunes they do, and the ElevenSix may not work for every bike out there.
Pointed uphill: Most riders will opt to have one setting for climbing and one for descending. This is the way the shock comes, unless you specify otherwise. The ElevenSix keeps the suspension travel moving, but keeps rider weight impressively supported. We found this helpful on both technical and smooth climbs. When charging up a rocky ascent, the shock maintains traction well, which improved our climbing efficiency. On smooth climbs, the rider weight seems to settle into the sag point and stays steady to keep pedaling feeling pleasantly efficient. It’s far from a lockout, but it wasn’t meant to be. Still, if you want to tune it to be firmer, you have that option with the turn of a knob.
Buying Advice: The ElevenSix is the ultimate tuner’s shock. It is built for the rider who will appreciate its capacity to handle the most aggressive trails and long descents. It’s not for the rider who wants a set-it-and-forget-it shock. The $1200 USA-made masterpiece is for those who truly want to dial in their bikes and don’t mind emptying their wallets to do so.
This is one of the best climbing coil shocks we’ve tested, yet it didn’t give up the plush and stable qualities we value in a coil spring. The shock is supple on small stuff, controlled on big hits and extremely tunable to adapt to nearly any rider’s style and personal preferences. Of course, there is that crazy-high price tag to swallow, but given that this shock can truly outlast your bike, it’s worth it for the right rider. If you want to find out if you are that rider, give the guys in Colorado a call. They’ll tell you—with no marketing-speak—whether or not this is the shock for you.
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