RockShox Inc. is an American company founded by Paul Turner and Steve Simons in 1989, that develops and manufactures bicycle suspensions. The company led in the development of mountain bikes. It is part of SRAM Corporation.
Turner raced motorcycles in his teens. In 1977, aged 18 he established a company that sold motorcycle components. He later worked for the Honda Motor Company as factory mechanic for their professional motocross team. This put him in contact with designers of suspension systems for motorcycles and other motocross industry people.
Simons was a former professional motocross rider and entrepreneur. In 1974 he designed a shock absorber for the company that became Fox Racing Shox, and then established his own company Simons Inc. to develop suspension forks. He had two patents on suspension forks, one which he licensed to motorcycle and suspension manufacturers.
In 1989, Turner approached Simons to develop a suspension fork for mountain bikes. Turner had in 1987, with the help of Keith Bontrager, presented a full bike with front and rear suspension at the bicycle industry trade show in Long Beach. The industry was not impressed. Two years later Turner and his wife Christi were manufacturing suspension forks in their garage with parts bought from Simons, who soon partnered Turner in the newly formed company.
Simons became CEO of RockShox. Turner brought in Greg Herbold as a test rider and company spokesman. Herbold became the first world champion in downhill mountain biking on one of the first suspension forks for mountain bikes made. In August that year the company manufactured its first 100 suspension forks, the RS-1. The start-up was financed by the Asian bike component manufacturer Dia-Compe, the founders, and other investors. Dia Compe manufactured the next series of forks but later withdrew from manufacturing and disposed of its shares. From then the forks were primarily manufactured at Rock Shox.
Growth and IPO
Eight years after inception the company manufactured and sold a million RockShox forks and had revenues of $100 million. The company went public in October 1996, was listed on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange (ticker: RSHX), and raised 65 million dollars ($72 million before deduction of IPO related costs). The company had 300 employees, most in the company's US factories. RockShox had a market share of 60 percent. <ref Name="RFB" />
Competition and cost savings
Towards the end of the 1990s competition was fierce and profits were thin.
Rock Shox was one of many brands that marketed suspension forks for bicycles, others were Answer Manitou, Marzocchi and RST. During this time Fox Racing Shox also enterred the bicycle industry. As the number of direct substitutes to Rock Shox' products increased, the company experienced difficulties in protecting its position as the leading manufacturer in the business.
In June 2000 RockShox moved production to Colorado, which saved an estimated $5 million a year. In 2001 the company lost $10 million.
In 2002 RockShox defaulted on a loan to SRAM. SRAM took over the company and its debt obligations for $5.6 million. The company had 300 employees in Colorado Springs.<ref name="RFB" /> In 2002, production in Colorado moved to Taichung, Taiwan. A small test facility remains in Colorado Springs.
Paul Turner has been nominated for the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame several times but declined.<ref>The Mountain Bike Hall of Fame Profile: Steve Boehmke</ref>
Product chronology and common specifications
Suspension Forks<ref>Museum of Mountain Bike Art & Technology:Suspension Timeline</ref><ref>Bikepro forktable</ref><ref>http://www.sram.com/rockshox/products</ref><ref>http://www.mtbr.com/</ref>
|Product||Year introduced||Year discontinued||Stanchion Diameter||Travel Lengths||Spring Types|
|RS-1||1991||1991||25.4mm (1")||Air, oil return|
|Mag 20||1992||1992||25.4mm||45mm||Air, oil return|
|Mag 30||1992||1992||25.4mm||45mm||Air, oil return|
|Mag 21||1993||1997||25.4mm||46mm (60mm long travel)||Air, oil return|
|Mag 10||1993||1995||25.4mm||46mm||Air, oil return|
|Mag 21 SL||1994||1994||25.4mm||46mm (60mm long travel)||Air, oil return|
|Quadra 21 R||1994||25.4mm||60mm||Elastomer|
|Judy XC||1995||2001||28mm||50mm, 63mm||MCU spring (elastomer), oil return|
|Judy SL||1995||2001||28mm||50mm, 63mm||MCU spring (elastomer), oil return|
|Judy DH||1995||1998||28mm||80mm||MCU spring (elastomer), oil return|
|Indy||1995||MCU spring (elastomer)|
|SID||1998||Present||32mm (as of 2009; previously, 28mm)||80/100mm or 120mm||Dual Air|
|DHO||1998||28mm||100mm||MCU spring (elastomer)|
|BoXXer||2000||Present||35mm||150mm (early), 180mm, 200mm (present)||Coil|
|Reba||2005||Present||32mm||80/100/120mm Dual Air, 90-120mm Air U-Turn, 130/140mm Trail Specific 29"||Dual Air, Air U-Turn, Trail Specific 29"|
|Recon||2006||Present||32mm||80/100/120mm, 80/100 29"||Solo Air / Coil|
|Revelation||2006||Present||32mm||130/140/150mm Dual Air, 120-150mm Dual Position Air||Dual Air, Dual Position Air|
|Dart||2007||Present||28mm||80, 100 and 120mm||Coil|
|Lyrik||2007||Present||35mm||115 to 160mm 2-Step and Coil U-Turn, 160/170mm T/A Solo Air and Coil||2-Step and Coil U-Turn, Solo Air and Coil|
|Tora||2007||Present||32mm||80/100/120mm, 80/100mm 29" Coil; 85-130mm Coil U-Turn and Solo Air||Coil, Coil U-Turn and Solo Air|
|Totem||2007||Present||40mm||180mm||2-Step, Solo Air or Coil|
|Sektor||2011||Present||32mm||Up to 150mm||Coil U-Turn and Solo Air|
There are usually several versions of each product, typically distinguished by the presence or absence of certain features, such as material type, preload, rebound damping, compression damping, lockout, remote lockout and replaceable bushings. This article does not attempt to list all specifications for all versions.