Rock Shox

From Retrobike Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

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.



RockShox was founded by Paul Turner and Steve Simons in 1989 in North Carolina, USA. It moved to California three years later.

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.

SRAM takeover

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></ref><ref></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 1993 25.4mm 43mm Elastomer
Quadra 5 1994 25.4mm 48mm Elastomer
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)
Jett 1999 2001
BoXXer 2000 Present 35mm 150mm (early), 180mm, 200mm (present) Coil
Ruby (road/700cc) 2000 2000
Metro (road/700cc) 2001 2005
Psylo 2001 2005
Duke 2002 2005 30mm
Pilot 2003 2005
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
Argyle 2007 Present 32mm 80/100mm Coil
Dart 2007 Present 28mm 80, 100 and 120mm Coil
Domain 2007 Present 34mm 200mm 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

Other features:

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.

External pages