Van RC Review
Fox Van RC Rear Shock – first impressions
Back in September 2015 cracked the headtube on my old 2010 Commencal Meta 4x. I had to find a replacement promptly, and found a Kona Howler frame which would take every part from the meta apart from the shock. A quick call to Mojo Suspension, and I was sorted out a tiny 190mm Fox Van RC rear shock that would fit into the lowered and slackened Howler. Mojo even tuned the shock to my weight and riding style and it came with three days – result! The Howler is my play bike – jumps, freeride, messing about, and therefore the shock is set up with a massive 650 pound spring which is incredibly stiff for my 10 and a half stone frame. The shock doesn’t look particularly awe inspiring and the Van RC has not changed in nearly a decade, but if something aint broke, then why fix it? The shock has just a low speed rebound adjuster and a low speed compression adjuster – basic by today’s standards, but allows a very simple set up. The shock fitted with no issues and looks very appealing matched to the old school frame. First impressions from its initial car park bounce highlight just how stiff the shock is, and also felt a bit lifeless. However, a brand new shock needs time to bed in to release its full potential, so felt optimistic for the future.
Initial tests proved just how supportive and capable the rear shock was, it handled big hits with ease only using full travel when things started to get really out of hand. However, the shock felt very confused and inelegant over repeated hits (roots or rocks) and thought about ordering a lighter spring to alleviate the feedback. However, the frame needed a respray in a few months and used this opportunity to replace the bearings, and over grease the bushings to ensure minimal resistance. After the re-build was finished, the true potential of the shock was released. It handled everything with ease, even handling rough trails well, despite the heavy weight spring fitted. It after months of riding, the Van RC has become very plush and supple, but also capable of responding well to overshoots, cases and general hooligan riding. In my case, the shock was set up for freeride and dirtjumping, but it can be used for a range of different riding styles, and is found on many downhill bikes as a good performing budget shock. Overall very impressed with the Van RC, it is a simple, capable rear shock with solid reliability and consistency, which can be used in a variety of formats, exceeding my expectations.
Plush, workman like travel capable of many disciplines
Basic damping can hold the rider back on fast rocky/rooty descents
Can take a while to bed in properly