RockShox Vivid vs Super Deluxe Coil and Air Shocks


RockShox has been creating mountain bike suspension for decades, and they definitely know a thing or two about creating a stacked lineup of forks and shocks to give options for riders of all different types. Currently, the top-tier shock options from RockShox are the Super Deluxe Ultimate Coil, Super Deluxe Ultimate (air), and the RockShox Vivid. While it's easy to see three rear shocks with RockShox logos and think they'll all feel similar, you're actually right! Each of these shocks are very high-performing and will provide stellar, ground-hugging performance for most riders and most bikes. However, there are inherently some differences in riding characteristics between each of these models which you'll want to consider when figuring out which model is the best for you, your bike and how you ride.

At the time of writing this, the Super Deluxe shocks have been out in the wild and proving their capabilties for over 1 year. But now that the new Vivid has been released, which is aimed to provide the best of both worlds from air and coil, riders everywhere are wondering just how different the Vivid performs compared to the Super Deluxe models.

In this article, we're going to compare the new RockShox Vivid versus the current generation of Super Deluxe shocks to figure out which is best for you.

RockShox Vivid vs Super Deluxe Air vs Super Deluxe Coil

rockshox super deluxe ultimate and super deluxe coil ultimate and vivid rear mountain bike shocks laying on concrete to be compared

From left to right: RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate (air, MY23+ C1 chassis) - RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Coil (MY23+ B1 chassis) - RockShox Vivid Ultimate (MY24+ C1 chassis)

Let’s keep this short and sweet, because the performance of the Vivid seriously speaks for itself. Due to how controlled, smooth and pillow-y this shock feels on trail, combined with the easy yet extensive adjustability, I really feel like this is new hot shock on the market.

So let’s answer one question, is the Vivid the one shock to rule them all? In our opinion, yes it is for most riders with bikes over 130mm of rear wheel travel that want a super premium rear shock that floats through rough terrain while maximizing traction and adjustability.

However, let’s expand on this a little more since shock choice is usually more of a conversational decision. There are a ton of rear shocks out there, but let’s do some comparisons to the other models in the RockShox rear shock lineup (we’ll compare it to more shocks in the future, don’t you worry).

RockShox Vivid vs Super Deluxe Air

rockshox super deluxe ultimate and vivid rear mountain bike shocks laying on concrete to be compared

First, let’s look at the RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate air shock.

This has a smaller air can than the Vivid, only certain models have HBO (which is not adjustable) and it doesn’t have that cool TouchDown technology. This shock feels more progressive and more poppy than the Vivid, and seems to ride higher in its travel more often. While the Vivid does require slightly less breakaway force, the Super Deluxe is no slouch and is still requires an impressively small amount of force to get moving. The shock itself is smaller than the Vivid, which makes it easier to fit on more bikes since there will be more clearance between the shock and the bike's frame. However, the Vivid’s larger size holds more oil, has larger bushings and larger seals which makes it inherently handle sustained, brutal descents more efficiently. The Vivid's higher air volume makes the shock feel more plush, and creates a more traction-oriented feeling on the trails. The Super Deluxe Air also weighs less than the Vivid and costs $100 less.

Weights: Super Deluxe Air = 484 grams // Vivid = 660 grams (weights in 210x55 size)

RockShox Vivid vs Super Deluxe Coil

Next, let’s look at the RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Coil shock.

Both the Vivid and Super Deluxe Coil shocks have the same damper adjustments, but the Vivid also has TouchDown and has a much more adjustable air spring. While the Vivid seeks to mimic the linear spring curve of a coil spring, a true coil shock is still going to be more linear, if that’s what you’re looking for. If you want the Vivid to be more stiff or more soft, just add or remove a few PSI's of air. To do this with a coil shock, you have to purchase a new spring and remove the shock from your bike to install it. Playing with coil spring rates can nickel and dime you with both your time and money, before and after your shock purchase. Compressing the coil spring through it's stroke will feel very consistent and linear, while the Vivid feels overall more plush and pillow-y due to it's different spring curve.

If you want your Vivid to be more progressive, just pop some volume spacers in. If you want your coil shock to be more progressive, again, you need to buy a progressive spring, which are usually over $100 each, and if you don’t like that one then you have to buy another one...

rockshox super deluxe coil ultimate and vivid rear mountain bike shocks laying on concrete to be compared

The sensitivity off the top of the stroke on both of these shocks is super sensitive, but the coil shock will still win this battle. However, I truly believe that the Vivid’s sensitivity will feel almost identical to most riders on the trail, thanks to that TouchDown technology. Also, the extra pillow-y feel of the Vivid is sure to impress anyone since it feels like you're riding on a cloud. The coil shock weighs more than the Vivid, and also costs less assuming your first spring works for you. However, it’s not uncommon to have to purchase several springs to find the right one for you, and that can add up.

Weights: Super Deluxe Coil (and spring) = 896 grams // Vivid = 660 grams (weights in 210x55 size)

I really don’t mean to scare anyone away from buying a coil shock, but in reality, buying several coil springs and playing with spring rates is a serious concern of our customers which shouldn’t be ignored. If you’re very coil-curious, I definitely recommend experiencing a coil shock to see if this is something you really like. Understanding the process of playing with coil spring rates and feeling how they change the riding characteristics on the trail is very valuable, and you can learn a lot about what type of suspension you like. Or, if your heart and brain aren’t polarized towards going with either an air or coil shock specifically, and you just want something that is super adjustable with a super plush and premium feeling on the trail, the Vivid is going to make you very happy. Because while it does feel like it falls into its own category of shock type, it really does offer the best of both worlds.  

So which of these RockShox rear shocks is best for you?

Which Shock Is Best For You?

If you prioritize keeping your bike lightweight, you like your suspension to be very progressive to ride high in it’s travel and give you the most pop, or just want a shock that performs absolutely amazing at the lowest price, then you should go with the Super Deluxe Ultimate Air shock.

If you prioritize traction, you want a shock that is as linear as possible to have more usable travel, you don’t mind adding weight to your bike, and you don’t mind playing with coil springs to find one that works best for you and your bike, then the RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate is an amazing value compared to other similar coil shocks on the market.

a comparison of rockshox super deluxe ultimate and super deluxe coil ultimate and vivid rear mountain bike shocks laying on concrete

The Vivid is for you if you want virtually the same traction and sensitivity as a coil shock, but with more adjustability and versatility since you won’t need to physically change coil springs. The Vivid is for you if you want a shock that feels as plush and pillow-y as possible but doesn’t add much weight to your bike, and can still be set up either more progressive for more support and pop, or more linear for more usable travel by simply switching out some volume spacers.
The Vivid’s versatility can up the descending game of your 140mm trail bike, but this same shock can be used to smash out bike park laps on your 200mm DH bike.

With that said, the Vivid is sure to please most riders looking for a super premium, ultra high-performance shock, with tons of adjustability to push their riding further than ever before.

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(360) 306-8827



Mike Randol



Bellingham, WA

Current Bikes:Mullet Devinci Spartan 27.5 Custom Build

Bike Size: Medium

Favorite Trails: Dirt Merchant in Whistler, Chuckanut Mountain Trails in Bellingham

About Me: I grew up hucking my bike off curbs in the suburbs of Chicago. I moved out to the PNW in 2014 and opened The Lost Co in 2016. I freaking love riding long rough descents and really pushing my body to the limit. I'll straight up ride any type of bike but really prefer long travel 27.5" bikes. However, mid-travel 29r's are growing on me...