Avalanche Chubie Rear Shock


Adjustments on the Avalanche Chubie, Blister Gear Review
Adjustments on the Avalanche Chubie

I found the adjustments (low speed compression, high speed compression, spring preload, rebound) to be responsive and effective—one click actually does something.

Having said that, all of the adjustments were within a click of my ideal settings straight from Avalanche. It was really nice to receive a shock that was already close to ideal, and not have to work to find baseline settings.

User Available Adjustments

Spring Rate – swap springs to adjust the spring weight to match your weight and riding style

Preload – Increase the static force on the spring, by tightening the spring collar. This will change the amount of sag the shock has.

Low Speed Compression – 22 clicks – adjusts suspension resistance to brake dive and body movement

High Speed Compression – 3.25 turns – adjusts suspension resistance to rapid impacts (braking bumps, rock gardens, drop-offs)

Low Speed Rebound – 16 clicks – adjusts return rate of suspension, helps keep the wheel tracking the ground


In addition to the performance, the durability of the Chubie has been great. I just sent it in for a two-season service purely because I wanted to be proactive on maintenance. It was returned with fresh oil, seals, and a clean bill of health. Nothing was damaged, and nothing was particularly worn out. I don’t have a lot to say about the durability on this shock, which is a good thing.

Bottom Line

On my Nomad, the Avalanche Chubie has out-performed two Rockshox Monarch air shocks and a demo DHX air shock in every way other than weight. The pedaling performance is so improved that it more than makes up for the weight increase of 600g in the middle of my chassis compared to the Monarch shocks.


Tom Collier riding the Avalanche Chubie in Vancouver, Blister Gear Review
Tom Collier on Ladies Only, Mt. Fromme, Vancouver, BC. (photo by Ben Peters)

The Chubie has turned my Nomad from a long-travel trail bike into a mini-downhill machine that can also be ridden uphill as fast as many short-travel trail bikes. I’ve done shuttle runs on one day, then group rides with the spandex crowd the next, and done nothing other than change my seat height.

Over two years, the Chubie has proven its durability, its adjustability, and its all-around high performance. In short, the Chubie has been a remarkable upgrade to my bike that was worth every penny.


5 comments on “Avalanche Chubie Rear Shock”

  1. Lot of inaccuracies in this article but yeah, Avalanche products are generally really reliable, solid performers.

    First, the Nomad does have a falling rate followed by a rising rate suspension through its suspension cycle. (“U” curve) However, the highest leverage ratio in the cycle is not in the “middle” of the stroke as you claim but rather at the ideal sag point (around 30 percent into the travel). The idea is to keep you at this point so the bike retains good small bump sensitivity but ramps up for larger hits. If you like, I can give you a X/Y axis chart showing this.

    The idea of anything “wallowing” drives me nuts. The idea you need some sort of crazy expensive custom shock for your carbon framed VPP 2 frame is equally nuts. This bike rides great with a properly tuned Vivid, Monarch, Float X etc. The size of the shock has nothing to do with its “suspension valves being inadequate”.

    One thing that is hard for people to wrap their head around is often fast suspension does not feel good. Throw a medium or firm compression tune RS product on there. I’d wager you’d end up with similar results when you are looking at the clock on a descent.

    Again, not saying avy is bad but I’d hope you let your audience know there are a lot of other shocks that are equally as good of performers on that bike.

    • First, thanks for the considered response. Technically-focused dialogue is exactly what I hope a review like this can generate.

      I certainly know the same plot that you are mentioning, and I agree with you that the peak leverage occurs at around 30% of the travel. I think the problem here is really one of semantics – I’m thinking of the middle of the stroke as 33-66% of the travel or so (probably weighted towards the front of that range too). I should have been clearer, but I do think that we are referring to the same range – that region of the stroke where the shock spends most of its time. I accept blame for not being sufficiently precise with my language.

      The Santa Cruz Nomad MkII is a truly awesome bike with a stock shock. I should have emphasized that more, but the article is really targeted toward those users who find it because they are already considering purchasing a different shock to alter the suspension performance of the bike. I have owned my Nomad for around three and a half years and have loved it the whole time. First with the Monarch shock, and now with the Avalanche. Very few riders need a higher-performance shock than comes with the bike. However, if you are really pushing the bike and trying to ride terrain on which a DH bike wouldn’t be out of place, there is performance to be gained with a tuned Avalanche shock (or a properly tuned Vivid, RC4, or Double Barrel, etc.). The Avalanche is one of many options. It does come pre-tuned instead of relying on the user to tune the shock properly, and I feel that is a significant advantage. I used to think of Avalanche suspension as expensive too, until I actually looked into it. Yes, the Avalanche is more expensive than some other options, but it is almost exactly the same price as a stock Fox DHX RC4 shock or a Cane Creek Double Barrel. Factor in the durability, support, and tuning and it is actually a pretty good value.

      The B tune on the Monarch 3.3 and 4.2 shocks I had is the spec’d tune for the Nomad. At high shaft speeds it felt reasonably good. If I were to move to the same Monarch shock with more compression damping, in exchange for more stable low-speed motion it would be more likely to pack up over larger impacts since it would be a fixed compression setting and not one with a blow-off that opens at higher shaft speeds. I’d love to try a Rock Shox or Fox product with a different tune if one were provided to me, especially a Vivid, or RC4, or Float X, or one of the other products that offers more complex damping and more tune-ability than the Monarch. However, since I had to purchase a shock, I preferred to put my money toward trying something different and supporting a smaller company. That decision has been rewarded with a great shock and truly incredible customer service.

      A suspension manufacturer can definitely fit some awesome stuff in a small shock. The size however, can definitely have something to do with it. A larger shock usually has more oil volume, and more oil volume better deals with thermal fluctuations, and allows for larger damping ports/valves. Larger ports also tend to offer more reliable and tunable performance since they have a better ratio of cross section to circumference, reducing the magnitude of surface effects during fluid movement.

      As far as descent times, you might very well be right, but I’m not a racer, so I wasn’t timing my descents. I ride fast, but purely for fun. So, instead of evaluating descent times, I was evaluating how enjoyable the descents were and for me that comes down to a combination of smoothness, control, and confidence. The Avalanche delivered on all three fronts, offering me decidedly better performance than the monarch shock that had come on the bike.

      Thanks again for your comments.


  2. Couldn’t agree more Tom, I bought a Chubie for my Nomad, what a difference it made, massive! i’m not exaggerating, going up, coming down, transformed the bike, fantastic product. I definitely found the fox shock wallowy in comparison(just what i felt).

    all the best!

  3. Totally agree. Got an Avalanche shock for my Yeti SB66 and it was transformed. The complaints I and others had (as reflected in online reviews/comments) no longer exist. I have never felt a more composed ride; incredible climbing support while blissfully supple on everything from small chatter to big hits. Similarly, I have a Marzocchi 44 RC3 on the bike and love it, but wanted more mid-travel support. I got the Avy cartridge for the 44 and now it’s just perfect. Matt’s just wrong. Maybe his income depends on his supporting some mainstream suspension manufacturer. You know, those who produce suspension that “does not feel good” but which might produce a “similar result[] when [I’m] looking at the clock on a descent.”

Leave a Comment