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XCD 135 DTS-Si gets Nitrox Shock Absorbers


The rear shock absorbers on current Bajaj Pulsar bikes are also popularly known as NITROX shock absorbers. These types of shock absorbers are actually generically known as Gas Filled Shock Absorbers.

The visual differentiator between a conventional shock absorber and a gas filled shock absorber is a small canister (box) which is attached on one side of it. This canister holds a small amount of Nitrogen gas in it. The 'Royal Enfield Electra' was the first bike in India to have this feature. The Pulsar 150/180 UG II (2nd upgrade) then became the second model (and the first in the 150 cc and above category) to make this feature available on Indian bikes. A few other Indian bike makers have followed it as well and put this kind of shock absorbers on their 150 cc or above bikes, and giving different marketing names.

The XCD 135 DTS-Si becomes the second bike in the sub 150 cc category (after the Bajaj Discover 135 DTS-i) to sport Gas Filled Shock absorbers at its rear suspension.

Advantage of NITROX shock absorbers

Hydraulic shock absorbers have a tendency for the oil to foam (form bubbles) under heavy use. Foaming temporarily reduces the damping ability of the unit.

To solve this, a secondary cylinder is connected to the shock absorber to act as a reservoir for the oil and pressurized gas (nitrogen). This nitrogen gas helps in absorbing the road undulations and provides a smooth ride for both the rider and the pillion.

Shocks and struts are some of the most oversold items on a vehicle. Sometimes it is a matter of outright dishonesty. An example is Shockulla, a guy in business just to sell things. Shocks and struts are easy to sell so that is what Shockulla does.

There are also a great many folks who are mislead by advertising and replace shocks and struts needlessly. Unfortunately, many times the original shocks and struts being replaced are still better than the replacements being installed. Most original equipment shocks and struts are high quality and most last well past 100,000 miles. Shocks and struts both perform basically the same function. They dampen movement of the suspension, both up and down. When the suspension moves down, it is referred to as jounce. When it bounces back up, it is call rebound. When shocks and struts wear out, they do not control jounce or rebound and the vehicle oscillates up and down when driven. The difference in a shock and a strut is that shocks merely dampen motion while a strut also acts as a suspension component. For this reason struts are generally built heavier and may be more expensive than a shock. Over the years they have both evolved and today the two words are used almost interchangeable. The picture on the left below is a strut, on the right is a typical shock.

Shocks and struts work by hydraulic action. Though there are many designs, basically there is a tube filled with hydraulic oil. Some also have pressurized gas to keep the oil under pressure. This is referred to as a gas shock and offers some performance advantages.

The lower end of the shock or strut is attached to the suspension. The upper end is usually anchored to the frame or body through a shaft. This shaft is attached to a piston with valves which is the heart of the shock absorber.

When the suspension jounces, the piston moves down in the tube. This forces the hydraulic oil through the jounce valve. The smaller the valve the more the shock resist jounce. On rebound the piston moves up and fluid is forced through the rebound valve. Vehicle makers use combinations of valving to allow different jounce and rebound rates and thus control ride and handling. More complex designs may use multiple valves that actuate at different rates.
When do shock and struts need replacement

When oil leaks out of the shock or strut replacement is needed. Many folks are mislead by this. Slight oil near the top of a shock or strut is normal and does NOT indicate a need for replacement, unless there are

other symptoms. When the entire unit is wet or when oil is dripping, replacement is indicated.

Shocks and struts can also physically break and require replacement. This is more common in aftermarket replacements than in original equipment parts. The aftermarket shock below had less than 20,000 mile when the lower mount broke loose. Needlessly installing aftermarket shocks may be an invitation to future problems.

Excessive bouncing when driving is also an indication of worn struts and shocks. The driver is perhaps the best judge of changes in handling. Also be aware that struts and shocks wear out gradually. A slow degradation in handling might be harder to detect.
When there are no symptoms and shocks or struts are recommended, a second opinion is in order

Neither shocks nor struts will make a vehicle lean. Leaning will normally be a spring or chassis problem Neither shocks nor struts cause a vibration when driving at speed. Vibrations are caused by out of round or out of balance rotating components Tire chopping is rarely caused by worn shocks or struts. More often bad wheel alignment or out of round tires or the cause. Ironically, out of round tires will wear in a chopped fashion and can ruin struts and shocks. Don't let Shockulla sell you something that is not even as good as what you already have. If you feel you have a ride or handling concern, have a trusted professional diagnose the actual problem. You may save even more than you realize.
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Shock absorbers
BRIEF HISTORY In the early 1900's, cars still rode on carriage springs. After all, early drivers had bigger things to worry about than the quality of their ride - like keeping their cars rolling over the rocks and ruts that often passed for roads. Pioneering vehicle manufacturers were faced early on with the challenges of enhancing driver control and passenger comfort. These early suspension designs found the front wheels attached to the axle using steering spindles and kingpins. This allowed thewheels to pivot while the axle remained stationary. Additionally, the up and down oscillation of the leaf spring was damped by device called a shock absorber. These first shock absorbers were simply two arms connected by a bolt with a friction disk between them. Resistance was adjusted by tightening or loosening the bolt. As might be expected, the shocks were not very durable, and the performance left much

Early shock absorbers

to be desired. Over the years, shock absorbers have evolved into more sophisticated designs.

Despite what many people think, conventional shock absorbers do not support vehicle weight. Instead, the primary purpose of the shock absorber is to control spring and suspension movement. This is accomplished by turning the kinetic energy of suspension movement into thermal energy, or heat energy, to be dissipated through the hydraulic fluid. You want more technical terms? Technically they are called dampers. Even more technically, they are velocity-sensitive hydraulic damping devices - in other words, the faster they move, the more resistance there is to that movement. They work in conjunction with the springs. The spring allows movement of the wheel to allow the energy in the road shock to be transformed into kinetic energy of the unsprung mass, whereupon it is dissipated by the damper and heat. The damper does this by forcing gas or oil through a constriction valve (a small hole). Adjustable shock absorbers allow you to change the size of this constriction, and thus control the rate of damping. The smaller the constriction, the stiffer the suspension. Phew!....and you thought they just

leaked oil didn't you? Shock absorbers are basically oil pumps. A piston is attached to the end of the piston rod and works against hydraulic fluid or gas in the pressure tube. As the suspension travels up and down, the hydraulic fluid is forced through tiny holes, called orifices, inside the piston. However, these orifices let only a small amount of fluid through the piston. This slows down the piston, which in turn slows down spring and suspension movement. The amount of resistance a shock absorber develops depends on the speed of the suspension and the number and size of the orifices in the piston. Because of this feature, shock absorbers adjust to road conditions. As a result, shock absorbers reduce the rate of: - Bounce - Roll or sway - Brake dive - Acceleration squat Shock absorbers work on the principle of fluid displacement on both the compression and extension cycle. A typical car or light truck will have more resistance during its extension cycle then its compression cycle. The compression cycle controls the motion of a vehicle's unsprung weight, while extension controls the heavier sprung weight. Compression cycle At the piston, oil flows through the oil ports, and at slow piston speeds, the first stage bleeds come into play and restrict the amount of oil flow. This allows a controlled flow of fluid from chamber B to chamber A. At high speeds, the limit of the second stage discs phases into the third stage orifice restrictions. Compression control, then, is the force that results from a higher pressure present in chamber B, which acts on the bottom of the piston and the piston rod area.

Extension cycle

As the piston and rod move upward toward the top of the pressure tube, the volume of chamber A is reduced and thus is at a higher pressure than chamber B. Because of this higher pressure, fluid flows down through the piston's 3-stage extension valve into chamber B. However, the piston rod volume has been withdrawn from chamber B greatly

increasing its volume. Thus the volume of fluid from chamber A is insufficient to fill chamber B. The pressure in the reserve tube is now greater than that in chamber B, forcing the compression intake valve to unseat. Fluid then flows from the reserve tube into chamber B, keeping the pressure tube full. Extension control is a force present as a result of the higher pressure in chamber A, acting on the topside of the piston area. Piston is attached to the end of the piston rod and works against hydraulic fluid in the pressure tube. As the suspension travels up and down, the hydraulic fluid is forced through tiny holes, called orifices, inside the piston. On the picture left is modern design for use in road car dampers.


The image above shows a typical modern coil-over-oil unit for long time in use with sports cars and motorcycles. This is an all-in-one system that carries both the spring and the shock absorber. The adjustable spring plate can be used to make the springs stiffer and looser, whilst the adjustable damping valve can be used to adjust the rebound damping of the shock absorber. More sophisticated units have adjustable compression damping as well as a remote reservoir. Whilst you don't typically get this level of engineering on car suspension, most motorbikes do have preload, rebound and spring tension adjustment, and this adjustments are normal in racing.

Shock absorbers work in conjunction with springs and stabilizers. Dampers provide a resistance for the spring to work against. The purpose of this is to prevent the spring from oscillating too much after hitting a bump. Ideally, the spring would contract over a bump, then expand back to its usual length straight afterwards. This requires a damper to be present as without one the spring would contract and expand continually after the bump, providing a rather horrible ride! Modern F1 and racing shock absorbers can be regulated for bound and rebound but only before race. Shock absorber does not absorb impacts, but damp the motion of the car and oscillations of the spring after traveling over bumps and dips. When weight transfers from back/front and side/side (roll), or when you go over a bump on the road, the wheels/tires compress (bound), and when you are past the bump the wheel returns to equilibrium after the compression (rebound). That is basically the suspension movement.

Williams dampers with movement sensor attached (red and blue things). Right hand damper is with separated gas tank

Bound is the rate at which the shock compresses. Rebound is the rate at which the shocks decompress. Bound damping affects how far and fast the suspension travels up. When the suspension is on its way back down, rebound damping affects how far and fast it goes the other way. More precisely, bound damping affects the compression rate, while rebound damping affects the expansion rate. If you make your bound damping too stiff, your car will be skittish over rough surfaces. Rebound damping also affects your steering as you transition into and out of corners. In general, stiffer absorbers are better suited for flat tracks with sharp turns. They prevent your springs from coiling too quickly, which decreases the dip you have

whencornering and braking. Softer adjusted absorbers are better suited for winding, coiling tracks, but they'll also lengthen your braking distance. So having bound at (for example) value of 9 and rebound at value of 2, make the car stiffer when absorbing a bump, compression is harder. The suspension on rebound will not return as fast. This suppresses weight transfer. Not very good because the tire won't make contact with the ground fast enough causing slip, that induce oversteer. On the other hand, bound at 2 and rebound at 9, absorbs more bumps, but returns the shocks the opposite way to fast. You'll find the car literally jump over small bumps. This is also undesirable, as the tire is not in contact with the road. Bound at 7 and rebound at 6, keeps the tires stiff and return to the ground slower. Having bound at 6 and rebound at 7, will result in a good stiff compression of shocks and a higher bound means the tires return a bit faster to the ground but not too fast. This is the ideal configuration, a slightly higher rebound.

ZF Sachs AG rotational dampers When Ferrari presented the F2003-GA at the beginning of year 2003, the ears of attentive listeners pricked up: aerodynamic genius Rory Byrne was talking about a completely new rear suspension development. Yet the specifics of what was new about Ferrari's rear suspension have been kept under close cover, and for good reason: trying to spy out a competitor's concept, understanding and copying it - this is common practice in Formula 1. Copying the cars driven by Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello is, no doubt, well worth the effort: there's no denying the fact that the Scuderia Ferrari has become even more dominant after fitting their red racers with the new rear suspension. No less than 17 victories have been clinched by Ferrari's German-Brazilian drivers' duo since the new suspension component was first used at the Spanish Grand Prix in May of 2003 - including six onetwo victories in2003 season.

Despite all the secrecy: after more than a year, clever rivals have discovered what's behind the revolutionary new design: a development by ZF Sachs Race Engineering GmbH. The damper concept was revolutionized in a joint project with Scuderia Ferrari engineers. Instead of the three conventional dampers of the rear suspension, two rotational dampers integrated in the rocker are now handling the bulk of the work, replacing two of the conventional dampers. The pivoted rocker is a type of "triangular lever arm" that diverts jounce and rebound motion from the wheel to the spring, anti-roll bar and in previous systems - to the conventional dampers. The new rockers with integrated rotational dampers are high-tech made by Sachs. Now, the Formula 1 racers from Maranello are using only one conventional damper in the middle, which responds when the entire chassis - due to the downforce at high speeds, for example - is pushed against the track. Approximately nine months of development time were invested in the rotational damper. Briefly stated, the new system operates as follows: the motion of the rear suspension link during jounce and rebound is transmitted via the rocker to the spring and a rotary vane. The rotary vane "pumps" oil from one side to the other through valves with specifically defined oil ports to generate the necessary damping forces. The rotational damper consists of five main components contained in a housing machined from a billet of titanium meeting aviation industry specifications. The major know-how, though, is found in the particular sealing technology used, which ZF Sachs had previously tested in active anti-roll bar systems for production cars. When operating in the Formula 1 Ferrari, the damper is subjected to approximately 160 bar of internal pressure. Rotational dampers offer a host of benefits: first and foremost, they save space, as the conventional dampers are omitted. The damper and rocker are now a single multifunctional component. This allows a more compact gearbox design and thus further improvements of aerodynamic efficiency. Besides space, rotational dampers save approximately 50 - 70 grams of weight - a significant reduction in the high-tech world of Formula 1 racing. Also, there is considerably less thermal stress on the new rotational dampers than on the previously used conventional units integrated in the

extremely hot gearbox. Like the conventional system, the new solution operates with non-adjustable dampers during Grand Prix weekends. Engineers calibrate the dampers prior to the competition based on the results of dynamometer and track testing. The unique number of exploits achieved by Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello clearly confirms the high performance capabilities of the rotational damper. The engineering principle of the rotational damper has successfully passed its "baptism of fire" in motor racing, followed by the consistent delivery of superior performance on the world's circuits. Yet, chances that normal road users will enjoy the benefits of this high-tech component tend to be slim, as its price tag is ten times that of a conventional telescopic damper. The BMW Sauber F1 team has been equipping its vehicles with our cutting-edge rotational dampers since the 2006 season.