It's easy to identify external bypass shocks by the tubes that are located around the outside of the shock body, which allow shock fluid to 'bypass' the piston. Positioning these bypass tubes at different locations along the length of the shock body is an effective way to change the damping characteristics as the shock progresses through its stroke. This position-sensitivity allows bypass shocks to smooth out the small bumps and variations in terrain without blowing through the travel when the suspension has to absorber large hits.
Shortcomings of Traditional Bypass Shocks
But there are still some problems and shortcomings with traditional bypass shocks.
First of all, the bypass tubes on most off-road race shocks simply can't flow enough fluid to effectively 'bypass' the piston. As a result, the piston has to flow a significant percentage of the fluid through the entire stroke and this compromises bottom-out resistance (or alternately, makes for an unnecessarily harsh ride).
Secondly, and also because of the limited amount of fluid the bypass tubes on most shocks are able to flow, the externally adjustable bypass tubes can only be used to fine-tune the valving on most traditional bypass shocks. Disassembling the shock and re-valving the piston is still required in order to make more significant changes.
Third, the 'adjustable' needle and seat arrangement used on traditional bypass tube assemblies is an ineffective way to meter fluid-flow and represents another significant flow restriction.
Finally, traditional position-sensitive bypass shocks still cannot distinguish between chassis and wheel motion, and in that respect they are no better than any other velocity-sensitive shock absorber.
Hi-Flow Bypass Tube Assemblies
The patented high-flow external bypass tube assemblies used on RICOR's RIVAL bypass shocks are superior to traditional bypass shocks in every aspect of their design and construction. Simply put, there is a new standard in bypass technology.
Most importantly, the external bypass tube assemblies are capable of moving ALL of the fluid that flows through the shock on the compression stroke. The valving on the compression side of the piston is only used to control the last stage of the compression stroke, as the piston moves past the last bypass tube and enters the bump-zone. As a result, the compression side of the Piston can be valved much stiffer (making them more resistant to bottoming-out) without affecting the suspension through mid-stroke.
The external bypass tubes on RIVAL shocks also handle all of the fluid-flow on the rebound stroke when the RIV is closed (primary/chassis rebound circuit). This means that RIVAL bypass shocks can be adjusted externally, quickly and easily.
Machined Valve Blocks
Most shock manufacturers are bending and welding the bypass tubes right to the shock body. The bends in the tubing and the junctions where they are welded to the shock body represent serious flow restrictions. RICOR's RIVAL bypass shocks use patented high-flow valve blocks are machined from blocks of Chro-Moly steel and by virtue of their design, are capable of moving much more fluid than any traditional bent and welded bypass tube assemblies.
In addition to higher flow-rates, there are several other advantages to using machined valve blocks. The shape of the machined valve blocks and the openings in the shock body also contribute to improved fluid distribution by spreading the fluid around the shock (radially) across a wider area. The shock bodies are less susceptible to warping during the welding process and the shape of the openings between the shock body and the valve blocks also contributes to a longer service-life for the piston wear-band.
RICOR's RIVAL bypass shocks use a patented mechanism to meter fluid-flow through the bypass tube assemblies that works in conjunction with the high-flow bypass tubes and machined valve blocks to provide a level of adjustability that traditional bypass tube assemblies cannot match. RIVAL bypass shocks also use clickers to adjust the bypass tubes instead of set-screws and lock-nuts. One wrench, count your clicks and you're done.
The Bottom Line
The high-flow bypass tubes, machined valve blocks and superior bypass valving work together to make RIVAL bypass shocks more effective and easier to tune than any other bypass shock on the planet.