RockShox says the aim with the Vivid Air was to design a rear shock able to win World Cup DH races, and the company believes it has succeeded.
Inside, the shock is based on the same damper as found in the Vivid Coil shock, with a twin-tube solo air system and a single air valve for easy adjustability. It's a design that has been extensively tested by a fleet of DH racers such as Steve Peat and Sam Hill, who were reported to say of the shock: "It feels great! The harder I ride the better it feels. I just have more to push off of compared to my coil Vivid."
The shock is said to perform favourably on high speed downhill runs, and over successive hits the shock absorbs the same amount of energy as a coil shock, but it rides higher in its shaft travel. Increased heat during a long run is an issue with air shocks, but RockShox reckons it has solved this using something called the 'Hot Rod'- a beginning stroke adjuster rod with a piece of thermoplastic in the middle which, when heated, expands and closes down the beginning stroke rebound a small degree.
It all sounds impressive enough, as is the weight: just 530g, well over 400g lighter than the Vivid Coil. Five lengths will be available and it's scheduled for release on 1 August. Price is $620 - UK price TBC.