When Air Ride Technologies came on the scene in 1996, the company's founder, Bret Voelkel, was known for his killer homebuilt Pro Street Mustang, but not many expected he and his newly created firm would go on to revolutionize the aftermarket suspension scene, but that's what happened.
A talented designer/fabricator, an astute businessman, and rumor has it a pretty good guitar player, Bret has never stopped moving his organization forward, which is why the company is now called RideTech and includes a broad array of suspension products, TigerCage rollbars, and now a new line of shocks and coilovers. As the team at RideTech describes them, shock absorbers are the brains of the suspension system and nothing influences ride and handling more.
Contemporary shocks can be divided into two categories, twintube and monotube:
As the name implies twintube shocks have two cylinders, one inside another. The inner cylinder, called the pressure tube by some manufacturers, is where the piston and shaft move up and down. The outer cylinder, called the reserve tube, serves as a reservoir for the hydraulic fluid. These shocks normally contain nitrogen gas, either in a bag or mixed with the hydraulic oil, to keep the fluid from foaming.
Twintube shocks are used in many OEM applications, they are less expensive to produce than the monotube shocks and often have soft valving, which can adversely affect handling.
Again the name describes the design. Monotube shocks have a single cylinder, however, it is divided into two sections—one that contains oil, the other gas. In the fluid chamber, motion of the chassis is transmitted via a rod that moves a piston through the oil. Below the oil is a floating and seal piston with gas on the other side. With aggressive movements of the rod piston in the fluid chamber the floating piston is pushed further into the gas section, which increases damping force.
Monotube shocks are favored for performance applications because the larger piston provides a more efficient oil flow path, which leads to cooler operating temps and more consistent performance in extreme environments.
RideTech's shocks are the monotube type and come in two basic configurations, the smooth body shocks are 1½ inches in diameter and are for standalone use. They come in a host of lengths and mounting styles are available to suit virtually any application.
The Q Series smooth body shocks come in two styles:
The simplest version of the monotube. There are no external adjustments as all the valving calibration is done at the factory according to the vehicle and driving style of its intended use. For confident handling and stability, and for those who want to install a shock and forget it, these are a great choice.
HQ (Single Adjustable)
These shocks have a single adjustment to change the rebound (extension) properties. Adjusting the rebound setting allows the ride quality to be fine-tuned and dial in more performance-oriented handling characteristics.
Coilovers and More
For standalone, coilover, and ShockWave applications, RideTech offers their 2-inch diameter, threaded body Monotube shock. Like the smooth-body Q-series, these shocks come in RQ non-adjustable and HQ single-adjustable versions.
In addition, threaded-body shocks come in the following styles:
TQ (Triple adjustable)
These shocks have a single rebound adjustment and a dual-stage (high-speed and low-speed) compression adjustment. It uses a remote reservoir that is connected with a 30-inch braided line for easy installation in a variety of applications. The high-speed adjustment allows tuning for impact harshness…potholes, speed bumps and other harsh road irregularities that might induce a high-speed movement of the piston rod. The low-speed adjustment allows tuning of ride quality, as well as the general cornering characteristics of typical road course and racetrack use.
These sophisticated electronically controlled shocks offer a cruise mode for a soft, compliant ride and a sport mode more for more aggressive driving and performance all at the touch of a button.
There are a number of sophisticated methods to evaluate shock absorbers, but far and away the best tool is in the seat or your pants. When your butt is planted in the driver seat you'll know in short order if they're right for the way you drive. The proper shock absorbers can turn a rough riding truck into one that is smooth and comfortable cruiser; there are shocks that can help your truck carve corners on the street or track, then there are those that can do it all with the turn of a knob or the push of a button. Whatever your needs, RideTech has a shock to do the job, we're sure the seat of your pants will agree.