Join Date: May 2016
Location: Woodinville, WA
Feedback: 0 reviews
There are a few reasons ORI's are not going to do great unless tuned properly, setup on an appropriate suspension design, and have appropriate reservoir on the upper chamber.
On compression, if your ORI is near mid-stroke you need a reservoir to reach full compression on an RTI ramp or rock crawling environment. With no reservoir, you need more than 2x typical ride weight to compress and you never get that level of force in a static scenario. With no reservoir, you'll end up about 1.5-2" short of full compression, at least on a 14" with 7" chrome showing (both my own experience plus the math backs this up exactly). That said having that extra region of super high spring rate is great for landing jumps so it's a compromise in setting up your ORI. IMO, a rock crawler should unquestionably have a piggyback reservoir on an ORI unless going for real low up-travel (which you should avoid with ORI's).
On extension, an ORI's spring rate grows dramatically as you approach full extension and if properly tuned actually requires you to pull down to fully extend! The tire and axle weight should be just enough to reach full extension when hanging from the shock. This is by design and gives the ORI its great stability compared to an air shock which has almost the opposite effect at full extension. But this means two things, if your strut is not tuned correct for rock crawling and has too much lower chamber pressure or if you have too much oil in the bottom either due to improper fill or an internal leak (probably the #1 ORI reliability concern) you'll never extend all the way. Also if you have a super stiff suspension that goes into bind like a radius arm or short arm OEM-style 5-link the bind of the suspension will work against reaching full extension much more noticeably than it would with a coilover/air shock/coil spring.
In conclusion, if you do ORI's all wrong and don't tune them right a 14" ORI could easily only really have 9-10" of usable travel on an RTI ramp. If you set it up correctly, you can get the full shock travel (well, all STX struts are 0.7" short of their real rating so a 14" will never travel more than 13.3", but you'll get that much if you set them up right!).