Hagon Shock Review

It's finally here.  I ordered this shock for my business partner as a gift.  I got it through Bruce Triplett, owner of Bruce's Suspension.  He has been helping us tune our bikes for several years and has been a wealth of knowledge.  He has a direct relationship with Hagon and sells these shocks at a very reasonable price.

 

My partner already has a Hlebo-modified shock on his CRF230.  I'm pretty sure I did a review on that when we got it and it was simply incredible.  Bruce also modifies these shocks but he does a few more things than John does.  He has spent considerable dyno time with his shocks so he knows a lot about them.  His shocks cost a few bucks more but the extra cost is well worth it.

 

The Hlebo shock is great but I always like to try new things.  The Works shock has been used and reviewed many times here so it didn’t interest me.  Neither did its very high price tag.  Many people just can’t or won’t pay $700+ for a shock for this bike and I don’t blame them.  I got my Fox Podium X for $500 and it is worth every penny.  Unfortunately it has a weight limit of 170 pounds so unless you are a girl or a very light rider it’s not an option.  You can get a heavier spring but that requires revalving so now you have a lot more cost and time involved.

 

Enter the Hagon Monoshock.  I have read very good reviews from over-seas riders and have seen a lot of pictures.  Bruce said the shocks are very well built and, for the price, can’t be beat.  He has been using Fox and Works shocks and recommends them but, again, they are quite pricey and many of his customers can’t or won’t pay for them.  Hagon fills the gap quite nicely between a John-modified or Bruce-modified shock and a Fox or Works shock.

 

So far the packaging is outstanding.  The shipping box was of proper size and marking and arrived in perfect condition.  The presentation box is very nice and is designed to keep the shock and tools well protected.  The box looks almost as good as the box my Fox Podium X arrived in.  All pieces were wrapped in protective foam and neatly placed in the presentation box.  It has two allen wrenches and a small spanner wrench for adjustments.

 

I'll let my partner tear into the packaging and I will take more pictures and continue the review as we go along.

 

So where will the Hlebo-modified shock go?  Right on the CRF150 we have, of course!

 

Okay - Shock installed.  If you don't already know installing a shock on a CRF230 is about a five minute process with two people.  It took me about ten minutes to put the Hlebo-modified shock in the CRF150 all by myself.  Keep in mind these shock have no reservoirs so it makes the job really easy and fast.

 

The quality of the shock is top-notch.  It is a very well-built unit.  The machining is beautiful. The fit and finish is impeccable.  The spring is long, just like the Fox unit.  But how does it perform?  We installed it as it came - Adjustment dead center.  A push test revealed a shock that is very compliant - Just like my Fox.  It works great.  Plain and simple.  It is far more compliant than the Hlebo-modified shock.  Roots, rocks, and square edges are almost imperceptible.  We only had one medium-sized jump where we were and it worked great.  The shock is very compliant at first and then stiffens up a lot as it reaches the end of its travel.To be completely honest it feels every bit as good as my Fox so far.  We are going to Carlina Adventure World tomorrow for a complete test.

 

Dollar for dollar this shock is unbeatable.  Period.  So what is sacrificed for the price?

  • No external reservoir
  • Only one adjustment - Combined compression and rebound

And that's it.  For 90% of riders the two items above make no difference.  I have only adjusted my Fox shock one time while out riding.  The external reservoir means more oil and less heat.  A real benefit for all-out racing but no so much for the average rider.

 

My business partner loved his Hlebo-modified shock.  He was very surprised at how much better the Hagon shock was.  I WANT TO BE CLEAR I AM IN NO WAY IMPLYING ANYTHING NEGATIVE ABOUT JOHN'S WORK!!!  John has been very helpful to us over the years and for $200 you CAN NOT go wrong with his work!  Keep in mind John (and Bruce) revalve the stock shock specifically for your weight and riding style.  There is A LOT to be said about that.  Again - Hagon simply fills the void between $200 and $700 for a great shock.

 

For those of you without a $700 budget for a works shock you need to take a very hard look at this shock.  If you want to know more please call Bruce Triplett at Bruce's Suspension at (704) 637-3675.  He will tell you all about what he can do to your stock shock and how much you will pay for the Hagon shock.

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Edited by VortecCPI

Thanks for the review and please post how it goes tomorrow. I called Bruce about modding my stock shock when his knee had him down and since he couldn't do work himself at the time, mentioned the Hagon option but I was skeptical of being a guinea pig, so I went with Hlebo. John told me point blank that at my weight (220ish), he'd have a hard time getting enough rebound control out of the shock, and he was right. Stock spring bottomed out on the threads, it rides muuuch better than stock as far as compression but is a tad bouncy, and that's without even having quite enough spring weight/proper sag. Fine for slower speeds but gets a little sketchy over third gear. Anyhow, I'd definitely be interested in this unit going forward so thanks for posting.

What can I say?  This shock is awesome.  Borrow the money of you have to!

 

I will post a more-complete response tomorrow about our test ride at Carolina Adventure World...

Carolina Adventure World was a combination of dry, wet, and muddy surfaces.  I spent almost the entire day behind Richard with his new Hagon shock.  One thing I noticed immediately was that his engine wasn't changing speed like it used to under hard acceleration.  What do I mean by this?

 

A stock CRF230 shock is just awful.  In fact, it's downright dangerous.  One thing you will notice is the bike will not hook up during hard acceleration or braking.  The rear tire skips around hunting for traction because the shock is so non-compliant.  Under very hard acceleration the back end will swap sides violently, losing time and, quite frankly, scaring the hell out of the rider.  The same thing goes for braking.  The rear wheel skips around over terrain and makes the rear brake just about useless unless you are on a nearly flat surface.  I can remember my chain slapping wildly on my swingarm while braking on downhill sections on our track.  What a mess.

 

The Hlebo-modified shock is very good.  It makes the bike hook up during hard acceleration and braking but on rougher surfaces it just doesn’t work as well.  The rougher the surface the worse it gets.  This is where the Fox Podium X really shines.  It keeps the tire on the ground in almost every type of terrain.  It is amazingly compliant and yet manages huge hits with no harshness or bottoming.  The Hlebo-modified shock also manages huge hits without bottoming but it is harsher.  It is especially harsh over washboard type surfaces.  PLEASE KEEP IN MIND – It is infinitely better than the stock shock!  AGAIN – I AM IN NO WAY IMPLYING JOHN’S SHOCK ISN’T GREAT!  I want to make it VERY CLEAR Richard loved his Hlebo-modified shock.  He was perfectly happy with it in almost every type of riding condition.  He was always quick to let others know he was using one of John's shocks.  We put that shock on our CRF150 and it is like a brand new bike.  It's nice and smooth now and handles jumps with ease.

 

So back to engine speed…  When a bike’s rear suspension isn’t working right you will hear the engine continuously hunting and changing speed under hard acceleration.  My CRF230 engine speed would vary wildly on rough terrain with the stock shock.  There were quite a few times I had to back off the throttle to stay off the rev limiter.  Richard’s bike didn’t do that very often with the Hlebo-modified shock but on very rough terrain it would lose traction and the engine speed would change quite a bit.  When I was behind him riding the same line my engine speed was not changing like his was.

 

So let’s set the stage here…  Our bikes are nearly identical.  We use the exact same tires.  We both have RT Cartridge Emulators with stock fork springs and 15w Bel-Ray oil.  We have identical jetting with no baffles and UNI air cleaners.  We even have the same stock handlebars.  We both run a 12 tooth counter sprocket.  Richard runs two extra teeth in the back as he is a bit heavier than I am.  Both bikes have the race sag set at 25% up front and 33% out back.

 

So when following him I have a nearly-perfect baseline for comparison.  Yesterday Richard’s engine was no longer changing speeds like it used to with the Hlebo-modified shock.  I also noticed he was carrying the front end a lot more often than he used to.  This was one of the first things I noticed with the Fox shock.  The bike hooked so hard it was keeping the front wheel very light and carrying it far longer distances.

 

Okay – Here we go…  I can hear it now… A CRF230 won’t carry the front end…  All I can say is get you tires, jetting, and suspension right…

 

So anyhow…  Richard’s bike was putting a lot more power to the ground.  He said he could not believe how good the shock and the bike performed.  One place the Hagon (and Fox) shock really works great is on very rough uphills.  It dances over rocks, roots, and crap with ease and keeps the back tire hooked up like mad.

 

In Richard’s own words ”…it’s like a completely different bike…”

 

So there you have it…

Edited by VortecCPI

So before I call Bruce do I need to rob a bank or just a convenience store? Sounds like it addresses pretty much all my complaints with the stock shock.

So before I call Bruce do I need to rob a bank or just a convenience store? Sounds like it addresses pretty much all my complaints with the stock shock.

 

Give Bruce a call at (704) 637-3675.  I don't like to quote prices unless they come right from him.  But here is what we have:

 

John Hlebo Revalve - $220

Bruce Triplett Revalve - $250

 

Hagon - $In The Middle

 

Fox Podium X - $600

Works Perf. - $700

 

I think a convenience store will do.

 

Seriously - This is the best bang for the buck out there besides a revalve.

Something else worth noting again.  I mentioned this when I reviewed the Fox Podium X.

 

These shocks work great with very little compression and rebound damping.  I installed my Fox with the adjusters dead-center and it felt broken it was so loose.  I could make a lot looser and a lot tighter so I decided to leave it.  The technicians at Fox said it was fine and to run it as loose as possible.  After testing it around our track the only thing I did was increase the rebound damping two clicks.  It has 22 clicks so that's not much.

 

The Hagon shock is the same way.  It is very compliant but never pogos and never bottoms.  We tried to run our late-model XR250 loose and it was not ridable.  If we backed off the compression and rebound adjusters to make it feel like the Fox-equipped 230 it was completely out of control.  When we got it ridable again it became harsh and stiff.  We have another late-model XR250 my buddy runs with as little damping as possible and it too is not as compliant as the Fox or Hagon shocks.

 

I've never ridden a bike with a Works shock so I can not comment.

I've been trying to decide between the Fox or a Hagon as an upgrade from my Hlebo revalved stocker. I've rebuilt the stocker twice now. I still like the performance of my stocker, but I like the idea of throwing something new and shiny on. Does Bruce do anything to the Hagon shock? You can purchase Hagon shocks online for decent prices.

I've been trying to decide between the Fox or a Hagon as an upgrade from my Hlebo revalved stocker. I've rebuilt the stocker twice now. I still like the performance of my stocker, but I like the idea of throwing something new and shiny on. Does Bruce do anything to the Hagon shock? You can purchase Hagon shocks online for decent prices.

 

What is your riding weight?  If you are under 170 pounds and have the cash Fox is the way to go.  If you are over 170 pounds go with the Hagon.  Bruce can revalve anything out there but trust me, with the factory spring the Hagon won't need any tweaking.

 

Bruce has a direct relationship with Hagon so he gets very good pricing.  Call him with a credit card and he will have the shock shipped directly to your house.

 

You know...  I say Fox is the way to go but if you aren't continually tweaking your shock damping settings you should go with the Hagon.  I've only changed my rebound damping setting twice in three years.  I've never touched the LS / HS compression damping settings.

Edited by VortecCPI

I've been trying to decide between the Fox or a Hagon as an upgrade from my Hlebo revalved stocker. I've rebuilt the stocker twice now. I still like the performance of my stocker, but I like the idea of throwing something new and shiny on. Does Bruce do anything to the Hagon shock? You can purchase Hagon shocks online for decent prices.

Hlebo is good stuff...and mods are even cooler. But it comes a time when you've done all the great mods, then it's time to toss in towel. The 230 is no doubt the funniest bike I've ever rode with mods! It's a great spare bike too! That said, if one dump Dollar after Dollar in one, he's creating a race bike with reliability. Ok that's cool but when does it stop???

WR250R...yeah I think WR250R is the next step forward if you don't want a full blown race bike and it's issues. WR250R not the WR250F. I hear the WR250R will do 26,000 miles between valves adjustments. WR250R i hear good stuff ?

Edited by The goat

Lol:

"I hear that":

On air cooled 2 valve Honda singles:

"adjust valves" "I've never done that", "I've had my bike for twenty six years"

Hlebo is good stuff...and mods are even cooler. But it comes a time when you've done all the great mods, then it's time to toss in towel. The 230 is no doubt the funniest bike I've ever rode with mods! It's a great spare bike too! That said, if one dump Dollar after Dollar in one, he's creating a race bike with reliability. Ok that's cool but when does it stop???

WR250R...yeah I think WR250R is the next step forward if you don't want a full blown race bike and it's issues. WR250R not the WR250F. I hear the WR250R will do 26,000 miles between valves adjustments. WR250R i hear good stuff ?

 

I rode a WR250 I picked up for my nephew and I hated it.  The CG was a mile high, the wheelbase was a mile long, the steering was stupid slow, and the engine had no usable torque to be found.  Given enough room it started to work okay but it was useless in the woods.  I expected to be blown away by its technical marvels and I was - By how bad it was.  Now - If you've never thrown a leg over a sub-400cc XR or a KDX and/or you've only ridden 2T MX bikes a WR would seem just fine and would probably be just fine.  I agree the Yamaha engines are very, very good.  I've heard nothing but good things from their riders.  But - It's a 5-valve engine designed to run at comparatively-high engine speeds.  This is not ideal for enduro/technical/woods riding environments.

 

That being said I grew up riding an XL125 and then an XR250, which was later sent to Al Baker's XRs Only for the full deal.  My buddy and I had matching 1984 Al Baker XR265Rs and they were insanely awesome.  We each poured about $2000 into them (each) back in 1990 ($947 for the engine alone - see post below).  You want to talk about spending money?  Money very well spent - Super fast and reliable with incredible suspension.  Mine is still in use to this very day.  Part (or most) of the fun is having something different and the process of continual improvement.

 

You can get a very nice CRF230 for $1500.  Add another $500 to $1000 and you have an ideal, reliable woods bike for under $2500.  Change the oil and adjust the valves once a year and it will last forever.  And ever...  And ever...  Change the oil and adjust the valves every two years and it will still probably last forever.  Change the oil and adjust the valves every five years and it still might last forever.  Almost bullet-proof...

 

One of my business partners has a YZ250F and it is an absolute blast to ride in a straight line or in open sections.  The power is addictive and exhilarating.  Try to ride it through the woods, however, and you will be quickly worn out and very disappointed.  Try to ride a CRF230 on an MX track and you will be quickly worn out and very disappointed.  Every bike is made for a special purpose.  The purpose of the CRF230 in stock form is questionable.  It is a weak, tractionless, rough-riding mess.  Uncork it and get the jetting straight and it becomes even more of a mess.  Fix the tires, forks, and shock and it becomes an extremely capable woods bike for the average-sized rider.  It goes through the woods so effortlessly it is a mixture of fun and boring at the very same time.

 

If you're an egotistical, power-hungry maniac who only rides straight lines it's not the bike for you...

Edited by VortecCPI

"The best hobbies are the ones that take us furthest from our primary occupation"  Well I play around with my Bradley Fighting Vehicle at work so when I get home I like to hop on a small, light and easy to maneuver machine, just like my 230 haha.

I'm not sure if I could ever throw in the towel on my 230. Until I can get my XR277R to handle like my 230 and have an electric starter! But that's not going to happen :cry:  I'm actually not bored with my 230. I just think it would be cool to give an aftermarket shock a try! Next month I will probably give Bruce a call about a Hagon. Do you know if he will accept a check rather than a card? Or maybe Paypal?

"The best hobbies are the ones that take us furthest from our primary occupation"  Well I play around with my Bradley Fighting Vehicle at work so when I get home I like to hop on a small, light and easy to maneuver machine, just like my 230 haha.

I'm not sure if I could ever throw in the towel on my 230. Until I can get my XR277R to handle like my 230 and have an electric starter! But that's not going to happen :cry:  I'm actually not bored with my 230. I just think it would be cool to give an aftermarket shock a try! Next month I will probably give Bruce a call about a Hagon. Do you know if he will accept a check rather than a card? Or maybe Paypal?

 

Give him a call and see what he says.  You may just have to wait for the check to clear.  Trust me - It's well worth the wait.

 

I agree about the 230 vs 277.  I absolutely loved my XR265 when I was in my early 20s.  The twin-carb, short-stroke, big-valve engine (84-85 only) was downright nasty. It was stupid-fast and was more like riding a two-stroke than a four-stroke.  Now that I'm in my late 40s the modified 230 is the bike for me.  The low CG, small size, torquey engine, quick handling, and e-start makes it perfect for what I want today.  My ego surely would have prevented me from considering it 25 years ago.  I'm a lot more conservative now - I use my head instead of my ass to make decisions.

 

Interesting note on the Al Baker bikes.  You had a few ways to get one.  Off his showroom floor.  Have a new stock bike shipped to him.  Drop your bike bike off at his place.  Ship it to him in pieces like we did via greyhound bus and UPS.  Get the pieces back, put them back together and viola - The best enduro/woods bike on the planet.  Period.  My buddy and I were both so impressed by the work we both flew from NY to CA to meet the guys that built them.  We saw some incredible things while we were there.  It was very, very cool.

 

Those were very fun and very expensive days...

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Edited by VortecCPI

I finally got thru playing phone tag with Bruce yesterday, and put a check in the mail to him. He said he can't take a card at this time anyhow. He discontinued his credit card service cause of all the knee and hip operations he has scaled back some of his operation and the service charges to dang much. So now I'm patiently waiting at the front door for the delivery man to show up.

I finally got thru playing phone tag with Bruce yesterday, and put a check in the mail to him. He said he can't take a card at this time anyhow. He discontinued his credit card service cause of all the knee and hip operations he has scaled back some of his operation and the service charges to dang much. So now I'm patiently waiting at the front door for the delivery man to show up.

 

It may take some time but you will be very happy.  PLEASE let us know what you think!

I finally got thru playing phone tag with Bruce yesterday, and put a check in the mail to him. He said he can't take a card at this time anyhow. He discontinued his credit card service cause of all the knee and hip operations he has scaled back some of his operation and the service charges to dang much. So now I'm patiently waiting at the front door for the delivery man to show up.

 

So...  Did the Hagon shock show up yet?

Talked to Bruce today. Gave me an eta of 2 to 3 weeks. He said my check cleared so it's in the works.

Because of conversation with Bruce am going to remove the one BBR spring I have in the front. I have never run it with the emulators in with both stock springs. Says the stock springs are still too long with the emulators in. I myself will just call that a little preload. What he really wants is too build forks without emulators, but his are non-adjustable. Emulators you can adjust. It ain't easy but you can adjust them. Gonna do this front change now so I can feel the shock difference all by itself.

I just ordered a hagon shock also I've done a lot of mods this winter bbr240kit, cr125 front end,428 chain conversation, port and polish and some other boring stuff. I ordered my shock directly through hagon and saved some money and was able to use a credit card I'm excited to try the shock out. Thanks for the review

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