Bypass vs. Emulsion vs. Reservoir Shocks, Coil Over Shocks

Keep your off-road ride working with the right suspension system. Navigating demanding off-road trails requires a dynamic shock system. Even pavement-bound, Street Queen’s will benefit from an aftermarket suspension system. Explore the basic differences between bypass, emulsion, reservoir, and coil over shocks to see how First Over All Off-Road Shocks can help you find the right parts for your off-road ride. From the trailhead to the race track, invest in quality suspension pieces to stay safe on your next adventure.

How Your Shocks Work

When you hit one of the countless obstacles in your journey and don’t spill your drink, you can thank your suspension system. Suspension springs and shock absorbers are the most important components that help cushion the trail ahead as your tires fly up and down. Shock absorbers come in a few different types, but they all typically use hydraulic dampening to keep your vehicle on the road. Oil-filled cylinders moderate the up-and-down movement of your vehicle. These dampening features reduce the force applied to critical components of your vehicle’s suspension. A good suspension will help the driver keep in their seat while navigating the most challenging terrains. Too little suspension can limit your speed on the roughest terrains. While too much travel, if the suspension is not set up right, can end up with a rig that is just too difficult to keep on the road. Every terrain has its own challenges but with the right set up, you can meet and greet them all.

Bypass Shocks

This suspension component allows for separately tuning shock absorber compression zones and shock absorber rebound zones. Adjustable valves allow you to tune the shock’s compression and rebound rates to match your driving style, the terrain and the size and weight of your vehicle. Thanks to position sensitivity, external bypass shocks allow you to change the damping and rebound on the extremes of the shock travel with ease.  This allows you to tune your rig, limiting the risk of bottoming out and helping reduce rebound kick on full shock extension as you navigate a demanding off-road course. The most popular type of bypass shock absorber is:

  • The External bypass shocks

An external bypass system allows for multiple dependent control positions. External tubes connect to multiple spots within the normal shaft travel, allowing you greater performance adjustment with precision. With separate compression and rebound controls you can tune your suspension to your needs easily.

Benefits of Bypass

Bypass shocks are all about customization. No two off-road rigs / adventures will be the same, so these shock absorbers allow you to tailor the sensitivity to your driving habits and your trail. Tuning a rig is time consuming but with bypass shocks you greatly reduce the time needed to get your vehicle working as desired. With coil over shocks or with smooth body shocks you can tune them to work but each time you do a change you must disassemble the shock and change the piston valving, which is very time consuming and costly. And the shock will never be position sensitive as a bypass shock is.

Emulsion Shocks

These shocks offer excellent performance during typical driving situations. A small amount of gas, typically nitrogen, is sealed in the single shock tube along with the hydraulic fluid. As the shock compresses, the gas and oil pressure force it back down to the neutral position. This simple system requires fewer components than others, making it a common option for OEM vehicles. You can use emulsion shocks with coil over springs, with limited valving and then run them in conjunction with a bypass shock, which it is a very popular combination.  The coil over emulsion shock is doing the suspending and the bypass is doing the shock absorbing, it is a good combination.

Off-Road Considerations

Emulsion shocks, by themselves, work well in daily driving situations, but an off-road adventure is an entirely different situation. The intense knocking up and down as you cross rocky paths and pitted trails results in extreme shock use. Over a short period of time, all that action causes emulsion shocks to heat up and create foaming and cavitation. This reduces the efficiency of the shock and can even cause it to overheat.

Reservoir Shocks

Upgrade the single shock tube design of a traditional system with a reservoir. Reservoir shocks come in three basic styles:

  • Remote
  • Piggyback
  • Internal reservoir

Remote reservoir shocks use a hose to connect a separate hydraulic fluid reservoir with the main shock body. You’ll need to attach a separate reservoir to your vehicle and connect the two items with a hydraulic hose. In most cases, off-road vehicles have plenty of room for this aftermarket upgrade. If you’re going with a coil over shock, your best bet is a remote reservoir set up. A Piggyback reservoir is attached to the shock and an internal reservoir shock has the reservoir piston in the shock tube. This works well but it makes the shock absorber much longer and many times to long for easy installation. All reservoir shocks have one thing in common, the oil and the nitrogen is separated by a reservoir piston. The reservoir piston ensures that the shock piston never see’s any gas, which results in more consistent damping.

High-End Performance Coil Over Shocks

For the best performance over all, you must consider going with a coil over reservoir shock.  You will notice a significant difference whether your in town or while on your next off-road adventure:

  • Extended lifetime: Seal pressure in your reservoir shocks remains extremely stable adding to the shock’s absorbers life.  The lack of nitrogen in the shock also adds life the internal valving.
  • Improved energy transfer: With no nitrogen in the shock absorber the piston efficiently transfers the energy absorbed from dampening your ride into the oil.
  • Reduced heat: Reservoir shocks increase the surface area and volume of hydraulic fluid contained. The added surface area allows for more conventional heat transfer that results in lower the temperature. Lower temps are good all around for predictability and efficiency of your ride.
  • Increased performance: With the lowered heat and the stable fluid control inside your shock, you will be in much better control of your off-road experience.
  • Suspending your rig with coil over springs: Coil springs are much more efficient than any other type of suspensions. With the F-O-A dual rate spring system, the benefits are abundant and the best way to go.

These shocks are just what you need for rugged roads and unmarked trails. These four features come together to offer one sweet ride! Whether you’re looking for a race-ready ride or simply preparing for a weekend of rocky trails, the choice of a coil over reservoir shock is a no brainer.

Shop for Aftermarket Parts at F-O-A

Still not sure what suspension components are right for you and your rig? Discover your new aftermarket shocks today at First Over All Off-Road Shocks. Our talented customer service agents can help you navigate the buying process. We have built just about every type of rig that is imaginable, and we can get you exactly what you need at the very start.

Shop for shocks to compare coil overs, bypass, emulsion, and reservoir shocks for yourself. Sort by your chosen shock type and filter them based on price, rating, or other key features. Update your off-road ride to enjoy greater levels of comfort and safety wherever the trail takes you.

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