Since my old Judy air gave up the ghost last summer, I was in the market for a cheap replacement shock. I had a few requirements,
1. It had to be a minimal cost (believe it or not, but I don't get rich off this blog)
2. To save costs, it needed to have posts for v-brakes to avoid the expense of switching to disk.
So looking into my options with those 2 points in mind, I was really only left with one option. The bottom of the Rock Shox line is the XC-28.
This is a bare bones coil shock with only pre-load adjust-ability. It retails for approximately $140
First impression when riding with it, this is a cheap shock and it rides like it.
Once you set the pre-load right it does function as expected and can take the moderate hits without problem. The massive hits do tend to result in bottoming out, and it has very little if any rebound dampening so it can be a bit bouncy. The shock also does have quite a bit of flex so don't expect SID like handling. I noticed some strange quirks as well on my rig. It has some odd harmonics with the vibrations from my wheel when on hard surfaces, a low ringing/hum seems to resonate out of it. It's not loud enough to bother me, but it is interesting anyway.
I haven't been saying too much good about this shock yet, but there is good in there somewhere. The area where this thing excels is value. There is no way you can find anything short of a department store bike cast-off at this price point. When you factor in what you get for the price, it really can't be beat.
Bottom line? I would recommend this shock for you only if you are in a specific circumstance where you need a shock but don't have the money to get something higher end with more features and better dampening. For me this wasn't an issue as I was more interested in getting something functional on the bike as opposed to something high end.