We decided to quiz some top shock makers about their new products for 2006. We were surprised to learn that none of them were sitting on their past successes and have been busy designing and producing new and exciting products for this racing season.

With all the advancements teams have been making with setups over the past few years, shocks are the next area of increased performance. Not only are the selections getting larger, but also refinements to the products are making shocks more tuneable for more of the market. Let's take a look at what is available as we let the companies speak for themselves.

AFCO's latest and greatest shock is a gas pressure monotube shock dubbed the "M2." The M2 is the company's second offering of a monotube gas pressure design. However, when compared to the previous M1, the new M2 is a revolution more than it is an evolution. The engineers started with a clean slate on this shock.

The M2 provides the advantages of a gas pressure design while at the same time offering many capabilities of a twin-tube shock. The central components AFCO has incorporated to achieve this goal are a gas pressure bladder and a base valve.

The AFCO bladder design, as opposed to a floating piston design, gives the damping authority back to the shock piston, where it belongs. At extremely low gas pressures, this shock continues to work without cavitation and operates very much like a twin-tube shock with no added rod pressure.

The use of a bladder in the AFCO M2 shock reduces the amount of moving parts and friction. As the shaft and piston move, the M2 bladder can instantly react by simply flexing and changing shape. This allows the M2 shock to be hypersensitive to high-frequency movements.

AFCO uses low-friction seals and bearings that are designed to work together. Attention was also paid to improving fluid dynamics in components such as the piston orifices and the connection to the canister. These efforts resulted in a piston design with unique port configurations and custom manufactured high-flow fittings, which also feature 360-degree rotation for easy mounting.

The piston also features an energized O-ring seal that uses the fluid pressure in the shock to continually adjust the sealing force of the piston against the shock bore wall. This lets the shaft move freely, especially at low speeds, and still provides a tight seal when pressures increase at high shaft speeds.

The M2 has a double adjustable design, which means there are adjusters for compression and rebound control. The M2 has 40 clicks of rebound adjustment and 24 clicks of compression adjustment. The spring-loaded adjuster knobs are 100 percent sealed from the elements.

The M2 uses an internal valve to isolate the compression and rebound adjustments, so changing one side does not affect the other. The adjustments provide increased levels of control in the critical low-speed and transitional areas of the damping curve, or the nose end of the equation.

For 2006, Bilstein is introducing a new ultra-lightweight shock for the Sprint Car and Midget market, as well as new high-tech products for dirt and asphalt Late Models.

The new aluminum ASB Series shock weighs only 2 pounds. The gas fill valve has been recessed to keep it out of harm's way and a threaded rod guide was built for rapid repair and revalves. The biggest advantage provided to the Sprint or Midget racer is Bilstein's famous non-fade performance and proven reliability in an ultra-lightweight shock.

The linear or digressive valve stack possibilities with this shock are nearly infinite, and due to the small-diameter piston rod and low-seal drag, rod pressure can be run as low as 12 pounds. The ASB is available in a take-apart threaded version in 6-, 7-, and 8-inch strokes. A sealed, smooth, 7-inch stroke body version will be available later this spring for torsion-front Sprint Cars. Valve kits, nitrogen gauges, and coilover kits are also available.

The new BG Series for asphalt Late Models features an aluminum 46mm threaded body topped by a whopping 60mm gas chamber. Reduced seal friction, along with the huge nitrogen compartment and a base valve, results in rod pressures as low as 6 pounds while the oil maintains perfect stability.

That means maximum traction with no shock fade from the first lap to the last. The BG will initially be available only in a 7-inch stroke version. However, when the new BG shock was displayed at the PRI Trade Show in December, there was a lot of interest from the big-block modified and dirt Late Model markets as well. So plans are in the works for an 8-inch and 9-inch stroke model.

Bilstein is really excited about its new adjustable components for the existing SN and ASN Series take-apart shocks. The company will introduce its rebound adjustable shaft and compression adjustable canister in the late spring. When designing the new components, Bilstein gave the racer adjustments between clicks that really matter.

Compression side adjustments are handled through the canister. Additional advantages to the canister include an increase in the size of the gas chamber as well as the room provided for a base valve. Both features result in consistent non-fade performance while lowering rod pressures to the 10-12 pound range. Bilstein will offer shocks that are rebound adjustable only or double adjustable, and will retro-fit the customer's SN or ASN Series shocks with either or both of the new components.

Ohlins Racing Shocks announces a new affordably priced shock absorber. When rules dictate a $200 or less retail price for shock absorbers, hlins USA has the answer-the new CCJ shock absorber.

The all-new CCJ shock utilizes the same 46mm main piston diameter as the Nextel Cup winning WCJ. The CCJ overall design is based on proven performance.

The CCJ also uses a 14mm shaft diameter versus the more common 16mm shaft that is found in most Ohlins shock absorbers. This provides better balance between shaft displacement and gas reservoir volume available in the main body tube. The CCJ is delivered as a complete-emulsion, steel-bodied shock absorber with no external adjustments.

Racers can add their own shim stack selection, oil, or optional gas-separating piston to suit their applications. By adding the optional gas-separating piston, the CCJ becomes a full DeCarbon principle monotube shock. Coilover spring mounting hardware is also easily added to the threaded body for coilover applications. All optional pistons in the hlins 46mm range will work with the CCJ, providing a wide range of tuning options.