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  1. #1
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    What 29er FS bikes don't require Pro Pedal or the Brain?

    I have a 2011 Spec Stumpjumper FSR 29er...130mm bike. I like it quite a bit. Compared to my Maverick ML8, at under 29 pounds it feels light, agile and fast. However, I don't think I would like it on the climbs at all if it weren't for the Pro Pedal Fox Triad rear shock.

    So my question is, as I think about the current bikes and 2012 offerings, are there any designs that stand on their own and don't need Pro Pedal to really shine? There are a lot of bikes I haven't been able to demo so thought I would put it out there. I've heard people argue that the (pro pedal) shocks make up for poor suspension frame design. To complicate it, I'm one of those riders who prefers it plush so that probably doesn't help.

    In which directions would you steer me? Thank you.

  2. #2
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    One bike that comes to mind is the Yeti SB-95, now I know the 29er version hasn't been tested yet but from what I have heard about the 66 it would fit your bill. One of the very first reviews I read on the SB-66 said that the rear shock was completely blown and faulty but still pedaled incredibly. So if you can wait a little bit then I would definitely give the Yeti a spin.

  3. #3
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    Salsa Spearfish

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  4. #4
    I don't huck.
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    I think you will find that whether or not a particular bike or design does or does not need pro pedal is pretty individual. I have ridden bikes that others swore did not need PP and I thought it did and vice versa. Now some bikes always do if you want them to remain steady when pedaling like the older single pivot stuff...my Lenz or an FSR design comes to mind.

    But, if you like plush or active stuff, the VPP designs sure are that. I find them a bit too active for my taste but if you like it that way, they run well without PP, like the Tall Boy or Intense stuff.

    My fav so far as an all around XC light-med trail sus has been the JET9 with the CVA. It was juuuust a bit more active on small bumps than the Mini Brain on the Epic but tighter than the Tall Boy. Next up was the Anthem X. I did not use PP on either the JET or the Anthem. I did on the Tall Boy.

    The FSR I have with the mini-brain tuned softer than the Epic version is truly good. You may label it a band-aid or not, but it rocks.
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  5. #5
    jms
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    Pivot.

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtroy View Post
    I think you will find that whether or not a particular bike or design does or does not need pro pedal is pretty individual. I have ridden bikes that others swore did not need PP and I thought it did and vice versa. Now some bikes always do if you want them to remain steady when pedaling like the older single pivot stuff...my Lenz or an FSR design comes to mind.

    But, if you like plush or active stuff, the VPP designs sure are that. I find them a bit too active for my taste but if you like it that way, they run well without PP, like the Tall Boy or Intense stuff.

    My fav so far as an all around XC light-med trail sus has been the JET9 with the CVA. It was juuuust a bit more active on small bumps than the Mini Brain on the Epic but tighter than the Tall Boy. Next up was the Anthem X. I did not use PP on either the JET or the Anthem. I did on the Tall Boy.

    The FSR I have with the mini-brain tuned softer than the Epic version is truly good. You may label it a band-aid or not, but it rocks.
    I agree it is a very individual call.

    My preferences are nearly the opposite of yours.

    I do not like using PP at all. Like the way the Salsa Big Mama pedaled on climbs, even on pavement, with it off. I do not use it on HL bikes. Felt no need for it on short multi-link bikes, though some of those were harsh or seemed to fight me. Only used PP on a long travel low single pivot.
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  7. #7
    No Clue Crew
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    I run an '11 Stumpy FSR and have never switched the propedal on.

  8. #8
    Former Bike Wrench
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    I found my DW-Link bike of old (Iron Horse) that didn't have a pro-pedal shock on it and rode quite well...don't know if this translates to the Pivot, Turner, or new Ibis.

    I have the Stumpy FSR too and it does need the Pro-Pedal on the climbs...but it is also much more plush on descents than I remember the DW-Link bike being.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by vetprowanab View Post
    I have a 2011 Spec Stumpjumper FSR 29er...130mm bike. I like it quite a bit. Compared to my Maverick ML8, at under 29 pounds it feels light, agile and fast. However, I don't think I would like it on the climbs at all if it weren't for the Pro Pedal Fox Triad rear shock.

    So my question is, as I think about the current bikes and 2012 offerings, are there any designs that stand on their own and don't need Pro Pedal to really shine? There are a lot of bikes I haven't been able to demo so thought I would put it out there. I've heard people argue that the (pro pedal) shocks make up for poor suspension frame design. To complicate it, I'm one of those riders who prefers it plush so that probably doesn't help.

    In which directions would you steer me? Thank you.
    Turn off the PP and see how you like your FSR.
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  10. #10
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    Took a Niner Jet9 on a demo ride. The mechanic/tech said that I would not need to use the pro-pedal setting on climbs, that it would be plenty stiff and still be plush when needed. He was right and I was impressed enough to place an order for one. The RIP9 is supposed to behave the same way if you are looking for a bike with slacker geometry and more suspension travel. But I'd test ride if at all possible...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Addy View Post
    Took a Niner Jet9 on a demo ride. The mechanic/tech said that I would not need to use the pro-pedal setting on climbs, that it would be plenty stiff and still be plush when needed. He was right and I was impressed enough to place an order for one. The RIP9 is supposed to behave the same way if you are looking for a bike with slacker geometry and more suspension travel. But I'd test ride if at all possible...
    The suspension feel of the JET and RIP is different.
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  12. #12
    Daniel the Dog
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    How so

    I
    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    The suspension feel of the JET and RIP is different.
    I have owned both and the feel similar except one has more travel and the bike is slacker.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaybo View Post
    I

    I have owned both and the feel similar except one has more travel and the bike is slacker.
    Within the context of the OP's question, not much different while climbing.

    They react differently to pedaling while the suspension cycles in other situations.

    Again, it depends on your riding style and preferences.
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  14. #14
    ballbuster
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    Heh...

    Quote Originally Posted by vetprowanab View Post
    I have a 2011 Spec Stumpjumper FSR 29er...130mm bike. I like it quite a bit. Compared to my Maverick ML8, at under 29 pounds it feels light, agile and fast. However, I don't think I would like it on the climbs at all if it weren't for the Pro Pedal Fox Triad rear shock.

    So my question is, as I think about the current bikes and 2012 offerings, are there any designs that stand on their own and don't need Pro Pedal to really shine? There are a lot of bikes I haven't been able to demo so thought I would put it out there. I've heard people argue that the (pro pedal) shocks make up for poor suspension frame design. To complicate it, I'm one of those riders who prefers it plush so that probably doesn't help.

    In which directions would you steer me? Thank you.
    I gave up on the idea of full suspension bikes that pedal well.

    All of the bikes out there I have tried that you can stand on and not bob generally feel like crap, IMO. I would rather have a bike that feels good even if it bobs like crazy, and use it with a manual lockout lever on the shock to control the bob.

    I ride a Titus RacerX29er. I love FSR true 4-Bar suspension. I have an RP23 shock on there with ProPedal, but I leave the ProPedal on the hardest setting (pretty much locked out), and leave the ProPedal off most of the time... unless I'm grinding up a fireroad out of the saddle. That bike I ride pretty much as my long ride trailbike.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    I agree it is a very individual call.

    My preferences are nearly the opposite of yours.

    I do not like using PP at all. Like the way the Salsa Big Mama pedaled on climbs, even on pavement, with it off. I do not use it on HL bikes. Felt no need for it on short multi-link bikes, though some of those were harsh or seemed to fight me. Only used PP on a long travel low single pivot.
    I don't like using propedal on any of the FSR/HL bikes I've owned either.

    However, as far as the 2010/11 Stumpjumper FSR 29er goes, I would be interested to know what size frame those of you that are using propedal are riding for the following reason:

    I have a medium frame bike and I don't use propedal at all as I've never felt the need for it. My Dad has an identical bike but with a large frame. He has to use propedal as his bike bobs when climbing. We've swapped bikes and adjusted the suspension to suit, and we've found that regardless of who's riding it, the large bike bobs enough to want to use propedal on long climbs, and the medium does not. We haven't tried swapping the shocks over though, but both seem to work fine.

    I'm not sure why this is happening and I know it sounds crazy, and if I hadn't seen the difference in the bikes I wouldn't believe it-but could it be something to do with where the rider is on the large frame? In any case, they're both great bikes-but I'd be interested to know if anyone else has noticed this effect.

  16. #16
    mnt bike laws of physics
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    One thing that needs to be clarified. Most shocks come with different amounts of platform along with their 'PP' settings. As far as Fox Shox goes, that is called the Boost Valve setting or IFP pressure. The IFP pressure or internal floating piston pressure (although working in unison with the PP spring) is factory set according to the amount of anti-squat for each suspension design. So, if you have a low pivot design (read less anti-squat) like the Specialized (which because of its high, short Horst link is almost identical to a single pivot), Lenz, Gary Fisher, or Ventana they will more likely be fitted with a shock with more platform or IFP pressure - a higher Boost Valve setting on a Fox. If you have a bike design with more anti-squat like Pivot or Turner (Ibis has less - notice that their pivots are lower than the other two) they can get by with less IFP pressure. My 2009 Sultan has the lowest IFP pressure Fox allows which is 175psi. My Tallboy has 225 psi which is a middle setting. The Sultan is very stable and doesn't wallow with PP off even though it has a lower IFP pressure because it has more anti-squat. Ibis is saying that the Ripley will have more anti-squat than the Mojos. Also, not sure how much truth there is to erikrc10's statement about the SB 95, but that may be a forth choice. Not sure if I am missing any.
    Keep in mind that the IFP or Boost Valve setting is there whether you have PP on or off and the higher it is, the more platform you have independent of whether you have PP on or off.

    Edit: found a website that describes the Fox internal.
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  17. #17
    mnt bike laws of physics
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    Quote Originally Posted by pimpbot View Post
    I gave up on the idea of full suspension bikes that pedal well.

    All of the bikes out there I have tried that you can stand on and not bob generally feel like crap, IMO. I would rather have a bike that feels good even if it bobs like crazy, and use it with a manual lockout lever on the shock to control the bob.

    I ride a Titus RacerX29er. I love FSR true 4-Bar suspension. I have an RP23 shock on there with ProPedal, but I leave the ProPedal on the hardest setting (pretty much locked out), and leave the ProPedal off most of the time... unless I'm grinding up a fireroad out of the saddle. That bike I ride pretty much as my long ride trailbike.
    There is no FS bike that will not bob when out of the saddle. Like you said if it didn't bob, the shock would have to be near locked out and then it wouldn't ride well at all when seated. That is why I like to have a shock with a strong 'ProPedal' - so that I can put it on when I climb or accelerate out of the saddle without wasting too much energy. Otherwise, like you, I always keep mine off.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jms View Post
    Pivot.
    Yep.

    I went from a Stumpy FSR Expert (Brain equipped) to the 429 and the Pivot climbs every bit as good as the Brain equipped SJ. Better, for me, in fact... the 429 gets me up hills I didn't think I could climb and that I'd be struggling with on the SJ.

    And that's all without ever switching over to PP.

    Oh, and it's pretty plush for a 4" bike, too!
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  19. #19
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    Jet9 & Jet9 RDO pedal well with PP off.

    The Anthem X29 does to.

  20. #20
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    Pro Pedal is NEVER off, once the shock has it it's always there, the On/Off is just engaging more PP. If you want no pro pedal you need a shock without it or to blow the seals on the PP and have the oil leak out and then you will really find out just how much difference the PP makes, even when the lever is flipped "Off". FYI Niner and others generally use a very high PP tune.

    I now have a blown RP23 that I don't plan on fixing, that I can throw on any frame to determine just how well the suspension really pedals and believe me, it would surprise the hell out of you doing this to all those "pedal well" frames.

    Quote Originally Posted by mtroy View Post
    I think you will find that whether or not a particular bike or design does or does not need pro pedal is pretty individual. I have ridden bikes that others swore did not need PP and I thought it did and vice versa. Now some bikes always do if you want them to remain steady when pedaling like the older single pivot stuff...my Lenz or an FSR design comes to mind.

    But, if you like plush or active stuff, the VPP designs sure are that. I find them a bit too active for my taste but if you like it that way, they run well without PP, like the Tall Boy or Intense stuff.

    My fav so far as an all around XC light-med trail sus has been the JET9 with the CVA. It was juuuust a bit more active on small bumps than the Mini Brain on the Epic but tighter than the Tall Boy. Next up was the Anthem X. I did not use PP on either the JET or the Anthem. I did on the Tall Boy.

    The FSR I have with the mini-brain tuned softer than the Epic version is truly good. You may label it a band-aid or not, but it rocks.
    Quote Originally Posted by muzzanic View Post
    Jet9 & Jet9 RDO pedal well with PP off.

    The Anthem X29 does to.
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  21. #21
    mvi
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    No expert here, but I ride my Jet 9 with PP 1 on and ~ 10 mm sag in the shock and am so impressed with the feel of the bike in this lowest PP tuning. I never use any higher PP mode , only the open mode for real rooty-rocky XC stuff.

  22. #22
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    VPP, DW link, and Giant's Anthem all use pedaling forces to counter suspension bob. Many single pivot designs place the pivot above the chain rings to achieve the same effect. The VPP and high single pivot designs as well as the Horst Link (FSR) all proceeded PP and "Brain" shocks and all pedal reasonably well without it as long as you stay seated. The trade-off being that you had to give up some plushness for pedaling efficiency.

    Modern suspension designs (even FSR, SP, & VPP) all benefit from the addition of platform valve shocks and the frame designers incorporate that technology into their designs. As noted by a previous poster, Fox adjusts the IFP setting per the frame manufacturers specs. They are designing these bikes with PP in mind to give us the best riding experience.

    In short, all suspension designs benefit from platform valve technology. Depending on the intended purpose of the bike and exact design, it may require more or less, but it still benefits.

    Why would I want to back to the compromises of the '90s if I don't have to?
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  23. #23
    mnt bike laws of physics
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frozenspokes View Post
    VPP, DW link, and Giant's Anthem all use pedaling forces to counter suspension bob. Many single pivot designs place the pivot above the chain rings to achieve the same effect. The VPP and high single pivot designs as well as the Horst Link (FSR) all proceeded PP and "Brain" shocks and all pedal reasonably well without it as long as you stay seated. The trade-off being that you had to give up some plushness for pedaling efficiency.

    Modern suspension designs (even FSR, SP, & VPP) all benefit from the addition of platform valve shocks and the frame designers incorporate that technology into their designs. As noted by a previous poster, Fox adjusts the IFP setting per the frame manufacturers specs. They are designing these bikes with PP in mind to give us the best riding experience.

    In short, all suspension designs benefit from platform valve technology. Depending on the intended purpose of the bike and exact design, it may require more or less, but it still benefits.

    Why would I want to back to the compromises of the '90s if I don't have to?
    Contrary to what many think including some designers, and I know its counter intuitive but the front chainring and pivot location have almost nothing in common. It has more to do with the instantanious amout of chain growth at any one point in its travel. The amount of torque applied to the chain is directly proportional to the amount of torque applied by the rider's mass (how much the rider's mass is being thrown back or accelerated backwards with each pedal stroke). Bicycle suspension is a very dynamic system and cannot be looked at in an isolated situation like a chain pulling against a pivot would be on its own.

    I agree about what you said about PP. To try and design a suspension system without some platform would not be good. It would be way too harsh from the amount of pedal feedback. It is great that we now have platform shocks to give us some amount of control over acceleration induced sag.

  24. #24
    T , V , & K Rider
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    I could live without it on my DW Sultan.....use it about 5 % of the time if that especially with the PUSHed RS RT3 rear shock ( best upgrade I've done on this bike ) ! TIG.

  25. #25
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    On my Pivot 429, I found that the bike pedaled worse w/ ProPedal on. For the life of me I don't even understand why the didn't just leave that function off the shock.

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