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  1. #1
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    2014: Climbing with DW-Link vs Maestro vs Split Pivot vs Switch (27.5" 140-160mm)

    DW-Link Bikes:
    Turner Burner
    Ibis Mojo HD
    Pivot Firebird

    Split-Pivot:
    Devinci Troy
    Devinci 160mm Prototype

    Maestro:
    Giant Trance

    Switch:
    SB-66

    These are arguably some of the best climbing 140-160mm bikes on the market, or will be when they are released. Yes this post is largely a bench test, as many of these bikes are not even released yet.

    I see a lot of comparison between DW-Link bikes, but rarely do I see a DW-Link bike pitted against a Maestro bike, even though the suspension designs are nearly identical (and therefore contentious.)

    I also don't see comparisons between DW-Link, Maestro, and DW designed Split-Pivot bikes from Devinci, which are also known as good climbers.

    Finally, Yeti's Switch design has been gaining popularity for its climbing prowess, but it is often not compared against the DW-Link bikes.

    So, how do we expect more affordable bikes like the Giant Trance 27.5 and Devinci Troy to compare against the pure-bred (and expensive) suspension designs of Ibis, Pivot, and Yeti?
    I do custom ArcGIS and Google Maps, including data collection and sustainable trail layout. Ride Welsh Mountain

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    DW-Link Bikes:
    Turner Burner
    Ibis Mojo HD
    Pivot Firebird

    Split-Pivot:
    Devinci Troy
    Devinci 160mm Prototype

    Maestro:
    Giant Trance

    Switch:
    SB-66

    These are arguably some of the best climbing 140-160mm bikes on the market, or will be when they are released. Yes this post is largely a bench test, as many of these bikes are not even released yet.

    I see a lot of comparison between DW-Link bikes, but rarely do I see a DW-Link bike pitted against a Maestro bike, even though the suspension designs are nearly identical (and therefore contentious.)

    I also don't see comparisons between DW-Link, Maestro, and DW designed Split-Pivot bikes from Devinci, which are also known as good climbers.

    Finally, Yeti's Switch design has been gaining popularity for its climbing prowess, but it is often not compared against the DW-Link bikes.

    So, how do we expect more affordable bikes like the Giant Trance 27.5 and Devinci Troy to compare against the pure-bred (and expensive) suspension designs of Ibis, Pivot, and Yeti?
    I am guessing that owners will defend whichever one they own.

    That being said, I would give the nod to the more expensive bikes, because they will generally weigh less.

  3. #3
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    After being on a Yeti 575 for 5 years, the summer I bought my Pivot 5.7c, which was 1 pound heavier, I set 6 personal time to climb records. I don't have any data on other bikes, though, and they were both 26", so I'm not sure if the info is helpful.....I think the Pivot M6 will be more interesting as a 27.5" climbing machine than the Firebird, though.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    So, how do we expect more affordable bikes like the Giant Trance 27.5 and Devinci Troy to compare against the pure-bred (and expensive) suspension designs of Ibis, Pivot, and Yeti?
    Quote Originally Posted by saidrick View Post
    I am guessing that owners will defend whichever one they own.

    That being said, I would give the nod to the more expensive bikes, because they will generally weigh less.
    I have to agree that any owner of any of these bikes is going to love what their bike does unless they're really really impartial and have spent time on a fair number of designs.

    What I can tell you is that these bikes will probably not differ from each other all that much. While each manufacturer struts around with their favorite patent emblazoned across every surface possible, the reality is that a good single pivot, which a split pivot is, can climb surprisingly well. A pivot placed above or below the chainline will behave a specific way, and is usually pretty easily quantifiable. Devinci is very smart about their pivot position. It's usually just above or even with the large chainring, which makes for a bike that has some or no anti-squat, whereas every old Kona and most specializeds still have PRO-squat, which makes your bike climb like sh*t. The magic of the DW link, and some others, really comes about in how the anti-squat is manipulated throughout the arc of the rear wheel. For DW, I know he decreases AS as you get deep into travel, which eliminates chain torque on big hits. I'm not sure this is as big a deal or even necessarily a good thing.

    Check out linkage and play with some of these designs on your own. They aren't all necessarily magic and voodoo, despite what people want to believe. Those split pivots are incredibly capable bikes, and all the fancy patent does is separate braking forces from acceleration, and that pivot location can't be patented.

  5. #5
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    What's the point of this thread again? For us to each chime in with why our bikes' suspension design is best?

    Well thats a bummer . . . I can't contribute because VPP wasn't included in the title. Prolly cuz' its tEh bestest.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 007 View Post
    What's the point of this thread again?
    On the off chance someone has been lucky enough to ride both the new Trance 275 and Pivot Firebird 275 and Ibis Mojo.
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  7. #7
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    I agree with most of your post but...

    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich View Post
    Devinci is very smart about their pivot position. It's usually just above or even with the large chainring, which makes for a bike that has some or no anti-squat,
    Considering you normally climb in the small, maybe the middle ring, a single pivot at the large ring most definitely will have some anti squat.

    Whereas every old Kona and most specializeds still have PRO-squat, which makes your bike climb like sh*t.
    I don't think Specialized climb like ****. I don't know their exact anti squat numbers nor do I take anti squat numbers as being very meaningful. Specialized bikes are very active while climbing, and the benefits of active suspension while rolling over obstacles and following the ground is well known.
    And I doubt if Kona's are "pro squat" while climbing, as the pivot is around the middle chain ring. And I think they climb just fine.

    I don't own a Specialized or a Kona

  8. #8
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    Maestro is a knock-off DW-Link so they should handle fairly similarly. Split pivot is a very different design from the others in the list, basically a single pivot but without brake jack. Switch link is yet another virtual pivot design with anti-squat.

    Each bike is tuned differently though and what is better is a personal preference. Mojo HD is said to be more active / less anti-squat than other Mojos. Pivot Mach is said to have more anti-squat than Ibis - it should pedal smooth fire roads better than HD, but it may not be as active in rough technical climbs.

    Btw. what exactly do you mean by "climbs better"? Less bob? More antisquat? Better in tough chunk?

  9. #9
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    I owned a trance with the maestro before but sold it for the turner spot dw-link....comparing the, I would say the dw-link is superior to the maestro IMHO....

    Using maestro for climbing 2 km of uphill to my trail, I would activate the pro-pedal of the RP23 rear shock and the lockout switch of the Talas RLC fork ...


    With the 5Spot, pro-pedal deactivated and RS Revelation XX WC 150 fork un-locked...
    no bobing and climbs like a goat...

  10. #10
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    What kind of climbing? Tech? Long smooth fireroads? Are you including the use of the low speed compression adjustment on the shock? Do you want traction when you climb, or do you just want to make sure that the suspension remains as immobile as possible? For me, in SW Arizona, lots of anti-squat sucks. I want the suspension to move over obstacles. I hate pedal kick back. I ride a single pivot Kona and love it. I can turn the anti-squat on with the turn of a knob, and turn it off at will just as easily. VPP or DW links have anti-squat built in, so you are stuck with that designated trait, and the pedal kick back that goes with it.
    If climbing means long smooth climbs, you might feel quite differently on how you want your suspension to perform.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotth72 View Post
    What kind of climbing? Tech? Long smooth fireroads? Are you including the use of the low speed compression adjustment on the shock? Do you want traction when you climb, or do you just want to make sure that the suspension remains as immobile as possible? For me, in SW Arizona, lots of anti-squat sucks. I want the suspension to move over obstacles. I hate pedal kick back. I ride a single pivot Kona and love it. I can turn the anti-squat on with the turn of a knob, and turn it off at will just as easily. VPP or DW links have anti-squat built in, so you are stuck with that designated trait, and the pedal kick back that goes with it.
    If climbing means long smooth climbs, you might feel quite differently on how you want your suspension to perform.
    Good post. I would add that so called anti squat characteristics of a bike don't necessarily translate into noticeable pedal kickback, but it is a compromise with suspension activity. Your bike can't climb like a hard tail and be supple over bumps at the same time. There is a compromise. Some people get really paranoid about suspension movement while climbing, but I think in most cases the small energy loss from the movement is gained back when rolling over (instead of running into) rocks and roots.

  12. #12
    cowbell
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    I've ridden a Maestro bike rather extensively, and done some riding on a Mach429, and the difference in feel isn't worth talking about. Because there really wasn't any. The only difference in the bikes, as far as I could tell, was the Maestro owner still had more money left in his pocket after the purchase than the Pivot owner.

    As for the new Trance 27.5, I've ridden the SX, if that counts. It seems to peddle "as expected". Sadly, the odds of me getting to ride a Firebird are slim, and the only Mojo I know of is rather too small for me.

  13. #13
    Bicyclochondriac.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    DW-Link Bikes:
    Turner Burner
    Ibis Mojo HD
    Pivot Firebird

    Split-Pivot:
    Devinci Troy
    Devinci 160mm Prototype

    Maestro:
    Giant Trance

    Switch:
    SB-66

    These are arguably some of the best climbing 140-160mm bikes on the market, or will be when they are released. Yes this post is largely a bench test, as many of these bikes are not even released yet.

    I see a lot of comparison between DW-Link bikes, but rarely do I see a DW-Link bike pitted against a Maestro bike, even though the suspension designs are nearly identical (and therefore contentious.)

    I also don't see comparisons between DW-Link, Maestro, and DW designed Split-Pivot bikes from Devinci, which are also known as good climbers.

    Finally, Yeti's Switch design has been gaining popularity for its climbing prowess, but it is often not compared against the DW-Link bikes.

    So, how do we expect more affordable bikes like the Giant Trance 27.5 and Devinci Troy to compare against the pure-bred (and expensive) suspension designs of Ibis, Pivot, and Yeti?
    Why is the Split Pivot on this list? For purposes of climbing it is a simple single pivot. Not saying a single pivot can't climb well, but why include the Split Pivot and not other single pivot designs (and the countless bikes that use them) that would climb just as well?

    The split pivot does have advantages over other single pivot designs such as a faux-bar, but climbing and pedaling efficiency is not one of them.

    FWIW, Trek also has a split pivot, they just call it something else.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotth72 View Post
    What kind of climbing? Tech? Long smooth fireroads? Are you including the use of the low speed compression adjustment on the shock? Do you want traction when you climb, or do you just want to make sure that the suspension remains as immobile as possible? For me, in SW Arizona, lots of anti-squat sucks. I want the suspension to move over obstacles. I hate pedal kick back. I ride a single pivot Kona and love it. I can turn the anti-squat on with the turn of a knob, and turn it off at will just as easily. VPP or DW links have anti-squat built in, so you are stuck with that designated trait, and the pedal kick back that goes with it.
    If climbing means long smooth climbs, you might feel quite differently on how you want your suspension to perform.
    Suspension damping is not the same as anti-squat generated from pedaling bikes with that built in.

    The whole point of the DW link is that the anti squat varies. It has more when you need it, and less when you don't. It has enough to make climbing very efficient at around the sag point, but when you hit a bump and move a little farther into the travel, there is less.

    One thing that gets lost in these discussions is that at least for DW-Link bikes there is a bit of variation as to how much anti-squat they have. There is a BIG difference between how my IH MKIII and my Turner 5-pot behave. The 5-Spot is the more efficient climber, but is not as active over obstacles. THe MKIII was pretty much just as responsive over obstacles on climbs as bikes I've ridden with a Horst Link or faux bar, AND was a hell of a lot more efficient, with next to zero LSC.

    It also make a difference what gear combo you are in. I think part of the reason that my 5-Spot feel like it has more anti squat is that I am usually running a 2x9 (22/32 x 11-34) rather than a 2x10 (24/36 x 11-36) which is what the frame was likely deigned around. When I looked at some anti-squat numbers for different gear combos on the two, it looks like I would be seeing similar results for similar ratios between the two bikes were I using the slightly larger rings and cogs of the 2x10.

    Overall, I think DW nailed the suspension better on the MKIII than on the 5-Spot, thought the 5-Spot is a much better frame overall, but as I said, it could just be the gearing I am using.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  15. #15
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    Folks just so I clear up some of my original question I'm interested in:

    Which bike has the least active, most anti-squat without a pedaling platform shock.

    Remember, we're talking relatively "long travel" bikes here, so don't say "my 100mm FSR Specialized climbs awesome."
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    Folks just so I clear up some of my original question I'm interested in:

    Which bike has the least active, most anti-squat without a pedaling platform shock.

    Remember, we're talking relatively "long travel" bikes here, so don't say "my 100mm FSR Specialized climbs awesome."
    Probably the pivot. But shock setup is still very important. The linkage doesn't do everything on its own.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    I've ridden a Maestro bike rather extensively, and done some riding on a Mach429, and the difference in feel isn't worth talking about. The only difference in the bikes, as far as I could tell, was the Maestro owner still had more money left in his pocket after the purchase than the Pivot owner.

    As for the new Trance 27.5, I've ridden the SX, if that counts. It seems to peddle "as expected".
    By that measure you'd say that the Trance would ride very comparably to a 140mm Pivot?
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    Folks just so I clear up some of my original question I'm interested in:

    Which bike has the least active, most anti-squat without a pedaling platform shock.

    Remember, we're talking relatively "long travel" bikes here, so don't say "my 100mm FSR Specialized climbs awesome."
    Whichever one has the propedal turned on.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    Whichever one has the propedal turned on.
    Derp.

    That'd be one with a pedaling platform shock. Propedal, lock-out, climb, whatever you want to call it, they are all pedaling platforms or "tunes" for the shock. I'd prefer to avoid using one if possible.
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  20. #20
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    The mojo is an awesome climber with the sag at 30% but the bike gets over welmed with big hits.


    I susspect they all climb well. Each design has particulars that will make it a better climber for people with differnt riding styles.

    If you havent figured out yet only hoping on a bike for an extended ride on a familer trail will let you
    know how it handels.

    Are you even buying a bike soon?

  21. #21
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    I own and ride an 08 Reign. I did a few test rides on Mojos and 5.7's and I thought they pedaled better then my bike......THEN, I got rid of the poor excuse for a shock (Fox RP) and installed a Monarch PLus RC3, now my bike pedals just as well as the DW's I have tried. My $.02

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    Considering you normally climb in the small, maybe the middle ring, a single pivot at the large ring most definitely will have some anti squat.
    Yes, but since we're talking longer travel bikes, I made the assumption that we'd be talking single ring only. In this case, Devinci's pivots are usually similar to the single ring. If you add a front derailleur, which I actually think is an incredibly useful tool despite the e-hate, when you shift down, you significantly increase anti squat. That makes for a MUCH better technical climbing bike. As soon as you hit the top, the goal is to shift back up and drop AS down to zero or at least low numbers. It's quite a bit like having an "anti-squat adjuster", and it works awesome.


    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    I don't think Specialized climb like ****. I don't know their exact anti squat numbers nor do I take anti squat numbers as being very meaningful. Specialized bikes are very active while climbing, and the benefits of active suspension while rolling over obstacles and following the ground is well known.
    And I doubt if Kona's are "pro squat" while climbing, as the pivot is around the middle chain ring. And I think they climb just fine.

    I don't own a Specialized or a Kona
    I used Konas as an example, but their suspension design has gotten better in recent years. Basically, any bike with a main pivot close to the bottom bracket is going to have some level of pro-squat, whether it has a horst link or not (The only real exception is the lawwill linkage, but that's quite a bit different than a horst layout). Pro squat is bad for climbing, and there really aren't any exceptions. Keep in mind that every suspension design is "active" until you start adding anti-squat/chain torque. How much is appropriate is up to the rider and frame designer, but a fair amount of "lockout" is good, as it digs the rear wheel in on a technical climb and uses the suspension against the rider's weight as they go down on the pedal stroke. So, you get a firmer platform or you bite the tire into the ground. With low pivots/pro squat, the wheel actually unweights with chain torque, making it slip over undulating surfaces or loose terrain. I've never encountered a technical climb where I wanted LESS traction.

    Now, if we're talking long fireroad grinds, then I'd buy that you don't want a lot of anti-squat...but those cases are when additional low speed compression or lockouts are useful. If you know you're going to be grinding, flip that little level, reduce movement, pedal smoothly (which every good rider should know how to do), and flick it off when you get to the top.

    I don't have a ton of time on Specialized's designs, but an FSR XC was one of the worst climbing bikes I've ever ridden. When things got steep and loose, it broke traction with any pedal stroke and I ended up pushing. Similarly bad was a Voodoo Canzo I owned, which had a low pivot point too. Even long chainstays and 29" wheels couldn't save it from terrible suspension design, and it slipped freely whenever things got steep.

  23. #23
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    And when you say "climbing", are you talking about long sustained uphill double track. Short chunky tech, tight uphill switch backs?

    Typicly bikes that are good at tight techy uphills are not the best for long smooth uphills.

  24. #24
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    long sustained uphills.

    In my opinion, having ridden bikes with 100mm rear travel to 180mm rear travel uphill, and sampling Single Pivot, VPP, ABP, CVA, etc and HAVING ZERO TIME ON DW-Link, Split Pivot, or Maestro, I feel like I notice (and hate) the suspension the most when I'm on the long climb. The short punchy climb I see the benefit to having suspension, and is part of the reason I'd like to go back to full-suspension from my current 29" hard tail.

    I've ridden quite a few bikes with pedaling platform shocks and I always forget to flip the lever, especially if not on the bars.

    I'll keep the hard tail for mostly flat non-technical rides, and be riding the 140-160mm full suspension on rock-strewn, technical climb, and the occasional lift-assist park.

    I posed this question because I'm desperately trying to decide between a pedalling platform shock equipped Norco Range Carbon, Kona Process 153, or Devinci Troy/Proto, vs spending a bit more for the DW-Link bikes, or hitting the happy medium with the Trance 275.
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  25. #25
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    Owned two Giant bikes then bought a MojoHD. Maestro is more active and DW-Link has more anti-squat. When I first got my Ibis it had a learning curve. I was losing traction all over the place, it felt way too firm. After awhile I got used to it and now it just blows the Giants away in speed.

    Rode a SC Nomad back to back with my MojoHD and the Mojo pedaled like it was lighter though they weighed the same.

    But.......the Mojo is not as active over the bumps so you have to do more work on the rough climbs until you get used to it.

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