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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?
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  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 shit. 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
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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
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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 shit. 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.

  26. #26
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    Buy a bike for its fit and geo, then its suspension design. Multi-links (more anti-squat) will usually have longer chainstays. The Kona Process (single pivot), has super short stays. I like short stays and a longer front center. You might like the opposite. There is way more to buying a bike then just what type of suspension it has.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    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 shockthe 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.
    There is no magic bullit dude. You wont climb any better on one bike to the next.

    Get the one you think looks the coolest or go off component spec. Look at the geometry numbers also.


    Look into your heart and decide.

  28. #28
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    No thanks.

    I'd rather hear the opinions of folks who have ridden different bikes and can share their experiences.

    That's why we call this a discussion forum, its ya know, to discuss things.
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  29. #29
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    Why is it that these threads keep popping up every few months?

    Listen to Scotth72, he is spot on. Buy a bike, not a suspension system.
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  30. #30
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    Honestly the DW bikes are a noticeable improvement over older designs IME. Remember that the older designs need more compression damping (propedal type stuff) to have at least similar pedaling on some surfaces, and that takes away significantly from the bump absorption, which kind of negates the entire idea of suspension up hills sometimes (for traction, duh!). The DW uses very low compression damping because the compression isn't doing dual-duties. As far as pedaling one thing to consider is the uphill grade, on many bikes I've noticed that flat pedaling is great, but going uphill changes the system enough with the contact patch and chainring arrangement so that each pedal stroke substantially compresses the rear end. The lack of this is the biggest reason the DW bikes seem to climb so well, because each pedal stroke feels like you are accelerating forward, vs. having more and more of your energy taken the harder you pedal. I wouldn't say one HAS to spend the money on a DW and in fact I just bought a non-DW FS bike, but the reason why was due to other features not offered on any other bike. There aren't really any DW 29ers with the features of the Enduro 29er yet, so that was the reason I got the bike I did. That said, if one did exist, I probably would have bought it based on my previous DW rides. The Giant bikes are not bad and a good lower-cost alternative, if not as "refined" as the DW (Giant is currently being sued by DW for not meeting their agreements when the design was initially presented and later breaching the contract and just going on their own-with his design). I'm not saying that to make you think less of Giant, just that their implementation is very similar and it can be a good alternative money wise.
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  31. #31
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    Jayem, thanks.
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  32. #32
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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."
    The Pivot. You just never have to have propedal turned on. I'd be very happy with a shock on that bike that doesn't even have the feature built in. The design feels plush, it stays connected to the ground on the climbs - technical or not - and the clock says it's faster. This is a comparison between a 5.7c, 575 and Reign.

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    It's a shame the Firebird 275 and Mach 6 are expensive as they are. I think they are out of my budget by about oh...$1000.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Remember that the older designs need more compression damping (propedal type stuff) to have at least similar pedaling on some surfaces, and that takes away significantly from the bump absorption, which kind of negates the entire idea of suspension up hills sometimes (for traction, duh!). The DW uses very low compression damping because the compression isn't doing dual-duties..
    That's just part of the marketing speak for DW's ad campaign.

    Not a lot of designs NEED propedal or additional low speed compression. Only bad ones, like very high pivots (with low chainrings) or very low pivots any time. And age has nothing to do with it, a bad design is a bad design. Remember too that the current top-performing downhill bikes are laced with single pivots (split pivot and not) and VPP, suggesting that a single pivot can perform under the harshest conditions within milliseconds of a hyped up design.

    There's no magic-voodoo-reacharound with any of these suspension designs. DWlink, maestro, etc, still need low speed compression to make them handle well, handle berms, avoid brake dive and extension, etc., they just use chain torque differently to mitigate rider inputs. Any design that doesn't have excessive anti squat or prosquat doesn't need excessive low speed compression.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich View Post
    That's just part of the marketing speak for DW's ad campaign.
    Remember too that the current top-performing downhill bikes are laced with single pivots (split pivot and not) and VPP, suggesting that a single pivot can perform under the harshest conditions within milliseconds of a hyped up design.
    Downhill specific bikes don't have the climbing requirements of trail bike designs.

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    I ride my mojo HD with the pro-pedal set to zero and turned off.

    It feels very spikey with it turned on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    Downhill specific bikes don't have the climbing requirements of trail bike designs.
    but they have sprinting requisites that are not remotely dissimilar! Lots of rider weight going up and down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich View Post
    but they have sprinting requisites that are not remotely dissimilar! Lots of rider weight going up and down.
    Not remotely dissimilar....yeah, I'd agree with that, but they don't require a design that lets you climb 3000 feet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    Not remotely dissimilar....yeah, I'd agree with that, but they don't require a design that lets you climb 3000 feet.
    Again, depends on your definition of climbing! When I hear climbing, I think "steep", but other think 2% grade for a million miles. So yeah, if you're grinding, they're totally different, but if you're climbing something that requires you to be out of the saddle or close to it, that's when suspension matters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    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.
    FWIW, if what you want is a rear suspension with lots of antisquat, the Norco Range killer-B has LOTS according to Linkagedesign. Norco's implementation of a 4bar is much different than Specialized FSR, with different pivot placements, so even in a 36tooth front ring, the A-S force is 100% or greater, similar to DW link bikes. A-S in the little ring is through the roof.

    That is e-riding a suspension design of course...

    The Devinci I've ridden (Dixon) felt remarkably like an HD to me (I have a lot of time on an HD), at least in rear-suspension feel. That is consistent with the similar anti-squat curves for the two bikes on Linkage. That similarity is not surprising since both bikes follow Weagle's design philosophy on what constitutes 'pedalling efficiency'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoWheelMan View Post
    according to Linkagedesign.
    That's what I was looking for.

    That blog is the holy grail, I just wished he compared bikes outside of brands or styles of suspension more often. He usually does all FSR bikes in a single comparison, DW-Link or Split Pivot or Single Pivot all together. Rarely will he mix and match "the top climbers" or something.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    That blog is the holy grail, ..
    Well, sort of. The quantification and analysis is appreciated, but I think he overdoes the importance of A-S force to 'efficiency'. I say that having switched this season from anti-squat-rich minilink bikes for an FS design (Rocky) that has relatively little. I love it for both climbing and descending.

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    I owned a reign x1 with coil. Now sb66 switch with coil.

    The giant bobbed a ton especially when standing or in granny gear. I like the yeti much better I never nltice bob sitting or standing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich View Post
    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 would be a negative anti squat number, and that is not the case for specialized HL bikes, especially in the small ring. I think you are talking about anti-squat less than 100%, which is not pro squat, right?

    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,
    A more active bike with less anti squat will ride differently. Whether you think its good or not is nothing more than your own opinion. As you said, how much is appropriate is up to the rider.

    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.
    I think it was Proflex bikes back in the 90's that advertised their "dig-in" technology, which was just a higher than normal single pivot.
    I have no problem with the concept in general. It is one way to set up a bike. With any set up, there are pros and cons.

    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.
    What you say is true if pro squat is an issue. For Specialized HL bikes or most lower pivot bikes, pedaling will not unweight the wheel. Less than 100% anti-squat is not pro-squat.

    The flip side to your arguement is that too much anti-squat will cause the wheel to bounce off obstacles which causes a loss of traction. Fully active suspension follows the ground better which is good for traction.
    I'm not saying that any one design is better than any other. I'm just challenging the way you seem to speak in absolutes.
    My attitude about most of the decent modern bikes these days is that they are all good, in their own special way

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoWheelMan View Post
    Well, sort of. The quantification and analysis is appreciated, but I think he overdoes the importance of A-S force to 'efficiency'.
    Yes he does. And so do a lot of other people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotth72 View Post
    Buy a bike for its fit and geo, then its suspension design. Multi-links (more anti-squat) will usually have longer chainstays. The Kona Process (single pivot), has super short stays. I like short stays and a longer front center. You might like the opposite. There is way more to buying a bike then just what type of suspension it has.
    Yea it looks like the op is trying to get a bike that will make him a better climber. Hope hes ready for some disapointment.


    OP what are you riding now?

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    I currently ride a steel hard tail 29er with the most classic of steep HTA and long chainstays you can ask for.

    I'm not wanting a bike to improve my climbing abilities at all. That would be ridiculous. The bike is a few pieces of metal that hurt my butt and make me giggle with adrenaline filled pleasure.

    I've ridden so many full suspension bikes that had large amounts of pedal bob and everytime I sell them or give them back and happily accept my hardtail in return.

    I like anti-squat. I liked the Norco Sight I rode, I like the Carbine 275, the Nomad, the WFO and all the "new bikes" I've demo'd lately, but I liked them because they didn't pedal like the "old bikes."

    So, knowing that the reason I preferred those suspension dynamics was likely because of the anti-squat attributes of those suspension designs (the Norco in particular), why not ask for more of a good thing?
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    I think I can safely call myself a skeptic in terms of marketing claims. I have been very upfront in the past about things I dropped money on and was either disapointed by or saw no difference in.

    Suspension design is not one of these things. The last 4 frames I bought were built with the parts from the previous frame, so in every case I was comparing frames with the same build spec and rider. Does it make a noticeable difference climbing from one frame to the next? Abso-freaking-lutely!

    And while there certainly real differences between frames using the same basic design, there are definitely traits common to High Forward single pivots, Horst link / FSR designs, and DW-Link bikes that distinguish them.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    there are definitely traits common to High Forward single pivots, Horst link / FSR designs, and DW-Link bikes that distinguish them.
    I which would you prefer (if someone gave you a free bike with 140-160mm travel)?
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    I which would you prefer (if someone gave you a free bike with 140-160mm travel)?
    Between those three? DW-Link. AS different as the MKIII and the 5-Spot behave(d) for me, they are still both hands above the other designs I've owned (suspension-wise).

    The nice thing about something like the DW-Link is that since it does stiffen under pedaling (until you hit a bump), you can go much longer in travel and still not have the back end squat down on climbs.

    I got some time on a Reign about 6 years ago and I thought it rode really well, but it was just a short day and long enough ago that I don't feel like I can compare it to a DW-Link. I woudl definitely NOT write it off, though. I would still consider a Giant if I needed a new frame tomorrow.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    Pro squat would be a negative anti squat number, and that is not the case for specialized HL bikes, especially in the small ring. I think you are talking about anti-squat less than 100%, which is not pro squat, right?



    A more active bike with less anti squat will ride differently. Whether you think its good or not is nothing more than your own opinion. As you said, how much is appropriate is up to the rider.



    I think it was Proflex bikes back in the 90's that advertised their "dig-in" technology, which was just a higher than normal single pivot.
    I have no problem with the concept in general. It is one way to set up a bike. With any set up, there are pros and cons.



    What you say is true if pro squat is an issue. For Specialized HL bikes or most lower pivot bikes, pedaling will not unweight the wheel. Less than 100% anti-squat is not pro-squat.

    The flip side to your arguement is that too much anti-squat will cause the wheel to bounce off obstacles which causes a loss of traction. Fully active suspension follows the ground better which is good for traction.
    I'm not saying that any one design is better than any other. I'm just challenging the way you seem to speak in absolutes.
    My attitude about most of the decent modern bikes these days is that they are all good, in their own special way
    No, pro squat is pro squat, or negative anti squat. The wheel is actually pulled up, just like its pulled down with pivots above the chainring. This is surprisingly common on older single pivots and ridiculously common with specialized designs. Its the counterpart to the wheel biting in and resisting rider weight changes. Aka, it's terrible.

    There are good and bad designs out there, but the line is pretty fuzzy, and while lots of people say "short link/patents/dw = good", I argue, "well designed= good". A simple single pivot with a good leverage curve appropriate for the riding you're doing and a pivot in the right location can come remarkably close to the marketing claims of some of those designs you'll pay thousands for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich View Post
    No, pro squat is pro squat, or negative anti squat. The wheel is actually pulled up, just like its pulled down with pivots above the chainring. This is surprisingly common on older single pivots and ridiculously common with specialized designs. Its the counterpart to the wheel biting in and resisting rider weight changes. Aka, it's terrible.

    There are good and bad designs out there, but the line is pretty fuzzy, and while lots of people say "short link/patents/dw = good", I argue, "well designed= good". A simple single pivot with a good leverage curve appropriate for the riding you're doing and a pivot in the right location can come remarkably close to the marketing claims of some of those designs you'll pay thousands for.
    No, anti-squat at 100% means no suspension movement as you pedal. As an example, I get closer to zero in the big ring, but more than zero in the small ring. More than 100% means that it is going to have additional force to overcome when a bump comes along.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    The nice thing about something like the DW-Link is that since it does stiffen under pedaling (until you hit a bump), you can go much longer in travel and still not have the back end squat down on
    How does it both stiffen under chain torque but also not stiffen under chain torque? This defies physics. I know that dw designed it, but per his lawsuit with giant, even he can't design something 110% efficient. Something that stiffens under pedaling is not able to absorb bumps because its stiffening because of the effects of chain torque (pedaling) on rear suspension. You'll either feel it in the pedals, or you aren't stiffening the suspension that much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    No, anti-squat at 100% means no suspension movement as you pedal. As an example, I get closer to zero in the big ring, but more than zero in the small ring. More than 100% means that it is going to have additional force to overcome when a bump comes along.
    Yes and therefor pro squat is a representation of a force that compliments the riders weight on the suspension, rather than resists it, like anti squat does. It's actually less than zero. It's positive in the other spectrum. Having ridden a bike with a concentric bb pivot, I know all too well. Throw in a couple of walking beams with pivots below the chainring, and I'm well aware of bad suspension design.

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    I too have ridden concentric, the cove was absolutely horrible. That's due to no anti-squat and the rear end free to compress with each pedal stroke. That 100% anti-squat (idealistic, but good for the theoretical discussion) we are talking about on a DW is only when you are pedaling and applying the force, only enough to counter the pedaling, meaning a bump is absorbed, there's no "threshold" to overcome, different physics than, but similar to how an anti-sway bar resists cornering by applying more force to keep the opposite side of the car "up" as you corner harder. My car stays flatter in the turns the harder this force is applied (big anti-sways).
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich View Post
    Yes and therefor pro squat is a representation of a force that compliments the riders weight on the suspension, rather than resists it, like anti squat does. It's actually less than zero. It's positive in the other spectrum. Having ridden a bike with a concentric bb pivot, I know all too well. Throw in a couple of walking beams with pivots below the chainring, and I'm well aware of bad suspension design.
    You are wrong on this one my friend. Here are the anti-squat numbers for the 2014 Specialized rumor. The numbers never go negative. Check the linkage website for other Specialized bikes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    No, anti-squat at 100% means no suspension movement as you pedal. As an example, I get closer to zero in the big ring, but more than zero in the small ring. More than 100% means that it is going to have additional force to overcome when a bump comes along.
    Actually, more than 100% means that the suspension rises under chain torque. 100% means it resists the weight shift of your body mass perfectly. Under 100%, you will get some squat as acceleration moves your mass back as the bike moves forward. Remember, this is calculated at a certain COG point. Move your body up or down, and anti-squat moves. It is also dependent on the angle of the hill.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotth72 View Post
    Actually, more than 100% means that the suspension rises under chain torque.
    But Jayem is right that it also means that there is more force to overcome for a bump to compress the shock.

    100% means it resists the weight shift of your body mass perfectly. Under 100%, you will get some squat as acceleration moves your mass back as the bike moves forward. Remember, this is calculated at a certain COG point. Move your body up or down, and anti-squat moves. It is also dependent on the angle of the hill.
    It is also dependent on gear combo and the position of the swing arm along its path of travel. It also assumes acceleration is causing a rearward weight shift. For lots of reasons, I think the anti-squat calculation is pretty darn meaningless for representing bike performance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich View Post
    No, pro squat is pro squat, or negative anti squat. The wheel is actually pulled up, just like its pulled down with pivots above the chainring. This is surprisingly common on older single pivots and ridiculously common with specialized designs.
    No, this is NOT common on specialized fsr designs. As far as know it has never been. The whole point of the design when is caught on in the very beginning was that it did NOT do this

    You are confusing "pro-squat" with "not enough anti-squat".
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich View Post
    How does it both stiffen under chain torque but also not stiffen under chain torque? This defies physics. I know that dw designed it, but per his lawsuit with giant, even he can't design something 110% efficient. Something that stiffens under pedaling is not able to absorb bumps because its stiffening because of the effects of chain torque (pedaling) on rear suspension. You'll either feel it in the pedals, or you aren't stiffening the suspension that much.
    It does stiffen under chain torque at the typical sag point. As you go a little farther into the stroke (like when you hit a bump) the anti-squat lessens.

    I don't know how else to explain it. The bottom line is that it works as advertized.
    Last edited by kapusta; 09-05-2013 at 06:34 AM.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

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

    Ive had a few vpp and dw bikes and felt that they were fairly sensitive to shock setup. This was especially noticeable on longer, steep, smooth climbs. If the set up was not right on pedal kickback would be an issue, it would feel like it sagged too much, or not enough. So I was always dicking with shock settings on the side of the trail. The vpp bikes were the most noticeable but was also an issue for me on the dw bikes too.
    So now Im on a Specialized and actually prefer how it climbs, brakes, and descends. It is not the holy grail but it's working well enough for me, and at this point I havent found anything that I want to replace it with; which is odd because I usually come down with a case of upgradeitis.
    Are any of the manufacturers equiping their bikes without some sort of platform?

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    Quote Originally Posted by c-wal View Post
    Are any of the manufacturers equipping their bikes without some sort of platform?
    Yea, I think DW-Link designs, Giant's Maestro, and a few others don't really require a pedaling platform shock.
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    Nope, I'm actually talking about pro-squat. The very real and unfortunate force that is the opposite of anti-squat, which actually activates the suspension on pedaling.



    Zero antisquat implies that there is zero force on the rear suspension while pedaling. Bumps are free to activate the suspension, and any movement is caused by the rider. Pro squat causes compression, and anti-squat causes extension. Anti-squat can be used as a tool to resist rider input on the suspension or to dig the tire in on tight climbs. It can cause bobbing if the force is greater than the rider's weight transfer, or if the force is actually promoting suspension compression, like the Lenz listed above. Many of the older specialized designs, which have the main pivot below the middle chainring, still show some level of pro, not zero anti squat, but pro squat with chain torque.
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    This conversation is a bit too geeky for me, but I'll just throw in my 2 cents of riding experience. I had a linkage actuated single pivot that I loved...a Tomac Snyper. Do some research and you'll see it got really good reviews. It rides very similar to a Yeti 575. It climbed pretty well and it rampaged on the downs for a trail bike. It bobbed a bit when pedaling but I was OK with that to an extent since we have a lot of techy climbs and I wasn't climbing smooth trail. However, one thing I noticed is it tended to wallow and bog down in its travel on extended climbs and techy climbs. Even with propedal on it didn't mediate it very much. It would make climbing through subsequent repeated obstacles like rock gardens or rooty sections pretty miserable.

    The biggest thing I can say about my switch to the Pivot Mach 5.7 and it's DW-link is it manages to sit higher in its travel and not get bogged down in the mid or end stroke when climbing. It does have a lot of anti-squat so it doesn't bob much, yet it still responds to impacts and obstacles when climbing. The difference was noticeable. I loved my Tomac, but the Pivot was just a much better climber. Initially I felt the Tomac was a better descender, but a small adaptation to my riding style and I'm hitting everything even faster on the Pivot. It's a bit more "sporty" and not as "plush". Think floating over stuff instead of plowing through it, but it still handles big impacts and small chatter without issue, you just feel it a little bit more if that makes sense. Despite it feeling a little harsher, it still carries speed through rough sections really well. I love the way it rides, more Ferrari than Cadillac. The Pivot also accelerates like crazy when you stomp the pedals. With the Tomac I did feel like a little more energy was lost to the suspension and it didn't have that quick surge forward when I put the power down.

    Don't get my wrong, the single pivot Tomac was a great bike (I still miss it sometimes) that did some things very well, but the DW-link Pivot is just a better all around bike and much better for climbing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich View Post
    Many of the older specialized designs, which have the main pivot below the middle chainring, still show some level of pro, not zero anti squat, but pro squat with chain torque.
    The location of the main pivot on the Specialized is irrelevant, because FSR (Horst Link) is is a virtual pivot design. This is the difference between a horst link and a so-called "faux bar" which are basically single pivots, and thus have a fixed main pivot location. A virtual pivot MOVES AROUND throughout the travel of the rear suspension (this is true of all virtual pivot designs).

    I am unclear what the point of the graph of the Trek and Lenz bikes is, here.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    The location of the main pivot on the Specialized is irrelevant, because FSR (Horst Link) is is a virtual pivot design. This is the difference between a horst link and a so-called "faux bar" which are basically single pivots, and thus have a fixed main pivot location. A virtual pivot MOVES AROUND throughout the travel of the rear suspension (this is true of all virtual pivot designs).

    I am unclear what the point of the graph of the Trek and Lenz bikes is, here.
    It's not that different. The hype is though!

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich View Post
    It's not that different. The hype is though!
    It's different because it means you can't draw conclusions about the force on the chain creating a moment about the bikes pivot point in the same way you would with a single pivot.

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    Two bikes with very similar main pivots and different axle pivots still exhibit very similar pedaling characteristics. Horst link is primarily for braking. If the upper bar of the design changed dramatically, then yes, assumptions fly out the window, but for MOST bikes it's pretty easy to extrapolate pedaling performance by what we know via single pivot.

  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich View Post
    It's not that different. The hype is though!
    The fact that you don't understand something does not make it hype.

    You have clearly done some homework and understand some of the basics of chainline effecting suspension movement. The problem is that armed with these rudimentary basics, you think you understand everything involved and are dismissing concepts beyond that as "hype". While your understanding works (mostly) OK with single pivot designs, you apparently do NOT understand how a virtual pivot complicates your basic understanding of chainline effects, or you NEVER would have made that statement about the main pivot on an FSR. Do you KNOW where the virtual pivot on these older FSR design is? It is nowhere near the main pivot. Do you understand the implications of a virtual pivot several feet in front of the cranks, even if it is above or below the chainline? Or the implications of that pivot moving throughout the stroke?

    How you deal with these discussions is up to you. Do you want to learn about something you currently do not fully understand? Or do you just want to stick with your mid-level understanding and dismiss the rest as "hype"?
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

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    Ok, I won't argue with you. You did just tell me that Dw's bike broke the laws of physics, so you must know more than I do!

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich View Post


    Two bikes with very similar main pivots and different axle pivots still exhibit very similar pedaling characteristics. Horst link is primarily for braking. If the upper bar of the design changed dramatically, then yes, assumptions fly out the window, but for MOST bikes it's pretty easy to extrapolate pedaling performance by what we know via single pivot.
    What do you think this is proving?
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich View Post
    Ok, I won't argue with you. You did just tell me that Dw's bike broke the laws of physics, so you must know more than I do!
    Again, just because you don't understand how something works does not mean that it breaks the laws of physics.

    You know, it took me a while to understand how a propane refrigerater works. I am trying to imagine how my understanding of it would be right now if my reaction to people trying to explain it to me was that they were braking the laws of physics, and that propane refrigeration was just hype.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich View Post


    Two bikes with very similar main pivots and different axle pivots still exhibit very similar pedaling characteristics. Horst link is primarily for braking. If the upper bar of the design changed dramatically, then yes, assumptions fly out the window, but for MOST bikes it's pretty easy to extrapolate pedaling performance by what we know via single pivot.
    Try this:

    1) Look back at what you said about the main pivot on the older specialized bikes (to paraphrase: since the main pivot is below the chainline, it is pro-squat)
    2) Then take a look at the main pivot on the 6-Pack in your linkage program
    3) Then look at the chainline shown for the 6-Pack
    4) Then look at the anti-squat numbers

    See any problems here?
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

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    I ride a Remedy, so I guess that would pretty much fall into Split Pivot category....

    I can't imagine a FS bike being any better at climbing??? I think with how good the rear suspension is, geometry is a much bigger factor in climbing aptitude.

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    Quote Originally Posted by p2rider426 View Post
    I ride a Remedy, so I guess that would pretty much fall into Split Pivot category....

    I can't imagine a FS bike being any better at climbing??? I think with how good the rear suspension is, geometry is a much bigger factor in climbing aptitude.
    The Remedy also uses a custom proprietary Trek/Fox DRCV shock to help with this...unless you have an older one.
    Gotta get up to get down.
    LMB

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    What do you think about the switch suspension of yeti compared to maestro?

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    Don't just buy on looks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    There is no magic bullit dude. You wont climb any better on one bike to the next.

    Get the one you think looks the coolest or go off component spec. Look at the geometry numbers also.


    Look into your heart and decide.
    I used to be a huge Cannondale fan when I got into mountain biking in the early 90's. To my memory, them and Klein had the first fat aluminum frames and cool paint jobs. No suspension then. When the Cannondale Super V came out, I couldn't resist it. Let me tell you somethingha. That was a horrible bike especially in tight technical sections and just riding in general. It was only good for downhill. It got stolen, so I went back to another Cannondale hardtail. Finally, I was able to ride again.

    Years later, I moved from Long Island to NJ where the terrain was totally different. I was riding with a bunch of guys from the shop that all rode Giant Trances. Not thinking too highly of Giant then, I wanted to compete with them so I went and got a Cannondale Scalpel. These guys on their Giant Trances were still kicking my ass up the hills and down. Eventually, I swapped with one of them to try their Giant. Well, now I was kicking ass and leaving the guy on my Scalpel in the dust.

    The bike does make a difference. It has to match your application. We don't ride road bikes on the trail, and we don't do technical uphill climbs with downhill bikes. You have to figure out where you will be using your bike the most and find out which bike suits that.

    In the end, I bought a Trance and have been extremely happy with it. I don't have to overthink how to ride it. I just ride it. It is amazing. I am now looking again to see if there is another bike out there that can compete. So far for my applications, the Giant may win again. Might be getting the Giant Trance Advanced 27.5 1. I ride a lot of technical trails which seem to be mostly rocks in North West NJ. Lots of long technical climbs.

    I know the buy on looks or specs sounds all warm and fuzzy and does make the buying process easier, just make sure it will be the best bike for your type of riding.

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