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  1. #1
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    suspension types: what's the differnce?

    i am looking to upgrade my hardtail that i've been riding for 7 years. i have been looking around at different bikes, but all the different suspension types have got me at a loss as to which one is better. i mostly ride tight, steep up and down single track with small jumps here and there. can anyone tell me the difference in performance (climbing, handling, brake jack, bob, plushness, etc.) of the DW link, VPP, Horst link, and FSR.
    which one does everyone think works the best?
    I hope someone can shed some light on this for me!

  2. #2
    In my mind, I can do it!
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    Quote Originally Posted by d365
    i am looking to upgrade my hardtail that i've been riding for 7 years. i have been looking around at different bikes, but all the different suspension types have got me at a loss as to which one is better. i mostly ride tight, steep up and down single track with small jumps here and there. can anyone tell me the difference in performance (climbing, handling, brake jack, bob, plushness, etc.) of the DW link, VPP, Horst link, and FSR.
    which one does everyone think works the best?
    I hope someone can shed some light on this for me!
    Wow, that's a loaded question if I ever saw one. I think you will find a lot of theories and claims about the different types but they won't take subtile things into consideration. A horst link on one bike may feel different than it does on another.

    I think what you really want are some particular bike suggestions based on the kind of riding you do and plan to do. That is easier than trying to explain the theories behind all the different suspension designs.

    The type bike you need/want is going to be determined by what you plan to do. 3" to 4" suspension bikes usually fall under the XC Race type of bikes. Yeti ASRsl, Giant Anthem, Blur XC, etc.. are examples of those type bikes. They are made for racing. 5" to 7" bikes are in the AM catagory and are made for all types of riding and light DH or FR riding. This is the most common type that people ride. Yeti 575, Giant Trance, Blur LT, Ventana X5, Nomad, etc.. Beyond those you get into the FR and DH bikes which I don't think you are looking for.

    A stable platform suspension will resist pedal bob from the rider and will feel more hardtail like while cranking the pedals or going up an incline. Many suspensions are now stable platform.

    For the kind of riding you do it sounds like an AM bike is what you are looking for. Good climber, good descender, good on singletrack and jumps, rocks or whatever. Now, how much are you willing to spend??? And what else is important to you? Do you want to feel the trail or do you want it to disappear? Do you want the bike to be 27-30lbs or does that matter?

    I did this search and wound up getting a Yeti 575. It is a great all around bike. It just amazes me. Some prefer the feel of the Titus Moto-Lite though or the Blur LT. All have their strengths and weaknesses. I think its easier to define what strengths you want and have people make suggestions on the bike. IMHO

  3. #3
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    As iviguy says, ignore all the VPP, Horst Link, DW-link, FSR hype and try to think about what you want from the overall bike. Many of the current top drawer bikes are effectively single pivots and they lose nothing to the more complex sounding designs. There are so many other important design parameters, that it makes direct comparison of generic suspension designs virtually useless. There are good and bad bikes using all of the above suspension designs. So don't make the mistake of assuming one generic design type is inherently better than the others. Better to compare specific bikes and totally ignore the suspension technology hype.
    [SIZE="2"]Remember, there is no black magic or witchcraft, it's only a machine[/SIZE]

  4. #4
    Oh, So Interesting!
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    Go ride a bunch of bikes at your LBSs...

  5. #5
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    [sarcasm]they are all exactly the same[/sarcasm]
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  6. #6
    I like to ride my bike.
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    I like bicycles. Bicycles make me happy. Riding them makes me even happier.
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  7. #7
    Motion activated
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    In my experience there is a fair difference in how different suspension designs behave. There has been plenty written on the subject if you do a search. But the most important thing is getting the right bike for the application and the bike that fits the best. Are there specific bikes you're looking at?
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  8. #8
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    I have been riding since 1991...so here is my opion....take it for what you will.

    high single pivot = locked out suspension when you peddle and brake
    low single pivot = locked out suspension when you brake
    vpp = stiff suspension when you peddle and brake
    fsr or lawell = free suspension at all times

    Bike I ride now = moto-lite = fsr suspension

    Sorry if these thoughts tick off any one....but that is just how they feel to me and I have had them all.
    Old guy in the woods

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MUSTCLIME
    I have been riding since 1991...so here is my opion....take it for what you will.

    high single pivot = locked out suspension when you peddle and brake
    low single pivot = locked out suspension when you brake
    vpp = stiff suspension when you peddle and brake
    fsr or lawell = free suspension at all times

    Bike I ride now = moto-lite = fsr suspension

    Sorry if these thoughts tick off any one....but that is just how they feel to me and I have had them all.
    I guess FSR is the best then
    [SIZE="2"]Remember, there is no black magic or witchcraft, it's only a machine[/SIZE]

  10. #10
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    thanks for the help

    thanks for responding to my delima.
    i thought my question might be too broad, but was hoping for the "this is the best FS"answer.

    i'm 6' 210lb and i'm beginning to feel my age. i want a light AM bike that feels supple, and plush, but wont bob or have break jack. i want it to handle great on fast techinical singletrack. basically i want it all, but i want it to be durable.

    currently i'm looking at a stumpy and a trance, but then i read an article saying that the dw link is the end all be all. so now i'm looking at an IH mk3.
    the problem with the IH is that the LBSs dont carry it, and i'm no mechanic.
    im hoping to stay around $2500 for the bike.

    any knowledge to pass along on any of these bikes?

  11. #11
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    Well I certainly wouldn't buy anything without riding it first. Heard good things about the IH but never ridden one. The DW link is not likely to the be all end all, but I'm sure it works fine anyway. The stumpy may be ok if you want something light and more XC oriented, but I think it's pretty marginal on frame stiffness for bigger guys. I followed one down a fast bumpy downhill section last weekend and the rear end was bouncing and hopping all over the place (FSR or not) on the braking stutter bumps. It didn't look very "AM" to me. Perhaps take a look at something like the Yeti 575 or Titus Motolite?
    [SIZE="2"]Remember, there is no black magic or witchcraft, it's only a machine[/SIZE]

  12. #12
    surly inbred
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    Search is my friend
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    Search is my friend....

  13. #13
    squish is good
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    Reign... I bought one, and thats the only bike I've been able to recommend for anything resembling XC to AM. Yeah, it's heavy but you won't notice it. Buy a Trance if you aren't worried about travel, but my Reign has saved my butt on trails a couple times due to the xtra travel.

  14. #14
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    Ride it to know it as getting the feel of the different suspension designs is the best way to start. Demo your top pics if time/availability/money allows so you can test them on the trails where it matters the most.

  15. #15
    silly person
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    I-Drive/Mongoose Freedrive is just freaky. It gives me a headache trying to figure out how it works.

    I know I should feel the BB moving, but I can't. The damn thing just works.

  16. #16
    The Dude Abides
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    Nothing beats getting on the bikes and trying them out!

    Go to the bike shops around your house and try to ride a bike with each of those setups: a Stumpy or Enduro, a Reign or Trance, a Nomad or Blur LT, an Intense, an Iron Horse, a Marin, a Fisher, a Kona, an Ellsworth, etc.

    Reading reviews and getting advice is very helpful...but mountain biking is about personal preference and feel. You have to get on a bunch of bikes before bying one or else you'll probably be disappointed.

    Good luck and keep us in the know!

    Eric
    This aggression will not stand, man.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin.mac.au
    I-Drive/Mongoose Freedrive is just freaky. It gives me a headache trying to figure out how it works.

    I know I should feel the BB moving, but I can't. The damn thing just works.
    Yeah, I find this thing quite fascinating as an engineer. It looks pretty solid and I've heard it works well as a bike too, but there are easier ways of making the rear wheel go up and down!
    [SIZE="2"]Remember, there is no black magic or witchcraft, it's only a machine[/SIZE]

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