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  1. #1
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    DW vs. Horst Link Suspension

    Let me introduce myself. I'm Lori, a relatively new mountain biker. I've been doing simple single track for years & just recently figured out that I'm pretty good at, and really enjoy, much more technical trails. So now I'm in the market for a new-to-me FS. Because I'm a small woman, I'm only considering Pivot & Titus XXS bikes. So here's my 1st question in my quest for a new bike:

    I'm looking for opinions on DW vs. Horst link. I have the opportunity to purchase a new Pivot Mach 4 for lots of $$$ or a used Titus Racer X at a MUCH lower price. While I have the money for the new Pivot, it would be a real budget stretcher.

    Short, steep hills have been my nemesis on my hardtail - both up & down. I have trouble powering uphill & the front wheel dances all over, making it difficult to steer. Downhill, I often feel insecure - as if the back wheel could lift at any moment.

    I had the opportunity to ride a Pivot on some pretty technical terrain today and it was AWESOME. It climbed like a mountain goat. The front wheel didn't dance as much going uphill & I never felt like the back wheel was going to lift on the downhills. It also rolled over decent size rocks & ledges like a champ.

    I am sure that much of the difference in the security that I felt on the Pivot was due to the better traction offered by FS vs. the hardtail. It is also possible that the Pivot felt more secure because its a better size for me. The hardtail is a little too big. The Titus I'm looking at is a comparable size to the Pivot I rode.

    Anyway, I've heard that the DW's claim to fame is in its pedaling efficiency. Pedaling efficiency & security on hills are priorities for me. Does anyone have an opinion on whether the Horst link on the Titus is significantly less efficient than the DW on the Pivot, or whether the Titus feels less secure on steep hills? I'm asking because I would not have the opportunity to test ride the Titus before buying it.

  2. #2
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    Welcome.

    You will find a lot of strong opinions but I say get a bike you like that is comfortable. I went from one of the well known sophisticated designs to a basic single pivot with good shock and what I learned was nothing beats some fitness, having a good day and tires that hook up in your circumstances.

    I got rims that are a bit wider and an adjustable seat post and they do more for handling tough circumstances than my having one of the designed you're asking about.

    In the early 1990s I found the design meant so much more than now.


  3. #3
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    From your description it sounds more likely that the difference was just down to the size.

    Full suspension won't stop the front lifting on climbs or the back wanting to lift on descents. That sounds just like either your existing bike is the wrong size or you're not moving your weight about enough.

    In my opinion choose the bike with the priorities in this order:

    1. Sizing/fit
    2. Geometry
    3. Suspension design
    4. Colour ;-)

  4. #4
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    DW is GOD.......or something like that.

  5. #5
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    Good points everyone. Thanks for your input.

    And yes, Retro83, color absolutely ranks among the top 4 considerations!

    Hubby is pushing for me to get the new Pivot - great guy!

  6. #6
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    I've never ridden the pivot. I have a Titus and it is also an excellent bike.

  7. #7
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    personal opinion, but both those bikes have pretty steep headtube angle, which tends to give the "going over the handlebars" feeling. they're designed more for racing than general trail riding.
    whatever...

  8. #8
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    I spoke with some people today who have ridden both the Titus & the Pivot. Their opinions are that I can't really go wrong with either suspension system.

    They agreed that the fit of my hardtail is probably causing most of my current problems on hills. Especially in light of the fact that I was able to handle the hills so much better on the smaller Pivot.

    Hubby is pushing me toward the Pivot primarily because he thinks I deserve to put the first scratch on my new baby. Since Titus isn't manufacturing at the moment, that leaves only Pivot.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by steadite
    personal opinion, but both those bikes have pretty steep headtube angle, which tends to give the "going over the handlebars" feeling. they're designed more for racing than general trail riding.
    Hmmm...good point. I'm focused on those two models because they have the shortest top tube lengths. I think that the smaller size will contribute to being able to shift my weight more effectively which will help keep me behind the handlebars rather than in front of them. I may have to learn to deal with the "feeling of going over the handlebars" as long as I can keep myself from actually doing it.

  10. #10
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    I have a Motolite. The pedal bob is definitely noticeable. Never rode a DW link bike but this is my 2nd Horst bike. From what I understand, the Racer X is designed for a bit more efficient pedaling but the propedal is so easily reached on the Titus bikes that you can quickly flip it on/off wen needed.
    You'll probably be very happy with either but if you can get a much better spec on the RacerX due to cost, I'd lean in that direction. Killer wheels, fork and the racer X vs the pivot with lower spec... I'd go for the racer X.
    There is a XS motolite on ebay right now. might be worth a peak.

  11. #11
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    Me, I would buy the bike you rode and really liked.

    It sounds like the Pivot really fit you.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mnigro
    From what I understand, the Racer X is designed for a bit more efficient pedaling but the propedal is so easily reached on the Titus bikes that you can quickly flip it on/off wen needed.
    So where is the Propedal switch located? I've heard that Propedal effectively turns a FS into a hardtail.

    Thanks for the heads-up on the ebay frame. That color is su-WEET! And color is 4th on retro83's list.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus
    Me, I would buy the bike you rode and really liked.

    It sounds like the Pivot really fit you.
    That's the direction I'm leaning tonight. I really should just stop fretting over it & commit to what I know worked for me. We may be able to afford only beans & rice for the rest of the year, but hey...that's extra carbs for our rides.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernina
    That's the direction I'm leaning tonight. I really should just stop fretting over it & commit to what I know worked for me. We may be able to afford only beans & rice for the rest of the year, but hey...that's extra carbs for our rides.

    Exactly! I am a big fan of going with what feels right and if the Pivot is it, i would go with it!. Post pics with whatever you get!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernina
    So where is the Propedal switch located? I've heard that Propedal effectively turns a FS into a hardtail.

    Thanks for the heads-up on the ebay frame. That color is su-WEET! And color is 4th on retro83's list.
    the shock mounts vertically under the top tube so you aren't reaching down towards the BB like on some designs. you won't want the propedal turned on for choppy tech climbing. personal preference but I only use it on long, steep, smooth climbs. Otherwise, I leave my PP off.

    another suggestion, I'd make sure that you get an adjustable fork no matter what bike you choose. not necessarily on-the-fly adjustable but internally adjustable. that way you can play witrh the HTA a little bit once you have the bike.

    either choice, cannot go wrong. cocalis designed both brands so similarly the only real difference is the suspension design and a few ounces.

  16. #16
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    I've had both DW and Horst bikes and in the end, it is always the bikes that fit me best are the ones I have liked the most.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernina

    I'm looking for opinions on DW vs. Horst link. I have the opportunity to purchase a new Pivot Mach 4 for lots of $$$ or a used Titus Racer X at a MUCH lower price. While I have the money for the new Pivot, it would be a real budget stretcher.

    Short, steep hills have been my nemesis on my hardtail - both up & down. I have trouble powering uphill & the front wheel dances all over, making it difficult to steer. Downhill, I often feel insecure - as if the back wheel could lift at any moment.

    I had the opportunity to ride a Pivot on some pretty technical terrain today and it was AWESOME. It climbed like a mountain goat. The front wheel didn't dance as much going uphill & I never felt like the back wheel was going to lift on the downhills. It also rolled over decent size rocks & ledges like a champ.

    I am sure that much of the difference in the security that I felt on the Pivot was due to the better traction offered by FS vs. the hardtail. It is also possible that the Pivot felt more secure because its a better size for me. The hardtail is a little too big. The Titus I'm looking at is a comparable size to the Pivot I rode.

    Anyway, I've heard that the DW's claim to fame is in its pedaling efficiency. Pedaling efficiency & security on hills are priorities for me. Does anyone have an opinion on whether the Horst link on the Titus is significantly less efficient than the DW on the Pivot, or whether the Titus feels less secure on steep hills? I'm asking because I would not have the opportunity to test ride the Titus before buying it.
    First off when it come to steep climb and descend your technique help a lot, then the geometry providing that both bikes fit.

    I own both DW link mojo and HL Racer X and Motolite. While RX is more XC but it's quite stable on the descend. On the uphill it climb well without ProPedal and not as nerve wrecking on the descend either. IMO, it's best not to use the PP you paid for the suspension then let it do it's work, the suspension design on both frame do great job of providing a great pedaling efficiency.

    The main difference would be the suspension performance mainly small and med bumps, RX is more XC while the suspension soak up the bumps but it's definitely feel firmer than same travel Pivot. On the Pivot the recommended sag is 30%+ VS 20-25% RX.

    Have you consider Mach5 it climbs just as well as the M4 but with the added confidence on the descend and soon you'd want more travel as your skills improve, unless you want to stay riding XC. There's no surprise that both XXS bike would fit about the same as they are design by the same person.

  18. #18
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    Thanks for all of the additional input. Mimi, I really appreciate the detailed comparison of DW vs. Horst.

    In the end, I sprang for the Pivot Mach 4 I chose the 4 over the 5 & 5.7 primarily because of the size difference. At my height, every 1/2" can make a big difference. I think that riding a bike that is too big for me has been inhibiting my skills acquisition. For instance, my hardtail is big enough that it's tough to scoot my rear end back on the saddle for descents. And my saddle is all the way forward. I didn't have this problem on the Mach 4 & the saddle was pretty much centered fore & aft. I figure I'll learn the skills on the smaller bike. If I need more travel in the future, it will be an indication that my skills have improved to the point that I may be able to handle a larger bike like Mach 5 or 5.7.

    Can't wait for my bike to get here now that I've committed! Beans & rice...here we come

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernina
    Thanks for all of the additional input. Mimi, I really appreciate the detailed comparison of DW vs. Horst.
    i950
    In the end, I sprang for the Pivot Mach 4 I chose the 4 over the 5 & 5.7 primarily because of the size difference. At my height, every 1/2" can make a big difference. I think that riding a bike that is too big for me has been inhibiting my skills acquisition. For instance, my hardtail is big enough that it's tough to scoot my rear end back on the saddle for descents. And my saddle is all the way forward. I didn't have this problem on the Mach 4 & the saddle was pretty much centered fore & aft. I figure I'll learn the skills on the smaller bike. If I need more travel in the future, it will be an indication that my skills have improved to the point that I may be able to handle a larger bike like Mach 5 or 5.7.

    Can't wait for my bike to get here now that I've committed! Beans & rice...here we come

    Cool deal You'll find that M4 is the plushest 100mm travel trail bike out there. The plushness is similar to my 125mm motolite. I highly suggest the adjustable seatpost like KS i950r or Rockshox reverb you'll need 30.9mm. It would make your ride even more enjoyable, I consider the adj post to be the best investment you can do to your trail riding. Have fun.

  20. #20
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    Specialized Safire

    Have you checked out the Specialized Safire? I just bought my wife a Safire Comp. I like the FSR suspension but haven't had the chance to ride a DW bike. I have a Horst Link Turner 5 Spot but am waiting on the 2011 RFX to come out so I can give it a shot.

    I love the way my Spot climbs and even though the DW bikes might be better, I really don't care for the way the linkages situated.

    When I was looking for my wife's bike, I looked at Pivot but their prices were well above the Specialized for the same spec stuff. I payed way less than the $2600 retail price for the Safire Comp.

    You might want to consider that one too.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885
    I highly suggest the adjustable seatpost like KS i950r or Rockshox reverb you'll need 30.9mm.
    I just watched some YouTube videos on these. WHAT will they think of next!? Thanks for the recommendation. I can see hopping on the bike & riding just the seat post when I can't get out on the trails.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernina
    I just watched some YouTube videos on these. WHAT will they think of next!? Thanks for the recommendation. I can see hopping on the bike & riding just the seat post when I can't get out on the trails.
    I have both a Gravity Dropper and a Joplin 4 and they both rock. For piece of mind though I wish both were Gravity Droppers since they are mechanical posts.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaukaRunner
    Have you checked out the Specialized Safire?
    I did check out the Specialized bikes. It seems that they offer a lot of bike for the $$$. Even their smallest WSD bikes are a couple of sizes bigger than I what I wanted though.

    Pivot offers the shortest effective TT length & lowest standover height in the industry right now. I also like the idea that DW lets me climb without forfeiting any of my suspension.

    The Pivot, of course, is A LOT more money, but I consider the bike size to be a safety issue for me...it's tough to control a bigger bike with my current skill set. On my Pivot test ride, I was able to ride in neutral standing position through the rock gardens, get my rear end way back on the seat for steep descents, and put boobs to the bars on the steep climbs. I've struggled with all of these things on the bigger bikes.

    Actually, just putting this into words is making me feel a lot better about spending so much $$$ on the Pivot.
    Last edited by Bernina; 05-10-2011 at 07:42 AM.

  24. #24
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    Whatever bike you get, the way it rides and feels should be the most important consideration. If you can afford the Pivot it would be a very good investment.

    Part of the reason I didn't get the Pivot was there are no dealers where I live and I didn't want to buy a bike based on just specs.

    If I were you, I would go for it.

  25. #25
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    Ridden both on same trail on same day

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernina
    I spoke with some people today who have ridden both the Titus & the Pivot. Their opinions are that I can't really go wrong with either suspension system.

    They agreed that the fit of my hardtail is probably causing most of my current problems on hills. Especially in light of the fact that I was able to handle the hills so much better on the smaller Pivot.

    Hubby is pushing me toward the Pivot primarily because he thinks I deserve to put the first scratch on my new baby. Since Titus isn't manufacturing at the moment, that leaves only Pivot.
    Not going to re-type on posts, you can search for posts by me to read my more lengthy reviews.

    However, I can say that I have ridden both Pivot Mach 5 and a Titus Motolite II on the same trail, on the same day. A friend was testing these and we took them out one afternoon.

    At a high level, both are excellent in comparison to the Jamis XLT (single pivot Bike) I owned. The Pivot was a better climber on steep terrain (loose over hard in the CO Front Range), but not shockingly better than the ML. There was an advantage to the Pivot. On flat,twisty single track and technical Single track, both bikes where excellent, but neither was a standout from the other. On Technical descents, the Titus felt faster and more stable. I felt that I could more comfortable go faster DH on the Titus. It felt really unphased. The Pivot was also excellent going down, but just not as rock solid as the titus.

    The friend had a Titus Racer X and wanted a bigger bike. He ended up with the Pivot.....

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