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  1. #1
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    Knolly Climbing Behavior

    Hi everyone,

    I am currently on the verge of purchasing a Warden Carbon, and I'm very stoked on the apparent construction quality of the bike, burly looks, and great geo. After talking to some guys locally though, I'm a little bit concerned about the suspension philosophy inherent in these bikes.

    It doesn't seem that it is explained in in too much detail on the website, but while Knolly preaches traction as its primary suspension goal, a lot of that comes through a reduction in anti-squat values. The bikes consistently appear to have some of the lowest anti-squat values around, and this is in a world where every other manufacturer seems to be chasing optimal anti-squat measures that provide good pedaling efficiency without creating too much pedal kickback, etc.

    My question to all of you seasoned Knolly riders is, how do these bikes actually pedal? Every review I read harps on the traction that the bikes provide while climbing, but the reality is that only some of the climbs in my area actually require superior traction - most just require a superior set of lungs and legs to muscle up to the top, and a bike that can bring you there efficiently is always appreciated. The descents are where all hell breaks loose, and are the real reason I'm looking at a Knolly, but it seems like we are now in a world of mountain biking where you can choose to ride a bike that goes up and down incredibly well without too much compromise.

    So, without focusing so much on traction - how efficiently do these bikes climb? Are they the sort of bike where you almost need a winch to get it to the top but get to rip down, do they squat in funny ways under power, do they feel mushy when you go to accelerate? Or are these all rumors and complaints from guys who may have been dealing with older designs or poor shock setup? I know these bikes have been under development for a long time by a talented engineer, so I'm inclined to give the benefit of the doubt, but would love owner perspective.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by zhendo; 04-14-2017 at 09:07 AM.

  2. #2
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    Get a lock out on the shock, then you don't have to worry about it.

    I've had both the Warden, and the Endorphin. I wouldn't spend too much time thinking about it. Both are great bikes. The Warden is an incredibly fun ride. I would imagine even better in carbon.
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  3. #3
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    I understand the lock out on the shock argument, which is fine for extended fire road climbs, but will feel like crap on some mildly bumpy climbs. Also, if the climbing is an issue, I'm not eager to have to reach for the lever whenever the trail turns upward, or if I have a long, flat pedal out of the woods ahead of me.

    I appreciate the wisdom though, hoping I can get more weigh-in from some others here! For reference, I'm coming from an Evil Following, and it pedaled like a rocketship uphill (though I thought had too much pedal kickback, and the rear suspension did not like repeated big hits).

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by zhendo View Post
    Hi everyone,

    So, truly - do you need a winch to get the Knolly to the top, do they squat in funny ways under power, do they feel mushy when you go to accelerate? Or are these all rumors and complaints from guys who may have been dealing with older designs or poor shock setup?

    Cheers!

    I honestly think you need to stop listening to rumors and complaints (I have heard way more positive attributes to the climbing abilities) and actually throw a leg over one on a trail ride if you get a chance, and then form your own opinion on the situation.

    Knolly has been refining their system over a decade now - and it is very good.

    And no, you do not need a winch to get the Knolly to the top.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by zhendo View Post
    I understand the lock out on the shock argument, which is fine for extended fire road climbs, but will feel like crap on some mildly bumpy climbs. Also, if the climbing is an issue, I'm not eager to have to reach for the lever whenever the trail turns upward, or if I have a long, flat pedal out of the woods ahead of me.

    I appreciate the wisdom though, hoping I can get more weigh-in from some others here! For reference, I'm coming from an Evil Following, and it pedaled like a rocketship uphill (though I thought had too much pedal kickback, and the rear suspension did not like repeated big hits).
    Well, if you get a Cane Creek shock, you can get the OPT for like $69 or whatever. Then you don't have to reach down every time the trail turns up hill.

    Also, if it's a short climb, then leave it alone and just enjoy the traction.

    Are you planning to race with this frame? If not, you won't be needing to worry about it. Knolly's work just fine, both incredible going up and down.
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  6. #6
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    I had a Turner DW 5 Spot for a few years that pedaled extremely well, no bob, even on the road. Then I moved to a Knolly Warden, that does need that CS on the road. If you don't firm up the rear, those logging road climbs suck, big time. However, once on the trail I generally leave the CS off, and while it must still be bobbing and sucking up energy. I just don't notice that much. On my Endo, it's the same story on the roads, but on the trail, with the CS off, it just seams to pedal well, and have amazing traction. If you are overly concerned check out the Turner RFX, another great carbon bike.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by zhendo View Post
    I understand the lock out on the shock argument, which is fine for extended fire road climbs, but will feel like crap on some mildly bumpy climbs. Also, if the climbing is an issue, I'm not eager to have to reach for the lever whenever the trail turns upward, or if I have a long, flat pedal out of the woods ahead of me.

    I appreciate the wisdom though, hoping I can get more weigh-in from some others here! For reference, I'm coming from an Evil Following, and it pedaled like a rocketship uphill (though I thought had too much pedal kickback, and the rear suspension did not like repeated big hits).
    My alloy Warden is built up fairly burly (~31 lbs) with the CCDBA. I use the climb switch often as most of my climbs are up fire roads or smooth trails. Considering the weight and the bike's intended purpose of shredding the downs, I think it climbs quite well. I can hang with my buddies on climbs who all ride lighter carbon bikes.

    I demoed a Following a few months ago and I wasn't impressed with the climbing compared to the Warden. This could very well be attributed to my lack of climbing fitness during the off season, but for a lightish short travel carbon 29er, I definitely wasn't blown away. As 006_007 suggested, the only way to really know is to take one for a spin.

  8. #8
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    My GF went from a Pivot Mach 6 [DWlink] carbon frame to a Warden. She thinks it climbs better than the Mach 6. She's not a bike geek so getting her to explain exactly what she's feeling is hard. But, she is crushing people on climbs just as well as she did on the M6 so I can tell it's not sucking her energy and slowing her down in some major way despite being heavier and having less AS. I don't know how much she is bothering to flip the CS switch. My guess is only for long extended climbs.

    I've done extended climby rides with Travis and some friends of his with Wardens. They are fast.

    That gave me enough confidence that I bought a Knolly. It's too soon to say yet how I feel about the 4x4 suspension, but my initial ride didn't make me regret the choice. I left the shock in open most of the ride and I didn't feel like I was paying a penalty for not having as much AS as my other DWlink and VPP bikes. That said it's early days yet. I'll know for sure how I feel once I've done a climby 3hrs+ ride chasing some fast people.
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    The Knolly system feels different compared to other designs with higher anti-squat for sure.

    Looking at the numbers I was concerned my Warden would be a bit of a wallowy, bobbing mess while pedaling.. not the case at all.

    It definitely doesn't have that crazy squirt of acceleration feeling hammering out of the saddle, out of corners, etc. To me it's more of a 'neutral' feeling, no unnatural forward surge but not really squashing your pedaling effort either.

    What you are gaining is a higher traction threshold. You don't feel you are being pushed up the hill by anti-squat, but your effort is translated to the ground like a big magnet. It's the same feeling when descending loose/chunky terrain while on the rear brake.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by 006_007 View Post
    I honestly think you need to stop listening to rumors and complaints (I have heard way more positive attributes to the climbing abilities) and actually throw a leg over one on a trail ride if you get a chance, and then form your own opinion on the situation.

    Knolly has been refining their system over a decade now - and it is very good.

    And no, you do not need a winch to get the Knolly to the top.
    I like the honesty - I like to research the hell out of my purchases, so just reacting to what might boil down to a lack of reviews and understanding of the Knollys. Unfortunately test rides can be tough to arrange, especially on boutique rigs of this variety, but I'm hoping I can get one soon.

    I appreciate all the wisdom, and hope this can be helpful to others looking at Knollys going forward. There does seem to be a lack of understanding of Knolly's design philosophy, which it looks like the company is hoping to change with the amount of info on their new site. Still, by nature of how expensive these bikes are, it's helpful to those of us who can't easily track down a test ride.

  11. #11
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    My LBS up here on Vancouver Island has demos, and there is a demo day on the 15th.
    A couple up in Bellingham

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  12. #12
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    I'm in WA, so hopefully going to get up to Bellingham soon!

  13. #13
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    Hi zhendo:

    We're obviously biased being the manufacturer, so I suggest checking out this review of the Warden / Warden Carbon from Fanatik Bike in Bellingham: the review really "gets" at the ethos of our products and why we design them the way we do.

    https://www.fanatikbike.com/blogs/en...arbon-reviewed

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  14. #14
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    As others have said, having a shock with a lock out or climb switch is necessary if you do a lot of climbing on smoother trails or forestry roads. I'm finding on the Endorphin I'm using mine less and less, though I've always been a "sit and spin" sorta guy and have a fairly smooth pedalling action. The advantage of the Knolly design was illustrated perfectly to me on our ride last night when we road a flat/undulating trail that is incredibly rough and rooty. It requires near constant pedalling to keep your momentum up, and even under load I could feel the suspension working hard to smooth out the trail under me. I'm quite happy to suck up a small amount of pedal bob to have suspension that still works while riding trails like that!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ganderson View Post
    Looking at the numbers I was concerned my Warden would be a bit of a wallowy, bobbing mess while pedaling.. not the case at all.

    It definitely doesn't have that crazy squirt of acceleration feeling hammering out of the saddle, out of corners, etc. To me it's more of a 'neutral' feeling, no unnatural forward surge but not really squashing your pedaling effort either.

    What you are gaining is a higher traction threshold. You don't feel you are being pushed up the hill by anti-squat, but your effort is translated to the ground like a big magnet. It's the same feeling when descending loose/chunky terrain while on the rear brake.
    This... compared to short link bikes, like an HD3, I don't find I can pop over things on the way up. It's more of a monster truck that roles over and sticks to everything.

    Not better or worse, just different.

    Neither bike has made climbing anything better than a necessary evil.

  16. #16
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    I think this is one of the highlights of the Knolly suspension - YOU get to tune it for the terrain you are riding.

    Let's be realistic here - any system is designed with a goal in mind and compromises that are put on the table.

    Knolly's goal is superior traction up & down with a slight compromise to all-out-xc-efficiency. The beauty of this is that modern shock options/valving/technology, you can really fine tune what you want out of the bike. Choose your own adventure here. I always felt like my Delirium was slow on flat/boring trail, but point it up or down and I was much happier...same with the Chilcotin, to some extent but I ride 29r race loops on it all the time. My friends that have move from Chili to Wardens (alum and carbon) have all remarked that the climbing is even better on the Warden. Hell, a lot of the reviews on this board say that the Warden gives up very little to the 5" travel Endo on efficiency, and that is known as a poppy/playful bike.

    Other mfgs that use antisquat to effectively lock out/reduce travel/etc are doing so with compromises on the table too. If your climbing style is ALL standing & mashing, I can see how you would appreciate that squirting-forward feeling of DW on an Ibis or Pivot, but it comes with trade offs/pedal kickback, etc. Also remember that these designs all use certain gearing setups to achieve their balance, if you run a different size chainring it is up in the air.

    Let's be real here though, the biggest difference is the rider. I've had my ass kicked up & down local trails by riders from other areas on 7" travel rigs because they ride up & down mountains all day...and those were real FR bikes.

  17. #17
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    Couple things, adding compression damping to make your shock "pedal better" will make it harsher, so it will be working against you more on the climbs, so while you may have this "massive traction", using compression damping/lockout is defeating the purpose of this.

    Low AS bikes like the knollys will squat under power uphill, the harder you try to pedal, especially in the bigger gears, the more it will do so. This unweights the front and makes technical climbing harder, because the front tends to wander all over the place or even come off the ground.

    There are many more efficient bikes out there, but it's about what you want. Some feel the low-anti-squat designs "dig in" more, providing more traction. After years on them, it feels to me that they use "more" travel on uphill bumps under power than just coasting on the flats over the same sized bumps. The further you get into the travel, the more your pedal-stroke accelerations compress the rear end. This gives more of a feeling of "digging into" the terrain, rather than "riding on top of" the terrain.

    For a bike i may ride all day long and not just downhill at the park, I feel the low-AS designs, especially those with low AS around the mid-point in the travel, punish you for your pedaling efforts to a higher degree than other bikes that are out there. Many of the common bikes these days have similar AS profiles, even if they are operating under "different" patents.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Couple things, adding compression damping to make your shock "pedal better" will make it harsher, so it will be working against you more on the climbs, so while you may have this "massive traction", using compression damping/lockout is defeating the purpose of this.

    Low AS bikes like the knollys will squat under power uphill, the harder you try to pedal, especially in the bigger gears, the more it will do so. This unweights the front and makes technical climbing harder, because the front tends to wander all over the place or even come off the ground.

    There are many more efficient bikes out there, but it's about what you want. Some feel the low-anti-squat designs "dig in" more, providing more traction. After years on them, it feels to me that they use "more" travel on uphill bumps under power than just coasting on the flats over the same sized bumps. The further you get into the travel, the more your pedal-stroke accelerations compress the rear end. This gives more of a feeling of "digging into" the terrain, rather than "riding on top of" the terrain.

    For a bike i may ride all day long and not just downhill at the park, I feel the low-AS designs, especially those with low AS around the mid-point in the travel, punish you for your pedaling efforts to a higher degree than other bikes that are out there. Many of the common bikes these days have similar AS profiles, even if they are operating under "different" patents.
    Which Knolly models have you been riding and what shocks were on them?
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    Thinking about getting this bike with the deal they got going on. I'm currently on a Giant Trance Large and it feels too small for me. I rode a Santa Cruz Tall boy XL the other day and I felt much more comfortable.

    Do you think I'd be the most comfortable on the XL Delirium?

  20. #20
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    Hey nuggz, you need to provide personal dimension information to get useful help.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big B View Post
    Hey nuggz, you need to provide personal dimension information to get useful help.
    I'm about 6'1", 170 with somewhere around a 37 inseam and a short torso. Most specs put me in the Large category, and one websites calculator recommended a small(I assume because of my torso length). I have the seat all the way up on my Trance and my legs still do not fully extend.

    I was kind of asking how the L and XL frames compare to other bikes, do they run big, etc... As I mentioned a SantaCruz Tall boy XL felt good and a Giant Trance felt cramped. I'd much rather have a bike the size of the Santa Cruz XL.

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    This made me realize I need to look at the specs between the Tall boy and the Knolly. It looks like the Delirium Large is just a tad smaller than the Santa Cruz Tall Boy XL

  23. #23
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    I'm 6'1", and the XL Chilcotins were to tall for me, even though the cockpit was very comfortable. My center of gravity never felt right on the XL. I think 6'1" is right on the border of a L/XL for Knolly.

    I run all my Knolly's in Large now, with the seat all the way back, and then I tweak stem lengths or riser bar/bar width combinations until I'm comfortable.

    I have a Delirium Large, Podium Large and VTach Large. Ex owner of Large and XL Chilcotins.

    Other folks on here can probably give you more specific differences. Sizing is a common question, so there are probably some threads on it as well. I know there is one guy on here on a Medium Podium, who is also 6'1". There are also some 6'2" guys running Larges as well.

    I know I didn't answer your specific question regarding comparisons, but at least I'm the same height.
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  24. #24
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    See the Knolly size guide. If you scroll down you'll see some height vs. inseam vs. frame size results from actual Knolly owners that could be helpful.

    https://www.knollybikes.com/size-guide
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Couple things, adding compression damping to make your shock "pedal better" will make it harsher, so it will be working against you more on the climbs, so while you may have this "massive traction", using compression damping/lockout is defeating the purpose of this.

    Low AS bikes like the knollys will squat under power uphill, the harder you try to pedal, especially in the bigger gears, the more it will do so. This unweights the front and makes technical climbing harder, because the front tends to wander all over the place or even come off the ground.

    There are many more efficient bikes out there, but it's about what you want. Some feel the low-anti-squat designs "dig in" more, providing more traction. After years on them, it feels to me that they use "more" travel on uphill bumps under power than just coasting on the flats over the same sized bumps. The further you get into the travel, the more your pedal-stroke accelerations compress the rear end. This gives more of a feeling of "digging into" the terrain, rather than "riding on top of" the terrain.

    For a bike i may ride all day long and not just downhill at the park, I feel the low-AS designs, especially those with low AS around the mid-point in the travel, punish you for your pedaling efforts to a higher degree than other bikes that are out there. Many of the common bikes these days have similar AS profiles, even if they are operating under "different" patents.
    I don't usually reply to troll posts, but there is so much incorrect information in this post - especially from an engineering and physics standpoint - that I would ask perspective customers to ignore everything that is written above. It is complete conjecture and certainly does not relate to how Knolly products are designed and engineered to work. There will be no further comments from me regarding this post on this thread.
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  26. #26
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    Tuned in.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by knollybikes.com View Post
    I don't usually reply to troll posts, but there is so much incorrect information in this post - especially from an engineering and physics standpoint - that I would ask perspective customers to ignore everything that is written above. It is complete conjecture and certainly does not relate to how Knolly products are designed and engineered to work. There will be no further comments from me regarding this post on this thread.
    And I fully support other people buying Knolly bikes. I hope that everyone I race against is on one!
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  28. #28
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    Jayem's schtick is getting old on these forums. Notorious for stating suspension kinematics as fact with his own wonky suspension charts based on eyeballing videos or what he thinks the design does. Its a shame because he often steers people eager to soak up some real information the wrong way because he presents it as real information. I wish there was a way we could identify peoples engineering expertise on this website, because everyone on the internet is an engineer.

    Jayem, if you are racing against Knolly's in their intended application (aka gravity fueled) you have no reason to feel advantaged.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaXCarp View Post
    Jayem, if you are racing against Knolly's in their intended application (aka gravity fueled) you have no reason to feel advantaged.
    Agree, if it's straight downhill, except for weight advantages, but those become pretty minimal downhill.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  30. #30
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    Classic case of armchair engineering by the sound of things. Must say I appreciate Noel's willingness to jump in when needed - the guy takes pride in his designs, and it's encouraging to see some policing of incorrect info.

    I've decided to proceed with the Warden Carbon after reading around a little bit more and better understanding the (awesome) utility of Cane Creek's Climb Switch for the long fire road slogs that I will take on for some of my riding.

    I did try to get a demo up at Fanatik, but their demo bike is reserved into May...(!)

  31. #31
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    I spend a lot of time at work investigating and correcting quality problems in manufacturing operations. The folks I deal with are all subject matter experts. In the course of my investigations I hear all sorts of theories why there is a problem and how to solve it. I come up with a solution, implement it and then test it. If it doesn't resolve the issue I collect some more data and repeat until things are back on track.

    Going through this process it's amazing how wrong people are even though they have a "theory". Even after I show them the data and we successfully implement a different solution than their theory would call for they often can't accept the reality of the situation and keep grumbling about their idea regardless of how much BS it is.

    So hearing folks like Jayem [who've never even ridden the bike in question] complain and nitpick based on their "theory" doesn't move me. They are just making noise to entertain themselves.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by zhendo View Post
    I've decided to proceed with the Warden Carbon after reading around a little bit more and better understanding the (awesome) utility of Cane Creek's Climb Switch for the long fire road slogs that I will take on for some of my riding.
    Congrats. Enjoy the new bike. Report back on your thoughts after you get a bunch of miles under your belt.
    Safe riding,

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    Quote Originally Posted by zhendo View Post
    I did try to get a demo up at Fanatik, but their demo bike is reserved into May...(!)
    If you still want to demo a Warden, give Alleycat Bikeshop a call (also in Bellingham). Duke may have his alloy Warden (size M) built up for demoing.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    Which Knolly models have you been riding and what shocks were on them?
    Jayem conveniently missed this question.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by 006_007 View Post
    Jayem conveniently missed this question.
    No, but I've ridden (and owned) plenty of horst link bikes like Knollys with very similar kinematics. I realize you all believe there is some magical alien technology property to these that can't possibly be modeled, but it's not really magic or fake news. As horst-link bikes go, the Knollys are among some of the lower anti-squat values, so they are going to be some of the worse climbers, amongst the horst-link bikes and general down-sloping anti-squat profiles. I've owned 5 horst link bikes, and most of them (especially my most recent ones) had higher anti-squat profiles than the Knolly designs. If you feel that having to use lock-outs/trail settings to decrease suspension performance uphill makes sense, then yes, these might be good "climbing" bikes. Personally, I feel active suspension uphill is very helpful, as long as it's not causing a huge hit to efficiency, but with these profiles, you can't "have your cake and eat it too" in this respect.

    But who cares when you have the most climbingest bike ever, right?

    Not my words:

    Very low antisquat figures leading to low pedaling efficiency yet great traction is the hallmark of Knolly suspension decisions. If you do a lot of technical / slowish climbing going over chunk and roots, Knolly bikes will dig in and you will be able to clear sections that may be very hard to clear on other bikes. You will have to deal with poor acceleration and pronounced pedal bob compared to mini link designs or other four bars bikes that have more antisquat though. A good platform shock with a climb switch may alleviate these drawbacks if flipping a shock switch is your thing.
    I doubt anyone will argue the Knolly DH traits, but efficient bikes they are not. They will reward your hard efforts with sagging more into the travel and unweighting the front. Someone with a Knolly meet me in September in Seattle and we'll go ride.
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    I tune my suspension for downhill so I appreciate flipping the switch for long climbs. Short rocky climbs i leave it open Also i run burly tires for downhill and puncture protection so the drag on the climbs. The knolly isn't a great climber but is a good compromise for an agressive geo bike. I also find the low stack high just a tad low when climbing. As said above there is no magic so you have both amazing climbing and descending but modern shocks help a lot.

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    I'm coming directly from a shorter travel Horst link with higher anti-squat (Transition Scout), actually still have it.

    Probably the LAST thing that jumped out at me as a comparison point was less efficiency. I was actually quite shocked at the similarities in handling and playfulness initially.. wasn't expecting that.

    However, my local trails are mostly tight, loose, chunky/rocky limestone, with shorter punchier climbing.. not a lot of long, grinding climbs. I don't use the climb switch on my DBinline at all.

    Every suspension design has attributes that may/may not jive well with the attributes of the terrain and your riding style is what I'm saying.




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    Quote Originally Posted by knollybikes.com View Post
    Hi zhendo:

    We're obviously biased being the manufacturer, so I suggest checking out this review of the Warden / Warden Carbon from Fanatik Bike in Bellingham: the review really "gets" at the ethos of our products and why we design them the way we do.

    https://www.fanatikbike.com/blogs/en...arbon-reviewed

    Warm regards,
    So a dealer looking to move Knolly inventory isn't biased? ; P

    How about a cross comparison with a few other bikes that don't have a financial conflict of interest?

    I would say 4 bars generally don't have as good anti-squat as dual link bikes. That being said, you will have to reach for the lock-out mechanism quite often to minimize energy loss. It's all a trade off - you will get better small bump compliance though, but less efficient pedaling, as well as the weight penalty.

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    "Very low antisquat figures leading to low pedaling efficiency yet great traction is the hallmark of Knolly suspension decisions. If you do a lot of technical / slowish climbing going over chunk and roots, Knolly bikes will dig in and you will be able to clear sections that may be very hard to clear on other bikes. You will have to deal with poor acceleration and pronounced pedal bob compared to mini link designs or other four bars bikes that have more antisquat though. A good platform shock with a climb switch may alleviate these drawbacks if flipping a shock switch is your thing."

    Well that about says it all. Increased small bump compliance and traction in exchange for inefficient pedaling. I actually find if the weight of the bike isnt too bad on a horst link bike its okay, but at 30 pounds plus its not too pleasant pedalling inefficient bike up long fireroads all day. I'm perenially out-of-shape so I need every advantage I can get. That being said, if you don't have long climbs, or have mostly technical climbs, the pedal bob might be a decent trade for the increased traction.

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    Here is portion of the review of Fanatikbike that confirms the pedaling inefficiency on long-climbs, and increased traction on short, technical climbs. Looks like a lock-out is pretty much needed for extended climbs, but yes this is not optimal on long climbs that are slightly bumpy as you will have a locked-out rear suspension or a bobbing energy-sapping suspension.

    "The next day I took the Warden out on an all day sufferfest. I spent the morning spinning up fire-roads, for which I again found it worthwhile to flip the climb-switch, and climbing up rooty, steep, switchback riddled trail. On these sections I disengaged the climb-switch in order to tap into the bikeís deep well of traction."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Veggibiker View Post
    "The next day I took the Warden out on an all day sufferfest. I spent the morning spinning up fire-roads, for which I again found it worthwhile to flip the climb-switch, and climbing up rooty, steep, switchback riddled trail. On these sections I disengaged the climb-switch in order to tap into the bikeís deep well of traction."
    Where I live this is a majority of my riding. That said, my coil Endo pedals quite well, and I don't miss my previous DW bike. At 59, I need all the help I can get
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    If you feel that having to use lock-outs/trail settings to decrease suspension performance uphill makes sense, then yes, these might be good "climbing" bikes.
    High anti-squat is going to work regardless of whether you want it to or not, being able to flick a switch and choose when you want/need to "decrease suspension performance" (as you put it) makes more sense to me. With the climb switch my Endo goes up the forestry roads just as well as my 5spot did [without a climb switch], and on rough technical climbs it's better.

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    Much respect from me for Knolly as a company and I love the way the bikes look. I did own a metal Warden, but did not find it to be a particularly good-climbing/pedaling bike, even in the super-technical stuff on South Mountain in Phoenix. Climb switch pretty mandatory and that's not my preference.

    That, combined with a lower stack than I personally like made it a short-lived bike for me.
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    Yeah

    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    Much respect from me for Knolly as a company and I love the way the bikes look. I did own a metal Warden, but did not find it to be a particularly good-climbing/pedaling bike, even in the super-technical stuff on South Mountain in Phoenix. Climb switch pretty mandatory and that's not my preference.

    That, combined with a lower stack than I personally like made it a short-lived bike for me.
    Same here... ive always had to remember the climb switch with horst link bikes engineered without anti squat, got addicted to the DH and the traction i just put up with the less than stellar climbing. But now with the years and injuries adding up... would prefer to have the mechanical advantage on the climbs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    No, but I've ridden (and owned) plenty of horst link bikes like Knollys with very similar kinematics. I realize you all believe there is some magical alien technology property to these that can't possibly be modeled, but it's not really magic or fake news. As horst-link bikes go, the Knollys are among some of the lower anti-squat values, so they are going to be some of the worse climbers, amongst the horst-link bikes and general down-sloping anti-squat profiles. I've owned 5 horst link bikes, and most of them (especially my most recent ones) had higher anti-squat profiles than the Knolly designs. If you feel that having to use lock-outs/trail settings to decrease suspension performance uphill makes sense, then yes, these might be good "climbing" bikes. Personally, I feel active suspension uphill is very helpful, as long as it's not causing a huge hit to efficiency, but with these profiles, you can't "have your cake and eat it too" in this respect.

    But who cares when you have the most climbingest bike ever, right?

    Not my words:



    I doubt anyone will argue the Knolly DH traits, but efficient bikes they are not. They will reward your hard efforts with sagging more into the travel and unweighting the front. Someone with a Knolly meet me in September in Seattle and we'll go ride.
    You obviously have a reading comprehension problem.

    THE QEUSTION STATED TO YOU JAYEM WAS:

    "Which Knolly models have you been riding and what shocks were on them?"

    Quit rolling on with your verbal diarrhea and answer that really basic question that you have not yet answered and is now presented for the third time.

    Not sure how we can slow pitch that more for ya......

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    Quote Originally Posted by Veggibiker View Post
    "Very low antisquat figures leading to low pedaling efficiency yet great traction is the hallmark of Knolly suspension decisions. If you do a lot of technical / slowish climbing going over chunk and roots, Knolly bikes will dig in and you will be able to clear sections that may be very hard to clear on other bikes. You will have to deal with poor acceleration and pronounced pedal bob compared to mini link designs or other four bars bikes that have more antisquat though. A good platform shock with a climb switch may alleviate these drawbacks if flipping a shock switch is your thing."
    Did you feel the bike review was fairly objective ?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    Much respect from me for Knolly as a company and I love the way the bikes look. I did own a metal Warden, but did not find it to be a particularly good-climbing/pedaling bike, even in the super-technical stuff on South Mountain in Phoenix. Climb switch pretty mandatory and that's not my preference.

    That, combined with a lower stack than I personally like made it a short-lived bike for me.
    Interesting.. made the trip to south mountain for the first time in December with my Scout.

    Got the Warden as a second bike with a return trip somewhat in mind, thinking it would be great out there, which it should be.

    And I hear you on the stack height.. that's my biggest issue with the Warden so far.


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    Isn't the discussion of "ideal" anti squat completely meaningless without context? It seems absurd that there is a perfect level for all terrains and ride types.

    Sure, a high(er) anti squat ride makes some sense in terrain where you are jamming successive ups and downs with no time to fiddle with a compression switch. But, the trade-offs increase as the drive train and suspension become increasing "coupled" to control pedal bob.

    With modern bikes, we have the luxury of controlling pedal bob though the drive train or the shock. The nice thing about the shock option is the choice of terrain dependent traction or efficiency on the climbs.

    That said, the only time I'm reaching for the climb switch is during long fire road climbs where I would want my hardtail anyways.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YzMxer99 View Post
    That said, the only time I'm reaching for the climb switch is during long fire road climbs where I would want my hardtail anyways.
    I use the climb switch on long fireroad grinds with my DW-Link bike as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Couple things, adding compression damping to make your shock "pedal better" will make it harsher, so it will be working against you more on the climbs, so while you may have this "massive traction", using compression damping/lockout is defeating the purpose of this.

    Low AS bikes like the knollys will squat under power uphill, the harder you try to pedal, especially in the bigger gears, the more it will do so. This unweights the front and makes technical climbing harder, because the front tends to wander all over the place or even come off the ground.

    There are many more efficient bikes out there, but it's about what you want. Some feel the low-anti-squat designs "dig in" more, providing more traction. After years on them, it feels to me that they use "more" travel on uphill bumps under power than just coasting on the flats over the same sized bumps. The further you get into the travel, the more your pedal-stroke accelerations compress the rear end. This gives more of a feeling of "digging into" the terrain, rather than "riding on top of" the terrain.

    For a bike i may ride all day long and not just downhill at the park, I feel the low-AS designs, especially those with low AS around the mid-point in the travel, punish you for your pedaling efforts to a higher degree than other bikes that are out there. Many of the common bikes these days have similar AS profiles, even if they are operating under "different" patents.
    And chain tension (ie, anti-squat) does what? And yes, I ride a dw linked 5 spot and love it. But you have to learn to ride tech stuff with that bike, just as you have to learn how to pedal with a HL/SP bike. All are different but all are the same.
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    Well

    Quote Originally Posted by bachman1961 View Post
    Did you feel the bike review was fairly objective ?
    I'd be skeptical reading a review from anyone trying to sell me something. That being said I'm sure the Warden or almost any boutique carbon bike these days at that price point ride great. But there is truth to the fact that Horst link bikes engineered without antisquat will lack acceleration and have more pedal induced bob if that's important to the buyer they should be aware.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ganderson View Post
    Interesting.. made the trip to south mountain for the first time in December with my Scout.

    Got the Warden as a second bike with a return trip somewhat in mind, thinking it would be great out there, which it should be.

    And I hear you on the stack height.. that's my biggest issue with the Warden so far.


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    I'm sure it'll be great. I'm actually a fan of Horst bikes in general, I just didn't get along with the Warden. To be honest, I liked my older Delirium-T a lot more. Give a shout when you're in town if you want some local company on SoMo.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 006_007 View Post
    You obviously have a reading comprehension problem.

    THE QEUSTION STATED TO YOU JAYEM WAS:

    "Which Knolly models have you been riding and what shocks were on them?"

    Quit rolling on with your verbal diarrhea and answer that really basic question that you have not yet answered and is now presented for the third time.

    Not sure how we can slow pitch that more for ya......
    Seriously? I answer it with the FIRST WORD of my post and I'm the one with the reading comprehension problem? Methinks you need to sit down and cool off for a bit. Everything will be ok and the sun will come up tomorrow, unless it doesn't. Maybe we should be discussing which suspension system makes people the least angry?

    Plus, I saw quite a few down in Seattle, so I invite some riders to meet me at Tiger Mtn or some other place in September to ride.
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    I was really smitten be the low stack height on Knollys. I'm 5'9.5" and don't have to resort to hard to find wide/flat bars, or negative rise stems. Tempted to try a used large frame and shorten the seat tube so I can fit my dropper.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    I'm sure it'll be great. I'm actually a fan of Horst bikes in general, I just didn't get along with the Warden. To be honest, I liked my older Delirium-T a lot more. Give a shout when you're in town if you want some local company on SoMo.
    Right on.. I need to get back out there as I broke my foot on the very first run of the trip down national... here: https://youtu.be/AB8p3cLVy1c



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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Maybe we should be discussing which suspension system makes people the least angry?
    By my calculations this will end up being the new Polygon bike with the Naild system.. zero compromises apparently other than it looks like shit.


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    Air shocks are still inconsistent garbage, even if tuned...there, I said it
    ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Veggibiker View Post
    I'd be skeptical reading a review from anyone trying to sell me something. That being said I'm sure the Warden or almost any boutique carbon bike these days at that price point ride great. But there is truth to the fact that Horst link bikes engineered without antisquat will lack acceleration and have more pedal induced bob if that's important to the buyer they should be aware.
    I don't know enough about them or any f/sus bikes really.

    I read the review and it didn't strike me as anything too gushing. Interesting comments on the raw frame as a part of their identity and the way c fiber doesn't hide imperfections ie; No painted frame.
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    Had a chat with Noel last week, as well as a chat with the boys from Fanatik. It was really helpful to better understand Knolly's design philosophy, and to get some 3rd party perspective from Fanatik.

    In a nutshell, Noel is highly complementary of things that other manufacturers are doing, but also acknowledges that Knolly has a different philosophy to bike design. A governing tenant of their design can be summed up as "consistency above all else". It's not that they don't use any anti-squat in their designs to provide pedaling support, but they use less than many other manufacturers because they believe that it's a feature that can cause suspension inconsistency in technical terrain, and it is also a feature that you cannot turn off. Most contemporary bikes come with some sort of climb switch, now even coil shocks, and Noel believes that they are an innovation that allows you to capitalize on the "best of both worlds" in a way that performs better than a bike with too many features designed into the frame mechanics. I was especially impressed by Noel's ability to get super technical if pressed, but also present his ideas in layman's terms too. In my job, that's always a sign of someone who has spent a lot of time dedicated to their work, and you can tell that Noel lives and breathes this company and its culture. Super impressive.

    Talking to Fanatik, they seemed to echo a lot of the points that Noel made. One of the things I like about Fanatik is their honesty - though somewhat diplomatic in their reviews, I've never had their sales guys beat around the bush when it comes to making a judgement of a product. If they haven't ridden it personally, they'll immediately put me on the phone with someone who has. Pretty cool. Anyways, a few guys in their shop are pretty enamored by the Warden Carbon right now, speaking to the consistent feel and ultra-precise ride qualities. The guy I was talking to has owned a couple Evils, Santa Cruz, etc., and said that the Knolly is his definitive favorite. When I asked to compared to an Evil that I was also looking at, he said he much preferred the Knolly for its construction quality, consistent feel, and (interestingly), it's climbing position. He said its just a damn comfortable bike to spend time on for long rides, even if it may not be the most efficient while really hammering. But he also made the point that climb switches work quite well, so why not use them when hammering up a fire road (as so many of us end up doing for trail access here in the PNW).

    On another interesting note, he mentioned that the Warden Carbon is obviously the pinnacle of Knolly's line in geometry, weight, and fit/finish, but that he'd still highly recommend the alloy version if you're looking for the same ride qualities and very, very close geometry figures.

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    Yes and no..

    Quote Originally Posted by zhendo View Post
    Had a chat with Noel last week, as well as a chat with the boys from Fanatik. It was really helpful to better understand Knolly's design philosophy, and to get some 3rd party perspective from Fanatik.

    In a nutshell, Noel is highly complementary of things that other manufacturers are doing, but also acknowledges that Knolly has a different philosophy to bike design. A governing tenant of their design can be summed up as "consistency above all else". It's not that they don't use any anti-squat in their designs to provide pedaling support, but they use less than many other manufacturers because they believe that it's a feature that can cause suspension inconsistency in technical terrain, and it is also a feature that you cannot turn off. Most contemporary bikes come with some sort of climb switch, now even coil shocks, and Noel believes that they are an innovation that allows you to capitalize on the "best of both worlds" in a way that performs better than a bike with too many features designed into the frame mechanics. I was especially impressed by Noel's ability to get super technical if pressed, but also present his ideas in layman's terms too. In my job, that's always a sign of someone who has spent a lot of time dedicated to their work, and you can tell that Noel lives and breathes this company and its culture. Super impressive.

    Talking to Fanatik, they seemed to echo a lot of the points that Noel made. One of the things I like about Fanatik is their honesty - though somewhat diplomatic in their reviews, I've never had their sales guys beat around the bush when it comes to making a judgement of a product. If they haven't ridden it personally, they'll immediately put me on the phone with someone who has. Pretty cool. Anyways, a few guys in their shop are pretty enamored by the Warden Carbon right now, speaking to the consistent feel and ultra-precise ride qualities. The guy I was talking to has owned a couple Evils, Santa Cruz, etc., and said that the Knolly is his definitive favorite. When I asked to compared to an Evil that I was also looking at, he said he much preferred the Knolly for its construction quality, consistent feel, and (interestingly), it's climbing position. He said its just a damn comfortable bike to spend time on for long rides, even if it may not be the most efficient while really hammering. But he also made the point that climb switches work quite well, so why not use them when hammering up a fire road (as so many of us end up doing for trail access here in the PNW).

    On another interesting note, he mentioned that the Warden Carbon is obviously the pinnacle of Knolly's line in geometry, weight, and fit/finish, but that he'd still highly recommend the alloy version if you're looking for the same ride qualities and very, very close geometry figures.
    Partially true. The locations of the pivots in a Horst link bike force less anti squat compared to something like a Yeti or SC.

    The whole thing about the lock out is more of a salesman pitch IMHO. The fact is not all trails are long fireroads, but on trails with numerous climbs and descents back to back you have to choose between a locked out suspension and give up traction and suspension performance or you have to have a bobbing suspension and you won't be too happy standing and mashing. So the fact is that there are real trade offs in bike design no matter what the marketing or sales people say.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Veggibiker View Post
    Partially true. The locations of the pivots in a Horst link bike force less anti squat compared to something like a Yeti or SC.

    The whole thing about the lock out is more of a salesman pitch IMHO. The fact is not all trails are long fireroads, but on trails with numerous climbs and descents back to back you have to choose between a locked out suspension and give up traction and suspension performance or you have to have a bobbing suspension and you won't be too happy standing and mashing. So the fact is that there are real trade offs in bike design no matter what the marketing or sales people say.
    I think your last line is the correct one and relates to all bike design. All people and all bikes have riding styles. Make sure the two are a fit.

    I would also say that bikes with lots of anti-squat (ie. chain tension) and steep seat angles can be really rough on knees.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veggibiker View Post
    Partially true. The locations of the pivots in a Horst link bike force less anti squat compared to something like a Yeti or SC.

    The whole thing about the lock out is more of a salesman pitch IMHO. The fact is not all trails are long fireroads, but on trails with numerous climbs and descents back to back you have to choose between a locked out suspension and give up traction and suspension performance or you have to have a bobbing suspension and you won't be too happy standing and mashing. So the fact is that there are real trade offs in bike design no matter what the marketing or sales people say.
    I think we're saying the same thing on your first point - using a Horst Link design is a choice made by Knolly, so I think that saying they choose to design less anti-squat into the design is still accurate. You can certainly build a Horst bike with relatively more or less anti-squat.

    The" salesman pitch" point that you called out is more a design philosophy question...again, by choosing to go with a design that doesn't build as much of a mechanical pedaling platform into the design, they inherently are relying on the shock's climbing features more heavily. Noel sees it as an advantage in that you can turn it off and on, but to your point, not all climbs are fire roads and there are real trade offs that the rider must come to grips with.

    Noel was quick to say that he doesn't want to claim that Knollys are objectively the best bikes for everyone. They have a design philosophy, and some people love the way they ride, whereas others have other priorities. Having not spent time on a Knolly yet (other than the Podium), I'm curious to see what first-hand experience shows.

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    Looks like I'm late to the party. TLDR; anyhow the least comfortable aspect of my Chilcotin (less anti-squat/heavier/smaller wheels - compared to the Warden) is the saddle and my inability to make all the tech steep climbs it's capable of. I'm running a dh coil with no CS, I do admit to turning up compression (and need to) for fire road climbs, otherwise I go from being first uphill to last. To the point, all those effects are less with a Warden. I demo'd a Warden with a X2 from Fanatik, it did everything perfectly. I would not think twice about owning one as my "one bike". Traction > Anti-squat

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    You need to think about where Knolly is coming from. Yeah, not all climbs are on logging/fire roads, but here in BC it's pretty common. We frequently climb an hour or more on a gravel road to get to the best trails, and then if there are any trails to climb they are often rough. I have learned to employ the CS on the road, and then leave it off for any trails, up or down. If it is sucking up some energy this is more than offset but pretty much eliminating the frequent roots and rocks, that suck up more energy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veggibiker View Post
    So the fact is that there are real trade offs in bike design no matter what the marketing or sales people say.
    So true.

    I think the best assist anyone gets at a retailer when needing suggestions or guidance is letting them ask some key questions of the customer.
    If they don't show any interest in how you ride, what areas or trails and what you like / don't like about your current bike, they truly are marketing people trying to move bikes without much consideration for the customer experience.

    This information from Knolly sounds like he is putting it right there on the line about their bikes and what they aim for. Not trying to be something for everybody and not knocking other brands or designs.
    I can respect that.
    Last edited by bachman1961; 04-17-2017 at 02:34 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veggibiker View Post
    The fact is not all trails are long fireroads, but on trails with numerous climbs and descents back to back you have to choose between a locked out suspension and give up traction and suspension performance or you have to have a bobbing suspension and you won't be too happy standing and mashing.
    And with a design that had high anti-squat you don't get to choose, it just happens whenever you're pedalling regardless of whether or not you want it to.

    Also, with the likes of the Cane Creek shocks, the switch isn't an on/off lock out where it's either all or nothing. Even with the climb switch fully engaged you still get some movement out of the suspension, and you can also have the climb switch only partially engaged.

  67. #67
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    if you value pedalling 'efficiency' on smooth trails and logging roads over climbing and descending performance on rough technical trails then the Warden is not the best choice. The Warden's traction and climbing ability on technical trails is nothing short of amazing however. I run mine exclusively in slack mode and do not use the climb switch at all for technical trails. I find the bike to be very well behaved on the uphills and I have no problem doing all-day epics in terrain varying from gravel roads to steep, rooty, rocky north-shore style climbs and descents. The Warden handles it all and is hands down the most fun bike I have ridden.

  68. #68
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    In theory, if a shock can provide sufficient pedal "platform" via a heavy dose of LSC, yet blow off and remain supple on the faster hits, a bike with lower AS could work well. Sort of putting the magic in the shock and not the linkage (similar to what Trek does). The challenge is getting a shock that feels stiff at low speeds and blows off at higher speeds. The new X2 I have in my current ride comes pretty darn close. Close enough to have me considering a Knolly.

  69. #69
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    Exactly... dialing up LSC to tune out pedal bob is not as ideal imho than anti squat tuned into the frame. With anti squat you at least have an accelerative effect of the rear tire digging into the ground, whereas with increased LSC your slowing down the shock at low speeds to do the work. Not to say a horst link bike with high LSC wont pedal well, but truth is an AS designed bike will pedal better.

  70. #70
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    These points about pedaling are true. Seems like a lot of the debate also boils down to differences in marketing philosophy. To have a company so openly say that they prioritize traction over pedaling efficiency when so many companies are into the "this bike does literally everything better than every other bike" rhetoric flies in the face of common marketing speak.

    @Veggibiker, your point on LSC is valid. I am curious to see how I end up tuning the shock, as my last couple bikes have had a lot of anti-squat in the frame design, and one of them had a TON of pedal kickback that caused issues in some situations. The nice thing was that the LSC tuning took a litttle less effort with how much anti-squat the bike had. I think I'll really appreciate the tunability of the DB Coil IL for this Warden...and the Climb Switch for all of the fire road climbs.

  71. #71
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    I have climbed 160km+ of vert over the last 2 years on Knollys. Climbing is just something I do for health and going back down. I would never put climbing performance ahead of fun, even though I spend the majority of time going up.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  72. #72
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    I like to climb and wouldn't own a bike that didn't climb well. I'm also not going to play with the climb switch beyond longer grinding climbs on fireroads. It's early days with my Knolly, but so far I have no felt any need to touch the climb switch or tune the shock to be firmer.

    People can argue theories until they are blue in the face, but there is no substitute for actually riding the bike on your trails. So far I am getting up all the climbs well and staying ahead of all my riding buddies that I normally stay ahead of without feeling like I am losing any energy on the climbs vs. my DW-Link or VPP bikes.

    My GF is climbing as strong on her Knolly a year later than she did on her DW-Link bike. Actually stronger and she enjoys the way the Knolly 4x4 climbs better than her DW-Link rig.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by zhendo View Post
    These points about pedaling are true. Seems like a lot of the debate also boils down to differences in marketing philosophy. To have a company so openly say that they prioritize traction over pedaling efficiency when so many companies are into the "this bike does literally everything better than every other bike" rhetoric flies in the face of common marketing speak.

    @Veggibiker, your point on LSC is valid. I am curious to see how I end up tuning the shock, as my last couple bikes have had a lot of anti-squat in the frame design, and one of them had a TON of pedal kickback that caused issues in some situations. The nice thing was that the LSC tuning took a litttle less effort with how much anti-squat the bike had. I think I'll really appreciate the tunability of the DB Coil IL for this Warden...and the Climb Switch for all of the fire road climbs.
    Yeah I've had horst link bikes using LSC compression, it was still a ton of fun to ride, but it didn't pedal like my Santa Cruz carbon. But the horst bike was a lot more fun going downhill. I like what Yeti has done with the Switch Infinity, seems to offer a lot of tuning options to the designer to get closer to that "ideal" sweet spot rather than the decades long of reiterations of horst link and dual link bikes. I wish more bike companies would experiment with new designs rather than rehashing the same thing over and over claiming it is now the best thing ever when it has existed for 30-40 years now.

  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by David R View Post
    And with a design that had high anti-squat you don't get to choose, it just happens whenever you're pedalling regardless of whether or not you want it to.

    Also, with the likes of the Cane Creek shocks, the switch isn't an on/off lock out where it's either all or nothing. Even with the climb switch fully engaged you still get some movement out of the suspension, and you can also have the climb switch only partially engaged.
    You mean like the old Santa Cruz and Orange bikes that approached 200% AS? Those are what I'd call "high"...
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  75. #75
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    Jeez, is the Turner forum really that boring now...

  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by David R View Post
    Jeez, is the Turner forum really that boring now...
    Well, being a Homer was not meant as a positive thing, no?
    On MTBR, the reputation is infamous.

  77. #77
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    My GF was super excited to get back on her Warden after a sloppy few months on the her winter bike [VPP]. The Warden replaced a carbon DWlink bike that was ~1-1.5bs lighter. She loves how the Knolly climbs and she's climbing just as strong as her DWlink machine.

    I was curious how often she used the CS switch on her CCDBA so I asked her as she was prepping her bike for today's ride. Her reply - "The climb switch? I never use that. I just ride."
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  78. #78
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    Offer still stands, I know a lot of yous live in PacNW and I'll gladly meet you in WA for a ride in late September.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  79. #79
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    Then come back to this thread in September, I'd be happy to take you on a lap of Tiger. Maybe stop trolling until then?
    "My car of choice is a 12 year old civic that runs on the tears of my life choices." - redditor

  80. #80
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    Coming from a Dune carbon XR, (and a Spitfire V2 before that), the Warden C I have now climbs better, without even use the climb switch of X2

    (oval 32T chainring to all of them)

    I feel better in downhill also :-)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Knolly Climbing Behavior-1060205x2.jpg  


  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ntinos P View Post
    Coming from a Dune carbon XR, (and a Spitfire V2 before that), the Warden C I have now climbs better, without even use the climb switch of X2

    (oval 32T chainring to all of them)

    I feel better in downhill also :-)
    The guys at BIKE said running the Warden with pro pedal made it skippy and chattery but helped in climbing, traction was a lot better in open but price tag was climbing efficiency.

    They also said the Warden was "wanting in the climbs." Climbing is not the strong point of the Knolly according to the reviewers.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aabUpgjIb0

  82. #82
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    I don't ride that many bikes, but I do not find it wanting when climbing. I do live in BC, and I rode the Warden for 5 weeks in UT last year, so I guess my perspective is different than theirs. I did however do a 50km xc loop, JEM, Goulds, Hurricane Rim, climbing to do 1 descent twice. Not the bike I would pick 1st for this, but it did amazing anyway. Porcupine rim, maybe it was the perfect bike
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  83. #83
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    So after some time on my Warden Carbon, I thought I'd chime in (as the person who started this thread).

    I originally had a Cane Creek DB Coil IL, and the bike climbed great with the climb switch engaged. There is more shock motion than I'm used to when running the shock fully open, but that only really becomes an issue on longer climbs when I would otherwise likely reach for the climb switch anyways. It never feels like the bike is squatting hard under power, it just bobs a little more. With so much of my climbing being sustained fire road climbs up to brutal descents, this bike works great for me.

    On short, punchy climbs, the bike does great due to the huge traction. The suspension kinematic is super supportive, so it seems to keep the bike higher in the travel despite the lack of mechanical assistance via anti-squat. Most importantly (to me at least), the bike's geometry is sorted such that it doesn't want to wheelie under power on steep climbs. Despite my old Evil Following have a lot more anti-squat, the super slack seat tube and short rear end actually made that bike more wheelie prone than the Warden.

    I swapped the shock over to a DVO Topaz after a warranty issue, and it seems to still pedal very well. I think the Cane Creek's climb switch is the best in the business (harder LSC and slower LSR = win for climbing), but reliability turned me away in favor of the Topaz, which has a more conventional LSC-only approach to the climb switch.

  84. #84
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    A couple months more ride time on my new Knolly. I'm climbing as well as I did on my DW-Link bike possibly better, but the differences are down in the noise. For sure the Knolly 4x4 is not holding me back. I only touch the climb switch for long fire road climbs. The rest of the time I leave the shock fully open.

    Going from a couple DW Link and VPP bikes and loving to climb fast I was interested to see what the Knolly 4x4 was like. I noticed that folks I rode with you were on Knollys were climbing strong amongst all the other bikes in our large group of regular riders. So that gave me the confidence to give it a shot.

    No regrets at all.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  85. #85
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    Quick chime in: been on my alloy Warden for about three years now. Love it.

    Got the bug for a new bike a few months ago while waiting for the knolly 29er. Had an Evil Following for a weekend. Thought I would love it. Reality = meh. Even though it was lighter than warden and a 29er, felt far more sluggish than the warden on climbs.

    Haven't thought about a new bike (aside from knolly 29er) since.

    Love my Knolly!

    Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

  86. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by drboudreaux View Post
    Had an Evil Following for a weekend. Thought I would love it. Reality = meh. Even though it was lighter than warden and a 29er, felt far more sluggish than the warden on climbs.
    I had an identical experience demoing a Following, I was very underwhelmed on the climbs.

  87. #87
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    The general consensus outside of Knolly owners is there is a price tag when it comes to the climbing - this is just an engineering tradeoff .

  88. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veggibiker View Post
    The general consensus outside of Knolly owners is there is a price tag when it comes to the climbing - this is just an engineering tradeoff .
    It's amazing how a "theoretical" understanding of something doesn't always line up with the actual experience of doing it. Personally I don't care what the theorists say I care what the bike is actually like to ride.

    I do QC work in aerospace and when analyzing failures everyone feels the need to tell me their "theory". I chase down what seems likely and collect data to see if the proposed solution resolves the problem. Even when someone is clearly wrong they often doggedly stick to their "theory".

    It makes me laugh.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  89. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veggibiker View Post
    The general consensus outside of Knolly owners is there is a price tag when it comes to the climbing - this is just an engineering tradeoff .
    I understand this, and even feel it on the road, it just doesn't amount to mound of mouse shit on the trail. Perhaps strange to unbelievers, but true.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  90. #90
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    My friends who have test rode Knolly thought the climbing penalty was more than theory and ended up going with SC and Pivot. There are a lot of people who feel this way, but they generally dont care enough to post about it. There's a reason why Knolly is known to be a bike that favors the descents to many neutral observers. Its just a bit insincere to claim one type of design does it all, theres always biases of some sort.

  91. #91
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    Had the same question when I bought my warden two years ago, just set the sag whole seated at 30% or Maby a little less and compression over 50% and it'll rocket out of corners and pop off jumpy too. Buy and enjoy!

  92. #92
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    My warden climbs just fine. I can climb stuff that none of my other buddies can. I am sure my Minions, I9's, oval ring and getting my butt out of the seat help. No complaints here besides squeeky bushings.

  93. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veggibiker View Post
    My friends who have test rode Knolly thought the climbing penalty was more than theory and ended up going with SC and Pivot. There are a lot of people who feel this way, but they generally dont care enough to post about it. There's a reason why Knolly is known to be a bike that favors the descents to many neutral observers. Its just a bit insincere to claim one type of design does it all, theres always biases of some sort.
    I depends on what you mean by 'penalty'.

    Compared to my Knolly every other bike I've ridden had a traction penalty on the climbs. In comparison the Knolly has an acceleration or maybe 'eagerness' penalty on the climbs.

    To me efficiency is relative to the requirements of the climb... breaking traction on loose, rocky climbs isn't particularly efficient, however the knolly design isn't going to be doing you any huge favors on less traction-demanding climbs.

    Of course there are compromises with every design, including Knolly's.

  94. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veggibiker View Post
    My friends who have test rode Knolly thought the climbing penalty was more than theory and ended up going with SC and Pivot. There are a lot of people who feel this way, but they generally dont care enough to post about it. There's a reason why Knolly is known to be a bike that favors the descents to many neutral observers. Its just a bit insincere to claim one type of design does it all, theres always biases of some sort.
    I was interested in finding out how a Knolly climbed so I actually bought one. Despite the size I bought being theoretically the right one I felt like I'd be happier on the next size up so I didn't hesitate and ordered one taking a loss on the nearly new smaller frame I sold.

    I love climbing fast. Especially techy trails, but also fireroads when that's the way up. If my Knolly was anything less than a stellar climber with minimal use of the climb switch [I ride trails fully open] I would have sold it just as fast as I did the smaller frame. Life is too short to ride a bike that's not good at what you want. In my case that's climbing.

    My other bikes are a SC VPP and a Pivot DWlink. They are all great options. While they feel a bit different I don't find one suspension design radically better at climbing than the other. I would happily buy a VPP, DWLink or a Knolly for my next bike.

    I'm basing my comments on actually owning and riding a variety of suspension designs - not theory.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  95. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ganderson View Post
    I depends on what you mean by 'penalty'.

    Compared to my Knolly every other bike I've ridden had a traction penalty on the climbs. In comparison the Knolly has an acceleration or maybe 'eagerness' penalty on the climbs.

    To me efficiency is relative to the requirements of the climb... breaking traction on loose, rocky climbs isn't particularly efficient, however the knolly design isn't going to be doing you any huge favors on less traction-demanding climbs.
    This is the problem with "theorizing" based on a simplified analysis of how a bike will ride. If you assume that higher anti-squat designs are going to climb better just because of that one aspect of the design you end up ignoring the rest of the variables that impact how fast you get up a climb and how much energy it tales you.

    Like you point out if a higher AS design provides less traction and you have to work to get the rear tire to hook up so you can drive the bike forward whatever efficiency gains you may "theorize" the higher AS design offers can easily be lost when you are actually trail riding.

    I don't ride a geo chart or a theory which is why it's pretty silly for people who have never ridden the bikes in question to spend lots of time trying to tell folks that actually own and ride them how they perform.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  96. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ganderson View Post
    I depends on what you mean by 'penalty'.

    Compared to my Knolly every other bike I've ridden had a traction penalty on the climbs. In comparison the Knolly has an acceleration or maybe 'eagerness' penalty on the climbs.

    To me efficiency is relative to the requirements of the climb... breaking traction on loose, rocky climbs isn't particularly efficient, however the knolly design isn't going to be doing you any huge favors on less traction-demanding climbs.

    Of course there are compromises with every design, including Knolly's.
    Yes, well said. The overzealous owner usually fails to be objective on these facts and can provide skewed source for information. A lot of it is bike ownership bias, once someone has spent 2 to 3k on a frame, they will convince themselves its the best thing since sliced bread...buyer beware...

    All bikes have compromises...

  97. #97
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    I have climbed 42km this year on my coil shocked Endo. Seems ok so far😉
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    I have climbed 42km this year on my coil shocked Endo. Seems ok so far😉
    Come on we all know you're just a biased owner.. ; P

  99. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veggibiker View Post
    Come on we all know you're just a biased owner.. ; P
    Ya Travis. Come on. The people's opinion we really want are the ones that have never ridden a Knolly.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  100. #100
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    I'm not biased, and have no problem buying a non Knolly. On the logging roads the CS eliminates any bobbing, and on the trail it has no impact. If it didn't ride well I would be on something else.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

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