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  1. #1
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    Objective info needed

    Disclaimer: Iíll be posting this in a few forums to get enough exposure to get my question answered.
    I have used the search button to look for discussions on this topic/comparison almost daily for the last few months.

    As you can see by my number of posts, I donít really post much because Iím new to the sport but Iíve been lurking around for awhile even before registering. Lately, Iíve been in the market for a new ďtoyĒ and my goal is to spend as much as I can reasonably spend without my wife finding out.

    Iíve been looking primarily at the 08 Blur, 08 Mojo, 08 Fuel Ex, 08 SJ and 08 Trance X; I ride mostly XC. I am technically inclined (electrical engineer) and Iím fortunate enough to know and understand that with any design, there are compromises made. Although the con of some compromises might be insignificant when compared to the pros but nonetheless there are compromises. My education and riding experience doesnít really come in handy when talking about suspension designs and designs in general, thus my resort to posting this question.

    Iím looking for technical info or objective first hand knowledge of comparisons to the above listed bikes. Most posts Iíve seen are from people speaking blindly that have never ridden the competition. Somehow they just figured that their brand is better either due to loyalty or the status quo. The irony about being on top is that you provide a target for your competition and if youíre not careful, they might just ďget luckyĒ.

    I understand that it is a ďFordĒ vs. ďChevyĒ thing and itís hard for people to be objective but Iím hoping that there is someone in this forum that can look past the brand name. I donít want to buy a bike today and later realize that I could have gotten a better same-year bike. I like to get the BEST product for my money with the only exception being cars.

    Thanks for reading my long winded post

    Real compairson of Moj's Dw-link and Trek Abp and Full Floater

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  2. #2
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    Fact is, they are all good bikes. It is going to come down to your personal preference. You will have to determine which one "feels" right because the differences, while they are there, are not large.

  3. #3
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    Add to your list a Gary Fisher HiFi-I just rented one over the holiday for $25.00 and it works very well with the type of terrain I ride over. It is a true XC bike with 5 " of travel and has a very stiff suspension with one of the best warranties in the industry. I would strongly suggest that you rent one of the bikes in your list to get a feel for how it rides in the dirt. Then check the reviews and the forums for any durability issues that the bike may have.
    Check out my post on the subject: Horst vs. link actuated swing arm suspensions

  4. #4
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    "Toy" is the key word tahj33. Doesnt matter what we like! Which one do you like?

  5. #5
    Just Wanna Ride!
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    We are really fortunate in that bike quality from the major brands has gotten really good over the years. If you pick a bike from a reputable manufacturer that is designed for your type of riding, then you really can't go wrong. What you will find is that a certain bike will be shifted towards a certain trait - for instance between 2 bikes one may be a little better climber while another is a better descender, or one may be designed with quicker geometry for tight singletrack while another may be better suited for faster flowy terrain.

    You really just have to decide which of the traits are more important to you and to where you ride and then do some research to sort out which addresses your needs.

    To be honest with you I would narrow down the search based on your favorite bike shop! I would find a bike shop that you like - with folks that ride and seem knowledgeable about their bikes and the local trails. Find a place that makes you feel comfortable (especially good if it's also close by!) and narrow your search down to the brands they carry. You'll have a place that you trust to work on your stuff or give you advice about what is best suited for your local trails.

    As you research - disregard anything you read that say 'that bike sukks' or that bashes an entire bike company. Every brand has had some issues over the years - it happens - so don't get too hung up in a few bad reviews if the majority if what you find seems positive. Bike magazine reviews can be helpful, though they aren't always as objective as they could be.

    I worked in shop all through college and one of my good friends is a shop owner. I've owned alot of bikes over the years from different brands, including some highend hand built bikes. A bike from the middle of the high-end line of a decent manufacturer (like a Stumpjumper FSR Elite or Expert) is just as good as the super high-end custom bikes. The money difference will get you some fancy parts and will cut the weight down, but it won't necessarily give you a better bike.

    Saying all that - you can't go wrong with anything from Specialized. They make great bikes and great stuff.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary H
    "Toy" is the key word tahj33. Doesnt matter what we like! Which one do you like?
    To add to this, do you have one that fits you any better over the others?

    As for me, I can simplify based on linkage designs:

    Horst-link (FSR): Stays active nearly all the time, and has been known to pedal bob for some (but not for me unless I am really sloppy in my pedal stroke). It doesn't lock up under severe braking (well, not for me) and is fantastic when climbing over rocks and roots. However, it can squat when a lot of chain torque is applied (and sucks up the rear wheel into the suspension a little bit). Can be a little problematic when mashing high gears up steep climbs without the rear shock either locked or somehow limited (such as ProPedal).

    Maestro (and, from what I have read, dw*link): Is fairly active, and can "lock" the rear end when a lot of chain torque is applied and fights pedal bob. However, this can make the bike harsh while climbing over rocks and roots as the rear end and compromise traction in the process. A great bike for mashing gears while climbing due to this behavior. I've been told that it descends really well, but I didn't bother with that part as I couldn't complete the climb due to the harsh feel and went back to my 07 Stumpy FSR halfway up. For me, any suspension that locks under chain load isn't useful as I believe a suspension should always be working, but this behavior can make a lot of people very happy.

    Single Pivot: I have yet to ride one I like, but I know there are some nice ones out there. The ones I have ridden tend to have the most pedal feedback through the chain, get harsh under braking, and come off of bumps rather harshly. This feeling has followed me from simple swingarm to linkage activated designs. However, these are typically the most rigid laterally and can be really light due to less material being required.

    I am a Horst fan, but I really appreciate the Maestro suspension and believe the examples I have ridden meet their design targets rather well (especially all the 08 models from Giant). I bet the dw*link stuff is very similar, but vary from builder to builder in quality, geometry, and leverage rate tuning.
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  7. #7
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    I agree with sthrnfat about the bike shops. There are a lot of great bikes out there. I would try to narrow your search of bikes to a shop that you feel comfortable with. I was looking at a lot of Santa Cruz stuff (blur, heckler, super light) as well as epics and sj's before I decided on a bike. I went to a lot of shops and settled on a sj because 1. I was able to actually demo it on the trail to get a feel for it and 2. I loved the way it felt.
    I ended up driving an extra 1/2 hour to the shop where I bought it just because my closer shop (a specialized only dealer) didn't feel right. I have been thankful ever since. The bike shop is the one who is going to get your bike back to you quickly when your stuff goes down. They're the ones who are going to take care of your warranty issues etc. Ride everything, see what clicks, but make sure you pick a shop that youíre going to feel good about going back to.
    Other than that, have fun. Just think of all the cool bikes youíre going to get to check out!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Student Driver
    Maestro (and, from what I have read, dw*link): Is fairly active, and can "lock" the rear end when a lot of chain torque is applied and fights pedal bob. However, this can make the bike harsh while climbing over rocks and roots as the rear end and compromise traction in the process.
    Maybe the Maestro does that but that is not what the DW link does....far from it. The DW link does the exact opposite and is probably it's best climbing over rocks/roots because the rear is free from any chain induced effects.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddraewwg
    Maybe the Maestro does that but that is not what the DW link does....far from it. The DW link does the exact opposite and is probably it's best climbing over rocks/roots because the rear is free from any chain induced effects.
    That's cool, as this is the first post I have seen stating it doesn't. I hope to try riding one at some point and see for myself, but owners that I ride with have told me the behavior is similar.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Student Driver
    That's cool, as this is the first post I have seen stating it doesn't. I hope to try riding one at some point and see for myself, but owners that I ride with have told me the behavior is similar.
    Dave himself posts so if you do a search for his ID, you can read all about it and base your decisions on what he tells you.

  11. #11
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    I have read his posts, and even his comments on the newest bikes from Pivot. The reviewers have commented about how harsh it rode at Interbike, and even he was a bit puzzled about it. This is why I typically add a statement about the dw*link and how it can vary by implementation. However, I have also read and been told that the Ibis and Iron Horse bikes tend to stiffen under load, and this is very similar to what I have experienced on 4 different Giant Maestro bikes.

    The best thing would be for me to actually get to ride one, but I am also basing this information from friends that have them and have ridden them. DW tends to comment about performance over "chop" or multiple square-edge hits, such as in a rock garden.

    Which models have you ridden? I would like to know which one(s) you are referencing to see if I can try one at a race this weekend. Thanks for the info!
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Student Driver
    I have read his posts, and even his comments on the newest bikes from Pivot. The reviewers have commented about how harsh it rode at Interbike, and even he was a bit puzzled about it. This is why I typically add a statement about the dw*link and how it can vary by implementation. However, I have also read and been told that the Ibis and Iron Horse bikes tend to stiffen under load, and this is very similar to what I have experienced on 4 different Giant Maestro bikes.

    The best thing would be for me to actually get to ride one, but I am also basing this information from friends that have them and have ridden them. DW tends to comment about performance over "chop" or multiple square-edge hits, such as in a rock garden.

    Which models have you ridden? I would like to know which one(s) you are referencing to see if I can try one at a race this weekend. Thanks for the info!
    There was a comment he made about the Pivot bikes at interbike and he said that the shocks were overly dampened if I remembered correctly which made the bikes ride harsher than anticipated. Don't remember the exact details but something to that affect.

    I own the Mojo and have not ridden an Iron Horse or Pivot. But if you are concerned about chain torque or stiffening under load....basically any concern you may have about how the suspension is designed, I'd ask Dave himself. Why not just go straight to the source instead of relying on hearsay? I'm no expert which is why I recommend getting direct feedback/comments/explanations from him. And of course, try the bikes.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddraewwg
    There was a comment he made about the Pivot bikes at interbike and he said that the shocks were overly dampened if I remembered correctly which made the bikes ride harsher than anticipated. Don't remember the exact details but something to that affect.

    I own the Mojo and have not ridden an Iron Horse or Pivot. But if you are concerned about chain torque or stiffening under load....basically any concern you may have about how the suspension is designed, I'd ask Dave himself. Why not just go straight to the source instead of relying on hearsay? I'm no expert which is why I recommend getting direct feedback/comments/explanations from him. And of course, try the bikes.
    Well, relying on people with years of experience in a variety of bikes is what the forum is all about, right? And, if they are people you know, then all the better right? And, talking to someone with a vested interest in the sales of his or her product isn't exactly neutral, right? He has a fairly strong opinion of his own design (which is fine, he's proud of it ) but I tend to rely on myself and those I trust; and if others are posting similar experiences then it makes sense. While I agree about a concern over "hearsay" I wouldn't categorize this in the same general manner, such as "I heard from this guy who heard from another guy that read something..."

    So what you're stating is that your Ibis doesn't exhibit the stiffening under increased chain load, correct? Could it be that the Iron Horse models still do, or that you aren't perceiving it? If I get a chance I will try to find the exact models that were referenced, but that will probably not happen. I wish I had an Ibis to try, but sadly I think I'm the only one that would be interested in a carbon fiber frame in our rocky environment. However, if I get a chance to ride one I will gladly post my interpretation of it.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Student Driver
    Well, relying on people with years of experience in a variety of bikes is what the forum is all about, right? And, if they are people you know, then all the better right? And, talking to someone with a vested interest in the sales of his or her product isn't exactly neutral, right? He has a fairly strong opinion of his own design (which is fine, he's proud of it ) but I tend to rely on myself and those I trust; and if others are posting similar experiences then it makes sense. While I agree about a concern over "hearsay" I wouldn't categorize this in the same general manner, such as "I heard from this guy who heard from another guy that read something..."

    So what you're stating is that your Ibis doesn't exhibit the stiffening under increased chain load, correct? Could it be that the Iron Horse models still do, or that you aren't perceiving it? If I get a chance I will try to find the exact models that were referenced, but that will probably not happen. I wish I had an Ibis to try, but sadly I think I'm the only one that would be interested in a carbon fiber frame in our rocky environment. However, if I get a chance to ride one I will gladly post my interpretation of it.

    Yes. You have to take every advice/opinion/statement with a grain of salt...even mine. I only stated that the DW does not experience brake jack/stiffening under load/chain torque because of my own personal experience on it, what other Ibis riders experience and of couse, what DW himself says about the design. Given that, there are still other factors (like the shock on the Mach 5 at interbike) that will affect suspension dynamics and make the ride either better/worse....worse for the Pivot bikes for example.

    Too bad you don't have the opportunity to ride one.....I can say that my choice to buy it was based on riding Mojo's on separate occasions (2 of my buddies own them). Having done "research" here on the forums as well as reading up at the Ibis site and DW's, I was convinced enough to buy the bike.

    A lot of people are either really turned off that it's carbon or are adamantly defending it. I'm neither.....rather, it's up to each person to decide. I'm sure that in certain situations, carbon could present problems but in my riding, it's doubtful. That doesn't mean that I don't ride rocky terrain. One of my local rides has extended descents through boulders but I don't plan to take a spill And I know my limits....I'm not trying anything with too much exposure however smallish stunts (3 ft jumps, seesaws, ladders) I do all the time and am very comfortable doing that on the Mojo.

    I don't know how the Iron Horse's implementation of the DW differs so I can't comment on that.

  15. #15
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    Well, this is still objective info about a suspension design so this isn't really derailing the thread too much, right? It's nice seeing someone a bit more "even" about his selection of carbon fiber as a material for off-road use. I am 230lbs and ride in southeastern AZ with many tons of rocks on the mountain climbs and descents. I have seen a few S-Works models out and about and they get rave reviews. I've only seen one "cracked", but that was because of a crash so hard that it broke the collarbone of the rider at the time it happened. Even then, it looked like the bike was ride-worthy enough to get back to a trailhead if needed.

    I was really looking forward to the models from Pivot as a nice, possibly custom (especially since it's aluminum) implementation of a frame that would fit me using the dw*link suspension. However, during research and discussions with more neutral riders I grew concerned. I believe in a very active and plush suspension, and the idea of "anti-squat" doesn't mix well with what I like. But, maybe I'll get to ride an Ibis, or a newer Pivot when they get them dialed in and form a different opinion. But for now, I just stick with the Horst Link stuff.
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  16. #16
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    Difference between Maestro and DW-link

    I have just posted this on the Ibis forum (same thread name) not realizing the hot discussion on the subject here at Specialized.

    Student Driver and ddraewwg ... this is directed mostly towards you, but anyone else with "objective info" please feel free to chime in.

    "Sorry for the apparent hijack, but this does somewhat relate to the OP. I'm just trying to inform myself a bit, and you Ibis owners may know a little about this.

    Giant uses Maestro while Iron Horse and Ibis use DW-link for rear suspension ... what I would like to know is how come the suspension design on the Iron Horses, although being called DW-link, on some models it looks like the Maestro design (e.g. MKIII) while on others it looks like the DW-link (e.g. Azure)? Can anyone here shed some light on this?

    Thanks."

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGiv'er
    Giant uses Maestro while Iron Horse and Ibis use DW-link for rear suspension ... what I would like to know is how come the suspension design on the Iron Horses, although being called DW-link, on some models it looks like the Maestro design (e.g. MKIII) while on others it looks like the DW-link (e.g. Azure)? Can anyone here shed some light on this?

    Thanks."
    When you say "looks", I think you mean the linkages and why the rockers are different on different bikes even though they are all DW designed. I am not a suspension guru, but I read that when Dave discusses the designs with each respective company, depending on what the bike is designed for, the implementation of the DW link can/will be different. Rockers are primarily used to adjust the leverage ratios which affects how the bike rides. Look at single pivot bikes.....Turners are basically single pivots but they choose to use rockers to adjust the leverage curve. Hecklers don't use a rocker but they're still single pivots. I read that for Pivot bikes, Chris preferred a more "crisp" handling suspension so when DW and Chris designed the linkages, it was geared towards this. Now, the Sunday is a DH bike so I'm sure that Iron Horse wanted the DW link to perform completely differently than the Mach 4/5. Again, I would not know how they were designed differently and would not know the ride differences among Iron Horses, Mojos, Pivots, etc....except what I have read from DW and from other threads. I think I mentioned it in this thread that I have not ridden any other DW bike except the Mojo.

    I just know that for whatever reason......I like the Mojo

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddraewwg
    When you say "looks", I think you mean the linkages and why the rockers are different on different bikes even though they are all DW designed.
    If we are talking about the same thing, then yes, I am referring to the looks of the linkages and rocker arms and, in principle, the way they function. I will add the following to my previous example just to try and clarify and be more specific:

    - On an Iron Horse MKIII the suspension looks very similar to the Giant Trance (or Reign) Maestro.

    - On an Iron Horse Azure the suspension looks very similar to the Ibis Mojo DW-link.

    Now Iron Horse claims that both the MKIII and the Azure use DW-link despite the differences. As far as I know Giant has patented the Maestro as their own and has not simply licensed the DW-link under the Maestro name. Hopefully this explains the source of the cofusion a little better.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGiv'er
    If we are talking about the same thing, then yes, I am referring to the looks of the linkages and rocker arms and, in principle, the way they function. I will add the following to my previous example just to try and clarify and be more specific:

    - On an Iron Horse MKIII the suspension looks very similar to the Giant Trance (or Reign) Maestro.

    - On an Iron Horse Azure the suspension looks very similar to the Ibis Mojo DW-link.

    Now Iron Horse claims that both the MKIII and the Azure use DW-link despite the differences. As far as I know Giant has patented the Maestro as their own and has not simply licensed the DW-link under the Maestro name. Hopefully this explains the source of the cofusion a little better.
    The Maestro is a completely different design in terms of how the suspension performs than the DW. Just because the linkages look the same doesn't mean they perform the same. Even 1 mm differences in the placement, length, etc of the rockers can have drastic differences. However, I read somewhere that DW is in a battle with Giant over the Maestro design because it infringes on one/some of the DW patents. Although, I don't know if there's anything to this rumor and can not substantiate it.

  20. #20
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    [QUOTE=tahj33] my goal is to spend as much as I can reasonably spend without my wife finding out.


    First things first - how are you planning on buying a new bike without your wife noticing??? Especially those that cost more that $1500??? You sound like a pretty smart guy, very likely married a smart women, she'll will notice as soon as you bring it home.

    Now for your question. The best objective info that you collect will come from the seat of your pants. There is nothing better than a good long test ride to find out what works for you and only you. Sure we can tell you what 'we' like about a particular bike but what works for us may not work for you. So my advise to you is go out and ride all those bikes you are interested in including those you may not like for you may be surprise that you might like them more after the ride. Find shops that have rentals, demo days or will you allow a test ride more than just around the parking lot - you need to test ride the bike on real trails. On a side note, "shop" the shop at the same time you test ride the bikes. If you do not feel comfortable with the people at shop I would go elsewhere, there are plenty of other bike shops that want your business.

    Best of luck to you!

  21. #21
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    I think all of the above said is true. Most of these bikes are excellent bikes. What should help you determine your purchase as well is the type of service you recieve from the manufacturers.

    I have a Santa Cruz Heckler, and a Specialized S-Works Enduro. For both of these companies, I have been able to reach someone on the phone directly prior to my purchases and actually talk to a real live person. A person that was able to answer my questions. This is what helped me make my decision in my purchases - support!

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