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  1. #1
    DAC M5 Beast
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    Triad versus Brain Fade?

    I'm still doing my debate between the 2007 stumpy elite and expert. Taking cost out of the equation, which is the better choice? No racing mostly cross country riding no big drops and I do like to climb, but there arenít long mile climbs around here where I live. My LBSís say it's definitively the brain, but here on mtbr it seems like a mixed opinion.

  2. #2
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    I have over 600 miles on my 2007 FSR Expert and have nothing but good to say about the brain. It has been reliable and seems to work as advertised. I like the fact that I don’t have to manually lock out the shock if I am going to do any out of the saddle peddling.

    I have been riding full suspension MTB since 2000 (Cannondale Super V, Raven and Jekyll and most recently a Trek Fuel Ex-9) all of which will do some serious rear end bob if you get out of the saddle. Due to this I have developed a riding style where I sit and spin.

    I don’t have any experience with the Triad, but would assume it would behave similar to the bikes I listed above.

    The bottom line is that I like the fact I don’t have to adjust the shock on the fly.

    By the way the terrain here in SW Michigan consists of rolling hills and short steep climbs.
    2010 Gary Fisher Superfly
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  3. #3
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    It depends on how important lockout (or a fully active suspension) is to you. I rarely use the lockout, if at all, on my 07 Elite. As I have ridden XC-style stuff my whole MTB "life," I wanted full suspension to take the jarring out of crossing rock gardens and to speed up my descents. I have found rear suspension to be the most useful when climbing though, and locking it out doesn't help at all. Even when riding up a dirt road I don't bother and just use ProPedal if I am really tired and not spinning smoothly enough. But, most of the time I just leave the shock open.
    1997 Specialized Stumpy Pro
    1998 Specialized Allez Epic
    2007 Specialized Stumpy FSR Elite
    2010 Specialized Roubaix Expert

  4. #4
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    I recently gave up on the brain. It's back to my trusty rp3 for my 06 s-works 120. Feels like coming home.

    Anybody want to buy a brand new brain? 300 it's yours.

  5. #5
    azstumpy
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    I was given the Epic Expert w/Brain as a test bike until my Stumpy Comp arrived (two weeks ago). I loved the performance of the brain. But my Fox Triad works really great. So well that I can be patient until I find the brain that I must have! I need to talk to masochist.

    No question - if money is no object, then get the brain! If you don't like it, I will definitely work out a trade with you.

  6. #6
    TANSTAAFL
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    important note, the epic brian is race tuned, the stumpy is trail tuned

    race tune = full lock out
    trail tune = pro pedal like when locked out, not really locked out

    so can't compare the epic to the stump brain....really

    I have an epic and a stumpy (triad) and they are way different, the epic is truely a hardtail when locked out. I test rode a stumpy with a brain, and it was nice, but not like the epic.

    I bought a 2006 expert stumpy, most of the time I have it in PP, and open it for really technical decents.

    I always have to lower my seat, so flicking the switch is not a big deal, especially since I have the Talas as well so I am always adjusting that as well.

    Top of every decent, I think Fork, Seat, Shock, then I am good to go.....

    Jim
    "It is a bad sign when people stop identifying themselves with the county and start identifying with a group."

  7. #7
    DAC M5 Beast
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    Is fair to say that the triad in pro pedal and the brain

    are close in seated climbing?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by adcampo
    are close in seated climbing?
    It would be best to look at threads comparing the RP23 and Triad.

    The Triad (on the 05 and 06) are junk. Seated spinning on the Triad, the bike will squat. Stand and pound on the Triad and the bike will squat. The Brain, on the other hand, actually works. I don't know if it can be called Propedal because when the inertia valve activates the rear is locked and you get no squat or bob which is great but I don't know if there is a defined platform. My problem with the Brain was that the performance was inconsistent. When it worked, it was better than the Propedal on the RP23 but when it didn't it felt choppy. I liked the Brain much better than the Triad, but I like the RP23 even more than that. The RP23 has 4 levels (3, 2, 1, and Open). I have found a use for every single level and the performance has been more than I expected.

    Summary:
    Sit and spin on the Triad, you will get very tired fast.
    Sit and spin on the Brain, you will blast up the hill, but technical singletrack will not always yield consistent performance.

  9. #9
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    With the old Triad, sure. But with my 07 that isn't an issue. Others that have ridden the 07 don't have issues with the Triad that comes with it. Also, I have read that the Brain got a big update for 07 (one of the magazines recently when speaking of the 08) to address the inconsistent behavior.
    1997 Specialized Stumpy Pro
    1998 Specialized Allez Epic
    2007 Specialized Stumpy FSR Elite
    2010 Specialized Roubaix Expert

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mashochist
    Anybody want to buy a brand new brain? 300 it's yours.
    Wow... brand new brain, my second favorite organ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Student Driver
    Also, I have read that the Brain got a big update for 07 (one of the magazines recently when speaking of the 08) to address the inconsistent behavior.
    Specialized is changing Stumpy rear shock lenght every year:

    2006: 7.50" x 1.75"
    2007: 7.75" x 1.75"
    2008: 7.25" x 1.75"

    Any reason for that, besides driving us crazy when we have to look for an alternative shock.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Student Driver
    With the old Triad, sure. But with my 07 that isn't an issue. Others that have ridden the 07 don't have issues with the Triad that comes with it. Also, I have read that the Brain got a big update for 07 (one of the magazines recently when speaking of the 08) to address the inconsistent behavior.
    I demo'ed the chipping paint 07 Brain.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
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    I remember that, along with all the pics. But that still doesn't speak to the 07 Triad references, and I wasn't aware that you were familiar with the 06 and 07 versions of the Brain to differentiate them.
    1997 Specialized Stumpy Pro
    1998 Specialized Allez Epic
    2007 Specialized Stumpy FSR Elite
    2010 Specialized Roubaix Expert

  13. #13
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    Actually, I am glad you pointed out your demo experience. In it, you wrote that the Brain was "absolutely impressive" and you were quite happy with it both uphill and downhill, although you thought it followed the terrain a little too much. What changed your mind about it?

    In depth comparison: 06 Stumpy vs. 07 Stumpy Expert Test Bike
    1997 Specialized Stumpy Pro
    1998 Specialized Allez Epic
    2007 Specialized Stumpy FSR Elite
    2010 Specialized Roubaix Expert

  14. #14
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    I use the lockout function on my 07 Triad frequently - especially when I'm pedalling up steep uphill tarmac roads - having both shocks completely locked out allows me to stand in a higher gear whilst using more pedal force with absolutely no bob at all (just like riding a rigid bike)- locked out is locked out, there isn't anything else that could affect it. I fail to see how the 'brain' can be completely locked out not knowing how to optimise each pedal stroke, whether I'm standing or sitting and what gear I'm in. The brain isn't quite that clever yet....

    07 Triads are problem free, low maintenance and doesn't hurt once in a while to flick the lever over when necessary. As simple as that.

  15. #15
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    I've been running my '07 Stumpy Comp Triad in Propedal exclusively. I like the additional damping it provides, and it soaks up the trail on downhills pretty well. Open is quite different, it is much more plush, but also much slower on initial acceleration.

    I still haven't used full travel yet, in either mode. People I ride with are too fast uphill.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Student Driver
    Actually, I am glad you pointed out your demo experience. In it, you wrote that the Brain was "absolutely impressive" and you were quite happy with it both uphill and downhill, although you thought it followed the terrain a little too much. What changed your mind about it?

    In depth comparison: 06 Stumpy vs. 07 Stumpy Expert Test Bike
    Excellent memory

    The RP23 changed my mind. A loaf of soggy wet bread is impressive compared to the Triad. The demo was my first time with Propedal on a Stumpjumper and I was amazed that pounding on the pedal caused the bike to dart forward instead of squat. The problem was that the Brain did not consistently work that way. When the Inertia Valve activated, the Brain worked better than the RP23. But since the Brain wasn't consistently performing well, I prefer the more consistent, albeit softer, RP23. The descending through the chop, the RP23 is much better than either shock. The Brain rattled my teeth in one particularly rooty area. The Triad was smooth but felt a bit clumsy. With the RP23, I can blast through there but typically carry too much speed through the section and overshoot the next turn

  17. #17
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    OK, that's makes more sense. I have wondered if I would like the Brain myself, but I keep the Triad open most of the time as I spin pretty smoothly. Since I like it very active (I don't want to feel that much of it, hence the purchase of a full suspension bike ) I don't need much in the way of platform damping. So, the 07 Triad and its ProPedal are great for me what I ride up long fire roads and get tired/sloppy with my pedaling.
    1997 Specialized Stumpy Pro
    1998 Specialized Allez Epic
    2007 Specialized Stumpy FSR Elite
    2010 Specialized Roubaix Expert

  18. #18
    DAC M5 Beast
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    Sounds like the Elite with the Triad is fine for me. The way I'm thinking now is that if I want to upgrade the rear shock I can always get a Pushed RP23. Although I said price is not a factor... I can get new Elite for $500 less than a Expert test bike.

    Thanks for everyone's input.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Student Driver
    OK, that's makes more sense. I have wondered if I would like the Brain myself, but I keep the Triad open most of the time as I spin pretty smoothly. Since I like it very active (I don't want to feel that much of it, hence the purchase of a full suspension bike ) I don't need much in the way of platform damping. So, the 07 Triad and its ProPedal are great for me what I ride up long fire roads and get tired/sloppy with my pedaling.
    I think I can more easily run Open for long, smooth climbs. The reason I am running Propedal all the time is because of technical climbs, for short bursts, I could feel the lack of accelaration in Open mode. I love rocky climbing that requires constant bursts, pedal adjustment, pop up the front wheel, and I found Open mode not to suitable for this style of riding.

  20. #20
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    After test-driving a number of bikes on AC these last two months, I can say that pro-pedal (or a slow compression setting) works better than lockout when used with 26 x 2.0 (+) tires inflated to 50 psi or less. Here is a sample of what I have ridden:
    1) My 04 SJ FSR (100mm of travel) with a Fox Float R tuned with non-adjustable Pro-pedal compression. Very little bobbing occurs when peddling hard in the saddle on either AC or hard pack and hence the energy loss is around 25% making it about 75% efficient.
    2) 06 Epic Disc (100mm)-the inertia valve must have been malfunctioning because the Float R with brain was acting like it was fully open no matter how I tweaked the rebound, air pressure or the brain. Even though the rear end was bobbing the pedal efficiency felt like it was around 75% or better.
    3) 07 SJ FSR Comp and Elite (120mm) with a Fox Triad. In the open position the shock bobs and feels approximately 60% efficient. When set to pro-pedal, there is very little bobbing going on when peddling in the saddle but I would say the energy loss improves by 10% making it about 70% efficiency. And for some reason lockout feels less efficient than PP when peddling in the saddle. I would say the lockout mode is designed for out of the saddle sprints or climbs. Side note; the 07 SJs have the least amount of road feel (on the AC) out of all of the rigs I have ridden, which may be a function of a very beefed up and stiff frame, shock and fork tuning or 120mm of travel.
    4) 07 FSR Comp (100mm) with a X-Fusion 02 RC. With the rebound set to half and the compression fully open, the shock bobs and feels 70% efficient. When the compression knob is turned 3/4 of the way closed the shock almost behaves like it has pro-pedal with a very small amount of bobbing in the saddle-80% to 85% peddle efficiency. Like the SJ lockout it does not feel as efficient as it does with slow compression-80% minus.
    5) 07 Gary Fisher Hi fi with a Fox RP3. The rear end had little to no bob, which made the bike feel very efficient in the saddle. RP1=84%, RP2=88% and RP3=92% or better. And the bike had a great road feel.
    6) And finally my wifeís bike a 03 Rock hopper FSR (80mm) with a Fox Float R without pro-pedal. By far this bike has the best road feel out of all of the bikes listed above and the pedal efficiency is more than 80% when spinning in the saddle.

  21. #21
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    Can anybody weigh in on the different shocks when riding on 1) hard pack, 2) rough gravel (high frequency small bumps-the rebound needs to be turned up for a fast response), 3) large bumps, 4) irregular surfaces and 5) dips. For example my OEM 6 1/2" x 1 1/2" Fox Float R with PP on my 04 SJ can be described as follows: 1) When riding on smooth hard pack, the shock performs as described in the post above. 2) At medium to fast speeds, the shocks compression valving cannot keep up with the high frequency compression inputs from the gravel and as a result the ride in the saddle is jarring. 3) Large bumps when hit at medium speeds (or faster) will completely compress the shock (bottom it out) and combined with the frames short BB height results in many peddle and crank arm collisions with outcropping objects. 4) Fitted with either Fast Trac or Roll-X tires, the rear shock does a good job at tracking over irregular surfaces as long as the speed is kept in check. 5) The shock handles dip in the same way as the large bumps in item 3 above.

    The reason I ask is because my Float R is currently sitting on one of Foxís repair benches awaited service. If Fox calls me next week and says that the repair will cost more than two hundred dollars (a new Float R retails for $250.00) than I will need to decide on whether to buy a new Triad for $370.00, a RP23 for $380.00, a Float R for $250.00 or a Cane Creek Cloud Nine for $360.00. I am leaning towards a RP23 based on my type of riding, which consists of a combination flat runs on AC, climbing a rough gravel road with large outcrops of large rocks, hard pack and rocks, a few dips, a small amount of sand and a 3 mile run back down on the gravel.

  22. #22
    mtbr member
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    Just get the RP23 if it comes up, since the RP2 has a ridiculous amount of damping on ProPedal mode, and you get more settings with the RP23. I rode a Giant Reign 1 a little bit today, and I didn't really like the bike at all. However, I did learn that the RP2 felt overdamped to me with ProPedal on, but I also think that the Triad's ProPedal is pretty good so take it for what it's worth.
    1997 Specialized Stumpy Pro
    1998 Specialized Allez Epic
    2007 Specialized Stumpy FSR Elite
    2010 Specialized Roubaix Expert

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