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  1. #1
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    Wanted: Your thoughts/opinion on the BRAIN

    When I first heard about this BRAIN technology I was a bit skeptical. Is it really gonna work? If it does, will it last? Does Spesh have a lifetime warranty on this? For those who have it what can you say about its performance? What are the advantages & disadvantages?

  2. #2
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    ive got an 08 epic, its just set and forget, it have it fully open and havent touched it since, its hardtail smooth on asphalt, if i drop down hard on the seat itll work but i can jump on the cranks and it wont, it stays hard out of the saddle and when im hammering up hills, when i hit the offorads it just starts working, you dont feel it they seem to have it working seamlessly now, i love it, no more fiddling!!

  3. #3
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    If set up just right it works brilliantly in the small and large rings, not as well in the middle.
    It is not really designed for a cushy ride, so if set up that way pedalling performance will suffer. Rebound issues, concerns over longevity, and the desire for a hard lockout option have me wishing for an RP23. It doesn't quite match the feel or quality of the Fox fork it is paired with but I suspect that is mostly because it has such a high travel ratio. Why is all that space wasted on a mount extension instead of shock body? Overall though I would give it high marks, just wish it wasn't currently the only choice for an Epic.

  4. #4
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    I'm loving it on my Stumpy. It is nice and firm on the smooth stuff but soaks up roots and small jumps beautifully. That being said, I have just had it replaced under warranty which Specialized was very quick about. The seal on the shock itself had blown and was leaking fluid.
    2011 Stumpjumper FSR Pro Carbon

  5. #5
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    I love it on my 07 Epic Marathon. I know how to dial it in really good prior to starting a race. When I pre-ride a trail, one of the things I do pay attention to is how my bike is responding and what the best tune will be for that race. I've made adjustments during the race when conditions really go south.

    Personally, I think the brain on a non race specific bike is more marketing than anything. But some people do race the stumpy so....

  6. #6
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    Have mine set to fully firm and real happy with how it works. Climbing is probably the best part of my riding so I wanted a full suspension bike that climbs well. One thing though is when the brain activates you can sort of feel it operating through the bike. It strange and at times it feels like I have a rear flat for a second or two.

  7. #7
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    I love the brain on my 07 SJ Expert. It's not a complete lockout on the SJ like on the Epic, but goes open when the trail gets rough, and firms back up when climbing. I've had no problems with the shock is so far (15 months of use/abuse in SoCal).

    The owners manual states a one year warranty on the suspension. The following comes from the specialized 07 SJ owners manual.

    -------------------------------
    LIMITED ONE (1) YEAR WARRANTY ON SUSPENSION ATTACHMENTS & SUSPENSION RELATED EQUIPMENT
    Also subject to the following limitations, terms and conditions, Specialized warrants to the original owner of each new Specialized bicycle or frameset that the suspension attachment points, and suspension related equipment (including pivot points, bushings, shock units, front suspension forks, stays, plates, fasteners) when new are free of defective materials or workmanship. This warranty shall expire one (1) year from the date of the original purchase from an authorized Specialized dealer and is conditioned upon the bicycle being operated under normal conditions and use, and properly maintained. This warranty is void if the bicycle was not purchased new from or not properly assembled by an authorized Specialized dealer. Some branded suspension equipment may have additional warranty coverage offered by the specific manufacturer. Please check in your owner’s manual pack for information regarding these warranties or check with your authorized Specialized dealer for details.
    --------------------------------------------

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ohgodnooo!
    Why is all that space wasted on a mount extension instead of shock body?

    The Brain is just an inertia valve, so it needs to be positioned in line with the motion of the rear wheel - that is why it is way back there and sticking ~almost~ straight up on the stumpy (and back there and sticking ~almost~ straight up on the epic)

  9. #9
    Going, Going, Gonzo
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    I set mine up and forget about it. The Stumpy FSR pro is my first full suspension bike and I gota say I'm impressed. Most impressive is the dif it makes on the UPhills. The rear tire really stays in contact and there is no significant loss of traction where my hardtail would be breaking loose.

    I don't know how much of that is due to the brain, but it seems to be doing what it's supposed to. No bobbing on the flats, but plenty of absorption on the down hill. Works for me.

  10. #10
    Mulleticious
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    2008 Stumpy FSR Pro Carbon. This is also my first full suss bike. Getting it set up like I had imagined it should work is a mission. I'm still not there yet. Maybe I was too optimistic about its capability. I think (as an earlier post said) the best way is to set it as hard as possible then let the brain make it soft when necessary. Otherwise I find I spend a lot of time bobbing away wasting energy. Sometimes I also wish I could just lock it out, but the problem then is forgetting to unlock it at the right time!

  11. #11
    Just Wanna Ride!
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    The brain really works. The brain shock that is on the current bikes isn't new technology. It been on the Epic for years so the technology has certainly stood the test of time. The Epic has won more major XC races than any other full suspension bike - it's not even close.

    I have owned a fox brain on a Stumpjumper and now have an 08 FSR 29er with the AFR shock. The new shock is a huge improvement over the old. Not that the old shock didn't work, but the new works so smoothly when transitioning from smooth to firm that you can't tell it's activating. When you ride behind someone riding one you can see that that the shock is firm on smooth climbs, but opens up when you roll over roots, rocks, or through a drainage rut. As soon as you're over the obstacle the shock firms right back up.

    The range of adjustment with the brain is also impressive. If you compare it to propedal shocks they will have 3 settings (at most), while the newer brains have a broad range of adjustments. You can really set it up to match your riding style/terrain. I would describe the suspension range like this...on a scale from 0-10 with 1 being hardtail firm and 10 being fully open and active, the Epic has a range of adjustment from 0-6 and the SJ has a range of adjustment from 3-10. SJ doesn't go to full firm, and the Epic doesn't go to fully open.

  12. #12
    Mulleticious
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    Thanks sthrnfat - this is very helpful. So if I want a stiff ride for most of the time on a stumpy FSR (due to climbs and smoother surfaces) would you recommend setting the shock (and the fork) to the hardest setting and leaving it there?

  13. #13
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    The FOX brain on the stumpy 07 expert worked flawlessly for me for a year. Like magic. Have a Enduro SL now, and I do miss the hands off approach you can have if you have a brain. It is very easy to forget to turn off the pro-pedal after the climb, but with the brain you did not have to worry.

  14. #14
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    I have a 2004 s-works enduro. The only enduro ever to have the brain. It works really well. I am amazed at some of the stuff that I can climb. Mine has 5 clicks between firm and soft. I only use full firm for extended fireroad climbs. Full soft is great for downhills. I usually set it in the middle. If I set it on firm, it feels like a hardtail. There are a few small quibbles.

    1) I always feel the first in a series of bumps, but after that, it's buttery smooth.

    2) Down hill riding (Steeps) - With a normal fork on the front and the brain on the rear, if I hit some smooth berms, the rear locks out and rides high in it's travel and the front shock collapses (g-out) which steepens the already steep head-tube (70.5 degrees) to probably more like 72 degrees. With minimal trail on the fox TALAS fork, this makes for very twitchy and uneasy handling. I thought is was my riding skills that were twitchy, but after riding a Santa Cruz V-10 on the same course.... it's definitely bike geometry and I think the brain is making things worse.

    Most of the newer bikes with brains (stumpy anyway) start off with a 69 degree heat tube angle so they may do better. Also, with a brain fork on the newer bikes, it probably feels way more balanced.


    All IMO of course.

    But overall I LOVE the pedalling efficiency that the brain offers. There's really nothing else like it - no platform, no propedal - the brain is in a class of it's own...
    Last edited by FSRguy; 01-16-2008 at 10:24 PM.

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