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  1. #1
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    DW link comparison?

    I've been riding a Turner 5.Spot for the past 4 years and really like the DW link suspension. I've had the bike rigged with a 650b front wheel for over a year, and have decided I want to go full 650b. Having ridden a 140 mm travel frame for a while, I don't think I really need all that travel and the idea of something a touch more upright and lighter is also appealing. Hence, I'm looking at the newly released 120-125 mm 650b frames that are appearing on the market now. The New Turner Flux would be ideal but for the 12.8" BB height. This is insanely low for my style of riding and somewhat frequent visits to rocky trails. I'd prefer something more in the 13.25" range. Thus the Alpino is attractive in that regard.

    I'm reluctant to move away from the DW link suspension and I've never ridden a Ventana. I know this is likely the wrong place to be asking because everyone here is totally sold on their Ventana bikes (as it should be!), but if anyone has direct experience with both a Ventana and a DW link Turner, I'd be grateful for an honest appraisal of the suspension dynamics, especially with regard to pedal bob and climbing.

    Thanks for any information or opinions.

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    DW link comparison?

    Call Chad at Red Barn Bicycles (406-363-2662). He's been riding a DW 5 Spot and now rides an Alpino, and has been riding turners and ventanas for years, so he will have a great perspective on suspension evolution on these frames.

  3. #3
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    I've been riding a Turner 5.Spot for the past 4 years and really like the DW link suspension. I've had the bike rigged with a 650b front wheel for over a year, and have decided I want to go full 650b. Having ridden a 140 mm travel frame for a while, I don't think I really need all that travel and the idea of something a touch more upright and lighter is also appealing. Hence, I'm looking at the newly released 120-125 mm 650b frames that are appearing on the market now. The New Turner Flux would be ideal but for the 12.8" BB height. This is insanely low for my style of riding and somewhat frequent visits to rocky trails. I'd prefer something more in the 13.25" range. Thus the Alpino is attractive in that regard.

    I'm reluctant to move away from the DW link suspension and I've never ridden a Ventana. I know this is likely the wrong place to be asking because everyone here is totally sold on their Ventana bikes (as it should be!), but if anyone has direct experience with both a Ventana and a DW link Turner, I'd be grateful for an honest appraisal of the suspension dynamics, especially with regard to pedal bob and climbing.

    Thanks for any information or opinions.
    Chad at Redbarn as JC suggested is definitely a good idea. There are prolly some others too.

    I can give you a comparison to an Ibis Mojo HD (DW link) and a Ventana Ciclon and X-5s if you want. They're both 26", but I can give you the differences I feel between the suspension designs.

    The Ventana is a much more active suspension (single pivot), and you'll want to test ride it to get a feel. Note that not all single pivots are created equal, just as the DW links are not all created equal.

    The Ventana single pivot feels a lot like what a lot of people like about BMWs: they want to feel the road (in this case the trail). You'll feel every little thing, and the cornering for it is pretty awesome.

    The corners and the climbing are where I notice the difference: the Ventanas will sink the corners where the Ibis tends to rise a bit (the anti-squat), but the Ibis is definitely a better climber for someone like me who mashes. And in NorCal, we do a lot of climbing.

    The other thing about the DW link is it tends to sink into the suspension quicker so you're more likely to strike pedals. I'm striking the pedals more on my HD than I ever did on the Ciclon. It might be a BB height, but I don't know enough about suspension dynamics to tell you.

    I've also test rode the Pivots, and I don't like the feel of their bikes at all. You should ask on the Turner forum too.. there's definitely overlap between brands. And test ride where you can. Not all of the same sizes are created equally either.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by JC822 View Post
    Call Chad at Red Barn Bicycles (406-363-2662). He's been riding a DW 5 Spot and now rides an Alpino, and has been riding turners and ventanas for years, so he will have a great perspective on suspension evolution on these frames.
    +1 on this. Chad is a good and honest guy.
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  5. #5
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    DW link comparison?

    I really like the feel of my 429's suspension when pedaling compared to my last gen Rey. I do like single pivots with a good platform shock. My old single Scalpel 1 peddled great but had some brake jack which was slightly annoying. It seems the current gen Ventanas pedal better. Ultimately I may go the Alpino route. I loved my old Rey. Stiff, reliable, great mud clearance and easy to maintain. Creaking, short pivot life, delays for replacement frames, beta testing unreturned phone calls, BS life time guarantees, multi-linkages packing up, are not a part of Ventana's philosophy.

  6. #6
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    My previous bike was the Flux and it was a good solid bike. To me, the suspension never felt as plush as my Ciclon, but the flux had the RP23 and my Ciclon is coil. Climbing....the flux didnt bob like the Ciclon does, but both have great traction and to me, the Ciclon was better on technical and rocky climbs.

    Descending, the Ciclon was a step up, but I think that is mostly due to the geometry. I also have wider rims on the Ciclon, but weight wise, the Flux was 25 lbs compared to the 32 lb Ciclon.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes View Post
    Chad at Redbarn as JC suggested is definitely a good idea. There are prolly some others too.

    I can give you a comparison to an Ibis Mojo HD (DW link) and a Ventana Ciclon and X-5s if you want. They're both 26", but I can give you the differences I feel between the suspension designs.

    The Ventana is a much more active suspension (single pivot), and you'll want to test ride it to get a feel. Note that not all single pivots are created equal, just as the DW links are not all created equal.

    The Ventana single pivot feels a lot like what a lot of people like about BMWs: they want to feel the road (in this case the trail). You'll feel every little thing, and the cornering for it is pretty awesome.

    The corners and the climbing are where I notice the difference: the Ventanas will sink the corners where the Ibis tends to rise a bit (the anti-squat), but the Ibis is definitely a better climber for someone like me who mashes. And in NorCal, we do a lot of climbing.

    The other thing about the DW link is it tends to sink into the suspension quicker so you're more likely to strike pedals. I'm striking the pedals more on my HD than I ever did on the Ciclon. It might be a BB height, but I don't know enough about suspension dynamics to tell you.

    I've also test rode the Pivots, and I don't like the feel of their bikes at all. You should ask on the Turner forum too.. there's definitely overlap between brands. And test ride where you can. Not all of the same sizes are created equally either.
    Really good post. Only thing I will add is that with those two bikes, you have to decide where you want your anti-squat to come from. The frame itself or from the shock? The current rage is that is should come all from the bike so the shock can be free to do what it wants. And everyone argues that Propedal (PP) is bad. In practice, I have found that ridding a bike the uses PP to control squat can give pretty much the same exact ride as a dw linked type bike. Both have benefits and both have drawbacks. And both may require a shock tune to give the most optimal ride.
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  8. #8
    Oji
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    Thanks all for good insight. I have emailed Chad and might call later.

    Having previous experience with a SC Superlight, I'm familiar with the issues of single pivot suspension, and that's part of my hesitation on the Alpino. Nice bike, no doubt, and I'd really be keen on a demo ride. I could be making more of the low BB on the Flux than necessary. But of course that argues for a demo ride as well. Unfortunately I don't see the demos happening in my area (central NC).

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    Really good post. Only thing I will add is that with those two bikes, you have to decide where you want your anti-squat to come from. The frame itself or from the shock? The current rage is that is should come all from the bike so the shock can be free to do what it wants. And everyone argues that Propedal (PP) is bad. In practice, I have found that ridding a bike the uses PP to control squat can give pretty much the same exact ride as a dw linked type bike. Both have benefits and both have drawbacks. And both may require a shock tune to give the most optimal ride.
    Thanks. Both suspension designs require a properly tuned shock IMO. The Ciclon for me did its best with the CCDB, which a significant amount of low speed compression damping. For the HD, I'm finding the stock CTD isn't great even with the recommended volume reducer in the chunky stuff, and the concensus on the Ibis boards to run something else (either Push the shock or go with a better rear shock), so I need to see what my options are since the small frames (from either Ibis or Ventana) have limited options for rear shock fit.
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  10. #10
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    Keep in mind also that the high-forward pivot of your Superlight is a whole 'nother animal than the low pivot of most Ventanas (excluding the old Chamuco and Pantera).

    The high pivot single-pivots have lots of chain growth, so they stiffen up considerably (or even extend) while pedaling hard in the small ring. For a super-steep, smooth section of trail--or scooting up and over a ledge--that can be great, but for sustained climbing in the rocks you can't count on the rear end remaining plush. I spent years on a Chamuco, and found that I'd learned to micro-time my pedal effort so the suspension could compress when I needed it to. (The rearward wheel path also makes for great rocky-terrain descending.)

    The low pivot single-pivots, even the recently revised Ventanas with a slightly higher pivot, have far less interaction between the pedals and the suspension, so they remain very sensitive while climbing in rocky terrain, getting buttery, tractor-like traction. OTOH, the design tends to "squat" more, which feels less efficient on smoother terrain.

    For me, the current Ventana design is the most dialed single-pivot I've ridden, with the least number of compromises. I've very little ride time on multilink bikes, so I'll defer to others' takes on their merits.

  11. #11
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    I owned a 2012 El Rey and currently own a 429C. I liked the feel of the El Rey a lot. What I didn't like about the suspension was really only the fact that I like to climb out of saddle. With the El Rey this was not very good. To much movement for my tastes. If you stay in the saddle, its fine. The DW Link is fantastic for out of saddle climbing.

    The 429C will occasionally strike a pedal. The El Rey never did due to the higher BB as you mentioned.

    I don't think the pedal bob issue is really an issue, unless you climb out of saddle.

    Hope this helps.

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    I went from a DW Sultan to a Zues and just spent some good time on a Pivot/Firebird. It's hard to come up with a definitive because set-up/wheel size and tweaks in design have so much impact on how a bike feels. For me both DW bikes out climb the Zues on long sustained non-technical (boring) climbs hands down.

    IMO the Zues is more predictable when the trail turns ugly. Maybe not more efficient, but more connected and intuitive to throw around. My Zues also takes drops better than the DW bikes I've ridden. I also like the ability to completely change the personality of my bike with the CTD platform - with the DW bikes you pretty much get what the designer intends you to get (which can be pretty damn good, just not as tweak-able).

    As far as maintenance goes... no argument, Ventana wins hands down. My DW Turners required complete tear downs every 6 weeks of winter riding in the PNW. My Zues has been through a PNW Winter, Spring and is most of the way through Summer on the same set of bearings. The only thing I've had to replace are the new Fox bushings on the shock which seem like a downgrade from previous versions.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    Really good post. Only thing I will add is that with those two bikes, you have to decide where you want your anti-squat to come from. The frame itself or from the shock? The current rage is that is should come all from the bike so the shock can be free to do what it wants. And everyone argues that Propedal (PP) is bad. In practice, I have found that ridding a bike the uses PP to control squat can give pretty much the same exact ride as a dw linked type bike. Both have benefits and both have drawbacks. And both may require a shock tune to give the most optimal ride.
    This is correct: my old Ventana rode well with the pro pedal shock . My new dw link HD rides well with the pro pedal turned off.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by wipp View Post
    I went from a DW Sultan to a Zues and just spent some good time on a Pivot/Firebird. It's hard to come up with a definitive because set-up/wheel size and tweaks in design have so much impact on how a bike feels. For me both DW bikes out climb the Zues on long sustained non-technical (boring) climbs hands down.

    IMO the Zues is more predictable when the trail turns ugly. Maybe not more efficient, but more connected and intuitive to throw around. My Zues also takes drops better than the DW bikes I've ridden. I also like the ability to completely change the personality of my bike with the CTD platform - with the DW bikes you pretty much get what the designer intends you to get (which can be pretty damn good, just not as tweak-able).

    As far as maintenance goes... no argument, Ventana wins hands down. My DW Turners required complete tear downs every 6 weeks of winter riding in the PNW. My Zues has been through a PNW Winter, Spring and is most of the way through Summer on the same set of bearings. The only thing I've had to replace are the new Fox bushings on the shock which seem like a downgrade from previous versions.
    Isn't the Sultan at 29er vs a 650b? That would be a bigger difference on drops than the suspension design IMO.

    Not that impressed with the CTD on either the Ciclon or the Mojo HD. On the Ciclon, it could never seem to have enough platform (I climb out of the saddle sometimes and mash), where on the Mojo HD it blows right through the mid-stroke and wallows a bit, kinda like the DHX Air did on the X-5. This is even with the medium volume reducer in shock. Time to try the large one.

    I'm going to use my CTD as a backup and go back to the Monarch Plus. Just not impressed with the Fox air shocks. Gotta keep it as a backup though--the Monarch Plus I had was constantly in need of help from Rock Shox. Hoping the current version has the bugs worked out and lasts longer than a few months.

    Same could be said for the CTD though.. I had to send that back to Fox for a warranty because the pro-pedal stopped working after a few months of ownership. And running the Ciclon without pro-pedal really sucks on the climbs (and we have plenty of climbing here).

    The CCDB and DBair do wonders on any bike for fixing any suspension issues, provided you don't have a small frame--so I'm looking at either Push for the Fox or getting a Monarch Plus.
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    [QUOTE=Stripes;10600054]Isn't the Sultan at 29er vs a 650b? That would be a bigger difference on drops than the suspension design IMO.

    The Firebird is a 650B and the Sultan is a 29er. Both bikes on drops to flat were/are harsher than the single pivot Zues. I think it has something to do with the axle path on DW bikes that are engineered to have more platform because I've rented DW DH bikes where this was definitely not the case.

    Only complaint I have on the Fox CTD is that on 15-20 minute downhill runs the shock does seem to get overwhelmed as things heat up. I replace the seals on all my shocks (front and back) every 4-6 months and so far have not had any issues with any Fox products.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by wipp View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes View Post
    Isn't the Sultan at 29er vs a 650b? That would be a bigger difference on drops than the suspension design IMO.
    The Firebird is a 650B and the Sultan is a 29er. Both bikes on drops to flat were/are harsher than the single pivot Zues. I think it has something to do with the axle path on DW bikes that are engineered to have more platform because I've rented DW DH bikes where this was definitely not the case.

    Only complaint I have on the Fox CTD is that on 15-20 minute downhill runs the shock does seem to get overwhelmed as things heat up. I replace the seals on all my shocks (front and back) every 4-6 months and so far have not had any issues with any Fox products.
    But the Firebird 650b just came out, unless you converted an old bike to 650b.

    I don't like the Pivot suspension. It feels like abuse, and for that type of abuse, you might as well ride a hardtail or CX bike. Ibis has the DW link too, but doesn't feel harsh at all. Not sure if the Ibis suspension is more "DH" than the Pivot, but the Pivot just hurts.

    Just like not all single pivots are created equally--it's how they're implemented. Even from earlier generation of Ventanas, the suspension has a different feel, but it's the complete bike you buy: not just the suspension.

    Still not a fan of the CTD. Going to see if the large volume reducer in my HD helps the midstroke issues, but have my doubts. Most likely going to use it as a backup shock and get a Monarch Plus.

    I thought the Monarch Plus also performed much better on the Ciclon than the CTD. Should have just bought an extra and kept it around as a backup. Other than the CCDB (gawd, it's heavy), it's the only rear shock I've really been happy with.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes View Post
    But the Firebird 650b just came out, unless you converted an old bike to 650b.

    I don't like the Pivot suspension. It feels like abuse, and for that type of abuse, you might as well ride a hardtail or CX bike. Ibis has the DW link too, but doesn't feel harsh at all. Not sure if the Ibis suspension is more "DH" than the Pivot, but the Pivot just hurts.

    Just like not all single pivots are created equally--it's how they're implemented. Even from earlier generation of Ventanas, the suspension has a different feel, but it's the complete bike you buy: not just the suspension.

    Still not a fan of the CTD. Going to see if the large volume reducer in my HD helps the midstroke issues, but have my doubts. Most likely going to use it as a backup shock and get a Monarch Plus.

    I thought the Monarch Plus also performed much better on the Ciclon than the CTD. Should have just bought an extra and kept it around as a backup. Other than the CCDB (gawd, it's heavy), it's the only rear shock I've really been happy with.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes View Post
    I don't like the Pivot suspension. It feels like abuse, and for that type of abuse, you might as well ride a hardtail or CX bike.
    I know this is the Ventana forum, but I have to defend Pivot. I can't understand where you're coming from at all. Pivot's bikes feel plenty plush to me. Perhaps the suspension wasn't set up correctly for you?

    I'm following this thread because I really appreciate what Ventana does and I would love to support them. That said, I love the feel of my DW-link Pivot, especially the pedaling platform. Wish I could demo a Ventana to see how they ride. I can't buy a FS bike on faith.

  19. #19
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    I liked the 650B Pivot Firebird, it just felt a little short (cockpit) and somewhat harsher on drops to flat, in all other ways it rode really well for the hour or so that I had it at Duthie.

    Quote Originally Posted by golden boy View Post
    I know this is the Ventana forum, but I have to defend Pivot. I can't understand where you're coming from at all. Pivot's bikes feel plenty plush to me. Perhaps the suspension wasn't set up correctly for you?

    I'm following this thread because I really appreciate what Ventana does and I would love to support them. That said, I love the feel of my DW-link Pivot, especially the pedaling platform. Wish I could demo a Ventana to see how they ride. I can't buy a FS bike on faith.
    Last edited by wipp; 08-15-2013 at 10:00 AM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by golden boy View Post
    I love the feel of my DW-link Pivot, especially the pedaling platform.
    I won't even pretend to be a suspension guru, I've never owned a DW-link bike, though I've ridden one briefly, and I guess I'd say I'm a Ventanaphile. I currently own two (El Salt w/ RP23 and Terremoto w/ CCDB), and have owned others in the past. None of my current V's are of the new "curvy tube" coolness, which have even more refined suspension (and I'm drooling over a Zeus). I'm not one that plays into "mines better than yours", I think all modern designs and makers produce quality well thought out frames. All that being said, I'm 99% sure that a DW link frame is going to most definitely feel different than even the current models of Ventana. Having spoken to Sherwood on several occasions, I know the philosophy has been that suspension is supposed to be "active". Of course under braking, as I understand it, the suspension design of the Ventana (single pivot?) tends to lock out? At the same time, as I understand it the thinking behind the DW is no "squat", or "anti-squat" and therefor, relative to the Ventanas suspension, potentially(?) a little less "active" while climbing, etc., which is the selling point?

    Do my Ventanas "bob"? Well on both the RP23 (4" travel) and the CCDB (6" travel), yes if I look down at either shock, they are ever so slightly moving as i climb a fire road for example. But, I'd never know it through bike or pedal "feedback". Now, again, I've been riding V's for many years now. So, is my pedal stroke just that smooth through necessity? I can't say. I will say, that climbing technical ST and the like, is VERY enjoyable on the Venatna. I think this may be one of the strong points of the suspension? As far as suspension "lock out" when on the brakes, I can't say I notice this to be a problem, but here again I don't have much saddle time on other designs. I do understand that the new / current V's have been tweaked (pivot placement) to bring this to a minimum.

    Its a hard call, and I understand completely, without test riding a suspension design / bike its very difficult to shell out the cash for any of the upper end bikes - they ain't cheep.

    If you do go Ventana, I'm absolutely sure you'll be very happy with the attention to detail and just overall beauty of the frames, and the ability to call up Ventana HQ and talk to Teresa or Sherwood about anything is a nice plus too.

    Oh, and a quick edit... Yes, contact Chad at Red Barn (Custom Mountain Bikes, Road Bikes and Hand-made wheels | Red Barn Bicycles), or Mike at Velo City (Home), they both know their stuff, and have ridden and sell more then just Ventana. They could both give you the low down on the suspension traits.

    Best of luck, and "Ole!"
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  21. #21
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    I've ridden an El Ciclon and now a DW 5 Spot for the past 4 years. If you like the DW linakge you will likely NOT like the Ventana single pivot. Maybe get the Flux and put a 140 fork on it to boost the BB or just get a Burner. The Santa Cruz Solo with a 140 will also pedal great similar to the DW and it's a little taller than the new Flux.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by golden boy View Post
    I know this is the Ventana forum, but I have to defend Pivot. I can't understand where you're coming from at all. Pivot's bikes feel plenty plush to me. Perhaps the suspension wasn't set up correctly for you?

    I'm following this thread because I really appreciate what Ventana does and I would love to support them. That said, I love the feel of my DW-link Pivot, especially the pedaling platform. Wish I could demo a Ventana to see how they ride. I can't buy a FS bike on faith.
    You don't need to defend any manufacturer anyone as far as I'm concerned. I ride what I like, and expect you to do the same

    Personally, I don't like the feel of the Pivots, and it could be a suspension setup but it's hard for me to find a small Mach 6 or Firebird to test ride on the trail, so my experience is only going off curbs in a parking lot. After the suspension was supposedly setup for me, it still felt harsh and rough. I like the way it accelerated, but really hated the way it felt on landings coming off a 6" curb. If I could have found a small Firebird to have trail time with, I may have felt differently.

    Truthfully, I expected to hate the Mojo HD, but it was just the opposite. BUT--it did have to have the suspension dialed just right (which took a few rides) before really getting it set for me. I'm sure the Pivot is the same.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by LncNuvue View Post
    I've ridden an El Ciclon and now a DW 5 Spot for the past 4 years.
    You rode the previous generation El Ciclon, have you spent any time on the new ones?
    -Aaron G.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ciclistagonzo View Post
    You rode the previous generation El Ciclon, have you spent any time on the new ones?
    Not the new one but it's still a single pivot. Any advancements made in pedaling likely cost some on the descending side of things. I can't imagine it being as efficient, compliant and brake over bumps better than Turners implementation of the DW-Link (best braking and small bump suspension I've ever touched)... all with never touching a lever on the shock. Not hating here, I do love the Ventanas and the Alpino looks killer but I've been too spoiled by this DW Spot that I couldn't go back now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LncNuvue View Post
    I've ridden an El Ciclon and now a DW 5 Spot for the past 4 years. If you like the DW linakge you will likely NOT like the Ventana single pivot. Maybe get the Flux and put a 140 fork on it to boost the BB or just get a Burner. The Santa Cruz Solo with a 140 will also pedal great similar to the DW and it's a little taller than the new Flux.
    Does it work in the reverse? Meaning if you like Ventana suspension will you not like DW? I only ask because I own a Ventana El Bastardo and it is my first FS bike. I am really liking the look and geo of the new Giant Anthem Advanced 27.5". The Maestro is supposed to be similar to the DW link. Not sure I can find one to demo so am trying to find out as much as I can about the Anthem before making a purchase. I also like the Ibis HDR 650B but it is too heavy for my liking,. My Bastardo only weighs 26 lbs and I have been seeing weights on the HDR and they are all in the 28-29 range. So not really interested in getting a bike heavier than the one I already own.

    I really like the Bastardo on the trail but where I ride there are a lot of aggressive climbs that are short but somewhat step and technical. I'd like a bike that climbs a tad better than my Bastardo. My El Padrino fits the bill for that but I am 45 when I get done doing a singletrack ride on my El Padrino my body feels beat up.

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