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  1. #1
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    Long travel and efficiency?

    I have been mountain biking for nearly 30 years, having made the transition from rigid to full suspension. I have a 1999 El Salt that I always felt was a great bike, but ... I recently went to Colorado and rode some of the rocky trails in the Golden area (Belcher Hill and others) on a rental Tracer. What a revelation! That bike seemed just as efficient as the El Salt and could climb WAY better in the rough stuff. There were several times when I was flat-out surprised I was still on the bike - you could just keep on cranking through anything. I am pretty sure my El Salt would have stalled out on that stuff.

    So, my question is - Is there a Ventana that would have that same efficient, deep travel or does one need to get one of the more modern suspension designs such as the DW link or VPP? Would the El Ciclon be similar? Alternatively, how much difference would be made by getting my shock "Pushed" to better take advantage of the 4" on the El Salt? Will this make it plusher as well as more efficient?
    Last edited by bmclemens; 05-17-2009 at 12:10 AM.

  2. #2
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    New shock.

    I've ridden an EL Salt from around 06 with a non propedal shock, (BOBBOBBOB) and the same bike with a stage 3 propedal fox and the difference is night and day. I'm not going to tell you that it makes the Salt the most efficient frame on the planet, but it does make a 100% improvement.

  3. #3
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    The simple fact is you're comparing apples and oranges. First, I don't think Ventana made the El Salt in 1999 it's most likely a Marble Peak. Most if not all of today's full suspension frames would perform poorly with ten year old shock technology. I have been riding Ventana FS bike since 2005 and find them very effecient climbers with the correct rear shock set up. I currently ride a Semi-Custom Ciclon with a PUSHED RP23 (Trail Tuned) and it pedals very good for a long legged trail bike. I'm not sure that the Ciclon would yield the same feel as a DW link or VPP....three different suspension designs. I like Ventana because Sherwood will custom make a frame to fit the needs of the rider. And he has total control over the manufacturing process. What DW Link or VPP frame manufacture will do that?

  4. #4
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    I've owned a Ventana El Ciclon and a DW Turner 5 Spot and will say I can climb well on either one. I kind of prefer the single pivot Ventana in very technical climbing situations. The "feel" between the two is different so if you ride a lot and are in tune with your bike it comes down to the "feel" you like. If you like attacking climbs and big tech features then the SP might be better. I like to feel the terrain under me and the SP provides more of that. The DW is efficient but can numb that connection. When it comes down to it we're talking nuances not night and day. I think shock setup, position on the bike and riding style/skill are more important than the linkage design itself.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker4life
    The simple fact is you're comparing apples and oranges. First, I don't think Ventana made the El Salt in 1999 it's most likely a Marble Peak.
    The first year of the Salts was 1999, Rear Entry dropouts and Bushings. 2002 saw the intro of the vert. dropouts and Bearings. The Marble was last produced in 98.
    (I had/have one of each)

    But, I agree with you that comparing a 1999 Fox shock with today's shocks is nearly no comparison. Those "old School" shocks were valved to be very plush and have as little stiction as possible, todays shocks are nearly the opposite for the first part of travel.

    Also, as shocks have evolved so has Ventana's kinetics, they are not the same, changing to match the modern shock tech.

    So, if you compare today's Ventana setup to the "new" VPP/DW designs, Lance's take on it is a very good synopsis.

    -A
    -Aaron G.

    "Before D.W., "anti-squat" was referred to as pedal feedback."

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the informative replies. I do find it amusing that someone aserted that I did not know what kind of bike I own. Also, I probably did not make it clear, but it was the plushness, not the efficiency, that I found so seductive in the long travel bike. The Tracer shock had propedal but I never used it except on the pavement. So I guess getting the Fox pushed would not help that much on the El Salt, since that seems to be aimed at improving the efficiency.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmclemens
    Thanks for the informative replies. I do find it amusing that someone aserted that I did not know what kind of bike I own. Also, I probably did not make it clear, but it was the plushness, not the efficiency, that I found so seductive in the long travel bike. The Tracer shock had propedal but I never used it except on the pavement. So I guess getting the Fox pushed would not help that much on the El Salt, since that seems to be aimed at improving the efficiency.
    Yeah, I find it amusing that I asserted such an idiotic statement....Man do I feel like s sheet head. I can tell you that getting an updated shock will make a difference and getting that updated shock Pushed will make even more of a difference. I did it on my 2004 X-5, 2007 Salty, and 2009 Ciclon......Push makes that shock perform how you want it to perform. I ran both the X-5 and Salty in four inch and five mode. It was plush.

    I should have stated depending on the trail or if I'm racing a XC race will depend on what sag I set the shock. Then if you go the Push option they can do a trail tune or a more XC specific tune. It really depends what you're after. Now if you're looking to get a new frame then I would take a test ride on all the major players then settle on what works for you. Before I became a Ventan "Fan Boy" I spent 4 1/2 years riding a few Gary Fisher Sugar frames.....they kept breaking and Uncle Gary kept sending me a new one with a smile. Then I got a chance to ride a Ventana and notice how much stiffer the frame was compared to my Wobbly Goblin (GF Sugar).....that was a selling point for me since I had broken four GF Frames riding XC trails.
    Last edited by mtnbiker4life; 05-19-2009 at 10:36 PM.

  8. #8
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    Hi mtnbiker4life,

    That is very helpful. Thanks!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmclemens
    I have been mountain biking for nearly 30 years, having made the transition from rigid to full suspension. I have a 1999 El Salt that I always felt was a great bike, but ... I recently went to Colorado and rode some of the rocky trails in the Golden area (Belcher Hill and others) on a rental Tracer. What a revelation! That bike seemed just as efficient as the El Salt and could climb WAY better in the rough stuff. There were several times when I was flat-out surprised I was still on the bike - you could just keep on cranking through anything. I am pretty sure my El Salt would have stalled out on that stuff.

    So, my question is - Is there a Ventana that would have that same efficient, deep travel or does one need to get one of the more modern suspension designs such as the DW link or VPP? Would the El Ciclon be similar? Alternatively, how much difference would be made by getting my shock "Pushed" to better take advantage of the 4" on the El Salt? Will this make it plusher as well as more efficient?
    Dude, you just got full on fan boy answers from ciclistagonzo and mntbiker4life. The Ventana main pivot is too low to create any significant anti-squat and therefore suffers from tremendous bob and squating on steep climbs. Unless of course you run such high air pressure/spring rate as to not allow full travel during the normal course of things.

    Comparing 1999 shocks to todays shocks is in fact not an apples to oranges comparison when considering that Fox was producing the FLOAT in 1998 and coupled with the fact that DW bikes and current VPP bikes are running the lowest Propedal compression tunes available.

    That is to say that bikes with better antisquat profiles do not require and do not benefit from the increased compression valving required by Ventana to decrease bob.

    This leaves you with 2 possible options: run low pressure and low compression to get nice, plush travel - or crank up the pressure and compression to get a bike that pedals well, at the expense of plush travel. No two ways about it.

    Yes Ventana makes beautiful bikes that you can order somewhat customized, but their current design is sorely lacking. Even a slight adjustement to pivot placement could make a huge difference - see TNT from Turner, for example.

    For anyone thinking I am anti-ventana; please see my beautiful orange salty, below!
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles
    Dude, you just got full on fan boy answers from ciclistagonzo and mntbiker4life. The Ventana main pivot is too low to create any significant anti-squat and therefore suffers from tremendous bob and squating on steep climbs. Unless of course you run such high air pressure/spring rate as to not allow full travel during the normal course of things.

    Comparing 1999 shocks to todays shocks is in fact not an apples to oranges comparison when considering that Fox was producing the FLOAT in 1998 and coupled with the fact that DW bikes and current VPP bikes are running the lowest Propedal compression tunes available.

    That is to say that bikes with better antisquat profiles do not require and do not benefit from the increased compression valving required by Ventana to decrease bob.

    This leaves you with 2 possible options: run low pressure and low compression to get nice, plush travel - or crank up the pressure and compression to get a bike that pedals well, at the expense of plush travel. No two ways about it.

    Yes Ventana makes beautiful bikes that you can order somewhat customized, but their current design is sorely lacking. Even a slight adjustement to pivot placement could make a huge difference - see TNT from Turner, for example.

    For anyone thinking I am anti-ventana; please see my beautiful orange salty, below!
    That's funny because I don't consider myself a "fan boy". I have a set of parameters that I want in a FS bike and currently Ventana meets a good portion of them. One of my biggies is frame rigidity which a lot of multi link frames suffer from whereas Ventana is King. I will take a little hit on plushness (the reason why I Pushed my Fox) to have little to none frame flex.

    Before becoming a "Fan Boy" I test rode a Blur LT on the trails in Auburn. Talk about frame flex and mid stroke wallow couple that will a way too short top tube.....no thanks. Another bike I really like is the Titus Racer X......I had some saddle time on the Ti version but it was one size to small so fit was an issue......Fan Boy......I have now arrived.

    I guess, I should be pissed off at Fox for selling me 1998 shock tecnology wrapped up in a 2008 package. I find that hard to believe and if it's true then I would expect to see a boat load of product lawsuites against Fox. So along that line of thinking then the 2009 Toyota Camry is no different (from a technology stand point) then my 1998 Camry just the outter shell to make it look different.....please don't tell my sisters because she will surely file a lawsuite.

    NEWS FLASH......every suspension frame has compromises some are functional and some are visual. Hope, Change, Freedom......pick two.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles
    The Ventana main pivot is too low to create any significant anti-squat and therefore suffers from tremendous bob and squating on steep climbs. Unless of course you run such high air pressure/spring rate as to not allow full travel during the normal course of things.
    I disagree. Don't ask me about pivot placement and engineering because I know shite about it. I just ride it and take it from there. I currently ride an El Rey and DW Spot, before the Spot I rode an El Ciclon. I ride my Spot with 33-35% sag and the Ventanas with 30%. All are pushed. I ride rough desert trails so the shock is mostly open on both bikes. The valving is lighter on the Spot but both platforms are plush. I bottom out more on the Spot because of the light valving and the anti-squat in the DW link makes pedal dropping ledges a little weird... the bike feels like it's fighting you because the front wants to stay down. If the Spot was valved heavier to not bottom I do not think it would ride well (when I ride less sag the ride suffers a little). I like my spot as it's setup, I like the geometry and the handling is great, I can shred it. But there is give and take with either platform, pros and cons. I would not say the Ventana squats tremenously or bobs tremendously. I rode my El Rey this morning and was having a blast climbing some very steep rocky terrain. The bike hooks up and goes and it eff'n bombs the DH. How you ride the bike makes more of a difference - smooth pedaling and rider position, and sometimes on the Ventanas you have to get out of the saddle. If you sit back in the saddle and don't attack steep terrain the bike will squat. The Spot climbs like crap if I'm not up on it on steep climbs. Like I said before, it comes down to what you like and what feels good to you. We're talking about elite brands with refined geometry and construction. If it's the ride quality of a Ventana or the handling of a Turner it really doesn't matter. If you learn how to ride it and get in tune with the bike it should do what you ask it to.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles
    Dude, you just got full on fan boy answers from ciclistagonzo and mntbiker4life. ... but their current design is sorely lacking. !

    Woooohoooo!! I'm a Fanboy!! Gee YA THINK?!?!

    Man I hope my ride tonight doesn't suck cuz I'll be riding one of my "sorely lacking" bikes!
    Thanks for the chuckle Iheart!
    -Aaron G.

    "Before D.W., "anti-squat" was referred to as pedal feedback."

  13. #13
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    Jeez ya'll.. Its not like the guy said something about yo' mamas..

    Hell, I think my Salty squats under acceleration and steep climbing. I think the rear brake arrangement makes it extend and stiffen up a little under hard braking. I also think its still the best bike I've ever had and I've owned the damned thing for 7 years now. For the type of riding I do, it works great.

    Maybe bmclemens found a situation where the Tracer was a better suited. It might've been due to the pivot arrangement, or maybe head-angle, fork length, BB height, wheelbase, fit, phase of the moon...who knows..

    Getting all up in a wad because someone said a different bike could be better is just plain silly. I've got a good Snap-On ratchet wrench. Am I gonna be offended if someone says its not good at getting to the spark plugs on a 4.3L Chevy V6? No, because it really is no good at that. Doesn't mean my wrench is crap and my wife won't love me anymore. Just means I need to use a different wrench. Bikes are tools. Gloriously wonderful, gorgeous, powder-coated tools.



    Now, I would suggest getting your shock done up by Push. Especially if its an older non-propedal design. It really does make a big difference with those older shocks.


    Brian (op)
    www.msmtb.org - Mississippi Mountain Biking

  14. #14
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    Uh, Brian, I don't think the responses you are calling into question are to BMC...
    Last edited by Ciclistagonzo; 05-19-2009 at 04:19 PM.
    -Aaron G.

    "Before D.W., "anti-squat" was referred to as pedal feedback."

  15. #15
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    Its all good.......good quality bikes are just that ! Now that I own a Knolly , DW - Link Turner , and my ole Ventana Bruja.......they are all fun to ride and all have there distinct personality or performance advantages that set them apart ! To squabble over what is best is sorta lame.......I'm glad I don't have to choose bcuz its too much fun to have a bit of variety in the quiver ! TIG.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by LncNuvue
    I disagree. Don't ask me about pivot placement and engineering because I know shite about it. I just ride it and take it from there. I currently ride an El Rey and DW Spot, before the Spot I rode an El Ciclon. I ride my Spot with 33-35% sag and the Ventanas with 30%. All are pushed. I ride rough desert trails so the shock is mostly open on both bikes. The valving is lighter on the Spot but both platforms are plush. I bottom out more on the Spot because of the light valving and the anti-squat in the DW link makes pedal dropping ledges a little weird... the bike feels like it's fighting you because the front wants to stay down. If the Spot was valved heavier to not bottom I do not think it would ride well (when I ride less sag the ride suffers a little). I like my spot as it's setup, I like the geometry and the handling is great, I can shred it. But there is give and take with either platform, pros and cons. I would not say the Ventana squats tremenously or bobs tremendously. I rode my El Rey this morning and was having a blast climbing some very steep rocky terrain. The bike hooks up and goes and it eff'n bombs the DH. How you ride the bike makes more of a difference - smooth pedaling and rider position, and sometimes on the Ventanas you have to get out of the saddle. If you sit back in the saddle and don't attack steep terrain the bike will squat. The Spot climbs like crap if I'm not up on it on steep climbs. Like I said before, it comes down to what you like and what feels good to you. We're talking about elite brands with refined geometry and construction. If it's the ride quality of a Ventana or the handling of a Turner it really doesn't matter. If you learn how to ride it and get in tune with the bike it should do what you ask it to.
    Very well said. Nothing to add but just wanted to thank you for a nice, intelligent post!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmclemens
    ...I probably did not make it clear, but it was the plushness, not the efficiency, that I found so seductive in the long travel bike. The Tracer shock had propedal but I never used it except on the pavement. So I guess getting the Fox pushed would not help that much on the El Salt, since that seems to be aimed at improving the efficiency.
    Well, if you have an RP3 and send it to PUSH, they tend to "soften" the platform. So, having an RP3 that is PUSHed will tend to give you more of that plush feeling. And, with the platform off...it is even more plush than with the factory tune.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker4life
    One of my biggies is frame rigidity which a lot of multi link frames suffer from whereas Ventana is King.
    And if turner didn't make DW link bikes, pivot never existed, and Intense/SC didn't clean up their act, that comment would make sense.

    Progress is progress, and while it's not always good, it's inevitable. In the case of many of the "multi link" frames as you call them, they offer suspension and pedaling traits that are impossible with single pivot designs.
    "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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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    And if turner didn't make DW link bikes, pivot never existed, and Intense/SC didn't clean up their act, that comment would make sense.

    Progress is progress, and while it's not always good, it's inevitable. In the case of many of the "multi link" frames as you call them, they offer suspension and pedaling traits that are impossible with single pivot designs.
    Exactly, what I was saying. Let me restate it because you seem to have overlooked it

    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker4life
    That's funny because I don't consider myself a "fan boy". I have a set of parameters that I want in a FS bike and currently Ventana meets a good portion of them. One of my biggies is frame rigidity which a lot of multi link frames suffer from whereas Ventana is King. I will take a little hit on plushness (the reason why I Pushed my Fox) to have little to none frame flex.
    Ventana meets my parameters. It's not a matter of who's frame is a better frame. That's not what I was saying. I could easily ride other brands and if I had the room I would. I am sure the DW Linked and VPP frames are good frames. If progress is progress why is Turner still using Bushings at the pivots when just about every manufacture has gone to bearings? Why invest all that NRE and license fees only to use bushings in the pivots....most likely because they have worked for DT over the years.

  20. #20
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    Funny how liking something somehow discredits you...
    Since when did Need have anything to do with this?

  21. #21
    T , V , & K Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by icegeek
    Funny how liking something somehow discredits you...

    No doubt.......hey man , your beginning to sound like someone that actually rides his bikes and not an E - expert ! TIG.

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