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  1. #1
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    Zeus frame design flaw?

    i just read that in a Dirt Rag review of the Zeus that the rear tire at full travel hits the seatube. i'm really bummed & troubled to hear this is still happening w/ Ventanas. i've owned a Terremoto for over 3 years & that is the one problem i have w/ the ride character of the bike. when i first got it, & had it happen i ended up doing the RP23 space reducer fix, which reduced it from happening too often to a rare acceptable event. that fix doesn't reduce the overall travel of the frame, just the too easy to go through all the travel problem. my rear tire actually hits the rear deraileur brazeon. that brazeon has now been lowered on the seatube for the lower pull action of the derailure, putting it out of the way of the tire under full compression. so, why is the frame capable of hitting the seatube still? it seems like something Sherwood would just not allow to still be a problem.

    i haven't read the review, just a thread on the 650 forum mentioning the article, so i'm unaware of the tire/rim combo & obviously unaware of the tire/rim combo stats the frame was designed/tested w/. how 'bout you, Ciclistagonzo? do you know a few details here?

    the Zeus is one of the very few bikes i'll be considering to buy in the future. i didn't foresee having to figure this trait into the decision.
    breezy shade

  2. #2
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    Which thread, haven't seen the review or heard of this issue either.
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  3. #3
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    I had this problem at the beginning when running my Zeus at 160mm travel with a big fat Nobby Nic 2.35 at the back. My problem was that I did not use enough air in the Float CTD and this was solved by both adding 5 psi (which preserved full travel) and also switching to the 140mm travel position, which is plenty for my riding. Since then, I have never had any tire rub. I spoke with Sherwood about it and, if I remember correctly, he said that getting the shock Pushed to increase compression damping would solve the problem.

  4. #4
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    i misstated that it was on the 650 forum. it's on the Knolly forum under the thread Dirt Rag Reviews Endorphin.
    breezy shade

  5. #5
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    Not going to go look it up right now. I think it was the first XL built, and Ventana is looking into the issue. Magazine staff said it will stay parked.

    Read this while waiting to be put under for a medical procedure, memory may be foggy to what the article actually said.

  6. #6
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    That is a shame. It shouldn't be an issue in either 140 or 160 travel. The frame is not cheap and shouldn't have that type of issue. But luckily they do all of their stuff in house so they should figure this out pretty quickly. The Zeus is still on my shortlist, but I will be keeping my eye out to see if the issue gets fixed, or to see what the problem was.

  7. #7
    Just A Mountain Biker.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes View Post
    Issue is from the print issue of Dirt Rag, 10.1.13, pages 68-69. I couldn't find a version online, because it looks like it's print only.
    OUCH for Ventana. Guess that really puts the Zeus off the list for me. I read it on my digital subscription to DR.

    What really struck me as odd as it starts out as a love fest, speaking of the 25 years parallels of the two companies (DR & Ventana), and how many bikes they have tested over the years, and how great they have all been - and then spent the second half of the article trashing them (in my view). Wonder if they didn't get the response they wanted from VUSA? You would think with that kind of purported relationship, they would have shelved this review until a resolution was reached, and then made mention of it in the review but also covered the way it was addressed. As it stands now, if it is ever resolved, it may get a mention somewhere in an upcoming edition, but nowhere near as visible as a 2 page spread in the reviews section of the 'rag.

    Just seems problematic to me, can't imagine Sherwood is pleased.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes View Post
    The issue has to do with the size tire the test rider was using Wild Grip'R 2.25.
    I don't know about you, but on a 160mm travel frame, 2.25" tire seems small. If they were trying to fit an especially large 2.5" in there I could see an unforseen issue, but 2.25? ****, even I want to see this tire now!
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by blaklabl View Post
    I don't know about you, but on a 160mm travel frame, 2.25" tire seems small. If they were trying to fit an especially large 2.5" in there I could see an unforseen issue, but 2.25? ****, even I want to see this tire now!
    Me too. The Zeus is a AM maybe even an Enduro capable bike. If you can't fit a tire that is 2.25 then whats the use.

  10. #10
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    I have had my Zeus 1 year exactly riding year round in SoCal. Only 1 time did I have any rub and it was due to not enough pressure in shock and, a few pounds I had put on with injuries. This was on a 2.5 foot drop I do regularly and it has happened only once. I ride with a 2.25 Ardent on rear with TL28 hoops always in 160mm travel mode Front/rear. I call user error on the review. If anything I wish I could get more travel out of the bike. 1 year riding the bike with correct settings vs. what appears to be incorrect one time review. I have several options of bikes to ride and the Zeus is the one I always end up riding so I ride the crap out of it. No issues for me but I don't write a blurb in Bike Rag so take it for what it is worth.
    "Set the gearshift for the high gear of your soul".

  11. #11
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    It's hard to see how user error could cause tire rubbing at full compression, unless the frame has been modified or the shock isn't the correct i2i and stroke. Bottom out is bottom out, regardless of rider weight or shock sag. Ideally, the shock should bottom out before the tire contacts the seat tube.

  12. #12
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    It's not an issue of a volume reducer or not running the shock with enough pressure. You should be able to completely compress the rear end with zero pressure without the tire making contact. That is absolutely a design flaw. That said, Ventana is an awesome company and I'm sure they'll sort things out quickly and take great care of their customers
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes View Post
    Ventana will definitely take care of their customers; they always do. The issue would be more prospective customers reading the review. They'll probably shy away, which is bad. Lots of damage control to do.
    Agreed, but some here are blaming the reviewer for faulty shock set up. That's BS.
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  14. #14
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    More article details

    I was wondering when comments on this article would show up. I don't own a Zeus (still on an X-5), but this seems like a major design flaw. There should not be any "standard" size tire that can hit the frame under any conditions. In the lower right corner of the photo page, the shock is deflated and the tire is resting against the down tube. The article also stated, "After riding for the photo shoot the paint has completely scrubbed off the frame."

    Sherwood did not do himself a favor with his written response:
    When we get the test bike back from Dirt Rag we will thoroughly check that frame out and see if there is a problem with that particular test bike (turns out your test bike is the one and only 21" sized Zeus we have built so far) and will implement any adjustments to our production frames if necessary at that time. Like the early days with the 29" wheels the 27.5" wheel sized market place is very dynamic right now with new tires entering the market almost daily. As an in-house builder we assess new product and make appropriate adjustments to our frames as needed at almost real time.
    The article makes it sound like the frame was supplied by Ventana and built out using popular parts, none of which should have caused the problem.

    Based on the number of 27.5" bikes in the market now, it is not that immature of a technology, so the response doesn't sound right. Judging by the other comments in this thread, this is not something unknown or unique to this specific 21" frame. To my ear, Sherwood's response doesn't reflect the high level of customer service and customer satisfaction that Ventana has built over the years.

    Too bad.
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  15. #15
    fai
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    My wife has been using a 16"Zeus for over a year now with a 2.35 Hans Dampf tyres getting full travel without any tyre frame contact with a RP23 shock. I have recently started using a 19" one and use the same tyres but fitted the DHX air that I was using on an El Ciclon. I have been using the shocks full stroke, the bike has been used at a downhill site I did all the big drops. I have not had a problem with any tyre frame contact with my bike set up as it is. I did have this issue on an X5 but a shock retune sorted that. I am interested in finding out what other Zeus owners have come across this tyre frame contact.
    AJR

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by CheapWhine View Post
    I was wondering when comments on this article would show up. I don't own a Zeus (still on an X-5), but this seems like a major design flaw. There should not be any "standard" size tire that can hit the frame under any conditions. In the lower right corner of the photo page, the shock is deflated and the tire is resting against the down tube. The article also stated, "After riding for the photo shoot the paint has completely scrubbed off the frame."

    Sherwood did not do himself a favor with his written response:
    When we get the test bike back from Dirt Rag we will thoroughly check that frame out and see if there is a problem with that particular test bike (turns out your test bike is the one and only 21" sized Zeus we have built so far) and will implement any adjustments to our production frames if necessary at that time. Like the early days with the 29" wheels the 27.5" wheel sized market place is very dynamic right now with new tires entering the market almost daily. As an in-house builder we assess new product and make appropriate adjustments to our frames as needed at almost real time.
    The article makes it sound like the frame was supplied by Ventana and built out using popular parts, none of which should have caused the problem.

    Based on the number of 27.5" bikes in the market now, it is not that immature of a technology, so the response doesn't sound right. Judging by the other comments in this thread, this is not something unknown or unique to this specific 21" frame. To my ear, Sherwood's response doesn't reflect the high level of customer service and customer satisfaction that Ventana has built over the years.

    Too bad.
    Although I don't find Sherwood's comment to be that odd, I do believe he has to go into damage control mode and quickly deal with this. I still keep the Zeus on the list of maybe to buy next bikes, but this issue has to be resolved or at least an answer as to why this has happened.
    Was the paint scrubbed off on the back off the seat tube? Because if that was the case than we aren't talking about an occasional hit but indeed about something that is a major issue.
    But I also read a lot people here saying they don't have this problem on their Zeus. So I'm even more keen on finding out what was wrong here?

  17. #17
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    For those who don't have tire rubbing, please post which travel setting you're using.

  18. #18
    fai
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    My wife and I both use the 160mm travel setting.
    AJR

  19. #19
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    140 mm, no tire rub with a Nobby Nic 2.35.

  20. #20
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    Ok, thanks. If there's no tire rub at bottom-out in the 160mm setting with a 2.35 Hans Dampf, I personally wouldn't be thinking "design flaw," nor would I worry about it.

  21. #21
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    Well thats good to know but I would still like to know why they had this issue.

  22. #22
    The Bubble Wrap Hysteria
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes View Post
    Ventana will definitely take care of their customers; they always do. The issue would be more prospective customers reading the review. They'll probably shy away, which is bad. Lots of damage control to do.
    Ventana may have to hire one of those highly paid Spin Miesters to do damage control. I can't see this design flaw going over well with prospective 650B customers now there are so many other offerings. I hope for the best

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by TPA8580 View Post
    Well thats good to know but I would still like to know why they had this issue.
    Indeed. On the one hand, fai is using a full 160mm with a Hans Dampf, which is big for a 2.35 (probably big enough to be acceptable as a max. tire size), without tire/frame contact. On the other, P. Paul and Dirt Rag have had rubbing with nominally smaller tires. So the mystery is yet to be solved!

    Could some frames be different from others? All sizes share the same 74º seat tube angle, swingarm length, and pivot placements, so it seems unlikely. I wonder if the different shocks might have just minor variations in i2i and/or stroke, enough to allow rubbing on some frames but not on others. I have had shocks that didn't measure out exactly to spec in the past. Hmmm.

  24. #24
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    Remember that air-shocks have a rubber bumper in them, so if it stops 1 or 2mm short with all the air out of the shock, it'll still hit during a real compression on the trail that uses all or nearly all of the travel.
    "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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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes View Post
    There was also something that the DR issue said about frame size. What size frames does Fai and his wife have?

    As far as shocks, yes, there can be variations. I've had it with Fox (a 7.87in shock ended up measuring 8" exactly i2i) and with a CCDB (one fit my Ciclon where the other didn't, but didn't measure it to see the difference).

    Keep in mind I ride small frames, so the i2i is more of a fitment issue than what it would do with the tire hitting the seat tube.
    Apparently the frame was a 21" frame which Sherwood said was their first. So it may lie in the geometry of the the very large frame.
    I myself would go for a small frame 15'5" or 16" frame so maybe the problem wouldn't be a problem there.
    But Still I wonder what the frames sizes are of the people who don't have this issue and what their riding style is like. I would definitely like to use it for the AM or even Enduro side of things.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Remember that air-shocks have a rubber bumper in them, so if it stops 1 or 2mm short with all the air out of the shock, it'll still hit during a real compression on the trail that uses all or nearly all of the travel.
    And in most cases, that "rubber bumper" is really just an O-ring.
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  27. #27
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    I've been on a 19" Zeus since late Feb. (could be March, time flies) and have run it in both 160mm and 140mm, but mostly 140mm with 2.3 Hans Dampf tires without any rub. The bike has been to Whistler, Squamish, raced in the Cascadia Cup Enduro and seen lots of 4-5ft drops. I run a 160mm fork and weigh 215 and the seat tube shows zero evidence of rub. That said, it was pretty easy to run out to the garage and see whats what. In the 140mm setting zero rub, In the 160mm setting... uh, rub.

    Clean Seat tube. No signs of rub after lots of abuse in mostly the 140mm setting
    Zeus frame design flaw?-img_1251.jpg
    Fully compressed in the 140mm setting. Close, but zero rub with a fully inflated Hans Dampf
    Zeus frame design flaw?-img_1253.jpg
    160mm setting and fully compressed. The tire is easily pressed into the seattube about an 1/8 of an inch.
    Zeus frame design flaw?-img_1254.jpg
    Last edited by wipp; 10-01-2013 at 10:28 PM. Reason: Added captions and corrected purchase date

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by JC822 View Post
    I had this problem at the beginning when running my Zeus at 160mm travel with a big fat Nobby Nic 2.35 at the back. My problem was that I did not use enough air in the Float CTD and this was solved by both adding 5 psi (which preserved full travel) and also switching to the 140mm travel position, which is plenty for my riding. Since then, I have never had any tire rub. I spoke with Sherwood about it and, if I remember correctly, he said that getting the shock Pushed to increase compression damping would solve the problem.
    Whoa, I hope that isn't true...the solution for a new 2300.00 frame is to send the shock out to a third party shock upgrade specialist for additional money, time and warranty voiding????

  29. #29
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    Wipp, thanks for the clear, definitive pics. So it seems that the Zeus can't be run at 160mm with a 650b rear wheel and meaty tire without some rubbing at bottom-out.

    Maybe V will offer a new rocker with a slightly shorter max travel setting. Solutions for now seem to be the 140mm setting, 26" rear wheel, or just living with occasional tire/frame contact. (A friend of mine has ridden his Stinky for years with a nice polished spot on the back of the seat tube!)

  30. #30
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    Albeant, my Zeus has always felt better at 140mm than 160mm, so for the most part I'm very happy with the frame, the quality is incredible and I've never felt short changed running it at 140mm. In the 160mm setting the spring rate was too linear for my taste. Not sure about the smaller wheel size in the back... but if your going to run a 2.5 tire it does make some sense in the 160mm setting, if I had any little wheels left I'd give it a try.

    All that said, I hope the folks at Ventana will offer a 150mm rocker with a slightly more progressive feel than the 140mm. Really splitting hairs with that request, because 10mm is about .4 inches of travel but why not ask?
    Last edited by wipp; 10-02-2013 at 07:56 AM. Reason: tweak

  31. #31
    fai
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    Zeus frame design flaw?-dsc_1622.jpgI have now done just over 200 miles on my Zeus 160mm travel. No problem as you can see.
    AJR

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by fai View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	836261I have now done just over 200 miles on my Zeus 160mm travel. No problem as you can see.
    so, how 'bout letting the air out of the shock & taking pictures showing clearly the space between the tube/tire, like wipp's
    breezy shade

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes View Post
    Ventana is losing credibility on this. I do hope they offer a fix, but silence says a lot.

    Sherwood has not posted a public reply about this here or anywhere else, nor has anything been posted on their website (other than you can buy a complete bike now). Shame too.
    IMO, Ventana is far from losing credibility over this one. Sure, it's not ideal for this to come to light with the new models, but as far as I know, this is one of the first problems across a model line-up (If it truly is across the whole Zeus model line) that I've seen from Ventana. Take a look at some of the other forums (Niner is a good example) and the problems seem to run rampant.

    I'm also not saying these types of problems are expectable either, but it definitely shouldn’t tarnish the reputation of a otherwise stand-up company.
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by wipp View Post
    I've been on a 19" Zeus since late Feb. (could be March, time flies) and have run it in both 160mm and 140mm, but mostly 140mm with 2.3 Hans Dampf tires without any rub. The bike has been to Whistler, Squamish, raced in the Cascadia Cup Enduro and seen lots of 4-5ft drops. I run a 160mm fork and weigh 215 and the seat tube shows zero evidence of rub. That said, it was pretty easy to run out to the garage and see whats what. In the 140mm setting zero rub, In the 160mm setting... uh, rub.

    Clean Seat tube. No signs of rub after lots of abuse in mostly the 140mm setting
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Fully compressed in the 140mm setting. Close, but zero rub with a fully inflated Hans Dampf
    Click image for larger version. 

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    160mm setting and fully compressed. The tire is easily pressed into the seattube about an 1/8 of an inch.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Thanks Wipp for the indeed very clear pictures.

    The Zeus is becoming less and less of a favorite in my book, although I'm not willing to drop it just yet. But I really would like to know exactly how come a bunch of people have rub and a bunch don't.

    To me this is looking more and more like a shock pressure issue. This combined with tires larger than 2.25 tires.

    But isn't the Zeus meant for the AM/Enduro market? Don't most people in that segment use big tires? And if a frame can do 140/160mm of travel, shouldn't it work just as well in 140mm as in 160mm?

    Sherwood needs to fix this or at least come with a recommendation on how to solve the issue. A different rocker might change this but reducing the travel would in my book make the frame just not well designed. In other words a reduction in travel would make me choose something else.

    But I have faith that this will be sorted out and I will give Sherwood and his crew a chance to fix this. But if by next year this issue still persists than I will spend my money elsewhere.

  35. #35
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    I think a lot of people don't have problems because it's pretty damn hard to use 100% of the shocks travel when the shock is aired up, in fact I think it's near impossible. I also don't think it's a good idea to rely on the shock air pressure vs frame design to prevent rub. I'm not looking for that extra travel but I might want to run an even bigger tire at some point so a fix would be good.

    Quote Originally Posted by TPA8580 View Post
    Thanks Wipp for the indeed very clear pictures.

    The Zeus is becoming less and less of a favorite in my book, although I'm not willing to drop it just yet. But I really would like to know exactly how come a bunch of people have rub and a bunch don't.

    To me this is looking more and more like a shock pressure issue. This combined with tires larger than 2.25 tires.

    But isn't the Zeus meant for the AM/Enduro market? Don't most people in that segment use big tires? And if a frame can do 140/160mm of travel, shouldn't it work just as well in 140mm as in 160mm?

    Sherwood needs to fix this or at least come with a recommendation on how to solve the issue. A different rocker might change this but reducing the travel would in my book make the frame just not well designed. In other words a reduction in travel would make me choose something else.

    But I have faith that this will be sorted out and I will give Sherwood and his crew a chance to fix this. But if by next year this issue still persists than I will spend my money elsewhere.

  36. #36
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    We just got the test bike back this week. Will take a bit of time to see what is up.

    I have been silent because I had nothing to say since I had not had the opportunity to see the test bike. One thing I will say is that my response printed in the magazine was taken a bit out of context in that I was answering a differently directed question regarding tire, size, and rub and based on the tester's tire description I mistakenly thought he had gotten ahold of a new tire that was not available to the public yet...but somehow due to space, or whatever, that question did not show up in the article but my response did.

    I will post up here when I figure out what is up and I won't speculate until I have time to look things over. In the end there is no reason why a customer shouldn't be able to run a fat 650b tire on a Zeus and you can rest assured that I will make it so.
    SPG

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  37. #37
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    Perhaps we should look at this issue and ask what was wrong with the 26"er's? When you read online or print issues the complaints were first 29"er's posing design and travel limitations, so the industry stepped in and said hey what about 650B. Us as consumers enjoy the latest and sometimes not always the greatest products, so we gave 29ers and 275 a shot and here we are again facing design limitations and travel issues with larger wheels- 275. Frame builders essentially are trying to deliver for consumers the ride characteristics of a 26'er but for the bigger wheels. When reviews are done for the larger wheeled bikes the nic-picks look for characteristics that liken to the handling and fit of a 26"er.

    I don't intend this to be a wheel debate, just a thought.

    Yes 29"ers can be faster in the right environment

    275 could be the answer for those looking for a bit more roll over roots and rocks but share similar traits to a 26"er.

    ......and 26"er has been around we've logged many miles on them, had many great rides and suited many disciplines of mountain biking.

  38. #38
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    I've had my Zeus for just over a year and had ZERO rubbing issues. I have a 17" frame and have run 2.3 Neomotos until they were toast and now am running 2.35 Nobby Nics (the Nobby Nics are significantly larger tires with better grip IMHO). Other than the very first ride, I've been running the rear at 160mm and do bottom out the shock every week or so. If it would have happened at all I would have seen it. There might be rubbing issues with the larger sizes, but not the 17" that's for sure.

  39. #39
    fai
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    I cannot understand why some frames have a problem and some do not. I have let all the air out of the shocks on my wifes and my own Zeus frames and is not possible to get the tyre to contact the seat tube. It is clear that this is not the case on all frames. This is a question I do not have an answer to. They are all made on the same jig and should have the same parts. I know the swing arm is the same as a 26" with different dropouts and the rockers and connecting arm from the swing arm to the rockers are different. I have measured the difference in length of the arms the 26" is approx 345mm and the 27.5 is approx 360mm. These parts look the same and if by some chance the wrong one was fitted then I can see a real problem with contact. I am not giving that as an explanation, but if one frame clears then they all should.
    AJR

  40. #40
    fai
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    Had to wait to get someone to push down on the saddle. This is pushed down as far as the shock allows.Zeus frame design flaw?-zeus-005.jpg
    AJR

  41. #41
    fai
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    This is with me sitting on it with no air in the shock.Zeus frame design flaw?-zeus-004.jpg I cant explain it.
    AJR

  42. #42
    El CicloPath!!!!!!!
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    In my experience with a lot of single pivot designs, all have the potential of having the tire contact the seat tube with the limiting factor being the shock stroke. Actually, all frames have this potential issue if the swing arm follows a similar arc. Take the shock off any fully, and i think you can compress and get them all to touch, so doest it have to do with shock stroke, spring rate/weight, and set up?

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    Different shock, different stroke?

    Quote Originally Posted by fai View Post
    This is with me sitting on it with no air in the shock.Click image for larger version. 

Name:	zeus 004.jpg 
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ID:	836406 I cant explain it.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fachiro1 View Post
    In my experience with a lot of single pivot designs, all have the potential of having the tire contact the seat tube with the limiting factor being the shock stroke. Actually, all frames have this potential issue if the swing arm follows a similar arc. Take the shock off any fully, and i think you can compress and get them all to touch, so doest it have to do with shock stroke, spring rate/weight, and set up?
    On the previous generation frame, I remember the upper yoke of the seatstays was being relived on the underside for clearance. I sent my rear end in and this was not done to my chainstay. I've never e perienced contact but I'm running a coil shock if that makes a difference.
    Ripping trails and tipping ales

  45. #45
    El CicloPath!!!!!!!
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    After looking at a lot of different pics of different frames....I think the other big factor would be the angle of the seat tube in relation to the pivot location.

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    Thanks Fai, for showing those pictures. Indeed it may be a combo of shock, frames size and fairy dust
    But it's good to know that Sherwood is on it. I'll wait for his opinion.
    I too would go for a different shock, probably a Cane Creek or an Xfusion.
    What kind of fork are you using a 160mm travel fork? And do you have the standard head angle?

  47. #47
    fai
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    Standard 19" frame Fox 36RC2 fork.
    AJR

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    Fwiw, not even close to seat rub at full compression on 160 mode and maxxis highroller 2.5. Mine is an el cap front with a Zeus rear and 24 inch seat tube, so not exactly the same as the other posts...

    Zeus frame design flaw?-image.jpg

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by sirsam84 View Post
    Fwiw, not even close to seat rub at full compression on 160 mode and maxxis highroller 2.5. Mine is an el cap front with a Zeus rear and 24 inch seat tube, so not exactly the same as the other posts...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    It looks like the shock is mounted in the forward position, which nets 140mm.

  50. #50
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    Yup. I'll bet your tire is just kissing the seat tube at 160mm.

    Quote Originally Posted by albeant View Post
    It looks like the shock is mounted in the forward position, which nets 140mm.
    Last edited by wipp; 10-05-2013 at 10:19 PM. Reason: splchuk

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