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  1. #1
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    remote lockout and Horst Link for xc racing and marathons still a half-assed answer?

    Looking for a new XC race frame. I enjoy the carbon 29 HT and while there are segments it's undoubtedly faster against the clock there's no denying it beats me up on rough courses, loses traction, etc. Obvious stuff. And as a fun trailbike there are just so many better options for me.

    Narrowing new frames down, all which fit great, and thinking about going with remote lockout on a 2017 Element. It's a Horst Link variant. I realize it's the rider, but all things being equal, is a HL going to always be an inefficient climbing design even with a remote lockout and Fox DPS rear shock compared to other FS offerings such as DW Link, VPP3, ABP, Split Pivot et al.

    Meaning: when the lockout is off will the HL be a disadvantage?

    Example: as a pure race bike the 2017 Scott Spark on smoother or rolling courses does the job. It has a lockout. I admit the remote lockout is a huge selling point for my terrain but I don't want it to be like putting lipstick on a pig if it's merely a band-aid solution at best.

  2. #2
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    Whether a suspension design is a Horst link, DW, VPP, or single pivot doesn't matter that much since any one of them can be designed to work in a huge variety of different ways. Each design family tends to have certain characteristics but there's a lot more overlap than most people think.

    The key is understanding suspension kinematics, that is, how the suspension responds to various inputs such as pedalling loads, braking, hitting bumps, and so forth. For pedalling efficiency what you want to look at is anti-squat, which defines how well the suspension resists sagging & bobbing under power. For a good efficient pedalling platform, you want anti-squat to be around 100% throughout most of the bike's travel, this keeps things firm & efficient while still allowing the wheel to move when it hits bumps.

    In the old days, Horst link designs were pretty horrible for that.
    Note how the 2010 Specialized Enduro starts at 55% and quickly drops below zero.


    In 2017, things are very different.
    With the Element, anti-squat is at close to 100% and stays that way throughout the entire travel
    If you look at the scale on the graph, there's barely any difference between the Element and the Cannondale Scalpel, and I can't say I've ever heard anyone question the efficiency of the latter.

  3. #3
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    The website linkage design Linkage Design is an invaluable tool if you want to learn more about suspension, and the specifics of each bike. Also, it is important to think about what type of drivetrain and chainring size you will be running on your chosen bike as that can drastically change how the bike pedals. For example, the 2017 Element has antisquat values around 100% with a 28T front ring, but if you decide to run Eagle with a 34 or 36T front ring, you are going to have a much different pedaling bike (40-50% less efficient in terms of antisquat). In smoother courses, the lockout is certainly an advantage for efficiency, and then you still have a full suspension bike for the rougher stuff. The 2017 Element is a departure from Rocky's usual design philosophy which was to prioritize low pedal kickback at the expense of antisquat, which necessitated the need for lockouts on their earlier models. The Norco Revolver FS is designed to be run with the lockout for climbing as it's designers wanted a bike that could pedal through the rough stuff with low pedal kickback at the sacrifice of antisquat, which necessitates the use of a lockout on the smoother climbs for efficiency. I read an interview with Nino Schurter, and he said that he uses his lockout on his Spark hundreds of times in a race, flicking it on and off as the terrain dictates. There are some different schools of thought on lockouts vs suspension efficiency, you have to decide what you want out of your suspension, and the terrain you will be riding. The terrain I ride is xc technical, so I find there is no advantage to being locked out on the singletrack, it is actually a disadvantage to be locked out.

    If you haven't ridden the different suspensions systems, try to get some test rides in. I've had a chance to ride HL, VPP, DW, single pivot, and they all have certain characteristics which you may or may not like, depending on your riding style and terrain.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by aerius View Post
    Whether a suspension design is a Horst link, DW, VPP, or single pivot doesn't matter that much since any one of them can be designed to work in a huge variety of different ways. Each design family tends to have certain characteristics but there's a lot more overlap than most people think.

    The key is understanding suspension kinematics, that is, how the suspension responds to various inputs such as pedalling loads, braking, hitting bumps, and so forth. For pedalling efficiency what you want to look at is anti-squat, which defines how well the suspension resists sagging & bobbing under power. For a good efficient pedalling platform, you want anti-squat to be around 100% throughout most of the bike's travel, this keeps things firm & efficient while still allowing the wheel to move when it hits bumps.

    In the old days, Horst link designs were pretty horrible for that.
    Note how the 2010 Specialized Enduro starts at 55% and quickly drops below zero.


    In 2017, things are very different.
    With the Element, anti-squat is at close to 100% and stays that way throughout the entire travel
    If you look at the scale on the graph, there's barely any difference between the Element and the Cannondale Scalpel, and I can't say I've ever heard anyone question the efficiency of the latter.
    Interesting graph.

    I have a 2016 Norco Revolver that I bought as a frameset. It did not come with a lockout. Later last year, I bought a new Fox Factory rear shock with a lockout thinking it would improve my bike.

    Having spent $500 (shock and remote) I obviously gave it a try. After about 3-4 rides using the lockout, I never use it anymore. On high pitch technical climbs, the rear would spin out. On the flats, it seemed to make pedaling harder.

    I never felt the rear of my Revolver bob. In fact, out of the saddle I feel no squat at all and it climbs great.

    For reference I use a 32 chain ring.
    by Silentfoe
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by slipstream View Post
    The terrain I ride is xc technical, so I find there is no advantage to being locked out on the singletrack, it is actually a disadvantage to be locked out.

    If you haven't ridden the different suspensions systems, try to get some test rides in. I've had a chance to ride HL, VPP, DW, single pivot, and they all have certain characteristics which you may or may not like, depending on your riding style and terrain.
    From your experience, which style of suspension do you like for Technical XC? I ride similar terrain and see lockout as only necessary on the road section on the way to the trail

  6. #6
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    Give the Bulls Wild Edge 29 a look. Complete bike with XT, RS1 fork, double lockout, and lifetime frame warranty for $2099. That's not a typo. Hard to find reviews, (there's only 3) but I have 25 miles on mine and am not disappointed. I had a Scalpel Carbon 2 a few years back and this bike is similar, but better suspension. Btw, loving the lockout, but it's more of a luxury item.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon_HU25 View Post
    Give the Bulls Wild Edge 29 a look. Complete bike with XT, RS1 fork, double lockout, and lifetime frame warranty for $2099. That's not a typo. Hard to find reviews, (there's only 3) but I have 25 miles on mine and am not disappointed. I had a Scalpel Carbon 2 a few years back and this bike is similar, but better suspension. Btw, loving the lockout, but it's more of a luxury item.
    Where did you buy it?

    I see 4,199.
    https://www.bullsbikesusa.com/wild-edge-29-p-3.html


    Sent from my SM-G360P using Tapatalk

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaneDetroitCity View Post
    Where did you buy it?

    I see 4,199.
    https://www.bullsbikesusa.com/wild-edge-29-p-3.html


    Sent from my SM-G360P using Tapatalk
    Bulls had 50% of sale.

  9. #9
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