Monolink vs. Fourbar vs. Everything else- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Monolink vs. Fourbar vs. Everything else

    Looking for opinions on different suspension designs, particularly Fourbar and it's climbing characteristics. The past year I've been riding a Klein Palomino, which I love the design and the way the suspension works (one of the best climbing bikes I've ridden), but the toptube is too short and the next size up is too big all around. Thought about pursuing a Maverick, but I wouldn't mind trying anything using the Horst design. Any suggestions or comments on how the design climbs? For your info, I'm an old school climber who gets out of the saddle a lot (ala singlespeed), primarily because the terrain I ride demands such.

    Surprisingly, I 've ridden an Epic, Blur, and I-drive bikes, which I liked, but never a Fourbar, go figure!

  2. #2
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    They climb great

    I have an etsx-70 that climbs like a goat and my girlfiend has a stumpjumper fsr and it is every bit as good and better in some ways. These bikes dont need a platform shock to be eficent it is just an added plus. The stumpjumper is in my opinion the best performace for the dollar bike money can buy for xc trail use.

  3. #3
    JmZ
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    It is about implementation as much as design

    That said there have been long running discussions on here that with everything else being equal (which it never is) that the 4 Bar Hort's and the VPP designs are very good climbing bikes. A badly built or designed Horst bike (if any are left) or Seatstay pivot make for a bad ride regardless of who made it.

    I've been on a variety of different bikes, mostly seatstay pivot 4 bar bikes. Diamondback V-Link, Jamis Dakar, Rocky Mountain, and a Specialized Ground Control (Horst Mac Strut). The Specialized wallowed in it's travel on aggressive climbs, and the Jamis climbed like a scalded monkey but the Specialized had a not so good Rock Shox rear while the Jamis had a much better Cane Creek AD-12. From the mid-priced duallies I've ridden (all the above were in the $1000-$1500 range) implementation was a much, much bigger factor than the design.

    A platform shock and a good design will go a long way towards the feel you're looking for. The Epic is one of those bikes. (It's not traditional looking, but is a 4 bar horst, IMO).

    If you want to try a Horst a few non boutique bikes that have that design are Specialized and KHS, and the NRS is also close - but it has a few different design quirks. Otherwise it is off to boutique land - Turner, Intense (if they have any Tracers left), Titus, and another one that's close (ala the NRS) is Ellsworth.

    I'd see if I could get a test ride on a Titus Racer X with a platform shock. From what I've read, and researched, it should be VERY close to what you are looking for. Unfortunately I don't have any saddle time to back that up. Might also want to look at the Ventena's (El Salty or El Feugo) that have a racy feel to 'em. (Again live in the midwest so no chance at saddle time-yet. ).

    Good luck,

    JmZ




    Quote Originally Posted by labraja
    Looking for opinions on different suspension designs, particularly Fourbar and it's climbing characteristics. The past year I've been riding a Klein Palomino, which I love the design and the way the suspension works (one of the best climbing bikes I've ridden), but the toptube is too short and the next size up is too big all around. Thought about pursuing a Maverick, but I wouldn't mind trying anything using the Horst design. Any suggestions or comments on how the design climbs? For your info, I'm an old school climber who gets out of the saddle a lot (ala singlespeed), primarily because the terrain I ride demands such.

    Surprisingly, I 've ridden an Epic, Blur, and I-drive bikes, which I liked, but never a Fourbar, go figure!
    JmZ

    From one flat land to another.

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  4. #4
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    Actually, if you have ridden a specialized Epic, you have ridden a fourbar. The brain part of the epic is only the shock, but the rear suspension has the horst link and is a true four bar.

  5. #5
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    The other posts/replies are good. Here is my 2 cents.
    I was on a Palomino for a while and loved it. Loved it!! Coming off many true horst bikes (pivot below axle and on chainstay) I thought I wouldn't but I did. I then went to a Superlight and did not like how it acted on braking bumps while braking. Had the NRS. Same thing, but worse. Now I am back on a Horst bike (Intense Tracer) and feel that it's the best overall combo of any bike I've enjoyed. Heck, my 03 Jamis XLT 2 was a great pedaling and braking bike until it broke 5 times in 8 months. It was a true Horst.

    I had an Intense Spyder frame but didn't feel the extra $$$$ was going to make that much of a difference, if any, for my xc needs.

    Again, it's not just the design of the frame but the overall execution. The Palomino is a nice xc design and if I were you I'd look at the 2004 KHS 904R (the 4.25" model, not the 3.5") or Titus Racer X, et al. Good luck. You will not regret getting a newer model Horst link designed bike.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by labraja
    Looking for opinions on different suspension designs, particularly Fourbar and it's climbing characteristics. The past year I've been riding a Klein Palomino, which I love the design and the way the suspension works (one of the best climbing bikes I've ridden), but the toptube is too short and the next size up is too big all around. Thought about pursuing a Maverick, but I wouldn't mind trying anything using the Horst design. Any suggestions or comments on how the design climbs? For your info, I'm an old school climber who gets out of the saddle a lot (ala singlespeed), primarily because the terrain I ride demands such.

    Surprisingly, I 've ridden an Epic, Blur, and I-drive bikes, which I liked, but never a Fourbar, go figure!
    For seated and technical climbing, a well executed Horst link (like Turner) is the best I've tried.

    If you do a lot of relatively smooth climbing out of the saddle, the Blur is one of the best bikes, for pedaling while standing, that I've tried.

  7. #7
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    Thanks fellas!

    Appreciate the input. Some of the bikes you mentioned are models that I've been considering (Ventana, Turner, Titus). From what I understand, the new stable shocks increase the efficiancy of the Horst linkage (in terms of climbing), so that gives me a little more faith. Once I get something picked out, I'll post my purchase and let you know how everything works out. Once again, thanks a bunch!

  8. #8
    JmZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by labraja
    Appreciate the input. Some of the bikes you mentioned are models that I've been considering (Ventana, Turner, Titus). From what I understand, the new stable shocks increase the efficiancy of the Horst linkage (in terms of climbing), so that gives me a little more faith. Once I get something picked out, I'll post my purchase and let you know how everything works out. Once again, thanks a bunch!
    Depending on The Ventana that you might consider. Swing by their web-site to at least check it out. They're clearing out some of the '04 frames for a great deal. El Salty's (4 or 5" of travel) for $1495, El Feugo's (3" of travel for the same) and I think $1595 for the X-5.

    Considering what those normally go for...

    JmZ
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  9. #9
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    Out of seat climbing

    Quote Originally Posted by labraja
    Looking for opinions on different suspension designs, particularly Fourbar and it's climbing characteristics. The past year I've been riding a Klein Palomino, which I love the design and the way the suspension works (one of the best climbing bikes I've ridden), but the toptube is too short and the next size up is too big all around. Thought about pursuing a Maverick, but I wouldn't mind trying anything using the Horst design. Any suggestions or comments on how the design climbs? For your info, I'm an old school climber who gets out of the saddle a lot (ala singlespeed), primarily because the terrain I ride demands such.

    Surprisingly, I 've ridden an Epic, Blur, and I-drive bikes, which I liked, but never a Fourbar, go figure!
    Most full suspension bikes have a duel nature. They might pedal with little bob while seated (especially using platform shocks), but bob a lot more when standing and really donít pedal well when standing and climbing or pedaling hard.

    The Maverick/Palomino design is one of the rare bikes that doesn't change nature much when getting out of the seat to pedal, and it brakes very well with better than normal rear suspension traction and stability.

    I've only ridden a very few bikes that match and better the efficiency and quality ride of the Maverick for XC riding.

    The Intense Tracer is the best balances all around trail bike I've ever ridden. It bobs very little when seated or standing and pedaling hard and is superb handling and braking, and can be adjusted to be climbing oriented, a bit slacker angled for technical oriented, or sport race oriented, all in one bike.

    The Iron Horse Hollowpoint is noticeably the best pedaling seated and standing bike I've ridden on smooth and very rough terrain. It is not as adjustable for various uses as the Tracer so the Tracer remains the best all around with slightly more bob.

    The Titus Switchblade and RacerX are like two versions of the Tracer and also nearly as versatile and efficient pedaling both seated and standing.

    The Turner Burner (I rode the same geometry in the older XCE) is excellent seated and bob's a little more than the Tracer when standing, but handles and brakes great, but is not as versatile as the Tracer in adjustable configurations for different uses.

    The Rocky ETX is very good climbing both seated and standing and handles and brakes great, but it felt heavy and there was a bit of pedal kickback in rough terrain.

    The Santa Cruz Blur and Intense 5.5 VPP are very good climbing, dreamy in moderately rough terrain, but there is some kickback climbing in very rough terrain while seated. And braking isn't as high traction as the Horst links.

    I'm really looking forward to demoing the '05 Iron Horse MKIII an even better DW-Link design with refined handling and braking improvements without loosing the best pedaling available and copied nearly identically by Giant's Reign.

    For longer Travel I've found the 4 to 6 inch travel Marin Terra Quad design such as the Wolf Ridge is superior to any other for no seated bob and minor standing bob for its travel, even in the 6 inch travel mode.

    All other designs other than idrive (having good seated but poor standing pedaling and poor braking) are monopivot variations whether multilink or not. Ellsworth is going further retro, devolving even further back towards the more original late Ď80ís 4-bar Lawwill style with rather unstable handling, very poor braking stability, with little bob when seated with the required heavily platformed shocks, but much bob when standing and pedaling. Monopivots handle and brake better, some pedal a little better too. Without platform shocks, ICT bikes would easily be seen as the worst pedaling and handling bikes available now.

    Platform shocks greatly improve monopivot, ICT fashion, and longer travel pedaling inefficiencies, but make the best designs harsher handling, reducing the quality down closer to average monopivot quality. Platform shocks have tended to equalize the quality differences.

    Only the best designs without using platform shocks stand out as noticeably superior to the expert rider.

    - ray

  10. #10
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    Nope, Jekyll and Hyde...

    >>The Maverick/Palomino design is one of the rare bikes that doesn't change nature much when getting out of the seat to pedal, and it brakes very well with better than normal rear suspension traction and stability.

    I've only ridden a very few bikes that match and better the efficiency and quality ride of the Maverick for XC riding. <<

    Sorry, what are you talking about??? An Orange Sub-5 which is more than a few years old is a much better technical descender.

    I've got an ML-7 since last autumn and it's Jekyll and Hyde - in the saddle and out of it could be two different bikes. In the saddle, yes its a great climbing f/s bike. Out of the saddle the rear suspension stiffens and the travel drops. This doesn't matter much at speed but it makes a huge difference if you're at your limit on a technical climb or descent.

    Sorry if that sounds blunt but I asked the questions before I got the bike and neither Maverick nor the dealers told it like it is. The bike is beautifully made, great on fast lines, but I might as well be on a hardtail for technical climbing and descending. I can't get up steep stuff I used to clear on a l/w Cannondale hardtail, and I can't get down steeper stuff that was no problem on the Orange.

    All in all this is a bike which changes character hugely in the saddle and out - I'd probably enjoy it more if I lived in Colorado...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giallograle
    >>The Maverick/Palomino design is one of the rare bikes that doesn't change nature much when getting out of the seat to pedal, and it brakes very well with better than normal rear suspension traction and stability.

    I've only ridden a very few bikes that match and better the efficiency and quality ride of the Maverick for XC riding. <<

    Sorry, what are you talking about??? An Orange Sub-5 which is more than a few years old is a much better technical descender.

    I've got an ML-7 since last autumn and it's Jekyll and Hyde - in the saddle and out of it could be two different bikes. In the saddle, yes its a great climbing f/s bike. Out of the saddle the rear suspension stiffens and the travel drops. This doesn't matter much at speed but it makes a huge difference if you're at your limit on a technical climb or descent.

    Sorry if that sounds blunt but I asked the questions before I got the bike and neither Maverick nor the dealers told it like it is. The bike is beautifully made, great on fast lines, but I might as well be on a hardtail for technical climbing and descending. I can't get up steep stuff I used to clear on a l/w Cannondale hardtail, and I can't get down steeper stuff that was no problem on the Orange.

    All in all this is a bike which changes character hugely in the saddle and out - I'd probably enjoy it more if I lived in Colorado...
    It sounds like you don't have it set up correctly, probably too much air. What version (7.0, .1, .2 .3?) are you riding, and what are is your weight in pounds (with gear)?

    I am on the 7.2 all air shock, weigh 170lbs w/gear and have it at 145psi. I can make it up way more technical, out of the saddle, babyhead/rocky climbs than my previous bike...a Rocky Mtn Element.
    just ride

  12. #12
    Daniel the Dog
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    Lots of good bikes....

    Quote Originally Posted by labraja
    Looking for opinions on different suspension designs, particularly Fourbar and it's climbing characteristics. The past year I've been riding a Klein Palomino, which I love the design and the way the suspension works (one of the best climbing bikes I've ridden), but the toptube is too short and the next size up is too big all around. Thought about pursuing a Maverick, but I wouldn't mind trying anything using the Horst design. Any suggestions or comments on how the design climbs? For your info, I'm an old school climber who gets out of the saddle a lot (ala singlespeed), primarily because the terrain I ride demands such.

    Surprisingly, I 've ridden an Epic, Blur, and I-drive bikes, which I liked, but never a Fourbar, go figure!

    I like the Spot the best of any bike I have ridden. I have owned a Ellsworth Isis, Titus Switchblade, Intense Tracer, Jamis Dakar, and have ridden many other 4 bar bikes. My second favorite bike was the Switchblade. A great bike. I liked the Tracer okay but it had a weird sizing pattern: 23" medium to 24" large. I hated that. Plus, the guy I sold it to broke the swingarm. Nonetheless, If the Tracer fits you I would consider it. You can get 'em cheap these days too.

    I would buy the Burner that is on sale at Supergo for $799. If they have anymore. A great deal. You can't hardly lose anymore with all the wonderful bikes out there...

    Jaybo

  13. #13
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    fs

    I've owned 10 fs frames in the last 11 years of all designs except the Maveric type and I've had fun on all of them. It felt to me like the Blur and high forward single pivot frames had an effiency advantage climbing smooth trails but the bumpier the trail the greater the advantage of the HL bikes. On steep rocky climbs on the Blur and high forward pivot bikes I felt the peddles were fighting back, on the same climbs the HL bikes peddled as pure as on smooth trails. The HL bikes also don't show any brake jack which is a trait of single pivot designs and in my experience the Blur as well. When your'e coasting allmost all suspension designs are active but the HL bikes felt the same under power and braking unlike the others. You can have fun at this sport on any bike though and getting the correct size frame is probably more important than design of the suspension.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by MINImtnbiker
    It sounds like you don't have it set up correctly, probably too much air. What version (7.0, .1, .2 .3?) are you riding, and what are is your weight in pounds (with gear)?

    I am on the 7.2 all air shock, weigh 170lbs w/gear and have it at 145psi. I can make it up way more technical, out of the saddle, babyhead/rocky climbs than my previous bike...a Rocky Mtn Element.
    Thanks - where do you ride? Version... think it's the 7.2, I'm say 155/160lbs all up and running 135psi in the rear, not too far off your settings. I'll play around with it next weekend, but don't tell me you haven't noticed the change in suspension when you stand? Mitigates against using body english...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giallograle
    Thanks - where do you ride? Version... think it's the 7.2, I'm say 155/160lbs all up and running 135psi in the rear, not too far off your settings. I'll play around with it next weekend, but don't tell me you haven't noticed the change in suspension when you stand? Mitigates against using body english...
    I ride in Boulder, CO. Or in the mtns west of Boulder. I have not noticed the change in it when standing and pedaling. It stiffens up a bit, but not nearly to the extent of a VPP bike or others. Like I said, I don't know the technical of it (this goes for the DUC fork, too) but I am way faster on the Maverick, and more importantly to me, can climb up way more technical terrain than ever before. If it acted like a hardtail, there is no way I'd be able to stand and make it up some of the stuff I can.

    For a true test, try riding up a flight of stairs. I could NEVER do it on my hardtail. Could usually do it with my Rocky Mtn Element FS/XC but both tires would bounce & slip. With my Maverick/DUC I can stand up in the granny and climb stairs with no problem. Both tires stay glued. Here is video of what I mean. Click the Mac & Netscape users link above the play/pause buttons so you can fast forward or rewind (not the Watch the Video link). It's about 45 sec into it. I am standing going up the stairs with no problem.
    Note: I happened to be riding there the morning after this attack happened, so they interviewed me but only showed me riding. Pretty freaky. Yes, it was staged. They asked me to do something interesting, but they were in the parking lot.
    Last edited by MINImtnbiker; 03-28-2005 at 05:19 PM.
    just ride

  16. #16
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    I would suggest that if you love the ride of the Palomino .. you already know what it is that suits you. If we close our eyes to all of the different linkage options and let the ride characteristics we feel in each frame the answers become quite clear. I was sold on VPP (Intense) for some time because it was simply the best i had found by far. I got a chance to ride a buddy's Maverick some time ago and something just clicked. All of us ride differently and therefore, we want bikes that react differently. For me the Maverick felt like it was built for my style. I think for some people they might not like "stiffening" when standing as many say but it doesn't FEEL like that to me. It feels more like I'm not bobbing anymore!... I don't need a platform shock. It must be that I've found suspension design that rides like I do , for the terrain I normally ride (Colorado madness), and maybe that's the key. Find what YOU like and get it. You deserve it! I found a Matic frame for $750 in the box and jumped on it. They ARE spendy but try one and see if gives you what the Palomino did and more. I suspect it will. If you've already found the design you dig, why chase others? Happy trails amigos!

  17. #17
    Afric Pepperbird
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brimav View Post
    I would suggest that if you love the ride of the Palomino .. you already know what it is that suits you. If we close our eyes to all of the different linkage options and let the ride characteristics we feel in each frame the answers become quite clear. I was sold on VPP (Intense) for some time because it was simply the best i had found by far. I got a chance to ride a buddy's Maverick some time ago and something just clicked. All of us ride differently and therefore, we want bikes that react differently. For me the Maverick felt like it was built for my style. I think for some people they might not like "stiffening" when standing as many say but it doesn't FEEL like that to me. It feels more like I'm not bobbing anymore!... I don't need a platform shock. It must be that I've found suspension design that rides like I do , for the terrain I normally ride (Colorado madness), and maybe that's the key. Find what YOU like and get it. You deserve it! I found a Matic frame for $750 in the box and jumped on it. They ARE spendy but try one and see if gives you what the Palomino did and more. I suspect it will. If you've already found the design you dig, why chase others? Happy trails amigos!
    You do realize this thread is over 6 years old, right?

  18. #18
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    well SHEEE-IT!! I guess it was late and I'm a goon! Well, at least you're still checking it! Good thing i sometimes like to hear myself babble! hope the guy got a Mav... later gater.

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