• 04-30-2011
    Blacksheep, Funk and other ti flex plate softailers
    I'm riding a BlackSheep StHighlight 29er that is suppose to get about 4 inches of travel. Its a soft tail that uses a titanium plate as the pivot in what is essentially a single pivot design. In my opinion, the single pivot design requires a platform because otherwise it bobs like a mo-fo. The use of a titanium plate that provides the pivot has own unique requirements. First of all I think it's probably a super-progress (as in way non-linear) spring rate because the ti plate give easy enough at first but then ramps way up toward the end of the travel. Second, the rebound can be viscous when you couple the air shock and the plate both wanting to return to their normal position.

    Presently, I'm running an RP-2 and it sucks. I mostly leave it locked out all the time except during brutally rough sections. The RP-2 just does not have the right platform for the combination of this frame, my weight and whatever else is a factor ...it's got the medium compression and light rebound factory settings. Set up with the proper sag, it bobs through about a third of the travel unless locked out ...and I have a cadence that seldom dips below 90 and usually is about 100-5 off road (110 on the road for comparison). And with the light rebound factory setting, I have to run the rebound at maximum damping (slowest rebound setting)

    I need a shock that provides the ability to set the sag in the proper position but is still has a light enough compression damping to able to overcome the resistance that the plate provides (verses a plain old pivot which usually provides no resistance). It also needs a bit more rebound damping to compensate for the fact that both the shock and the pivot/plate are springing back to their normal position. And, being a demanding SOB, I want a lot of flexibility in setting up the platform. Most of the time, I want the initial compression damping to blow off very easily. Then sometimes, I want it to be harding to blow off.

    So I'm contemplating the Monarch RT with 10 settings for both platform and rebound damping.

    My question is: what are you all running?
  • 05-04-2011
    Perhaps my error was trying to get too much suspension in the rear. When I set the shock up so it behaves like a true platform, I don't get as much travel as I originally thought I needed. I also don't get as much sag, but maybe I don't need that either since I'm not getting the travel. The bike now rides like a classic softtail ...gets about 2 inches of travel with decent rebound damping.

    I'm still interest in hear what others are running so I may have to cross post this to the 29er forum.
  • 05-13-2011
    Do a search... someone else had posted that they got no bob at all and were very happy with the suspension. But I think he also posted that he had half the usual amount of air pressure in the shock to work with the flex plate setup - maybe the setup is not quite the same as with a bearing or bushing pivot design. Food for thought.
  • 05-13-2011
    If you havent already, could also try BS, if you can reach them. They ride/race their own stuff and set them up for others so I'd think they'll have some thoughts.
  • 12-04-2011
    OP here. I've been running a PUSHED RockShox Monarch RT High Volume and it has completely transformed the feel of the bike. Funny thing is that BlackSheep and PUSH are headquartered in the same town. It seems to me that the unique characteristics of the Flex Plate design are screaming for a collaborative effort from these two industry leaders.