Santa Cruz VP-Free for DH- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Santa Cruz VP-Free for DH

    Anyone use one? Opinions?

  2. #2
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    on the santa cruz board

    There is a guy that that races one with the shorter eye to eye shock and and a fox 40 up front. Said at the time it was the fastest bike he had ridden.. If you look for the Shorter rear Shock thread on the santa cruz board you will probably find a lot of info.

  3. #3
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    Have a friends who does it with an Boxxer WC likes it a lot.

    I thought about doing it but they do have a pretty tall stand-over and I have short legs.

  4. #4
    Commit or eat sh!t
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    One of my riding buddies uses it with a 888 for trails where some pedaling is required or for jumpy places. He definitely gets more air than with his V-10.

  5. #5
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    Been dh'n on mine since 06.
    VP Free
    CCDB
    180mm Talas coil w/kashima coating (I highly recommend).

    "Why are you willing to take so much & leave others in need...just because you can?"

  6. #6
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    Had one (05 or 06 model) for a couple of years...loved it for free ride and all around riding. Sold it for a few reasons:
    1. high center of gravity
    2. No chain guide tabs
    3. High bottom bracket
    4. 67 degree head angle...I like my stuff more slack.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjdthunder
    Had one (05 or 06 model) for a couple of years...loved it for free ride and all around riding. Sold it for a few reasons:
    1. high center of gravity
    2. No chain guide tabs
    3. High bottom bracket
    4. 67 degree head angle...I like my stuff more slack.
    Still have my 06 and love it!
    1. Center of Gravity feels right with 8.5 x 2.5 rear shock
    2. Throw chain so infrequently, chain guide tabs are not an issue
    3. BB 14.4in
    4. 65 degrees HA
    5. Availble in XL
    6. With Shiver, 38lbs
    7. Pedals efficiently, I can usually hang with my XC friends on the up, and ditch them and hit every feature on the down

    If Mark Weir chose the VP Free equiped with a shorter shock for his bike for his 1 million feet of climbing in a year challenge, it's good enough for me.

  8. #8
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    Yes, since '06

    It's not going to match a dedicated DH rig for the reasons mentioned above, but you can also generally ride around on it.

    I considered short-shocking mine, but never got around to it.
    The above statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration

  9. #9
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    Good bike for all mountain / free riding / big drops / climbing when you have to...but not great for DH racing in my opinion. Oh I forgot to mention...the bearings on this model VPP tend to Squeal like a stuck pig after some use and then you have to buy a new bearing kit from Santa Cruz. I would love to see some actual company lit. for angles bottom bracket etc. Good center of gravity..hardly. Bottom bracket is close to 15 inches easy. Chain guide tabs...I would not get a bike w/out them, period.

  10. #10
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    I got mine new in 2007. It does not have the tabs, but I run a Blackspire Stinger with 2 rings and the chain never drops.
    My Free has only been shuttling...never take in the trails because it's just too big and burly.
    It's perfect for drops (any type of free ride stunts)...wall rides, etc.
    It soaks up EVERYTHING, and is a blast on the DH runs too.
    However...if you are truly racing (and want to do well) I would suggest trying a DH specific sled.
    The Free tends to ride "tall" like your on top of it...not very slack feeling where you feel you are "sitting in" the frame.

  11. #11
    eat your porridge jordie
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    I have run my Free with the shorter and the longer shock, and while it does handle better with the 8.5x2.5, it messes up the pedaling dynamics a bit. You can imagine the axle path as sort of a horizontally stretched S on the free, and with the 8.75x2.75 when you are at your proper sag, you sit right in a little pocket where the effective leverage ratio of the frame drops a bit, so it is not as influenced by pedaling. With the shorter shock, keeping 30% sag, you are usually already past that point and it is slightly more influenced by rider weight input and pedaling. If you go with the shorter shock, I recommend running a little less sag, maybe 20%, to try and stay in that sweet spot.

    Other than that, the VP-Free kills it for pretty much any course. With a Dual Crown on there (higher crown height), it really stretches the bike out and the little steeper HA helps through corners. I've ridden mine at a few races, placed Cat3 at AngelFire last year, and it's been awesome. Bearings need maintenance definitely, and make sure all those links are tight and you use the right retaining compound for the bearings.

    Bottom line, bike will get it done no doubt.
    "If you want to do something ordinary people can't, you have to be willing to do what ordinary people won't"

  12. #12
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    I have been riding my 32 lb. short shocked vpfree for 3-4 years DH / AM and I gotta say it's dang tough to find a new frame to fill it's shoes. Others have covered it's strengths and weakness but can be built up to be sweet versatile ride for AM and DH. Here is a pic
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Santa Cruz VP-Free for DH-vpfree.jpg  


  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjdthunder
    Good bike for all mountain / free riding / big drops / climbing when you have to...but not great for DH racing in my opinion. Oh I forgot to mention...the bearings on this model VPP tend to Squeal like a stuck pig after some use and then you have to buy a new bearing kit from Santa Cruz. I would love to see some actual company lit. for angles bottom bracket etc. Good center of gravity..hardly. Bottom bracket is close to 15 inches easy. Chain guide tabs...I would not get a bike w/out them, period.
    15"......After you set 50% sag for dh'n it'z gonna be far from 15".....8.5" travel w/ 4.25" sag = very low bb height.

    But, to each hiz own.....i guess.
    "Why are you willing to take so much & leave others in need...just because you can?"

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by man w/ one hand
    15"......After you set 50% sag for dh'n it'z gonna be far from 15".....8.5" travel w/ 4.25" sag = very low bb height.
    50% Sag? Are you serious?

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    I run my Free for DH all the time and I love it. If you know how to grease your bottom link they are super quiet. The bb might be a bit high but with a negative rise stem the thing corners like a beast.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcook1989
    50% Sag? Are you serious?

    All of my shocks say 25-30% for xc & trailz, 50% for dh'n.
    "Why are you willing to take so much & leave others in need...just because you can?"

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by burgundy snake

    If Mark Weir chose the VP Free equiped with a shorter shock for his bike for his 1 million feet of climbing in a year challenge, it's good enough for me.
    to be fair weir could climb a kapreil dv a million feet.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by man w/ one hand
    All of my shocks say 25-30% for xc & trailz, 50% for dh'n.
    What shock are you running? I have never heard anything above 35%.

  19. #19
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    seen many people do that when they first came out
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

  20. #20
    Ancient Chinese Secret
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    Still riding an '05 with two rings, and E-13 DRS, and a Totem (single crown) in the bike park and for AM. One wheelset for DH, another for AM. Sweet ride, and agree with the other posters that it's hard to find a more recent vintage bike which is as flexible.

    Yes, it is not ideal geometry, but it will get it done. Yes, will need to learn how to grease the bottom link. It squeaks like a mofo when it gets wet. Kinda a hassle b/c you have to pull the cranks every time to get it done. Otherwise, great ride.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swell Guy
    Yes, will need to learn how to grease the bottom link. It squeaks like a mofo when it gets wet. Kinda a hassle b/c you have to pull the cranks every time to get it done. Otherwise, great ride.
    There are slots on each end of the bottom link that you can look through and see the pivot axle. You just need to use a butter knife to put some grease in each slot then cycle the suspension. You don't have to take anything apart just flip your bike over.

  22. #22
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    I had that setup for a few seasons. 888 rc2x, dhx 5, codes, e.13 srs, etc. Pretty sick bike. It wasn't optimal for dh, but it was about 95% there. Like others have said, the bb is quite high, but that's really the only thing that held it back from being a true slayer. I say go for it. Sick frame. I miss it.
    I kinda wish my brakes actually worked, but I guess that just makes me faster, right?

  23. #23
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    funny...I never had any issues with a squeaky bottom link.
    I did however, develop play in it and SC sent me a new replacement for free.
    I also decided to swap out the bearings at the same time with a pro pack.
    Never had an issue since.

    this is a pic when I was building it up in 07.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  24. #24
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    love it riding FR and DH. Compared to my Socom, you can feel the difference in higher COG, but it pops better, drops, and jumps better.

    Of the two, it is a better "overall" bike (if DH only: Socom)

  25. #25
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    I use to run one. I had a buddy machine me a custom lower link. It gave it a 64 HA, and a 14"BB. Felt pretty good minus the retarded regressive leverage curve. I ran it for a little over a year. I still have the link somewhere if anyone wants it.

  26. #26
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    Thanks for all the replies, along with this and the short shock thread, this has been super helpful.

    What frame sizes for the VP-Free do you guys have for your height? I'm 6'0" and ride a medium Superlight for XC, but I also ride a large Redline SS Monocog, and used to ride a L Kona Stinky, so it really depends on the bike setup for me. The Free I'm looking at is a Medium.

  27. #27
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    It really hard to answer without specific measurements.

    Some riders have long legs, but short torsos and vice versa.

  28. #28
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    Hey,

    One of my friends has been using a VP-Free for DH since they came out. He doesn't race but can ride everything at NorthStar. The reason he loves it is because of it's playful feel. It jumps around a little more and doesn't just absorb everything.

    Based off his experience with it I decided to get a VP-Free. I bought one at the end of the season last year. I am about 6 feet and got a large. I think depending on how you ride you can go with either. Here is the link to Santa Cruz's recommendation for sizes http://www.santacruzbikes.co.uk/site...om/vpfree.html . At 6 feet you are on the borderline between medium and large. I choose large because I broke my ankle going over the bars and wanted something that it was harder to do that on.

    The one weird thing about the bike that I have noticed is the rear suspension seems to want to buck you off a little more then other bikes. I have ridden three different VP frees: one with a 5th element the other with FOX DHX's and have experienced this with all of them. Messing with the damping helps, but knowing how the bike responds to bumps helps the most. Once you get used to it it's not noticeable.

    I would not call this a full on downhill bike though. Overall I really like the bike and have not spent nearly enough time on it.

    Edit: I have a pretty long torso and arms. My legs are about a 32 (pant sizing) in length. If that helps at all.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by scaryfast View Post
    It really hard to answer without specific measurements.

    Some riders have long legs, but short torsos and vice versa.
    Shortish legs (30 pant length), long torso, shortish arms

  30. #30
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    Personally I'd go with a medium. I don't think it will be too small for you but I'd throw my leg over a vpfree before buying one.

    Quote Originally Posted by mudforlunch View Post
    Shortish legs (30 pant length), long torso, shortish arms

  31. #31
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    Personally, I own a Specialized S-Works FSR, but recently did a 20 mile ride on my buddies VPFree. The ride had 2000+ feet of climbing and I was blown away by how much fun that bike was. He has a Marz.888 with adjustable travel and with that set to 6" on the forks and the seatpost extended for climbing, I had no problems going uphill. Letting for forks out to 8" on the way down and it rode as good as a DH bike.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by response3 View Post
    Personally, I own a Specialized S-Works FSR, but recently did a 20 mile ride on my buddies VPFree. The ride had 2000+ feet of climbing and I was blown away by how much fun that bike was. He has a Marz.888 with adjustable travel and with that set to 6" on the forks and the seatpost extended for climbing, I had no problems going uphill. Letting for forks out to 8" on the way down and it rode as good as a DH bike.
    +1 !! I'm runnin a 180 Talas on mine & the climbz are soooo much easier when you drop th ft end 40mm. I also run 26-36 ringz & a 12-36 cassette. This allowz me to stay in th mid-ring alot longer & givez me anudder climbing gear= good climber & awsome dh'er.
    "Why are you willing to take so much & leave others in need...just because you can?"

  33. #33
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    Awesome frame. Just make sure you put an 8.5" shock on it that has been tuned for the leverage curve and the rider...it seriously makes all the difference. It felt like total crap with the stock 8.75" 5th Element shock. I'm 6'/175lbs riding a medium with a Push tuned DHX5 (550lb spring) and Totem coil (firm spring). 65 deg HA, 45.7" WB, 30.3" SOH, 14.2" BB, 17.5" CS. Not single purpose DH bike by any means, nor is it perfect, but it does everything remarkably well. I have yet to ride anything that makes me want to sell it.


  34. #34
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    hi my name is len and if I recall correctly you had this frame on sacramento craigs list. If its still available I'm interested and I live in sac
    thanks Len ([email protected])

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