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Thread: VPP vs FSR

  1. #1
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    VPP vs FSR

    I basically understand the theory behind both VPP and FSR bikes. VPP technology causes the chain to firm up the suspension when pedaling hard. So essentially a VPP bike like the Blur turns into a hardtail on uphill efforts. We all know that hardtails lack rear tire bite and traction on technical uphills. Does this happen with VPP bikes as well?

    FSR bikes have active suspension and the theory is that on uphills there will be more traction due to the FSR technology and less brake jack on downhills. So my question is, in theory would a FSR bike mated with stable platform suspension be superior to a VPP bike in most handling situations?

    I hope this does not turn into a suspension system preference thing because I am just interested in some opinions on this matter.

  2. #2
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    From my riding experience...

    Quote Originally Posted by ronny
    I basically understand the theory behind both VPP and FSR bikes. VPP technology causes the chain to firm up the suspension when pedaling hard. So essentially a VPP bike like the Blur turns into a hardtail on uphill efforts. We all know that hardtails lack rear tire bite and traction on technical uphills. Does this happen with VPP bikes as well?

    FSR bikes have active suspension and the theory is that on uphills there will be more traction due to the FSR technology and less brake jack on downhills. So my question is, in theory would a FSR bike mated with stable platform suspension be superior to a VPP bike in most handling situations?

    I hope this does not turn into a suspension system preference thing because I am just interested in some opinions on this matter.
    From my dozens of demo rides and owning a Horst linked Tracer for 3 years and other FS bikes for over 4 more years of my 21 years of mountain biking, I've found the VPP's to have excellent traction when climbing in loose condtion, better than most other suspensions. They also accelerate with less squat a little quicker than FSR or other Horst link variations so they can spin the rear tire a little easier due to the more efficent use of rider power for hard acceleration. But the VPP's with shorter travel have a noticable stiffening when pedaling in comparison to FSR's and other Horst link styles and low monopivot type suspensions which causes pedal cadence stalling in large bumps for VPP (pedal cadence stall is less noticable with longer travel VPP's such as the Intense 5.5 I demoed).

    The FSR and other Horst link variations (usually) have less stiffening suspension when braking than monopivots and can produce subtly better rear traction when braking if the rider weight is well behind the front axle.

    - ray

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by derby
    From my dozens of demo rides and owning a Horst linked Tracer for 3 years and other FS bikes for over 4 more years of my 21 years of mountain biking, I've found the VPP's to have excellent traction when climbing in loose condtion, better than most other suspensions. They also accelerate with less squat a little quicker than FSR or other Horst link variations so they can spin the rear tire a little easier due to the more efficent use of rider power for hard acceleration. But the VPP's with shorter travel have a noticable stiffening when pedaling in comparison to FSR's and other Horst link styles and low monopivot type suspensions which causes pedal cadence stalling in large bumps for VPP (pedal cadence stall is less noticable with longer travel VPP's such as the Intense 5.5 I demoed).

    The FSR and other Horst link variations (usually) have less stiffening suspension when braking than monopivots and can produce subtly better rear traction when braking if the rider weight is well behind the front axle.

    - ray
    So have you ridden an FSR with the same amount, or at least close too it, of travel with a stable platform shock? Because by the way your describing the FSR's climbing, it would seem you haven't.

    My Big Hit with a PUSH'd RC feels just as stiff with regards too climbing as my buds V10. That's the beauty if stable platform, it can make crappy bikes good, good bikes better and the best bikes awesome.

  4. #4
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    Tried a Big hit and Enduro

    Quote Originally Posted by red5
    So have you ridden an FSR with the same amount, or at least close too it, of travel with a stable platform shock? Because by the way your describing the FSR's climbing, it would seem you haven't.

    My Big Hit with a PUSH'd RC feels just as stiff with regards too climbing as my buds V10. That's the beauty if stable platform, it can make crappy bikes good, good bikes better and the best bikes awesome.
    I have rode a Bighit and Enduro and both bikes without stable platform or push'd shocks. The FSR suspension is excellent on downhills and all around riding for small bump absorption. FSR was also good for brake jack, but it has never been a big issue for me unless I am carrying huge speed into chatter bumps etc.

    My only gripe with the Bighit and Enduro was noticeable pedal bob on the flats and uphill riding. In 03 I almost got an Enduro but the bobbing changed my mind. It had a lockout but I like some suspension input on uphills. I would like to test a Bighit and Enduro with stable platform to make another judgement. The Bighit is one of the best freeride bikes around and I still like the Enduro also. FSR compared to riding a SP with the 5th I have noticed that the 5th is a harsher riding shock for sure and the SP is not as active as the FSR for obvious reasons.

    With that said the classic arguement of a sp cannot climb loose technical terrain is debatable. On my Heckler I have been on many loose rocky climbs without noticeable traction loss. The deficiencies of my SP bike can be overcome by running bigger tires on trails and lowering air pressure etc. I do wish I could have the small bump compliance of the FSR system on my current ride.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronny
    I have rode a Bighit and Enduro and both bikes without stable platform or push'd shocks. The FSR suspension is excellent on downhills and all around riding for small bump absorption. FSR was also good for brake jack, but it has never been a big issue for me unless I am carrying huge speed into chatter bumps etc.

    My only gripe with the Bighit and Enduro was noticeable pedal bob on the flats and uphill riding. In 03 I almost got an Enduro but the bobbing changed my mind. It had a lockout but I like some suspension input on uphills. I would like to test a Bighit and Enduro with stable platform to make another judgement. The Bighit is one of the best freeride bikes around and I still like the Enduro also. FSR compared to riding a SP with the 5th I have noticed that the 5th is a harsher riding shock for sure and the SP is not as active as the FSR for obvious reasons.

    With that said the classic arguement of a sp cannot climb loose technical terrain is debatable. On my Heckler I have been on many loose rocky climbs without noticeable traction loss. The deficiencies of my SP bike can be overcome by running bigger tires on trails and lowering air pressure etc. I do wish I could have the small bump compliance of the FSR system on my current ride.
    With pedal bob from FSR, if you turn rebound down almost all the way that helps OR if you sit down it completely eliminates it. Trust me, I've learned from having a 55lbs bighit with only an RC (not pushd) that there are tricks to riding it that can either make it a lot easier or make it 10x harder.....but now my V10 climbs like an xc bike
    Tony
    is making a comeback.

    Turns out that five years of not mountain biking, really makes one strive to get back to it.

  6. #6
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    I can't tell that much difference...

    Quote Originally Posted by ronny
    I basically understand the theory behind both VPP and FSR bikes. VPP technology causes the chain to firm up the suspension when pedaling hard. So essentially a VPP bike like the Blur turns into a hardtail on uphill efforts. We all know that hardtails lack rear tire bite and traction on technical uphills. Does this happen with VPP bikes as well?

    FSR bikes have active suspension and the theory is that on uphills there will be more traction due to the FSR technology and less brake jack on downhills. So my question is, in theory would a FSR bike mated with stable platform suspension be superior to a VPP bike in most handling situations?

    I hope this does not turn into a suspension system preference thing because I am just interested in some opinions on this matter.

    Over the 15 years or so I've been riding owned multiple HT, 2 single pivots, 1 VPP, and one FSR (Turner). IMO the handling characteristics of the FS bikes has much more to due with other factors rather than the suspesion design. Tire choice, tire pressure, shock setup, and last but not least bike handling ability.

    In regards to climbing traction (for a given amount of rear travel) rider skill, tire choice, and tire pressure have much more impact than suspesion design. That aside, if I had to say, I'd guess my Burner (FSR) is about the best climber but that's a very close call because both my Bullit (SP) with a 5th and my Blur (VPP) is/was an exceptional climber/s. I've no experience on a long travel VPP with an SPV shock but the SPV on the Blur and Burner were not necessary and I felt actually hindered climbing ability by reducing the sensitivity of the rear suspension to take hits.

    "Brake jack". I don't have much experience with the various suspension designs on DH bikes. But from what I can tell most of the inherent benefit of one rear sus. design over the other is easily overcome by poor tire choice, poor tire pressure, poor shock set up and poor handling skills, ie. grabbing a handfull of rear brake in the rough sections.

    So as for your question:

    "So my question is, in theory would a FSR bike mated with stable platform suspension be superior to a VPP bike in most handling situations? "

    I suppose my answer did not give you that much info. But in short I dont' think there are glaring differences in different, well executed, rear suspesion designs. And, any small, inherent differences are easily over shadowed by the other much more important factors as listed above.

    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronny
    I have rode a Bighit and Enduro and both bikes without stable platform or push'd shocks. The FSR suspension is excellent on downhills and all around riding for small bump absorption. FSR was also good for brake jack, but it has never been a big issue for me unless I am carrying huge speed into chatter bumps etc.

    My only gripe with the Bighit and Enduro was noticeable pedal bob on the flats and uphill riding. In 03 I almost got an Enduro but the bobbing changed my mind. It had a lockout but I like some suspension input on uphills. I would like to test a Bighit and Enduro with stable platform to make another judgement. The Bighit is one of the best freeride bikes around and I still like the Enduro also. FSR compared to riding a SP with the 5th I have noticed that the 5th is a harsher riding shock for sure and the SP is not as active as the FSR for obvious reasons.

    With that said the classic arguement of a sp cannot climb loose technical terrain is debatable. On my Heckler I have been on many loose rocky climbs without noticeable traction loss. The deficiencies of my SP bike can be overcome by running bigger tires on trails and lowering air pressure etc. I do wish I could have the small bump compliance of the FSR system on my current ride.
    My comment was directed more at derby. With regards to his stating that an FSR bobs allot when climbing, compared to a VVP bike.

    Any bike with a standard shock will generally bob more than one with stable platform. So that being said, for me, a Big Hit or Demo with a stable platform shock performs better overall than a standard, meaning no floating brake) VVP.

  8. #8
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    I agree

    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J
    Over the 15 years or so I've been riding owned multiple HT, 2 single pivots, 1 VPP, and one FSR (Turner). IMO the handling characteristics of the FS bikes has much more to due with other factors rather than the suspesion design. Tire choice, tire pressure, shock setup, and last but not least bike handling ability.

    In regards to climbing traction (for a given amount of rear travel) rider skill, tire choice, and tire pressure have much more impact than suspesion design. That aside, if I had to say, I'd guess my Burner (FSR) is about the best climber but that's a very close call because both my Bullit (SP) with a 5th and my Blur (VPP) is/was an exceptional climber/s. I've no experience on a long travel VPP with an SPV shock but the SPV on the Blur and Burner were not necessary and I felt actually hindered climbing ability by reducing the sensitivity of the rear suspension to take hits.

    "Brake jack". I don't have much experience with the various suspension designs on DH bikes. But from what I can tell most of the inherent benefit of one rear sus. design over the other is easily overcome by poor tire choice, poor tire pressure, poor shock set up and poor handling skills, ie. grabbing a handfull of rear brake in the rough sections.

    So as for your question:

    "So my question is, in theory would a FSR bike mated with stable platform suspension be superior to a VPP bike in most handling situations? "

    I suppose my answer did not give you that much info. But in short I dont' think there are glaring differences in different, well executed, rear suspesion designs. And, any small, inherent differences are easily over shadowed by the other much more important factors as listed above.

    Mike
    The reasons you listed are pretty much what I had in mind as well. I have tried many different bikes except VPP designs and I have not noticed huge differences between designs. There is differences of course, but I think the major problems facing suspension systems have been adressed by most of the serious players in the industry. Much of it comes down to rider input and ability and sometimes the theory behind suspension gets thrown out the window. I have been on rides where a guy on a hardtail goes up loose rocky steep uphills like a mountain goat and according to "theory" a hardtail cant get sufficient traction in these situations.

    I still want to try out some other bikes like the 5.5 and turner 5 spot to compare to other bikes I have rode in various conditions. One 5.5 owner responded to a post about the 5.5 compared to the Heckler and stated that the differences are slight and he actually preferred the Heckler in some situations. Many riders would laugh at this, but I think it comes down to owner superiority complex to a certain extent. Most riders who get a "boutique" bike automatically insist that their bike is the best no matter what. I really like my bike but I acknowledge its weak points ie: low BB and less than supple rear shock.

  9. #9
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    My Demo 9 with SPV pedals worlds better than my '03 BH with an RC ever did.
    ...he said "young man pay heed, you listen well to what i say, now there comes a time for a man to walk away"

  10. #10
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    SP shocks hide differences.

    Quote Originally Posted by lastminutebastrd
    My Demo 9 with SPV pedals worlds better than my '03 BH with an RC ever did.
    I rode FSR (Specialized mankes FSR) and other variations of Horst link bikes from Intense, Truner, Titus, and Ellsworth. And VPP's from Santa Cruz and Intense WITHOUT platform shocks. The true nature of a suspension is more apparent without the reactive damping of stable platform.

    Shorter travel Intense, Titus and Turner bikes don't need stable platform for low bob stable handling. With more than about 4 inches of travel the Horst link variations all need some small to large amount of SP damping for good pedaling. VPP doesn't need SP with less than 6-inch travel unless the rider likes the choppier handling ride. VPP is more chain reactive to counter bob, with more big bump pedal stall than Horst link variations, but has superior small bump performance than Horst link variations (except Specialized FSR's most vertical path near sag), which aids in loose condition traction.

    There are tradeoffs with every design. Matching the strengths of a design to your riding preferences takes testing a variety of designs and shock tuning. There is no perfect design; some are more adjustable than others to conditions and riding styles.

    JMO

    - ray

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