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  1. #1
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    MTB choice for mechanical engineers

    Any mechanical engineer forumers/bikers here? I'd like to know how your engineering background influences your choice on different mountain bike frames and components. What bike are you using and what do you like about it? In your opinion are there bikes/frames/components better engineered than others?

  2. #2
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    BSME and BSAE here. I have 3 Cannondales because I like them. My engineering background has little to do, philosophically, with what I choose. I ride what is fast and fun.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quentin View Post
    BSME and BSAE here. I have 3 Cannondales because I like them. My engineering background has little to do, philosophically, with what I choose. I ride what is fast and fun.
    An engineer riding a crack-n-fail
    Something wrong with your bike? Blame it on super human strength and sleep well at night knowing you are more than a man.

  4. #4
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    I ride an air 9 carbon cause it's beautiful and I always wanted one.

  5. #5
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    i was civil, but we shared some core classes w/ MechE's: mechanics of materials, dynamics, etc.

    i ride an aluminum nomad, mostly because i like the ductile failure properties of aluminium versus an anisotropic material like carbon fiber, ha. j/k, i got the alu frame cuz it was cheaper.
    94 Specialized Rockhopper

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    BSEE, BSME, BSCS, MSTech here.... even own my own engineering company doing automotive and aerospace stuff.

    I tend to prefer technologically significant bikes. CF frames, full suspension, and also prefer to build my own bikes from the ground up.....and like my other hobbies, something that I can obsess over.

    -S

    Sent from my Kindle Fire using Tapatalk 2

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    Bsme, now a design engineer who has worked on the Boeing 787 and currently on the air force's 767 tanker. I race an Orbea alma carbon.

  8. #8
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    This threads going to be pure 24k gold, .......
    Dont ever let the truth get in the way of a funny story....:cool:

  9. #9
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    MechE here, riding a carbon Superfly 100. I wish I had something intellectual and insightful to say about my choice, other than I rode it, liked it, bought it.

    I'll keep an eye on this thread and plagiarize the smartest response next time someone asks me!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gundam168 View Post
    Any mechanical engineer forumers/bikers here? I'd like to know how your engineering background influences your choice on different mountain bike frames and components. What bike are you using and what do you like about it? In your opinion are there bikes/frames/components better engineered than others?
    Just like every engineer I have ever known and is over thinking the entire process.




  11. #11
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    I mostly make my own stuff, cause I can, cause mass production is mostly a bit behind, and mass production usually means loads of compromises.


    Magura

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gundam168 View Post
    Any mechanical engineer forumers/bikers here? I'd like to know how your engineering background influences your choice on different mountain bike frames and components. What bike are you using and what do you like about it? In your opinion are there bikes/frames/components better engineered than others?
    Sounds like a set-up to me...

    I'm a Mining Engineer but my bikes aren't influenced by that... much
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails MTB choice for mechanical engineers-mining-bike.jpg  


  13. #13
    Mulleticious
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    ^^^ not that I want to sabotage your research - apologies:
    I ride a Niner SIR9 rigid SS locally, and have a Santa Cruz Tallboy LTc / XTR for AM work (which has just replaced a Stumpy Pro Carbon)

  14. #14
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    I went to school and graduated in mechanical engineering but ended up as an engine mechanic (different passion)



    I ride an intense spider 29. Mainly because of price and because well its sexy. It has nothing to do with my tech background and mostly to do with my love of bikes.

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    it depends on how much you are willing to spend. form follows function

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryguy135 View Post
    Bsme, now a design engineer who has worked on the Boeing 787 and currently on the air force's 767 tanker. I race an Orbea alma carbon.
    I've worked with/learned from the Boeing/MD guys out here in the Mesa plant. You guys deserve much respect.

    -S

  17. #17
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    I have a BSME, and I find it influences my habits in weird ways that the average rider probably wouldn't think about. For instance:

    -I've retired an otherwise good looking aluminum handlebar because I had used it for years. I thought I must have put it through enough cyclical loading that one of these days it would catastrophically fail on me.

    -I was given an old road bike with an aluminum fork, which had been ridden for many years by its previous owner. I examined it and couldn't find any stress cracks, but all the same, I couldn't trust it.

    -I can't bring myself to buy a carbon fiber part because I'm not good enough to not crash. If it got dinged, I'll be too worried the crack will propagate under cyclical loading.

    -I'm fascinated by a bike out there called the Slingshot. It has a cable in place of a downtube. As far as I can make out, it would be fine in tension as you sit on the bike, but the minute you catch some air, that cable will simply go slack and what....the bike folds on itself? I imagine the bike also has rubbish lateral stiffness.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZXFT View Post
    An engineer riding a crack-n-fail
    Not a single crack. :P I just picked up a Scalpel 29er Carbon 1.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quentin View Post
    Not a single crack. :P I just picked up a Scalpel 29er Carbon 1.
    Congrats! Pics NOW!

    -S

  20. #20
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    I have a few nice papers that say I'm a mechanical engineer. I ride a SC Tallboy C cuz it sure is purdy.

    Although I do read the 29er vs 26er and carbon vs AL vs TI vs wood threads with amusement.
    buzzes like a fridge

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilikebmx999 View Post
    I went to school and graduated in mechanical engineering but ended up as an engine mechanic
    I thought when bad engineers died they went to hell and became mechanics-

    "who's the idiot that designed this thing!? oh ya, it was me "

  22. #22
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    I studied AERO Engineering in college but decided to fly planes instead of designing them. Because of my strength of materials classes, I'm a fan of steel. I like to think my steel bike will last longer than aluminum or carbon fiber.

  23. #23
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    I'm an M.E., but I would never take advice from one, lol.
    I'm also a tech geek that loves intelligent innovation, and have lots of carbon fiber on my bikes. I build every one from the frame up. Even the wheels are built up by me. It's more fun that way.

  24. #24
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    Mechanical design engineer. Ride a specialized Enduro because I like 4 bar linkages. I have faith in carbon fiber - more so than most. My bike is alu. though, with a few carbon components, eg. handlebars. I can't justify the cost of a carbon frame. I think my interest in bikes has had more influence on my job than the other way around. I love to design in aluminium - a lot the time unnecessarily. A lot of my design solutions have been influenced by my knowledge of bikes. I'd spend ages feeling and playing with any aluminium prototype that comes back.

  25. #25
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    Thanks for all the replies. I was a bit intrigued as to how mechanical engineers (or anyone with a physics or engineering background) would make a purchasing decision regarding a new mountain bike or components. Do they filter all those technological and marketing mumbo and jumbo or in some cases make a decision like a regular joe and just rely on word of mouth or advice from other (non-engineering) bike experts. Nothing wrong with either though. No right or wrong answers here.

  26. #26
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    Not a ME but my polymer engineering degree incorporated a lot of ME stuff. I did consider mechanical design when I chose the Trance X29-1. Looking at the Maestro suspension, I can see why Giant feels they don't really need 142 in the rear, at this point. That's a pretty compact and efficient package with a lot of contact links/points in a relatively small volume of space. Imo (b/c I can't test it), that suspension setup likely deflects less than some other f/s designs.

  27. #27
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    I am a Mechanical Engineer, for 9 years now and counting. Did Robotics, Lasers, and currently flow measurement and control.

    I am a Horst link fan, next up would be DW link. Horst is #1 as I did a study on it for my vibrations class in college, got a good idea of the forces involved, it makes a lot of sense to me, therefor is my favorite.
    "Any wheel size is better than sitting at a computer all day." -Myself

  28. #28
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    Hi Everybody.
    I'm a rocket scientist and I ride a bunch of bikes.

    roccowt.
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  29. #29
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    Our hero:

  30. #30
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    BSME here. I ride a KHS alite4000 hard tail. I built this bike back in 2003. I went for light frame at a good price. I like the Easton tubes on the frame and did a lot of research before buying the frame and all the XT components. I was looking for the best combination of weight, function and price. I rarely go after the very latest tech as it often over priced. Last years tech seems to be almost as good for nice price break.

    These days I still ride that bike and it still works great. A lot of new bikes have nice gadgets, but they are not really better bikes when you consider the money you have to spend.

    Being an engineers allows me to see past a lot of the hype.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '19 Ibis Ripmo, XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    BSME here. I ride a KHS alite4000 hard tail. I built this bike back in 2003. I went for light frame at a good price. I like the Easton tubes on the frame and did a lot of research before buying the frame and all the XT components. I was looking for the best combination of weight, function and price. I rarely go after the very latest tech as it often over priced. Last years tech seems to be almost as good for nice price break.

    These days I still ride that bike and it still works great. A lot of new bikes have nice gadgets, but they are not really better bikes when you consider the money you have to spend.

    Being an engineers allows me to see past a lot of the hype.
    It also allows you to be stubborn and convinced your opinion is infallible.

    Seriously, there have been some amazing advances in a decade.

  32. #32
    gran jefe
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    i'm a chem eng. prolly has some influence on my choices:
    -frugal/practical, so i didn't buy a hugely expensive bike. most people would consider it unrideable.
    -i like that the frame is white so i can look for cracks more easily.
    -29er, because i'm tall enough and they roll over roots better (let's not argue)
    -i have no understanding of why a 2x10 drivetrain is better than a 2x7, when both cover the same ratios
    -disk brakes. because they work, all the time
    -have made a ton of my own repairs, because i know how stuff works
    -prefer schrader valves, bc they are built like a valve should be. when I use prestas i'm afraid they are going to fall apart under their own weight.
    -suspicious of used carbon. new carbon = awesome.

    just my opinions. fun thread!

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quentin View Post
    It also allows you to be stubborn and convinced your opinion is infallible.

    Seriously, there have been some amazing advances in a decade.
    Well, it IS his opinion. If you think you have a better one then that's your opinion.

  34. #34
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    I try to filter out the marketing, but I have a "the more you know, the more you don't know" problem.
    buzzes like a fridge

  35. #35
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    Another ME here. 3 steel frames - 2 are rigid ss, and the 3rd is a 1x9 hardtail. I do all my own wrenching, but apparently like to keep things pretty simple.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quentin View Post
    It also allows you to be stubborn and convinced your opinion is infallible.

    Seriously, there have been some amazing advances in a decade.
    The bike have now is fun great for the trails I ride. I could spend thousands on a newer bike, but will it cause me to have any more fun? Probably not and even if it did is it 3,000 dollars worth of more fun? If I were racing and cared about a few seconds here or there it would be a different story. Even so I can do a mtb race and do ok with my 26in wheels, v-brakes, 3x9 driveline, 25.4mm narrow bars and long stem on an ancient risk shock judy. I beat many racers and others beat me. In the end I had fun on the trails and that is all that matters.

    I don't need a 5k 6inch bike or carbon 29er to have fun.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '19 Ibis Ripmo, XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guerdonian View Post
    I am a Mechanical Engineer, for 9 years now and counting. Did Robotics, Lasers, and currently flow measurement and control.

    I am a Horst link fan, next up would be DW link. Horst is #1 as I did a study on it for my vibrations class in college, got a good idea of the forces involved, it makes a lot of sense to me, therefor is my favorite.
    Guerdonian - I'd be interested to hear what you think about VPP - no mention of it alongside Horst and DW?

    I also did a fair bit of thinking around rear suspension, but it didn't get me anywhere practically speaking: what I thought should be the best design has not turned out that way when I ride the bikes...

    This is probably because I haven't spent the last decade working as a MTB rear suspension specialist

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigwheelsRbest View Post
    Guerdonian - I'd be interested to hear what you think about VPP - no mention of it alongside Horst and DW?

    I also did a fair bit of thinking around rear suspension, but it didn't get me anywhere practically speaking: what I thought should be the best design has not turned out that way when I ride the bikes...

    This is probably because I haven't spent the last decade working as a MTB rear suspension specialist
    VPP designs typically feature an S-shaped wheel path throughout the travel, while horst and DW link suspensions have an arc shaped suspension travel.

    Viewed from a shock standpoint, the arc-shaped suspension is easier to control - the shock's progressiveness (i.e. how much the spring rate increases when it's compressed) is almost linear. This stiffening of the shock helps as the suspension is compressed and is beneficial as you reach the end of the suspension travel.

    On the other hand, in most VPP designs the progressiveness of the shock throughout the travel falls off at the top end of the travel, due to the constantly moving virtual pivot. Basically the spring rate increases as the suspension is compressed, and then as it's compressed even more (closer to the end of the travel) the spring rate starts falling off. How noticeable this is and how it affects the bike's suspension is really dependent on the design of the suspension. This can be eliminated in good design, like in the DW-link but overall the performance is very subjective and is the root of arguments/discussions/wars....

    -S

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    The bike have now is fun great for the trails I ride. I could spend thousands on a newer bike, but will it cause me to have any more fun? Probably not and even if it did is it 3,000 dollars worth of more fun? If I were racing and cared about a few seconds here or there it would be a different story. Even so I can do a mtb race and do ok with my 26in wheels, v-brakes, 3x9 driveline, 25.4mm narrow bars and long stem on an ancient risk shock judy. I beat many racers and others beat me. In the end I had fun on the trails and that is all that matters.

    I don't need a 5k 6inch bike or carbon 29er to have fun.
    My post was mostly in jest. I find that being an engineer often gives us the "I know what's best" syndrome. Some can't fathom riding a 10 year old hardtail and others can't fathom spending $4k on a bike. Our training as engineers reinforces that we are always right... because we're engineers. Haha

    Anyway, there is nothing wrong with liking what you have. It is very frugal. Mountain biking is my main hobby. I sold my '06 bike this year for about half what I paid. So, it cost me $1400 for 6 years use. The cost isn't that big considering yearly depreciation. Considering how much I enjoy cycling and my bikes, it is well worth the cost. Cheaper than my wife's hobby of going to Europe every few years. Haha

  40. #40
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    spammer 3 posts up has been reported.

  41. #41
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    I am a BSME. I picked my Spec camber because I like the color. Not sure what part of my studies influenced that??

    My LBS guy is not an engineer but he has a lot of common sense so he works on the bike!
    If the path ahead looks dangerous ------- it probably is!

  42. #42
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    Any opinions on GT idrive?
    roccowt.
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  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by zarr View Post
    Any opinions on GT idrive?
    I am not an engineer, but as a bike mechanic, i find that system to be terrible. I have had to work on a few of them and it's a PITA.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by MObiker View Post
    I am a BSME. I picked my Spec camber because I like the color. Not sure what part of my studies influenced that??

    My LBS guy is not an engineer but he has a lot of common sense so he works on the bike!
    What color was it? Must have been a rare color that the other manufacturers didn't have.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    VPP designs typically feature an S-shaped wheel path throughout the travel, while horst and DW link suspensions have an arc shaped suspension travel.

    Viewed from a shock standpoint, the arc-shaped suspension is easier to control - the shock's progressiveness (i.e. how much the spring rate increases when it's compressed) is almost linear. This stiffening of the shock helps as the suspension is compressed and is beneficial as you reach the end of the suspension travel.

    On the other hand, in most VPP designs the progressiveness of the shock throughout the travel falls off at the top end of the travel, due to the constantly moving virtual pivot. Basically the spring rate increases as the suspension is compressed, and then as it's compressed even more (closer to the end of the travel) the spring rate starts falling off. How noticeable this is and how it affects the bike's suspension is really dependent on the design of the suspension. This can be eliminated in good design, like in the DW-link but overall the performance is very subjective and is the root of arguments/discussions/wars....

    -S
    That is an example of exactly what I mean shibiwan. I also thought Horst superior to VPP, but had a Specialized FSR pro carbon for a couple of years and just recently changed to a Santa Cruz Tallboy LTc for AM stuff. I am much faster on the Tallboy and feel a lot more in control especially when climbing, and over lumpy downhill stuff. Horst link vs VPP - VPP the winner this time. Of course there are other differences in the bikes, although the cost was quite similar. My point is that I am an engineer, but this did not help me choose the best bike - only riding the bike did that

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigwheelsRbest View Post
    That is an example of exactly what I mean shibiwan. I also thought Horst superior to VPP, but had a Specialized FSR pro carbon for a couple of years and just recently changed to a Santa Cruz Tallboy LTc for AM stuff. I am much faster on the Tallboy and feel a lot more in control especially when climbing, and over lumpy downhill stuff. Horst link vs VPP - VPP the winner this time. Of course there are other differences in the bikes, although the cost was quite similar. My point is that I am an engineer, but this did not help me choose the best bike - only riding the bike did that
    Suspension is always a compromise. A good part of my engineering work is automotive performance suspension design/consulting. Typically when you design for handling, the tradeoff is in comfort, and vice versa.

    A lot of work goes into "short" multilink suspensions like the VPP. The constantly moving virtual pivot point is always a challenge, especially when you have high mount points like that on a MTB. The goal in most MTB suspensions with the VPP is to approximate a vertical motion with a slight s-shaped wiggle to it. This design is typically used for rider comfort and because of this, you feel like you're more in control.

    The non-VPP designs like the Horst, single pivot etc, depending on the design usually results in a slight arc. Adjusting this arc to go rearwards or vertically affects the rear suspension's climbing performance. With the rearwards arc, the suspension tends to "self climb" as it's dragged over the bumps (similar to trailing arm type suspensions in cars).

    Like I said, put a bunch of engineers together to talk about suspensions, you'll end up in a big, endless argument and nothing is accomplished.

    FYI - the more successful race car teams out there have one lead engineer that usually takes charge and runs the design "show", this keeps the other engineers in check so work gets done. LOL

    -S

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    I am not an engineer, but as a bike mechanic, i find that system to be terrible. I have had to work on a few of them and it's a PITA.
    ...just an opinion?... or what?
    roccowt.
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  48. #48
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    Admittedly I am not an engineer, but I studied automotive suspension kinematics as I do a lot of wild suspension modifications on my older classics and I like to know what Iím doing and why Iím doing it rather than just bolting up fancy looking tubular control arms .

    Honestly I feel in order of importance I consider geometry, then shock rate, and lastly wheel path. shibiwan, have you ever ridden a Maverick? On paper the wheel path looks ideal as it travels in a vector going up and back, but as BigwheelsRbest said you got to ride to know and what I didnít take into account until I rode one was that that wheel path also causes the chain stay length to grow- great for climbing, sucks for any situation where you need to loft the front wheel so thereís the compromise with that design.

    Single pivot is again a contender when you consider designs that utilize an intermediate link to drive the shock. Shock rate is what has always been the Achilles heel of single pivot designs and itís worth considering bikes like Santa Cruz Nickel and Butcher or Foes Shaver.

    Between the Santa Cruz Tall Boy (VPP), the Titus El Guapo (Horst Link), and my current ride the Mountain Cycle Zen II (Single Pivot w/ variable shock rate) Iíd say they are all phenomenally fun to ride, in fact it seems a challenge to find a poor design out there these days.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Richard View Post
    Admittedly I am not an engineer, but I studied automotive suspension kinematics as I do a lot of wild suspension modifications on my older classics and I like to know what Iím doing and why Iím doing it rather than just bolting up fancy looking tubular control arms .

    Honestly I feel in order of importance I consider geometry, then shock rate, and lastly wheel path. shibiwan, have you ever ridden a Maverick? On paper the wheel path looks ideal as it travels in a vector going up and back, but as BigwheelsRbest said you got to ride to know and what I didnít take into account until I rode one was that that wheel path also causes the chain stay length to grow- great for climbing, sucks for any situation where you need to loft the front wheel so thereís the compromise with that design.

    Single pivot is again a contender when you consider designs that utilize an intermediate link to drive the shock. Shock rate is what has always been the Achilles heel of single pivot designs and itís worth considering bikes like Santa Cruz Nickel and Butcher or Foes Shaver.

    Between the Santa Cruz Tall Boy (VPP), the Titus El Guapo (Horst Link), and my current ride the Mountain Cycle Zen II (Single Pivot w/ variable shock rate) Iíd say they are all phenomenally fun to ride, in fact it seems a challenge to find a poor design out there these days.
    That's good to know. So it really comes down to the quality and assembly tolerances of the parts used in the design, right?
    roccowt.
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  50. #50
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    Being an engineer (civil) hasn't influenced my decision to buy specific brands but it absolutely changes the way I look at different bike technologies. Being an engineer has made me extremely skeptical to some of the absurd claims that bike companies make about their products.

    Few of the claims are flat-out lies but many of them are intentionally deceptive. I don't know if non-engineers would pick up on it but judging by the comments made by cyclists who don't understand the basics of physics, statics, dynamics, and materials, I don't think they do. In other words, deceptive advertising claims WORK on the masses.

    I used to race triathlons and remember reading about a new frame with a downtube that, according to the company, "reduced wind drag 15%." WOW! that's a whopper of a claim. And, of course, one of my tri-buddies who bought it said "Yeah, I can really tell the difference in my average speed and heartrate." He honestly thought he was 15% more efficient due to the frame.

    When I explained to him that it's just the downtube that's 15% more wind efficient and that the downtube only made up about 30% of the frame's drag and that the frame made up less than 10% of the total drag, he wasn't happy.

    Some of the 29er claims are equally as absurd (have you seen the video of the guy struggling to climb a hill on a 26 and then smoothly and quickly flying up in on a 29er? yeah, the wheel made all the difference! ROFL).

    So being an engineer hasn't changed my bike purchase but it has made me roll my eyes at some of the claims companies make about their new technology.

    (and only 3 more posts until I can post the question I registered to ask! )

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    I'm a Civil Engineer but did a lot of work for the forest industry designing and modifying process equipment for wood products plants. I left engineering ten years ago to do something else. I don't think this influenced my choice of bikes. Maybe Specialized was just lucky but my local bike store was a Specialized dealer so by default almost, my first nice bike was a Specialized. I really liked it and under the theory of not messing with a good thing I've primarily gone that route.

    Currently riding as the main bike a 2013 Stumpjumper FSR Elite that replaced a 2011 Enduro.

    I think I understand as an engineer is that some things just cost money and that quality isn't cheap.

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    Perhaps there ARE answers and results that only the research of the great Lab Coat Guy and Safety Boy of Bike Magazine can explain.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zarr View Post
    That's good to know. So it really comes down to the quality and assembly tolerances of the parts used in the design, right?
    That and geometry, this is the chief factor in my decision making process. I would never discount a hardtail frame. Shibiwan mentioned how everything is a compromise and I couldn't agree more. Different designs and how they're executed can offer advantages under varying conditions depending on what the end user is after.

    There really is no best. I think the question itself is interesting. I would say an engineer or anyone technically savvy would generally tend to look at how something functions and deduce for themselves whether a design has merit or mere marketing hype.

    The bicycle is really a simple machine and when it comes to bike suspension there is much less to consider, but no single variable holds much value on its own and even looking at multiple variables as separate, static events won't paint a full picture. That's why actually riding or computer modeling are superior, you see and feel it all working in unison under motion and observe how these variables influence each other and interact with the terrain and rider.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    .snip...

    (and only 3 more posts until I can post the question I registered to ask! )
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Richard View Post
    Honestly I feel in order of importance I consider geometry, then shock rate, and lastly wheel path. shibiwan, have you ever ridden a Maverick? On paper the wheel path looks ideal as it travels in a vector going up and back, but as BigwheelsRbest said you got to ride to know and what I didnít take into account until I rode one was that that wheel path also causes the chain stay length to grow- great for climbing, sucks for any situation where you need to loft the front wheel so thereís the compromise with that design.
    Yes, geometry is typically the first consideration. Even if the wheel path is ideal for one application, it may not be universally "ideal" for all situations, therefore the compromise. The various factors all contribute to the whole suspension package so there is no "right answer" or "best design". It's all about how the design is executed.

    I fully agree that the final test is in the ride. For example, my retired old Klein Mantra is an "odd" design with a high pivot URT geometry, and because of the rearward/upward wheel path it is an insanely good climber. I test rode a whole bunch of bikes before deciding on what to get but I have not ridden a Maverick.

    As for the "paid" bike reviewers, few will "write off" a poor design that did not live up to expectation unless it's REALLY bad. You don't want to piss off manufacturers who send you stuff to test/try, or pull their paid adverts, if you're writing a magazine or putting up a large review website. They'll simply move on to a magazine/website more friendly to them.


    -S

  56. #56
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    I'm a Combat Engineer in the Army. I blow sh!t up. I have found this has zero bearing on which bike I buy. Maybe I'll have to do some further testing.
    I'm a mountain bike guide in southwest Utah

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    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    I fully agree that the final test is in the ride. For example, my retired old Klein Mantra is an "odd" design with a high pivot URT geometry, and because of the rearward/upward wheel path it is an insanely good climber. I test rode a whole bunch of bikes before deciding on what to get but I have not ridden a Maverick.

    -S
    I kinda liked URT's and wanted a Homegrown, so much vitriol toward these but horses for courses, these worked well for some folks.

    Similar story with my Mountain Cycle Zen II, the San Andreas 2.0 was kinda funky looking so when it hit the market it bombed along with the company. Sad because the bikes work so well, and the design is sound having a variable shock rate that starts out as a falling rate, progresses to a linear rate mid stroke, and finishes of with a rising rate. Designed by the same guy who developed the Yeti SB-66, this variable rate is accomplished by using the same switch technology.

    But like the URT, many scoffed at these bikes without ever having ridden one because after all, single pivot is old technology and the San An looked funny. Some riders want a bike that is plush while seated that rides more like a hardtail out of the saddle, URT is a fun bike for these folks.

    Anyway all I knew about the Zen II was stuff I read concerning how the shock is driven and it made sense to me so I took a gamble and it paid off. I imagine it's similar for many technically minded folks, they look, they study, if it makes sense they give it a try.

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    Got my ME degree in '84, now selfemployed plumber/appliance repair. Anyway, a pin straight frame is a must. I hate when I sight down a frame and see the rear wheel cocked or it pulls when no-handed. Color, design, material comes second.
    Since another brought up the urt, I have 2 catamonts MPS that really do climb better than my other 6 bikes. If I had to sell all bikes but one, I'd keep one Catamont.
    I think a good engineer would pick the best design for their preferred type of riding. A good engineer would ferret out market hype when making a decision.

    Here is an example..One would design a ..say a microwave oven differently for the consumer then oneself. Mine would have 3 power settings and a rotary, analog spring timer. No LEDs, no bells and whistles. If one were to put forth this design at work, one would probably be told to try again. Hence the Catamont for me.
    Last edited by 1niceride; 12-25-2012 at 08:42 PM.
    lean forward

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    ...Being an engineer has made me extremely skeptical to some of the absurd claims that bike companies make about their products....
    +1

    Quote Originally Posted by 1niceride View Post
    ...Anyway, a pin straight frame is a must. I hate when I sight down a frame and see the rear wheel cocked or it pulls when no-handed. Color, design, material comes second.
    ...
    Here is an example..One would design a ..say a microwave oven differently for the consumer then oneself. Mine would have 3 power settings and a rotary, analog spring timer. No LEDs, no bells and whistles. If one were to put forth this design at work, one would probably be told to try again. Hence the Catamont for me.

    This is my bike! Zero bells. Zero whistles.

    I'm a ME with a background in composites.
    Cool materials are, well, cool - like metal matrix composites and CF (I still ride steel).
    Cool suspension designs are also cool. I like DW*Link (although I probably couldn't tell the difference on the trail and I usually ride rigid anyway).
    Good construction and assembly is very important and I pay attention to component strength, good bearings with good seals, proper lubrication, bolt torques, etc.

    BUT, the non-gambling, risk-abating engineer who is me that makes sure every day that nothing falls on, pinches, burns, entraps, asphyxiates, or maims another person or damages any property never buys the latest, greatest, newest, or lightest thing. I always let someone else try it first until I'm satisfied that I'm not taking any chances. It's not in my budget to do someone else's R&D.

    You all remember the disclaimer about determining the "...suitability for a particular application under actual use or mis-use..."
    Yeah, I have it memorized.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    I'm a Combat Engineer in the Army. I blow sh!t up. I have found this has zero bearing on which bike I buy. Maybe I'll have to do some further testing.

    So which bikes blow up the best?
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by zarr View Post
    ...just an opinion?... or what?
    It's as valid an opinion as anyone else's. it seems like it creaks no matter what you do. Maybe some mechanic has magic fingers can make it work better, but no one i have met can seem to get one to work consistantly.

    What do you engineers think of the design? What about the ride quality?

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigwheelsRbest View Post
    Guerdonian - I'd be interested to hear what you think about VPP - no mention of it alongside Horst and DW?

    I also did a fair bit of thinking around rear suspension, but it didn't get me anywhere practically speaking: what I thought should be the best design has not turned out that way when I ride the bikes...

    This is probably because I haven't spent the last decade working as a MTB rear suspension specialist
    First off let me state that I am no specialist And I am sure there are a billion threads in the suspension sub-forum about suspension types.

    Shibi was on the dot with his info. The VPP is a good platform from the semester study i did, but I noticed a couple things about it in particular. 1st was the fact the VPP could be very progressive, and also very flexible with pivot placement, axle path, etc... This is both a pro and a con, as I am firmly of the opinion that progressivness and pedal bob is now very efficiently taken care of by modern shocks, thus the complexity of the VPP design (and some others designs, including DW) is unneeded. I also think that VPP can easily become a harsh non-progressive ride performance if the shock is not set up properly. Take all this with a grain of salt as I have only briefly ridden a handful of VPP bikes and it was years ago, I was not impressed with the performance.

    I am a big fan of the HORST primarily because of its simplicity. The free body diagram of braking, pedaling, shock, bump and chain forces just makes sense in how its supposed to perform. Chain growth is very small, rear wheel axle path can be quite linear.
    "Any wheel size is better than sitting at a computer all day." -Myself

  63. #63
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    I have noticed that a lot of ME's are bike nerds. The simplicity and elegance of bicycle is total brain candy for us. Does my background influence my purchases? Sort of.

    Sometimes it prevents me from buying stupid crap that i don't need, or paying a bit more for something that (to me) seems like a much better product. This sometimes helps sometimes does not.

    Helpful example: Shimano XT brakes, the coolstop technology, simplicity in design, mineral oil fluid, ease of maintenance, etc...... led me to purchase these and I am happy I did so. Non of the reasons why I purchased these brakes required a engineering degree, and they are probably the same reason why most non-engineers also purchased them.

    Sad example: I purchased a Corsair Marquei frame 3 or 4 years ago because i thought the suspension setup was super nifty, and really liked how it should have theoretically performed. Ended up getting one of the first frames available in the US and without going into too much detail it was a total Dud, sold it off and got an Enduro within 4 months.
    "Any wheel size is better than sitting at a computer all day." -Myself

  64. #64
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    Most of the way through my MS in Engineering through my school's mech. e. department. I have a systems emphasis, and also a fondness for energy methods for figuring out dynamics problems. Kind of an odd combination, although Lagrange mechanics bring those together really nicely.

    It's made me pretty skeptical about most new pieces of bike technology. Although I think my favorite things to reject are weight weenieism (I weigh 165 lbs, is dropping even a pound off my bike going to do anything??) and rear suspension (I'm going to attach something whose job is to absorb energy to the part of my frame that's supposed to transmit power??)

    Although I do have a good time thinking about rear suspension. Especially with how much custom valving is available, seems like a band-reject filter to me...
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  65. #65
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    Spoken like a person who has never owned a FS bike

    I used to be that way till I knew better.

  66. #66
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    I've been going out of my way lately to get more saddle time on FS bikes; so far I haven't ridden one that made me want it.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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    To be brutally honest, I'm really picky about quality of construction. That's one of the reasons I'm sticking to my 2007 SJ FSR. The carbon layup is close to perfect (workmanship wise) and it's held up pretty well to the daily beatings I subject it to.

    Everytime I go to the Spesh dealer for some little thing or other, I'll almost always look around to check out the newer bikes. I'm in no way trying to poo-poo Spesh (heck, I'm a big Spesh fan), but I've examined the newer stuff on display pretty closely and have noticed that the workmanship/attention to detail in the carbon frames has declined somewhat. Of course the sales droids there try to sell me a new S-whatever something or other and offer to take my bike in trade, but I can never really justify the bike upgrade.

    Perhaps the next frame will be a Pivot (Mach 5.7 carbon maybe?)... I gotta stop by their office here in town one of these days. Then again I have too much bike stuff lying around and my wife will likely kill me.

    -S

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    To be brutally honest, I'm really picky about quality of construction. That's one of the reasons I'm sticking to my 2007 SJ FSR. The carbon layup is close to perfect (workmanship wise) and it's held up pretty well to the daily beatings I subject it to.

    Everytime I go to the Spesh dealer for some little thing or other, I'll almost always look around to check out the newer bikes. I'm in no way trying to poo-poo Spesh (heck, I'm a big Spesh fan), but I've examined the newer stuff on display pretty closely and have noticed that the workmanship/attention to detail in the carbon frames has declined somewhat. Of course the sales droids there try to sell me a new S-whatever something or other and offer to take my bike in trade, but I can never really justify the bike upgrade.

    Perhaps the next frame will be a Pivot (Mach 5.7 carbon maybe?)... I gotta stop by their office here in town one of these days. Then again I have too much bike stuff lying around and my wife will likely kill me.

    -S
    We'll be waiting for your report from Pivot.
    You can put wifey in the collecive wife generator...an imaginative machine that turns all wifeys who are anti hubby with hobby wives into riding partners.It's fueled by strong imagination.
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    I need one of these so I can project an alternate reality into the wife's (and kids') head, and then I can do anything I want.



    -S

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gasp4Air View Post
    So which bikes blow up the best?




    Carbon Fiber naturally, it blows up when exposed to sunlight.

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ.MTNS View Post
    Carbon Fiber naturally, it blows up when exposed to sunlight.
    Oh roadies are especially explosive



    -S

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    I need one of these so I can project an alternate reality into the wife's (and kids') head, and then I can do anything I want.



    -S
    Just tell her its way cheaper then your old cocaine habit used to be before you found cycling.

  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    It's as valid an opinion as anyone else's. it seems like it creaks no matter what you do. Maybe some mechanic has magic fingers can make it work better, but no one i have met can seem to get one to work consistantly.

    What do you engineers think of the design? What about the ride quality?
    I own 2 of them. I bought the second because I liked the lack of pedal bob on the first so I picked up a 9er with i-drive. That and you can pick up GT holdovers cheap. I agree with Mack they can creak and you have to pull the crank to get to one of the pivots. = PITA. I find if you pull it apart clean it, grease it and put it together with the bearings snugged right down it usually stops the creak.


    I'd be interested in a Mech E's opinion on the design too. I'm an EE and that has had no bearing on my choice of bikes other than I am skeptical of a lot of claims too.

  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by bedwards1000 View Post
    I own 2 of them. I bought the second because I liked the lack of pedal bob on the first so I picked up a 9er with i-drive. That and you can pick up GT holdovers cheap. I agree with Mack they can creak and you have to pull the crank to get to one of the pivots. = PITA. I find if you pull it apart clean it, grease it and put it together with the bearings snugged right down it usually stops the creak.


    I'd be interested in a Mech E's opinion on the design too. I'm an EE and that has had no bearing on my choice of bikes other than I am skeptical of a lot of claims too.
    I guess it depends on the crankset you have to how much of a pain it is to pull. My FSA BB30 Afterburner is a breeze to pull. I even rigged up a BB30 bearing puller with some all tread, washers, nuts, and 1.5" PVC pipe.

  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tone's View Post
    This threads going to be pure 24k gold, .......
    What's wrong for being BSEE and BSME? I think that mechanical engineer would pick a different bike from electrical engineer and specially compared to a lawyer. no?

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    Truvativ Stylo on one of them. I've never actually pulled it because I didn't' have the giant 16mm hex key to pull it off. I do now. I haven't' looked at the crank on the 9er yet since I've only had it a few weeks.

  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    I've been going out of my way lately to get more saddle time on FS bikes; so far I haven't ridden one that made me want it.
    what FS bikes did you ride so far and what do you not like on them compared to HT?

  78. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    To be brutally honest, I'm really picky about quality of construction. That's one of the reasons I'm sticking to my 2007 SJ FSR. The carbon layup is close to perfect (workmanship wise) and it's held up pretty well to the daily beatings I subject it to.

    Everytime I go to the Spesh dealer for some little thing or other, I'll almost always look around to check out the newer bikes. I'm in no way trying to poo-poo Spesh (heck, I'm a big Spesh fan), but I've examined the newer stuff on display pretty closely and have noticed that the workmanship/attention to detail in the carbon frames has declined somewhat. Of course the sales droids there try to sell me a new S-whatever something or other and offer to take my bike in trade, but I can never really justify the bike upgrade.

    Perhaps the next frame will be a Pivot (Mach 5.7 carbon maybe?)... I gotta stop by their office here in town one of these days. Then again I have too much bike stuff lying around and my wife will likely kill me.

    -S
    i think that the new FEA that Specialized is using in designing their bikes resulted in BETTER bikes that they are making now - than ever. workmanship that i observed on the Epic and Stumpjumper is second to none. just my opinion of course.

  79. #79
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    One of the i-Drives, the Giant Anthem, the Ibis Mojo, and the Specialized FSR XC.

    I really disliked the i-Drive bike and the Mojo. Way too big, and as soon as I got out of the saddle, the whole platform sank.

    The Anthem, I didn't hate. It pedaled well and didn't do anything weird when I got out of the saddle. But it didn't do anything for me on the way back down.

    I've been able to ride the FSRXC on a more extended ride, will probably be riding it tomorrow actually. It belongs to a friend of mine, so I've been able to play with setup and I've got more saddle time on it than the others combined. Maybe I'll get the thing dialed enough to change my mind, but it seems like my pattern with FS bikes is that by the time I've got the rear not doing bizarre and annoying stuff, I may as well just be riding a hardtail.

    I'm curious about the Epic, but it's a fabulously expensive bike, so not likely to be feasible for me anytime soon.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    One of the i-Drives, the Giant Anthem, the Ibis Mojo, and the Specialized FSR XC.

    I really disliked the i-Drive bike and the Mojo. Way too big, and as soon as I got out of the saddle, the whole platform sank.

    The Anthem, I didn't hate. It pedaled well and didn't do anything weird when I got out of the saddle. But it didn't do anything for me on the way back down.

    I've been able to ride the FSRXC on a more extended ride, will probably be riding it tomorrow actually. It belongs to a friend of mine, so I've been able to play with setup and I've got more saddle time on it than the others combined. Maybe I'll get the thing dialed enough to change my mind, but it seems like my pattern with FS bikes is that by the time I've got the rear not doing bizarre and annoying stuff, I may as well just be riding a hardtail.

    I'm curious about the Epic, but it's a fabulously expensive bike, so not likely to be feasible for me anytime soon.
    i had the same issue with FS bikes - bob when hammering out of the saddle. it was so annoying, even on flats during hard work.

    interesting you mention the Epic - as that is the first bike that made me feel different when it comes to efficiency out of the saddle. it is the closest FS bike to HT feeling, yet still capable of performing FS duty, when needed. 2011 and on models have the Brain technology dialled in very well - and though it takes time to set it up properly and to your demands - once setup properly - they work excellent.

    take time to set it up properly - if you ever get a chance to ride it (which you should - forget the MSRP - there are ways to get it for way less). With just a couple of clicks on either dial, the bike will feel significantly different on the trail... it helps if you have anyone that went through the process - to talk to, as well.

    just saying this because i had same issues with FS like you do now. though i have both Stumpy and Epic - the only reason i'd grab Stumpy of the rack would be to ride "good old school HT". Still love that immediate power transfer that only HT will deliver.

    Epic comes pretty darn close now.

  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by osokolo View Post
    What's wrong for being BSEE and BSME? I think that mechanical engineer would pick a different bike from electrical engineer and specially compared to a lawyer. no?
    Nothing at all wrong with it, i think its a very interesting and noble job, but all the engineers i know love to pick apart everything thats in front of them, two of the structural engineers i know will argue till their blue in the face about any topic under the sun, they would argue with god about any creation they could and give him advise how to make it better lol, i thought this thread would provide me with a few laughs.....
    Dont ever let the truth get in the way of a funny story....:cool:

  82. #82
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    ^^^
    Do you compete? I can't say I'm brilliant, I've been hacking around in Sport, but I think it also gives me a stronger emotional reaction to systems that turn the power I develop into heat. Also don't see that many FS bikes on my scene unless their riders have back injuries.

    Hopefully when I'm done with grad. school, I'll have a bit more stability in my life to train better and also more money to play with, hence the recent interest in demoing things. For now, a hardtail 29er is the front-runner as my aspirational MTB. One that comes out of the box set up for racing.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  83. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by bedwards1000 View Post
    Truvativ Stylo on one of them. I've never actually pulled it because I didn't' have the giant 16mm hex key to pull it off. I do now. I haven't' looked at the crank on the 9er yet since I've only had it a few weeks.
    You don't need a 16mm to pull it. You need an 8mm hex key. The big 16mm is what keeps the built in crank arm puller in the arm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    ^^^
    Do you compete? I can't say I'm brilliant, I've been hacking around in Sport, but I think it also gives me a stronger emotional reaction to systems that turn the power I develop into heat. Also don't see that many FS bikes on my scene unless their riders have back injuries.

    Hopefully when I'm done with grad. school, I'll have a bit more stability in my life to train better and also more money to play with, hence the recent interest in demoing things. For now, a hardtail 29er is the front-runner as my aspirational MTB. One that comes out of the box set up for racing.
    racing master expert cat at our provincial races in Canada... there are a couple of cup races that can definitely benefit from FS bike... not just for back injuries... i think as the technology is advancing - we will see more and more FS bikes at pro level... even though the fact that Kulhavy rode it so successfully - is a breakthrough as far as i am concerned...

  85. #85
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    This fellow walked in to the shop a short while ago. He asked if there was some kind of electronic devise that he could use to hoist his bike up to the ceiling to hold it in place while he placed the wheels in the storage hooks. The hooks were slightly small so the tires barely fit.

    I asked him two simple questions.

    1. Have you thought about using bigger hooks?
    2. Are you an engineer?

    He left without saying another word.

  86. #86
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    I donít mean to hinder the great FS discussion underway, but something really made me question my engineering intuition the other day. Granted, not all MEís deal with mechanical parts and hardware all the time, which is true in my case. The other day I saw a Salsa Dos Niner on craigslist, with its ďangry inchĒ of rear shock absorption. I was shocked to see no pivot for the rear triangle, but instead it relies on frame deflection for motion. Never noticed it before. Finding out that it was aluminum further raised my concern, and I thought surely this is a recipe for breakage.

    Sure enough there are a good number of documented Dos Ninerís breaking. What surprised me, however, was none of the breaks were where I thought theyíd be. In my imagination, most of the bending stress would occur where the chainstays met the bottom bracket. In reality, the breaks were happening near the rear drop outs, or all the way up where the rear shock mounts to the seat tube. My intuition was completely off about this.

  87. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zuarte View Post
    I don’t mean to hinder the great FS discussion underway, but something really made me question my engineering intuition the other day. Granted, not all ME’s deal with mechanical parts and hardware all the time, which is true in my case. The other day I saw a Salsa Dos Niner on craigslist, with its “angry inch” of rear shock absorption. I was shocked to see no pivot for the rear triangle, but instead it relies on frame deflection for motion. Never noticed it before. Finding out that it was aluminum further raised my concern, and I thought surely this is a recipe for breakage.

    Sure enough there are a good number of documented Dos Niner’s breaking. What surprised me, however, was none of the breaks were where I thought they’d be. In my imagination, most of the bending stress would occur where the chainstays met the bottom bracket. In reality, the breaks were happening near the rear drop outs, or all the way up where the rear shock mounts to the seat tube. My intuition was completely off about this.
    All salsa FS frames have flexing rear triangles. Look at the spearfish or horsethief. Makes me cringe!

  88. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilikebmx999 View Post
    All salsa FS frames have flexing rear triangles. Look at the spearfish or horsethief. Makes me cringe!
    The early Cannondale Scalpels (08ish?) were built to flex in the chainstays... and the entire frames were carbon fiber.

    I'd be worried even more since there's a recall out for them. LOL

    http://forums.mtbr.com/cannondale/20...rd-372216.html

    -S

  89. #89
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    There's a reason they often get called cracknfails LOL

  90. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilikebmx999 View Post
    There's a reason they often get called cracknfails LOL
    more and more manufacturers are building some compliance in their frames these days - Scott Scale has flexing seat stays as well as Cervelo road bikes. Cannondale has a seatpost - Flash, that I have been using on my hardtail, that has almost about an inch flex - by design.

    This is quite possible with carbon finer, if designed and executed properly. I would not be concerned at all - as long as the material is carbon.

    With aluminum - I never thought it was a good idea, but then, what do I know - just an IT guy...

  91. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    The early Cannondale Scalpels (08ish?) were built to flex in the chainstays... and the entire frames were carbon fiber.

    I'd be worried even more since there's a recall out for them. LOL

    -S
    In college back in 2005 was when I first saw this concept. I wasn't into mountain bikes yet, and knew nothing about them, but had a friend who was quite involved. He had some high end Cannondale (I forget what model), and he told me it had carbon fiber that flexed for suspension. I remember being absolutely floored to hear that.

  92. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zuarte View Post
    In college back in 2005 was when I first saw this concept. I wasn't into mountain bikes yet, and knew nothing about them, but had a friend who was quite involved. He had some high end Cannondale (I forget what model), and he told me it had carbon fiber that flexed for suspension. I remember being absolutely floored to hear that.
    Yes, you can design carbon to flex. A lot of the methodology is in the carbon, fiber, the actual carbon layup, and also the type of resin used (epoxy vs vinylester vs polyester).

    Even if I'm aware that flex had been factored into the design, there's still a tiny part of me that's always nervous about the flex.

    -S

  93. #93
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    The scalpel has had carbon chainstays since 02 or so when the model was introduced. My 06 has the flexing chainstays and my 12 scalpel 29er has a flexing seat stay.

  94. #94
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    I have a mechanical engineering degree. Going through the program definitely shaped my personality and my approach to decision making.

    However, I would not say that my education has significantly affected what bikes / parts I buy. It does allow me to better understand marketing claims, and filter through some bs in reviews.

    I have also worked as a bicycle mechanic, and I think that affects my parts selection much more than evaluating how well engineered a part is. From an engineering perspective a hydraulic disc brake may be superior to a mechanical setup. However, as a mechanic, it is my preference to work with a mechanical setup.

    Also, I think more as a rider than an engineer. I really don't care what the suspension's leverage ratio is. I won't get hung up on a number like that if the bike performs like I want.

    PS. I'm not afraid of my carbon bike exploding on me.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  95. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilikebmx999 View Post
    There's a reason they often get called cracknfails LOL
    I donít care too much for Cannondale, but from an engineering perspective, I feel like their got the Cracínfail moniker for heavy engineering. The primary intent of their exotic frames was probably for winning races, while longevity was a secondary concern. That means every part will be as light as possible, and barely strong enough to do its job. That means forgoing a heavy suspension system in favor of flexing frame geometry. With a factory supported race team, they can afford to swap a worn out frames when they needed to. And since consumers like to buy the things that win races, they mass produce these delicate race bikes and sell them to the public. All this started, however, with engineering to win races, not to last forever.

    This is very much like buying a street legal version of a racing Aston Martin. It breathes fire, is very fast, and is a replica of what wins races. But it was never designed for long term daily use, although those with enough money can still own one. I feel itís analogous with racing bicycles, and their owners can forget its original design intent.

  96. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by osokolo View Post
    i think that the new FEA that Specialized is using in designing their bikes resulted in BETTER bikes that they are making now - than ever. workmanship that i observed on the Epic and Stumpjumper is second to none. just my opinion of course.
    Agreed, the more advanced FEA methodology is resulting in better designs. Workmanship is hit or miss.

    Case in point - check out this example of a rushed layup:
    http://forums.mtbr.com/bike-frame-di...dy-822168.html

    Structurally there's nothing wrong IMO but I've seen a handful of similar issues in the regular Spesh line but not on the S-Works models....yet. Probably a cost-driven thing.... or maybe it's just one guy in the overseas production line making the mess. LOL

    -S

  97. #97
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    Nice to see so many fellow engineers here, i think engrs (me's especially) are drawn to bikes because of the simplicity and purity of them. Its not possible to understand _everything_ about a car, but bikes, you can see how everything works, and why it rides the way it does, almost right away.

    Anyways, Bsme/bs matls sci here, but i never used it (went into software). It does help understand all the different linkage designs for sure. But, didn't influence my frame choices too much. Despite all the design and marketing, it really comes down to very subtle differences in how a bike feels.

    The thing that my degree really did help me do is realize that 90% of what's out there is just the same stuff over and over again. When people say their bike is the awesomest ever i usually just smirk.

  98. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tone's View Post
    Nothing at all wrong with it, i think its a very interesting and noble job, but all the engineers i know love to pick apart everything thats in front of them, two of the structural engineers i know will argue till their blue in the face about any topic under the sun, they would argue with god about any creation they could and give him advise how to make it better lol, i thought this thread would provide me with a few laughs.....
    This thread was half way interesting till you came along.

  99. #99
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    I'm surprised that engineers aren't looking for simpler is better solutions. Occam's razor and all that.
    Chasing bears through the woods drunk with a dull hatchet is strongly not advised

  100. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by wv_bob View Post
    I'm surprised that engineers aren't looking for simpler is better solutions. Occam's razor and all that.
    That would be a fair part of the reason I make my own parts.


    Magura

  101. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Magura View Post
    That would be a fair part of the reason I make my own parts.


    Magura

    What's the fun in that?

    -S

    Sent from my Kindle Fire using Tapatalk 2
    Last edited by shibiwan; 12-29-2012 at 12:48 PM.

  102. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    What's the fun in that?

    -S

    Sent from my Kindle Fire using Tapatalk 2



    Magura

  103. #103
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    A client at the engineering office I work talking about a little machine we were developing for him:
    "Looks very nice, but remember to fit something in there that has to be replaced once in a while....Itīs very important so we keep in touch with clients"

    Now, that influenecd the way I look at bike parts more than anything else.
    "Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordly evidence of the fact." George Elliot

  104. #104
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    Its those darn chemical engineers. They can mix their polymer blend to last as long or short as they want. No amount of maintenance can overcome a rotted rubber part..
    lean forward

  105. #105
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    Not sure what Chem E's have to offer from a mtn bike standpoint. How about a good tubeless brew?
    If the path ahead looks dangerous ------- it probably is!

  106. #106
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    I imagine ChemE's have a lot of involvement with bikes, though they probably work closely with Materials engineers. Sometimes they might be the same person. Things that come to mind:

    -Fox's Kashima coating they can apply to their alloy shock surfaces.

    -Tire compounds, balancing longevity vs grip. And making them not permanently bond to the rim after they've been on for a long time.

    -Plastic parts that resist UV deterioration under use in sunlight.

  107. #107
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    Tubeless brew, sure. But we also take a lot of structures and materials classes, and are analytical.

  108. #108
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    I was an engineer but now work in a bike shop. I generally go for more rugged designs, unless the performance characteristics outweigh the added necessary maintenance. For instance, when looking for full suspension, single pivot is simpler and easier, but more robust pivot designs isolate the wheels much better and provide a better ride. Since the Tallboy comes with grease ports at the pivots, (and the VPP link is mechanically superior for climbing than any other link IMO) I ride a Tallboy. It just happens to ride incredibly well on top of it all...
    My "roadish" bike is a simple steel framed cross bike with friction shifters and all for bomb proofness which is all I want out of a bike like that.

  109. #109
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    BSME here - while I appreciate simplicity (I have a few single speeds, including a Kona A), at times I'll also get fascinated with equipment. When I learned about the schlumpf drive, I had to get one on a bike (that's why my fleet includes a 2-speed hardtail). I try to look past the hype on stuff, but sometimes if it looks cool enough, does no harm and fits in the budget, I may get it anyway.

    I enjoy building bikes up from a bare frame (as a matter of fact just finished putting together a Trek 69er hardtail). I push a lot of papers at work, so wrenching on bikes must be my outlet for playing with hardware - plus it's the kind of hobby that occasionally results in some exercise.

    I like steel frames, mostly because of all that area under the stress/strain curve. Not that I don't have some aluminum and CF bikes too. I really want to get Ti bike of some kind, just to have one.

  110. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1niceride View Post
    Here is an example..One would design a ..say a microwave oven differently for the consumer then oneself. Mine would have 3 power settings and a rotary, analog spring timer. No LEDs, no bells and whistles. If one were to put forth this design at work, one would probably be told to try again. Hence the Catamont for me.

    I would buy that microwave! Sounds a lot like the one we had when I was a kid.

  111. #111
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    I know a couple of mechanical engineers, Joe Breeze and Tom Ritchey.

    Joe rides a Breezer. Tom rides a Ritchey.

    Hope that helps.

  112. #112
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    I am a M.E. who can justify spending a good chunk of change on a product if I know it will see abuse, and some day my life may depend on it. I am a big guy, and stay away from anything carbon as I am 265#.

    I am more about proven technology regarding bike components, as most new stuff is lightweight and focused on the weight weenie.

  113. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gundam168 View Post
    Any mechanical engineer forumers/bikers here? I'd like to know how your engineering background influences your choice on different mountain bike frames and components. What bike are you using and what do you like about it? In your opinion are there bikes/frames/components better engineered than others?
    No. My BSME & MSME degrees do not influence the choice of my bikes.

    My co-workers/riding partners... all mechanical engineers... we all have different brands of bikes we ride....

  114. #114
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    Just a question for the MEs here,

    Can a rear suspension lock-out damage your frame say for example you dropped off from a height and forgot to unlock the rear suspension?

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/QxGFrjiABbg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    Last edited by Gundam168; 01-08-2013 at 06:04 PM.

  115. #115
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    So, I'm sure you'll get a lot of authoritative responses on this thread, and I won't pretend to be the expert, but the answer is yes and no, some parts of the bike experience higher stress when locked out, some experience lower. But on the balance, its generally agreed that its bad for the bike and a sure way to break something.

    Generally speaking, full susp has the following effect on different parts of the bike:
    -Suspended parts of the bike take lighter hits (duh) ... as in the force of the hit/landing is distributed over a greater period of time. This includes front triangle, bb, head tube junction, seat tube junction (especially if you happen to be sitting)
    -This comes at the expense of more stress on unsuspended parts of the bike (the wheels, rear triangle) experience more stress in a shorter period of time. This is because of two things: first you're generally going faster, your body is capable of hucking yourself off bigger hits, and second, you tend to somewhat 'stomp' your landings, your body doesn't expect a big hit so you don't absorb shock with your legs as much, thus concentrating the stress of the landing onto the unsuspended parts of the bike in a shorter period of time.

    When you lock out the rear shock, a couple things happen:
    1) Dramatic increase in pressure on the internal lockout valve of the shock: Lockout is accomplished by effectively closing a valve so that the damping fluid cannot travel past the piston or travel from one area to another. A big hit can blow out this valve and damage the shock.
    2) Parts of the bike that were suspended before should experience more than the usual stress in a shorter period of time (front triangle, BB, head tube intersection, etc.). Also think about the rocker arm here: usually a rocker arm takes the entire force of the landing and distributes out it over several inches of movement, and time. When the shock is locked out, the stress from the landing opposed by the rocker arm without any of this movement, so its concentrated to a very short period of time.
    3) Parts of the bike that were unsuspended before (wheels, rear triangle) should actually experience less stress, because your body is naturally absorbing more than the usual impact (you're going to bend your legs, compress more on the landing, take it up more). Also when locked out you tend to go slower, take fewer big hits, and general be lighter on the bike whether consciously or subconsciously.

  116. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddprocter View Post
    So, I'm sure you'll get a lot of authoritative responses on this thread, and I won't pretend to be the expert, but the answer is yes and no, some parts of the bike experience higher stress when locked out, some experience lower. But on the balance, its generally agreed that its bad for the bike and a sure way to break something.

    Generally speaking, full susp has the following effect on different parts of the bike:
    -Suspended parts of the bike take lighter hits (duh) ... as in the force of the hit/landing is distributed over a greater period of time. This includes front triangle, bb, head tube junction, seat tube junction (especially if you happen to be sitting)
    -This comes at the expense of more stress on unsuspended parts of the bike (the wheels, rear triangle) experience more stress in a shorter period of time. This is because of two things: first you're generally going faster, your body is capable of hucking yourself off bigger hits, and second, you tend to somewhat 'stomp' your landings, your body doesn't expect a big hit so you don't absorb shock with your legs as much, thus concentrating the stress of the landing onto the unsuspended parts of the bike in a shorter period of time.

    When you lock out the rear shock, a couple things happen:
    1) Dramatic increase in pressure on the internal lockout valve of the shock: Lockout is accomplished by effectively closing a valve so that the damping fluid cannot travel past the piston or travel from one area to another. A big hit can blow out this valve and damage the shock.
    2) Parts of the bike that were suspended before should experience more than the usual stress in a shorter period of time (front triangle, BB, head tube intersection, etc.). Also think about the rocker arm here: usually a rocker arm takes the entire force of the landing and distributes out it over several inches of movement, and time. When the shock is locked out, the stress from the landing opposed by the rocker arm without any of this movement, so its concentrated to a very short period of time.
    3) Parts of the bike that were unsuspended before (wheels, rear triangle) should actually experience less stress, because your body is naturally absorbing more than the usual impact (you're going to bend your legs, compress more on the landing, take it up more). Also when locked out you tend to go slower, take fewer big hits, and general be lighter on the bike whether consciously or subconsciously.
    Thanks sir. That's probably as insightful a response as it can ever get. You even took account of the rider's body's position and reaction during locked or unlocked suspension. But based on the provided video, on that type of a jump, looks like the frame broke off near the bottom bracket. I was actually expecting it to break off near the pivots. Which leads me to my next contentious question:

    Which FS frame configuration(do you think) is more likely to fail during a locked out rear suspension drop/jump?

  117. #117
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    Good thread...

    I'm an electromechanical engineer, working in robotics for about 10 years.

    I ride a Turner 5.Spot because bushings and grease ports are the right answer.

    Everything else is pretty much wrong.

    Also, Shimano XTR is some amazing stuff if you look close... So many details done right.

  118. #118
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    I have a BSME, but that had nothing to do with my bike choice. The RM slayer was on sale so I grabbed it

  119. #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    Being an engineer (civil) hasn't influenced my decision to buy specific brands but it absolutely changes the way I look at different bike technologies. Being an engineer has made me extremely skeptical to some of the absurd claims that bike companies make about their products.

    Few of the claims are flat-out lies but many of them are intentionally deceptive. I don't know if non-engineers would pick up on it but judging by the comments made by cyclists who don't understand the basics of physics, statics, dynamics, and materials, I don't think they do. In other words, deceptive advertising claims WORK on the masses.

    I used to race triathlons and remember reading about a new frame with a downtube that, according to the company, "reduced wind drag 15%." WOW! that's a whopper of a claim. And, of course, one of my tri-buddies who bought it said "Yeah, I can really tell the difference in my average speed and heartrate." He honestly thought he was 15% more efficient due to the frame.

    When I explained to him that it's just the downtube that's 15% more wind efficient and that the downtube only made up about 30% of the frame's drag and that the frame made up less than 10% of the total drag, he wasn't happy.

    Some of the 29er claims are equally as absurd (have you seen the video of the guy struggling to climb a hill on a 26 and then smoothly and quickly flying up in on a 29er? yeah, the wheel made all the difference! ROFL).

    So being an engineer hasn't changed my bike purchase but it has made me roll my eyes at some of the claims companies make about their new technology.

    (and only 3 more posts until I can post the question I registered to ask! )


    I'm a currently a MET student and I couldn't agree more.

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  121. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gundam168 View Post
    Just a question for the MEs here,

    Can a rear suspension lock-out damage your frame say for example you dropped off from a height and forgot to unlock the rear suspension?

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/QxGFrjiABbg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    Norco had a Recall Campaign on those frames because of a design flaw

  122. #122
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    I studied ME my first couple of years in college before changing majors and going into marketing. With studies in both engineering and marketing, I am skeptical of just about every advertising claim i see. My engineering studies have had some influence on bike and part purchase decisions over the years, but ride and price are larger factors. I tend to go for simplicity and durability over flash.

    When I first saw the Moots YBB soft tail design in '89 or '90, it seemed like a great solution to providing some rear suspension without a whole lot of extra weight and parts. However, I wondered about the durability of the chainstays given the constant flexing. Turns out a ME friend from high school was working with Moots on testing the design and was showing his tests and research in their booth at Interbike that year. His endorsement convinced me that the titanium YBB was a durable design.

    It was about 12 years before I was able to get one used at a decent price, but it has become my main ride for the past 10 years. My YBB is now 15 years old and I have put over 15k trail miles on it over and above what the previous owner rode with no problems. I have had numerous other bikes over the past 10 years, but I keep going back to that Moots. For my type of riding (XC, short track, endurance), it is still the best option for me. No pivots or shock to worry about.

  123. #123
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    Engineering and bikes! Good thread!

    I'm a BSPhysics and MSME who was born and raised in a road building, bulldozer driving family and who currently designs and tests those same big yellow machines. Like someone here said before, I think bike's simplicity and high efficiency is appealing, by nature, to engineers. For me, it has been a life long passion.

    Currently, I'm riding a Trek Top Fuel 9.9 but also have a Trek 970 with mostly XT. Riding a DS bike was love at first ride and no way I'll ever go back to a hard tail - FS is way too comfy! My current project is putting the Top Fuel on a big diet so I'm enjoying the the spec'ing phase right now (details in the weight weenies forum). The 970 is now a loaner bike to help introduce new friends into the sport.

    I'm also a roadie and have two Cannondale 3.0's (1990 frame replaced a 1991 that had the seat stay damaging by a left turning car. I cut out the damaged 5" of the seat stay and the chain stay elastically sprang back into it's original position. So, I had a bit of tube welded back into place but only used that frame for TTs to keep the miles low as there was no heat treating after welding in the replacement tube.). The 1990 has D-A 8 speed on it and is a tank - dead reliable year after year with virtually zero maintence or adjustments.

    Summer '12 I spec'd out and bought a new road bike. It's Stevens Xenon frame, Ritchie cockpit, D-A driveline with MadFiber wheels. The wheels really pushed my value limits, but I think their design is brilliant and aftet 6 months I've very happy with the way they ride and perform. I definitely think that was an engineering led purchase - all the stress concentrations are nicely spread out over (relative to spokes) a huge area.

    Like others have said, I do think being an engineer helps on see through the marketing hype. I used to keep daily notes of my training, but have stopped that over the years. Heck, many times now I don't even ride with a cycling computer of any sort - I just go ride and check my cell phone every now and then to see if it is time to head back home.

    I really like mountain biking in that on a trail you have to focus and forget about work. It's a great way to decompress.

    Lastly, for the last 3 years I have been living and working in China for a Chinese company. Everyone knows about all the stories about bad Chinese manufacturing, but I think we often fail to look at the good stories. Yes, there are some factories here putting out absolutely junk product. Then again, there are factories here putting out world class top notch product. And like most countries in the world that I've been to, most factories are operating between those two extremes. I think my experience here is leading me to be more trusting of the Chinese carbon parts - to the extent I'm seriously looking at a set of wheels build by light-bicycle. The value is tough to ignore.

    Cheers!

  124. #124
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    Thanks for sharing BDozer.

    Off topic:

    Here in the Philippines, LBS / bike stores who sell knock-off frames and components don't call it "fake" or "imitation" but call it "Class A" or "Triple A" (better). Euphemistic terms for knock offs. You can tell a "Class A' that it's a knock off but the "Triple A" ones you can't tell from the authentic. And the stores' staff are usually up front if you asked them if it's authentic or "Triple A".
    Last edited by Gundam168; 01-14-2013 at 03:59 AM.

  125. #125
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    Gundam,

    There are plenty of knock-offs here also. I don't know the local term for them, but they certainly here. The authentic items here can be super expensive. I priced a Jeep Wrangler and they wanted $80k USD! For a freakin' Jeep! Crazy!

  126. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    To be brutally honest, I'm really picky about quality of construction. That's one of the reasons I'm sticking to my 2007 SJ FSR. The carbon layup is close to perfect (workmanship wise) and it's held up pretty well to the daily beatings I subject it to.

    Everytime I go to the Spesh dealer for some little thing or other, I'll almost always look around to check out the newer bikes. I'm in no way trying to poo-poo Spesh (heck, I'm a big Spesh fan), but I've examined the newer stuff on display pretty closely and have noticed that the workmanship/attention to detail in the carbon frames has declined somewhat. Of course the sales droids there try to sell me a new S-whatever something or other and offer to take my bike in trade, but I can never really justify the bike upgrade.

    -S
    It's absolutely okay for you to like and still enjoy your 2007, it was an awesome bike back then, that hasn't changed just because some time has passed. To even suggest that the quality has gone backwards is shear sillyness though. No need to justify not buying the lastest version, the reality is your post is a bit ridiculous.

  127. #127
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    BS MET, working on MS in manufacturing engineering (only 7 credits and thesis project to go!). I have been a teachers assistant for the past 5 terms, responsible for running various labs on campus (MET 160, an introductory materials class, Heat Transfer Lab, and several 400 level composites courses).

    Bikes are a huge part of my life, I have worked as a mechanic/salesperson at a bike shop in my home town for the past 6 years while attending college and grad school. Needless to say I am very interested in bicycle design and manufacturing, I am also interested in aerospace/aviation design/mfg, specifically small scale autonomous vehicles; my graduate project entails the design of a small surveillance drone platform as well as all of the manufacturing processes/tooling to produce it.

    As far as bikes go, I have had a Trek Scratch for the past 3 years, it rode excellent, but the swingarm/chainstays were prone to cracking (5 in 3 years). Currently on an Ibis HD with carbon bars and cranks, feels amazing and dropped a good 4 lb's from the scratch.

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    I am doing my undergrad but am a prospective engineer. Although heavy, I love the utility and performance I get out of my Trohloff (Surly Troll w/ Rohloff hub). It's super reliable, easy to maintain, adaptable, and fun to ride. At one point or another, it was my adventure tour bike, all mountain bike, campus bike and even snow bike. It's a bike that might last forever.

  129. #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saddle Up View Post
    It's absolutely okay for you to like and still enjoy your 2007, it was an awesome bike back then, that hasn't changed just because some time has passed. To even suggest that the quality has gone backwards is shear sillyness though. No need to justify not buying the lastest version, the reality is your post is a bit ridiculous.
    Just saw this and I can't help but reply. Shibiwan has a point and I noticed it too with the newer Giant frames (Aluxx). Just a cursory ping on the on the newer frames and you can tell that the frames are getting thinner and thinner. Sure it's gonna be lighter but there are some sacrifices to durability. The observation is not entirely ridiculous.

  130. #130
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    Performance over longevity is the goal. It is a throwaway society. I'm so behind the times, having depression era parents, I keep all things in my life as long as I can. Including my bikes, like my 2002 Jamis.

    I would much rather have my bike overbuilt to last, with weight penalty included.

    I got my degree back in 1984. The professors made sure we understood it is not our job to make something last, but to last just long enough. Remember what is thought to be best for society might not be best for one.

    There are products that worked well and lasted for years. One tries to buy the same product and it got cheapened in the name of profit.

    Our economic system was to deliver the product at the best price for the consumer. In other words companies were to support the consumer. It has turned around. The consumer now supports companies. The consumer is a pawn, used by companies and stock holders to keep increasing profits.

    I have been fixing stuff for 35 years for my customers and myself. Products are now made not to be fixed by the average repair person. Just like my customers Samsung dmt400 dishwasher. One year out of warranty and its dead.


    Oh crapp..thought this was an appliance forum...


    I do feel the one pc. rear triangle/minilink design is an improvement though..
    Last edited by 1niceride; 03-14-2013 at 01:31 PM.
    lean forward

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