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  1. #1
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    Vorsprung: How much travel do you really want?

    I thought this was a good break down and fresh perspective on the eternal question of how much bike is ideal. I think it's along the lines of the setup method Dougal talks about.


  2. #2
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    Need and want are different beasts, I donít need any, but I want as much as I can afford

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by langster831 View Post
    Need and want are different beasts, I donít need any, but I want as much as I can afford
    He really should have titled the video 'How much travel is ideal'. He takes a physics approach to the question which I find more useful than the typical forum discussions.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by langster831 View Post
    Need and want are different beasts, I donít need any, but I want as much as I can afford
    you didn't watch the video, did you?

    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    He really should have titled the video 'How much travel is ideal'. He takes a physics approach to the question which I find more useful than the typical forum discussions.
    well, I doubt that many on the forum really understand the physics of it well enough to talk about it in that way (I certainly don't - I understand feathered, furry, and squishy things better). But lots of riders at least understand it at an intuitive level based on riding a bunch of different bikes. There's certainly a level of subjectivity to it all, so it's not like you can really apply an equation to it. But each rider should be able to figure out through some trial-and-error how much travel is too much for a given riding scenario (the guy in the video says that how much travel is too much can only be determined experimentally).

    I've certainly ridden enough bikes in enough different scenarios that I've experienced bikes with too much travel for a given trail/riding scenario. Bikes with too much travel for a given trail are kinda boring and exhausting, honestly. I've also experienced too little, where I've been beaten up. I question anyone who says "I want as much travel as I can afford" as far as whether they've experienced too much travel, that makes the trail boring, or that squishes so much that pedaling the bike becomes exhausting. I question the variety of trails that person rides. I can certainly see someone who rides nothing but extremely burly downhills wanting large amounts of suspension travel. I'm at a point in my life where I'm simply not going to be hucking huge drops and riding a bunch of sketchy stuff with massive, painful consequences for a small error. I don't have so much ego that I'm unwilling to walk that stuff. So all the extra suspension that would allow me to ride those things, or hit them harder/faster is just wasted.

  5. #5
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    I did watch the video, I stand by my post.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by langster831 View Post
    I did watch the video, I stand by my post.
    So now, I'm questioning what bike you currently ride. I'm questioning what trails you ride, and how you ride them.

  7. #7
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    Hmm, I'm kind of disappointed in the payoff of the video. In the end it is "but how much travel we actually need can only be determined experimentally. If you with your fork didn't move as much when descending and you're not bottoming out, maybe you don't need all that travel."

    Yes, I think that if I felt that my fork was moving too much for my preference and still not bottoming out on descents, I could infer that I don't need all that travel.

    Not a bad video, but I hoped for more at the end.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusBrody View Post
    Not a bad video, but I hoped for more at the end.
    You did catch that this is just the first of a series, right?

  9. #9
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    Great video and very easy to understand the way he went about it. Looking forward to the follow up vids.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    So now, I'm questioning what bike you currently ride. I'm questioning what trails you ride, and how you ride them.
    I don't think you really want my life story. I'm a capable rider. As Jeremy stated, maybe they should have reworded the title of that video. I don't need any suspension, I'm happy riding rigid, anywhere. It's an interesting video, a bit over the top for the average rider. I'm sure this is the approach world cup racers take to picking a bike and setting it up for a big weekend, I would if I had the resources.

    I was hoping to see some sort of formula or equation that would tell us the sweet spot. I'm sure there are just too many variables though.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    Great video and very easy to understand the way he went about it. Looking forward to the follow up vids.
    All his suspension tuning youtubes are worth checking out
    2008 BMC Fourstroke 19-559 ISO (RIP in peace)
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_joe View Post
    All his suspension tuning youtubes are worth checking out
    I do really like their approach, I subscribed their channel.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_joe View Post
    All his suspension tuning youtubes are worth checking out
    Yep, I'm a huge fan of the scientific stuff. I don't like it when he goes subjective but the pure numbers are gold.

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    You did catch that this is just the first of a series, right?
    I did, but that's not going to change what I asked for. He concluded that he couldn't give an equation and instead gave a pretty common sense guideline that any reasonable mountain biker could have come up with.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    well, I doubt that many on the forum really understand the physics of it well enough to talk about it in that way (I certainly don't - I understand feathered, furry, and squishy things better). But lots of riders at least understand it at an intuitive level based on riding a bunch of different bikes. There's certainly a level of subjectivity to it all, so it's not like you can really apply an equation to it. But each rider should be able to figure out through some trial-and-error how much travel is too much for a given riding scenario (the guy in the video says that how much travel is too much can only be determined experimentally).
    Yeah, it's always going to be individual experimentation and goals that determines how much travel you want. However, I think it is important to understand conceptually the actual purpose of suspension and the relationship to frequency. If anything, it should help with suspension setup. If you're riding rough terrain there comes a speed at which you're physically unable to keep up with bump frequency. This can affect traction and with bigger hits possibly you're ability to stay on the bike. Maybe you've gone through a rock garden or root section so hard your hands start to come off the bars cause you can't hold on. This is where suspension increases/adjustments come in. Yes, skill and strength are important but everyone has their limits and even below that limits performance gains can be made.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusBrody View Post
    He concluded that he couldn't give an equation
    You do realize that there's very little with bikes that can be addressed with a mathematical equation at any level of practicality for the end user, right? Especially with regards to things that are related to subjective criteria like fit and suspension setup and such. I have no doubt in the next video in the series, he'll speak in more detail on how to come up with an actual answer, but there are still going to be subjective components to it.

    He called out a huge one in this video. The ability of each person to physically keep up with rough terrain. You could probably devise a way to measure this in a lab setting, but there's no way for joe blow mt biker to do this at home to figure out suspension setup.

    If we're lucky, the next video will distill a lot of this down into some easier-to-apply guidelines for how to choose how much suspension travel is "right" but based on where this video went, I'm going to expect that said guidelines can't be applied in a vacuum, and that you'll have to demo some bikes to set baselines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusBrody View Post
    I did, but that's not going to change what I asked for. He concluded that he couldn't give an equation and instead gave a pretty common sense guideline that any reasonable mountain biker could have come up with.
    That guideline assumes that your suspension is set up properly with an ideal spring rate and curve. Just because you can run the spring rate stiff/progressive enough to not bottom out hard or soft enough to bottom out doesn't mean it's an ideal setup.

  18. #18
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    After watching this, I'd like to think I intuitively used a method much like what he's describing to pick my "daily driver" - I'm convinced that when you reach a certain point, too much travel simply isn't as fun as not enough. To be sure, that can be dictated by a lot of things that determine the ultimate speed of the bike - rider skill, trail limitations, rider strength, etc. To be sure though, there's no magic bullet. What's right for one person on a given trail may be way too much, or not enough for any other person.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    You do realize that there's very little with bikes that can be addressed with a mathematical equation at any level of practicality for the end user, right? Especially with regards to things that are related to subjective criteria like fit and suspension setup and such. I have no doubt in the next video in the series, he'll speak in more detail on how to come up with an actual answer, but there are still going to be subjective components to it.

    He called out a huge one in this video. The ability of each person to physically keep up with rough terrain. You could probably devise a way to measure this in a lab setting, but there's no way for joe blow mt biker to do this at home to figure out suspension setup.

    If we're lucky, the next video will distill a lot of this down into some easier-to-apply guidelines for how to choose how much suspension travel is "right" but based on where this video went, I'm going to expect that said guidelines can't be applied in a vacuum, and that you'll have to demo some bikes to set baselines.
    If the next video does that, I will take by my criticism. Overall I enjoyed the video, but the takeaway wasn't that revelatory. I'm sure we could devise a measure in a lab of how much force individuals can withstand and set spring rate then travel with that, but this wasn't really suggesting that.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    That guideline assumes that your suspension is set up properly with an ideal spring rate and curve. Just because you can run the spring rate stiff/progressive enough to not bottom out hard or soft enough to bottom out doesn't mean it's an ideal setup.
    That wasn't the only part of what he said. He said that if you felt that you were getting too much suspension travel for the terrain, but not bottoming out, then you could go down in travel. Which makes sense. If you just go with too stiff a spring/too high pressure in an air shock, you will be using less of the suspension travel than you'd want.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusBrody View Post
    If you just go with too stiff a spring/too high pressure in an air shock, you will be using less of the suspension travel than you'd want.
    You could use all of the travel and have a spring rate that's too high but not know it. In other words, just because you could set up a 110mm travel bike to not bottom out on 6ft drops doesn't mean 110mm of travel is ideal.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    You could use all of the travel and have a spring rate that's too high but not know it. In other words, just because you could set up a 110mm travel bike to not bottom out on 6ft drops doesn't mean 110mm of travel is ideal.
    He literally says "If you find your fork moving too much when you're descending, as in it's using too much travel, but you're not bottoming out..." It's not just about not bottoming out. The first part is totally subjective, but explains the difference between situations where you're not bottoming out and have too much travel vs. ones in which you don't.

  22. #22
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    Great vid. The way I interpret it is, unless you only ride in a straight line downhill over burly terrain, it might make sense to find the minimum amount of travel that you need to implement a spring rate where at bottoming, you are just at your own physical limit. That then maximizes all the other aspects of handling like responsiveness, climbing, cornering etc.

    It also provides a rationale for why mountain bikers should do some upper body gym work like lots of pro downhillers and enduro riders do. Motocrossers do it too.

  23. #23
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    i know just what i need: 130mm front and back for 70% of my local trails. 160-170 for the remaining 30% of my trails. that's the bike i'm waiting for.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by cunningstunts View Post
    i know just what i need: 130mm front and back for 70% of my local trails. 160-170 for the remaining 30% of my trails. that's the bike i'm waiting for.
    Scott Ransom?

  25. #25
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    Great stuff from him as usual.

    There is no way to determine a formula for every rider as strength and position are way to variable. Doesn't take to much forward weight shift to over power your arms on a heavy bad landing. We see fails every week of riders arm buckling.

    Terrain, rider skill, strength and aggressiveness all play into choosing the "right" amount of travel. Not all travel is equal either. For example the Wreckoning feels like a DH beast and the Ripmo feels like a long travel trail bike.

    Having too much, like a 170mm nomad vs the perfect amount like a 135mm Hightower (for my personal trails) changes the feel of the trail. Go to Northstar and this changes of course.

    My take away is that there is an optimum range where you will be fast, comfortable and have the most fun. Too much is just as bad as too little. Only you can make that determination and he is providing some tools to do so.

    Also do some damn push-ups weaklings .
    Making shit harder than it needs to be isn't awesome, it's just...harder.

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