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  1. #1
    inner peace to make peace
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    Kona FS: single pivot bikes with alot of redundant pivots..aint a real Horst Link?

    re: [ Johnny Hair Boy: "...Just what I said. Maybee if Kona was'nt to cheap to cheap and pay specailized for the horst link patend they would be a contender but as they are now they are a single pivot bike with alot of redundant pivots. All of the problems acociated with a four bar linkage and none of the benifits...."]

    hey, Kona tech heads, is Johnny Hair Boy smoking crack pipe or is he on the money?

    "...single pivot bike with alot of redundant pivots. All of the problems acociated with a four bar linkage and none of the benifits..."

    Looking for some technical clarifications (not trashing our mtb bro who had the courage to state his view).
    “Everyday is a good day,” from the Blue Cliff Records, Yun-men (864-949 AD).

  2. #2
    Just roll it......
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    Well besides having really poor spelling, he's not that far off.

    A bit of background: What he’s referring to is the fact that Kona’s have a pivot on the seatstay (above the axle) and not on the chainstay (in front and below of the axle). Specialized owns the patent (not patend, as he so eloquently puts it) for the horst link which they purchased off of Horst Leitner a number of years ago. Companies that already had licensed that design from Leitner were grandfathered into the patent purchase and pay Specialized nothing. Other brands that wanted to use the “horst link” have to pay specialized a licensing fee for each frame purchased. That amount paid to Specialized is discussed all the time and I don’t know the true amount is but I’ve heard as little as $5 per frame to as much as $50 or 100 per frame.

    Kona’s, like many bikes, place their pivot above the axle on the seatstay and thus pays Specialized nothing for the design. This design is often referred to as “faux bar” because while it has 4 pivots (similar to the horst design), it doesn’t have the pivot on the chainstay. What are the downsides to the Kona design, you ask? The suspension isn’t truly “active” during braking so riders may notice some brake-jack (or suspension fiming up) when braking over rough surfaces. Also, the claim is that it isn’t as good for climbing as the true 4 bar design, but I don’t really know about that. The truth is that the advent of the newer technology shocks has mostly eliminated any pedaling deficiencies in the “faux bar” design. The other truth is that even a 4 bar design has a small amount of brake jack that can only be eliminated by using a floating brake system to de-couple the braking influence over the suspension.

    Why design a bike with a “faux bar” suspension vs. a true single pivot? A couple of reasons. Single pivots are often more prone to being less stiff in the rear and this often leads to the rear end twisting/flexing and that often reduces the life of the shock, shock bushings/reducers, etc. plus that flex might be noticeable to more discerning riders. If you look at the Yeti ASX, they have a swing-link pivot that supposedly keeps side-to-side flex off of the shock and firms up the rear end. The design that Kona uses also allows them to adjust the suspension rate for each bike by choosing different rocker lengths, locations, etc. For example, think about how a Kona has two lower shock mounts on the frame. The front is more linear and the back is more progressive…..well, the bike mfgr. can ultimately make the suspension handle differently based on their pivot locations similarly. More versatile than a true single pivot and less flexy is the quick answer.

    Why doesn’t Kona license the horst link? Good question and I’m going to assume that one reason is the cost. I don’t know the true cost, but I would think that any increased cost would be passed along to the customer. Another reason is that on longer travel bikes, the horst links usually mean that you need to run an interrupted seattube to keep the tire from hitting the seattube (think Big Hits, Uzzi’s, etc) and Kona employees and most of their riders climb with their bikes so that’s not a good option . That is also why Specialized came out with the Demo series….they wanted a bigger bike with an uninterrupted seattutbe. The last reason is that I think they don’t want to give money (how little or how much it is) to a competitor and further market their products by putting a “FSR” sticker on the chainstay.

    If I were Kona, I’d stick with the faux bar design (which they’ve refined over the years) and start talking to Santa Cruz about licensing the VPP design (similar to Intense) from them. My $.02

    FWIW, I ride with a crew that are mostly on boutique bikes (Turner, Ellsworth and Titus) and many have true 4 bar linkages. Those bikes are beautiful and they all talk about how well they ride. I have no doubts that they do, but are they that MUCH better than my current bikes? I don’t know. Would they make me ride better? Perhaps in certain situations (like maybe brake-jack when tearing down Whistler……), but I can tell you that I can usually keep up without too many issues and I’ve never felt that my bikes were less than theirs due to one pivot location.

    Hope that helps,
    EB

  3. #3
    inner peace to make peace
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    ebxtreme

    Quote Originally Posted by ebxtreme
    ...Hope that helps,
    EB
    yes, that helps. Thank you.
    “Everyday is a good day,” from the Blue Cliff Records, Yun-men (864-949 AD).

  4. #4
    crash test dummy
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebxtreme
    A bit of background: <snipped>
    Hope that helps,
    EB
    I have read several threads on this topic, but none of them had such a concise summary. I'm definitely bookmarking this thread. Thanks for a very clear explanation of the current state of things.

  5. #5
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    Well said EB!

  6. #6
    Ron
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    very nice well thought out post ebxtreme!

  7. #7
    Unshaven Yak
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    I can testify as to the stiffness difference between a true single-pivot & the "faux four-bar"; I have both a Santacruz Heckler & a Kona Coiler, both 5" travel bikes. The Heckler's rear is a whip compared to the solidity of the Kona's linkage. The ride on the Heckler is more active, but that has more to do with the spring rate, pivot position & it's lack of a propedal shock than anything else.

    This might not apply as much to some flyweight riders, but it does to anyone pushing 200.

  8. #8
    Uhhhhh...
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    One must also remember that Horst links ARE influenced by braking and do experience a slight amount of pedal feedback. There is very little-to no difference between the two linkages, depending on how the FSR is set up.

    Oh and there are many full seat tube FSR bikes.

    -TS
    Fayetteville, AR and N.W.A RePrEsEnT

  9. #9
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    very little-to no difference between the two linkages, depending on...

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSherpa
    One must also remember that Horst links ARE influenced by braking and do experience a slight amount of pedal feedback. There is very little-to no difference between the two linkages, depending on how the FSR is set up.

    Oh and there are many full seat tube FSR bikes.

    -TS
    I'd trust Kona's fs designs. Kona hardtail bikes have excellent performance and value pricing.
    My only concern of Kona would be that they no longer offer not even one "hardtail performance" bike in "light" butted crmo steel in the $1500 to $2000 range, for Sport level XC racers and "technical" trail riders.

    The amount of full suspenson choices from Kona are staggering. I'd consider one of Kona fs as a benchmark vs. all others...as I'm doing now with the Coiler. So far, $1600 Coiler has the best balance of performance and value: as a budget all-mtb and to do some Beginner level DownHill racing....If I get to Sport level I'll spring for a SliderPlus dual-crown...if I ever get to Expert level in dhr I'd first consider a Stab.
    “Everyday is a good day,” from the Blue Cliff Records, Yun-men (864-949 AD).

  10. #10
    Live 2 Ride
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheSherpa
    One must also remember that Horst links ARE influenced by braking and do experience a slight amount of pedal feedback. There is very little-to no difference between the two linkages, depending on how the FSR is set up.

    Oh and there are many full seat tube FSR bikes.

    -TS
    I have YET to see a Specialized FSR with a full Seat Tube. They can't run one - it will defeat the FSR linkage. Sure like to see one if you have a pic.

    In the meantime I'll stick to Kona's rear designs.
    My Bike: '19 Giant Talon 2 29er
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  11. #11
    Uhhhhh...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kona0197
    I have YET to see a Specialized FSR with a full Seat Tube. They can't run one - it will defeat the FSR linkage. Sure like to see one if you have a pic.

    In the meantime I'll stick to Kona's rear designs.
    Demo 8 and 9 have full seat tubes. Knolly V-Tach also.

    Oh and i would no way consider Konas a benchmark in FS bikes.

    -TS
    Fayetteville, AR and N.W.A RePrEsEnT

  12. #12
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    consider Kona as a benchmark value in FS bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSherpa
    no way consider Konas a benchmark in FS bikes.

    -TS
    in terms of comparing value, yes...Kona as a benchmark in FS bikes...most bang for the buck

    in terms of cost is no object, quality is everything, maybe not quite
    “Everyday is a good day,” from the Blue Cliff Records, Yun-men (864-949 AD).

  13. #13
    sadly, like the element
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    I dunno about the FSR seat tube thing..

    My epic has a full, uninterrupted seat tube with the FSR rear. And the demos have full seat tubes.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leadghost
    My epic has a full, uninterrupted seat tube with the FSR rear. And the demos have full seat tubes.
    Your epic has a full seat tube because the shock is mounted along
    the seatstay and does not pass "through" where the seat tube
    should be.

  15. #15
    Shortcutting Hikabiker
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailNut
    I'd trust Kona's fs designs. Kona hardtail bikes have excellent performance and value pricing.
    My only concern of Kona would be that they no longer offer not even one "hardtail performance" bike in "light" butted crmo steel in the $1500 to $2000 range, for Sport level XC racers and "technical" trail riders.
    Explosif is offered as a frame only. Most of the people that are in the market for a steel bike these days would probably want to build it up how they like anyway.

  16. #16
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    Very well said

    Quote Originally Posted by ebxtreme
    A bit of background: What he?s referring to is the fact that Kona?s have a pivot on the seatstay (above the axle) and not on the chainstay (in front and below of the axle). Specialized owns the patent (not patend, as he so eloquently puts it) for the horst link which they purchased off of Horst Leitner a number of years ago. Companies that already had licensed that design from Leitner were grandfathered into the patent purchase and pay Specialized nothing. Other brands that wanted to use the ?horst link? have to pay specialized a licensing fee for each frame purchased. That amount paid to Specialized is discussed all the time and I don?t know the true amount is but I?ve heard as little as $5 per frame to as much as $50 or 100 per frame.

    Kona?s, like many bikes, place their pivot above the axle on the seatstay and thus pays Specialized nothing for the design. This design is often referred to as ?faux bar? because while it has 4 pivots (similar to the horst design), it doesn?t have the pivot on the chainstay. What are the downsides to the Kona design, you ask? The suspension isn?t truly ?active? during braking so riders may notice some brake-jack (or suspension fiming up) when braking over rough surfaces. Also, the claim is that it isn?t as good for climbing as the true 4 bar design, but I don?t really know about that. The truth is that the advent of the newer technology shocks has mostly eliminated any pedaling deficiencies in the ?faux bar? design. The other truth is that even a 4 bar design has a small amount of brake jack that can only be eliminated by using a floating brake system to de-couple the braking influence over the suspension.

    Why design a bike with a ?faux bar? suspension vs. a true single pivot? A couple of reasons. Single pivots are often more prone to being less stiff in the rear and this often leads to the rear end twisting/flexing and that often reduces the life of the shock, shock bushings/reducers, etc. plus that flex might be noticeable to more discerning riders. If you look at the Yeti ASX, they have a swing-link pivot that supposedly keeps side-to-side flex off of the shock and firms up the rear end. The design that Kona uses also allows them to adjust the suspension rate for each bike by choosing different rocker lengths, locations, etc. For example, think about how a Kona has two lower shock mounts on the frame. The front is more linear and the back is more progressive?..well, the bike mfgr. can ultimately make the suspension handle differently based on their pivot locations similarly. More versatile than a true single pivot and less flexy is the quick answer.

    Why doesn?t Kona license the horst link? Good question and I?m going to assume that one reason is the cost. I don?t know the true cost, but I would think that any increased cost would be passed along to the customer. Another reason is that on longer travel bikes, the horst links usually mean that you need to run an interrupted seattube to keep the tire from hitting the seattube (think Big Hits, Uzzi?s, etc) and Kona employees and most of their riders climb with their bikes so that?s not a good option . That is also why Specialized came out with the Demo series?.they wanted a bigger bike with an uninterrupted seattutbe. The last reason is that I think they don?t want to give money (how little or how much it is) to a competitor and further market their products by putting a ?FSR? sticker on the chainstay.

    If I were Kona, I?d stick with the faux bar design (which they?ve refined over the years) and start talking to Santa Cruz about licensing the VPP design (similar to Intense) from them. My $.02

    FWIW, I ride with a crew that are mostly on boutique bikes (Turner, Ellsworth and Titus) and many have true 4 bar linkages. Those bikes are beautiful and they all talk about how well they ride. I have no doubts that they do, but are they that MUCH better than my current bikes? I don?t know. Would they make me ride better? Perhaps in certain situations (like maybe brake-jack when tearing down Whistler??), but I can tell you that I can usually keep up without too many issues and I?ve never felt that my bikes were less than theirs due to one pivot location.

    Hope that helps,
    EB
    I got a Kona Kikapu and it rides just fine uphill and downhill. In fact, I think I'm faster on it downhill than when I had my FSR Enduro. Also, I've never had any problem whatsoever with any of the pivots, and don't anticipate I will. The dual stiffeners that run across the suspension link work excellent. I do currently have my Fox on the way to PUSH, since the bike does not have a progressive shock mounting linkage on the plate. I don't know what those holes are for.
    Sound of Tires on Dirt: Sole Music
    Shredding with Good Comrades: Soul Music

  17. #17
    Just roll it......
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    True....about the epic and demo.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leadghost
    My epic has a full, uninterrupted seat tube with the FSR rear. And the demos have full seat tubes.
    Mowerman hit the nail on the head. The Epic has two things that enable it to have an uninterrupted seattube: The shock is mounted on the seatstay so it doesn't pass through where the seattube is (like the FSR) and it has < 4" of travel. Turner's, for example, are running most of their bikes with the horst link and uninterrupted seattube but the bigger issue is on the longer travel bikes.

    Regarding the Demo 8 and 9's, you'll notice that I said:

    "......on longer travel bikes, the horst links usually mean that you need to run an interrupted seattube to keep the tire from hitting the seattube (think Big Hits, Uzzi’s, etc) and Kona employees and most of their riders climb with their bikes so that’s not a good option . That is also why Specialized came out with the Demo series….they wanted a bigger bike with an uninterrupted seattube."

    What I was alluding to was that in order to have a horst link frame with 8 or 9" of travel that can run a 26" rear tire, Specialized needed to come up with a new design....as the Big Hit couldn't be tweaked to do this. Also worth noting is that the Demo frame doesn't truly have an uninterrupted seattube. While it's WAAY longer than on the big hit, it still has the rear shock going below it, but it's probably enough for most riders. Also, with their new design came quite a bit of girth - putting the Demo 9 in the 13+ lb. range. The demo 8 will drop a couple of lbs., but it's still a heavy sucker.

    My point was not to say that the horst link is an inferior design (because it's not), but just showing that it also has some limitations. I climb my bike up Mt. Fromme, areas around Whistler and many Seattle freeride areas. As a result, having an uninterrupted seattube is necessary for me because I often raise and lower my saddle as much as 8 inches. If I exclusively rode my bike in the Whistler bike park (where I've ridden more than 60 days the past 2 years) or shuttled, it wouldn't be a concern. Also, the lack of a horst link doesn't seem to negatively affect my riding as I usally hang with most riders - whether XC, DH or FR...

    If you look at a company like Turner, the largest travel frame they make with a horst link is the 6 pack. The DHR is a single pivot, however, they will be coming out with the Highline (utilizing a horst link / uninterrupted seattube), but that's been under design for a year now and Dave Turner has yet to get it to where he wants. FWIW, Devinci already has a VERY similar bike to the proposed Highline again with lengthy (17.5") chainstays.....a recent review in MBUK (I think) made very strong comments on how hard the Devinci was to manual due to the length in the rear.

    Some may ask, "how can a bike like the Ellsworth Dare run the horst link, an uninterrupted seattube and have that much travel?". Well, they have really long chainstays to keep the tire from hitting the seattube...17.7" and I'd guess that Specialized didn't want to design a frame with the rear wheel that far back. It certainly affects the bike's handling (think manualing, rider position, etc.). Noel did something different with the V-tach by having his linkage (he calls it his 4x4 linkage) wrap around the seattube to push the shock and the seattube is heavily angled to keep the tire from hitting it (similar to the Demo frames).

    Happy New Year everyone,
    EB

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