Alphabet Soup: TNT vs HL B2B- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Alphabet Soup: TNT vs HL B2B

    Note this post was made in absence of reading Squeaks review. I didn’t want his superb technical analysis to influence my seat of the pants opinions. I hope we agree on something . I will of course add both to the combined thread of reviews.

    This is my third and final ride on the TNT triangle. The 1st ride was a good long get to know you ride. The 2nd ride was just a fun ride, and a chance to get some trail shots while the fall foliage was still nice. It also gave me a chance to get more familiar with the TNT triangle before the B2B test.

    Sunday, I had to run on a very tight schedule in order to squeeze two rides back to back, plus include wrench time in-between and stay out of the family dog house. Just for the sake of understanding how the whole thing ran, I am including time stamps, based on my stopwatch. I paused the clock for any fiddling, photography or parking lot conversations (Howdy SpongeBob @ Crew!) I did not pause my watch for breathers. Bear in mind this chronological information only not for timing the loops since I paused at different times, places and durations for different reasons.

    I will post my bike build later. The only things changed between runs were:
    Rear triangle
    Rear der housing loop (a slightly longer one required for the TNT)
    Rear der cable (frayed between changes)
    Der hanger (Oh Pleeeazze)
    Other than that, I didn’t even empty my bladder until then end of the day, and I’m not talking about the camelback either. Okay that’s probably too much information. I tend to get mighty focused sometimes.

    NOTE: I will to be my typical wordy over introspective self in this post. If you don’t want all of the mental BS, skip down to the conclusions. If you want to follow along for the ride, then by all means, read on.

    1st Loop: TNT
    @ 0 mins I’m in the driveway loaded up and ready to leave. I start the clock and hit the highway.
    @12 min arrive at the trailhead parking lot. Nice commute eh?
    @27 min after some organizing, pre-ride measuring etc, I’m ready to hit it and head out.

    Pre Ride Measurements:
    Pack filled with standard kit + 1.5L H20
    DHX-C
    BV: 120 PSI
    PP: 2 clicks from full out
    RB: 2 clicks from full slow
    BO: 1 full turn in from full out
    Sag measured at 15 mm fully kitted
    Rider weight fully kitted: 248lbs standing on bathroom scale on top of picnic bench (Yes I brought a scale it with me)
    Front and rear tire pressure: 38 PSI

    @44min I finish climbing up and into the primary loop. This climb was mixed singletrack and carriage, rocky, twisty, roots rolling etc. Lots of good stuff.
    I now enter “Stinger” from the low side.


    This means this trail is mostly climbing too. Much more technical and challenging than what I just finished. Most people take it down. I usually take it up for the challenge in hopes to improve my riding. There are tricky step-ups, logs, roots, tight and twisties, everything NE singletrack is all about.


    I then take quick spin over to “SIS” which is much longer and even more twisty.
    There are fewer super techy things but plenty of things to climb up and over, bigger logs, table-ups and rock spines.


    Plus lots of fun faster pedaling rolling terrain. It’s also a pettier loop. That leaves me off on a rock-garden of a carriage trail to descend on then some more twisty singletrack back to the lot.
    @1h:13m I get back to the lot set my camera down, (Hmmm…) I load-up the bike and drive over to the other lot where there is a ~25 yard wooden staircase.
    The idea here was simulate descending a rock garden but also provide a sustained, regular, repeatable bumpy run. This (in theory) would allow me to focus my attention on how the suspension and the pedals felt. It was not necessarily a test of traction. I wanted to keep moving and I have a shot of the staircase so I don’t take the camera with me. (Hmmm…)

    previous photo, same location.

    I make 4 passes down the staircase:
    Pass 1 Moderate even braking
    Pass 2 Strong rearward bias braking
    Pass 3 Light intermittent front braking only (to approximate no brakes but try to keep similar speed)
    Pass 4 Strong rear braking only while pedaling

    @1h:21m I hit the highway and head back home to swap triangles. (In the back of my mind, did I forget something in my haste? Hmmm…)
    @1h:31m I arrive at the house (Did I mention nice commute?)
    @2h:32m Racked and ready: I’m done swapping over to the HL triangle. I lost ~10-20 minuets futzing with a frayed R-Der cable and ultimately put in a new one, and retuned my der.
    @2h:48m I’m back at the main lot

    2nd Loop: HL
    @2h:49m and 59 seconds: Dude! Where’s my Camera!?!?!?! Holy cow It’s not in my gear bin. I stop the clock and search the lot. Yeah like nobody spotted it in the hour since I left. It’s not here. I drive over to the staircase lot, nope not there either. Stupidity is the mother of all upgrades. I restart the clock and repeat the 4-run Stair test on the HL.

    @2h:53m I bounce back to the main lot and start to gear-up. I’m still thinking about the camera and what would I have done with it. Put it on the roof? Wait a sec… there it is wedged in the now dual-purpose roof rack camera keeper. It survived the nasty park roads and two highway trips. Woah, talk about being blessed!
    @3h:05m I finish verifying tire pressure, pack contents, rider weight and sag (now 16 mm) I start loop #2 on the HL Since the sun was setting I didn’t stop much.
    @3h:50m I’m back in the lot it’s dark and I’m ready to go home and think it all over.


    (More)
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    Last edited by Bikezilla; 11-08-2005 at 12:07 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Impressions, thoughts and conclusions:

    Impressions, thoughts and conclusions:

    Okay here are my thoughts. Having gone back to back, my impressions have changed a bit in some respects and have been confirmed in others.
    Standard disclaimers apply:
    -I am not an expert of any sorts
    -This is a test of how both triangles feel, not a empirical measurement of anything.
    -My impressions are based on my preferences, my experiences, my setup, my terrain, my riding style.
    -Your mileage may vary and quite possibly will.
    -I am very certain about what I felt. Declaring the sources of the differences is beyond my ability.
    -You have every right to dismiss or accept any part of this.
    -I’m still not a focking idiot.

    (Wide Load)

    Also note: My climbing is often very slow, steep and technical. There are times I’m just short of trackstanding. Other times I’ve heard snails yell “on your left!”. My climbing is short and anaerobic, and I still feel like death warmed over after 15 mins. This is nothing like long grueling fireroads or singletrack climbs.(can you tell I’m missing Moab?)

    Random photo: I was too busy riding to get shots of the real techy stuff. Those were the spots I least wanted to stop and set up a photo. Sorry.


    What’s the same since my last two rides on the TNT:
    I could not detect any pedal feedback on either triangle
    I could not detect any additional bob on the TNT (more on this)
    I could not detect any loss in traction, climbing or descending. PERIOD. I slipped and spun on all the same things, I skipped and dragged in all the same places. Overall both behaved quite the same to me.
    I could not detect any stiffening or jacking. PERIOD. I spent a lot of time on my rear brake.

    What’s different since I could test them B2B on the same day: Better sit down for this…here’s where I’m sure to loose a lot of people’s respect especially if you don’t agree.

    The TNT felt ever so slightly firmer all around. Coasting, pedaling, braking, and climbing. This was to a very small degree. The best way to describe the difference in feel is that it is 3/16 of a shade bluer than dead on pink. What the hell does that mean? Exactly. On the smaller ping-pong-ball sized hits it would feel just a little firmer on the instant impact but climbing up over the peak and dropping off the backside of any sized hit felt exactly like the HL. We’re talking very very subtle. Also you must keep in mind I’ve been riding superduperstupor plush. Consider I was using only 2 clicks of PP, 120PSI and 1 turn of BO, on a 650lb spring under a 248lb rider. That’s redicu-soft so these differences are more apparent. When I was in Moab I hated that setup and immediately boosted my PSI, PP and BO. Even with this slight difference I could not detect any difference in traction while climbing or braking.

    The TNT felt a good deal more confident and I somehow was inspired to push certain things more. The best way to describe it is that the bike stood up more. It had more get-up and go whenever I goosed it. It railed a bit more in the corners. When approaching the last quarter of a techy climb I felt like I wanted to stand and launch earlier than with the HL. And I was rewarded in how the bike responded by ripping up and over the climb. I really enjoyed standing and seated acceleration much more. The HL made me feel I *Had to remain seated. Standing efforts felt less inspiring because of the mid-stroke softness. The HL felt like it was moving more in the midstroke under heavy peadaling. I can’t confirm this but this is the feeling I got. Spinning both felt superb, but the HL felt ever so slightly delayed under acceleration. Remember my super soft setup.

    But again the traction seemed the same between the two. It’s contrary, I know, but I also know what I felt. I did not slip and spin more with either setup. I am trying very hard NOT to say this but I had a bigger grin factor on the TNT However (maybe it’s new-thing-itis) I found myself wanting to to dial in some adjustments to get the HL to pedal like the TNT. I also found I wanted to dial in a tad less edgyness into the TNT. One thing for sure is I’ve been running the HL way too soft, there was just too much motion midstroke, which is something I did not notice until I tried the TNT. To this end I seriously plan on playing with the adjustments on the HL going forward. I wish I had more time to do it that day.

    On the Staircase:
    The one thing that kept going through my mind was “Thumpa thumpa thumpity thump thump!”
    Seriously, I could not tell the difference in either setup. All this proved is decending on medium sized hits these two feel the same.

    Pedal Feedback I found you! (Oh wait no I didn’t.)
    For all you non-experts like me, I would like to share how I almost fooled myself into thinking I found pedal feedback.
    As a test I kept rolling down a short rocky bit of carriage trail. Not too steep. I went back over it several times.
    Brakes on firm & coasting: nothing
    Brakes off & coasting: nothing
    Brakes off & pedaling: nothing
    Brakes on firm & pedaling: POW there it is! The pedals would stop for an instant on every hit bigger than a cantaloupe If I had the brakes on. This did not happen on the smaller hits. I don’t often pedal while braking hard. And it didn’t happen if I wasn’t braking hard and hitting something that big and pedaling all at the same time. What I found was the HL did exactly the same thing. My guess, the tire was locking up the instant of time the wheel was in the air dropping to the ground off the backside of the hit. Both did it to the same degree so I guess it’s NBD.

    Overall conclusions:
    On the sheer matter of performance under my conditions it was a draw.
    For extreme plushness at very low speeds HL has the edge.
    For pedaling and climbing the TNT felt better. Kill me that’s how I felt.
    Braking traction was a draw. Remember my terrain setup and style could be different than yours.
    Climbing traction was the same. Yes I know plusher should have more traction but that’s not what I experienced. Consider the extra plushness was only felt on the initial face of small lowspeed bumps. Everywhere else the difference in plushness was much smaller. This excludes making significant changes to the shock like spring, BO or BV pressures.
    Decending at moderate speeds both felt the same.

    In the end I totally loved my bike with either rear, and the TNT did not once have me thinking about switching back. It did have me considering keeping it though. Sue me.
    The overall differences are as I first said very small. What I explained above is mostly me reaching to find something different between the two. My bike was still absolutely my bike with both setups. Because the differences were so small, I would suspect one could easily be tuned to ride like the other.
    Last edited by Bikezilla; 11-07-2005 at 11:24 PM.
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  3. #3
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    Hey Zilla...

    Thanks for the input. I've actually been waiting for this post, and am looking forward to seeing a few more as that thing is passed around.

    One thing I didn't see comment on was the rigidity of the HL rear end as compared to the TNT. Was there any noticeable difference between the two??

    happy trails...

    squish
    Get out and ride!

  4. #4
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    Howdy squish.
    It's really hard to tell since I don't get a lot of high speed cornering. I got the impression it felt like it railed better but that's really reaching. I honestly don't know for sure.

    I just read Squeaky's B2B...man woah talk about deja vu.
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  5. #5
    KDK
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    WOOOOOW !!!

    Bikezila, this is the best review I have ever read anywhere. It is professional in its methodology and discription, scientific in its approach. It really helps the reader make his own conclusions based on the excellent facts that you provided us.

    Thanks for taking the time to do it and I hope that you did not spend any time in the family dog house !! Who took the pics BTW ?

  6. #6
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    Very cool Zilla...

    I've got a Flux planned for this winter, and I guess I'll have to find out for myself. Thanks again for the review. Again insiteful and well written. Greath pics by the way, the colors in Iowa aren't that cool any more, they've pretty much dropped all over the trail, making finding traction a lot of fun

    happy trails...

    squish
    Get out and ride!

  7. #7
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    Thanks KDK. I take all my own pics. No one else want's to look at me much less damage their camera by pointing it in my direction. They're timer shots, which is why I'm usually riding away from the camera. It's easier to set up and ride than to sprint back to the bike and hope to get on the feature at shutter time.

    BTW we don't have a dog, but the doghouse definately has my name on it.
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  8. #8
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    Now that is some dedication!

    Thanks, Zilla.

    Thanks for putting in the time and a great review. It is pretty much as I expected.

    One thing though;

    Quote Originally Posted by Bikezilla
    -This is a test of how both triangles feel, not a empirical measurement of anything.
    empirical
    Main Entry: em·pir·i·cal
    Pronunciation: -i-k&l
    Variant(s): also em·pir·ic /-ik/
    Function: adjective
    1 : originating in or based on observation or experience <empirical data>
    2 : relying on experience or observation alone often without due regard for system and theory

    So actually, your test was empirical (def #1)

  9. #9
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    All credit to DT for producing a bike with a different linkage that rides as his original set up did, maintaining the "Turner essence".
    Great review Bikezilla

  10. #10
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    Good effort 'Zilla, it's obvious that you put alot into this. Bravo.

    Now chill and get back to enjoying rides.
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  11. #11
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    Thank YOU!

    Thank you Bikezilla!

    I totally agree with KDK - the best review I´ve ever read.

    Better than any article in any magazin!

  12. #12
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    Good review.

    My flux is ordered and will probably have the Horst link. I asked the LBS owner about the switch and your results matched what he felt the change would mean to the bike handling. He told me he thought the only difference would be a firmer rear end. I know he wants to sell me a bike, but when you look at the change from HOrst link to TNT just on the surface it seems to make sense at least to this very inexpirenced rider.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by squish
    Hey Zilla...

    Thanks for the input. I've actually been waiting for this post, and am looking forward to seeing a few more as that thing is passed around.

    One thing I didn't see comment on was the rigidity of the HL rear end as compared to the TNT. Was there any noticeable difference between the two??

    happy trails...

    squish
    Why would there be any change in rigidity? The number and design of the pivots hasn't changed and the location of the horst/faux pivot is practically the same in terms of distance from the BB.

  14. #14
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    Your not going to feel any pedal feedback from a low pivot design, horst link or single pivot. It doesn't happen because the chain line is not getting significantly longer. This is a trait of a high pivot bike like a SC superlight.

    Although it was somewhat of a joke, I think the assertation that the "mech brakes vs hydro" thread was mirroring this topic is right on. The reason is that there are those of us that have been riding for many years, and we can feel the difference between the brakes, we take our bikes on crazy enough rides that the ability to feel the amount of traction that our wheel is experiencing though the lever is very important, because we can more finely adjust our inputs and keep from sliding off the extreme slope of the hill. Same thing with the braking performance of the bike. It doesn't matter whether someone can feel it or not, it is there, and it is different. I do feel the differences between non-horst and horst in terms of braking, and every one of the 11+ bikes I've owned reinforced these differences. There's a lot of riders that wouldn't know the difference between 1 click of rebound, or 10psi of boost pressure, and they'd be happy just to be out riding and having a good time. There's nothing wrong with that, but as further proof, look at all the people that have bought ventanas. Great bike, by a great company. Not the bike I was looking for though due to the braking traits.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  15. #15
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregorFuk
    Why would there be any change in rigidity? .
    Because with TNT there is no pivot between the rear wheel and the main pivot.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    Because with TNT there is no pivot between the rear wheel and the main pivot.
    But there is still a pivot way out at the back of the bike and while the faux bar pivot may experience less direct force the difference must be negligible to the rider.

    I was under the impression Turners were famed for there stiff back ends even before the movement of the pivot. The new rear end may well be stiffer still but surely 2/10ths of F.A is still F.A?

  17. #17
    Bodhisattva
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregorFuk
    But there is still a pivot way out at the back of the bike and while the faux bar pivot may experience less direct force the difference must be negligible to the rider.

    I was under the impression Turners were famed for there stiff back ends even before the movement of the pivot. The new rear end may well be stiffer still but surely 2/10ths of F.A is still F.A?
    FWIW, I could discern no differences between the HL and the TNT rear end in terms of stiffness.

    Ventanas are amazingly stiff but I believe it has far more to do with Ventana's short rockers & quad bearings than it does the seatstay pivot.
    And yes, I can a difference in stiffness between a Ventana X5 & my 6-pack (not that the pack is a noodle by any means)

  18. #18
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    ...nm...
    Last edited by Bikezilla; 11-08-2005 at 08:21 AM.
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  19. #19
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    I can't believe that you spent so much time doing this. I thought that I was the only one that was that neurotic.

    Dog house? You're lucky if she doesn't permanently lock you in there.

    Thanks for the time and trouble. many here appreciate it. I'm sure that DT does too.

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