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Full Suss - which is the better design/system?

YellaBellyYellaBelly Posts: 130
edited April 2016 in MTB buying advice
I currently race XC on a hardtail (Stumpjumper 29er) and I'm eyeing up a full suspension bike for next year. The two that have caught my attention are the Specialized Epic and the Scott Spark. Both have a very different approach to suspension. There is also quite a different approach to pricing. The Spark 910 is a better spec for less money. Certainly in comparison to the Epic Comp and I think even shading the Epic Elite on finshing kit. The Elite is available for 5000Euros (£4k near enough) and I'm driving to Germany later this year so might be able to get hold of one when I go. I also get the feeling the Spark would be the lighter of the two bikes especially once I dropped the 2x setup for a single ring, and I do like a good climbing bike.

So essentially I'm trying to figure out if the frame and suspension platform of the Epic is vastly superior to the Spark, to justify the inflated price tag. Is the Brain system that much better than the Twin-Loc? With running a single ring my left thumb is idle nowadays so it won't be too tough to toggle suspension settings.


  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,757
    Specialized use the Horst Link rear suspension, it's a very good system and as they have it patented in the US other US sellers won't use it (you'll see it on some European brands that only sell in Europe so can ignore the US patent).
    The Scott uses a much simpler single pivot, low mounted and linkage driven shock.
    I have the latter system on my bike and it doesn't hold it back at all, modern shock technology and pedal platforms erode some of the benefits of the Horst Link.
    Of the two I'd be tempted by the Spesh, 1x11 gearing and RS forks, the latest Fox are better, but overall still prefer the RS, will be a bit heavier though.
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 14,770
    The Horst link patent has now expired. Transitions latest range are Horst link and a few other are also starting to use it.
    Horst links need the pedal platform more than the Scotts single pivot but with the socks pedal platform off the Horst link does a better job of tracking the ground for extra grip and control. Specialized aren't cheap but they do offer one of the best warranties and they ride extremely well.
    I'm also a fan of Giants Maestro rear suspension and would recommend taking a look at the Anthem.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    How it reacts under braking is going to be different - one of the main reasons for the Horst link is to reduce braking input into the suspension. The difference isn't much though, and a lot depends how you shift your weight when braking - and how the fork reacts. But in theory the FSR should track better under braking while the Scott will maintain its geometry. Most can't tell any difference between most systems!
  • YellaBellyYellaBelly Posts: 130
    Thanks, if the faux bar design doesn't really hold the spark back I'm probably leaning that way. It's very easy to change 2x11 to 1x11 so I don't really see that as a big consideration between the two bikes.

    The maestro link is great and I thoroughly enjoy it on my Trance. But, for some bizarre reason Giant don't produce a high end Anthem on a 29er wheelsize. I'd really like a high spec bike with a carbon frame which Giant don't offer.

    I'd probably fall into that category of not really being aware of nuances in suspension performance. If I can test ride both I'd just know which ride I preferred, and which felt more efficient. I think that needs to be my next step.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Testing is always the way. I could give you sets of figures about each design, and sometimes is useful: pedal kickback is quite easily noticable. But with actual squat forces from braking and accelerating, trends are there, but we all sense them in different ways, especially how we move our centre of mass about. Add into that markedly different leverage ratios and rates and you have quite a lot going on!

    I don't really see any bad designs any more - that is ones that people seem to universally hate or have traits that are obvious and not liked. Suspension design seems to be a lot lower down the selling point list than it used to - is now back to gears ;-)
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