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Which suspension design - any difference?

Shooting mikeShooting mike Posts: 54
edited June 2016 in MTB buying advice
In terms of rear suspension, is there a lot of diference in how differing designs feel when ridden? For example, I'm looking at entry level full sus bikes like the Giant stance, Bossnut, Boardman FS team etc. What are the pro's and cons of what I'd describe as "direct shove" bikes like the boardman and bossnut compared to the linkage sytems like on a Giant or Canyon??

Many Thanks


  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    There are two factors to consider, the suspension layout itself (single pivot including faux bar), four bar, VPP or one of the less common ones like the GT i-drive and the DW designs.

    How the shock is driven is only relevant to packaging and the actuation ratio, as long as you have the right ratio you don't need a linkage.

    The Boardman for example is a 4-bar layout with the shock driven off the upper (inverted in this case) linkage, due to the location of the pivot on the chain stay this will have a different actuation to a single pivot 'faux bar' layout that may superficially look very similar such as the Bossnut. The Stance is a single pivot and therefore has more similarity to the Bossnut than the Boardman its just driving the shock via the linkage in a different direction - it also allows more room for a drinks bottle!

    You have to consider the suspension design as a whole rather than just looking at a very superficial part.
  • Errm. Thanks for that. I understand they all work differently but how do they feel when ridden? For example, is pedal Bob more likely with direct pivots or are Giant style setups more progressive etc.?
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    I don't do smileys.

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  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    is pedal Bob more likely with direct pivots or are Giant style setups more progressive etc.?
    What is a direct pivot? That's not a recognised suspension design

    What is a Giant style setup? (when the Stance is totally different to both the Anthem and Trance despite looking similar).

    You need to look more at suspension, you are using an 'at a glance' assessment rather than looking at how each bike actually works.

    Pedal bob is related to how the shock performs (pedal platform) and ratio, suspension linkage (the bits that control wheel arc, not the bits that activate the shock) design has little influence over the short travel of any pedal bob (apart from high single pivot which uses chain tension to help counteract bob).
  • Comments appreciated guys and that guide is useful (no doubt more so if your an engineering graduate!)...
    Essentially, what I suppose I'm asking is that for a first foray into a full sus bike, is there a general opinion of preferred suspension systems in terms of ride feel? I'm curious because without being able to extensively test bikes before purchasing (unlikely at the lower end of the market?) or without obtaining a doctorate in physics, how do ink wonky making the right choice? I know bikes are reviewed extensively but I think some of the reviews dwell too much on issues that 99 percent of average Joe riders will never be able to feel
  • Ink wonky = I know I'm (phone autocorrect!)
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    The various designs have different characteristics. It's not a case of one being better than another. There's a lot of personal preference involved.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    Most modern bikes work well enough for most riders.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

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  • oodboooodboo Posts: 2,177
    cooldad wrote:
    Most modern bikes work well enough for most riders.
    This. So just pick the one you like the look of/test rode/within budget and stop over thinking it. Someone else has done the over thinking for you and that's why we have the different designs.
    I love horses, best of all the animals. I love horses, they're my friends.

  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Giant offer excellent test ride facilities, go to the UK website and you can book whatever you want for upto 24 hours.
  • Great point oodboo.. I tend to do this with most things I've bought, that said I've been at complete opposites with Evie's before. An example I can think of is with skis... I tested a pair I thought from reviews were great for me - they were rubbish. Tried another pair that is not considered and they were superb and ended up buying them..

    Rookie.. Didn't know that about Giant. I'll bear that in mind definitely.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    All suspension designs are a compromise - and we all pedal and move our weight around in different ways, and suspension behaviour can depend on what gear you are in. Designers factor in how the suspension moves when we pedal, and how it moves when we brake.

    Anti squat uses chain and drive forces to reduce suspension bobbing when pedaling, but can cause 'pedal kickback' - the sensation of the cranks rotating backwards as the suspension goes over bumps.

    Anti dive uses brake forces to try and stop the suspension extending when we brake - as we brake our weight is transferred forward, wanting to extend the suspension which steepens the geometry. If these forces perfectly balance then the suspension will not move. This is not always a good thing, as the suspension sensitivity and traction can be reduced due to these forces - some designs will trade off sensitivity with geometry when braking.

    What works best for you can only be found out by testing - and even the same design can feel very different depending on leverage ratios and curves and the shock tune.
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