New suspension or new bike

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New suspension or new bike
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Posted: Jul 25, 2021 at 13:05 Quote
I currently have a a 2017 carbon habit se. I like the bike but not the suspension. I can feel it bottoming out on a regular basis and the bike bounces over tree roots and rocks. What's your opinion? Should I just upgrade to a santa cruz 5010 or the suspension I'm looking at would be about $1750 front and rear on my old bike.

Posted: Jul 25, 2021 at 14:15 Quote
Personally in your case I would go the new bike route, that is a lot of coin to drop on an older frame if it's as bad as you are saying just to fix it's issues. A newer frame will most likeley be more progressive, have better geo etc... Bare in mind that bikes that pedal well like Yeti's etc usually come with some compromise to absolute plushness, at least around sag point where the antisquat remains high, some of the more primitive designs often feel plusher as they bob much more around sag point and under pedalling input but stay feeling soft and mushy at all times, VPP and Switch feel plush deep in the travel and on fast hard hits but feel firmer around sag compared to some other designs around there. It all depends on what you are looking for, do you need a bike that has great pedal efficiency, do you not mind giving up a bit of plushness near the start of travel to get it, do you want a mushy marshmallow bike etc, but either way you need a bike with more progressive suspension kinematics to not bottom out so much, more sensitivity at the start of travel and perhaps get the benefits of newer geometry too. Spending a fortune on EXT shocks etc or whatever you are looking at to fix the problems with your bike are probably just not worth it when a simple kinematic and geometry change will probably gain better results without the need for fancy shocks etc. I say find a nice progressive frame and put a coil on it and be done... These air shocked linear frames never perform great in terms of traction and suppleness.

Posted: Jul 25, 2021 at 15:51 Quote
Carbonhabit wrote:
I currently have a a 2017 carbon habit se. I like the bike but not the suspension. I can feel it bottoming out on a regular basis and the bike bounces over tree roots and rocks. What's your opinion? Should I just upgrade to a santa cruz 5010 or the suspension I'm looking at would be about $1750 front and rear on my old bike.

Unfortunately Cascade Components doesn't have anything for your current bike so i say DEFINITELY spend all money on newer bike. Doesn't have to be brand new just around 2019+

Posted: Jul 25, 2021 at 19:23 Quote
Danzzz88 wrote:
Personally in your case I would go the new bike route, that is a lot of coin to drop on an older frame if it's as bad as you are saying just to fix it's issues. A newer frame will most likeley be more progressive, have better geo etc... Bare in mind that bikes that pedal well like Yeti's etc usually come with some compromise to absolute plushness, at least around sag point where the antisquat remains high, some of the more primitive designs often feel plusher as they bob much more around sag point and under pedalling input but stay feeling soft and mushy at all times, VPP and Switch feel plush deep in the travel and on fast hard hits but feel firmer around sag compared to some other designs around there. It all depends on what you are looking for, do you need a bike that has great pedal efficiency, do you not mind giving up a bit of plushness near the start of travel to get it, do you want a mushy marshmallow bike etc, but either way you need a bike with more progressive suspension kinematics to not bottom out so much, more sensitivity at the start of travel and perhaps get the benefits of newer geometry too. Spending a fortune on EXT shocks etc or whatever you are looking at to fix the problems with your bike are probably just not worth it when a simple kinematic and geometry change will probably gain better results without the need for fancy shocks etc. I say find a nice progressive frame and put a coil on it and be done... These air shocked linear frames never perform great in terms of traction and suppleness.

Thanks. I have been trying everything to get my habit to have more progressive suspension and nothing works. The options that I'm finding for new suspension aren't a huge step forward either. I ride almost exclusively in the woods with lots of climbs and decents so I need an agile bike that can climb easily and stay stable on the way down. I don't race but I do time myself everylap so I am usually pushing as hard as my aging body will let me

Posted: Jul 26, 2021 at 21:59 Quote
You need to figure out what you need from your suspension and go from there. If I’m right, your bike only has 120mm of rear travel? If you are smashing into rocks an roots then you are either going to have to have it so firm off the top that there is minimal sag and small bump compliance but will resist bottom out or if you want it plush off the top then it’s going to bottom out. 120mm is now classed as a more XC appropriate level of travel really, not so much trail or AM unless you ride more mellow terrain or flow trails. How much travel do you need? Only you can answer that question but your post would indicate you need more than 120 if you have your existing shock firmed right up and you are bottoming out and skipping over rocks and roots.


Don’t assume that longer travel bikes don’t climb, a 140mm bike with a well damped shock and dialled geometry can feel more efficient and outclimb a lighter short travel XC bike from a few years ago.
You say you want agility AND stability. Which is most important? Long slack bikes can feel agile but take a bit of adjustment to get used to.

Not all suspension platforms are created equal and frame tolerances/design have a big impact on suspension performance. A frame with really tight tolerances and quality bearings will have less stiction in the linkage than a frame that’s rear end isn’t perfectly aligned so a quality frame with a properly tuned airshock can offer both very good small bump compliance and support. Pivot frames are a good example in my experience, Santa Cruz less so and some direct factory order bikes I've worked on have actually had to have the swing arm twisted slightly in order to get the pivot bolts in which is obviously going to impact performance and longevity.

Coil shocks can offer greater small bump compliance BUT any shock and fork will generally benefit from a custom tune to get the best from it and can sometimes be all that’s needed to get the feel and performance you want, I personally think it’s a great idea to get you suspension custom tuned whatever you ride in order to get the most out of it if you are even remotely performance focused.

Also, most people don’t look after their forks and shocks properly and so performance can degrade significantly over time. It’s usually down to lack of maintenance and over zealous cleaning with a hose and mucoff or similar. Mud guards, regular and careful cleaning with nothing but water (light mist, NOT blasted with a hose) and lubeing the seals after every ride will help keep it super plush off the top.

Bear in mind, geometry dictates how a bike rides and climbs more than anything else and how capable it is. Suspension just gives you more traction, tyres have the biggest impact on how sprightly a bike feels all other things being equal. Geometry has moved on a long way since your Habit.

Posted: Jul 30, 2021 at 6:17 Quote
Regarding custom tunes and shocks, I personally feel that unless you are going the truly custom route, not the recommended computer generated custom tunes do that a lot of so called 'custom' shock and tunes are just quite simply overdamped. They come set up for a guy that is hitting 30mph down steep chutes in the rockies like Colorado. They definitely stay more composed and don't suffer from spiking or any weird things factory shock can suffer from, but ime they definitely come with too much damping often creating an even harsher feel for mellow trail riding than an off the shelf shock. If you go custom, make sure you are honest with where and how fast you ride and the feel you are looking for, otherwise you just end up with a shock more applicable for the likes of Richie Rude than yourself. The custom tuned shocks genuinely are more biased towards the fast aggressive riders that ride very demanding terrain, I can say in the UK at least there isn't mucj like that except a few exceptions like BPW or Fort Will, generally most stuff here can be done on a 140mm trail bike comfortably and these custom shocks just seem way too racey and firm out of the box.

Posted: Aug 1, 2021 at 8:03 Quote
Thanks for the info. I decided to just buy a new bike. I feel that I have been upgrading my habit since a month or so after I got it and I keep getting faster but that just exposes more weak points. I think it's time for a stiffer chassis and a better suspension setup or if the box.

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