Ask Pinkbike - Single Pivot vs Four Bar and Internal Routing vs Water

Sep 30, 2014
by Pinkbike Staff  
Ask Pinkbike Header

Here at Pinkbike we get inundated with all kinds of questions, ranging from the basic "Can I have stickers" to more in-depth, soul searching types of queries like if you should pop the question or what to name your first child. Ask Pinkbike is an occasional column where we'll be hand picking and answering questions that have been keeping readers up at night, although we'll likely steer clear of those last two and keep it more tech oriented.

Single-Pivot Swingarm or Four-Bar Suspension?

Question: JacobSpera asks in the All-Mountain and Cross-Country Forum: Currently, I am looking into getting an "all-mountain" bike. Something with 160mm of travel up front. I really have my eye set on the Santa Cruz Heckler. The simplicity of the single pivot swingarm is really interesting, yet the more research I do, the less I can find on single-pivot designs. What are the pros and cons of the single pivot?

bigquotesWhile most bicycle designers are convinced that four-bar linkages are the best solution for mountain bike rear suspension, the simple single-pivot swingarm type has persisted, even flourished, right under their noses. Trek's entire off-road range uses it, as does Devinci and Cannondale, and your pick, the Santa Cruz Heckler, has been a high ranking member of the single-pivot swingarm club which has survived in spite of the fact that SC has invested heavily in its four-bar VPP System. The staying power of the single-pivot swingarm hinges on its simplicity. It has fewer moving parts and that means it can either be made stronger, lighter, or more reliable - or a combination of all three. Technically, the single-pivot swingarm's long lever arm can be used to minimize leverage rate changes as the suspension compresses, which suspension tuners love, especially in the case of longer travel bikes. Efficient pedaling is equally important, and the exact placement of the forward swingarm pivot largely determines how firm or mushy the suspension will feel under power. Magically, this secret spot has evolved to be somewhere at or in front of the bottom bracket centerline and aligned with the chain pretty close to where it intersects the top of a 30-tooth front sprocket. A single-pivot-type suspension configured as such, and designed to drive the shock with a slight rising leverage rate is tough to beat.

Four-bar suspensions can offer marginal improvements because their forward pivot locations are not fixed. As the suspension compresses, the point that the wheel pivots around migrates. Clever designers can manipulate the various lengths and pivot locations of each suspension member to control or enhance the way the suspension affects braking, pedaling firmness and suspension sensitivity. The possible combinations are limitless and thus, four-bar cycling suspension has spawned a zillion patents along with a never-ending spiel of marketing claims. In real life, however, four-bar suspensions are nearly as limited as the old fashion single-pivot types, because manipulating the linkage geometry to achieve gains in one arena, like uncoupled braking or pedaling firmness, for example, erodes the suspension's performance somewhere else. It should come as no surprise then, that the best performing four-bar suspensions today are compromises - careful blends of the positive and negative attributes that come with migrating pivot locations and leverage rates. And it also should come as no surprise, given the fact that the customer wants the same things from both systems - efficient pedaling, bottomless suspension action and accurate braking - that the performance of the better four-bar and single-pivot bikes available today varies by only a few percentage points. So, if you like simple and the Heckler floats your boat, I'd recommend it. - RC

Santa Cruz Heckler 2014

The Heckler's single-pivot swingarm and simple suspension design doesn't require a Ph.D. to tune and rest assured, Santa Cruz wouldn't sell it unless it pedaled well and descended faster than an aging rap star. Santa Cruz photo

Does Internal Cable Routing Let Water In?

Question: PB user sorenwrang asked the following in the Bikes, Parts, and Gear forum: I have often considered the pros and cons of inner cable routing, and what I am most concerned about is getting water inside the frame. I guess there is some sort of rubber washer sealing the entrance of the cable into the frame - but I guess it can't keep the water out in all situations? Isn't this a pretty significant disadvantage? I am thinking of waiting for the new Scott Voltage FR 710, which has inner cable routing - but I am really not sure if I like it. What do you think of inner cable routing with regards to water in the frame?

bigquotesThe past few seasons have seen internal cable routing come back in fashion, for no real reason other than achieving the clean, sleek look that hiding shift and brake lines inside the frame allows. Luckily, most bike manufacturers are using some sort of internal guide or sleeve to make housing installation and replacement easier, a welcome change from the earlier attempts at internal routing that required the hand and eye coordination of a bomb squad technician to deal with. While it is easier slightly easier for water to get into the frame with this design, I wouldn't say it's that much of a detriment. As you mentioned, many bikes use a rubber grommet of some kind to help keep moisture out, as well as to prevent the housing from rattling against the frame. Also, there's often a drain point located on the bottom bracket shell that will give water a place to exit. If you do happen to go on an extremely wet ride, or got a little zesty with the pressure washer, removing the seatpost and turning your bike upside down will allow most of the water that entered the frame to drain out. Even here in the Pacific Northwest, where riding in wet weather is a fact of life, I haven't run into any major problems with water collecting in frames due to the internal routing.

As far as Scott's new Voltage FR 710 goes, the amount of internal routing on that bike is fairly minimal - the housing is routed externally on the downtube, with only the rear derailleur housing entering the frame briefly on the driveside seatstay.
- Mike Kazimer

Scott Voltage 2015

It might not look like it from this angle, but the majority of the Voltage 710's housing is routed externally.

Have some unresolved tech questions? Jump in the Pinkbike Forum and we'll look to answer it for next time.


  • 94 6
 alright guys rampage is over time to get back to complaining about enduro, 15 mm thru axles, whether single pivots are the best or not and prices.
  • 105 5
 Do you think taking Viagra would increase my DH times by 69%?
  • 57 3
 69/420 agreed
  • 19 0
 dont think so as most of your blood will be accumulated just in one region...
  • 34 0
 You'll need a third pedal for the extra leg.
  • 20 0
 Or use it to steer so you can throw high5s to the fans
  • 8 13
flag chyu (Sep 30, 2014 at 20:10) (Below Threshold)
 These full suspension bikes. When you pedal, they will sink and makes you slower.
  • 46 0
 Every pedal stroke slows you down!
  • 5 0
 ^ glad someone else caught that,lol
  • 6 0
 Viagra = extra "stoke"
  • 4 0
 But after his viagra wore off, it "descended faster than an aging rap star." LoL, love that quote!
  • 5 0
 Viagra can take your bar humps to the next level.
  • 1 3
 I'd like to correct a previous statistic that should have been 69/210 agreed
  • 1 0
 Haha how?
  • 2 1
 2 2nd letter in the alphabet, B
10 10th letter in the alphabet, J
  • 6 0
 If it needs explaining the moments probably passed Frown
  • 2 0
 420 - april 20 -
  • 57 5
 Single pivot, split, four bar, whatever. As you ride a bike, you'll slowly mould your style and body position to the attributes of the bikes design. Its the overall bike and rider, not suspension.
  • 36 2
 Couldn't agree more. The best bike is the one you are excited to ride and grateful to own. The rider is the variable in this equation, and people are highly adaptable.
  • 22 1
 Perfect statements! A lot of my buddies here in japan get obsessed with the most current technology and forget the simplest fact, you will always ride within your limits and comfort zone no matter the bike. I have owned all types of suspension and the truth is, Im always stoked to ride my new bike!
  • 9 0
 This is most sensible thing I've heard all day
  • 1 0
 What ^they all said!
  • 5 2
 almost everything out there is really a single pivot if u look at it. the only exceptions are dw and vpp types. if there is just one pivot that attaches the chainstay to the frame then it is single pivot. all the other linkages are just circus shit
  • 1 1
 Agree about adaptability if humans. That said we all favour different characteristics in our ride.
So the more choice the better I reckon (so long as you understand what you are buying other than hype)
Needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many as a famous captain once said
  • 1 0
 Yep, agree you 100% man!
  • 4 1
 there is actually nothing wrong with the proven single pivot. the problem is that there is no way for bike companies to make it sound like a fresh design or an innovation. so they add all the other links to make it look more advanced. do some help better than others? maybe but u still cant beat the laws of physics. long live sp!
  • 2 0
 "I spend my entire ride staring at my shock. I take notes when it compresses at the wrong time. I have flooded Cannondale's customer service department with calls providing my data yet nobody takes me seriously."

-What every bike company that specs remote shock lockouts thinks their customers do
  • 1 1
 Funny to hear folks now defending migrating pivot point (horst, Vpp, dw) after reading the bene's of SP/potential drawbacks of other designs. Adaptation my ass.
  • 1 0
 So your saying the human body isnt adaptable? We dont utilise our limbs to operate tools efficiently?
  • 2 0
 Optimise the tool design.
  • 2 0
 Well if truth be told, the Heckler is a top notch single pivot.
Its pivot placement has a very light pedal stroke and climbs great.
Beings as its direct you can also dial in the suspension easily for big drops and jumps.
You can feel the suspension working directly so, you do adapt to how it reacts allowing you use it to your benefit.

Example; doing a bunny hop on a hard-tail, single pivot, 4bar and VPP are all different.
You have to change your timing and preload the suspension a little differently but once acclimated you can hop just as good on any bike.

I personally love the feeling of a FSR 4-bar. My current bikes both have a FSR link and they pedal and take rough trials greatly with very little trouble like brake jack or squatting.

However, I rode a 2004 heckler and felt on top of the world.
I also rode a bullet and both bikes were perfect correlating great times on the trails.

Like anything in life personal preference differs from one to another and you can't pass judgement to someone who honestly believes what they are doing or in this case riding, is the best!

I hope that makes sense!

  • 1 0
 OldSkoolAK - Many of us still feel that mult-link suspension platforms confer more benefits that single-pivot designs. Most, if not all suspension engineers agree (just look at the hasty move of Transition bikes this year!). But a SP bike can work well, and some people enjoy some of their riding attributes. The point of this thread has not been to "defend" anything - simply to point out that the best bike for the job is the one you are the most excited to ride.
  • 24 1
 I just laughed out load that the comment,

"earlier attempts at internal routing that required the hand and eye coordination of a bomb squad technician to deal with"

I remember 1992 trying to redo the internal cable routing in a Klein and feeling a bit like a bomb technician. Great information keep it up!
  • 5 0
 Good example haha old kleins seem to make their way into the shop every couple of months and they are just a b**** to feed cables through, especially if the little ferrules are corroded and stuck in the frame!
  • 4 0
 I do not fondly recall setting up a then-new Klein Adept years ago. It had a short run of internal routing on the TT that was about 9" long. What a hassle for really no perfomance benefit AT ALL. It basically just made room on the side of the TT for the words "Adept Race".
  • 4 0
 I think we should just kill internal cable routing. Wanna send back your rear break for servicing? No problem, send the frame! It does look need but it's so inconvenient. The only time I see it as an advantage is when hooking the bike on the bike rack of my car. But for all things maintenance related it's just a pain, Ever tried on a Commençal Supreme? My derailleur cable housing is in 2 parts because after a couple hours trying I gave up with a full length housing! At least I didn't have this issue with the rear brake!
  • 2 0
 I personally prefer external routing on the down tube. Yeah it's untidy and prone to damage but it gives that thin ally down tube some extra protection from rock strikes.
Ever tried routing a mo darker summum Frown
  • 1 0
 I loved that comment too!
  • 14 0
 I really wished internal routing would go away like it did in the 90's. It's a real pain in the ass to work with, especially with hydro brakes, and always seems to rattle like crazy inside the frame. It's strictly cosmetic, has no benefits whatsoever and in a lot of cases, you go through all that trouble only to run them a foot and a half in the down tube before they come out again. Worthless piece of $hit.

OK, rant over, carry on
  • 18 8
 Nice article, but there was no real mention of the fact that most bikes that would normally be considered single pivots suffer pretty badly under braking. I would have thought this was a fairly large thing to miss out when someone asks about a 160mm travel all mountain bike. Specifically the Heckler asked mentioned will suffer, so I feel this should be mentioned somewhere. Yes the split pivot designs you mentioned side step this problem, but the Treks in particular are very similar to FSR designs in ride feel and suspension dynamic. Probably closer to an FSR than a traditional single pivot like a Heckler.
  • 11 6
 I would agree, if you're saying having the rear axle on a concentric pivot makes those bikes no longer single pivot. I'm fairly certain that Dave Weagle might have something to say about it as well. Pretty disappointed in a response that seems like it's trying not to piss off their sponsors that might still be selling single pivots. If single pivots were so great, there wouldn't be such a large group of brands that either switched to 4 bar this year, or stayed out of the US until this year due to the specialized patent. Don't get me wrong, I've had SPs that I've had fun on. But not having the suspension go all stiff every time you grab the brakes sure is a nice feature.
  • 9 3
 That's because except for Foes and Kona, pretty much nobody has offered a floating rear brake link to mount the disc caliper to. Decouple the braking torque from the swingarm (sending it into the main frame instead) and they brake well. Technically that's the point to the ABP/Split Pivot (and the other euro version of the same, forget the name), to decouple the brake from the swingarm.
  • 19 2
 Good call Gabriel-mission9. Braking issues that used to be inherent to single-pivot rear suspensions have been either eliminated or moderated by concentric rear axle pivots and also by clever placement of the dropout and swingarm pivots, so braking interference is no longer an absolute. That is why I did not make a specific issue of it. There again, the lines between the better SP and four-bar systems are blurred, which is the main point of the answer.
  • 29 1
 I like to think of the brake-jack on my single pivot bike as a gentle to reminder to get off the damn brakes...
  • 5 1
 who needs brakes? just hold on tight and go for it lol how do you think racers are born
  • 3 1
 Gabriel Mission9 (" Nice article, but there was no real mention of the fact that most bikes that would normally be considered single pivots suffer pretty badly under braking."
GT idrive is a single pivot but absolutely does not suffer from this due to pivoting BB. I have a distortion and rides up/down better than anything I have tried..
  • 6 0
 I am going off of memory, back in the day before he rode for GT, Steve peat rode for Orange. At that time they had a floating brake for his single/high pivot DH bike. Steve never used it. I remember a article saying that he never used the brakes so why would he need a floating brake.
  • 1 0
 Good Call b-mack, stay off the brakes! Uhh, aren't motorcycles single pivot...
  • 1 0
 Oh there have been others to have offered floating brake mounts, they are originally a motorcycle thing.
  • 8 0
 Many years ago I was doing DH runs on my old 4" Norco (FSR suspension) and then I swapped for one run with my buddy's 7" Heckler. On the first bumpy switchback the rear wheel was pounding and skipping on the braking bumps. I thought it was a flat tire so I pulled over. There was no flat.

The one time you really, really need your rear tire gripping the dirt is when you are braking - you can go faster as a result (brake later, brake harder, spend less time going slow, spend less time in the bushes).
  • 1 0
 I've owned two Kona's with floating brakes. My old FBI Stab had two strut mounting positions. One was neutral braking, which I used cause I like to ride the brakes. The other position would give a bunch of brake squat. My rep told me that Fabien liked it to ride that way. It was his signature bike after all. When you're world champ you get to make the call.
  • 1 0
 ^^Right deeight

Foes ftw !!! Kona have it ????really?
  • 1 0
 Kona discontinued it when they dropped the Stab for the Operator. The Operator's pivot is lower and doesn't need it as much.
  • 1 0
I read about this bike when I recently heard Ghost bikes would be sold in the U.S. And this conversation made me think of how they attach the brake mount directly to the axle, not the frame. What are the pros and cons of this?
  • 1 0
 The Riot is a 6-bar linkage. Technically the brake mount only partially is attached to the axle. The lower mount fits around the 12mm axle but the upper part is bolted to the seat strut.
  • 5 0
 In response to Groghunter, I would still refer to split pivot/apb frames as single pivot designs as there is only 1 bearing separating the rear axle from the front triangle. They simply separate the braking forces from the swing arm very much like an FSR, by attaching the caliper to part of the frame that rotates as little as possible while the suspension is compressing. The APB's also have a very similar linkage layout to the FSR design.

In response to RC, I'm not entirely sure how much playing with the position of the main pivot can control these braking issues. Effect them maybe, but only within a very small range where the problem is still quite noticeable. I have owned quite a few SP bikes, including a Santa Cruz Bullit for a few years, and they all kicked my arse braking through washboard sections. I have owned APB's since then and have ridden a number of FSR designs and with both the difference is very noticeable. They simply buck less than any bike where the brake caliper is bolted to the main swing arm. Yes there is the "then brake less" argument, but having a bike that can brake anywhere can allow you to brake less. So yes the better single pivot designs do come close to eliminating this problem, but I don't think this is true for the Heckler. Don't get me wrong, I loved my Bullit, I was just aware that it got a bit wild braking in the rough.

I have wondered myself about the funny things pro racers do (choosing not to run a torque arm, or in Barels case running one set up to actually increase brake squat) but can only conclude that it has something to do with the differing conditions they ride in. Namely a WC race track tends not to have 50ft of brake bumps before every single corner (and quite often other quite ridiculous places like half way round a berm, or in the middle of a long straight). Sadly many of the tracks I frequent are fairly torn up by the time I get there.
  • 1 1
 Reelchef67, that is an URT design, all most all of the other designs are non-URT.
  • 1 0
 As for a good/fancy/nifty/cool suspension design, have a butcher's at this:
  • 2 2
 Ahh, the old liteville ball-chopper rears its head again. That bike scares me. Other than that it is a fairly normal 4 bar design. The GT-I drive is not a URT. I don't think there are any "serious" bikes using the URT design any more. cos it sucks. In terms of braking forces however the I Drive reacts exactly like any normal single pivot. i.e. poorly.
  • 2 0
 you nailed it. i have an idrive too and at a quick glance, it looks like urt, but the bb is on its own pivot and connected to the frame with a "dog bone" link. so it stays pretty much stationary when the suspension compresses. like i said in an earlier post, single pivot-just with extra circus shit.
  • 3 0
 @cumulonimbus... I-drives and variants as offered by Mongoose (where its called Free-Drive) and Schwinn and other brands in the Dorel family (other than Cannondale) are Single-pivot floating BB linkage. They are NOT Unified Rear Triangles (though the department store offerings from Mongoose and Schwinn have employed URT designs) as the BB and crank assembly is not part of the swingarm to which the rear wheel is attached.
  • 1 0
 Brake input can be dialled out on a SP bike... Read the PB review by Brad Walton on the Kona Entourage. Tested the bike and sure as shit, remains active under braking. A brilliantly designed bike, just lacks bells and whistles tech-head riders prefer. It's really impressive how marketing suckers folks.
  • 2 0
If you attach the brake caliper to the swingarm, no matter where you put the main pivot, applying the brake is going to cause the swingarm to rotate around its pivot. There is no physical way this won't happen.

Take the shock off the Entourage with the front triangle firmly secured in a stand. Spin the rear wheel up and slam the brake on. All the inertia of the wheel is going to be transferred directly into the swing arm, causing it to rotate around the main pivot. essentially the suspension will "compress". Do the same on a bike where the brake is mounted on a non-rotating member (eg fsr, split pivot or a single pivot with a torque arm) and do the same. As long as the front triangle is firmly secured nothing much is going to happen as the inertia will be transferred into the front triangle, trying to spin the whole frame forward, rather than just the swingarm.

In normal use it is not the inertia of the wheel that causes this effect, but the ground trying to force the wheel to keep rotating against the opposing force of the brake, so the forces involved are quite massive.
  • 2 1
 Which simply enforces the fact people shouldn't be writing product reviews, if they don't understand the physics involved in why something behaves the way it does.
  • 3 0
 yeah but you dont have to be a physicist to know what brake jack is. and i think half the people writing reviews for mags and sites only write whatever crap the manufacturer feeds them anyway so only trust what YOU feel when YOU ride that said suspension setup. and i wonder how much the shock has to do with how a frame handles forces. i have an old c dale prophet which is a single pivot, and i put a fox dhx air 5.0 on it. that bike behaves and pedals like a way more advanced setup now.
  • 1 0
 GM9- You're right! It does try and compress the shock. No matter how fast I spin up the wheels it won't budge more than about 5mm. I've ridden quite a few SP that were horrible ON TRAIL and the Entourage feels input-free in comparison. Chalk that up to clever pivot placement (and not just the main). I'll take all the strengths of the bike and forgive the incredibly miniscule amount of brake input and just enjoy the ride.
  • 2 0
 That's the low speed compression circuit in the shock that tames the brake jack, not the pivot placement on the entourage. Brake Forces are the same as pedal Forces and small bump forces as far as the hydraulics are concerned. Again, physics and basic understanding of how things work they do... not magic pivot placement that only Kona is capable of.
  • 2 1
 Um, did the test without the shock. At the end of the day, the bike exhibits VIRTUALLY no brake input and the ride is phenomenal. Nerd session over for me until YOU put an entourage sans shock in the stand.
  • 3 0

It would actually be fascinating to perform the test you're talking about on a variety of suspension designs, to see the real life effects.

Not sure how you'd simulate pedalbob though, as it is a far more complex motion.
  • 11 2
 Single Pivots rule, internal cable routing does not! I also prefer Monster over Red Bull, so I would like to see the Monster Rampage with Rob Warner announcing, and hot girls on stripper poles at the bottom.
  • 10 0
 Single pivot, four-bar, internally routed doesn't really matter when every pedal stroke you can see them slowing down.
  • 4 0
 Is that a reference to a Rampage commentary nugget of wisdom?
  • 7 1
 HI, perhaps off topic but it is MTB related. OK... how in the heck do Semenuk and others get full on bulky knee pads under skinny jeans???? Didnt see anybody wearing them at RR...but maybe Lacondegey(sp?) was...but torn...:-)
  • 3 0
 lanolin, my friend. lanolin.
  • 13 0
 you put the pads on before your pants.
  • 4 0
 Denim w 5% Lycra. Its awesome for skateboarding too.
  • 2 0
 Slimmer, more flexible kneepads like the G-Forms are easier to use under jeans!
  • 2 1
 nobody wears gforms at rampage... hahaha
  • 2 0
 Carson Storch did, just saying.
  • 15 0
 Stop wearing your sisters jeans.
  • 2 0
 First world problems.
  • 6 0
 MTB suspension is overly complicated by Marketing, Pseudo science and internet forums.
If you want an in-depth look at some of these systems and how they compare, then download the demo from
IMO suspension design comes quite low on the list of things that will help me become a better rider.
1. Ability - Two arm, Two legs and torso movement will produce significantly more suspension to the system as a whole. Add to that line choice and pre-loading, unloading bike in the right places.
2. Bike setup/Geo - Bars, Stem, head angle, chainstay length, BB height, and frame size (reach). Tyre psi!
3. Shock/Spring setup. Correct Spring/Pressure and correct LS and HS compression setup for my bike, ability, style and terrain.
4. Suspension Design.
So IMO, the first 3 three need to be dialed before being too concerned on suspension design. This can only be achieved by riding lots of different bikes and setups. Most modern bikes are awesome!
To decide on what's suspension is best to you, everything comes down to Axle path (dictated by IC and movement of IC) and shock leverage. Read up on how these change characteristics and pick bike with best match, along with weight, stiffness, price, athestics……….
  • 1 0
 You frickin nailed it.
  • 2 0
 @ric2020 - very true. There are certainly significant differences in suspension feel on each end of the spectrum. For example the difference between a high chain growth bike vs a very low or negative chain growth bike say a Pivot (high) vs Knolly (low to no). But you trump all. Suspension discussions (as this thread proves) seem to occur with the assumption that these bikes behave like motorcycles... They don't, unlike a motorcycle you are the greatest input to your bikes behaviour obviously from a power perspective but also from a suspension perspective. Simply shifting your weight in a certain way can either completely undermine or enhance the performance of the suspension as the designer intended. This is true regardless of the design. So for those spouting physics give your head a shake it all means nothing when your butt's in the wrong place Wink

Oh and can we please loose the "brake jack" terminology. The Heckler (and most EVERY) bike out there does not jack it squats. if your rear end feels like its lifting its because your front end is diving (your weight is shifting forward) it has nothing to do with the rear suspensions reaction to braking!
  • 2 0
 @geraldooka - Agree about the "brake jack". IMO, people rely too much on the back brake when, counter intuitively, more front is needed along with not putting enough weight through the pedals and instead pushing the bars (hint - get low, get back, drop and push heals!). Heavy Feet, Light Hands. Done correctly, it'll improve braking performance and significantly reduce front end dive.
I've been spoilt, as I got my first fully rigid in 1988, so had to learn good body English to be able to ride anything at a reasonable speed offroad! Done wrong resulted in painful wrists or worse. Many people have only ridden full suspension aggressively, and hence a more difficult learning curve and bad habits.
  • 8 2
 Single pivot is the best. I have no bias (looks around, sees username... breaks into a nervous sweat)
  • 4 0
 i think if you know you're riding style and preferences, know how to tune and understand that suspension is about getting grip you can make either work well for you... if you dig the bike's geo and fit ofcourse.
  • 4 1
 Hi, i am a fan of the maestro Giant suspension, got a Trance 125mm travel and a Reigh 160/150mm travel ...........
This year my local bike shop supplied me a 29er Superfly FS 7 with ABP: Active Braking Pivot, they say: "Other full suspension systems firm up under braking, reducing your control when you need it most. Trek’s patented Active Braking Pivot solves that by keeping your suspension active whether you're on the brakes or off"
well let 's see i am already scared Wink but honestly it's just a XC bike, no drama ...........not a trail or Enduro machine like my Reigh 160/150mm travel. Should be ok , innit ??? Razz
  • 5 2
 The Split Pivot and Trek ABP are single pivot in regards to pedalling forces but are 4 bar in regards to braking forces. The pivot placement in DW's Split Pivot is placed for 100% anti squat which can be felt with the first pedal stroke and is far superior to any of the Horst link designs on the market. The better anti squat characteristics allow for a custom tune on the shock that has less compression damping (as it needs less due to the high anti squat) which makes for a smooth ride especially over roots. Due to this and the 4 bar braking effects, the DW Split Pivot is noticeably better than the traditional single pivot designs. RC - you shouldn't lump Split Pivot and ABP in with the single pivot designs.

Single pivots are fine but in my opinion Split Pivot is better and may be the best suspension design out there (depending on execution) because the pedalling and braking effects are separated and can be tuned separately which is not the case in single pivot or FSR or VPP or DW link or other true 4 bar designs.
  • 3 2
 I'm sorry, but that sounds like a bunch of bullshit to me. Any suspension is gonna need a bit of low speed compression, and a dual link/fsr suspension gives the designer the freedom to let the suspension pivot point be anywhere in space.
  • 3 0
 Accurate anti-squat percentages require steady state power delivery which is a myth in bicycles.

In fact the accelerative forces are so low in bicycles that anti-squat % difference between a Trek single pivot and a Specialized 4-bar are practically zero.

Other factors like IC and leverage ratio are far more critical to suspension performance IMO.
  • 1 1
 Scottzg--any relation to the other over-sensitive scottzg I know on a different forum?
  • 6 1
 Suspension design shmain. Unless something is completely messed up it is the shock that plays a major role in pedal induced squat. The difference between pushed and non pushed fox floats is quite noticeable. With a well setup shimmed high flow valve you can run moderate amounts of LSC and the valve will open at larger hits. As to brake Jack, I ride too much HT to care. The most ridiculous first world, white people problem with cash surplus is pedal kick. If someone has problem with that he should really consider riding a rigid bike to cure his paranoia.
  • 7 0
 @WAKIdesigns to be fair this whole website is dedicated to "first world, white people problems with cash surplus."
  • 4 2
 I had a Gen3 Heckler, loved that bike. I now Have a 2011 Enduro, love it too but it is different. The Heckler just wanted to pop off jumps and truly loved having its wheels off the ground. But there is a trade for that, brake jack. Pounding downhill, the second you use your brakes you effectively lock the rear end. When it comes time to replace the Enduro I'm really thinking pf going back to a Heckler.
  • 2 0
 Heckler is a great choice. I bought one in 2004 and rode it hard for 8 years! Now, I wouldn't recommend riding an aluminum frame that long, but I did, and only had to replace the main pivot bearing once. It even held a bit of resale value after all that. When I got rid of it, I swore that all it needed was modern geometry and a rear thru-axle, to be a fully current trail slayer. And now, bam, all the changes have been made for an excellent modern bike.
  • 3 1
 A VPP or Maestro suspention does not act like a Horst link suspension. Not all 4 bar suspensions behave the same. With a single pivot square edge bumps are absorbed better and if you dont use a whack of linkages nice and simple. Then there is URT suspensions that are tuned with an extra link to the main frame. I have ridden all of the above. Lets face it none of these options make for a crappy ride. i think how you valve the shock in relationship to the leverage curve makes the biggest difference in how a suspension feels.
  • 3 2
 A follow-up question about single pivots. I ride a GT and like the feel of a single pivot system but they make a bit deal about their floating BB to reduce chain growth. My question is for other single pivots is chain growth that bigger deal anyway?
  • 5 1
 The GT has a higher pivot point which is why they went with the I-drive system vs an idler pulley ie. Canfield or gearbox ie. Zerode. Most other single pivot bikes have the pivot near the chain line which has a reduced amount of chain growth making it a non issue.
  • 1 0
 I've got a '97 heckler and its great fun. Bit burlier now than 17 years ago, with parts upgrades, but for sheer fun I can't fault it. I kinda dread the day I break it cause its bound to happen at some point. My other bike has a vpp set up so I've got experience of both single and multi pivot systems. With modern rear shocks that have pro pedal or whatever and lock-out facilities I think single pivot designs are just as effective as vpp, etc. you can also set up a floating brake system to minimise loss of braking performance too. Personally I think a lot is made of single vs multi pivot but as someone else said you adapt to what you're riding.
  • 2 0
 I own an Orange Five and an Orange 224, there brilliant both are light, both have push tuned shocks so work very well and they have never let me down. Hardly any maintenance required either.
  • 1 0
 From my personal experience My SP Bullit was a good downhill bike that was predictable when jumping, I replaced it with a Stab that seemed more plush but didn't fly that well. Then i got into a Glory with Maestro which does everything well including breaking in the rough but where I really like it is on drops Its easy to get behind the pivot and lighten the front wheel to quickly pop off them. I find my Slash slower front end slower to lift then my Glory despite its massive 888, but the Slash is always plush, jumps well and is the most sexy bike ever made. Their all different and all fun to ride.
  • 1 0
 Cannondale moto here, essential a single pivot with a floating shock design. I know its complicated to look at but it rides like a dream and I dont know about brake jack but I don't feel it that much on the bike. probably how the linkage is designed me guess.
  • 5 3
 It would important to note that a few previously single pivot companies have gone the horst-link route now that the patent has expired.
  • 13 3
 It would important to note that Marathon became Snickers. Aint right tho
  • 8 5
 That's purely because of less pedal Jack in FSR. Problem with pedal Jack is that it appears most often when you break in places where you shouldn't, that is roots or rocks. I say poor riders first world problem.
  • 1 1
 did you also mean break jack that moment when the single arm becomes stiffer and blocks the rear wheel travel under braking? Well that is eliminated with push/pull suspension like TR500, Nukeproof Pusle/Scalp but was present in Commencal Supreme DH, Heckler and so on... . I have to say it was not that bad as i had Commi in the past i got used to it and now i got TR500 and kind of miss it sometimes Razz
  • 18 1
 Please Waki, tell me more about where I should and shouldn't brake.
  • 5 1
 Sorry yes I meant brake jack.
  • 2 1
 Brake jack, correctly known as brake squat isn't as big a deal as people claim... At most the difference is a few % between most modern designs.

Squeeze the rear brake on rough terrain and all designs will stiffen.
  • 2 0
 @ TEAM-ROBOT - you're slacking...
  • 2 0
 Not foes with a floating rear brake
  • 1 0
 or Kona stab delux or even old school Canonndale
  • 4 2
 Devinci uses a Single Pivot? Is this the case for the Split Pivot? I'm currently running a Dixon, and I thought it was a 4 bar set up... what's the difference?
  • 3 2
 Yeah I ride a Dixon too. I don't think it's a single pivot. Though honestly it doesn't matter to me, the bike has taken me to the next level. I love it so much I want a carbon one now, for no good reason other than the dope paint job!
  • 1 1
 Take a look at my buy and sell Wink
  • 3 0
 Split pivot design is single pivot but advanced by two ways. Technically it's an actuated single pivot with floating brake.

Actuated = it has a linkage driven shock, which allows you to tune the leverage rate through the suspension cycle more easily than on a shock with a fixed mount on the swing arm

Floating brake = the brake mount is separated from the suspension bar linking the wheel to the frame. Easier described in action: when you pull on the rear brake the rear wheel digs in and tried to drive the suspension. By moving the brake off the swing arm you're meant to isolate this effect to some extent.

And yes it's a single pivot because the wheel is on one bar (bar 1) which directly connects to the frame (bar 2). Hence all single pivots are two bar, irrespective of what other bars are floating around the place driving the shock/ mounting the brake.

A four bar linkage is one where there are four connected bars with the frame as one and the wheel on another which is NOT directly connected to the frame. As the article states, this allows the suspension designer to address stuff like chain growth and brake jack in a more sophisticated way. However when you look at the performance of split pivot in DH (Trek Session, Devinci Wilson) and Enduro (TMo's Trek Remedy & Otons Devinci Spartan) it's clear the differences are fine.
  • 1 0
 Its a single-pivot linkage with a licensed split-pivot patent dropout arrangement. The wheel is connected to the swingarm (the chainstay) which is connected to the main frame. The brake is connected to the seat strut which pivots concentrically around the hub axle. The forward link driving the shock from the seat strut is just another part of the linkage assembly. Technically all shocks can be considered as 2-bars themselves (because the inner shaft connected to one end of the frame slides inside the outer body connected to the other end of the linkage) but in practice aren't referred to as such except in engineering textbooks.
  • 1 0
 @saintjimmy - yep, single pivot. The rear axle moves on an arc around one pivot, the big one by the BB. The seat stay and rocker link just drive the shock.
  • 1 0
 Thanks for the info, my head is about to explode! What is the Cove G-Spot and Canfield Balance then?
  • 1 0
 cove and canfield are both four bar virtual pivot.
  • 3 0
 Brake jack is the biggest flaw of single pivot designs IMO, but get whatever as long as you like it.
  • 4 4
 Brake jack is pronounced on FSR. Not so on a good SP. A fully triangulated and thus stiff Spis always better than a wobbly multilink. Marketing garbage imo.
  • 3 0
 I disagree
  • 1 0
 I like my old Cortina because the 4 bar system doesn't stress just one pivot. And I don't get brake jack. Someone used to make floating mounts back in the day. Brake therapy. Yes. Peaty rode for orange before GT.
  • 1 0
 How does the placement of the shock mount influence a single pivot frame?

My Rush has the shock mounted to the toptube, like the Heckler, whereas an Orange 5 has it mounted to the downtube.
  • 1 0
 Bought an 2011 Santa Cruz bullit off PB a few days ago, it has a carbon floating brake linkage and rails corners!!! The BB is so high too, I'm personally loving going back to a single pivot
  • 2 3
 well well im a fan of single pivot as well i had a four bar FSR in the past i do agree single pivot is a less hassle and gives me what i want i wont deny there are some decent fsr, vpp or so four bar systems on the market this days it just comes to a personal taste Wink
Bear in mind that my opinion about internal cable routing could cause troubles. Everyone knows how the brake hose rubs the fork crown or the frame, how aggressive it could be, so make sure you wrap the hose with some scotch insulation or so before install it inside i consider that rubbing can reduce the frame life or may be im wrong prove it if so Wink Smile
  • 2 0
 There's many reasons I love Orange, single pivot being one of them. Heckler is a great bike too!
  • 1 0
 What advantages does faux-bar have over a standard single pivot? It seems like you get the weight and complexity of a four-bar without the advantages.
  • 2 0
 BTW I am genuinely asking, not making a comment. I have often wondered why companies bother with additional pivots on single pivot designs.
  • 1 0
 There is no real advantage, it's just another way of tackling the problem. A faux-bar is basically a single pivot with a link-driven shock where those links comprise part of the rear triangle. You're right that it can be heavier than a more compact rocker set up (i.e Foes, Morewood, Scott, etc..) but also offers the benefits of adding stiffness to the rear. Single pivots that don't drive the shock off of a linkage (Orange, Santa Cruz, etc..) typically have very robust/triangulated swing arms to build in this rigidity. Ultimately, I think the success and use of the faux-bar design is that's it's simple, allows tuning of the leverage ratio, isn't patented, and looks a hell of a lot like the BIg S's four bar....and that can't hurt.
  • 1 0
 Oh, and to more specifically answer your second question, the rocker links/additional pivots/bars/etc. are there to tune the leverage ratio to how the designer wants it. With a basic single pivot you left very much at the mercy of the main pivot placement and that often results in a falling rate design which can be hard to tune.
  • 1 0
 So RC basicly is saying the same he has been saying for years. Buy a Heckler. It's been 15 years, there are other SP bikes...
  • 4 3
 Giant's four bar Maestro suspension works more than great in my opinion! Try one of their bikes out if you can!
  • 3 0
 Next level: Canfield bros linkage. Everything maestro wants to be only perfect
  • 2 0
 These pieces are awesome. Can we see this at least once a week please?
  • 2 0
 Ask Pinkbike is posted up every Tuesday. Here are the last few weeks in case you missed them:,, and Glad you like them.
  • 1 0
 Wakaba are you on crack? My old fsr rig had insane traction under braking in the gnar. So much control....
  • 1 0
 i love suspension discussions on PB. they are my favorite. its amazing how many mtbers are engineers on the side haha!
  • 3 2
 I have me a Heckler. It's f*cking awesome Smile
  • 5 2
 I am a heckler.
  • 2 1
 You're a towel. Heh, heh...
  • 2 0
 As a former Giant Reign X rider I can say that I am much happier now that I am on a linkage driven single pivot
  • 3 0
 As a current Reign X rider, why is this?
  • 2 0
 I'm extremely happy with my Giant Reign X Maestro suspension. For 6.7" travel it pedals so well and snappy, especially when coupled with when I firm up the shock to pro pedal setting. My previous bikes were dh bikes though, so probably not the best reviewer...and I think a steeper seat angle is maybe the most noticable aspect when pedalling a slack gravity bike side by side with an all-mountain bike... My friend whose been in the industry said that giant "stole" the maestro suspension design from the DW Iron Horse design but at the time DW couldn't afford to sue...anybody got any insight on Maestro? It does look a lot like the old Sunday set up...
  • 1 0
 Hammerschmidt, as far as I can gather Giant paid $600k to Dave Weagle early in the years of Maestro development but didn't go through with a longer term deal. DW sued for patent infringement. Dave dropped the suit last year and Giant issued a press release stating "DW-Link has withdrawn its claims of patent infringement and regrets bringing the litigation against Giant."

Six hundred thousand dollars. That's not stealing.

Years ago Giant payed Renault F1 suspension gurus to come up with the NRS suspension design, which Specialized promptly stomped on and it cost Giant a fortune including lost future revenue AND they now had to come up with a new suspension platform. Why would they then deliberately risk a similar outcome by stealing Maestro from Dave Weagle?

I guy a new Giant every year. They work great, ride great, and the price is great.

BTW, you might still be able to find a post online where DW admits he was mightily inspired by a Turner DH (a VPP bike). DW-Link is very, very close to that Turner. And that Turner was a descendent of the Outland VPP, which may have come fror something else, who knows. People in glass houses...
  • 2 0
 @stormingnorman reign x is pretty linear and blows through its travel very easily. Definitely not the most compliant on small bumps either..that and it's flexy with a high bb, steep head angle and short top tube
  • 4 4
 that bike is so perfectly balanced it isnt falling over :o
  • 1 1
 I may be partial, but DW for the motha f*ckin' win!
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