Ask Pinkbike: Strong Brakes for Big Riders, Long Forks for Hardtails, Single Speeder Rehab & Tire Width Tips

Aug 28, 2019
by Richard Cunningham  

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.

Strong brakes for a big rider?

Question: @goulding asks in the All Mountain Enduro & Cross Country forum: I need help deciding on what brakes to upgrade to. I currently have a 2019 Scott Ransom 920 and the stock Shimano brakes are horrendous. I have just over 300 kms on the bike and the rear has gotten to the point that I can no longer trust it at speed. I must decide between two brakes: the SRAM Code R’s and the Magura MT5. I like modulation in my brakes and not a solid on/off feel and I like to ride technical enduro style trails. Which brake would be a better fit for me and why? I should also mention I am 6’2 and 240 lbs, so I will need a brake strong enough to hold my weight.

bigquotesTwo excellent choices. I am a fan of both the Magura MT5 and SRAM Code brakes for all the reasons you have listed. If I was going to pick a winner for you, it would be the Codes for a number of reasons. First, your Ransom has an Eagle 12-speed drivetrain, so you'll appreciate the accurate positioning of SRAM's Matchmaker direct mount shift lever perches. Second, is that SRAM's brake lever blades may be a little wonky for small hands, but they fit larger hands quite well. Last, but not least, Code brakes are "good" for downhill racing, but they absolutely rock for high amplitude trail riding. All the power you'll need, with sensitive modulation to keep your wheels rolling over sketchy terrain that would send most riders sliding. 

Tech from the La Thuile EWS pits
SRAM distributed limited-edition Code brakes with red calipers to sponsored riders in response to the popularity of their downhill-specific stoppers among EWS racers. Once you've ridden Codes, Guides won't satisfy.

Longer-Stroke Fork for My Hardtail?

Question: Matt7082 asks in the All Mountain Enduro & Cross Country forum: I entered the sport with a hardtail. My bike currently has a RockShox Judy 110mm travel. The bike has been great and I’m having a blast. But, more and more frequently, I bottom the fork out. I’ve put more air in, messed with the rebound settings a bit, and I just can’t help my curiosity in a bigger fork, but I feel like I may begin to lose some handling and general characteristics of my hardtail. Considering something in the range of 140mm-160mm like a Fox Float. Too much travel? Save up and buy a full suspension bike? Thoughts?

bigquotesYour intuition is correct. Long-travel hardtails are becoming quite popular these days and you would benefit from a longer, 140mm-stroke fork. I assume that any bike with a 110mm Judy fork also has old-school geometry, so you'd get more confident handling from a slacker head angle in addition to the extra cushion. There are negatives to that conversion, however: The seat tube angle will also slacken and your bottom bracket height will rise slightly. You should be able to ignore the BB issue, and you could compensate for the seat tube angle by moving your saddle forward a half inch.

But, before you start shopping for that 140mm fork, understand that your bike's head tube area was probably not designed to handle the additional forces that a longer fork will impose on the frame. A broken frame can put you in the hospital, or worse.

Your issue may be simpler. Your skills have probably improved to the point where your present bike is incapable of taking you to the next level. I'd suggest you start shopping for a new ride that has proper geometry and suspension. You're going to need it anyway, and it will unlock a world of possibilities as you continue to progress.

Chromag's Doctahawk represents the extreme end of long-travel all-mountain hardtails. If you ride rough and fast, and like the simplicity and economy of a rigid frame, there are modern hardtail options for all genres.

Can You Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?

Question: @elcaminero asks in the All Mountain Enduro & Cross Country forum: So, I've been riding mountain bikes in the west since I was little. Always rode hardtails, currently ride a steel Kona Honzo with a 150 Revelation up front. Single speed, geared low. XC, Trail, Enduro. Live in central Idaho. Every time I try a buddy's full suspension bike, it feels sloppy and sluggish, even my son's 2015 Yeti SB5 feels that way to me. Actually bikes with gears feel that way to me too. I'd rather hike-a-bike a few super steep sections than deal with the rattle and slap of a derailleur. The whole idea of sitting on my prostate and tractoring up hills doesn't appeal to me. I'd rather be standing up and cranking on my 800mm handlebars.

That said, two weeks ago I rode lift access at Targhee for the first time, and also for the first time, started wondering how different the mountain would feel on a full suspension bike. Plus everyone looked at me like I was a sad old man, not the single speed hardtail baller that I see in the mirror. Do you ever get over the sagginess of the rear shock? Can you still ride out of the saddle 80% of the time? Help me visualize.

bigquotesSadly, dual suspension offers no hope for you and your kind. We have never met, but I can visualize the sun baked leather skin, flecks of gray in the unshaven face, the furrowed brow, the distant gaze, the zero body fat physique with skinny legs and arms that can pound out 12-hour rides without a drop of water or a gram of sustenance. I can feel the half smile you crack as you motor by enduro bros down sketchy descents. You, and all of your million-feet-of-climbing retired firemen friends have the skills, lungs and legs to humble dual-suspension contemporaries at will, but your septuagenarian muscle memories are evolutionary cul de sacs, stranded decades ago when the land bridge to rear suspension collapsed into the sea.

There is a glimmer of hope, however. You can rent a high-end DH or enduro bike at almost any bike park in the world, and for a fleeting weekend enjoy the sensation of floating above the terrain at one with and in complete control of a mechanically superior machine. Welcome home, pilgrim.

Sam was on fire today while he and Richie pushed each other to their absolute limits
With a skilled rider on board, today's long-low-&-slack hardtails can take on almost any DH track or double black trail. Ride them on a proper enduro or DH bike, and you can actually enjoy the experience.

Can Wide Tires Corner Well?

Question: @nematon785 asks in the All Mountain, Enduro & Cross-Country Forum: My current setup is an enduro wheel build: 27.5, Maxxis Minion HR2 2.35" front and rear. I very much prefer strong and precise handling, and give lower tire pressure a back seat. This is also what drives my smaller wheel choice, as I am on a budget and can't afford high-end 29-inch wheels to match strength and rigidity. That's okay. I want cornering to be confident, not mushy.

So, my questions for the guys who have gone 29" wheels and 2.5" tires: Is there clearly much more contact patch and does traction increase? Do you think if I stick with narrower tires, higher pressures, and smaller wheels, I can avoid heavy tire casings, Cushcores, wider rims, or switching to 29" - and still maintain a laterally rigid feel in hard turns? My OEM Maxxis EXO tires feel pretty sloppy when pushed hard on the sidewalls unless I go to pressures over 25 /28 psi. Will wider tires, bigger wheels (or both) increase that sloppiness?

bigquotesProper rim width is the key to tire stability, so I presume by your descriptions that your bike has 25-millimeter inner-width rims, which play well with 2.35-inch tires. Higher tire pressures stiffen the tire casings at the expense of straight-line grip and suspension performance. Wider rims better support the tire's sidewalls at lower pressures and maintain the shape of the tread as the tire flexes laterally. For those reasons, you'd want to use rims in the neighborhood of 30 millimeters inner width to get the firm cornering feel you seek. This is true for both 27.5 and 29 inch wheels.

The go-to for riders who are aggressive in the turns and want the traction benefits of lower tire pressures are stiff, dual-ply DH casing tires, but they weigh a ton and their tacky rubber can be insufferable while climbing. Cushcore inserts also support the tire's sidewalls and stabilize the tread, so many riders who demand razor-sharp cornering will opt for lighter, faster rolling tires (like your Minions with EXO casings) and take the weight penalty in the form of inserts which, like DH casings, corner well at lower pressures. Barring the purchase of wider rims, this is probably your best option.

Finally, there are performance advantages to larger, 29-inch wheels, but none so great that you should abandon your 27.5 whip before it's time and buy a new ride. The specific benefits that 29-inch wheels have in the turns are related to their longer contact patch, which stabilizes the tire's edging blocks and dramatically reduces front end push. Rubber is the heaviest component of a wheel, however, so the downside to 29ers is that same-sized tires weigh significantly more to achieve slightly better grip.

Wider rims better support the tire s side wall.
Wider rims stabilize the tire's sidewalls and contact patch. It's important to match your tires and rims in order to maximize cornering performance at optimum air pressure settings. Syntace graphic

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


  • 205 1
 That response to the hard tail guy was pure poetry. Your keyboard was as a brush in the hands of a Leonardo or Michelangelo.
  • 39 0
 True. So beautiful. I had to close my eyelids to a small slit a la Clint Eastwood to fully envision the Wild West-like cinematographic imagery a man like that belongs in.
  • 1 0
  • 8 1
 @hamncheez: Or a bike in the hands of Ropelato
  • 3 13
flag thenotoriousmic (Aug 28, 2019 at 13:44) (Below Threshold)
 Doesn’t matter anyway. 1 1/8 26 inch forks are impossible to buy unless you get something used and probably very used considering how long ago mtb moved tapered steerer’s.
  • 32 19
 I get seizure at th very look of that Chromag hardtail... I’d rather ride a 2005 Cube hardtail with 140 X Fusion than this thing. Jesus Christ... Everything in front of the bottom bracket says “let’s go Garbo!” And the rear says, “it won’t happen today honey, not tomorrow and not even ever” but I appreciate the tingling sensation of imagining the happy ending. Whoosh, bleh ugh. No no no no...
  • 4 1
 @WAKIdesigns: it’s been photoshopped. It’s not really that long. Wink
  • 10 4
 @WAKIdesigns: Like a hot girlfriend who doesn't put out?
  • 7 0
 Epic response. He needs to get the DH bike for park days. Stand up the whole time...
  • 4 0
 @WAKIdesigns: A long fork does a lot to soften the ride of a hardtail. In steeper terrain most of the weight is on the front, and the ride quality improves a lot. That bike is probably amazing on steep, janky terrain where you have to slow down and pick apart the trail rather than smash through.
  • 13 3
 Bunch of soft tail suspenders! Long travel hard tails shred the gnar!!
  • 2 0
 @elcaminero, Your set-up sounds very similar to mine. I'm 42 and ride fairly tame terrain.
In the last 15 yrs i've had a load of full sus bikes but always seem to go back to a ss hardtail. If you need more comfort buy a 2nd rear wheel with bigger volume tyre and Cushcore for those rougher days. That's what i've done.
  • 15 2
 @4thflowkage: if you're going slow and picking apart the terrain why on earth would you need 180mm travel?

I'm with Waki on this one, aggro hardtails are sweet but that thing is ridiculous. No amount of fork travel is going to eliminate the feeling of the rigid rear end ricocheting off obstacles. I see no point going beyond 130ish, and plenty of hardtails in the 120-140 range absolutely shred (Honzo, Meta HT, etc).
  • 5 0
 @4thflowkage: With a full suspension you could just jump the whole thing and land on a pocket of buttery air
  • 14 0
 "...your septuagenarian muscle memories are evolutionary cul de sacs, stranded decades ago when the land bridge to rear suspension collapsed into the sea."

  • 11 2
 @bkm303: because you get over the front wheel and smash through everything with a dh tyre on the back and just leave the back wheel to do its own thing you absolutely don’t need 180mm for slow tech stuff though it still helps. I’m on 160mm on my hardtail lots of sag packed with volume spacers. Works a treat.

I don’t know why I’m getting downvoted for saying you can’t buy decent straight steerer 26 inch forks anymore. Send links don’t downvote. I’ve been looking everywhere for a decent set.
  • 2 0
 @thenotoriousmic: Not sure about UK but there are a few on Jenson USA - I spoke with a guy on the Fox stand at Crankworx and he said they still make straight steer 26" forks but the cost usually mean most people write off the bike and go for new if they need to replace an old fork.
  • 1 0
 @DhDWills: he needs a single speed DH bike
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: and it's not "economical" in the way hard tail people mean. $2K for the frame puts you on a course for owning a $4K hard tail that will be nice but not cheap.
  • 2 0
 I would love to have heard his wedding proposal.
  • 3 0
 @thenotoriousmic: sounds like you could be on 130/140 with fewer tokens and still get the same sagged geo with better midstroke... I rode ht almost exclusively for like 3 years including some lift serviced stuff, I still think >140mm hardtails are silly.

I think you got neg propped because nobody was talking about 26 or straight steerers? I don't think anyone disagrees that that shit is impossible to find anymore. The time to make moves on that was like 5 years ago when 26" stuff was selling for peanuts.
  • 1 0
 @freeriderayward: amen brother
  • 2 0
 Hard forks for hard riders. long forks for long riders
  • 4 2
 @plyawn: I know. The pretentious hardtail market is ridiculous and I am fine with that as long as people are aware of it being an extravagance and are not putting to me that it makes sense from riding/ engineering/ financial perspective. If you imagine this thing sags 30-50 mm into the stroke and rarely exceeds 150-160, then it means that it goes through 5 degrees of head angle change in normal riding. For a quite common 160 fork it means 4 degrees.
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: whilst on paper that sounds like a huge variation in geometry, my experience (being a huge pretentious hardtail fan) is that on the trail/in the real world you don't actually notice it too much.
  • 1 0
 @bkm303: Depends on what I’m riding really. For mellower stuff I’ll run more sag so it’s running a similar height to a 150 / 140mm fork or if I’m riding nastier terrain I’ll jack it up and make the last 10 / 15mm almost impossible to get into except for really big hits. More travel is always better I’ve found your ride the fork on a hardtail if you want to take it on enduro bike terrain you need a big fork.
  • 4 0
 @WAKIdesigns: the only time you really notice it is on drops to flat when the whole front end sinks still not as much as a full suspension where your wheels are compressing and extending at different times and still not as weird as landing a big drop on a full suss and your wheelbase massively shrinks for a split second.
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: not impossible, but definitely tricky and getting harder, especially if you want 15mm axle too. Managed to get a pair of RS Revelation in great nick for £150 recently. But much easier if you are ok with QR.
  • 3 0
 There were two hardtail questions. The response to the Kona Honzo rider was kinda shit. This rider clearly described what he rides, how he rides and what he doesn't like about the full sussers he's ridden. And he posted his question in the forum, to be answered by someone who knows what he/she is talking about. I was interested to see a good answer too, to be honest. Instead what we got was a PB editor who I don't recall having written a review about a modern proper hardtail recently who first comes with a pointless uncalled for description of that rider to only finish that with the suggestion to rent a full suspension bike. When the OP clearly mentioned having tried full suspension bikes including quite a high end one (though with a bit less rear travel). Seems to me like that PB editor would be better off going back to reviewing "affordable full suspension bikes" than trying to be funny over the back of others. The question would probably be better answered by people from companies like Cotic, Stanton or Kona who understand both proper hardtails as well as fullies.

As for the other hardtail question. Of course that Chromag picture was recipe to get the comment section burning again. It was proven to work. The story about that bike simply is that it was designed and built for one guy who likes his bike just like that. Chromag made it available for others. If you like it, you can buy it. If you don't, then don't. Pissing on your cellphone touchscreen is optional. I looked at the geometry numbers of that Chromag once. With both forks sagged, the geometry of that Chromag is quite similar to that of my bike. It isn't all that extreme. Of course his forks go a bit deeper so he may end up a little steeper but that deep down into the travel of such a long fork is pretty much your catch net and you'll need to adapt your posture on your bike accordingly.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: you're overthinking it
  • 4 0
 @vinay: the dude rode a super nice full suspension bike and didn't like the feeling, what's RC supposed to do, tell him he's wrong? To quote OP in the forum:

"I see full suspension riders on XC trails bobbing around on their suspension like rubber ducks. Spending 95% of the ride in their saddle. Call me a snob, but it just looks kinda lame."

Does this sound like a guy who would be happier on full suspension? It's literally the stereotype of the crotchety singlespeeder who's going to stand and mash the pedals til his knees explode... I've seen the exact person RC described at every XC race I've ever been to. If he was a geared hardtail rider at least he'd be familiar with the idea/feeling of sitting and spinning up a climb, but if my SS friends are any indication, he'll probably never be happy adopting a seated/suspended style. The only hope is to demo a FS at a bike park, where the benefit of the downs will be obvious and the uphill all happens on a lift.
  • 2 2
 @Garethccc: no I don't, I actually tend to start with a very simple sentence: "Long travel hardtails are stupid" and "riding a long travel hardtail makes you a better rider" is a rather silly thing to say. I do believe this but at the same time I pride myself with how I can influence certain people with this statement. Look, if you say DH bikes are stupid, you will insult a few people. If you say long travel hardtails are stupid, you will hurt them!
  • 1 4
 @bkm303: yeah, rode a nice FS bike bu didn't like it so a long travel HT will fit the bill. yeah. yeah. I mean yeah! After all some people like stuff like contintental tyres, IPA, or frenchpress coffee or fixies or "drinking" vodka by dipping cotton buds in the bottle and stuffing it up their bottom. Yeah. We will not judge them! it is called "acquired taste". LT HT suits the psychological profile perfectly.
  • 5 0
 @WAKIdesigns: french press, IPA, conti tires, these are acquired tastes.

Butt chugging is simply the superior way to consume vodka.

One of my lifelong best friends rides a Redline Monocog with 130mm fork, hydraulic disc front and Avid mechanical disc rear. He will never be talked out of his setup - many have tried. He even built up an enduro bike last year and it's basically his loaner bike now because he never rides it. He actually shreds though.

His road/cx bike is a "tringle speed" - triple front crank, with 3 cogs in the back, no shifter. The front/rear cog pairs are sized for equal chain length... when it's time to upshift/downshift (which is rare) he gets off and finger-shifts it over.
  • 2 2
 @bkm303: It was a question on a forum. If RC doesn't know the answer, he shouldn't have bothered to answer it. If he was trying to be funny, still fine but then don't make a front page article out of it.

As said, I was looking for an answer to the same question actually. Climbing on a full susser is easy as the rear suspension gets you much more traction than you can get out of a hardtail. Straightlining a full susser down rough rubble is easy too, just point and go. Cornering takes some more practice to get your timing and setup right. It is not the compression stroke of the rear suspension that makes things difficult, it is the rebound stroke that messes things up for me. When you land a drop on a hardtail, you absorb the impact and you're good. When you land a drop on a fully, you need to absorb the rebound and really get your timing right or you'll get bucked otb. Slow down the rebound and it will pack down or just make the ride boring. Same with weight shifts. I'm fine with the fork compressing when I shift my weight forwards and/or decelerate. I just hate it when the rear rises right when the fork compresses when riding steep switchbacks down the hill. Simple stuff on a hardtail, a bitch on the full susser. And I definitely put in a good amount of time to practice and try to make it work. Same probably goes for the OP. I doubt he hasn't at least put a decent amount of time on other full sussers before bothering with the PB forum. Obviously others have different experiences so I'm not saying full suspension bikes are harder to ride for everyone. But for someone who has similar experience, are there ways to set up a full susser in a way that you still get to enjoy some the advantages rear suspension can give you yet in a way that you can ride it without too much adaptation from your hardtail technique? Still trying to find out. My girlfriend likes the way my fully rides (a 2007 Cannondale Prophet) so I'm not getting rid of it yet, but I gave it another shot lately and the rear end still just flies away when hitting corners hard when I can hit them so much harder on the hardtail. I bought a headset that should bring the head angle back from 67.5 to 65.5deg. That may move the front wheel out a little and may help to balance the thing. But yeah, always in for some good advice. One thing I was looking into is the DMR Bolt Long. It seems to accept nearly all components from the Cannondale (wheelsize, seatpost, fork etc) and is said to ride like a hardtail except with a bit more give when you need it. Sounds good. Interested in the Cotic Flare too. When sagged, geometry seems comparable to my hardtail. Much bigger investment though as everything is new standard on that one.
  • 4 0
 @vinay: are you living in an alternative universe?
  • 2 1
 @thenotoriousmic: Yeah bro, stuff's way better on the other side. Peace.
  • 2 0
 @vinay: gotta be honest, all of what you're describing sounds completely alien to me.... I transitioned to FS after riding exclusively hardtail for 3ish years and I've never felt like I was fighting the rear rebound like you're describing. Sure I had to adapt my technique a little bit (preload earlier if you're unweighting the rear, stay seated more when climbing, etc) but it wasn't that hard to work out. It sounds like you have a blown damper, rebound way too open, rear shock way too firm, or some combo of those three. What kind of sag are you running? The thing about landing drops is really melting my brain.... if your front and rear suspension is even remotely close to balanced it shouldn't even be possible to get bucked otb - landings on FS should basically see the fork & shock compressing/rebounding at the same rates. My main suggestion is just to get your front and rear behaving the same way - start at 30% sag with a clean slate - all dampers at 2/3 open, for example, then adjust damping to balance front & rear, then fine tune for feel/terrain.

RC's answer was hilarious and I think most of us are glad it was on the front page. Don't get all butthurt about it.
  • 1 0
 @bkm303: Best response to all this:

"Don't get all butthurt about it"
  • 1 3
 @bkm303: it’s like this, excuse me for a lesson in history... around 2008 many people, including me and Mike Levy went “I am going to make an argument for short travel bikes”. So some “elitists” sold their DH bikes and mini DH bike became the sh*t! Probably thanks to Roam segment with Bearclaw hitting huge lines on SX Trail. So we kind of enjoyed our at that time, All mountain niche. Huck to flat died. Meanwhile XCers loved crappy German XC bikes on steroids, XC angles, XC tyres, 140-150mm of travel. At that time long travel hardtail scene was simply a thing for poor blokes walking to ride with the big boys, with a few exceptions but still... you were riding a steel HT and a big fork was all you could afford. Around 2013 EWS started and people went: oh this competition is violent, I don’t want to identify as Enduro racer, my all mountain roots and all that. So they went for 120 rear and in most cases they upforked these bikes rather quickly. Just like amateurs did with HTs around 2005-2010. Meanwhile folks who owned latest bikes but remembered poor times started getting melancholic and companies stared making long travel HTs. So the genre has been established. Nobody in their right mind, having money for squish rides a HT with long travel fork. Just like no good rider who can use DH bike to its potential will say that Enduro bike is just as capable. It becomes a game of yes you can but should you? And then there is this weird: HT makes you a better rider. Well, DH bike also makes you a batter rider. What kind of HT? If I tell you, if you do BMX racing for 2 years you will become expert at jumping, does that freaking mean you should ride rigod on Val di sole track?!
  • 3 0
 What drunk Waki is trying to say, if you do some cross training on a hard tail (i have a ti hard tail with a 120mm fork) it can help with your riding, but a long travel (140mm+) hard tail will not be effective at improving your technique, you won't ride faster than just a 6 inch trail bike, and at these prices you aren't saving money on a hard tail.
  • 1 1
 @bkm303: Butthurt, that would be if it were my question that RC burned down. It wasn't, though I admit in part it was a question I also have. If it were a pretentious question like "I'm completely smoking the competition on my fully rigid chainless hardtail on all the double blacks, is there a point getting suspension?" or anything of the like then of course sure by all means, burn him down to the ground. I'll join you with popcorn. But it wasn't. It was a honest question. The idea of rear suspension appealed to him but he didn't like what he had tried until then. He didn't deserve a response like that. Yet the comment section went giggling in a way that reminds me of a bunch of ass-licking bullies. So that's why I went against that.

Not sure about my settings. I do think I was running more sag in the rear than in the front but sag is a vague term. I watched instructions from that Fox tech recently (the one Loris Vergier was chatting with, forgot his name) and he basically said "it doesn't matter whether you stand or sit as long as you always measure sag the same way. The deal is, if I set sag when standing (which is how I ride most of the time) then with those settings when seated, the rear suspension is nearly bottomed out. If I set it for the seated position then that is most definitely recipe for disaster when hitting drops, steep corners etc. I've got three shocks for this bike. The stock RockShox Pearl with adjustable rebound damping. Felt pretty horrible, bottoms out way too easily. I've got a 2007 Magura Hugin with HLR damping adjustments so a lot to play with. I liked to run a lot of high speed compression damping and little low speed. The struggle was with the rebound. As said, running little rebound feels good through most of the stroke (maybe my impression of "good" is a bit colored because of my experience with hardtails) but it is like when I bottom out it bounces back extra hard which initially I wasn't prepared for. This is how I rode it in bike parks, Megavalanche etc. I now mostly ride it with with a Magura MX shock (air shock, air damping) which fair enough isn't intended for a single pivot bike like this. Good thing is that it doesn't require service, has no static friction and behaves quite well. But whichever shock I'm running, if there is no weight on the rear, it extends. That's how things are supposed to be yet I just haven't found a way to deal with that. I stand most of the time and when pumping, cornering etc it just messes with the geometry making me end up where I don't want to be. As said, for straightlining rough stuff, sure it baffles me with what I can get away with. I wouldn't dare to ride like that on the hardtail. But for cornering and working with the terrain, I never managed to get to the level that I can ride that nearly as well as on the hardtail. I recently tried a Canyon Strive. Previous model but still quite modern I think. I wanted to test a series of corners we just built. Sure it wasn't set up for my weight and style and I didn't ride it much, but I just couldn't get along with it.

What people write about rear suspension does sound appealing so I'm still having that new headset installed (Superstar Slackerizer, should bring the head tube angle back from 67.5deg down to 65.5deg). This should move the front wheel out a little hence hopefully put more weight over the rear wheel to keep it in check. Put more load on it, so more pressure, so more rebound damping to compensate which may be more effective when going deep in the travel. Obviously there are more thorough upgrades (new shock, new frame even). But I expect the headset should help a good bit. If it doesn't then yeah, shift everything over to a DMR Bolt Long and pump up the rear shock until it stays at the very top unless you land hard enough that it gives way.

@WAKIdesigns : I may have experienced history different than how you did. Sure there may have been the days of Billy "Trailstar" Thackray (Dirt magazine) living on a shoestring and riding his DMR Trailstar to death. That may have been the poor mans hardtail even though of course the actual poor kids just got a XC bike and rode that to death (which was way too soon) or got an aluminium DS/4X/DJ bike like a Cube Flying Circus or anything. A Trailstar is already way too cult to be cheap. On-One was cheap and still fairly hardcore (back when Planet X was about extreme trials and DJ instead of about road cycling). Either way, well before 2008 you got lots of high end (and not so cheap) hardtails. Billy soon enough upgraded to a Dialed Alpine to ride the Megavalanche. You got Stanton, Cotic, stuff like that. Some titanium frames even. And if people can ride a hardtail with a 160mm fork down the Megavalanche and even do well, we can say that it does actually work. DMR already had the Exalt downhill hardtail well before that. Not sure how well it worked, but at least it was there. As for Bearclaw riding that Specialized bike. At the end of the day the original Specialized enduro SX was a 80mm rear travel hardcore bike Matt Hunter rode in the Collective movie and Anneke Beerten raced to second place in the Lissabon DH. The next generation of their Enduro was kind of based round that first SX and meant to be ridden just as hard. So yeah Bearclaw rode it like that but it is what the bike was for. Then yeah you indeed got the mini DH thing but that was also simply because not everyone had terrain that required a full on DH bike. Single crown forks had gotten longer by then but mid/long travel bikes were still heavy. So instead of one long epic race down, they had mini DH races where riders would push their own bikes up and race down several sections. Now we have these capable bikes that can actually be pedaled up and we now call this "enduro" but this was what happened before that. Much easier and cheaper to organize hence cheaper to attend too, as you didn't need uplift services. With the British DH series becoming more and more expensive to organize and British DH talent running thin at WC level, it wouldn't be such a bad idea at all to bring this format back. I'm with you on your other statement though. Sure a BMX will teach you skills for on the mountainbike and a hardtail may teach you skills that may benefit you on the full susser, but you will only learn to ride that bike properly on the actual big bike. Which brings me back to my earlier point. I ride my hardtail most of the time and I can ride more technical terrain on that bike than I dare to do on the full susser.
  • 3 1
 @WAKIdesigns: we all ride hardtails with big forks around here. Ride them through the winter and then pull the full suss out for the summer. Absolutely no point riding a full suss through the winter. I wouldn’t ride if I only had a full suss. Yawn.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: You nearly bottom your suspension when seated? Sounds sketchy af. My trek slash (150mm 29er) has around 30%sag when sitting and I never have issues with going otb. Sounds like you should go up in pressure, but I have never heard of those shocks so maybe go with a new shock if it doesn't work with the old one.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: you are overthinking it. If you follow manufacturers instructions then you really can’t go wrong. The rest is fine tuning. If you bottom the suspension while seated you are really doing it wrong. It is that simple.
  • 1 0
 @Pavel-Repak: Yeah, feels like it. If I set sag for the standing position, that amount of pressure will get me really deep in the travel when seated. It is hard to measure how much exactly as it is a rolling lobe but it is quite deep. It isn't much of an issue when riding as obviously that's where I stand, but the rear suspension is pretty much non-existent when I land a drop. That said, I just wanted to try that shock and the lack of stiction gives helps a lot for traction but I knew the air damping wouldn't be ideal for my single pivot bike and when standing up. I'll need to break out that more conventional Hugin shock with oil HLR damping and see if I can make it work. I think I just don't have the confidence. I can set it up that it works quite well through a large portion of the travel (which happens to be with little rebound damping, but I also run little pressure to start with) and then when I hit full travel, it catapults me back up. At least that's how I remember it. It may have to do with the progressive nature of that conventional air shock (even though it has quite a big air chamber), that the spring force near the bottom of the stroke is too large for the rebound (at least where I set it) to cope with. Got to admit the MX shock never bucked me over, but then again I never hucked it that hard as it doesn't take much to bottom out anyway.

Funny thing is I once rode some XC fully from Focus with that Hugin shock around the Magura plant on some truly horrible pedals (one side spd, the other side a steel cage) under my flat shoes and I was honestly surprised that I could even get away with that on most sections. Maybe it was tuned perfectly, maybe the suspension linkage helps, maybe the fact that I couldn't put any aggressive input into those slippery pedals and had to sit more often actually allowed the suspension to consider me a dead weight and do its job the way it was supposed to do Wink .

Either way, I already have that slackerizer headset here so this fall I'm going to have that installed. The slacker head tube angle should move the front wheel out a little, so with my same body position it is going to put more weight over the rear wheel. Which is good as I've now got quite some oversteer. And the extra weight over the rear wheel would cause me to increase rear shock pressure, then increase rebound damping into a range where it might perform better. Worth a shot. I was looking at other shocks indeed but they don't seem to be cheap. Seems like the Cane Creek DB IL with the separate rebound HL rebound adjusters should work for me. But it is quite a risk. Shock dimensions and mounting hardware are so frame specific that it is only worth the investment if I can be very sure that it is going to work for me.

Look, I just love my hardtail as it is so I'm already happy. If I could make my (or a) full suspension bike work for my style and perform the way I think it should then of course, I'd do it and get out on that bike more. The new headset is probably going to help. If not, I'm getting the DMR Bolt Long frame, swap all parts over and inflate the rear shock to just zero sag. I may not get all the advantages that rear suspension can give me but it sure should be fun.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Yeah, probably. As said the MX shock is not for this bike. It really is supple and doesn't need maintenance so that's a big plus. But the spring is quite linear whereas the suspension design is falling rate. So with the 2007 relatively short wheel base, my standing position with the pedal axle under my midfoot I've got most weight over the front wheel. When I sit down on my low saddle, that's a huge rearward shift of my weight (relative to the short wheelbase) and it definitely gets the shock close to bottom out. As said, the slacker head angle should move the front wheel out and probably balance my weight better between the two wheels. And the more conventional Hugin shock with a air can has a more progressive spring that should work better with the falling rate suspension design. I've read good things about people running coil springs in this frame, but apparently a linear spring isn't for me.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: this makes no sense just based on basic geometry / rider position... When standing on the pedals your weight is on the BB, which is still much closer to the rear wheel than the front... unless you're completely violating "light hands heavy feet" most of your weight is on the rear. When you sit your weight only goes from over the BB to a few inches behind it, depending on how high the saddle is. You're way overthinking this whole thing, just use a mtb shock and set 30% seated sag as a starting point. If you don't have a working rear shock try Suntour's Demo To Your Door program or something.
  • 1 0
 @bkm303: Alright, I'm confused now. I am always violating stuff but only in ways that seem to work to my advantage. If my weight when standing would be directly over the bb then when pedaling I would always have to pull on the bars to keep my body steady. I don't think this is what I do, not even when climbing. At least not constantly when pedaling. My impression is that my weight is definitely closer to over the front pedal when the pedals are level. Then again I already find it hard to recall what posture I have exactly when riding level ground (with pedaling). It is probably different than when doing trackstands. When doing trackstands I think I stand taller and definitely more over the front. Either way, when seated I think my weight always moves to the back. I only sit when taking it really easy though. Upper body upright, saddle a bit lower than you can see in my pictures (the saddle was only this high for clamping it in the workstand). As you can see I run a seatpost with about an inch setback and I also slide the saddle as much rearwards as it goes. On the fully I don't think I have setback but still slide the saddle back. Seat tube angle is relatively old school 73deg or so and obviously slackens as the rear sags more than the front.

But yeah, it is definitely some guesswork at this point. I'll setup the full susser within the next few months, put the front wheel on a personal scale and see what it does.
  • 50 0
 Hardtail response is the best piece of writing I have read all year. Possibly all decade.
  • 22 0
 It must suck for all other writers in the world, knowing that this year's Pulitzer is officially out of reach.
  • 17 0
 Its up there with other classics by @RichardCunningham:

Love in the Time of Seat Collars

Life of PSI

Fifty Shades of Chain Stays
  • 3 0
 You, and all of your million-feet-of-climbing retired firemen friends have the skills, lungs and legs to humble dual-suspension contemporaries at will. lol!
  • 1 0
 100% agree, the dude needs that Cromag
  • 37 13
 Saint brakes. Enough said.
  • 10 10
 i dont know how Saint wasnt an option. I've had good luck with the new 4 Piston XT's too...basically same thing.
  • 6 1
 @IsaacO: Saint is spelled different
  • 40 3
 Except that he said he doesn’t like an on/off feeling
  • 28 5
 @SonofBovril: or a wandering bite point
  • 23 19
 @SonofBovril: He asks for brakes on a f*nkg forum, so he has no clue. He also did not mention that he did not like Shimano modulation. In fact he did not say what was exactly wrong with those he has.
In fact I cannot see how any Sram brake can work for a heavy rider...
  • 5 0
 Compare the price of Saints to Code R's or MT5s. Yeah.
  • 21 2
 From the googles, that bike came stock with lower end but still strong 4-piston Shimano brakes. If "the rear has gotten to the point that I can no longer trust it at speed" it sounds to me like they might need to be bled. Try that before drinking the recent Pinkbike cool-aid that Shimano is the new Avid (but Sram is now all good).
  • 10 2
 or ZEE
  • 12 8
 @VtVolk: LOL there has been a lot of anti-shimano cool-aid here recently. I've been running Shimano brakes for years with zero issues. I'm a "big guy" at 195 lbs as well, and I ride pretty hard over long, steep's so strange the complaints about the wandering bite point, I've only had that issue when I needed to bleed my brakes!
  • 18 23
flag yeti-monster (Aug 28, 2019 at 15:10) (Below Threshold)
 @robotdave: 195lbs ain't big. No one under 240 should be allowed to comment on brakes.
My 2 pence worth
Modulation = bollocks, its code for under powered
Saint yes
Zee yes
Shigura yes
Cura 4 no
Code no
Mt7s no
Guide no
Key to shimano wandering bite point is the viscosity of the original fluid. Switch it out for low viscosity high boiling point and problem solved.
  • 4 0
 @yeti-monster: What fluid are you using? I have tried Pentosin CHF and it works great.
  • 4 0
 @MmmBones: redline likewater. Nascar suspension fluid. Boiled it off in a vacuum too
  • 4 7
 CODE brakes. Enough said.
  • 4 1
 @VtVolk: 4-piston calipers with 203 / 180 rotors to boot. I'm not sure what more you can ask for when it comes to braking "power". I'm running 2-piston XT with 180 f/r and weigh in at a generous (as in prob low) 235lbs with no issues of not trusting the rear brake. Cheap replacement pads and soooo easy to bleed....
  • 1 1
  • 3 1
 Love me some Saints but even better is M8000XT Shimano levers with Magura MT7 calipers. Oh, and 200mm front and rear.
  • 1 2
 @VtVolk: Since he's on Shimano's, I definitely recommend a bleed. Swap out that oil once a week, and they feel great!
  • 5 2
 @lkubica: "I cannot see how any Sram brake can work for a heavy rider..."

honestly, "heavy" here is superflous
  • 1 0
 @yeti-monster: Shimano is running mineral oil as a brake fluid. What is the fluid you are talking about ?
  • 1 0
 @tolemtb: as above, redline likewater. Synthetic mineral oil, ultra low viscosity and higher boiling point than shimano oil
  • 1 0
 @jaydawg69: I hear this for more than a few years now. But where does the problem come from. Is it the caliper or the lever?
  • 1 0
 @RecklessJack: I suspect it's their lever...2 generations ago now (m985 XTR and down) were straight up the best brakes ever made...i heavily, heavily regret replacing my M615 Deores with M7000 SLXs. I think that "sleek, sexy new master cylinder" with a clamping surface so small that the bolt needs to be tightened to 69nm blows ass.
  • 2 0
 @mnorris122: Good to know as i run m615's at this very moment. Even tho i wonder if its worth it to change the calipers to XT's or whatever. ive seen people run their brakes that way.
  • 1 0
 @RecklessJack: I mean run a Deore lever to a Saint caliper and you have Zees Razz those new MT520 non series 4 pot calipers would be a great contender too.
  • 16 0
 @elcaminero: I'll actually try to answer your question. FS bikes need a slightly different riding style in order to get the bike to do what you want (i.e. stop them feeling sluggish and sloppy). If you stand on solid ground, you can jump into the air at a moments notice. However, if you stand on a trampoline and try to jump into the air from a still position - you won't go anywhere because the trampoline will absorb your force. First, you have to load your body weight into the trampoline before you can use its springs to propel you into the air. FS bikes work the same way. If you ride in a static style, you won't get the most out of it (though it will absorb bumps better). One chattery trails, for example, on a HT you lift the bike up and over the chatter, but on a FS you time your compressions to unweight over them. The bigger the obstacle, the more compression is needed, so over chatter you can stand and use tiny flexions of your ankles to get all the bump absorbing body-English you need.

Slap of a derailleur? I haven't heard that noise since clutched derailleurs came in. Both my FS bikes' drivetrains are whisper quiet.

As for climbing, with remote lockout you can get what you need, but again, matching the gradient and traction of the hill with the right gear makes spinning out or stalling a thing of the past. And I love to climb.

Suspension isn't just about absorbing bumps - it's main benefit is keeping tires better glued to the ground, helping you with increased traction under power, under brakes, and in the corners. I've been riding MTB for thirty years and have owned many HT and FS bikes. Except for BMX, street or jumps, FS is the way to go. My last HT was bought to race XC and ended up being a commuter before it was sold.
  • 5 1
 Tldr: Ride like a sine wave.
  • 6 1
 @panaphonic: that doesn't explain the difference between HT and FS because it doesn't take timing into account. I can roll through a rhythm section on a BMX track like a sine wave but I can increase, decrease, or maintain speed depending on how I apply my wave.
  • 7 1
 "But, before you start shopping for that 140mm fork, understand that your bike's head tube area was probably not designed to handle the additional forces that a longer fork will impose on the frame"

This is something PB has to say for legal reasons, but it is not as much of an issue as people make it seem. The big thing is to look at the weight limit of the bike, and how far under it are you. Your weight (or more accurately, your inertia which depends on your mass) combined with the fork length is responsible for the creation of torque on the headtube with your standard highschool physics formula of Torque = Force x distance.

If your bike has a weight limit of 300, and you weight 150 lbs, you have a pretty huge factor of safety of 2 - in an ideal world and keeping everything the same, you can theoretically run a fork twice as long (because of the above formula). In the real world, the factor is slightly less because of the geometry changes, but increasing the fork travel by 20mm still doesn't cut into that safety factor. If you are lightweight, you can go more than 20, but then you ruin flat and uphill handling of your bike because of very rearward weight bias.

The only thing this doesnt apply to is dual crown forks, because they bend way less due to 2 clamping locations, and thus transfer all the bending force to the headtube. But you shouldn't be running dual crowns on anything except a DH bike in any case.
  • 12 0
 I run a dual crown on a XC hardtail and the thing is a complete deathtrap and everything about it is bad. It’s really fun to dick around on though.
  • 6 0
 I know loads of riders, myself included, who ride over forked bikes. Never seen one break as a result.
  • 2 0
 Realistically, going up 20-30mm in travel increases leverage by some small fraction (30mm divided by A2C... maybe +5%) and the HA change increases the force perpendicular to the fork legs (ballpark... +10% for a -2°HA). So that's about ~15% increase (1.1*1.05=1.15) in the torque on the headtube. If you're not super heavy and/or it's not a weight weenie frame it's probably ok.

I'm not sure I really see the point of going much beyond 130ish on a hardtail in the first place, and going 110-130 isn't really doing anything that wacky to the geo. You can make the front as squishy as you want, the back end is still going to punish all your mistakes and make you feel the bumps. A cheapish 130-140 fork and a volume reducer or two will probably make it as good as it's gonna get.

The Judy is a 30mm noodle anyway so even upgrading to a 32mm platform like Recon, Epixon, Fox 32, etc would be a big step up.
  • 3 1
 >you can theoretically run a fork twice as long (because of the above formula)

That sentence was painful to read.

It's true, you're probably just fine over-forking the bike, but that math made my eyes bleed.
  • 2 1
 @metaam: My Giant AC broke with Risse Champs fitted on the front when I was a kid..... and ploughed it headlong in to a tree. Don't try and tell me that wasn't an over forked bike.
  • 15 9
 I'd like to see folks look harder at TRP brakes, it's a local company, they make a great product, super responsive, awesome customer service. I ride the Quads, no complaints.
  • 8 5
 friend has them... not as strong/good as the main players.
  • 27 0
 Local company?
  • 6 0
 +1 for TRP Quadiems!
Just put a set on my bike and took them to Downieville. Sublime modulation coupled with excellent power.
  • 19 0
 Tektro is Taiwanese, silly.
  • 3 2
 Awesome customer service my ass. My front brake broke within two weeks of having my tues, and customer service wanted me to spend around 80 dollars for a new lever instead of replacing a defective brake. I pulled them off of my bike and replaced with Maguras.
  • 6 2
 All the first hand reports so far imply that the most powerful TRP brake, the Quadiem, is at best adequately powerful and nowhere near the likes of Saint or MT7. They are also very, very heavy. The only upside is the very solid construction, which might be a selling point for people who regularly wreck their brakes.

If you want good quality brakes from a lesser known company, get Formula Curas (2 or 4 piston) or good'ol Hopes.
  • 2 0
 I'm running TRP's. Only 180/180 on my trail bike. Have had ZERO problems with them. Things work killer. I'd go to a 203 if I wasn't selling it.

Have way better modulation than anything else I've ridden. Only complaint is the lever is a bit bulky. I'd swap it for the Shimano lever.

And I'm running at like 230-240 pounds.
  • 3 0
 @Bmontgomery87: I've had nothing but great experiences with them.
  • 2 0
 The Code RSC's on my enduro bike feel more powerful than the TRP Quadiem's on my DH rig. I was surprised. Less hand fatigue on steep descents. Time for 220mm rotors.
  • 1 0

Same here. I got a set of TRP Quadiems this summer, and have put ~20k ft of descending (including a day at a bike park) on them since I installed them. I've crashed a couple of times as well.

I've had exactly 0 issues with them. The bite point hasn't ever changed, they don't make weird noises, they haven't ever faded, and they have more than enough power for me (and I'm a larger rider, 6'1", ~200lbs or so all kitted up). There have been no leaks, nothing has broken (although, levers have a few scratches from the crashes), and I am really happy with them.

I personally suspect that most/many of those saying they are low in power, are thrown off by the linear lever, and modulation, as that does take a few runs to get used to.

I will agree with others on one thing though, that the levers really are quite large. The length is a bit longer than SRAM levers, but its the thickness that surprises you. It feels like twice as girthy/thick as a the SRAM levers that I replaced. So if you've got small hands/fingers, be warned.
  • 1 0
 @onemanarmy: seems like most folks have had good experiences with them as well. Which makes me think even more so that I had a defective lever assembly. I was just totally put off by the dogshit customer service I experienced.

  • 8 0
 @onemanarmy: >> And I'm running at like 230-240 pounds.

As another "larger" guy I appreciate how you framed this like it's a setting we have control over:

Q: What's your current weight?
A: I'm currently experimenting with around 235lbs & 2 tokens...
  • 1 0
 I've been running my G-Spec Quadiems for 2 seasons, no issues. I liked them so much that I even carried them over to the new bike I got earlier this year. Modulation is great, no fading, bite point doesn't change. Yes, they are bulkier than some other brakes, I actually like the feel of the lever though. They have more than enough stopping power for me, I'm not a 90 kg rider though.
  • 1 0
 My friend has TRP Quadiem brakes on his YT Tues and the brake is just awful. The levers have play and make noise if you're not holding the brake. The front caliper was defective. We threw 3 sets of pads in the thrash when we realised the caliper was leaking oil from somewhere. We sent it to TRP where they cleaned, bled and hold the brake under pressure for 2 days. They said the brake has no issues and sent the brake back. The brake was still defective + the lever decayed when braking after their "bleeding"
  • 1 0
 @stumpymidget: For local people...
  • 4 0
 Stronger brakes mean you can brake later. Braking later means you can enter corners faster. Stronger brakes = faster overall. Brakes are your throttle.

I overfork my HTs, but only 20mm max. But my current HT frame now is a Chameleon C. Before that, a Nukeproof Scout 290. Not exactly entry level hardtails to begin with. I always shudder when I see people in the local FB group asking if they should put a 140-160mm fork on their old Specialized or Trek hardtail with a, you guessed it, Judy fork. Like yea, you can totally do that. But should you? Frame over fork. Get the better frame, and then add the fork.
  • 6 0
 Agreed on all points except...I would swap out "Braking later means you can enter corners faster" with 'Strong brakes let you brake later approaching the corner'. Brakes have zero influence on actual corner speed...
  • 6 1
 Never said you had faster cornering speed with strong brakes. Faster corner entry is not the same as cornering speed. Take this as an example. Rider A is going 20 mph approaching a corner. And Rider A’s brakes take him from 20 to 5 mph in let’s say, 15 feet. Now you have Rider B with weaker brakes also going 20 mph approach the same corner. Except that Rider B takes 25 feet to go from 20 to 5 mph. Who’s spent more time going faster approaching that corner.

Perhaps I mis-worded my statement. I should have said stronger brakes allow you to spend more time going fast by allowing later braking.
  • 1 0
 @Almazing: No prob....looks like we're on the same pg Smile Good brakes/braking gets us to the corner faster....but doesn't help you go 6mph around a 5mph corner. Shred on!
  • 7 4
 SRAM over Magura?! MT5s all day long. Not only do they stop better but they are also way easier to service than SRAMs. People dog on the lightweight lever/reservoir but I've crashed a number of times and haven't had any problems. A buddy of mine with SRAMs rode my bike and ordered a set of MT5s the next day (I have the SRAMs for sale if you want them!). Stop drinking the SRAM kool-aid, there is a reason the brake classified section only has SRAMs. Also DOT fluid sucks to work on as a lazy home mechanic.
  • 4 3
 Magura fluid sucks worse still, 120degC boiling point. No good for big rider
  • 5 0
 Just got MT5s with the MT7 race pads for the front brake...ridiculous power and awesome price. I cut the hoses and bled the brakes, super easy job. OH, previous brakes where Guide RSCs, they suck. I also have XTs and Formula T1s, the Guides are by far the worst.
  • 2 1
 Magura FTW!
  • 1 0
 I have both and think that the trench wars being fought over "which brand is better" are ridiculous. If you know what you are doing or use gloves, both oil and dot are fine to work with, both have plenty of power, both are equally reliable (=decent but not great).
Sram is overpriced in the aftermarket, though. If you can get a set of MT5s or Cura 2s for two-thirds the price of the Code R, the choice is clear.
  • 3 0
 @yeti-monster: Boiling point doesn't matter. If these brakes are properly designed for a particular purpose and to work with a certain brake fluid (and the associated boiling point), you should be good. Which is of course if the designer has also taken less favorable conditions into account. Sure you can design a brake for DOT4 around a 230degC boiling temp, but this will drop over time so for a rider who does one bleed a year, is it still good enough if the boiling point has dropped to something like 180degC? And then, what is the rider going to use for bleeding? Surely DOT4 from a sealed container. So that's all good. Then for the next bleed, use oil from a new sealed container or use what's left in the bottle (and what has degraded over time)?

Shimano mineral oil then, 280degC boiling point and it doesn't degrade. As with any hydraulic brake, water will enter the system and with mineral oil systems, it will pool at the lowest point. Which is typically the brake caliper except maybe for those whose brake hose routes under the bb and/or along the chainstay. If the caliper gets hot, sure the oil won't boil but if the engineers haven't designed around this condition, the water will boil and you'll get a vapor lock (where the brake won't work). Ideally the rider will bleed these brakes on a very regular basis to avoid getting too much water in the caliper. How often this is depends on the brake. Some are just better sealed (less porous) than others.

Magura mineral oil indeed has a 120degC boiling point so that's what they've designed these brakes around. To not reach 120degC easily. Probably stay at a safe distance. Whereas Shimano engineers would consider 100degC oil temperature very acceptable, for Magura engineers this is already critical.

Then you have BFO, using water as transmission fluid...

Long story short, the lower the boiling point of the transmission fluid, the cooler the brake will stay just because it is designed to stay cooler. Which under unfavourable conditions (degraded DOT, water in the brake caliper) actually works out well.
  • 2 0
 @vinay: Where did you get the "120° boiling point" for magura oil from? I coun't find any reliable source. Seems uncommonly low, pretty much every other oil, from organic sunflower seed oil to fully synthetic oils for use in cars has a much higher boiling point.

Magura also has two different oils, the older, green one isn't sold anymore, they have been using the blue one for the last couple of years.
  • 1 0
 @Ttimer: This is my source:

It may need a little update by now as Formula has also switched to mineral oil. But the article is nice and their bleed kits and tools seems nice too.
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 @vinay: Firstly thanks for your detailed response, but i simply don't understand your logic that lower boiling temp works out well. I have had negative experience and believe the low boiling point to be a flaw in the system and not necessarily designed around. I believe magura use work around's, not designed around. For instance using a 2.0mm disc and not selling sintered pads transferring heat to the fluid.
Yes all systems degrade over time, but this shouldnt be a consideration in a high end set up where the user is on top of maintenance. I've had my maguras fail completely halfway down the megavalance and rob me of an awesome result. Just simply cooked the fluid.
  • 2 0
 @yeti-monster: I believe any hydraulic brake can fail so I'll leave the reasoning of "I've used this brand brake and they failed" out of the discussion. In the PB comment section I've read of people who seemed to have had a couple of SRAM brakes and all of them failed and when they moved to Shimano they never had issues again. And then you have people who seem to have experienced the complete opposite. I've ridden the Mega too (on Magura Louise '0Cool but by no means anywhere close to competitive. I was just there for the ride. I brought a Gustav front brake too but eventually didn't need to install it.

Either way, what I meant to say is that it isn't about boiling temperature. It is about the amount of energy the system can absorb and how quickly it can get rid of it. Yes it is related to boiling temperature but also to the amount of oil in the system, the rotor thickness, surface area of caliper, hose connector, cooling fins etc. Call it a solution or work around, as long as it works it is good. Yes Magura doesn't used sintered pads to limit the heat transfer and I know sintered pads are known to be long lasting, but then again in my experience these organic pads still last long enough. I brake hard and short though, I can imagine someone more subtly dragging them would wear them a whole lot quicker. But yeah you're correct that if people perform a regular brake bleed etc, their brake performance will stay closest to how it is supposed to be. Water is constantly entering the system so in theory it already starts to degrade right after your brake service. And my point was, the one positive I see about a non-degrading brake fluid with boiling point close to that of water, is that a tiny amount of water shouldn't affect the brake performance much.

Ah sorry it takes me forever to drive my point home. The comment I responded to was that a boiling point of 120degC is unacceptably low. My response was no if the engineers take that boiling point as a given and design their brakes to work nice with that, they should still be able to get you a good brake. As an analogy, it would be like if someone said you can't build a good bicycle frame out of aluminium as the material surely is weaker and less stiff than steel. Whereas we all know by now that if you play to the strengths of the material it can all work out. Steel enduro frames like those from Cotic and Starling are more or less in the same weight ballpark as the aluminium versions.
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 @vinay: ok I see your point that you're not getting degradation if your fluid boiling point is already low. But it's also a very low starting point to begin with.
I am no fan boy and will literally throw $$$ at braking systems and use them in high performance and continually demanding situations. I am also very heavy 110kg (not overweight) and wanted to share my real world experience that is on the OP topic for brakes for big riders. Simply put, I have put the bold claims of manufacturers and big magazine Dyno tests into practice and reached my own conclusions to what works or not and dissected the reason behind why something works or not.
  • 1 0
 @yeti-monster: Fair points. I'm not all that heavy and I'm probably not all that demanding in the overheating thing. That is, subconsciously really don't want my brakes to overheat in the first place so even though of course continuous dragging of the brakes is more stable and reliable in most conditions, I typically still pick my spots to brake short and hard where I can and let roll for the rest. Which indeed doesn't go well with full suspension bikes. Yet I've never overheated a brake (except for a 2007 Magura Marta brake of which I got the 160mm front rotor black and blue within fifteen minutes of riding) and my pad wear is low. And except for the odd trips to the Alps (like that Megavalance race) my rides may not be that demanding.

You may have read the big disc brake test here
which is a bit older hence doesn't include for instance the newer Hayes Dominion brake. What I'd be interested in though with all the equipment they have available there is, how do the performances compare after three months of hard use (with fresh and bedded in pads)? If I were correct (as I only have theories, not in the position to test everything under the sun) the Magura brakes would have degraded less than other ones and Shimano is more likely to experience a vapor lock than Magura. Could be completely off though. As Magura has bigger pistons, chances are there will also be more ways for water to enter.
  • 3 1
 Cura 4 brakes for big people that like power and modulation.

Over forking is fine, you can always change it back to stock if it sucks.

My two favorite bikes are my SS hardtail (over forked) and my 8” downhill bike (Cura 4). Turns our corner speed and clean lines is very helpful on both bikes...
  • 2 0
 @elcaminero I’ll also take a stab at a practical answer (although it won’t be half as fun to read as the authors response)

As a 60-70% SS hardtail rider, I too took a while to truly appreciate the FS mantra.

Jumping from one to the other is a dramatic feeling... like comparing a Mini to a Land Cruiser. But both have their place.

If you want to make the switch, I’d start with an efficient bike and put some time in. Something like a Tallboy, which firms up nicely when standing and mashing, would be a good gateway drug. On the other hand, if you are going to own two bikes then a medium to longer travel FS sled might be a better option. I have a Honzo and a Ripmo. Together they cover a huge range, and keep me happy on nearly any trail.

The benefits of FS include, but aren’t limited to:
1) long rides are just so dang comfortable. Who knew??
2) you can plow into a rocky dh with abandon. Then do it again, and again. And again.
3) hit that 6-10ft drop to (near) flat, or case that big jump... and trust that your rear tire, rim, and spine will be good to go afterwords.
  • 1 0
 Going along with the bigger rider, what is the best recommendation for an absolute bomb proof 110-150mm travel trail bike. I'm definitely a bigger dude @ 6'2" 280 and want my next bike to last. Was thinking of Knolly Fugitive.
  • 3 0
 I’d look at a Transition Sentinal or Kona Process. Both are super burly stiff frames that ride well and take a beating. I don’t have direct experience with the Knolly, but they do a great job engineering their alloy frames. Santa Cruz alloy frames are also a bit overbuilt. The new Hightower might be worth a look, especially if VPP suits your riding style.
  • 1 0
 Appreciate the input@vaedwards:
  • 3 0
 For the price of a fit 4 Fox 36, you can get a whole new modern hardtail. 1x10 Vitus Sentier 29
  • 3 0
 I'm a skinny, tan retired firefighter that rides an ss Honzo.... What gives?!
  • 2 0
 When I first road my 2019 Ragley MmmBop I was really surprised at how capable it was. Modern slack geo on a hardtail can be a beautiful thing.
  • 6 6
 I love how every answer Pinkbike gives about 29's is carefully worded as to never say that 29's have just as many negative issues as positives. All wheels sizes have positives & negatives but around here they drink the current industry kool-aid at all cost.
  • 4 1
 I'm a big rider, both magura and sram brakes are shit. Get zees with good pads, cheap and done.
  • 2 0
 LOL'D. I have a 2 piston Shimano XT M8000, really need like a 6 piston Brembo. But I purchased it, and I can't find it in me to say that I was "wrong" to purchase it. But it was a bit of a mistake. I just assumed at this point all hydraulic brakes would be, "powerful enough".
  • 6 4
 Sram code LOL ! I lost the brakes at 2 alpes station ... It's better with uberbikes radiator disc.
  • 6 4
 Shimano zee or saint !
  • 7 2
 you probably had air in the system.... lots and lots of pros are running Codes.
  • 2 2

It's not an air problem. I ride more slowly than pro ;-)
The sram disc doesn't cool enough. I have no problem with uberbike radiator disc.
If he want modulatio maybee the solutio is sram code brake with uberbike radiator disc but for reliability shimano saint or zee.
  • 2 0
 @ratm54: just ordered some brake pads from them. Will try the rotors next.
  • 2 1

Ive had zees and xts, the biggest problem that I had with them is that if you let the bike sit for 2 or more weeks unridden, the brakes start to squeal and loose power. Happens with both metallic and resin pads. I checked for leaks (clean the caliper, ip tie the lever down over a bleed block wrapped with a tissue paper, leave it overnight) and none were found.

Never had that problem with Srams, even though I like the response of the Shimanos better.
  • 1 1
 @phops: if your pads start to squeal after having sat for weeks, remove the pads and put some water on the surface and rub them together to create an emulsion, then reinstall. works for Marshy -
  • 4 0

Sure, but im not doing that every 2 weeks when I can just have srams and not have to deal with that.
  • 2 0
 Great advice as always RC!
  • 2 0
 Agreed, Guides don’t compare too Codes
  • 2 0
 Welcome home pilgrim......Smile hahaha.... made my day!!!
  • 2 0
 Disagree on almost every point about the tire/pressure/rim question.
  • 2 0
 So.. can I have stickers?
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