Behind the Numbers: Marin Mount Vision Suspension Analysis

Jun 14, 2019
by Dan Roberts  



If you'd like to know more about the Behind the Numbers series, aren't familiar with the terms being used or want to know why we're doing it, then check out our Introduction article for all the information.

Continuing on from the Specialized Stumpjumper EVO, we get to the Marin Mount Vision.

The Marin has an absolutely wild suspension system, with links everywhere and a slider thrown in for good measure too. It's actually a six-link bike, and takes a minute or two of brain cog turning to analyse.

Mount Vision Analysis Details
Travel Rear: 150mm
Travel Front: 150mm
Wheel Size: 27.5
Frame Size: M
COM Height: 1150mm
Chainring Size: 32T
Cassette Cog Sizes: 50T, 24T and 10T


Compared to the first version of this system, used on the Wolf Ridge, it seems Marin has beefed up the links, and added another link that's attached to the top tube to the equation in an attempt to up the stiffness. But there’s still plenty of connections between the rear wheel and main frame, and given that the slider isn’t keyed it’ll transmit lots of the twisting forces over to the links and pivots.

This layout is very complex, and with that, it must bring a lot of weight just to make the layout happen. There are lots of overlapping going on, with extra parts for the links and slider system, and the shock forces directed in the middle of tubes.

The layout also seems to limit them with the actual seat tube angle. They have to have clearance for the swingarm to tuck up in there, which is why its actual angle is quite slack. Unless you’re at the saddle height that Marin took for defining its geometry, you’re going to have quite a drastic change in TT and where your weight falls between the axles.

Most of the Marin’s suspension curves are actually pretty nice, so maybe it’s better to focus on them rather than the frame. Looks are subjective, but it's hard to please the eyes of an engineer with this layout, although it does make Marin and Polygon stand out from the crowd. It's possible that similar suspension curves could be re-created with simpler design, but that's a different topic altogether. For now, let's take a closer look at the numbers.




Views: 186,857    Faves: 20    Comments: 7
This video is of a different model than what's analyzed here, but it makes it a little easier to comprehend the Naild R3ACT suspension design.


Marin Mt Vision


Leverage Ratio

The Marin Mount Vision has a 29.5% leverage ratio progression with an average ratio of 2.5. It's a regressive to linear to progressive curve.

Two things stand out here. Firstly, they go below a ratio of 2, which crosses under what some shock manufacturers state as their lower limit. This could mean that the suspension setup has to settle for some deep stroke hang up in the rebound department at ratios below 2 when the shock is moving fast enough to create big damping forces.

Secondly, there’s a big hump at the beginning of travel. Going from progressive to regressive and back and forth at high frequencies can create problems for the rebound. Looking at the shock shaft speed in the rebound stroke it will be slowing down constantly until the hump, and then need to speed back up again as the ratio drop on the other side.

The same can be said in the compression stroke, having slightly reducing damping before the progression kicks in to build damping pressure for the remainder of the stroke.

There’s a fair chunk of progression in there, which is calculated from the top of the hump to the end of travel. The average leverage ratio is on the lower side of things, potentially helping the damping have enough of a control over the shock movement.

Marin claim to be doing size specific kinematics, which is cool. It sounds like it has to do with the different center of mass heights between S/M riders and L/XL riders, but without analysing the different sizes it's hard to say how the changes in kinematic impact the leverage ratio and the balance of leverage ratio plus the weight transfer reactions. This is a nice feature though, and one that not many brands do.





Marin Mt Vision


Anti-Squat

The Mount Vision has bucket loads of anti-squat in every gear. The 50T climbing gear has a good amount of anti-squat all the way through travel, and enough there to even combat some of the cyclical mass of legs spinning, which in this gear could be at high cadences. This increase throughout travel is going to lead to quite an amount of pedal kickback that could easily be felt in this gear and at the slow climbing speeds that this gear dictates. Pedal kickback shouldn't really be a priority in design, but when it gets this high, it's worth pointing out.

Moving down the cassette the anti-squat increases quite a bit, and the progression of it as you go through the travel becomes steeper and steeper. Having a bit more than 100% anti-squat is good to combat the other forces that happen when you pedal that are trying to compress the suspension. But at some point, more becomes too much, and you’d be putting far too much force back into the suspension, enough to adversely affect your center of mass. For example, 200% would be pushing back at you with 2 times the force needed to keep your center of mass static. 100% is already a large force to resist the weight transfer, so adding it again would extend the suspension and push the center of mass forward. The Marin goes up to almost 300%.

These really high anti-squat figures are in the harder gears, and so the added anti-squat effects might be lost a touch in the head down shenanigans of sprinting. Also, the mass transfer inertia is lower at higher bike speeds. But still, the bike is going to be over fighting the mass transfer and be adversely affecting the suspension.

The slack seat angle is going to benefit from the bike's high overall anti-squat, and having at least progression and not mega high leverage ratios at the sag point and forward will help further to keep the bike up and keep that seat angle where it’s more effective.





Marin Mt Vision


Anti-Rise

The Marin's anti-rise numbers are really nice, with what should be a good amount to resist a good chunk of the mass transfer. Not too much to cause harshness from the suspension working too hard to combat the weight transfer, and not too little to have vagueness at the rear wheel.

The bike should react nicely when braking, due to the leverage ratio and anti-rise numbers. Maybe if the braking is done in some rowdy terrain, that is going to tweak and twist the bike, the lack of direct connections from the rear axle to main frame might come into play more. Some baguette wielding people might describe this as the bike finding its own line. But depending on the amount of twist there, it could introduce a bit of uncertainty when braking from all the loading and unloading on the structure.

Being really critical, it would be nicer to see the anti-rise increasing as you get further into travel. Not a huge amount, but enough to provide proportionately more support for the high energy hard braking situations that demand the most from the bike.





Marin Mount Vision Axle Path


Axle Path

Compared to the Stumpjumper, which finishes at around 21mm farther forward from where it started, the Mount Vision's axle path only comes just over 4mm forwards. Having less forwards movement gives the wheel more room to get out of the way of the vector created from the wheel hitting bumps. But the fact that it doesn't travel very far forward comes back to the high anti-squat, and therefore, high pedal kickback values.

Until you really start to prioritise axle path over other characteristics, most of the bikes we analyse will have a touch of rearwards to their axle path, but will be biased towards the axle moving forwards as you go through your travel.

This more vertical axle path, combined with not too much progression and lower overall ratios, should mean that the suspension spends less time dealing with each impact before allowing the wheel to continue moving forwards with the bike.




Final Thoughts

bigquotesThe Marin's polarizing looks actually conceal some reasonable suspension kinematics. While it's good to see many different interpretations of a bike keeping the industry interesting, only time will tell if this wild layout sticks around as long as the well-established performers. 






Previous Behind the Numbers Articles:
Stumpjumper EVO Suspension Analysis
Introducing Behind the Numbers - A New Suspension Analysis Series


275 Comments

  • + 83
 Great numbers, wish does it look... AHHHH! KILL IT, KILL IT BEFORE IT BREEDS!
  • + 75
 This bike is a very didactic example to show to your kids: Larry look: this is a Session, this is what gets the job done. A bit boring, a bit of same same, but it just works. Now look here, this is Marin. You see what happens Larry? This is what happens when you try too hard!
  • + 70
 @WAKIdesigns: You see Larry!? This is what happens when you f a stranger in the...!!!
  • + 8
 @WAKIdesigns: Looks like a Polygon to me, also as ugly as sin...
  • + 13
 @DuelingBanjos: Uh...Walter...?
  • + 4
 sometimes you got to no when to put the crackpipe down
  • + 26
 Actually, I really like the way that swing arm looks - then again, I’m old enough to remember a Mountaincycle San Andreas...

And with more and more ebikes appearing at trailheads, we might even get used to a bottom bracket region looking like that.

But what were they thinking, when it came to shock positioning?

Was that like “I bet, I can make that extension even longer, putting the shock even higher up, and destroy every attempt at integrity this design might ever have head in the process”
  • + 4
 Even Science kitteh is alarmed at the design of the BB area
  • + 0
 @landscapeben: Of course it looks like a Polygon. A tenth of second is needed to notice that. The second after you puke thanks to that uncomparable ugliness.
Wankydesigns needs some new glasses beside the rest...
  • + 8
 @DuelingBanjos: bunch of fkng amateurs!
  • + 1
 hahahahaahahahaha
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: The beauty of this is the simplicity. Once a bike gets to complex, everything can go wrong.
  • + 10
 Who negprops Big Lebowsky quotes!!!
  • + 14
 @DuelingBanjos: Find a stranger in the alps?
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: a terrible person, obviously. Did my part to right the wrongs.
  • - 2
 @sspiff: Striking incontinence!!!
  • + 4
 @FuzzyL: +1 for the San Andreas.....I'm getting all dewy eyed and nostalgic for my old SIntessi Bazooka too!
  • + 1
 @FuzzyL: A agree with you with San Andreas Arm look a like, actually that's the only "abnormality" . Actually the front triangle looks very regular. Poor Larry his father is ALREADY hiving the NORMAL-REGULAR CASTRATION TREATMENT
  • + 6
 @WAKIdesigns: Calmer than you are...
  • + 7
 @conv3rt: This aggression will not stand....man.
  • + 7
 @WAKIdesigns: Why is everything such a travesty with you?
  • + 10
 @WAKIdesigns: well that's just, like, your opinion man.
  • + 5
 @JDugan: Hey careful, man, there's a beverage here!
  • + 5
 @conv3rt: Nice marmot!
  • + 1
 Ha! imagine that size XL
  • + 6
 @FuzzyL: "And with more and more ebikes appearing at trailheads, we might even get used to a bottom bracket region looking like that." Son, that's nothing to be proud of.
  • + 3
 @DuelingBanjos: this is what happens when you find a stranger in the alps!
  • + 2
 @JDugan: shit, you beat me to it +1
  • + 13
 Can someone throw a Trust fork on one of these?!
I just.....have to see it.
I know its wrong,but I need it.
  • + 4
 @JDugan: you got any kalhua?
  • + 3
 @xice: Obviously you're not a golfer
  • + 2
 @JDugan: Those are good burgers.
  • + 1
 @DuelingBanjos: this what happens when you f*ck a product designer in the *ss
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Nihilists
  • + 6
 Vi believe in nosink! @xice:
  • + 2
 @xice: they were nazis ?
  • + 2
 @Rainozeros: I am the Walrus.
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: I can get you a toe by 3 oclock. With nailpolish.
  • + 2
 @Rainozeros: I see you roll your way into the semis. Dios mio man.
  • + 7
 @conv3rt: Shut the f-ck up Donny
  • + 3
 @Rainozeros: say what you want about the tenets of national socialism, at least it’s an ethos
  • + 1
 @landscapeben: Polygon owns Marin, so...
  • + 2
 @xice: This is not 'Nam Smokey, there are rules.
  • + 2
 Wooo! You got a date Wednesday, baby!
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns ElectricLarrryLand
  • + 2
 @xice: sounds exhausting.
  • + 1
 @DuelingBanjos: I think some here could stand to abide.

Also, he said take any time in the house!
  • + 1
 @sspiff: naw pure facts.
  • + 2
 @sspiff: You can imagine where it goes from here.

He fixes the cable?
  • + 2
 @unrooted: Beaver? Uhhhh, you mean vagina...? I mean, you know the guy?
  • + 0
 kill it with fire!
  • + 0
 @xice: i dont see this bike being simple...look at the numbers
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Larry Look: This is what you get when you breed outside your bloodline!
  • + 2
 @megatryn: so, ugly I want one! Thanks
  • + 40
 I hate the axle path graph. Why didn't you use the same scale on the horizontal axle movement as the travel, or at least the same scale for every bike? If this bike's graph had the same scale for both travel and horizontal movement, we could actually see the axle path being almost entirely vertical.
  • + 5
 Dan describes it as pretty vertical in the article. We'll also be doing comparison articles that graph out each bike against the rest in a category (usually ~5 per category). Smile
  • + 19
 Yes, for an engineer I'd have hope he'd be consistent with something as simple as a gragh.
  • + 22
 @brianpark: I agree with Mikko, it would be better to show the real axle path to scale. If you this it’s important to have another graph exaggerating the horizontal movement to emphasise differences, then show that too, but not at the expense of the real movement.

I really like these articles and am grateful for them, just one thought though: it’d be great to hear reactions to these articles from the original designers. Dan Roberts phrases his comments on the designs as if he is an engineering teacher assessing the work of questionable students. Whilst his assessment is part of the point of the article, it feels one-sided without a reply. I’m sure the designers have their reasons for the engineering compromises they’ve chosen, and done r&d etc. (Except maybe Sick Bicycles....)

P.s. I don’t have either of the bikes done so far so have no skin in the game!
  • - 4
flag fartymarty (Jun 14, 2019 at 3:55) (Below Threshold)
 GIven bikes should ALWAYS be photographed from the drive side this graph is very counter intuitive. Rear axle travel should be to the LEFT and forward to the RIGHT.
  • + 2
 Agreed. Then all bikes can be compared on the same scale.
  • + 2
 @aps62: I think you’ll find Sick got through several pairs of socks and a number of t-shirts to arrive at their numbers
  • + 3
 @latheboy: really? In my experience engineers produce ugly, inconsistant and illegible plots consistently.... excel (and related paid windows ‘software’) *shudder*
  • + 2
 @aps62: I find it correct and interesting. At least we could understand if sometimes the engineers get drunk.
  • + 3
 We did think about keeping the scale the same, but for each individual analysis it’s nice to see a zoomed in view to look at the details for that individual bike, which might get otherwise lost in a bigger scale.
As Brian says, we’re doing a comparative article with all the bikes, and so keeping one scale.
  • - 7
flag fartymarty (Jun 14, 2019 at 4:46) (Below Threshold)
 @dan-roberts: Can you please flip the graphs so forward is right and backwards is left - makes it intuitive as bikes are generally photographed from the drive side.

Or label "forward" / "backward".
  • + 9
 It is that way round, as if looking from the driveside.
  • + 3
 @dan-roberts: D'oh, you're right. Could you label "forward" and "rearward" for dummies like me.
  • + 2
 Duly noted for the next bunch of analyses!
  • + 3
 Unless you want to see what is happening behind the chainrings, then photo from the non drive side is better. @fartymarty:
  • + 0
 My main gripe with these graphs too.
  • + 0
 @MonsterTruck: agreed but generally photos are taken from drive side. Either way i'm good if the graphs are labelled.
  • + 0
 @fartymarty: You see more of suspension design from non drive side
  • + 1
 @MonsterTruck: I agree you need to see whats going on behind the drivetrain
  • + 2
 @brianpark: It would be great to correlate this series with the 2018 Pinkbike Field Test.

Understanding how this data correlates to rider 'feel', might add some context to one of last years most informative articles. In addition, it could reveal some of the rider preferences if there was any theme to suspension kinematics preferred by the reviewer.

I'd love to know which reviewer's preferences are more like my own and why!
  • + 0
 @dirtyburger: yeah, well I guess they are only engineers. Most can crunch some numbers and draw pretty pictures, then it goes to the production team and they fix it ..
When ever I used graphs (dyno tuning) I'd always use the same scale to overlay different runs, at least you can see the difference without having to think much, but that's logic haha
  • + 34
 OMG I can still see this thing when I close my eyes.....Frown
  • + 5
 and I still thinking how to charge that e-bike.
  • + 2
 @Danielyk: I was at a race a few weeks ago, and said to another rider "I didn't know there was an e-bike category", then he pointed out his Marin didn't actually have a motor...
  • + 4
 @mountainsofsussex: Makes you wonder what the e-bike-version will look like o_O
  • + 2
 @wicol: May look better as an E-bike!
  • + 2
 Makes me want to order a Chromag frame.
  • + 17
 These are 8nteresting and very cool (to me).
One thought - I'd be really interested to see the same analysis done on some older high end platforms - the Trek y for example - to show the difference between current state of the art and show how things have changed. Reviewing a single bike is great, but the relative differences are also interesting.
I have a GT i-drive bike and is be interested in that as well...
  • + 4
 That's a really interesting idea!
  • + 1
 This is actually a great idea. It'd be interesting to do an old URT, an early Horst-link, an original i-Drive, etc...

We do have a single pivot bike coming, as well as a wrap up story that will compare the relative differences for you. Smile
  • + 18
 It probably rides great, but so hard to get past the aesthetics. You can call me superficial.
  • - 1
 I could get past esthetics, but the BB cantilever design is just waaay over the edge... There are V10s that failed there, yet they have more meat in the area. No just no...
  • + 9
 Said the actress to the bishop
  • + 0
 If it looks right it probably is. This just don't look right.
  • + 4
 Would look better with Zebra paint job?
  • + 2
 I don't think it rides great...
  • + 1
 There are a lot of compromises in that suspension: the hump in leverage at the beginning, going so low-leverage at the end, the lack of anti-rise. It probably rides good for just cruising, but pushing that thing to the edge of its capabilities is very likely going to make that good feeling fall off a cliff into utter shit feeling ride.
  • + 10
 I watched a review on the Wolf Ridge, the Mount Vision's 29er brother and the reviewer couldn't get past how flexy the rear end was. I can see that. 2 flimsy looking dogbones, a waaaay too long bike yoke, and a pretty narrow main pivot. Was the rear end flex addressed in this version?
  • + 3
 Seems like an oversight on Marin's part, and noted in this article, that they could've used a keyed shaft for that lower slider and addressed a lot of those stiffness issues.
  • + 6
 @dickT3030: Exactly. Like a Lefty, which have historically been stiffer than competing designs at similar weight.

My understanding is the current Marin / Polygon frames use off-the-shelf motocross stanchion tubing and fork seals to reduce cost.
  • + 5
 Mount vision is a lot less flexy than the wolf ridge, They added another link to stabilize it (the one swinging from the top tube)
  • + 1
 Worth noting is that Marin has added an upper link to the suspension to help it get a bit more stiff. We've had one at the shop and the rear end, while definitely not as stiff as many bikes out there, is vastly better than the Wolf Ridge. I'd say it's on par with many alloy frames on the market.
  • + 4
 @dickT3030: Keyed shafts just aren't that great, we have all had droppers develop that side to side wiggle from a bare amount of wear on their keyed shafts
  • + 3
 @vtracer: Agreed, and the Lefty isn't keyed, it uses flat faces and linear roller bearings. dickT3030 had the right idea of controlling rotation on the slider, so I didn't want to get too picky on him.
  • + 2
 "Its engineered compliance!" -Yeti Marketing Bros
  • + 8
 Coming from someone who has had an opportunity to ride both the Wolf Ridge and the Mount Vision, these bikes are amazing. They also look better in person. Furthermore and as stated in the comments above, all you really see is the fork and the handlebar. The look of the bike has grown on me. It is actually a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, it is out of my price range this year. Commence down voting or maybe just go ride your bike.
  • - 1
 The typical fallacy of “don’t knock it until you’ve ridden it”

It’s easy to like something you rode for free or spent more money on than necessary. The latter is called post purchase rationalization.
  • + 5
 @WAKIdesigns: It's also just as easy to hate on a bike you have no attachment to as it was a demo and you don't own it. I rode the Wolf Ridge and disliked it immensely. Tried the Mount Vision and did really like it.
  • - 1
 @sherbet: I agree with you.
  • + 1
 You carry Marin right?
  • + 2
 I do work as a mech at a Marin dealer. Colleague has had both, and currently rides the Mount Vision. My thoughts of the topic are my own and are independent of the shop. I hope they can make a short travel version of this.
  • + 1
 And the paintwork is really crap
  • + 7
 It’s interesting drawing conclusions on paper, but this system is difficult to compare to traditional systems due to the very low reliance on hydraulics. The proof for me is as always on the clock for my DH bike. Why would I choose a slower bike? The second most interesting point is the comfort and reduced fatigue on my Enduro bike. I spend most of my hours on that bike so that’s important to me.
My wife recently got her own Xquare 1 and loves it. She was on a bike that I had built up especially for her and it was the best bike I could think of for her at the time and she much prefers her Polygon. The guys from flow mag in Aus beat their PB’s in their test.
The one interesting point in this conversation comes down to whether or not you think it looks good. Some people like it and some don’t. Tracey seems to be happy with hers.
  • + 1
 Great to see SikMik chiming in with his take on the bike! I wish more pro riders were active on the forums discussing their riding gear.
  • + 7
 it would be really interesting to see a pedal.kickback-travel-graph!
i just had a look at the wolfridge kinematics from 2017 according to the linkage model. Even with antisquat values of 29ß% it only results in a pedal kickback of 10°, which is in my opinion not a lot for such a high anti squat value....

by the way: i really like the articles Smile
  • + 3
 the very similar Polygon has a max kickback (even at 30/50 wich has the lowest AS) of 35 degrees....if there is a bike whos suspension gets killed by AS its this one.

wolfridge :28 degrees according to linkage blog
  • - 1
 I feel that anything over 5 degrees becomes unrideable, let alone 10
  • + 1
 Yes, a graph of the actual rear axle path superimposed on a perfectly circular arc centered at the BB would rock. That will tell you anti-squat and pedal kickback in the same schematic
  • - 1
 @hamncheez: not necessarily. The correlation of pedal kick and antisquat is only so firm on regular single pivot bikes. VPP, high pivot, and lawill tend to break that mold
  • + 0
 @kleinblake: Not really. Antisquat and pedal kickback are the exact same thing, measured slightly differently (at least on suspension designs without an idler pulley).
  • + 1
 @hamncheez: So they are exactly the same thing except when they aren't ?
  • + 0
 @hamncheez: generally when going to a larger gear pedal kick increases, while antisquat usually drops. This is evidence that they are not the same thing. You will also never be able to say with accuracy “if bike x has 115% AS with 5° of pedal kick, then bike y with 115% AS will also have 5° of pedal kick.”
  • + 6
 Numbers and charts say bad, trying bike says good. Can someone please explain? Most people who have ridden a Wolf Ridge or Mount Vision have very positive feedback about ride feel and speed - people who can even ride bikes pretty well and know how other "good bikes" ride. Isn't it worth re-evaluating the interpretation of charts and numbers if people's experience contradicts what the interpretation the numbers predicts? Maybe explain why people on a first test ride get Personal Best times riding a Wolf Ridge on trails they have ridden many times on their own bike? Or why a 160mm travel bike can out climb lighter, shorter travel bikes?
  • + 6
 I don't understand why they couldn't have made the actual STA steeper above the link?
It looks challenging enough but I'd love to ride one. As I'm tall, the saddle will be behind the rear brake caliper, let alone the axle.
  • + 7
 Met a guy riding one of these. He liked the suspension, but had trouble with the huge bulge at the BB getting caught on rocks and roots.
  • + 18
 I don't wanna get my bulge caught on any rocks, that's all I know.
  • + 4
 @ratedgg13: Maybe that's just the cost of a huge bulge
  • + 4
 @kjjohnson: I wouldn't know....
  • + 1
 110%. As someone who rides in New England where BB height rocks are unavoidable, and who has broken ISCG bash-guards more than once, that downtube bulge makes it literally a non-starter. I would break that frame for sure. And if it's actually strong enough that I wouldn't break it after just a few rides, that's a massive compromise on weight to stuff that much CFRP down there.
  • + 4
 Am I the only one to not care how my bike look ? The only thing I see while riding are my handlebar and my front wheel and only at very low speeds, when I'm not riding the bike is stored in the garage.

I could live with an ugly bike that I see less than 5 minutes a day.
  • + 3
 Interesting.

Although, why adress potential stiffness issues based on looks alone, when the suspension analysis is to numerical? Frame stiffness can also be measured?

Frame stiffness should be left out of the equation for suspension analysis. Unless you add a chapter of frame stiffness for all the bikes, with real numbers.

Also, I struggle to find the six links? I see 4 pivot points in addition to the pivot for the slider.
  • + 2
 Just a few general engineering based observations that could be interesting.
  • + 1
 I agree completely. Stiffness is often talked about here, but with BS hand-wavy terms that mean nothing.

In the motorsport world, chassis or hub-to-hub stiffness and overall suspension compliance is a big deal for suspension performance. The best suspension design in the world won't do anything if it's mounted to a (relative) wet noodle of a chassis. For some perspective, modern CFRP monocoques can have torsional stiffness values of 20000+ ft lbs/deg.

I would like some actual measurements of frame stiffness for the load conditions we care about. It shouldn't take more than some fixtures, weights, and a few dial test indicators. I'm sick of seeing the marketing wank of X% stiffer every year without anything to back it up from independent websites.
  • + 3
 Why is everyone starting their comments "I don't care how good the numbers are.." It sounds to me like the reviewer is saying the numbers aren't good at all.. Seat tube is far too slack, anti squat numbers are waaay too high to the point of causing severe pedal kickback, leverage ratio is too low even dipping below shock manufacturer's lower limits. Sounds like the suspension has an over complicated design with the intension of making the bike pedal like a hardtail up hill, to the fault of not being particularly good at anything else? Or maybe I'm misreading the reviewers conclusions? Either way I'm a fan of the idea of the R3ACT suspension design but only if it works in the real world.
  • + 3
 The thing is people just need to ride one. It is strange looking yes. I have a Wolf Ridge in the shop that we use as a demo bike just to get people on one. I bounce back and forth between my Rocky Mountain Instinct BC and the Wolf Ridge. I like the Wolf Ridge and the way it pedals all around. I find it weak in steep terrain where it seems I have to fight it to stay on track. The bike wants to go fast and the Mount Vision is the same. People speak of flex in the rear end and frankly I just do not feel it.
  • + 2
 @Dalday This may in fact be a case where "the less you know" is helpful?
  • + 3
 Looks aside, i got to try the wolf ridge a couple of times, and i must say - it works. i've been biking long enough to feel a "hype" when i ride one, and this is more than that. I've seen no other suspension which balances traction and efficiency as good as this one. The flex is indeed there, but wasn't nearly as disturbing as some (i.e- bikeradar) describe it.
It's evident from most comments here that people didn't ride it. Understandable, i was skeptical too.

As for the aesthetics - the wolf ridge grew on me. In person, it's actually not that ugly. As for the mount vision... well, yes, it's even harder to like. But i wouldn't care if it rode well.
  • + 3
 I like this series so far. Great info and I like reading about the intricacies of suspension design, the curves, ratios, percentages etc. The 2 bikes I've read about so far vastly different and that makes it interesting.

The bike may be uglier than your brother's ex girlfriend, but at least it's a fresh and different approach. (Unlike your brother's ex girlfriend)

I ride a Cannondale Prophet and I'd be interested in something like this. Too old to bother with for a series like this but if anyone knows of an analysis similar to this I'd love to see it. It's a regressive single pivot.
  • + 2
 I also want to see all the numbers on my bike - an ancient Commencal Mini DH. Pretty simple linkage-driven single pivot but I'd still be interested to compare numbers and ride feel. Honestly Dan couldn't go wrong to run through some classics as well for those of us who've been around a while. Santa Cruz Bullit, Intense M1, etc
  • + 3
 For all it’s hype, and magazine praise, I’ve yet to see one in the wild or hear of anyone buying one. And it’s not that it’s expensive, I see $13,000 Megatower builds on the trial all day.
  • + 9
 You never see the Wolf. You always see the herd of sheep.
  • + 1
 I own one (well the Polygon version anyway). Have had it for 9 mths. I got it pretty cheap and had tried a couple of demos so just took a punt. So far I am pretty happy. It is great in some ways, a bit so-so in others. I think it is the kind of bike that would not suit someone who owns a rig for every type of riding as it is the versatility that makes it a standout. It is also by no means a light, poppy kind of bike - more bulldozer with low attachment
  • + 2
 @dan-roberts were your kinematics modelled from photographs or from actual/CAD measurements?
I think it's worth pointing out that modelling the kinematics of this 'sliding link' type configuration can be less accurate than for regular pivoting suspension configurations (where it's relatively easy to pinpoint the pivot locations).
To model this type of system with a sliding element, you need to measure/approximate the angle of the slider, then construct a perpendicular line, then place an 'equivalent' pivot somewhere on that line (sufficiently far away from the bike to approximate the straight path generated by a sliding link). On this bike it's quite difficult to see/measure the angle of the sliding link, and therefore difficult to model accurately. In this example it mostly affects the accuracy of the AR curve.

Also, this bike is a great example of an overly complex suspension configuration that only achieves kinematics that a much simpler (and better looking) Horst Link can also produce.

Cheers,
Hugh.
  • + 1
 Edit: It looks like the latest version of Linkage now has functionality for modelling these sliding links more directly, instead of modelling an 'equivalent' pivot location using construction lines. So that will help with the accuracy.
  • + 1
 @i-track: openoffice calc had this feature for ages!
  • + 1
 We physically measured every bike, took photos and used the manufacturers published geometry. Although the actual measured data took priority over the others. Completely agree. This, along with some other designs, really were sensitive to small changes in dimensions. I took a slightly different approach with the Marin and used the 150mm travel to fill in one of the extra variables generated from their sliding link design. We measured the slider geometry too, and backed it up with photos. This gave enough constraints in the kinematic to allow it to function as it would in real life. But like you point out, it's a gloriously complex way of skinning a cat!
  • + 2
 Its always interesting to me that people will dis what they don't understand and call it BS because it doesn't fit their personal experience/construct (and a fair number of commenters in the place fall into that category). I get that some people don't like the polarizing appearance, but the rest is just being closed minded to different ideas and approaches. Unless you have actually ridden a bike with this specific platform (which has been evolving BTW), it's just conjecture and opinion without a lot of actual value...
  • + 2
 Probably the ugliest bike of the year... hum: of the decade.
It`s made out of plastic.
It looks like an e-bike whereas it is not an e-bike.
The suspension system might be efficient but existed already before.

Some ``engineers``should stay in bed instead of egging such things
  • + 2
 You forgot the Redalp, how lucky are you!
  • + 2
 I got to demo one for a day and found it pedals amazing, however it feels a bit firm under power on chunky climbs, and It hugs the ground great while descending, but you feel the bigger hits more than I am use to. Overall I felt like it was a great all around trail bike, not so much a terrain eating enduro monster like everything else on the market.
  • + 2
 Pass. Bikes with regressive beginning strokes are made to soak up the terrain. It feels great but does not hold speed like bikes with a consistant progressive design. This is because riders, without even knowing it, are constantly pumping with their legs and feet which genenerates speed for bikes with progressive beginning strokes.
  • + 1
 This could mean that the suspension setup has to settle for some deep stroke hang up in the rebound department at ratios below 2 when the shock is moving fast enough to create big damping forces.

Does this 'hang up' mean that the shock is not rebounding fast as other sections of travel?
  • + 1
 I loved the first 3 versions of the Mount Vision Pro that Marin built before they got sued for their linkage design. Too bad they re-designed their linkage systems from then on and the latest version actually looks more like an E-bike than anything else. Maybe they should think of modifying that bottom bracket area to support a pedal assist crankset or a gearbox. Every time you change the design, it gets worse every time. It seems they've gone from having one of the lightest full-suspension mountain bikes from the start and transition their flagship model into a full-size tank!
  • + 1
 When this suspension layout was introduced, the marketing blabla claimed a few main benefits:
-Highly efficient pedaling regardless of total travel, so also on a 180mm travel bike
-'Extremely low damping required' from the shocks, and therefore super active suspension.

The highly efficient pedaling seems to match with the anti-squat plots, so that claim seems more or less backed up.

I'm not seeing anything that would indicate this bike should allow running super low damping though... Is it because there is already enough 'damping' in the sliding link? (otherwise known as: Friction)

Have you also been able to ride the bike yourself and compare your experience to stated benefits of this suspension system? It would be great if you could relate the numbers-based analysis to some actual riding report, and point out the links between both.
  • + 1
 Why is it that no one mentions maintenance with these wild suspension geometries? I have a relatively simple Roscoe 1 from 2010 and it has 12 pivot points to worry about. I had to replace a pin that required a Dremel and about 3 hours of work to extricate. I can't imagine the cost and time it would take to tear down and repair this thing. Can't we have reasonable dynamics without loads of itty bitty parts to worry about? Sure, you can probably build the near perfect suspension linkage with modern manufacturing techniques, but shouldn't we also care about the KISS principle? These things take a beating after all and the less there is to break, the better IMHO.
  • + 2
 First off if your using a Dremel on your bike (especially for 3 hours lol) your doing it wrong. Second if you want a simple design go buy a single pivot, no ones making you buy this bike.
  • + 1
 With those anti-squat (and related pedal-kickback) numbers, it might as well be a simple single pivot. The only numbers/graph that cant be replicated by any other design is the axle path. But there are a lot of compromises in other places (lack of anti-rise, weird leverages, downtube bugle (it _will_ get in the way for riders in terrain like New England)) just to get that axle path.
  • + 1
 I ride a wolf ridge 8.It is heavy. The setup needed tweaking: The stock seat buzzed the tire on big hits. The stock rear shock was junk;squishy and caused several pedal strikes. The stem was garbage and flexy. Now, it is a weapon. I can ascend the most technical rocky trails sitting or standing and the traction is identical. When I climb and clean sections in front of people they say it really dosnt bob. I’ve KOM’d smooth dirt road climbs faster than my 10 lb lighter hard tail. I was sold after reading some Cali enduro racers came out of nowhere to win races. It’s a game changer especially if you like riding up and down. There is a funny red button on the swing arm that farts too!
  • + 1
 The fart button rules!
  • + 3
 What an absolute nightmare of a design. The only number that truly matters is how many they sell. My guess is we will see a lot of these on blowout at the end of the season.
  • + 1
 Yeah, it sure looks different, but I kind of dig it. And I love the "quiver killer" concept. I don't know if it will actually achieve that, but it's a fantastic goal. Not that I have much of a quiver... currently I have 1 hardtail and 1 full rigid, so I guess I'm all set for 2 different eras of XC?
  • + 3
 Most bikes want to be a "quiver killer"; there's nothing special about this bike in its objectives or in its kinematics. Other designs could've done exactly the same things with anti-squat, anti-rise, leverage curve, and nearly complete lack of compression damping (not mentioned in this article, but a central part of Darryl Voss' philosophy).

This is just another multi-link suspension configuration that's functionally not significantly different from others. Other designs could've done essentially the same and *chose* not to. That's the important thing to remember.

... and they could've done it without the compromises in stiffness, unconventional components, and ground clearance.
  • + 1
 how about over laying the pivot point path on the frame I can see that it moves 8 mm in total but is it mostly above or below the chain line and dose this design manage to get the virtual pivot point any further forward than a single pivot design
  • + 3
 Looks unnecessary when brands like Canfield, Revel, Rocky Mountain and Pivot already have suspension that climbs amazing with no lockout and still descends like a sled.
  • + 4
 Totally off-topic consideration:
Marin wolfridge didn't look that ugly to me, but this thing is out of scale.
  • + 3
 It would have been nice to see more pictures/angles of the bike in the article, at least on a bike this wild. You don’t get a good look w/ the title image and the only other photo shows a close up of the linkage.

Personally, I like the look of the Mount Vision over the Wolf Ridge.
  • + 4
 “its polariszing looks” ?! .....who ever said it was anything but fugly?
  • + 17
 Two polarized lenses at right angle to each other. Aah, that's better.
  • + 2
 @iamamodel: underrated comment is way too underrated! +1 for you, my nerdy friend Smile
  • + 3
 I would be down but I can't afford it. Even if I could, I would worry about what the cool cats would think - and in reality - that's all that matters at the end of the day.
  • + 5
 Still looks like a shitting dog
  • + 2
 Why didn't you show the graph of pedal kickback? Looking at the numbers of anti squat and the video the pedal kickback must be massive....
By the way .... I agree to MGRANTORSER about the look of the bike!
  • + 2
 Hey Dan!!! Go togheter with Richard C., pick a Tantrum, a Marin and a Pivot and test them face to face...and publish the TRUTH !!!
  • + 3
 That bump lets the shock compress easy into sag. With that leverage curve it should really have a coil.
  • + 1
 The bump is well above the sag point. That bump does nothing but make the suspension feel inconsistent (and the damper work hard) at the very top (like when landing from any jump with enough airtime to let the system fully extend).
  • + 1
 @just6979: if you look at sag 20-33% that is between 30-50mm of travel. That is right on the peak of the curve heading back down. Its exactly what my Transition Patrol is like.
  • + 1
 And this is supposed to make me smile more post ride than my late 90's single pivot 2.1 leverage Foes did hucking 6' drops? Indicative of the current bike industry until another sweet less complicated era is found....
  • + 1
 This series is great and I love the links at the bottom to the other analyses. It would be great to also link to the ride reviews of these bikes to see how well those correlate to the analysis. (I’m lazy)
  • + 2
 Imagine trying to chase down a creaky link in this beast. Or when it comes time to replace bearings. That's alot of money and hassle just to have a bit different bike.
  • + 4
 And I wish I could unsee it...
  • + 2
 That's not a Stumpjumper...it's a stump. All the best numbers in world can not overcome the practical and aesthetic failings of that massive chin of a bottom bracket.
  • + 4
 So the frame is the bash guard?
  • + 3
 Don’t care if it’s the best susp. in the world.....it’s STILL UGLY AF.
  • + 3
 @dan-roberts

Is Forbidden Druid in the pipline (accompanied by the comprehensive review from @mikekazimer)?
  • + 3
 I’ve been staring at graphs for so long that I don’t know what day of the week it is, let alone what bikes are coming up!
  • + 2
 Love to see a Knolly on the list as well.
  • + 2
 Got to be the top plastic bike at the moment. Stunning thing that!
  • + 1
 @sethius: Absolutely!
  • + 5
 But it works for Tracy?
  • + 0
 Great article, looking forward to more. I think a longer conclusion would help to bring the analysis together and make more of a point. As it is, the piece ends abruptly and I'm left wanting more of a summary of how the bike would ride in comparison to other designs.
  • + 1
 ok it might not look like a normal set up...but i'd reserve judgement until I rode it...If it rips then who cares what it looks like. Beauty is skin (carbon) deep after all. Face value assessment is just shallow!
  • + 2
 I was reading the article with deep focus, analyzing the videos and photos then voila...the cat. I laughed so loud my dog jumped awake from his slumber.
  • + 3
 If I won this in a raffle, I would ask if I could have the Fox elbow pads instead.
  • + 4
 Tracy Hannah seemed to do just fine on this suspension design last weekend
  • + 2
 Maybe she would have done better on a different bike. Pro performance is no measure of quality bike design. That's literally why they are Pros. To make whatever junkpile manuf X builds look good.
  • + 2
 Also didn't hurt that 2 of the top girls are injured and Rachel fell during her run....really at that point she cold have won on almost any suspension design.
  • + 3
 Shit!!! She UUUUUUGGGGLLLLLLYYYY
  • + 3
 PB killing all fun in mountain biking one graph at a time.
  • - 1
 "there’s a big hump at the beginning of travel. Going from progressive to regressive and back and forth at high frequencies can create problems for the rebound."

Why does this matter if it happens BEFORE the SAG point? While riding hugging the ground, the suspension is never there. And for taking-off and landing, the suspension action before the pushing point is never noticeable. Please elaborate.
  • + 2
 There are plenty of occasions where you’d encounter impacts while not at the sag point. Having regression here does translate to a perceivable harshness in those situations, while also providing inconsistent changes in shaft speed for the damping system to deal with.
  • + 1
 @dan-roberts: please do a flex stay design like the spark.
  • + 1
 @dan-roberts: Yup, like landing from any kind of significant air-time.
  • + 2
 Is it possible to have kickback angle, it says a lot about the feeling of the suspension in rough or jump sections.
  • + 2
 The reviewer doesn't seem to think kickback matters much so I'm not sure how useful his analysis is going to be for me as like you, I find it can make or break a bike if they don't have very good small bump sensitivity.
  • + 1
 @jclnv: yep, that's it.

Small bump sensitivity, plushness, and after a whole lot of sprained ankles some comfort for them on rough terrain...
  • + 1
 I read above it's like 35 degrees,,,
  • + 1
 @jaydawg69: if that's for real I guess it's a joke... My freeride bike was at 15° max (on 36/15 gear) and I found that was WAAAAAAAY too much (now I've a Glory, about 5° of kickback, that's just awesome and not less fun and lively !)
  • + 1
 I love the armchair analysis: @dan-roberts did you actually ride this bike? And you do know that the damping is NOT handled by the shock, but by the linkage, right?
  • + 1
 The linkage is not damped in any substantial way whatsoever.
  • + 1
 @shredteds: Not in the way you are thinking anyway (IE, friction at the pivots, including the slider tube)...
  • + 2
 My leg length is incompatible with that seat angle. Oh yeah, and it's fugly.
  • + 2
 Strongly agree. I get that some suspension designs need to make compromises to other parts of the geometry, but that seat tube is just stupid. Folks on either end of a size are going to get such a different ride than someone in the middle.
  • + 2
 dont they know there is such thing as lock or climbing setting on the rear shock...what happen to that??
  • + 1
 Lock outs are a crutch to fix inherent compromises in some suspension designs. DW-link, for example, manages just fine without a firm mode or lockout, because its anti-squat hovers just above 100% for much of the travel in most of the gears. This bike's anti-squat is insane, and will likely pogo like crazy on steep techy climbs unless used with a shock with something like Cane Creek's Climb Switch (increases both compression AND rebound). Combined with that downtube bulge, this bike will suck for a heavy guy (high PSI needed) to ride in New England (lots of big rocks that will line up with a powerful ratchet pedal stroke, during which time the rear suspension will collapse as the anti-squat disappears during the ratchet move, thus bashing the bulge into said rocks)
  • + 2
 It really doesn't need it. The bike pedals amazingly well.
  • + 2
 Just get an orange, you can't make cool twanging sounds with the chain on that....
  • + 1
 Marin had outs out all over when this came out. Matt Jones riding one, ads in magazines. Entire waste of money. If they sell 10 of them it would be a miracle.
  • + 1
 Meant to say Ads... all over when this came out.
  • + 2
 shoot the person who made it! does it come with a sick bag?
  • - 2
 WTF Fugly as hell!
Trying way too hard. There is way too much BS in MTB design & marketing so it's nice to get some well written independent tech articles.
One obvious question since Scott Bikes have employed such clever & talented engineer's is what suspension system are they now favouring for their DH & Enduro bikes I wonder????
  • + 3
 This suspension design was created by an engineer getting creative and trying to solve a lot of the problems that exist in every other suspension system. I don't see this as marketing BS at all, it actually is a completely different system. If you want to see marketing BS, go look at Transition bikes and their GiddyUp suspension. These tech articles are all great but they have to be compared to how the bike actually performs in the real world. Don't put too much weight into all these fancy graphs. This coming from an industry engineer.
  • + 2
 I never realized numbers can be so ugly.
  • + 1
 need to see Trek Slash numbers, then ill be able to compare and actually know what this all means!
  • + 2
 Tantrums next? Or speed goat feller?
  • + 1
 RC claimed years ago that he was working on a review of the Tantrum; yet to see it...
  • + 2
 @hamncheez: didnt he put one out sailing it was one of the few that it was legit, or was that a first impressions thing?
  • + 2
 @sethius: ya he said the only thing comparable to it was fox live valve
  • + 1
 @hamncheez: thought so, so odd it's not really been talked about..
  • + 1
 this series is awesome, I love nerding our about this stuff. Can you please do megatower??
  • + 2
 Is so complex and complicated, it just might work. For a while.
  • + 1
 I know the numbers all add up and the bike rides like a dream.....but look how ugly that bike is!!!
  • + 3
 Looks like e-Session
  • - 3
 Current Session has a downtube that if it was a bit bigger you’d fit a battery in it
  • + 1
 Please keep these articles coming. Very thought provoking for us armchair engineers.
  • + 1
 Too much going on down below..just like when you go down and turn around because it smells like tuna
  • + 1
 Please make it link me some trek fuel 12mm 2012. And ask the options on the guerilla gravity!!
  • + 1
 They should've painted it green and called it the Grasshopper or something, I actually think it looks pretty sweet.
  • + 1
 Why do they mess with the geometry so much? Why can't they just find new places to stash things like tools and energy bars.
  • + 0
 While its great with the graphs above I think a graph with force and travel is more intuitive and easier to understand than the graph with leverage ratio.
  • + 3
 Made in the USSR
  • + 1
 The way the bb hangs cantilevered out like that just seems to be begging to be sheared off.
  • + 2
 "Some baguette wielding people " Leave Barelli alone! Razz
  • - 2
 This is useless setup. It cannot has less friction than normal bearings. It is made just for marketing BS, to say that is is supple yet supportive, zero bobing and no kickback at the same time. All of this thanks to our new "magic" pipe.

Since it is tricky to figure out instant centre for this type of suspension (think about McPherson strut and you will get it) it is assumed that no one will bother to check it and people will believe into this marketing.

And the look of it on top of that. Useless.
  • + 2
 Have you read any of the ride reviews of this suspension system? Because every one I've read seems to back up their "marketing BS" claims.
  • + 1
 I am a cynic too when it comes to brand/product messaging, and there could be an entire conversation about just that here (as it relates to any brand). However, don't let that get in they way of natural curiosity. I fully encourage anyone to be hand guided to one of these with a blindfold (if you are easily distracted by things that are visually polarizing), get on, remove said blindfold and give it a demo, I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how it rides, and to some point how it backs up what sounds like over the top hyperbole.
  • + 2
 @dickT3030: With this much pedal kick back it is hardly universaal bike. How to call this much travel and maximum pedaling efficiency? Down country? No, this is first ever up-enduro bicycleBig Grin .
  • + 3
 @dickT3030: The "reviews" are marketing BS. Talk to people who actually own one. The rear ends are super flexy, the tire buzzes the seat, hitting bumps when climbing make it bottom out so you have tons of pedal strikes, etc.

The guy who designed it tried to get Fox to build him an air shock with 0 damping because he claimed the suspension design doesn't need it. What a joke! Thats why they spec it with an X2, so they can dial down the damping as much as possible. It must ride like a pogo stick when set up "correctly". There is no way to dissipate energy in a spring without some sort of damper, no matter the linkage design. It shows a fundamental ignorance in suspension design.

Without an idler pulley (or the Magic Link/Tantrum) there are exactly 2 ways to reduce pedal bob on a bike: chain growth (anti-squat) or damping, like the propedal switch. A good bike will balance these forces, since they have trade offs. The more chain growth the more pedal kickback, and too much and the bike will start bobbing up out of the sag point when pedaling. Too little and it will bob like older, crappier suspension designs from last decade.
  • - 1
 @hamncheezh: Yes, the claimed need for almost zero damping shows that the tube definitely adds some damping through friction. It they only said "no need for compression", I would believe it, especially after seeing those ridiculous anti-squat numbers (which also mean that on real steep and techy climbs, it likely pogos worse than even an old VPP bike with their weird leverage curves). But not needing rebound damping makes no sense because rebound is directly related to spring rate. The low end-stroke leverage certainly helps by needing less high-speed rebound... But there is no way that it will feel the same for me that puts 300 PSI in a DPX2 EVOL vs my friend who runs 160 PSI in a same length DPS EVOL
  • + 1
 @just6979: Here the guy claims it needs near 0 damping, and that the sliding element is not damped either

www.pinkbike.com/news/polygon-square-one-ex9-and-its-r3act-suspension-where-it-came-from-and-how-it-works-2017.html

Others have speculated that friction in the system (tons of pivots plus a very large surface area slider) is acting like damping.
  • + 2
 That's one expensive bashguard
  • + 2
 The Trust linkage fork was made for this!!!
  • + 1
 Hah, I’ve actually been patiently waiting for someone to do just that!
  • + 1
 Enjoying these tech articles immensely. For purely selfish reasons I'd love to see the analysis on the Foxy 29.
  • + 2
 Kinematics be damned, the Stumpy wins hands down on looks.
  • + 1
 I'm not even a cat person but that cat seems AW$ESOME!
  • + 1
 Looks like a bulldog chewing a wasp!
  • + 1
 This is great! Now hurry up and do ALL the bikes...
  • + 1
 Nuke them from orbit- it’s the only way to be sure
  • + 1
 Would look better with a sealed drive!
  • - 1
 This looks like a bike I'd see at Walmart or Academy with Star Wars stickers on it. I'm a big proponent of function over form, but this is hideous.
  • + 1
 Wrap the colorful graph on the bike, that sure cure it!
  • + 1
 fuck the numbers looooook at it
  • + 1
 Just Bring it to me Polygon Xquareone.
  • + 1
 That "floating" BB looks scary to me...
  • + 1
 Why makes a bike complicated
  • + 1
 One quick glance at that rear end = no gracias.
  • + 1
 I bet it has a great personality
  • + 0
 I wish I had more hands..... so I could give this bike 4 thumbs down !!!
  • + 0
 a double-link-driven single-pivot?
  • + 0
 Maybe the numbers will make you a better riders. Ya right!
  • + 0
 I think they forgot to put an engine in there.
  • + 0
 Is that electric?
  • - 2
 Kill it before it lays eggs!!! we can not let it mate with that Polygon she-male-creature
  • - 2
 It just looks heavy
  • - 1
 Looks like an ebike
  • - 2
 Over engineered single pivot no marketing hype can fix!!
  • + 3
 It's not a single pivot bike...
  • + 0
 Cannondale called, they want money on the super v patent.

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