Cascade Components Announces V2 Transition Sentinel and Santa Cruz Heckler Links

Feb 23, 2021
by Cascade Components  
Unanodized link installed on bike

Press Release: Cascade Components

We have a couple of new links to announce again! I know everyone is probably getting tired of this, but we’ve got a lot down the line so get used to it.

Transition Sentinel (2020-current)

Our link for the new Sentinel bumps up the progression to 30% from 24% and rear wheel travel is increased by 15 mm. With the Cascade Components link, the travel options become 165 mm with a 205x62.5 mm shock or 155 mm with a 205x57.5 mm shock. At 30% progression, this link works well with both large volume air shocks like the X2 and coils.

Black link installed on bike

What does this translate to on the trail? The biggest change is the bike’s ability to plow and maintain traction when things start getting wild. Because of the increased progression, there is also an increase in pop. This is due to the ramp up increasing mid-stroke support, which provides a better platform to push against going up the lip of a jump or railing a berm. As for pedaling, there is no discernable change. Geometry stays the same as with the stock link so you can expect pedaling related ergonomics to be the same as well.

Black and purple V2 Sentinel links
The Sentinel link is currently available in black and purple

Specs and Details:

• 165 mm of travel with 205x62.5 shock
• 155 mm of travel with 205x57.5 shock
• Progression increased to 30% compared to 24% with stock link
• Sealed Enduro MAX bearings
• Stainless steel spiral retaining rings on each bearing
• CNC’d from 6061-T6 in the USA
• Colors: Black and purple
• Cost: $337 USD.
V2 Sentinel leverage curve comparison

Santa Cruz Heckler/Heckler MX (2020-current)

Black Heckler link

The Heckler link brings the performance tweaks behind our other Santa Cruz links to the E-bike lineup. As with our other Santa Cruz links, travel, progression, and chainstay length are all increased. The progression goes up to 35% from 27% while travel is increased by 8 mm and chainstays go up by 5 mm. The 5 mm increase in chainstay length isn’t especially noticeable on the trail, however. So why would you want to throw a link on an E-bike? The added weight can make the bike prone to diving deeper into its travel than desired. The increased ramp up/mid-stroke support helps keep it up in its travel, especially when things get chunky. Small bump sensitivity is increased as well, however with the amount of weight that’s behind the bike this link is more about keeping it composed.


Specs and Details:

• 158 mm of travel for 27.5” Heckler, 148 mm for Heckler MX
• Progression increased to 35% compared to 27% with stock link
• + 5 mm chainstay length
• Sealed Enduro MAX bearings
• CNC’d from 6061-T6 in the USA
• Colors: Black only
• Cost: $331 USD.
Heckler leverage curve comparison



91 Comments

  • 61 4
 What's the disadvantage to installing one of these links? I'd like to know why bike designers didn't design the suspension like this in the first place.
  • 56 1
 This is a common question every time they release a new link. I think the bottom line is that the manufacturer has to make compromises to capture as many buyers as possible. Then buying one of these links allows the individual to make changes that suit their particular riding style and terrain.
  • 31 6
 less aggressive riders would probably think the bike would feel harsher
  • 12 0
 it ups leverage rates, so if you're already around 100 kilos, it could start to put you in a problematic place, spring-rate wise (but also damping wise)
  • 2 1
 i find it makes the bike a tad too long and the bb a tad too low. the better rider you are the less of a problem it is
  • 15 2
 Slower riders will complain that they can't use full travel.
  • 7 1
 That's like saying why can't all bikes come with the same exact shock with no adjustments.
  • 4 0
 @SnowshoeRider4Life: So the 95% of riders considering buying one then....
  • 10 17
flag garrisond5 (Feb 23, 2021 at 19:28) (Below Threshold)
 I own a cascade link, so I'm biased, but the questioning of this every time they post a new product release is really freaking stupid. To the people that always say "if it's better, why didn't they design it this way? " That a really ignorant stance. Do you think every single part of your bike is perfect? Do you think that some freaking nerd couldn't nerd out on ANY particular part and make it better? That's just dumb. These guys are nerds about suspension dynamics and I'm thankful for that. It made my bike so much better in every way.
  • 1 0
 I read everything above and I still don't understand what this linkage upgrade does. I'm not joking, can someone please explain to me what does it do.
  • 1 1
 @abzillah: Ups travel/progression so, if you feel that your bike could use a little more travel and feel a bit linear, this link should address the problem; otherwise you should be fine with the stock link
  • 1 1
 An actual diss advantage is that it voids the warranty of both the shock and frame for most companies... So take yours off before you bring your bike in for some crack in the frameWink
  • 2 1
 @thechunderdownunder: actually Transition approves. This is still covered under their warranty
  • 1 0
 @mtnflow74: ahh well specialized, Fox, and Santa Cruz do notWink
  • 46 0
 Someone should come out with aftermarket frames to go with everyone's discarded stock links.
  • 1 0
 Haha! How is this not the top comment?
  • 12 1
 I have Cascade links on both my Tallboy and my Megatower and the day I installed them both bikes were transformed. I'm sure the change would be subtle for some, but for me it changed the bikes just enough that they now ride exactly like I wish they did out of the box.
  • 2 0
 I have the tb4 and have been eyeing this link. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how it changed the character of the bike.
  • 3 0
 @vaedwards: I switch between my TB4 and Megatower a lot and going back to the TB I always felt it lost composure at high speed in rough terrain (rocks and choppy DH) and the link really shines when I'm pushing the bike in these conditions. It takes the harsh edge off when really pushing hard and makes it more composed at speed.
  • 6 0
 I did the same on my 2019 Transition Sentinel. The changes were very noticeable!
  • 11 3
 I'd love to see some totally blind tests of these types of products. Not doubting it didn't make it feel better but perception has such a huge impact. Especially after you've spent a lot of money on an upgrade and have already told yourself how amazing it will be. I feel like in a lot of situations people wouldn't be able to tell a difference. But I know the feeling, you put on an upgrade and suddenly it's like you can just ride so much harder because you're stoked.
  • 4 1
 @DylanH93:
For a CC link equipped V1 sentinel, the difference is very noticeable: you no longer have to choose between super high psi and less small bump sensitivity or "normal" psi and blowing through the travel.
With the stock link I was pushing 265 psi, even with a custom tune. I'm now at 240-245 psi depending on the terrain. I was able to tell something was very different as soon as I sat on the bike with the CC link installed.
I would imagine the difference between a stock V2 sentinel and CC linked V2 sentinel may be less noticeable.
  • 3 0
 @DylanH93: I put both a CC link and a coil on my Patrol. When I put on the CC link, it made an immediately noticeable difference. Coil shock not so much. So although not blind, both had a similar emotional (and actual) investment by me and one had a much more noticeable difference.

Whether the feeling was better took some testing, but it makes a very noticeable difference to how the bike feels. Similar to others I could drop pressure in the shock for better small bump compliance and still get all the support I want.
  • 1 0
 @vaedwards: I'm 200lb rider on a TB4. I notice the difference on landings - more travel and I don't blow through the travel as much. When I jump it, there's more pop to the back end. When I ride technical climbs I no longer use the lockout because the bobbing has reduced. I kinda wished I'd played with the shock spacers first but I went to the cascade link instead. I have since added a bigger spacer to the shock and the fork and I think I've got the TB4 dialed in for jumpy riding.
  • 1 0
 @superthanks4asking: Did you need a higher pressure in the shock to achieve the same sag, once the cc link was installed? Basically, does the link require a higher spring rate?
  • 1 0
 @superthanks4asking: nvm, I found the answer!
  • 2 0
 @Silocycle: I needed a lower spring rate on mine. Not sure what the experience of the guy with the Bronson above was that made him need more.
  • 1 0
 @Silocycle: I'm running a CC link in my Hightower. I also run a Megneg and was initially running 2 tokens in the can and blowing through the travel (72kg rider). After installing the CC link, I was able to remove one of the tokens from the can (back to the stock one token) and upped the pressure (a fair bit) to stay at 30% sag. I now rarely blow through all the travel (only on the bigger hits) and the bike is so much better in the rough stuff. I won't go back to the stock link. Pedaling is the same or not noticeably different, mid stroke support is better and the bike rails corners with confidence more so than with the stock link. I've also upped the front to 160 travel, so running 150 rear 160 front, and feel this is where the Hightower should have been from the start.
  • 1 0
 @superthanks4asking: thanks! Yeah I’ve switched to a slightly bigger volume spacer, and this does help prevent bottom out. It doesn’t make a big difference to the overall feel of the bike though.

I especially like what you have to say about the benefits climbing. I had a tallboy v3 for a few years, and that bike had significantly better climbing manners.

I also have a dpx2 with a slightly longer stroke than the stock shock. (Which also ends up at around 129mm travel) It makes the bike feel more planted, and it handles higher speed chop better. The downside is, it is a little softer feeling in the mid stroke, and loses some crispness under pedaling.

I’m thinking the cascade link might be what I’m looking for. (And selling the extra shock would cover the cost)
I’ve yet to hear a commenter who regrets their purchase!
  • 7 1
 Every time a new Cascade link comes out it makes me feel like I own the wrong bike... Because it's never my bike
  • 44 0
 Or perhaps the right one. The company did it right the first time.
  • 5 1
 @Thirty3: on a v2 sentinel, transition definitely did it right the first time. This link is if you want to make the sentinel something like the spec enduro. Not what transition intended, but something that some people want.
  • 6 0
 Will it work the scout????
  • 3 0
 The question I came for.
  • 30 0
 Still trying to figure that out! If anyone in the greater Seattle area with a Scout is reading this, stop by so that we can test fit it on your bike. If it fits you get the link.
  • 2 0
 @CascadeComponents: sounds like I am driving up from Portland!
  • 2 0
 @CascadeComponents: I’ll bring you my Norco Optic if you want to try making a link for it!
  • 1 0
 @CascadeComponents: I live in downtown Redmond and have a 2020 scout. I want nothing more than to pickup a cascade components link for it!

If you guys need to borrow a bike... Or a test rider...
  • 3 0
 I don’t own one of those frames but that is some gorgeous machine work! Would love to see some links machined like that for a knolly.
  • 2 0
 They have definitely stepped their game up recently. I've always been a fan of the concept but when they started producing their first links the finishing tool paths were messy, these are beautiful. Does Knolly fully machine their rocker links? Most companies have those forged(cast?) then finished machined due to the cheaper costs at high volume. These links are a small batch product where they have the ability to update easily and that is reflected in their price tag. As someone who prices machined parts for a living I'd say their product is worth every penny if the changes in suspension feel suit your riding.
  • 4 0
 @millsr4: I am not 100% on the new knolly links, I just built up a new Warden LT for a friend and they looked forged and polished, but not totally sure, I suppose I could dig it up. I know my 2014 chilcotin looks to have cnc’d links. All of the older Knolly were certainly cnc cut links. The suspension feel on every Knolly I own is incredible, but just having a little more travel option or ability to change progression would be pretty sweet. And of course those anodized colors tug at my late 70s bmx heart strings.
  • 4 1
 Is it beneficial to run both a push eleven six coil AND a cascade link? That’s so extra
  • 5 2
 According to PUSH, the two are not compatible.
  • 10 2
 @swillett116: which is a odd thing to say given the shock has the same eye-to-eye length and stroke and has zero clearance concerns. If that's not compatibility I'm not sure what is.
  • 2 0
 @CascadeComponents: aren’t push’s shocks designed for each bike with the stock linkage? Surely they would be selling the push shock configured slightly different if they were engineering and testing it with the cascade link installed.
  • 3 1
 @CascadeComponents:

I have a CC link on my SB150 with an eleven six and the midstroke support and bottom out resistance are much better than the stock link. I didn’t even have to change spring rates. Keep up the great work!????
  • 6 1
 @devinkalt: Yes, but the change to the damping forces is minimal enough that the built in adjustments have been adequate for anyone running a push shock with one of our links to get their damping in line so far.
  • 3 0
 I know cascade wouldn't make a link for a discontinued bike but I'd pay extra for a Smuggler link
  • 1 0
 I love my smuggler. My friends cant wrap their heads around it when they try my 120mm bike and its more plush and feels deeper than my 147mm travel Ripmo AF. I cant even imagine what a cascade link would do to it.
  • 1 0
 You could get one (or the v1 version) and test to see if it fits yourself, although that is an expensive test to do on your own and no idea what the results would be.

My friend has a Smuggler and loves it, although I rode it a bit and it didn't feel nearly as playful as I had hoped.
  • 2 0
 Have one on a SB130. It’s pretty amazing how It irons out the small bumps on trail. Handles big hits really well too. Pushcoil+Cascade link= more fun!
  • 3 0
 they ever gonna make one for the scout?
  • 3 0
 I just bought one for my Santa Cruz Tallboy . It will be here Thursday.
  • 1 2
 Still waiting on the SB165 link, seems every Yeti has a Cascade already made for it except the one it would suit the most, the coil shocked freeride bike...though maybe the leverage rate is already good enough..wouldn't mind a bit more travel and small bump compliance though or even a mullet link.
  • 2 0
 @Cascade Components: any plans for the Norco Optic?
  • 4 1
 Not sure the optic needs one. Rumor has it you can just fire in a 190x50 shock as is and off you go. Cant confirm myself though.
  • 1 0
 @j-t-g: interesting, know anyone who’s done that?
  • 1 0
 I have to say my 2021 Optic w/ Super Deluxe has some the best rear end of any bike I have rode. It doesn't bottom harshly and rides high in it travel. It has small bump compliance and just feels good. Not sure i would want to change that feeling with a CC link.
  • 1 0
 Please please please do a link for something other than a Transition, Santa Cruz or Specialized...
  • 1 2
 they claim a change of 12% and graphically display a "difference" between the graphed lines that "shows" a "difference" graphically of 40- 50% using their misleading graphing techniques. This is called lying.
  • 1 0
 are you referring to the fact that the axis is trimmed and doesn't show the full scale starting at 0?
  • 2 0
 This is how literally every single leverage curve is plotted so not really sure what you're talking about.
  • 1 0
 @CascadeComponents: is it safe to assume that you don't have an SB5.5 link on the way? =-)
  • 3 1
 Please do Gt lts links!
  • 1 0
 Does the frame warranty remain?
  • 5 0
 nope
  • 2 0
 Talked to transition. They said yes. The local shop has it in writing. Can’t speak for Santa Cruz
  • 23 4
 If you break something put your old link back and shut the fuck up. Cant see you having too many issues either way.
  • 1 1
 Hi Cascade Components. Will you be offering a Santa Cruz Nomad V3 link option?
  • 10 13
 For me the Cascade Link is a Godsend.

Fast guys will be fast no matter what. My buddy won a DH Cat3 race on his stock Bronson with NO Cascade Link, however, if you are less skilled, and slower than your average club racer, the Cascade Link is a Godsend! The BronsonV3 is way to linear and it blows through it's travel way too easily. Then again, maybe the Cascade Link will help the fast guys too and I think my buddy would be even faster with the Cascade Link.

My Bronson was born wiht the Rockshock Deluxe RCT shock factory, and when she was brand new, I thought she was just the perfect bike, but then I started to take here through the chunky-steeps, and doing bigger air more and that is when I noticed the limitations. When I ran her at 30% in stock form, she was awesomely plush, until it got a little more chunkier, then she bottomed out way too easy, I am talking she bottomed out all the time without much effort.

When running her 25% sag, that stopped the easy bottom outs but then she felt way too sketchy and loose. I then replaced the RCT shock with a Fox X2 with 4 tokens, and that made my Bronson a lot better. Bottom outs where few and far between when sag was set at 30%.

With the Fox X2, I was thinking how much better could the Cascade Link be? At the time, I did NOT see any real world regular people reviews for the Cascade Link for the Bronson, but regardless I decided to take the dive.

First thing I noticed was that it took about 25lbs more air to get 30% sag (with Fox X2). Then the next day when I took her on some shuttle service DH runs, it was truly unbelievable! I could ride the back end and stay on the back on the very steep and loose stuff and she was very controllable. When I muffed a jump and cased hard, the bottom outs were very forgving and controllable. Cascade Components says the Bronson Link makes the bike 160mm travel with the same shock, and I have to say, it feels more than that. Even though it feels like I am sitting lower, I feel like the suspension is bottomless now. Bike feels much more planted through the chunk and more stable too. With a Fox 36 Grip2 at 170mm up front, this thing is a borderline DH bike, and if it was my only choice for a DH bike, I would be ok with it.

As for climbing with the Cascade, the back end feels a little more planted and a little better on climbs, and I think she does standing climbs much better now than before the Cascade Link, I seem to sit deeper in the sag and feels she does NOT bob as much when I am standing and hammering up the hills.

Here are the numbers I got from the Online Geo Calculator with the Cascade Link and bumping up fork to 170mm:
--- 2019 Santa Cruz Bronson with Cascade Link and Fox 36 at 170mm ---
-- HTA: 64.5 Degrees (0.6 Deg Slacker)
-- STA: 74.4 Degrees (0.6 Deg Slacker)
-- Wheelbase: 1200mm (9mm longer)
-- Chainstay: 435mm (5mm longer)
-- BB Height: 340.8mm (0.8 mm higher)

Cascade says:
-- new link bumps travel up 160mm (from 150mm)
-- new link adds 12% more progression

Other Notes:
-- Had to run 25 more psi to get the same sag (~30%)
(now at 190 psi, was at 165).
  • 32 1
 What did you get her for Valentines day?
  • 5 1
 This comment should only be read in a southern accent.
  • 1 0
 Just curious @HendersonMike, how did the X2 fit in the Bronson? I know the shock tunnel is fairly tight...
  • 12 0
 You had me at Cat3
  • 2 3
 Ever consider just strapping a MegNeg on her and saving yourself $250? The benefits sound identical and way cheaper...but maybe she’s just a fancy lady.
  • 1 2
 @anderd23: , I give the ladies me for Valentine's Day!
  • 2 1
 @kittymeow169: , it fits. It is tight but it fits. I have been running X2 for 2 years now without issues.
  • 1 2
 @swillett116: , I know it is long but really only meant for those thinking about a Cascade Link. Also,it was just copied and pasted so no work. However, Haters, gonna Hate, what can we do? Please discuss..
  • 1 3
 @RobKong: , winning a Cat3 DH race on a stock Bronson is not impressive to you? Actually his time even beat the Cat2 guys.
  • 1 2
 @portermoab: , Not the same. The Cascade Link changes the kinematics, the Megneg just is a bigger volume air can that can help add more progression. The Megneg is just a band aid that turns a bad shock into a better shock. If you want a better DH shock, just get a Fox X2. However, you do you! You do whatever makes you feel better. HUGGGZZZ!
  • 1 3
 @RobKong: , you sound like some kind of little BITCH that wants to meet up with me so you can kick my ass. Just arrange a time and lace so I will make sure to show up so you can kick my as.
  • 1 0
 @HendersonMike: man, I would totally love that! Except you're probably a CAT3 internet tough guy, and there is no way I can handle that sort of pain, so I'm going to have to pass.
  • 1 2
 @RobKong: , I am NO tough guy! please discuss...
  • 3 0
 @HendersonMike: You two need to tickle fight and get this over with.
  • 1 1
 @anderd23: , You Millennials and all your Millennial Talk! what is "tickle fight"?? please discuss...
  • 1 1
 @RobKong: , did I use to many big words for you? or was it just too much word? I was just trying to talk about the Cascade Link and my thoughts, and you were the one that Stabbed me, and NOT the other way around. However, let us smoke the peace pipe together and let bygones be bygones and NO stabs? yes? no? please discuss.... and HUGGGZZZZ!!!
  • 1 3
 looks nice and seems to work well, but far too expensive... maybe one day, when my transition is perfectly fitted and there is money left!
  • 2 2
 would love a mk1 patrol link to up the leverage ratio
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