First Look: Fuji's Rakan LT Adds Travel, Keeps Weird Suspension

Jan 21, 2021
by Mike Levy  
Fuji Rakan LT Press Release photos


Fuji has expanded their Rakan range for 2021, with a big bump up to 150mm of coil-sprung rear-wheel-travel, a 160mm fork, and a 63.7-degree head angle that puts it in a different category than the 120mm version. The short-travel Raken is still in their catalog if you don't need that much bike, but it's the Rakan LT that's ready for more speed and more sending.

The Rakan LT comes in two flavors; $2,799 USD gets you a RockShox Yari RC fork and Super Deluxe Coil Select shock, and a Deore 11-speed drivetrain, while $3,999 USD will get you a ZEB Select+, Super Deluxe Coil Select+, and GX Eagle 12-speed gearing on the same aluminum frame.
Rakan LT Details

• Travel: 150mm rear / 160mm front
• Wheel size: 29"
• MLink suspension
• Aluminum frame
• Threaded bottom bracket
• Metric shock sizing
• MSRP: $2,799 / $3,999 USD
www.fujibikes.com


Fuji Rakan LT Press Release photos
The new Rakan LT sports 150mm of travel, and there's a pivot nearly hidden in the middle of the bike's chainstays.


MLink Rear Suspension

The Rakan LT's press release is full of words telling us how efficient the bike's rear-suspension layout is and, having ridden a few different variations of their MLink system, I don't doubt those claims. Okay, cool, but why is there a pivot in the middle of the chainstays? MLink is short for Mid Link, and Fuji has said in the past that it provides less binding, less flex, and reduced pivot stress than experienced in more common suspension designs.

''Because it is a longer link than a typical short link system would use, it requires less rotation from the chainstay pivot," Luke Beal (the MLink's designer) explained of the original Rakan's MLink system that the new version evolved from. ''That is a simplification, but it gets the idea across. Just because it doesn’t rotate a lot doesn’t mean it doesn’t have an impact on the performance of the system.''


Fuji Rakan LT Press Release photos
Fuji Rakan LT Press Release photos


Geometry

You'll find the Rakan name on two bikes in Fuji's catalog, one being a 120mm trail rig and the other being the 150mm Rakan LT shown here. As you can imagine, they have very dissimilar geometry. Upfront, the LT gets a 63.7-degree head angle and a roomy 490mm reach on a large-sized bike. That drops down to 470mm on a medium and 450mm on a small, while the seat tube angle is as steep as 77.5-degrees on the small. The medium and large sizes sit a bit slacker at 76.5-degrees.


It's worth mentioning that the new Rakan LT seems to sit awfully close to Fuji's other big-hitter, the Auric LT that sports a 170mm fork and 160mm of rear-wheel-travel. It has a 63.5-degree head angle, and the reach numbers match those used for the Rakan LT. The frame looks quite similar, too.


Fuji Rakan LT Press Release photos
Fuji Rakan LT Press Release photos
The Rakan 29 LT 1.1 (left) costs $3,999 USD, while the LT 1.5 goes for $2,799 USD. Both are built around the same 150mm-travel aluminum frame.



244 Comments

  • 127 8
 I rakan no one on pinkbike owns a fuji bike. Prove me wrong!
  • 27 0
 I do. It's not great, original value was pretty bad, geometry is somewhat outdated. After upgrading the fork to a z2, its ok now. For an entry-level full-sus anyway. (2020 Reveal 1.3)
  • 43 0
 Hey, I have a fuji bike. It's a steel roadbike from the 80's, but still
  • 17 0
 @Negetiv: there are pictures of me on the back of my dad’s Fuji at the age of two as my parents rode from Michigan to Maine. That was in 1983 and he still has it.
  • 14 0
 I have a fuji gravel bike. Great value and rides well.
  • 6 0
 1999 Fuji Team road bike in highlighter yellow with matching Mavic Open Pro rims. Shimano 600 kit, obviously, since Im not a dentist.
  • 4 0
 I have a fuji xc bike and it's only cracked 4 times so I'd say that's a win. (It actually is a great race bike if you want a super fast hard tail)
  • 3 1
 I have a Fuji Roubaix road bike from 2009.
  • 3 0
 @mountguitars: Bought a Roubaix myself in '12. Just unloaded it to make room in the garage for MTB #2.
  • 4 0
 @Negetiv: at first i was like "ya lol hes nobody has fuji's, although this one actually looks really nice" then i was like "oh wow hes right i also have a fuji team sl roadbike!"
  • 1 0
 I own their plus bike the Bighorn
  • 53 1
 ‘Keeps Weird Suspension’ I’m sure they appreciate that, Pinkbike, lol
  • 1 0
 good to hear from you Uncle.... keep well my friend
  • 4 0
 No lie... Just got a nukeproof reactor, but my backup option was a closeout Fuji Rakan 1.3. Solid spec for monies, and great color. Reviews, such as they can be found, are quite positive. I was -> - close.
  • 6 0
 @AllMountin: Hopefully we'll get you next time...glad you took a look!
  • 2 0
 @Ryanrobinson1984: got you to click and take a closer look....
  • 3 0
 @Ryanrobinson1984: they must be overdue on their advertising payments...
  • 4 0
 I have a Fuji Altamira cyclocross bike, and race it as a regional privateer. It’s a pretty wicked machine - they have a good rep in CX.
  • 4 1
 I have a Fuji gravel bike that I built in 2018. The BB threads showed up full of burrs, I also suspect it is not cut in one machining step because it chews through BB bearings rapidly (sign of misalignment). The head tube was oval shaped, not round. The top bearing would not seat properly until you rode it which added slop and needed tightened multiple times each time I adjusted a spacer. I sanded that to fit the top bearing properly. When the rear wheel is removed, the chain stays bow inwards and do not maintain the rear axle spacing, so if you want to thread the axle in to keep from losing it when you have the rear wheel off, too bad. The exit holes for internal routing are poorly designed and are literally just a hole in the down tube; no guide, no grommet, no protection, nothing. I run housing sleeves all the time at the down tube exit to keep the cables from abrading/being abraded by the downtube itself.

Once I solved those issues and started putting miles on the thing, I genuinely like how it rides and handles and it's been completely problem-free (outside of the BB bearing life). But it's going to take one hell of a bike for me to ever buy a Fuji again.
  • 2 0
 Looks like a patrol
  • 14 1
 @gripitandpucker: Those are all issues that as both an engineer and cyclist would bother me as well. Not that it’s any help for your situation, but I probably spend more time working on manufacturing processes to improve quality than I do in developing kinematic layouts. I hope that my efforts (and the efforts of Fuji and their manufacturing partners) pay off and are noticeable on these MLink bikes. We worked hard to make sure that they are not only great riding and performing bikes, but also a pleasure to assemble, maintain, and own over the long term.
  • 2 0
 @leveloneengineering: as someone interested in learning more about bike kinematics, could you recommend resources for this or is it mainly creative application of general mechanical engineering while looking at what's been developed in the past? (Sorry if I've over simplified what you do)
  • 1 0
 Fuji was My first hit / gateway drug before I dove into the hardcore stuff. Honestly, it wasn’t a bad bike.
  • 1 0
 @Austink: the Jaris ?
  • 11 0
 @Rokcore: For sure! Glad you’re interested...A few recommendations off the top of my head would be Tony Foale’s ‘Motorcycle Handling and Chassis Design’ (it’s a lot simpler for motorcycles, but the foundation is there), and Robert Norton’s ‘Kinematics and Design of Machinery’. He wrote my favorite engineering texts. Beyond that, there’s a lot of reducing what you feel riding a bike into quantifiable (and optimizable) math. That sometimes takes a lot of...work.
  • 1 0
 I’m all biked up now but when I was in the market for short travel bike I was really looking to get a rakan but no dealer in my had one, hell some of them didn’t know the bike existed, too bad, it looks like a great bike. @leveloneengineering:
  • 1 0
 Actually my hard tail is a Fuji, albeit an old one. Its a decent bike 16 years later.
  • 1 0
 I do.
  • 1 0
 @wottawa: The Bighorn is one of the most overlooked hardtails of the decade. Absolutely fantastic bike.
  • 4 2
 @utley06: 63° ha isn't hard-core enough? Seems to me that Fuji is leading the industry in aggressive geometry and the only brand that is a better value for the price is Vitus.
  • 3 1
 I own an Auric LT and it’s fantastic
  • 3 0
 I have a Fuji Auric LT and my seat tube snapped in half up Golfie in December, still waiting for warranty. Rode amazing but lasted under 18 months...
  • 3 0
 Well, I remember her, for some reason, must be the bikes...
www.pinkbike.com/news/lauren-gregg-getting-to-know-interview-2016.html
  • 2 0
 @Negetiv: Oh man, me too! Beautiful burgundy!
  • 3 0
 @NivlacEloop: yep the jari is a killer bike. Since I am getting a new gravel bike soon, I put some flat bars/flat pedals on my jari and it is super fun to rip around on.
  • 1 0
 @gripitandpucker: Sounds like a bag of sh..
  • 1 0
 @Dom111: How heavy are you tho and how much punk ipa do you drink....??
  • 1 0
 My first proper BMX bike was a Fuji Orange Peel from '79/'80
  • 1 0
 I had a Fuji beartooth, 2x9 27.5+. first new MTB i bought.
  • 1 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: Used to be, a diamondback was a good bang for your buck, but just glanced at the prices and WOW. I can get a Giant from the shop and know its the right size for LESS!
  • 1 0
 I have Fuji Jari, gravelbike.
  • 2 0
 @Austink: sick. those bikes are cool
  • 2 0
 Hey! I have a 2020 Auric LT 1.3, it's awesome! It's very low and slack, climbs pretty neat.
Maybe not the best value components wise (compared to mostly DTC bikes admittedly), altho that has improved a bit for this year's lineup.
The frame is well built especially the pivot, that connects the seat stays with the swing arm. I've seen some brands skimp in places like these. I can't find a spare derailleur hanger for it online tho, which kinda sucks.
  • 4 0
 A majority of people are supporting a Fuji bike in the PinkBike comments section.

Well, scratch that off of the list of “Things I never thought I’d see.”
  • 1 0
 Fuji Gran Fondo 2.1 road bike
  • 3 0
 @A1990ToyotaHilux: reach out to Advanced Sports, they are the German distributor. Ask for a D046 hanger
  • 1 0
 @nhp890: Hey thanks man! Really appreciate that. I have spent hours searching for D046 hangers online, but that should probably solve my problem
  • 3 0
 I've owned the Auric LT for about nine months now. Bought to be my dedicated park bike but does surprisingly well on climbs. This thing is an animal on the decents. Of course, the average Pink bike reader will knock it because not enough people have told them it's a cool bike yet. BTW, look up Amy Morrison @insamymo. She's whoopin ass on her Fuji.
  • 1 0
 @AllMountin: Since you didn't get the Rakan - can you tell me where it was on closeout? I've been hunting for a entry-level FS.
  • 3 0
 I used to use Fuji photographic film in my old camera.
  • 2 0
 Got the Auric the 27.5 version of this bike and just had the frame crack. Before that is was a great bike lol
  • 2 0
 I have a Fuji Auric LT Smile
  • 1 0
 I have a 2011 Fuji reveal frame, I wanted “old” geometry with new components. It’s a mini mullet with 140mm pike and sram gx, the ht is around 66 degree. It’s a fun bike to have something different from time to time.
  • 1 0
 @DaveG01: Yeah the initial impressions were... not ideal. But honestly now that I've gotten it sorted, it's a fantastic bike. I have a love/hate relationship with it.
  • 74 1
 This bike needs to be hucked to flat, immediately.
  • 7 7
 Yes!!! “Entry-level” HTF (Huck to Fail?) sounds like a Friday video to me.
  • 1 0
 @Mattysville: that sounds.....dangerous. lol. I wouuld be wearing full hockey goalie gear.
  • 2 1
 I've hucked my Auric LT to flat a couple times. Thing's a beast.
  • 28 1
 "It's worth mentioning that the new Rakan LT seems to sit awfully close to Fuji's other big-hitter, the Auric LT that sports a 170mm fork and 160mm of rear-wheel-travel. It has a 63.5-degree head angle, and the reach numbers match those used for the Rakan LT. The frame looks quite similar, too."
Other than one is a 29er and the other is 27.5...

#pickawheelsize andbeadickaboutit
  • 18 55
flag mikelevy Mod Plus (Jan 21, 2021 at 16:00) (Below Threshold)
 Never said the wheel size is the same Smile
  • 24 1
 @mikelevy: also, you call the suspension "weird' but you review of the Auric LT said it was pretty good...what gives? That whole review was odd...seemed like you liked the bike, but were uncomfortable about that.
  • 21 1
 @ReformedRoadie: doesn’t weird but good sum up Levy himself?
  • 5 1
 Pick a weird thing and be a dick about it
  • 10 0
 @tkrug: Speaking of weird...when will we see a test of the new Jamis FS bikes? Those have weird suspension.
  • 10 2
 It feels like he didn't want to embrace it cause it's not one of the cool brands that the big name racers gets paid to ride.
  • 7 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: Honestly, that would be the least Levy thing I could possibly imagine.
  • 2 0
 @ReformedRoadie: man I've been waiting for Pinkbike to review those Jamis bikes forever. I expect the comment section to lose their shit over the geo, but the suspension design has gotten good feedback elsewhere.
  • 5 1
 @ReformedRoadie: Yeah Fuji didn't stand a chance from the start on this one. Name shaming...
  • 5 0
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: I don't get having poor geometry now...it's not like you can patent a reach or head angle...copy someone who's nailed it for Christ sake...
  • 1 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict:
I remember around 2011 when I bought a Norco the vibe in the US was ‘Norco is an Asian-made value brand like Fuji’.
  • 1 0
 @ReformedRoadie: Lol, see! TBF, it's a 2019 design aaaand they're an east coast company so I actually appreciate a more conservative design. I think they'll nail it in the next update, not quite as slack/long as other brands, but enough to hang and a good seat angle that still works for a more rolling terrain.
  • 21 3
 Average mountain biker glances at that pivot in middle of chainstay and says "nah". FSR 4 bar or similar with that stellar spec and they'd fly off the shelves.

Bet the choice to retain that suspension design might simply be a monument to one single entrenched executive's ego.
  • 14 0
 I don't know if bike companies know this, but they may be interested to hear that you don't need some weird suspension thing going on to sell a lot of bikes. If a bike is reliable and has well specced parts for the price, it will sell. I believe 75% of the bikes out there could be Horst link and most people would be happily riding.
  • 31 2
 @husstler: more like 75% of customers don't care about kinematic layouts. That's some kind of Pinkbike Nerd Bubble thinking.
  • 6 0
 @husstler: Horst link works well! That’s why Norco has ran it for soooo many years.
  • 17 2
 I can assure you that Fuji's use of MLink is not due to an entrenched executive. As far as the merits of MLink when compared to a long link 4-bar system, there are several key performance advantages with more similarities to short link 4-bar systems, but with a nice linear rising shock rate.
  • 18 1
 @husstler:
All I'm hearing is a bunch of people that are scared to try something new. The new Enduro has a pretty radical linkage but it's wildly popular because of the big S on the head tube.
  • 12 2
 @coltybear15: Yes, long link 4-bar systems work well. Are they the best? That's the question. I'm not interested in developing good bikes (there's plenty of good bikes out there). I'm interested in striving to make the best possible bike. When you're trying to make the best possible bike, sometimes you run into limitations if you don't think outside the box.
  • 3 0
 @notthatfast: they also happen to ride really really well.

That being said, they claim the Stumpy Evo has a similar leverage curve without the 6 bar.
  • 2 2
 Do they say "nah", what studies do you have about this, and why would they say "nah"? Aesthetics-wise it's a conventional 4-bar, but it actually is a typical unified rear triangle VPP with a longer bottom link than usual. Based on this it should satisfy all fronts.
  • 3 2
 PB Nerd here - the 'M-Link' design is identical to a Horst link with a similar shock layout, like a Norco or GT, but with the rear/Horst pivot moved to the middle of the chainstay (or a DW-link with longer links). I'm not sure if it offers any distinct kinematic advantages, but my guess is Fuji just wants a 'unique' system to market. Other suspension systems have garnered their own reputations with particular characteristics (VPP and DW-link are known for pedaling well, FSR is known for traction but also pedaling worse), even though those are just based on how particular implementations are tuned, so Fuji can probably try and sell M-Link on something similar, or just "it's different".
  • 2 2
 @theshortestcharles: I think this bike can be very effectively described as the mix of an horst link design and an URT VPP. The three designs are identical in essence, except for the pivot that is next to the rear axle on the horst link, next to the bottom bracket on the VPP, and between both in the M-Link. Suspension behaviour aside, the size of the unified rear triangle correlates directly into more lateral rigidity (at least potentially), and VPP has the largest URT, Horst link has an almost non-existing one (but still a triangle), and M-Link sits between both.
  • 9 1
 @leveloneengineering: "I'm interested in striving to make the best possible bike." I really respect that. Who cares what it looks like if it outperforms the conventions?

Thanks for being willing to slog it out with trolls and haters in the PB comments section without blatantly pointing out that you work for Fuji/ASI, while we are doomed to spending countless hours hunched over our patients' stinking mouths, all so we can afford a single S-Works.
  • 29 0
 @Eiriksmal: No problem. Glad to engage now and then. I actually don't work for Fuji, but I'm the owner of the MLink patents and the designer of these frames. I guess it would more accurately be stated that I work with Fuji.

You could always pick up a Rakan LT instead of an S-Works and cut out of work to go ride some more Wink
  • 1 2
 @leveloneengineering: I'm a big fan of the stiffer rear end compared to a Horst-link, so I was wondering what are the main kinematic advantages of MLink? My first assumption was that it allows anti-squat to drop off at a faster rate later into the travel, in order to minimize kickback compared to a more traditional long-link 4-bar system. This is also accomplished by short link platforms, which I think is at least part of what you described, but is the linearly increasing shock rate (linearly decreasing leverage rate) generally unique to longer link systems?
  • 8 1
 @theshortestcharles: I don’t really look at anti-squat in development or analysis because it’s dependent on geometry, rider size, and gearing. But generally, you’ve got the idea: MLink allows greater change in rate of variables when compared to long link 4-bar systems, much like short link 4-bar systems, while the linear rising rate that these MLink bikes utilize is pretty hard to get from short link 4-bar systems. It’s pretty challenging to get the combination of high levels of change in one variable with a linear constant change in another.
  • 1 0
 @theshortestcharles: Are you saying all 4-bar/Horst link designs have a “linearly decreasing leverage rate” ?
  • 2 2
 @leveloneengineering: that mid pivot looks like a really good spot to put a flex point if you want a very vague feeling rear end. I shudder a bit thinking of what this bike feels like cornering through a chunked out highspeed corner....
  • 2 2
 @conoat: This perception is totally unfounded. The location of the pivots only has an influence on rigidity through other factors, not by the location itself. And the other factor here is the size of the unified rear triangle, which is bigger than that of a horst link or a 4-bar (which has none). So the rigidity here should be above average compared to most bikes, in theory at least, depending on pivot quality, frame construction, etc, factors that are decisive for any bike.
  • 3 4
 @DavidGuerra: well that's wildly false. lol

the location of the pivot has a f*ckton to do with how much flex is induced. each member of the rear triangle is a lever acting on it's pivots. The longer a lever is, the more leverage(duh) it has over the pivot. This is why something like a VPP link is so stout. it has a very tiny lever between the two pivot points.
  • 3 0
 @leveloneengineering: This article could have done with a moving graphic thingummy to show us how the mid-CS pivot worked in relation to the rest of the layout.
Do you have something like that you could share here, for those of us who are genuninely interested and open to new ideas?
  • 3 3
 @conoat: You make no sense, unless your argument is equally against horst link and 4-bar, for the same reasons.
  • 4 2
 @conoat: You are answering my question though, of why the average mountain biker would say "nah" to this. The design seems to attract completely wrong assumptions such as the one you are expressing.
  • 2 3
 @conoat: And I agree with your points, that's why a pivot near the rear axle is such a bad idea. I mean, not just because of that, but mostly because it negates an unified rear triangle. FSR, horst link, 4-bar, etc, seem to be popular because one, good execution of pivots, good bearings, bearing integration, etc., and two, riders don't pay that much attention to that and/or even prefer some flex in the rear for extra traction in some situations.
  • 2 3
 @notthatfast: What's new or radical about the new Enduro's linkage? It's just a Horst Link. We've known for decades that it works.

The rockers driving the shock may look different but don't change the suspension layout. They're just there to get the desired combo of shock placement, centre of gravity, bottle space, dropper space and leverage ratio. Still a Horst Link though.

@hamncheez What 6 bar? The current Enduro is a 4 bar Horst Link frame. Let's not confuse shock driving linkage with a 6th "bar" in terms of suspension movement. By that logic any linkage driven single pivot a'la Kona would be "4 bar" (it's not).
  • 2 1
 @MTBee: Cheers mate. Certainly looks interesting and it's one I'd like to try.
  • 3 0
 @DavidGuerra: maestro for the win
  • 1 1
 @DialedMtb: Yup, very stout URT.
  • 3 2
 @bananowy:

1. Linkage driven single pivots are called 4 bar.
2. Knolly, Canyon (Strive), and the Enduro are called 6 bar because there are six bars.
  • 5 0
 @DavidGuerra: I'm not trying to be mean, but fundamentally you either are misusing bike suspension vocabulary or you don't understand suspension engineering. A unified Rear Triangle, URT, generally means that the bottom bracket is on a lever fixed to the rear axle, so the bottom bracket "floats" or moves in relation to the main triangle, and has little to no movement in relation to the rear axle. None of the bikes you've mentioned are URT. In fact I can't think of a single true URT design from any brand in the last 15 years. GT and Mongoose used to do a kinda-URT with their floating bottom brackets.

Your analysis of pivots , VPP, etc is also way off base.
  • 1 0
 @bananowy:
That's exactly my point, it looks radical but it's not. Just like the fuji.
  • 2 0
 @jclnv: No, I meant that it's generally more common on these designs. The current Specialized Enduro has a leverage rate that's nearly perfectly linear in its progression, as an example, and that's a 4-bar/Horst link design with fairly long links. There are also plenty of Horst-link models with slight curves at the beginning or end of the leverage rate, like the Raaw Madonna, but these are generally linearly progressive aside from those spots of the travel. As @leveloneengineering said, having longer links means the kinematics are typically going to be less volatile than short links, so it's easier to get a linearly progressive (not very volatile) leverage rate with longer links than with short ones. This doesn't mean it's impossible to approximate this LR with shorter links; Santa Cruz bikes with the shock driven from the lower link have a similarly shaped leverage rate to the Enduro, but with a very slight curve overall.
  • 1 5
flag DavidGuerra (Jan 22, 2021 at 9:36) (Below Threshold)
 @hamncheez: I don't care about marketing terminology, sorry if that misled you. I used factual terminology. What does the name mean, by its words as they are used in the English language? A single piece. A unified rear triangle is that of a non-linkage single pivot bike for instance, or of those VPP bikes in which there is a single piece that includes the seatstays and chainstays. In this bike too, there is a single piece that includes the seatstays and chainstays. I concede that there is a difference in that on a typical VPP or non-linkage single pivot bike the chainstays are directly connected to one another, while in this bike they are only connected through the seatstays pivot. Still, this integration offers more rigidity than that of a typical 4-bar design.
  • 3 0
 @hamncheez Linkage driven single pivots include 'faux-bar' designs like a Kona Process or more complex linkages like Evil's DELTA or Forbidden's Rate Control. If the brake is directly mounted in some way to the frame, it is a single pivot of some sort (to my knowledge). On a Kona, it looks similar to a Horst-link four bar design, but the brake is mounted to the same frame member which connects the axle to the main pivot near the chainring (hence the name 'faux-bar', as it appears very similar to a true four-bar design). Four bar designs have the brake mounted on a frame member which is joined to the frame by two separate links, creating an instant center which moves throughout the travel depending on how the links are positioned, and all three of the bikes you listed as '6-bar' fit this description.The Enduro has its brake mounted between a lower and upper link, both of which are directly mounted to the frame. The shock is driven by a link attached to the upper link and another attached to the frame, but these two links are not responsible for determining the instant center for acceleration or braking, and can be tuned independent of the main links to change the leverage rate, so it is still a four bar, not a six bar (even though there are six links). The same goes for the Knolly, which uses two additional links driven by the upper link to drive the shock, but the frame member with the brake and axle is suspended between two links directly mounted to the frame, so it is also a four bar (the fourth is the frame). The Strive is also a four bar - think of it like a Kona linkage single pivot, except the swingarm only connects to where that first linkage pivot is on the Process (near the axle), so again the axle and brake are mounted on a different 'bar' instead of being directly connected to the frame. The only true 6-bar design I can think of is the DW6 system on Robot Bike Co models, and the Atherton bikes; it's like a Horst-link, except instead of a pivot near the chainring, the lower bar is mounted to the frame by two tiny links which have their own separate IC that they rotate around. In this case, the frame member with the axle and brake can be seen as bar 1, the Horst pivot connecting the brake/axle member to the smaller links is bar 2, the lower links are bars 3 and 4, the upper link is bar 5, and the frame is bar 6. This is the best way I can put it, if it's confusing I recommend you check out i-Track Suspension's page about it: www.i-tracksuspension.com/suspensiondesign.html
  • 1 1
 @theshortestcharles: the vast majority will still call a faux bar a four bar.
  • 5 2
 @DavidGuerra: if you want to communicate with people, you need to use the vocabulary of your audience. Unified rear triangle has a very, very specific meaning in the mountain bike world.

Besides that, your engineering is way off. This design has very little in common with VPP. Your analysis of pivot locations also does not reflect generally understood engineering principles.
  • 1 2
 @hamncheez: What I meant with unified rear triangle was a unified rear triangle. The vocabulary is English. As for your other comments, what can I say? You are mistaken and/or confused. I made no analysis of pivot locations, I made no analysis of VPP. I simply reported facts, which you seem to have confused or misunderstood.
  • 1 2
 @hamncheez: Also, my input was regarding the rigidity of the rear end. What do you have to offer? Invalidating others in an attempt to appear knowledgeable doesn't really require nor display knowledge, on the opposite!
  • 1 2
 @hamncheez: If you want to counter what I wrote you will have to find a way to defend the rear triangle rigidity of bikes with a pivot near the rear axle. What bike do you bring to the table for this?
  • 1 2
 @hamncheez: "This design has very little in common with VPP" Very ignorant comment! Only single pivot bikes don't have a virtual pivot point (that doesn't coincide with a physical pivot point)!
  • 1 3
 @hamncheez: "Your analysis of pivot locations also does not reflect generally understood engineering principles" No, it looks like it's you who doesn't understand basic physics principles!
  • 4 0
 @DavidGuerra: First...breath.
Not sure how long you've been riding, but "URT" has bad connotations. The design sucks...maybe ok for a hybrid or city bike, but you basically cancel out the suspension the moment you stand up.
I get what you are referring to...but I think dual link is a better term for VPP. DW-link, Maestro, etc where the where is a solid triangle connected to the front triangle by a pair of short(ish) links, one of which also drives the shock.


PS - visited Portugal in 2019 and it was amazing...I want to rider there badly...
  • 1 3
 @ReformedRoadie: The original VPP was like a FSR with an extra link at the bottom, next to the bottom bracket. Then the patent was bought by Santa Cruz and the design evolved into this unified rear triangle thing, a much superior implementation, first because it has one less pivot, and second because there is this whole rear part, which I am calling an unified rear triangle because that's what it is. It is described by those words, but of course it can be described by other words, do you have a suggestion? By it I mean a whole piece that contains the chainstays and seatstays and in which both are connected by an extra bar that is soldered to them or part of the same carbon weave. This is the great virtue of this VPP implementation over the typical 4-bar like Horst link, FSR etc., the existence of a whole rigid part, much more solid than individual segments connected by bearings. This is also the VPP implementation that is almost universally used, and many people associate VPP with that, however things are more complex than that because VPP actually means virtual pivot point, and only on single pivot points does the rear axle rotate around a point that is also a physical pivot point. So every other bike is actually a VPP bike. And the bike on this article is an interesting bridge between the ubiquituous contemporary VPP design, and the VPP designs that aren't actually called VPP (even though they also have a virtual pivot point). In all three designs, there is a "rear triangle", which is a single piece containing the rear axle and which is connected to the frame by two links, one at the top of the seatstays and the other at the chainstays. The difference is the position of the bottom link along the chainstays. In the typical 4-bar, it's at the end of the chainstays, so the bottom link to the frame is actually the chainstays, in the typical VPP system it's at the "beggining" of the chainstays, so the chainstays are part of the "rear triangle" (as I'm calling it here), and in this system it's in the middle of the chainstays, so one half of the chainstays is part of the "rear triangle" and the other half is the link to the frame. They are all VPP designs that follow this basic implementation rule: a "rear triangle" that is unified (see, I'm not actually calling it a "unified rear triangle", happy?), that is connected to the frame by two links. The movement of the rear axle is dictated by the positioning of these two links, their lenght in relation to one another, etc.
  • 3 0
 @ReformedRoadie You certainly have options for riding all over the country, almost all the "wild" is open to ride, there are few limitations, it's just a matter of finding your way. If you meant road riding, there are very scenic roads indeed. If you meant enduro/dh, most tracks (and the best ones) are on the upper half of the country.
  • 1 2
 @ReformedRoadie: And maybe what you and others before are talking about should be referred by another name, because it's a rear triangle that is unified with the bottom bracket. That's what describes it. While I speak of a rear triangle that is unified in itself i.e. chainstays+seatstays. Or in one of the definitions (horst link), seatstays + the small distance from the rear axle to the rear pivot, because it's also a triangle (although it doesn't have the structural benefits of the others).
  • 1 2
 @ReformedRoadie: Dual link, sure, it's a valid denomination because there are two links. I was simply referring to the part that connects to the end of those two links. What would you like to call it? And I was also pointing out that horst link, like DW-link and Maestro, also has two links that connect to a rear triangle of sorts. Only in this case, the lower link is the chainstay. So "dual link" actually refers to most bikes.
  • 1 2
 "only on single pivot points does the rear axle rotate around a point that is also a physical pivot point". I meant single pivot bikes, not single pivot points. I was trying to maintain some intelligibility on my comment, but the plan probably failed.
  • 19 0
 When you post a comment below a photo regarding the link in the middle of the chainstay, how about using a photo where the pedal is not totally blocking said link.
  • 15 7
 I know, right?! It's almost like there wasn't one to include or something.
  • 6 1
 @mikelevy: Except there's two at the bottom of the article.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: Fuji needs to get their press kit sorted. You say it comes with a coil shock only, but the first pics don’t look like coil.... or does Push now make a coil conversion for the X2 now?
  • 13 0
 Pinkbike readers: Ewww, everything is so blooming expensive, can‘t you test more affordable bikes?
Fuji releases good looking, affordable bike with no bs spec and geo: Eww, suspension looks weird, you moved the horst link to the wrong place and your older bikes sucked!
Btw, nothing weird at all on this design, just another trusted 4 bar linkage with an inbetween pivot location on the lower link. Nuffin wrong with that. Most of you are just marketing muppets. Njoy your carbon s-works. God, I am a bit bitter today, aren‘t I...
  • 5 0
 All in all, the PB readers seem to be defending the design as not being that weird and accusing Levy of judging on brand name.
  • 13 1
 Fuji and KHS bikes, how are they still alive? Where do you buy them? Who's riding them and how are they still sponsoring riders. Like you never see them in flesh but they somehow still alive and present??
  • 2 0
 I just wanna say RIP Performance Frown
  • 1 0
 @xc12: Can I put the pile of points I have left towards one of these bikes??
  • 3 0
 this shit right here! how in the world does KHS have a factory DH team!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? *boggle*
  • 1 0
 With KHS at least, it’s called OEM manufacturing.
  • 4 0
 @conoat: maybe your question should be, “why don’t ALL brands have a factory race team?” I mean if KHS can do it, why not the rest.?
  • 1 0
 @ReformedRoadie: Last time I heard mention of team performance points was our last day open at store #33. Still got my nametag
  • 14 0
 Awesome value bike, nice work Fuji !
  • 10 1
 I had the opportunity to ride a Breezer Repack with the original M-Link design. It pedaled phenomenally. It was far ahead of other FSR style systems in the past. The downsize was lots of chain slap. Seems like this had added chain stay protection, to help minimize those issues. Probably an awesome bike.
  • 5 0
 They also had terrible geometry and were on the portly side of things back then. Fuji seems to have sorted both of those out.
  • 11 1
 I rode that bike as well. It pedaled CRAZY good. It was so linear that it would also bottom-out off a curb.
  • 2 0
 There isn’t a lot of chainslap of these. They’re pretty silent
  • 9 2
 "Okay, cool, but why is there a pivot in the middle of the chainstays?"

You just f*cking answered that a sentence before. You agreed with their claims of efficiency and such, and that's why the pivot is where it is, to hit those claims.

Every suspension design is different, why is this one "weirder" than any other one? You guys bitch about bikes that look too similar to each other, then bitch about slightly different bikes being "weird". So stupid.
  • 2 3
 Sorry my little stream of logic upset you're apple cart, it was supposed to be humorous since I'm sure most readers went through the same logic investigation exercise. And no the sentence before what you quoted does not answer the question you quoted. Nothing wrong with posing a question and then immediately answering it for comic relief. Alternatively you may have read my comments out of order.

"Every suspension design is different, why is this one "weirder" than any other one? You guys bitch about bikes that look too similar to each other, then bitch about slightly different bikes being "weird". So stupid." Touche. It's something fun to do when I can't ride my bike.
  • 7 11
flag mikelevy Mod Plus (Jan 21, 2021 at 17:53) (Below Threshold)
 @just6979 Hey look, it's Mr. Serious!
  • 10 0
 @mikelevy: the unabashed gushing over silly one-off shit (that no one can buy) intermixed with poking fun at actual marketable products is getting seriously boring and predictable.

So the pivot is in a different place, but it rides great and does what they say it should? The who f*cking cares where the pivot is? It's a non-issue, a waste of words talking about it. Tell us more about how the suspension actually matches the press release claims, that's the important part.

"Is there only one of the thing? Then different is great! Is it being successfully mass produced? Then different is the worst!"
  • 2 0
 @just6979: Consider that the "weird suspension" bit in the headline is likely to bring this bike far more attention than another cut-and-pasted press release.
  • 2 1
 Well look at it.. as if nobody has thought of placing a pivot there?! If this was a solid design it would’ve already been figured out by now, it’s way too close to existing proven platforms. The really weird part is how I’m supposed to believe this same design hasn’t been looked at from every angle 500x already and Fuji of all brands finally figured it out. The odds are like winning powerball.
  • 6 0
 Why bother posting the picture with the close up of the chainstay, with a quote below about the pivot in the middle of the chainstay, and then cover the pivot with an awkwardly positioned crank arm?

It's like here's a picture of the recently escaped prisoner, he's highly dangerous- but his face is blurred out on the wanted poster.
  • 9 0
 Huck to Flat. Huck to Flat
  • 7 0
 I Rakanize this is a sweet looking bike, with better aMount of travel than before
  • 7 0
 The guys over at Bike Mag didn't think it was so weird. They were pleasently surprised by the M-Link's performance.
  • 3 0
 Comes in two flavors but the thumbnail and first couple photos are neither. That bike is also the same color as the Auric. Using modular frames doesn't bother me really. But, it does strike a slight nerve when it's a "secret" or omitted for some reason. Maybe a personal problem.
  • 7 0
 The green frame used in the article is Amy Morrison's race bike (US National Enduro Champ, all around great person), and not a production spec or color. The Rakan LT frame is different from both the Rakan and the Auric and Auric LT. They were designed as a family and share ID, but the geometry and kinematic layout is specific to the model.
  • 4 0
 @leveloneengineering: Thanks Smile I have enjoyed working with you and I think your bike designs are great! -- the results on the bikes are a cherry on top!
  • 4 0
 Too bad not many people are going to see how good these are Rakans and Aurics have been some of the most ignored great bikes out there. I've had two freinds "upgrade" out of Aurics to determine the upgrades were worse ..
  • 3 0
 I personally am liking the last week with affordable bikes being launched left right and centre. not that i'm in the market for any of them, but the trickle-down seems to have reached the lower price point and that is A GOOD THING.
  • 2 0
 Any category of rear suspension can be well or poorly executed by any brand on any model. I rakan most Pinkbikers have had enough rides to see the good and bad sides of Horst, VPP, single link etc, either altogether (rubbish bike) or for uphill, downhill, whatever. Maybe we get prejudiced by one bad experience (I went off Specialized for years after a soggy, unsupported FSR experience) but the execution, not the arbitrary ‘classification’ of the type of suspension is more likely the culprit. Only riding will tell whether the implementation of this design works.
Two other things. Pity they can do a nice green one-off pro frame and just black/grey for us joes. LOL they put coils on the 150mm sale bikes and an air shock on the pro bike - there’s a turn about right there!
  • 3 0
 I’ll chime in on the air vs coil and all the other different specs for that matter... Fuji is my frame sponsor, all of the other specs are my other sponsors. This was a pre-production frame, hence the custom colors. However, I am bummed they aren’t the production colors because the army green is sweet!
  • 3 1
 The M-Link design was developed by Breezer, then they sold out to Fuji, and have become another big-box store brand... thanks Joe. I still have one of the Breezer Supercells... does fine as trail bike, but the geometry is outdated for anything rowdier.
  • 2 0
 My wife has a 2020 Rakan 29 1.3. I rode it and it is smooth and fast. I'm coming off a 2016 Giant Reign with 27.5 wheels & 160mm travel. I found her bike to be faster on everything up to moderate chunder, hers is the 140mm trail version though so that is to be expected. Her Rakan climbs well, descends well and is pretty playful. It may be weird looking but it really works well.
  • 2 0
 I’m keen on the looks for sure, this and the Auric are great looking bikes. In fact if I was looking for a new bike the Auric would be a serious contender... not many 27.5” bikes with low sea tubes, short travel and shot chainstays around these days, I think it would make a great jibbing bike
  • 6 5
 ''Because it is a longer link than a typical short link system would use, it requires less rotation from the chainstay pivot," Luke Beal (the MLink's designer) explained of the original Rakan's MLink system that the new version evolved from. ''That is a simplification, but it gets the idea across. Just because it doesn’t rotate a lot doesn’t mean it doesn’t have an impact on the performance of the system.''

Are we sure this doesn't translate to "we are trying to be different to be different"? Never ridden an MLink bike personally but I'm curious if anyone has to compare to others with a pivot near or at the rear axle?
  • 1 0
 I rode the older models; it pedaled pretty good from a bob-perspective, but they were heavy bikes. The ones I rode had crap 2011 29er geometry, so it descended like a CX bike but hard to say if that was suspension or just the 71 degree HTA.
  • 8 0
 No, it's not different just to be different. Another big advantage over a bike using a pivot near the rear axle is that the rear triangle is triangulated, which aids stiffness quite a bit.
  • 1 0
 @leveloneengineering: that’s correct. The rear end stiffness is phenomenal and I will definitely miss when I eventually move on to something with a more conventional layout
  • 3 0
 The pivot being in the middle of the chainstay rather than at one end or other, do we then call this a "medium link four bar"?
  • 4 3
 What's weird about the suspension on this bike? Looks like the same thing that exists on like 70+% of full suspension mountain bikes on the market. It's literally like the most vanilla suspension design there is these days...oh wait, there's a pivot in the middle of the chain stay instead of right at the axle...yeah that's weird and makes the bike look like it's broken.
  • 6 1
 While I appreciate you having Fuji's back on Levy's calling the suspension weird, I do hate to point out that literally zero other companies use anything like it. So...thanks?

(If it helps, zoom in on the middle of the chainstay. There's a pivot there, and there's also a tube connecting the seatstay to the chainstay on the non-driveside of the bike).

Also, did you know that Vanilla is the most popular flavor of ice cream? Crazy, huh.
  • 2 4
 @leveloneengineering: VPP, DWlink, and whatever the name is that Niner uses, are all very similar they just make their links stand out rather than make them blend in with the frame and their links are smaller.

I see what you did there Vanilla=Popular and Fuji=Unpopular. I think there is a difference between plentiful and popular. Given a wide variety of compelling flavors I'm certain the popular flavor would not be vanilla, problem is often times other flavors are not available, too expensive, or are not a good option for additional toppings hence vanilla get purchased the most because it's cheap, plentiful, and versatile. That seems to describe Fuji pretty well.
  • 2 3
 @leveloneengineering: wrong Breezer uses it on their bikes. Oh wait nevermind. It is not weird suspension. But if it was, I’d rather have good weird over crap not weird.
  • 2 0
 @leveloneengineering: So zero companies are using anything like this, although it’s clearly another iteration of a 4 bar that many would’ve already logically explored while designing their own hopefully unique 4 bar..It’s just a medium length lower link rather than long or short, correct? Or am I missing something? It looks like many other 4 bar systems with one of the lower link pivots in a slightly different spot on the chainstay.
  • 2 1
 The mid length chainstay pivot is certainly unusual and might put people off, but the geometry is very appealing. Overall frame design is nice to look at as well. I bet that with more media presence and maybe an EWS result or two nobody would mind the suspension design anymore.
  • 1 0
 How unusual is placing a pivot somewhere between a horst-link and a dw or js tuned for that matter? It’s not unusual at all but it is very unlikely that this wouldn't have been figured a decade ago if it was worth doing.
  • 1 0
 Ok its not a review so you propably can't tell how the suspention design works out on the trials.

But why would you call it strange? Basically Spesh did something similar putting a "virtual pivot" aka "flexstays" in the rear triangle.
Doesn't move mutch but according the the reviews there's something about it. At least until its worn out at some point in time.

So i'd be interessted how it actually works out on the trails, although I must admit its not the kind of bikes I'd buy.
  • 4 0
 Next year's model will have a 62.7 head angle
  • 3 0
 You will be doing a longer term review of it, correct? Most people tend to like the rear suspension
  • 3 0
 I've used it before and loved how efficient it seemed to be.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: How does it compare to the common Horst stuff?
  • 2 0
 @jmhills: There's other stuff like shock tunes, anti-squat etc in there but, speaking very generally, the Horst bikes are usually on the softer, more forgiving side.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Awesome. Thanks
  • 4 0
 Jason Lucas, where you at!
  • 1 0
 Think it was supposed to say "large and extra large sizes sit a bit slacker at 76.5- degrees" Sorry... actually read the whole article and impressed with the 77 STA & 470 reach for a size medium.
  • 1 0
 Rakan and Raken. The “bike pictured” is not the bike pictured. After reviewing this bike, and being a Pinkbike Editor- I expect you to know the difference between the Auric and a Rakan LT... 622-584.
  • 1 0
 What are you on about? All of the pics in the article are Rakans, and all of them are on 29" wheels
  • 2 1
 Sold Fuji’s for over a year I really liked them especially the FS models glad to see them upgrading their higher end mountain bikes ???? I ride a Breezer Team Repack with the M link suspension and absolutely love it!
  • 2 0
 ...with matching green and orange Leatt attire, one could go full enduro, if one so chooses.
  • 3 0
 Hey boss we keep breaking these chainstays... Make it flexible.
  • 1 2
 I think the Rakan would be less offputting if Fuji simply made the lower link look less like an extension of the chainstay and more like a separate link. Really there isn't much different here compared to DWlink; the lower link is just longer on Mlink and the upper link is horizontal rather than vertical.
  • 6 0
 But how can it be off-putting if it's vanilla? Everyone loves vanilla!

Just kidding. I get what you're saying, but if it was designed your way, I'm sure someone would say 'why not make the rear triangle and the lower link look more similar?'. You can't make everyone happy (which is why there are different flavors of ice cream!)

The reason it's designed this way is because it's the most efficient structure possible. The lower link is a weldment of three forgings (no tubes). Pretty complicated forging for the forward yoke section too. One piece!

It also has it's own unique performance characteristics that are different from what you can do with a short, parallel rotating linkage. I think there are some cool advantages outside of the kinematics (tire clearance is one of them).
  • 1 1
 @leveloneengineering: "I get what you're saying, but if it was designed your way, I'm sure someone would say 'why not make the rear triangle and the lower link look more similar?'. You can't make everyone happy (which is why there are different flavors of ice cream!)" So true.

I concur with what you're saying here.
  • 6 5
 the second Pinkbike called their suspension weird they doomed Fuji and this "review"
should be ashamed of yourselves for playing politics
  • 17 4
 @sirbikealot I'm ashamed of many, many things, but definitely not for calling this a weird suspension design. I've actually reviewed a few different MLink bikes and, just I say above, I've always been super impressed with how efficient feeling they've been. The Auric I spent a ton of time on was surprisingly well-rounded, too; I really liked that blue tank! But it's suspension is still weird looking... Probably not the copy and paste from the PR that you hope for?

Also, this is certainly not in any way a review, so please don't call it that. Nowhere in the article do I say I've even ridden the Rakan LT, so I'm not sure where you got that idea. But I might end up reviewing the Rakan LT in the future, at which point I'll refer to its suspension design as weird-looking regardless of how it performs. Because it's not politics, it's weird.
  • 1 0
 Price needs to come down a little more. Specialized SJ Evo Comp is $300, has the same travel and comparable specs, and is full carbon seems to be the better deal.
  • 1 0
 *$300 more
  • 1 0
 I remember seeing this bike in the old Performance Bike shop not far from where I live It lives on, Performance is Long-Gone.
  • 3 0
 Nice to see StartHaus representing, snowpack looks correct
  • 1 0
 This is a bike I'd be interested in buying, but would absolutely want to demo first. Seems to be fairly polarizing, but I'm intrigued.
  • 2 0
 it looks like old Kona stab, I don't see it so weird ?
  • 1 0
 @unclesomebody I own a their plus bike the Bighorn. I think I proved you wrong LOL
  • 2 0
 I'd be happy to test and review it!
  • 1 2
 Looks like... Privateer 161... which looks like... which looks like... Smile
But... interesting thing with this pivot... Do you guys also think that chainstays will pop on the weld near rear axle? Wink
  • 2 0
 I have never heard of any MLink failure near the rear axle (or anywhere else for that matter) and rightly so; why would they crack there?

Also, the Privateer came after the 2019 Fuji lineup, if anything (2019 saw a redesign to the current Rakan and Auric models)
  • 1 0
 They just need to take that big shimano sticker off then it would look pretty nice imo
  • 3 1
 Looks like a...Slash?
  • 1 0
 A fuel slash combo maybe???
  • 2 0
 @Supergirl56: Fuel Slash Optic Reign
  • 1 0
 @Connerv6: a Norco shore with slightly smoother lines?
  • 1 0
 With thinner tubing
  • 1 0
 @Supergirl56: like a remedy?
  • 1 0
 Was Marin using a similar layout/pivot?
  • 2 0
 No. This "M-Link" design was originally used on the Breezer Repack, and then showed up shortly after on Fuji.

I demo'd a Repack way back when (2011ish?) and thought it rode really well. We were just starting to see an interest in long-travel bikes with good pedaling efficiency and the M-Link easily matched VPP and DW-Link bikes of that era. Today I wonder what it offers as all bike seem to climb great.
  • 1 1
 @PHeller: Nothing, it just adds weight. I had a Supercell with that suspension setup. The suspension worked fine but not noticeably better than other designs.
  • 2 1
 Talks about coil shocks puts air shock in first two picture...?
  • 1 1
 Talks about Rockshox and puts Fox in the first two pictures ????
  • 1 0
 The first pictures are of Amy Morrisons (Fuji's enduro rider) bike, and she's sponsored by fox.
  • 1 0
 @mlangestrom: Ok sure. But it's still kind of odd to use pictures of a pro's custom build on a First Look article rather than pictures of the bike as it is available to the general public.
  • 2 1
 weird suspension? looks like session.
  • 2 0
 Take a close look at the chain stays and you'll see the difference.
  • 5 4
 Can we get some longer chainstays? 490 reach and 435 chainstay is not it
  • 3 1
 How long do you want? Where do you ride? What's the limitation that you find with 490mm reach and 435mm chainstays in conjunction with the rest of the geometry?
  • 1 2
 @leveloneengineering: it's just kinda unbalanced. I'd rather have a 475 reach and a 445 chainstay but that's just my preference.
  • 3 2
 @clindblomenduro: From my personal experience, if you shorten the reach, you also have to slacken the ST angle to make the climbing position (TT length) work. If you shorten the reach, slacken the ST angle, and lengthen the CS, everything works, but it doesn’t descend as well or climb as well on steep trails. Having a steeper ST angle and longer reach is preferable to me for climbing and descending, and the CS length keeps everything in check for tighter trails. It’s only unbalanced if it doesn’t work.
  • 5 0
 @leveloneengineering: or: Lengthen the chainstays for each size. The same length rear center and 73mm front center growth is gonna make a huge difference to handling and weight bias. unless you're happy with S riders going OTB and XL riders struggling to weight the front wheel

For a bike with such a long WB size L should be on 445CS IMO. otherwise the super long front end requires excessive weighting of the front wheel, rather than a central balanced riding position. I notice my shorter rear end especially on corner exits and off camber sections compared to my friend's similar geo but 20mm longer rear bike.
  • 5 2
 @Civicowner: Why do you think the weight bias is only dependent on the reach changing? There’s a lot more involved than just that, and I’d argue that it’s unlikely you were comparing apples to apples as much as you think you were with your friend’s bike.

Different chainstay lengths for each size is always interesting, but if you do that, you’re changing (among other things) shock rate and travel. So then, what you really have to do is change the entire layout (and shock spec and tune) for each size to make the bike feel the same between sizes...but then you get to the real issue. How do you know that the bike feels the same for different sized riders when you make those changes? And then how manufacturable is that bike? How do you afford the tooling to make all those parts? Is it worth it? Does it actually ride better for anyone? Is it more affordable? More environmentally responsible?
  • 2 1
 @leveloneengineering: Point to where i said reach? I compared rear center length to front center and WB.

My friend's bike is a similar hardtail with extremely similar geo, same front travel with similar setup... we even run the same tires lol. he has sliding dropouts at max length.

In an ideal world the suspension layout should be changed anyway, no way an XL rider and a S rider have the same CoG height... and shock tune same thing... size S riders are almost always gonna be lighter, running less pressure ect. my most recent bike needs a retune on rebound which is pretty frustrating, rebound tune seems to be optimized for smaller riders Frown

Yep there's not really any way to verify it feels the same, i guess we could come close with data collection systems and measurements. I just think we should be optimizing each size so there isn't one size that outperforms the rest. Check out recent reviews of the updated Meta in L...

Does it actually ride better for anyone? i would argue yes. especially for each end of the spectrum. some bikes seem to be better for big riders than others. i know a few over 6'5 riders who shit on some brand's XL bikes haha

Tooling and extra manufacturing and design cost is definitely the main reason it's not commonplace, i guess we have to be realistic lol
  • 1 0
 @Civicowner: Thanks for the reply - it's true that you didn't specifically limit the discussion to reach at the point that we were discussing multiple chainstay lengths - I carried on from the conversation before.

Do you think that the difference in chainstay length on your friend's bike also makes his frame slightly more compliant? And if it's more compliant, could that help it track better when loaded in corners or on off cambers? That might be a part of the difference too (not to discount that you prefer the feel of the longer chainstays).

The MLink bikes were actually developed and tuned with DAQ. That's essential in making sure that it does in fact work for all riders.

Maybe surprisingly, CoG moves forward almost exactly the difference in reach between sizes (for a 75th percentile averaged rider for each size bracket), which means that by changing front center rather than front center and rear center, you're actually keeping the bike balanced. Of course everyone is different with different proportions and not a 75th percentile sized rider for each size bracket, but you've got to start somewhere...

Hopefully you'll get a chance to try out the Rakan LT sometime - if you do, let me know what you think!
  • 1 0
 @leveloneengineering: We both ride steel hardtail frames, it's definitely possible there is a compliance difference. I don't think that could account for the handling difference. His bike really wants to lay over and carve turns. Similar HTA and both 35mm stem. There are definitely differences. i might have to borrow it and ride it with slammed forward and back sliding drops to properly test.

I'm curious how you would use DAQ to find handling balance? Front and rear suspension?

I did not know that about CoG moving forwards with reach. Have you measured weight bias on each wheel?

I would definitely like to try one, no idea where or how lol

What is your opinion on Enduro mag's test of the new Meta, where they complained about size L being unbalanced and the handling of the size M was preferred?
  • 2 0
 @leveloneengineering: it's a weight distro thing. Like 60% rear, 40% front, with the rider in a relaxed standing position (or universal athletic position).

57:43 might be too front-heavy, raising OTB crash risk and forcing the rider to adopt a rearward attack position in techy terrain. Vice versa for 63:37, with the rider forced to adopt a more aggro forward attack position, to get weight on the front for traction in the corners and for control while front braking.

Being in the bike's sweet spot makes the bike do a lot of work. It's extra effort to put yourself in that sweet spot position on a poorly balanced bike. Get lazy, and rest in a more comfortable position, and you can end up crashing due to being "off-guard". If your hips are rearward to get in the sweet spot, you're basically wasting effort hanging/pulling on the grips, and hampers the ability to pedal, bunnyhop, and freely use your upper body to lean. A well-balanced bike might have the sweet spot in a comfortable/neutral position that you can pedal and perform techniques from.

The kinematics don't really have to change if you adjust the CSL by moving the BB forward and back (rather than the rear axle). I doubt that the CoG moves forward equally with reach if the HTA is kept the same (increasing front center).

What position does your simulation put the taller riders in? Is the reach long enough for them? It's odd that seat tubes grow by 40mm, but reach only by 20mm, as if legs grow so much more compared to torso AND arms (not to mention, the hips can move forward and back). With more equal growth between legs, torso, and arms, taller riders can get their hips behind the BB really far back compared to shorter riders.

I'd suggest confirming with scales under each wheel. Plenty of "wrongs" and misconceptions to be weeded out with extra measurements. Maybe patent the sliding BB, or make a better eccentric BB (e.g. RIDE-9 system for BB)? There's a demand for a solution. Racers might like 60:40, meek casual riders might like 57:43, and fun-loving freestyle hooligans might like 63:37. Maybe shorter shredders prefer 63:37 (gravitating to slack long-travel bikes) and taller shredders prefer 57:43 (gravitating to steep HA short-travel bikes)? How about an opportunity to accommodate them all?

P.S. Selfish request: please make the smaller sizes compatible with longer travel droppers. I don't want to be limited by the seat tube; I want to be limited by the rear wheel buzzing the saddle on full compression. If the small frame's ST can be 380, why not the M too?
  • 1 0
 They say Chuck Norris understands how this suspension works. Pretty crazy.
  • 1 0
 ...... it's design is so unique, it looks like a ........ ????????
  • 1 0
 No suspension travel video?
  • 1 0
 @nhp890: nice one
  • 1 0
 sorry dudes it looks like a session.
  • 1 0
 squid
  • 1 0
 I think it's really good looking bike and would like to try one.
  • 1 0
 This is one salty comment section. Seemed like a decent article to me.
  • 1 0
 So did Ellsworth steal this link design too then?
  • 1 0
 Have yet to ever see this on the trail ????????‍♀️
  • 1 0
 It's awesome that Fuji specs TRP Quadiems on their bikes!
  • 1 0
 I've ridden that suspension and it climbs so ridiculously well.
  • 1 1
 Oh 29" enduro bike finally in Fuji's offer. Welcome to World after 2015!
  • 1 1
 This frame design has so much Norco Fluid in it...
  • 1 1
 Why hasn't anybody made a competitor to the grim doughnut!
  • 1 2
 I like it. Good geo. I can't bring myself to like Mullet enduro bikes though.
  • 1 2
 Too slack
  • 2 0
 Not really, there is a short offset fork. It's still very agile
  • 2 4
 Dear God......

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