Counterpoint: We Need Suspension Lockout Levers

May 2, 2019
by Matt Wragg  
Header for Matt s Op Ed pieces.


You know what they say about opinions, right? Speaking of a*sholes, Levy and Matt Wragg are never short of opinions, and most of them are at complete odds with one another. This time, it's lockout levers and whether they make sense or not. Matt's take is below and is all about having two bikes in one, whereas Levy is convinced - and will try to convince you as well - that they're just a crutch for a design that could be better. Check out Levy's thoughts on lockout levers and then chime in below: Who's right might not be the best question, but is one of them less wrong than the other?




What is a mid-travel bike supposed to do these days? How is it supposed to feel? That's the question we need to get to here. When we start talking about mid- to longer-travel bikes, I want them to leave me wondering if I need to keep my downhill bike, not whether I should sell my trail bike... Maybe that's where I differ from Levy, the part of the ride I'm happy to compromise on is the upwards part, never downwards. If we are going to rely on the kinematics alone for doing all of that, I think too many compromises have to be made. I'd prefer to rely on a simple, well-proven hydraulic system to help get me up the hills rather than wade through mountains of Marketing Science about how X or Y have found a unicorn with their new kinematics.

To demonstrate how big an effect removing anti-squat can have, you need to look no further than Gwin's incredible chainless victory at Leogang in 2015. When that chain came off, he was left riding with the rear of the bike working perfectly and that suspension advantage was big enough to make up for the fact he couldn't pedal. That Leogang has a nasty pedal section near the bottom, where he must have been bleeding time, yet he still found an edge over the world's best. That victory changed World Cup race bikes, and that is something that is not widely discussed. Racers and engineers saw Gwin flying with free-running suspension and thought, "I want some of that." Where do you think the current trend for high idler pulleys started?

When you get to the finer end of bike tuning, one way to help your rear-end move more freely is to increase the chainring size, which reduces anti-squat, but it is incremental. An idler pulley lifts your chainline more dramatically, giving you a much bigger decrease and more freely moving suspension. While we may see a handful of brands head down this route, there are many more who experimented with bolt-on solutions and I would expect them to be even more common on the next generation of race bikes. It's a simple enough theory to test at home - simply whip your chain off and grab a stopwatch...

Does that mean I think we should go back to the wild west days of the 90s? Of course not. Gwin didn't stop running chains after that victory, after all, and many of the high idler pulley bikes have a reasonable level of anti-squat as without it they would be giant comedy pogo sticks when it comes time to pedal; there is a balance to be struck. What this does do, though, is give us a baseline, so that if we want to have the best possible bike going downhill we need to let the rear-end work and limit how much effect the chain has on the suspension.


Drawn by Taj Mihelich
Why over-complicate bike design when we have a simple, well-proven way to make bike climbs well?


I don't want to name names, but I had a 150mm 29er wonder-bike last year. It was perfect. The build was everything I could hope for, I waited months to pull it all together and I was like a kid at Christmas for my first ride on it, then... Disappointment. I think the point when I realized I needed to sell it was after about five rides. I had fiddled and fussed to get the rear-end where I liked it, tweaked and fettled - changed springs, worked and re-worked the shock, changed chainrings, fork, handlebar height, everything I could think of. And still, it never felt right.

The problem was that it never settled into its travel. You always felt like you were riding on top of the suspension, never in it. When I wound it up as fast as I dare go, it never inspired confidence, I could never reach a point where I trusted the bike to see if I could go faster, turn harder, brake later. I realized that the sweetest moment of handling was a brief instant climbing when the weight distribution and composure just sang in perfect harmony and I cleaned a technical section I had failed to get through on several shorter travel bikes. But that is not what I want a bike like that to do; if I'm riding with anything more than about 120mm of travel, that bike had better be good on the way back down.

I know I'm not alone in this. One local enduro race team manager confided in me last year that his team's sponsor had updated their bikes to be more efficient, to increase the anti-squat so they were better all-rounders and his team was struggling for stability at speed. Much like my experience, they couldn't get up to pace on the bikes. The designers were willing to compromise the most important thing a good mountain bike should do well because the idea of flicking a lever is too much inconvenience for riders.


Drawn by Taj Mihelich
Lockout levers don't have to mean extra cables...


I will admit that I am something of a Luddite. I actually never used to use the lockout levers on my bikes all that often, mainly because until recently I ran my bikes hard or I'd just accept the pedal bob. And when I did use the lockout, I would more often than not forget I had used it and leave the suspension in climb mode on the way down. When you run your bikes hard, a lot of these concerns go away, because your setting is so firm your bike barely moves under the pedal forces anyway. That is changing for me, though, and I like to tell myself it's because I'm more of a discerning rider these days, but I suspect getting closer to 40 than 30 may have more to do with it.

What really opened my eyes last year was riding with the DT Swiss F535 fork - a fork that I think probably offers most for someone like me who has always opted for support over comfort in their suspension. For years I have set my forks to stand up in their travel, to support me when I want the bike to pop or move, which inevitably meant sacrifices at the start of the stroke. I may be wrong, but I suspect riders who already have comfort, or don't realize they could do with more support won't have the same revelation at having such a supple initial stroke. This fork made me realize that life is better with comfort, although I would still never take it as the expense of support.

At the front of the bike, I would have always agreed with Levy, that forks would be better off without a lockout lever. That they were unnecessary complication and expense. Then I rode that DT fork with its unique position-sensitive damping, I finally found a fork that I didn't need to just make hard and hold on, it was supple, comfortable even at the beginning of the stroke. So supple in fact, that it most definitely does need the lockout lever for climbing, otherwise you find yourself rocking forwards in a very undignified manner. What it helped me realize is that what I want is a rear-end to match that balance of sensitivity and support; I want the most active rear-end possible and for that, I need a relatively low anti-squat number and a lockout lever to tame it on the way back up.


Drawn by Taj Mihelich
Mis-informed, anti-lockout propaganda.


Maybe someone can prove me wrong. I don't ride as many bikes as Levy does anymore, maybe somewhere out there is a bike that will piss all over my understanding of what is possible with rear suspension. The more I read about anti-squat and pedal kickback, the less optimistic I am that it is possible, though. What Levy seems to be asking for is a bike that has high anti-squat going up the hill and low anti-squat coming back down and that sounds like either magic or marketing, and I don't believe in either. While, like Mike, I don't want to see my handlebar become a nest of cables, a discrete lever on a shock is a price I'm more than happy to pay for a better bike on the way down, so why waste time with compromises and bullshit?






Illustrations by Taj Mihelich


125 Comments

  • + 59
 I need a lockout-lever for life so I can ride more.
  • - 17
flag AutumnMedia (May 2, 2019 at 16:06) (Below Threshold)
 You must wear a lycra suit underneath your pho mountain biker mirage..
  • + 26
 @AutumnMedia: What does my mountain biker mirage have to do with Vietnamese food? (And I only wear lycra sometimes.)
  • - 6
flag dobermon (May 3, 2019 at 7:02) (Below Threshold)
 Good luck with 4-5 extra levers and cable doodads to play with while I blow by you as usual.
  • + 24
 I ride a 2018 Patrol and absolutely love the three position lever on the rear shock. For those never-ending road climbs I use the cheater lever to make the climb more tolerable, trail riding is in the middle setting for a balance of support and traction, and DH trails see the shock wide open for maximum traction and control when things get rough. The ability to change to feel of the bike to match trail conditions is crucial to me. I would love to have an XC bike, trail bike, enduro bike, and DH bike, but I can't afford them. So a hardtail and the Patrol need to cover the gambit of trail types in my area.
  • + 1
 I have the same bike and I only lock it out on road (which I avoid), and open it on dirt (99% of riding). Don't really use the middle setting. I actually like the open suspension on the climbs because it smooths out the rough stuff so you can just pedal uphill rather than over obstacles. I have it pretty soft and it still is efficient. Maybe riding a track bike improved my cadence so I don't bob as much?
  • + 2
 *gamut
  • + 20
 RC did a brief first ride on a Tantrum Cycles bike a while, and made it seem like that was the magic bullet you are looking for long travel that doesn't need lock-out. Any chance you guys will ever do a review on one of those?!
  • + 4
 ^^^^
  • + 1
 Dont throw a Tantrum....pleeeease!!
  • + 15
 I appreciate the adjustment lever on the rear shock of my Slash because it helps preserve the appropriately-steep seat angle when climbing.

*Just as this situation isn't entirely black nor white, it should also be stated that switches on shocks in the last several years aren't exclusively lockout vs wide open.
  • + 84
 I just want to clarify - all situations are black, light black, or white.
  • - 28
flag SintraFreeride (May 2, 2019 at 12:32) (Below Threshold)
 @IamTheDogEzra: Light black! There is only Black or White! Light black...what the hell are you on about!
  • + 48
 @SintraFreeride: He's just confused. He mean't dark white.
  • + 3
 @IamTheDogEzra: is that different from dark white?
  • + 3
 @yarbianthebarbarian: I only wish I could give more than one up vote!
  • + 5
 I'd like 50 shades of lock out ...
  • + 12
 All this anti-cable propaganda. Cables aren’t that big of a deal, and if it is there are systems like Fox Live which minimize the cables and I think everyone would be shocked if Rock Shox didn’t get AXS suspension in a year or two. Fox live sounds EXACTLY like what the author wants. Make a bike that is amazing downhill, put fox live on it and it will pedal great too with simplicity for the user.

But no one talks about the alternatives or what could be done.
  • + 7
 Strange thing though, have you noticed that none of Fox's EWS athletes are using Live Valve?
Either its too expensive for even the pros, or its not yet as good as fox claims (for that purpose anyways).
  • + 1
 Vital for a great review on live valve outlining strengths and weaknesses. They do a good job explaining why it’s not the right system for everyone
  • + 4
 coil...
  • + 2
 Whatever company develops wireless remote lockout suspension first will immediately get my business.
  • + 10
 So far I've never came across FS bike that never needed cheater lever. Maybe there is such suspension layout that can prove me wrong and would be very happy to admit that no lockout is needed but for the time beeing it's a necectity not an option.
  • + 1
 cadence...traction...not thinkin about a stupid button...
  • + 9
 ".What Levy seems to be asking for is a bike that has high anti-squat going up the hill and low anti-squat coming back down and that sounds like either magic or marketing"


Or two chainrings up front...
  • + 0
 At a certain level it stops being about the gear options and you just need a stiffer platform to push against. Anyone can crawl up a hill on a DH bike with very light gearing, but to do that in a performance-oriented setting is asking to lose.(source: did an enduro on a big hit with marzocchi 888 and light gears).
  • + 4
 @brodoyouevenbike: Low gearing is not what @PhillipJ was talking about at all. A smaller chainring lowers the chainline and increases antisquat.
  • + 3
 @bananowy: My bad, one more lesson for the book Smile
  • + 7
 I’m with Levy. See idler pulley equipped bikes: there are two types of anti squat - chain growth anti squat, which creates pedal kickback, and the driving force anti squat, which does not. The problem is that having driving force anti squat requires a pivot point high above the wheel axle, which isn’t possible with a low BB and normal sized chainring (without introducing an insane amount of chain growth). Idler pulleys are the answer.

The problem with idler pulleys is that the bottom section of the chain still has chain growth, so the clutch has a large effect on suspension. But overall bikes like the forbidden Druid have high anti squat but low pedal kickback, so in theory they are both efficient and descend well. Haven’t ridden one, but want to.

My point being, there may be a solution without compromise. But we won’t find it if we rely on levers.
  • + 1
 I also think about Druid every time I see article like that. It would be awesome to test it in the Alps. It would also be awesome to see and test a version for big boys with more travel.
  • + 2
 If you are willing to have an idler on the lower section of chain too and raise it up to near the pivot point you can get rid of most of the chain growth and clutch interference. It's extra complication but it shouldn't add much drag as that section of chain isn't under significant tension.
  • + 10
 the watercolors are brilliant!
  • + 13
 Taj Mihelich originals?
  • + 18
 @blizzardmk, they sure are. He's been doing so much great stuff lately.
  • + 1
 @blizzardmk: It does look like his style. But it doesn't have his sig...I hope his art style is not just being ripped off?
  • + 3
 @cmc4130: nope Taj is doing comics and illustrations for us these days. Glad you’re digging the artwork!
  • + 6
 Two words...Rockshox TwistLoc (or is that four words??)...keeps the handlebars tidy, can still run an under bar dropper post lever, and it can control both fork and shock...and yes, the pull stroke works for Fox rear shocks too (haven't tried it on a Fox fork).

If only more rear shocks had the ability to have a cable actuator on them.

(...now cue all the anti twist shift anything commentators....this ain't the mid nineties no more, lads and laddettes)
  • - 1
 Hang on, gripshift was absolutely fine in the mid 90s. No more though.
  • + 2
 @BenPea: Gripshift was never EVER good...unless smooth trails were all you rode.
  • + 3
 @Explodo: Can't remember when I shifted away from them, but it was for a reason. Possibly moving to the mountains.
  • + 1
 @BenPea @Explodo I had the original Grip Shift, before Grip Shift acquired Sachs and became SRAM. They were a good upgrade from the Shimano shifters of the time, right up until the rubber grips stretched. This was made worse when it got wet and the rubber grip would then rotate on the plastic inner sleeve that had a low profile parallel spline to mesh with the rubber grip. The solution of the day was to secure the grip with a bunch of zip ties so that you had teh knobby bit to grip and the tightness to rotate the shifter. Further letting the Grip Shifts down was the fact that grime got in fairly easy and before you knew it, the cable was all gunked up.

Fast forward about twenty odd plus years, and I am running a GX 12 speed grip shift again. And I gotta be honest...it's f'ing great. They (SRAM) have made some real improvements.
  • + 1
 @handynzl: Replaced Gripshifts with Wavey Grips in about '99. I'm having flashbacks of nightmares in the wet and unwanted shifts.
  • + 5
 After working a bit in politics, and still in an adversarial environment... I ride bikes to leave this junk. Saw it over wheel size, give riders options and ride what makes ya keep riding. In other news, be cool to see more write ups on bike parks, trail access, race reports, reviews rather than general opinion boasts.
  • + 4
 I totally agree. Loved my 2014 Kona Process 134, but it got stolen. I thought, "I'll try one of the new ones, 153 29r, that will be soo plush...". Even with more suspension, more reach, and big wheels, it didn't match the suspension performance of my 2014. The back end on my 134 was pretty amazing, definitely bobbed when pedaling without the lockout, but so chatter munching on the descents, and could take some pretty massive hits without flinching for how little travel it had. 90 percent of the trails I ride are relatively mellow climbs followed by chunderdome downhills. Maybe if I lived somewhere with more techy climbing, or more rolling terrain, I would want a pedal optimized design. However, in the PNW, I think descending trumps everything else.
  • + 3
 If 153 feels worse on descends than your previous bike I strongly suggest devoting some time on damper tuning.
  • + 1
 @goroncy: It was brand new, from the Kona shop. Why would the damper need tuning? They specifically redesigned the rear suspension to make it pedal better.
  • + 1
 @MorganBH: Because people have different weights, sizes, and riding styles.
  • + 5
 Lockout/pedal enhancing levers on shocks absolutely make sense. I don't care how good your frame is, if you climb and descend with the same shock settings you're making a sacrifice on at least half of your ride.
  • + 3
 Here's something to think about--I live in a place where the trails are only fun when you stay on the gas, and they undulate in a way that make a climb lever seem stupid. I want a trail bike that pedals and descends well with the shock wide open, but I also don't need all that much travel. Someone who lives an hour south of me might want more travel for the downs and a lockout for climbing their fire road access. So why not optimize smaller travel bikes and the shocks that fit them to be run wide open with special pedaling kinematics and let the larger travel bikes/shocks cater toward plushness and keep the climb switch?
  • + 3
 What if we integrate the shock lever into the dropper lever? Post up, climb switch on... Post Down, climb switch off. Single mechanism I'm already using to allow the bike to descend better, now it just does even more with same switch. You could have a small override switch perhaps too?
  • + 1
 I think the scott twin lock now has an intergrated dropper lever...
  • + 2
 BMC offer this with Trailsync... I think it's a good idea, would love to give it a try! www.bmc-switzerland.com/trailsync
  • + 1
 Magura vyron dropper button has spare buttons begging to be used on it. I'm in when this happens.
  • + 3
 I think an open and a pedal mode are all thats needed on trail and enduro bikes. The lockout mode is garbage unless your racing xc or riding on a paved road/path. You loose a ton of traction and the ride becomes so harsh. Pedal mode on most shocks and forks gets rid of most of the unwanted 'bob' and still maintains decent traction.
  • + 3
 Nice work Matt. I mainly don’t like lockouts (because they make the bike slow and tiring on rough uphills and I forget to unlock them before turning down, and what if the track is undulating? So much thinking required!) but you made a good case. Imagine a device that would provide two distinctly different antisquat levels? One with lots of antisquat for smooth uphills and one with much less antisquat for downhills (and rough tech uphills)? All we’d need is two differently sized chainrings and a way to change between the two! Front derailleurs did have some pluses, along with with their not insignificant minuses.
  • + 2
 On the way up, all the high anti-squat bikes I've ridden feel like my current bike with the rear shock in climb mode. GOOD.
On the way down all the high anti-squat bikes I've ridden feel like my current bike with the rear shock in climb mode. NOT GOOD.
Sorry, I prefer a lever that gives me an option to turn it OFF. I dont need a 6" bike that climbs AND descents like a 4" bike...
  • + 2
 I must have ridden that same 150mm travel wonder bike you rode Matt. Most over hyped bike of the year in my opinion. After two demo rides and lots of fussing with the suspension I just never got comfortable on that bike. I never use the lock out on any of my bikes. Suspension is supposed to move. Just ride the damned thing already.
  • + 2
 You make against your own point here. You site high pivots with idlers...which have inherent antisquat (not due to chain tension) and low chain growth, which allows the suspension to move freely.

There you go, no lockout needed for efficiency, and a suspension that allowed to operate free from the effects of chain growth. No lockout needed, just solid suspension design and well though out kinematics

Oh, and some people travel quickly on flat terrain...where good suspension action AND efficiency are needed at the same time.
  • + 1
 In theory you are right, if you look at the linkage files of for instance the supreme sx it becomes obvious that an idler system designed for zero kickback at high speeds (or gears) has a huge kickback at low gears. with a 50t cog it would be around 30 deg. for the supreme. i am not sure if thats a big deal out there -maybe on technical climbs. otherwise it seems that thats the way to go. in my opinion the coming kavenz (77 designs) is a massive leap forward.
  • + 2
 Levy is entitled to his opinion, but Wragg is right. And... I'm an "XC" rider. Give me the bike that blasts the DH, I'm happy to flick the switch to make the way up easier....
  • + 1
 I got a chance to ride on a forbidden Druid last weekend and that is literally the bike you are talking about Climbed like a XC popped like a enduro and bombed like a DH It was by far one of the most fun bikes Iv ever ridden It almost felt like cheating
  • + 1
 Tell us more.
  • + 1
 @sethius: it almost felt like cheating I tried riding locked out and it felt almost worse. since it has the high pivot and only 130mm of travel it climbs super well with extremely little squat honestly feeling like it never broke free into a proper stroke but super sensitive small bump sensitivity kept your tires planted, but with the way the travel moves back and out of the way of obstacles vs up plus the high leverage ratio the travel feels bottomless. And then on top of all of that since it still has that short travel dpx2 and ways literally nothing you can through it around like a short travel trail bike.

Pretty much this is the perfect bike and although it seems almost wrong to go up and down with such ease it is a blast to ride

It also had a lyrik ultimate which I did find the bottom of on some large hits but rode superbly.
  • + 1
 “wants a bike with high anti squat on the climbs, and low on the descents”
Those bikes do exist, they have a double front chainring: small chainring for climbing increase distance to picot, increasing anti squat, big chainring for descending, decreases that gap, reducing anti squat and pedal kickback, magic!
  • + 1
 High pivot is the solution.
  • + 1
 I really like Knolly's approach. They minimize the anti-squat to keep the suspension active during pedalling/climbing. This really helps keep the wheels glued to the ground on technical climbs. You can always turn on the climb switch on smooth climbs, but you can't turn off the anti-squat built into the geometry!
  • + 1
 Yass to Knolly's Fourby4
  • + 1
 It's funny, I was all for complicated systems when I was young, and smart, but then as I rode bikes, everything broke, until I was riding a single speed hard tail (I literally had a cassette running single speed). Lots of arguments both ways. There's also the argument you'll spend 90% or more of your time climbing, which is also the pits. There's no winning in my opinion.
  • + 1
 If a suspension can be soft and sensitive enough when facing bumps and strong enough when there's no bumps, why do we need a lockout lever? I believe now we have such suspensions, at least with the development of suspension, lockout lever will be more and more useless.
  • + 1
 @mattwragg so it was just one fork that made you change your mind ?

from your "staffride" article :
"What I have not used with this bike is Scott's Twinlock system. Although I like their philosophy of keeping the rear end active and taming it with a lockout, it has never felt like I am losing too much as I climb, so I am fine with it wide-open all the time. "
www.pinkbike.com/news/staff-rides-matt-wraggs-scott-spark.html

I kinda want to know, because this article originally almost made me buy the same scott Smile
  • + 1
 @zede I don't get your point here. In that piece I wrote:

"The Spark had essentially the same shape curve as the Sender, with a very active rear end using the hydraulics for efficiency rather than the kinematic, which is an approach I like a lot."

Which is what I'm advocating for here - active rear ends tamed with hydraulics. Sure, I don't use the Twinloc system as I think it is too complicated, but in an ideal world I'd probably have a lockout lever on the shock, but the stock shock runs so well, I don't see any reason to change it. It would pedal a little better that way, but it's too much hassle/expense for what I see as a very marginal improvement - I really like the way the Nude shock rides. And on that Spark I use the middle setting of the lockout on that fork all the time. You also have to keep in mind that the Spark is a 120mm bike, not 150mm+, which makes a huge difference to how much the pedal bob effects the ride...

And in case you are wondering, I still have that Spark, with almost exactly that spec, and it is still my favourite mountain bike (although I have added a Stumpjumper Evo this year, which is fun, but for where I live I still usually prefer a shorter travel bike).
  • + 1
 @mattwragg: thanks for clarifying. I understood it as a general comment and found it weird that you would not use a lock out system on a short travel bike that is made for pedaling (so a bike on which you expect pedaling efficiency) while you want to use it on a more polyvalent bike (for which you wouldnt care so much about its uphill ability and so on).
I guess i would need to ride a spark to believe that the lockout does not make a big difference. I had imagined that on a long travel xc bike like this, the lockout mode would be made to make the bike feels like a hardtail.

As for the fork, even on a 160 mm bike, I never understood the point of lockout, because unless youre pedaling standing, the fork barely moves ? But then again maybe im just too slow to realize the benefits.
  • + 1
 @zede: I don't doubt that Twinloc system would make the bike feel far sportier, it's just that I tend to climb long fireroads on my own, so as long as I'm happy (which is more to do with how good a podcast I have downloaded than bike efficiency), I don't care about better. And contrary to the title, the main thing I'm advocating is low anti-squat designs, and I appreciate that lockouts are probably necessary to make them acceptable to the bike-buying public.

You'd be right for most forks, that DT is something of a unique case.
  • + 1
 A big fat long travel trail/enduro bike is never going to pedal up hills that well. On a good day I leave mine open with 35% sag even, and it pedals okay. If Im tired and feel as if I need some help I keep the seat angle a bit steeper and use the middle position. The suspension is still active, only firmer. Even on the third position, its not completely locked out but I almost never bother with it. A simple reach down to the shock or fork is all it takes to adjust compression. The cables and levers some bikes are just unneccesary IMO
  • + 1
 This argument is dumb. I’m taking the position in this article. The most capable bikes today are 160 ish enduro bikes. The kill it on the downs and do fine on the uphills, made better thanks to the lockout lever. But, if that lever wasn’t there, for the bike to still be a capable all rounder it would have to be designed to pedal up better this affecting the downhill performance. Then people can’t have a one bike quiver. It’s an advancement that has let manufacturers focus on what is hard to obtain, pedalable downhill performance.
  • + 1
 Gotta agree here - more anti-squat = less sensitivity in my experience.

My Remedy with the shock upgraded to a DPX2 seems to strike a pretty sweet balance. The awesome damping circuits and nicely tuned pedal platform complement the active rear end on the Remedy really well.
  • + 1
 I have 160mm/150mm All Mountain bike, coil front and rear, DH tires, set up optimized to GO DOWN! Never flip any switches or make any compromise for pedal efficiency. Levo...just saying.
  • + 2
 Yes to the lockout. Let's you ride you a FS bike like a SS hartail and hammer up hills. Very terrain dependent but I use mine as much as my dropper on my XC terrain.
  • + 2
 I've never needed one on the front of my bike, but I like to use the rear "lockout" on my CC-DBair when I'm climbing long smooth sections. I'm riding a Banshee Prime.
  • + 2
 Never needed one on my Rune, even on the steepest of fire road climbs whilst running a 170mm Lyric.
  • + 1
 I like switching between Open and Trail mode because in Open the bb gets too low in rough terrain and causes pedal strikes. But when I'm coasting down hill I like Open mode. So the lever is there, but just for rear.
  • + 0
 If we take any bike with more than than 120mm of rear travel, the difference between a locked out shock and the open one is evident. If you can't feel it somehow (maybe you run 10% SAG?) then look at the rocker link moving. It is moving more when not locked out and anyone sane can observe that. There is no defending handlebar mounted lock out remotes unless they are on XC racing bikes, but not locking out suspension on a long fireroad climb, especially with a crappy shock like pretty much anything from Rockshox, is just silly. If someone forgets to unlock it on top, well, what can you do...
  • + 1
 Ha, that's probably why I prefer around 15% sag on my rides, I just like it stiff. Wink
  • - 1
 @brappjuice: I’d use a lock out switch for long climbs even on an E-bike... because it doesn’t take a PhD in fluid dynamics to realize that lock out makes every single fs bike bob less, thus make the rider spend less energy...
  • + 1
 Er, unlock it for them?
  • + 3
 Who gives a flip what people think or what color the lever is, it's your ride.
  • + 3
 Never ridden one, but could this achieve what you're looking for? www.tantrumcycles.com/bikes
  • - 2
 No. Either it has magic powered shock or it uses the same compromises as everyone else.
  • + 2
 @faul: you're certain of that? Because I'm not.

Per Pinkbike:

"Brian Berthold's Missing Link delivers the goods - direct drive pedaling with supple suspension action - and it does so without electronics, remote levers or voodoo shock damping. Compared to the current crop of carbon superbikes, the Tantrum Meltdown looks rough around the edges, but it performs well on the downs - essential for any 160-millimeter trail bike - and its pedaling action is better than all of them.

Bold statement? I've ridden many trail bikes that were supposed to, '...pedal like a cross-country bike and descend like a DH bike.' (I've written that phrase more times than I should have) Only two have actually performed that ballet: the Meltdown with its Missing Link, and a Kona Process outfitted with Fox's prototype Live Valve electronic suspension. Neither are perfect, but both set the bar well above today's crowded pack of carbon uberbikes.

Send the Meltdown to finishing school, add a better component selection and a more sophisticated fork and shock, and I think it has the potential to take on the big guys. Brian Berthold's Missing Link is proof that there actually is significant room for improvement among the present crop of all-mountain trail bikes. Cheers to thinking outside the box. - RC"
  • + 1
 @privateer-wbc: It's basic physic.
It has one degree of freedom, so it's the same compromises. Havig 6-bars instead of 4 only helps for fine-tuning.
This is a bike with really high "antisquat" and a regressive leverage ratio. it feels like it accelerate faster when padalling, due to the rear suspension topping out, but if you put a power meter and a clock you will be disapointed by how average it is.
  • + 6
 Holy cow that website... what happened.... Yeesh. Someone start a Kickstarter for that URL.
  • + 1
 Mean while ill just chill over here with my canecreek droper lever with remote lockout ontop taking up no extra room. Plus with heat shrink or tape its amazing how clean it looks
  • + 5
 Correct.
  • + 2
 This.
  • + 1
 Fox need to sort their levers, frustrating that on the X2 it's on the right, and yet when you spec an new bike with a DPX2 it's on the left, should they offer left or right hand, or is it just me?
  • + 1
 I have several of these levers on my handlebars that aren't attached to anything. I'm trying to start a new trend. So far it's just me. It's lonely at the top..
  • + 1
 But really get a DW bike, like an Ibis of Pivot. As far as locking out the fork for climbing ... sure it works if you are an asphalt-like trail ...
  • + 1
 Yes, more levers! Why stop here....quick release levers for brake calipers, quick release lever for seat adjustments, and wing nuts for every bolts....no need to carry tools!
  • + 1
 I had to go to a 1000mm bar to fit my bar ends, F/R derailleur, F/R lockout, dropper post, brakes, gps, power meter, bell, action cam, and phone.
  • + 3
 Not enough engineers in this one.
  • + 2
 Ummm, that misinformed propoganda image is exactly how 90% of bikes equipped with lockout levers look. JUST SAYING
  • + 3
 It's like a postmodern depiction of Scott's Twinloc!
  • + 3
 please do more informative argumentative articles like this pb!!
  • + 1
 Find a bike that works for you. There are many different manufacturers, I’m sure one of them has a bike for the author.
  • + 1
 All because people are too lazy to become better riders and more efficient. Leave it wide open and just ride your damn bike!
  • + 1
 Haha yeah.

"I will admit that I am something of a Luddite."

A Luddite advocating EBikes too.

Talk about flags of convenience.

Reads like bloke you take on a ride you just wont shut up coz bike/part/angle/response/dampning/knees/injury/weather/family issues all conspiring to make them a pain you just want to drop and ride off from.
  • + 1
 I hear people say that a rider will waste energy without some sort of shock platform or lockout. How much?
  • - 1
 Who cares. Having it and not using it, is like having a beer opener in your pocket and steel using teeth because you find it more like keeping it real.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: you know you’ve made it when waki tries to make fun of you in the Pinkbike comments.
  • + 2
 @Someoldfart: Around 45% is the maximum loss you can obtain with 0% antisquat, high linear damping and a low spring rate.
You can have more if you lose grip (100% loss if the wheel spin and the bike doesn't move at all), or if the front wheel take off.
If you want to know how your bike work, a power meter is required as there is too much variation in riding style to put an actual number. But with a good bike your tires will use more energy than your damper.
  • + 1
 if you can't just reach down and flip the lever then you're taking it too seriously! lock out levers are the worst.
  • - 2
 For god‘s sake, just run a decent amount of damping in the rear, that is needed anyway to not blow through hammering down. Then run your rebound not ridiculously fast and boom - no stupid switch needed. Ah, and chose a frame, thats anti squat values fit to you preferred chainring size. Most of them are pretty good anyway these days. Levy wins.
  • + 2
 Lots of damping might not be a great idea. Damping exists to absorb movement energy. Even if your suspension doesn't bob because of high damping, a lot of pedal power gets dissipated by the shock.
  • + 2
 Increase LSC is exactly what climb switchs do. And some shocks also slow down the rebound. And you can go back to full squish for the down :beer
  • + 2
 Agree. Gimmee a remote lever and some variable compression damping.
  • + 2
 Running out of things to report on are we.
  • + 1
 Reading the comments I must be a freak, I always keep the rear full open on the trail and lock the fork.
  • + 1
 I don't need to read an article to be convinced that I need to put back on my bike-something I removed.
  • + 1
 I'm just here for Taj's rad illustrations!
  • + 2
 What is it, 2011?
  • + 1
 Sounds like a Kona with magic link!
  • + 1
 How do you barspin or throw t-whip with so many cables
  • + 1
 Blame pinkbike

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