Video: Spot's Carbon Leaf Spring - The Explainer

Jan 9, 2020
by Mike Levy  



THE EXPLAINER

What's the Deal with Spot's Living Link?




Spot's Living Link from left: Main pivot hardware, lower link with bearings on one end and carbon leaf spring on the other, the aluminum pivot hardware that mounts on the chainstay bridge, and the four bolts that attach it all to the swingarm.


Like a lot of things we use today, carbon fiber leaf springs sound sophisticated but are actually based on a design that first showed up a long, long time ago. Back in the mid-1700s, those old English carriageways were rough enough to rattle everyone's (presumably already rotten) teeth loose, but a bit of comfort came in the form of flat steel bars laid on top of one another with the axle put in the middle of it all.

The steel leaf springs both held up the carriage and hopefully took a bit of the edge off those cobbles and potholes when they flexed vertically.


Leaf springs have been around since the mid-1700s and are still in use today.


Jump forward nearly three hundred years and you'll still find steel leaf springs on many modern vehicles, although they're mostly used on heavy-duty trucks or other machines where a simple, reliable suspension solution is needed. You've likely spotted them; flat, heavy pieces of steel that were probably very rusty and primitive looking.

These leaf spring things sound more farm equipment than high-performance, don't they?

The composite leaf springs on both ends of a Corvette (but not the new C8 model) would say otherwise. Their single-element leaf springs are far lighter and many times more reliable than if steel was used, and its shape and packaging mean that they also add an anti-roll element that over-powered cars like the big Vette benefit from.

Furthermore, because different composite parts can be designed to flex more or less while looking essentially the same, the Vette's leaf springs can be made to act precisely how smart people want them to while still fitting the car's tight confines.

There are, of course, plenty of valid reasons why coil springs are more common, but let's see 'em do all that stuff.
The underside of a Corvette and its composite leaf spring suspension.

Of course, flexible carbon leaf springs aren't new to the bike world, either, with the crazy-looking Lauf suspension fork probably being the most obvious and current example. But while Lauf's creation uses a bunch of glass-fiber leaf springs to hold the rider up, Spot's Living Link system employs a single, nearly hidden leaf spring that only supplements the bike's Fox shock.

The small section of carbon fiber that makes up half of the lower link is almost completely hidden from view by the Ryve's seat tube and swingarm, but Spot says that it plays a very important role in how the suspension performs.


Sea Otter 2019
Spot's new Ryve looks like a normal dual-link bike... Until you take a closer look at the bottom link.


Just like many other dual-link bikes out there, when the Ryve’s rear suspension compresses, both links rotate clockwise; the top link compresses the shock while the bottom link rotates upwards. The carbon leaf spring is completely flat and unloaded at top-out and bottom-out, Spot's Andrew Lumpkin explained to me, meaning that it isn't putting any force into the suspension at those times and the Fox shock is doing all of the work.

But the leaf spring is flexed, or loaded, when the bike is sitting between 25-percent of its travel, otherwise known as the approximate sag point, and 75-percent of full travel. In other words, Spot is using the carbon leaf spring to alter the spring rate in the middle portion of the travel.


Sea Otter 2019
Sea Otter 2019
Spot says that it wouldn't be possible to have the suspension perform as it does with a normal link in place of the carbon leaf spring.


Why the heck would you want to do that? According to Lumpkin, this lets them create the spring curve they wanted by figuring out their ideal leverage ratios for the beginning and ending parts of the travel. Then they used the carbon leaf spring to tune how the suspension performs in the middle part of its travel where it's loaded and where you spend most of your time.

It's claimed to make the bike very efficient but, more interestingly, they’re also saying that the flexing leaf spring is storing energy that’s returned when the suspension extends. So much so that Spot claims that it can even supply extra “pop” to help you leave the ground. Sounds pretty neat, right? You bet, but I had to reach out to Spot for some clarification on this one.

I mean, does that little carbon leaf spring really store and release energy? And wouldn't the damper just absorb it anyway?

The answers: yes and sort of.


Spot can control how the Living Link flexes by changing the carbon layup (left) to meet their needs. The leaf spring flexes over an aluminum plate (right) that's mounted on top of the chainstay bridge.


First, to understand what's happening, we need to remind ourselves that rebound speed is tied to the spring rate. The firmer the spring, the more that spring wants to extend the shock. Air suspension isn't linear, either, so there will be more rebound force wanting to extend the shock at bottom-out than there is at top-out.

Now let's picture the Ryve's rear-suspension bottomed-out after an impact and starting to rebound.

Because the leaf spring's forces aren't being applied to the suspension from bottom-out to 25-percent extension, the rebound speed will be relatively slow until the leaf spring begins to enter the equation. From that point to 75-percent extension, the leaf spring is flexing and working in conjunction with the shock's air spring. Then, when the suspension extends past that point, the leaf spring goes straight and no longer applies any force, which means a slower relative rebound speed near top-out than if the carbon was replaced with a normal, non-flexy link.

What all that means is slower, presumably more controlled rebound after big impacts that use most of the bike's travel, faster rebound after small and medium impacts in the middle portion of the bike's travel, and then slower rebound (relative to if the link didn't flex) at the top of the travel.
Spot provided this graph that gives you an idea of when the leaf spring acts on the Ryve's suspension, although they've left the Y-axis blank to keep some info secret.

The benefits to all that, Lumpkin told me, is that they can ''preserve the big hit recovery near bottom out, but also preserve the traction benefits of slower rebound near top out.''

So, do you think there's something to Spot's carbon leaf spring, or is it just different to be different? I've got a 115mm-travel Ryve in for testing, so stay tuned for a video review and a verdict on the Living Link system.


184 Comments

  • 93 10
 That’s unbeLEAFable...
  • 61 5
 that pun is Spot on
  • 29 2
 Mike Levy flexing on us with a new article
  • 4 33
flag vjunior21 (Jan 9, 2020 at 8:07) (Below Threshold)
 Spot on
  • 4 12
flag Notmeatall (Jan 9, 2020 at 8:14) (Below Threshold)
 This train is poping!
  • 15 4
 This design will serve as a Living Link to the past.
  • 2 9
flag pioterski (Jan 9, 2020 at 10:39) (Below Threshold)
 @JimmyWeir: But it appears he hit us in the right spot, didn't he?
  • 9 2
 About 25% of me accepted the advantages of that solution pretty lively, but remaining 75% is slower to spot the pros. A few things just don't link.
  • 20 0
 @JimmyWeir:

Mike Leafy you mean
  • 2 0
 don't get all wrapped up about it.
  • 3 0
 Pinkbike always has been a spring of knowledge
  • 1 0
 @JimmyWeir: Hehe, I think that leaf spring it's awesome, well unlike in Corvette No OffencE !!!
  • 2 1
 Yo dawg, i herd u like springz. So we put a spring in yer spring
  • 1 0
 Lumpkin
  • 1 0
 Looks like a Yeti.
  • 1 2
 Isn't this the same technology used on the "The Singletrack Sampler's" frame that snapped at that point in the frame and sent him over the bars in Moab?
  • 4 1
 @vjunior21: Im surprised you watch that garbage.
  • 1 0
 @makripper:
It was on after a pinkbike video of man crashes from broken frame on whole enchilada. I was just recently there at the time so watched it for the crash.
  • 28 0
 I own a Spot Rollik 557 that employs this and while i think there are a lot of other factors that go into whether a rear suspension design is efficient or not, i have a few things i can share. -it is an efficient bike, and is very lively. Noticeable pop when hitting rougher trails at speed. If you like to play and hit bonus lines, the bike does this well. -the timing of loading the rear suspension to do things like bunny hop or get over a log is different than other bikes. Its become something i no longer think of, but when i first got the bike i recall that being very noticeable. Again, the pop, but also the timing of the pop, is slightly unique. Not a bad thing, just different. -climbing crouched on technical terrain is different. It can unexpectedly lose traction at slow speeds in the middle of the range if you arent pedaling smoothly. I think because its so active in the middle. Kinda wants you to sit and spin in those situations and then its planted. -its laterally super stiff. -its a fantastic bike. Again very lively and a little different, but i think thats what they are going for. I would highly recommend the design, and the guys at Spot have been awesome to work with anytime i had questions. -less bearings to replace is a nice plus
  • 10 2
 Agreed. I feel like spots climb more like a hardtail than a squishy horst-link bike. Fantastic for quick bursts of power and super efficient. It's not going to be spongy and erase the trail for people who just want to spin straight through an uphill rock/rooty section and let the suspension do all the work. It takes some intentional line choice and thoughtful power placement. Personally, I love that aspect of how they ride. Some people who are used to turning their brain off and spinning up chunk may struggle with it

It pumps extremely well and has an incredibly lively feel to it as well.
  • 8 1
 Mayhem owner here: It's a gotdang rocket ship. Rides so well! Great pop, bottom out support, super stiff. If you run the shock with a big spacer it vibes with the living link for great small bump feel.

I used the lockout for the first time about two weeks ago, for a 6 mile (one way) road transfer. Forgot to turn it on until halfway through.

I'd agree with the others, power transfer over uphill tech isn't as thoughtless as with a Horst or DW-link.
  • 4 0
 I have been riding my Rollik 607 for just shy of two years, 1600 pretty aggressive miles in the PNW, Sedona, Squamish, and continue to smile every time I ride it. It is a really fun playful bike that climbs, descends and corners very well. I have ridden several Yeti, Pivot, Ibis, etc. and for my riding style, I feel it is the perfect bike. Dusty Betty did a nice review on youtube in Sedona of the newer Rollik 150 if interested.
  • 2 0
 the pop initiation difference-- can you go into that a bit more in detail?
  • 5 0
 i demo'ed the rollik 607 in Sedona 3 years back and it was a rad bike for sure! the square edge during climbs were pretty rough but the bike seemed to just power over them anyways. on the descents it was pretty poppy and surprisingly plush on the fast rocky sections with stupid amounts of grip. that bike was the first time i conquered all of Hiline without dabbing! never managed to do that on any other bike.
  • 16 1
 Is there *really* that much bend in the leaf that it performs differently than a single rigid link, like DW-link or VPP? Sure looks like that thing doesn't bend much in the suspension action video.

So it kinda seems to me that this is just an opportunity for the marketing department, really. Spot's only eliminating two bearings - the link still requires bearings. Doubt this is really a fundamental improvement over rigid dual-link designs.
  • 12 11
 ...except that now you're constantly flexing a piece of carbon that's sandwiched on one end between two rigid aluminum plates. I'm just a non-engineer internet nobody, but to me that seems like a higher chance of failure than a standard rigid lower link with bearings on both sides.
  • 24 33
flag tempest3070 (Jan 9, 2020 at 8:38) (Below Threshold)
 @gumbytex: "...but to me that seems like a higher chance of failure ..."

Huh. I guess you know best.

"I'm just a non-engineer internet nobody ..."

Yet you chimed in on suspension engineering anyway. Well done.
  • 57 2
 @tempest3070: I think you're missing the point of the Pinkbike comments section and the internet in general. This is a place for non-experts to make hasty passionate claims based on limited data behind a veil of anonymity.
  • 4 0
 I owned a Pivot Mach 6 before I got my Spot Rollik. Yes, the ride quality was different enough that I got rid of my Pivot. The way Living Link feels when pedalling and pumping is different- more supported. Maybe another way to say it is that on the Pivot pedalling or pumping drops me into the travel more before it gives me something to push against. The Living Link bikes feel like that platform comes in earlier but it still really opens up when you need it.
  • 4 0
 @gumbytex: Depends. As we saw in the field test this year the two failures were both pieces of aluminum, so a standard link inst immune to failure. A leaf spring systems like this is definitely more complicated than a block of aluminum and bearings, but is likely designed with a pretty significant fatigue life which should be at least the lifespan of the frame its attached too. The suspension is limited in its range of motion so we shouldn't see the leaf spring be over extended meaning that the lifespan should be fairly predictable.

Without seeing their testing there really isn't a way to determine the durability of the system, but i doubt it is by any significant amount more prone to failure than a standard solid link. Assuming it was properly designed and tested.
  • 4 0
 @gumbytex: I think you're missing the point of the Pinkbike comments section and the internet in general. This is a place for non-experts to make hasty passionate claims based on limited data behind a veil of anonymity.

^this the only fella here who knows what he's talking about
  • 5 0
 @bobthestapler: Thought you might be interested in more detail on how they tested the durability of the system. (Original article/comment thread: www.pinkbike.com/news/spot-mayhem-review.html)

@Spot-Engineering (Feb 9, 2018 at 12:43)
@ VTwintips: What counts as a cycle is a full flexion of the leaf spring. This happens at ~50% travel, whether headed for bottom out or top out. So any bump, jump, drop etc. that pushes the suspension past 50% will effectively result in two cycles. I'm not sure how one might expect to factor crank revolutions into this. When pedaling on smooth trail, the bike stays in the sag range, and doesn't activate the suspension to anywhere near 50% travel.

During the development of this system, we fitted one of our test mules with a data acquisition system that measured suspension cycles. Our typical daily lunch ride is the Apex trail here in Golden (for curious locals, our route for this test is up Pick 'n Sledge, up upper Apex, down Enchanted forest and down "The Gut"). This ride takes most riders 1.5-2.5 hours, depending on fitness, and as we ride it from our HQ, it covers about 10 miles and 2000 vertical feet, and it isn't smooth! One lap of this ride yields ~675 cycles of the leaf spring as measured by our equipment (it's really distracting to watch the cycle count display while riding BTW).

We've tested the leaf spring to 3 million cycles with no failure. In that time I replaced most of the bearings in the test machine at least once. So if you ride our Apex lap EVERY DAY, our testing shows that you can go about that for over 12 years. At that point you'd have replaced every moving part on the bike multiple times, but the leaf spring would still be going strong.

Hopefully this clears up any concerns of longevity.
  • 2 0
 @tigerrag: Thanks! That is exactly how i expected it to be tested. Glad to see them designing it to last that long.
  • 1 0
 @thesingletrakmind: so, more low speed compression damping..?
  • 2 0
 I think the main reason for the composite spring is to get away from infringing on DW-link patents. Seems like they could get the same desired suspension curves from a rigid link design and shock.
  • 1 0
 Really I think this illustrates the need for more cheap progressive coil springs. There are ways to have very customized compression curves with coils, but it ain't cheap to manufacture....
  • 17 1
 This is interesting. Leaf springs have been used before, but mostly for short travel bikes. I can see how this would be a benefit.
  • 13 3
 Saving weight, more active suspension and less service intervals. Sold!
  • 5 1
 @endurocat: but they are still using classic air damper. this is just a bonus.
Spring has no damping by itself.
  • 5 0
 @endurocat: 5 years of riding Spots and have never had to service a pivot other than the Fox bushings. Can't say that about other mini link bikes I've owned.
  • 52 1
 @mikelevy : Subject it to the "huck to flat test" the people of PB demand it!
  • 3 1
 @rockchomper: Absolutely, or I call corporate flak BS on the whole test.
  • 2 1
 @Kptzbik: The leaf spring needs some other type of fluid damper, but you're right, not any lighter or more reliable. It's only lighter than a coil spring setup.
  • 2 1
 @endurocat: with all that extra hardware and AL plate, I'm not convinced its any lighter...
  • 2 0
 @Raytruant: I don’t think they used another fluid. This fox damper has still air spring installed and does the biggest part of job.
Leaf is not workin on first and last 25% of travel so without any other spring rear triangle would just spin around pivots without any damping. So the chart would start at 25% of travel and end at 75% with no force in the left percentages.
  • 16 1
 Living link bikes ride so incredibly well. Hands down my favorite full-suspension. I own a rollik 150 and love it.
  • 22 0
 does that mean the party is over? Wink
  • 3 0
 I'm not reading into anything, but you're telling us that that it CAN'T fry an egg...? Is that right?
  • 2 2
 @artistformlyknowasdan: nope, the party is still going strong. But my rollik 150 is my main full suspension bike when I'm not on the hardtails.
  • 3 1
 @hardtailparty: #damagecontrol #issteelevenreal ?
  • 12 0
 This link itself is a spring, so it has its own spring rate, ratio, etc like every other spring would. So it is a one size fits all in how it works together with the bikes shock? There is a big difference how the bikes shock and suspension is working when its set up for riders of different weights (say a 140lb rider vs a 200lb rider). The way its presented here it seems like the effects (and possible benefits or drawbacks) of the living link could be very dependent on rider size.
  • 9 1
 It only adds some rate and a "negative preload" to your existing spring. No more, no less.
So you will have a sligtly better spring curve as their graph shows, with less air in your shock. whatever is your weight or size.
And that's it. They added many words in the article to use space and sound clever.
  • 4 0
 @faul: but is the rate it adds is constant regardless of the shock spring rate?

For example if an average person (lets say 160lsb) required 100PSI in the shock and it adds an additional/in they will feel a certain benefit. Then my large ass gets on the same bike and I weigh 260lbs. The leaf spring will add the same 10lbs/in and the effect will be marginalized.

My worry is that I would not get the full benefit of the leaf spring.
  • 4 0
 @mtmc99: Yes, the added spring rate is constant, it comes from the stiffness of the link. So the more you pump up your shock, the less it makes a difference.
But As I don't work for them, I can't tell how much of a difference it makes. I'd need numbers.
  • 1 0
 @mtmc99: I doubt that you would get any benefit at all. I got a friend who used to weigh 280-300 lb.s. I'm 190-200. When he rode my bike, just sitting on it fully compressed the shock, and I mean in an instant!

It looked kinda scary.
  • 2 0
 @mtmc99: yea thats what I was thinking. Seems like you essentially have 2 springs here working together. If you only make adjustments to one (the main shocks), the effect of the other (the leaf spring) is going to change.
  • 2 0
 Agree. I don't see why they couldn't design a "Living Link" optimized for riders from say 100-150 lbs., 150-200 lbs., 200-250 lbs. and 250+ lbs. at the very least.
  • 1 0
 @faul: the rate of the actual spring is linear, but its rate in the short link suspension is not. After a certain point in the travel, the link starts rotating the other way, reducing the effect just as the air spring ramps up.
  • 1 0
 @atestisthis: I don't know if this is linear (I doubt it can be), but I said the rate was "constant", as it doesn't change when you pump up the shock. Not relative to the travel.
And it doesn't really matter. It is their "white" curve that matters. It shows a slightly better overall spring rate. That's the only benefit of this from a "suspension" point of view.
  • 1 0
 @krka73: agreed, i owned mayhem for a few months and i think the suspension design is not there yet. i kept wishing spot would offer different leaf spring thickness/rigidity or how should i call it. also, in my experience, the effectiveness of the spring is also its own doom. i eventually sold the bike and got ripley v4 which is so much better bike overall.
  • 1 0
 @faul: The rate it adds is constant but the percent difference between what your air spring's rate is the difference you're going to decern while riding. I think heavier riders wouldn't notice it less and lighter riders would notice it the most.
  • 29 16
 A youtuber cracked on of these bikes and then they weren't helpful and we're crappy about it
  • 24 13
 I wouldn't give that youtuber the time of day
  • 4 2
 @JohanG: Singletracksampler Alex
  • 10 4
 not everyone is good at communicating through social media....give it a rest
  • 9 1
 @JohanG: warranty is a warranty
  • 11 7
 @SnowshoeRider4Life: a demo is a demo...and hacks break demo bikes all the time regardless of the brand...
  • 10 6
 @Sycip69er: on a 2 or 3 ft drop too. yea ok
  • 16 1
 Single Track Sampler was the youtuber. Spot felt that his shock didn't have enough pressure, so when bottoming out was putting stresses on the frame that Spot had not tested for. There was debate about the shock setup, Alex of STS was saying 30% sag, Spot was saying far more.

At this time at least, I don't think I've heard anyone else breaking a Spot in a similar manner, so it might have been a user setup issue, who knows.
  • 25 6
 Important to remember that the YouTuber in question has zero accreditation and is a regular shmole. User error is likely, but failures happen and in a Yelp era where people grab pitchforks before the evidence is in, you gotta handle every customer with care.
  • 21 15
 @PHeller: it was a known design flaw that caused the frame to break, it had nothing to do with the way the bike was ridden or set up. Spot just conveniently never communicated that to the public, instead they threw Alex under the bus so they could blame someone else.

Additionally, there have been several other Spot frames that broke in the same manner. It's probably why they had to redesign the suspension linkage for their "new" Rollik 150.
  • 6 4
 Start the video at about 7:20. The frame broke, not the suspension. www.youtube.com/watch?v=cw5QQyJSyso
  • 7 0
 @Geochemistry: Spot's contention was that the frame broke BECAUSE of the suspension setup.

Per @stevemokan it wasn't an isolated issue, either...
  • 27 1
 Even if he was riding the bike at 50% sag the frame shouldn’t fail off of a 3 ft drop. And spot saying it’s user error is a far cry from a fair explanation. Alex rides bikes probably like 200+ days a year. Regardless of you personal opinion of him he, nor most riders with even less experience, isn’t dumb enough to hop on a bike for a big ride in Utah without making sure the sag is at least in the right ballpark. The frame being previously damaged because it’s a demo bike is far more believable and no ones fault. Either way, spot handled the situation like shit.
  • 2 0
 A damaged demo bike does seem more likely to me too. The other Youtubers from Dusty Betty have put their Spots through the paces and have also given very incredibly thorough reviews on them. Even if Steve is sponsored by a company he still comes across as very impartial and will point out weaknesses IMHO.
  • 3 0
 @rossluzz: I'm pretty sure Steve broke one and talked about how they made a change to the linkage in his review of the bike. Either way, they fixed it and moved on.
  • 2 0
 @rossluzz: I had a chance to ride with Steve and Tess a few years back, and he gave a very positive review of that bike even "off the record". We were riding as a fun day with some of his old friends so he had no reason to toe the company line.
  • 9 1
 Regardless of who's fault it was that the bike broke - the way Spot handled the situation publicly is enough to dismiss them and move on to another brand. Plenty of good bikes out there, no reason to deal with crap customer service.
  • 4 14
flag Sycip69er (Jan 9, 2020 at 14:43) (Below Threshold)
 @GeorgeHayduke: once again...he wasn't a customer...he is a youtube influencer...

We actual customers have had an experience like no other. We get invited to group rides, can drop by the office any time to chat and get our bikes looked at, they make cycling kits available to us, priority on demo bike availability, free beer and so much more.

They are a local brand that treats their local customers extremely well. Full open door policy.

...but yeah you just listen to that Youtube influencer and read into crappy comments Iby all) and formulate your opinion...we know how that went down off the internet and I'll stick with my friendly neighborhood bike brand.
  • 10 1
 @Sycip69er: I formulated my opinion based on Spot's comments, nobody else's.
  • 5 5
 @Sycip69er: So- I don't think it had anything to do with listening to a youtube influencer. I think a lot of the concern and response was directly to the response from Spot following it. I've always liked the look of Spot frames and some of their creativity and am not a follower of Singletrack Sampler...though also have no negative opinion of him...but from an outside perspective the response was interesting from Spot following the incident. you can find the full responses from Steve from Spot on forums but here are some snippets:
"...In our initial analysis, one issue is apparent—the shock was grossly under-pressured and the compression under-damped. It should have had approximately 60psi (33%) more pressure in the shock! Although it had been reported that he hadn’t been bottoming out, many frames in the footage show that the o-ring was off or at least at the end of its travel. Only yesterday were we privy to this additional evidence. It’s up to the rider to notice and remedy such a setup issue. Alex’s intuition was that something was wrong, but he continued to send it.
The purpose of a spring-damper unit is to absorb the energy from the trail or the rider when riding in uneven terrain. If the spring-damper unit is under-inflated and under-damped, it prevents the spring damper unit from absorbing enough of the energy to protect the frame. With this inadequate setup/trail conditions, if you repeatedly deliver a high spike load to the frame, it will likely fail. We hereby explicitly state that if you ride any of our bikes with such inadequate setup, sooner or later expect the same result. Ask any other manufacturer/expert in the field, and they will tell you EXACTLY THE SAME THING. If the frame is not protected from severe bottom-out events, all bets are off—THE FRAME WILL FAIL EVENTUALLY. Have we had a few broken frames since we started selling them two years ago? Of course. Who hasn’t? There’s nothing new here; this is basic physics. There is nothing inferior about our frames.
Then there’s the next factor: the [at least] three crashes on rocky terrain. As we all learned with the famous Minnaar crash last year, crazy things happen in crashes, even to downhill bikes. To define this bike as brand new is misleading due to these crashes and entirely inadequate air pressure and damping setup with the severe riding conditions. Riding aggressive trails aggressively requires suspension adjustments to protect yourself and your equipment. One very important lesson that’s apparent is to always inspect your bike (frame and components) thoroughly, especially when you suspect that something is wrong. This final crash was avoidable. Again, we are extremely grateful that Alex is okay. We will report back when our investigation is complete."
...
"Although our warranty process is known to be extremely forgiving, the whole industry is in a challenging place regarding bikes and their intended uses. Our current models are NOT made to be used for downhill, freeride, slopestyle, park, etc. If they were, they'd be at least 35 lbs. The industry standard that carves out intended use is the ASTM Standard Classification for Bicycle Usage. Unfortunately, the Conditions (classifications) are quite broad. Condition-3 bikes are stated to keep jumps or drops below 24". Condition-4 bikes to keep jumps and drops BELOW 48" and speeds lower than 25mph. Only Condition-5 bikes are for more extreme riding. For anyone out there wanting a bike for extreme riding, the inference is to only purchase a Condition 5 bike."...
It all just felt like a really defensive posture...either way I hope they figured out what went wrong and remedied it. The bikes look great, like the innovation, perhaps some PR learning from that experience was needed but wish them luck.
  • 6 3
 @snl1200: Oh they learned for sure. Less than 10 employees and none of them are social media professionals. They changed details on their bikes, added new models, increased their demo fleet and increased their warranty period. They probably were hoping people moved beyond this one public issue at this point but the internet never forgives or forgets in the 2000s. I'm sure the Pole and Enve people love the constant beating they take as well.
  • 9 2
 @voghan: Steve here. I paid for my bike, despite being a YouTube influencer. I broke one on a 6' drop in Bend, OR (as mentioned in my reciews). Spot determined there was an issue with the upper link on the early rollik 607s, allowing contact with the frame at full bottom-out. They made a new upper link and sent it out to all affected customers for free.

I now ride a rollik 150 and love it even more than the 607. I can ride any bike I choose, I'm under no contracts. I choose the rollik 150. It's a super fun bike to ride for my style. It won't erase the trail like a big plow bike, but I like that. Spot has been great to deal with, and I wish they were at more demo events so more people could try their bikes.
  • 4 0
 @Sycip69er Yeah that is a tough one for a small company and with the way information spreads like grass fire over the internet people end up only hearing the negatives sometimes and it colours their perception. I was more just saying that I first heard about the story in regards to some of the PR responses and people taking offense to them and not in regards to the quality of Spot frames or the Youtuber bad mouthing them. It might have been another case (like Pole) where rather than deescalating the situation, the way it was responded to made it more of a story for people. The internet doesn't forget and I agree that it sucks-for both companies and individuals. I think a lot of people my age are grateful we made it through adolescence without a permanent record of our screw ups documented on smart phones. Again, it is not my opinion that this one story reflected on the quality of the frames or the people- I just saw it as a mistake but wanted to point out that I thought the biggest mistake was how it was handled for the exact reason you say- because the internet doesn't forget. Glad to see them still making cool bikes.
  • 3 0
 just watch any g out episode,DH and enduro bikes to the limits...How many failures have we seen in WC due a severe bottom out?
  • 2 0
 @PHeller: Seen Giants, Yetis, and a Bergamont break from underinflated shocks that were bottomed repeated. Seat tube broke as if the wheel/linkage wanted to continue rotating forward. Giants were warrantied. Yeti was reluctant, but I believe they went through after they determined loyalty (loyalty was questioned for the breaks going public before contact). Bergamont denied warranty.
  • 7 1
 IMO the living link bikes from Spot make them the technical climbing bikes on the market. There is a noticeable mountain goat like pop when trying to get up and over objects and the traction is always there with no excess movement. All are great descending bikes but its the climbing that is most impressive, even the long travel bikes.
  • 5 0
 Interesting idea that reminds me of the slingshot back in the day. The video breakdown on the tech is well done! Leafs nothing to the imagination.
  • 6 0
 @mikelevy: I love the "Explainer" series and really wish you guys would do more of them.
  • 7 0
 Huck to flat! Huck to flat!
  • 3 0
 I haven't ridden a Spot, but their theory doesn't make sense. Looking at the spring force curve posted at the end of the article, Spot appears to be using the living link to increase the dreaded mid-stroke wallow that every other manufacturer is designing out of their frames. Based on the plot, the living link makes the frame firmer (harsher) above the sag point, less supportive in the mid-stroke, and more progressive (like hitting a wall) at the end stroke but without the benefit of increased force at bottom out. Maybe this makes for a bike that rides great, but why is it the opposite of what the rest of the industry is doing?
  • 3 0
 I own a Spot Rollik and have ridden a couple of the other bikes with Living Link. They are all incredibly efficient. The Ryve has amazingly active suspension while still being exceptionally efficient.
  • 2 0
 I rode the Mayhem in Moab for 4 days and liked it overall. It's a stiffer feeling rear suspension and it doesn't feel like you have any more rear suspension than what you have. The biggest impression it left on me was the instant acceleration when upshifting on flowy/pedally sections. I felt like I was able to upshift into higher gears and go faster as a result. It is the best accelerating bike when upshifting that I have ever ridden....
  • 2 0
 Based on their graph there is at most ~8% difference in rear tire force between leaf spring and not (and the difference gets only smaller from there). I suppose that may be noticeable but I'm a little sceptical that the change in damping rates would be even perceivable when riding.
  • 2 0
 Typically composite leaf springs are fiberglass, not carbon fiber. Glass has much higher elongation and toughness than carbon, making it better spring material. It's not uncommon to see black resin used in glass filled composites to make them look like carbon. The word "composite" simply means two different materials, which can be fiberglass, carbon, ceramic metal composites, and believe it or not even wood is a composite consisting of cellulose and lignin.
  • 1 0
 Not in the prosthetic industry. Most prosthetic feet (springs) are carbon, though fiberglass feet are out there too.
  • 5 0
 Came here to make a Corvette joke but see it's already been explained.
  • 2 0
 Normal pivots are pretty sorted these days. Stiffness, dependability, and service intervals are not an issue for me. This seems a rather complicated solution to delete 2 bearings.
  • 3 0
 it honestly doesn't seem any more or less complicated to me. it's just a link that happens to be a spring.
  • 4 0
 On sale for $3400 for GX and good suspension. Could be awesome and a strong value.
  • 4 0
 Faster rebound at full linkage compression sounds like a recipe for future Friday Fail Videos. I fully endorse!
  • 2 0
 Good job marketing team leaving axis labels off the Force/Stroke plot... looks like the rigid link system approximates the flexurized system within no more than 1-5%. Worth the added complexity?
  • 2 1
 There's a little too much "Lumpkin told me" in this explainer... be great if you could test, get a consensus from a large group of riders or verify one way or the other and let us know instead of just passing on what the person told you who has a vested interest in how the information is persieved.

I do remember them getting really good reviews when released. If they updated the Mayem geo and set it up with a 150 fork, or did a 140/160 I think that would be a cool bike!
  • 2 0
 Yup, review down the road Smile
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Nice!!! Thank you...
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: huck to flat!
  • 1 0
 "Because the leaf spring's forces aren't being applied to the suspension from bottom-out to 25-percent extension, the rebound speed will be relatively slow until the leaf spring begins to enter the equation. From that point to 75-percent extension, the leaf spring is flexing and working" -is that right ?

Isn't that carbon spring between bottom-out to 25% is fully loaded (so gives a lot rebound force) ?? and starts to be unloaded between 25-75% ? to be fully unloaded in last 25% ? (in first 25% and fully extended state)
  • 2 1
 So you go and make insinuations about the dental hygiene of the English (who statistically have better dental health than our cousins over the pond) and then go on to cite a (retired?) suspension design on a corvette as an example of quality suspension design? Brave

(Salty indeed)

leaf springs have the attraction of being much simpler to build and maintain, but the Spot completely side steps that by just using it as supplementary spring to a 10 pivot system. Madness.
  • 1 1
 Why don't suspension guys put rear of frame on a dyno (or similar) to get suspension performance data?

If you just do the shock your missing like half the picture.

And if you do virtual forces your missing all the variables from links, rear triangle, pivot bearings, etc.

So, in summary - all you mfgs graphs are useless (mostly)
  • 2 0
 If you know the leverage curve of the bike, you can translate forces at shock to forces at wheel. There would be some other minor forces or displacements from flex, frictions... but that's another story.
  • 2 1
 Just one more excuse not to develop good platform.. if the most advanced race cars , motorbikes, and basically everybody else can happily live with 1spring+1damper per wheel, why would we need 2 for mtbs?
  • 1 0
 Nearly all race cares are regulated to use one spring and damper per wheel(if you ignore anti-roll bars). Look up interconnected suspension and you will find a great set up that is illegal in nearly all forms of racing. FSAE is the only place I know it has been used.
  • 1 1
 @Chris97a: Regulated or not, but they are doing well with what they are allowed to do. If formula-1 can get by with a single springper wheel, it should be enough for mtb too.
Yes its possible to do lots of revolutionary stuff if there are no constraints from technical rulebook, but usually this stuff will be just proof-of-concept type of engineering with some massive compromises in usability/serviceability/cost/etc.etc. What rulebooks produce is simple, but highly refined design. And I like refined stuff.. Unfortunately, in bike industry not many companies want to invest in refining things , its more marketable to do something new and unorthodox, than just simply do a good product.
  • 2 0
 @GZMS:
I don't get what you arguing for. F1 uses a spring and damper at each wheel, an anti-roll spring, sometimes an anti-roll damper, often when they figure out a loophole (or hide it real good), some sort of mass damper or inertial damper, they have massively huge tires that works as springs along with tuned compliance in the suspension. It is far from a spring and a damper per wheel.

Regardless a similar argument could be made that clearly Mountain bikes don't need wheels because rockets don't have them and they work just fine.
  • 1 0
 @GZMS:
Like I previously suggested, look up what the rulebooks are banning. Interconnected suspension in cars would be massively more simple and refined. 3 springs and 4 dampers(which ideally don't do that much) vs what most just regular cars have which is 6 springs and 4 dampers.
  • 1 1
 @Chris97a: what i'm saying is that this leaf spring (as many other things in mtb design) was created just to look different and 'innovative', to grab some attention. Not to actually make the bike ride better.
  • 1 0
 @GZMS: Except F1 tried to go beyond a single spring/damper per wheel when the engineers found a clever way to do it that they thought didn't break the rules - www.autosport.com/f1/news/127638/f1-latest-suspension-row-explained There was also a "mass damper" used earlier by Renault to great effect as well.

In MTB you could use the 1st (main air) spring to set up your ride height/sag, 2nd (living link) spring to make changes to the rate that were independent of the ride height/sag.
  • 1 0
 @GZMS I'd say one of the things that suspension designers have been trying to do for as long as I can remember is separate the chain and derailleur from the suspension. Many of the 'favorite' platforms are inherently compromised because they use chain tension to stiffen the suspension.

An absolutely ideal suspension should have a similar action in any gear or rider input level and then you control the suspension play with damping. Nobody likes flipping levers though.

My thoughts are that Spot is trying to make the suspension more independent of rider input and using the leaf spring to keep it from becoming mush all the time.

Cars and motorcycles are a bad example because most of them don't have to compensate for a 1/2hp max human with irregular power input who doesn't like the suspension to bob up and down while they climb a hill. Good motor vehicle suspension pretty much isolates power input from suspension travel.
  • 2 0
 I can design a much cheaper way to store 2 lbs of mud. Honestly though, cool concept if it was tucked in a bit more.
  • 1 0
 What about 3lbs of mud?
  • 3 0
 It's not anywhere near as bad as Santa Cruz's mud storage capacity.
  • 2 0
 @hangdogr: ah yes, the patented SC shit catcher. Now with added water storage capacity.
  • 3 1
 This seems like it would exacerbate the "mid-stroke wallow" effect of an air-spring, no?

Or am I mis-reading it?
  • 1 0
 Progressive damping....
  • 3 0
 My hardtail and I have had a good laugh. Give us more like that.
  • 1 0
 hmm'.... im intrigued! the travel of this model is a bit shy of what i like, it will be interesting to see if they make an enduro/am model employing the same tech
  • 2 0
 Spot already makes a 130mm 29er and a 150mm 27.5
  • 1 0
 I REALLY Like this suspension concept - but I think I'd like it to have the travel of their Rollik(with the Shock exactly here it is - I don't like other shock positions)...
  • 3 0
 ok but this bike still has a 67.5 degree head tube angle
  • 1 1
 This bike is an awesome mix of efficiency and shreddability.
  • 1 1
 Maybe a tad slack for its design purpose.
  • 1 0
 Surely the first thing that happens is the whole link moves as far as it can on the pivot bearing. Only once its reached that limit will the carbon even start to flex.
  • 1 0
 The broken zip-tie at 1:00 ruined my video watching experience and triggered my OCD.
  • 4 1
 Oh snap
  • 1 0
 Hey @mikelevy, hopefully you quenched your thirst at the watershed before this review!
  • 3 2
 Why by used when you can buy covered wagon tech today! Now with exploding seat tube and zero structural load analysis!
  • 2 0
 I thought everyone has finally given up on s shapes leverage curves.
  • 2 0
 Completes are good value on sale!!
  • 7 6
 i'm holding out for someone doing a torsion bar spring.
  • 8 2
 Coil springs are wound up torsion bars
  • 2 29
flag deeeight Plus (Jan 9, 2020 at 7:58) (Below Threshold)
 @emptybox:

No... coil springs are torsion springs. That is NOT the same thing as a torsion bar spring. Next time, educate yourself before replying to a comment you're clearly ill equipped to reply to.
  • 7 0
 @deeeight: coil springs work the same way as torsion bars, by relying on torsional forces.. while torsion springs are different. So in short, you are wrong.
  • 2 16
flag deeeight Plus (Jan 9, 2020 at 9:11) (Below Threshold)
 @GZMS:

I understand perfectly well the principals at work in the springs... what you f*cktards clearly don't understand is what a torsion bar spring actually is.
  • 4 0
 @deeeight:
Why so salty? What I meant to say is coils rely on torsion like GZMS said. Maybe you should try to express yourself better
  • 1 0
 And it will be a b*tch to reindex...
  • 2 0
 You've never heard of the Ellsworth Garage?
www.pinkbike.com/photo/18153922

They offered lifetime service until Montgomery Ward closed down.
  • 7 0
 Daaaang deeeight seems pretty wound up over this.
  • 3 2
 For the masses who don't seem to understand what a torsion bar suspension is...

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torsion_bar_suspension
  • 1 0
 @deeeight: the one thing I hated most working on old Jaguar E-Types...
  • 2 0
 @DHhack: I own a Porsche 944. Twisty crew.
  • 1 0
 Yeah torsion bars have been around a loooong time. The earliest VW beetle had independent rear suspension which came from Porsche. Porsche still uses torsion bars to my knowledge. Don’t hear many complaints on how they handle. You could actually place them on any pivot point in the linkage that you wanted to. It’d be interesting.
  • 1 0
 @deeeight: I know exactly what a torsion bar spring is. I’ve still got an old Beetle in my garage.
  • 2 0
 @fattyheadshok: Porsche hasn’t used them in the 911 since 89 maybe?
  • 2 0
 @DHhack: Didn’t know that. I’d assumed they kept using and refining what had worked for decades. I’ll admit I haven’t followed them in years. After wife, kids, and mortgage payments the brand new Porsche dream kinda had to be let go.
  • 1 0
 @fattyheadshok: I hear ya, kiddo #2 isn’t quite 5 months old over here.
  • 2 1
 If you Spot a leaf in the wild, would you spring to action?
  • 1 0
 @JCO, its the opposite of the midstroke wallow. You've got it backwards.
  • 2 0
 How so? The graph shows a lower axle force between ~50mm and ~100mm of travel when using the living-link.
  • 1 0
 @JCO: I agree. It may have a little pedaling platform but the spike is pretty early in its travel and afterwards it is lower... a more linear rise has more support.
  • 1 0
 @JCO: Hmm No Wonder !!!
It's lively, mast be fun !!!
  • 3 4
 There is a good reason why all decent handling cars dont use leaf springs anymore. If it handles like a vette then they better start again
  • 5 1
 The terrible handling Vette which made GT1 endurance racing come to an end, because of its complete dominance? That terrible handling Vette?

I know the GT1 car had coil springs, but those were to supplement the transverse leaf springs.
  • 3 2
 Lauf-German for fake suspension.
  • 1 0
 "It can even supply more pop when you need to leave the ground"....
  • 1 0
 interesting... but are ALL those bolts necessary?
  • 1 0
 So, they are claiming it is poppy yet planted.
  • 1 0
 So the car world gets rid of leaf springs and bike company's pick them up?
  • 2 0
 Weird flex but ok
  • 1 1
 So, in the end it's a deconstructed Fox DHX2, with carbon coil... Cool, cool...
  • 1 0
 Wait this wasn’t made by Lapierre 16 years ago with the xcontrol ?
  • 1 0
 Isn't this just a 2020 slingshot?
  • 1 0
 Nice to see some innovation out there.
  • 2 0
 Leafs are for trees
  • 3 5
 Since this will flex in an uncontrolled manner when pedaling, do not think that is a good thing, lets see a linkage flex curve or wobble curve for that!
  • 1 1
 2008 Cannondale Scalpel anyone?
  • 2 0
 Exactly. Although to be fair that was a very short travel (softtail) XC racing bike. Meant to give HT type pedaling characteristics but take a bit of the sting out of the tail.
  • 1 0
 What a nice day upthere.
  • 1 0
 Nice mudguard
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