Low Leverage Ratio Bikes

Jun 13, 2017 at 11:44
by PHeller  
In today's market of air sprung suspension, maximum air pressure plays a large part in the performance of various suspension designs when coupled with high rider weights. Unfortunately, most bikes are designed around riders between 160lbs up to about 200lbs. This combined with leverage ratios averaging around 2.7:1 on many bikes results in air pressures between 250psi and 300psi. Unforunately for heavier riders above 225lbs, that often means maximum air pressures topping 350psi are required.

One of the advantages to a frame with a lower leverage ratio means that a heavier riders can run lower pressures while not having to modify the rebound stack of the shock. This typically means better performance at the beginning of the shock stroke, resulting in better small bump compliance. A smaller rider, however, might notice lack of feedback from a similar low leverage design, and have to run extremely low pressures (with higher chance of bottoming out) in order to activate the suspension.

An obvious alternative is to run a progressive heavy-weight coil shock on a higher leverage frame. This would allow a supple initial stroke with significant ramp up.

Not everyone wants to run a coil shock, especially on an XC or Trail bike, so here are some options for low leverage ratio - smaller travel frames.

XC/TR bikes (110-125mm)

2016 Transition Smuggler 115mm 29 (2.3-2.1:1)
2017 Norco Optic 110mm 29 (2.3-2.0:1)
2016 Yeti SB4.5C 115mm 29 (2.3-2.25:1)
2016 Whyte T-129 120mm 29 (2.1-1.7-2.0:1)
2016 Specialized Camber 115mm 29 (2.3-2.1-2.2:1)

Trail bikes: 130mm+

2016 Foes Alpine 140mm (2.3:1)
2017 Intense Primer 130mm (2.4-2.6-2.1:1) or 115mm (2.1-2.3-1.9:1)
2016 Intense Carbine 29 140mm (2.0-2.7-2.5:1)
2015 Vitus Scarpe 135mm 29 - (2.15-2.5:1)

2016 Diamondback Release 130mm 275 (2.2-2.55-1.9:1)

XC Bikes (Under 110mm)

2016 KTM Scarp 90mm 29 - (2.14-2.4-2.2:1)
2017 Cannondale Scalpel 100mm 29 (2.3-2.2:1)
2015 Ghost AMR LT
Liteville 101
Ellsworth Epiphany

Long travel bikes:

2015 Santa Cruz Nomad 3 165mm 275 (2.45:1)

Other (fatbikes)
Salsa Bucksaw (2.0-2.3-2.2:1)


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