First Ride: Promising New Suspension Design From an Unlikely Source

Feb 21, 2018 at 19:20
by Richard Cunningham  
Damon Madsen s suspension
Damon Madsen worked out a different take on the short-link, four-bar rear suspension, and then built a carbon chassis to prove the concept.

Think of a new suspension design, and you’ll probably recall that it was released with much fanfare by an established brand that needed to differentiate its product to a greater degree, perhaps, than the innovation could possibly enhance the performance of said product. There is a point where weeding out the tech from the tech-speak becomes a chore – so I’ll excuse you in advance for your skepticism before I introduce Damon Madsen and the very promising rear suspension that he has developed.

Damon Madsen’s Rear Suspension

Damon Madsen is a true story. He lives in a basement studio in a farming community near Jerome, Idaho. He has a day job welding stainless steel tank trailers. He comes from a hard-working family of precision machinists, and he was born to make stuff. It was inevitable, then, that Madsen’s natural gift would collide with his passion for mountain bikes.

Madsen skipped steel hardtail 101. Using his skills as a sculptor and some surplus carbon from Boeing Aerospace, he launched himself into building carbon fiber frames. Five years later, I got an email from Madsen, asking me to have a look at a dual-suspension bike and a patent application for its kinematics. There was also an offer: “Would you like to ride one?” It looked good. A while later, Madsen packed two of his creations into a beater Buick LeSabre and drove non-stop, 2,000 miles south to join me for a test ride.
Damon Madsen s suspension
Damon Madsen with his XC prototype.

What’s Going on Here?

Damon’s suspension design is a take on the very popular short, dual-link configuration. The upper link swings in a conventional manner, but the lower link is positioned ahead of the seat tube, where chain forces put it in tension. (Most lower links are in compression while pedaling.) As with all four-bar suspensions, the linkage geometry creates a virtual pivot (instant center), where the swingarm hinges. As the suspension compresses, that instant center migrates, and where it migrates to affects important suspension kinematics. Good ones, like anti-squat and shock leverage rates, and bad ones, like pedal kick-back and adverse braking torque.

Damon Madsen s suspension
Madsen's dual-link configuration reverses the orientation of the lower control link from the rear to the front of the bottom bracket axle.

Damon wanted his suspension to pedal firmly and consistently regardless of where it happened to be in its travel range and he wanted it to move easily in response to impacts. His solution was to configure the links so that the pivot location (instant center) begins well ahead of the bottom bracket and lined up with the chain. As the suspension moves through its travel, the pivot location migrates rearward, but remains in proximity of the chain. That action, he claims, provides a consistent measure of anti-squat forces at any point in the suspension's travel.

Patent drawing Fig 1
One of Madsen's patent drawings: The numbers are referenced in the patent description below. Most of the action relates to the migration of the instant center (10, 11 and 12) and how it parallels the chain line (21).

Excerpts From the Patent Application

[0009] When an imaginary line is drawn through rear pivot point 6 of upper link 3 and front pivot point 5 of upper link and an imaginary line is drawn through rear pivot point 7 of lower link 4 and front pivot point 8 of lower link an intersecting point of these two imaginary lines is formed and denotes the IC of Figure 1 when the shock is in a non-compressed state. This intersecting point is called the instant center, IC for short.

As the suspension system compresses the front pivot point 8 of the lower link 4 moves upward and the rear pivot point 6 of the upper link moves forward. If imaginary lines are drawn through the pivot points 6 and 5 of the upper link 3 and pivot points 7 and 8 of lower link 4 throughout the range of movement as the suspension compresses the IC can be plotted forming and IC path 10 with an IC start point 11 and an IC end point 12.

[0010] The IC path begins in front of the front chainring 20 slightly below being even with the top of the circumference of the chainring 20 and moves (or migrates) rearward and slightly upward as the suspension compresses. This IC path movement maintains the IC above the chain [5] torque line 21 throughout the range of suspension compression in the lower gear combinations and for the most part keeps the IC above the chain torque line 21 in the higher gear combinations. This produces an anti-squat curve that increases in value as the suspension compresses thus aiding and producing pedal efficiency while the connection between rear triangle 2 and the lower link at pivot point 8 being in front of the front chainring 20 produces sensitivity and responsiveness to rough terrain.

Chainline vs. IC pivot offset with 32 x 50 gearing.
Chainline offset with 32 x 10 gearing.
Primarily, the patent language is describing that the pivot point (IC) of the swingarm maintains about the same height above the chain line as the suspension compresses in both the low gears (32 x 50 on the left), and through most of the suspension travel in the high gears (32 x 10 on the right). This provides a consistent pedaling platform (anti-squat).

[0011] Figure 6 and Figure 7 illustrate the distance of the IC above an imaginary line throughout the travel range for the depicted gear for the embodiment of a rear suspension shown in Figure 1. Figure 6 illustrates the distance of the IC from the chainline through the range of travel in a 32/50 gearing. The distance on the y-axis illustrates the distance above the upper chainline as the embodiment of the rear suspension travels through its range of travel as depicted on the x-axis of Figure 6. Figure 7 illustrates the same concept as Figure 6 but for showing the migration of the IC through the range of travel of the rear suspension shown in a 32/10 gearing.
Anti-squat comparison
Anti-squat comparison between the highest and lowest gear combinations.

Here's How it Looks in Action:

Views: 47,124    Faves: 11    Comments: 9

Forward Facing Link

Madsen says that one of the downsides to rear suspensions with high anti-squat numbers (his hovers around 100%) is that the price of that firm pedaling action is that the rear suspension is initially reluctant to move. His solution was to reconfigure the position of the lower link from the rear to the front of the bottom bracket axle. The switch, he claims, provides a mechanical advantage for the suspension when it sees an impact. The result is a more supple ride, even at high anti-squat values.

Suspensions with high anti-squat values usually suffer from pedal feedback. Madsen admits there is no escaping the fact, but he says that his kinematics minimize chain growth to acceptable levels. He also was pleased to discover that his linkage does not adversely affect rear braking. When asked how his kinematics achieved that, Madsen explained that some of the braking performance was simply a result of moving the IC of the swingarm forward of the bottom bracket, while some was due to the geometry of the four-bar linkage.
Damon Madsen s suspension
The curved downtube was necessary to clear the suspension's forward-facing lower control arm.

About the Bike

Madsen needed to devise a method to lay up a carbon frame that allowed him the freedom to reconfigure the geometry and suspension kinematics. Crafting a mold for each design change was out of the question. His compromise was to machine aluminum molds for his swingarm, which was a constant between models. Front sections are not molded. Madsen forms the head tube and bottom bracket areas from balsa wood, formed in hollow halves and then sculpted into shape. Lightweight Carbon tubes span the distances between the balsa mandrels. Pre-machined aluminum inserts are placed at the bottom bracket and pivot locations, after which all the bits are glued together in a frame fixture.

At this point, Madsen layers pre-preg carbon over the entire frame in much the same way as production molded front section is laid up. To cure the carbon front section, however, Madsen uses an external "vacuum bag" that squeezes down on the carbon while the frame is bring cured in an oven. "There is more sanding and finish work," says Madsen. "But, the end product is as strong as a molded frame and I have the flexibility to changes sizes or to make changes without spending thousands on a new mold." The balsa mandrels remain in place, but the technique produces frames at competitive trail bike weights.

My demo bike was Madsen's trail design, with 130-millimeters of rear-wheel travel and a 140-millimeter fork. He said the suspension rode on Enduro Max bearings and assured me that the geometry was up to date. The medium-size chassis rolls on 29-inch wheels, with a 74.5-degree seat angle, a 67-degree head angle, and a 23.5-inch top tube.

First Ride

With only one day to evaluate the suspension, I selected a 12-mile descent that is infamous for its variety of soil and features, which range from successive high-speed corners to technical rock gardens, with some punchy climbs mixed in. To establish the pedaling and efficiency of Madsen's design, I added some peripheral trails with fast-paced rolling climbs. On the bike time was a little over three hours - ample riding to get a well-rounded sample of the suspension's performance.

Madsen says he used a Cane Creek damper because he needed a shock that could be tuned in every aspect - primarily because his suspension needs minimal damping. He had the low-speed compression turned all the way out, high-speed compression only three clicks in, and rebound forces were similarly light. Fork and shock sag was about 25 percent. I fit the medium-sized frame quite well and, once underway, I only made minor adjustments.

The first thing I noticed was how stable the bike was at ride height. It was remarkably predictable in the turns, with a firm feel through the pedals to the tires, and no tendency to rock back on the rear suspension when pushing through the apex. Climbing was similar, with the rear of the bike compressing much less than I anticipated, which kept the seat up and my legs in an effective pedaling position.

I kept the Cane Creek's pedaling lever in the open mode throughout the test. There was never a moment when I felt the rear suspension mushing, yet anytime I looked down, the shock was moving freely. Watching that dichotomy in action provided the aha moment, when I realized that Madsen's discovery was truly special. Madsen told me I should expect the bike I was riding to feel a little on the firm side of plush, because it was intended to be more of a cross-country trail bike. That was true, but if you set up most bikes to feel that firm under power, they would ride proportionally rougher as speed or the amplitude of the terrain increased. Madsen's suspension provides a consistent level of pedaling firmness, regardless of what the suspension is up to.
Riding with Damon Madsen

Two very fast runs over large, uneven boulders pushed the suspension beyond its capabilities. It was clear that the high speed rebound damping was preventing the shock from extending, which made for some exciting moments. I got bucked off line, but the bike had enough handling in the bank to recover. No bike gets down that section easily - one of our group broke a wheel there. Madsen admitted that the Cane Creek shock's rebound was too slow for his system, but to get his suspension tune in the ballpark, its external adjustments made it the most practical (and affordable) tool. The next step is to find a suspension maker that will work with him to suss out a dedicated shock tune..

First Impressions:
bigquotesDamon Madsen's suspension is the real deal. Its energetic feel under power and set-and-forget suspension performance is exactly what every-day riders need. Its stable ride height over varied terrain caters to experienced riders who want a precise feel in the corners and a firm platform to pop and pump. It was a pleasure to ride and I hope Mister Madsen profits from his promising invention.RC


  • 327 5
 I used to work in machining as well and still I can't even imagine all the hundreds of challenges you'd come across constructing your own CF bike even without all the design innovation he's done. This guy is the Elon Musk of bikes.
  • 360 0
 He even met the greatest challenge of all. The water bottle.
  • 42 10
 Am I missing something in this article . . . . Like, perhaps a new standard?

"Amazing, only one catch, the rear shock can only be inflated by the breath of a deep sea squid"

  • 35 7
 @Waldon83: This Damon guy is so precise his BB takes a 28.97 spindle
  • 19 39
flag Flowcheckers (Feb 23, 2018 at 13:46) (Below Threshold)
 It looks like a promising idea, but excuse me for not trusting RC's judgement based on past article's where he has over-hyped or been completely wrong about things.

By moving the pivots forward, wouldn't you make the bike have more drastic sag changes when you are seated versus climbing?
  • 9 4
 we need to see the leverage curve, AS, AR and PK to get a better picture. There is always compromise in suspension kinematics. Geo for me is the most important aspect of a mtb.
  • 3 6

Yeah, I agree.... can anyone tell me what bottle cage that is? It looks like a YT, but curious if someone else makes that right hand removal.
  • 8 2
 @gorgefreerider: Maybe Specialized?
  • 8 4
 @jaydawg69: there are a lot of hints already ... The antisquat will increase trough the travel, i.e. it will generate an important kickback at the end of travel and the suspension won't work freely when it should. The pedal efficiency augments through the travel, but who needs to pedal on big hits ?
In addition the IC moves rewards during compression, i.e. the axle path becomes always worth ...
There is reason why mondraker (or Cesa Rojo), Giant, Banshee and others choose the opposite design.
  • 2 0
 @gorgefreerider: Lezyne Flow cage is RH and awesome
  • 3 0
 @TrevZ But does it have an insane button?
  • 1 0
 @gorgefreerider: Planet Bike look at the extra pics in the link at the bottom
  • 5 10
flag jfog52 (Feb 24, 2018 at 8:07) (Below Threshold)
 That is an insult, I don't think this guy is fleecing the American tax payer to build sub par electric bikes that only rich fools can buy.
  • 1 0
 @jfog52: hahahaha
  • 1 1
 @gorgefreerider: It's a specialized Z cage.
  • 2 0
 @Boardlife69: And it's a dual link setup with all the bearings on the opposite side of the seat tube to the mid from the back wheel. That's a massively good thing.

Hope he can patent it all and then license it out
  • 1 0
 @labourde: Correct on all counts. Anyone who understands the physics of these scenarios will spot all these errors instantly.
  • 143 0
 Honestly, who among us DOESN'T have surplus carbon from Boeing Aerospace? .... seriously, though, it's awesome and inspiring that a potentially revolutionary suspension design came from someone with another day job but had the passion, skills and dedication to bring it to life from a home shop
  • 97 2
 I did...but decided to use it for a different purpose.
[url] [/url]
  • 14 2
 @Yakima9: Yup that makes pouring a beer so much easier. Well played sir, well played.
  • 4 0
 check out the boeing surplus auctions, pre-preg comes up monthly!
  • 2 0
 @Yakima9: hondabob jist got himself another follower on IG.
  • 1 0
 No better use. I would do the same.
  • 3 0
 @Yakima9: Does it make your IPA laterally stiff yet vertically compliant?
  • 46 1
 This is the best thing I've ever seen on Pinkbike. The whole thing reminds me of one of those math proofs where the professor looks at your work and tells you to just add and subtract the same term. So elegant and seemingly obvious.
  • 4 7
 What's so great about it? Have you looked at the anti-squat graphs? That bike has the most retarded anti-squat graph I've ever seen.
  • 42 0
 Damon is bike genius. I have know him from early 2000's and have ridden many of his early designs and seen his workmanship improve. This is hands down a beautiful bike. Congrats Damon.
  • 40 1
 Forward facing dual links makes a lot of sense, gets them away from the constant dirt spray, and allows for short chain stays.
  • 28 5
 Short chainstays are so 2016 Wink
  • 22 0
 @colincolin: 454.99
  • 3 2
 @Drover: 420.007 FTW
  • 1 0
 @Boardlife69: found the stoner
  • 25 0
 So cool to see a guy designing his own suspension system in his garage, on a carbon frame no less.
  • 25 4
 It seems like the problem in suspension design these days is not making revolutionary improvements, it's packaging them in a way that customers can overlook added links or components. Let's be honest, the Delta Link system on the Evil bikes, or the Switch Infinity, or even the Marin Re:Aktiv are just barely packed in a elegant manner. The Evil bikes do a better job than the Marin, for sure. Tantrum's Missing Link design is another one that could use some improvement (steep angle seatstays). One advantage to Madsen's design is that it could slimmed down and packaged in a very attractive way, and likely employed in both carbon and alloy materials.
  • 39 5
 Function over form any day.
  • 5 2
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: True. I own a Wreckoning now, but the first time I saw a Following in person my thought was "holy crap, could you make that more complicated?", when the truth is it's pretty damn simple. A lot simpler than all the dual link systems.
  • 60 2
 Truth of the matter is there is some dude out there on a hardtail who will spank the ever-living shit out of any of us going up or down any trail on any full-suspension bike of our choosing.
  • 23 0
 @raditude: AND ..... he must be dealt with ... Oh yes ... dealt with
  • 18 0
 [slides glasses up nose]
Actually, I think you mean Trek's Re:Aktiv or Marin's R3ACT
  • 24 2
 @raditude: unfortunately or fortunately I ride with that guy. He showed up at one of our Enduro races on his '92 Merlin hardtail with V-Brakes and won in Expert
  • 9 6
 @salespunk: There are hardtail rippers out there, but I don't believe 92 tech could hold up at an enduro race
  • 12 1
 @raditude: That’s my buddy Scott. I watched as He literally told Steve Peat to get off his line at Trestle.
  • 4 0
 @jmd2drsrbtrrthn4: Bwahahahaha! lol Really?? I'd have lost my shit if I'd seen that! Hilarious!
  • 20 0
 I love this. Innovative suspension and layup design. Good on ya Damon. Can't wait to see how this progresses.
  • 17 2
 I think the biggest takeaway from this should be the way he figured out how to make the molds work at a much cheaper price than traditionally. Could larger scale manufactures take from that and bring frame prices down?

Is his intent to start his own company and make bikes or sell this solution to someone?
  • 8 0
 1) Highly Doubtful. The way I read it, the rear triangle uses a traditional mold process. For the front triangle he basically hand builds a bike out of balsa wood. Then he layers carbon around that entire piece. Balsa wood is cheaper than a machined mold for sure so this is great for prototyping. BUT it would at least double the production cost since you have to hand build the entire triangle twice.

I can't imagine how many hours he has into this project if he did it all himself.

2) Lets hope so!
  • 2 1
 @Sardine:I think it's only the head tube and bottom bracket that are made of balsa wood. They are connected by "Lightweight Carbon tubes" and glued together, before being wrapped in carbon.
  • 18 0
 These are some of the most positive comments I've seen on PB, next to the Abbey yoga posts. Great story.
  • 8 28
flag will-burr (Feb 24, 2018 at 7:06) (Below Threshold)
 The question is what would you rather do, "ride Damon's bike" or "ride Abbey's yoga pants"? Smile
  • 10 0
 Hate to be a douche nozzle. But he might be up against Speedgoat and Chris Currie's Patent for his suspension:

Not saying it is 100% the same, but the whole forward linkage thing has a patent on it already.... GIF and video look pretty much the same other than the shock orientation.
  • 7 0
 Looks like the lower link is rotating down in the speedgoat and upwards in this design, haven't read the patents to see if that is accounted for though.
  • 7 1
 Had the same thought when I saw it. My fingers are eternally crossed that Chris and Speedgoat find a way to be awesome again. That bike shop was as close to heaven as I have ever been.
  • 5 0
 The IC paths look very different
  • 5 4
 @djjohnr: Could be, i am not a patent lawyer to say what affects what. I just have to roll my eyes when bike news sites get it a big circle jerk about how incredible something is and how unique the design is without knowing what else is out there. I'd love to try either bike.
  • 2 0
 I coworker of mine has a Speedgoat. I was thinking the same thing! Cool bikes, the both of these.
  • 1 0
 That thing is sweet
  • 2 0
 @Rigidjunkie: agreed, I loved stopping in there. I was always invited to grab a bike and go on the group rides, never had the time. Frown
  • 33 1
 Thanks guys. I chased some additional goals with my design, and looks like there are genuine differences (@Gregdogg is right about the lower link distinction), but Damon seems like a hell of a guy, and I think we're each on to something seriously good. I absolutely live for this stuff and wish we had more innovative bikes from me, Damon and Berthold in the world and fewer axle standards.

Like @RichardCunningham notes, liberating that lower link from compression can do some pretty amazing things when it comes to combining higher anti-squat with sensitivity. My design has been licensed, by the way. I've been riding pre-productions for months now. They are real damn good. Everybody will finally be able to see what I've been up to for the past 12 years this April at Sea Otter.
  • 1 0
 @SpeedgoatDesigns: Can you elaborate on why a lower link loaded in tension improves sensitivity? Force vectors would be similar. Maybe there's something I'm missing from a kinematics standpoint? I'm genuinely curious...but without a scientific reason it starts to whiff of snake oil.
  • 2 1
 @tcmtnbikr: The lower link loaded in tension prevents suspension movement, it is the placement of that tension link in front of the chainring that allows for sensitivity. The swingarm is much longer than the average, plus the chain forces are behind the pivot point, imagine trying to loosen a crank bolt your friend torque to an ungodly amount and you have a four inch wrench, now imagine you have a fourteen inch wrench. Much easier to break free now. The swingarm is a good deal longer and when the tire hits a rock it pushes the longer swingarm (longer wrench) and breaks free from chain forces ( ungodly amount of torque aka high anti squat)
  • 2 0
 @tcmtnbikr: I share Damon's belief that there's a mechanical advantage (longer lever arm) based on experiences on the bike, but I'm not sure the lever length is the most significant factor. I'm definitely more garage mechanic than NASA day job kind of guy, and I can totally understand the skepticism. I've always had to build models or ride actual bikes to test ideas. I wish I could build two bikes that are identical (including length and angle of the lower link) except for that pivot orientation--like a totally horizontal link with only the pivot locations swapped. I feel like seeing the situation reduced to only that single variable would teach me what I need to know to articulate the advantage.
  • 2 0
 @oya: That leverage you're trying to verbalize is just having the IC further forward. Whether the link is in compression or tension has no impact here in the forces analysis.
  • 1 1
 @SpeedgoatDesigns: That leverage is just having the IC further forward. Whether the link is in compression or tension has no impact here in the forces analysis. Not saying the design doesn't have merits, but please don't sell the benefits of a tensile link if you don't understand them because you lose credibility. Again, I could be missing something here but nobody has illustrated the advantage.
  • 2 0
 Or you could move the IC upward, for a rearward axle path, get even better bump compliance, and use both chain tension and propulsion force to combat squat. (And add a high lower-chain-guide pulley to mitigate chain growth.)

All I want for Christmas is my Canfield Jedi minus the upper pulley, minus half of the rearward axle motion (but FFS keep half of that rearward travel) minus 20-40mm travel, and minus several pounds.

Why nobody does this is a mystery to me. Is there some terrible disadvantage that I'm not seeing? Even Canfield dropped the rearward motion for their Enduro frame.
  • 10 0
 First, Kudos for a lot of out of the box design and manufacturing work here. That said, a few points:

1) Suspension patents are a dime a dozen. If Ellsworth could get their joke of a patent thru, that should tell you they're not worth much. The USPTO reviewers really don't understand this stuff.

2) Look at the Currie and Berthold patents, the established players aren't tripping over themselves to fork over royalties for incremental improvement. Horst's patent served him well for a long time, but the early years were a different time.

3) The suspension suppleness and braking benefits posited here largely come down to a more forward IC. Locating the links in front of the BB/seat tube is not necessary to move the IC forward. Perhaps the benefit otherwise not achievable is the smaller migration of the IC from the chain line but folks aren't really complaining about current levels of anti squat and pedal kickback.

4) I can't think of any real benefit to having the links loaded in tension vs compression? But certainly there can be packaging benefits in the form of shorter CSs and bearings not in the debris path?
  • 9 0
 Kudo's to you Damon and Kudo's to PB for giving a platform to this really impressive design. We need competition and fresh idea's in the industry. Damon, I'm gonna start saving for your first production run. super impressive.
  • 10 0
 I have ridden and raced many of Damon's Designs over the years !! I will continue to do so and I am STOKED to see him Thrive !! Good on ya DAMON !! Now lets GO RIDE !!!
  • 2 0
 I thought this was the guy you had frames from! This version looks awesome. Good to see he is still gong strong.
  • 7 0
 Whipped up a carbon frame at home, and made it with a unique suspension design that raises the bar. That’s some badassery right there. I hope some big manufacturer buys the design and runs with it, and gives him a cush R&D job.
  • 6 0
 I’ve said it on a TEDx stage and I’ll say it till I’m blue in the face. Hand skills are important to our humanity. People with hand skills should be valued just as highly as other professions in our society. Design innovation that is meant to interact with us humans needs to come from human minds, hands, and heart. Not from some computerized algorhythm.

Incidentally the dude’s patent drawings are way better and more comprehensible than the ones put up by Shimano regarding electronic control of the bike. Shimano’s drawing didn’t even show a correctly working drivetrain. Sheez.
  • 8 0
 @RichardCunningham how would you put this design against Brian's Tantrum Cycles?
  • 9 1
 Pretty cool, would like to see this take off for him
  • 5 1
 All he has done is to put the lower link on a pivot on the other side of the seat tube. Looks really innovative at a first glance but the more thing about it its not that crazy. But still making the whole bike himself is impressive and in carbon too
  • 5 0
 How can a 1 man show building bikes in his shed manage to fit a bottle inside the front triangle AND design a next suspension system but so many of the big companies can't?

Well done sir
  • 3 0
 Why do guys get a kick out of memorizing Suspension Kinematics pages on Wikipedia so they can sound legit at the trailhead? What if you ignored all that, rode the bike, then made the determination on whether it's good or not, regardless of what its "anti-squat numbers" look like?

Next guy who starts blabbing about Instant Center at my next mountain bike ride will get reassigned to a road ride.
  • 4 0
 Amazing, so cool a dude built a bike by himself with a new design. Regardless of what pinkbike says about making your own bikes.
  • 14 12
 Ladies and gentlemen, the era of welding up glorified Huffy steel frames and calling yourself a bike builder is OVER. Please submit all future prototypes in carbon fiber. Don't show up with some retro single-pivot design, and PLEASE save yourself the embarrassment of hardtail designs unless you are a charismatic young child who had no help from their parents.
  • 3 0
 Wow i hope you are being sarcastic.
  • 2 0
 @rideonjon: A joke--there's obviously still a place for all kinds of bikes, made by big mfrs as well as garage tinkerers--but this really pushes the farthest edges of what I'd have thought possible by 1 talented person in their free time.
  • 2 0
 Very nice! Absolute respect for building a carbon frame like that!

I do have a question though: Aren't the Kinematics, or at least the idea behind it, very similar to YETIS Switch?
The first version from a few years ago with the eccentric bearing set up near the BB did, to my understanding, the same thing like a forward control arm. Didn't it?
  • 3 0
 The ghost of Tony Ellsworth comes back to yell at us and tell us that his Instant Center Technology (ICT) is 100% efficient! Now that I've got that out my system, this guy and his Le Sabre are an absolute inspiration.
  • 2 0
 Rad!!!! Shitty 3-spoke wheels aren't innovation in the MTB world. This is what actual innovative products look like-smart, straightforward design that moves the goalposts of bike performance further forward.

And it's super awesome that it was developed by a dude who just loves riding and fiddling with stuff. Then again, the Horst link was developed by one guy and dual-link (VPP and derivative designs like DW link and Maestro) was developed by a couple of guys. Turns out that at least on a (relatively) simple device like a bicycle the best ideas can still come from one or two people tinkering in a garage.
  • 5 1
 I don't understand what's happening, but that makes it all the more impressive.
  • 10 8
 I cann't wait for those idiot internet engineers to come in and tell us there's no way based on their thorough analysis that is does what he says it does and it'll bottom out going off a curb.
  • 2 1
 flexy & pedantic
  • 5 0
 pick your suspension platform and be a dick about it.
  • 6 2
 This guy better be careful or Trek will do like they did to Dave Weagle. Steal his idea and out litigate him in court.
  • 5 4
 you do know that Dave is the one who sued Trek, and lost, right?
  • 7 1
 @wako29: that is exactly what he said
  • 1 2
 nah, they'll change the leverage curve by 5% before they release it to market. That overrides the patent, apparently :\
  • 1 0
 Congrats to Damen for this design and build. I build hot rod muscle cars more or less from scratch and I'm still amazed at what some of these bike builders are putting together. I'm a sucker for designs that promise a new paradigm of performance and a chance to stay in front of my riding buddies. Just received my Tantrum Missing Link and really interested to try it out. I wish him luck moving forward. So many interesting bikes out nowadays I wish I could demo more of them. I'm a little more wary of R3act but I definitely want to try that one out too.
  • 4 3
 I accepted a long time ago that my failure to commit tot the front wheel when it really matters and corner hard is the issue. If you are not qualifying for a WC. Just face it..its not the bike its you. Another new solution here to the problem of the pilot Smile
  • 3 4
 Sometimes I think all these fancy designs are simply for people who are to lazy or stupid to operate a flickable little lever. Can't for the life of me figure out why people seem to find it so hard. They all. Seem so happy to spend most of a ride faffing with a go pro and stuffing there faces every 20mins.
  • 1 1
 @bestie you hit the nail on the head. If you are trying to really go fast, and this is your main goal, you'll need to change yourself, not your bike... Train, practice, improve... You are worth a 50% improvement, the bike is worth 10% at best.
  • 2 1
 Why go trough all of the troubles of designing a new linkage system that will behave almost exactly like a single pivot? Having the IC follow the chain line is exactly what a single pivot does.The whole point of wanting a virtual pivot point is to have the anti squat high around the sag point and low anywhere else. DW link is prime example of that. IC starts around the chain line and migrates towards the bb. (position sensitive anti squat).

Showing an antisquat curve without showing the resulting pedal kickback curve is simply misleading. Also where is the shock leverage curve ? Does anyone design a bike using IC offset curves? missing the big picture
  • 1 0
 Because it is waaay too late to patent a single pivot swingarm. That said, I do like how this seems to facilitate shorter chain stays.
  • 6 2
 Is "he lives in a basement studio" a nice way of saying he lives with his mom? Asking for a friend
  • 1 0
 The rear triangle of a bike must be the most problematic thing to add suspension to. Ideally you'd want it like the fork (soaking up forward facing, and vertical bumps), but that would be ridiculous. Also you don't want it to have vertical pedal bob. If I was a teacher, I'd make a science class out of it.
  • 1 0
 Doesn't the Alchemy Arktos have a rearward lower link like this, only a lot smaller/compact? It's upper link is a more vertical than this bikes, but I think the lower link is pretty much horizontal in the un-compressed state like this one.
  • 1 0
 For anyone interested in why a positive anti squat curve would or should be used read Dave Eagle's patent us7661503b2 " vehicle suspension system for stable squat magnitude responses", however I would agree that that current crop of Hirst link, and dual link designs would probably raided like crap with this anti squat curve, but the newer ones by Darrell Voss and Chris Currie, and however else, have probably figured out a way to make it work so one gets an efficient pedaling bike with a suspension that works when it is needed.
  • 5 0
 bless the makers
  • 2 1
 Awesome, love the backyard tinkerers... Hopefully Giant/trek/specialized don't poach his ideas, ideally he would sign up a medium scale manufacturer to put it into production (devinci/knolly/kona etc.)
  • 3 1
 Get legendary motorcycle engineer Allen Millyard on to it , have you seen his Home built single sided swing arm down hill bike ?
  • 1 0
 really like it!
and it isnt bad looking too. not that this matters much, but hey...! Wink
hope he finds the right partners.
avalanche maybe for the first step in suspension shocks?
  • 4 2
 I did some kinda similar forward-link bikes a while ago:

Bikes 2 & 3

this one looks better.
  • 1 0
 I remember reading about your bikes years ago- always thought they were pretty neat.
  • 1 0
 This makes sense! A lot of sense! It looks a bit awkward, but I think the suspension configuration could be contained within a beefy seat tube with a bit of experimentation.
  • 2 0
 This is rad. Are there any figures / graphs of the leverage ratio floating around? I didn't see any in the link.
  • 3 0
 Looks like an Ibis/Pivot love child. Sorry if someone already said that.
  • 2 1
 What is the point of high pedal efficiency at the end of the stroke? That is just useless. I mean kudos for carbon prototype and all that, but...
  • 1 0
 Some people are wayyy too smart for their own good! Can we not re-invent the bike? How bout we focus on lowering bike prices or end world hunger?
  • 3 1
 Is it low and slack enough??
  • 2 1
 looking forward to an enduro version!
  • 1 0
 For me ,it is like a vpp ,maestro but with the lower link infront of the bb
  • 2 0
 It is.
  • 1 3
 I'm confused. I thought most suspension designs that are supposed to deliver efficient pedaling aim at getting the ic more or less in line with the upper part of the chain. To me this seems to be just another link configuration to achieve the same thing, this time with a forwards facing lower link. It's that what makes it so very different? I thought brands like Whyte used to do that too. Isn't it?
  • 2 0
 How does this compare to the Speedgoat / Chris Currie bike?
  • 1 0
 @raditude back off my script bruh
  • 1 5
flag raditude (Feb 23, 2018 at 18:46) (Below Threshold)
  • 5 0
 @kmg0 I made some notes up above. I had some extra goals with center of curvature with my design, and there seem to be fundamental differences like lower link rotation, but Damon's bike kicks ass. My design's been licensed for a while now, and the pre-production bikes are testing really, really well. They'll hit at Sea Otter in April.
  • 1 0
 @SpeedgoatDesigns: Glad to hear someone licensed your design. You filed that in 2008-2006? You were well ahead of the curve, good job.
  • 1 0
 @oya: 2007, yep.
  • 2 0
 @SpeedgoatDesigns: awesome news! I gotta admit I forgot your design, but I found the idea and the design philosophy really appealing back in the day. Looking forward to the reveal at SOC.
  • 3 0
 He needs the DVO Topaz
  • 1 0
 Were we focusing on the effing plants in that first bike picture ? or Just some artistic blur to the photo?
  • 1 0
 The action kinda reminds me of that GT AOS thing they had for a while. Different linkage but same idea.
  • 1 0
 Who else fast-forwarded, straight to the Youtube vid of the design in action?
  • 2 0
  • 3 3
 Great looking design. Sure Specialized is looking for a way to sue him as we read the article
  • 3 6
 Man, way back in highschool I used to always draw different suspension designs and I remember drawing a layout just like this, was never sure if it would actually work, cool to see some one patented and made a proof of concept prototype.
  • 1 1
 The angle of the what??? When you draw a line through 3 then 5 does what, while 6 just does what???
  • 2 1
 First thought was "Wait, a carbon Canfield? Finally!"
  • 1 3
 Second thought was "Wait, a garage build?!"
  • 1 0
 Love this kind of stuff! I appreciate it even though its way over my head!
  • 1 1
 Why didn't he just run the down tube through bottom link, straight to the lower seat tube pivot?
  • 1 0
 Very elegant. Love the fat rear triangle! Squish outside the box..
  • 1 0
 Why, when the bike deals happens during year end!
  • 1 0
 The GX cranks check the street cred box for me. Awesome article!
  • 1 0
 its a reverse DW Link its in the front.
  • 1 0
 Nicely done! Good luck, would love to throw a leg over one.
  • 1 0
 It's a four link
Like a Horste
Or a VPP
Only it turned 90%
  • 1 1
 impressive for a 29er bike.
is it a 150/140mm travel?
65/74 head n seat angle?
we need the numbers!!!!
  • 1 0
 Chris Currie, Speedgoat Cycles
  • 1 0
 Fantastic article. More please!
  • 1 1
 this bike is sic i gotta say. just 2 things tho, 29'r and it looks (just looks) like the head tube is needing more material
  • 1 0
 I love to see something that really works!
  • 1 0
 More of the same, looks like a vpp 'swing' while working
  • 1 0
 Ibis Mojo 3 DW link variation
  • 1 0
 This is awesome! Way to go man. I really like the design tup
  • 1 0
 Why go through all that and not place the rear bolt thru straight....
  • 1 0
 Is there a hardtail version?
  • 3 2
 I am aroused
  • 1 1
 You should probably patent the name "Wishbone" suspension before I do.
  • 1 1
 Bravo... I mean, that's impressive
  • 1 2
 The R3act Naild 2 play garbage is all hype with little substance. This, however, looks awesome!
  • 1 0
 That hurt my brain
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