11 Innovative Products That Inspired Other Brands To Follow

Feb 3, 2023 at 18:16
by Matt Beer  
Throughout mountain bike history there have been plenty of product ideas that flopped, and plenty of others that have become so commonplace we hardly stop to think about who created them.

Game changers, like ODI lock-on grips and SRAM’s X-Sync single front chainrings, made slipping contact points and dropped chains a thing of the past. When we do take a moment to reminisce over how tough we had it “back in the day,” no one will admit they want to endure the pains of pulling a chain out from the depths of a granny ring when it lodges in between the bottom bracket shell.

The term “copycat” loosely applies, but we see that in all other aspects of life. Whether it's cheering for a sports team on a hot streak or a company working around the parameters of a patent, bandwagoning isn’t such a terrible practice, because it’s made mountain biking a lot more enjoyable. If you scour bike shops and brand websites these days, you’ll find numerous examples of products that mimic or build on the framework of the originals.




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Lock-On Grips - ODI Grips, 1998

Before this system was around, regular rubber grips were slid onto the handlebars using a variety of substances and then glued or wired in place to keep them from slipping. Even if those measures worked, most of the brake or shift levers from the 90s were a single clamp, requiring the removal of the grip. That job wasn’t as convenient when you have to slice the grips off to replace a handlebar or control lever.

ODI simplified the installation and removal process by molding the rubber around a plastic sheath with tabs that snap into two metal collars at either end. They’ve evolved the design for some models to use just a single clamp on the inside for additional comfort for those who run their hands at the outer edges of the grips.

The system has been copied by dozens of companies, but ODI will still be the original innovator and continues to make their products in their USA factory. There’s a reason you’ll see more pro riders choosing to run these grips, even if that means hiding the ODI logo.




SRAM XX1 at Whistler. Photo by Adrian Marcoux.

Narrow-Wide Chainrings - SRAM X-Sync front chainring, 2013

Ditching front derailleurs has to be one of the most influential moves that SRAM made to transform the modern mountain bike over a decade ago. It’s hard to believe that we used to put up with the temporary, yet frequent, loss of such an integral part of a functioning bike. All it took was a chainring with a tooth profile that matched the alternating chain link widths.

Often copied, and better known as “narrow-wide” chainrings, SRAM's X-Sync pattern on a single front chainring offered security, but lost the range a front derailleur offered. The chain-capturing ring kicked off a new arms race when they introduced a wide-range, twelve-speed cassette (10-42T), and freehub body standard for that matter.

Other companies worked around the tooth-profile patent and came up with their own takes on the narrow-wide chainring until anyone with a CNC machine was pumping these out.
SRAM battled it out with Fox/Race Face for years and finally waved white flags to dismiss all claims and counterclaims, cover their legal fees separately, and let the dust settle.

Shimano was reluctant to ditch the front derailleur, eventually releasing single-ring groupsets with 11-46 teeth one-upping SRAM. Now, single-ring drivetrains exist up to 520% ranges. You’ll be sure to hear an archaic front derailleur and chain bouncing down the trail, but sightings are rare in the wild these days.




MarshGuard mounted to a Fox 34 with 29 wheel Minion DHR II 2.4 WT

Pliable Fenders - Marsh Guard, 2013

Jason Marsh, Greg Minnaar’s former mechanic, created a product with one of the best price to performance ratios in mountain biking. For less than $20 USD, you can zip-tie a low profile fender to your fork to keep the mud out of your eyes. They’re cheap, elegant, and simple. It doesn’t get much better than that. Oh, and they're virtually indestructible.

The original Marsh Guard started making its way around the World Cup pits in 2013. Moto-style fenders still existed, but weren’t as effective, since they sat so far from the wheel. Back then, the next best thing was the “Aussie fender” - a tube sliced and stretched between the fork arch and crown, that is, until the Marsh Guard appeared. If you couldn’t get your hands on one back then, it’s likely you traced the shape, found a similar material, and cut out your own.

These days, imposters are a dime a dozen, but the Marsh Guard-style is still more prevalent, even more so than purpose-built, brand-specific fenders, due to their versatility.




0 THE Eliminator Wheel Set

Tire Inserts - T.H.E. Eliminator, 2006

From pool noodles to expensive proprietary foams and even raised PVC rim strips, solving the dilemma of flat tires is still an ongoing battle. In the world of off-road motorcycles, tire “mousses” (soft foam or rubber liners) appeared back in the mid-80’s to tackle that problem, but it wasn’t until twenty years later that a mountain bike brand tried to solve flat tires with another solution.

The T.H.E. Eliminator was created by established BMX racer and mountain biker Toby Henderson. The alloy rim used an integrated, round plastic strip to reduce the surface area that might pinch the tire, or at the time, a tube. The idea didn’t quite catch on, mostly due to the weight of the system and the difficulty of installing a tire.

Jumping ahead a decade, Schwalbe’s Procore looked promising. The system was a low-volume, inflatable bumper that was installed before the tire - basically, a mini tube in a regular tubeless setup. Cost and complication seemed to be limiting factors, plus some rims didn’t handle the additional forces well.

Finally, an influx of foamy mousse-style inserts came from brands like Flat Tire Defender, CushCore, and RimPact, to name just a few in the sea of pool noodles. Henry Quinney conducted a test with six of his favorites on a test rig back in July, 2021. Who did it first is tricky to say since they exist in various iterations and originally stem from the moto world.




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Integrated Frame Storage - Specialized SWAT box, 2015

Back in 2015, Mike Kazimer tested a 2016 Specialized Stumpjumper, which was the first mountain bike to feature in-frame storage. Specialized has been working on their SWAT (Storage for Water, Air and Tools) for some time, with products like their Conceal Carry tool that hides allen keys in the steer tube, but this took frame construction to the next level.

In recent years, we’ve seen a whole rash of companies take advantage of the properties of carbon fiber to cut away portions of tubes in favor of storing goods inside the frame. Unfortunately for Specialized, they only hold a patent on how the door to the compartment functions, and are no longer the only company to offer this feature. Competition is healthy, though, because they now offer the same feature in the Stumpjumper EVO alloy frame.




The setup w 11-36t cassette.

Clutch Derailleurs - Shimano Zee

It wasn’t Shimano’s XTR or Saint that first introduced the clutch to the derailleur cage, but their more affordable Zee family. The 10-speed derailleur started calming down chain oscillations back in 2013. They may detract from the sensitivity of the rear suspension, but holy moly, did they ever make your bike quieter.

SRAM wasn’t too far behind in this game either and also released their take on the derailleur cage clutch in 2013.

A few years later, TRP entered the drivetrain market. Through the rigors of World Cup racing, John Hall, Aaron Gwin’s mechanic, took the idea of fixing the derailleur in place and created the “Hall lock” - a switch that clamped down on the derailleur’s B-bolt where the derailleur mounts to the hanger.

Like front derailleurs, you’d be hard pressed to find a bike that doesn’t have a clutch derailleur - even road bikes have them now.




2019 Specialized Stumpjumper

Sinusoidal Chainstay Protectors - Specialized, 2019

As one of the largest mountain bike brands on the planet, you’d expect Specialized to bring a few “firsts” to the table. Although a padded chainstay protector isn’t the wildest innovation, Specialized sunk time to research exactly where the chain contacts the frame. Wave patterns form as the chain whips up and down, landing frequently in the same place, hence the peaks and troughs introduced to the protector on the 2019 Stumpjumpers.

Soon after, tons of other brands followed suit and added their variation on the protector. What resulted was quieter bikes all around, something that any rider will tip their hat for.




North Shore Rack 6

Vertically Oriented Bike Racks - North Shore Racks, 2004

Unless you’re rocking a flat-deck pickup truck, hauling more than two bikes can be a challenge due to ground clearance and handlebar interference. North Shore Racks found a solution for both almost by chance. By draping the bike over a neighbor's fence, the idea to hang the bike from the fork crown was born.

That proved to be highly effective, and since that eureka moment vertically orientated racks have taken off. Some brands go about mounting the front wheel in a basket, while others reverse the bikes’ position and hang them by the handlebars.

Whichever way works for you, we can all be glad that we don’t have to clamp them by the top tube on those old-school racks.



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Lightweight/Convertible Full-face Helmets - Troy Lee Designs Edge

Most people would recognize the flashy paint work and logo that promptly lets you know that this could only be the work of Troy Lee, but the helmet is also a product of TLD’s as well. The Edge debuted in 1997, just a year before Giro’s iconic Switchblade. It wasn’t a motorcycle helmet repurposed. This bucket featured a removable chin-bar for any style of mountain biking at the time.

Fashion comes in cycles, and so the detachable chin-bars met their fate, and increased coverage at the rear of half shell helmets began with the Giro Xen. What led to this was possibly the evolution in bike design; as trail bikes become more capable riders wanted more coverage than a typical XC lid.

Downhill specific helmets, inspired by motocross, became impossibly heavy and hot to wear trail riding and their high-impact tests were questionable for the lower speeds of downhill racing.

A shift occurred again with the resurrection of lightweight or detachable chin-bar helmets, along the lines of Bell’s Super, and Giro resurrected the Switchblade. One could argue that the introduction of dropper posts changed where and how trail bikes were being ridden. Today there's no shortage of options, with more lightweight full face helmets and extended coverage half shells on the market than ever.




Photo by Saskia Duggon

Short Fork Offsets for 29ers - Chris Porter/Mojo Rising

Never afraid to speak his mind, Chris Porter of Mojo Rising, the reason Geometron bikes exist, is also to thank for the evolution of short offset forks. As head angles became slacker, wheels also got larger around the same time.

Fork offsets got longer for 29ers. Wheelbases grew at either end of the bike and head angles for trail bikes crept into 65-degree territory. Of course, the bikes that Chris was riding were much slacker. He was paying attention to industry folk on the fringe, like Fabien Barel and Cesar Rojo, who were playing with extreme geometry.

“You actually have to go out and ride it in three dimensions. That's the basis for everything that we do. It's all about experience; looking at a drawing and saying, 'This amount of offset and this amount of trail is correct for handling,' is complete bullshit, because when you lean it over, it gets a lot more complicated than that.”

That led companies like Transition to follow suit, after catching on to what Chris was preaching about. Nowadays, nearly every bike company with a relatively slack 29er bike is specifying a 44mm offset fork, along with a short stem.




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New Maxxis DH tires
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Tires Through the Decades - Panaracer Dart/Smoke, Michelin Comp 14, DHF, Assegai

If you ask most top riders, tires are the most crucial component on our bikes. Looking back through the ages, when a brand develops a winning tread pattern, they're often copied - straight up.

First, it was the classic Panaracer Dart and Smoke. The arrow-like front tread and square blocks on the rear were ripped off by other manufacturers and left unbranded.

Next was Michelin’s Comp 16 in the late 90's and early 2000's with its brutally soft compound that was miles ahead of the competition. That tire used an openly spaced 2-1-2 pattern, and Maxxis followed up with the equally popular, but marginally different High Roller. Then came the Minion DHF, which recently celebrated its twenty-year anniversary. You’ll find look-alikes everywhere of the tire that Sam Hill made so popular.

It might be fair to say that Maxxis now dominates the tire market in the second decade of the millennia with their Assegai and Minion DHR II if you’re looking for all-out grip. The popular 2.a-3-2.b tread patterns have been adopted by pretty much every other brand out there: Bontrager, Continental, Michelin, Delium, Teravail, Vee Tire Co., …the list goes on. And for good reason. There's no shortage of good tires these days.



What would you add to this list of often imitated innovations? There are obviously multiple other examples of product trends that started small and then became widely accepted. Let us know in the comments below.

Author Info:
mattbeer avatar

Member since Mar 16, 2001
363 articles

403 Comments
  • 430 7
 I want to know who we can thank for pioneering headset cable routing?
  • 69 1
 might be dangerholm or Magura
  • 17 0
 Probably acros?
  • 60 1
 Yes and their home address, so i can send them some...flowers
  • 22 1
 Probably road bikes (●'◡'●)
  • 8 2
 @bashhard: I wonder what ever happened to Waki. He has not been on the Pink Bike commentary section for some time.
  • 12 1
 @Rexuis-Twin: I was thinking of sending dog 'truffles'...in a paper bag. On fire.
  • 7 1
 @tolemtb: he done got banned
  • 7 1
 @tolemtb: he got perma banned
  • 32 0
 Acros

Their normal headsets already have poor reliability, so why not add drainage holes on the top? Big Grin
  • 2 2
 @JohSch: their normal headsets sucks so hard i hate the company, a bearing shouldn't start creaking badly after 2-3 months of use
  • 4 3
 @bashhard: where is waki?
  • 10 9
 @tolemtb: All I can say is nothing of value was lost when he stopped.
  • 3 1
 @JohSch: German engineering at its finest
  • 10 1
 @Tambo: I don't recall he got banned. He just left.
  • 3 1
 I'm thinking scott did
  • 1 0
 @bashhard: From what I understand, Magura uses connections in their MCi that you can repeatedly connect and disconnect without leaking or catching air. If that works like it should, 't shouldn't really hamper assembly or maintenance, should it? Not sure why others aren't using it too. I thought it was medical technology so not something exclusive to Magura.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: oh. I had in my head that he got banned for a while, then came back, then got permanently banned. Never mind, the outcome is probably the same
  • 2 0
 @laupe: roadies. Time trialists in particular.
  • 7 0
 @txcx166: don't say his name 3 times! Lol
  • 2 1
 The cool kids that are dirt jumping bar spinners.
  • 19 3
 @bashhard: sometimes, at night, I miss Waki.
  • 12 2
 @nicoMF: We all miss Waki, and in a much more awkward way, some miss Protour....
  • 6 0
 @vinay: has anyone ever been banned on pinkbike? Never seen him post anything that would ever come close to justifying a ban, he was always talking about bikes.
  • 2 0
 @bashhard: love the integrated gps
  • 13 2
 @bashhard: #makePBwakiagain
  • 1 0
 @Riggbeck: they rarely run front brakes and routing the rear through the headset would not work, so no.
  • 4 0
 @thenotoriousmic: I seem to recall a "goodbye, cruel world" self-imposed exile post...
  • 1 0
 @plyawn: please educate me, what is going on with the cable that goes through the headset top cap and down the steerer? First saw that many years ago.
  • 1 0
 @Riggbeck: bar spins for jibbing. Its a lifestyle, bro.

(I saw it on a brage vestavik bike a few months back where i worked it out)
  • 1 0
 @The-Spirit-of-Jazz & @Riggbeck It originated back in the early 80's with the "Pott's Mod" on BMX Freestyle bikes. Same concept thought, for barspins, tailwhips, etc.
  • 117 1
 Mucky Nutz were actually the first to come up with the pliable fender idea with their Bender Fender in 2009ish. Jason Marsh copied them in 2012, but his marketing/branding was better so he sold a ton more I guess.

muckynutz.com/history
  • 14 0
 Yeah, I was going to say the same thing. I had a Mucky Nutz fender pre-2010.
  • 7 1
 @ridedmc: First one I owned, and the best brand name, obvs.
  • 8 2
 I'm sure there were milk carton fenders long before someone decided to charge for a piece of plastic.
  • 5 0
 @sanchofula: half a plastic bottle works too, but does it say 'muckynutz' it??
  • 4 0
 @jesse-effing-edwards: my latest was made from a Mobil plastic oil drum..

www.pinkbike.com/photo/24187536
  • 20 0
 @notthatfast Thank you!
  • 5 0
 Supporting evidence: www.bikeradar.com/reviews/accessories/mudguards/mountain-bike-mudguards/mucky-nutz-bender-fender-mudguard-review

Though I think the real game changer is the bigger coverage, arch-mounted front guards from Mudhugger, RRP etc. that actually stop mud hitting your face. Who was first with those?
  • 4 1
 @chakaping: further to that, I think that the Fox Bolt on guards that mount to the arch and the bleed ports are a game changer again.

Enough to make me not consider their competitors until they come out with something similar.
  • 1 0
 Well they both copied my "sacrifice your 20-cent deposit on a gallon milk jug" idea and had better marketing.
  • 1 0
 @jesse-effing-edwards: sharpie out writing mucky nutz on my mtn dew bottle fender now
  • 1 0
 Still use MuckyNutz, and thank you for setting that straight!
  • 75 4
 wheres the mondraker forward geometry, Pole super aggresive geo?
  • 64 2
 On almost every modern mountain bike in existence. That's a good example.
  • 8 14
flag sngltrkmnd (Feb 9, 2023 at 12:24) (Below Threshold)
 Or mention of Santa Cruz’ Tallboy picking up where Gary Fisher left off with fun/functional 29ers for off-road… Then you have Kirk Pacenti, the father of the 27.5” wheel (nee 650b)
  • 26 0
 Didn’t Fischer try out the long top tube / short stem idea back in the early 2000’s?
  • 6 0
 @tracer2: Yep, I forget what Gary Fisher called it, but my 1998 Trek 8900 had it.
  • 6 0
 Improved frame geometry is one of the most important innovations in mountain biking period.
  • 6 0
 @tracer2: G2 geometry! "Short stem" in this context was still probably 70-80mm, without googling, but still shorter than what was going. I think they also played with shorter offset forks, too.
  • 2 0
 @Skooks: Just hit the Google. Fisher was actually increasing offset to reduce trail... so the opposite of what we've been seeing recently in long travel bikes, but still, they were fairly unique in tinkering with offset at that time.
  • 12 0
 @Glenngineer: Genesis was the original iteration. GF is a tall guy and finally got sick of boat tillers on his bikes. Stems used to get out to like 150mm and Genesis I think took about 40mm off of that. He just pushed the head tube forward, made a tight rear triangle, and sent it.
  • 9 2
 @sngltrkmnd: "Kirk Pacenti, the father of the 27.5” wheel (nee 650b)" ahh, yes. the guy that told us all to through our 26" wheels in the bin for his slightly larger 584 mm rims, yup that's right 27.5 is actually only an inch bigger in diameter compared to the 559 mm 26" rims
  • 2 0
 @Glenngineer: We didn't think much about fork offset in those days. that 8900 had a first-generation SID that required greasing the seals every other ride or so to stop it from going full rigid.
  • 2 0
 @tracer2: Genesis geometry ;-)
  • 4 0
 I think that Mondraker should get the accolades for popularising it for sure. And while Chris Porter's influence on geometry is large, I think it's actually fair to say it was Rock shox we have to thank for popularising short offsets. 29 Offsets used to be short (3Cool , then they got a bit longer, and the one day RS decided to go 46 or 51, the 51 being the G2 offset. That's in itself ok but then they decided to drop 27.5 in 42 and go 46 too, perhaps to save costs. That caused a backlash in the bike designer world with companies requesting shorter offset forks again, which many companies (successfully) dressed up as the invention of a new geometry paradigm, and it stuck. Now everyone wants a short offset fork, even if it might be a bit longer than the offset you had when you didn't care what the offset was.
  • 1 0
 @Glenngineer: Keith Bontrager did short offset forks for his Race and Race Lite frames back in 95 I think? Pre-Judys anyway. Denoted by having a painted back Rockshox crown rather than polished.
  • 65 0
 Biggest ovbs to me is the Shimano SPD pedal. Circa 1990.. copied massively since

Next would be the Hite-rite .. (I’m sure that’s spelt right!) circa mid 80s.. modern version the Dropper post

Then Shimano Hyperglide. SO underrated.. copied by every component manufacturer going

(Troy Lee edge, still got mine, it’s date stamped inside July 1996. Flaming eyeballs n all)

Shimano SIS ..
  • 1 2
 True... and they could have mentioned Kind Shock and their first real dropper post circa don't-remember-when but it was a huge (r)evolution.
  • 6 0
 @danstonQ: gravity dropper way before KS
  • 2 0
 @stiingya: thanks, I didn't know. I shouldn't listen to my american collegue's bullshits.
  • 1 0
 @stiingya: hite-rite the og
  • 48 0
 Not everybody uses them now, but most use some form of the concept and design and that's Camelbak. I had an original back in '96 and bought it at the military surplus store. Lots of companies and versions nowadays.
  • 27 1
 bak* in '96
  • 4 0
 I had an original camelbak(think I still have it) in high school, and I got out of high school in 93.
  • 5 1
 @Explodo: They were first sold in 1990, under the name ThermoBak, as you can read in this aptly titled article: www.bikemag.com/gear-features/matter/matter-bag-to-the-future-original-camelbak
  • 4 0
 You mean the one which could take only the bladder and maybe keys? I still have one
  • 4 0
 @bok-CZ: I had the original rogue and can confirm, bladder sack with an elastic band on the outside
  • 2 0
 @Explodo: I threw out my original probably 15 years ago. That sleeve pouch was pretty basic, but better than 3 water bottles and stopping for a drink.
  • 3 0
 @Explodo: Sounds like we are the same age. Bonus points if you had the black/white cow pattern cover for it!
  • 2 0
 @bman33: Lol....I didn't have that one. Just plain black. It always reminded me of the Gateway computers boxes.
  • 43 1
 anybody else find piles of ODI end buttons at their typical crash spots?
  • 1 0
 My new ODI Vapor grips have much better end caps now.
  • 18 3
 I found one inside a turtle, why I was inside a turtle can be explained by how delicious they are
  • 4 0
 @browner: lol, pics?
  • 2 0
 Have never lost the end caps on my ODI Rogue grips... Still my favorite grips...
  • 1 0
 @browner: Why were you in a turtle? Or should I not ask...?
  • 1 2
 @slimboyjim: turtle soup
  • 7 0
 @browner: You must have checked so many other places before you looked there. I know I would have given up long before you.
  • 33 0
 Originally, SRAM XD and 10-42 cassette debuted as 11 speed, no?
12 speed only came with Eagle which was 10-50 out the gate.
  • 7 0
 Came here to say this. 11 speed was marketed as the end of the front derailleur. That 42 tooth cog was mind-blowing at the time!
  • 1 0
 @VtVolk: SRAM also was first to make a 10-speed MTB groupset, with XX. Originally designed as a 2x10, Specialized adapted it to a 3x10 on some of their Stumpjumper models.
  • 13 0
 Can we have a 10-42 in 12 speed spacing now? Annoys me that there are so few options for cassettes these days.
  • 5 0
 @Linc: SRAM XPLR XG-1251 comes in 10-44,if that helps.
  • 2 0
 @Linc: Yes! Not all of us want that unnecessarily large dinner plate cassette!
  • 2 0
 @nozes: I was really excited when this came out, but the new xdr freehub that's needed isn't available for many common hubs.
  • 3 0
 @Linc: Shimano does the 10-45t cassettes. But yes, there should be more/better options.
  • 4 0
 @matyk: the bummer is, XDR can be made to work with XD cassettes with a simple spacer, but the opposite direction is a no go.
  • 11 0
 Around 2011 I remember running 1x9 which was a homemade set up that I think was pretty popular at the time. Certainly no clutch derailleur, narrow wide I’m not sure on but I do remember a variety of chainguides being used.
I always though 1x was a response from manufacturers to something riders were already doing and not necessarily something that was invented by sramano.
  • 1 0
 @matyk: I build my own 11-39 ten speed cassette (with 12 speed spacing). Perfect set up for my trails. Can run with tight chain line and mid cage derailleur.
  • 2 0
 @Superburner:
Yeah I agree. I had an old specialized Pitch (circa 2009) that I used to run 11-36 cassete, 32 chainring and full on Sixpack chainguide. The drag on that thing was huge and most people said I was crazy. The insane thing to me was the ordeal to have a front derraileur. A few years after came narrow wide chainrings and cassete conversions. I was an early adopter and never looked back. 1x for life.
  • 2 0
 Proving the feasibility of cogs smaller than 11t is what finally cracked the code for 1x drivetrains.

Sam Hill, Brendan Fairclough and a young Troy Brosnan were testing custom made 9-24 cassettes based on Shimano Capreo and Hill won the 2010 World Championships on one.

At the same time, Curtis Keane was testing a custom 9-36 cassette in Enduro racing.

SRAM eventually saw the light (or perhaps they were just tired of their athletes riding Shimano) and started producing 10t and Shimano was forced to follow.
  • 1 0
 @mtallman2: Not a problem with the E.13 Helix R and Helix Gravel cassettes. They use regular XD cassette spacing, but come in 9-45 and 9-50 ratios, respectively.
  • 29 0
 Who pioneered the dropper post? I remember pre early '00s time frame where we had quick releases on the seat clamp so we could drop the post and then stop at the bottom to raise it back up to ride height.
  • 28 0
 Gravity Dropper maybe?
  • 74 0
 That would be Hite Rite. (Look it up, youngsters!)
  • 13 3
 Paul Turner (rockshox founder) with the Maverick Speedball - that should deffo be on the list.....before that it was stuff like the Hite-Rite made by Joe Breeze and Josh Angell but I think The Speedball was the start of the real dropper post era
  • 1 0
 was it Maverick or earlier? there were seat clamps with springs on the outside in the 90s but that's not completely the same.
  • 2 8
flag Tormy FL (Feb 9, 2023 at 12:42) (Below Threshold)
 Thud Buster???
  • 50 1
 @Tormy: that’s a suspension seat post . . . so I suppose you could say they inspired Reverbs
  • 12 3
 It was Gravity Dropper, 100%.
  • 6 4
 @Karve: The Maverick seatpost was made by Crank Brothers actually. And the Gravity Dropper pre-dates it by a number of years.
  • 7 0
 @seraph: Crank Brothers licenced the design from Maverick and created the Joplin in 2008... 100% sure on that one as I knew Turner at the time, the owner of Maverick bikes.... The grav dropper launched in 2007? (might be worng on that one) and the Maverick Speedball was around in 2006 (deffo right on that as I had one)
  • 65 2
 A few years before Gravity Dropper, Hurricane Components made in 2000, what we believe, the first modern day dropper called the "Elevator Shaft" which was a simple mechanical spring with 3" or adjustment. We made a very small batch before I sold the company in 2003. In 2001 at the Sea Otter Classic, we had a bike equipped with the Elevator Shaft and while we were trying to keep it low key, a big magazine editor noticed it and while we were talking about it, a person overheard our conversation. I talked to that person and he kept in touch with us. I believe .that person was the founder of GD. A few years after, 2004-05? GD made almost an exact copy of the Elevator Shaft.
Although we will never get credit for being the 1st, I'm just trying to set the story straight.

As far as it's origins go, Hite-Rite was the first device to raise and lower seatposts back in 1986. We actually were going to re-introduce them in 1999 (with a modified part to work with modern bikes) with the blessing of Joe Breeze, but after JB talked to his partner Josh Angell, it did'nt work out. So we came up with the Elevator Shaft.
  • 1 0
 Also in the fist wave of posts was the AMP - All Mountain Post back in 2008 or 2009. Still have one somewhere in the parts bin.
  • 22 0
 @HurricaneJeff: oahh this story deserves a proper article. Also dropper post are without doubt the most influential product last decades.
  • 7 0
 @HurricaneJeff: thank you sir so much for this piece of history. Give credit where credit is due they say!!!
  • 7 0
 @HurricaneJeff: Thank you for your vision and what you brought to the sport,shame that your product didn't got the recognition it deserved.
  • 2 0
 @jmhills The Gravity Dropper was the first modern remote actuated dropper post. I had the first one of anyone I knew back in '05. I said not long after I bolted one on that every mtn bike would eventually have these. At the time of course I heard every comment/excuse as to why no one wanted one: What do you need that for? I don't live in the mountains. The unnecessary weight, yada, yada. I wouldn't ride off road without one and my post of choice for the last few years has been the PNW Loam post. Cost-effective and nearly bulletproof. \m/
  • 2 0
 @HurricaneJeff: dang it, my fat, clumsy thumb hit the down arrow. Wish I could give you 100 upvotes for your contribution to fun on mountain bikes.
  • 1 0
 @PAmtbiker: still in production, also probably the only ones that still function after 10+ years of service.
  • 1 0
 @Tormy: I still have my Thud Buster on my hardtail. That is more suspension and it works so well. Swap out different elastomers for a different feel. Changed a lot of trails for me.
  • 3 0
 Power Post fits on this list somewhere. 1994-95. Not telescopic, rotated forward and down.
  • 2 0
 @sngltrkmnd: Remember, if it didn't happen in the age of social media...it didn't really happen.
  • 2 0
 @PauRexs: agreed, hands down the most influential and ride-changing progression the sport has seen.
  • 1 0
 @GalenS: Now that I think about it, the Titec Scoper should also be on this list as a precursor to dropper posts. It featured a dual-clamp double telescoping design that allowed a rider to have proper pedaling seat height while still dropping all the way if you had a short seat tube. I had one on my Enduro SX Trail.
  • 5 0
 @hellbelly: Just for the record, the elevator shaft had a remote back in 2001/2002.
Funny you comment about the perception of dropper posts. I heard.."I'm fixing a problem that does'nt exist" it'll be too heavy" "too complex" and "why do you need to drop your seatpost?'

I wish I'd taken out a patent on dropper posts back in 2000!
  • 2 0
 @BobbyHillbomb: Thanks x100!11
  • 28 0
 Nothing against Marshy, but you guys need to do better research. Pretty sure Mucky Nutz was doing similar in 2009, at least according to their own history page, and a review I found of their 2.0 fender from 2012 corroborates at least some of that.
  • 29 0
 @justinfoil Yup 2009, thank you!
  • 27 1
 Lol I will never forget a series where PB went to various manufacturers and asked what the biggest improvements were in cycling, they all had provided fairly unbiased response. then they spoke with Dave Weagle and he treated it as a marketing opportunity and said how E-13 polycarbonate bash guards and DW link was of the top innovation. what a weiner
  • 8 9
 DW link is one of the top innovations in MTB to be fair.
  • 6 5
 @dualsuspensiondave:

Congratulations you are a product of marketing! you will be saying the same thing about high pivot design when his next patent comes out. All these linkages exist, but we use patents to fine tune them, create claims, market, license and cash in.

If I took the exact same geo bike, and tossed a Maestro, split pivot, DW, and Canfield link, and put a well tuned shock. You wouldn't tell the difference, no one would. its all nearly the same shit, but marketing is used to exaggerate the claims and engineering behind each one to make them seemingly unique but its all potato vs potato.

enjoy the blue koolaid!
  • 4 1
 @dualsuspensiondave: agreed fair point but let me ask you this, would you choose to ride a DW link bike with a rigid seatpost or an equally specced 4-bar bike with a dropper?

Honestly I would probably ride a hardtail with a dropper post vs a FS with a rigid post.
  • 2 0
 @dsciulli19: would you rather ride a modern geometry bike with a judy silver TK, or a 1998 geometry bike with 21.5" top tube hahahaha
  • 1 0
 @BoneDog: Judy Silver all day and twice on sunday, assuming you're referring to the ancient rock shox judy fron the 90s?
  • 5 4
 @dualsuspensiondave: Weagle's patent is one of the top innovations. It spelled out the logic and process of designing functional mountain bike rear suspension, which was understood by few designers at the time - and a small portion still don't. Any design - whether SS (short & short link, like DW), LS (long & short, like Horst), or more exotic - that implements these principles can work well, and any design that doesn't - including SS designs that resemble dw*link - is unlikely to work well. It's not the SS linkage, it's understanding the forces and how to design for them, and Weagle made this knowledge widely accessible; dw*link is one of many implementations of this knowledge.

To give Weagle fair credit, his dw*link designs tend to be particularly good, his S-shaped kinematic curves are clever, and his understanding of wheel rate is superior to most designers' focus on leverage rate, but these things are not intrinsic to his designs and can be replicated by other configurations. As @BoneDog said, a different configuration with comparable kinematics is possible and would be indistinguishable from a dw.

It took a third of a century of experimentation and a patent that spells it out clearly, but most designs have converged on good to excellent kinematic properties!
  • 2 0
 What the little plastic bash guard at the bottom of an lg1 that used to rip off with the lower guide every time you bottomed out your suspension and had to zip tie it back on again?
  • 3 0
 @R-M-R: That's not true.
Any suspension manufacturer will tell you that S-shaped leverage ratio are not good at all. It's super hard to tune shocks properly with this kind of LR curve. How do you handle those variation through the travel on the hydraulic side?
Ideally the LR should be as smooth as possible.

Shorts links are not good neither. Long links provide a more stable design and suspension characteristics. Shorts links are also VERY sensitive to production tolerances. A very small variation of the pivot points can drastically change the kinematics compared to the 3D model.

Dave Weagle is mainly a good businessman.
  • 5 0
 @jmracing1: I disagree with you on some points and agree on others.

While it's true a stable motion ratio (or leverage rate, if you prefer) makes it easier to design the shock, it's not necessarily ideal, nor is it the only parameter to consider.

First, the velocity of the wheel along its travel is not constant. Ideally, the shock should bring the wheel to a controlled stop, rather than an abrupt stop as the shock mechanically bottoms out. The velocity curve of the wheel starts at zero, reaches a maximum somewhere in the middle region of the impact, and decreases back to zero at the end. The motion ratio can be tuned to give additional damping and spring support near the end of the travel, acting like a very long bottom-out bumper, while the velocity - and therefore the damping force - decreases. Advanced shocks accomplish this via hydraulic bottom-out cups or, even better, bypass dampers. Until we have bypass shocks in mountain biking, a variable motion ratio is a good workaround. You can simply look at the popularity of such designs for evidence of this. We don't need to debate the theory when there's ample evidence of what people like!

It's true that short links are sensitive to tolerances. Some dw*link designs have used two eccentrics, rather than conventional links. It's not necessarily a bad design, but it's certainly sensitive to the manufacturing.

Bikes are an interesting case due to the very high centre of mass, relative to the wheelbase, and the extreme importance of drive efficiency. Pedaling occurs only in, roughly, the first half of the travel, so it's reasonable to prioritize pedaling performance in this region, then prioritize bump management in the latter portion of the travel. This can result in a motion ratio curve that's not perfect for bump management, but is the best overall balance.

Finally, I don't like to lean too hard on the "just look at what motorsports does" argument, but MotoGP and F1 both use linkages to modify the motion ratio curves, even with their simpler* suspension needs, and I'm not going to be the one to tell them they're doing it wrong!



* To preempt catching flak on this: Their suspension systems are more advanced, but they have a lower centre of mass for a given wheelbase, a smoother "engine", and operate on more consistent terrain, making their situation simpler to design for.
  • 2 0
 @R-M-R:

Thanks for the technical but digestible points- great quick read.

Your explanation has more data, but basically I came to say the same: DW link as an idea may not be the be-all-end-all, but my perception is that platform and Weagle’s designs were the first to really package a system that accounted for all those variables, the way all top designs now do.
  • 3 0
 @Stumpclumper: It's debatable whether his designs were the first, but he certainly wrote the instruction manual for how to do it, which greatly accelerated the process of suspension designers understanding the task. The effects were immediate, significant, and permanent.
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: Debatable, but you should deal about the variation of velocity through the travel with the hydraulic (the shims), not with an S-shaped LR.
As I said, suspension manufacturers and tuners are not big fan of those curves, they are hard to work with.
  • 1 0
 @jmracing1: To a shock tuner, everything is about shock tuning! There's more to it than that, though, and sometimes it's worth making the shock tuning more difficult - even quantifiably less optimal - if there's greater benefit elsewhere.

Give me a bypass shock and I'll use simpler motion ratio curves in my designs!
  • 21 0
 Clutch rear derailleurs definitely did NOT start with Zee. It was XTR. Was first shown in 2011 bikerumor.com/video-pics-2012-shimano-xtr-shadow-plus-derailleur-xt-group-updates
We were DEFINITELY rocking these XTR Shadow Plus derailleurs in 2011. I remember bc I moved to another state in Feb 2012, and prior to that we were all riding the XTR Shadow Plus in Pisgah
  • 3 0
 Yip, got my hands on a xtr shadow plus late 2011. They were hard to come by for a while
  • 2 1
 this one time at Band Clamp.......
  • 19 0
 Cheers to everyone, specially ODI and North Shore Racks. Real OG's still holding it down.
  • 6 0
 I've had my North Shore Rack since 2009. Built to last and IMO still one of the best ways to haul bikes if you don't have tailgate.
  • 6 0
 @devin-m: Agreed. Definitely my favourite rack for > 2 bikes. I love supporting my neighbour's company too.
  • 3 0
 @Skooks: Totally. Love supporting the local guy. Bonus points that there aren't any plastic pieces to rattle loose.
  • 1 0
 No such racks ine Europe unfortunately.
  • 1 0
 @vinutillo: I’m sure NSR would ship you one of you asked!
  • 1 0
 @devin-m: Maybe, but they are not conform to EU regulations with lights and so on
  • 17 1
 No tip of the cap to Kenda Nevegals in the "Tires through the decades" segment? Yeah, they kinda sucked, but at least around here they filled the ubiquity gap between Panaracers and Minions for a few good years.
  • 2 0
 +1 for the Kenda Nevergrip!
  • 17 0
 Diacompe/cane creek for the threadless headset
  • 3 0
 came just to comment on lack of this on the list. people dont appreciate it nowadays but threaded headsets were a real pain in the ass.
  • 1 0
 I'd even argue that treadless headsets eventually sparked the idea for outboard bearing BBs/through-axle crank interfaces.
  • 1 0
 Although...three-piece BMX cranks and Magic Motorcycle cranks also had a hand in that.
  • 1 0
 "Diacompe/cane creek for the threadless headset"

An incredibly important innovation. But Pace a UK bike company actually invented it and was used from at least as early as 1987. DiaCompe saw their innovative RC100 bike [also had hydraulic brakes and box section aluminium frame in the 80s] at a tradeshow, took lots of photos and a year later the Aheadset came out. They did flip the bolt to top though.
  • 13 0
 I'll toss a hat in for Hayes Mag brakes; although there were disc brakes before then (Schwinn comes to mind, also made by Hayes...), Hayes brought them to the MTB world en masse
  • 1 0
 RockShox was one of the first companies to pioneer hydraulic disc brakes on MTBs actually. They started with a cable-actuated hydraulic system back on DH bikes in the early 80s if memory serves.
  • 5 0
 Rockshox made them before hayes. They were shit
  • 4 0
 @taskmgr: Schwinn (Hayes-made) DB's were introduced in '72...RockShox DB's were late-90's and never caught on whereas Hayes introduced both post mounts for DB's and standardized rotor thickness.

I think the bigger argument here is that you couldn't throw a rock in the DH pits in 1999-2006 and miss a Hayes DB-equipped rig.
  • 9 0
 Mountain Cycle made disc brakes for their San Andreas frame and Suspender (?) USD fork. Hayes definitely had the first widely available, decent brake. They pioneered Post Mount, and their 22mm standard was basically Flat Mount but 20 years earlier.
  • 6 0
 @seraph: Rockshox brakes originated from AMP actually
  • 1 0
 My mum had a bike made by Toyota that had drum brake....
  • 3 0
 First fully hydraulic MTB brake was done by Formula. It was nicely documented in article m.pinkbike.com/news/a-brief-history-of-disc-brakes-2017.html
and extensivly debated in comments below article Smile One of milestones too i think.
  • 13 0
 Yeah... um... 5.10s should be on the list? Very much copied, first non-skate shoe, non Italian ballerina clip in?
  • 13 4
 No one wants to give specialized props, but even though I don't me excited, they've been putting out lots of great bikes and gear, for years. Way more innovative than a lot of smaller cool-guy brands that have more streetcred.
  • 8 2
 As a Specialized owner, everything about them is really well thought out.
  • 2 0
 @BarneyStinson: only company who puts their own tires etc. on a bike which actual appeal to me.
  • 1 0
 @jesse-effing-edwards: ha ha, funnily enough I’ve not yet ridden mine with the OEM tyres on, I took them straight off and fitted Cushcore and Maxxis.

However I am going to put them back on for my next trip to the Alps.
  • 1 0
 @BarneyStinson: hear lots of good things. Probably the brand I would buy if I didn't have maxxis already on my bike, haha. They do a dope tanwall and the weights are competitive.
  • 2 0
 @BarneyStinson: everything except frames layout braking shock shafts.
  • 1 0
 @lightone: was that a Specialized problem or a Fox problem?
  • 1 0
 @BarneyStinson: I just put a dropper post on my Chisel. The internal cabling took less than a minute to thread.
Internal cabling faff is often a mechanic's nightmare.
  • 9 0
 After a decade of getting sore spots in my palm I am back to "slide-on" grips. Apparently no-one knows how to install them any more- its isoprpanol only for on and off (NOT hairspray you BMX-er!). Compared to 20 years ago the grips don't have to come off when changing handlebar components or stems any more.
  • 2 1
 Agree. Lock-ons have some drawbacks: the are heavier than slide-on grips, they can develop play and offer less comfort on the ends. I use currently some piano strings in combination with slide on grips (inspired from motocross) on my street/trial - a discipline with repeated shocks and fast wear of grips - and it seems to work well.
A friend of mine meant that slide on grip do not work that well with bars which surface is structured. Glossy flat surface seem to give better results. Unfortunately, most bars have a structured surface where the grips are located.
Most BMXer do not use lock-on grips.
  • 2 0
 I swear by my ODI Longnecks. If you have small hands and want confort, it's the way to go.
  • 4 0
 Try Ergon`s! Clamp on the inside and soft on the outide. Perfect grips IMO.
  • 1 0
 @nekislav: Lizard Skin Logo dual compound slide-on are my favorite. Just a straight grip at the right thickness and softness (for me). I tried quite a few lock-ons over the last years, they were all engineered in a certain way to avoid sliding on the clamps or just for marketing (the deathgrip was just that for me!). Then I thought hard what was the last grip I had no problems with and was reminded of the old days.
  • 2 0
 Nah that’s not true. I use push on grips too because lock on grips suck. Use spray paint instead of hairspray. The spray paint fills the void between the grip and the bar and stops any moisture getting in. All isopropyl alcohol does is lubricate the grip so you can slide them on and then evaporates. It doesn’t do anything to stop water getting in there and causing throttle grip.
  • 3 0
 @nozes: ODI longnecks ST compound or Rouges are undisputed best grips off all time. I got longnecks on all my bikes. £7.99 instead of £25-30 for the lock on version, better damped and last for years without tearing revealing the plastic core underneath or wearing out.
  • 3 0
 slip on grips could see a return, Jesse melemad runs slip on grips better for vibration dampening
  • 2 0
 @HudsonBurnette: they’re super popular with WC racers too. I’ve given up banging the drum about the benefits of slip on grips to my mates they’re not having it but felt super validated walking around the pits at fort William last super to see they’re finally taking off… Again. Lol.
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic:

Oury you sure about that?
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: spray paint? Seems a bit drastic. Maybe it depends on the grip, but I never have mine come loose on the carbon bars and using isopropanol. I usually don’t ride in hour long downpours but we have very hot and sweaty summers.
  • 1 0
 @chrsei: I'm ready to go back to foam grips. Faster I ride the more I can't 'handle' the pain.
  • 12 0
 Shimano Shadow+ was first on XTR in 2011, I believe.
  • 7 0
 Whoever popularized bars in the 760-800mm range definitely deserves a nod. Not sure if it was a gradual growth or what, but i remember back in '13-'14 brand new bikes came with like 700-720mm and that was considered 'wide'.
  • 1 0
 Depends on what bike you were looking at I suppose. 760-800 mm bars were pretty common on longer travel bikes as far back as maybe '07-'08, if not earlier.
  • 1 0
 @tmwjr777: On trail bikes
  • 3 0
 Pretty sure Truvative Boobar was the first production 780mm+ bars
  • 1 0
 @tmwjr777: I remember we were running wide bars from Sunline or something like that back in say 06-07. Have to assume I did that to copy Sam Hill, based on timeline
  • 1 0
 @norcalbike: yeah those sun lines were 710mm, just took a pair off an old DH bike built in 2010
  • 2 0
 I believe that was Sam Hill in that 2008-09 era of Iron Horse! Wide bars and flat pedals!
  • 1 0
 BMX background! Stupidly wide bars started getting popular in like 2006-2008 when I was in that scene, especially for dirt riding.
  • 2 0
 @tmwjr777: common? Nope. I got a wide bar in 2008 or 2009 and literally everyone thought I was crazy. Most people were still running sunline 710 bars in 2009. The trend really went off around 2010.
  • 1 0
 @norcalbike: The first one I remember was Nathan Rennie using bar extenders due to his size. Production wide bars started to follow.
  • 10 0
 Outland Design Bicycles and the VPP
  • 3 1
 How is that influential? Lots of bikes come with rear suspension and a good few have a linkage (anything more complex than a single pivot) design. Saying a product is very different because the lower link is shorter than as seen on a typical horst-link design isn't too relevant.
  • 1 0
 I guess Outland had the patent but I'm sure the World Force VR1 came out before the Outland VPP bike
  • 1 0
 @lacuna: There were multi-link bicycle and motorcycle suspension designs as much as a century earlier. Few mountain bike designs are wholly new.

The Outland design was a four-bar system (all of which happened near the BB) with an additional linkage to actuate the shock (the seatstays and rocker). Some of its uniqueness was because no one else used such unnecessary complication to accomplish what could - and later would - be done without the superfluous linkage!
  • 2 0
 @vinay: Because Santa Cruz/Intense picked up that license from Ootland (or when they went Bankrupt) and it influenced well over a decade of bikes. Back when Lopes are a few others were on their game, Mongoose and I think a few others road rebranded Outland bikes in the NORBA series. Very relevant for today's bikes
  • 1 0
 @bman33: It was Intense bikes that were being rebranded. At that time, Intense was using the Horst design, not Outland's VPP or the modern implementation of VPP.
  • 4 0
 @R-M-R: For sure, I was running the NORBA circuit back then, and Intense was the main rebranded bike (Giant, Haro, Mongoose). That said I believe Lopes, Legih Donovan for a at least a season (maybe a half season) ran the Outland instead of Intesenses. I know team Maxxis did for a quick minute as well in 1998/99. I have their catalog from that year in my hand (I am in it for the BMX tires) and John Kircaldi I belive is on the cover with one. .
  • 1 0
 @bman33: I was thinking of the widely rebranded Intense M1, but there may have been an earlier chapter.

There was certainly a Mongoose rebranded Outland, and I know some of those riders were sponsored by Mongoose at or near that time, so it's certainly plausible - and if you were in that scene at the time, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt!
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: Yeah, so the Outland was the same suspension design as the World Force VR1 but a year or two later.
  • 1 0
 @lacuna: The original Outland designs used a secondary shock actuation linkage, which the VR1 did not use. Later Outland designs (and modern VPP designs) used counter-rotating links, while the VR1 used co-rotating links.
  • 6 0
 T.H.E. Eliminator the biggest PITA to get tires on and off of, and still got flats. With those wheels you were NEVER EVER going to do a trailside repair Changing the tire was a 2 beer job
  • 4 0
 Even if you managed to install and remove the tires without discarding the entire bike and taking up skateboarding, the reduction in air volume reduced with the ride quality. Respect to Toby Henderson for trying something new, but it partially solved one problem and introduced several others.
  • 4 0
 I have vivid memories of me and my buddy taking a hacksaw to a set of the T.H.E. wheels. The phrase "You are NOT gonna claim another set of tires from me, bitch!" rings loud and true to this day.
  • 1 0
 Remember intense 3 or 4 ply tires? Those were the shit. 8 psi front, 12 psi rear. If you could do those without pinching a tube or bending your rim, you never struggled with anything ever again...they definitely didn't get up to speed fast, but they gripped like nothing before or after...
  • 1 0
 @takeiteasyridehard: actually i do, I bought them past their prime and they were hard AF, never wore out but i couldnt keep up with my friends
  • 1 0
 @takeiteasyridehard: the issue was the tyre compound which was harder than maxxis and didn't work as well on wet roots
  • 1 0
 @way2manyhobbies2keep: interesting. It's dry and dusty in my neck of the woods ....they were awesome on dry sandy stuff, granite, and needles. Also, I wasn't fast yet, was young, and racing DH on a giant stp hardtail with a zochi 6inch fork....my memories may be clouded by inexperience at the time, but I remember them being grippy AF but slow rolling.
  • 1 0
 @takeiteasyridehard: im in socal, this was like 2014-2015 so like I said they were probably much harder than they should have been
  • 1 0
 @way2manyhobbies2keep: oh yeah...they were probably pretty old at that point...I didn't catch that. I rode em in like 2004...
  • 1 0
 @takeiteasyridehard: The Intense compound could get extremely hard when it aged. I bought a batch of old tires on clearance that had hardened to the point of being unrideable. Not just "not very good", you could spin the rear wheel like you were doing a burnout on a smooth concrete surface. Perhaps yours were on the way to becoming that.
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: yup, price was too good
  • 1 0
 2 beer job? How slow you sippin‘???
  • 6 0
 Henry Lawson the designer of the safety bicycle. Also the Wright brothers were bike mechanics who invented the airplane. Not necessarily a cycling invention, but I do believe a lot of brands followed their example.
  • 4 0
 How about the first dropper post? Bike Radar has an article pointing to KS back in 1998.
www.bikeradar.com/features/is-this-the-worlds-first-dropper-post/?image=5&type=gallery&gallery=1&embedded_slideshow=1
  • 7 1
 Technically the Hite Rite concept pre-dates the KS by about 12 years or so.
  • 5 4
 I believe these were suspension seatposts, not a dropper post.
  • 1 5
flag goroncy (Feb 9, 2023 at 13:51) (Below Threshold)
 KS makes one of the best till now. We're running 3 in the family. One wasn't serviced since it was installed. 10 years ago. Works smooth.
  • 8 0
 Hairpsray: the original grip locker
  • 3 1
 WD40 worked great on chrom BMX bars and grips. The solution made them slide on easily and after a bit, it 'glued' the grips to the bar via a bit of reaction to the rubber on the grips.
  • 2 1
 I don’t know if they’ve banned a certain ingredient of hairspray or the prevalence of silicone rubber but haispray hasn’t worked for years here in UK.
I always thought lock on grips were daft so always prevailed with slide on ones. The best way to make them stick is hot melt glue and plenty of blow torch action to get those bars nice & hot.
  • 1 0
 Isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Works better, cheap, and a million uses.
  • 2 0
 @bman33: WD40 melts the grip slightly which causes it to stick to the bar for all the people downvoting you thinking your trolling, still not as good as spray paint though.
  • 9 4
 How about Horst Leitner and his rear suspension design. It's the only early one that's really proven to work well and that's why it's so common. And yeah-Orange makes 15 single pivots a year and they aren't as good.
  • 1 3
 Rode Horst link bikes for years. DW link is much better in my opinion.
  • 1 0
 @dualsuspensiondave: I’m on an Ibis and love dual link bikes, but you should throw a leg over a new Guerrilla Gravity or Specialized bike. Current Horst stuff is really, really good.
  • 2 0
 Can't let down my reputation for always pointing this out: It's not the linkage type, it's how you tune it. A SS (short & short, like dw), LS (long & short, like Horst), or almost any linkage can be great or awful - it's only as good as the designer and the shock. There are SS and LS bikes that have very similar kinematics to one another, and there are SS and LS bikes that look similar to others with the same linkage type, yet have very different kinematics.

It would be like saying "8-cylinder engines are always more powerful than 6-cylinder engines". There are sixes with several times as much power as eights. The design of each specific implementation determines the performance.

@wyorider, it's interesting you mention GG and Specialized, as the trends in kinematic properties for those companies and for Weagle's designs have been rapidly converging in recent years (well, GG's kinematics have been nearly constant since the beginning, but they started in a good place, so can't fault them for that).
  • 3 0
 Specialized popularized the Shock Extension or Shock Yoke. The first designs came from Manitou and Miyata. This opened up opportunities for frame designers to use full length, uninterrupted seat tubes, which helped give rise to dropper posts.
  • 6 0
 Intense 909 FRO Sticky Rubber Tires were definite game changers. More so than Michelins or Maxxis.
  • 3 0
 True. Previously, compounds had focused on lowering the durometer. This was the first compound with a fairly high durometer and very slow rebound. It was explained to me by a potentially unreliable source - so anyone who knows the story with certainty, please jump in! - that Intense got Vee to use Five Ten rock climbing shoe rubber for a run of tires, which was Five Ten's first introduction to the bike industry. It worked, and the rest is history. Again, I stand by my first paragraph, but treat the second as rumour until someone can confirm or refute!
  • 1 1
 @R-M-R: Wow if so that’s a great story and it brings up another massive Impact that Intense had on mtbing with the first sticky rubber flat pedal shoe.
  • 1 0
 @TOOTRIKK: It's such a great story that I want to believe it's true! Seems plausible, too. It's reasonable that someone would've thought "Current compounds aren't very good. Where can I find a better compound that's durable, yet still sticks to rock? Hey - rock climbing shoes!" (Unrelated: What's the deal with Edge (I know, "Who uses Edge?!") not registering paragraphs on this text editor?)
  • 1 0
 dunno, I also liked those maxxis super tacky rubbers. Maybe some slow reezays?
  • 1 0
 @Planetx888: Me too! However my point is that the intense 909 FRO tire was the catalyst to the Maxxis’s infamous Minion tires. The 909 was the very definition of this Article’s Title of “Innovative ideas that Led to companies that PB could promote in the future”
  • 1 0
 @Planetx888: Yeah, the Maxxis compounds are better, but my recollection is that the Intense compounds came first. A few minutes of searching suggests the Maxxis Slow Reezay 40a came out in about 2002 or 2003 ... ? Anyone remember when the Intense Sticky / Stealth compound came out?
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: few people know it but if you wanted an even softer rebounding tire hutchinson had a high roller rip off that was even softer. Sure they lasted for 5 minutes but jesus did they grip well on wet roots. Softer than Maxis 40a and 42a
  • 1 0
 @spaced: Stiffness (durometer) and rebound speed are (mostly) separate parameters. There had been soft tires a decade earlier, but none that rebounded as slowly as the Intense. To my knowledge, the Vee / Intense compound was the first to strongly emphasize slow rebound, as the durometer wasn't especially low.
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: Hutchinson happened after Intense. Ca 2008. I'm not sure if this was rebound or stiffness. All I know is a local nat champion recommended them to me and the grip they had over wet roots was insane. The thread pattern was a near perfect copy of the high roller so they were just a simple upgrade if you were willing to switch tires frequently.

Also when did those intense tires get introduced? I remember riding on some supposedly grippy intense tires in 2007 and they felt bad.
  • 1 0
 @spaced: As I mentioned above, I don't recall when Intense brought out their sticky compound, but I think it was before Maxxis brought out their SRY40 and ST42 compounds, which happened in maybe 2002 or 2003. I can find reviews from 2002 of an Intense tire that I know wasn't their first tread pattern, so it must've been well before that.

It wasn't as good as the DH compounds that followed, especially in wet conditions, and it seemed particularly susceptible to hardening with age. Still, I credit Intense for raising the bar for DH compounds at that time.
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: makes sense. We didn't get intense distribution for a long time here so the tires might have arrived late here. I just know I hated them when I raced since local trailbuilders loved rooty off camber sections and jumps where you land on rooty off camber (yay safety). I remember at a certain point Intense labeled their tires with a 50 but I don't know if that was the same scale as Maxxis. They seemed comparable in performance to 2007-2009 specialized tires.

Still yeah. I agree kudos to them for pushing the tech forward. I'd have probably been quite happy to have them on when I started riding DH as a junior in 2003. Those old hard tires were not fun.
  • 1 0
 @spaced: Yes, the 50 is on the Shore A hardness scale, as per Maxxis. Hardness doesn't capture rebound rate, though (and several other parameters), so it's an incomplete picture of compound performance.

The real advancement of the Intense compound was the extremely low rebound rate. It was incredibly slow. Despite not being the softest compound, fresh Intense tires had outstanding traction (for the time, especially in hot and dry conditions) due to the slow rebound. Shifting attention onto rebound rate was, in my opinion, their contribution to mountain bike tire development.
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: yeah I got that. Do you know which specific parameters rebound affects and which softness? I'd assume rebound helps a increase the time tire stays in contact with stuff while softness/hardness is friction.

As for hot and dry - well probably why I hated those. Early seasons here (until mid may) used to be stupid wet. To the point I rode wet screams for 2 months constantly but yeah. 2002-2003 I was a kid and knew shit. My gear knowledge went up maybe around 2008. Before I just listened to my father who only had XC and road experience.
  • 1 0
 @spaced: I don't know much about rebound testing or metrics. It's more difficult to measure than just poking it with a gauge to test durometer, so it's rarely mentioned.

Two factors in traction are the extent to which the rubber conforms to the surface, which is mostly determined by durometer, and the stability once it's conformed, mostly determined by rebound properties. You might get similar traction from a hard rubber that doesn't try to spring away from the surface, and from a soft rubber that begins to rebound while still in contact with the surface. The slower compound may have poor rolling efficiency, while the softer compound may allow the lugs to lose their shape under shear loads - and both will have various issues with temperature and moisture levels.

Other factors can include how the material is made softer or slower. For example, compounds can have different lengths of polymer chains, amounts of cross-linking, ratios of carbon and silicon, amounts of oil, etc., each with their own pros and cons that suit different riding conditions. Rubber formulation is complex, and the durometer value is only a part of it. Unfortunately, durometer is regarded as being more important than it is because it's easily measured and easily conveyed to consumers. It's an important parameter, of course, just not the only parameter!
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: To be honest I'm surprised companies didn't chase other properties since they love to chase new parameters even if they are confusing and hard to convey to customers. Granted Im not up for that but it would probably help us make more informed decisions. Right now it is a bit hard to know what you feel on the bike is you understanding rubber and what is placebo/bias. I know Contis Black Chilli compound worked really well on my dh bike but who knows. Maybe I used it when I was on form. So would be good to get some science here.
  • 1 0
 @spaced: It's such a complex blend that companies should either provide a stack of literature or nothing at all! Anything less, such as just giving the durometer, is more misleading than helpful.
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: tbh I have issue with companies providing a stack of literature but I am a crazy person so before buying the Banshee Legend I did read Keith Scotts Masters paper where he designed an early banshee prototype.

Still I wonder if there are any ways to test and compare tire compounds so we can push this. Granted tires are miles ahead of the plastic shit we used in early 2000s but I'm sure more is possible.
  • 1 0
 @spaced: It would be possible to get rubber samples and test them in a lab, assuming the companies were willing to participate. It probably wouldn't be possible to isolate variables, as every compound would differ in many ways.

Add in the variables of casing design, tread pattern, aspect ratio, etc. present in the finished product and tire traction becomes complex.
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: and out of lab testing? Rolling is probably the easiest if you do enough runs and average them out. Not perfect but you could probably get some numbers. Traction would be more difficult since different situations require different things to keep traction but maybe some weird tyre dyno testing different situation and slippage at different force applied? Though that would probably be imperfect.
  • 1 0
 @spaced: The problem with rolling efficiency is that it's strongly affected by casing properties and weakly affected by tread pattern. A good test would require the same tire - preferably one with a very fast casing to increase the portion of losses from the rubber - with different compounds; it would not be possible to get a factory to manufacture the same tire with compounds from different companies.

Even if we could accurately test the rolling efficiency of various compounds, it's also important to consider the driving efficiency. For example, a slick tire with a low-friction, fast-rebounding compound would roll quickly, but it may grip so poorly that the tire slips - either micro-slippage or fully spinning out - while a chunky tire with sticky rubber may roll poorly, yet hook up so efficiently that it overcomes its hysteresis losses and is the more efficient tire in certain situations.

The complete picture of tire performance is tremendously difficult to quantify.
  • 3 0
 Always hated the ODIs. They insist on using tiny 2.5mm allen bolts that I just kept stripping trying desperately to remove the inherent play those grips had. Moving on to a different brand with a single clamp with 3mm key, all those troubles went away, play included, despite the single inside clamp. It also stopped scoring my pinky fingers badly in crashes by those pesky outside clamps.
  • 6 0
 Chris Porter and short offset forks are awesome
  • 1 0
 While @mattbeer did a great job on this article, he overlooked the fact that Whyte bicycles was also driving the modern offset 29er fork thing at the same time (or a bit before? ) Transition. I think there’s an old PB review that covers this.
  • 6 0
 Dropper posts? That’s the one bit I absolutely can’t live without.
  • 2 0
 A flatdeck pickup would make it exceedingly difficult to move bikes. I think what they mean is a pickup with a tailgate. I have a flat deck I built for my pickup to haul 2 sleds and I could only put two bikes on it ratchet strapped down on their side. Which would be weird.
  • 1 0
 @sngltrkmnd: stand em up and strap them that way. I kept my bike like that when I had a pickup. A single ratchet strap once around the stem (a different spot may work better for you) held it tight, even over rough dirt roads.
  • 3 0
 "Like front derailleurs, you’d be hard pressed to find a bike that doesn’t have a clutch derailleur - even road bikes have them now."

Umm, don't you mean "like the lack of front derailleurs".
  • 2 0
 I might get down voted for this but I am going with the original handle bar bike bell and original ( wired) bike “computer”.

Now days everybody has these on their bikes and they are all a little different: fancy ti spur cycle bells to rubber duckies…
  • 2 0
 I remember reading in article in mbuk many moons ago about the first fender made by a boy in UK way before 2012!!! As you can imagine we would need them more than any other country as we ride in the mud 11 months of the year .
  • 2 0
 Thats right, its the plastic milk bottle industry we have to thank for those little flexi guards.
  • 1 0
 Pete Tomkins & his Crudcatchers were pretty big in MBUK back in the 90s...

I for some reason bought a transparent one which unsurprisingly got muddy on its first ride and then looked crap Big Grin
  • 2 0
 Me too, I had a Crud Catcher on my 2001 Kona!
  • 1 0
 @korev: I still use Crud Products on my CX + both MTBs.
Great kit. Updated many times since the 90s.
  • 3 0
 Suntour for making indexed gears. I've never understood the lock on grips hype- they are so uncomfortable. Maybe I'm not brutal enough on the bike,but my ordinary grips never fall off
  • 1 0
 Regarding "Pliable Fenders - Marsh Guard, 2013" Maybe it was new in the world cups but it wasn't outside of them. Flexible plastic fenders have been common in Canada for over twenty years. Mountain Equipment Co-Op has been selling the Front and Rear Deflector shield brand ones for at least that long. I can only assume R.E.I. had something similar for at least as long. I was making my own to fit under fork archs oh, 15 or 16 years ago. I cut up a crazy carpet sled to make a bunch for fat bikes around 2011.
  • 4 0
 Crud catcher in the UK circa 1991
  • 1 0
 @theboypanda: Crud catchers are a solid plastic though, and Acerbis was doing bicycle sized fork and rear stay seat stay fenders that mounted with zip ties easily to suspension forks and swingarms based on their MX models before even that.
  • 2 0
 @theboypanda: crud scratcher the solid plastic clips on the orgionals ate paint work
  • 1 0
 Actually run a 37mm offset 29’r fork on my my mullet Nicolai G1. Feels great and way better than stock handling in corners on longer travel forks & sub 62/63 HTA’s. Wouldn’t be surprised if the latest Grim Donut doesn’t go this route on the next go at it.
  • 2 1
 keith scott for figuring out aggressive+pedalable geometry on trail bikes. the v1 spitfire had a "steep" seat tube angle to allow it to pedal and climb well with its "slack" head tube angle. banshee was late to the longer-reach game but they figured that part out, i think before anyone
  • 7 0
 Before I disagree with you, let me say:

• Banshees are great bikes and Keith Scott has done good work.
• Modern geometry is great.

One of the earliest effective seat-tube angles to reach 74° was on the Niner WFO v1. The first 74.5° was the 2011 Specialized Stumpjumper Evo, and the 2012 Specialized Enduro 29 had a 75° effective ST°.

Things didn't progress much further until 2016, when Canfield, Nicolai, and Starling went with 77°, and several others were greater than 76°. Banshee was still introducing new models with 74.5° - 75.5° in 2017; it took them until 2019 to go beyond the seat-tube angles introduced by Specialized seven years earlier.

Similarly, Banshee was introducing 64.5° head-tube angles in 2017, when Specialized had used the same angle in 2014. I'm no Specialized loyalist, just giving credit where it's due!

For what it's worth, my 2007 Iron Horse Sunday has a 60° or 61° head-tube angle, made custom for Sam Hill, but with the wrong length of seat-tube, so it found its way into my garage Wink Slack geometry wasn't completely unknown at that time!
  • 4 0
 Clarification: When I said Nicolai, I really meant designed by Chris Porter / Geometron and manufactured by Nicloai. Chris Porter also extended - literally and figuratively - the work of Cesar Rojo, Fabian Barel, and the team at Mondraker on reach, trail, and weight distribution, with dramatic and permanent effect on the industry.
  • 2 0
 Actually I remember the first gen Rocky Mountain Altitude advertising a steep STA for climbing. Can't remember exactly what year it was, but the bike was a 26er, so before 2012 (could even be around 2010).
  • 2 0
 @justwan-naride: Thank you! I had long forgotten about that bike and my database is spotty at that vintage. It's a significant bike in the evolution of mountain bike geometry!

Salute
  • 1 2
 @R-M-R: i should have capitalized the AND: keith's innovation was to pair a steepish/er seat tube with a slackish/er head tube. certainly there were bikes with slacker head tubes and seat tubes, and vise versa. but as far as i can tell the spitfire was the first bike to start pushing the two angles away from each other in an effort to make a bike that could climb and descend well. now we're at the point where it isn't uncommon to see them 15* apart, but at the time the opposed relationship hadn't really been tried. i'm willing to be proven wrong, but none of your examples does so: the spitfire had the same geometry as the 2011 stumpjumper evo, but was released in 2009
  • 2 0
 @R-M-R: Happy to help. Your posts are a wealth of information, always good to read your insight on bike stuff.
  • 2 0
 @boomforeal: Fair enough, but again, Banshee was not the leader. Keith has always been fairly modern in his designs, but he's never pushed the boundaries.

ST° - HT° is one of my favourite geometry parameters I track. In 2009, the Spitfire v1 measured Δ6.5°. That was high, for the time, but not the highest. That value was driven by the slack-for-the-time 67.3° HT°, as the ST° was a fairly traditional 73.8° . Rocky was using a steep seat-tube angle on the Altitude, but its head-tube angle was a conservative 69°. Maybe there were some small companies making outliers at that time; my database isn't great from that vintage. These values are double what many of their peers were using, but it's clear this parameter hadn't started to take off in 2009.

Banshee remained conservative on their seat-tube angles, not exceeding 74° until 2017. (Note: since Banshee uses adjustable geometry, I use their middle values.)

In 2011, the Specialized Stumpjumper Evo was a bold move from a large company. Still only Δ6.5°, but with a "long" reach and a low-for-any-era BB, it nudged the boundaries for all geometry parameters (still conservative kinematics and shock tune, though).

Real progress occurs in 2013 (mind you, I have a lot more data at that point, so maybe I'm just lacking records from earlier). The Focus SAM had Δ9.2° and was fairly aggressive on most parameters. The Orbea Rallon was close, with longer reach than the Stumpjumper Evo and a similarly ground-scraping BB height.


Specialized blew this delta-angle parameter wide open in 2014 with the Enduro 27.5 Evo (model year 2015) at Δ12.3°. Other than a reach that's a bit short, its geometry wouldn't be out of place today. Short stem, wide bar, and even the seat-tube lengths are short enough for modern droppers. Again, the kinematics and shock tunes were conservative, but credit to Specialized for pushing boundaries. Interestingly, 29ers were still a lot more conservative, as designers were still afraid of long wheelbases and the "slow" handling of 29" wheels.

To bring it back to Banshee, the Spitfire was at Δ6.5° in 2015, Δ10.5° in 2017 with the Rune, and in the Δ11-12° range at the present. Good bikes, but the closest they came to being a leader was the 2009 Spitfire, before the revolution got started, and have been mid-pack ever since. Again, I want to emphasize that I think they're great bikes and have performed better than "mid-pack" because they haven't been sub-par in any parameter (other than weight, which I think it terribly overrated, and water bottle mounts, which they've corrected), while most competitors have missed the mark in at least one area.

This opens the question of whether more is better. For many riders, the Δ11-12° value is plenty; I'm not saying more is intrinsically better, I'm just quantifying that Banshee has not been a geometry leader, and barely even qualifies as a fast follower. Great bikes, though.
  • 1 3
 @R-M-R: not a leader… and yet you can’t point to a bike with a bigger Δ at the time of the spitfire’s release…¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • 2 0
 @boomforeal: I'm hesitant to pursue this conversation, as it seems your mind is already made up. I clearly stated:

• The Spitfire was not the highest at the time, even with my very incomplete dataset for that period. On the World Cup DH style 5-place podium, but not popping the champagne.
• Even if the Spitfire was the leader, which it wasn't, no bikes had much of an angle-delta at that time or for a few years after, so it's just splitting hairs. Those changes didn't kick off for a few more years and there's no point crediting the Spitfire for being near the lead of a race that hadn't started.
• Never has Banshee been a leader in this parameter. The Spitfire was near the front, but only due to having a slack head-tube angle. I suppose we could credit it as having nearly the slackest head-tube among mid-travel trail bikes in 2009, but that's not much of a stat., and Banshee was slower than their peers to adopt steep seat-tube angles.

Maybe it should be your turn, now. Perhaps you could show me the data that's led you to this conclusion?
  • 1 2
 @R-M-R: dude, i’m not going to list the delta of EVERY OTHER bike in production in 2009 in order prove that the spitfire had the biggest split. as far as I know it had the largest gap between head tube angle and seat tube angle, so that’s my contention. again, i’m willing to be proven wrong — but to do so, you’re going to have to list ONE bike from that year that beats it...
  • 4 0
 @boomforeal: The burden of proof is on the one who puts forth the assertion. You claimed the Spitfire v1 initiated the separation of HT° and ST°, so it falls on you – as it would anyone – to support your claim. But since you don't want to do that, fine, I'll do the job for you.

First, the ST° was 73.8°, which barely deviates from the 73° ST°, which I consider the baseline ST°, since mountain biking inherited it from what was used in road bike design for decades. So, nothing forward-thinking about the ST°. The Rocky Mountain Altitude used a 76° ST° in 2008, which was the first ST° from a mid-sized or larger company to significantly deviate from the traditional 72.5° - 73.5° range. The Altitude used a more traditional 69° HT°, but its steep ST° was enough to give it Δ7°. The Orange Alpine 160 had Δ7.5°. Specialized SX Trail at Δ8.5° with ST° at 74.5°. The Rocky Slayer SS had Δ8.7° with ST° at 74.7°.

Not only was the Spitfire v1 not the first to break from tradition with the ST°, it barely did so at all. In my opinion, that's sufficient to dismiss the claim that "the spitfire was the first bike to start pushing the two angles away from each other in an effort to make a bike that could climb and descend well" because it didn't address the ST° at all. Maybe I can help salvage some merit from the statement by finding innovation in Banshee's HT° numbers.

The HT° of the Spitfire v1 was 67.3°. That was a break from the traditional 71°, but head-tube angles had already been coming down for years and 67.3° wasn't the slackest, even for it's travel. As an example, the Corsair Marque was slacker and had slightly less travel, especially front travel, which creates a significantly slacker dynamic HT°. The Orange ST4 had a 74° ST° and 68° HTׄ° on a bike with 100 mm of travel. Loads of bikes had 67° up front – even as low as 65° on models intended to be pedaled (i.e. excluding DH bikes), albeit usually with 160+ mm of travel. So, the Spitfire v1 wasn’t pushing boundaries on HT°, either. It was close to being a leader for its travel, but not quite.

To go back to the original point of the Spitfire being the first to really separate the ST° and HT°, since the v1 didn’t do it, we might look at subsequent generations. In 2015, the v2 had a 74° ST° and Δ7.5°. In 2017 it had a 75.5° ST° and Δ9.5°. And so on for subsequent generations – never anywhere close to leading those metrics.

I’ve tried to find ways in which the Spitfire was a geometry leader and the numbers just aren’t there. As I said before, the angle-delta parameter was on a low simmer, at best, and didn’t properly get cooking until Specialized came out with Δ12.3° in 2014 – a number that Banshee exceeds by a maximum of 0.25° today, and only in a couple sizes. As I also said before, this isn’t to say Banshee bikes aren’t great bikes, nor that a larger angle-delta is superior, only to refute any claims of the Spitfire – or any Banshee model – pushing boundaries on the angle-delta parameter.

Once again, I invite you to provide any possible evidence to support your claim. This has been an interesting dive down the geometry rabbit hole for me into years I don't normally include in my analyses, but I think I'm done with it for now.
  • 2 2
 @R-M-R: there now, was that so hard?

While you’re technically correct, by the numbers, on the specialized sx trail and the Rocky Mountain slayers ss, if you know those bikes you’ll realize that the nominal numbers sta numbers are pretty meaningless: both bikes featured slack actual seat tubes that would have put their effective sta at full extension probably south of 70*. Of course that didn’t really matter, because they were freeride bikes, not trail bikes: you weren’t running a seatpost that could full extend because the curved/pierced seat tubes meant there would be no way to slam it when you went to hit that 10’ dorp to falt. I don’t really count the altitude, either, because its 69* head tube angle made it ride like ass. The oranges are the trail bikes I’d be willing to put in the same category wrt geometry progression as the v1 spitfire — though they were even rarer in North America back then than they are now, so I can’t say i ever rode or saw one, so I’m taking their geo and ride quality on faith.

I take your point that progressive geometry didn’t really kick off until the 2010s, probably around the time transition bikes started touting reach measurements. But for its time, in admittedly marginal ways, the v1 spitfire represented a break with traditional xc inspired sta’s on trail bikes — it wasn’t revolutionary, as you say, but it was at the forefront of an emerging design trend: a leader for its time
  • 1 0
 @boomforeal: Yes, it was rather hard doing your job for you and refuting a point you keep pushing in light of zero supporting evidence and plenty of evidence to the contrary. But you'll just have to take my word for it, since searching for facts doesn't seem to be something that interests you.

The geometry revolution was a lot more than any one parameter. As we've seen from the data - well, as I've seen - there were plenty of examples of bikes that pushed boundaries on one parameter at a time, but things didn't really start to happen until it all came together: steeper ST°, slacker HT°, and longer reaches that accounted for both a steeper ST° and shorter stem. This time, I'll leave it for you to search for those things.
  • 1 2
 @R-M-R: alright brother. You keep looking at your spreadsheets and trusting the data. I’ll keep riding bikes and knowing what I’m talking about. And we’ll both be happy. See ya!
  • 3 0
 @boomforeal: When you disagree with someone in the future, you may find it easier to just send this to help them understand your needs.
  • 5 0
 STEALTH rubber - a legit game changer!
  • 1 0
 Credit Jeff Steber for inventing that and FiveTen for mainstreaming it.
  • 2 1
 Short offset forks: I remember, back in 2003 / 2004 making special short offset fork crowns for Gary Fisher 29er Mountainbikes, when working at Answer / Manitou. Might I say, Gary Fisher pushed the idea of progressive geometry with short fork offset and short stems first, back in the early 2000's.
  • 1 0
 I'm surprised to read ProCore is considered difficult to install and expensive. Cush Core is equally expensive and I think ProCore is pretty easy to install, even with a mini pump. The pressure of the tube seals the tire bead instantly. You don't need boosters or anything special. I've also installed Pepi on one wheel and even though it sealed quickly, it definitely was more work than ProCore. I used a regular floorpump (Topeak Duallie) and that worked fine, but I doubt I could do that with a mini pump when in a pinch. Sure, people don't typically install tubeless tires out on the trail, but considering there are these pressurizable containers/bottles on the market to do just that, the ability to use a regular mini-pump would at least save you from having to buy (and carry) those.

Another big plus is that as long as the ProCore tube is properly pressurized, even with low pressure in the tire it might roll but it won't burp. I don't think you can do that with any other system (except for maybe the DeanEasy variation of the same concept).
  • 1 0
 What about wide bars? Anyone knows who started this? I remember my Cannondale Gemini already had 740mm bars back in 2003 - which I found crazy wide at the time :-) - but you started it?

Perhaps also Manitou should be honored for bringing long travel single crown forks to us riders. Their Sherman having 150mm of travel (little later 170mm) was considered pretty crazy, too.
  • 1 0
 4 bar suspension. Before using 4 bars in suspension, designs were everywhere but very effective. Horst gets a lot of credit but Turner also developed it at the same time. To bypass the patent companies put the pivot on the seat stays and still got good movement. Even the VPP is a variation of 4 bars. This idea really drove the evolution of suspension to where it is today.
  • 3 0
 Correct me if I’m wrong, but if the pivot is on the seat stay, it’s technically not a “4 bar” suspension, but a linkage drive single pivot instead (colloquially known as a “faux bar”)?
  • 2 0
 @BarneyStinson: That is correct. Perhaps a clearer way to understand it is to look at whether the rear wheel is on a frame element that's attached to the front triangle (as is the case with a "faux bar") or separated from the front triangle by one or more elements (as is the case with a Horst, Lawwill, VPP, etc.).

The Split Pivot (or Trek ABP, etc.) design is less clear because the wheel is precisely at the pivot. In that case, it depends whether the brake is on a frame element that's attached to the front triangle or separated by one or more elements. In the case of Split Pivot and ABP, the brake is separated by an element, meaning these designs are not a swingarm with shock linkage (faux bar); instead, they are four-bar systems, equivalent to a Horst with a zero-length offset between the wheel and the "Horst pivot".
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: so basically what matters is if the brake callipers is floating or not?
  • 1 2
 VVP is a twin link but it’s really a link driven single pivot. Two counter rotating links create a virtual pivot point and there’s no pivot on the chainstay, the axel path rotates around a single pivot point. It’s completely different to a 4 bar, a four bar has a pivot on the chainstay and the axel middle bed vertically instead of rotating around a single pivot point like a VVP.
  • 1 0
 @BarneyStinson: Well ... kinda. Everything can float, whether that's accomplished via an integrated system or piecewise. The Split Pivot / ABP, the wheel movement becomes the "trivial case" of a four-bar system, wherein one of the dimensions goes to zero.

If you're up for a deeper dive, let's look at examples of each element being given its own linkage to control a specific parameter. As a baseline, we'll use the simplest design: the swingarm, as used by Orange and many others, with a linkage to modify to following parameters:

• Pedaling anti-squat: GT i-Drive. Just a simple swingarm with a separate linkage for a floating BB. Shock and brake attach directly to the swingarm, while the BB floats.
• Motion ratio: Faux-bar, such as Kona.
• Brake jack: Early generations of the Foes DHS. Ignore the little scissor-link on the top-tube, which served only to add structural support, not modify the kinematics. Later versions of the DHS had a linkage to modify the motion ratio.

It's possible to stack these features. For example, Knolly, Outland, and Jamis (3VO) have all used four-bar systems with an additional linkage to modify the motion ratio. Floating brake kits are available for several four-bar bikes. These are not six-bar systems, as used by Felt, Atherton, Tantrum, Polygon, etc. - that's a whole different conversation!
  • 2 0
 @thenotoriousmic: I'm afraid that's not correct. It would only be equivalent to a linkage-driven single-pivot if the virtual pivot point was static, replicating the single-pivot. It is not, so it is completely different.
  • 1 2
 @R-M-R: well it depends how you configure the two links. You can design it so the pivot location migrates as you go through your travel or design is so it’s stays static but other than that detail it’s still fundamentally a link driven single pivot.

www.instagram.com/reel/CnPgZkXKPFl/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y
  • 2 0
 @thenotoriousmic: Yes, but that's like saying "other than it being completely different, it's the same". I would agree with you if that's what what happening (the instant centre being static), but it's not even close to static.

The VPP IC moves considerably and every suspension parameter is extremely different from that of a single-pivot. It's not a detail, it's the core of the design principle and the differences are dramatic, right across the board.
  • 1 2
 @R-M-R: it was more in response to the guy saying a VVP is like a four bar when it really has the most in common with a single pivot hence the name virtual pivot point not virtual pivot points. I know there’s obvious differences between a VVP and pure link driven single pivot.
  • 2 0
 @thenotoriousmic: I'm afraid that's incorrect.

VPP has a lot in common with a 4-bar. In fact, it has everything in common with a four-bar because it is a four-bar.

Often - but not necessarily - a 4-bar design with two short links moves the instant centre more than a 4-bar design with one long and one short (ex. Horst), making a typical SS (short & short link, like VPP) design even less like a linkage-driven single-pivot than would be true of a Horst. A designer could choose to make the instant centre of a 4-bar system stay in a constant location, thereby replicating a single-pivot, but that would be a waste of the capabilities of a 4-bar and is not typical.

Two things 4-bar systems can do that can't be done with a linkage-driven single-pivot: modify the axle path beyond an arc defined by the main pivot, and independently tune the brake squat (AKA "anti-rise") without a separate floating brake linkage.
  • 1 3
 @R-M-R: nope. A 4 bar has nothing in common with a VVP system which like I’ve explained and like you can see in Santa Cruz insta is almost identical to link driven single pivot. I’ve already explained this in more detail if you scroll up.
  • 2 0
 @thenotoriousmic: I'll leave you this and it's all I can do.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four-bar_linkage
2. Here's part 2 of a series by Joe Graney, CEO of Santa Cruz (who was their engineer at the time) talking about the VPP system. Part 2 discusses 4-bar systems because he's explaining VPP, which is a 4-bar. He also discusses instant centre migration to explain how 4-bar systems, such as VPP, differ from single-pivots. I don't know how much more direct we can get than this!
  • 1 0
 Im pretty sure Loic Bruni and his race team first came up with the new chainstay protecter design. I remember him talking about it in a video and it was created by sticking chunks of mastic tape on the stay to make a ‘sinusoidal’ shape.

Deserves a mention.
  • 1 0
 It was Ryan McDonald who was a technician at the time in the Specialized bike development shop who designed the sinusoidal concept with mastic tape, and it naturally made it's way to Loic and others.
  • 2 1
 Chain stay protection being mentioned here is puzzling. It's a bandaid solution to a problem that should be solved. Front derailleurs are gone, so why is almost every manufacturer still designing frames as if there is one, with the chainststay awkwardly packed in between the chainring and the tire? Up and over, FFS! Orange actually has this one right ( minus the monocoque construction). Trek Full Stasche a few years ago is a good example of how to do it. Protecting a mistake is a mistake.
  • 1 0
 I fully agree here! You do lose stiffness with a curved drive side stay, and it's harder to build than a straight line, but the Nishiki Alien and Yeti Ultimate were always my favourite bikes with their elevated chainstays.
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: i should have capitalized the AND: keith's innovation was to pair a steepish/er seat tube with a slackish/er head tube. certainly there were bikes with slacker head tubes and seat tubes, and vise versa. but as far as i can tell the spitfire was the first bike to start pushing the two angles away from each other in an effort to make a bike that could climb and descend well. now we're at the point where it isn't uncommon to see them 15* apart, but at the time the opposed relationship hadn't really been tried. i'm willing to be proven wrong, but none of your examples does so: the spitfire had the same geometry as the 2011 stumpjumper evo, but was released in 2009
  • 1 0
 Rims going from 18-23mm standard to 30-35mm width rims is one of the biggest changes that everyone pretty much agrees on. I remember the first time I rode 35mm width Raceface asym i35 wheelset with the brand new Maxxis DHF 2.5 WT-EXO-Maxxgrip tires at 20psi front and rear my head nearly blew up. Was riding in extremely wet Humboldt County winter and it felt like hero dirt traction. 35mm front and back ended up being a bit much pedaling and rolled a bit slow, but man the grip was good.
  • 3 0
 "elegant" is not the word Id use to describe a floppy sheet of plastic zip tied to the front of a bike
  • 4 0
 Can’t wait for the new front Derailer to come back
  • 3 0
 "they introduced a wide-range, twelve-speed cassette (10-42T)"

Pretty sure that was 11-, or maybe 10-, speed.
  • 1 0
 I always hope that sram would release a 10-42 compact 12 speed cassette. Doubt it'll happen though.
  • 3 0
 Edge Comp helmets existed well before 1997 - my recollection is 1993. The chinguard followed less than a year later.
  • 3 0
 For almost a decade the answer to every question about tires on our local mailing list was - Smoke ! Dart !
  • 3 0
 Who invented the advent “you might win - just be cool with giving up some info….”? Baby Jesus or somebody else?
  • 2 0
 Honourable mentions for the DCD, Crud Claw, Crud Catcher and the Bullet Brothers Chain Tensioner: Clutch mechs before clutch mechs Big Grin
  • 1 0
 Narrow wide chainrings and Clutch derailleurs are the best inventions I've seen in the 25 years I've been riding bikes. Neither really works without the other and it's made bikes just so much better in lots of ways.
  • 2 0
 its kinda crazy how long it took for chainstay protection to become mainstream
  • 9 0
 Integrated chainstay protection you mean. Because wrapping stuff around your chainstay was pretty mainstream before. It works. It just doesn't look as fancy.
  • 1 0
 @ak-77: Yup exactly. Integrated is what I meant. I dont miss the old days of wrapping stuff like bike tires lol
  • 4 0
 Sinusoidal Tendencies...
  • 1 0
 There was another rim I recall with a rubber strip as standard. I think it was a Panaracer branded rim. Not sure of the year but it could have been '95 or '96.
  • 3 1
 How can you exclude the Gravity Dropper??

I'll take a dropper post first over most of the stuff listed above.
  • 2 0
 Because the GD wasn't the first.....read up above.
  • 5 0
 @HurricaneJeff: Fair enough but they didn't list ANY droppers. Whoever did it first changed the way we ride in a profound way.
  • 2 0
 this is a great article, more of this! also... F!ck internal cable routing.
  • 1 0
 Internal routing is like any design idea, There are both good and bad examples of it.
  • 2 0
 Does the 'front derailleur get credit for being the first 1X 'chain guide'. haha
  • 3 0
 Bullet brothers chain tensioner is the OG clutch!
  • 2 0
 Horst links under a us patent and Magura hydraulic rim Brakes changed a lot for trail riders and dh racers
  • 3 0
 Shimano rapid rise and Y bikes. Opps wrong story…
  • 3 0
 How the duck did a Gravity Dropper not make this list?
  • 1 0
 was x-sync really before Race face narrow-wide? My first RF narrow wide ring was on a 9 speed bike, so like approx 50 years ago.
  • 1 0
 Yes, X-sync was first. Then RF came out with NW a year later that could be mounted to 4/5 bolt cranks.
  • 3 0
 Procore is really good. Schwalbe marketing failed and it was too expensive
  • 2 0
 Kestrel and Aegis with the first Carbon bikes.
  • 3 0
 I'll do you one better: Charlie Cunningham with the first alloy MTB frames.
  • 1 0
 you whippersnappers! Doesn't anyone remember Snake Charmer tire inserts from the 90's?
  • 1 1
 How about SRAM for contact adjustment (or did someone else do it first)? Game changer in brakes that were, until then, only adjusted by reach.
  • 3 0
 Is that before or after Hayes Prime Pro? We also can't forget how the Hayes Mag was on just about every DH bike from 1998 onwards into the 00's, it should have been included in this list, also.
  • 3 1
 @therealmancub: True! They weren't the first, but 'Purple Hayes' were on EVERYONE's bike. Then normalized hydraulic discs for the masses.
  • 2 0
 Hope had contact point adjustment on hydraulic disc brakes back in the late 90s, back when SRAM brakes were Avid and before they had the tech.
  • 2 1
 Spesh Big Hit, the first rowdy mullet bike? Or is someone going to nominate the Cannondale Beast of the East?
  • 1 0
 I'm reading a subtle defense of PB's tendency to lift article topics here...
  • 1 0
 ODI factory is right down the street from my favorite local riding area here in SoCal.
  • 2 0
 Air bleed valves on forks - relatively recent, first I saw was on MRP
  • 2 0
 Snake Charmer tyre inserts were available way back in 1995.
  • 1 0
 High pivot bikes? Who was the first brand?
Balfa, Canfield Brothers, maybe even before?
Tapered fork steerer?
  • 2 0
 Well, the GT RTS or Trek 9500 for example were high pivot bikes years before Balfa or Canfield but i think their poor performance went unnoticed only because those bikes had very short rear travel while Balfa and Canfield had functional hp bikes
  • 1 1
 Was it Scwinn, probably, that first sold a bike with a kickstand? That was clutch to keeping bikes from going drive side down.
  • 2 1
 I wouldnt say the inside frame storage is an improvment... More of an industry marketing.
  • 2 0
 Hite rite? Precursor to the modern dropper post by Mr Breeze
  • 1 0
 5.10 with Stealth rubber should be there! Game changer with flat pedals for sure!
  • 2 1
 Still waiting for gearboxes with a belt drive to be perfected and mainstreamed.
  • 1 0
 To this day, the THE eliminators were the most difficult thing to mount a tire on that I've ever experienced.
  • 1 1
 Without forgetting the first true dropper post: Gravity drooper, a pure revolution
  • 1 0
 Intense and Shawn Palmer for putting bearings at suspension pivots.
  • 2 0
 Ya Chris!
  • 1 0
 ODI rogue, yes! my favorite grips.
  • 1 0
 Say sinusoidal again, I dare you, say sinusoidal one more time
  • 2 1
 putting motors on bikes, Honda circa 1949...or daimler 1885.
  • 1 0
 What's a belly protector?
  • 1 0
 Csixx had the chainstay guard before Trekalized.
  • 1 0
 That top Tyre looks epic for the sand, dust.
  • 1 0
 Sram's 10-42t cassette was 11 speed, not 12-- typo above.
  • 1 0
 Sam Hill's Sunday had a 63 degree head angle.
  • 1 0
 schwalbe super gravity magic mary?
  • 1 0
 Before too long...no chain/no sprocket..just wires to the drive
  • 1 0
 Hyper glide cassettes. Rapidfire shifters.
  • 2 0
 Dia-Compe Aheadset
  • 1 0
 farmer johns cousin says meh to your tire choices
  • 1 0
 Was riding a homemade 1x9 long before sram "pioneered"
  • 1 0
 I hated that odi pattern since ever
  • 1 1
 Wonder who put together the first ebb?
  • 5 0
 eccentric bottom bracket??
  • 6 0
 Eccentric bb’s have been on tandems forever.
  • 1 1
 more inovated than roadies
  • 2 1
 Magped.....
  • 1 0
 Digital drive bikes
  • 1 0
 I Have All This Bruh.
  • 1 1
 Short fork offset for 29ers.... Coz his bike didn't work!
  • 1 0
 29 wheels not listed?
  • 1 0
 Campagnolo
  • 1 1
 Pole Bicycles for their CNC frame manufacturing process.
  • 1 0
 Dart was dismal
  • 1 0
 KOZIATEK
  • 1 0
 Double wall rims
  • 4 7
 Gary Fisher should get the nod for short offset forks on 29ers.
  • 18 0
 Except he went the other way - he advocated for longer offset forks on 29ers.
  • 7 0
 "G2 Geometry" for 29'ers was short chainstays, long-offset forks - the opposite of what's popular today - although he should get a rightful nod for introducing 29'ers to the mass-market
  • 2 0
 G2 geo in general, yeah.
  • 4 0
 @mikekazimer: that’s right, was thinking of short stems (rather than offset), thanks for the clarification
  • 6 0
 Gary Fisher for 29ers in general.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: by mimicking Jeff Jones
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