Luis Arraiz - K9 Designer and Suspension Guru

Feb 6, 2011 at 18:36
by Mike Levy  
A frank talk with the K9 front man and suspension authority about bike setup, data-logging, suspension, and if there really is one design that trumps all of the others.Luis, you are known for being one of the brighter minds in the industry, as well as running your own K9 brand, but tell us about the early days. How did you end up going from Venezuela to living in Oxford, UK, and running K9?

I had a great childhood in Venezuela, back then we used to play on the streets and empty lots. Whether it was baseball, football (soccer), BMX, it didn't matter, it was a lot of fun. Most weekends we went to the beach or the mountains. My family was always very active, so we were always water skiing, snorkeling, pier diving, swinging, etc... not really the type to just lay on the sand and soak up the sun. My father was a jet fighter pilot in the air force so we traveled a bit and lived in a few different cities around the country.

That must have been very cool to be a young guy and be able to say that your dad flies fighter planes! When did your family make the move to the U.S.?

For my father's last year in the service, he was appointed as a military adviser to the UN in 1990, so we moved to Greenwich, Connecticut, when I was thirteen. What's really funny is that we thought that most towns were like Greenwich! I got an after school job as a paper delivery boy around the neighborhood, so my parents bought me a mountain bike (my first ever MTB) and I hated it, I wanted a BMX because we used to ride BMX back in Venezuela. Now I had to ride this huge and heavy bike with gears and it wasn't much fun at first.

From Venezuela, to the U.S., to Oxford to pursue a motorsports engineering degree. Luis then started up K9 Industries after designing the L.A. Link suspension system and offers his data-logging services for those who want to take bike setup to the next level. And no, you don't have to own a K9 to take advantage of his services.
From Venezuela, to the U.S., to Oxford to pursue a motorsports engineering degree. Luis then started up K9 Industries after designing the L.A. Link suspension system and offers his data-logging services for those who want to take bike setup to the next level. And no, you don't have to own a K9 to take advantage of his services.


Alright, so it wasn't love at first ride with mountain bikes. What about cars?

Well, that's funny story. I must have been around nine or ten years old and I was watching an awesome car movie, the original Cannonball, at a neighbor's house. I was fascinated by cars like the Ferrari's, Lamborghini Countach, DeTomaso Pantera, Porsche's, etc... so I began talking to my father as to how I could design and make cars like that and he told me that I would need to be a mechanical engineer in order to do that.

I'm pretty sure that at that age I was catching frogs, building forts, and didn't even know what a mechanical engineer did...

By the time I was ten years old I was pretty sure of what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to be a car engineer/designer and work for Ferrari, but as it happens many times, sometimes you change your mind. Everything started in the U.S.A.. The plan was to go Maryville University in St Louis to do pre-engineering, then transfer to Wash. U in St Louis for the undergrad in mechanical engineering, and then do a masters in automotive engineering at Michigan State. When I was in STL, I began to read a British magazine called "Racecar Engineering" and I was hooked. I went every month to Borders (an American book store) to read it for a few hours before buying it. One day I saw an add for Oxford Brookes University which had a motorsports' engineering degree. I spoke to my family, then ditched a skiing Spring break trip to Vail to go check out the school. I liked what I saw, and after my return trip I began to do the paperwork to transfer and move to the sunny Oxford, LOL!


So you started off wanting to work on fast production cars, but made the jump to the racing side of things. Why?

My plan from day one was to work in high-end motorsports such as F1, WRC, Paris Dakar rallies, etc... anything with 4 wheels that was technical and interesting. I wanted to work in an area where engineers were as valuable as the drivers themselves.

When and how did mountain bikes start coming back into your life?

I really was not aware of MTB at this time at all, I was mainly into racing cars, football (soccer), and rollerblading was my thing at the time. When I got to Oxford, I noticed that everyone got around using the bus system and bikes. I bought a used MTB for £50.00 and commuted everywhere. One day a friend of mine invited me to go on an off-road bike ride and I loved it, however my bike did not, as it almost fell apart by the time I got home. But it was too late for me, I got hooked on it and wanted to go mountain biking.

I think that a lot of riders get their start that way, going from commuting to mountain biking. But how did the big jump to suspension design come about?

As I was approaching my last year of the undergrad and the final year project, I really wanted to do a bit of DH, but my bike was not up to the task. So I began to do a bit of research about the type of full suspension designs available e.g. VPP, FSR, Lawwill, single pivots, etc... because I wanted to know how they all compared to each other before I spent my savings on my first DH bike. After awhile I thought that there was room for improvement and talked to my advisor at the university about doing my project on bicycle suspension. After graduation I had problems getting a job due to my visa and decided to take my design to market, and here we are.

Mountain bikes and race cars are very different vehicles. How does what you know translate to the world of bicycles?

Yes, they are quite different vehicles with different characteristics, requirements, and constraints. But cars and bikes are both ground vehicles and the same vehicle dynamic principles still apply to both, so they can be analyzed in the same way.



You're saying that, despite our bodies putting out a meager 1hp, the same principles and demands are pertinent?

The demands are very similar, but there is still quite a difference. When it comes to power, it is not just the amount of power, but how it is delivered that makes the biggest difference. On a race car, a driver is on the power everywhere except while in the corner entry and the middle of the corner, and the power is delivered fairly constantly until you shift gears, but on a bike it is a lot more sporadic, and not only that, but riders can only produce a sinusoidal power delivery (wave form) rather than the constant delivery of the car.


Given what you've said above, can a rider benefit from taking the time to do proper bike setup for a course in the same manner that a race car driver would?

Any rider can benefit from a well setup bike. I would like to add that you do not need to be pro lever rider or racer to enjoy the benefit of a good setup; weekend warriors, epic riders, and XC riders (anyone who rides off road) can all benefit from the benefits of a good setup.


Do you think that mountain bikers are prone to sell themselves short when it comes to taking advantage of the technology available?

This is not as straight forward as it should be. I know that there is all of this technology that will help you ride better, safer, and faster, and it would be foolish not to take advantage of it. But with all the marketing and trends, not all products will be the right one for each and every rider or condition out there. So how do you determine what's truly useful from what isn't, without taking into consideration the placebo effect that if you think it will make you go faster, perhaps it will just because you believe in it and therefore increased your confidence?


How large of a part does bike setup play in a World Cup rider's performance? Do any of those guys have questionable setups?

I think that at the top level, 90 percent is the rider and the remaining 10 percent is the bike and equipment. A rider who has the skill, ability, and confidence to compete at the top level can ride anything fast, as they can compensate for whatever the bike is doing with their skill and ability. Now if you apply those same skills and abilities with a well setup bike and equipment, their performance will increase. While not all the top pros have a perfect setup, most of them do seem to have their bikes fairly well setup, or with a setup that they like and feel confident on.

A K9 DH001-S ready to do some testing with a telemetry unit strapped to it. Running telemetry on a mountain bike has been done before, but it's never been available for the un-sponsered rider to take advantage of.
A K9 DH001-S ready to do some testing with a telemetry unit strapped to it. Running telemetry on a mountain bike has been done before, but it's never been available for the un-sponsered rider to take advantage of.


And what about the average rider, there must surely be benefits for them as well to take the time to get some proper settings nailed down?

I believe that the biggest differences will be seen by amateur and semi-pro riders, more so than professional riders. To the average rider, the bike and equipment play a bigger percentage in their performance because they do not have the same skill, strength, mental ability as top athletes do, and I am fairly certain that their setup is not as dialed either. So can a regular rider benefit from a well setup bike? Definitely. Where a pro may see between one tenth to five tenths, other riders may see entire seconds of benefit.


I could use a few seconds here or there! Moving from setup to actual suspension design; there are many different bike designs out there at this point, with each touting benefits over the others. Do you think that there are one or two that are truly better than the competition?

All rear suspension designs have positive and negative characteristics, sometimes it may not be the actual design itself at fault, but the execution of the design. Let's take as an example two single pivot bikes with rocker links: will a Chumba F5 work and feel the same as a Tomac Primer? I do not think so.

So you are saying that there is no clear winner, that it is too complicated to simply say that one design is better than another?

While the L.A. Link (Luis' own design used on his K9 bikes) is a 4-bar suspension design, I am also a big fan of the single pivot for its simplicity and predictability. However, 4-bars are great because they allow you to manipulate a lot more parameters to achieve what you want. That's why they are used in motorsports, short long arm suspension (SLA is an unequal length, double wishbone design) being the perfect example. But they are more complex and they require a skilled engineer to get the most out of them. Take a look at the FSR, which I think is a very good design. There are so many different bikes using the Specialized design in different configurations, but not all are equal in terms of handling and performance.


That is very refreshing and unexpected to hear, coming from an engineer who has designed, patented, and put into production his own suspension system. Alright, one design may not be vastly superior, but there must surely be some overall traits that are mandatory for a bike to be considered great?

Well, there are several parameters that will dictate how a bike will perform. These include: sizing, suspension travel, suspension rate, dynamic geometry, axle path, pedal induced torque, pedal kickback, weight, etc... While the overall performance of the bike is determined by the complete package and balance of all these parameters, the two most important factors are sizing and dynamic geometry.

I'd say that it's just a touch more complicated than a typical bike computer. Thankfully, it also tells you a whole lot more information that if used wisely, could make you faster and ride with more control. What is going to make a bigger difference to your riding: upgrading from last year's fork to an up to date model, or letting Luis play with the dials on your suspension?
I'd say that it's just a touch more complicated than a typical bike computer. Thankfully, it also tells you a whole lot more information that if used wisely, could make you faster and ride with more control. What is going to make a bigger difference to your riding: upgrading from last year's fork to an up to date model, or letting Luis play with the dials on your suspension?


What about overrated qualities? There seems to be a race on to see who can build the lightest production DH bike, but it's not that simple, is it?

Weight is an important attribute, but it is not the defining factor. It is not about how much weight there is, but where it is located and what type of weight it is that will have the biggest impact on the performance and feel of the bike. What is the sprung to un-sprung weight ratio? Is it on the swingarm, wheels, main frame, etc...


You run your own company, K9 Industries, and not only design your own bike and components, but also offer your data acquisition services for hire. Can you explain the system and how a rider is able to benefit from such a service?

The data logging services that we offer is a service which can be tendered to anyone. It is like providing a race car pit service to you on your bike. Basically, we strap a on motorsports-grade data logger (hard-drive) and attach sensors around the bike. Then you get to ride the bike, and after each ride we connect the logger to the computer, analyze the results, and make the required changes according to the data and rider feedback.

An Orange Five fully kitted out with data-loggers. You don't need to have a full blown DH rig to get the most out of running a proper setup.
An Orange Five fully kitted out with data-loggers. You don't need to have a full blown DH rig to get the most out of running a proper setup.


And what sort of results would the rider see from this?

The goal of the data logging depends on the costumer and on his requirements. We mainly try to set up the bike so that both front and rear suspension is balanced and works as an uniform system. Racers may prefer to have the bike setup for ultimate speed, while more leisure and recreational riders may prefer a more comfortable ride.


So we come back to balance, something that is very important in any form of motorsports. What variables are you measuring?

The data is collected through the sensors connected to the data logger unit. We can log a lot different parameters such as: front and rear wheel speed, fork displacement, shock displacement, crank rotation, GPS position, accelerometers, and a few others. From these sensors we can use the software to tell us everything we want to know about the bike.


How hard is it to take into account both empirical testing and rider feedback? Is one more important than the other?

It is extremely important. You cannot just look at the data and make your decisions based solely on the data, it has to be processed and analyzed alongside rider feedback. Sometimes you have some contradiction between the data and the rider, and you have to determine the cause of it. Remember that the data is the result of what is happening, so sometimes you have to figure out why it is happening. Sounds silly, but it is highly important to ask the right question to the rider to get the right feedback. Sometimes you need to recollect the data as well to verify the previous results.


It is common to read about a bike's "balance", or lack thereof, in a review. You touched on it above when talking about telemetry, but why is it so important?

As is the case with any type vehicle, it needs to have a suitable balance in order to provide a comfortable and controlled ride. An unbalance bike will always be more difficult to ride as the rider has to react and second guess what the bike is doing. A well balanced bike is easier and safer to ride because it is very predictable. There are a few reasons why a bike would be out of balance, but most of the time it is to do with wrong spring rates and rebound settings.


Are you saying that there is clearly a right way and wrong way when it comes to suspension setup for a given course or type of terrain?
Yes, suspension setups can vary from rider to rider, even when the same bike and components are used. The difference in setup will be due to the rider's weight distribution, riding style, and preferences, but this can all be accounted for and fine tuned using a standard base setup as a starting point.


I see... start with a good base setup and make small adjustments. You've designed and produced your own bike, the DH001-S, that uses your L.A. Link Suspension System. It is a very unique looking bike, can you tell us a bit about it?

I am glad you asked that question. Yes, the bike is quite unique as it was originally conceived to be a pure race bike. The DH001-S was born out of the L.A Link suspension design. The L.A Link is a suspension design which provides the following characteristics: minimal pedal induced torque and chain length growth, a rearward axle path, a linear progressive leverage rate, and constant anti-squat. The idea behind the design is to provide a ride that is very efficient, stable, and keeps the pedals level while in rough ground, and is active while pedaling. It is a very stable and comfortable bike.

The K9 DH001-S. Certainly different looking from the swoopy lines and hydro-formed tubes that you'll find on many of the latest downhill weapons, but is that going to be a factor for you? Should it be?
The K9 DH001-S. Certainly different looking from the swoopy lines and hydro-formed tubes that you'll find on many of the latest downhill weapons, but is that going to be a factor for you? Should it be?


So it's designed to go fast. The DH001-S uses 15CDV6 steel for the front triangle and aluminum for the rear. Can you shed some light on why you went that route?

The 15CDV6 was a godsend. I was adamant to manufacture the bikes in the UK, but finding 7005 & 6061 aluminum alloys and people who knew how to use them proved to be almost impossible. We got talking to a few fabrication shops around Oxford about making a some prototypes in T45 and they introduced me to 15CDV6. This is a German steel that is extensively used for race car chassis', roll bars, and suspension arms for its strength, stiffness, fatigue and durability. So after careful studying of the material properties, it was clear that is was more than suitable for bike frames. The rear swing arm is aluminum as we are trying to reduce the un-sprung mass of the suspension, while still having sufficient stiffness in the back end.


And what about the idler wheel, what does it accomplish?

The suspension was designed to work in conjunction with the idler; you can say that it is the heart of the L.A. Link suspension. The bike has a very rearward axle path, and the instant center is located very close to the idler and that allows me to greatly reduce the amount of chain length growth and pedal induced torque. It basically separates the suspension movement from the pedal inputs and vice versa.


So the idler helps the bike get around some drawbacks of a very reward axle path. I've read that you've designed in a lot of dynamic stability into your bike. What is this and why is it beneficial?

You can define it as the ability of the chassis/bike to remain stable while under different conditions; such as acceleration, cornering, braking, pedaling, bump absorption, etc.. A bike that has a good dynamic stability will be very predictable.


You're obviously a big fan of adjustability, with the DH001-S allowing riders to pick from three chainstay lengths, five head tube angles, and three levels of pedal feedback.


The bike features several adjustable parameters, such as head angle, chain stay length and pedal feed back. No two riders are the same and neither are the tracks and conditions that people ride and race, so the adjustments allow the rider to tailor the bike and setup to the specific course, requirement, style, etc... In the neutral position the bike has a 63 degree head angle, 16.75" chain-stay length, and 10 mm drop bottom bracket. Also, the 13T idler sprocket provides about 5 degrees of pedal feedback. This setup will work very well for most downhill tracks, but you can also make the bike slacker and longer for higher stability, or shorter and more manoeuvrable if required. Personally, at K9, we prefer the bigger 13T sprocket as it provides the least pedal feedback and more control, but some riders choose either of the 2 smaller ones in order to feel more connected to the drive train.



The DH001-S touts that its "instant center migration is engineered for constant anti-squat". In simple terms, what are you referring to and why is it important?

The instant center is the same thing as a virtual pivot point, and its location and movement (migration) is as important as the position of the pivot on a single pivot bike. It determines the axle path and the anti-squat of the bike throughout the travel.


There are many designs out there that use a triangulated rear end and two short suspension links to manipulate wheel travel and suspension rate. It seems very easy for ill-informed readers to assume that because one design looks similar to another that it must perform the same (picture all of those "it looks like a..." comments) Thoughts?

There are several reasons why there are many suspension designs using this linkage configuration. The two short links and triangulated swing arm configuration provides a very stiff and structurally sound design. This configuration makes it easy to manipulate how the suspension will work. Yeah, small changes in length, orientation, position, and angle of the links can have a great effect on how they will work and ride, so just because they may look similar, does not mean they will work the same. The devil is in the details!


It's almost like that paragraph should be included with any bike test! Do you feel that the media should make more of an effort to educate readers as to why one design is different from another?

I think that the media has a degree of responsibility to educate the readers and riders, but in the end it is up to the general customer to either discard the new information or not.


That sounds fair to me. According to many readers, your bike will never win a beauty contest. Are you the least bit concerned?

Yeah, we are aware that a lot people do not really like the look of the bike as it looks very different to most mainstream bikes. It really is very much about form follows function as it rides beautifully. It is a concern to us at K-9 and it will be addressed in the future.

Much like you may have seen on some rear shocks, K9's fork bearings allow the spring to turn freely under compression.
Much like you may have seen on some rear shocks, K9's fork bearings allow the spring to turn freely under compression.


I'm looking forward to seeing what you have cooking. Besides the DH001-S frame set, what else is in the works for K9 in 2011?

Well, we have got a few things coming very, very soon. The philosophy behind the new component range is that they provide some performance gain, an advantage, or a unique solution. For 2011 the range will include:

• Redesigned ARC head tube cups in both 1.5" and Frustum standards
• Three coil spring options (steel, lightweight steel and titanium) with bearings and adapters
• A 115 gram two piece direct mount stem, which we believe will be lightest and stiffest stem on the market
• Adjustable length handle bars
• High performance and race only brake pads
• A very light set of pedals with a very unique internal mechanism which lets you adjust how much it spins
• Fork bearings for the BoXXer, Bos Idylle, and Fox 40
K9 Industries



O.K., you're going to have to explain the fork bearings to me...

The fork bearings are some very cool little components. They allow the fork springs to move more freely and react a lot faster to the terrain, which in turns provides more grip.




Luis Arraiz will be writing monthly columns for Pinkbike that will explain the physics of mountain biking in an easy to understand and interactive format. How long will it take a hot brake rotor to cook a steak? Does your suspension really move faster than you driving down the highway? Stay tuned!



Did you like what Luis had to say? Excited for his upcoming articles?



172 Comments

  • + 24
 All i wan't to see is a privateer on a Specialized Demo 8 II 2011,set up with all the right telemetry settings for the Bill.Then the same rider go down the Bill,in the same conditions on the K.Nine DH001-S,with all the right telemetry settings.Each rig,4 or 5 runs a piece,and
then we'll see wheather 4 years of development has been worth it.Nice and simple.
Please don't take this comment the wrong way,i've actually been looking forward to the production of this K-Nine rig,because it really does look like a very capable rig,my one and only concern is,"have they tried too hard on this bike?.Time will certainley tell.PROPS to Luis Arraiz,for all the hard work he's done with Orange bikes,and for the development of this beatiful beast.
Gary. Very confused Smile Razz tup
  • + 20
 The biggest performance enhancer for a bike is the rider. I am sure that Gee, Greg, Sam could beat most people down Fort Bill if they were riding a hard tail.
  • + 3
 ive spent a little time on a k9 and it is an amazing bike. if same rider, same spec but just frame different, with it setup right, the k9 will be faster. for every fundamental reasons.
  • + 10
 that frame looks like at Terminator made it!!!
  • + 5
 bxxer-rider, you are implying that this is the fastest bike in the world with that statement. Find that hard to believe if I am honest, even different riders like different geometry settings, and the K9 cannot compensate for the range of riding styles. It is great that we all like different things, if there was a holly grail of bikes, then life would be boring.
  • - 11
flag bxxer-rider (Feb 17, 2011 at 10:39) (Below Threshold)
 i meant between the demo at k9. the demo is a ridiculously over rated bike. the reason it is so overrated is the amount they put into marketing the large majority over look what are faults and design problems because its market so well. if you were to give me a brand new 2011 demo 8, i would put it in the bin and just take all the components of it. i will never own a demo.
  • + 5
 I remember testing the Empire, V10 and Sunday all in 1 weekend. I was a Sunday rider, and I got faster times on the V10 than the Sunday, Empire was not to far behind the Sunday.
  • - 5
flag bxxer-rider (Feb 17, 2011 at 11:46) (Below Threshold)
 and if memory serves me right, the v10 as the most rearward axle path out of the three, so over rough it should hold its sped better, plus the chain growth is quite good on the v10 if i remember rightly, meaning you can get it up to speed quicker.

that's assuming same spec for all bikes?

besides, you should be a lot faster on v10 then demo....
  • + 3
 SC released a statement explaining how irrelevant the axle path was. Your judgements are poor bxxer-rider.
  • + 3
 what's wrong with the demo series? I have a demo 7 and it feels incredible
  • + 4
 Yes, the same spec on the bikes, down to inner tubes!
Empire was fastest off the line, Sunday 2nd and V10 slowest off the line.
V10 is slow off the line, currently I am running either a Vivid coil or Air, at 11st8lb I am running 275psi in the air, it is ok, but no Sunday off the line.

I did try a Demo 2 weeks ago and it accelerated very well. No timing to compare with, but it was noticeably fast off the line compared to the V10 (for me that is, not saying it would be the same for everyone).
  • + 3
 There's nothing wrong with it. Bxxer-rider is 17 old and one of those ponifficating know it alls, that is too cool to ride the most popular DH bikes on the planet because it IS so popular.And apparently thinks that his opinion is VERY important. A working example of post adolescent idealistic arrogance. My guess is he has NEVER sat on one. Specialized is a company that is smart enough to offer the market a bike that lives up to it's hype. Remember also that the Demo is a much more different bike since SH started racing for them. His and Berrecloth's racer experience imput in later designs has been documented. I don't ride a Demo, I ride a Session, but the 2010 Demo feels unbelievablely stable and lighter!!!
  • + 1
 edd that's incorrect, sc realised a statement covering their backs about the 'S' shaped axle path. difference. ah that would be down to a well placed idler then betsie bryantaber try not to be so arrogant and so judgemental, have you EVER considered that not every one is the same. plus stop falling for bullshit marketing bollocks, that is completely wrong, but because spesh have been doing things for so long in a certain way they can not change that otherwise they will contradict them selves and highlight the faults in their own bikes. stop being a sheep and falling for bollocks you are told by a big corporation. just because they are are big does not mean they are right, spesh are here to make money and dont care what they say so long as they make a profit out of it.
  • + 8
 Rearward axle path makes a bike go mighty fast. Check out Canfield Brothers.
  • - 1
 bxxer-rider... yes 17 and knows all indeed.. I see nothing on your wall that makes me think you are an expert at all on the subject of bikes..

Demos are nice bikes, but I'm stoked that you wont ever ride one.... more for me.. Wink
  • + 1
 thanks for the sarcasm. and in fact, ive tried demos, and its for that reason i hate them.
  • + 1
 there was no sarcasim there... I simply dont care what you like to ride... for me, demos are sweet. I guess you didnt like the low bb, the zero brake jack, and the confidence inspiring buttery feeling that the demo gave.. .... its okay, I was 17 once too...
  • - 3
 geo is good, Horst ink is good, BUT speshs used of it is a very bad example of Horst, and the fact they have enough marketing budget to over come that and fool mindless idiots like you into believing forward axle paths are good, when they are the complete opposite. the fact you were 17 once is the only thing we have in common, since you obviously have no engineering understanding or ability to challenge accepted designing in pursuit of maximum performance, which, the demo falls short on by a long way.
  • + 7
 i havent fallen for any marketing. I followed what my ass told me after I rode it. I dont mind a different opinion but your approach to this discussion is that you know more than everyone and that all the people who like demos only do so because they don't knw better...... and that you do. I just think we , with differing opinions, don't like being called stupid or sheepish by someone who just started to work a razor.
God... 17 year olds can be soooo annoying. You'll get it in 5 years, hopefully.
By the way, you are here stroking Santa Cruz's "bolloks' sack and it's rearward path. As well you should. It's a tried and tested design with a Brit hero winning on it. The v- 10 is now one of the most poplr DH bikes in the world. How much marketing do think went into that. This k-9 design hasnt proved itself a single second yet, but he takes a pic of some wires and writes the longest bike review to date and you've "swallowed his whole load already". Talk about gullable sheep. You should wait and see how it's race team performs. Then you can start bashing other companies junior.
  • + 2
 ^^ Exactlly ^^


props to you Bryantaber.. Salute

and to bxxr-rider I am in fact Studying engineering of sorts and Have been riding bikes longer than you've been alive.
  • + 3
 Hey Bxxr-rider I guess you missed this sentence of the article, here are Luis words "Take a look at the FSR, which I think is a very good design. There are so many different bikes using the Specialized design in different configurations, but not all are equal in terms of handling and performance." So I guess the design is a little bit more worthy then what you call dumpster trash. By the way if your going to press a subject so hard on a blog, learn some proper grammar. Happy Trails.
  • + 3
 I can't help but laugh when I read this whole argument between Bxxer-rider and basically anyone with a level head. hahahaha "I was 17 once too" cracks me up. lol sorry Bxxer-rider but coming from a outsider perspective on this quarrel you look like an arrogant teen who is just having one of those moments when he'll look back and say "man I was an a**hole. Just speaking the truth as I see it Smile
  • + 4
 @ bxxr-rider, seeing as you obviously know so much about bikes I am curious to know what all these faults and design problems are... I mean obviously someone should notify Sam Hill pretty damn quick before he hurts himself or, even worse, wins a race on one!
  • - 3
 i have time on demo's, and hated EVERY SINGLE second of it, due to its skittish suspension nature. i have time on a k9, i know 3 different people who own one, i'm a friends friend of luis, and in fact knew about k9's new realises several weeks ago, even before they drew up the pdf file.

the point i am making is you wouldn't want for front axle to compression forward because you could never trust it, it wouldn't track well, wouldn't take square hits well, and wouldn't have much grip at all. so why have the rear axle doing that? why not have a rearward axle path that can be trusted not to kick up on square hits, you can trust to keep 100% of grip over roots and to track brilliantly.

but i guess those FACTS are lost on the brainwashed pinkbike masses.

plus sidwaa, i was pointing out that the demo is a very bad execution of Horst. Horst link is a great concept, the demo is a bad use of it.
  • + 1
 I love how the whole bashing started with bxxr saying he dislikes demo and he only dug his grave after people started attacking him for it. Pinkbike is silly. He is stupid for liking k9 but your subjective opinions on the demo are cool because more of you like it? For me demo is a weekend warriors bike (yeah yeah I know Sam Hill ) - it's very comfortable(no pedal feedback or brake jack...) but it has some undesirable characteristics. I hope the 2011 one has a shock that works better with it as for me.

As for axle paths doesn't matter - Santa Cruz guys are the kings of marketing BS so it's funny people still trust him.
  • + 1
 bxxr-rider, because the front axle and rear axle do completely different jobs maybe? the way the weight of the rider is distributed makes it a completely differentconcept. and what do you mean skittish? it's meant to be one of the most stable bikes out there i heard.

and thank you very much but i haven't been brainwashed at all by the 'facts', the only reason i'm still riding my demo is because it's sick!

perhaps that's the real reason you're so fond of k9 (and i have nothing against the company) is that you know a couple of people on the inside... just guessing.
  • + 3
 Bxxer rider:
To me that reads that you know the guys and the company. This to me sounds very much like you've swallowed all "their Media hype" and you've been "brianwashed" by their jargen as well.........

dude, I'd say quite while your so deep down in the gutter. I've seen these bikes too and yes they look nice and yes the guys do like then that ride them. Every one has an opinion as they are entitled to it. By you stating that a bike is shite an another is the greatest, you are merely coaxing an argument that is pointless.

The K-9 doe's look a nice price but at £4,500+ in the UK for the frame+shock alone, I can't see many people taking this offer up. It's massively overpriced and well for that money, you could buy a top end WC standard carbon frame like the new SC v-10. You'd probably have money left over to take it down to a company and get it tuned up like the above thread to the standard you require........................

What's your thoughts?

Oh and I ride an Intense 951. Am I a trend following idiot with no sense of direction or am I just the same as you- Someone who enjoys riding bikes??????
  • + 2
 the 951 is a sick ride also... eats square edged bumps better than a lot of rigs, and likes to go fast..

I got a demo 9, I dont think I'm a trend whore... how many people ride 9's now? regardless, toss me a new 2011 demo.... free of charge and call me a trend whore all you like.


Skittish ? the only thing that makes a demo skittish is the skittish ride on it.. ( you )

and you "are a frend of a friend who knows k-9" I think your full of bs. Salute
  • + 2
 Skittish may be the susp setup. The 9 isn't best at absorbing small-med bumps but due to large % of wheelpath being close to vertical it feels good on bigger bumps. To bad that means it pedals worse than other designs and has less suppor in the initial travel. The 9 was a nice bike with very good geo but it was Loooooong. I like long bike but that bike feels good on WC wide tracks.

@bikeaddict - so you've heard... I love how people assume that big brands make great bikes and are sceptic about smaller ones. Read about the FOX + Demo issue. It's supposedly solved but that's a HUGE engineering fail. You can do it on the virtual prototype phase. You don't even need to put any fork on. Not to mention that I see easier ways to make the rear stays stiff than doubling them. Also short CS + slack ha on the 2010 feels great on steeper tracks but when it gets flattish the weight distribution is too far back which means the front wheel is prone to loosing traction more often. Much to improve but people assume it's a great bike because it's specialized...
Not to bash it's ride quality as currently the differances between top bikes are small but if we talk differances there are many things that can be changed in the demo.
  • + 1
 Fair enough BXXR, i respect that fact that your passionate. You should probably think about how you are going to convey your opinion though as you due come across quite strong. In all seriousness write in proper english if you are going to press so hard. Oh and by the way anyone can be allowed to like a bike, I happen to love demo's I shread north shore, sqau town and whis eight months a year( ok whis from may-nov ) and it does the job. A bike is what you make of it. I rode a banger 04 giant team DH up until last year, and had a shit load of fun. At the end of the day unless you are a world cup athlete, or aspiring world cup athlete it does not matter what you ride. As long as you can go out have fun and go fast why does it matter what decal is on your down tube? Keep the rubber side down.

Peace
  • + 1
 think my point has been lost quite a bit here. in layman's terms, the demo is a rideable bike, even raceable, but falls short, way short of what a real race only bike can be. the k9 is closer, however it is not perfect and with a huge price (there is no two ways about it)

putting aside my hatred of the demo for a minute. what a lot of company's have been doing is marketing their DH bikes as the ultimate race bike, marketing each little detail as the best, from stupid small "weight saving" bearings to majority forward axlepath's, and hydroforming. but this has been happening for so long that soon as they go to change this they undermine them selves and their products soon as they start marketing the opposite to what they had been before. and because they don't want to undermine themselves and loose respect, due to this a certain criteria has developed for a race bike which will not allow the ultimate race frame.
there are however exceptions, yeti being the biggest of all, started with the 303 which is a mostly forward axle path, to the 303rdh which is about 50/50 then finally to the 303 wcdh with a 100% rearward because they know its the best format for a race bike, but because they have not constrained them selves by marketing gimmicks on their first bike they have been free to do as they wish with design (aside from the rail) and have ended up with the 100% rearward axlepath, now that they realise this is best yeti have started marketing it. this is not me being brainwashed by yeti, but looking at WHY certain things are marketed.
  • + 0
 but i have to touch on hydroforming. it is utterly pointless and VERY expensive pushing up prices of frames across the industry when it is just not needed. folded monocoque construction is cheaper, and imo, better looking. it is one thing that drives me up the fall with all the mainstream frames, all getting a generic look because no one really wants to push the boat out (yet again, yeti have avoided this, by only using it subtly in a way i like, i should say im not really a yeti fan, but they do a good job providing examples as they don't follow the crowd and what the majority think they way, yeti build frames to the best of their ability)

hopefully more of you now get where i am coming from.

(as for my sentence structure and the like, im a kinaesthetic learner, and there fore school never really did any thing for me, and left me dyslexic)
(plus my message was to long so pinkbike loggd my I.P for smapping? :-0. )
  • + 3
 I had a yeti 303-rdh , Mondraker summum , santa vp3 , and kona stab and the K9 pisses all over them , Now go ahead a neg prop me because k9 doesn't use all the fancy hydro form , but it's got a steel front end.. o wait steel is 3x and strong as alu! and you can get them under 40lbs and it's lighter than my mates 2011 demo!? And remember Steve Jones rode the k9 and he's tried nearly every bike out and he says it's one, if not the best...
  • + 1
 My guess is that after K9 begins to receive more working capital, assuming this model is a success, the front triangle will change to a lighter more asthetic one. It's just my guess, but He may have spent most of his funding on researching and perfecting the pivot placements. He said it himself that the decision to go with 15cdv6 was due to the lack of affordable alum and knowledgable fabricators in GB. It was important to keep the manufacturing in his country. He also referred to the fact that he preferred alum for the rear for weight and stiffness. AND it's easier to work with steel. SO it maybe that they used steel for finanacial practical reasons. You may very well see hydroforming in the future.
  • + 1
 bxxer-rider you are a bull shiter.

You could not possibly know so much about the industry unless you were born with it implanted deep in your DNA.

I suggest that you stop arguing which only further enlarge my opinion that you are a bull shiter (and most probably most others opinion as well) then actually go and ride orange 222 witch has in my opinion a horrible feel due to the suspension.

If you reply to this i will not be reading your replay as it would be a wast of my time.
  • + 0
 Facepalm

any sort of intelligence of decent questioning of the lines that company's feed us is lost on here.

so carry on being ignorant of why bikes work, why they can be better and how to make them better. instead of doing work your self, send your suspension to mainstream tuners and have them tell you what you want to hear, take you bikes into shops and spend way over the odds because of what they want you to buy.

so carry on not listening to independent information, and listen to bias contradictions.
  • + 2
 i said i wasn't going to do this but.

1. know one cares.
2. I couldn't give a shit about about my supenstion as long as it absorbs bumps im happy/
3. the people at main stream tuners are like you (big headed and know to much about bikes) and i can do it my self.
4. you are not a pro rider an will never be you are a sad little racer fan boy who care to much about lines and technology and generally doing the up most to improve your performance.
5.you are not the only human being with a brain and opinions if your so smart go do something useful like cure cancer.
6. YOU ARE WAY TO SERIOUS ABOUT THE SPORT JUST CHILL THE f*ck OUT.
  • + 3
 Never thought id say this but you need some props for that!
  • - 2
 and THAT is why the sport has not progressed in the last 5 years. technology is just getting stagnant and needs new thinking from the ground up. obvious your not interested in moving things forwards, so carry on being a sheep.
  • + 1
 baaaaaah Big Grin
  • + 2
 He is to emotional about it but he is kinda right. People who care about technology are the ones who push it. If we were all - will it brake - guys. The companies would only make visual changes instead of real technical ones (chough cough demo Razz )
  • + 1
 but im sure the riders on the world cup circut can push the sport to develope. ( witch i do want, new thing that work better are cool)
  • + 0
 the wc riders can only change what their sponsors allow.

if Sam Hill asked for a vpp bike would he get it? no
if Steve Peat asked for a sp bike would he get it? no
if Ge Atherton asked for a horst link bike would he get it? no

everyone is constrained by their sponsors, and their sponsors like commencal, santa cruz and spesh are constrained by the marketing 'information' (bulshit) they have provided in previous years.

and that is why i say the sport is stagnant. because every large company within the sport have sold them selves out to a design concept, which in hell of a lot of cases is not the best concept, but have to stick with it no matter what.

that is why new company's, ones without constraint are pushing the sport, but because they don't get enough market share they hardly make tiny move in the right direction.


so Aaron, if you think the sport is developing and progressing then point it out to me, please, show me some thing that is new.
  • + 1
 Aaron - that WC rider argument is bs. WC riders are often very conservative about their gear because they cannot risk as much as enginners and regular riders. Look at Michael Pascal running narrow high rise bars for the whole 2010 season, Peaty is a huge guy but runns 750mm. It's funny how people jump on it like its some kind of a proof that wide is silly but when you talk to the pro riders who experiment with gear they like wide (ie. Cesar Rojo).

Also - yes. They are used to getting what their sponsor produces. Also companies don't make new interesting stuff for the pro's but for us. If we demand a better handling bike we will get it. If a pro demands it he might get it. He is paid to do a job so he can suggest not really demand. We pay companies for our bikes - we are the ones who decide.

Remember that every purchase you make is not only an aquisition - it's a vote. Buy buying from a certain company you vote for their current business model (which of course does not only include a bike and tech but also customer support, warranty, race team, advertising)
  • + 0
 V10 carbon , k9 thing ? , vivid air .

the pros push the yes they may be limmted be sponsers but the dome has changed a hell of alot since hill has been on one.
the new norco has revolved around rider input and so has the nuke proor scalpe.

any what do you exapect? hover bikes ???
  • + 1
 Zerode G-1
  • + 2
 Man you are so clueless. V10 carbon happened because of they tested carbon on the Nomad and decided to go for it. Riders never demanded it to go carbon. People complained about geo for the last few years on the v10. Vivid air is rider imput? Almost noone on the WC circut rides them.
Demo changed due to pro imput? Nope they changed it because the old demo was associated with FR. The feedback of the riders was valuable but what has everybody been saying in the last 3 years about demo? Make it Slacker and Lower so yeah, they had to have hill for that. Not to mention that the 2010 to 2011 is not a big change. I love how people are tricked into beliving the bike was reinvented. The geo is VERY close, the susp too. The only differance is that the frame is lighter and it isn't compatable with any part (wheels, forks, shocks).
Nuke Proof - again WRONG. The team rode Intense for the whole 2010 season. There was ONE NP bike with them but it wasnt ridden by any of the main CRC team riders.


Basicly you have no idea what you are talking about - Riders are brought to Advertise new products. Their feedback is valuable but there are companies with much smaller teams (or none) that also make great bikes. For some reason Frank changes FTW bikes geo quite often and he has no WC team. I smell a conspiracy theory.
  • + 1
 Especially that it all depends on the rider. One may be an inventive engineer like Cesar Rojo, other one can be very conservative (think Rennies "will it break).
  • + 1
 Aaron you are clueless. that is old technology. its old stuff reapplied differently and re marketed, and guess what, you have lapped it up like a cat to milk.

'modern' geometry is not new. the prototype 222 from late 90's had a 61degree HA. and super low bb.

Horst link (fsr) from early 90's

carbon has been around for donkey years in mtb.

air shocks have been around since 90's.

even drop stop in boxxers is a rubber elastomer from ORIGINAL suspension designs in early 90's

not one product in the dh market is really new technology in at last the last 5 years.

only thing i can think of as new technology in entire mtb sport is dropper posts, and they are couple of years old now.

and that is why i say the sport is stagnant, there has been no real progression in at last 5 years.
  • + 0
 OK you refuse to consider anyone point that's cool. i do agree that i know very little about the technical side of the sport but i have not been brain washed and i do know that i am right about what i am writing because these are advances the carbon is stronger and the airs shock work better and the world cup teams do help improve technology because they are pushing the boundaries of the sport, NOT YOU OR ME. yes i understand that you do not agree but i don't care. plus i think improvements are good but there is not rally that much more to do only fine tuning people like you ruin this sport because you care to much about technology that ridding and having fun.
  • + 1
 Man you are crazy. So if someone is passionate about technology he is not having fun and hates riding. Also you don't know where you are right. You are talking out of your ass. Bxxer-rider is exxagerating really much but your made up arguments are even more annoying.
  • + 0
 do you even reed what i say ?

anyway we should stop this bitching because its pathetic and i makes us bot look like trolls having a troll of...
...you will probably dis agree but i don't care you can continue with your conspiracy's.

And i am sorry for my trolling.

now go ride.
  • + 0
 trying to show how much the very large majority of riders are brainwashed is like hitting my head against the wall, because your not going to listen, and nothing has been achieved.
  • + 0
 LOL
  • + 18
 Great article/interview.

No BS, no spin, no self-plugging.

Will be interested in some of those products they've mentioned they're working on too.
  • + 12
 Hmmm, I'm glad he mentioned rearward path, because those linkage looks like they will describe a VERY rearward path - I'd love to see video of the wheel being compressed (or even better, the frame in a stand and the swingarm being activated without a shock) to see how it all moves about... er.... migrates. The description sounds like the holy grail of suspensoin designs. I'd love to ride one.

It is interesting the LA mentions that short links provide stiffness, because those lower links must be the longest of the 'solid rear triangle attached via two links' designs I've seen.

And the first person that says "It looks like a [whatever]" will be either very brave or knowledgeable.
  • + 2
 I agree. I would like to see the suspension in motion. It looks like the bottom link is going to drive the rear wheel way back while the top link is going to pivot the axle forward about the lower pivot on the bottom link. Would the two motions cancel each other out giving the wheel a near vertical wheel path?
  • + 8
 I had a short spin on the K9 bike at Fort Bill and it felt dialled. Luis is a great guy, really enjoyed chatting with him. He is into the sport and into helping people out, no matter what their level is. Suspension set up really makes a difference to how well any bike works, and he knows his stuff. The tech may not be for everyone, and if it's not for you, then move along friends. I think it's great what he's doing...good luck to you Luis! -Aaron
  • + 1
 The voice of reason as always Aaron Smile
  • + 8
 Oh no! It doesn't look like a polished fanboy bike! I wouldn't write it off because it doesn't look just like everything else. Personally I like seeing new looking designs about because it mixes it up a it, makes a change from all the similar looking bikes coming out. Just because it's not pretty doesn't mean it's not going to ride well, I don't sit and stare at my tyres but I know which ones ride well...
  • + 8
 Just thought i'd pop my head in the door and say this; just because motorsport is being referenced does not mean that Luis is taking knowledge from particular aspects of car racing and applying it to downhill. No you cannot take the setup information from a BTCC car and apply it to a bicycle, that would be madness, however the rules of physics apply to everything and whether it's in a car or a bike a 4 bar linkage is a 4 bar linkage, a single pivot is a single pivot and a floater design is a floater design. All that changes is inputs and outputs and how you design the geometry of these systems to suit the application, we are not foolish enough to think that because something works on a car means that it will translate directly to a two wheeled vehicle. Gefunk you are absolutely right that downhill needs its own definition and we're not trying to prevent that in any way, however please don't assume too much, have you been around during testing? Do you know for a fact that things such as track conditions throughout a single day aren't taken into consideration? If anyone has any doubts then we will be holding demo days in the near future for which dates will be announced when ready (so don't all rush in with emails asking when as they are not decided yet) you are more than welcome to come test the bike for yourselves.

Jamie
K9 Industries
  • - 3
 Jamie, I don't doubt all conditions are taken into account with the background your company has I wouldn't expect anything less. And yes I have been around during testing and know some of the riders who tested your bikes. My thing is you have to be clear cut on how you use the terminology of motorsport into biking and not used as a nice marketing tool. Anyway if you aid the development of faster bikes and inspiration for new ideas then great!
  • + 5
 The DH001 has always been one of my favorite bikes. Given the cahnce I would ride on in a heart beat, but as far as I know you can't get them in North America very easisly, and you deffinitly couldn't get them setup with there data loggers hear. Oh and can't wait for the next article, as a racer and mechanical engineering student this is one of my favorite articles ever!
  • + 6
 I rode with one of the team riders for K9 in the Alps called James McKnight. Great guy and amazing rider. He said he had to leave them because they were too techy and never just got out there and rode these amazing bikes.
  • + 18
 those fork bearings seem like a real good, logical idea. when you compress a spring, it twists. therefore, attach to bearings to make it spin freely and smoothly. real smart thinking
  • + 1
 where can we get them??? i now i want some fork bearings for my 40
  • + 0
 But the spring wanting to twist is just part of the ramp-up a spring has (and a fork needs to have)? Or am I missing something?
  • + 4
 combee fork carts have a ramp in them to deal with it, coils obviously do ramp up as they are compressed any way, coil bearing, imo, should be standard. northeasterndh, they are not on the market just yet, but will be shortly. really want to meet luis, since we share the same interest in bike design.
  • + 3
 Bearing spring perches have been used on race cars for quite some time (as have hydraulic spring perches) so it doesn't surprise me that he would apply them to a bike. Makes sense.
  • + 2
 makes for a smoother rebound
  • + 2
 Obtanium(the guys who supply Sam Hill with his spring) also have a bearing system that allows your rear shock spring to spin, really smart idea www.obtainiumperformanceproducts.com/products.php
  • - 3
 load of shit, dont waste your time !
  • + 3
 either reason that hodgtom, or go away and come back once you have a grasp of the concepts being worked on here.
  • + 0
 im just saying mate, he is basically saying every track is the same. and i ran that bearing for you shock and there was no difference at all. the logic is there but it just does not work
  • + 1
 due to the ratio effects on a shock the effects are a lot less noticeable, where as in a fork coil it has a greater effect and shock be noticeable.
  • + 3
 I think it is an answer to a problem that doesn't exist
  • + 1
 its not a problem, but a performance enhancer. like turbo on a car, you don't need it, but you want it for the performance benefits.
  • + 1
 i spoke to that Luis at fort William national and he just confused me. yes i get the idea for car racing because you take the same line lap after lap. but that Luis guy basically said he can get the suspension working perfect by one run on a track ? but who has the perfect dh run ? how often do you get thrown off the line you want to be on ?
and with the bearing, i just think he is making a product for something that is not a problem or needs to be complicated. surely if it was that good the top suspension company's, the people who have got everything dialed and dominate the scene , fox, rock shocks ...... would use it ? thats the bit i do not understand
  • + 5
 Fork bearings - now that's one small invention I'd like to have NOW. Of course it's relatively easy to make, but just to pay my respect to this idea, I'll wait for K9 component.
  • + 3
 Personally i like the bike, the way it looks when built, the kit that comes with it and the fact that if you purchase 1 you get support unlike the "others" you buy. I met Luis at a race in Shropshire back in 07 when the bike was in its infancy and he was very keen to help me with my 224 set up for FREE. The guy knows his stuff and isnt an internet warrior, this is someone that actually has the balls to go for it with a design that works so i would suggest to any of the above who feel they know more on design to STEP UP and have a go at your own. I now own a 2010 224 (2nd on the trot) and maybe next year i will be looking to a new bike, this is a serious contender based on what i said in my opener and i sincerely hope he doesn't change the design too much. I DONT WANT A BIKE BECAUSE ITS SWOOSHY, JUST BECAUSE ITS FAST, RELIABLE AND WORKS WITHOUT CONSTANTLY NEEDING BEARINGS- hence the love of the 224.
  • + 3
 I find it curious that he would be 'adamant' to base his operations within the economy/government that prevented him from securing employment, and even go so far as to change the material (steel vs aluminum) used in order to make that happen. Not judging, just interesting is all.
  • + 1
 good call, I was thinking that too.
  • + 1
 He lives in Oxford the world capital of racing cars, so there are loads of skilled company's to use.
  • + 1
 right on. thanks for the knowledge.
  • + 4
 ive not had chance to ride one of these yet, but i have seen them at races and they look incredible and are so quiet! look better than this session trend that everyone is following for sure
  • + 2
 I've ridden witht the person who had the first production DH001 and at first i didnt like its looks but o was i wrong . That day there was 20 dh riders , and he was the oldest being mid 30s and he was the fastest there by a long shot , That bike is fast !!!
  • + 3
 who said this wont win a fashion contest?? Thats like saying an F1 car does not look good because its functionality gets in the way..... wow. Bike looks great I wish I could buy one!
  • + 2
 OK, first off, I thought I would just emphasise how much respect I have for the amount of time put into this kind of work. I'm sure the bike is brilliant, fast etc. However, correct me if I'm wrong, but does anyone feel the need for adjusting how much a pedal spins? The devil is lurking is the excessive detail perhaps.
  • + 1
 wow, im happy to see intelligent comments here. interesting read. and fork/spring bearings? why didn't they think of that? must be his background from automotive engineering. but fox has been in the suspension and motorcycle/4-WD business for quite sometime before they ventured into mountain bikes. why didn't fox think of this? is there a negative effect for using bearings on springs?
  • + 1
 OMG most dramatic comments list ever....how bout stop bitching and go ride your bikes dudes...then when you need a new one, be open minded. I'm pretty sure i love and hate this bike at the same time...it looks like a murder weapon. Smile
  • + 1
 to the people saying that its the rider not the bike and alot of going faster is just a placebo affect, i have to say that i agree, BUT, without the 'better' bike underneath you your not going to feel more confident, so in th end even if it turns out that its just you going faster not the different bike, you still need the better bike for you to gain that confidence boost. so in my opinion having a better bike will make you go faster even if its just because of a mental effect
  • + 1
 i have been moderately obsessed with trying to design a suspension linkage that would allow the rear wheel to travel in the most vertical path possible. This frame is the closest design to anything that i have come up with.

This frame could change how linkage is designed from now on.. linkages are getting more and more complicted, maybe a simple design with good engineering is the best way to go?
  • + 4
 i think it's pretty awesome his family was into swinging - i didnt know the venezuelans were so liberal
  • + 1
 Have to disagree that mountain bikes and motor-sport share similar principles! First of all you need to identify which motor-sport shares a common interest to mountain biking. Because its definitely not going to be F1, GT, BTCC the only ones that may share slight common interests are rallying, rally raid cars or any vehicle that has to deal with uneven surfaces, descents, inclines etc
Then you have to remember vehicles have 4 wheels, 4 wheels simply means more grip, we are working with 2! So again the suspension characteristics are going to be completely different to how a mountain bikes suspension works! To state weight is not a defining factor is a daring statement, its common knowledge the lighter something is; the more efficient it is, where that be changing direction, braking, accelerating and so on! Its not just unsprung weight that's important, its the complete package of a lighter bike with a low COG thats important, this will then allow the suspension to work efficiently, which in turn allows for a faster bike.
I guess there are something he didn't pick up from his motor-sport studies and it sounds like he has never been on a race track in his life! I am ranting because I just don't like this how terminology of motorsport being thrown into mountain biking its almost saying hey this guy has motorsport background it must be good! DH is gravity assisted it needs to define in its own ways which works for it, there are no text books for this, Ok you can take snippets of info from different motorsports, moto-cross etc but ultimately the only way you will learn is from trial and error, unless it gets injected with vast amounts of money for R&D on motorsport levels, i cant see that happening any time soon!
  • - 4
flag dirteveryday (Feb 17, 2011 at 3:31) (Below Threshold)
 Cant disagree with any of that. And doesn't help that the bike looks like a throwback to the early 1990s.
  • + 4
 Well put. I thought the same during his technical articles he did for Dirt a while back; although informative there were too many tenuous parallels being drawn with cars.

From above:

"No BS, no spin, no self-plugging."

Maybe not as far as self plugging, but the questions that were asked and the weighted way in which they were was pretty biased. After LA stated himself that "All rear suspension designs have positive and negative characteristics", i would have been interested to hear the drawbacks of his own design.

Overall I think the telemetry is an interesting way to approach the sport, and can only add to its credibility. As for the bike itself, I'm yet to be convinced. Judging by print adverts its been out a fair while, and certainly don't see many around. Who knows though, could be a marketing thing...
  • + 2
 Agree, telemetry is a good idea and it would help progression in suspension technology on mountain bikes. But for the average weekend warrior I can't really see aiding in any way. Something else that isn't really taken into account are the simple facts that downhill tracks change constantly, from the volume of traffic, to weather conditions, soil types, rocks, roots etc to different lines throwing up different obstacles, the variables on a DH track are far greater than a tarmac race track where you can pretty much set your suspension up for most conditions on a race track. You can't for DH, the only part of the bike that can adapt to those changes is the rider! So no matter how much you fettle your suspension and dampening its never going to be 100%......anyway I may change my opinion if i see lots of K9's on the podium with riders I have never heard of Wink
  • + 3
 Think of telemetry another way, it isn't going to tell you the holy grail of settings, after all, as you so rightly say, conditions are constantly changing. However, if you can see the correlation between an input to the suspension (adjustment) against a certain set of conditions then you can understand better how your adjusters work and in what direction you should be moving them to achieve your desired feel (even which adjuster can change the parameter you're feeling through the bar, plenty of riders make a mess of that). I wouldn't say it's worth doing every ride, not even close, but it can be a useful way to see how a new bike's working for instance, and thus enable you to get into the sweet spot faster by saving all the time being wasted on inconsequential adjustments. If you're running times through a section then it gives you a comprehensive means of setting the bike up objectively rather than just doing what feels best. But remember, what feels best might not be the fastest at 90% effort but because it feels better, may still be faster in a race situation as it gives you more confidence to take that big line or hold a line with more assurity than you otherwise might have.

Bike set-up isn't black and white, it's too variable and as many riders prove, too dependant on an individual riders style to say that one setup is best and therefore what should be used.
  • + 1
 I would also say that when it comes to linkage designs the comparison with multi link double wishbone suspension on a car, the reasoning for doing so is different to that on a bike as the actual path that the wheel follows around a bump (with perhaps the exception of the Ford Revo-knuckle and a few other clever designs) is fixed and linear...ie a straight line. The path that is being changed by wishbone placement is instead the growth and reduction of the track measurement - not something encountered on a bike. On a bike you're using pivot placement/type to create a path to allow the wheel to travel around a square edged impact with the minimum of fuss. In a car this rearward movement is effectively the Castor angle and can be likened more to the head angle on a car than the rear suspension.

Luis is a very smart guy, no doubt about it, and it's awesome to have him on the site. But as with everything, explaining the reasoning isn't necessarily so easy or clear cut, even if the intended result from doing something is very effective and works totally as intended.
  • + 6
 Can't really agree with you on that. A race car, a motorcycle, or a mtb all work under the same laws of physics, all have weight transfer, all will squat and dive, so you can adapt knowledge from one field into another. A single seater car may run on an apparently billiards smooth track and only have an inch or so of wheel travel, but these cars have higher suspension frequencies than most people can think of. A tarmac surface is only more predictable and therefore easier to design and set a suspension accordingly to tire data. To my knowledge getting tire data for different gravel surfaces is a really complicated task for racecars and mx bikes, let alone for mtbs.

Low weight and a low CoG is super important for maneuverability however for bump absorption a high Sprung/Unsprung ratio is more important. Think about a high sprung mass (frame+rider) and a low unsprung mass (wheels/susp). The lower mass of the moving parts creates less momentum and therefore is less likely to upset the sprung part improving stability over rough terrain.
You just have to balance everything. I'm into racecar suspension and I use to say that designing a suspension for any vehicle isn't really an optimization, is more like a task of damage control.
  • + 2
 Most everything the guy says makes sense. Engineering in race cars, motorcycles and bikes definitely share similar principals/processes. Weight transfer, kinematics, suspension technology, etc. and there certainly is a lot to be learned from motorsport. The dynamics of two wheeled vehicles are definitely much more complex to effectively model and I'm not aware of anyone using a two post testing rig... the only one I'm aware of it at MTS Systems.

He stated that "Weight is an important attribute, but it is not the defining factor. It is not about how much weight there is, but where it is located and what type of weight it is that will have the biggest impact on the performance and feel of the bike. What is the sprung to un-sprung weight ratio? Is it on the swingarm, wheels, main frame, etc..." So total system weight is important but it's not the end all/be all. He simply stated that low overall weight isn't the single most important factor in a design. Balance and chassis dynamics are more important than total system weight.

With regard to data logging/telemetry don't forget the all conquering Sunn team used it very effectively many years ago. Do I think it will help the average weekend warrior? Probably not.
  • + 1
 *gefunk* are you legitamently joking?!?!
Have you never seen a motor bike in your life? Go to google and search "dirt bike". Go to you tube and search motocross, and if your really ambitious, you can search supercross! After that, you can tell me again how motor sports and DH don't share similar principals!
  • + 0
 The thing is 'bike-person' Luis was referencing to his car based motor sports back ground in his replies , no comparisons were made to MX at anytime .
  • + 1
 "Bike person", I am not joking at all and yes I have seen an MX bike, I own an 04 YZ250 and an 07 R6, so I guess I have an idea. But lets not start flinging mud here! I was referring that you cannot solely use past and present information from motorsport, which would create perfect suspension setup, mountain biking in general has to develop its own rule book, maybe a company like K9 would aid this! But he isn't the first to use telemetry feedback to see a bike is performing. And do MX bikes and mountain bikes share similar principles, yes they have 2 wheels! Oh and MX bikes are classified as motosports not motorsports...
Anyway if you read what I said, my gripe is using the terminology of motorsports into MTB. And if you want my credentials, I work in motorsport and have done for some years!
  • + 1
 as someone who will be starting a mechanical engineering master's next year, i can garantee that there are so many similarities between all of these different types of sports! in most of the places i've applied to the first 2 years are the same for all mech-type engineering- including automotive, aeronautical, motorsport etc. so half of an engineering degree says there is a link between cars, bikes, whatever! i'd say that moving from motorsport to bikes is an entirely natural step to make. i'd really like to design planes, and then maybe go into a bike company... no problem!
  • + 1
 gefunk, may i suggest that you read race car vechicle dynamics by Miliken and Miliken. It basically explains at the start how to mathmatically model a 2D car, from the side, aka a bicycle model as it is known. Most motorsports terminology has come from the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and they set out the terminology as to avoid confusion. In the world of engineering instant centre is commonly used where as virtual pivot is just the santa cruz/ intense marketing machine coining a new phrase a few years ago, i bet there engineers who probably studied automotive engineering use IC .
  • + 1
 A few years ago i met luis and let him loose setting up my Iron Horse sunday for me. THAT MAN CAN DO MAGIC TO A BIKE! I've also ridden the K9 dh001-s a few times and have been blown away by how stable and confidence inducing the bike is. The guys at K9 know there stuff.
  • + 1
 I think one thing we can agree on is that this bike causes a stir where ever it appears, it really seems to divide people into to camps, one being the techy dial twidling people, and the other being people who get there set up thereabouts right and then get on with the riding. I think this bike is self hyping due to it being so different from the fat tubed norm high volume norm.
  • + 1
 Gotta get me one of those fork bearings and one for my shock, makes so much sense, now if unobtainium could have in stock/supply the right spring rate Ti spring to go with this I could save some weight, and save on DU's in the rear of my shock!

It amazes me others have not jumped onto this and even though these spring bearings have been around awhile for shocks its not standard by now, makes so much sense and improvement!
  • + 0
 there is no way youd notice a difference w/ the fork bearing. the fork springs are so long as it is, that any advantage that you might get from the bearings would be negated because of the spring flex.
it would also make no difference to your DU bushings.
  • + 2
 Its quite common on high end racing dampers in the car world, and the difference is easy to notice on a with and without on a coil spring rate tester. Anything that improves the linearity of the of the spring rate so the its more sensitive at begin stroke will help out smooth out them braking bumps.
  • + 1
 there is no way those bearings change the "linearity" of the spring.
  • + 2
 Ohhh look an F1 car with a spring bearing platform, obviously the F1 engineers like to carry around weight for no reason what so ever...

www.team-bhp.com/forum/attachments/technical-stuff/204955d1254926702t-pics-video-red-bull-formula-1-car-assembly-engine-fire-up-mumbai-p1000761.jpg
  • + 1
 The frame looks good in that photo but as a complete it doesn't look that good. I know it rides amazing but the look of the bike is a big selling point for me. I would LOVE to try it out one day but it's nothing i'm interested in owning myself.
  • + 2
 I think it looks cool, but that's just me, with all this testing and planning i bet it rides amazing! very interesting article thanks for sharing!
  • + 2
 i dont think that frame is too complicated, its probably the mrp g2 chainguide thats making it 'look' complicated than it actually is.
  • + 0
 pretty sure a couple of people have queried cost - goto K9 industries.com and request the info - to be fair if you are based in Canada or the USA then you may struggle to find a dealer but that shouldn't stop you contacting K9 direct - i know if i lived out there i would be looking at something a little different than what you see daily and this bike could be just the shot.

a point for dhshredder - the frame/bike isnt that expensive as i know you hinted to it above, mark it up against other bikes made and or sold in the UK and in fact its very competitive, then when you throw in the extra support and free logging sessions you get with the purchase of a new bike from K9 it quickly becomes a bargain. And yes it hasn't appreared on the WC circuit podiums yet but bear in mind this is still quite a new and small bike company based in Britain where everything is SUPER EXPENSIVE compared to over the pond,remember too that they are competing against large teams so funding is always something to bear in mind especially when a small business - they are doing well on the national circuit in the UK and i would expect quite soon that the bikes are seen on podiums in the larger races. You cannot understand how hard it must be to make an impact on the big scene when built and based in the UK!
  • + 0
 If you extend the bottom pivot arm on a design with a split rear triangle (pivot point near the axle) and use the extension to mount the rear shock, could it be used to get a few extra mm travel out of the shock?
  • + 2
 That was an excellent interview and some very enlightening information! We need more stuff like this around.
  • + 1
 Been trying to get in contact with them in interrest of their Obtanium springs, but havent get any respons yet.. Bugs me out!
  • + 3
 This guy must be good if he made Doctor Who's robot dog.
  • + 2
 That frame obviously rides well but it is butt ugly, seen it a few times in magizines, horrible looking.
  • - 1
 all i wanna say is they do not allow the riders thead back because they just show them the computer screen and how it shud work however they do not take in the steepness of tracks so the bike do not actauly work. james mcknight was right to leave and most of the uk squad have moved teams already so maybe they just need to actualy listen to the rider instead of the CAD and just fussing so much just like what the norco team are doin actualy listening to rider thead back sorry to be so blunt
  • + 7
 feedback i think is what you're referring to
  • + 1
 My favorite part of the interview was at the start, where he said as a child i enjoed swinging....
  • + 0
 So how many Ackermannz steeringz does this get?
Does it have like 90 deg/g roll gradient that lets me hit berms like Samuel hill?
  • + 1
 Great ideas, I find it funny that something as simple as the fork bearing is just now coming out. Great article!
  • + 1
 like the idea and would love to see it take off... but i personally would never get it
  • + 1
 You are on the money! , The numbers look good and maybe the frame rides good but i dont see this contraption wining any world cups!
  • + 1
 thank you enrico650, for being a logical person!
  • + 0
 You like this bike? Check out the Canfield Jedi! This is looks like a shitty copy to me!
  • - 3
 With all the respect K9 guys... your bike is not the best looking one. Something just doesn't seem right. And looks quite often expose whether something is wrong or not. This bike looks like someone focused on one factor and neglected others. Isolated normalcy thing. Are you sure that the key to MTB happiness is proper suspension setup? A suspension as good for the purpose as possible? What's the purpose then? being in nature on a bike, or great, nearly hedonistic feel suspension gives you?

Honestly I would really like to see someone in the industry so clever as you guys, using his enigneering genius to do something so we can have bicycles as means of transportation, recreation,having fun, friendly to environment they are used in. Environmentaly friendly production, using greener materials, done more localy, not to exploit labor overseas, to creat jobs localy. Yes is takes being brave for the producer and takes waaay more money from the buyer. But that kind of redistribution of goods seems better than communism. People like that exist like LOVECRAFT.

Mountain bikes are overdeveloped already. We don't need more development, neither growth. In this world THAT would be AN INNOVATION
  • + 0
 They are using a German steel and all the components are fabricated and machined within local business around the Oxford area. Also all the materials are recyclable

You are always passionately hating on new stuff dude (with some valid points), but i dont see you making your own brand with your values. Why dont you have a go at creating your own brand and product using these values.
  • + 1
 how it works? some used it?
  • + 1
 man... it´s unreal. F1 job at MTB
  • + 1
 Haha!True!:P
  • - 2
 Suspension Guru? According to who?
Luis seems to have created his own hype very well, but I'm not buying it.
The man is OBSESSED with dyno testing - who cares!
Race results are what make a bike fast.
Podiums
  • + 4
 FINALLY! Yes, a better bike will feel better on the trail, but when push comes to shove its the rider that counts. I have never owned a dedicated dh race bike in my life, I simply couldnt afford to buy one or build it up, but I still race and im doing ok. I also know someone who build up a canfield jedi and it really didnt improve his riding or times much. Not trying to knock the frame or the engineering, it is quite impressive. However, just keep in mind (for all the people hating on those that dont like this frame) that in the end its how you ride, not what you ride, that gets you on the podium.
  • + 2
 Dyno testing is probably the biggest performance differentiator after geometry, knowing how a shock turns kinetic energy into heat at each setting as a massive advantage when designing the linkage. Not only that but you will learn how the shock acts when it gets hot and how much work it takes for it to overheat and start to go into hysteresis and cavitation. Race car teams are willing to spend millions on this area of testing alone as they know there is a large chunk of performance to be had!
  • + 2
 This maybe true, but if you dont ride properly then no matter how good the bike is, you will still be slow. I'm just not convinced that having all this technology makes as much of a difference in terms of actual time it saves in race runs as everyone thinks it does, and thus when I see a frame that has all this testing and technology for alot more than plenty of other good frames, I'm just not convinced that its worth it.
  • + 1
 I see it from the other side of the coin as i dont do much racing, what im looking for is stability and consistency, for instance last year out in the alps my mates 2009 demo was great at the start of a run with the epic amount of braking bumps towards the end the damper was getting soo hot that the rebound starts to fade and he looses confidence. We tried tinkering with the setting to reduce this but still cooked the damper.
  • + 2
 Topics of debate like this always open up a whole can of worms unfortunately with people getting offended left, right and centre.

When it comes to buying technology it's the whole law of diminishing returns as ever. I'd say that race car teams have a more consistant set of parameters with which to work, and by that I mean driver, car and track. From what I've seen in a limited scope of track racing the drivers are usually significantly more consistent than their bike riding counterparts are. In terms of MTB, or specifically downhill racing, the kit can make a difference but you're unlikely to find that it's that consistent. Hell, I know that I can usually put in consistent race runs but any comparison in times of a similar level would look vastly different if you plotted the position against a map of the track at any one time. I know from experience that on a sub 15 second piece of track I can be very consistent (within 2/10ths) but up that to over a minute and the consistency drops to over a second. For a circuit driver to go one or two seconds faster over a lap requires a huge leap in performance as everything (gear ratios/power/grip/skill) is very close to the limit for a significant portion of time. In downhill you're using human power and that is a far more difficult thing to manage and control so that you're proving consistent run after run - did that two second advantage come because the bike was working better or the rider just clicked with the track, they just nailed that section through practicing it so much, or because they pedalled harder out of that corner?
  • + 1
 From my own experience I'd rather have consistency in angles over anything else and this can frequently lead to suspension being set up stiffer than ideal for utmost traction but because the angles are consistent I can push harder (a mental thing). I know that the last few % performance of a bike is the most difficult to attain. The first part is far easier and this will allow a rider to go from hating a bike to loving it. If anything, the last couple of % performance is inconsequential, it is such a fine time gain that clipping a pebble awkwardly is in all likelihood worth more time. Look at a good rider who is using all their skill - they will likely jump on a bike, get it in a rough ballpark and then go out and storm the track. The best riders don't necessarily need to have the best performance, just consistency. Many top riders choose to leave their bikes settings exactly the same from race to race. It may not give them ultimate performance on a dyno but it does give them consistency and dependability. Look down to the next level of rider and the differentiator isn't the bike but the riders ability to do their best physically and mentally. Do I think that a Boxxer Race lost me podiums this year over the Teams and Fox 40's of the guys I was racing against? No, even when the margin was less than a couple of tenths. On the steeper stuff the other guys were faster because they just plain have more balls and skill and on the faster tracks they did better because they were stronger, fitter or again, just plain better.
  • + 2
 Damn reply length limits...

I'm going to point out here that I'm not an engineer, I've studied it up to a point and look up things I want to understand better but I certainly don't have a degree in it and it isn't my daily business. I am instead a rider who is interested in how the performance of a product can influence a riders pace and have ridden enough bikes on enough trails with enough timing rigged up to know that the biggest differentiator is the rider, not the bike - and if it is the bike then in all likelihood it's the mental aspect of a rider thinking it's inferior rather than it actually being inferior. Go back to the Boxxer Race/Team thing. You get a kid wanting new forks - he goes quicker. It's not that the performance of the fork has done that, but he has more confidence to hit stuff because in his mind it's better. Perhaps that's the same thing but to me it's an area that can be altered without actually changing the bike, changing the riders attitude and confidence levels. If you have a bike that isn't suited or sized for you then of course that will have a negative impact on your riding but get something that comes close to what you feel comfortable with and you'll be fine.
  • + 1
 @ mozz, im just wondering, if you dont do racing then where and how do you verify the stability and consistency? See, thats where my big problem lies. Why would I pay several thousand dollars for a frame that looks good on paper but really doesnt have many results and whatnot to show that its better than, say, a bike for the same or less money that has already been proven when the real difference is actually made by who pilots it down the hill? If its been shown that the frame actually makes 5 seconds or more difference compared to all the other models then thats fine, but i just dont think it can make that much of a difference when comparing similar bikes with the same rider.
  • + 1
 Just because i don't race much doesn't mean that i don't get the stop watch out and time my self when i can. Not racing is due to having responsibilities at work which often means working over the weekends at short notice. Stability of the bike in my opinion is down to head angle, BB height and wheel base. Now im pretty sure that the rearwardness of the rear axle path is a similar quantity to the rearwardness of the front wheel when it compresses due to the head angle, therefore the wheelbase will stay consistent. Also due to it have and more consistent wheel base the Ackerman point of steering will stay very consistent so what steering input you put into the bike via the bars will remain pretty consistent, where as on most bike as the suspension gets compressed the bike steers more due to the ackerman increasing for the same steering angle due to the reducing wheel base.
  • + 1
 Also by having a rewards rear axle path the suspension has more time to react to the bump, therefore less energy is placed into the damper, and therefore less heat has to be dissipated.

I dont think you will be seeing these bike under a world cup rider soon, the company is too small atm to afford to sponsor one of the top 20 riders to fly around the world racing, but here in the UK they have had some pretty decent success at events.

At the end of the day everyone should be setting there bike up to have similar wheel rates front and rear so front and rear suspension works in harmony, a great suspension set up will allow you to ride harder for longer buy stopping feeling fatigued with arm pump ect, and anything that allows you to rinse the bike for all its worth for 100% of a run will be worth it in time. For example when i rode in the alps this year i was physically wrecked by the bottom of some of the runs like champery, and if i were racing there any bike that prevents me feeling like a passenger holding on rather then being in control will be worth some good seconds on the hill!

The only downside i can see is that with a rearwards axle path, the chainstay length will change more than normal, so i bet this bike feels like its stuck to the floor rather then feeling poppy and jumpy.
  • + 1
 Yeah, I rode my buddies jedi and frankly it felt like riding on an accordion, idk to me it just sort of seems counter intuitive to have the back wheel move backwards and thus slow down slightly whenver it hits a bump. But hey, to each their own.
  • + 0
 Where can you buy these?

Curious as to what they cost
  • + 0
 Looks amazing ! I'd love to try this bike !
  • + 1
 Edit
  • + 1
 Yay new bike... sexy.
  • - 1
 Maybe its not necessary? Why making something more difficult/sensitive then it has to be? Never Change a running System!
  • + 0
 thats one ugly ass bike
  • + 0
 I like...
  • - 2
 it looks like the rear swing arm would easily hit the seat
  • + 3
 You wouldn't realistically run your seat that low for starters.

On top of that, the linkage you speak of isn't exactly under a 1:1 ratio of movement. 8" of travel doesn't mean that pivot is going to move 8"
  • + 4
 fair enough, i didnt think of that Smile
  • + 0
 obviously this entire article was wasted on you. a detailed interview about the frames development and suspension and all you can say to it is "it looks like the rear swing arm would easily hit the seat". next time dont bother you idiot
  • + 1
 O shut up, I can see that I was wrong and I've said that you just want to be all cool and put in a usless comment that says nothing, all you are doing is putting in ur 2 cents and trying to start an argument, I was just saying what I thaught and it wad wrong so jog on and don't comment on somthing that's finished, idiot
  • + 2
 haha
  • + 2
 This discussion was copy/pasted from a RideMonkey thread back in early 2010. This K9 link design has been on Dave Weagle's radar as a possible DW copywrite infringement for quite a while. Here is some correspondence between a curious RM'er noticing the similarites of the design and Dave W. himself. (DW is a frequent contributor to RM forums especially on design concepts)

RM'er : I've been sceptical about the whole K9 thing since the start but enough people seem to love what they're doing and for me to maybe give them another chance. Lets just say, I'm interested to read what he (Louise Arraiz) writes.

I'm also interested to learn what DW (Dave Weagle) has to say about what he writes or If he would ever be drawn to comment. I'm certainly interested to see what he'd have to say on the K9 LW link patent.

DW : Given that the same basic layout, including the idler wheel is shown and discussed in the already granted dw-link patents, I find it hard to believe that the LA design will get anywhere beyond "pending" in the patent office. I'm not too concerned about it either way..
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