Mountain Bikes Don’t Need to Be Complicated: 5 Places Where Less is More

Oct 13, 2022 at 14:45
by Seb Stott  

Words: Seb Stott

Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest.


I've already complained that some of the latest innovations cooked up by the bike industry could add more complexity than they’re worth. But it’s not all bad news. There are also some good ideas out there that make bikes both simpler and better.

In contrast to overly complicated suspension designs or added electronics, sometimes good design is about asking what you don’t need. At its best, simplicity means making a bike lighter, quieter, cheaper, easier to maintain and more reliable. And it’s more than that. There’s something elegant and ingenious about a simpler solution that performs just as well.

Here are a few examples of where less is more.





Cannondale has a flex pivot on the chainstay rather than the seatstay, essentially making it a Horst-link without the pivot.

1. Flex pivots

There’s a reason virtually every XC bike now has a “flex pivot” instead of a conventional pivot with bearings or bushings. Flex pivots are lighter, they eliminate a number of small parts (bearings, bolts, washers…) and maintenance.

While bearings have to be replaced about once every season, a well-designed flex pivot will last the lifetime of the frame. The pivot at the rear of the frame, whether on the seatstay or chainstay, usually only sees a few degrees of rotation through the suspension’s travel. That means bearings can become pitted and wear out faster because the force is always acting on the same point, whereas a flexible frame member made from carbon, steel, or even aluminum can accommodate that range of motion without fatiguing. They’re most often seen on bikes with 120mm travel or less right now, but Merida just launched a 170 mm flex pivot bike and I suspect we’ll see more long-travel versions pop up as manufacturing techniques improve.


Calibre Bossnut review photo by Anthony Smith
The fact that single ring drivetrains are now found on entry-level bikes is a very good thing.

2. Single-ring drivetrains for all

To keen mountain bikers, the benefits of one-by may be so obvious that it almost goes without saying. They have allowed us to do away with a front shifter, front derailleur, cable, and (usually) a chain guide too, while still providing a wide range of gears. But to a novice rider, the simplicity of the single shifter is even more beneficial. They’re not just simpler to install and maintain, they’re simpler to ride because you only have one shifter and a continuous spread of sequential gears to think about.

And although they’re not exactly new, you can now buy an entry-level bike with a decent single-ring drivetrain. For those who are just getting started in the sport, that’s a very good thing.


Levy enjoying a Kona Process 134, despite its lonely pivot.

3. Single pivot suspension (done well)

I’m sure that defending single pivots is going to draw a lot of flak, but here we go. Two criticisms are levelled at single pivot bikes. The first has to do with braking and applies to linkage-driven single-pivot bikes (like you'd find on a Kona or Commencal) as well as true single pivots (as used by Orange and Starling).

The main reason to use a Horst-link layout (which is the most common design these days) over a linkage-driven single pivot is to reduce and tweak the anti-rise characteristic, which is how the brake force acts on the suspension. This is claimed to allow the suspension to move more freely over bumps while braking. But in reality, this just isn’t much of an issue. In fact, high anti-rise values typical of single pivots help them to resist brake dive, making them more stable under braking, and I think this effect is far more noticeable. For what it’s worth, a lot of World Cup and EWS races have been won on linkage-driven single-pivot bikes over the years, from the likes of Commencal, Kona, Nukeproof, Cannondale, Honda and Saracen.

The second criticism only applies to true single-pivot bikes, where the shock is mounted directly to the swingarm. They generally lack progression from the frame, which means any progression or ‘ramp up’ in the suspension forces has to come from the shock. And with a progressive linkage, the damping forces also increase toward the end of the travel, further helping to prevent bottom-out.

First off it’s worth pointing out that some multi-pivot designs, such as Specialized’s Stumpjumper Evo, don't offer more progression (drop in leverage ratio) than could be achieved with a single pivot.

Besides, air shocks make tuning the progression of the spring with volume spacers easy, while the latest air springs with added negative volume or progressive coil springs mean modern shocks suit a linear leverage curve much better than they used to, diminishing the benefit of a progressive linkage.

Sure, with a progressive linkage the damping forces increase throughout the travel as well as the spring rate, and this is harder to replicate with the shock. But not everyone agrees the travel-dependant damping rates which come with progressive linkages are a good thing. That’s why Cannondale built a downhill bike with a progressive link to drive the (coil) spring and a linear one to drive the damper.

Despite all this, I do think that progressive linkages have advantages from a performance standpoint, at least with many of the shocks that are available today. But with the right shock, single pivots can work very well indeed. Where I live, I know people who swap frame bearings multiple times a year; for them, the benefits of a single pivot could greatly outstrip the downsides.


Raaw Madonna V2 review
Sometimes (maybe even usually) the answer is more boing.

4. More travel

There are a lot of complicated ways of trying to optimize suspension performance: fancy linkages, expensive shocks, idlers. But there’s only one surefire way to help a bike smooth out the bumps: give it more suspension travel.

Increasing travel doesn’t necessarily increase weight, cost or complexity, but it fundamentally changes how effectively the bike can absorb impacts. And while not everybody wants a well-cushioned ride, you can run a long-travel bike as firm as you like by running less sag, using a lockout or adding volume spacers, but you can’t run a short-travel bike as soft as you like, or it will bottom out.

I’m not saying that everybody should ride a downhill bike, but giving a trail bike 10mm more travel might be a simpler and more effective way of improving tracking, grip and comfort than a more complicated suspension design.


SRAM's H2 rotors are available in 220mm diameter and 2mm thick.

5. Big rotors

Similarly, there are a lot of complicated ways of improving braking performance like two-piece rotors, finned brake pads and lever cams. Most of these add cost, and sometimes issues too. Finned pads often rattle, and lever cams amplify inconsistency or sponginess in the hydraulic system.

In contrast, bigger rotors improve power, cooling and consistency without adding complexity. A 220mm rotor will boost power by about 10 percent when compared to a 200mm rotor, while also providing more surface area to dissipate heat. Sure, they weigh more, but the disc is only about 25 grams heavier in the case of SRAM’s HS2 rotors, and the extra weight is a positive for absorbing heat during heavy braking. To make things even simpler, you could try 220mm rotors with two-pot brakes instead of 200 mm rotors with four-pots; two-piston brakes are easier to maintain, and the weight and power should be comparable.


Okay that's taking simplicity a bit far. Photo: Erick Gonzalez.

What’s the bottom line?

I don’t want to come across as a Luddite. I like technology that makes bikes perform better, even by only a small amount. I’m a big fan of innovations like long-travel dropper posts, 12-speed cassettes and adjustable geometry because they offer a tangible benefit, at least sometimes. But in the cases where a design with fewer parts performs just as well in the real world, I’d rather take the simpler approach every time. Remember that bike brands want to stand out from the crowd and convince you their bike has an edge over its rivals. It's much easier to do that by asking what they can add than what they could take away.


398 Comments

  • 652 27
 Yes. Also cable routing. LET THERE BE Zip-Ties!
  • 31 1
 My Man !
  • 360 9
 Exterior, full length cable routing. Threaded Bottom Bracket shells. Short seattubes. And room for a water bottle. These are a few of my favorite things.
  • 227 4
 to death with headset routing
  • 81 15
 @wobblegoblin: you forgot aluminium frames.
  • 19 75
flag talanking (Oct 18, 2022 at 6:40) (Below Threshold)
 Headset cable routing is a pain, although it looks cleaner
  • 122 0
 Didn't Canyon used to have external routing that went along the bottom of the downtube and was covered by a slick removable frame protector? Made it look clean but was as easy to work on as any other externally routed frame. I'd like to see more designs like that.
  • 3 5
 @sewer-rat: unfortunately, it is not going to happen as it cheapens the production cost for the frames significantly.
  • 50 0
 @sewer-rat: Exactly. Other than maybe TT bikes, whomever invented and is forcing HS routing on mountain bikes should be tarred, feathered and forced to change 1000 headset spacers and bearings with that routing with nothing but a pair of cone wrenches.
  • 26 1
 @fartymarty: I like steel hardtails too..
  • 30 4
 Come to think of it. What is the actual benefit of internal cable routing?
On a road bikes they say its more aero and so on. but on a mtb to my understanding aero isnt such a big deal anyways. Full external cable routing is in fact very easy to work with.
  • 30 3
 Yes! Bring. Back. External. Cable. Routing! Save the complexity of internal tubes, rattling cables and PITA cable service.
  • 21 0
 I just went back to riding a Cotic and the neat external cable routing was definitely a big reason. I fiddle with parts and changing stuff out too often to mess with internal crap.
  • 4 0
 Amen.
  • 51 55
flag billybonkers9 (Oct 18, 2022 at 7:30) (Below Threshold)
 I don’t get this one, internal routing is awesome. I have ridden many bikes over my 20+ years and that was one of the nicest things to be added to frame design to clean up the bike. And now with a wireless drivetrain bikes my bikes have never looked cleaner. I usually purchase frame only now and then just build it up myself with a reliable brake I want (last few bikes have been Magura’s which are virtually maintenance free) and I don’t have to touch them again til I get a new bike. And I have had my fair share of big crashes too and even if I break myself off, the brake levers have survived all but one of those crashes. Is there a bunch of World Cup mechanics trolling this site or something?
  • 21 5
 @RecklessJack:

Only looks… which is subjective anyway. External cables look cool imo
  • 14 4
 I would love to buy a set of takeoff hydraulic brakes off someone, but they all have cut hoses due to internal routing. So now I also have to add the cost and time of getting a bleed kit, or having a shop install them for me.
  • 12 1
 @wobblegoblin: 100% on steel bikes.
  • 9 2
 @fartymarty:
Steel single speed, no brakes
  • 10 1
 @billybonkers9: and then, suddenly there are electric shifters that don't need cables anymore...
Then we go back to classic outer routing because holes in a frame look bad.
  • 10 0
 @RecklessJack: Only advantage I have really found is that internal routing prevents cables from hanging up when loading onto carriers, racks etc. However, caution and some protectors also solve this minor issue. After having to silence the internal rattle on my latest bike, I'd rather just have some bosses and zip ties.
  • 34 23
 How often do you work on brake lines? during brake swap only?
How often do you swap shifter hose, 1-2 times per year?

I do not understand internal routing hate, since in modern frames tube in tube solutions allow you to do these things easily for home mechanics;

Also why nobody complains about dropper routing in that case?
  • 4 1
 @idecic: and no wheels
  • 11 1
 @angoleiroc: guerilla gravity has their own take on that.
  • 20 1
 @nickmalysh: my brakes often go from one bike to the next, so it is nice to not have to get new hose and everything for the swap. droppers should only get internally routed starting at the bottom of the seat tube and that is only so you don't have a cable hanging out right next to your knee where it may get caught while riding.
  • 2 0
 @angoleiroc: THe neuron still rocks it for the cf frame.
  • 6 15
flag Tracefunction (Oct 18, 2022 at 10:31) (Below Threshold)
 @SeanC1: Buying a set with an uncut hose would cost you more work and time because you're going to have to resize it anyway. Which means sizing and cutting the hose and then new barb, new olive, bleed (top bleed if you're smart/lucky and like shimano). So really, buying an already cut hose is saving you a step. It also takes all of 5 minutes to size, cut, reinstall, and bleed a hose anyway so you should just send it
  • 9 0
 what would people argue mindlessly about in the comments section
  • 4 0
 @nickmalysh: I mean it is one of those things where it seems to be adding complexity for no benefit. With a dropper it allows for a lower stack height for the post. I would not buy a bike if it had tube in tube internal routing if everything else is perfect. But if two frames were very close to the same, I'd go with the external routed one.
  • 1 1
 You are the one. Such an article with senseless contributions.
  • 9 13
flag goldmund (Oct 18, 2022 at 10:52) (Below Threshold)
 @billybonkers9: exactly! Modern internal routing is very nice usually and I can't imagine most of these negative commenters are working on modern mtb's every day. I'm hearing a lot of parroting pinkbike editors comments ( which are legitimate because PB staff work in the bike industry) that don't apply to most consumers. The only reason PB editors would be annoyed with internal rear brake routing is because they are changing out the brake for testing purposes.
  • 2 1
 @goldmund: you can buy a dry break micro coupling thats about an 1/8" from memory
  • 7 0
 @billybonkers9: Nice to hear you actually had maintenance free Maguras. I wish that was the case for me because they are incredible when they are working, but I had a nightmare of a time constantly having the rear brake not working and could never get it to bleed correctly. Then upon listening to an interview with the fellas at Magura they said "you really have to make sure the brake hose is completely vertical in order to get the brake to bleed right" (paraphrasing). This is why my front brake was fine - because it was pretty much a vertical line from the caliper to the master. I mean this isn't a knock against internal routing, but if I had been using my Cotic frame like I am now I could have just taken the brake off and bled it.
  • 4 0
 @goldmund: I am not a Pikbike editor, but race /ride a good bit, have several bikes and do my own maintenance (was a pro mechanic for years). Changing cockpits, new lines, swapping brakes/frame is common enough.
Most internal routing for decent nowadays for normal frame mounting. However, if you have to cut the rear brake line it's a pain. Headset routing, not a single MTB rider can justify this..... Just a headset spacer adjustment or stem change requires cutting/removing the brake lines, rear derr, and dropper if not AXS. It's senseless sh*t on anything but TT bikes (maybe Road bikes).
  • 45 29
 Really don't get what people's issues are with modern internal cables. Sure early ones could be a bit of a pain but as long as we are talking non-electric mountain bikes, pretty much all decent brands have tube in tube or at least a good port system and are incredibly convenient. And yes, I work on bikes professionally.

1. It looks better, I care about how mechanical objects look and am prepared to sacrifice a little convenience for a clean aesthetic.

2. External cables/hoses attract mud and the mud trapped between the frame and the cable rubs through the paint and make the bike harder to clean.

3. External cables promote the use of single use zip ties which equal more plastic waste. I've also had these zip ties break on trail more than once.

4. When you install a brake you have to shorten the hose anyway, just stick a threaded plug in the line when routing and you can usually get away with a lever bleed or no bleed at all.

5. Internal hoses and lines are protected from trail debris, bike racks and shuttle pads.

Our shop carries Trek, Santa Cruz, Ibis, Cannondale, and Evil. I can route a shifter or derailleur cable on any bike from any of those brands quicker than any external guide.
  • 6 0
 @RecklessJack: Clean cable routing near the frame helps reduce housing snag on mountain bikes, however it doesn't have to be internal. Lots of bikes have clean routing over the centre of the downtube and look/work as intended without the routing nightmare that comes with internal stuff.
  • 4 2
 @rusty904: It is probably more annoying for people who work on their own bikes (like myself) but don't have to do routing/bleeds all that often, because then when we do it we are always out of practice and it is fiddly and annoying. I can see how doing it professionally and consistently it would actually be less annoying and the pros you listed would start outweighing the cons.
  • 1 2
 @93EXCivic: the reason I asked, I switched from the externally routed bike, where I had issues with the slack of the line from the main triangle to the chainstay due to suspension travel to fully internal routing, and much happier with later, I do not have any issues servicing this 1 per year ;
also it looks much nicer
  • 2 0
 BOOM, so simple, so effective
  • 2 0
 @angoleiroc: Yes, My Alloy Canyon Sender has it, such a good idea
  • 6 0
 @rusty904: you have never worked on a scott bike with internal routing cables then. I feel you would retract numbers 2 and 3. Plastic is used to cover all the cables in and around the headset and zip ties are used along side the battery on E models to hold the cables inside the frame.

The holes in the frame/steerer tube are so big that people blast the crud inside the frame/headset which obviously leads to a sequel of the Titanic...
If you have to ever change any cable on a Scott Parton you will probably retract your last paragraph as well. Absolute toilet...
  • 1 0
 Did you see the RAWW bike ( last picture @fartymarty:
  • 1 1
 @rusty904: totally agree, also formula quick connector brake allows you to plug and play without bleeding the brakes, with adoption of the ASX it became even more clean and easy
  • 4 0
 @billybonkers9: There are times I agree, look at my stumpy though; the mech cable goes into the downtube just aft of the headtube, then it comes out of the seattube just above the bb, then it goes into the rear triangle curves 90 degrees and exits the rear triangle where it curves 90 degrees and goes back into the chainstay where it "stays" until it comes back out next to the dropout. The person who designed that was a sadist.
When you ride in a lot of filth you don't just replace the cable, the outer goes too.
  • 4 4
 @RecklessJack: cleaner looks and cleaner cables (don't shoot the messenger...)
  • 5 2
 Agree but this $10 clone of the Park Tool fishing kit will change your life. www.aliexpress.us/item/3256801744985454.html
  • 2 0
 @gravitybass: Yep, you can get one of those. I've got the park tool version in the workshop but bending the outer 90 degrees in 15mm and then trying to get it into a small hole (don't forget the tool - itself barb and cable fixture is 28mm long) puts massive stress on the barb of the tool.
Rather than deal with that for the third time I just went AXS instead. No worries any more Smile
  • 12 11
 @billybonkers9: I'm in your camp. I've been a bike mechanic for over 30 years, and I've never worked on a bike with internal routing that had given me much of a headache. But, if you want to be in the PB Comment Section Club (PBCSC), you must adhere to the following rules:
1. External cable routing only
2. Threaded BB shells only
3. From for large water bottle only
4. Think carbon fiber is the best thing to ever happen to mountain bike frames
5. Think stupid puns are funny and worth repeating over and over ad infinitum
  • 1 0
 @gravitybass: Nice find! I had two Park kits on back order - someone f*cked up and we missed opportunity to order, now available this upcoming February. For the COST of one Park Tools kit I can order 4 of these to try.
  • 2 0
 @rcybak: you must have been hammered to forget about 2000-2010 (or lucky to not have dealt with internal routing then). Anyone else remember putting tape over frame penetrations and using a vacuum and fishing line?
  • 1 0
 @billybonkers9: problem is when routing it through the headset. External is nice for working, but a well implemented internal is fine. That means not through the headset. Anyone remember when ibis was sawing ing steerer tubes with their cables on an early Ripley?
  • 1 0
 @thedee38: No, can’t say I’ve had to do much on Scott’s aside from warranty a bunch of broken suspension hardware.

Avoid Scott bikes, problem solved!
  • 3 5
 @nickmalysh: as a mechanic for 15 years. I agree. I don’t get the hate. Headset routing is lame, as like customers don’t understand the cost adding a headset spacer or two. But otherwise, it’s clean it’s easy. Need one decent tool and it’s fine.
  • 1 0
 Was thinking are flex stays actually less expensive to design. The same forces are working on a flex stay vs. Bushing or bearing. Both bushings and bearings have extensive engineering so are a known factor. A flex stay has to be designed from the ground up.
  • 1 0
 @nickmalysh: dropper routing should also be external on the DT imho...
  • 1 0
 @idecic: can't we at least have a front, then only if were desperate
  • 1 0
 @nickmalysh: Some of the hate is due to the first roll-out of internal routing which was a hot mess. Tube-in-tube routing works great until it doesn't. I hope I am the only one that had to route a Hayes K2 brake hose through a Specialized (tube-in-tube) frame because that shit wasn't fun.
  • 1 0
 comment of the Year so far !!!
  • 2 0
 @NatuRaOx2: I saw it, that's why I mentioned it. RAAW and Nicolai make good well thought out aluminium bikes.
  • 1 0
 @chamoisbutt: I second the internal rattle issue. I purposely acquired an external dropper and didn't touch any of the internal routing because the first time I did I couldn't get the rattle to stop. It's not the best look but I can fix/change/pack/reassemble the bike much quicker.

My only exception at this point is my BMC roadbike. When the time comes it will be an immense pain in the ass but that bike doesn't see the conditions the mountain bike does and it looks really nice. I view the mountain bikes as fun, utilitarian rough-housers that need therapy regularly, whereas the road bike has more vanity tied up in it. But that's just me.
  • 3 0
 @nickmalysh: I do complain about dropper routing. I have an external dropper on purpose even with a bike that can accommodate internal.

When you get to the right time in life you only go for a prostrate exam once a year. But no one likes going. Likewise, 99% of brake swaps are much more enjoyable if it's bolt off/bolt on. The design of some frames internal routing makes me want to go for a prostate exam.
  • 1 0
 @nickmalysh:
The reason nobody bitches about internally routed droppers is that once your properly install the dropper cable housing your good, and you can swap posts without replacing the housing.

Every time you need to faff with brakes it’s a re-bleed. I just put Hayes dominions on a stumpjumper and the Hayes lines are thicker than most, it ended up dislodging the vinyl tube inside the frame which led to complete frame disassemble to put a new internal routing vinyl tube in.
So dumb!
  • 1 1
 You guys still shot the messenger (as expected)
  • 2 0
 @iammarkstewart: I have a Scor (BMC's new MTB brand) and their internal routing is really good and really quiet. Hopefully it stays that way, but impressed so far.
  • 1 0
 @thedee38: the trick is to not buy an ebike is what it sounds like.
  • 1 0
 @p0rtal00: you just going it without air in the shock
  • 1 0
 @bproelofs: yeah, except for dropper post routing. It's a pain when those are external
  • 1 0
 @eugenux: it will happen if nobody buys the cheap ass headset routed frame in question.
  • 1 0
 @idecic: fixed gear.
  • 1 0
 @rusty904: I used to think internal routing was silly, until I worked as a mechanic in a bike shop. Now I actually really appreciate tube in tube routing as it’s so simple and faster to push housing in one end and it pops out the other, no fussing with zip ties or holding multiple cables in place with one hand while cutting to length with the other. Also, every bike I’ve serviced with external routing has at least minor (sometimes major) cable rub front to back from dirt trapped between housing and frame. Proper Internal routing usually only leaves a small rub mark on the head tube.

I will accept arguments for external brake lines however, if you swap brakes often it is faster. But on my personal bike I’m happy to take an extra 5 min to bleed it for it to be hidden.

Also, zip ties are ugly, I’m thoroughly convinced of that.
  • 2 0
 @rusty904: I think most people are just saying the bike industry can do better with the internal routing. If it is easy and quiet, people are generally happy with it. If it is a pain and you have to do a lot of fishing and foam and rattle detective work, it can be frustrating.
  • 149 5
 Stop the headset cable routing. Probably the dumbest thing to come into the mountain bike since, well, I dunno...
  • 30 1
 Since 1818 (when the first cycle was built)
  • 95 10
 the hydraulic reverb has to be right up there with dumbest ideas in the history o the sport.
  • 12 9
 @adrennan: and guide brakes or g2, same shit different name
  • 6 3
 @NicolaZesty314: G2 and Guide brakes work just fine, they're just not at the level of other brakes. There are a lot worse *cough Avid* brakesets that could be listed compared to Guide brakes.
  • 2 1
 @nickfranko: oh yeah, and the Hayes HFX9 is also waaay worse than the Guide. And other brakes from two decades ago. Avid BB7s, however, kick all kinds of ass if you know how to set them up - light years ahead of Guides.
  • 5 2
 blame roadies
  • 2 1
 @adrennan: Ironically only the actuator is hydraulic, the post is serviceable like a fork or shock. Worse idea ever.
  • 1 0
 @adnauseam: I mean at one time the whole damn thing was hydraulic... That was the really dumb idea I was attacking. They at least sorta learned
  • 1 0
 @adrennan: anything for which the manufacturer's official repair instructions are "throw in the trash and replace" can literally get in the bin.
  • 3 7
flag gabriel-mission9 (Oct 19, 2022 at 0:33) (Below Threshold)
 @BenPea: Every dropper other than a reverb then.
The reverb hate on pb is silly. Theyre actually one of the best posts out there. You just have to service them... People never do, and then they cry about it when the post fails after 7 years of abuse. Classic modern culture...
This happens every time mtb "gets popular". Loads of stupid ideas start circulating the market and everything goes to shit.
  • 8 0
 @gabriel-mission9: after 7 years of abuse? They often get saggy after a few months. Also the hydraulic actuation is shit and unnecessary complexity. And the first iteration of the push knob actuator on top of the handlebar is the worst
  • 2 0
 @gabriel-mission9: I looked into fixing the sag issue. Having dropped out of an engineering degree, I'm not ready for that kind of action (or to invest in/make the bespoke tools you need) and neither apparently was my local SRAM dealer, who told me what I told you. This was a few years ago, but this reputational damage sticks man.
  • 3 2
 Hydraulic actuation works fine on brakes and proves faaaar more reliable than cables...
  • 2 0
 @gabriel-mission9: You're talking to someone with 20 years' experience on BB7s (in the Alps, so regular 3,000 ft+ vert descents). Recent 4-pot XTs and SLXs (which I now own) work well, but I was disappointed with the Hopes I used on a rented V10 and the pathetic Guides fitted to a rented Sanction (both uplift days). BB7s have never let me down by fading or overheating. It's ok, all my mates think I'm a weirdo for this too.
  • 1 0
 @BenPea:

On hydros now, but loved my BB7’s!! Strong as heck.
  • 1 0
 @BenPea: Yeah to be fair I rate bb7s too. Although they are literally the only cable discs I rate
  • 1 1
 @fiekaodclked: At least on the road tucked cables provide a (very, very small) advantage. Mountain bikers have pushed for a lot of dumb features. 35 mm bars, oversized fork crowns and fork lowers, internal cables, and back in the day it was chainstay mounted U-Brakes.

Just look at the comments for EVERY bike review on PinkBike. And own the MTB culture's ridiculous obsession with design over engineering. If headsest routed cables hadn't been developed for road aero, the MTB community still would've made them happen.
  • 99 6
 Would love to see more bikes coming with wide range 10 and 11 speed setups, especially at the low end. The need to push 12s is beyond me. Says the guy who's never ridden 12s but does have an 11-51 cassette...
  • 35 1
 9 or 10 speed wide range is better for me. Stronger chain, easier to tune. I love my Microshift Advent.
  • 24 0
 Hear hear.
Shimano have made that great Deore 10sp and 11sp stuff, but I guess bike companies feel consumers see "12 speed" as a must-have bullet point.
  • 24 0
 @chakaping: The wide range Deore 10sp cassette is by far my fav because you can run it with an XT derailleur and a Saint shifter. I've always found 12sp to be too finicky and I just don't need all those gears.
  • 21 0
 I have a 1x12 and more often than not I find myself shifting two gears at a time. I would be totally fine with a 1x10 or even 1x8 as long as it has a range similar to 500%.
  • 2 1
 Absolutely love my Box 8
  • 6 0
 I support this. 11 speed is great. I am just not that worried about matching my cadence and "power band". I just want to get up the hill so I can go down the hill.
  • 2 0
 @93EXCivic: I'm rocking the Acolyte 8sp Super Short that was originally designed for kids bikes. No issues at all, 11-38 with a little ring up front and a 27.5 rear wheel is plenty easy of a granny gear for me, and I feel like I'd only maybe want more top end if I was racing.
  • 9 0
 @adrennan: i want 4 gears. a 52t, a 40t, a 1:1, and a 16t
  • 2 0
 I think in gravity oriented riding, the lower cassette weight FAR outweighs the loss of 2 speeds. Going downhill you can out accelerate a 12 speed cassette, and lower reciprocating mass makes the suspension work better.
  • 5 4
 @mior: Man, I spin out my 9t with a 32 chainring up front ALL THE TIME on the trails. 16t would not be enough. But to each their own.
  • 2 0
 www.garbaruk.com/11-speed.html
11-50t for HG driver
10-50t for XD driver

I built up a SJ Evo with this 11sp XD so that if I needed to, I could swap in my old 27.5 wheel still running the 11sp HG cassette.

They have good range, pretty light, and can be found a little cheaper on other sites
www.bike24.com/brands/garbaruk
  • 2 0
 @banzonam: I just ordered this setup to expand my gravel bikes 11 speed range pretty excited to see how it works.
  • 1 1
 @cueTIP: yup. i was thinking about including that. it is nice to have a really high gear sometimes
  • 6 0
 @cueTIP: Ever ridden singlespeed? I learned a lot about pumping and carrying speed without pedaling from running a 32x22 drivetrain (its frigin steep here and I'm fat).
  • 2 0
 The only problem with the new Shimano Deore 11-51T drivetrain stuff is the derailleurs are glass and break just as easily, in the same spot, as the 12 speed ones. The Deore 10 speed has the dog bone link like the old M8000/7000 11 speed stuff so it's got something that will bend instead of the whole derailleur breaking. MicroShift is amazing except the clutch uses a pawl system so has a little bit of free play before it engages. (causes more chain slap and frame damage) If MicroShift's clutch was the same design as Shimano with constant friction I'd go back to MicroShift in a heartbeat. Those derailleurs can take massive hits!
  • 5 0
 @ripridesbikes: Riding an SS will make you ride any other bike, better.
  • 1 0
 ..
  • 1 0
 @vitaflo: I have the same setup but only wish there was a 10 speed garaburk cassette or something similarly light. The Deore one at almost 600 grams isn't ideal.
  • 1 0
 @banzonam: got the HG version -rocks
  • 1 0
 @spicysparkes: The Advent X is pretty light. Granted it is max 48t.
  • 1 0
 @spicysparkes: My wide range Deore 10sp weighs 520g. An XT 12sp is 470g. I'm fine with a 50g "penalty". It's not something I notice.
  • 1 0
 @ripridesbikes: I'm a pretty solid rider. Typically in the top 15% at most Enduros I race. I can pump to carry speed, but sometimes you have a straight section that is relatively steep with nothing to pump off of.
  • 3 0
 @cueTIP: To be fair thats a problem probably sub 1 % of the riders experience. Given you ride 29 a 32-9 combo is pretty massive. Most people are too slow or dont care to pedal longer sections Downhill at that speed ( its pretty boring tbh).

If you have special needs chances are you need a special setup.
  • 3 0
 I have run 12 speed on 3 or 4 bikes now. I have gone back to 11 because 12 is unnecessary and simply seems to perform better (I have XO eagle sitting in a box in my garage.) Given the opportunity, I would run 9 or 10 speed. The clutch derailleurs are really what made everything so much better. If the Big S brands would put the newest tech into a wide range 9 speed system, I think that would become the preference for 99% of riders. Heck I have even considered making a custom cassette to fit on my Onyx SS wheels... it's not hard, and I could run a nice 6 speed setup with super wide hub flanges, inexpensive chains and ders, etc, but I digress...
  • 1 0
 @trialsracer: Garbaruk 11-50 and a 11-Speed xt derailleur works very well, just skip the new and fancy looking deore 11 speed, its made of cheese.
  • 1 0
 Simplicity equals durability and reliability. I like tech too... but preference for tech that has achieves greater value. I am riding Box Components Prime 9 and have to say I am amazed at the smooth shifting and reliability. With my 11- and 12-speeds, I am always multi-shifting, and they frequently need to be tuned. That has not been the case with Prime 9; and I never once have had to adjust it. Shifting is precise. The 9-speed chain is solid and sure... I don't break them like the thinner chains of 11- and 12-speed.

Less is more!!
  • 1 0
 9 or 10 speed all the way. Stronger, lighter, more reliable and can be made with the same range. Junked Eagle GX 12 off an almost new bike in 2019 for Microshift Advent X and haven't looked back once. Ridden 12 speed demo bikes since and I just find it annoying.
  • 1 0
 @banzonam: I have the Garbaruk XD 11-46 cassette. Compared to Sram X01 it shifts less sharp and noisier. But it does the job of preventing me from having to use 12S stuff. Still rocking the spotless 11sp X01 mech.
  • 67 1
 3 Places Where Less is More (and 2 where more is more)
  • 26 2
 Haha, I did think that about "more travel" - but Seb's obviously saying just giving a bike more travel is "less" complicated than high pivots, six bars or whatever.
I'm taking that approach with my next MTB build myself.
  • 1 0
 Was coming to say the same thing lol
  • 2 4
 @chakaping: I never thought I'd need more than 160mm up front for trail riding, but I could easily to go 170 or more. Faster I ride these hands just get beatup.
  • 1 0
 @jesse-effing-edwards: 300mm or nothin!
  • 1 0
 @mior: wait, I'm talking about fork travel, are you talking about rotors? hahah
  • 1 0
 @jesse-effing-edwards: Maybe the Super Monster T fork? As recently played with by @boostmaster
  • 2 0
 @jesse-effing-edwards: we'll have to increase the wheel size to be able to use large enough rotors. Or we could brake directly on the wheel = 29" rotors for 0 gram (wait what)
  • 1 2
 @barp: f*ck yeah!!! short travel suxxxxx!!
  • 1 0
 @fautquecaswing: Sounds great. Give me a nice set of 32x3.0" wheels and I'll be on my way with 300mm rotors.
  • 1 0
 @fautquecaswing: if we brake on the rim then that’s effectively 29” rotors! (Full circle…)
  • 58 3
 LESS BATTERIES. Electronic shifting, seat posts and suspension only add cost, complication and pollution for minimal functional gain.
  • 63 0
 I keep telling the missus she doesn't need as many battery-operated toys and she just tells me to get lost and up my stamina. Never should have bought her that e-bike.
  • 13 8
 I think electronics is one area where you can effectively simplify a bike. Dropper shifter derailleur being wireless is easier than running cables.
  • 7 28
flag HeatedRotor (Oct 18, 2022 at 9:59) (Below Threshold)
 being anti batteries on a bike is... well pathetic, Eletronic shifting is superior. The new flight attendant works fantastic even Jesse M has mentioned hes jealous as it works so well.(hence Fox getting into that style now)..

For shifter/dropper... less cables is better.
  • 11 4
 Just don't buy them then... some people like having the option
  • 1 0
 Not to mention bropeds-which aren't actually bicycles!
  • 39 4
 threaded bottom brackets!
  • 2 7
flag HeatedRotor (Oct 18, 2022 at 9:57) (Below Threshold)
 But only for maintaince, alot of frames the two sides dont match up .
  • 31 2
 I got a Starling this year, I've ridden a variety of suspension bikes in the past from a bunch of different brands. I can definitely say the Starling isn't perfect at everything as compared to a multi-link bike, but they're really more corner cases. In 95% of my riding it's the best pedaling, fun, corner-carving ripper that I've owned. Yeah it bottoms a tad easier and gets a little bit choked up if I brake through bumps, but who really cares? It's dead simple and fun as hell.
  • 4 0
 Which one do you have? The Little Beady Eye looks fun and I'm curious how the suspension works under pedaling and pumping.
  • 6 4
 For 160mm and less travel, I don't think there is a need for multi-link suspension platforms. A single pivot can get about 6% progression without a shock yoke or weirdo frame, while with a yoke you can push 9%. A well-tuned rear shock will do a better job and providing the needed progression without compromises.

That being said, Starling's bikes have a very flat progression curve, and on some sizes/models a falling curve, or rising leverage rate. This is bad haha. If Starling moved the main pivot forward a bit, it would be easier to get some rise. On their frames, without really changing much else, they could reach about 4% progression, which is much better than falling, or negative progression. Too bad the industry has everyone so scared of chain growth and rising antisquat that Joe will never do this.


THAT BEING SAID again, the worst thing you could do to your frames suspension performance is give it negative progression, and even with that the Starling bikes ride amazing, and like you said, good for 95% of riding. It just goes to show you, I don't think complex, multi-link suspension designs are worth the trouble.
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: Can't the shock be oriented such that you do get more progression? A Cannondale Gemini has the shock in a more progressive orientation than the Rush (with the Prophet in between, though still falling rate). Maybe a linkage could get you even more progression but then again if such progression is so important, how can we still be riding telescopic forks? The downside I see in more progression in the rear is that you also get progressive damping. That is, you will have more damping deeper in the stroke whereas it makes more sense to have it early as that's where the suspension motion is fastest. So if you have a very progressive linkage and still want 30% sag in the rear, I can imagine it may be harder to get enough compression damping through the first part of the stroke. That said, single pivot as well as multi-link bikes have been ridden successfully so I suppose everything can be made to work. And if everything can work, from an owner/mechanic standpoint it makes sense to just get the more durable option.
  • 3 0
 @vinay: most progressive singlepivot is / was the GG DH -look it up on linkage, pretty cool, it went from 3.03 - 2.53, combine it with a HBO-shock and it could be a winner. You will have to split the seattube and use a very long shock though.

On a side note, all my singlepivots killed shocks. Not exactly science but i feel a perfect singlepivot also needs a ball joint shock.
  • 2 0
 @vinay @optimumnotmaximum Ya, the GG had a lot of progression, and so did this bike
www.pinkbike.com/news/gt-downhill-bike-prototype-fury-nz-national.html

But I prefaced my comment with "or weirdo frame", and I'd consider a split seat tube on a bike with 160mm of travel or less "weird" because it would be hard to run a dropper.
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: For me as an oldschooler it takes a bit more than a split seattube to make it a weirdo frame, but never the less, if you design a singlepivot enduro frame possible dropperpostlength is a factor. I wonder how limited it would be in this design, as the gt sanction could clearly run one.

There was a time when i was convinced i could do a very good singlepivot -i even bullied Joe to do a starling with a different shock placement to make it slightly progressive ( @Vinnijussi is my son). The thing was still fairly easy to bottomout.

For me linkages are still the way.
  • 2 0
 @optimumnotmaximum: Link to the custom starling?

Can you be more specific/detailed in "fairly easy to bottom out"? What shock was it? I know its tough for me to criticize Starling bikes because they ride so well, but something else I'd like to change is the Murmur's 2.54 leverage ratio. Its not high, but I'd like it to be even lower, at least 2.4 to get better damping performance from whatever shock is being run.
  • 1 1
 @hamncheez: Just look at my profile, the sole picture I ever uploaded here is that bike. It is a early Starling swoop custom mullet with a shorter shock (200 instead of 216) to be able to rotate the frontshockmount a bit down. It should have a ever so slight progression - not too spectacular.

The shock it worked best with was the RS vivid coil tune MM with a fair amount of compression. After the shock died I got an inline (which also died) and the simple Fox coil which kept bottoming even at 15 % sag. As long as you dont do bigger hits the starling is great, It tracks way better than anything else. At 25% sag it bottomed on 2.5 -3 foot flat drops or a similar force, which basically occurs 2-3 times a ride around here. What i did not like was how it kept me from doing bigger stuff, I knew I need some backup for. (And cranks hit the frame while sprinting, i tried to dono it to my son but even at his lower weight he kept hitting the frame, more modern starlings do not have this problem anymore I believe).

It would be interesting if you could do a more modern version of the GG DH for enduro:
-Mount the shock lower for less leverage ratio and a sufficient dropperclearance
-Keep the very long shock to improve progression ( I found out that this is way easier to do with a long shock)

Or get a full moxie ( low leverage ratio, droppercompatible, good progression, probably great quality as the moxie is the best made frame i have ever owned.
  • 2 0
 @optimumnotmaximum: So a few years ago when the Starling craze was at its highest, I ALMOST ordered a Murmur. But I had these few small things I wanted to change, so I made my own bike, but in Titanium so its nearly two pounds lighter (and 10mm more travel):

www.pinkbike.com/photo/23584548

It has a 2.4 leverage ratio, and about 5% completely linear progression. With air shocks you just stuff the can with volume spacers and its fine. I never bottomed. I've also run an Inline Coil, with a progressive coil, and that keeps the bottomout soft too, but to make it poppy and feel good on machined trails & jump lines I have to run more compression than I'd like for the rough, natural trails. Rather than having to adjust my compression for every type of trail, I put an EXT on there (not pictured) and its the best of both worlds. It doesn't bottom harshly, it has "pop" for machined runs, and still has that ultimate traction for natural, rugged trails.

I only ran a cane creek inline air for half a season, and had no issues, but I've run the inline coil for an entire season and also had 0 issues (only a half season on the EXT so far). My design is slightly less flexy than a steel Starling, and uses a lower leverage ratio, so I doubt my frame will blow up shocks faster than anyone else. With a good shock, 5% progression is fine. I rarely bottom, and never harshly, at about 30% sag.

Its not the best angle to see in that photo, but the main pivot is very far forward- its further forward than the front of a 32t chainring. This allows a single pivot to get more progression, but it increases the pedal kickback as you go deeper into your travel. Most designs try and reduce pedal kickback as you go deeper, but I think this is misguided (so does specialized- look at their Enduro and Demo). I could rant on and on about this subject but this comment is already too long haha.
  • 73 45
 Flex pivots make me want to puke
  • 21 7
 what breaks first, ankles or pivot..
  • 51 3
 @draggingbrake: Will be interesting to see how long they last. It has to promote some sort of inter laminar shear.

Although Seb is correct in saying they will last the life of the frame! Haha
  • 57 3
 @mb23: Maybe he should have written "the frame will last the lifetime of the flex pivot" LOL
  • 41 1
 @mb23: Every part of a bike frame undergoes some level of fatigue, all of it encounters a load and thus flexes. Other parts of the bike are this way too, I would imagine you don't stay up at night wondering when the coil spring on your shock will break? But in all cases this is something you can design for by sizing the material to keep stress low, to keep it below the line of the S-N curve for its expected lifespan.

Fatigue is actually one of those funny spaces in engineering where we have a poor analytical model for it, but plenty of empirical evidence so we can design for it reasonably well.
  • 19 5
 @IsaacWislon82: Pretty hard (i.e. impossible) to stay below the SN curve for aluminum.

I have nothing against flex pivots for carbon or even steel bikes, but it doesn’t make any sense for aluminum frames. I’ve seen a few Kona Hei Hei break at this “flex” point.
  • 2 14
flag mb23 (Oct 18, 2022 at 7:57) (Below Threshold)
 @IsaacWislon82: What other parts of a carbon frame are designed to flex Isaac? Are you comparing composite to metallic material properties? Are you bunching all types of fatigue together? Are you trying to give it the big one?

I'm just interested to see what sort of lifespan carbon flexures have on bike frames, that's all. It's sort of a new thing.
  • 23 0
 @mb23: Using composites like carbon fiber for intentional flex applications is not a new thing. Google: fishing rods, skis/snowboards, pole vault poles, etc.
  • 8 0
 @Loche: I totally believe its harder to engineer a good flex-stay for an alu bike, you don't see them often and I doubt that's by chance. But I definitely wouldn't say impossible, all types of aluminum structures are successfully designed for fatigue life like planes, sailboat masts and booms, aluminum boats, aluminum cars, aluminum engine blocks, etc.
  • 5 0
 @mb23: I mean, anything structural under load undergoes stress and thus flexes. Fatigue strength, S-N Curves, fatigue limits, all of these are applicable to both metals and composites, so yes? I can link a paper showing S-N curves for carbon composites if you want? And I need you to clarify about this "bunching all types of fatigue strength together" comment, I'm not sure I know what you mean.

The point of my comments here are just to point out flex stays follow the same S-N fatigue curves (and Stress-Strain curves) that the rest of the frame follows. The internal stresses that you see clearly with a flex-stay also happen at the head tube, near the bottom bracket, all over the frame but are less obvious. Sure, a flex stay is probably a more difficult feat of engineering than a normal bike frame, but they're not particularly new nor novel from a structural engineering standpoint.
  • 3 21
flag mb23 (Oct 18, 2022 at 9:32) (Below Threshold)
 @robw515: Ah I didn't realise people make bikes out of fishing rods etc! My bad!

Don't worry.....
  • 6 0
 @robw515: +Airplane wings, suspension pivots (Spot), sail masts
  • 5 5
 First jump sent a little deep on a brand new stumpy with flex pivots saw both chainstays snap.
  • 2 0
 @Blownoutrides: Well looks like the flexing seatstays did too good a job.
  • 3 0
 @Blownoutrides: Holy crap !
  • 2 0
 @Blownoutrides: How was the warranty process on that?
  • 2 0
 @Blownoutrides: damn! Did specialized cover that under warranty? The new stumpy has been out for a while but thats the first ive heard of someone breaking the rear triangle. Must have been a violent landing lol
  • 4 1
 @robw515: formula 1 car suspension you know those bits that let the wheels go up and down
  • 3 1
 @gtrguy: I’m pretty sure that’s exactly how it was said. Flex pivots last the life of the frame, since the frame is toast when the flex pivot fails, lol.
  • 5 1
 Ironically (for this article) flex joints are more complicated to engineer than shoving a bearing in a hole. They are definitely a more elegant solution than bearings and as people have mentioned they are very common in other applications. Flex joints just require a little bit more engineering and testing than regular bearing pivots but they are better. Personally think it would be cool to see a frame with flex joints at all pivots. I'm sure it's been done on suspension before
  • 2 0
 @mechatronicjf: remeber the GT LTS i actually made some prototypes at GT where all the pivots were "a composite type material, never made it past the few destroyed prototypes that ot hammered around the BMX track out back and the same failure killed them all , the patent is available to read online somewhere
  • 2 0
 @mechatronicjf: They are also much harder to manufacture. A well designed flex pivot is going to need much higher tolerances on material, construction and heat treatment than a typical tube. Not insurmountable, but I don't see it reducing costs any time soon.

From a performance perspective though, yeah it can definitely shine there
  • 2 3
 @IsaacWislon82: @Loche: aluminum is impossible as it does not have a fatigue limit, steel, titanium and carbon on the other hand all can be designed for “infinite cycles” if designed correctly, and not hucked to flat in the case of our two wheeled toys. Carbon doesn’t have a fatigue limit either but also doesn’t behave like metals so it can still be designed for. Aluminum will fail eventually, and even though it’s just a couple degrees deflection, there are a lot of cycles per ride. My guess is if we see Alu bikes with flex pivot that piece, be it the seat stay or chain stay, will be steel or titanium, maybe even carbon
  • 3 0
 I dont own a bike with flex stays and most likely never will but one things for certain, the flexible points of my body definitely have not endured the life of my lanky frame@Loche:
  • 3 0
 @loosegoat: My old Gary Fisher Sugar from 2001 was aluminum with a linkage driven single pivot rear suspension and flex stays. It didn't flex a ton since it only had something like 80mm of travel, but they did flex.

It's obviously a bit different of an application compared to an enduro bike or even a modern trail bike, but flex stays aren't new.
  • 2 0
 NASA has used compliant mechanisms to great effect to control thrusters on space craft. They offer much better reliability and longevity than traditional mechanisms. There's a great smarter every day video on the topic. I think these pivots will be the way of the future but I wouldn't necessarily want to be an early adopter. The aero space industry has much better engineers and budgets than the bike Industry.
  • 22 1
 Seb just doesn't know how much faster my 6-bar high pivot, AXS, with stem cable routing is on the trails. If he did, he'd know it's totally worth it.
  • 16 0
 Honestly I've been having a lot of fun riding my rigid, steel frame Kona Unit lately. On the right trails a rigid is really hard to beat for fun.
  • 4 0
 Totally agree. I'm on my 3rd Unit in 10 years. Also loved the downhill bikes and aggressive hardtails I have had, but always come back to rigid singlespeed again.
  • 1 0
 The unit is one of the best-riding bikes ive ever pedaled, suspended or not.
  • 2 0
 I'm about to build a single speed rigid 87" Stumpy. There's something to be said for having at least one bike that is always ready to go without any adjustment or heavy maintenance requirements. Living on the west coast though
  • 1 0
 I uploaded one old Unit video from 2014: www.pinkbike.com/video/558812 Suspension is adjusted by how many beers you have drunk...
  • 17 0
 anybody know how is Alicia doing? I dont have an instagram, thanks in advance.
  • 24 0
 10/17/22
Every day Alicia is able to remember a little bit more and do a bit more therapy. Progress is slow but it is happening!
  • 6 0
 @Yovik: thnx
  • 5 0
 @Narro2: Chelsea has been updating the GoFundMe pretty much daily with updates as well. www.gofundme.com/f/alicia-and-her-family-with-medical-costs
  • 1 0
 I dunno, but as someone going through post concussion syndrome, I feel for her.
  • 2 0
 @alanbonk: thank you
  • 14 0
 External cable routing, universal derailleur hangers, 1 bottom bracket standard (threaded), 1 headset standard.... simplify this sh!t
  • 14 0
 Here's looking at you Scott bicycles. Hidden shocks, remote lock outs, head tube cable routing and cockpits so busy there is barely enough room on the handlebar.
  • 17 1
 Cable routing
  • 16 0
 Through your nostrils, straight into the brain. No need for silly shifters and levers when you can control everything with your mind
  • 14 1
 How about no fkn motors ..the bike is a simple amazing machine without bogging it down with unnecessary bullshit to let the masses choke on
  • 2 0
 ^ this!
  • 14 0
 The old acronym K.I.S.S seems fitting. Keep It Simple Stupid
  • 16 3
 External cable routing done well is the best simple thing any bike can have.
  • 3 0
 I like the clean look of internal but do miss the days of easily swapping out a brake or derailleur housing.
  • 1 0
 Cant say I really understand all the fuss about frames with internal routing. I mean technically, you could still route the cables externally on most bikes if you really wanted, regardless of the intended design or frame type and just use zip ties or aftermarket cable guides.
  • 1 0
 @Crankhed: but is that external routing done well?
  • 16 2
 Anything that requires a battery.
  • 14 0
 who is replacing bearings once every season??
  • 4 2
 Me - sometimes twice. PNW for the win.
  • 3 0
 @norkonalized117 some people change their oil every 3k miles, some every 10k. I bet neither one of them notices a difference in their car these days. Some people replace their bearings once a season, some replace them once a decade. I have a 5yr old Pivot with pivots Smile and I have changed the bearings once and that was only the lower ones closer to the dirt/wet. I have a 6yr old Pivot with pivots and I have yet to change the bearings.
  • 9 0
 I've mainly been riding single pivot frames for the last few years (Orange and Starling), and I love them.
The lack of frame progression is an absolute non-issue IMO, even with coil shocks. But the loss of grip under braking is a real thing. You can adapt to it, even make it work for you and have fun with it, but get back on a Horst link bike and it does get easier.
  • 2 0
 I've never noticed the loss of grip under braking on my Starling but maybe that's because I haven't ridden a Horst bike since my GT LTS days in the late 90's. Lack of progression is definitely a non issue with the massive Ohlins bumper.
  • 2 0
 @fartymarty: for me it's mainly on steeper trails, for example the Golfie and similar, that I notice the effect. Going slacker and getting posher shocks has helped counter it as well though.
  • 3 0
 @fartymarty: I went from riding a single-pivot Stage 6 last year (which I loved) to a Rip 9 this year (I have a penchant for what Pinkbike has deemed to be ugly bikes) and I miss the playfulness of the Stage but damn, that Niner has traction for DAYS on the steep techy shit I live next to when I'm on the brakes. It's quite profound.
  • 1 0
 @cueTIP: agreed, but in the Uk the lower link bearings lasted 3 months if that!! Perfectly in the firing line for wet mud and spray.
  • 1 1
 @Murfdog: Part of the reason I'm still riding an Orange and a Starling
They're also bloody great bikes and nothing is more fun than an Orange Big Grin
  • 13 0
 Non-propietary parts Hardtails
  • 11 0
 Bring back external cable routing. Internal routing "solved" a problem that never existed and in fact makes maintenance or replacing parts more complicated and costly.
  • 15 5
 "Here are a few examples of where less is more."
you forgot wheel size..........
  • 4 2
 27.5 for life
  • 6 1
 I don't get what the proposed advantage of a linkage driven single pivot is supposed to be in this article. There is no maintenance benefit to a LDSP, it has exactly the same number of pivots as the dual link and horst designs. The different braking characteristics have nothing to do with simplification. If you want a lot of anti-rise you can get there with the other designs, but I'm glad I can get bikes without it.
  • 5 0
 I'd be interested in the science behind

A 220mm rotor will boost power by about 10 percent when compared to a 200mm rotor

As I understand it, braking force diminishes at the speed differential increases (ie the rotor moves faster over the past). This is compensated by the increase in leverage, but the relationship is complex.

A larger rotor can store and dissapate more heat than a smaller one, but not by as much as you'd expect, as the area increases in line with the circle circumference, not the circle area
  • 8 0
 This thread made me remember how much I love pure unfiltered bike snobbery. This is awesome.
  • 2 0
 Truth!
  • 7 3
 I am fine with almost all points and i really wanted to like "true" singlepivots, but it is so much easier to make a prgressivelink bike ride well. Getting a singlepivot to be supple and not bottom out is very hard to do in my expirience. Controlling antisquat like the dw - link bikes do is also a very good feature.
  • 6 1
 My Starling is supple and doesn't bottom that easily - I think it's down to the shock. The Ohlins coil does the job nicely.
  • 6 0
 @fartymarty: I own one too, it now hangs on my wall. Out of 4 shocks (air and coil) it worked only kinda good with the vivid coil. Even with that it was no match to a good linkage bike (it was still better than a couple of bad linkage bikes i have owned, even in recent memory).

I would still be riding it as a bike for mellower terrain if the cranks would not hit the frame while sprinting ( it was a very early version)
  • 3 1
 100% this for me as well. I really tried to like various single pivot bikes, but the shock tuning is way too fussy vs. a multi-link suspension. DW and Maestro work perfectly for me and I'll never go back to a single pivot. I might also argue that multi-links like DW and Maestro are "simpler" because the rear triangle is all one piece - no little bearings or bushings on the stays, no flexing required.
  • 2 0
 I guess I don’t ride a “true” single pivot, but I have a Kona Process 153 with a linkage driven single pivot, and the performance is way better than the DW-link Turner RFX I replaced. DW was harsh and there was still a good deal of bob while pedaling uphill, both when seated and standing. Overrated suspension system, if you ask me. The Kona climbs better and is a lot more plush when things get rowdy. It does bottom out from time to time, but I’m not sure if it does any more than the Turner. Between the two, I’m going with the single pivot Kona. For what it’s worth, they’re both better than my Horst Link Enduro. Climbing on that thing exhausted me. But that was an old bike.
  • 2 0
 @TheR: a linkage driven singlepivot is an entirely different beast. It is not simpler (bearingwise) than any other multilinkbike. It also can be tuned to work really well. "DW was harsh" is a bit simplified, there are so many factors that play into the performance of a single bike. With a non linkage bike there will (almost) always be the problem with progression though (the best try was GG`s DH bike from a few years back; that bike actually had some progression even without linkage)
  • 11 2
 #1 Eliminate E-Bikes
  • 3 0
 I put a Shimano XTR front derailleur on my Canfield Nimble9 and it is awesome!
With the front derailleur you get a far greater gear range, lower lows and higher highs. Instantly move into climbing gear range with the front derailleur. You get a better chainline, less tension on the chain and noticeable less friction in the climbing gears.
The last two generations of Shimano’s XTR front derailleurs are the best front derailleurs of all time. Super snappy performance.
Don’t be fooled by sram’s marketing team because they couldn’t make a competing front derailleur. Front derailleurs rule!
  • 6 4
 I’d agree with most of these points, but especially more travel. I’ve been making that argument for a couple decades, especially since the advent of adjustable compression damping, either climb levers or dials. While a 150mm bike has to be built too beefy for XC, a 110-120mm bike doesn’t have to add much weight. And I’ll take that 150mm bike for a trail bike over 130mm anytime. Even in rocky areas, I still like to set my suspension pretty firm so I rarely bottom out, but it’s there for when I need it, therefore it doesn’t feel like a pogo stick on smoother terrain anyway. Tire selection makes more of a difference on speed and weight than travel.
Besides as a bigger guy, I’ll generally take the stiffness of a bigger travel fork even if it means an extra 100-200 grams.
  • 5 0
 love that you mentioned the tire thing, tires and pressures make just as much of a difference as suspension settings and people dont take enough advantage of it
  • 1 0
 @all-knowen: yeah, and I’d generally run beefy tires on any trail bike, so why not gain the travel. That said, I’d be tempted to try something like a new Stumpjumper and put aggressive for XC tires for a light weight trail bike as my old XC bike generally just collects dust these days.
  • 2 0
 I think these are all good points. I've steadily increased the travel on my trail riding bikes. For XC racing 100-120mm has seemed like the sweet spot for the last 6 years or so but for "fun" riding with friends I've gone from 100mm to 150mm over those same years with single pivot bikes. I might try the larger rotors but generally I'm just not fast enough going downhill to need the extra braking.
  • 2 0
 The benefit of bigger rotors is lower hand fatigue, since it takes less effort squeezing to get the same amount of braking force.
  • 2 0
 @TimTucker: That and 203mm rotors on 26" rims look EPIC.
  • 2 0
 Hmmm… I ride an Orange Alpine. Single pivot, threaded bottom bracket, external cables, 10 speed setup, with a Saint derailleur and a custom cage, along with a 42 tooth Garabuk cassette. There’s times I’d like a lower rear cog but the reliability of such a bomb proof setup is worth the trade off.
  • 2 0
 A true single pivot can have almost as much progression as you want. What it cannot do is a rapid change in leverage ratio. But that is what now most are trying to avoid when doing linkage bikes, so I would count that as a plus.
  • 2 0
 exactly. The whole part on single pivots in this article was mostly incorrect
  • 10 9
 On point with almost everything, I just disagree with the flex pivot as those will have a definite shelf life especially if you use Alu. But a carbon or steel insert could be the right answer for an alu frame. I remember Rocky Mountain doing something like that on a XC/Trail bike in the early 2000.

Refreshing ot hear someone not pushing the narative of low Anti-Rise being a positive suspension caracteristic. Having spent 2 seasons on a bike with very low AR, I can't wait to ditch that frame and go back to a frame with high AR as it makes your life much more relaxed when riding steep stuff, at least when you're not a WC level athlete.
  • 8 1
 It comes down to how much the material is actually flexing.
We are used to see the pivots rotating in the seat/chainstays but with a flexpivot that angular movement is spread across a good part of the length of the beam.
Some designs will have more elastic deformation from cornering than actually from cycling the suspension
  • 2 0
 Moots has had a flex pivot since the mid 1990s, if not earlier. Suspension was ~40-50mm, which was a decent amount back then for a bike that wasn't DH specific.
  • 2 0
 Riding hardtails primarily (and especially having had a good few years with a powerful disc brake in the front and useless V-brake in the rear), I really had to learn to use the rear brake to keep the rear end of my Cannondale Prophet down on the steep descends. On a hardtail, I could be aggressive with the front brake and only the fork would dive and the rear would wiggle a bit. On the fully, the rear would extend unless I applied a bit of rear brake too. But yeah if there are rear suspension designs where even that doesn't work, I'd rather not have that Wink .
  • 1 0
 I used to have a 2013 salsa horsthief, which used on flex stays. While it was only 120mm, it was aluminum, and I absued it for over 6 years, even put some decent size dents on the seat stays and never had any issues or signs of cracking. While you could definitely argue that more trave would increase the amount of flex, it is a tried concept and just needs to be properly designed.
  • 2 0
 Carbon, if engineered correctly (like anything), will not have a shelf life, it in theory has no fatigue limit. I don't know of any alum flex stay frame....
  • 2 0
 @RadBartTaylor: Scott has one at the moment in their line-up I believe. Not really the type of bikes I am into so don't know much more. But like you said, if designed properly it will be fine. But considering how many frames break, are missaligned, out of specs in various ways and so on, I have very little faith in the fact that the final product you will end-up riding will be able to last as long as it should. And all these issues are regardless of the material used, I have no problem with either, again if well designed why not, but a flex Alu has to be very well designed as it has a very low resistance to fatigue.
  • 3 1
 Flex pivots on bikes have been around since the late 18th century. It's an interesting period in bike history if you look into it. Many of the suspension ideas were resurrected when the MTB was 'invented' 80 years later.
  • 3 0
 @RadBartTaylor: ...uhhh, no fatigue limit means it definitely has a *theoretical shelf life. A fatigue limit means, lets take steel for example, even under an infinite amount of loads it still has a certain percentage of its initial strength left (off the top of my head I think its like 50-60% or so for most steels). No fatigue limit means an infinite number of load cycles it breaks, regardless of how small the load is. Aluminum, copper, and carbon all have no fatigue limit.

That being said, two big caveats here are to remember the sheer scale of fatigue life (order of magnitude of 500 million high-stress cycles, for example) and also that carbon, even if it has no fatigue limit, still fatigues slower than aluminum. Engineering as a whole has a decent grip on how to design for fatigue life, using lots of empirical data (S-N plots) and the such.

So TL;DR yea, a properly engineered flex-stay frame is absolutely nothing to worry about, but not because carbon doesn't have a fatigue limit, its because of years of empirical research and good engineering practice.
  • 2 0
 @IsaacWislon82: fair, I meant it "has a fatigue limit"....but I guess that is wrong too, LOL. I've always understood carbon to be on part with Steel and Ti when operated below fatigue limit....
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: The Kona Satori (discontinued) and Hei Hei (still produced) are/were available in aluminum, using their "Fuse Independent Suspension" layout, which includes a flexing seatstay.
  • 2 0
 @barp: Interesting - didn't know that existed...thanks
  • 1 0
 @Balgaroth: yup, in the Spark range all the alloy ones as well as all the carbon ones with alloy rear triangle have a flex pivot
  • 2 0
 Ever since my first Stinky Deluxe 23 years ago, I've wondered why some sort of ratcheting bearing was never a thing. Keep them races being used, get that lube going round and round.
  • 6 5
 How is a flex pivot not just clever marketing for a single pivot bike? Also how cool would it be to have user serviceable needle bearings with high pressure zerks instead of putting a falling human's weight on a few pinpoint small hardened steel ball bearings? That would solve all the pivot issues.
  • 13 0
 Because geometry and physics and engineering.
  • 1 0
 Besides perhaps some forgotten design from decades ago, here's no such thing as a single pivot flex pivot bike. They all have three conventional pivots and one flex pivot. As for suspension kinematics, it's single pivot type if the flex point is above the rear axle, which isn't the case with the Cannondale shown here.
  • 5 0
 Nine gears 11-50. Lighter, cheaper, sturdy af.
  • 4 1
 7-11 gears without the need for XD driver or a new type of freehub.
  • 3 0
 @CSharp: downvoted you by mistake, my fat thumb
  • 2 0
 Why bikes don't need to be complicated: High pivot is a good example - beyond making a bike that is different for entertainment purposes, I don't see the point and still think it's a passing fad.
  • 1 0
 The biggest things I can think of aren't even on this list. How about cable routing?! Looking at all the new complicated junk brands like Cannondale are pumping out is just painful. More user serviceable design is good for everyone.
  • 1 0
 Amen brother! Particularly on 1x for those just getting into mtb. I have had a ton of new to the sport friends be confused by what gear to be in and frustrate by derailure drag or shifting issues up front because their entry level bike came with a 2 or 3X.

Big rotors also just make total sense, too - in the auto racing world, rotor size is restricted by inner wheel diameter - until we get to a 660mm brake rotor - the mtb world doesn’t have that issue !!
  • 1 0
 Agreed on these points. However the end result is more simple, getting to these results is far from it. We must have it good if the things we have seem simple.
Getting the correct carbon layup, mold design, and resin to allow a frame to flex and then hold up to every Jerry with a JRA warranty claim ain’t simple.
Single ring drivetrains only worked when we figured out wide range, cnc machines advanced to pump these out cheaper, and we got more frame makers on wider hub standards so these wide range/12sp drivetrains fit on frames.
Single pivot- see needs to pedal like an XC bike but descend like a downhill bike, but we want simple shocks without levers and electronics. I too, like also like to have my cake as well as eat it.
More travel- agreed here but then we need to negate single pivot argument
Bigger rotors- agreed here. But these are needed because we have more travel, better suspension, bigger wheels, more powerful brakes, more trials being built and greater access to them with vehicles to get us places, and the internet to tell us where they are.

We have it good when we don’t realize how complex the simple really is.
  • 1 0
 While my Honzo will never part my stable. Solid steel hardtail, reliable 1x, 10spd drivetrain, Zee brakes, DT hoops. While my FS regular bike and Ebike needs constant attention to keep it running decently, the steel hardtail doesn’t flinch with 8 years of year-round, dependable use bought at fraction of aforementioned bikes
  • 2 1
 PB are currently very confused about braking. The whole thing of single pivots squatting under braking being a good thing is just nonsense. Yes of course riders can win world cups on them, but that doesn't mean they arent less good than more active braking systems. The "brake squat is a good thing" idea first began to rear its head in earnest when everyone was fawning over the (new at the time) high pivot supreme. Its a good bike sure, but you will note that Commencal have since added a floating brake... Saracen (the only other bike on your list of high pivots that has won anything of note recently) have also been messing around with floating brake links. Literally the whole industry disagrees with you
Let the idea that brake squat is a good thing die. It was wrong when PB first started pushing the idea, and its still wrong now.
  • 2 1
 Further to that, Cru-jones is correct in stating that single pivots can be very progressive, they just cant achieve really complicated curves. This however is a good thing. Complicated curves were popular a few years ago, but everyone is slowly realising that more linear curves are better. Finally, dividing the spring curve from the damping curve is a silly thing to do. As cannondale quickly realised. The whole bit on single pivots was very dubious, which is a shame cos the rest of the article was good
  • 1 0
 Which bike won this season's final WC again. A HP Trek was it?
  • 1 0
 @BenPea: Yep. Treks have floating brakes. They are famous for it.
  • 1 0
 @gabriel-mission9: Sure about that? Got a pic?
  • 1 0
 @BenPea: Google ABP. Theyve been using the system on every big travel bike bike since around 2010, and continue to use it now
  • 1 0
 @gabriel-mission9: sure, the axle pivot. I'm well aware of its work. How does it make the brake caliper float any more than a Horst link? If you're correct, consider my tiny mind blown.
  • 1 0
 @BenPea: It doesn't... A horst link is a floating brake design.
  • 1 0
 @gabriel-mission9: I'm out. Peace.
  • 2 0
 @BenPea: Sorry for blowing your mind dude
  • 2 0
 @gabriel-mission9: I always picture a floating brake with a separate rod. Thanks for the brain food.
  • 1 0
 Right on! Big f*cking rotors for all!
I only disagree w/ #4 - I prefer less or moderate travel as in my experience it keeps handling overall more consistent and is compatible with my skill level (meaning that if I rode a 180mm bike, I might try a big feature and get seriously hurt).
  • 1 0
 I understand the thesis here is KISS (keep it simple stupid)
but is there any evidence at all that floating rotors or 4-piston calipers are more problematic?
does anyone often hear people complaining about these items?


why floating?
"A floating rotor has the ability to conform to the brake pads giving maximum rotor to pad contact. This happens even when a relatively small amount of force is applied. Floating motorcycle brake rotors often lead to more consistent and predictable braking."
why 4-piston?
"With 4-piston calipers, you have one brake pad and two pistons on each side of the disc. The greater number of pistons results in a more powerful braking setup, since more force can be applied by the pistons on the pads"
  • 1 0
 4 piston brakes generally have better modulation than 2 piston brakes since the brake fluid is dispersed over more surface area behind multiple pistons. Rotors are also a key part in decreasing brake fade and increasing modulation. Larger rotors will give you more power and less heat, but your modulation will decrease.
  • 1 0
 If such simplicity had lower up costs, count me in.

Though, if a Toyota costs the same as an alternative offering better luxury, looks, and prestige, I can see why many may be compelled to go with the latter, especially for sporty recreational stuff.

I'm guessing the author is more interested in utilitarian aspects of bike ownership?
  • 5 1
 Hey Seb, giving up with headset double routing?
  • 4 0
 ...or expensive...but here we are...
  • 9 6
 Big rotors get bent easier. They make things more effort than less. 200mm should actually be enough for many of us...
  • 3 1
 Yeah, was thinking that too. Plus, wasn't there a report recently that brakes do need to get up to a certain temperature to work properly? Not everyone rides in conditions where a 203mm rotor overheats and some of those who do may be better off improving their riding technique.
  • 5 0
 On the flip side, thicker rotors get bent less easily. I went to 220mm HS2 rotors on my DH bike and it was a complete game changer, especially when it comes to heat management on long, steep trails.
  • 1 0
 I find them twitchy compared to 180s. However, I havent taken them off.
  • 3 0
 @IsaacWislon82: i found more modulation and control to manage speed better on steeper track
  • 15 1
 You need bigger AND thicker. /nocontext
  • 1 0
 That’s why 2 piece rotors exist
  • 2 0
 220 mm rotors in 2.0 (or even 2.3) mm dont bend more easy than thinner 203mm rotors. modulation and heat management are way better though -i dont see me going back.
  • 3 0
 Are those power claims regarding 220mm rotors true? A 2-pot 220mm should be comparable to 4-pot 200mm?
  • 3 0
 lol. no. the power claim is like caliper for like caliper between rotor sizes.....just a mathmatical fact that a 220 is 10% bigger than a 200, so it stands to reason that it has 10% more leverage on the wheel with a given clamping force from the caliper.
  • 13 6
 For some reasons the media and bike companies like to push the idea that 4 pistons are more powerfull than 2 pistons. This is absolute BS since the total power of a brake is dictated by the ratio between the surface of your master cylinder VS the surface of your caliper pistons. Once you know that and keeping the same lever, a Hope V2 caliper with 2x25mm pistons will be 22% more powerfull than a Hope M4 caliper that has 4x16mm pistons. Yet you will hear everywhere that 4 pistons brakes are for heavy duty, more powerfull blah blah blah. Far from being true. Now to be fair the only advantage of 4 piston calipers is that they allow more brake pad surface. That doesn't have any influence on power but helps a little with heat resistance and slow down the wear rate so you don't have to change them as often. But that's about it really.
  • 10 1
 @Balgaroth: well, that is such an extreme oversimplification of how brakes work, that it's almost meaningless.

there are many advantages to having a higher number of smaller pistons in a caliper, rather than a a single big piston. The performance of a brake comes down to many factors, and raw mechanical force at the piston is the least important.

smaller pistons are more stable in their bore, and suffer less binding due to manufacture tolerances. they do have a tendency to get sticky faster than a bigger piston due to build up as the bore surface is larger in relative to the piston size.

smaller pistons can travel further with a given amount of fluid movement, giving you better retraction and reducing rubbing.

smaller pistons do allow a bigger pad(as you mentioned), but the real benefit is that the pressure is applied much more evenly across the pad, thus giving you a more consistent force and ability to control lock up.

A higher number of smaller pistons is the main factor in alleviating the main cause of degridation of braking perfromance.....heat transfer to the brake fluid. Finned pads, ceramic pistons, floating rotors, finned rotors, etc etc etc.....all a secondary way to keep the fluid cool. More smaller pistons is the primary method. Just go look at car racing. You won't see any giant 2 piston calipers on a modern race car. 6 piston or even 8 is what you will find.
  • 2 4
 @conoat: yeah but that's not exactly how it works. Your increasing diameter and length of surface area and distance for full rotation. 10 more size doesn't equal 10 percent more power. That's quite the reach lol
  • 11 0
 Torque is R - cross - F (radius-cross-force). For fixed braking force (and fixed angle between the lever arm and the force), torque magnitude increases linearly with R. That means that 10% more R produces 10% more torque. What's power in a rotational setting, you ask? Why, it's torque-times-rotational speed. So guess what, power scales linearly with torque which scales linearly with radius.

Therefore: 10% more radius means 10% more power. Yay physics 101.
  • 1 0
 At a certain point it is moot, because if you can lose traction, then your brakes are strong enough. As for modulation, that is another factor, but most bikes I have ridden have brakes strong enough to either send me OTB, skid the front wheel, or skid the rear wheel, or all 3 of those. I suppose heat transfer is important, and that is one area that the 4 pistons have an advantage, I would think; a larger piston surface for cooling.
  • 1 0
 @woofer2609: Power, dude. Power is the advantage of bigger rotors, more pistons, etc. If you grab the lever like a gorilla, sure, any brake can send you OTB but that's not the point. The point is to slow down over the course of a ride without fatiguing your hands to the point that you can't hold on. More powerful brakes do that, less powerful ones don't.

Put it this way, you've probably never been in a car with brakes that were too powerful, but you may have noticed when you were in one where the brakes weren't powerful enough. Sure you can stomp on them and skid the tires, but you probably got tired of wearing out your foot pushing super hard all the time just to come to a stop.
  • 2 0
 Multi pistons serve to make the brake pad longer and thinner. Thats why cars use them. They have a very limited max rotor diameter, so they make the pads longer without making them taller too.

Small pistons are more stable in their bore, whether this has any measurable effect on performance is debateable

Small pistons dont travel any further unless their overall surface area is smaller. 2 small pistons vs 1 big piston, they will move exactly the same distance if the surface area of the 2 small ones = 1 big one.

Hot fluid is not the main performance degrader on pushbikes, it's hot pads. Although more often than not, its actually bent rotors,
  • 1 0
 Are people really wanting to run rotors that big? I just went from 180F/160R rotors to 200F/180R rotors on 2 piston SLX brakes. Rear is like a light switch now and I'm locking the wheel up all the time. I'm north of 200 pounds geared up and couldn't imagine going bigger with how easy it is to lock the wheels up now.
  • 1 0
 @TBrandt: Shimano Servo Wave brakes have varying leverage ratios depending where in the travel of the lever you are. Some racers use non servo wave 4 finger levers for better modulation.
  • 4 4
 A less is more article and no mention of gearboxes? I couldn't be more happy with ditching derailleurs. I never have to lube the belt and only have to change the oil in the box once a year, which is a 2 minute job. By far the biggest improvement for simplicity. I will now await my downvotes since pinkbike doesn't like gearboxes.
  • 3 0
 Which one do you have?
  • 2 0
 Which gearbox do you use?
  • 2 0
 @jkella: Pinion P12 on a Zerode Taniwha with the gates belt drive, and a Pinion P6 on a Peregrine dh bike that is running a chain (high pivot which uses an idler gear, so a belt isn't feasible).
  • 2 1
 There are a bunch of kinematic features that could be moved from the frame/swing arm to the shock. The overall bike would be simpler even if the shock needs to be more complex (and perhaps electrified).
  • 4 4
 Instead of this BS Ai sensor based suspension....just give me a dropper post/Fox Shock solution where when my Dropper is up, my shock is firmed up. When its down, its wide open. With some configurable options and an override.

That makes your "extra travel is no big deal" item much more palatable while improving suspension performance since they don't have to tune kinematics with much climbing in mind.
  • 1 0
 @Svinyard:

To link those functions makes perfect sense. And this isn’t the first time I’ve heard the suggestion- but the way you put it made me think - you could pull it off with a crazy cable arrangement bolted to your saddle rails and lockout lever. Would be fun to try out.
  • 1 0
 @Stumpclumper: Yeah I think some springs and levers and cables going from the shock switch (on a bike with one easily accessed) and a camp to the seatpost collar could work. When your post gets slammed down, it actuates the shock switch via whatever mechanism. hell maybe a simple cable solution and a bit of housing could do the trick?
  • 1 0
 BMC did this for one generation of the Trailfox I think. Dropper up, suspension firms up, dropper down, suspension is open.
  • 3 0
 Do you guys not climb with your shock open? Are there rocks or roots where you live?
  • 1 0
 There was a kick starter for this idea, and BMC created "Trailsync" which was a flop. It's a cool idea with no good execution yet and unfortunately no real demand.

IMO, a 3 pos. remote lockout sounds pretty good solution, not too complicated.

aside; I'm surprised enduro folks don't use remote lock out with all the sprinting they do.
  • 4 0
 Pick anything from this article and be a dick about it
  • 2 0
 Less is More: Let history be your guide... Would you rather ride a 30 year old hard tail or a "more is more" White PRST or a GT i-Drive or a URT? Yeah, that's what I said.
  • 2 1
 Why aren't we all riding Klunkers? Where do we draw the line with complicated technology? MTBs don't NEED to be complicated but we make them that way because its fun and human nature to invent new stuff.
  • 4 0
 6. Motors - didn’t need that complexity.
  • 9 9
 Inner tubes. There, I said it.

- Amount of time and money spent on sealant: zero and zero
- Amount of time and money spent on inserts: zero and zero
- Amount of sealant leaks: zero
- Number of times I have re-applied rim tape: zero
- Amount of Youtube videos watched on how to seat a tubeless tire: zero
- Favorite tubeless valve nipple: the one attached to the $5 tube I bought a couple years ago
- Number of trailside tube replacements in the last 4 years: 2

I understand the theoretical benefits of going tubeless, and I know some terrain & riding styles will destroy inner tubes, but for me the simple inner tube has been working out pretty well!
  • 5 0
 Too many thorns where I live. But you are right that it can be the solution for you.
  • 5 0
 -Counterpoint:
-Amount of money spent on tubes and patches: Zero and Zero (well, OK, I do carry a tube I bought back in 2018 or something)
-Amount of time and money spent trueing bent rims from running no insert: Zero and Zero
-Number of times I have reapplied rim tape: Zero in 5 years over 3 bikes
-Number of trail side tubeless repairs where I inserted a tube:1
-Weight saved in front wheel running no insert and tubeless: half a pound
-Amount of evaporation of sealant if you use QuadBoss ATV sealant: none
-Traction gained from running 2-3psi less than with tubes: a metric $hit ton
To each their own, and I run tubes on my road and commuter, as it makes sense weightwise, but tubeless is going to be the way going forward in most situations offroad.
  • 1 0
 @Spencermon: agreed. Our local trails are covered in thorns. Before going tubeless, I would average a flat about once every 5-6 rides. But since switching to tubeless about 5 years ago, I’ve only needed to install a tube once…And it was because of a bent rim, not a hole in the tire. If I was running a tube in that situation, I suspect I would have gotten a pinch flat and needed to replace the tube anyway.
  • 3 0
 @woofer2609: Man, I agree. Tubeless is so much better that not running a tubeless set up these days borders on nothing more than dogmatic belief or technophobia. I’ve been riding tubeless for like 12 years now. Never ran an insert, and you can even seat a modern tire with a tubeless rim with a hand pump. Nothing to it.
  • 10 0
 Upvoted because holy shit this is a hot take! Easily a decade into widespread tubeless tire adoption and you logged in to take this stance?—kudos, ya weirdo!

Zero percent of people agree with this, it’s really remarkable.

Even if tubeless didn’t have any performance benefits (it has tremendous performance benefits) the lack of flats would be worth the effort. I get a flat a year now…used to be one a month, and more during the summer.

Wow.

Dude! You’re pro tube! I love it!

I remember when was a couple years into tubeless, riding that enchilada with a couple of old friends…they were still on tubes, probably when 90% of riders were still to convert…those dingdongs changed like six flats between them that day, and it was glorious to watch. I knew then that whatever struggles I had installing my tubeless stuff at home was nothing compared to one, two, infinite tube changes in the Utah sun. Especially with an audience.

Truly takes all kinds…

Post your venmo so I can send you five bucks, I must show my support with more than words. What’s a tube cost in 2022?
  • 1 0
 -Threaded bottom bracket
-No rear suspension
-Universal hanger
-External cable routing
-Whatever headset type that you can pop in/out by hand. (I can't remember)
-Plenty of clearance around tyre/crank to clean away mud.
  • 4 0
 Cotic thumbnail clickbait
  • 2 0
 Very much so. Glad to see I wasn't the only one who was disappointed.
  • 4 3
 Internal cable routing.....bigger rotors.....single chain ring......Multi track pivot..check..that's my Marin and it's been trouble free since i bought it.
  • 5 0
 Same here! The real value no bullsh*t bikes out there!
The linkage driven singlepivot never felt like an issue to me and I've been riding specialized and Santa Cruz for years because I was "scared" of the soooooo "bad" singlepivot designs
  • 3 0
 I only owned one Marin in the past.. and I was really unlucky with it.. had that one with that weird suspension they got from Whyte bikes.. was a shocker.. the noise it managed to create was unreal.. like riding around with a one-man-band strapped to your back... also it would chew through the ball bearings in a month or two... quite costly that... Glad they got rid of that design and went back to simple.. hear they are great...
  • 3 0
 @saladdodger: I'm running an '09 mt. vision. The bearings do wear, enduro make a set specifically for the loads.

Bike is dead silent.

Next up for me is probably the a bike featured in this article... starling.
  • 1 0
 its an 22 Marin Rift Zone 27.5 V2
  • 1 0
 which marin do you ride?
  • 1 0
 @HeatedRotor: a Rift Zone Carbon
  • 4 3
 Flex pivots leave me feeling uneasy. I can wrap my head around changing out bearings or replacing a damaged link. How do you change out a damaged or worn Flex pivot?
  • 1 0
 a new chainstay? smaller companies can probably support that easier than bigger companies.
  • 4 0
 Do they wear faster than the rest of the frame? Super short headtubes worry me more than thin flex pivots. Cannondale has been making flex pivots for twenty years or so, on their Scalpel bike. I'm sure someone will set me straight and point at an even earlier example. Yes they can wear out, but so can any other part on the frame.
  • 1 0
 Warranty
  • 4 0
 It's hard to stomach, but if a flex stay is designed correctly it will have an infinite fatigue life and never need to be replaced. It's just like designing any other object to carry a cyclic load, it's just that the scale of the deflection is visible in this instance because of the geometry and material properties. An entire carbon frame is basically a bunch of flex stays connected together, you just can't see the deflection.
  • 1 0
 @adrennan: *smaller companies are more willing to support that because customer loyalty is much more important when you're low-volume
  • 7 8
 Increasing travel in search of comfort is a suspension fallacy that 90% of people fall for. The 'Correct' way to set up suspension is to optimise spring frequency for your bodyweight...travel doesn't come into it. I'm an ideal world you run the same spring rate across travel disciplines...the increased travel is used for riding faster rougher trails where you need the extra travel as you are encountering bigger hits. However we know 90% of people don't do this...they buy a longer travel bike and run a softer spring rate for a pusher ride. But if we are talking about the correct way to set the suspension up for optimal performance and races etc this is not the way to do it. There is a reason dh bikes have more travel, it's not to increase comfort, it's because those bikes are hitting faster, steeper and larger hits then the disciplines below. This is a common fallacy even publishers don't seem to get. Just like the fallacy of FOX and Rockshox telling users to tune based on sag.
  • 6 0
 Hmmm, I'm not saying you're wrong, but are you implying we should all set our bikes up like pro racers and just keep going faster until we use all the travel?
There's something to be said for setting suspension to work for an individual and their own level of riding.
FWIW I do tend to use the same spring rate across different travel bikes though.
  • 5 0
 Aside from racing I'd say DH bikes have more travel exactly for comfort (and high speed control). Because you can do the same trails on a 150mm bike. But if you're riding at a park all day the 200mm travel is much less fatiguing. But I get what you're saying...more travel is not better.
  • 1 0
 @foggnm: they use whats fastest. That's it.
  • 1 0
 Not saying I disagree, but how much travel is too much, and how much is too little? There's a great article here on PB from a few years back that I believe the guys at Vorsprung did on this exact topic.
  • 1 0
 @chakaping: Exactly don't get me wrong I set it slightly softer than it probably would be on a shorter travel bike myself because I'm not totally ragging it all the time but not by much. If you get a long travel bike and set it so soft that it bottoms out almost with the same force as a shorter travel bike then all you have gained is more comfort to a degree (too soft and things can actually get harsher) but you having increased the bikes capabilities...the bikes capabilities is determined by traction, having enough capability to not bottom out and to stay supportive. As long as it isn't totally rattling your teeth out comfort doesn't come into it. However we know most enjoy the increased comfort from a long travel bike set softer.
  • 1 0
 I'm intrigued by the Atherton bikes and their DW6 suspension. Pretty much the complete opposite of a single pivot flex stay. 18 bearings !!
  • 2 0
 You get 1% more of a thing on a curve that doesn't apply to anything when riding the real bike. That's what 6-bars are doing. Bike pseudoscience.
  • 2 3
 "[...] a flexible frame member made from carbon, steel, or even aluminum can accommodate that range of motion without fatiguing."

I don't think that's true. I'm not a materials engineer but my engineer friends tell me that all materials - aluminum with its "micro fractures" or whatever and carbon as well - absolutely do wear out over time. If this were not true, you would never need to perform maintenance or replacement on aircraft wings and bodies.

Furthermore, I've broken 2 frames and know many people in the local community that have as well. It's not uncommon. I find it really hard to believe that a flex stay doesn't break faster than a non-flex part. It's intentionally thinner and enduring more elastic deformation than it otherwise would, and that simply has to wear it down faster than a comparable, conventional design.
  • 4 0
 id have to say as someone who spent a significant amount of time designing flexures for a living over a 20 year period wouldnt be sticking aluminium on the list of materials id guarantee for a bicycle but would certainly be interested in the Lifing aspect, composite flexures are relatively well understood, provided theyr'e used within a set of design constraints suitable to their end use I personally have seen the transition from titanium flexures, figuring out how to reliably bond those to carbon and then the transition to full carbon wishbone in F1 Interesting however that we once did a project with the dutch air force who were looking to replace the skins on their f16 wings with a composite skin rather than aluminium . short version after the whole project it actually stayed an aluminium skin, basically cheap as chips to replace, could be lifed easily, easy to assess damage as the cracks grew from the rivets ,and operator skill to do the job was relatively low to unbolt the wings and swap the skins
  • 4 0
 Praise be to Lord Seb.
  • 2 0
 A Pinion gearbox with a belt drive is lot more "internal tech" but to me it's like riding a magic single speed.
  • 2 0
 Whichever bike that SRAM HS2 rotor is mounted to needs a rotor about 3mm larger I reckon.
  • 1 0
 I for sure agree with the big rotor thing. Other than it being easier to bend them there are really only benefits to going with a bigger rotor.
  • 2 0
 If I had a time machine I'd go back to 96' and weld up a modern geo rigg....
  • 1 0
 "a well-designed flex pivot will last the lifetime of the frame."

Ummm. So flex pivot lasts until it cracks and frame is dead?
  • 1 0
 It’s not what you ride, it’s who’s having more fun riding. 29, 27.5, mullet style, XC, enduros, blah blah blah. Exhausting!!! Keep it simple. Go single speeders
  • 2 0
 Every Trek ABP dual suspension bike is a linkage driven single pivot. They have the brake on the seat stay and work fine.
  • 1 0
 Fewer zips... Reduces the momentary existential panic of fearing my car keys are lost on the trail and I'm out of phone coverage.
  • 3 0
 Amen!
  • 4 3
 Shimano... We're looking at you for over dinky rotors and rattly pads.. c'mon.
  • 3 0
 Agree. No excuse for Shimano rattly pads, but SO quick and easy to fix.
  • 5 0
 @kosmowf: the spring out of a clicks pen, snipped in half. Put the factory finished end s against the oem leaf spring and put the pin though.
  • 3 5
 This whole revert to steel and titanium...don't get that either. There's no reason to make a full suspension bike out of steel other than cost. Decades ago people would talk about the desirable qualities of steel and titanium in road bikes but (most) riders didn't find that to be true out on the road. They instead opted for carbon or alum alloy bikes. Some people just think it is cool to have a steel or Ti bike because it is different. But there's nothing special about them and if they had performance advantages it would be the choice material in multiple disciplines.
  • 6 0
 There’s just a certain sex appeal to the durability and repairability of these metals though. Now that bikes have settled into a sweet spot of design, you can have a bike that lasts you awhile. Aluminum is a bit lighter but harder to repair. I like carbon and it’s actually quite durable repairable as well, but steel can be custom made for a reasonable price.
  • 2 0
 Steel certainly does have some performance (and manufacturing) advantages, along with a range of disadvantages.
Everything is a compromise, some people are happy to live with the compromises a steel bike makes for the way it rides.
I'm with you on ti frames though.
  • 2 0
 I think that Steel is much easier for a small manufacturer to use to build with. There is a lot of added steps to manufacture with Carbon or Aluminum (curing, heat treating, etc). I've built a steel frame in my shed. (it's not good, mind you)
  • 2 0
 They are easier for small makers to fabricate, allow for easy custom geos and are very repairable. Plus imo they just look class.
  • 1 0
 Im not sure if thats 100% accurate. In the days of Aluminum road bikes when carbon was still "exotic" Steel bikes did mellow out road buzz. The real difference today is Carbon bikes are lighter AND aerodynamically superior. Steel (at least high end) and Ti are still superior in durability. Just watch any BMX video where they throw their bike off a 12 stair, then get on it and ride. Good luck doing that with a carbon frame.

If you want a more scientific approach look here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatigue_limit

Aluminum will start to fatigue the moment it gets used no matter how low the stress, steel and Ti have thresholds where a certain level of stress has no effect on the alloy. Meaning, on the road at least, most riding has no impact on the life of the frame.
  • 4 1
 Trust forks for all
  • 2 1
 Transitioned to fully rigid balance bike couple years ago. Couldn’t be happier. Less is definitely more!
  • 1 0
 Less feelings in my hands and numb fingers, maybe...
  • 1 0
 Single speed hardtail or full remote dual squish . I prefer . Both . Glad we have diversity in the sport .
  • 2 0
 2 bottles cages is my absolute dream!
  • 2 0
 my Canyon Spectral made its own flex stay after 6 months
  • 2 0
 is this the same pinkbike that can't shut up about motorized bicycles?
  • 2 1
 Pretty sure nobody was struggling with how to operate a triple ring chainset
  • 2 0
 It’s called a Hardtail, a lot less complicated
  • 2 2
 Six bar floating link split high infinity. You guys should feel the way it rides I’m telling you.
  • 1 0
 Hi, this is Specialized Legal. You've been subpoenaed.
  • 2 0
 Great article Seb
  • 1 1
 Imho for me, UDH /DUB/ 12speed cross-compatibility/DM mount chainring are winning factors, water bottles;
  • 1 0
 Dub crank sucks
  • 1 0
 no thanks to 2 pot brakes... I cooked a set of shimanos
  • 1 1
 Any mtb that doesn't have a water bottle mount should be threw into a skip.
  • 2 2
 Bigger rotors are more prone to warping, and you'll be that jankass on the trail squealing like a banshee.
  • 1 0
 Simple round wheels that stay round
  • 1 0
 what with the rear shock....needless
  • 1 0
 MORE HARDTAILS!!! And yeah, external cable routing!
  • 1 0
 External routing, straight tubes
  • 1 0
 Is that a unicycle attempt on the white line?
  • 1 0
 2 words: Hardcore Hardtail
  • 1 0
 What bike is there at front picture of article headline?
  • 1 0
 Is @henryquinney 's new pen name Seb Stott?
  • 1 0
 Amen.
  • 2 2
 2pot brakes being easier to maintain? That's a huge reach.
  • 1 2
 Funny dropper post add cables , weight , complexity and they tend to fail . But you all have one .
  • 1 1
 How is a Universal derailleur Hanger not on this list, WTF?
  • 1 1
 hey, I make a single pivot!
  • 1 1
 Hardtail is all you need....Learn to ride.
  • 4 5
 Please suspend use of all high-pivot bikes. They are so..... UGLY!!!
  • 1 1
 F you 220 rotor?l! the idea is not to brake!
  • 1 2
 Internal routing is just fine
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