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I received a week ago my Azure WC 2007 frameset and I'd like to share my feeling about it as well as have your oppinion.

First of all, out of the box, the frame weight 2830gr for a 17" --> that's including shock, seat post clamp, water bottle bolts and FSA Zero Stack cups that are factory pressed-in.

Building the bike was easy for all the components but the last : bottle cage --> hard to find one that fits and after I found one I discovered I can only use a small bottle (with a big one, bottle - shock interference when the suspension works).

Now, I have about 10 hours on the bike and here are my comments (please note that this is only my oppinion, that I am 5'7" and 135lbs and a racer, and that of course other type of riders my feel different about the bike) :

I first went out with about 90psi in the rear shock which is what I'm supposed to use to get the proper ammount of SAG. Definitely BAD for me, the shock keeps moving all the time even when there is nothing to absorb (but my energy...). Of course the ride is smooth and I must admit there is no bad reaction from pedaling (appart from the bob part) not braking... but I was slow.

After that, many different testing to get to a pressure that I feel comfortable riding : I'm now at 130psi which I know is too much for how the suspension is designed to work but this is the only way for me to feel good on the bike.
Now there is only a slight oscillation when spinning and pretty much nothing anymore with bigger gears. Standing on the pedals, I'm sorry to announce that it still bobs quite a lot which makes me want to seat again... Maybe I'm not very smooth when standing :rolleyes: . Even though there is more pressure in the shock, it still works really great and still is very sensitive to even the smallest bumps.

I really wished there was a RP23 or a shock with a lockout on the bike for the fast sections that always exist on pretty much all the races. I think the bike is fun to ride but definitely not very fast for various conditions. Probably one of the best bike for 100% technical races which unfortunetaly do not exist :madman:
Also, the weight factor doesn't help me wanting to race on this bike... It sucks that the lightest DW frame is the Mojo which is not race oriented at all ( geometry designed for 130mm fork, etc...).

To sum-up, even though I truely believe DW to be one of the smartest guy designing full suspension frames, and I was 100% convinced that this would be the perfect frame (appart from weight), in the end this bike doesn't make me any fastest. The reason for that is that IMO for XC racing you need somehow to have the response of a hardtail most of the time. Easy answer would be to say : hey just ride a hardtail and sh**-up, but no because rear suspension can make you faster in some parts where you can't pedal with a hardtail anymore, this is where you want the suspension to work. So I guess I'm either back to an Epic or another one that works as close as possible to the Azure but lighter and with an "on the fly" adjustable shock :confused:

What do you guys think ?
What about trying a RP23 on the Azure ?

And please, even though we are on the IH forum, don't hate me for sharing my experience even though it doesn't say that the bike is perfect like I know everybody here like to read... :yesnod:
 

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I have a much different experience. I find it rides like a soft tail (near hardtail like) most of the time. When I hit the rough it sucks it up. More performance oriented than trail erasing.
With the Minute up front I feel like I'm on a fully rigid bike on the smooth stuff.
I am closer to 190, but I am riding much faster on this bike. It really suits my hard charging xc style.
I never feel like it is robbing me of power.

Google "ashwinearl" and look on his blog. He has very good info for dialing this bike in.
He is a similar build as you and races expert.
 

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I have to agree with Hamilton - my Azure gives me a hard tail feel

The trails that I ride have several short very steep sections that I like to stand and climb on, and I swear I can't tell a differenct between my hard tail and my Azure....therefore I don't ride my hard tail

I did have a '04 Holllowpoint that took me a while to get the shock dialed in - I suspect that's your problem.
 

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how do you pedal when out of the saddle? if you're using your upper body to counteract your downstroke (working the handlebar in a sprint), I've found that there's literally zero bob. if you're just trying to use your legs in an exaggerated up/down motion, then you'll feel the bob. it's not really about spinning tight little circles, it's more complicated than that. how much sag were you getting with 90psi, and how much with 130? you want to be at no less than 20-25%... hope this helps, and let us know how it goes. :)
 

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dante said:
how do you pedal when out of the saddle? if you're using your upper body to counteract your downstroke (working the handlebar in a sprint), I've found that there's literally zero bob. if you're just trying to use your legs in an exaggerated up/down motion, then you'll feel the bob. it's not really about spinning tight little circles, it's more complicated than that. how much sag were you getting with 90psi, and how much with 130? you want to be at no less than 20-25%... hope this helps, and let us know how it goes. :)
I am your same height 5'8" and 160 lbs. My experiences match Dante's. If you are pulling back on the bars there is not much bob. My initial problem with the bike was pinch flats on the back from blasting through rock gardens. It has rained since the tubeless conversion.

XC marathon is a good name because the suspension is not light and most XC races can be run fastest with a fully rigid <20 lb single speed or 1x9 (with 2.1 inch tires run tubeless at 27 psi.) How many rooted corners are there really?

I run a 34x16 on a single speed but on the full suspension I use all three gears on the triple because chain angle matters. If I recall the smaller rings work better from a bob perspective?

I think D-W can be executed at XC race weight, but there are missing links in the promotion and distribution channel that make the financial return for doing that ambiguous.
 

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Another point to consider here is that are you really experiencing "bob" in the sense that you are losing efficiency because of suspension movement or are you seeing/feeling suspension tracking the terrain and moving in response to bumps & movements.

Coming from a hardtail or a "suspension" design that will lockout while standing you will obviously feel more suspension movement. dw-link is not claiming the be any sort of lockout, nor does it want to be. It is an efficient, fully active suspension system to provide more traction than other designs in all riding situations.

Over the course of a long ride or race, an efficient suspension bike will have the upper hand by providing more control on decents (off the brakes), into corners (braking later = added speed), in corners (more traction = more exit speed), on technical climbs (better bump absorption & added traction), and added rider comfort (more power left longer into the ride).

Aside from technical decents where it's readily apparent, I have found the single best example of how an active full suspension system is superior for XC use is on tight, rutted corners. Being able to track with speed and not have to be on the brakes is what makes a suspension bike shine. Braking late and slapping corners is fun and fast :) Drifting ain't just for DH'ers!

-ska todd
 

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xc-rider said:
I received a week ago my Azure WC 2007 frameset and I'd like to share my feeling about it as well as have your oppinion.

First of all, out of the box, the frame weight 2830gr for a 17" --> that's including shock, seat post clamp, water bottle bolts and FSA Zero Stack cups that are factory pressed-in.

Building the bike was easy for all the components but the last : bottle cage --> hard to find one that fits and after I found one I discovered I can only use a small bottle (with a big one, bottle - shock interference when the suspension works).

Now, I have about 10 hours on the bike and here are my comments (please note that this is only my oppinion, that I am 5'7" and 135lbs and a racer, and that of course other type of riders my feel different about the bike) :

I first went out with about 90psi in the rear shock which is what I'm supposed to use to get the proper ammount of SAG. Definitely BAD for me, the shock keeps moving all the time even when there is nothing to absorb (but my energy...). Of course the ride is smooth and I must admit there is no bad reaction from pedaling (appart from the bob part) not braking... but I was slow.

After that, many different testing to get to a pressure that I feel comfortable riding : I'm now at 130psi which I know is too much for how the suspension is designed to work but this is the only way for me to feel good on the bike.
Now there is only a slight oscillation when spinning and pretty much nothing anymore with bigger gears. Standing on the pedals, I'm sorry to announce that it still bobs quite a lot which makes me want to seat again... Maybe I'm not very smooth when standing :rolleyes: . Even though there is more pressure in the shock, it still works really great and still is very sensitive to even the smallest bumps.

I really wished there was a RP23 or a shock with a lockout on the bike for the fast sections that always exist on pretty much all the races. I think the bike is fun to ride but definitely not very fast for various conditions. Probably one of the best bike for 100% technical races which unfortunetaly do not exist :madman:
Also, the weight factor doesn't help me wanting to race on this bike... It sucks that the lightest DW frame is the Mojo which is not race oriented at all ( geometry designed for 130mm fork, etc...).

To sum-up, even though I truely believe DW to be one of the smartest guy designing full suspension frames, and I was 100% convinced that this would be the perfect frame (appart from weight), in the end this bike doesn't make me any fastest. The reason for that is that IMO for XC racing you need somehow to have the response of a hardtail most of the time. Easy answer would be to say : hey just ride a hardtail and sh**-up, but no because rear suspension can make you faster in some parts where you can't pedal with a hardtail anymore, this is where you want the suspension to work. So I guess I'm either back to an Epic or another one that works as close as possible to the Azure but lighter and with an "on the fly" adjustable shock :confused:

What do you guys think ?
What about trying a RP23 on the Azure ?

And please, even though we are on the IH forum, don't hate me for sharing my experience even though it doesn't say that the bike is perfect like I know everybody here like to read... :yesnod:
Let's start from the beginning and get the environment str8.

Azure world cup,
What shock: The 5th Element?

What preressures did you start wih in the IFP chamber and in the main chamber.
What was sag at those settings, and describe rebound

Now what a variables did you change and by what magniude. And dif you go back and checkthe other things.

It's a roundabout procees. Rebounds affects sag. so you have to now check your main pressure and on an on....Rebound is the one thing tha really susprisedme how much it affected the ride.

It takes about 1-2months before you think you got it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Big thanks to all of you for your answers,

To clear things up :
- since the frame kit is a 2007 it came with a Fox R rear shock.
- I'm now at 130psi with a rebound adusted 2 clicks in from "FAST rebound".
- I started at 90psi, then 110, then 130, then 140 (only +10 there because I felt I was close at 130) and finally back to 130psi now.
- Weight of the bike now is 11.4kg (25.33 lbs), will go down a little under 11kg if I decide to race it, here is a picture :



@ Ashwinearl,
Interesting comment about the rebound, I guess I need to give it more focus now.

@ Ashwinearl and Dante,
I need to check all the Sags again at different pressures and let you know the results, I'll try and do it today.

@ Clark,
I'd probably have a hard time telling you if the granny ring is the chainring with less bob as I always ride two chainrings only (29 / 42 with a 11 / 34 cassette).

@ Ska Todd,
Definitely agree the bike will make me faster in the situations you are listing, but on a XC olympic or XC marathon race, this is very little time saving compare to the one I feel I'm losing now with the "overweight" and the power "robbed" feeling. Again, maybe my pedaling style isn't good for that kind of suspension system... but what I'm sure of is that when I'm standing on the pedal there is about half the travel used at each pedal stroke !!!
 

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xc-rider said:
Definitely agree the bike will make me faster in the situations you are listing, but on a XC olympic or XC marathon race, this is very little time saving compare to the one I feel I'm losing now with the "overweight" and the power "robbed" feeling. Again, maybe my pedaling style isn't good for that kind of suspension system... but what I'm sure of is that when I'm standing on the pedal there is about half the travel used at each pedal stroke !!!
Pedaling style can certainly affect suspension bike feel (more noticeable than a hardtail or a road bike). If you haven't spent a lot of time on an active suspension system there is a little learning curve to adapt (like going from v's to discs). I have learned to pedal in smooth, compact circles over the years. Some of it comes from racing cross BITD and some from racing DH where you need short quick bursts but also want to be smooth and efficient. A great way to get smooth is rollers and track bikes. They both force the smooth and it becomes muscle memory.

The Azure is not really intended as an XCO race bike. Those short, smooth courses are still the realm of hardtails and waif style suspension bikes. The Azure is not designed as a throw-away frame that you'll only get a 1/2 season from. It has Enduro Max bearings all around, a little beefier tubing, and no rider weight limits. This combined with an efficient, fully active suspension system makes the dw-link a great marathon style race bike. Light enough but strong enough to get you through that 24 hr event or 50+ mile race.

Perceived disadvantages of "weight" and "bob" are mainly head games until you spend some time on the bike. Unless you spend time on a suspension bike you won't know where you can press it to make up time over the hardtail.

Certainly it allows you to charge downhill sections but also spend time noticing corner entry speeds and where the limits of adhesion are. You can enter/exit corners way hotter on a full suspension bike than a hardtail. Bikes like the Azure, which is neutral under braking, allow you even more control as the braking will not interfere with suspension performance.

Also watch for the straight line options and "ninja lines" that you wouldn't have hazarded a pass at with the hardtail. A little bit o'travel will inspire confidence and surely get you in over your head if you let it. Pump the the terrain too to gain little speed on the backside. I've noticed "pumping" a suspension bike feels more natural than on a hardtail.

-ska todd
 

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I'd definitely do what Ashwinearl says and slow the rebound down. This little adjustment made such a difference. No platform and no bob at any sag. (while sitting.) The bike felt smoother in the rough bits, too. You compromise a little stutter-bump performance, but that's true of any design.

I think you'll have a hard time finding a fully-suspended bike that doesn't bob while standing without the aid of a platform or lockout. For XC and shorter marathon races, I'll use some platform in the 5th Element, or ride the hardtail. The shock is very tuneable, and no fiddling with or forgetting about lockout levers. Too bad they're not made anymore. You can find them on eBay, but your taking your chances. At this point, Progressive and
others
are still servicing them, but who knows how long that will last.
 

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ska todd said:
Perceived disadvantages of "weight"...
Just try and dissuade me from believing that even the loss of a pound will have an appreciable benefit over 142 miles. Especially when I'm not lugging it, in some delirious state, lost and sobbing, up every hill looking for the Slickrock trailhead come May 19th.

That, of course, doesn't mean I won't be pushing, er, riding my Azure then.
 

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My experience...

I rode my buddy's MK III and I noticed out of saddle climbing and acceleration did not feel as good as a Blur. I have to clarify that statement. In the saddle and out of the saddle pedaling did not transition as well as the VPP I rode. In the saddle performance was excellent. I spend more time in this position. If I was a racer, I would go with the VPP(Spyder FRO). My buddy, who is used to HT performance and feel, loves his Blur. My personal riding style(trail bike in the saddle) favors the DW suspension. Compared to my my Tracer, out of saddle performance was better on the Blur, and the Tracer felt about the same as the DW bike(maybe the Tracer had slight edge). That could have been setup though.
 

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ska todd said:
Pedaling style can certainly affect suspension bike feel (more noticeable than a hardtail or a road bike). If you haven't spent a lot of time on an active suspension system there is a little learning curve to adapt (like going from v's to discs). I have learned to pedal in smooth, compact circles over the years. Some of it comes from racing cross BITD and some from racing DH where you need short quick bursts but also want to be smooth and efficient. A great way to get smooth is rollers and track bikes. They both force the smooth and it becomes muscle memory.

The Azure is not really intended as an XCO race bike. Those short, smooth courses are still the realm of hardtails and waif style suspension bikes. The Azure is not designed as a throw-away frame that you'll only get a 1/2 season from. It has Enduro Max bearings all around, a little beefier tubing, and no rider weight limits. This combined with an efficient, fully active suspension system makes the dw-link a great marathon style race bike. Light enough but strong enough to get you through that 24 hr event or 50+ mile race.

Perceived disadvantages of "weight" and "bob" are mainly head games until you spend some time on the bike. Unless you spend time on a suspension bike you won't know where you can press it to make up time over the hardtail.

Certainly it allows you to charge downhill sections but also spend time noticing corner entry speeds and where the limits of adhesion are. You can enter/exit corners way hotter on a full suspension bike than a hardtail. Bikes like the Azure, which is neutral under braking, allow you even more control as the braking will not interfere with suspension performance.

Also watch for the straight line options and "ninja lines" that you wouldn't have hazarded a pass at with the hardtail. A little bit o'travel will inspire confidence and surely get you in over your head if you let it. Pump the the terrain too to gain little speed on the backside. I've noticed "pumping" a suspension bike feels more natural than on a hardtail.

-ska todd
Thanks for the details of where to find speed.

All the no weight limit stuff might be hurting IH and its customers in theAzure 17" and below sizes. Commencal says they adjust tubing proportionally at the smaller sizes. If you made the 17" with a weight limit of 170 lbs and the 15" with a weight limit of 150 lbs how many customers would you leave out? The MKIII is still there for heavier folks seeking comfort.

I think the product line is broad enough now to hammer the weight issue on those XC racer sized frames without losing customers.
 

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xc-rider said:
Big thanks to all of you for your answers,

To clear things up :
- since the frame kit is a 2007 it came with a Fox R rear shock.
- I'm now at 130psi with a rebound adusted 2 clicks in from "FAST rebound".
- I started at 90psi, then 110, then 130, then 140 (only +10 there because I felt I was close at 130) and finally back to 130psi now.
- Weight of the bike now is 11.4kg (25.33 lbs), will go down a little under 11kg if I decide to race it
Definitely spend more time on the rebound. I too started around 2clicks from fast with my 2004 HP. I've since gone much more slower after reading some of DW's comments regarding rebound.-->"Stand on the pedals, bounce down. The bike should come back up but NOT go back down again"

I kept turning the rebound up (slower). I was amazed at what this did to pedaling efficiency. It then took several hours of small adjustments to get it dialed on the trail. It take take me a while to get used to how the bike rode with slower rebound. But after I adapted my body movements I liked it.

Also after changes are made to rebound, it's a good idea to go back and check your main air pressure and sag. Each change in a variable seems to affect the other settings. See this post, hopefully it will help:
https://ashwinearl.blogspot.com/2006/11/azure-suspension-setup-tips.html

The debate over platform on DW links is big. And I honestly do not have experience on any non-platform shocks on my HP or Azure. I've only used a Swinger 3way, Manitou Radium R, and 5th Element.

But for XC racing/riding I do like how the Swinger and 5th Element feel with just a tad more than the minimum platform setting. For some smoother courses I might turn up the platform.

I'm a weight weenie for sure. But more for fun. I'm starting to not believe too much of the hype of weight. (Though I will continue to lobby IH for a lighter weight Azure!!)

A 25.3lb FS is pretty good. My opinion right now is that if the course favors a really lightweight bike than it probably isn't the best course for an Azure anyway. It's probably a course for a hardtail.

The Azure is my weapon of choice for 'aggressive XC'. Rocky rooty, steep-technical climbs.


If there is lots of long (smoother) climbing, fire roading (w/o a lot of stutter bumps), smoother twisty single track.. than I think the hardtail is probably the better race rig.


I am not saying that the Azure rides poorly in smoother situations. It's just that it's advantages are minimized in these situations.
 

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xc-rider said:
What about trying a RP23 on the Azure ?
I have an MK with an RP23. I like it but I would hate to make that call. I occasionally use the #1 ProPedal setting on semi-flat smoother stuff. I does seem to add a little more snap there. But I've also noticed temporarily going to the next higher gear (when you normally wouldn't) to build speed will also do about the same. And it's faster than reaching down to change the ProPedal setting.
 

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_hamilton said:
Google "ashwinearl" and look on his blog. He has very good info for dialing this bike in.
He is a similar build as you and races expert.
My Racing expert is similar to having a really expensive car. Anyone can get a car loan but it doesn't mean you're rich.
 

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xc-rider said:
Big thanks to all of you for your answers,



@ Clark,
I'd probably have a hard time telling you if the granny ring is the chainring with less bob as I always ride two chainrings only (29 / 42 with a 11 / 34 cassette).
Nice build...

Pretend the bike is a single pivot and look at where the small ring chainline goes. It goes right at the pivot. Single pivot bikes are 75% defined by the location of the pivot with respect to the rings - or the direction the chain pulls on the rear axle with respect to the rings. If the chain passes below the pivot, chain tension fights bob. If the chain passes above the pivot chain tension causes bob.

This bike is designed to work with 22-32-42/44. Every time I build a bike it seems like the crank I choose is a 26-36-48/bash. Then I lilve on the middle ring - which is in the middle of the 2 rings you use. For this bike out of respect for the experience and the designer, I run a standard XC triple.

To give the bike a chance, the chainrings need to be standard issue.
 

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xc-rider said:
Big thanks to all of you for your answers,

To clear things up :
- since the frame kit is a 2007 it came with a Fox R rear shock.
- I'm now at 130psi with a rebound adusted 2 clicks in from "FAST
OK, from reading your post, one thing is immerdiately apparent. You are using WAY TOO LITTLE REBOUND DAMPING.

You want to set your rebound so that your bike only rebounds upwards once and settles back to its sag point. This is going to make a massive difference in how your bike rides and it is most likely the cause of your suspension problem. dw-link is good, but its not good enought to eliminate the need for damping! :)
 

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I received my 2006 Azure Expert last Friday. Unfortunately I have nothing to report because it hasn't been warmer than 15F here in Michigan since then, and I'm too much of a wimp to ride in that weather.........

It's all set up and ready to rock though. My only complaint is the anodized finish flaked off the frame around the bolts when I tightened down the rear brakes. What's that all about? It's a mountain bike I know, but I'd like to be able to crash and chip up the frame on my own! Other than that the bike looks really sweet.
 
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