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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Having spent the last 15 years riding full suspension bikes, I have very clear ideas of what I want my bike to do. During the last 3-4 years my 05 HL Spots original RP3 was replaced by a DHX Air and then by a CCDB, and the original 5.3 rockers were replaced by 5.5's. The forks went from 125mm air to 140mm coil, and the rims got wider and tyres (tires) were converted to Stan's and became bigger, and on went the Gravity Dropper, and the weight went up to 31lb.

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I can already see the comments of "you should have brought an RFX", but the majority of my riding would not warrant it, and since I'm 6ft and only 145lb, I don't need the RFX's strength.

Enough of the history, on with the review. The DWL was ordered sight unseen (unridden as well, that's how much I trust DT) at the end of October before the UK price was fixed, for delivery mid November. I finally took delivery during the 3rd week of December. With my old spot being the donor, in theory I only needed a new gear cables, front mech and seatpost, to complete the build. However, my old brakes are Hope M4 Mono with IS mounts, which will of course not mount on the new rear post mount. My temporary solution is to use a Hope IS to Post +20 mount, and a bigger rear disc. This is not perfect, because the adapter is designed for a fork, but it does the job, until my ordered Formula brakes turn up.

I have yet to transfer the Gravity Dropper (I don't like shims), and with a new adjustable post appearing every month, I am waiting to see what comes out next. My favourite one so far is a prototype from Syntace due in 2009, that was seen at Eurobike. This is a 200mm infinite position hydraulic post, with a hydraulically connected handlebar remote. Weight is estimated at 560gm, and sizes will be 30.9, 21.6 and 34.9. I particularly like the neat connection at the base of the post.

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The build was straight forward, with the only real decision being the front mech cable routing. The various pictures of DWL spots all appear to have different routing for the front mech cable, some involving zip ties, but I decided to go with the method below.

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The gear cables are from Goodridge and are quite stiff which allows it to sit nicely between the top tube and shock mount welds.

The details of the CCDB mounting can be seen here: http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=478896

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These are my impressions of the ride:

1. With the sag set to around 34%, I found the small bump response harsh, taking off one turn of preload transformed the small bump ride feel. Initial shake down rides on the RP23, suggest that this is more of a CCDB issue, than the frame.

2. Snap acceleration/sprinting is much better than the HL Spot, I assume this is due to the anti squat design of the DW frame. With the HL frame, unless there was low speed damping dialled in, there was a slight mush when making rapid speed changes.

3. The front end is much easier to lift, this again I assume that this is tied in with the anti squat feature of the DW link, since it is still apparent even with the CCDB set wide open.

4. There is a complete lack of chain slap. I am using the same chain set, medium cage rear mech and chain length, which I used on the HL Spot, but there is no noise, and it appears no need for a chain stay protector.

5. Rear end grip has improved. I am using the same Maxxis High Roller 2.35 tyre on the rear that was on the HL Spot. I don't know if it is the stiffer rear triangle, or the improved suspension action, but it was definitely gripping and tracking better.

6. The CCDB, Fox Vanilla and frame match each other well. I like to set my suspension so that when you push down on the middle of the top tube, the suspension moves the same amount at each end.

7. Rear end mud collection. The HL Spot only tended to collect mud on the CNC'd chain stay C shaped bridge section. However, the new rear end CNC'd sloping section and the revised cable/hose runs combine to collect far more mud than the old design.

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On the plus side the new 'hollow' seat stay bridge does seem to shed mud better than the old solid design, and even with 2.35 High Roller there is still mud room.

The Bottom Line

In terms of general handling, there is still very much a combined feeling of solidity and agility, that I experienced with the HL Spot, and has easily the best rear suspension performance of any bike I have ridden. On my limited rides so far, the CCDB seems transformed compared to its performance on the HL Spot. Seeing as the leverage ratio is the same on both bikes (2.8), either I have miraculously hit the CCDB's sweet spot after 18 months of fettling, or it's the DW Link that is making the difference.

The biggest difference has been the handling of 'pot hole' type terrain. On the HL Spot, I would often get a spike through the suspension has the rear end dropped into the hole and then hit the other side of the hole. This requires the shock/suspension to go from full rebound to full compression. I could never tune this out, so it may have been the HL rear end 'hanging' up on the back side of the pot hole. Positive bumps were always handled well. With the DWL rear exactly the same pot hole and bumps (I rode the same route on purpose the week before on the HL Spot) are handled with a smoothly absorbed plush action, and there is no sign of spiking, or hooking up on bumps.

Had the DW Link bikes not been released, would I have been happily riding my HL Spot? The answer is yes. However, having now ridden the DW Spot, I have to say that it is a better bike. Is it worth the cost to change from one of the best ever trail bikes, to the DW Spot? I have to say yes again.
 

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Interesting! I wonder if I can fit a chubby on the sultan :D

I totally concur on the better tracking comment. The 3 biggest characteristics I have noticed (aside from the more solid pedaller of the dw link) are:

1.STIFFNESS! Wow...this bike is so much better in the turns because of it!
2.BETTER SBC. I can't say whether the lower rate (longer stroke shock) is making the difference here, as the 1.5" stroke on sultan 1.0 is shorter than ideal to deliver any relative "plush" feel to someone over 185lbs.
3.STAYS GLUED The ability of this bike to stay planted over the rough chop, particularly in corners (where I notice it most), is just giggle inducing!

NOTE: The stock shock on this bike feels as good as a PUSH tuned fox on anything I have ridden. I can't wait to try a custom tuned shock!
 

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Boooutiful!

Thats a beautiful bike mate! Is the shock the same i2i for the HL and DW? If so your lucky...I have a CCDB on a 07 Sultan but I get the impression that the DW Sultan has a longer shock i2i...... Damn! JNC can you confirm this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
kidsuma said:
Thats a beautiful bike mate! Is the shock the same i2i for the HL and DW? If so your lucky...I have a CCDB on a 07 Sultan but I get the impression that the DW Sultan has a longer shock i2i...... Damn! JNC can you confirm this?
Both the i2i and mounting hardware is the same for the 05 HL and 09 DW on the Spot.
 

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trail fairy
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decender I can already see the comments of "you should have brought an RFX", but the majority of my riding would not warrant it, and since I'm 6ft and only 145lb, I don't need the RFX's strength.
I for one have been looking fwd to someone doing this and congrat you for doing it, for once with the dwl vs the HL/TNT model its a good option the Spot is and has always been very versatile!

With no dwl RFX and anti squat which you have reaffirmed even more it even more positive would have liked to have seen ya on a bigger fork though TA pike coil or Lyrik even a Talas 09 even lol, maybe the rig will upgrade you!

Re the mud yes the older Spots and RFX's were and are best ive seen in clearance even compared to 07s and 08s that will be missed there is a fix that may help though!

With the dwl bridge's from the seat stays down to the chain stays you can run a plastic guard or carbon if you want to go fancy or even cut a tube the length, zip tie top to bottom and it will be like a rear mud guard and prevent most of the mud getting on your linkage and you arse!

Fixed!

Sort of like this maybe work something like it into your I know the dwl spot is different but sure it can be done!

Maybe a v2 rear will be something DT will incorporate, might add into the Focus group discuss, it was a nice idea IH made the cross not for strength but for a production guard that never saw light another thing they didn't follow through on, sort see why dw went different trails, same with SSO so many cool idea's never made prod!

Rest sounds pretty promising, so much so if I could I think I'd get another Spot instead of a Sultan right now, nice reviews awesome to see a coil on a Spot again, nice cable routing, props :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Bigger Fork

My initial plan was to carry out the frame transplant, but an attack of UGI is always an option :)

The main issue that I have at the moment is that both my wheelsets are built on Chris King hubs. These can of course be converted to 15QR using either the CK adapter (if they ever release it), or the BETD conversion kit. This would give me the option of runing the 09 Fox Talas 32 150, which is getting very good reviews, or maybe even the DT Swiss ETA 150.

Other than these options, I am looking at new 20mm hubs and front wheel rebuilds, which would open up a whole new world of big forks. If I follow this path, I would probably lean towards the Fox Talas 36 160, which is only 3/4 pound heavier than the Talas 32, and again has very good reviews. I have seen a couple of DW Spot builds on this forum with this fork already.
 

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trail fairy
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Good call on the 160 I like the look of it on the dwls myself something I was not a fan of on the HLs or TNTs but the dwls screamed out moar HA slackening to me because Ive ridden a few I knew what to expect of dwl etc. and its been beefed for it, and ya right they look right!

If y went 15mm Fox with a CCDB that would be it :madman: :nono: lock n load :D

Keep ya CKs and build ya self a 26er HT AM On One 456 for kicks n giggles:thumbsup:
 

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Great looking bike, Decender. It is good to see the CCDB fitting in there nicely as well - hope it fits a medium frame okay too (that's a large, right?).

That mudflap fix looks a winner was well.

I'd agree with TA's comment - I've just ordered a 456 to complement the 5pack - sweet :)
 

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Try very little low speed compression damping on the CCDB.

Whenever something goes from theory to reality, there are always little adjustments that have to be made, and if I recall correctly, it took awhile for Ibis, etc. to figure out just how little compression damping made for an optimum ride with a DW link rear sus. Seems like Turner might have had early challenges getting Fox to make a shock with light enough compression damping, too, if memory serves correctly.

Great looking ride!
 

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trail fairy
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swan lee said:
Great looking bike, Decender. It is good to see the CCDB fitting in there nicely as well - hope it fits a medium frame okay too (that's a large, right?).

That mudflap fix looks a winner was well.

I'd agree with TA's comment - I've just ordered a 456 to complement the 5pack - sweet :)
Hey Swan

did you get the 456 or the 456 Summer the Summer looks a beasty with its 66.6 deg HA
Any picc's how about a show us you Homy HT post huh huh?:D
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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kosmo said:
Try very little low speed compression damping on the CCDB.
Yep, you can't just bolt on a shock on a DW link bike and expect it to work well. The OP should try much ligher compression damping settings, even high speed. Maybe try and get some info from the Iron Horse board with people that upgraded to CCDBs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Jayem said:
Yep, you can't just bolt on a shock on a DW link bike and expect it to work well. The OP should try much ligher compression damping settings, even high speed. Maybe try and get some info from the Iron Horse board with people that upgraded to CCDBs.
The strange thing is I initially only fitted the CCDB after seeing the post about fitting coil shocks to the DW Spot. I too expected it to give poor performance after reading about compression issues with Iron Horse and Ibis DW designs.

However, as mentioned above, apart from the initial small bump harshness that I removed with reduced pre-load, the performance has been stunning.

I was never entirely happy with the CCDB on the HL Spot, and even after contacting Macolm at Cane Creek and trying out his personal Five Spot/CCDB settings, I could never dial out the 'pot hole' type spiking.

Current riding conditions of near freezing mud or sub freezing frozen mud, have not encouraged me to make frequent stops to make adjustments. However, if there is still more performance to be found, I will be one of the happiest DWL Spot riders around :D
 

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Hey Swan

did you get the 456 or the 456 Summer the Summer looks a beasty with its 66.6 deg HA
Any picc's how about a show us you Homy HT post huh huh?
TA - because I'm a flash git i got the ti 456. it's not arrived yet, but will do pics in due course...when i do the ones of the Pack i guess (might as well show the stable off!)

Decender - I don't blame you re not stopping to faff with the shock in the current weather ...it was -7C down here in devon when i let the dog out this morning :eek:
do you have the HL 5spot settings canecreek recommended for you still? i'm in the process of building an HL 5pack, and some starting points would be really helpful if you have them :thumbsup:
 

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Have fun playing with the tune on the DB! I'd start by going a couple clicks lighter on low speed compression and rebound, and a click or two stiffer on high speed compression. High speed rebound should be fine as-is (it's tuned to spring rate).

Here is why:

With your HL-Spot, the shock is doing double duty, it needs to offset the effects of mass transfer when you accelerate, and at the same time, mitigate impacts from bumps. A lot of times there is overlap between the two, and the shock is not intelligent enough to now the difference. It treats low speed bumps and low speed pedaling forces the same.

The dw-link's position sensitive anti squat eliminates that compromise by handling all acceleration related forces in the suspension. This leaves the shock to deal only with bump absorption. Because of this, you can open up your low speed compression circuits in the shock. This gives more suspension compliance, especially on low speed hits.

The dw-spot uses a progressive to linear leverage rate through it's travel, compared with the HL-spot's straight progressive rate. (you will find that most walking beam HL or Faux bar bikes use a straight progressive rate, as it's nearly impossible to do anything significantly different with that layout) This leverage rate change allows the suspension to be more compliant early travel, yet operate at a higher shaft velocity on the big hits mid/late travel. The slower shaft speed in the early travel will respond well to lower settings for low speed rebound.

At the end of the travel, you can use some additional high speed damping, not much though. You know you've added too much if you can feel it spike before bottom out.

Have fun, and remember, only make ONE change at a time!
 

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Sick build and great review. Your HL spot was pretty sick already, but I like the iron glimmer scheme on the new spots....

DT and DW really out did themselves. I'm very curious to see the 2010 RFX.
 
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