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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Back in 2017, I decided to have a custom titanium rigid 29+ singlespeed built. After emailing numerous builders, I decided on Funk. They answered my questions quickly and thoroughly, while others either didn't respond, were slow to respond, or just sent a generic reply. Since then, that communication and customer service has not wavered when dealing with minor issues, a race face crank failure, and discussions on a new bike. While their frames can be expensive, I place high value on customer service, and Funk has the best of any company I've ever dealt with.

After a couple thousand enjoyable miles on my rigid bike, I ended up racing it instead of my old full suspension in a Super D. I had no issues in my 3 practice runs, but a mistake in the race resulted in a badly cut knee, chipped knee cap, broken wrist, broken shoulder, chipped elbow, and a severed ulnar nerve. I've mostly recovered but due to nerve damage I've lost a lot of strength and dexterity in my left hand. I can still ride a rigid bike, but for racing unfamiliar trails I decided it would be best to have the extra forgiveness of suspension.

After speaking with Funk about the LA Ruta, and seeing videos they made for me proving their suspension design can be used for singlespeed without a tensioner, I decided to have a bike built.

Their design uses a titanium flex plate and results in around 60mm of travel. This design has no linkages so it essentially requires no maintenance, it's totally silent, and there is minimal change in chain tension so it can be ran singlespeed.

I wanted a bike light and fast enough to be raced in xc and marathons, while also having the geo and strength for fun on rougher trails and small jumps. I also wanted clearance for 29x3" tires after experiencing their speed on my rigid bike. Here are some details I chose to meet all those requirements:

68 degree hta

Slightly longer tt than my rigid bike

Designed around a 120mm fox 34 sc

83mm bb

157 superboost rear spacing

Thicker walled downtube with S bend for extra bottle clearance.

Curved top tube so I have a comfortable place to sit when not riding lol

Additional bottle boss under downtube

35mm inner width rims

Hand brushed finish

Custom blasted graphics

Dual remote lockout for shock and fork

Seat in same position realitive to my other bike.

Reach the same as my other bike.

Total weight with pedals under 24 pounds with either 2.6 or 3.0 tires.

I now have a little over 100 miles on the bike including a 45 mile ride, numerous weekday group rides, and an xc race. Overall I'm extremely happy with the bike, and it's met or exceeded all of my expectations. I wasn't sure how 60mm would ride, but in general it soaks up rocks and roots very well and feels like riding a full suspension rather than a hardtail with some extra cushion. I thought the build might not quite work for racing, but it's proven to be fast while still being lots of fun on downhills.

The bike has been almost flawless as a singlespeed. I found that to keep the drive train silent, I have to run just a little less chain tension than normal, but other than that that there are no issues running singlespeed.

Tuning the suspension has taken a little more time than normal. Due to the flex plate, there is essentially an extra spring in the equation which does have an impact on sag, rebound, and compression.

I've found that I have to run lower pressure than previous bikes. The suspension is extremely smooth but less air is needed due to the flex plate.

Most companies avoid having the main pivot at the bottom bracket due to the suspension compressing under power. This is present on this bike, but with only 60mm of travel it's not a problem. After experimenting I've added more pressure and am not using much sag. When under power it essentially adds a little sag and everything feels as it should. I chose to go with a remote lockout on the rear shock for climbing out of the saddle. With that option the ability to adjust compression is lost. If I could do it over again, I'd consider staying with a normal shock for the ability to tune compression. When climbing out of the saddle with the suspension open, I really don't notice the rear moving nearly as much as I do the fork.

The suspension feels very linear and doesn't seem to ramp much. I don't bottom out all that often, but when I have time I plan to experiment with volume spacers. I currently love how the suspension feels and didn't want to mess things up with volume spacers before a race, but I think they will be needed to get the suspension dialed in.

I'm not sure how to describe it, but on medium sized downhill bumps, this bike seems to get hung up less than previous bikes. It just feels like more speed is maintained.

One of my favorite features is the ability to keep putting power down on rough sections of trails. Since most singlespeeds are hardtails, this is an area I've always felt like I lost time to full suspension bikes.

I also love the silence of the bike. There are no linkages, no moving tensioner or derailleur, and no chain slap. I've experienced this on rigid singlespeeds, but it truly surprised me on this bike.

Overall I'm very happy with the bike. The suspension has it's quirks, but if you're looking for a full suspension singlespeed, this is as good as it gets in my opinion



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Very cool bike, thanks for the review. I still haven't been able to find a full suspension bike I get along with long term, but this could be a contender next time I decide to try!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Very cool bike, thanks for the review. I still haven't been able to find a full suspension bike I get along with long term, but this could be a contender next time I decide to try!
Looking at my bike mileage history, my singlespeeds gets chosen almost every time I go for a ride. Seems like when I do ride a full suspension geared bike, I'm usually wishing I was on a singlespeed.

This is the first full suspension I've ridden that doesn't give me that nagging feeling in the back of my mind where I'm wishing I was on a singlespeed. It's partly due to it being a singlespeed, but the light weight, geometry, quietness, simplicity, efficiency, and ability to fully lock the suspension all contribute to the enjoyment. In addition to all of that, the 2.6 tires, fox 34, and hta make it a blast on the downhills.

I have a 42 mile race in the morning. Will be interesting to compare my post ride fatigue to the races I've done on rigid bikes.

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THAT is a thing of beauty! Glad to see that you're back on the bike (any bike), after that crash. If I recall correctly, that was a brutal thrashing you took.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
THAT is a thing of beauty! Glad to see that you're back on the bike (any bike), after that crash. If I recall correctly, that was a brutal thrashing you took.
Thank you. It was an eye opening experience. That wreck along with some bad health history give me many reasons to be thankful I can still ride, which is the reason for the cross on the top tube.

I'm wearing more protective gear now and riding more cautiously. If you think geared riders don't like being passed by singlespeeds, imagine what it's been like in a race to see a singlespeeder with a full face and elbow and knee pads go by.

Link to wreck
https://forums.mtbr.com/rider-down-...e-story-pictures-warning-graphic-1086610.html
 

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Ti frames are basically bike porn for me, but this would be so much more versatile in a non single pivot design, or whatever this might be called. I do fully get the appeal for SS though. What's the metal fatigue scenario on Ti look like? This would be horrifying with many other materials, Al especially.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ti frames are basically bike porn for me, but this would be so much more versatile in a non single pivot design, or whatever this might be called. I do fully get the appeal for SS though. What's the metal fatigue scenario on Ti look like? This would be horrifying with many other materials, Al especially.
I was told they've never had a failure. The plate just doesn't move enough for fatigue to be a problem.

There are other ti full suspension options but this design works for singlespeed. If I wasn't clear in the original post, I really like how the rear suspension performs.

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That flat Ti plate design has been around for nearly 30 years. It's solid and failures are extremely rare. For a hardtail SS rider, that single pivot (pivotless, actually) is exactly what we need just to take the edge off. It's not about jumps and big travel. It's about smoothing things out a bit.

My URT has a tad over 3" of suspension and I love it. Standing up, it climbs like a hardtail. Seated, it sucks up small-ish bumps very nicely and allows me to ride faster and harder in the chunk, than my hardtail. I'll never win any downhill events, but I'm more of a climber anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
40+ mile race today on a somewhat sandy and rooty trail. The bike was flawless. So nice to be able to keep putting power down when things get rough, and the suspension lets me recover much more on the downhills. Never been so happy with a bike


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Congratulations on your recovery, and on the new bike. Very cool build.

Love my SS, but hard tail isn't as much fun on long rocky descents (braking for comfort feels like a waste of potential energy). No big deal since I'm not racing, but your Funk La Ruta 29+ still has me drooling.

Thanks for the detailed review and photos.
 

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Super sweet, and great writeup.

I've been kicking the idea of a La Ruta around for the past few years. Haven't pulled the trigger, mostly because I'm concerned about how "little" travel there is.

Most of my ride time these days is on a 5" travel 29+ Behemoth.

Since you're one of the few (only?) people that owns and has time on both, care to do a compare/contrast?

I'm coming at this not from the perspective of racing of any sort. Just all day comfort and traction on epic rides in the mountains and across the desert. And geared...

TIA.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I would hate to steer anyone wrong on such an expensive decision, but if you're not hitting big jumps or riding things you wouldn't on a normal 4" bike, I think you'd be happy with the comfort. For normal riding, I really don't notice a huge difference in comfort compared to my previous bikes. 1" " roots are almost non existent. I do think the size of obstacle where you start to feel it is probably a little smaller, but not much.

On faster stuff, I don't feel like I have to hold back at all. The rear balances very well with the 120mm front. As I mentioned above, the bike feels like a full suspension, and not at all like a hardtail or even a fat or plus bike.

After more time on the bike, here are the few things I don't like quite as much as my previous bikes. Don't get the wrong impression though, the things I do like far outweigh the bad.

1. The suspension as I currently have it set doesn't ramp much It's only been an issue when hitting holes or rocks at the bottom of g outs or landing small jumps to flat. It's fine for probably 99% of my riding, but I need to experiment with spacers to get just a little ramp at the end of the stroke. I do think this linear action is what helps the bike ride like it has more travel than it does though.

2. Before I got the right pressure figured out, the bike could squat when trying to power up a very steep obstacle with no speed. I hate when bikes do this and I'm very conscious of it. After adding more pressure it no longer happens. This last race had some very steep punchy climbs that had a lot of people walking, but I had no issues. I wouldn't even mention this about the bike, but from what I've read you do a lot of this type of riding so I want you to be aware it can happen when not running enough shock pressure. I have been able to find a sweet spot where I have enough pressure to prevent squat but not so much that comfort is sacrificed. It's been interesting tuning this. I think after the initial setup at around 75psi, I've gone up 15 psi in 5 psi increments. With each bump in pressure the squat decreased, but I felt almost no difference in comfort or small bump compliance. Also keep in mind I'm talking about a bike with 60mm of travel. This bike compressing a little under power isn't nearly as bad as a bike with twice the travel.

3. When I first got the bike I had trouble maintaining traction on loose climbs (partly due to too much pressure in an unfamiliar tire size.) The initial feeling I got was that under lots of torque at low speed the wheel was being pulled away from the ground rather than driven into it. I think this is just a characteristic of the suspension. As I was tuning the pressure, this issue went away. In general the suspension feels active and will conform to terrain rather than stiffening up. At a race a few weeks ago I was able to clear a steep loose climb that had me walking the last time I raced it on a rigid bike.

I hope all of this doesn't give a negative impression of the bike. I'm not a "fan boy" and have no brand loyalty. If I don't like a bike, I get rid of it (11 retired bikes in strava since 2015). This bike is definitely a keeper though. Now that some of the newness and initial excitement is gone, I find myself content with the bike, which means a lot coming from an engineer who is always analyzing everything and looking for any flaw in how a bike rides

If you buy one or get a chance to test one, don't even bother checking sag. It seems to be meaningless on this bike. Instead just tune by feel.

Edit:
All of my time on this bike is as a singlespeed. I would have to think gears could potentially amplify the characteristics of the suspension, but I'm not sure to what extent.

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I have over 1000 miles on the bike now.

It's the best all around bike I've ever owned and for my riding it never feels out of place for anything I do. I've done numerous xc races, a few marathon races, and even a 70 mile single track ride. It's just the right balance between quick handling, downhill stability, efficiency, and comfort.

My initial issues with the rear shock have been completely resolved with some time spent tuning and adding the largest recommended volume spacer. The bike doesn't bob or compress much at all on climbs now, even if I'm out of the saddle and mashing the pedals. On rough climbs I can just leave the suspension unlocked. I can hit 3' drops without bottoming. It's tuned for racing and efficiency but it's still very comfortable on moderate size rocks and roots.

In the last 1000 miles I just had to do routine suspension maintenance and clean and grease the rear hub. It's basically been trouble free.

The bike is still totally silent too. There isn't a single squeak or creak.

Overall I'm extremely happy with the bike. It's not an enduro bike and I wouldn't recommend it for big jumps, but for a general trail riding and xc racing bike, it's the best I've ever owned.



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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I've recently put the bike on a diet.

My next R cranks failed, and I ended up with a set of next sl.

I loved the ikon tires and in over 1000 miles I never laid the bike over. They are a little slow and heavy though, so I'm testing 2.6 XR2 now.

Last year I had a wheelset on another bike upgraded with Berd spokes and really liked the change. I recently had this bike upgraded with black Berd spokes.

22.55 pounds ready to ride with 35mm rims and 2.6 tires



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