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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
they've got to be losing marketshare, right? their mantra is "innovate or die", but outside of their advancements in carbon tuning, their suspension program has remained relatively flat.

factors:

1) FSR/Horst-link has proliferated across the market. you now have Martin Maes on a second- or third- tier brand winning EWS using four-bar Horst link. It's now literally a commodity.

2) people are demanding greater efficiency at the trail-bike level and either intentionally or otherwise, the Stumpjumper features nearly the lowest anti-squat levels on the market. this wouldn't matter except that there are more efficient bikes out there that by all accounts still capture the fun factor that SJ has always been known for.

3) from an Image perspective, once you're out, you're out - look at how LITTLE attention Jamis has gotten with their new 3VO/Speedgoat suspension. Within reason, this is one of the more radical designs to come to market in the last several years (you have to wonder if Chris Currie approached Specialized and they turned him down), but noone seems to care. I feel like if it was released under the S badge with all their fanfare and marketing muscle it'd be being hailed as a game changer right now (or pick any other avant garde design like Canfield). point is, once you're no longer considered an innovator and a player in a given market, it's hard to get back in. swoopy frame design can only take you so far with trail bikes IMHO.

4) we've heard Aaron Gwinn on more than one occasion recently rave about the fact his racing program isn't funded by an "ex-triathlete" marketing manager. Specialized's racing presence, IMHO, seems to have waned significantly in recent years (Aaron, Kate Courtney, etc.)


thoughts? flame away if you want to.
 

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Spec makes nice bikes IMO. The best bike ive had in a long time is a Horst link with probably the lowest AS numbers of any bike out there. (Not Spec) It climbs our punchy, rugged tech like no other bike I've had. Pedals through slick rooty, rocky boulder fields like nothing else. Unfortunately seems like the last batch of Spec bikes had something funky done to its suspension feel as many of the reviews suggest it's not as ground hugging as you'd expect an FSR to be. Horst link suspension can be dialed to give a lot of as off the top if that's want the designer wants. But it does fall off as you go thoug travel. With a proper damper I don't think that's much of an issue.

A few years ago I had a Stumpy and that suspension felt great, especially on the downs and chunk. I'm cool with a climb switch. I sold it to a frond who continued to ride it fo a lot fo years. It held up great. Pivots and all. Someone just recently stole it off him.

The Swat box is a really cool feature. I just couldn't seem to find one of their frames for sale through a shop that wanted to work with me on price. I spend too much cash on bikes but I won't pay retail.

Anyway, to each their own.
 

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They can tune the Horst Link design to be as progressive or regressive as they want. As an example the Evo is way more progressive than the standard SJ. Having ridden a lot of bikes/suspension designs over the years, they are all converging to similar numbers/curves based on use case.

People should pay less attention to the marketing label and really look at the curves and then demo. Two riders may have very different opinions on the same design/setup.
 

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Two riders may have very different opinions on the same design/setup.
This. What I think Spesh does extremely well, is to make bikes that make wannabes like me look good :D

For me, the FSR works mostly fine. I've had several Stumpys, Epics, Enduro, Cambers - but they do have a tendency to bog down/hook at really slow speeds. My local trails are very much tech/gnar natural singletrack with plenty roots and elevation changes. This suits the short-travel FSRs best.

On my '19 Stumpy Comp Carbon LT, I just swapped from the standard 140mm shock to a ST Fox Factory 120mm, and the difference for this type of riding is huge. It rolls over and keeps momentum so much better, not forgetting much improved plushness.

I'm not a super fan of going too far in modern geo (long/slack). Comparing my '19 Stumpy to my '17, the old one is easier on the legs around here. Point it downwards though, and the new is so much better. But I do all my own climbs.... :)
 

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I don't think it's that the specializeds offer low AS levels necessarily, it's that they have a falling-curve that assumes a "static" view, that you stay at the sag point all the time. In the real world, as your suspension cycles, you put more weight on the rear, lean back, heavier camelback, climb, etc., this doesn't happen and when the suspension gets to the point where there's significantly less AS, like mid-travel, it gets into somewhat of a feedback loop where further efforts to pedal further compress the suspension where there is even less AS, the front end raises up and it feels like pedaling a wet mattress. The Epic addresses this with it's far flatter AS curve and most of the modern bikes these days, whether they be multi or single pivot, seem to take the idea of around 100% AS to somewhere like 1/2 to 2/3rds of the travel, so that the pedaling is consistent no matter the pitch, bumps, weight, etc. It's not impossible to do this with a horst link either, but movement in this direction from horst link manufacturers has been very slow. They always bring up the braking thing, as if you don't want some squat out of the rear end when braking, since the front end squats, you need some squat to not pitch the front end too far forward down steep chutes, and to help the bike settle in tight turns, obviously too much is bad and makes suspension harsh, but "fully independent" makes the rear end rise up, which is also not good. IMO, Specialized has invested way too much marketing hype into the FSR to give it up completely any time soon. If anything, we may see a phased move away. The other negative is any pivot in between the rear axle and main pivot induces flex, which is generally a bad thing. A single pivot linkage bike or split pivot is mechanically a better system as far as that is concerned, and analysis of forces shoes that you don't give up anything with the right pivot placement, in fact as I described above, you can do a lot better much of the time.
 

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Low AS equals low feedback. The bikes have very independent suspension compared to many on the market. If you don't like it piss off and ride one of the many bikes that has far more interference between what the back wheel is doing and your feet. Do a run chain on/chain off run on a Stumpy and do the same with many other higher AS designs. Then you'll easily see how much the drive train is affecting the suspension.

To say the design is dated etc just makes you look like a marketing sucker. Go watch the replay of the World Cup last week and anyone can see that, as usual, Loic's (and Finn's) bike looked on a different planet to everyone else's stability wise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Low AS equals low feedback. The bikes have very independent suspension compared to many on the market. If you don't like it piss off and ride one of the many bikes that has far more interference between what the back wheel is doing and your feet. Do a run chain on/chain off run on a Stumpy and do the same with many other higher AS designs. Then you'll easily see how much the drive train is affecting the suspension.

To say the design is dated etc just makes you look like a marketing sucker. Go watch the replay of the World Cup last week and anyone can see that, as usual, Loic's (and Finn's) bike looked on a different planet to everyone else's stability wise.
- i didn't say dated, i said commoditized. the big brands have to have USPs to remain viable. hence all the weird stuff we've seen on domanes, roubaixs, and diverges over the years, and all cannondales offset and lefty stuff.

-i clearly understand AS generally has a negative effect on suspension activity. the focus of this post was the Trail rider riding Trails. where you pedal and stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I don't think it's that the specializeds ...
you made some great points here.

dynamic AS is important to avoid feedback loop

phased move away - i guess you could argue Epic already has. i'd imagine they get their fair share of warranty claims on the carbon chainstays moreso than you'd see with a unified rear triangle.
 

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I will say that specialized’s racing presence is strong in XC, but that’s likely where the FS design matters the least, where fairly hard lockouts are used for a significant portion of the race, including on level ground and the highest end racers are able to deal with the pounding of doing so.
 

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Low AS equals low feedback. The bikes have very independent suspension compared to many on the market. If you don't like it piss off and ride one of the many bikes that has far more interference between what the back wheel is doing and your feet. Do a run chain on/chain off run on a Stumpy and do the same with many other higher AS designs. Then you'll easily see how much the drive train is affecting the suspension.

To say the design is dated etc just makes you look like a marketing sucker. Go watch the replay of the World Cup last week and anyone can see that, as usual, Loic's (and Finn's) bike looked on a different planet to everyone else's stability wise.
Let's be clear, the Spec designs start at around 120% AS, many other designs maintain ~100% throughout a large portion of the travel. Anything significantly above 100% is getting towards "high" AS, but ~100% is not, that's where the AS is only enough to offset the weight shift while pedaling. Older high pivot designs would sometimes approach 200%, this is where you get significant interference absorbing bumps from pedaling. This is largely a thing of he past. Shock tunes and leverage curves have a lot more to do with bump absorption when we are talking in the 80-120% AS range IME.
 

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Let's be clear, the Spec designs start at around 120% AS, many other designs maintain ~100% throughout a large portion of the travel. Anything significantly above 100% is getting towards "high" AS, but ~100% is not, that's where the AS is only enough to offset the weight shift while pedaling. Older high pivot designs would sometimes approach 200%, this is where you get significant interference absorbing bumps from pedaling. This is largely a thing of he past. Shock tunes and leverage curves have a lot more to do with bump absorption when we are talking in the 80-120% AS range IME.
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-60MBesau...d+Stumpjumper+LT+29%27%27+2019_Anti-squat.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Buut they dont run special shocks with heavy lsc damping and lighter mid to high speed. So it just squats under power instead of staying neutral. Xc fs bikes are high as because its more efficient.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Canyon lux: "Fully Efficient. Our advanced kinematics nail the balance between anti-squat and responsiveness for suspension that boosts traction without wasting power."

That plus low sag and remote lockouts.
 

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So what? If a bike with higher AS numbers can't help the most naturally talented cyclist on the planet (possibly ever) beat Nino on a Spark with those low AS numbers then maybe high AS isn't that critical? Maybe when you actually have good pedalling technique that doesn't actuate the suspension, the better small bump and lower fatigue from less pedal feedback is an advantage?

Certainly is for me. And we're talking XC race bikes here. If higher AS doesn't matter here, it doesn't matter anywhere.
 

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So what? If a bike with higher AS numbers can't help the most naturally talented cyclist on the planet (possibly ever) beat Nino on a Spark with those low AS numbers then maybe high AS isn't that critical? Maybe when you actually have good pedalling technique that doesn't actuate the suspension, the better small bump and lower fatigue from less pedal feedback is an advantage?

Certainly is for me. And we're talking XC race bikes here. If higher AS doesn't matter here, it doesn't matter anywhere.
It's not critical for the highest levels of XC racing, because they run with the lockouts on most of the time. The remote levers and systems are pretty advanced these days. Sit and watch the pros come through sections and you'll notice this. I can't take this kind of beating anymore to my body, so I just can't do it, but young fresh pros can, and that small advantage is enough to make a difference at those levels of racing.

That Scott bike is also only about a 10% drop over it's travel, which is a pretty flat profile.

The greater the travel and the further you remove yourself from XC pros, the more important the suspension and pedaling characteristics become.

The issue is that no matter how fun descending is, you only spend a fraction of time doing it in a race compared to everything else, slight gains over time on climbs are huge in a race, running a lockout is even more efficient.
 
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