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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Obtainium is now offering bearings integrated into their spring mounting hardware. High-end motorsports teams use hydraulic perches to allow springs to naturally pitch and rotate during compression cycles allowing for smoother, more predictable suspension performance. As a disclaimer, I'm a chemical engineer by trade so I am no suspension expert however the concept intrigued me.

Before I went home last evening, I raided the maintenance shop at work to "borrow" a needle-roller thrust bearing assembly in order to simulate Obtainium's idea. A 35 mm id and 52 mm od (straight from McMaster-Carr I believe) is a perfect fit for the Obtainium Fox DHX spacers. The thrust bearing assembly fits between the shock preload ring and the Obtainium spacer.

Cycling through the suspension immediately has a different feel with the bearings in place. I know... "different" doesn't always equate to better. The spring "floats" freely with the bearing assembly added to the shock interface. Even under my weight at the proper sag height, the spring rotates easily by hand. As the suspension cycles during riding, the spring end is now free to rotate. How this all translates into trail performance... only saddle time will tell.

At the very least, adding bearings to improve spring performance is an interesting concept that warrants further attention on my part. Most likely over-thought and over-engineered but the engineer in me enjoys this part of the ride. To be continued...

Jim

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Yes, very interesting. I had thought about what sort of torque was going on at that (or both the top and bottom interfaces of the spring) interface, and I'm by no way an engineer. Obviously(?) this would work in a similar fashion on a CCDB.

Will be following this thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The Obtainium design is enclosed, minimizing the potential grit issues. Check out their website for details. My add-on was just a simple machine shop freebie experiment. You're right... a simple boot is all that that is needed.

Timing was a little off on this experiment. I only had one short ride on the DT before heading East with the wife and kids to PA to vacation with my parents and sisters. Spent yesterday dodging Amish buggies on the way to Gettysburg.

When I return to SoCal on July 25th, I'll post more info. We were originally scheduled to fly out of Newark early morning on Saturday but our flight was changed to 6 PM. That's enough free time in North Jersey to head to Diablo for a few hours of lift assisted fun.

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Much ado about nothing... at least for me

First off… Diablo Freeride Park was a blast. Not much vertical but a high speed lift ensured multiple runs down a variety of well-built, natural trails and man-made features that will challenge the best of riders. When I ended the day and turned in the rental bike, my forearms were pumped and I was smilin' ear-to-ear. Those east coast rocks just wore me out. If travel takes you to North Jersey… only an hour from NYC or the Newark airport… make sure to include Diablo in your plans.

Since returning home, I completed two longer, more technical rides with the spring bearings in place. For those of you in the LA area… out and back on the Backbone from the tunnel on Kanan and the Chumash/Hummingbird Loop in Simi. I first reported that the DT with the spring bearings had a noticeably different feel to the suspension after an easy shakedown ride. Once I got into the flow of more serious technical riding, I didn't notice any difference in the DT suspension handling characteristics on the trails… realistically tough to improve on near perfection. Bottom line for me… "much ado about nothing" especially given my mountain biking skill sets. If you're a racer looking to further fine tune the suspension in order to shave a few seconds take a look but in my opinion for the average riders among us, the suspension add-on is not worth the time or the dollars. For now, I will continue to ride with the bearings in place. Maybe the true evaluation will be when I remove the bearings to see if I again notice a change in suspension performance.

FYI - when I returned home from my after-work ride in Simi last evening, I Googled "Obtainium bearings". I found two other forum threads that had additional info and posters who seemingly were more impressed with the improved suspension with the actual Obtainium Performance Adapters . Any degree of improvement to suspension performance will be bike, suspension design, leverage ratio, etc. dependant as well. Check out the other threads…

http://www.ridemonkey.com/forums/showthread.php?t=219863

http://www.southerndownhill.com/forum/index.php/topic,201308.0.html
 

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In my opinion, you are much better served regularly checking the shock mounting hardware can rotate, unimpeded, inside the eyelet bushings.
 
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