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Ok, so if I'm looking at your suspension correctly (at work, your website won't open so I'm relying on one picture), you have more of a wheel 'envelope' than a wheel path? a sort of 2-d space for the wheel to exist in rather than a 1-d line/curve?
 

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If that was me, I don't ever use pedal ("Climb" in fox speak). It's in Trail all the time. Decend is underdamped.
Yes, I think it was. Sorry, I call the middle setting "pedal". Climb is usually the lockout.

Shock lingo naming aside, you are making my point exactly. Some very smart engineer at Fox, who presumably has been working on shocks for a long time, decided the for pure bump performance, there needed to be a softer compression setting. And he got together with a very experienced PM at Kona and decided that that package of damping, with that range of settings, was best. That you needed a climb (lockout) for extreme cases. That you needed a soft compression mode for the other extreme of pure bump eating, and the middle mode for general use. This implies the middle mode gives up something on the climbs as well as something on the DH.

Whether the DH mode is underdamped or not, I cannot say. I haven't ridden your model of bike and shock. Maybe it isn't for pure bumps, but you just don't like the extra movement while pedaling. Or maybe that combo of damping and settings just doesn't quite work right for the rest of the package. Either case is very likely.
 

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Ok, so if I'm looking at your suspension correctly (at work, your website won't open so I'm relying on one picture), you have more of a wheel 'envelope' than a wheel path? a sort of 2-d space for the wheel to exist in rather than a 1-d line/curve?
No. That was my previous design, the Magic Link. It had an extra degree of movement, but it required the smaller auxiliary shock to control. This does give it some serious advantages in the bump eating ability compared to the Missing Link, which is why you will see a Magic Link equipped Tantrum DH bike in the future.

The Missing Link has a very defined pivot and axle path. It's just that is has an additional input link to determine response to pedaling and bumps.
 

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You might be surprised what some bikes are using and what bike companies are working on.
No, I won't be surprised any time soon.

ok, here's the key, there is NO official "balance" between Spring and Damper. Since springs are position sensitive and damping is velocity sensitive, there actually is always a conundrum between the two. That is to say, they frequently don't want to act well together. One of the keys to damper tuning for performance, is to find that for each unique combination. You might be surprised what appears to be a mismatch can offer significant gains.

But for the shock companies, they're screwed. They are trying to find this balance for the myraid of LR's, progressions, linkages, AS, etc. It is not really possible. Typically, they will offer 3 stages of generic "tune". None of which is optimum for any particular design. And they are very reluctant to do any special tuning for an oe.

I prefer to rely less on compression damping and more on spring rate and rising rate spring rate deep in the travel. Too much damping gives a muddy feel. Yes, you need some, it will cycle ridicolously without enough, but too much causes problems, especially deeper in the travel, where you really need the shock to react quickly.

Most of the available shocks have too much compression damping for optimum bump performance. It is there for one reason. Pedaling. In spite of everyone's magic suspension, this remains the single most sought after aspect, better pedaling with ever increasing travel and bump performance. So the shock companies comply by overdamping the shock to make up fro what the linkages cannot do.

I'm actually using a lower damping package than recommended. Why? Better bump performance and I do not need the extra damping to "calm" the pedaling.
On the rebound side of the shok Speed and Position are related and you can say "they go together", on the compression side it's a bit different but setting up a progressive bike is ten times easier than a regressive one, and they are always going to work a lot better.
 

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Yes, I think it was. Sorry, I call the middle setting "pedal". Climb is usually the lockout.

Shock lingo naming aside, you are making my point exactly. Some very smart engineer at Fox, who presumably has been working on shocks for a long time, decided the for pure bump performance, there needed to be a softer compression setting. And he got together with a very experienced PM at Kona and decided that that package of damping, with that range of settings, was best. That you needed a climb (lockout) for extreme cases. That you needed a soft compression mode for the other extreme of pure bump eating, and the middle mode for general use. This implies the middle mode gives up something on the climbs as well as something on the DH.

Whether the DH mode is underdamped or not, I cannot say. I haven't ridden your model of bike and shock. Maybe it isn't for pure bumps, but you just don't like the extra movement while pedaling. Or maybe that combo of damping and settings just doesn't quite work right for the rest of the package. Either case is very likely.
On every "3 position" OEM shock I've ever ridden, the "descent"/"bump absorbing" setting is a joke. It wallows all over the place and blows through travel. There's no chassis stability and it's poor for DH. The middle setting usually is much more stable, resists g-outs, etc. The only problem is that on most OEM tune shocks, they sacrifice the high-speed damping in this setting. You can fix this with an aftermarket tune, or a few shocks that actually are intended to run in a middle-setting or actually can be set up with decent support without blowing through the travel, but that's sure not the CTD/RC3 and other such shocks. Sometimes this forces us to go back to that "descend" setting due to trying to avoid the high speed spikes, but then we're back to sacrificing chassis stability.

To a large extent, the shock companies have been putting out crap for air shocks for years (in terms of damping). Luckily we can get them tuned by several companies and fix the above issues.
 

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No, I won't be surprised any time soon.
That quote is so wrong on so many levels....it would fill a thread on its own.

I prefer to be surprised every day. An engineering surprise is awesome. It means I managed to step outside my current thoughts on what does or does not work. And prove myself wrong. Occasionally. Once in a while.

So, does this mean you are in contact with all of the worlds bike and suspension designers and have the inside track on all the new developments they have in line 2-3 years down the road?

Or maybe we're all so predictable that you have already anticipated everything anyone might come up with? Or would have if you'd only have bothered?

Anyway, surprises are a ton of fun. I wish there were more from the current crop.
 

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On the rebound side of the shok Speed and Position are related and you can say "they go together", on the compression side it's a bit different but setting up a progressive bike is ten times easier than a regressive one, and they are always going to work a lot better.
Not 100% sure of your point on the first sentence. I think what you are saying is that there IS some kind of set balance and relationship between rebound damping (and it's speed sensitivity) and shock position (spring sensitivity). Of course they are related. if the spring is highly compressed, it will try to extend the shock at a very high rate of speed, which then will create a high level of rebound damping.

However, it is WAY too easy to over or under dampen on rebound and slow the shock down much more than desirable. Over damping resulting in that muddy, thud like feel and packing down in a series of quick bumps. Underdamping results in more continuous shock oscillation after bumps and the dreaded kick up the rear over jump lips.

So rebound damping curves can be tailored in many different ways, although the typical valving on most MTB shocks give pretty limited options. My point is, it ain't right. There is no balance. It's generic, bland stuff designed to be ok with all designs and will never be optimum for any.

As for setting up a progressive bike 10 times easier and ALWAYS (I hate that word, like impossible) work better? I don't doubt that this is your personal experience and opinion. But would you possibly consider that there are people doing just that with regressive traits, possibly winning races and championships and selling tons of bikes, that are doing just that? Maybe? And just maybe working better than a pure progressive bike? humor me that it's possible.
 

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On every "3 position" OEM shock I've ever ridden, the "descent"/"bump absorbing" setting is a joke. It wallows all over the place and blows through travel. There's no chassis stability and it's poor for DH. The middle setting usually is much more stable, resists g-outs, etc. The only problem is that on most OEM tune shocks, they sacrifice the high-speed damping in this setting. You can fix this with an aftermarket tune, or a few shocks that actually are intended to run in a middle-setting or actually can be set up with decent support without blowing through the travel, but that's sure not the CTD/RC3 and other such shocks. Sometimes this forces us to go back to that "descend" setting due to trying to avoid the high speed spikes, but then we're back to sacrificing chassis stability.

To a large extent, the shock companies have been putting out crap for air shocks for years (in terms of damping). Luckily we can get them tuned by several companies and fix the above issues.
MR Jayem. Sir. BING-FVCKING-O.

I just don't get this idea people are presenting that suspension is like "settled science" and shocks are all dialed in and it's as good as it gets. What? We ALL want something better, all the time. Can I still feel a bump? Not good enough yet.....

My point is you're making my point exactly. Those setting were designed and tested by reasonably highly paid (for the bike industry) and reasonably intelligent (for a concussion prone sample group) of shock designers, engineers and bicycle product managers. Whether they actually think this is better, or just think this is what the market wants, is sometimes difficult to tell. But the results are the same. It ain't right.

And ya, that's exactly why the aftermarket shock tune companies can exist. The big guys DO NOT want that biz. They need to focus on maximizing profit by minimizing skus and options. Go for big numbers. It's ok, everybody has to eat and the reality is that only a small percentage of riders can even tell the difference, and not all of them even care.

For the rest of us, we like to make things better, because there's plenty of room for improvement and it's fun to do.

I get paid to ride my bike
 

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On every "3 position" OEM shock I've ever ridden, the "descent"/"bump absorbing" setting is a joke. It wallows all over the place and blows through travel. There's no chassis stability and it's poor for DH. The middle setting usually is much more stable, resists g-outs, etc. The only problem is that on most OEM tune shocks, they sacrifice the high-speed damping in this setting. You can fix this with an aftermarket tune, or a few shocks that actually are intended to run in a middle-setting or actually can be set up with decent support without blowing through the travel, but that's sure not the CTD/RC3 and other such shocks. Sometimes this forces us to go back to that "descend" setting due to trying to avoid the high speed spikes, but then we're back to sacrificing chassis stability.

To a large extent, the shock companies have been putting out crap for air shocks for years (in terms of damping). Luckily we can get them tuned by several companies and fix the above issues.
Hey Jayem, just for the hell of it, try plugging in a couple volume spacers (or a smaller can) and then try the DH setting. You might find it plusher off the top with better midstroke and bottoming support.

Of course I have no idea what you're riding with which shock...........but you might be surprised!!
 

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Hi Varaxis, everybody is tough on the internet....

the Bionicon was around when I did the Magic Link, and yes, they had the same motivation, but their system of changing geometry was very cumbersome. I haven't seen what they're up to lately. Peter Denk went from Scott to C'dale with the shocks that change travel, but again, you have to flip a switch.

the Strive is very close to a manually activated Magic Link. Which, had I been smart, I would have covered under that patent. But I didn't (and still don't) want manually activated anything. i want the suspension to know. and it does.

Ya, nothing worse than forgetting your lockout is on after a long climb and you started bombing the descent. And what I really want it for is all of trails that you don't have time to mess with settings. Short, steep, rapidfire up and down. I don't use a dropper on those trails either, run the saddle low and rip it.
If the missing link climbs as well as my recently departed Bionicon (failed after 9 years on South Mountain, Phoenix with a cracked chainstay) I'll be impressed. I want to be able to leisurely just ride up over obstacles again, instead of rushing and powering through.
 

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If the missing link climbs as well as my recently departed Bionicon (failed after 9 years on South Mountain, Phoenix with a cracked chainstay) I'll be impressed. I want to be able to leisurely just ride up over obstacles again, instead of rushing and powering through.
Hi Dave,I can't say for sure it will climb better than your bionicon, as I've never ridden one. How much geo change could you get? But I can say it climbs unbelievably good. One brand PM said "it's more efficient at 160 mm of travel than any bike in our lineup". The bikes you see on our site weigh 29 pounds with pedals, with sort of a mid-build. Final component spec TBD.

But seriously, 9 years on South Mountain? I'd say you got your money worth and then some.

Now, leisurely just ride up over obstacles???? For my personal bike, I'm thinking of putting that cheater motor in my BB, because no matter how good my bike climbs......i just can't seem to pull of leisurely climbs! It does have a nice way of popping up over obstacles. Like when you have to lift the front under power just to get it up and get to the back tire to the obstacle without hitting the chainring.
 

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Now, leisurely just ride up over obstacles???? For my personal bike, I'm thinking of putting that cheater motor in my BB, because no matter how good my bike climbs......i just can't seem to pull of leisurely climbs! It does have a nice way of popping up over obstacles. Like when you have to lift the front under power just to get it up and get to the back tire to the obstacle without hitting the chainring.
This is what I like about the Kona P134. Sure it settles into the travel a bit, but simply being on the back of my saddle the front will lift almost effortlessly for those log-overs/rocks.
Looking at the Tantrum Tech page has me wanting to ride it, looking forward to that day.
 

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This is what I like about the Kona P134. Sure it settles into the travel a bit, but simply being on the back of my saddle the front will lift almost effortlessly for those log-overs/rocks.
The Missing Link will have that behaviour if you're not on power, it lets you lean back, compress the rear a bit as you pop the front up. BUT, when you want/need to get the front and the whole bike up and over a high obstacle, and you give it that pedal kick as you loft the front, the bike kinda rears up and mounts it, helping momentum and bb/crank/chainring clearance immensely. When the rear wheel gets there, you are unweighting the rear and backing off the power and it just kinda hops/rolls over.

Here's an interesting point I notice with you and Jayem and Kyle242. They both prefer the pedal setting, saying the DH setting is underdamped. You prefer the DH setting, saying the pedal setting is too rough.

I have no reason to believe that you are not all correct. who knows why., your respective rider weight? Your local terrain? You personal feel preference?

It doesn't really matter why, it just proves my point that this is not a dialed in art by a long stretch. To further throw water on this "perfect balance" between spring rate LR and damping, what happens when you go from a 130 pound to a 250 pound rider on the same bike?

This is what happens, you crank up the air pressure 100 psi and add a few clicks of rebound and send it. It's all just a rough, mass market compromise.
 

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Looking at the Tantrum Tech page has me wanting to ride it, looking forward to that day.
Hey Jim, where are you? As I mentioned, these are 2017s, but we will have production bikes in august and start doing some demo tours after interbike, throughout the fall and winter.

Too early for an exact schedule yet, but stay tuned, we might be coming near you.

I'll confirm soon that we will be at Big bear in June, but test rides will be very limited.
 

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Hey Jayem, just for the hell of it, try plugging in a couple volume spacers (or a smaller can) and then try the DH setting. You might find it plusher off the top with better midstroke and bottoming support.

Of course I have no idea what you're riding with which shock...........but you might be surprised!!
That's not really how it works. Making it more progressive allows you to run more sag, because it will ramp up more at the end, that's not "mid-stroke-support". If you want it to not blow into the travel more, using just the spring, go more linear, but you might have to run it a lot stiffer and hence, it will be harsher. If you want mid-stroke support, you do it with damping, assuming you have a decent spring curve and because you can't just wildly change the spring rate curve and assume the damping is going to be set to it, it's not. Yes, I've tried more and less spacers.
 

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That's not really how it works. Making it more progressive allows you to run more sag, because it will ramp up more at the end, that's not "mid-stroke-support". If you want it to not blow into the travel more, using just the spring, go more linear, but you might have to run it a lot stiffer and hence, it will be harsher. If you want mid-stroke support, you do it with damping, assuming you have a decent spring curve and because you can't just wildly change the spring rate curve and assume the damping is going to be set to it, it's not. Yes, I've tried more and less spacers.
True Jayem, but that IS how it works because dampening knobs and volume adjust are the tools we have to work with. Example; my fork (RS Revolution) has 6 clicks of compression dampening. When I use #3 I DON'T get more (exclusively) mid-stroke support, but I still use it sometimes because the stiffer fork helps with the push-off needed for clearing table-tops (more air). It doesn't take long for me to switch back to #2 because that same stiffer fork is lame (beats my hands/arms) for most of the trail.
Note; I don't think I disagree with your statements, but I am enjoying the conversation.
 

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Hey Jim, where are you? As I mentioned, these are 2017s, but we will have production bikes in august and start doing some demo tours after interbike, throughout the fall and winter.

Too early for an exact schedule yet, but stay tuned, we might be coming near you.

I'll confirm soon that we will be at Big bear in June, but test rides will be very limited.
I live/ride in South Florida. Ft. Lauderdale will never make people think of mountains. When I moved here from Reno NV my pals started calling me a flatlander. We have some pretty good MTB parks here, and the trail builders have done a great job of spoiling us. One-way trails with no hikers/horses. Tech enough to use up some brake pads, but enough flow to explore the small cogs. If you consider we don't have gravity to help and it's only pedal power, you can see how it is something to wear out a set of brakes in a year.
 

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Hey Jim, where are you? As I mentioned, these are 2017s, but we will have production bikes in august and start doing some demo tours after interbike, throughout the fall and winter.

Too early for an exact schedule yet, but stay tuned, we might be coming near you.

I'll confirm soon that we will be at Big bear in June, but test rides will be very limited.
Got any plans for local demos? I'm in the Indy area...
 

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That's not really how it works. Making it more progressive allows you to run more sag, because it will ramp up more at the end, that's not "mid-stroke-support". If you want it to not blow into the travel more, using just the spring, go more linear, but you might have to run it a lot stiffer and hence, it will be harsher. If you want mid-stroke support, you do it with damping, assuming you have a decent spring curve and because you can't just wildly change the spring rate curve and assume the damping is going to be set to it, it's not. Yes, I've tried more and less spacers.
It can work that way. instead of running more sag, you run the same amount of sag as with the higher volume. So, it absolutely MUST ride higher all through the travel. The fact that you have not increased the compression damping means that it can still plunge into the travel under certain conditions, but it will be at a higher ride height.

I personally, would never go more linear to cure this problem. I've come up through coilovers on every type of racing vehicle (using a linear rate spring) and after all of it, prefer the advantages of a smooth rising rate airspring on every single type. From F1, to Dakar type Rallye cars, Motocross bikes, Indycars...........and mountian bikes.

Running too linear almost always results in too much reliance on damping, causing spikes and using giant foam bottoming cushions, which are a crappy black art all to themselves. From my personal bike experience, too linear always required a higher spring rate, or in the case of a coil over, too much preload. Otherwise it would just sag too much.

The main disadvantage of a rising rate air spring is the high initial force, which obviously, the negative spring addresses to some degree. The other main complaint is seal friction. Interestingly, seal friction increases with an increase in compression damping. As the higher damping resistance causes pressure spikes inside the shock, so it also increases seal pressure and thus drag.

So you may or may not want to do it (mid stroke support, or anything else necessarily) with damping. It's all about combining the variables in the most optimum combination. There is no one "right amount" of anything. You just made two assumptions in your argument, that the spring rate/curve was right in the first place and assuming the damping was right, or as you put it "set". The shock companies are making thase assumptions and more when they make their products.

Mountain bike shock damping, as you pointed out, is one of the most basic forms around. It's way better than it used to be, I remember sliding cans with a hole in a piston for oil to squirt through. And I was trying to market an externally adjustable rebound, compression and air volume shock. In 1993. The bike industry would not have it.

So ya, it's better than it used to be, but that shock damping spec in yours and everybody else's is shock is lucky if it is optimum for one specific type of bump with one specific rider weight with one specific spring rate. At best.

If you like it better your way, I'm fine with that too. I will continually preach that there is no, one right answer. I've seen too much crazy stuff go too fast to be that closed minded.
 
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