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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
aka KHS. These frames are pretty commonly available at the moment in 4-5.5" of rear wheel travel for $300-600, true FSR Horst link........which sets them apart from the many "faux bar" cheaps out there.

Any reason to avoid these? I realize they're not a Pivot or Turner. But how do they compare to Kona, Norco, or even Specialized and any of the other Taiwanese manu'd 4 bar frames?

Name brand doesn't matter to me, purely interested in the functionality of these cheapies......any feedback?
 

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No reason to avoid them, if that's your price range. Great bump absorption, very active & plush. Downside with them is the climbing - have a tendency to "bob" a little. It's something that can be learned to ride with though, so you can minimize that effect. A good platform shock(w/compression damping) can negate most of that. I rarely use the switch on my rear shock. Around here, we have short steep climbs and I don't really find myself ever reaching for it to stiffen up the shock.

Pointed downhill, the horst link is right up there as far as bump absorption goes.
 

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I got a chance to ride a KHS Flagstaff (or was it the Tucson?). Either way, it was their full suspension 29er. It had a little bit of bob but not a ton and it was a very capable bike. It was not as bad as the bob on my Kona Four, which I sold to get a new frame because using a pro-pedal switch bugs me.

I have a Titus RX-1 and a Titus El Guapo and I never feel bob. They both pedal extremely well. I have had my EG for some time and it pedaled better than the Kona. Therefore, the kona had to go. Nonetheless, what I am trying to say is that I think the Horst link is better than a single pivot or single pivot linkage. When done well, like on my Titus bikes, the Horst link is a fantastic suspension design. KHS does a decent job with it though.
 

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FFS.

There is no such thing as "true four bar" and "faux-bar" - these are just specialized advertising terms (which is a good reason to avoid them like the plague).
They ride alittle differently, but they both have their little advantages (for example, chainstay pivots tend to be a little flexier than seatstay pivots).
A four-bar linkage is one with four elements - seatstay/chainstay/rocker/shock - the location of the pivot itself is irrelevant in whether you call it a fourbar or not (despite the differences that the pivot location makes to the ride).


If you want a chainstay pivot (horst link) based on experience and prefference thats just fine, but that doesnt excuse buying into spec's advertising terms.
Oh and ofcourse, remember - its still got to be done right. Theres nothing about chainstay pivots (or floating link designs) which makes them immune to being made badly, if they're not designed well they'll still ride badly (regardless of where the pivot is) and fwiw a good seatstay pivot bike will ride better than a crap chainstay pivot bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks all. That XCT555 is exactly the frame I was considering.

EnglishT, have no fear that I'm buying based on Spesh ad hype. It's ALL hype for practical purposes.

I worked in the industry for Cannondale for nearly 7 years and know the utter crap that flows from marketing departments and myopic engineers alike. Likewise, I have been a student of mtn bike suspension designs for many, many more years. That is to say since the late 80s when the landscape was largely barren. I know something about it and feel I understand it pretty well.

That said.....I *still* ride a single pivot C'dale. From the first Super Vs to the DH4000 to a Super V active to the Raven 1 and 2 to the Jekyll I'm still on.

Bottom line, I'm no longer married to Cannondale and their single pivot designs. There are alot of strengths to the single pivots and a few well established shortcomings. I'd like to try something else. DW links/VPP are too much $ although certainly fascinating. "Faux bar" strikes me as being a single pivot, which is something I want to get away from. THat leaves me with the real deal FSR/Horst and if I'm going to buy a Taiwanese bike that's high on value, Spesh ain't it. It looks to me that KHS is it.
 

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tuckaloe said:
Thanks all. That XCT555 is exactly the frame I was considering.

EnglishT, have no fear that I'm buying based on Spesh ad hype. It's ALL hype for practical purposes.

I worked in the industry for Cannondale for nearly 7 years and know the utter crap that flows from marketing departments and myopic engineers alike. Likewise, I have been a student of mtn bike suspension designs for many, many more years. That is to say since the late 80s when the landscape was largely barren. I know something about it and feel I understand it pretty well.

That said.....I *still* ride a single pivot C'dale. From the first Super Vs to the DH4000 to a Super V active to the Raven 1 and 2 to the Jekyll I'm still on.

Bottom line, I'm no longer married to Cannondale and their single pivot designs. There are alot of strengths to the single pivots and a few well established shortcomings. I'd like to try something else. DW links/VPP are too much $ although certainly fascinating. "Faux bar" strikes me as being a single pivot, which is something I want to get away from. THat leaves me with the real deal FSR/Horst and if I'm going to buy a Taiwanese bike that's high on value, Spesh ain't it. It looks to me that KHS is it.
I didnt say that the design was all hype (far from it) - both pivot locations have their pro's and con's (though for the most part you're correct that chainstay pivots are a bit better IF DESIGNED WELL).
The terminology on the other hand actually is all about hype. The terms "true four bar" and "faux-bar" are inventions of specialized, designed to big-up the former and put-down the latter (passing it off as a cheap immitation, which it can be but isnt neccessarily - as anyone that rode a seatstay pivot turner will tell you).

Wanting a chainstay pivot is fine (whether you have experience riding both CS-pivots and SS-pivots or not), but I just have an automatic dislike of those phoney terms, it just shows how easy it is to be speccy-brain-washed (pun intended).

Anyway - if you're wanting to stick to CS pivots, thats fine.
In some ways, you'll probably get better deals (ie: better quality for not so much more) if you look at importing something that isnt sold in the US (because if its not sold in the US, the manufacturers wont be paying spec to license the pivot location).

Here are some ideas (some cheapish, some not quite so):
KHS - as you mentioned, they're cheap but pretty solid. MBR has reviewed a few of them IIRC, if desperate I can try to scan/photo the pages and send you.
RAM - cheap (bulgarian), but you'd probably have to import - these are nice, dirtcheap and great value.
Devinci - not overly cheap (you'd probably be looking at $1k+ for a remix, which is the one you'd want based on your travel req's), but should be less than spec/etc, not sure how easily you get them in the US though.

Then again, you could always go secondhand and go for something higher-end, ie: norco/spec/ellsworth/etc
 

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tuckaloe, I have the KHS xc604. Good enough bike for what I paid. A little bob but can be expected from any Horst bike from what I've gathered. An upgrade to a "good" platform shock should get rid of it completely.
From what I understand, along with paying Spesh for use of the patent, the manufacturer gets the exact specs of the Horst design. Meaning that they don't tweek the design, just build as the engineers designed it. Oh, and I've called KHS to get some replacement decals (talked them into selling them on their site now) and I got a live person on the phone in about 30 seconds. Not bad in my book.
Ah, I forgot to mention that comparing the rear triangle on my KHS to my bud's Titus they looked almost identical. I'm NOT saying that KHS are on par with Titus, just that it appears that both use the same pivot locations, etc.
 

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Fuji also makes some FSR bikes that ride well. They have a "Team Fuji" deal going on now - you can join up and get decent discounts on their bikes. Might be something worth checking out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Within text below....
EnglishT said:
The terminology on the other hand actually is all about hype. The terms "true four bar" and "faux-bar" are inventions of specialized, designed to big-up the former and put-down the latter (passing it off as a cheap immitation, which it can be but isnt neccessarily - as anyone that rode a seatstay pivot turner will tell you).

Agreed, I loosely use the terms as it's easy. To me "faux bar" does NOT mean anything inferior, just a SS pivot. I was tempted by the Price Point Sette Flight and it's SS pivot, but the realitization that it's likely to perform as the single pivot that I'm so familiar with made me look elsewhere. Or so I suspect. Dunno.

Anyway - if you're wanting to stick to CS pivots, thats fine.

Not married to CS pivots or the Horst Link necessarily. Very open to suggestions. But- and correct me if I'm wrong-just seems a time proven, effective design that resolves most if not all of the of the single pivot shortcomings.

In some ways, you'll probably get better deals (ie: better quality for not so much more) if you look at importing something that isnt sold in the US (because if its not sold in the US, the manufacturers wont be paying spec to license the pivot location).

Here are some ideas (some cheapish, some not quite so):
KHS - as you mentioned, they're cheap but pretty solid. MBR has reviewed a few of them IIRC, if desperate I can try to scan/photo the pages and send you.
RAM - cheap (bulgarian), but you'd probably have to import - these are nice, dirtcheap and great value.
Devinci - not overly cheap (you'd probably be looking at $1k+ for a remix, which is the one you'd want based on your travel req's), but should be less than spec/etc, not sure how easily you get them in the US though.

Excellent suggestions, thank you. RAM looks especially interesting to me.

Then again, you could always go secondhand and go for something higher-end, ie: norco/spec/ellsworth/etc
 

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EnglishT said:
A four-bar linkage is one with four elements - seatstay/chainstay/rocker/shock - the location of the pivot itself is irrelevant in whether you call it a fourbar or not.
Wrong.
It's a single pivot if the wheel is mounted to a swingarm that pivots on the main frame. This is true regardless of how many links or pivots are used to drive the shock. It will have the same pedaling and braking traits (assuming no floating brake) as any other bike with a swingarm pivot in the same place.

A "four bar" is a design where the main frame forms one side of a parallelogram and the wheel and disc brake caliper are mounted to the opposite side. The positions of the pivots can be manipulated to isolate pedaling and braking forces from the suspension.

These are established terms and definitions in this industry and can't be changed. The other two common designs are the dual link (which is a four bar) and the counter rotating dual link (VPP).
 

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Lelandjt said:
Wrong.
It's a single pivot if the wheel is mounted to a swingarm that pivots on the main frame. This is true regardless of how many links or pivots are used to drive the shock. It will have the same pedaling and braking traits (assuming no floating brake) as any other bike with a swingarm pivot in the same place.

A "four bar" is a design where the main frame forms one side of a parallelogram and the wheel and disc brake caliper are mounted to the opposite side. The positions of the pivots can be manipulated to isolate pedaling and braking forces from the suspension.

These are established terms and definitions in this industry and can't be changed. The other two common designs are the dual link (which is a four bar) and the counter rotating dual link (VPP).
Wrong.

I guess this is going to around and around (as usual), but it's often the way.

The whole "faux-bar" (ie: its got four bars but isnt really four-bar) deal is an invention of the specialized advertising guys from way back when, designed to big up the one and put down the other (rightly or wrongly).
A fourbar is a system with four elements as noted above, whether the pivot is on the chainstay or seatstay doesnt matter.

Rather different performance, yes, but both are four bar designs.
 

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No, they're not. If you don't believe me research it. Single pivot is single pivot, regardless of how you drive the shock. These terms are established and you can't just make new definitions up.
 

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tuckaloe said:
aka KHS. These frames are pretty commonly available at the moment in 4-5.5" of rear wheel travel for $300-600, true FSR Horst link........which sets them apart from the many "faux bar" cheaps out there.

Any reason to avoid these? I realize they're not a Pivot or Turner. But how do they compare to Kona, Norco, or even Specialized and any of the other Taiwanese manu'd 4 bar frames?

Name brand doesn't matter to me, purely interested in the functionality of these cheapies......any feedback?
I built up a KHS XC604 frame for my wife last spring. I believe I paid ~$420 for it, new, shipped. I think it rides pretty well, thought stock shock is nothing to get exited about.. I've owned/ridden other FSR designs, and while I am now sold on the DW-Link, I do think FSR Horst Links have very nice ride characteristics, and IMO the KHS shares all of these. It is heavy for a 4.2" XC frame, but overall I thought it was definitely worth what we paid for it.
 

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Lelandjt said:
No, they're not. If you don't believe me research it. Single pivot is single pivot, regardless of how you drive the shock. These terms are established and you can't just make new definitions up.
He's just egging you on, my friend, and wants to be the alpha dog here. Let him play and yap but we (like you) all know better.
 

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EnglishT said:
Wrong.

I guess this is going to around and around (as usual), but it's often the way.

The whole "faux-bar" (ie: its got four bars but isnt really four-bar) deal is an invention of the specialized advertising guys from way back when, designed to big up the one and put down the other (rightly or wrongly).
Right

EnglishT said:
A fourbar is a system with four elements as noted above, whether the pivot is on the chainstay or seatstay doesnt matter.

Rather different performance, yes, but both are four bar designs.
Wrong.
Single pivot - one pivot between the BB and the rear dropout.
Four-bar has many iterations: Horst, Lawwill, Faux-bar, VPP
Faux-bar is simply a linkage-actuated single pivot, as are ALL FOUR-BARS

There is a great detailed breakdown of all of this over here.
 

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Lelandjt said:
No, they're not. If you don't believe me research it. Single pivot is single pivot, regardless of how you drive the shock. These terms are established and you can't just make new definitions up.
I'm not sure if I am understanding you correctly, but a seatstay pivot 4-bar (Kona, Sette, Ventana), IS still considered a 4-bar. For purposes of axle path it is a SP and some may call it such, but it is absolutely a "4-bar" design. This is long, well established. Horst Link is a type of 4-bar, and a seatstay-pivot 4-bar (AKA "faux bar") is also a 4-bar.

I think there is some confusion around this because they are sometimes called single pivots, and sometime called 4-bars (though commonly "faux bar" is used due to confusion with HL 4-bars). Both are correct, depending on what exactly you are referring to (the axle path or the actual full rear linkage).
 
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