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Max Backbone vs. other variants

DeeEight,

Jeff is right. Technically neither bike is the Max Backbone, but they are from the same era and heritage. Kind of like the Stumpjumper vs. Rockhopper ... similar characteristics but not the same. The parts used for the build were also of a lower line to save on costs.

Although I never rode one, the blue bike (FSR Expert?) was suppose to quite nimble/light on the trails. The Max Backbone, while stiffer it's also a heavier frame (the downside).

Regardless, all of these bikes are going the way of the dinasaur ... just another evolutionary link to the perfect bike.

Keep On Riding!

-- 40MTNS
 

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40mtns said:
DeeEight,

Jeff is right. Technically neither bike is the Max Backbone, but they are from the same era and heritage. Kind of like the Stumpjumper vs. Rockhopper ... similar characteristics but not the same. The parts used for the build were also of a lower line to save on costs.

Although I never rode one, the blue bike (FSR Expert?) was suppose to quite nimble/light on the trails. The Max Backbone, while stiffer it's also a heavier frame (the downside).

Regardless, all of these bikes are going the way of the dinasaur ... just another evolutionary link to the perfect bike.

Keep On Riding!

-- 40MTNS
Uh, dinosaur yes. But still fun! I still ride my modified 1998 FSR (non MAX). The tubular frames were lighter, cheaper and strong enough for most things. The MAX frame had better stays, which improved upon a flexy rear end.

Here is mine:
 

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Anyone remember the head tube angle on this bike?

I had a 98 Pro that I stripped to the frame and rebuilt with what I wanted....Bomber Z.1, King Hubs, Bontrager Mustang rims, DT Revo spokes, XTR, Race Face Cranks, etc... I got it down to 28lbs WITH the Vanillla RC coil shock!

It was awesome and I kick myself everyday for selling it.
 

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I rode a 97 Cosmic paint scheme (flip-flop in the auto painting world) until this spring when I replaced it w/ an Intense 5.5.
MANY great rides on that bike.....
 

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mxer said:
there was a max on ebay recently.i would have bid but need to sell a few things myself at the moment.for bushings,needle bearing upgrades and long travel kits check betd.co.uk.he has nice stuff.had a lt kit on an old fsr years ago.high quality a good guy to deal with.no problem shipping to the states.:)
WOW, looks like they still make parts for this bike. I know this thread is really really old, but I am just stoked to find this thread and BETD.

THANKS
 

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97 Cosmic available

Had this one on ebay earlier this year, but did not sell it. Will sell frame with Risse rear end/shock. Have run this bike with either 150 mm (current Fox 36,~69 deg head angle) or 175 mm fork (nicer DH geometry).
No bushing worries! All sealed bearing rear end which is no problem to find bearings for. This frame is STOUT.

email [email protected] for details/pics
P7170253.jpg
 

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doctorino said:
Had this one on ebay earlier this year, but did not sell it. Will sell frame with Risse rear end/shock. Have run this bike with either 150 mm (current Fox 36,~69 deg head angle) or 175 mm fork (nicer DH geometry).
No bushing worries! All sealed bearing rear end which is no problem to find bearings for. This frame is STOUT.

email [email protected] for details/pics
View attachment 470838
You should place a classified ad since you are offering a bike for sale in order to comply with the terms of use of MTBR. Otherwise your post will likely dissapear. It's $2 cheap.
 

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I am trying to get more info regarding this bike. I have a 97 model with the longer DH rear end.

Does anyone have any more information on the travel on these frames?

IIRC, here is what they were in 97-99

USA built MAX Backbone FSR=4.3" travel
USA built MAX Backbone FSR DH=5.5" travel
China built GC FSR=4.5" travel
China built Ground Control (non-FSR)=~3" travel

Does this sound correct?

BTW, I think the MAX frame is increadibly innovative and it was an incredible set up. I don't really understand why the basic design went away, I think they are super strong, stiff and look really clean. I am not a big fan of some of the newer full suspension bikes (looks wise) and really don't get why they went away from these designs in general. Just my opinion.
 

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That all sounds correct

With the possible exception that the early Ground Controls were actually FSR's by definition, even if they did not say so on the frames.

You can check the travel of your bike by replacing the rear wheel with felt tip marker tied to the rear drop out, moving your repair stand next to the wall, and running the suspension fully through its travel. Measure the mark on the wall, that's your travel. It helps to dump the air out of your shock, or remove the coil spring before trying this.

I recall the travel on these bikes varying a little bit depending on which shock was in the frame, but is about what you state above.
 

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Tooling costs

The main frame on the Max Backbone bikes is an extrusion, which would be really expensive to tool up for. Kenesis did it at the time, for this bike as well as for Marin, and probably others, and from what I recall, when Specialized needed to move production off shore, it wasn't practical to retool a Taiwan factory to do this extrusion when molded, monocoque, and hydroform technology had come as far as it did. Modern frames are stronger and stiffer with less material, and thus less weight.
 

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I had a 1998 FSR Pro. I loved that bike. It had a Fox Vanilla RC coil shock on it and it has 4.5" of rear wheel travel. I took the Manitou double triple crown fork off and put a Polished Marzocchi Bomber Z.1 (4"). That bike went up and down hill equally well and was PLLUUUSSSHHHH!
 

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backpedal said:
The main frame on the Max Backbone bikes is an extrusion, which would be really expensive to tool up for. Kenesis did it at the time, for this bike as well as for Marin, and probably others, and from what I recall, when Specialized needed to move production off shore, it wasn't practical to retool a Taiwan factory to do this extrusion when molded, monocoque, and hydroform technology had come as far as it did. Modern frames are stronger and stiffer with less material, and thus less weight.

When I was working at a shop at the time, I was told by the specialized rep that the tooling was requiring a ton of maintainance because the materials were so strong and the extruded process was so intense. They ended up scraping it for this reason (I was told).

As far as modern frames being "stronger, stiffer and lighter" do you really believe that or is that a fact?

Stronger? Doubt it (my neighbor has gone though 3 Turner Freeride frames from failing and he only rides cross country, I Use to race my FSR down hill and NEVER had a problem).
Stiffer? Maybe
Lighter? Probably depends on what you are comparing it too, BUT mine is/was 25.5lbs with an old school front Hayes disc brake, Z.1 bomber (heavy fork), Long stroke Fox Vanilla Rx Coil over shock with piggy back (heavy compared to air sprung shocks). Granted everything else was super trick so I made up wt on that stuff, but I still don't think it is considered "heavy". BTW, I had a C3 before it was recalled, guess what, Specialized lied, this frame was lighter that the C3 and it had more travel.
 

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I believe its a fact

I think the Max Backbone frames weighed about 6 pounds with an air shock, and more with a coil shock. A Giant Trance X and Ibis Mojo each weigh about 5 pounds with 5 inches of travel, and the Blur XC Carbon is about 4.2 pounds.

The MRP bearing kits and links were popular mods to the Max frames because they increased the ride quality, and durability, but also the frame weight.

They are really nice frames though, and ahead of their time.
 

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backpedal said:
I think the Max Backbone frames weighed about 6 pounds with an air shock, and more with a coil shock. A Giant Trance X and Ibis Mojo each weigh about 5 pounds with 5 inches of travel, and the Blur XC Carbon is about 4.2 pounds.

The MRP bearing kits and links were popular mods to the Max frames because they increased the ride quality, and durability, but also the frame weight.

They are really nice frames though, and ahead of their time.
I should have mentioned that my frame is the 5.5" DH version. But you are probably right, I am sure they are a little heavier, but weight sure seems to be less of a worry now with all the travel, disc brakes, beefy wheels, big tires, triple clamps, etc......My 1997 "freeride/DH" bike is now considered more like an all mountain bike.

Speaking of the bearing kits, can the MRP kits be found anywhere? Looks like BETD still makes kits, but they have to be shipped from england.
 

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doctorino said:
Had this one on ebay earlier this year, but did not sell it. Will sell frame with Risse rear end/shock. Have run this bike with either 150 mm (current Fox 36,~69 deg head angle) or 175 mm fork (nicer DH geometry).
No bushing worries! All sealed bearing rear end which is no problem to find bearings for. This frame is STOUT.

email [email protected] for details/pics
View attachment 470838
Wow. I have a bike that looks just like that one. I have the Risse set up, Marz. 55 and the green or chamelion paint to boot. I ride the pizz out of this thing. It takes a lickin and keeps on tickin. Cheers! :D
 

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skip canfield said:
Wow. I have a bike that looks just like that one. I have the Risse set up, Marz. 55 and the green or chamelion paint to boot. I ride the pizz out of this thing. It takes a lickin and keeps on tickin. Cheers! :D
What is a Risse set up? IIRC, Risse use to make shocks, is that what you are referring to, or do they do a linkage upgrade, etc...
 

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rodH said:
What is a Risse set up? IIRC, Risse use to make shocks, is that what you are referring to, or do they do a linkage upgrade, etc...
They do a whole rear triangle, shock, hex link, chainstay, seat stay. Really stout and adjustable.
 

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I have an FSR

Let's do this chronologically:

- Last week I bought a cheap ($400) used moutain bike.
- Today I rode on my first trail in 15 years
- Today I registered on MTBR for the first time.
- Right now, I came across this old ass thread!

And this is my first post ever! The odds of me finding this post are just weird, because it just helped me identify this bike I bought.

I'm guessing its an 98 FSR Elite Max Backbone. My bike has a Manitou Black 120mm shock, XTR dérailleurs and pedals, XT Cranks, Hayes Hydro Disc Brakes, Ahead headset, and some beefy Sun rims on XT Hubs. I don't think this is the factory configuration at all, but I found getting info on this bike to be very difficult. It rode great today, although I kept to Intermediate trails since I haven't ridden in over 15 years.
 

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I noticed something here, doctorino and 1luckymonkey's pic's show their seat post's extending down through the seat tube on these frames. My frame does not allow this, any idea what the diff. might be? Anybody?
 
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