ProductsComponentsShocks & Suspension

Mountain Bike Shock Technology

Brain™ Technology - Specialized Bikes

Found on a host of their XC designs, the Specialized Brain technology has been refined and tuned to perform on varying terrain for mountain biking's most demanding riders. Need proof? The Brain-equipped Epic was the first full-suspension bike to win a Cross Country World Championship. It's won several, actually, and in each of these victories, riders were propelled to victory aboard the one-of-a-kind Brain shock. And with new iteration of Brain on the Epic, it's already winning World Cups under both women and men.

You're probably asking yourself, "What does it do?" And the simple answer is that it provides you with more speed and more control. The concept is pretty simple, but putting it into action is a different story. After all, since the advent of full-suspension mountain bikes, hardtails and full-suspension rigs have been diametrically opposed when it comes to skillsets and favoritism. With no risk of brake squat or chain growth, the former excels at pedaling speed. Conversely, the latter is dominant over rough terrain, while suffering a bit on pedaling efficiency. The Brain, however, bridges the gap between the two, with its inertia valve technology helping create the cross section of technologies. It knows the difference between rider input and terrain forces, which means that it's firm over smooth terrain to maximize efficiency and active over the rough earth for more control. When paired with the Specialized designed linkage systems it excels at eliminating power-induced movement of the rear suspension. The active and independent system remains neutral and unaffected as power is applied through the system. We use the Brain technology to stabilize the chassis from your weight transferring inputs (like aggressive pedaling), with the pedal torque induced movements being neutralized by the linkage.

Trek MTB Suspension

Trek Bikes...Trek's suspension solutions have been proven and refined over the years. Active Braking Pivot (ABP), Full Floater and Mino Link make Trek full supsension models a class above the competition.

Single Pivot and Multi Pivot (Link) Designs

The mountain bike frame suspension designs is an arena that can raise as much debate and argument as any other multi-faceted design platform in cycling, think wheel size and fork travel. Single pivot vs multi-link is probably the most familiar variances in MTB suspension design. Single pivot and multi pivot designs make up the two types of frame linkage and suspension platforms. What need's to be understood, besides the actual meaning of these terms, is what each dictates for the bikes handling in different conditions and how that can pair with rider's ability and need for bike performance.

The options abound Check out the Pink Bike discussion.

Modern high performance mountain bike suspension’s main goal is to control these four forces:

  • Pedaling Efficiency;
  • Traction (inversely proportional to Pedaling Efficiency);
  • Rear Brake Interaction pre-loading the Rear Shock (i.e. negatively affecting both traction and suppleness);
  • Rear Shock Progression (often called “Leverage Curve”).
No suspension design in the world can fully optimize these forces, but more sophisticated suspension designs can do a better job than lesser designs. For example, decently engineered multi-link bikes can achieve a higher level of pedaling performance for a given amount of traction: they also have more ability to tune rear shock progression and can do a significantly better job isolating rear braking forces from the rest of the suspension. However, even within the complicated world of multi-link bikes, there are differences and not all designs are created (or implemented) equally. A really good multi-link bike can have subtle differences that allow the designers to fine tune control of suspension forces to an even higher level: they can also focus on one particular area (i.e. pedaling efficiency or shock progression) or perhaps on the bike’s overall performance, and have to compromise less in other area than inferior designs.

Shocks & Suspension on Road Bikes

Trek IsoSpeed

IsoSpeed challenges the traditional design of a bicycle frame. Devoid of the more favored approaches to the compliance quandary (such as suspension systems, elastomers, or a vibration damper), IsoSpeed maintains the diamond-shaped frameset geometry but “decouples" the seat tube from the top tube, allowing the seat tube to flex with the forces of the road. The result is a bike that moves with the road while maintaining the feel and efficiency of the traditional race bike design.

Specialized Future shock™

The launch of the original Roubaix ushered in Zertz dampers, sections of elastomers locate in key places like the fork blades and seatstays to provide added compliance. The endurance bike category has evolved rapidly over the years and most manufacturers have developed their own approach to providing a smoother rider, such as Bianchi with its CounterVail or Trek and its twin IsoSpeed decouplers.

The Future Shock is a revolution in smoothness, delivering 20mm of travel without degrading speed, handling, or comfort. In fact, it does quite the opposite. Through a focus on axial compliance, it breaks the mold of what we thought was possible in bicycle design. Find out how we did it.

Robaix vs Domane - Bike Radar

Image References

SRAM RockShox

Specialized Bikes


Ohlins Suspension