Minefield. That’s how I feel about suspension. Complicated, nuanced and potentially really expensive. I wanted to try and clear the water a little bit.
This video has been part of a long journey for me. I’ve tested and ridden quite a few different bikes over the last ten years. Some have had incredibly cheap suspension; basic as basic gets. Some have had factory Ohlins set-ups and most of my race bikes have had good, re-valved and modded stock suspension. I know mostly what I like, what I’m looking for and I have some understanding of the clickers, settings and their relationships. I’m not an expert, just mildly clueless. I have never had the chance to compare them back to back however.
A big part of fair testing is understanding and explaining the limitations.
So that was the point of this test. From the start of this project I wanted to do this test, to compare the suspension back to back as best I could and provide insight into the comparative performance and point of diminishing returns. The test proved to be incredibly insightful too, even if it wasn’t perfect, scientific or as good as I’d have liked it to be.
A big part of fair testing is understanding and explaining the limitations. Below is a bullet list of those limitations. The gold standard of any testing is a double blind trial. The financial limitations of the test meant that was not achievable.
Bikes do not have matching tyres.
Bikes do not have matching components and setups (inc. exhaust, mapping and more).
Riders are different weights.
We know what suspension each bike has.
Improving a similar test for the future would be relatively simple but require more resources. Below is a list of ideas.
Representatives from each brand to assist with set up.
Bikes matching as closely as possible.
Riders of similar weight or multiple bikes for different weight riders.
‘Blind Trials’ where the components are hidden.
More time and variance of terrain for testing.
Opportunity for settings changes to improve the bike.
As always, thanks for reading, watching and we’ll catch you in the next one!
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