It seems like every year now, someone has to come out with a new suspension design. This is probably not news to most of you, but Trek’s R1i tuned suspension is the new one for 2008. It has already been on the market for a couple of months, and for those who ride it, they seem to be pretty impressed. You will find the R1i tuned suspension on Trek’s Fuel EX line of bikes. I have not ridden one of Trek’s new bikes, so the following information are Trek’s claims on performance and engineering. Hopefully, I’ll get to throw my leg over one soon and then give a comprehensive review. Until then…here is what Trek is saying.
Trek’s R1i Suspension Intelligence is 3 parts
- ABP – Active Braking Pivot
- Full Floater
- Evo Link
Last year, Trek picked up Jose Gonzalez from Manitou. With an extensive background in motocross with Kawasaki and then research and development with Manitou, Gonzalez has been working with suspension components for all of his professional career. From the way I understand it, R1i is his baby and what he developed at Trek bikes.
R1i Suspension Intelligence
ABP – Active Braking Pivot
The patent pending design of the ABP brings the rear triangle pivot concentric to the rear axle. With the bearings in the seat stay and the spindle in the chain stay, it works just as easily as your conventional quick release, and you can use any brand hub. The idea is that by moving the pivot concentric to the rear axle, you get rid of the stiffening affect that is normally seen on suspension system while braking under load. Trek’s claim is that the suspension remains fully active during braking moments, especially midstroke, where other suspension designs stiffen up. This active suspension design should help with traction and control.
With the Full Floater, the shock is mounted to two moving pivots. Normally, in other suspension designs, the shock is mounted to one fixed location and a rocker link. In Trek’s new full floater design, the shock is mounted to two rocker links and they claim that this gives the bike the small bump compliance without sacrificing big hit performance. They make this claim by explaining how they are able to control the angle of the shock and the rocker where the other designs can’t. By doing this, they have greater control over the ratio and rate, giving them greater tuning ability. This gives the bike the ability to climb like an xc rig, but get that same bottomless feeling that you get with am bikes.
The EVO Link is a one piece rocker link that Trek claims is 35% stiffer and 15% lighter than the conventional bolt together linkages. They are also able to make it out of several different materials. I really like the idea of having a one piece rocker arm, but it will be interesting to see if the numbers they claim are accurate.
My preliminary thoughts on the new R1i tuned suspension is that it probably works pretty close to described. These parts are as far fetched as some designs on the market today, and they seem to be well thought out and simple. Like I said before, I need to get a ride on one of the bikes before I make a full opinion, but so far, it looks like Trek has some interesting things going on for 2008.
For more on Trek’s R1i Tuned Suspension…get the full story…