The spirit of the Santa Cruz Bontragers lives on ...


Karma King
"The most recent Soul update included a tapered headtube. After a lot of testing of different geometry options, we still felt the original Soul geometry was the best all round option for our riding, but we needed to futureproof things. I remember not buying a Bontrager Race Lite back in the day because Keith staunchly stood by 1" steerers when everything was 1 1/8". I didn't want to make the same mistake, and the beauty of taper steerers is that they are at least backwards compatible so it's an easy switch. I went for a tapered head tube rather than the full width 44mm because the Soul needs to stay elegant and light."

Written by Cy in 2013, so I call BS on him not knowing about Bontrager's details, and not having seen a Bonty frame.

But, that's a nice frame nonetheless. :)


Senior Retro Guru
Ah the Retro Bike Massive again gets the history better laid out ... interesting ...

Well, at best a case of selective memory I guess ...


Gary Fisher Fan
Sandgrown - excellent!

Sam and the folks at Cotic are so incredibly helpful and supportive. They always respond swiftly to queries and questions, no matter how small.

I spent a lot of time mithering over front suspension. The Grom has Fox 35s on his Transition and they are pretty stunning forks...but my are they expensive. I decided to go with some second-hand Lyriks...but what travel....aaargh...

After much dithering and re-visiting the people who actually know about suspension (MojO Chris Porter etc), I went back to first principles, and wound up where Ra cycles (Rafi Richardson) are at the moment - which is that people have too little sag in their forks, and too much negative spring and not enough positive ramp up.

The thinking this:

More travel on a brutal hardtail (BfEMax, Stanton Switch9er etc) is a good idea. But not squidgy uncontrolled softness or bounce. That means rapid ramp up on the positive side - (lots of tokens) and low negative spring.

You need the sprung mass (the rider and bike, basically) to ‘hang’ in the suspension, so that not only does the suspension come upwards when it hits a bump, you need it to drop into a hole and ripples as you pass over them.

And really that’s enough to know what to do.

I went for 160mm Lyriks, but set up with 40% sag (a lot) and also had 150 and 140 air springs on hand should 160 be too mental. Set negative LOW. And then add tokens to control DIVE.

Verdict after riding in earnest on VERY fast and demanding descents, and long draggy climbs: perfect. Big Grin.
Is that massive sag approach applicable to retro non- and mildy- suspension corrected frames designs? e.g. a retroish, 2000s or modern 100 or 120mm fork sagged right out on a 80mm suspension corrected mid nineties frame? Would a) the inherent sagged axle-crown height of those forks still buck the front and BB up too much, and b) there need to be a lot of that token/-ve spring rate black magic/very modern innards involved?

Just curious. For clarity, my experience/understanding of suspension is largely limited to changing front tyre volume!


Senior Retro Guru
Interesting questions … a couple of us always argued that almost all suspension needs 20-30% sag even if you only have 65mm of travel - then sort out stem length and rise etc. This really paid off on 90s bikes - pro flex. Amp, orange - fs and hard tail. As I have mentioned in other posts, people thought this robbed travel, but actually it makes the suspension work properly. I ran xc Judy’s with soft speed springs (30% sag) and they performed brilliantly.


Retro Guru
there is an argument that a shorter travel fork can cope with less % negative travel (sag) and rather than a being described as a fixed percentage it should be a ratio between positive displacement and negative , after all, your suspension isn't going to give you full range of positive motion (bigger hits than the say 100mm of travel you have) and neither is it going to give you full range in a negative movement, i.e. hitting a 100mm pot hole.

It's much more important to look at the way that travel is applied and what happens when you reach the end of the travel rather than extremities of motion. If you can "float" inside the travel range at 20-30% sag with sensible progression on the negative travel you are peachy. This isn't that easy to do though, and was even harder when coils ruled the roost. It is somewhat easier with air springs over this portion of the travel as it can controlled by volume of the chamber and to to some extent with clear valving to provide pressure derived chambering above and below the dampening slide. To do the same with a solid spring would require segregated positive and negative travel with independent springs and fairly complex oil dampening to control the unsprung load and to smooth over the transition between sprung direction.

note to say, I run a 140mm fork with 1.3-1 ratio :)

Suspension is stupid, we should all go rigid. :)


Gold Trader
Overbury's Fan
Just wondering and being a ludite of the highest order and a miserable old bar steward,why a discussion about an obviously modern frame has been posted in the RETRO section???


Senior Retro Guru
Not sure it’s a diatribe…

Diatribe: a forceful and bitter verbal attack against someone or something. For example
"a diatribe against consumerism"

More like a few ramblings…

My original post was linking retro to modern … and back … probably too retro to go in post 98 and too modern to go into retro … drat it’s a homeless, stateless topic …