Skip to Main Navigation
Skip to Content
Jan / Feb 2002 : Part 2
Some of you hate this stuff, others are into it (probably liked Physics at school too).
With a bike such as the V10, and others like it, you can go ride it and feel for yourself what it’s like. But to explain HOW it feels like it does? Well, here goes… VPP stands for Virtual Pivot Point. This isn’t new – other bikes have had similar concepts. The rear wheel does not pivot around a fixed point, but this point actually changes as the wheel moves through its travel. So how is the V10 different? Well, try getting a bike with 10” travel not to bob when you pedal it. Again, many manufacturers have claimed this in the past, but not actually achieved it. The secret of this is the axle path of the rear wheel as it moves. Most bikes follow a curve or a straight line. The V10 follows an ‘S’.
You set the bike up with around 3 – 4” of sag which means the axle sits in the bottom curve of the ‘S’. This is also the point at which the effective chain length is the shortest. As bike is pedaled, the chain tension keeps the axle pulled into this point as any movement from this point is actually backwards.
This may sound like pedal activated lockout but it’s not. Why?
Well, although chain tension is holding the suspension at this point, the slightest bump on the ground will create more upward force than the chain force, and moves the suspension.
(The actual variation in the effective chain length is big enough for this concept to work, but small enough as to be unnoticeable by the rider).Bingo – a fully active 10” travel bike with mad pedaling ability.
The 5th Element shock is slightly more complex, although the actual engineering inside it is very simple. The 5 adjustments are rebound damping; initial stroke compression damping (low speed); end stroke compression damping (high speed); linear/progressive adjustment; and starting rate threshold). Oh, and spring pre-load of course. 6th Element? Too much methinks…Again, the upshot of all this is that this shock, like the V10, manages to get rid of rider input and concentrates its efforts on the terrain.
The starting rate threshold is adjusted by air pressure and governs the size of the hit needed to make the shock start working. This, combined with the low speed compression damping adjustment, means that low speed pedaling movements - that tend to be slow and smooth – won’t move the shock, but small bumps on the ground - that tend to be faster and harder – will. This shock would make any bike feel awesome. But combined with a V10? Well, you’ll have to find out for yourself. 5th Element shocks will only be available on Intense and Santa Cruz bikes.
Skip to Main Navigation