FSR Vs Maestro/DW bikes

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  • FSR Vs Maestro/DW bikes
  • I visited the demo day at cannock over the weekend, tried a few bikes as I’ve no idea what im going to get. So aimed to try a big travel bike, a trail bike and a XC bike.

    Giant Reign X
    Tried the large size as its all that was left, absolute hooligan, annoyed the whole “you only need a cotic soul/O-O inbread/Dialled PA” clique of which im normaly a member, by overtaking them both uphill and on the singletrack ๐Ÿ™‚

    And as for sily stuff, within 20 seconds of getting the pedals fitted (big flats) i was wheelying across the car park (bearing in mind i couldnt wheelie before!) . Within 20 meters of riding i was launching off every tree stump, and on the fire road i couldn’t resist flying it off a nice big drop down the side, I’d not do that normaly! So unbelievably good fun!

    Specialized enduro,large
    Felt very high, long and nervous. Tried a medium which was better, but stil not quite right. Put it down to a bad setup, despite a guy from the spesh stand setting the sag. Suspension just didnt feel like it was doing anything usefull (i was convinced it was locked out TBH, the o-ring showed it was being used).

    Giant anthem, medium
    Fast as FU** It’s so fast, unbelieveably fast, so fast it scares people as you chase them down in the woods. Didn’t feel “stable” but it never felt steep in a bad way, just fly by wire kinda on a knife edge cotroll. Raceing ralphs in the mud were slippy, but good fun.

    Ok, now for the bit i didnt get. My last and only full sussers were a proflex (the ones with the carbon swingarm) and a yeti asr-sl. Both setup to be fairly springy. So you’d be costantly using the travel and bottoming out fairly regularly (say over anything that could be described as a drop), bouncing on the pedals would shift it through about 2/3 of the travel.

    None of the mechanics set up the bikes to feel anything like this. As cannock has no rocks i couldnt say if they got it right. But how “wollowy” is your suspension set up?

    And all the fox forks (vox Van36 R and a 140mm talas RL) felt like they were partialy locked out. Now as i said cannock has no real lumps (just the occasional braking bumps, hidden by the mud last weekend unfrtunately) so cant say if they were just doing their job very well. The anthem had SID’s, which were better (no bob, but did move a bit when you bashed them into things) but still felt over sprung and damped despite the mechanic setting them up to my eight. On my bikes ive been from Z1’s which i loved, to manitou minutes, which i hated, back to the z1’s, and now ride magura menja’s which feel like the old z1’s just much much stiffer and lighter.

    So am i alone in riding my suspension soft, are fox forks that bad, and is the FSR system realy that much different to the maestro?

    FEK i typed quickly

    n.b. forks/dampers were ridden with all the clever stuff turned off/down


    n.b. forks/dampers were ridden with all the clever stuff turned off/down

    From what I know about the Maestro suspension system (probably not a lot all things considered) I believe as a system it works best with the simplest of shocks fitted. All the adjustability and clever damping that you find on many modern shocks interferes with the suspension action in a negative way.

    My Trance has a very basic Fox Float R fitted but a ‘higher spec’ RP3 equipped Trance I’ve also ridden didn’t ride as well.


    Sooty, that’s what I understand about the Maestro system too.


    It’s odd, I rode a Trance X and absolutely hated it, then had a spin on an Enduro and absolutely loved it to bits ๐Ÿ™‚ I pity those people who buy without trying, there is often a huge difference in feel between bikes that look like they’ll be very similar. It’s interesting how different the opinions on 2 very good bikes can be ๐Ÿ™‚

    I wasn’t really trying to buy though, I bought a Meta 55 XT last year and still love it to bits, it gives me that ‘i was launching off every tree stump, and on the fire road i couldn’t resist flying it off a nice big drop down the side’ feeling you mention ๐Ÿ™‚ You find yourself jumping down things you didn’t even previously register as a jump, awesome bike.

    On suspension designs, I found the Trance very rigid and dead feeling, the bike had an obscenely long stem which made riding it a pain in the arse. I’m 6’6″ and I’d hired an XL, unfortunately when Giant say XL, they really mean it, it was quite literally like a gate. It was fairly short so felt nice around berms but very upright and tall.

    The Enduro felt fairly dead too, for some reason I got on much better with it, spinning the pedals felt very efficient and it held its speed really well. I could have happily rode around all day on that thing and it pained me taking it back.

    My Commencal Meta is much softer suspension wise than either of the above, you can still climb without bobbing but it’s much more keen to kick into it’s travel. I think it just fits me like a glove as it gives that completely indestructable feeling and convinces you to do silly things.

    I prefered all of the above without ProPedal to be honest, I liekd pro pedal on the ooold style Specialized 4 bars but they almost seemed to rely on it to stop bobbing :S I do like Teralogic/Motion Control on my hardtail for climbing though, when it’s easy to flick on and your weight is forward.

    tempted to get a secondhand trance frame as a comprimise, and build it up with my current bits off the hardtail. Then try riding it with the suspension set up realy firm or as soft as i’d imagine is best.

    The enduro did feel good, and was very fast and the geometry felt very neutral (not slack and not steep), but i just wasnt convinced the suspension was working. I’m 50% sure it must have been a setup thing, next time i go to a demo day i’ll take a pump and just ride one decent repetedly for the 45 min untill it feels good. And cannock was a mudfest (ive never seen it that bad) so probaby not the best for examining the finer points of suspension responce (is that the mud being spongy or the bike?).


    I’m sure there isn’t a right/wrong answer anyway, the Trance X did just feel wrong for me though, so I’d imagine it’s me being the wrong shape somehow rather than the bike. I wasn’t a fan of old Specialized bikes as well, I’ve owned an old Enduro and an FSR XC in the past, both felt very bobby when climbing, that Enduro really suprised me.

    I know what you mean about Cannock Chase, it was ok around the top of the fireroad hill but the bottom end is shagged beyond belief. I think the Chase Trails chaps are eagerly working on Phase 2. Still, Bikeradar demo day next week and a Leisure Lakes one the week after, I’m sure you’ll get to see it even worse soon ๐Ÿ˜‰

    i’d be supprised if they sign the demo trail down any of the muddy bits, section 13 and 14 were missed out last weekend, i’d speculate for that reason, they were very muddy!


    All the demo bikes ive ever tried were set-up too firm for my taste. I usually fiddle with the air pressure once im away from the stand to get the suspension working properly. One thing ive found with FSRs is you need to get the spring/pressure right or they wont feel too great (wallowy), Meastro i think needs to be set up a little firmer but should still let you get all the travel (and still feel supple to boot)

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