Horst link

Mountain Biking UK - - SUSPENSION -

Horst link sus­pen­sion – named af­ter the man who pi­o­neered it, Horst Leit­ner – is marked out by a pivot on the chain­stays, be­tween the rear axle and main­frame pivot. It’s of­ten re­ferred to as a ‘four-bar’ set-up, be­cause it splits the bike’s rear end into four sec­tions, each con­nected via piv­ots (chain­stay, seat­stay, rocker link and seat tube). As on a link­age-driven sin­gle-pivot bike, the four-bar link­age al­lows con­trol of the lever­age ra­tio. But, be­cause the rear axle isn’t di­rectly con­nected to the main­frame, it moves in a path which isn’t cen­tred around any one of the piv­ots. In­stead, an in­stant cen­tre de­fines the di­rec­tion of the rear wheel at any given point in the travel. De­pend­ing on the po­si­tion of this in­stant cen­tre, the ef­fect of brak­ing forces on the sus­pen­sion – known as anti-rise – can be re­duced rel­a­tive to any sin­gle-pivot de­sign. This may im­prove the sen­si­tiv­ity of the sus­pen­sion while brak­ing. Spe­cial­ized patented the de­sign in the mid 1990s and con­tinue to use it on their ‘FSR’ bikes. This meant other US brands could only use it un­der li­cence, so most looked for al­ter­na­tives. It re­mained pop­u­lar with Euro­pean man­u­fac­tur­ers such as Whyte and YT though, and since the patent ex­pired a cou­ple of years ago, a load more brands have be­gun us­ing it, in­clud­ing Nuke­proof and Tran­si­tion.

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