Started with a clean paper sheet to develop Felt’s new full suspension design platform, we knew more than anyone about the challenges lying ahead.
At the moment, there are three big “obstacles” that we have to face:
1) The existing patents are difficult to protect. 2) The fresh concepts are hard to prove and really costly to develop. And 3) if we just licensed existing technology, nobody would seriously take us; a same-same product was evidently never an option.
More importantly, we understood that designing a new package that combines a very diverse blend of attributes is downright the thing that helps us succeed.
We find ourselves to be very lucky to know about our customers’ needs, demand, and even their likely contradicting expectations at times.
For example, they want a bike with maximum tune-ability and ease of installation with no pedal kickback or bob. They want various gear selections equipped in a bike but it also should be consistent and predictable throughout the range of travel. They want their suspension to maintain active every time without sacrificing a single measure of efficiency. They want something to be lighter in terms of weight, yet they want it to be greatly durable and long-lasting to travel more.
But the hardest part is all of these qualities should be wrapped up in a design, and that design should be simple to service and easy to understand at the same time.
This homework is, of course, not an easy one. Our engineering team actually took years of researching, designing, and modifying but finally, they had their work cut out for them.
As the manufacturer, we always try to provide our customers with an all-inclusive experience where there’s a fantastic balance of all the qualities they dream for their bicycle to possess. Developing that complete full-suspension experience is also our solid goal throughout the years.
According to our extensive market research and customers’ demand research, we realized two key things:
1) There was hardly a single system on the market that afforded all of the demands, but just some suspension concepts on the market for a few (or a varied mix) of them
2) While the rider demands are varied, all of which mostly pointed to the two same basic facts – simple and fast (that are also the things we’d like to offer one day).
We desired to create a whole new suspension tech that could be used on all bike types; from long-travel freeride and DH machines to Endurance and all-mountain models, to XC shorter-travel racers.
The Equilink Solution
The patented and revolutionary Equilink suspension technology is our hard-work results of nearly three years of in-depth testing, evaluation, and R&D.
It meets exactly what most riders need – fast and simple:
- Fast: sensitive to the smallest of bumps. Active in and out of the saddle. Always consistent and predictable. Unparalleled efficiency. No pedal kickback. No bob.
- Simple: The simplicity of Equilink technology is always retained whether it’s servicing, pro-tuning, on the trail adjustment, or initial installation. No hard-to-find sweet spot. Tunability is not a requirement, but just a handy option.
It allows the drivetrain to carry out just what it was supposed to do – propel you forward with the highest efficiency while remaining active and open. It does a great job in equalizing your input and the forces of acceleration.
The technology is firstly applied on our all-new Virtue series of high-performance Endurance/All-Mountain models – positioned vertically behind the seat tube and offers more than 130mm (around 5 inches) of incredibly fluid and ultra-efficient travel.
That is also synonymous with its applicability which can be expanded even more on the way to any riding discipline. A wonderful single suspension design platform that can possess it all – something that other brands can’t do at the moment.
The Function – Simply Explained
Equilink, which is a red equalizing link located behind the seat tube, doesn’t require the drivetrain to counteract weight transfer because it has done that on its own.
The way it works is to pull down automatically on the upper horizontal link to immediately negate and equalize weight transfer while you’re pedaling. As a rule of thumb, the stronger you pedal, the more weight transfer initiated, and this link just mimics the effort, keeping a continuous equalization state.
In other words, the drivetrain is allowed to move you forward (the thing that it was supposed to do), which allows the suspension to retain equalization as well as allowing the rider to maximize pedaling efficiency.
Equilink = Fast
As stated, Equilink is known for helping a bike reach faster speeds than usual. To do that, we have enhanced endurance, added comfort, and reduced weight.
By absorbing shock and impact efficiently, Equilink conserves energy for power output optimum.
At Feltracing, we believe that a bike that is able to give its rider a comfortable body position while they are riding regardless of terrain input will significantly help them focus all their energy on pedaling.
On the contrary, an exhausting, uncomfortable gesture will make them continuously adjust/shift their body rather than attention to what they should have done.
That’s why Equilink is specifically designed to deliver the highest comfort level to its users.
As exemplified on our Virtue series of endurance race models, the Equilink system stands out from the rest for compactness, easy to use, and lightweight with no-nonsense tubing.
Taking a look at it, you’ll see that there is no interruption with pivots. This is also the thing that we feel the proudest of because that means we don’t need to beef it up for load handling. Besides, it is no need for complicated or oversized tubing formations or massive gusseting.
In other words, Equilink was purpose-built with the virtual limitlessness of frame design in mind.
Equilink = Simple
Aside from “fast”, “simple” is another must-have quality for the Equilink system, whether it is initial installation, servicing, pro-tuning, or on the trail adjustment.
No Special Shock
One big advantage of our new technology – The Equilink system – is that it doesn’t require a certain type of shock, made by one shock manufacturer than other brands. Instead, it offers all-around versatility to accept all shock types from any shock makers.
It neither requires tailored to a specific rider size/weight nor specific internal factory settings. Just around conventional shock lengths.
As a result, if you want to replace shock-absorption parts of your bike, it is a lot more inexpensive and convenient.
Through years of developing new technologies, we realize that different types of shocks are able to indeed change the ride characteristics in different ways.
From that point, while the Equilink system is created to deliver the maximum efficiency without these shocks, it still offers tune-ability for those riders who love to experiment with what they can offer.
If you feel that you just have to have a lockout, feel free. If you want to try out a platform valve shock, it’s no matter.
But the key point is that the tune-ability is just optional – not a requirement.
No Sweet Spot
The Equilink system lets you end up with a slightly firmer or softer ride – if you happen to be “off” by some PSI – without pedal kickback or bobbing just like some suspension bikes.
That is because it doesn’t have A “Sweet Spot” when performing under certain settings and certain conditions. No sweet spot also means that you will save lots of time and effort during the entire range of travel.
As a result, your riding experience will get more fun.
We don’t like to see our customers suffer a bad day or a poor ride only because they were off by a small click of a dial or a few PSI.
We either don’t like to require our customers to be time- and effort-wasting in inertia valve setting, limited damping settings (like lockout, firm, or firmer), precise air pressure/sag setting, or complicated specific setup procedures.
Our suspension should be easy and quick to set up with no narrow window for error. And the Equilink System can do that!
Equilink = Efficient Suspension
Efficiency is the element that Felt’s team actually paid a lot of attention to when designing the Equilink system. And, there are three solid things that we believe no other suspension than ours can do:
No Pedal Kickback
No matter terrain input and gear selection, a near-vertical axle path guarantees smooth pedaling circles.
Predictable & Consistent
Suspensions on most bikes are frequently unpredictable and inconsistent because each gear combination results in changes in the amount of leverage that the chain has over. And, this makes the level of anti-bob (or anti-squat) vary significantly.
For instance, the large chainring/small cog combination will create pretty different results than the smaller one (which also means there are a lot of possibilities in between).
But with our red Equilink system, it isn’t the thing as it does the work normally done by the chain itself, therefore, regardless of the speed or gear selection you are in, its performance is always consistent and predictable.
While lots of bike makers seem to love using drivetrain as the primary mode of counteracting weight transfer, we are not a big fan of it. Drivetrain causes bobbing, and the main reason is it utilizes directly the direct chain force to neutralize the effects of weight transfer.
Our target is to create a new suspension system that works independently of the drivetrain, allowing it to perform what it was solely intended: to propel the rider and the bike forward, with no bob. In other words, it should achieve a perfect state of suspension “equalization”.
And that was how Equilink was born.
Equilink = Active Suspension
Last but not least, Equilink is truly active. It is sensitive to the big hits as much as the smaller stuff while working equally whether pointed up or pointed down, or whether in or out of the saddle.
Small Bump Sensitivity
While there are more and more brain shocks and platform damping these days on the market, most of them are employed to mask inherent suspension design inefficiencies, especially when it comes to small bump sensitivity.
The biggest issue is you might stop the shock from reacting to tiny movement induced by the terrain when overdamping a shock to hide your shock movement.
We never want our suspension to be like that!
Our belief is that suspension should be active ALL THE TIME, whether the small or the big, to enhance comfort and traction. And, platform valving should not be utilized to counteract bob induced by rider weight transfer, but just to smoothen unwanted shock movement based on jerky (inconsistent) pedaling.
In/Out Of The Saddle
We confidently assure you that our red Equilink system will ALWAYS keep active whether when seated on a long, slow uphill grind, hanging over the back on a downhill, or sprinting out of the saddle.
No matter if you are standing or seated, it never easily shifts in spring rate.