Paradox MTB prototype promises near hardtail pedaling efficiency with radical suspension design
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There have been a number of full suspension MTB platforms over the years that have seen the lower bracket (BB) mounted in the rear triangle instead of the front. These frame designs have the advantages of reduced pedal movement and increased pedaling efficiency, as pedal force is generated on the same rigid structure that transfers it to the ground, like a hardtail. The disadvantages of these designs can be obvious: with the weight of the rider’s body on the pedals, the rear suspension becomes quite stiff and inefficient. Bryan McFarlan’s Paradox suspension design aims to exploit the benefits of a rear-mounted bottom bracket while avoiding the drawbacks of those previous iterations.
The video above is a rudimentary representation of how McFarlan’s design works, providing the up and forward axle trajectory that high pivot bikes are praised for. In addition, this system would eliminate chain growth since the distance between the BB and the rear axle remains constant. Unlike previous versions of this system, the Paradox cross-link design allows the BB to move in a horizontal plane as the rear axle moves up and down throughout its stroke. The horizontal movement of the BB is believed to avoid rider weight issues over the system while still enjoying the known benefits of a rigid rear and BB connection. What it might feel like to have your feet pulled back with each impact is a question for the prototype phase of this bike.
We had further questions for McFarland regarding mud handling with the intricate linkage that sits right in front of the rear tire, and the level of stiffness the frame designer believes is possible with the stock design. McFarland said the suspension design is the real innovation here and the frame will change dramatically throughout the testing process. It has already redesigned the Paradox frame to include a more traditional down tube after receiving comments and concerns about the frame’s potential stiffness and the amount of force that will be distributed across the links and pivots. Put simply, the bike is a work in progress, and like everyone on Kickstarter, he needs help funding that work.
Paradox Suspension’s Kickstarter goal is to raise $ 94,000 to cover the costs that would allow this framework to market. Click on their Kickstarter page for more details or to add your support.