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In Search of Full Suspension
by Kirk Lingenfelter

So you want to buy a full suspension bike? Where do you start with all the possibilities? Right here! I’ve been riding the Fisher Big Sur for about a year now and it has proved to be a great bike, but as my riding became more advanced I found myself out of control more and more. Not to mention the abuse my body was taking being beaten up by high-speed descents on washboard fire roads and diving over the bars on steep technical runs. So I started looking into full suspension bikes.

I examined many types and designs including Trek VRX 300 (too heavy), Schwin S10 (too heavy), Santa Cruz Heckler (too expensive), Specialized FSR series (too expensive), AMP (bad reviews) etc. etc. I had about $1500-$1600 to spend but was hoping to not go that high. Finally I came across the K2 4000. I liked the design and component mix so I started scouring the Internet for reviews and information on the bike.

MTB Review is always my first stop for mountain bike information and I was not disappointed in this case. The K2 uses something called a Noleen Elite smart shock on the front and I found that the reviews on this shock were either really good or really bad. The bike on a whole seemed to get good reviews but I was concerned about this fork setup.

I was hoping not only to get a look at the K2 but answer a lot of questions I had about full suspension bikes in general; how prohibitive is suspension bob (bio-pacing or whatever you want to call the bike hopping up and down while pulling steep hills), control and comfort verses a hardtail and how well they handle steep technical situations. After having the bike setup seat post position, suspension tuning etc. -we hit the trail. Let me give you some background on the K2 4000: The before mentioned front shock is a computer controlled single nitrogen charged shock. The bad reviews site electronic malfunctions and stiffness. The computer has three dampening settings that allow good absorption over small bumps, but readjusts in a millisecond to handle heavy hits. I think this unit is a little techy and gimmicky but I’ll be darned if it didn’t work like it’s supposed to.

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