Brain suspension technology was developed to deliver the utmost in efficiency on the trail. Whether it's at the front or rear of a bike's suspension, it's able to differentiate between rider input and trail bumps, ensuring that your pedaling forces aren't being wasted in compressing the suspension.
When only the ultimate in suspension efficiency and control will do, nothing compares to our Brain suspension technology. Found on a myriad of our XC designs, it's been refined and tuned to perform on varying terrain for mountain biking's most demanding riders. Need proof? The Brain-equipped Epic was the first full-suspension bike to win a Cross Country World Championship. It's won several, actually, and in each of these victories, riders were propelled to victory aboard the one-of-a-kind Brain shock. And with new iteration of Brain on the Epic, it's already winning World Cups under both women and men.
You're probably asking yourself, "What does it do?" And the simple answer is that it provides you with more speed and more control. The concept is pretty simple, but putting it into action is a different story. After all, since the advent of full-suspension mountain bikes, hardtails and full-suspension rigs have been diametrically opposed when it comes to skillsets and favoritism. With no risk of brake squat or chain growth, the former excels at pedaling speed. Conversely, the latter is dominant over rough terrain, while suffering a bit on pedaling efficiency. The Brain, however, bridges the gap between the two, with its inertia valve technology helping create the cross section of technologies. It knows the difference between rider input and terrain forces, which means that it's firm over smooth terrain to maximize efficiency and active over the rough earth for more control.
When paired with our linkage systems, it's the best full-suspension design in the world at eliminating power-induced movement of the rear suspension. The active and independent system remains neutral and unaffected as power is applied through the system. We use the Brain technology to stabilize the chassis from your weight transferring inputs (like aggressive pedaling), with the pedal torque induced movements being neutralized by the linkage.
A New Brain Emerges
We reinvented the Brain for the Epic to take everything we loved from the earlier iterations and to build upon them. Now, it's closer to the axle where the moment of inertia occurs, which makes for an even more responsive system. We then reengineered the oil porting and flow paths to reduce oil turbulence, and in turn, this provides more consistent damping. And for the vanity-prone, we also redesigned the hose fitting, so there aren't any unnecessary bits or curves.
Just like your mom taught you, though, it's what's inside that counts. We wanted smooth to be smoother and firm to be firmer, so we switched over to a bladder system for smoother action and made the Inertia and Spike Valves mainstays on the new Brain. It would take us half a Russian novel's length to explain how they work, but the key takeaway is that they work closer together to improve damping, traction, straight-line stability, and bump absorption. In other words, you get to ride faster and with more control.
Mike "Mick" McAndrews
The original Brain was more of a macro-event type of damping switch. Based on trail conditions, it would go into either a bump mode or a pedaling mode and stay there for a while, resulting in some inefficient transition time. With the newer generation of Brain shocks, the system can detect micro-trail events and adjust accordingly. There has been a lot of effort the past few years on improving the Brain sensitivity and blending the flow circuits to improve the shock's first strike capability. Also, important to the XC rider, the current Brain shock uses our own micro damper design that is half the weight of the original Brain shock design.