The link changes everything

It’s hard to imagine how a single link can affect how Felt’s Equilink™ suspension system feels and performs but this one link truly is key to fantastic performance on the trail.

Mountain bike rear suspension has a tough job. Not only does it have to keep your tire contact on the ground under a wide variety of conditions but it has to do so while simultaneously making the most efficient use of a decidedly weak power source: you. 

This means chain tension created by your hard-earned pedaling should never go to waste, and braking forces should never eat up precious millimeters of travel. The system needs to be as light as humanly possible, and everything from washboards to drop-offs need to be controllably absorbed in order to maintain forward momentum. 

Equilink™ does it all

With Equilink™, the bike doesn’t require a solid rear triangle like some other suspension systems. Instead, it is attached by bearings and ties the upper and lower suspension links together such that neither can move without affecting the other. Under power, chain tension tries to pull the lower link down while the other wants to pivot up. However, by connecting the two, those opposing forces merely create a bit of tension in the Equilink™ and effectively cancel each other out. Moreover, the Equilink is oriented nearly perpendicular to the direction of the chain, negating its effects even further.

Think of it as two equally matched kids playing tug of war: each wants to go in their own direction but the rope keeps either from gaining any ground. 

As such, chain tension produces no suspension movement whatsoever and you rocket forward as if on a hardtail. Unless your name is Bruce Banner and you’re having an awfully bad day, no amount of pedaling force in the world can tear the Equilink from its anchors. It all adds up to the ultimate in pedaling efficiency.

Chain tension isn’t the only force at play here, though. As you accelerate, your body weight tends to move towards the rear of the bike, creating a suspension phenomenon commonly referred to as squat. The idea is simple: shift your weight rearward and you increase the load on the suspension, thus inducing movement. Counteracting chain tension is nice and all but if weight shift isn’t addressed as well you’re still wasting precious watts.

Conveniently, Equilink™ takes care of this as well. By tweaking the anchoring positions on the upper and lower links, our suspension designers can fine-tune just how much leverage the Equilink™ is exerting on each one. After countless design iterations and burning lots of midnight oil, we nailed down the exact anchoring positions such that the Equilink™ tugs just a tad bit harder on the upper link than the lower.  As a result, the system totally neutralizes the negative effects of both chain tension and weight shift so that none of your precious travel is wasted.

And what about braking effects?  Poorly designed systems can produce squat (suspension compression) or jack (suspension extension) when the rear brake is applied, either of which can disrupt how the rear wheel tracks the ground. With Equilink ™ braking forces are directed down into the stay and are resisted by the long lever arm defined by the dropout pivot and lower suspension linkage.  Slam on the brakes and the Equilink™ rear end does nothing but slow you down, all while keeping the wheel firmly planted on the ground.

So what’s left? 

Equilink™ effectively counteracts all of the negative forces acting on the system, thus leaving the rear suspension to fulfill its main purpose in life: absorbing trail impacts of all shapes and sizes.  Since the rear shock no longer has to do double duty to produce a stable pedaling platform, we worked with Fox Racing Shox to produce the lowest level of ProPedal platform valving we could get to produce the plushest possible feel. 

Perfectly engineered suspension rates and a low-leverage design offer the same buttery ride quality on small, medium and big hits alike.  Moreover, the Equilink™ system’s ever-so-slightly rearward axle path allows the rear wheel to move up and back to better absorb square-edged hits, yet is close enough to vertical that it doesn’t produce any noticeable pedal kickback. 

Equilink™ is also extremely tolerant of a wide range of shock settings as there is no single ‘sweet spot’. Add in a little more pressure if you want a firmer feel or dial it back to soften things up. Either way, you still get the same superior pedaling performance.

None of this would be worth anything if the back end were allowed to wag all over the place so Felt engineers added in cold forged yokes all around, full cartridge and needle bearing pivots, cromoly thru-bolt, stainless steel hardware and oversized frame members to eliminate any out-of-plane movement.

Felt Equilink™. It looks different because it is, and works better because of it. One ride is all you’ll need to prove to yourself that nothing is faster pedaling, smoother riding or truer tracking.

Equilink™ - THE SUMMARY

•    Equilink™ is like sports car suspension adapted to the trail: hardtail-like pedaling performance, unbeatable traction and a taut, communicative yet unbeatably supple feel that isn’t hampered by heavy-handed compression valving. 

•    Some suspension systems claim to perfectly neutralize the ill effects of chain tension while others concentrate on the shifting weight of the rider. Felt does both by uniting the upper and lower suspension rockers with a unique additional member called Equilink™. Its perpendicular orientation relative to chain tension means even the stronger pedaling won’t induce movement when hammering out of the saddle, while carefully engineered anti-squat geometry keeps the suspension at the ready regardless of where you position your mass. Add with forged yokes, full cartridge bearing pivots, stainless steel and cromoly hardware, nothing is smoother riding and truer tracking.