Prototype Paradox MTB promises near-hardtail pedaling efficiency with radical suspension design

Photos and video courtesy of Paradox Suspension.

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There have been a number of full-suspension MTB rigs over the years that have seen the bottom bracket (BB) mounted in the rear triangle instead of the front. These frame designs have the benefits of less pedal bob and increased pedaling efficiency since 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 rider’s weight on the pedals, the rear suspension becomes quite stiff and inefficient. by Bryan McFarland Paradox Pendant Light the design aims to exploit the benefits of a rear-mounted bottom bracket while forgoing the drawbacks of those previous iterations.

The video above is a rudimentary representation of how McFarland’s design works, providing the up-and-forward axle path that high-pivot bikes are praised for. Additionally, 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 travel 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 on top of the system while gaining the known benefits of a stiff rear connection and BB. What it might feel like to have the feet pulled back on every impact is a question for the prototype phase of this bike.

We had other questions for McFarland regarding mud handling with the complex linkage that sits just ahead of the rear tire, and the level of stiffness the frame designer felt will be possible with the stock design. McFarland said the suspension design is the real innovation here, and the frame will change significantly throughout the testing process. He has already redesigned the Paradox frame to include a more traditional downtube after receiving feedback and concerns about the frame’s potential stiffness and the amount of force that will be distributed to the links and pivots. Simply put, the bike is a work in progress, and like everyone else on Kickstarter, he needs help funding this work.

the most recent drawing

Paradox Suspension has a Kickstarter goal of raising $94,000 to cover the costs that would see this frame hit the market. Click on their Kickstarter page for more details or to add your support.

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