Shop Talk: Specialized Brain Technology

Shop Talk: Specialized Brain Technology


SAM BENEDICT: Welcome to SBCU. Today we’re going to talk
about the Brain shock. One of the most unique and
exciting developments that we’ve had in suspension the
last decade, the Brain is totally different than every
shock out there on the market, because it can tell the
difference between the bumps coming up from the ground and
the rider moving around on top without any buttons or knobs
needing to be touched. What this adds up to is the
rider doesn’t have to think about the suspension while
you’re riding your bike. All you have to worry about is
going as fast as possible. The Brain shock can be broken
down into three parts. There’s the air canister,
there’s the Brain hose, and then there’s the actual
Brain itself. And these three pieces, all of
them are absolutely vital to how the bike works with
the actual shock. So let’s get into how the
inertia valve works, how the tune of the shocks are different
per bike, and then how to actually set up the
shocks for your ride. So when you look at the inside
of a Brain, you’ll notice that there’s a lot of stuff
going on here. The Brain itself actually has
all of the compression circuits, so your high, your
mid, and your low-speed compression. So it is a highly-tuned,
well-performing shock. But what’s truly unique
about it is the brass mass inertia valve. And this is what separates
the Brain from everything else out there. And the whole concept, again,
is that we want to differentiate between bumps
coming on the top– this is the rider– and actual bumps
on the ground. So what happens, when of the
rider is bouncing around on top, this brass mass
stays in place. It doesn’t allow oil to flow,
so the bike stays very firm and planted. This gives you a firm platform
so you can accelerate as hard as you want and give you that
good hardtail-like feel that gets you up to speed. The next part that comes in is
that when you hit a bump from the bottom the inertia valve
opens up immediately, instantaneously and allows oil
to flow so the suspension is allowed to work. You don’t have to press
any buttons or give any verbal commands. This just happens automatically every single bump. So rider on the top, it keeps
it nice and firm. You hit a bump from the bottom,
the Brain activate, allows the oil to flow. And as soon as that bump is
gone, the Brain snaps back closed, and you’re back
to firm and mode. So truly unique. You never have to touch
any buttons. It just is always working,
always attached to your bike. Over the years, we’ve
developed different tunes on the Brain. There are different styles
of riders out there. You have your XC racers, you
have your marathon-style guys, an even your trail riders that
can benefit from a shock that does the thinking for you. So we built different tunes
for the Brain out there. Now the Epic World Cup is our
most aggressive bike. That is a bike that you’re like,
I want to freaking fly. You’re going to be hammering on
this bike, so the tune is the most aggressive. It is the most firm
tune when you’re peddling on smooth ground. Now when you go into a standard
style Epic, like a marathon style bike,
the concept of the Brain does not change. The inertia valve, everything
is the same, except for the tune is a little bit lighter. We want the bumps to activate
it a little bit easier and allow more momentum to carry. It’s less about really hard
accelerations in marathon and a long time in the saddle. So you still want that firm
platform, but not as firm as the World Cup. So when you get into a trail
bike, say like a Stump Jumper FSR, now the needs of the
rider are different. We have an equal focus on
climbing and descending, and we don’t need as firm of
a tune on the bike. We want the bike to be a
little bit more active. So again, the concept of the
Brain stays the same, but we lighten the tune up a little bit
for that trail experience. All right. The last part that we want to
talk about is actually setting up your Brain shock, and there’s
two parts to that. The first part, probably the
most important part, is setting sag on your shock. And the second part is how you
want to tune your Brain fade, which is this blue valve
on top of the shock. All Brain shocks come
with autosag. This is a proprietary and
specialized technology. It’s quick, easy, and,
guys, it is correct every single time. It’s the best way to
set up your shock. So there’s four steps. You inflate the shock, sit on
top of the bike, depress the autosag valve, and then you
cycle your bike after you’ve let go of the autosag button. You’re good to go. Any bike that is a 2013 or
newer, you’re going to have autosag on every single one
of those Brain shocks. So nice, easy, quick correct
way to set up your bike. The older bikes, you’re going to
have refer to your owner’s manual, make sure you get the
proper sag range, and you put in the proper pressure for
your riding weight. But make sure you get
your sag dialed. Dialing in a Brain shock verses
a non-Brain shock, the sag works the same way. You still need a x amount of
percentage of sag into your shock to get that
set up properly. So nice and easy
to set that up. The second part is how you want
your bike to ride when we’re on smooth terrain. And that’s what this
Brain fade does. This will set up how firm or
soft your suspension is on smooth terrain, and that’s
a key point. Once you hit a bump, the inertia
valve opens up, and this blue valve doesn’t play a
role in how the suspension is. This is only how firm or soft
you want your suspension on smooth terrain. So if you want your bike to be
really firm, better for those hard accelerations, you’re going
to want to turn this valve clockwise and firm
your shock up. If you want a little bit more
kind of cushiony ride, you want to be able to
bounce around on the top, that’s great. You can go ahead and turn this
counterclockwise, open up the Brain fade a little bit, and
you’re going to get a little bit more squish out
of your bike. There isn’t really a better
or a worse way to do it. It’s just your preference,
whatever feels better for you. Again, once you hit the bumps,
the Brain is going to work the same way, and you’re still
going to have that active control that you want. So make sure you get your sag
set up right, and then get your Brain fade set wherever is
going to make you happiest.