Specialized Brain vs. Triad shock for all-around kung fu

Eric has been mashing a single speed hardtail, and he wants a rear shock that’ll let him keep mashing. I say get an all-around bike and smooth out your stroke.

Come on … just one click.


I’m in a quandary as to which bike would best fit my needs, wants, and budget. I currently ride a singlespeed that I just added front suspension to. I like to climb and WANT peddling efficiency (I like to stand and mash as opposed to sit and spin), but I want a bike that will be fun on the downhills too that wont break. I’m a beginner and not very experienced. The trails I ride are mostly XC/all-mountain. I’d also like to do a little XC racing in the near future.

I understand this decision comes down to style but have questions about the peddling efficiency of the FSR with the Triad shock vs with the brain shock (comp vs expert). Can you give me your opinion based on practice as to the performance of these? What is the difference in bob, sitting and standing?

Is it possible to run the Epic and the SJ FSR with a single chainring? If so, what’s involved in setting this up? Is this a dumb idea? My reasoning for this is I like simplicity and would prefer to stand and grind than mess around with a bunch of gears.

I like the epic for its efficiency and I’ve heard the brain shock will work well for my style. I like the FSR because it seems to offer a good balance. I’d like the FSR with a brain shock but not sure I can afford it.

If you have any other suggestions I welcome them. Thank you for your time and I appreciate any help you can offer.

Semper Fidelis,

Hey Eric,

First, if standing and mashing is your preferred style, then live long and prosper. For most people, stand-and-mash is what you do before you develop a good spin. There are exceptions (Mark Weir is one), but most riders are better off learning to spin. End of speech.

I have a Stumpy with a Brain, and I’ve ridden three iterations of the Triad on my Enduro SL. Just establishing some credibility.


If you want an all-around weapon, get the Stumpy not the Epic.

If you want a bike that pedals like a hardtail but absorbs bumps, you want a Brain. You can tune it to completely eliminate bob, but that affects the overall plushness of the ride. Coming from a hardtail, though, you won’t know the difference.

If you want a great all-around bike (at a lower price point), the Triad rocks. As far as I’m concerned, it has virtually no bob — but I’ve been sitting and spinning for almost 20 years.

Given budget and all-around kung fu, I say rock a Stumpy with a Triad.

Chain guide

Sure, you can run a guide. Get a flange-mount guide. I suggest a GAMUT P20. Run a 34t ring and an 11-34 cassette. On most trails, this is all the gear you need.

Let there be rock,

— Lee

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