For those of you that have been following the new "Concept" front suspension that Skinz has produced, I figured it would be beneficial to post a thread on my experience with them. I decided that I really wanted to test this suspension before I offered my opinion, and so far I've logged 600 miles on them this year. Snow conditions have only allowed us to ride for the last 3-4 weeks.
For starters, the 1/2" heim joints...wasn't very happy about those! I guess I was the first to break one joint, and the first and possibly only person to break two joints. I don't think that we can blame it on the 1/2" heim joints being too small. There are too many guys running the 1/2" heim joints that I'm sure have encountered similar terrain that would have caused my original joints to break. There is something else at play here. I broke my right side lower heim joint my first ride out on the new suspension and had to limp out. I was sent a replacement heim joint from Scott at OFT at no charge. Next ride out I broke my left side lower heim joint and had to limp out of the backcountry. I called Scott at OFT Racing, this guy is the best in the business as far as customer service goes, and he had a brand new set of lower A-Arms to me that had already been upgraded to 5/8" heim joints, I just had to send mine back. He also made sure that they were at my doorstep before the weekend so that I wouldn't miss out on riding that weekend.
The heim joint issue was a pain in my butt and caused more than a few curse words to slip out of my mouth but everyone can rest assured the problem has been resolved. Considering that this is not only the first front suspension that this company has made, but also kind of a new idea ("concept") on cross platform suspension design you have to expect issues. For me it's not the issues that came up, but rather how the issues were resolved, and in that aspect Skinz (and in my case OFT Racing) did a great job!
Typing what I'm experiencing with the front end is going to be difficult but hopefully you'll get the points I'm trying to get across.
What does the suspension do
I would say the BEST attribute is collision absorption. The stock nytro front end travels almost perpendicular to the surface that it's moving along. So when a bump comes along, the suspension travels directly upward and causes the body weight of the sled to shift to the other side. Now on the skinz suspension the have changed the direction of travel of the front end. Rather than traveling perpendicular to the surface it's traveling on, it's offset. Now when you travel over the same bump the ski hits it and the shock absorbs it a LOT more, transfers the impact much smoother, and there is less body roll.
This makes sidehilling tracked up areas a hundred times nicer. Now when you cross somebody else's trench the sled doesn't want to toss you downhill anymore. When sidehilling VERY steep tree filled areas it's a lot easier to pick the line that YOU want to take rather than the one that the sled wants to take. <- best way I can describe it. I'm sure my Air frame running boards and Timbersled rear suspension contribute a lot to this.
While riding the new front suspension I kept looking for positives but I found one negative. One of my favorite parts of the Nytro was the ability to get in fresh powder and stand neutral on the sled and be able to roll from side to side making a giant squiggly mark on the snow. Don't get me wrong the new suspension doesn't stop you from doing this but rather makes it require a little more effort. I think the reason for the old suspension allowing this technique to be performed with less effort is because
the old suspension traveled perpendicular to the terrain, and in this situation you actually want body roll.
Everything I was able to do on the old suspension (except what is mentioned above), I'm able to do with less effort on the new suspension. The heim joint issues that may have been associated with this suspension are now long gone. Do I think they should charge $1000 for this suspension when comparing what you get vs. other kits? H*ll no! It should come with basic cable for that price! But no other kits offer as "radical" of a suspension change so I decided to try it out and have been happy so far. It does make a very
noticeable difference that you might not realize right off the bat, but give it some time and you'll start to realize the difference it makes.
For those of you interested in what modifications I've made to my sled to make it perform well in the backcountry check out my Member Sled build thread here: http://www.snowestonline.com/forum/s...d.php?t=273866
I will update that thread with a wet (ready to ride) weight of my sled and one of my buddies Pro-RMK. I think more than a few people might be surprised