FLIPPING THE SCRIPT
FLIPPING THE SCRIPT
What the Flip?
July 02 — 2019 | Santa Cruz, CA
Some thoughts on flip chips...
Looking for a how-to guide including instructions needed to re-position a chainstay or suspension flip-chip? Skip down to the resources section now.
It wasn’t so long ago that chainstay length and shock rate were set in stone. It was either short or long and progressive or linear: a real Finkle or Einhorn situation. You got what you got and that was that — until flip-chips came along.
The first iteration of the Hightower was also the first of the range to be graced with a flip chip. It started as a way to keep geometry inline when you swapped from 29in wheels to 27.5+ wheels. This evolved a little with when a flip-chips found their way into the chainstays of certain bikes. Now it was one chip to tweak the suspension tune and one to tweak the chainstay length. Beyond wheel size swapping, each of these adjustments gained a different, more nuanced purpose and, although small, these are the kinds of tweaks that can give your fire-breathing monster truck the benefit of adjustable power seats.
First to flip two ways, the new V10 29er and 27.5.
It happened on the new V10 first. The Syndicate riders and mechanics puzzled their way into the future on prototype bikes in the World Cup pits. Now, that same 10mm +/- dropout flip chip is included on the Megatower, and it’s accompanied by a second sister flip-chip in the lower link—one that allows for +/- 3.5mm of difference in BB height.
Ask three different people what kind of benefit they get from all this puzzling and you’ll likely get a range of responses. Here’s ours: the dropout flip-chip allows riders to fine-tune handling through the wheelbase and rear center, while the flip-chip in the lower link is about suspension tuning (while it also has an effect on geo).
Switching the lower link chip between Low and High only requires a 6mm Allen and a minute or two—loosen the bolt, flip the chip, tighten the bolt. In the Low position, the shock rate becomes more progressive, particularly at the end of the stroke, and there’s some bottom-out resistance to be gained. In the High setting, the bike rides a little higher in its travel and supplies the rider with more mid-stroke support. Tweakers and finicky shredders can adapt the suspension feel to their needs and desire.
Flip chip in the lower-link mounted shock configuration and at the rear axle on the new Megatower.
The flip-chip in the dropout is a different but related story. The short setting makes the Megatower or V10 feel more agile, while the long setting is better suited toward straight-line speed or where you feel like you need additional front-wheel traction.
If you’re Shredder Sam who requires (or prefers) an XL or XXL frame, this 10mm +/- adjustment gives you one more way to find the optimal position for climbs of all kinds and the ideal weight distribution for finding balancing on rock-strewn, root peppered trails at face-melting speed. Shredder Sam might have a buddy, Jimmy Ripper, and he and Jimmy have the same Megatower (different colors—no twinsies here) but different riding styles or customization tastes. Those lower link and dropout flip chips give both of them options to puzzle their rides to match their appetite.
Resources and Instructions
We've added a new PDF to our collection of product manuals. The Chainstay Flip Chip guide walks through the purpose of the chip in more detail, the expected performance benefits of the short and long position, tools needed to change the chip's position, and finally the steps and recommendations for flipping your chainstay chip. This guide covers the V10 (version 7) available in 27.5" or 29", the Tallboy 4, and Megatower long-travel 29er.
Additionally, if you're looking for information about flipping the chip on your suspension, you can find a PDF that outlines the performance benefits, tools required, and the recommended steps here. This guide is specific to upper-link driven VPP, and we'll be updating it soon to include information about re-positioning a chip on a lower-link VPP bike.