Knolly Warden

Andrextr Analyzes Knolly Warden Suspension

Video Andrextr

We've been doing a lot of talking and thinking about the Knolly Warden platform as we prepare to take a back to back look at the carbon Warden vs. the aluminum version. Last night even had a nice long conversation (over some very fine single malts) with Knolly founder Noel Buckley about everything from manufacturing to cask size (clearly a little distracted by the Scotch).

I'll let Andre take it from here - and  I may never pronounce Knolly the same again.

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+1 luisgutierod

Hi there,

I just post the comment I did on Andres youtube page one month ago about the Warden AS/PK dpendance and his following answer which I think complete well his video:

Comment :

Hi Andres, I think you're missing something about anti-squat: AS is positively correlated to pedal-kickback, meaning high AS = high PK.

When you state that under pedalling, suspension might not be fully active to bumps, it is also true when your are NOT pedaling since suspension compression under bumps will generate pedal kickback, i.e., vertical, top directed motion of the right pedal under suspension compression.

Since you are weighting on pedals, and due to the vertical, ground directed component of acceleration that you encounter during a jump reception or after the summit of a bump , and that is transmitted to the suspension through pedals, you're just partly blocking the suspension action.

So high AS basically interferate with suspension action even when you are not pedalling, and prevent the suspension to act as it should.

Answer from Andres:

Your rational is totally right. However, that's mostly valid when you are at a static position or at slow speeds (eg: climbing). At faster speeds the chain growth will mostly make the rear free hub to rotate forward, instead of rotating the pedals backwards and lifting your weight (the wheel is already spinning fast, so the chain pulling will just make the cassette to rotate forward and you wont feel nothing on the pedals, in this case the suspension is almost free to move). At slower speeds you will feel more the kickback because the cassette can no longer freely rotate forward because that would cause acceleration to the bike. Since that you mostly stop pedaling when you are running faster (eg: descends) in practice the kickback is mostly felt when you are pedaling and the chain is under tension (specially on technical climbs).




you just touched the subject that I thought of about a freaking month to understand how different a bike with more AS felt compared to a Knolly Warden WHEN NOT PEDALLING

I changed from a Warden to a Canfield Balance, long story short, I felt right away how the Balance was not caught up in small holes when terrain was not that steep. I felt that pumping on the pedals took the bike out quicker, which did not happen at all in the Knolly (not that it was bad, just different input required). Absolutely agree on the fact that the weight on the pedals affects to a greater extent the suspension behaviour on a bike with more AS. I have done chainless runs on the Warden and tbh the bike handles very similar compared to when it has a chain... which makes sense totally as there is low PK. 




Same for me. I had a series of Knolly then an Enduro and now an Evil which has comparably high AS throughout its travel. It turns out I really like the high AS. The diagrams suggest the Evil has a fair amount of kickback but I can't tell. The Evil consistently doesn't get hung up on stuff the way the Enduro used to like to do, but I think this has more to do with wheelpath than AS. 

I recall my Knolly as being better descenders than the Enduro but not as versatile (2010 Delirium was my last). The Knolly were remarkably even-tempered no what was happening and though that neutrality was good for pedalling it isn't as good as a little chain tug, if you know what I mean.

I remember having a brief stint on a VPP bike in the Knolly era and I thought it was insane, like it had multiple personality disorder with extra unpredictability. Coming off years of Knolly it makes sense In hindsight why this would be the case. Looking at the graphs it's pretty obvious why I didn't like VPP.

It could be that I'm physically much stronger now. When I was on my Delirium I preferred to pedal seated more often, as we did in the freeride days. Now I'm riding my Evil harder up a lot more stuff, up steeper more powerful technical climbs with a lot more standing, which I'm guessing would be less suited to a low-AS bike. I guess it's time for a test ride!


+1 Cr4w

Coming from a very high AS bike to the Knolly I immediately noticed the change in the design, the bike felt much more stable and composed. It also felt much less playful and "poppy". I started digging into the suspension kinematics and studying up on the concepts. Heres the thing with Knolly's; yes they have low AS, they also have relatively high progression. With this in mind I "turned off" all of the compression on my CCInline and was pleasantly surprised to discover that there is plenty of pop in the design it was just being sucked-up by the compression damping on the shock. The progressiveness of the suspension already provides a level of support and bottom out resistance that compression damping on the shock was not required or even desirable for me. If you feel like thats the case for you, I'd highly recommend playing around with your compression adjustments starting at zero and working your way up you may be surprised to discover that Knollys can pop and hop with the best of the high AS designs but still out traction them when needed.



great addition to bike reviews is to have the science behind it all.  #graphsrule #lessmarketingbs



That's a really interesting analysis.


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