Brandon Turman

Brandon Turman

Motion Instruments user testing with Brandon Turman
Brandon Turman avatar

We met Brandon at the Sea Otter Classic in 2018 through another introduction by Mike Ferrentino. Mike, we owe you a few beers and dinner. During our meetup, we discussed a few things about telemetry and what Motion Instruments is doing differently. At the time, we were still solving synchronicity challenges. Our prototype looked pretty rough. We concluded our discussion with a verbal commitment to get Brandon onto a system once we were further along. We decided to contact Brandon last fall and sent him a note, “Hey, why don’t we meet up at Interbike? We can throw on a system and see how far we can get your bike dialed in?” At this time, we had done a few blind tests and were pretty confident in our system. We were a bit nervous, but at the end of the day, we saw 4 potential outcomes of a test like this: 1) Your bike is perfect, we can’t make it better, but we can quantify why it’s great. 2) We can make your bike better, and the data will guide us. 3) Your bike could be much better, but your kit cannot get you there due to maxed settings on your suspension. 4) We can’t make your bike better, and we don’t know why. We were confident we had put #4 well behind us.

Motion Instruments data acquisition and analysis prototype

Leading up to the test, we didn’t quite know what bike would be ridden, and which suspension. At the last minute, Brandon indicated he’d be riding a 2018 Transition Patrol. For our test, we needed the progression curve for the bike. With a quick email to Transition (super cool company), we had the curve for the bike and the app was ready for Brandon. Transition wanted to make sure we had an up to date Fox DPX2 for this test so they sent Brandon a new shock with the 2019 tune. Also, his bike had a RockShox Lyrik. We’ve had good experience with the Lyrik and were confident the DPX2 was a great shock.

Motion Instruments data acquisition and analysis iPhone app

When we saw Brandon, we noticed that he was taping his wrists and his bike had Flex bars. He has a history of dirt jumps and big hits, so it looks like he’s had some injuries. Our assumption that his injuries slowed him down was quickly shattered on our first run. He quickly proved to be an adept and agile rider with a LOT of speed and style. We got to the bottom and looked at the data. we saw a few things that caught our attention: 1) High average G Force Reading 2) Slow Fork Rebound velocity in the high speed range 3) Really slow shock rebound velocity, 4) Nicely balanced front and rear Compression throughout the entire speed range.

Motion Instruments prototype testing

We preceded to take 4 tuning runs. After each run, we looked at the data and made modifications. In short, we sped Brandon’s fork rebound speed up by over 70%. We increased his shock rebound speed by 40%. His fork up and down motion increased almost 10 meters compared to his original setting, a 15% increase. His vibration score went down which meant he was absorbing less impact. We had a lot more metrics that changed favorably, including his dynamic bike balance. Brandon said he felt he could hold more corner speed and that he felt a lot more comfortable on the bike. We concluded there was more optimization to be had if we could get a lighter tune on rebound for the shock. Spacers could also help speed things up, but we ran out of time. This would have been our next approach for a future test, experiment with shock tokens to modify the air spring which could achieve higher rebound push.

Motion Instruments mountain bike prototype

“Knowing the potential of true data, I jumped at the opportunity to work with Motion Instruments to dial in my personal ride. What shocked me was the end result – drastically faster rebound settings than I have ever run in my life. This equated to less fatigue, more traction, and the ability to consistently carry higher speeds on that day and on those trails. We all know that ideal suspension isn’t a set and forget thing, but Motion Instruments opened my eyes to an even wider range of tuning possibilities.”

Motion Instruments racing data acquisition

For the last test, Brandon threw a surprise at me and said he wanted to take another run with the original settings. My mind quickly drifted “Crap, what if he likes the original setting better?” If you’ve ever been around a good reporter, you are locked in and they can smell BS a mile away. I said, “yeah, let’s see how closely the data correlates to the original run.” Granted, this was his 5th time down the same run, so the metrics should change a bit I assumed. I followed him down the run and noticed I was able to see his dust, a first for the day. When we got to the bottom he was really shocked at how much the bike had degraded from our tuned setup. Everything he liked about the tuned ride had eroded significantly after reversing to the original settings. He complained about the rocky stutter sections, g-outs, and ability to hold his line in corners. He also noted that his hands hurt on that run.

Motion Instruments prototype

When I did an analysis of all the runs, I compared the first and last run (reversed settings to original) to see if the results were consistent and they were nearly identical. I noted that his max compression speed went up on that run, probably because I wasn’t stinking up his line ahead of him so he was pushing a bit harder. But the conclusion was undeniable, we made his bike a lot better and the data we collected and analyzed proved this. Overall, what I took away from this from Brandon was how easy the kit was to install and how fast we were able to get his bike setup. On the chairlift, we discussed a few things about traditional bike setup, including the parking lot bounce up and down test. My point to him was that all of that stuff is dubious at best. There is no substitute for data with you riding your bike, at your speed. Only then will you know what you’re leaving on the table with your setup.

Dylan Renn

Dylan Renn

Dylan Renn avatar

Dylan was one of our first riders to test an early version of our system. When we first met up, we didn’t even have the shock sensor working, but he was eager to try out the fork sensor. We eventually conducted 3 tests with Dylan, first on his hard tail then on his full suspension Enduro bike. The Enduro bike received brand new Fox36 (Grip2) and a DH-X2 Coil shock for the final test which really showed the promise of using data to dial in an infinitely tunable system.

Motion Instruments prototype testing with Dylan Renn

“Rob reached out to me about testing Motion Instruments, and after hearing about it, I couldn’t wait to test it out. I was curious and have never had a way to test my suspension so precisely. My background on the bike is 16 years of racing DH, Dual Slalom and Enduro and now coaching professionally over the last 9 years while still racing select events in the California Enduro Series. Between racing, free riding, and coaching for my business, A Singletrack Mind, I was able to truly feel the effects of the system in all elements of being on my bike. Prior to the test, my basic suspension theory was to try to get the suspension to feel equal and not so fast that it felt bouncy in the parking lot or while standing next to the bike and pushing down on the suspension. Needless to say, my settings after testing, were way different.”

Motion Instruments mountain bike data acquisition and analysis

“First Impression: Easy to use once I was shown the basics. It was so rider/user friendly. The app displays data in a useful format and highlights critical information, more than any other system I have used. The first time I tested the product was on my hardtail fork. I was very surprised at how raising the rebound speed helped the overall tracking in corners. After having a loaner for a couple of rides I had to return the sensor. That was a sad day. I really looked forward to testing with Motion Instruments after that.

Motion Instruments prototype user testing

“My second time out, I received an updated system on my full suspension bike and I was shocked! I took 6 runs on my favorite trail. First run was 6 seconds slower than my previous PR. By the end of testing and adjustments, I had beat that previous PR 4 consecutive times and each run just got faster. Looking back on the data, the final two runs were almost totally balanced.”

Motion Instruments mountain bike data acquisition prototype

“My third test was with updated suspension, a Fox 36 with a Grip2 damper and DHX2 Coil. The new dampers had both high and low speed compression/rebound, a vastly more complicated and precise suspension than my previous setup. On a simple suspension (less knobs), there are only so many adjustments to be made for the damper and pre-load, making this a less time consuming process. My newly suspended Enduro race bike would be almost impossible to tune without the tool. My initial impression still holds true, the device is easy to use and reinforces the need for having a solid understanding of how different suspension settings affect your bike. My Tuned Enduro bike rode noticeably faster and smoother. I raced three of four enduro races on my tuned race bike and got three top 3 finishes only to then end up breaking my chainstay during practice before the final race. I was able to borrow a bike and struggle to a seventh place (Not Tuned!). 🙁 In the end, after using the system, I was able to get my bike set up so that it rode well uphill, downhill, railed corners, and hopped over obstacles easier. My only complaint is that I don’t have my own system right now. After using the system, I can’t go back to my old ways of just pushing down on my suspension again to test what is happening and to find the settings.”

Note to Dylan: We’ll have a system waiting for you soon 🙂