Quantcast

honestly now.. vp-free vs. gemini DH

Projectpat

Chimp
Oct 26, 2004
26
0
bellingham
ok people,

i need some honest opinions of the vp free and cannondale gemini.
i've been the biggest cannondale basher for years, but within the last year, they've really impressed me. the technoloy of the gemini and the way it rides. (on sidewalks anyway) is sweet. it feels quite balanced.

the vp free is also a freakin sick bike in every sense of the word. pedals like a dream. super plush linear type travel.


so, give it to me. personal opinions, experience, etc. the pros cons, poops, pees, quarrels, everything. is the gemini superior to the santa cruz?
 

blt2ride

Turbo Monkey
May 25, 2005
2,334
0
Chatsworth
Projectpat said:
ok people,

i need some honest opinions of the vp free and cannondale gemini.
i've been the biggest cannondale basher for years, but within the last year, they've really impressed me. the technoloy of the gemini and the way it rides. (on sidewalks anyway) is sweet. it feels quite balanced.

the vp free is also a freakin sick bike in every sense of the word. pedals like a dream. super plush linear type travel.


so, give it to me. personal opinions, experience, etc. the pros cons, poops, pees, quarrels, everything. is the gemini superior to the santa cruz?
To be honest, I've never ridden the Gemini--I was also a Cannondale basher for a long time. Although, the new Gemini is looking pretty good.

I was really impressed with the new VP-free. I rode some dude's around for a bit, and was really surprised on how much I liked it. It was really light and felt a lot plusher than I thought it would. In addition, the guy who was riding it was hitting some decent sized jumps, and his bike was SILENT!

I'm not too sure what type of riding you're planning to do with it, but I think you would really like the VP-free. From a personal stand point, I felt that it wasn't beefy enough for my taste, but it looks like a fun bike, nonetheless.
 

ohio

The Fresno Kid
Nov 26, 2001
6,640
4
SF, CA
Totally different bikes... I wouldn't consider them side by side.

I have a gemini DH. It's a very low, pretty slack, very lightweight race bike. I love the bike for all of those reasons.

The VPP, is taller at the BB, steeper, and has much more travel... much more of a freeride bike. Many people love them for all of those reasons.

What kind of riding are you planning on doing? That will dictate which bike you should be looking at much more than whether or not people "like" them.
 

Projectpat

Chimp
Oct 26, 2004
26
0
bellingham
right now i actually have a vp free. i like it. but i feel that the travel is too linear and that i'm losing trail feel because i'm justa wallowing in it. a different spring won't help this it's just the way thi bike is designed. my riding style is more of a racer for sure then a free rider. i have heard great things about the gemini's handling and balanced ride. those frames are still pretty strong though? right?
 

DHperu

Monkey
Apr 14, 2005
240
0
yeah man totally different bikes but i got a 05 gemini dh and this bike is KICK A$$..seriously rides really good, im liking it more than my v10 i guess cus single pivots dont feel so dead...
 

ohio

The Fresno Kid
Nov 26, 2001
6,640
4
SF, CA
Projectpat said:
right now i actually have a vp free. i like it. but i feel that the travel is too linear and that i'm losing trail feel because i'm justa wallowing in it. a different spring won't help this it's just the way thi bike is designed. my riding style is more of a racer for sure then a free rider. i have heard great things about the gemini's handling and balanced ride. those frames are still pretty strong though? right?
If it's too linear, dial in the 5th element air chamber size. That shock can become VERY progressive.

Yes, the Gemini does handle great, and is the most balanced bike I've ever ridden, but it has long chainstays, a really low BB, and a pretty slack head. If you're not going fast, and you're not pretty light on your feet, it's probably not the right bike. It also is certainly not much, if any, more progressive than the VPP. It's about as linear as a bike gets.
 

BMXman

I wish I was Canadian
Sep 8, 2001
13,854
0
Victoria, BC
I like my Gemin dh for all the reasons Ohio listed...the only thing I don't like about it is the rear swingarm flex...it can be quite noticable at times....but I weigh about 195 with gear and all so it may not be as noticable to lighter riders...D
 

OGRipper

Turbo Monkey
Feb 3, 2004
9,758
182
NORCAL is the hizzle
I have posted many times about the things I like about my free, if you search you can find my thoughts.

Shock set-up plays a role, but by design the free is not a linear rate bike. As it has been explained to me by people in the know, the rate is purposefully designed to create a falling compression rate at the beginning part of the stroke, then get switch to a rising rate deeper in the travel. The falling initial rate means it has a rising rebound rate. That means it gives a nice boost off jumps and is generally easier to get off the ground than say a V10, which, being a DH race bike, is supposed to stay low to ground. The free is not just a less travel version of the V10 - it's different, it was designed (partly) in response to people who wanted a big, squishy vpp bike that was easier to get off the ground than the V10. Since it's a rising rate later in the travel, dialing in the volume adjuster can negatively impact the compression stroke - makes it feel very harsh as you approach bottom. I run my 5th at full air volume and it feels bottomless, with a nice ramp up near the end of the stroke.

If you are truly wallowing deep in your travel you might need a heavier spring. Check the sag carefully. But if (as you say) you're riding style is more racer, you might be happier on a V10. I don't have much time on a Gemini so I can't say for sure, but given Cedric's air-show style it might not be the right one for you either.
 

Projectpat

Chimp
Oct 26, 2004
26
0
bellingham
yeah, i've got the dhx on my free. i love the feel of it. the 5th ely loves the ground too much and i like the air a lot as well. i just feel like i loose trail feel that i once had with smaller travel bikes.
 

SXtrailrider

Turbo Monkey
Aug 27, 2005
1,189
0
if you can afford the gemini then get it but the vp-free will be better fore freeride and will probably hold up better it is a taiwan bike just like thier cars the bikes hold up
 

dexterq20

Turbo Monkey
Mar 6, 2003
3,442
1
NorCal
ohio said:
Totally different bikes... I wouldn't consider them side by side.

I have a gemini DH. It's a very low, pretty slack, very lightweight race bike. I love the bike for all of those reasons.
:stupid: I love my Gemini DH. It likes to go fast and rail corners. That's about all there is to it. It prefers to go over and around obstacles rather than through them. It's not a tank; it's more of a sports car. It definitely requires a bit of finesse to stay smooth on the Gemini DH.
 

odiwik

Monkey
Mar 2, 2004
252
0
Adam Novatt said:
if you can afford the gemini then get it but the vp-free will be better fore freeride and will probably hold up better it is a taiwan bike just like thier cars the bikes hold up
What the f-.....? Both 'Frees in my garage have Made In USA stamped on them, and I have no idea what you are talking about with respect to cars...

Anyway, both my roommate and I enjoy our VP-Frees. This bike suits my riding style perfectly. It takes a little while to dial in the Progressive 5th Element just right, but once you get that perfect setup, you'll know and love this bike for just about any style of riding (make sure you write down your tunes).

Make sure your shock is set up properly; a lot of headaches and gripes come from improperly tuned front and rear shocks on any bike. Ohio gave some good advice up top, the 5th is tuneable to be extremely progressive.

This is a strange comparison of frames, btw... One is for freeride and the other is more of a race-flow bike. If you are at the top of the slopestyle/4x track at whistler, which would you rather do? If it's slopestyle, I would say to stick with the VP-Free and spend a little time on Galbraith or Whistler setting up the shock. If it is the 4x track, I would say to look in to the Gemini a little more seriously.
 

Turd Ferguson

Monkey
Dec 21, 2004
223
0
Burbank
odiwik said:
What the f-.....? Both 'Frees in my garage have Made In USA stamped on them, and I have no idea what you are talking about with respect to cars...



Santa Cruz bicycles are made by Kinesis. They mfg S.C. bikes in Taiwan. They come over as just a raw, unpainted frame. S.C. paints them(or anodizes) and assembles. Voila-- Made in usa.
 

MikeD

Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists
Oct 26, 2001
10,205
211
chez moi
ohio said:
Yes, the Gemini has a really low BB
???

How high is yours? Mine's like 14.5" static, with a 7" 888 with low crowns...

Admittedly, you're supposed to sag the snot out of it, but when you're only dealing with 7" travel total, you just can't get is as low as something with more travel and a .5" or .6" lower static BB...can you?? (I was toying with the idea of a 9.25" i-i avalanche before I got the fork shortened to 7"...)

MD
 

ohio

The Fresno Kid
Nov 26, 2001
6,640
4
SF, CA
MikeD said:
???

How high is yours? Mine's like 14.5" static, with a 7" 888 with low crowns...

Admittedly, you're supposed to sag the snot out of it, but when you're only dealing with 7" travel total, you just can't get is as low as something with more travel and a .5" or .6" lower static BB...can you?? (I was toying with the idea of a 9.25" i-i avalanche before I got the fork shortened to 7"...)

MD
Y'know I've never measured... it just feels low to me, especially compared to "freeride" bikes like the standard Gemini. Maybe the feel is as much a function of the long chainstays...? I do run about 3" of sag.
 

ohio

The Fresno Kid
Nov 26, 2001
6,640
4
SF, CA
manwithgun said:
I'm with you Mike... I liked to run mine with an 8.75 on occasion and it's still nowhere near the Sunday.
I hopped off my Gemini (medium) and onto a Sunday (17") and they felt very similar to me in terms of geometry. It was a totally natural transition. The Sunday didn't feel to low to me at all after riding the Gemini for most of the week, even though it was for a shore/trail ride.

(The Sunday was awesome, by the way... I wish I had a chance to see if it jumped as naturally as the Gemini)
 

BMXman

I wish I was Canadian
Sep 8, 2001
13,854
0
Victoria, BC
I tried to run my Gemini with less sag ....but then the suspension just doesn't feel right. I think the lower leverage ratio may make the frame feel like it sits low...mine doesn't really feel progressive until the last inch or so...D
 

manwithgun

Monkey
Nov 4, 2004
257
0
ohio said:
I hopped off my Gemini (medium) and onto a Sunday (17") and they felt very similar to me in terms of geometry. It was a totally natural transition. The Sunday didn't feel to low to me at all after riding the Gemini for most of the week, even though it was for a shore/trail ride.

(The Sunday was awesome, by the way... I wish I had a chance to see if it jumped as naturally as the Gemini)
The Sunday lets you know that it's low every time the pedals clip the ground... just have to re-learn the limits and be a bit patient when applying power. The bike's put me over the bars a couple of times, snagging rocks, but I still love her. Oh yeah, and she soars...

Back to the topic, I think dexterq20 description the Gem DH being a finesse bike is spot on. This bike can be ridden fast but not lazy. I don't know if I'll ever get rid of mine.
 

Dexter D

Chimp
Jun 1, 2005
18
0
Adam Novatt said:
if you can afford the gemini then get it but the vp-free will be better fore freeride and will probably hold up better it is a taiwan bike just like thier cars the bikes hold up


What does this mean???
 

Dexter D

Chimp
Jun 1, 2005
18
0
Turd Ferguson said:
odiwik said:
What the f-.....? Both 'Frees in my garage have Made In USA stamped on them, and I have no idea what you are talking about with respect to cars...



Santa Cruz bicycles are made by Kinesis. They mfg S.C. bikes in Taiwan. They come over as just a raw, unpainted frame. S.C. paints them(or anodizes) and assembles. Voila-- Made in usa.

The VPP frames are made in Porland according an interview I just read.