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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    400

    Specialized Brain shocks: What's the maintenance like?

    Am eyeing a couple of lightly used Specialized bikes which all have the Brain shocks. I have seen rumors here and there that these shocks need mainenance much more frequently than your normal shock -- perhaps every 100 hours -- and have even heard that for that service you have to mail them in. Further, because of how they mount, you can't just pull them off and replace with an aftermarket Is this true? What's the real story? TIA.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Park City
    Posts
    3,379
    Have a friend w an epic, true story. Was out his bike for a month of prime riding because he needed to send it in.


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    I rip the groomed on tele gear

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    The Fish
    Posts
    3,233
    Our shop has 3 (that specialized gave us) sitting ready to be swapped out while yours is going in for service. They are all off the current model and this wasnt standard before this model. Overall they need a bit more maintenance than average but XC race bikes that get hammered all have small shocks that should be serviced pretty regularly.
    a positive attitude will not solve all of your problems, but it may annoy enough people to make it worth the effort

    Formerly Rludes025

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    2,653
    I had a 26" Epic a while back and really liked the brain while it was working. However, I had an issue with the brain one fall and was out for 3-4 weeks and about $150 while Specialized rebuilt it. The rebuild lasted 1 season before the issues were back. Thinking I was going to have to deal with this each year, I bought a different shock for that bike. I've had other friends on more recent Epics have similar issues.

    I like the strategy that Eluder mentions and if the shop I had service my bike would have had that same strategy, I may not have such a distaste for the Brain. For me, it isn't worth the hassle. I'm not a racer, though, so take all of this with a grain of salt.

    Seth

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    The land of Genesee Cream Ale and homemade pierogies!
    Posts
    1,726
    Yes the maintenance requires sending in to Specialized. No my LBS never had spares.

    Overall I’ve had a love-hate thing going on with the brain shock maintenance schedule.

    The love part is I warmed up to the bike a lot, which I bought new about seven years ago on a great deal.

    The hate points are a few:

    1-The turnaround time on the brain maintenance always took a long time. LBS always said “yea, one week to ten days,” but in actual time it was never less than three weeks (that was the best turn around) and one or twice it took over five weeks.

    2-Specialized forces you into a corner on the 100 hr maintenance, if you do not do the maintenance work then the warranty is void. The way I understood this is the warranty on the entire bike is void. That was a big point with me, I got multiple parts of the bike replaced under warranty, biggest being the rear triangle (chain stay broke), a rear hub, one rim, one cassette and some other smaller items. The rear triangle broke early in my ownership of the bike, so was careful to keep up with the maintenance schedule for the brain after that.

    3-Spechy is the only outfit to do the maintenance if you want to maintain the warranty. They are, or were, the only ones with the required tools and environment do to the work, something about the needing a pressurized chamber for part of the rebuild work. A few years into ownership of the bike this is where things start to get complicated.

    4. After five years or six years – I could be off by +/- one year – spechy will say we no longer offer any maintenance, repair or rebuild work on the brain on your bike. I believe it is called planned obsolescence. So to review, you are told only specialized could do the maintenance work on the brain, yet once six years (+/-) elapse it becomes sorry no more work can be done, get lost, but we’ll be happy to sell you a new bike. There are stories about this on mtbr, I know if from a few years ago and things might have changed since then.

    5. Some good news in all this, there are two independent places that will do brain rebuilds, I don’t have the names in front of me, one is an aircraft maintenance shop somewhere in Oregon. I might have found that name on here. When people with brain bikes get to this point of being out of warranty, and spechy will not do any more rebuilds – I presume they continue to ride until the bike becomes unrideable or they sell it for parts, or store it away in their garage.
    “The best argument in favour of a 90% tax rate on the rich is a five-minute chat with the average rich person.”

    - Winston Churchill, paraphrased.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    san diego
    Posts
    1,842
    Quote Originally Posted by Nobody Famous View Post
    4. After five years or six years – I could be off by +/- one year – spechy will say we no longer offer any maintenance, repair or rebuild work on the brain on your bike. I believe it is called planned obsolescence. So to review, you are told only specialized could do the maintenance work on the brain, yet once six years (+/-) elapse it becomes sorry no more work can be done, get lost, but we’ll be happy to sell you a new bike.
    Why doesn't that surprise me

    Another reason not to buy specialized. And they'd probably sue the independent places to prevent them from working on the bikes.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Treading Water
    Posts
    4,803
    You'd be an idiot to buy a Specialized Brain bike right now. Or any Sepcialized bike with the fucking Yoke. Seriously.
    Friend of mine has one. Her shock blew out. I have a spare shock with the same "eye to eye" and stroke. (I use quotes because there isn't an eye with the yoke) But because of the fucking yoke, she couldn't use it. You can't swap yokes like you can swap standard shock mounting hardware. No bike for a week while her shock was out to be rebuilt. No option to buy a different shock if she wants something better.
    With so many great used bikes out there, why would you even consider it?
    Lots of Cream, Lots of Sugar

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Access to Granlibakken
    Posts
    7,696
    I agree on avoiding the Brain.

    But yoke adapters https://www.amaincycling.com/special...SABEgLjS_D_BwE are a cheap and easy solution to that other issue right?

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