One of the greatest bicycle innovations of all time, rear suspension is intended to keep you grounded and in control. For years, various suspension designs failed to deliver the benefits of this technology when a rider would hit the brakes. Essentially, braking would lock the suspension. That was until Trek unveiled Active Braking Pivot (ABP)—a patented system developed to keep the rear suspension working while braking. No more chatter, less unintentional skidding—complete confidence on or off the brakes. That’s what ABP does.
Innovations in suspension technology have made mountain biking faster, safer, and more enjoyable for a larger group of people. Many of these riders have likely experienced the frustration of their rear shock locking up as they apply the brakes in anticipation of a major obstacle or tight switchback. You know the story: you apply the brakes, the fork compresses, rear shock extends, and neither one is effective. Your rear wheel goes flying over the bumps giving you a bucking sensation, and you lose confidence as your suspension becomes useless when you need it the most. You’re left with the choice of whether to brake well before obstacles—ruining your flow—or try to fly through sections of trail you aren’t confident to be riding so aggressively. By changing the placement of the rear suspension pivot, Trek’s engineers created a system that prevents lock-up. Shock-absorption continues during braking, eliminating the dilemma of whether to trust your brakes or your suspension to get you through the rough stuff. With ABP, the two work together. This maintains traction because your rear tire stays firmly planted on the ground when suspension is engaged. More tire contact translates into increased stopping power, which means you don’t have to spend as much time on the brakes. Reducing the load on the front fork allows you to maintain the stability and handling you need to thread through rock gardens at speed. Gnarly trails require suspension that works all the time—on the brakes or off.
The competitive advantage
While ABP was developed to improve the ride experience of mountain bikers at all ability levels, its performance benefits provide a serious advantage in competition. Because it increases traction and accordingly improves braking efficiency, the rider with ABP is able to brake much later than their competitors. Less time on the brakes translates into faster average speeds, which translates into more time on the podium.
How ABP works
ABP is so effective because it utilizes a concentric placement of the rear suspension pivot around the rear axle connected to Trek’s Full Floater suspension system. The concentric pivot is located directly between the seatstay and chainstay, and consists of a bearing riding on a spindle that is fixed to the swing arm. This placement creates separation between the brake forces and suspension function, allowing both systems to do their job unencumbered. Often described as a “floating brake”, the disk brake assembly is attached by a separate brake arm allowing it to “float” independent of frame and suspension motion. As a result, the relative rotation between the brake rotor and caliper is reduced compared to many other designs. ABP is distinguished from other multiple-linkage rear suspension designs because it allows for design tweaks to one part of the system without affecting the others. ABP separates how Trek conceptualizes the performance of braking, suspension, and pedaling systems, and allows for precise tuning of each aspect that influences ride quality. Riders can expect the traction and suspension action that come with complex linkage systems, along with the acceleration, response, and durability that would typically be found only with a single-pivot system. The result of these design innovations? More active suspension, increased braking power, and a faster, more controlled ride.
So good, we use it everywhere
Brake or bump situations cross all disciplines—which is why we feature ABP on Trek’s entire lineup of full-suspension mountain bikes.