The Santa Cruz Driver 8 was created to be a freeride specific park bike, and it does that kind of stuff really well. Big jumps and drops? Nailed it. But if you were hoping to rail the turns, the high bottom bracket and steep head angle will take a bit of wind from your sails. Even with the AngleSet fix, after three days of riding the Whistler Bike Park on my Driver 8 last week, I finally came to the conclusion that the bike still cornered like crap. As much as I want the bike to be a mini-V10, it really isn’t. Coming from a full blown DH bike, the ride isn’t really want I want from it. The issue? Freeride geometry is ok for hitting big jumps and gaps, but the reality is I really like riding DH bikes and going fast as much as I like hitting big jumps. The high bottom bracket and steep head angle (for a DH bike) isn’t doing it for me.
To make the bike ride better I added a Cane Creek Angleset set with the 1.5º offset. The frame is stock with a 66º head angle, which theoretically puts me at 64.5º for the HA. Much better. It lowered the BB height a bit as well, although not as much as I would like. Adding a slim platform pedal (the Syntace NumberNine Titan) helped a bit as well in regards to lowering the center of gravity, but it wasn’t as much as I’d like. My brother on his Intense M-9 and it’s fully adjustable geometry was railing turns, while I was working to keep traction at similar speeds.
The offset reducers effectively shorten the eye to eye length of the shock which would lower the bb, slacken the head angle and slacken the seat angle (a bit like compressing the suspension by 3mm stroke). My brother’s Intense M-9 has several mounting points, and the Intense frame is well known for how much you can customize the ride. The Driver 8— not so much. Santa Cruz engineers are well known for their opinions, and they apparently know how we want to ride our bikes better than we do. (did you catch the sarcasm there?) Even having a second mounting point for the shock would have been a nice option.
A headset mod would effectively reduce the forks axle to crown length, which does the same as above but steepens the seat angle.
Offset reducers will theoretically increase the VPP leverage rate ever so slightly but a touch more air in the shock could fix it. I can’t say I’m a suspension pro these days, but I’m either dialing the ride, or getting another frame that rides the way I want, and for $20, it is a small investment in making my ride a lot more fun. As for the offset bushings, a few folks offer them. OffsetBushings.com is one of the outfits making them, and they even made a ripping edit to get you stoked:
Check them out at OffsetBushings.com
I’m planning to start with one, to see how it goes, but possibly run two assuming the rear wheel doesn’t come into contact with my seat tube. Will it make the Driver 8 into a mini V-10? (Hopefully) That said, there are a few other options on the web for suppliers of these bushings.
Burgtec in the UK.
Proshox via Ebay