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With an updated algorithm, Flight Attendant might know you better than you know yourself. 

After introducing Flight Attendant to the world in 2021, the Electrical Engineering team knew they wanted to take the system's algorithm to the next level and personalize it for each rider. The development team began experimenting with using an aggressive XC race-oriented algorithm and realized that while they liked that aggressive race feeling when they were trying hard to get PRs, it felt too stiff when they let off the gas and were soft-pedaling.

We wanted to switch between that aggressive race feeling and easy pedaling on the fly—trend toward softer when you're putzing around, and firmer when you're pushing hard, all based on your effort.

–Joe Schoolcraft, Electrical Engineer

The team knew they needed more data from the rider, to listen to the rider’s needs more intentionally based on their shifting behavior and effort levels. Because Flight Attendant is a part of the AXS ecosystem, they updated the algorithm to analyze data from multiple AXS-enabled components to build a comprehensive picture of the bike—and rider—in real time.  

Effort Zones and Suspension Positions

So, how did we personalize Flight Attendant? We started with Bias Adjustment in the original algorithm—a way to tell the system whether you prefer it to trend toward Open, Pedal, Lock, or a balance of all three positions. However, we now consider Bias just the first step to personalization. From there, the team created what we’re calling Adaptive Ride Dynamics—a new tool that enables the algorithm to learn how you ride for continuous personalization of your suspension. Adaptive Ride Dynamics gathers rider effort data to determine which Effort Zone you are riding within: Low, Medium, High, or Sprint, denoted by the color of the two lower LEDs on the Control Module. For example, if you’re soft-pedaling along, you’ll likely be in your Low Effort Zone (blue LEDs), so the system will trend toward a comfortable suspension feel. Once your output pushes you into your Medium Effort Zone (green LEDs), Adaptive Ride Dynamics will balance comfort and efficiency. When you’re pushing the pace and you enter the High Effort Zone (red LEDs), the system will prioritize efficiency. When you reach the Sprint Zone (yellow LEDs) and put it all on the line, the system will prioritize efficiency as quickly as possible. Now, Flight Attendant strives to feel natural to the rider, so it won’t automatically lock your suspension just because you’re gunning it… the system reads the terrain and rider input to determine what’s going to make you the most efficient. And sometimes, your suspension should be in the Pedal, or even Open, position while putting watts down for the best traction. 


Bias Chart

First, let’s take a closer look at how the Bias Adjustment affects the system. The system defaults to 0 Bias—a balance of Open / Pedal / Lock positions. Setting Bias to +1 or +2 will tell the system to trend toward a firmer, more efficient ride, favoring the Pedal and Lock positions more frequently. With Bias set at -1 or -2, the system will favor the Pedal and Open positions for a softer and more comfortable ride. You’ll notice two lines per each Bias Adjustment row in the above chart: the top line represents the fork, and the bottom line represents the rear shock. You’ll also see that the fork and rear shock are sometimes in different suspension positions—the fork might be in the Open position while the rear shock is in the Pedal position. The benefits of Split State (as we call it) are two-fold: 1) it ensures the bike is the most efficient depending on terrain and rider input, and 2) makes your ride feel smooth and natural—in the right position at the right time without disrupting your ride. Let's see you do that, cable-actuated remotes. For your peace of mind, the fork will never be in a firmer state than the rear shock.  


Now we’ll dig into how Adaptive Ride Dynamics work, just a bit (it’s complex and, well, we can’t share everything). As you ride, the system is analyzing incoming data to identify which Effort Zone you’re riding within. Effort Zones can be determined by the system—it takes at least one full ride for the algorithm to start learning your output and ride style—or you can manually enter your Effort Zones. Either way, Adaptive Ride Dynamics will continue to fine-tune your Effort Zones, keeping data from the last eight rides: as you get stronger, the system will adapt to meet you where you are  

ADR Chart

In this chart, we took a snippet of a ride and compared the ride experience between Flight Attendant Without Adaptive Ride Dynamics and Flight Attendant With Adaptive Ride Dynamics activated. Looking at the "Without Adaptive Ride Dynamics" set, we see the system switching between Open and Pedal positions based on rider and trail data. It’s doing great—we love it. However, looking at the ride "With Adaptive Ride Dynamics" set paired with the Effort Zones chart below, we can see that the system is much more sensitive to the rider, most obviously (in this instance) when the rider is in the Sprint Zone. Let's look at the first Sprint Zone (Sprint 1). We can see that the system starts in the Open (fork) and Pedal (rear shock) positions, then jumps to the Lock position, encounters a bump, enters the Pedal position, then goes back to the Lock position—prioritizing efficiency and the Lock position as quickly as possible. Once the rider is back down in their High Effort Zone (High 1), the system moves back to the Pedal position before switching to the Open position, staying there through a brief stint in the Medium Effort Zone (Medium 1). Once the rider enters Sprint 2, the system prioritizes the Lock position, allowing the fork to stay in Pedal a bit for traction, but putting the rear shock into the Lock position immediately 

The takeaway? Adaptive Ride Dynamics learns your effort outputs and, combined with terrain input, determines which suspension position is best for you at any given moment… so you can focus on fast. 

Have current Flight Attendant and want to add Adaptive Ride Dynamics to your system? Easy. You’ll need to update your firmware to 2.44.7 or greater, and pair in an AXS-enabled power meter. To give the system the most comprehensive picture of the bike, pair in a complete Eagle AXS or Eagle AXS Transmission drivetrain... and throw in a Reverb AXS while you’re at it. 

Questions about upgrade kits, functionality, or troubleshooting? Check out the FAQ.

Rider climbing trail through cactus

Animation by Ray Bach. Photos by Anthony Smith. Words by Sarah Walter.