Norco Shinobi 29'er Review

Jun 20, 2011 at 12:37
Jun 20, 2011
by Mike Levy  
 
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Norco Shinobi


Norco's 29" wheeled Shinobi is the Canadian company's stab at constructing a trail/all-mountain big wheeler that capitalizes on the advantages of 29" wheels, but doesn't forgo the sturdy B.C.-friendly pedigree that their bikes' have become known for. This is no anorexic, skinny tired race steed, but rather a 120mm travel bike that will be happy to be ridden day in and day out on challenging terrain - no matter if that is climbing or coming back down.


Norco's 29 inch wheeled Shinobi looks ready to take its rider way out into the back country, even if that does include some serious terrain.<br><br><span style='font-size:17px'>Norco Shinobi details:</span><br><br>- 29'er trail/all-mountain bike<br>- RockShox Monarch 2.1 MM3 air shock with 120mm of rear wheel travel<br>- RockShox Reba 29'er fork with 140mm of travel and 20 mm MaxleLite<br>- Uses Norco's A.R.T suspension design<br>- Short, tapered head tube<br>- Post mount rear disc brake mount<br>- ISCG 05 chain guide tabs<br>- Cable routing for a dropper post<br>- Shimano 10 speed gearing<br>- Available in four sizes: 16.5, 18 (<i>tested</i>), 19.5, 21<br>- Weight 31lbs 1oz(<i>w/o pedals</i>)<br>- MSRP $2860 USD
Norco's 29 inch wheeled Shinobi looks ready to take its rider way out into the back country, even if that does include some serious terrain.

Norco Shinobi details:

- 29'er trail/all-mountain bike
- RockShox Monarch 2.1 MM3 air shock with 120mm of rear wheel travel
- RockShox Reba 29'er fork with 140mm of travel and 20 mm MaxleLite
- Uses Norco's A.R.T suspension design
- Short, tapered head tube
- Post mount rear disc brake mount
- ISCG 05 chain guide tabs
- Cable routing for a dropper post
- Shimano 10 speed gearing
- Available in four sizes: 16.5, 18 (tested), 19.5, 21
- Weight 31lbs 1oz(w/o pedals)
- MSRP $2860 USD


At the heart of the Shinobi is its A.R.T. rear suspension, a variation of the proven Horst link design, that has been tweaked by Norco's engineers to perform to their liking. By moving the location of the pivots, even if it is only by a few millimeters, Norco claims that they have been able to improve both pedaling efficiency and bump absorption, all while tuning the leverage ratio to provide more response to damper adjustments. While that all may sound like tall claims, the A.R.T. system does incorporate a fair bit of anti-squat to keep the suspension calm while the bike is under power, as well as a slightly more reward axle path than bikes that use a similar layout.

Activating the Monarch shock is a stout, welded one piece rocker arm, along with a unique looking seatstay arch that actually wraps around the front of the seat tube. Everything rotates on sealed bearings and the main pivots are protected from the elements - Norco is a B.C. company - by clean looking dust cups.


A short and burly tapered head tube (<i>top left</i>) helps to keep the front end low and stiff. The Shinobi's main pivot (<i>top right</i>) is positioned relatively low. Hidden behind the mud is a set of ISCG 05 chain guide tabs - a nice touch for those who want to mount a sturdy dual ring guide or even a HammerSchmidt crankset. The Shinobi's A.R.T. rear suspension is a version of the proven Horst link design that Norco's engineers have tweaked to perform to their liking.
A short and burly tapered head tube (top left) helps to keep the front end low and stiff. The Shinobi's main pivot (top right) is positioned relatively low. Hidden behind the mud is a set of ISCG 05 chain guide tabs - a nice touch for those who want to mount a sturdy dual ring guide or even a HammerSchmidt crankset. The Shinobi's A.R.T. rear suspension is a version of the proven Horst link design that Norco's engineers have tweaked to perform to their liking.


As is common knowledge now, making only minimal changes to allow 29" wheels to be fitted to a frame that was originally designed for standard hoops will not result in a bike that rides well - it just isn't that simple. Not only must the extra wheel height be taken into account, which is compensated for by a shorter head tube, more stand over clearance and a lower bottom bracket height in relation to the bike's axle line, but the slower steering caused by the longer wheelbase and heftier wheels and rubber must also be combated by employing a steeper head angle. Norco has taken all of those things into account with the Shinobi, including a top tube that slopes drastically downward towards the seat tube to give the rider a bit more extra clearance where it counts, as well as quite a low bottom bracket height, at 355mm, for a 29" wheeled bike.


The Shinobi's welded, one piece rocker link and unique seat stay brace arrangement helps to keep the long chain stay length required by the 29'er wheels stiff. The rear-to-center length on the Shinobi is actually 5mm longer than that of Norco's DH bike.
The Shinobi's welded, one piece rocker link and unique seat stay brace arrangement helps to keep the long chain stay length required by the 29'er wheels stiff. The rear-to-center length on the Shinobi is actually 5mm longer than that of Norco's DH bike.
The rear of the Shinobi features a burly Syntace designed 12x142mm axle.
The rear of the Shinobi features a burly Syntace designed 12x142mm axle.


Norco Shinobi geometry, 18"

Head angle69.5°
EFF Seat Angle74°
Top Tube (theoretical)579mm
Chainstay450mm
Bottom Bracket Height335mm
Actual Frame Size (seatube length)457mm
Wheelbase1149mm


Norco has wisely spec'd the Shinobi to be handle nearly any sort of terrain that you may find yourself on while aboard the bike. The front of the bike gets a bit of extra travel compared to the rear with a 140mm RockShox Reba, complete with a tapered steerer and 20mm thru-axle. Knowing that the bike may see larger riders or difficult terrain, you'll also find a matching set of 185mm rotors used by the bike's Avid Elixir 5 brakes.

Due to a 29'ers added rotational weight and overall heft Norco logically installed a triple ring crankset, as well as a large spread cassette with a 36 tooth cog out back, giving the Shinobi pilot quite an easy gear that should allow getting the bike up and over all but the gnarliest climbs.


Specifications
Release Date 2011
Price $2860
Travel 120mm
Rear Shock Monarch 2.1 MM3 air shock (200 x 51 mm)
Fork Rock Shox Reba 29er 140mm, tapered S/T with 20 mm Maxle lite axle
Headset FSA Orbit E
Cassette Shimano CS-HG81 11-36T 10 speed
Crankarms Shimano M552 10 speed crank
Bottom Bracket Shimano external BB
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT Shadow R/D 10 speed
Chain Shimano HG74 10 speed
Front Derailleur Shimano SLX
Shifter Pods Shimano SLX
Handlebar Norco SL 29er Flat Bar 680mm - Grey
Stem Norco SL alloy - White
Grips Norco Shield dual density lock-on grip
Brakes Avid Elixir 5 w/185mm rotor
Hubs Formula
Spokes Double butted black w/ Grey alloy nipples
Rim WTB LaserDisc Trail 29er 32hole - White
Tires Kenda Nevagal Folding Bead 29 x 2.2
Seat WTB Silverado Race SL with custom graphic
Seatpost Norco SL - Grey double bolt




Riding the Shinobi


The Shinobi may be a bit portly, but it was at home on long climbs and responded well to both sitting or out of the saddle efforts.
The Shinobi may be a bit portly, but it was at home on long climbs and responded well to both sitting or out of the saddle efforts.


Climbing: Despite being a touch portly at just over 31lbs, the Shinobi proved to be an excellent climber that can easily hold its own against much lighter machines, showing us once again that a bike's character cannot be determined by the digits on the scale. A number of factors come together to make the Norco big wheeler ascend better than expected, but the primary reason is surely its Monarch 2.1 air shock, which RockShox seems to have absolutely nailed the tune on, and its A.R.T.-tweaked Horst link suspension that puts a lot of emphasis on climbing performance (There is a 20% increase in chain growth on the A.R.T design). The 120mm travel Norco is nearly indifferent to whether its pilot is seated or standing when putting the power down, and the bike goes forward with an impressive surge, even on steep pitches or accelerating from slow speeds - something that 29'ers, with their heavy wheels, are not usually known for. This is somewhat surprising given that the Monarch 2.1 damper doesn't come equipped with any sort of pedal assist feature, a fact that I questioned before putting any serious trail time on the bike, but the Shinobi demonstrated that it didn't require it in the slightest, even on long smooth climbs where I would normally be reaching down to flip a switch.

While the steep 74° seat angle certainly suits a rider like myself who likes to stay in the saddle and grind out a long climb, the bike was equally adept at charging up and over a rough pitch, and each time I did just that I was surprised by the climbing traction provided by its Kenda Nevegal tires - a tire that I'm not overly fond of in its 26" wheel size. Given enough momentum, the Shinobi managed to give me less hassle on such sections than most other bikes, although slower, technical uphills tested the bike's abilities much more. Line choices on such sections of trail needed to be thought out before attacking more so on the Shinobi than on some other bikes, not because it couldn't get up it, but because the black bike felt to be far less maneuverable once the the pace approached stalling speeds. The proper tactic seemed to be to look ahead and pick a straighter, and if need be a rougher line, and then spring your attack and carry that momentum up with you.


Once used to the narrow 680mm bars, the Shinobi was a demon on the downhills, especially when a shorter than stock stem was installed.
Once used to the narrow 680mm bars, the Shinobi was a demon on the downhills, especially when a shorter than stock stem was installed.


Descending: It was clear, even on the first ride, that the Shinobi is an easy bike to come to terms with when the trail begins to point down. It only took a few feet of trail to realize that the 120mm travel Norco has that comforting "sit in" feel that is common to downhill bikes. Where does it come from and how is it possible given the bike's taller wheels? It can be traced back to the bottom bracket height in relation to the bike's axle center line, frequently referred to as "BB drop", which is lower on the Shinobi than on a standard 26" wheeled bike. The actual BB height of the 29" wheeled Shinobi sits at 335mm, closer to the ground that many other 120mm travel machines with smaller diameter 26" wheels, with the result being an incredibly planted feel when cornering that makes the bike seem as if it is on rails when pushing hard. Further raising the fun factor is the bike's incredibly stiff frame, despite the rear end being 5mm longer than Norco's downhill bike, that is no doubt enhanced by the bike's rear thru-axle. It's high time that we see more cross-country and trail bikes that use a proper 12mm rear axle like the Shinobi employs.

This was my first extended test of a bike equipped with RockShox's Monarch 2.1 air shock and I was impressed with how it performed. No, it isn't a coil shock, but it does a tidy job of controlling the Shinobi's 120mm of travel and striking a balance between small bump compliance and big hit performance. With only external rebound and air spring pressure to play with, it will also be difficult to setup incorrectly. Matching the Monarch damper hit for hit was the bike's 140mm travel Reba 29'er fork. As on most forks, I found that I had to run about 10psi more than recommended, but once the spring rate and rebound were sorted it proved to be a set and forget type of fork - stiff and always in control of its stroke, the tapered steerer and 20mm axle equipped Reba is capable of tackling any terrain that the Shinobi would see. It is suspension units like this that should make us question the hankering that many of us have for whatever fork or shock has the most dials to fiddle with.

bigquotesIt only took a few feet of trail to realize that the 120mm travel Norco has that comforting "sit in" feel that is common to downhill bikes. - Mike Levy


Common thought is that a 29" wheeled bike requires a slightly steeper head angle to counteract the larger wheel, longer wheelbase and extra heft, and while I would tend to agree with that in theory, I also believe that a lot of today's 29'ers are getting sold a bit short by dodgy handling that is better suited for a full blown cross-country race rig, not a fun loving trail bike. I do have to say that the Shinobi's 69.5° head angle certainly isn't out of line with the bike's intentions, but the stiff chassis and quality A.R.T suspension really do allow aggressive riders to push the bike hard, possibly to the point where the steering can begin to feel a bit pointy and nervous. A shorter stem than the stock, and very light, Norco unit went a long way to calming the bike down without eroding its great climbing performance. This, along with the addition of a telescoping post, is the bike's top upgrade, and one that many riders who frequent aggressive terrain should look at doing.


While the 69.5 degree head angle is well suited to how the Shinobi is intended to be ridden, a slightly slacker number would appease more aggressive riders.
While the 69.5 degree head angle is well suited to how the Shinobi is intended to be ridden, a slightly slacker number would appease more aggressive riders.


What about those parts?
• Unlike the majority of testers out there, I've never been a big fan of Kenda's Nevegal tires, which is why I was surprised to find that the 29'er 2.2" Nevegals on the Shinobi impressed me. Fast rolling, predictable handling and zero flats. The 29" tire's contact patch is a different shape than that of a standard 26" tire - is that the reason for the difference?
• Shimano's 10 speed XT and SLX drivetrain mix performed very well, needing only the smallest of adjustments once the housing seated in. The bike spent a lot of time covered in mud and grime and I'd say the 10 speed system came through with flying colors. This is yet another nail in the coffin of 9 speed in my mind.
• Avid's Elixir 5 brakes reminded me that one doesn't need all the bells and whistles of a high-end brake to have them work well. The Shinobi's brakes were firm, had plenty of power with the 185mm rotors and didn't once fade of pump up.


What's not to like?
• The bike's main pivot worked itself loose multiple times during the review process and it isn't helped by the fact that I had to remove the crankset to access it. Not even a touch of blue Loctite would keep it snugged up.
• The Shinobi comes with a nice, house branded Norco SL 29er Flat Bar that measures 680mm wide - this is not enough width, especially considering the bike's sturdy ride and extra weight. I can see a lot of Shinobi owners bolting up a shorter stem (to slow down the handling), along with ditching the headset spacers to run a taller, but much wider, handlebar. This rig deserves it.
• I put a good sized wobble in the Shinobi's rear WTB LaserDisc Trail 29'er rim, despite not being able to think of an instance that would account for it.
• The one part that I would have loved to talk about on the Shinobi would be a telescoping seat post... but it doesn't come stock with one. Take advantage of the bike's dropper post routing and make it the first upgrade you do to the bike.




Pinkbike's take: With a sturdy chassis and quality suspension that really does punch above its weight, the Shinobi is much more capable than I first expected. Who would be the ideal Shinobi rider? The bike is best suited to someone who puts in a lot of cross-country miles, possibly on a longer travel bike than the 120mm Shinobi, and now wants to get on a machine that pedals better without losing that confidence inspiring feel that longer legged bikes have. While I would look elsewhere if your climbs involve a lot ratcheting around technical, slow speed obstacles or your downhills consist of non-stop ass-on-rear-tire steep sections, the Shinobi proved to be a capable bike that can out ride many other lighter or longer travel bikes.


You can check out the entire Norco lineup on their website.


Norco mixes its B.C. pedigree with 29'er wheels and the result is a solid trail bike that inspires confidence. Does the Shinobi have you mulling over making the switch to big wheels? Lets hear what you think - put those thoughts down below!
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50 Comments

  • + 4
 Good review. When I'm a geezer I look forward to 29ers having been perfected. I liked the nail in the nine speed coffin comment. Breaks my heart but I can see which way the wind is blowing. I'll have to give in when my drivetrain goes and there is no high end 9 spd to replace it.
  • - 2
 I'm not sure whether we need a coffin for 9 speed. I would say we need a coffin for 3 ring chainsets and at the same time a torment chamber for whinies who forgot they ride an MTB in the offroad tarrain and talk about needing good gradual gear ratio increase as if they were roadies from low lands. This kind that whines about: I'm not good at uphills bla bladi blaa. IMO, 2x10 with 11-36 cassette is as pointless for 99% of riders as 3x9. The proper revolution is 1x10 as pretty much any weekend warrior can pedal that up with such cassette. So I say 1x10 and 2x9 is all U need for XC/AM, while DH can live no probs with 7speed, Spec is already pushing that
  • + 7
 honestly, 2x7 would be fine for me all mountain as long as the range was right, but that's not the point. There will be no more high end 9's available in a couple years. The industry will keep finding ways to add more cogs and getting rid of the great stuff that worked before and calling it innovation.

In five years they'll be touting 2x11 and saying it is awesome while chains are snapping twice a years and cost $250 a piece.

I'll say it's innovation when there is a 2x9 belt drive.
  • + 1
 well I'll call something innovation in the drivetrain when they will make a tough, realiable and affordable gearbox suitable for XC and AM bikes without going bananas with weight. Be it in the hub or in the frame I don't care. Otherwise we will end up with kashima coated chain and 12 speeds... We just need a final, definite separation from the world of roadies - their specific technology, training style and any mantras that have not a single fkn thing common with MTB.
  • + 1
 I'm looking forward to when 9spd is cheap as chips, just take a look at 7 or even 8spd now! its not the lightest but I like it when they have some junk in their trunk
  • + 1
 too bad all current 7sp drivetrains are crap, save chains and cassettes... it never works that nice that stuff just gets cheaper thanks to some new high end stuff coming out. It never does, it just makes everything more expensive in the long run. Such a cookies like Elixir R brakes or SLX crankset, where value for money kills anything above, are just exceptions confirming the rule.
  • + 1
 Yeah but would it be good for manufacturers like SRAM or Shimano to make a decent 7 speed cassette, shifter, chain and rear mech? People would buy it, and ride it for a season or two without any problems, and that means less sold stuff for the big companies. Come on they would never do that!

Instead, they make something for what you need pay a million bucks, and after a couple of months you need a new change those components 'cos they're worn out...
  • + 4
 I've talked to a couple of guys who have been doing 2x10 for a while and love it. The shifting is smoother and quicker. A particular guy said he's been rocking his for a long time without having to worry about it at all.

That said, I'm sure it'd be a blast to drive a six speed sports car, but my five speed does the job very well and parts for it are affordable. So why would I change?

Also if I bend my derailleur in the woods and have to bend it back by hand I have a greater chance of getting it right with a 9 than a 10 and a way better chance if I'm using a 7. Tolerance is the name of the game.
  • + 1
 heh, there are people riding technical stuff with singlespeed hardtails and they say they love it... so... preference. I can't imagine myself doing 2x7, or 1x8. I'm just not fit enough and I believe I'm not the weakest of a kind that I meet on trails Wink


But yes, I could think of building myself a epic hardtail for XC/trail riding with 7sp 12-32 back, and BMX style chainset with 28t cog. If only somebody made a decent 7sp shifter...
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I love my Shinobi. Agree with pretty much everything in this review as far as how it rides, although I'm also riding it on stuff I used to take my DH bike on. I swapped out for a 70mm stem and a 30-inch bar (both Chromag) and this bike has been dialed for me.
  • + 2
 Did the same thing - 29 inch Answer cut down a bit and 70mm stem and it's got a pretty good aggressive side to it
[Reply]
  • + 4
 It's a 68.5 degree head angle with the 140mm Reba. The 69.5 on the website/specs is with a 526mm axle to crown fork (Reba @ 120).
[Reply]
  • + 1
 @ MikeLevy “The actual BB height of the 29" wheeled Shinobi sits at 335mm, closer to the ground that many other 120mm travel machines with smaller diameter 26" wheels”. Could you name a few of these other 26” wheel bikes that have a higher BB height?
[Reply]
  • + 4
 I don't quite understand why Norco puts a 680mm bar on a bike which is designed for tall guys?
  • + 6
 29ers are no longer designed for tall guys. I'm 5'7" and I ride a small Niner RIP 9.
  • + 1
 Yeah i get it, I'm 5'77'' but I have never liked the 29er mtb-s... I dunno, it's a little funny to me when i see guys that are not so tall riding with those huge wheels, and here in Serbia where I live 29ers are not popular yet.

On the other hand, about the bars... well, in the article it is said that 680mm is NARROW. I ride FR and some DH too, and 680mm is perfect for me. I can do X-ups and It's not so bad down the hill either. I don't understand why people (that are not 2 meters high) need bars like 740+mm wide for XC or everything except big mountain FR and DH. But OK, it's a personal preference, everyone will choose what he likes but still 680mm is not so narrow.
  • + 0
 I ride XC/trail with 740 bars, feels awesome, great balance on uphills, what's the problem with that?
  • + 1
 There is no actual problem, I'm just saying that wide bars are not for short riders. If you have shorter arms, you cannot reach over the bike in a tight turn... Wide burs are much more a fashion statement these days, even people who don't need em are putting 780mm bars on their bikes just to show off.
That's something like, if everyone would buy smaller frames just because someone sad they are better than larger ones.

All I wanna say is, the taller you are, the wider bars you need and vice versa. Smile
  • + 2
 yea, maybe. They should still sell such bikes with like 720 bars so people can just cut them if they really feel for doing so... then AM/light FR bikes should come directly with 760 yet there's plenty of them in that segment coming with 680 or 660. Not so long time ago SX Trail came with 660 - give me a bloody break Big Grin
  • + 1
 I agree with WAKIdesigns on the width of the bars. When buying a new bike, the last thing you want to do is have to buy new bars because they were spec'ed with short bars. You can't add any length to them, so why use them? At least give the buyer an option or spec the bike with a wider bar or use a wider bar so they can be cut to the desired length. Some bike's come with the option to choose stem lenghth, so why not be able to choose bar widths as well?
  • + 0
 with stems you can make a basis as well - xc/trail 80, AM 60, FR 50 - and it will fit anyone, at least for the first few rides to get a feel of what you want. If you get a bike with 100mm stem right away - you have no idea whether 50 won't be too short. Giving super short stems like 35 is stupid to me as well, and SX trail comes with one.
  • + 1
 with all due respect to folks who don't want to switch to wider bars, i was actually on your side before. but after trying out a slightly longer handle bar (from 680 to 710mm) by accident, it made a big difference in the my riding. i can probably go wider but i'll take it one step at a time. im only 5'4" and i feel that 710mm hits the sweet spot in me. but who knows? maybe i can go longer and feel even better. im just saying we need to try some new things and it might turn out good for us and if not, then at least we found out for ourselves. cheers!
  • + 0
 @mountguitars - just buy like 760 bar and lock on grips. You can lock them with like 1cm of bars sticking out just for trying. I have now 750 (or 740 don't remember) and I'm thinking about going for 720. I just moved my grips and controls to the inside and I will decide later whether to cut them or not.

And in general nobody can judge good bar width/angles just by trying friends bike. It takes few rides to tell whether you like it or not.
  • + 1
 in due time, i'll be getting longer bars but i need to spend some more time on my new bars before i get new ones. i must say though, it is pretty stable and steering is not as hard as before. only disadvantage i noticed is when i get to tight spots with trees. my bars tend to hit them trees, LOL!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I sold my Ibis HD for one of these this year. Best decision I've made all year. You have to ride it to believe it. Great trail bike...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 A ninja (忍者?) or shinobi (忍び?) was a covert agent or mercenary of feudal Japan specializing in unorthodox arts of war.
  • + 9
 wikipedia FTW! lol
  • + 0
 Whatever the name, I'll never get tired of saying 29er bikes looks ugly to me, except for banshee, who came up with a nice desing and rear sus that isn't making their bike look gay as hell... Not for me
[Reply]
  • + 3
 isn't shinobi someone in the matrix?
  • + 1
 hehehe no lol Shinobi is another word for NINJA Smile
  • + 1
 not ninja. ninja was a assasin, shinobi was a spy. haven't you played shogun total war?
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Thats a pretty bike .
[Reply]
  • + 3
 this bike actually rides really fucking well.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I love my Shinobi, plows through everything! Incredible bike!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 29. the answer to the question i've never asked myself.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Shorter stem will make the steering faster, NOT slower...
  • + 2
 no way... Mr. Levy has that right....
  • + 1
 that's wrong. a shorter stem creates a shorter radius arc. a longer stem creates an arc with a larger radius. for a given angle of rotation, a large radius arc is longer than a short radius arc. therefore, when you turn your bars any amount over some time increment with a long stem, you are getting more rotation than you would if you turned the same angle in the same amount of time with a short stem. If the fork rotates less in the same amount of time, that means it is turning slower and you have slower sterring response.

Therefore,
short stem=small arc=less rotation per unit time (slower steering)
large stem=large arc=more rotation per unit time (faster steering)
  • + 1
 Good call rip.
  • + 1
 Arek is correct: shorter stem = faster steering.
  • + 2
 @rip, just pretend you have a 30cm stem. Now envision handle bars mounted right to the steer tube. And compare.

the fact the bars have to travel that longer arc does, in fact, make a longer stem slower steering
  • + 1
 Mike writes:

"A shorter stem than the stock, and very light, Norco unit went a long way to calming the bike down without eroding its great climbing performance."

My intepretation of this sentence is that Mike is talking about the feedback from the bike, not rider input. To me this would be about the front wheel moving about as it is getting pushed around by rocks and roots. This is all about the front wheel getting the better of the rider because it has leverage over the bars, made more apparent because a 29er wheel has more leverage. To counteract the leverage that the front wheel has, a short stem gives the rider more leverage, or at least enough leverage to hold the front wheel still.

Back to stem length: DHers want fast steering, so when was the last time you saw a DHers with a 120mm stem? I think 40-50 is the norm.
  • + 1
 I think the confusion is that we all interpret slower and faster in different ways.
  • + 2
 I think that I just have no idea what I am actually talking about on this subject and have relied on second hand knowledge picked up from god only knows where. So I really have no idea who is right. In this case my second hand knowledge lined up with Mike's, so I assumed it was correct. Both arguments are quite compelling but I am going to just continue on with my ignorance of the subject as all I need to know is that I personally prefer short stems.
  • + 1
 Mike meant a shorter stem means less twitchy steering.
  • + 1
 yeah that's what I was thinking
  • + 3
 There's way more to the steering equation than simply looking at the length of the stem and the corresponding change in leverage. It's about the stem length (a shorter stem reduces leverage), bar width (a longer bar increases leverage), and the how much weight is over the front wheel (a shorter stem shifts more weight off of the front wheel while a wider bar puts more weight on the front wheel). DH and FR bikes typically have short stems and wide bars. In this case, the shorter stem has more influence than the wider bar and consequently the weight shifts from the front wheel which lightens up the front end and makes the steering feel lighter.
  • + 1
 Thx bogey - I was going crazy trying to figure it out. I like the short stem for dh handling. But the bigger wheels somehow feels like they require a bit more torque for handlebars. I'm getting a SC Tallboy - fully blinged xtr
  • + 1
 rex, you aren't taking into account the time it takes for the bars to make the motion. yes, a shorter stem travels less distance and a longer stem travels farther. but we're talking about speed here, which means you have to take time into account. for a given amount of time, a longer distance traveled over the same time period is faster than a shorter distance traveled over the same time period ie 100 kmh is faster than 50 kmh.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 2 x 9 is enough for me, no need for the 11 cog
[Reply]

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