Chainstay Length Question

PB Forum :: All Mountain, Enduro & Cross-Country
Chainstay Length Question
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Posted: Dec 9, 2019 at 18:45 Quote
The industry average is now around 43 to 43.5 cm chain stays. However, there are multiple trail bikes with longer chain stays. These include:

-motobecane hal boost alu: 44.8cm
-vitus escarpe 45 cm
-Vitus mythique 29er: 44.5 cm
-REI/coop trail: 44.1cm

Both the Vitus escarpe and Vitus mythique have won trail bike of the year awards recently. Both bikes seem to be high quality bikes yet they have some of the longest chain stays in the industry.

What are your experiences riding bikes with longer chain stays: 44cm or longer? What are the pros and cons from your own ride experiences? Please refrain from theoretical discussions: the emphasis is on rider experiences.

Posted: Dec 9, 2019 at 19:17 Quote
from my limited experience with chain stay lengths, but lots of riding experience, shorter chainstays are easier to bunny hop, and have dun on, ie- 360s, and 180s on my dirt jumper, and then on my enduro bike, with a medium chainstay, it is much more difficult to bunny hop and spin, but is so much more stable at speed. hope this helps

Posted: Dec 9, 2019 at 20:28 Quote
Taller people need longer chainstays.

Posted: Dec 10, 2019 at 4:39 Quote
My 2cents: I have a hardtail in XL size (I'm 188 cm tall) with a ridiculously short chainstay at 420 mm, and I love it. So easy to throw around, very playful. If you are all about airtime, go for short chainstay. If you are racing or like to go as fast as possible and stay glued to the ground, choose a bike with a long chainstay. If you want something in between, go for 435 mm +/- 5 mm.

Posted: Dec 10, 2019 at 7:44 Quote
You could think of chainstay length as a tool to balance out the front center of the bike (i.e. longer bike = longer chainstays). That's fine but I think more appropriatly, chainstay length should be based on application. If you want a fun nimble bike to manual and hop around on go with short stays. If you want a stable enduro or DH bike then long chainstays are the way to go. If you want a balance between those two scenarios then get a bike with a middle of the road chainstay length.

Posted: Dec 10, 2019 at 9:30 Quote
Tough topic as longer C/S are all the trend right now for Enduro and E-bikes

As we are all armchair bike builders its tough to truly say without looking at the overall bike and not C/S exclusively

Pro: More stable in the downs, better technical climbing
Con: Longer w/b harder to turn in tight switchbacks, harder to Manual/Bunny hop

Posted: Dec 10, 2019 at 10:03 Quote
We're not all armchair builders here!

The responses here are correct. Two reasons for longer stays that I didn't see mentioned:

• 29" wheels with large tires need room.
• Front-centres have been getting a lot longer. Long rear-centres help restore a reasonable weight distribution.

Posted: Dec 10, 2019 at 11:04 Quote
R-M-R wrote:
We're not all armchair builders here!

The responses here are correct. Two reasons for longer stays that I didn't see mentioned:

• 29" wheels with large tires need room.
• Front-centres have been getting a lot longer. Long rear-centres help restore a reasonable weight distribution.

Hahaha True, as an avid armchair builder, by default are long front and rear centers equal to longer overall wheelbase?

and is there a reason that we dont talk about front vs rear weight distribution vs front and rear center?

Posted: Dec 10, 2019 at 13:13 Quote
ehfour wrote:
R-M-R wrote:
We're not all armchair builders here!

The responses here are correct. Two reasons for longer stays that I didn't see mentioned:

• 29" wheels with large tires need room.
• Front-centres have been getting a lot longer. Long rear-centres help restore a reasonable weight distribution.

Hahaha True, as an avid armchair builder, by default are long front and rear centers equal to longer overall wheelbase?

and is there a reason that we dont talk about front vs rear weight distribution vs front and rear center?

If I'm correctly interpreting your question, then yes, wheelbase = FC + RC.

People are starting to talk about weight distribution, which is pretty similar to the FC:RC ratio. FC has increased so much in the past few years that we're starting to notice the effects.

FC is related to reach and head-tube angle. For example, you could have the same FC via a long reach and steep HT° or a short reach and slack HT°. Fabian Barel and Cesar Rojo have discussed Mondraker's experiments with this, in which the team tried head angles slacker than 60°. They liked the long front end for the stability and resistance to throwing the rider over the front, but there wasn't enough weight on the front tire for traction when turning. They kept the FC the same, but increased the reach and steepened the HT° to put more weight on the front wheel.

Does this answer your questions or are there some thoughtsI didn't fully address?

Posted: Dec 10, 2019 at 14:27 Quote
For reference, what are "short" "medium" and "long" chain stays on a 150/140 trail bike?

Also, no one answered the question: why are long travel trail bikes like the Vitus escarpe and Vitus mythique and Pole Stamina winning comparison tests and bike of the year awards if long chain stays are bad?

Meanwhile, the Pinkbike testers are lukewarm towards or openly dislike most all of the short chain stay trail bikes such as the Pivot and Trek.

Posted: Dec 10, 2019 at 14:33 Quote
R-M-R wrote:
ehfour wrote:
R-M-R wrote:
We're not all armchair builders here!

The responses here are correct. Two reasons for longer stays that I didn't see mentioned:

• 29" wheels with large tires need room.
• Front-centres have been getting a lot longer. Long rear-centres help restore a reasonable weight distribution.

Hahaha True, as an avid armchair builder, by default are long front and rear centers equal to longer overall wheelbase?

and is there a reason that we dont talk about front vs rear weight distribution vs front and rear center?

If I'm correctly interpreting your question, then yes, wheelbase = FC + RC.

People are starting to talk about weight distribution, which is pretty similar to the FC:RC ratio. FC has increased so much in the past few years that we're starting to notice the effects.

FC is related to reach and head-tube angle. For example, you could have the same FC via a long reach and steep HT° or a short reach and slack HT°. Fabian Barel and Cesar Rojo have discussed Mondraker's experiments with this, in which the team tried head angles slacker than 60°. They liked the long front end for the stability and resistance to throwing the rider over the front, but there wasn't enough weight on the front tire for traction when turning. They kept the FC the same, but increased the reach and steepened the HT° to put more weight on the front wheel.

Does this answer your questions or are there some thoughtsI didn't fully address?

Thanks! wasn't really a well worded question, more a train of thought.

Now I need to go and look at the FC measurement on my bike

Posted: Dec 10, 2019 at 14:54 Quote
ATL23 wrote:
For reference, what are "short" "medium" and "long" chain stays on a 150/140 trail bike?

Also, no one answered the question: why are long travel trail bikes like the Vitus escarpe and Vitus mythique and Pole Stamina winning comparison tests and bike of the year awards if long chain stays are bad?

Meanwhile, the Pinkbike testers are lukewarm towards or openly dislike most all of the short chain stay trail bikes such as the Pivot and Trek.

• Short: 425 mm
• Medium: 435 mm
• Long: 450 mm

Long chainstays are not intrinsically bad. Other factors determined these test results, with chainstay length as a minor consideration.

Posted: Dec 10, 2019 at 15:13 Quote
I've seen a few models now with varying CS lengths. The REI Co-op and Canyon Neuron have shorter 430 ish CS lengths on XS/S and 440ish M on up.

Posted: Dec 10, 2019 at 15:32 Quote
ATL23 wrote:
I've seen a few models now with varying CS lengths. The REI Co-op and Canyon Neuron have shorter 430 ish CS lengths on XS/S and 440ish M on up.

It's a step in the right direction, but the difference would have to be considerably greater to maintain a consistent FC:RC ratio - if that's even something we want.

Maybe current RC lengths are ideal for large riders and small riders would be better served by very short chainstays, which is impossible due to the size of a wheel, so they just have to deal with it.

Or maybe we do want to maintain a constant ratio, so large frames should have super long chainstays, but manufacturers know this would be too strange for customers who have been told short chainstays are more fun.

Probably a bit of both.

Posted: Dec 10, 2019 at 15:40 Quote
It seems to suggest that a 440ish CS length is a good reference point for a size M, which is what I usually ride.

However, I've ridden the canyon neuron in a M with 440 stays and I didn't like the bike very much.

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