Ask Pinkbike: Remedy or Slash, Large frame - short stem, Should I Cut My DH Bar?

Oct 21, 2014 at 13:01
Oct 21, 2014
by Pinkbike Staff  
 
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Here at Pinkbike we get inundated with all kinds of questions, ranging from the basic "Can I have stickers" to more in-depth, soul searching types of queries like if you should pop the question or what to name your first child. Ask Pinkbike is an occasional column where we'll be hand picking and answering questions that have been keeping readers up at night, although we'll likely steer clear of those last two and keep it more tech oriented.



Add Travel to My Trek Remedy, or Buy a Slash?

Question: Pinkbike user, TheRoncolaRocket, asked this question in the All-Mountain, Enduro and Cross-Country forum: I've just bought a Trek Remedy 7 and am starting to become interested in doing some enduro racing in the future. I think that I'd new more travel up front, though, and that's where I can't make up my mind... Should I upgrade my Remedy with a 160mm travel RockShox Pike, or should I just but a Slash 7 instead? I work at a local shop, so cost isn't an issue as both options will end up costing about the same, but I don't know what would be best. I'm slightly worried that the Remedy's 140mm of travel isn't going to be enough when going all-out on a descent, but I'm also concerned that the 160mm Slash is going to be overkill and end up slowing me down everywhere else. I live in Stockhom, and the closest mountains are about 400km away, and I only weigh around 70kg with gear.

bigquotesI think that the most important thing to keep in mind is how much time you're going to spend either racing the bike or be on terrain that calls for 160mm of travel, especially if you live 400km away from any serious mountains. If you're answer to that is to say that it might be a few weekends a year, with the rest of your time spent on tamer local terrain and just having fun, it's pretty clear to me that you should stick with the Remedy. I've spent loads of time on every Remedy that Trek has ever made, as well as every Slash platform, and can vouch for the shorter travel bike's abilities - you'll find that it's just as fast in most places, and also takes less effort to keep going at a good clip on smoother trails. The 160mm travel Slash is a great bike (stay tuned for a review of the Slash 9.8 this coming Monday, by the way) but it wouldn't be my only bike if I lived as far away from the mountains as you do. - Mike Levy

Trek Slash review test

The Slash is easier to ride fast when things get really rough, but it wouldn't be my first choice if I didn't have some serious terrain close by.



Can I Use a Short Stem to Make a Large-Size Frame Fit Me?

Question: Watchknut asks in the All-Mountain and Cross-Country Forum: I bought a 2010 Ellsworth Epiphany. The seller said it was a size medium, but low and behold, it is a size large. Should I resell, and look for another bike, or should I get shorter stem and try it out? My old bike was a Yeti Pro Fro 17-inch, with a 22-inch top tube and a 110-millimeter mm stem. I loved the way it fit and rode. I have no clue if it was sized correctly, but it worked for me. The Ellsworth has a longer, 23.5-inch top tube and with the current 90-millimeter stem, the reach is roughly the same as with my old Yeti. I can further shorten the reach by swapping out stems. With the stand-over height being the same on all Ellsworth Epiphany frames, does it make sense to try out a new stem, or I am wasting time?

bigquotes Your question is poignant because it addresses a trend that made sense a few years earlier, but may not be such a good idea today. After the long-stem, narrow-bar era collapsed and rank and file riders began to demand short stems and wider handlebars, bike makers responded by bolting short stems and wide bars to their existing bikes. It was a marketing move that did not take into consideration that the switch effectively shortened the reach of every bike in their ranges by one or two frame sizes. In response, hard core riders began to buy up one size, using top tube and reach measurements, instead of traditional sizing, to determine their correct fits. The reason for this sidebar intro is to point out that bike makers have addressed that oversight. Today, top tubes are lengthened to adjust for the switch to shorter stems and slacker head angles. Unfortunately, "buying up" became so fashionable that many riders are foolishly buying bikes that are way too big for them. My advice is to ignore posted sizing and purchase according to the bike's reach as it pertains to your cockpit preferences. That said, your situation is legitimate.

Considering that the stand-over height is the same, you could get away with using a shorter stem to compensate for the Ellsworth's longer top tube. Adding an inch and a half (38mm) to the top tube of a bike, however, may create too much of a rearward weight shift to ensure that your new bike will handle well. Noting that you liked the way your Yeti handled with its 22-inch top tube and 110-millimeter stem, you would need a 70-millimeter stem to match the reaches of the two bikes. So far, so good, because most PB riders are using 50-millimeter stems, which is what I recommend for riders who prefer technical riding over climbing.

The fly in the ointment, though, is that the head tube height (stack) of your large frame may be too tall for you, which would take too much weight off the front tire and cause the bike to push in the corners. The large-sized Epiphany's head tube is stated at 5.12 inches, and 4.75 inches for the small and medium frames. That is the thickness of two headset spacers. The dimensions of your previous bike suggest that you are not tall enough to overcome excessive stack height, If the stack of your Yeti and Ellsworth are similar, I'd say go for it - and I'd recommend trying a 50mm stem and a slightly wider handlebar. If the stack on the large frame is too high and it is not possible to address that issue by using a flat or a low-rise handlebar, I would suggest selling the frame and searching for a better match. - RC


Ellsworth Epiphany Carbon XC

In the large-size, the new, 27.5-inch wheel Ellsworth Epiphany Enduro SST has the same top tube length as Watchknut's frame, and it features the shorter stem that he proposes to get a proper fit. Good news all 'round.





780 vs. 760mm Handlebar Width

Question: PB user thebaron38 asked the following question in the Downhill forum: I'm currently running 780mm width bars and was wondering if I drop to 760mm would there be much difference in feel.

bigquotesBar width is a topic that can stir up endless debates, mainly because every rider has their own 'perfect' width. Riding style and your physical proportions are both factors in determining the ideal handlebar dimensions, and while I'm a firm believer that wide bars are better for all riding disciplines, I also realize that at 5'11" my preferred bar width isn't going to work as well for someone who barely cracks the 5' mark. The 20mm difference between 780 and 760mm bars may not seem like much, but I'd be willing to bet you'll notice it immediately. A simple way to try out a shorter length is to slide your grips in 20mm (this is easiest with lock-ons that have an opening at both ends), along with your brakes and shifters. Richard Cunningham covered this topic quite well all the way back in 2011. Head out for a spin around the block, and see if you like the quicker steering and slightly different body position that comes with the reduced width. 760mm is still fairly wide, so I don't think you'll find the bars will make your bike's handling too twitchy or unfamiliar feeling, but whether the change feels better or worse will be up to you. - Mike Kazimer

Renthal Fatbar carbon

Most manufacturers print gradient marks on their handlebars to make trimming them an easy process.




Have some unresolved tech questions? Jump in the Pinkbike Forum and we'll look to answer it for next time.
Must Read This Week






93 Comments

  • + 174
 I think the guy who bought the Ellsworth should worry more about the fact that he bought one of those monstrosities and not the sizing.
  • + 18
 +1...beat me to it.
Recently at Outerbike, and they Ellsworth booth was full of bikes the entire time. You had to beg, bribe or steal a rid on a SB6, Nomad, etc. No idea how they are still in business...
  • + 1
 It seems like I'm the only one that likes Ellsworth's bikes... If the technology works, why change it?
  • - 11
flag Nikewatch (Oct 21, 2014 at 14:32) (Below Threshold)
 Is it wrong I kinda like how they look?
  • + 44
 Yes. Yes it is. ;-)
  • + 13
 It looks like it front-wheel cased a double really hard and bent the front triangle inward. Which helps explain the head angle which hails from an era when mountain bikes were less fun. 2001?
  • + 15
 Yeah I'm pretty sure that Ellsworth is not Enduro-Certified
  • - 11
flag ctmtb98 (Oct 21, 2014 at 19:02) (Below Threshold)
 looks like a trek Wink
  • + 14
 I like ellsworth. (waits neg prop)
  • - 2
 And there they are.
  • + 73
 Please delete that Ellsworth bike photo, it's making my eyes hurt
  • + 20
 It's like an old skool bike from the future. I kinda like it- is that bad?
  • + 13
 You guys are a bunch of princesses...
  • - 20
flag miketizzle (Oct 21, 2014 at 13:44) (Below Threshold)
 Weird neg propping on my first comment - was at +12 then suddenly went to 4. conspiracy theory anyone? (or maybe just a genuinely shit comment Smile
  • - 1
 nah ,i agree
  • - 3
 @miketizzle. Respect your elders. Wink
  • + 1
 @gavlaa no, i actually want one but i cant afford it lol
  • + 43
 @miketizzle - It is just that the Ellsworth fan club got wind of your negative comment, so all 8 of them came out to vote you down...lol Now that they are done voting your comment is back on the way up.
  • + 7
 @burnbern That comment made me smile. hahaha one of the 8 and proud.
  • + 2
 All he needs is an enduro certified fanny pack, his bike geo will adjust automatically
  • + 35
 Apparently you should buy a frame that fits and run your bars at a width you feel comfortable with.
No shit Sherlock! :-)
  • + 31
 I love these articles! I find 768.213mm wide bars to feel about right for me ;D
  • - 17
flag jedrzeja (Oct 21, 2014 at 13:26) (Below Threshold)
 How do you know where the middle is? It's an uneven number.
  • + 21
 They invented the decimal system for a reason.
  • + 41
 the middle would be 384.1065mm mate
  • + 6
 huh, huh...math...
  • + 47
 British bikes have the bar on the right side, so don't buy a bar from Great Britain if you have an US stem. It's like cars.
  • + 6
 I would also suggest mounting the bar leaned a bit more to the left, to balance the weight of drivetrain, but I am not really sure if this would be enough ironic in the British way, to make all the American mathematicians laugh a little bit.
  • + 0
 I was going to tease jedrzeja but he cried last time
  • + 1
 i personally like short stem large, i think it carrys corners bettter especially with carbon wheels and bars ,cranks "it does make a difference .but my favorite part is how it rides out ruts and stuff it just handles em so perfect Smile
  • + 1
 sam hill won with 740mm.
  • + 1
 brandon semenuk wins with 26 inch bars. its all preference
  • + 27
 Enduro racing alternative: put a FOX 36 RC2 on the remedy, lowered to 150. With its shorter axle to crown, it should not affect the geometry of the bike, while offering a stiffer, slightly longer travel fork for endure racing.
  • + 35
 Nah, nah, he needs that slack head angle for extra endurbro points
  • + 35
 Bro, do u even endur?
  • + 0
 the head tube angle of the Remedy is adjustable as well..
  • + 15
 Stem length is not only about reach, stance and weight distribution damn it. It is half-relevant without talking about handlebar sweep angles anyways. Easton Haven bar will olace your grips almost two inches further back than renthal bar cut to same width, given same rise. Stem length/handlebar sweep combo will have dramatic effects on the way bike handles, in terms of how easy/hard it is to turn the bars at speed. Shorter the stem, the more oversteer you get, beyond some point it gets sketchy. Too long with too wide bars and bike will fancy understeered shooting out of corners, earlier than you'd like, forcing you to dismount from corners with vigorous moves. MTB is too often considered as a static activity. Bars turn all the time. There is no recipe, one must forget about existence of i ternet opinion and borrow two stems, 50 and 80 and try how stuff works and what works for him. Bike fit on MTB is bs, as we change position so often and we have damn large range of movement in our joints.
  • + 1
 I agree with you Waki, it shouldnt be considered a static activity which I think can be easily done whether you're sitting staring at geo charts or on the showroom floor standing over bikes. You're right that a lot of factors can be overlooked when discussing things like this and that often the best way is to try things out. But we do have a 'ready' position just like many other sports which we can use to give an idea of how adjustments might work out for us. Just to add, contrary to the point that many riders are foolishly buying bikes way too big for them, I see more who are still riding bikes that, to me, seem too small. But if those guys are comfortable and happy with what they're riding then who am I to say any different.
  • + 1
 Cockpit setup, just like almost anything on our bikes is a matter of compromise and judgment often depends on point of reference. There are personal preconditions, trial preconditions and fabs... Many people (perhaps due to nature of product ads and forum discussions) see bicycle development as linear process, as if things were getting only better and never just different. Currently we are in long reach, short stem period, and it is hard to blame anyone for it, because for too long the major point of reference were narrow bars and long stem. All in all, for vast majority of types of riding that most people practice, latest "fab" is a step forward because it builds confidence. Short stem/narrow bars bears a semi-truth that such setup is more efficient while in reality it is a compromise of adressing short wheelbase, necessary to manuover XC racing bike on uphills, around tight trees and passing other racers on narrow singletrack, finaly for comfort.

Short stem, wide bar, long reach can be easily over driven though. The closer the grips get to the axis of the steerer, in a way that the wheel trail - steerer - grips "triangle" gets shallower, the less stable things get because when you apply force by both hands, you get less tow. While riding straight at speed the leverage of wide bars provides no problem with keeping the wheel pointing ahead, as soon as you apply force to turn the bars, particularly at tighter corners, the loss of wheel direction gets more dramatic. If a bike has plenty of intrinsic stability due to factors like wheel inertia, head angle, bb drop, wheelbase, then it may be a good thing, but a bike more nimble by nature, needs a longer stem/bar sweep combo. Bar sweep is important, because it determines how we stand on our bike and apply force to the bars.
  • + 4
 Own preference is a bitch, because it is always a mixture of actual own experience, own prejudgments, and external suggestion. If you have a whatever stem you have, and suddenly you read that this new stem from B-outrager has extra wide clamp improving stiffness, and that this is the next big thin, then on your next ride you may try to sense eventual flex on your stem. Then you'll have a bad day, you'll get some panic in rockgarden, close call, and you may eventually blame the flex in your stem. Yes people can be fine with what they have, but it doesn't hurt to try and cockpit setup while having a dramatic influence on the way we ride our bikes, is a relatively cheap thing to experiment with. Definitely cheaper than following a suggestion that new damper in Pike is better than one that sits in Lyrik.
  • + 2
 Tl:dr
  • + 7
 I am planning on gettinging the remedy even though I live in the mountains. It is a fun and jumpy trail bike with a burlier build and a lot of growth potential. The pike is on my list too, though I plan to run it at 140 or 150mm. The slash would be awesome if I had a season pass or a shuttle driver, but as it stands playfulness and climbing are the key to happiness.
  • + 4
 Get it. I tried both and ended up with the remedy. It does everything you want to do, i take it on fast flowy stuff, rocky shit and xc trails, its so much fun. i thought the slash was just to sluggish.
  • + 6
 I have a slash...and taken on some pretty climby single track. ....and I must say it surprised me, it climbs like a champ!
  • + 3
 I recall reading someplace that the Fox 34 140mm has the same axle to crown as the Pike 150mm, so no change in geo.
  • + 3
 Good to hear. One more reason to get a pike.
  • + 1
 Is 10mm more travel going to make a noticeable difference?
  • + 1
 I have a remedy 7 and put a Talas 180 on it. Might say its overkill but I can always drop it back down to 140 (although I never really do). Even with the big fork the bike still pedals like a champ and is a ton of fun on the down hill.
  • + 2
 i think suspensions came a long way, and nowadays you can have a 140 suspension absorving and dealing with what 160-180 could a couple of years ago. it depends on the quality of the fork and shox, i upgraded mine a couple years ago when i had a bighit1 and it made a great diference in the way it ride.
  • + 7
 Every day we see way too many people running 780mm or 800 mm (the newer, cooler '780') because that is what's 'cool', or what their 6'2" mate says is good, or what their boyfriend runs or their dad runs. You get the idea. Body type, riding style and bike use determine what width handle bar should be on the bike. Even 10 mm can make an appreciable difference in handling especially if it is 10 mm too wide.
  • + 1
 i personally like short stem large, Its a turner dhr , i think it carrys corners bettter especially with carbon wheels and bars ,cranks "it does make a difference .but my favorite part is how it rides out ruts and stuff it just handles em so perfect Smile but aall in all that smy opinon.
  • + 4
 I just put some of the new RF SixC 800mm wide bars on my bike and while they really are not much longer than the 777mm bars I was running I sure do notice it on tight and twisty trails...going to try and work with it, but my immediate reaction was to cut them down just so I stop tagging trees...lol.
  • + 0
 Back in the day before there were "Biking Trails" that were wide and bermed, mountain bikers rode any line they could fit their bike through, so bars were narrow. If you have enough upper body strength, wider bars don't provide any advantage unless you're doing worldcup G-outs or hucking 30 to flat. Sure they "feel" more stable, but skill and coordination can get you through the same line just as fast on a 600mm bar that noobs need 800mm for.
  • + 2
 I bought the same bars, and they Just feel more natural to me. My first bike had 20 inches bars !!! Then i've moved to 600mm and tought they were too large at first Smile then again moved to 685 mm same thing...despite the initial impression i've never gone back. Now i run 800mm on my AM bike, at 5'10 some May Say they are too large but they Just feel spot on.
  • + 1
 I agree with fatenduro. I had BooBars on my DH bike when I first got it and it was just too wide. Being a little guy it felt laborious to corner the bike. They were good when you needed to put the power down. I switch to a Diety topsoil and it was much better in the corners. Also fit me much better.
  • + 3
 I'm 6'3" and race pro downhill, and 800mm is pretty rad on my downhill bike. I ran 780's forever and thought that was great, but the extra 20mm is very nice in huge g-outs and big jumps and other edge-of-survival circumstances. That said, I would never ever ever run 800's on a trail bike, unless there wasn't a tree for 100 miles. I live in the Pacific NW and when I see people riding 800's on their trail bikes here it's kind of a head scratcher.
  • + 1
 Just moved from 750 Havocs with a 50mm stem to 800 Havoc 35's with a 35mm stem on my trail bike. Left them uncut at first thinking I'd try it for a day or two and then trim them, but so far I much prefer them wider. I tagged a couple of trees at first, but after a few days you adjust your line by an inch and the increased control with less effort is noticeable. Might be something to do with riding a 29er as well as the larger wheels can need a little more leverage to control in the rough stuff.
  • + 1
 35s are dope i have havoc carbons . theyrs super good with the finger claw Razz
  • + 3
 I started out on a BooBar 780mm for my Transition Bandit 29er and rode them for about a year with only one issue in a tight tree area, but it was during a race and it cost me a few positions (probably could have avoided it if I was paying more attention at the time)...that being said I ordered some 740mm...during the wait period I slapped on some 711mm's that I had from another bike build and the difference was very, very noticeable. The bike just wasn't as stable on the DH sections that were rocky...you had to totally change up your riding style, and if you didn't realize that it could have been a bad situation. So, as the original PB responded it's all "personal" based on what you ride, where you ride, and how you want your bike to feel...740mm on that bike for me @6'-0" was the happy place.
  • + 3
 i dont discuss handlebars or bike seats, i believe people should have the right to grab on to whatever they want or sit wherever they want. to each is own. (were talking about bikes right?)
  • + 1
 I think it boils down to personal preference. I run 700mm bars on my 70mm stem small carbon moto cannondale frame and it fits perfectly. I'm only 5'7" 31 inches inseam. I have yet to try longer tan 740mm though so i dont know what awaits.
  • + 1
 What's this about manufacturers moving to shorter stems? Where do they get them? I had to buy DH stems to get 50mm for my hardtail, FS XC, and AM bikes. I found no lightweight options. Most stem makers (non-DH) start at 60mm.
  • + 5
 Spank, Renthal, hope, Sunline, Easton...
  • + 4
 Thomson, Superstar...
  • + 2
 "http://www.thehubsa.co.za/features/_/gear/reviews/review-funn-fatboy-35-handlebar-and-stryge-stem-r1627"

good short stem - affordable good for AM bikes - lightweight
  • + 1
 You mentioned altering bar width when changing stem length but not the other way around. Granted you don't necessarily have to change both but cutting your bars down 20mm will give you a more upright position. If you prefer the slightly narrower bar but wanna keep a low ish ride position then adjust your stem length as well. And vice versa.
Wide bar + short stem OR narrower bar + longer stem - can both give similar ride position while altering other handling characteristics; steering being a big one.
This is assuming you've got your saddle where you like it. You can get similar results adjusting the saddle fore and aft but personally I don't think the saddle should be moved according to 'fit' and more where you feel you get the best pedalling and to alter the effective seat tube angle - then use the stem and bars to adjust ride position and fit.
  • + 4
 I just bought the remedy over the slash and I'm happy with my choice.. The remedy is an amazing bike!!!
  • + 3
 Yep, got me a Remedy 9 (Sick Gulf Team Colors) after riding it and a Slash. Mike is spot on, if you aren't bombing roughs trails the majority of the time get a Remedy. It is bonkers versatile and doesn't start to feel outgunned until things get real steep/rough. Also, the Slash feels comparatively sluggish and awkward at slow speeds, it does not like to be going slow.
  • + 2
 I rode a 2012 Remedy 8 for two years. Super playful, super agile, really capable. Got pretty squirrelly at high speeds though.

I recently switched to a Yeti SB66c (which is similar to the Slash I think) and it's MUCH more stable in the fast and rough, but nowhere near as quick and playful as the Remedy. It's a lot harder to clean technical climbs on the Yeti, but conversely, a lot harder to track a straight line on the Remedy through the rough descents.

I think putting a Pike and burlier shock on a Remedy is a great step in the right direction.
  • + 3
 2014 remedy 29 w 150 pike on the front and XX1, w/ 2.5 DHF, awesome combo, ready for anything and still under 30LBS, stick w your Remedy....
  • + 1
 Why the 29 and not the 27.5?
  • + 1
 Had a friend race mega avalanche on his remedy. After a solid week of that, along with riding the OZ national DH track and les2alps bike park I was blown away by how versatile that thing was.
  • + 3
 Remedy with a pike. Try a 50 and a 60mm stem. Only trim those bars if your a midget.
  • + 1
 I've got a remedy with a fox 36 talas. Does everything I want including lift assisted dh runs and enduro racing. My buddies slash is more like a sled, you really gotta move it around. It's still a killer though.
  • + 1
 If Ellsworth sort out that hideous seat stay arch, and curve the rear of the rocker link downwards slightly, they might be on to something decent looking. Namely, a trek....
  • + 2
 too much stack height? Flipping your stem is also an option if its +/-6 deg or whatever
  • + 1
 Or/ and run a flat bar, cheaper than the buy/ sell loss.
  • + 1
 Or for more extreme corrections (like getting a long travel 29er into a decent pedaling position), run a riser bar upside down. And before anyone asks: No, it won't put your wrists at a weird angle, just rotate it to the right place the same as you would any other bar. It does look weird though.
  • + 2
 Im right in between L and M frame size so I went with a large and shortened the stem and I love the feel
  • + 1
 Umm yeah, a buddy of mine r egularily does 25 foot gaps and 15 foot drops on his remedy. Believe me its fine for what ever your going to do with it.
  • + 1
 I feel like a 150mm fork would be quite practical, especially in TheRoncolaRocket's case.
  • + 0
 I think that the remedy and the slash have not a lot of differences, for 10mm of travel more on front it really depends more on the rider ability than the bike
  • + 7
 slash is 20mm more travel, noticeably slacker.
  • + 1
 I own a 27.5 remedy and have had some time on a slash. The slash is a pig. That thing had my back a few times in the really rough stuff. I wouldn't trade the 140 for 160 but if thats the kind of riding you want to do all the time it is noticeably burlier.
  • + 1
 I have a 2011 renedy and it is 150mm in front so for me I would trade it for a slash for 160mm it is pretty similar bikes
  • + 3
 I want to know how it's possible that for him buying a Pike would end up costing the same than an entire Slash bike
  • + 2
 He would sell his old bike for monies
  • + 1
 agreed. 20mm makes a big difference both climbing and descending.
  • + 1
 slash, short stem, and trim them bars
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