|I 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|
| 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
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.
|Bar 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|
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