Too Long? Too Slack? Not Enough? – Pinkbike Poll

Jul 28, 2017
by Vernon Felton  
Mondraker Dune Photo by Colin Meagher
2014 Mondraker Dune...by this point the company had been pushing their Forward geometry for a couple seasons already.

Is there a point at which the whole “long, low and slack” geometry thing goes too far? A Malcolm Gladwell-ian tipping point of sorts at which front ends get too floppy and wheelbases grow too long to be any fun on trails outside of the bike park? Have we already hit that tipping point? Are we years away from reaching it? Or, perhaps it’s more like the weird, bald kid in The Matrix who pointed out that the ultimate truth is “There are no spoons”…. To wit, there is no tipping point at all—no such thing as too long, low and slack?

If you want to skip ahead to the poll, now’s as good a point as any to scroll on down and drop your own two cents into the bucket.

If, on the other hand, you are up for a bit of context, read on.


I sincerely wonder about this geometry thing. I’m not suggesting that I have an answer here. I’m not trying to pose a straw man hypothetical. I’m no engineer. I’m just a guy who’s lucky enough to get to throw his leg over the theoretical top tubes of every generation of mountain bike—a professional taste tester who looks at the 2018 round of bikes and realizes, “Huh. Everything seems to taste like enduro these days. Didn’t expect that from the cross-country bikes, but okay…”

I look at the new bikes coming out for 2018 (some of which I am riding right now under the cloak of secrecy) and I watch the head angles slacken further, the reach and wheelbases growing longer and I can see both sides of the coin.


THE PRE-MONDRAKIAN ERA
Let’s step back for a second.

For years, decades really, you could argue that mountain bike geometry was static—stuck in the proverbial amber. Remember when the 71/73 head and seat tube angle combination was considered something of a Divine Truth—this was how GodAlmightyBabyJesus wanted mountain bikes to be!

Keep the front center short, slap on a stem that looked like a prop from an adult movie and—BOOM—it was on like Donkey Kong. Short, steep and sketchy was the name of the game for roughly forever. Which is odd when you consider how the rest of the mountain bike was evolving at a blistering rate. We may have traded in our fully rigid, double diamond bikes for full-suspension hydroformed aluminum or swank carbon machines, but the dimensions and angles of the proto-mountain bike lived on, well past the point when they should’ve gone tits up.
Gary Fisher Catalog
Gary Fisher catalog circa 1998. The big news was "Genesis Geometry", i.e. longer top tubes, shorter rear centers, shorter stems. It took a long time before anyone thought this was a truly good idea. Admittedly, a "short stem" back in 98 was something like 80-mm, but it was progress all the same.


Until recently, at least.

The past four or five years have been a sort of long, low and slack revolution. Sure, brands like Gary Fisher and Specialized had long embraced pairing stubby chainstays with shorter stems, lower bottom brackets and longer top tubes, but brands like Mondraker and Kona took hold of that particular dial and twisted that thing waaaay past 11, so to speak. The rest of the industry soon followed suit.

This made a whole lot of us (myself included) happy. More stability, a more centered feel on the bike….there’s a lot to like here. If you were a fan of the fun part of riding (i.e., that part where you actually descend), the shifting wisdom on geometry was a “about damn time” kind of scenario.


Giant Reign Advanced 0 Launch in Santa Caterina Italy
A size small 2018 Reign has almost the same wheelbase as an extra-large Reign from 2013. It's within a quarter inch.

BACK TO THE FUTURE
But as 2018 rolls up to the curb and a new crop of bikes pile out of the clown car with even longer wheelbases and slacker head angles, I wonder if we might not be pushing things a bit far. I mean, if you are racing enduro or riding a bike park, the answer is “No, we’re nowhere near the limit of long, low and slack.” Particularly as brands begin to experiment with a wider range of fork offsets to help fine tune trail.

But what about people who want, say, something akin to an all-mountain bike from just four years ago—a bike with six inches of travel, that is biased more towards descending, but is still nimble and an absolute weapon on the tightest of trails? Maybe they aren’t riding Mach Chicken all the time or maybe they never go to the bike park or maybe their home trails just tend to be crazy-tight and twisted and a 48-inch wheelbase is never going to light their fire… Is that rider well served by all this?

You can argue two things here—and I often have.

(1) Just size down: If you used to ride a large, buy a medium instead the next time around; and
(2) If you don’t like the long, low and slack thing, don’t buy a bike like that. No one is forcing you to go enduro, bro.

Fair play. To a point.

As every new generation of bike seems to get longer and slacker (you can only go so low, thanks to pedal smacking), there comes a point at which even the size small and medium bikes have fairly long wheelbases themselves. Longer than some shorter riders, or riders who just preferred tighter wheelbases, actually want.

Second, as consumers grab hold of the long, low and slack trend, there’s a tendency to pigeonhole any bike that isn’t pushing the boundaries of that newer formula as some kind of outdated, piece of shit the moment it blinks into existence. I’m not just talking about longer-travel bikes either. Trail bikes and XC bikes often get measured by the same enduro yardstick. And, hey, sometimes the result is absolutely awesome. Those genres were clutching old-school geometry for far too long. Bikes like the latest-generation Kona Hei Hei 29 and the Santa Cruz Tallboy make a strong case for adding some descending prowess to shorter travel bikes.

Evil The Following
Remember way back in 2015 when the Following was considered fairly long, low and slack? The size large has a 45.8-inch wheelbase. Downright short (for a large) by 2017 standards.

But, again, maybe there are riders out there who really dug the original formula and are bummed that it’s becoming harder to find in even non-enduro circles. And it’s becoming harder to find those bikes because bike companies don’t want to put out a new bike that looks like the old man on the porch, who’s yelling at the kids to get off his lawn. I’ve spoken with more than a few designers from companies who’ve flat out said as much…and we were talking about their 100 and 120-millimeter travel bikes.

Every time a bike company has rolled out a new model this spring, it seems like the marketing spiel has been “We added 15 to 20 millimeters of reach to every size.” In some cases, that’s a great thing. In other cases—particularly when a bike company has been steadily growing their bikes in that direction for a few years now, the end result is some seriously lonnnng wheelbases.

Conventional wisdom holds that all design is a matter of trade offs. You generally make one trait better at the expense of another. If we keep choosing stability and high-speed performance, do we get to a point where agility and slower-speed performance in tight conditions truly suffers?

Have we hit a limit here?
Are we still a long ways from hitting that limit?
Or is there no such thing as a limit at all when it comes to geometry?

What do you think?

Have we gone too far down the Long, Low and Slack rabbit hole?

Is there a point at which the whole “long, low and slack” geometry thing goes too far? A Malcolm Gladwell-ian tipping point of sorts at which front ends get too floppy and wheelbases grow too long to be any fun on trails outside of the bike park? Have we already hit that tipping point? Are we years away from reaching it? Or, perhaps it’s more like the weird, bald kid in The Matrix who pointed out that the ultimate truth is “There are no spoons”…. To wit, there is no tipping point at all—no such thing as too long, low and slack?



Must Read This Week

250 Comments

  • + 70
 Why have the bottom brackets gotten so low ?..... everything else has been great but the BB has gotten entirely way to clos to the ground .... raise the BB slightly and steepen seat tube slightly and I think you'd have an amazing bike ...
  • + 3
 was on a new demo a few weeks ago and the BB was soooooo low it blew my mind.
  • + 17
 I totally agree with BB being on the low side especially Northeasts rocky terrain. Its good for speed and control but pedal clipping is at an all time high for me. I love my Canfield Balance and have gotten used to it and actually now have to run 165mm cranks.... but I recently rode my buddy's SC Nomad and for me that's WAY TOO LOW for our trails here..... Don't get me wrong the Nomad is a dope ride but you really have to pick and choose where you pedal with it.... I witnessed him few times crash hard from pedal strikes.....
  • + 28
 disagree 100%. My first gen enduro 29 had a BB of over 350mm. I went OTB more that spring than the last 5 years combined.

Give me knuckle-dragging low BB with 165mm crank arms!!
  • + 39
 I personally love a super low bb. My Scout has a bb height of 330mm and I'll happily smash rocks and roots with my pedals all day long because of the way that bike feels once it's pointed downhill, keeping that center of gravity as low as possible makes for a bike that corners unbelievably and lets you have complete control over the bike
  • + 35
 "The answer just depends on where and how you ride."
  • + 5
 @me2menow: Pretty much, same goes for the reach and wheelbase debate as well. Some will love it because the ride wide open fast terrain and some will hate it because they ride tight twisty single track
  • + 1
 What do you consider low? I'm at 325mm (29HT) with no real issues. I would imagine anything around 300mm would be getting low.

The folliowing is an interesting read... www.starlingcycles.com/news/2017/7/12/nailing-the-geometry-part-1-getting-it-wrong-to-get-it-right
  • + 4
 I agree most BB's are too low for me. The bikes of the future will have on-the-fly adjustable geometry.
  • + 3
 Maybe shorter cranks is the solution to this "problem"
  • + 9
 At 6ft tall i've run 165mm cranks for over 10 years for all types of riding with no problems. The lower bb you can get away with the better when it comes to cornering.
  • - 3
 @CapedBaldy: yeah, why not, let's compromise the vital part of the drive train...
  • + 7
 Modern enduro bikes = don't pedal in deep ruts, rocks, or while cornering.
  • + 9
 @endlessblockades: cuz it's such a great idea to pedal in those places in the first place Big Grin
  • + 20
 @WAKIdesigns: That's assuming 175 mm is uncompromised and correct. Maybe it's already too long and 170 mm is just correcting this long-standing error. Or maybe 170 mm (or shorter) is less detrimental than a 5 mm lower BB is beneficial.

How often does everyone here spin out their biggest gear ratio? Most people I talk to rarely use it, let alone spin out, yet we all occasionally wish for lower gears. I've become a fan of shorter cranks, super low gear ratios, and a lower than average BB.

Even if you think things have gone too far, the only way to find the optimum design is to go too far, then dial it back a little. I'm thankful for the experimentation.
  • + 7
 @R-M-R: My personal preference is 175mm cranks, lots of power, plus you can have your seat lower and still get great pedaling performance.
  • + 12
 @WAKIdesigns: Most people ride crank arms that are too long. The latest Biometric studies on the road side are finding that shorter is better for distance performance, and its definitely better for wear and tear on your knees.
  • + 8
 @WAKIdesigns: Its already been proven that there in the end is no real advantage to longer crank arms. Shorter arms allow a smoother rotation thus allowing a faster spin rate, longer cranks are great off the line or on smashing climbs, but once up to speed the larger circle is more difficult to spin at high RPMs.
  • + 3
 I love my Banshee Prime, I can adjust my bottom bracket by adjusting where my rear dropout is bolted to my rear triangle, I rarely adjust it, but it is a great feature if I start smacking my pedals too much.
  • + 2
 @BoneDog: the BONEEEEEDOGGIE is back!
  • + 1
 @hamncheez: whatch GCN pro bike check about crank length on road race. I think is all about personal preferences. I feel weird on 170 mm crank arms.
  • + 2
 @gwarior321 check out the new Guerilla Gravity "The Smash", one of the reviews says that he can't believe he wasn't smashing the pedals everywhere
  • + 11
 @tremeer023: I'm also 6ft tall and just tried putting 165mm cranks on my '15 Trance to reduce rock strikes. It was just too weird. I felt like a circus bear peddling the little tiny bike around. I stuck it out for about six rides, and admittedly it got a bit less weird over time. However, what really killed it for me was that I had to raise my seat by 1cm to compensate for the 1cm shorter crank coming from 175mm. It reduced the effective range of my dropper post, and raised my seated center of gravity enough to really mess up the handling of my bike.

I've now gone to 170mm as a compromise and I'm very happy. It's shocking how much difference a few millimeters here or there can make to a bike.
  • + 2
 @stoanhart: I am the same height as you and had the same experience. 165 felt too weird. I am also on 170 now. I think it's the best compromise.
  • + 4
 Try Guerilla Gravity - they might have found the sweet spot in terms of HT/ST/and BB height
  • + 3
 @hamncheez: It depends on the travel you have. 340mm is low for full suspension especially DH bike. If you were going OTB on your that bike I doubt it was because of the bb height. Most likely due to the uber steep headangle coupled with tiny wheelbase,
  • + 5
 @H3RESQ: if I lived in area with fireroads as climbs I'd surely go for 170. I did some good mileage on fireroads lately and stomping my 175 annoys me. But I have too many rocks around where I live and need the leverage to get max out of each pedal stroke, we ratchet a lot around here. We also need to stand since climbs are steep and you need to keep the balance while negotiating obstacles. I just believe there is a point why gearboxes of offroad vehicles differ so much from track race cars. I am personally very particular about pedal timing and keeping momentum over rocks. Finally, sometimes when it gets really steep you need hard gear for grip and longer cranks allow you to modulate power better. Off course that is not sustainable for longer climbs but I would like to see someone climb rockgardens for 2000 vertical ft

@hamncheez - roadie science is good for road racing, always, for mtb, when you ride on road or fireroad. Not among chunky sht.
  • + 1
 @stoanhart: interesting. I guess I'm just used to it now. Might try 170 when it's time to upgrade the crank though.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: do you even race, bro? Cuz like ya gotta push it and take chances where you might normally coast and pedal strikes can toss you into the weeds. ????
  • + 1
 @pedal while cornering hahah
  • + 5
 I have a high bb and a low bb bike. I choose the low bb bike most of the time as its the most fun to ride
  • + 3
 @endlessblockades: it is a very rare situation where pedalling at all costs pays off, staying smooth, popping and pumping backsides, even of nastiest chunk, is often a much better idea. Otherwise Sam Hill would stand no chance. That is the myth of clipping in and pedalling through rocks, you may clip in for lots of good reasons, but this isn't one of them...
  • + 1
 @betsie: exactly! BB height and head angle are probably the most significant numbers, in a way that changing them makes huge impact on handling. I just installed 180 piston in my lyrik, bike felt ok on straights but negative impa t on cornering was apparent. Changed back to 160 - mhwaaaa!
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns Thanks for the tips. My emoji was wacked by PB so you probably I was being a dick. I ride flats only and pedal strikes are real.
  • + 4
 Agreed. The two worst crashes of my life were the result of a super low bb, hitting my pedal and being high-sided into the trees at mach speed. No Bueno. If you need to pedal that bb better be up a little bit. BB> 11.5" plus the rear travel divided by 3 seems to work for me for trail bikes. So 13.5" for a 6" bike, 13.2" for a 5" bike...
  • + 3
 bottom bracket height is not the problem... too many bike companies spec too long of cranks.
  • + 0
 @GreatBritton: I don't agree, too many people use too little body language when climbing. Anyone can sit on their arse and spin. Also, I have never ever read anything else about pedalling than just spin "90-110RPM". You are not preaching anything new while we all have different ratio of slow to fast twitch muscles and we come in different sizes
  • + 1
 @mikeyb76: love my Megatrail and I agree, think they hit that sweetspot.
  • + 2
 @TugboatComplex: Nice! Just built up my Trail Pistol - added the Super Deluxe to get 130mm travel ----and have ridden every model except for the Smash - very stoked on their bikes
  • + 1
 @BoneDog: did it came back though ? ...yet ?
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: my hardtail's bb center is 300mm from the ground and my crankarms are 170mm. With wide platform pedals on certain trails pedal strikes can be an issue, but with spds there's way less area to make contact, so all is good. Plus you can learn to time your pedalling to avoid strikes.
  • + 1
 @justwan-naride: Is that on a 650 or 29? Either way its quite low and it must rail corners. Do you have problems with quick changes in direction?
  • + 1
 @justwan-naride: Thats actually not super low for a HT. A 150mm travel full squish bike, with a static 340mm BB height, rides close to 300mm if you set your sag at 30%. Hard tails to full suspensions aren't apples-to-apples because of sag.
  • + 2
 @hamncheez: But the front on a HT sags maybe 20mm dropping the BB by maybe 5mm.

I guess you get both ends on a FS comressing around a corner dropping the BB even further whereas a HT will only drop 10-20mm as the fork compresses.

It is probably why HT BB height matters more as it is static. FS you can change how the suspension reacts to give you a different feeling.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: good points
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: It's a '16 Whyte 905, 650B with a 130mm fork. Claimed bb height is 305, but actually measured 5mm less. Bike goes great, esp. int the turns. A mate has a Scott Aspect that's even lower at 297mm. Even my 2007 entry level Giant was 305mm.
  • + 1
 @stoanhart: Exactly! I'm just shy of 6'3 all legs.. I need 175 cranks! My seat is already jacked as is for pedal efficiency.. Next purchase is a longer dropper post of atleast 175mm.
  • + 2
 @bohns1: get jacked instead... juice up. I'm not competing and have man tits already, why shouldn't I turbo charge the engine instead of investing a fortune in some laughable microscopic gains elsewhere. After all it's much more moral than riding an e-bike. So fk pedal efficiency, get juiced and you will never need Eagle. You'll be going 8 speed 11-34 and fk up all dentists on the climbs with 40t dinner plate in the front, feeling like Mark fkng Weir in 1996 killing climbs in Marin with saddle down
  • + 1
 @axleworthington: 2015 onwards Canyon Strive does just that, and well!
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: already jacked dude.. Front squats, wall sits and Bulgarian split squats alternated with walking lunges, leg presses heavy/light /moderate days 2x week.. Not to mention cross fit with the wife.. That and I work at the Fire Dept.. You see it has nothing to do with that.. I live in the Canadian Rockies.. You want to ride downs u need to endure serious climbing.. Some of it retardedly steep for hours at a time.. Eagle gives me that bail out gear when I need it.. Thing is around here the 50t bail out isn't even a bail out on some climbs.. That and I can ride way longer as well... Why compromise when I can afford the shit anyways!
  • + 1
 @sourdiesel: Noticed the same on my 2017 Giant Trance Advanced over my 2015 model. Never ever have I clipped pedals as much on trails I've been riding for over a decade. So much so that I'm scared to pedal through some rock gardens, something I never cared for on my older bike. The 9 months I've had the bike it's gotten better, but 10mm up would make all the difference for me.
  • + 0
 @CapedBaldy: But doesn't a shorter crank cancel the advantage of a low BB? That is where the weight is when descending right? Really, just a question.
  • + 1
 @railin: No. Your cranks are supposed to be quite level when descending so the crank width doesn't really affect the clearance then. Only when pedalling they go closer to ground.
  • + 1
 @sourdiesel: You really have to pick and choose where you pedal with it, and I mean most any bike. What a great way of describing it. I personally want the BB as high as possible to avoid pedal strikes and can deal with the teeny loss of performance that may result from said higher BB.
  • + 2
 @bart882: I am more than baffled with what you guys are saying because I live in area where you pedal around rocks and roots all the time. I cannot imagine more rocky terrain to pedal in, next step is what Chris Akrigg is riding. People from Gothenburg and many more parts of Sweden just learn to time their pedal strokes, use body language and ratchet... I honestly have no fkng clue what are you people talking about. Unless your idea of climbing through technical terrain means just sitting on your arse and spinning. That is not how you do it. I ride with a guy on Giant Reign which is said to have terribly low BB, I don't hear him hit rocks. I do see people hit rocks when they spin fast from the saddle, yes, if that's the case, take it as granted. Again, then you are doing it wrong, it is not bikes fault - it's yours.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: You should know better than anyone that if you buy the right bike then you don't need good technique!
  • + 1
 @unrooted: this isn't funny, I owned Blur TRc which was converted by many to 650B because they believed that bike has too low BB. It didn't. And we are in this 650B crap partly thanks to people like that and partly due to Kirk Pacentis congregation of "I've spent thousands on a rigid steel bike, I wanted to be edgy but now I realized it sucks like any other HT so I have no choice but to keep pretending it's great for three more years.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: ha, I was going to say I was considering a Reign, but chose something different because the BB was too high!
  • + 36
 I've said this already a few times around here so apologies for repeating myself... I spent a few years trying to go longer and slacker until I went too far. One day I woke up and realised I was riding a bike as long as my car with massive wheels. It made going very fast in straight lines over rough stuff very easy. But it couldn't jump for shit, it couldn't do tight lines very well and if it decided it wanted to take a line that I didn't it took some serious 'persuasion' to get it to do what I wanted. Those slack bikes improved my riding no end, the confidence they provided allowed me to progress faster than I otherwise would have - so much so that I kind of out grew them. I went back to a nimble little bike and couldn't be happier I did. It's just a bike, no crazy angles just solid, tried and tested geometry. The big bikes gave me confidence to ride at speed, now it's time for me to learn some real handling skills.
  • + 4
 "Why not both"
  • + 3
 Funny, I was just re-reading your Vitus Escarpe review today, then I happened to notice your comment here!
  • + 3
 @phobospwns: it's been a long and difficult journey XD
  • + 5
 I am with Thom. I had a Kona Process 153 DL that I rode for 2 years. It was awesome when the trails were fast and rough but trying to use it in tighter stuff was a challenge. Not impossible but it took a lot more effort and seemed clunky and slow. Went back to a bike that had a more reasonable ETT and wheelbase. The Kona wasn't a bad bike...just not suited for all types of riding. Which is why I answered...just depends on where and how you ride.
  • + 9
 Dude I totally agree!

Put simply, like the Alpina motto:

Don't confuse fast with fun.

Which to be honest is the ONLY reason we ride our bikes, very few of us race and expect to win...
  • + 4
 @cunning-linguist: but sometimes going stupid fast is really fun too
  • + 3
 Agreed, been riding my old school bike again after about 5 months of it being off the trails while I rebuilt upgraded everything. While it was off the trails I was sharing my wife's 2016 SC Bronson. Yes it's long low and slack. Beautifully designed and gobbles gnar downhill all day long. Put it on tight (very tight) twisty single track with lots of log overs or stacked log pile up and overs and the low B.B. becomes very apparent as it slams into the log pile that you're attempting to clear. And wow! steering with your hips only on tight single track with 800 mm bars and a low slack geo at very low speeds is mmmm interesting I'll say. Now my old school bike that I've got decked out with high end modern components handles all of that kind of stuff with ease. Yes I still bomb downhill on technical rocky trails with it. Does it rip DH as good as the Bronson?? No. But it sure is nimble and fun. It depends on where and what you're riding.
  • + 2
 Yep, totally! Friend of mine looking into getting a do it all HT an I'm advising him there's kinda two different geo's. A more traditional hard core HT, what in 2007 when I got back into mtb was something like a charge blender or cotic bFE. You could race 4X, hit some dirt jumps the wack up the seat post an smash out some trail miles. Personaly I had a large Cannondale Chase an it was awesome. Then, there's the modern Enduro HT. Super long an slack. Tiny stems. GREAT at going fast as down but, in no way a 'play' bike. I guess the best of both worlds, nowerdays is something like an NS surge or downsizing an PP shan
  • + 4
 yup, deffo @thomdawson had a 29er new(ish) long and low and one day it just felt fast but dull. No pop. So sold it, and now I've got a 26er Knolly Endorphin. Sure, I slide a bit more, and I have to choose my lines - but the point is a CAN choose my lines, and it pings in and out of corners while making me smile all day long. And gave me a 9th in a recent enduro race. Love it.
  • - 3
 I have a 2016 Bronson and wish the BB was 10mm lower. I only enjoy going fast though. I do not care at all how my bike handles at low speeds because going slow sucks regardless of what bike I'm on. Also don't have an log piles on our trails to worry about, so pedal strikes are the only downside to a lower BB and easily overcome by good technique. Easy fix for 800mm bars is to cut them down. 800mm is definitely too wide for a female rider. I want to cut mine to 780mm. I'm all about long, low, and slack and honestly would give up riding and switch to Moto if I had to go back to an old school geo bike.
  • + 5
 @tetonlarry: you're obviously not that into mountain bikes then really, if a change of geo would put you off. I'd ride a rigid bike with vee brakes and no dropper way before I gave up.
  • + 2
 Its funny you mention less slack = more nimble in your comment. Its true, just makes me wonder if the group that complains about how "29-ers aren't flickable" ride super slack bikes. No one really complains about that when a new slacker model comes out. You could almost make a remake of the "I'm faster than you" song. I'm slacker than you, my bike is clean, my kit is brand new.
  • + 4
 @wheelsbikes: funny thing is most agreeing with this have UK flags. For me this is because of the nature of our terrain and the trails (and a bit of our attitude). I couldn't imagine taking a long slack 29er down the tight steep dh tracks near me in the woods that were built probably 10 years ago. I guess if these trails were built with the new generation of bikes I'm guessing they would look alot different.

My point is certain bike suits a certain trail and terrain and riding style. He we are, trying to find one solution to every trail and every rider in every terrain in every corner of the world.

I'm all for experimentation and geo changes and extremes- hopefully we will achieve a situation where a basic understanding of what works where is acheived and there is a choice available to the consumer.

This reminds me a little of recent surfboard evolution. After the thruster was invented boards were tending to get smaller and thinner, when Kelly Slater started winning everything in the late 90s early 00s riding super thin toothpick like boards everyone tried to emulate. Sadly, not everyone is superhuman like KS, and the general public suffered. Thankfully, (and possibly because of this) a longboard 'revolution' gained pace, this also went in funny direction (performance? Longboards!) but the result now is a much greater range of acceptable sizes and shapes to suit the general surfing public. When bike geo reaches this point I'll buy a new bike.
  • + 1
 @Braindrain: I think you've totally nailed it there in one hit. The only company to have done this so far is Rocky Mountain, with BC editions.

I think this will likely be the answer too, but most of my friends prefer to have the bike for 10% of their riding as opposed the 90% of local stuff.

One of my mates has just bought a 100mm travel hardtail and he's having more fun than ever before. I've been trying to sell them on this idea for ages, same with old cars. You can do half the pace and be on the ragged edge and have way more fun! You sir are onto something, it's just whether or not Joe public agrees...
  • + 1
 Thom, are you talking about the Mega 290 in your photos being your long and slack bike? I though this would be bang on the money. You would need to ride it hard all the time though.
  • + 1
 @tetonlarry: I am with you on low speed handling. If I am not pushing it and riding hard I couldn't care less how my bike handles although I ride a HT so it's never going to be as sluggish as a FS bike.
  • + 1
 @cunning-linguist: I'm into nice mountain bikes. I would find another sport if I had to ride a crappy old bike because I'm used to the current speed I can go, and can't have fun going slow and crashing all the time. Anything before my Yeti ASX in 2003, I would quit. I will never ride an upright rigid hard tail off-road again.
  • + 1
 @Braindrain: Good point on terrain although I have been riding the same tracks since moving to UK in 2000 from NZ and I am definitely faster now than in 2000. A part of that maybe the bigger wheels though.

I think there are a few companies getting close to the geometry limits (Pole, Nicolai) and the rest will catch up in a few years. I think somewhere around a 64.5 HA is the ticket as you can alter it between 62 and 67 with an angleset. Reach of 475-500mm for a 6" rider seem about right and ST angles of mid to high 70s. OK you need to change BB heights, bar heights etc.
  • + 1
 @fattyheadshok: just bunny hop the log rolls going mach chicken! That cleared up all my bb issues.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: wow and here iam still enjoying my 68d head angle on my 16 fuel ex.. Its the best compromise for me as I still like to climb but also bomb the downs.. Still like nimble as well.
  • + 2
 @cunning-linguist: Your mate has the right idea I reckon. I changed from 140mm susser (one of a long line of sussers) back to a hardtail this year (Ragley Mmmbop) and everything I first fell in love with about thrashing a bike in the woods has come flooding back. Haven't had this much fun in years. If you're just riding for fun then much of the South of England is too tame for modern full suss bikes I think.
  • + 1
 @tremeer023: 29HT gets my vote in Surrey.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: yeh, I'm in Hampshire - sometimes ride Surrey Hills. I've gone for 29 up front with 27.5 plus in rear (well a 2.6). Good combo.
  • + 2
 @tremeer023: agreed, I've been on hardtail since for ever. I've had full sus bikes, but never use them as they simply aren't as much fun! :-)
  • + 1
 @tetonlarry: Well said!
  • + 1
 @bmar: even then you still have flickable 27.5 DH bikes so HA shouldnt really be a factor
  • + 1
 Oops, clumsy fingers
  • + 1
 @tremeer023: I'll let you off!! :-)
  • + 2
 @tremeer023: I've had a lot of bikes over 30 years of riding and riding where I ride most, Chilterns, Surrey Hill my MmmBop is my favourite bike, possibly the best all round mountain bike I've ever ridden.
  • + 1
 @StevieJB: yep, agreed. I've custom built about 16 bikes in the past 20 years and my 2017 Mmmbop is possibly the most fun. Simple lightweight aluminium hardcore hardtail that does everything (as long as your trails aren't full of rocks).
  • + 13
 Depends on what floats your boat. Personally, I'm an old guy and I lament that the TRULY steep and technical riding that sometimes requires the "creep", is something trailbuilders (well, really the autocrats in the upper echelons of the bike clubs) are avoiding when it comes to new trail construction.
In coastal BC, an all around bike can't really be one just built for speed because our best trails (my opinion) are the steep and tech ones (mmmmmm, Treasure Trail!). So for me, when the guy at the bike store tells me I'm an XL, I'll probably end up going for the L.
  • + 11
 I'm of the opinion that yes, most manufacturers just don't want to be "that old man".

My Santa Cruz 5010 V1 is the most ridiculously fun bike I've ever ridden. Against the common wisdom (and probably common sense)I ride it everywhere from flows XC to the most technical trails at bike parks and places like Sedona. Is it outmatched by the terrain at those latter places? Maybe...

Do I have more fun on a bike that isn't always the most stable and "fastest"? F**k yeah I do.

I far prefer laser quick handling, maneuverability, and the playfulness a bike like this brings me on every ride. I get worked on the more technical trails but it's always more fun for me. I'm even a little miffed that they changed the geo as much as they did for V2, which is why I'll prob find a gently used V1 frame when my current one wears out.

There are times when I wish I had a more forgiving bike, because it would be less tiring on some trails, but that feeling soon fades as I remember how many times that I experienced those wild moments where I almost lost it, which are sometimes the best parts of riding.
  • + 9
 Amen brother....I was on a Scout for a couple years and just loved that bike. The agility and quickness of that bike just made riding funner than ever. Short travel, short chainstay, low bb and shortish wheelbase makes for an incredibly agile and fun ride.

I decided I wanted to try something a little slacker and sold the Scout to get on a Patrol, while the Patrol is an amazing bike it just doesn't carry the same fun factor on a regular trail decent, sure when you get on a proper DH track it's better than the scout but having that super slack head angle and long wheelbase makes your regular trail just feel kinda boring.

Moved onto a 2017 Devinci Troy hoping that it would be the happy medium but it's got an even longer reach than the Patrol and Scout (which were considered long 2 years ago) and it just doesn't feel right. Having that long reach puts my body position is a weird spot for cornering. I'm either right over the front wheel causing it to be close to washing out or I'll move more over the back wheel and now the front wheel with be waivering about and not really have control. These mega long reach bikes make it hard to find a nice centered spot for cornering, sure its nice for wide open terrain but not if your in twisty fast trails that required a nimble bike

Hopefully within the near future people will realize the negative aspects of these super long reach, long wheelbase bikes and will start to purchase and demand the bikes that are just fun and nimble.
  • + 2
 @ihatetomatoes:

On the flip side, I had a 5010 and it was good, but I found it too steep and not quite as fun as I would like. I Got a Capra and that was too much travel and a little too slack. Now I have a 2016 Troy which feels pretty much perfect. I like that it has long reach, but isn't ridiculously slack, so the wheelbase is stable but still manageable when I'm riding something that's more "trail" than "track"

Also, much of the BB height question depends on terrain. In the NW we have lots of non-technical climbing and technical descending, and I think low BBs are great here. If we had lots of rocky climbing I might feel differently. I notice a lot of bikes (like the Troy) have high/low BB height settings which seem to address this.
  • + 4
 Porsche do well enough catering for the "old man" types & good on them. People who really know what they want, that don't want their minds made up for them.

I already think old cars rule, won't be long til I look back on bikes in the same manner the ways they're going....
  • + 2
 @dromond: Do you get a weird front wheel tuck feeling on the Troy? Like when you're over the front wheel and turning if you hit a root or rock the front wheel wants to tuck under you. My Scout had a 67 deg head angle and I never felt this. Something about a longer teacher with a higher bb and the bike riding high in its travel creates this weird tucking thing and I'm eating shit a lot more on the bike than on previous bikes. Just wondering if it's me or other people feel this
  • + 2
 Honestly this all started for me back in the day with my Blur 4X. It's not as "long/low/slack" as today's bikes but it definitely started the trend that way and has always been a killer trail bike. I've tried bigger bikes since then (RFX, Tracer) but I definitely prefer nimbleness in my bikes (even at the cost of suspension travel.) I've got a Spider 275 now as my main go-to bike but I still bust out the 4X every so often. Hell, if it had a tapered head tube so I had more fork selection I might not have picked up the Spider Smile
  • + 1
 @ihatetomatoes: Devinci Troy is one of the best trail bikes I have ever ridden/raced. Just glad to ride different sizes ahead of purchase to know what size to get. The bike is amazing, rides like its bigger than it is and really comes alive when you sneak a 160mm fork on it. That hint slacker head angle and taller BB height (rode it in slack setting) was awesome on 170 arms, won some expert enduro races on it too. I'm no slouch.
The problem is so many people were sizing up, at 5'10" I was always sizing up to large, now I ride a medium as I should. Of course this is just one opinion and could be wrong.
  • - 1
 Yep. You're wrong.
  • + 1
 totally agree, im in love with my 2012 Reign 0 and let me tell you, when you build what you ride, in the middle of the forest, things get tight very fast, unless you have a bobcat and are willing to bring don many more trees than you should, cheers.
  • + 1
 @ihatetomatoes: I have a Troy too and don't have the problem you describe. Could it be that you run a very short stem and wide handlebars?
  • + 1
 @ihatetomatoes: Exactly! And that's why I'm still loving my 16 fuel ex.. Its still got that 68d ha with a 130 pike installed.. Numbers aren't to ridiculous and still gives me the nimbleness and handling I enjoy.. Climbs superbly while not giving up to much on the downs either..
  • + 13
 How about a PB poll with definitive, non-overlapping, binary options, instead of these convoluted venn diagrams that look like an Audi logo?
  • + 7
 Audi's are really nice cars though. Just sayin
  • + 1
 Even with their polls they're guiding us toward what the industry wants to sell us.
  • + 1
 @UserNumberTwo: until they break on you
  • - 5
flag MtbSince84 (Jul 28, 2017 at 23:33) (Below Threshold)
 @me2menow: Audi is in the top 5 of most reliable brands.
  • + 2
 @MtbSince84: hahahaha ok dude
  • + 2
 So I hit the wrong button and negative propped you, sorry. Also, yes please.
  • + 2
 @UserNumberTwo: Audis are the most boring cars inside- not a fan of many of them from the outside either. My biggest objection is that 95% of them are driven by absolute morons.
  • + 7
 Great to hear I'm not the only one who has his doubts about 'modern' geometry, although I must say I quite like the low and slack part.

Ultimately it's about your position on the bike, which is a combination of size and rider posture. I have quite short arms and torso, so my medium Capra (422mm reach) that is considered short these days is actually quite roomy for me. It would be a shame if riders who fall outside of the perfect/average posture have trouble finding a properly fitting bike, downsizing wouldn't work as the ST would be way too short.

And what I also don't like is the fact that the industry is basically telling us how to sit on our bikes, and where they should excel. Like Vernon said, some people just like short TTs, regardless of their posture. Shorter bikes are more playful and IME easier to ride on steep terrain.

EDIT: SC Syndicate comes to mind, with Minnaar going longer and longer while Bryceland keeps it relatively short..
  • - 4
flag absolutelypinned (Jul 29, 2017 at 1:24) (Below Threshold)
 Ha. Too bad this makes no sense. Blah blah blah blah blah. Absolute Bikes in Salida rules!!
  • + 7
 Personally I think the more options the better, I also think we need to take into account proportions rather than just height.

Longer legs for your height likely means you'll want a shorter reach along with a higher seatpost and stack compared to someone who is the same height but has shorter legs(they'll likely want a longer reach but lower seatpost and stack)

I'm on the shorter end of the sizing at under 5"7 and having long legs means bikes are starting to get to the stage where I can't size down anymore to get a bike that fits. 430mm is my limit for reach(preferably 420) but the brands making longer bikes have either passed that or their size small has a seatpost so tiny and a stack so low it won't fit.

For now I'm fine but every year I have less options, 29ers seem to be staying slightly shorter at the moment which is excellent as the big wheels suit me alot better.
  • + 3
 I agree. But I can't quite understand why 29ers fit you better then
  • + 3
 @emptybox: 32" inseam, means I'm quite high up so the bigger wheel makes it feel like I'm in the bike rather than standing on a top of it. Plus with a shorter body and normal length arms I need a higher stack which 29ers generally have
  • + 1
 I'm in the same boat as you,and being on the shorter end of the scale with proportionately longer legs and shorter reach myself so I feel I'm the polar opposite am the polar need a similar reach bike to you(422mm on my Capra feels pretty sweet-440mm for me on the newer Jeffsy27 felt BAD ) so that I can still move backwards towards the rear axle out of the neutral position and actually get the bike un-weight the front wheel when I need to and it also needs a descent non super low stack height too because if this is too low I can't push the bars down far enough to find the cornering edge on the tyres.....
I also appreciate the taller guys and girls won't have the same problems as we all seem to be on more or less the same length chainstays anyhow and those with proportionately shorter legs and longer upper body reach must suit this push to longer and lower very well.
Why is there not a sizing app that takes into account your own individual 'human geometry' and proportions via a few basic measurements and then matches them to a data base of bike sizes?
  • + 1
 @GravesendGrunt: I've got a medium capra as well! Got a medium jeffsy 29er last year and that seems to fit me even better

Yeah that would be great
  • + 1
 @RockNRolla92: I test rode a 29er Jeffsy last year and it too fitted me really well and made lofting front wheel up and bunny hopping a joy - this I feel was down to the relatively high stack and short reach-the only thing I didn't like was the thing was with out a doubt bullet fast on the straights but felt stilted and muted 'for me' in the corners for me and almost felt too easy over the rough stuff...like it blanded out chunky/challenging bits too much-perhaps I needed more time on it as indeed the sizing seemed right. Luckily for me I much preferred my old faithful Capra when I jumped back on it.
  • + 1
 I used to run medium frames with 50mm stems for more manouverability but now on large with 35mm stem. And a modern frame so longer and slacker. Current frame has 450mm reach and feels better than ever (I'm 6ft). The main difference I've found is safety - the longer frame has saved my ass several times when getting out of control.
  • + 1
 @GravesendGrunt: Yeah its stupidly easy to ride over everything. I need to try the capra again, the only thing I didn't like on it was the head angle, felt like I was too over the front constantly just to get it to corner properly(though my lack of upper body strength doesn't help).
  • + 1
 @RockNRolla92: I don't think it's your body strength that's a prob,more likely to be height and reach-just look at how 29ers DH bikes have played out in front of our eyes on the DH world circuit this year with shorter v taller peeps,sure this is at the extreme end of the sport with the worlds best riders but perhaps it's the most telling if we are talking about reaching sizing limits.
  • + 5
 I'm the opposite with my long back and positive ape index. I'm medium height at 182cm with 32inch legs and for ages have been frustrated at the lack of bikes that fit me- too short in reach and then if I wanted the reach I had a ridiculously long seat tube that meant it was just unrideable for me.

I'm not really an advocate of longer/ lower/ slacker or the idea that a bike that is clearly too small is 'chuckable' and 'nimble'- I prefer to think of it that what I want, is a bike that fits. For me, a bike that fits is a faster bike and more enjoyable- I can chuck a bike that fits around far easier than a tiny bike that wants to throw me OTB's at every opportunity because I'm already level/ over the front axle with it's stupidly short reach.

Perfect bike for me is around 470mm reach, max seat tube height 470mm and stack of 610-620. I find that everything else - wheelbase etc fits together ok if they can get those bits right.

I think it's clear bikes have been too small in the past- a bike with a 430mm reach is not a large. When people my height are riding XXL bikes, you know there's issues- that's the kind of size I expect basketball players to be using ;-p

Not sure where I stand on the BB- never given it too much thought as more concerned with other attributes. I think cranks are often too long for intended use- mine came with 175mm cranks which is just too long with the BB height- not the end of the world but not ideal.

Very difficult to please everyone and I'm not sure what the answer is- I think with longer dropper posts there's just no excuse for say a 510mm seat tube on what I'd class as a medium/ large bike.

If you look at radon and propain- their 'freeride bikes' have decent geometry but when you look at what they class as 'enduro' they revert back to stupidly long seat tubes for decent reach. Canyon are the same- strive is ok but on the spectral, stupidly long seat tube. Obviously if you have long legs then it's not an issue but for us 'short leggers', we're just shafted.
  • + 6
 When I got myself a 2016 Giant Reign, everyone told me that the bike was too heavy and sluggish to have any fun with. They also told me that I would suffer in the climbs. Excuse me for bragging now, but I recently made a 4th Place overall on one of our local climbs. It's 100 meters long with an average grade of 24%. Everyone in the top 10 used xc bikes with some of them being sub 10 kilograms. They also have spd and lycra. I made this effort with non stretch shorts, backpack with tools and stuff plus 3 litre bladder, flat pedals and my bike weighs 14.5 kilograms. My Point is that YOU are in charge, not everyone else. Just ride the way YOU want, on whatever YOU want and just have fun. Anything is possible, ride on brothers!
  • + 7
 Settled on a hightower, slackish enough for decents and doesn`t wonder too much on climbs... Longish, but not silly.... I have ridden loads of new School and I would never go back to short, steep and sketchy.....
  • + 7
 After 20 years, dozens and dozens of bikes...my new Trek Fuel is incredible BUT the BB is horribly low....way to low...no reason for it to be so low...and that's NOT even in the low setting!!!
  • + 2
 Yeah! BBs are too low these days! I think particularly on the long and slack bikes like the Geometron etc they could benefit from a higher BB. They're so stable as it is I think raising the BB can aid line changes and put a little bit of manouvreability back into the ride.
  • + 2
 I've got a new remedy and I smash a peddle regularly. Every time I go out! Thank God for rubber crank boots shame I didn't have them before the first strike.
  • + 2
 Interesting because I tend to agree. Recently a few riding friend's of mine with their late model bikes have been having frustrating issues with pedal and chainring strikes on the slightest trail terrain. Not only frustrating, but all-out dangerous depending on the trail.
  • + 1
 However i don't find anything wrong with it's geometry it's not over the top.
  • + 1
 @ThomDawson: what are your thoughts on bb height's effect on cornering? I have a feeling a low bb is great on longer and flatter corners or when grip is an issue, while a slightly higher bb will feel better when whipping it into corners and on quick direction changes.
  • + 3
 BBs are still too high! My old Enduro 29er was not fast or fun with a high BB; when I swapped out the linkage it make the bike come alive. It put the actual BB height in the 325 range, even lower than the Trek Fuel and it was money
  • + 2
 @Bigwill13: I'm riding a Scout which is another one notorious for its low BB, I'm using offset bushings to raise it up. It's much better now. I don't care so much about the pedal strikes, that's a nice bonus but for me having the BB too low just makes the bike too planted, too difficult to pop. There are situations and trails (bike park for example) where I thought I'd switch the bushings and lower it but even there I preferred a higher BB (which is still low compared to a few years back).
  • + 2
 @ThomDawson: the scout doesn't want to pop? Mine won't stay on the ground! It's an animal! Have a harsh word with your tranny!
  • + 1
 @bonkywonky: I think you're right. There's a lot of emphasis on stability right now and stability is great whether in corners or straights or wherever but you can have too much. Even with my 'raised' BB it's still low, just not so low I feel I can't make a direction change mid-corner, throw it over into a second corner or duck the bike into a corner I didn't see coming. It also makes low speed dicking around a lot easier, manuals, bunnies etc too.
  • + 0
 @jamesdippy: not just the transition, all bikes in general. I'm not feeling low BBs these days. But yeah...the 2015 Scout BB is stupidly low. They raised em in 2016 and my 2015 with offset bushings is pretty much the same as the 2016.
  • + 1
 @bikepro71: I have a 2016 remedy 27.5. I put a dual position (160-130mm) Pike on the front end and don't have pedal strikes with the mino link in the high position. Maybe a longer travel fork would help?
  • + 3
 One may also stand up and pedal on a rather hard gear and ratchet from time to time, maybe use some body language, when riding/climbing through a rockgarden, but over the years I learned that it's quite a lot to ask...
  • + 2
 I know... On my fuel ex I can't even imagine using the flip chip. Losing 10mm of bottom bracket height would be strike city.
  • + 1
 I couldn't agree more. Here in the northeast we need to pedal to carry momentum, and there are rocks everywhere we need to pedal. Several seasons ago I decided to increase fork stroke by 25mm and run offset bushings to increase the shock length. Geometry stays the same and BB is raised. It seems to do the trick!
  • + 5
 As a tall person I'm really happy to see the movement to longer bikes and I can handle bikes getting even a bit longer. For years I've been stuck on bikes that are too bloody short and now finally feel like I have the correct fit and balance on bikes with Reach around 500mm +/-15mm. I'm honestly not too picky about head angle because I can adapt to HA far better than I can Reach and Stack.

I definitely think most brands are hitting the practical limit for riders on smaller size bikes. I see too many shorter riders on bikes that are clearly too long. It can be comical seeing them trying to muscle these long, slack bikes around tight trails.

I see the same thing with handlebars. 5'2" tall riders in full flight on 800mm handlebars looks downright stupid and awkward!
  • + 6
 The part that gets me is when people ride 65 HTA 160mm bikes on what are essentially XC trails, which is 90% of what we have in the SE USA. Why, if not for fashion?
  • + 1
 I agree and i also think that bikes designed this way will begin to change trails (new and old) just like parabolic skis changed the ski slopes. Turns wider slow speed tech phased out
  • + 1
 @Nicksand5: Yes there are alot of people with too much bike for where they ride but so what? If they like it then it is non of my business. As for trails changing well they might but not because you can't ride long slack bike around tight slow corners it is more to do with what folks are looking for.
As someone who works in a bikepark I notice that more and more people what flow trails with jumps and berms. Natural gnarly stuff? Not so much. And if you take that crowd into the natural stuff they are unable to ride most of it, specially offcamber turns!
  • + 2
 Yeah fashion over fun(ction) everyday brother!

As I have gotten better at riding I am leaning more and more towards bikes that arent the "fastest" most stable speed machines god ever created, they are fast but they take away all the challenge of riding. Ride your local trails enough and they become easy enough to get through ad a super good bike and they become a snooze fest.

But everyone is free to think and do as they want just dont go chopping up my gnar trails and make some more goddamn flow trail!
  • + 4
 2 things.
I think dh bikes now are already too slack for most bike parks. In Whistler, i am constantly riding much steeper/gnarlier stuff on my trail bike than what the park has to offer. The length/stiffness/strength is nice though for stability

I also went thru the process of trying to buy an all mountain bike. I needed something that could handle chilcotins/xc races and all round non bike park stuff in the sea to sky. I also didnt want to get completely schooled if i did the odd enduro race. there really is nothing around the 6inch 66 degree, not too long, 27.5 bike any more. Its all 165mm, 65, long and super low which makes a pig for all day rides.
  • + 3
 What about the bronson or the hd3?
  • + 2
 Mojo HD3 Smile
  • + 1
 @NolanFJ60: The HD3 definitely hovers in a nice happy-medium. It was almost a bit of a bummer to see the HD4 change that up. It fills a nice little nook. I'm all for another option, but I hope it doesn't remove a solid choice.
  • + 1
 @NolanFJ60:

And Troy and Jeffsy 27.5.
  • + 1
 @WasatchEnduro: the new Troy is mega long. Pre 2016 they were quite short
  • + 1
 @ihatetomatoes:

I demoed a large Troy this spring and it didn't feel long at all (I'm 6'1"). But I've been on 29ers long enough that 27.5 bikes all feel pretty damn agile to me.
  • + 1
 Try the pivot Mach 6, I love mine, handles great in the tight gnarly single track and climbs to.
  • + 1
 Was also not looking to pay full retail as they are all way out of my price range. Demoed the bronson and didn't really love it. Suspect it was due to setup but for the price i wanted something insane. Ended up grabbing an ex rental yeti sb6 which was pretty good value and is much more of an all rounder than i ever thought it would be. Yeah mach 6 was on the list too, but we don't have a retailer up here, Troy was a little to steep and xc for what i hoped for. Seemed like a big gap between troy and spartan.
  • + 4
 What isn't mentioned in the article is that suspension performance has also improved dramatically over the last 5~ years and how slacker geometry allows bikes in a lower travel bracket to perform in rough terrain that previously mandated a longer travel bike. What used to require a 160mm travel bike with angles that were short and steep by today's standards can now be ridden comfortably on a modern (longer and slacker) 130mm bike. Many people today are 'overbiked' for the terrain that they ride. So, if you think bikes in the 160mm travel bracket are too long and slack for the trails you ride, consider getting a bike with less travel. That way you don't have to sacrifice proper sizing to achieve ride dynamic that is better suited to smoother, slower trails.
  • + 4
 Well of course the majority is going to vote for "it depends on where and how you ride." People who select that really aren't answering the question. I really love these polls but these easy out answers make it less enlightening. And for the record, my 2017 Tallboy is leaps and bounds better than the 2012. I believe that slacker is better, even for short travel bikes, but that of course is just my opinion.
  • + 4
 Sorry, got to point it out. Wrong use of the term 'tipping point' from Malcolm Gladwell. In Gladwell's book (far from his best), the tipping point was the point at which an idea/thing had sufficient momentum to take off and become successful. Just saying ...
  • + 3
 yeah bike makers prefer stability to agility lately, meaning are targeting consumers with poor skills, so that they can ride down at full speed, holding a coffee cup without spilling a single drop while rolling over logs, sharp rocks, gaps or god knows what
  • + 3
 2016 Kona Honzo had great geo numbers, 2017..too long in my opinion. Test road a Reign a couple years ago and needed the XL because of my long legs but the reach was enormous and now it is longer. The Wreckoning has nice geo numbers with a sub 4 foot wheelbase on the XL...nice! Also, with the seat tubes shrinking long leggers have to expose so much seatpost it looks weird when your seat has to sit way above your handlebars to compensate.
  • + 3
 As a long torso short-legger, I love the shrinking seat tubes. Keep em' shrinking Smile
  • + 2
 "2016 Kona Honzo had great geo numbers, 2017..too long in my opinion"

I would agree. But I have a feeling that if Kona made a Honzo 27.5 that the reach would be ok. My beef with my Honzo is just that with the 29" wheels you have to work really hard to manual it with it being so long. It's not like it's "not doable" or "impossible", it's just that it takes more planning, effort, and commitment. I also have a v2 5010 and when I get back on that thing after riding the Honzo I love how much easier it is to lift the front end in comparison.
  • + 4
 6'3" with short legs and long torso, the 2017 XL Honzo opened my eyes to how bad my old bikes fit. 510 reach isn't even too long for me! Makes me think that for taller than average folks, bikes can get even longer.
  • + 2
 Forgive me if I'm missing something... but why not just size down? Aside from your seat tube being short? They make 200mm droppers now.
  • + 3
 I think if you only have one bike for everything then, yeah super long an slack for speed. Ride style counts fir a lot as well. Like, my trail hard tail is longer an slacker than my FR/DH sled but, it just makes sense to me fir the entend purposes if those bikes
  • + 3
 To me the annoying thing is the way the standards of all the componentry keeps changing - I'd easily still be riding an older GT Ruckus hardtail but by the time new standards come around, you can't even run the same hubs from a Bronson to a Bronson V2.
I try to buy from my LBS & they just can't keep all the generations of any decent component -- so really I'd rather they slow down how fast 'standards' change (can we have 5-7 yrs SRAM???) -- and then let the frame builders go nuts making a range of frames for different rider styles.

Heck, right now I bet most of the companies you can't use the same hubs across all their 2017 lineup, it's that bad.
  • + 4
 It's all comes from the fact that it is acceptable to go slow uphill. Enduro doesn't consider climbing at pace. Pussy low gears are acceptable. It isn't "mountain biking" it's conforming to a race format.
  • + 2
 I just want a bike with a frame with 17.5"- 17.75" reach and a 16.5" seat tube length, preferably full length so I can slam the seat all the way. ANYONE know of a bike with these numbers? Only one I've come across is the 2017 Kona Process 153, but those framesets are all sold out and I don't want to buy a complete.
  • + 1
 Whyte g160/170 size small
  • + 1
 Any size small Guerrilla Gravity bike
  • + 1
 Knolly Endorphin or Knolly Warden. Endo's are on crazy sale right now through through dirt merchant in Boulder.
  • + 2
 Why not just add more flip chips and adjustable geometry to bike designs? And not just these incremental little changes, but flip chips that really lift (or lower) the BB. Combine that with big clearances and you have bikes that not only can be adjusted for slackness and BB height, but also run two different wheel sizes ala the new Scott Genius.
  • + 3
 Bikes are great. Just buy a bike which suits you well, and have some FUN. Im still having fun on my Kona Coiler which I bought couple years ago, ......yes it was 2004. I believe Smile
  • + 1
 I have an 04 trek 4900 and I thought it had a low bb!
  • + 2
 I remember pitching up at the Forest of Dean on my old Scott Racing Hardtail circa 2005 and having everyone stare at me in disbelief and disgust. I had an amazing 3 runs of fun on the uplift before my 26" wheels front and back gave out and looked more like soggy cereal. I had to then hire a Cube full suspension which was so long and slack that it flattened everything I had just ridden into almost no fun at all. It did allow me to go much faster which was great in the fast sections. When it came to some of the tight twisty stuff though it was horrible. Like driving a large wallowy cow with blinkers on. Seeing the results of the poll mirror my own thoughts and the answer seems to be the same. Depends on your riding style/terrain. It will all balance out in the end when marketing hype runs out of breath and the rider goes looking for, demanding, asking, begging, for something new. Then someone crazy in a small bike company, or big, will produce a bike that was made 20 years ago and we have by now all forgotten existed and was soooooo good.
  • + 2
 I bought a Mondraker Vantage hard tail frame as an experiment. The medium didn't have a crazy long wheelbase at 1182mm, and 462 reach, 635 top tube, and a 30mm stem. With a 160mm fork I think I measured 66° head angle. When I first hopped on I was a little wary, but after a couple minutes I couldn't get over how normal it felt. That is until I was pointed down, wow, that was fun. Until the chunk reminded me I was on a ht. So I learned I like a longer reach and a stubby stem, but I would not want much more than that.
  • + 2
 I am 184cm tall with proportional legs and arms. I built a green Mondraker Foxy RR 2011 (in my pics) and already then they had a very long version called XR. I tried the 2012 Foxy XR large and it was just too big for me. I also have a blue 2013 Summum in Large (see my pics) and it feels almost like Medium. I can't use the 10mm stem, and now I am trying out the Spanks 25mm stem. It feels better, yet weird. I should probably have a Summum 2013 extra large with the 10mm, but that does not exist... I have not tried the new Mondrakers after 2014.
  • + 2
 I say keep pushing even if it goes to far. MTB needs to establish its own geometry norms. Looks at some of those insane DH bikes from the late 90s and early 00s. They just look wrong. Current MTB geometry makes sense in the real world. We can work on fine tuning between travel ranges in the future.
  • + 2
 I've been riding dune, strive and reign last two years. Reign is the easiest and funniest to ride, but the dune gives me lot of confident to go faster and progress in the bike park and jumps, in tight corners I found it to long but it pedals superb. I really like the hightower as well and hope to try the new rallon
  • + 1
 Yeah, the only thing that stops me with the Foxy is going full speed over 20cm rocks. The Summum '13 can handle everything and I weigh 103kg. I just feel that my Summum '13 Large is actually a Medium. Maybe they fixed this is later models, but I wonder if they made it too long and if I upgrade to a new model I will need Medium. The Mondraker Foxy XR 2012 Large was too big even with 10mm stem.
  • + 5
 I'd like a 0* head angle for ultimate plushness when I go flying into a tree.
  • + 2
 Side effect of this geo changes -> injuries on the rise, as average bikers and newbies, which necessarily don’t have skills to utilise this new geo improvements (e.g. are static on the bike) are getting ridiculous fast on the trail. Just my observation/opinion…
  • + 5
 Ever notice that people come in all shapes and sizes? Well bikes should too.
  • + 2
 Bingo...that's what keeps getting lost in this conversation. People are built differently, they ride differently, they ride different terrain. One size doesn't fit all...I mean look at cars..the designs are all over the place.
  • + 1
 It SO MUCH depends on where and how you ride. Plus, you have to re-train yourself as a rider every time you make a big change in geo. I favor playful bikes, so super-long reach and WB feels wrong to me. But I live in NW Arkansas where the terrain has lots of punchy climbs and descents, as well as tight switchbacks and jumps. If I lived in big mountains, I would go longer and slacker. Luckily there a lots of choices out there. I still think it was cool of ibis to offer 2 versions of the Ripley. Bikes in the same travel range can be so vastly different. I hope we continue to have lots of options so riders can choose a bike based on their personal style rather than what the industry is pushing at the moment because of 'Enduro'
  • + 1
 I just rode my Maverick ML-7 on my local trails in northern NM and I was amazed at how agile it was compared to my second gen carbon Tallboy! In short, my Tallboy just doesn't fit on my hometown trails. Yes it's got long chainstays, but a 70 degree head angle... I wouldn't give up my Tallboy for anything, but there's a limit if you're going to own one bike for everything. Eric
  • + 1
 Manufacturer simply need to start fitting modern enduro bikes sized on modern geometry with the correct crank length:-
Small - 165mm
Medium/large - 170mm
XLarge - 175mm
That or buy your bike from a good LBS and ask them to swap the cranks out for a 'shorter' trail friendly length before you collect the bike!
  • + 1
 It also depends on your riding style, my riding buddy at 6 foot and sturdy build has downsized from an xl meta v4 to a large reign and is much quicker for it, but he is great in the air and loves the playfulness

I have recently gone from a large Capra to a long (small) nicolai geometron that is 80mm longer wheelbase and 30mm longer reach at 5'9" and it is so much better for the steep tech that I enjoy riding, and it climbs WAY better with its "radical" geometry, but I miss being able to manual without planning in advance, but owning my dream bike offsets any negatives.

You get used to what you have, just buy the bike you want and you'll love it no matter what the numbers say.

Nico vouilloz said everyone was on too small a bike a few years back, and look at MX - one size fits all to a degree...
  • + 1
 Polls look almost conservative for pinkbike, I had experience recently where I destroyed my rear shock riding my orbea rallon x10. The lbs (i-cycles Innerleithen) kindly lent me a dvo coil shock for the weekend and it was 10 mm shorter than stock and turned it into a 140 rear rather than 160. Blew me away on the dh (maybe 63' had angle) but was a bitch to ride up at glentress, sold on the coil but not so much on the extreme trail bike. Maybe I lucked out with the last gen am/trail bike angles but it does the lot with standard angles and flip chip, don't know whether I'd go more bro bro
  • + 1
 I think we're at a point now where there's so much choice in what we have access to, geometry wise, travel wise, wheel size, suspension characteristics etc etc. That what's really important now is really having a good understanding of what works for us as an individual rider. That means riding lots of different bikes and finding what works best for us, not just relying on marketing & technology.
  • + 1
 Absolutely love my 2016 Dune XR, it is long, and takes a bit of getting used to, but once you have sussed how to handle it, it's fast and stable and capable of attacking anything full gas..... in fact i'm so happy with the 'forward geometry' i have just built a Factor XR for everyday riding....
  • + 1
 With dropper posts being common nowadays, I think Specialized Demo's idea of sizing worth a look at with seat tube lenght, stack, BB, HA and chainstays staying the same. Just choose Short, Medium, Long and Extra Long for reach, FC and WB etc.
  • + 1
 frankly, a lot of people want the slacker geo for the wilder trails that are being built, but a lot of people don't realize that those just might not be the trails they're riding. The industry moving their geo in this direction is because people started asking for it, but frankly I think a lot of people are asking for something they don't need.
  • + 1
 The only brands currently in the market that have tested beyond the limit of geometry and have decided where the limit should be are Pole and Nicolai. We can thank Chris Porter for his testing with Nicolai, geometry, fork offset and chainstays length especially! All other brands are slowly moving in the same direction. I didn't want to wait 5 years for a Specialized geometron so I bought a Pole Evolink. Best bike I have ever had. If anyone is in the Portes du Soleil area and wants to try it let me know.
  • + 1
 geometry shouldn't be controlled by all the marketing bullshit that goes on within the industry, instead bike manufacturers should focus on what works. if going longer and slacker is the answer, by all means but there has to be a limit. when you go as long as some bikes are now the more trade offs you tend to have. also how can the industry justify a lot of the so called race geometry when a lot of the main market don't even race.
  • + 1
 Im not convinced its much more than PR spin. Everyone says they are longer and lower, but when you look at it closely its not always the case. Take the Ibis mojo that my wife is looking at the HD3 is 4mm shorter in reach than the new longer etc HD4.

Most bikes seem to be at or around the 66/67 degree head angle unless you head into the geometron world
  • + 3
 MAN I wish I rode enough different bikes to have an informed opinion. My 2015 K Process seems awesomely perfect, but I'd like to find out about the other flavors out there!
  • + 1
 The bike industry is really good at giving consumers no choice. My ideal bike is slack, long travel, mid length and relatively high BB and there are good reasons for those choices. Where I ride is fairly rooty so a high BB is useful, I want a mid length to make is easier to manual and pop the front, but I also want a slack bike to give confidence on the steeps and at speed. Currently my options for new bikes: zero. I currently ride a 2017 Reign and gives me 3/4 requirements (low BB is the only issue) - but the 2018 has gone longer again.
  • + 1
 2017 Enduro 29
  • + 1
 @Davos808: Head tube angle 67.5 is not slack. Also 29ers aren't really a starter for me,
  • + 2
 There is no *spoon*. one spoon.

Do not try and turn the bike, that's impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth...there is no bike. Then you'll see that it is not the bike that turns, it is only yourself.
  • + 1
 Everyone will keep pushing the longer, lower, slacker geometry until we get past the 60 degree headangle for a DH bike and over 63 for a trail bike. Might even get to 65 degrees for an XC bike Eek I'm beating that this trend will keep going until 2025!!!
  • + 2
 It is sad to hear that bike companies cant make a step back to suit the interests of riders that do not necessarily need a real trail weapon - just because it is the trend to push the bikes!
  • + 1
 For me, bike companies have passed the limit. Leaving brands out of this... I rode size Large (19") frames for the longest time, but almost every bike I'm looking at now will need to be a Medium (17") to feel how I want it to feel. Even my current bike, a 2016 Large, feels a bit too long. I couldn't imagine how a short person would feel trying to ride a current Small frame that compares to a Medium or Large from 5 years ago.
  • + 3
 I want to see how far this can go haha, mostly for sadistic reasons but also because I haven't ridden a super stretched out bike like the evolink yet.
  • + 1
 Well I recommend trying an Evolink, it is awesome!
  • + 1
 Bike geometry is arriving to quite a good compromise lately, with minor adjustments here and there but mostly standardizing between specific measures, however there's still room for improvement for fork offset which nowadays is making a huge difference in bike handling. I can definitely see AM getting slightly slacker in the next years but definitely not longer or lower and for sure that slackness will need to get coupled with fork offset.
  • + 1
 Sizing down doesn't work out with effective seat tube angles that almost every bike has now. You end up with a really slack seat tube angle and a bike that loops out and bobs on climbs. Look at all the XC riders with their seats slammed forward, I'll bet their all running a size smaller than what the manufacurer.
  • + 1
 Funny bit, this article, as my coworker and I were just talking about it yesterday. I rode in WV on a loaner Marin Mt Vision and while the bike was pretty dang fun and poppy, I can't recollect the last time I hit pedals, toes, and cranks so much. Being in the northern Midwest, LL&S doesn't make as much sense for the terrain here as it does out west. There's a lot of pedaling in these parts with tight and twisty trails to make up for the lack of elevation. Much like I know a grip of people chopping their 780 & 800mm bars to between 740-760 or hunting for wide bars with more back sweep than 8/9deg, there comes a point where the design is good for some in some places, but not for everyone everywhere. I can take the long & slack, but you can keep the low bit.
  • + 1
 Really the only downside at this point is the bikes in the 110-130 range are now becoming 130-160 and XC bikes are going from 80mm to 100mm leaving a gap for quite a few brands. Ideally a new Evil The Following would come out with maybe a hair longer reach and it gets updated to boost spacing. I doubt that will be the only changes though, it will probably get a bump in travel which then leaves a void for a shorter travel option which in my opinion is a sweet spot for most riders who trail ride. There are obviously other options out there but I tested The Following and it was such a great bike and I would consider buying one right now if it had the more modern standards, not because I need them, but because I want to keep the bike for as long as possible and want to be able to find parts easily 5 years from now.
  • + 1
 Once we have decreased the reach of stems to zero and we start going the other way -40mm stems we know we have gone to far! Ah who am I kidding, people are only going to ride what feels good and the world will keep on spinning.
  • + 2
 Maybe we've moved past the idea of one bike that does everything, perhaps enduro bikes can still go longer and slacker but maybe the perfect trail bike geometry has been achieved.
  • + 3
 The best thing longer is it's helping the tall guys get a better fit, way it's going being 6ft I'll be on a small frame soon
  • + 1
 As someone that is slightly over 6'4" we haven't hit the limit. Not yet. Most companies "XL" frames that are supposed to fit people 6 feet and up are still pitifully undersized for me.
  • + 2
 yup, i'm 6'1" with a longer arm span. when i was shopping for bikes last year most of the larges i tried out felt like kids bikes. I ended up on a XL trance, and i'm not even that tall, must suck for the real giants
  • + 1
 I was so stoked to get my 2016 Enduro 29 expert on closeout for a killer price a year ago after drooling for one since 2013, I completely missed this longer/slacker trend. Maybe I’ll be current after all?
  • + 4
 Who cares just ride your fucking bike
  • + 3
 I'll give ya'll my opinion on this. I don't fucking know shit, but my current bike sure is fun to ride.
  • + 2
 What the hell is the HA on my BMXand it's short as shit. But it's THE most fun bike I own. All depends on what and where you're riding. Spit On.
  • + 1
 not too sure where my knolly warden fits into the mix compared to other bikes.... but I've never smacked so many pedals in my life!!! gotta time the pedal strokes for sure...
  • + 0
 excellent articel about my troubling thoughts . 6ft1 large reign here. 457 reach is too much for me as i run my bars rotated back to decrease reach. I would love to try medium size...

in my thoughts ( after owning 4 different enduro full sussers)
ballanced geo : 425mm chainstay , 445-450 reach , 65 - 65.5 headangle ,75 seat angle ( prefferably adjustable geometry mounts ) bb drop 10 mm

all that in mind Rocky Mountain Slayer geometry is pretty sweet.
  • + 1
 Look at Steve Peat riding any bike,it looks like he is riding a BMX bike and he must be very gentle on it. New bikes are way more natural to ride fast,way more safer than 3-4 years ago bikes.
  • + 1
 Had a 6" 2008 Specialized Enduro and hated it- hated every single ride on that thing, while all the mags and blogs were spooging all over themselves about it. Haven't bought a 'new' bike since....
  • + 1
 I honestly think they need to start making mountain bikes with those "ape hangers" handlebars. The kind from the west coast custom motorcycles where your hands are waaay up in the air.
  • + 1
 I don't know if there's a limit to long and slack, but there is to low. A bb height 175mm or lower is going to pedal like total shit.
  • + 1
 rode off piste plenty in the woods last week, me on my dh bike, mate on his geomotron, no complaints from him, was steep as fack after the tunnel, i was scared!
  • - 1
 If we keep choosing stability and high-speed performance, do we get to a point where agility and slower-speed performance in tight conditions truly suffers?....

Hmmmm....Pinkbike - agility isn't everything. You have to have power as well in those high speed situations.
  • + 1
 I have friends that build custom bicycle choppers, the mtb world has a good way to go when it comes to long, low, and slack....
  • + 3
 Noone has gone sub 60 yet, have they?
  • + 1
 I believe Barel was somewhere around 60-61 degrees on his custom Kona but that was 26 inch.
  • + 1
 I think Chris Porter has gone down to 59 degrees. This is getting similar to MX bikes which are about 62 static and less sagged.
  • + 1
 not recommended! lowest you can go is 62. that is borderline angle for dh forks . too much stress on fork bushings. frankly headangle is sorted now both for dh and enduro. absolutely no need for any slacker. where i see advancements in future would be custom offsets.
  • + 1
 "if you are racing enduro or riding a bike park, the answer is No". Well especially because of Freeride Tracks in BikeParks, the answers is Yes.
  • + 1
 enough top tube, bb drop and head angle Chainstay length, stem length, fork offset...
  • + 3
 That's what she said!
  • + 1
 Bike company's need to sort out seat tube lengths more than anything. 21 inch seat tubes on xl' areyou way too tall.
  • + 0
 Just remember.... everything other than the smallest size in any range is just a size. Long is relative!
  • + 1
 The trouble for me being on the smaller size of the bike fitting scale with relatively long legs and then a shorter upper body reach I perceive and feel I need a bike with a shorter reach than many are even starting out with nowadays and higher stack to 'match ' me - simple hobbity ergonomics.
  • + 1
 Is 66.5, 75 and 477 an outdated piece of shit? Oh and it's 26".:-)
  • + 1
 Vernon writes the best pinkbike articles hands-down.
  • + 1
 Customizable geometry is the answer...
  • + 2
 Dead horse, meet stick
  • + 1
 I read that whole thing with Malcolm Gladwell's voice...
  • + 1
 Any lower than 10 degrees and my joints start to ache.
  • + 1
 Love my Canfield Brothers Riot!!!
  • + 1
 what the f*ck is that stem on the mondraker, 10mm reach, 40mm rise wtf?
  • + 1
 Pinkbike is building their own bike brand!
  • + 1
 I like my bike slack as a sloth. Not too long though
  • + 2
 I blame e-bikes...
  • + 1
 pleney not plenty

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