Powered by Outside

What Geometry Numbers Do the Top Enduro Racers Actually Prefer?

Dec 7, 2022 at 12:50
by Eric Olsen  
Innes Graham also with some style on Stage 6
EWS racers are super serious and do not like to have fun.

Bike fit and geometry will always be a hot topic in mountain biking. For better or worse, the top racers are often being pointed to as the model for what is "correct". But how much do top racers really care about their setups? I reached out to the top 10 EWS overall men and women and asked them 10 questions to find out.

It's worth mentioning that most EWS racers decide on their setups during pre-season testing and stick to those settings for a consistent feeling bike in all conditions. A few athletes take a more "cerebral" approach (to quote Mike Levy's interview with Jesse Melamed) but really even the most "tinkering" racers are usually only trying products from the brands that pay their bills.

People often point to "crazy" EWS setups and think it must be because they are racing janky switchbacks all day. Having raced a few EWS races, at the other end of the results sheet, I think the "tight Euro switchbacks" thing is slightly overblown. EWS tracks are a large range of styles and conditions. In my experience the tracks are reasonable and fun to ride as long as the organizers don't get too crazy with ski piste or urban sections.

In reality, these top athletes have to navigate a large variety of terrain which exceeds the speeds and steepness that most people are comfortable riding all while breathing from their eyeballs. This means that they might value a more neutral bike setup that doesn't require them to think about weighting the front of the bike in each corner when their brain has no oxygen. An argument can also be made that as a rider's skill level progresses their need for super long, low, and slack geometry is lessened because they have more control of their body position on the bike.

In the end it's up to you to decide what fit and geometry you prefer. There's no harm in tinkering!




1. What is your height?
I’m 182cm tall

2. What is your wingspan?
An estimate after some testing - 185cm

3. What is your preferred reach number?
473mm, sometimes I catch myself thinking I want smaller.

4. What is your preferred head angle?
64.6

5. What is your preferred stem length?
50mm

6. Do you prefer a 35/36mm fork or 38mm fork?
I run a Fox 38 but I’ve never done back-to-back testing. I think I probably would struggle to tell the difference to the 36.

7. Do you prefer an air or coil shock?
I love the coil feel on the Firebird, I’m sure there are places air would be better but the confidence and comfort with the coil is ideal!

8. What is your ideal chainstay length?
Stab in the dark with 430 cause it just needs to be proportionate to the front end, so reach dependent.

9. What is your preferred brake rotor size?
200 all day. I’m not exactly a small guy and not once have I thought “Oh man, I need more power.”

10. Do you run tire inserts?
Panzer inserts rear always, will put in the front for super jank rocky places or for real gnar when you want help settling the front end.




1. What is your height?
176cm

2. What is your wingspan?
I don’t know.

3. What is your preferred reach number?
I am not allowed to say.

4. What is your preferred head angle?
64.5

5. What is your preferred stem length?
30mm

6. Do you prefer a 35/36mm fork or 38mm fork?
Fox 38

7. Do you prefer an air or coil shock?
Both but air with my last settings.

8. What is your ideal chainstay length?
432mm shorter it is, better it is.

9. What is your preferred brake rotor size?
Galfer Shark 203mm front / 223mm rear

10. Do you run tire inserts?
For sure with the Tubolight.



1. What is your height?
164cm

2. What is your wingspan?
167cm

3. What is your preferred reach number?
between 440 and 460

4. What is your preferred head angle?
~ 64.5

5. What is your preferred stem length?
35 or 40

6. Do you prefer a 35/36mm fork or 38mm fork?
38, because we‘re running 170mm travel and the 36 only is available up to 160mm travel. Otherwise I’d like to run 36 as it’s lighter than the 38. But sometimes you can’t get everything, so I went for more travel.

7. Do you prefer an air or coil shock?
Air as it’s more progressive. But for really long stages, when the shock gets really hot, I sometimes wish for a coil.

8. What is your ideal chainstay length?
All the enduro bikes I’ve recently ridden had a 435mm chainstay and I never had a back-to-back comparison. But in general I always felt comfy with that.

9. What is your preferred brake rotor size?
200mm

10. Do you run tire inserts?
Always one in the rear. Depending on the race/tracks XC CushCore in the front as well. With heavier wheels I also felt more stability which I liked a lot on rougher tracks like Finale Ligure.

But in general I don’t look too much at numbers (most of the time) but have to feel good and balanced on the bike. I feel like I lose focus on riding well if all I think about is what if my headtube angle was 0.2-degrees slacker and stuff like that.




1. What is your height?
168cm

2. What is your wingspan?
Don’t know

3. What is your preferred reach number?
Trying to find it

4. What is your preferred head angle?
~64degrees as of right now

5. What is your preferred stem length?
40mm most likely

6. Do you prefer a 35/36mm fork or 38mm fork?
38mm

7. Do you prefer an air or coil shock?
Depends on the bike and the terrain. I like and use both because I have good options and set ups for both.

8. What is your ideal chainstay length?
435-440mm now that suspension has gotten so good.

9. What is your preferred brake rotor size?
203 has been good for the XTR’s.

10. Do you run tire inserts?
Usually. Track and situation dependent.






1. What is your height?
170cm

2. What is your wingspan?
172cm

3. What is your preferred reach number?
450mm

4. What is your preferred head angle?
64.5-65 degrees (65 degrees on most terrain as I like it feeling more snappy on corners but will slacken the bike out with the flip chip in my frame for more DH and steeper tracks)

5. What is your preferred stem length?
42mm

6. Do you prefer a 35/36mm fork or 38mm fork?
36mm fork as I found the 38mm overkill.

7. Do you prefer an air or coil shock?
Currently air shock but I switch between the two depending on the race- prefer coil for long rough descents and at altitude, prefer air for everything else.

8. What is your ideal chainstay length?
440mm for stability, it keeps me more centered in the bike.

9. What is your preferred brake rotor size?
203mm

10. Do you run tire inserts?
No inserts.

I just learned today my wingspan is more than my height.




1. What is your height?
182cm

2. What is your wingspan?
183cm

3. What is your preferred reach number?
464mm reach (I race an S3 Enduro).

4. What is your preferred head angle?
64.3

5. What is your preferred stem length?
50mm stem

6. Do you prefer a 35/36mm fork or 38mm fork?
38mm Zeb

7. Do you prefer an air or coil shock?
Air shock

8. What is your ideal chainstay length?
434mm chainstay

9. What is your preferred brake rotor size?
220 mm rotors front and rear

10. Do you run tire inserts?
Cushcore rear only






1. What is your height?
183cm

2. What is your wingspan?
180 cm, a big eagle!

3. What is your preferred reach number?
470 / 475mm

4. What is your preferred head angle?
64 to 64.5-degrees is perfect. Depending the terrain

5. What is your preferred stem length?
45 to 50mm. I’ve been riding 50mm stem for my entire career so far. I like the weight over the front wheel. It’s my riding style. However I tried a 45mm couple weeks ago and it was as good.

6. Do you prefer a 35/36mm fork or 38mm fork?
36mm. I’m a light rider and quite precise. The 36 is stiff enough for me I think.

7. Do you prefer an air or coil shock?
Air shock. More tuning is possible with air.

8. What is your ideal chainstay length?
I’m not too particular about chainstay length.

9. What is your preferred brake rotor size?
I’m using 180mm front and back. I have plenty of power and durability even though I’m using smaller discs than my competitors. We reduce weight and exposure that way.

10. Do you run tire inserts?
Rarely. This one is a tough choice every time. It all depends on the tires/rim combo!




1. What is your height?
181cm

2. What is your wingspan?
181cm

3. What is your preferred reach number?
470cm

4. What is your preferred head angle?
64.5

5. What is your preferred stem length?
50mm

6. Do you prefer a 35/36mm fork or 38mm fork?
38

7. Do you prefer an air or coil shock?
Coil

8. What is your ideal chainstay length?
435 roughly

9. What is your preferred brake rotor size?
200mm FR and R

10. Do you run tire inserts?
Always in the rear for racing, sometimes in the front if rocky.




1. What is your height?
157cm

5. What is your preferred stem length?
35 I think (not sure about it ).

6. Do you prefer a 35/36mm fork or 38mm fork?
36

7. Do you prefer an air or coil shock?
Air

9. What is your preferred brake rotor size?
200

10. Do you run tire inserts?
No




1. What is your height?
185cm

2. What is your wingspan?
183cm

3. What is your preferred reach number?
470mm

4. What is your preferred head angle?
64 degrees

5. What is your preferred stem length?
35mm

6. Do you prefer a 35/36mm fork or 38mm fork?
36mm

7. Do you prefer an air or coil shock?
Coil

8. What is your ideal chainstay length?
435mm

9. What is your preferred brake rotor size?
220mm

10. Do you run tire inserts?
Sure, CushCore




1. What is your height?
180cm

2. What is your wingspan?
Not too sure

3. What is your preferred reach number?
Been on a 460mm bike for a while.

4. What is your preferred head angle?
~64

5. What is your preferred stem length?
40-50mm

6. Do you prefer a 35/36mm fork or 38mm fork?
38mm

7. Do you prefer an air or coil shock?
Air

8. What is your ideal chainstay length?
Medium

9. What is your preferred brake rotor size?
203 Shimano Freeza

10. Do you run tire inserts?
CushCore

Haven't ridden too many bikes to have a great idea. Pretty much copy and paste my Yeti numbers, haha.



1. What is your height?
163 cm

2. What is your wingspan?
Not sure

3. What is your preferred reach number?
440 to 445 is my preferred reach. I don’t mind the top tube length too much but if the reach is around these numbers I know I’ll feel comfortable straight away on a bike.

4. What is your preferred head angle?
64 / 64.5

5. What is your preferred stem length?
40 mm. I used to ride an even shorter stem (33mm) but I feel like 40 is the perfect balance: it makes the bike easy to ride while still being stable enough.

6. Do you prefer a 35/36mm fork or 38mm fork?
38mm for racing and 36 on my shorter travel bikes. I enjoy the strong feeling of the 38 when the tracks get rough.

7. Do you prefer an air or coil shock?
I’ve been trying both last year but so far I prefer the feeling of the air shock and I feel like it works better for me on flat pedals.

8. What is your ideal chainstay length?
430mm.

9. What is your preferred brake rotor size?
200mm front and rear

10. Do you run tire inserts?
One Panzer in the rear.



1. What is your height?
159cm

2. What is your wingspan?
Not sure

3. What is your preferred reach number?
430

4. What is your preferred head angle?
65

5. What is your preferred stem length?
30mm

6. Do you prefer a 35/36mm fork or 38mm fork?
I never tried 38... so 36!

7. Do you prefer an air or coil shock?
Coil I feel more grip

8. What is your ideal chainstay length?
Not sure

9. What is your preferred brake rotor size?
200mm for my brake rotor

10. Do you run tire inserts?
Sometimes, depending the tracks.



1. What is your height?
165cm

2. What is your wingspan?
171cm

3. What is your preferred reach number?
450mm

4. What is your preferred head angle?
64 degrees

5. What is your preferred stem length?
35mm. I'm right in between a small and medium frame. I prefer the medium with a short stem.

6. Do you prefer a 35/36mm fork or 38mm fork?
38mm.

7. Do you prefer an air or coil shock?
Coil

8. What is your ideal chainstay length?
430mm

9. What is your preferred brake rotor size?
Usually 200, sometimes 220 for racing when there’s steep long stages.

10. Do you run tire inserts?
No, if I can avoid it. I don’t love the feeling of them so only use them if there’s high risk of puncturing.



1. What is your height?
170cm

2. What is your wingspan?
167.5cm

3. What is your preferred reach number?
450

4. What is your preferred head angle?
64

5. What is your preferred stem length?
40mm

6. Do you prefer a 35/36mm fork or 38mm fork?
36

7. Do you prefer an air or coil shock?
Coil

8. What is your ideal chainstay length?
441mm

9. What is your preferred brake rotor size?
203mm

10. Do you run tire inserts?
XC CushCore in rear wheel.



1. What is your height?
I'm just over 6ft, about 186cm

2. What is your wingspan?
No idea and I don't have a tape measure on me, sorry.

3. What is your preferred reach number?
My current reach is around 470mm,

4. What is your preferred head angle?
64-degrees

5. What is your preferred stem length?
40mm

6. Do you prefer a 35/36mm fork or 38mm fork?
Rockshox ZEB, so 38mm fork,

7. Do you prefer an air or coil shock?
Air shock!

8. What is your ideal chainstay length?
My current chainstay is 435mm.

9. What is your preferred brake rotor size?
220mm

10. Do you run tire inserts?
I have not run inserts for the last couple years of enduro racing.





Are these preferences inline with your ideal setup? Or are these racers way off? Should I crunch the numbers and make fancy graphs? Let us know down below.

Author Info:
ericolsen avatar

Member since Aug 10, 2014
14 articles

507 Comments
  • 201 4
 Really interesting. Arguably some of this is what they are given VS what they prefer, but a lot more conservative than the marketing teams lead us to believe. So a 36 with a 64.5 head angle wont kill you after all. Go figure!
  • 45 2
 It seems like they generally prefer a shorter reach than "progressive" geometry would dictate, no? Any reason for this?
  • 164 3
 @Drew-O: I think it's because us mere mortals do not feel comfortable at speed on small bikes that give the rider more trail feedback. Give us a long bike with slack geometry (less feedback) and it allows us to ride faster than we should.
  • 44 2
 "Progressive" geometry has obviously gone further than necessary for actual race results... but we're also not all pro riders, and a lot of people probably benefit from a more stable + confidence inspiring bike?

It is funny how most new enduro rigs are slacker than anything these pros say they want though. Hell, a Transition Spire is slacker than the new Commencal Supreme DH.
  • 111 1
 @Drew-O: The fastest bike is the most maneuverable that doesn't compromise the ability to ride at speed. Think of it like a DH/FR bike for Rampage, a slopestyle bike for Crankworx, and an itty-bitty BMX for a skatepark.

If a rider has exceptional strength, agility, and ability to process the terrain ahead, they can still hold it wide open on a bike with compact geometry and/or less travel, with greater ability to adjust lines, hop-and-pop, and get around tight turns.

For us overwight, undertrained, middle-aged weekend warriors, the extra length and stability often add more through confidence and stability than what's lost through reduced agility.
  • 10 32
flag bbachmei (Dec 8, 2022 at 12:37) (Below Threshold)
 @transam711: a transition spire isn't an enduro bike though, I’d argue that an enduro bike needs to be much more well rounded because the tracks are so varied.
  • 20 2
 @transam711: yep. Bike innovation is now about making average riders feel slightly less average.
  • 7 0
 @Linc: That's everything in life, though, isn't it.
  • 17 2
 Pro athletes are a curious bunch, in that they're often very conservative with their options. For many, there is a recipe that's been working, with a crazy amount of hours invested into, so change might be seen as an unnecessary risk or even a reset in some ways. Progression can thus happen with people with lower stakes. Also, not that even tho the numbers mentioned here might not be exactly cutting edge in 2022, they are quite progressive when compared to a few years ago
  • 13 0
 40mm stems shoots up in value haha
  • 11 1
 @Drew-O: Actually for the shorter riders asked there appears to be a preference for longer reach.
  • 38 1
 If you look at Jack Moir riding his bike he is moving his body all over the place relative to his bike. He has the margin to already lean his body into the next curve before he enters it and pull his bike in any angle he wants it to. Something I attribute to riding with a ‘shorter’ reach (and being one hell of a rider ofc). It all comes down to range of motion. A reach that is too long let’s you stretch out too far and takes a margin off your range.
  • 16 1
 @Drew-O: Its as easy as this, as you become a better rider you want maneuverability over stability, and lesser riders will always choose stability over maneuverability. This is most easily seen in handlebar width and reach, You may also notice the best riders in the bunch lean towards the 50mm stem as it centers you better for consistent front wheel traction.
  • 13 6
 @Drew-O: I think there are several reasons for this. Read the article from… Seb Stott? Not sure of who wrote this. In short: we’re not pros so don’t compare to them. They are much stronger and technically much better than us and can better compensate for the implied (relative) instability of a short bike. Second, they’ve been refining their technique on a given bike length and athletes (whatever the sport) are not keen on shuffling everything and jeopardizing their hard work. They stick to known recipes and only go for tiny incremental changes, if they can make these changes. My bet is most of them gave the chainstays length of their bike or close to, but how many hat the chance to effectively play with this parameter and this parameter alone? Probably not many. And this is just an example. Also most riders only share their preference here, not what they know makes them faster. Feeling and timing can be very different things. Personally what surprised me is that most run 50mm stem. I find it kind of long, certainly not what you’d describe as aggressive. But I guess it’s again a case of 'what they’ve been using while perfecting their riding' and they don’t wanna change that.
  • 11 0
 Eddie Masters with a 460cm reach and 182cm wing span ?! What a mad dog hahaha
  • 149 0
 @Arierep: Jesse Melamed and I discussed this extensively last year. It's a difficult balance between perfection vs. consistency.

People learn the upper limits of a system very slowly. We push the limits a tiny bit at a time, since the consequences of exceeding the limits can be severe, and our brains are wired for self-preservation, so mishaps are over-represented in our minds, relative to lost opportunities via being overly safe. In terms of evolution and survival, keeping things at, say, 80% meant you would almost never get injured or eaten by a gigantic, prehistoric bear, while 95% offered only a slight advantage and you would definitely get it wrong at some point, probably with dire consequences.

Let's consider optimization of tires. A top rider eventually, very slowly, learns the precise upper limit of their main tire. If they mount a soft-conditions tire for a slightly damp track, it may have a tiny bit higher limit on most of the track, and a considerably lower limit on rock and hardpack sections. If the tall lugs fold over and cause a crash on a nicely packed berm, the rider's brain fixates on risk avoidance and the lower limit of the soft conditions tire. Swapping between several tires is likely to result in the rider's brain adapting to the weaknesses of each tire, rather than the strengths. This is why we often see DH racers switching to mud spikes only when the entire course resembles melted ice cream.

Jesse Melamed has an engineering background and and engineer's brain, so he searches for optimizations more than most riders. Frequent changes in equipment and technique are less detrimental for average riders, since most of us aren't as consistently close to the limits, but for pro riders, there's greater value in utterly mastering an imperfect set-up than being uncertain of the precise limits of multiple set-ups. Finding the optimum balance of these approaches can be a difficult challenges for tech-minded riders like Jesse. That said, we have seen great success from chronic tinkerers like Jesse, Nicolas Vouilloz, Fabien Barel, Philippe Perakis, Loris Vergier, Greg Minnaar, etc., and riders who do little more than hop on a stock bike.
  • 18 0
 @R-M-R: That's a genuinely excellent post. Precise understanding of limitations is what allows elite athletes to extract the most from a given piece of equipment. In a sport such as ours, where "feel" is an unquantified, yet essential component of riding fast, consistency in setup is MUCH more valuable than optimizing every variable in response to changing conditions.
  • 4 1
 @mininhi: VitalMTB racing series on Youtube talked about stem length - and how matching the stem length to fork offset (44mm - typically for 29er enduro forks) made for the most neutral steering. Interesting enough, my stem is on paper 40mm, but when I measure it from the center of the top cap bolt to center of the stem clamp I get 44mm. Go figure, but I do like how precise my the steering on my bike feels.
  • 12 0
 @Martinez242: agree. I'm between sizes and decided to size down in my current bike. I found the longer reach made it difficult for me move around the bike either to forcefully change directions or "muscle" the bike around. And to be honest the extra 30mm of reach and wheelbase on the size up, I really didn't notice a "stability" difference. The truth is most modern enduro bikes are long enough (even if you size down) to be stable at speed that normal (and pro) riders are comfortable with. I actually felt more uncomfortable at speed on longer bike not because of velocity, but by how much more difficult it was to maneuver it out of straight line.
  • 35 1
 Interesting that they chose to specifically mention reach, but not ask anyone about stack. Its literally only half of the sizing information.

So comparing the riders favorite reach numbers, without looking at stack, is a bit misleading. Jack Moir famously likes quite a lot of stack, even if his reach number is relatively small.

This might just be "taller-ish" person preference though. I'm almost exactly Jacks size (not skill!), and stack is almost more important to me than reach.
  • 1 0
 edit
  • 18 0
 @ocnlogan: Exactly. That's why I developed "normalized reach" in 2017. Didn't catch on at the time, but I think people are starting to get it.

A comparison of reach values of various bikes is meaningful only if the stack is kept consistent - if possible, make it as close as possible to the ideal stack for the rider in question, but that's not absolutely necessary. Calculate the reach values at the chosen stack. It adds complexity to the comparison, but it's better to be complex and correct than simple and wrong.
  • 3 1
 @R-M-R: I identify with this comment
  • 5 0
 @Drew-O: I recall reading somewhere that the time gains with a shorter bike in the tight twisty sections were greater than the times gains with a long bike in the wide open fast sections, and that for ews the tight twisty sections are often where the race is won or lost.
  • 7 1
 @EnduroManiac: this keeps being brought up, so I'll reply to you vs the other 10 people who said it....why this prevailing thought that shorter bikes lack sufficient stability?

Every one of those enduro riders ride MUCH faster than us, none have stability issues, even ones on short bikes......if we ride slower, why wouldn't a shorter bike be stable "enough"?

There are a million factors in stability, rider interface, wheelbase, CS length, HTA, weight distribution, sus setup etc.....I've had long bikes that were less stable than shorter ones at speed.
  • 2 0
 @R-M-R: I came to a sim conclusion racing dirtbikes, XC mtb and CX over the last 20+ years, one set up tires for 90% of races that I was used too vs trying to optimize tires for every race / condition.....the devil you know, as they say.
  • 1 0
 @Planet-26: I totally agree.
  • 2 4
 @R-M-R: It sounds like a form of RAD, which is effectively the hypotenuse of what you are suggesting....

I think it was Banshee that used to do something sim. with published Effective STA @ height
  • 4 0
 @RadBartTaylor:

RAD includes all cockpit setup changes (stem length/angle, stem spacers, handlebar sweep/rise).

I am a fan of the metric called "Span", which I've seen on a few geo charts. But its just the hypotenuse between reach and stack. So basically its "RAD"... but without the cockpit fit bits.

Span is actually now the main thing I look at when I compare frames for bikes I'm interested in now (if its not listed, I just calculate it really quickly) for fitment, as its super fast. And sometimes quite interesting.

For instance, an XL Norco Sight, and a L Raaw Madonna, are the same exact span (814mm), even though the Raaw has a reach number that is 35mm shorter, its stack is also 27mm taller. So the size is similar, but the angle is way different (the Norco would be more stretched and low, the Raaw would be more upright).
  • 17 2
 @RadBartTaylor: Yes, I encourage clients to publish geometry at the expected saddle height.

It is not RAD, it's just a more accurate way to measure reach. The RAD method sounds sensible, but it's nonsense. Well-intended nonsense, but nonsense. For example, RAD doesn't account for seat-tube angle, so if you optimize a bike for winch-and-plummet riding with a super steep seat-tube angle, RAD produces an extremely short butt-to-bar distance. Similarly, optimize a hardtail for milder terrain and you'll want a more traditional seat-tube angle, but RAD does not account for this. RAD doesn't even separate reach from stack, so it equally recommends a long bike with time-trial bar height as a vertical bike with zero reach.

The evolution of RAD, RAAD, incorporates an angle to try to address some of these flaws, but it's still a workaround full of recommended constants necessary to produce acceptable results.

A proper predictive method incorporates many physiological measurements and allows variability for rider preference and terrain. As with my normalized reach, such a method adds complexity, but it's better to be complex and correct than simple and wrong.

The other approach is via data-driven observation: gather a lot of data on riders and how they like their bikes to fit, then plot the relationships to each variable. It can be even simpler by looking at manufacturers' geometry charts and plotting correlations between recommended rider heights and recommended frame geometries. It's a simplistic method that doesn't attempt to explain the underlying reasons for various dimensions, but, given enough data and enough time, the numbers will stumble in the right direction until nearly optimized. After more than a century of bike design - and nearly forty years of mountain-specific design - I believe we've reached a point where the data-driven approach is close enough for most riders.
  • 4 0
 @R-M-R: Wasn't RAD meant as a method for sizing bikes while descending? I see your points about the saddle position depending on terrain but I think its irrelevant when descending.
  • 3 0
 @ocnlogan: I don't want this to sound confrontational, but how is comparing span helpful? (I'm trying to understand for my own benefit). You're comparing two bikes because they share a number, but they're doing totally different things with your centre of gravity.

I know this is unrealistic but I like to look at the extremes when I'm comparing things to get a sense of what is happening. Imagine a "bike" with 814mm of reach, and 0mm of stack (aero-AF reverse-recumbent), and now the opposite (penny-farthing). They have the same span but are totally different.
  • 6 0
 @ashmtb85: I don't recall any mention that RAD was only for descending. Lee focuses on trail bikes and all-around riding/coaching, not pure DH, so I think RAD has to be viewed in that context.

Even in the context of pure DH, it largely works because people have used other, better methods to optimize the length of stems, steering geometry, and ratio of reach to rise. If every possible dimension of bike was available, RAD would equally favour a super short reach and super long stack, or vice versa. It's a coincidental relationship, much like KOPS, that's been mistaken for causative.


@Planet-26: Yeah, you get it. As I mentioned in the prior paragraph, it's a coincidental relationship. If we first assume a rider is comparing bikes with similar ratios of reach to stack, similar stem lengths, similar steering geometry, similar bar geometry, similar seat-tube angles, similar travel, etc., then yes, comparing spans is a great way to compare how these, extremely similar, bikes will fit. If any of the parameters are significantly different, all bets are off.
  • 1 0
 @Drew-O: They know about getting RAD!
  • 3 0
 @Drew-O: well since I was out of the sport for 3 years after racing DH (unsuccesfully, I was never fast, just good enough to train with fast people) I wanted to really try different lengths during covid years. First of all I knew I'd not get any bike fast and I was confused by the difference and I noticed two BIG problems with long bikes.

1. Over a certain reach number your mobility on the bike suffers. You can't move back on the steeps, it's harder to make sudden weight shifts. Your position on the bike is almost constant no matter what you are riding which means you get less control. I realized I was riding really weird on steep tracks I'd not have issue riding on my old short ass dh bike.
2. Traction. On less steep tracks the longer the TT the less weight you have on the front wheel. Sure you can compensate with longer CS but only so much. If you put 60mm into reach vs 2012 geo you can't put 60mm into chainstays too.
  • 1 0
 @transam711: 63HA is ok. 62.5 is probably pushing it but it is weird as we were testing super slack in DH during the good old days of short TT's and decided 63 is not everyones cup of tea
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: it doesn't though. I went back to the sport as a middle aged, slow guy who didn't ride for 2-3 years (well ok a weekend here or there) and a long ass bike was an issue on steep tracks as I could not shift my weight back. And it did not have geometron numbers. It was just modern longish.
  • 3 0
 @glenno: why? I run a 464mm reach, I'm 179cm high, I have 180/181cm wingspan if I fart really hard.
  • 2 0
 @R-M-R: the thing is Jesse and Minnaar seem more cautiuous here while Fabien and Nico for example were always eager to experiment on the extremes.
  • 3 0
 @spaced: You've presented an interesting case: Slow and steep. Slow speeds don't require as much stability, and yes, it can be easier to get behind a short bike (head-tube angle, fork offset, BB height, travel, hand height, and stem length are also factors).

Your observations about those four riders are true. I believe it's because, compared to current equipment, bikes were crap in Nico's day and moderately crap for Fabien and Greg, with Greg having the added challenge of his outlier height. Jesse isn't particularly tall and his pro career has been in the era of better equipment, so he hasn't had to go to extremes.
  • 4 0
 @R-M-R: I really recommmend you watch Vorsprung video on modern geometry too. Steve had a lot to say about why too long bikes offer diminishing returns. Especially on traction. So it's not just top riders being cosnervative.
  • 6 0
 @spaced: I'm familiar with Steve's work and he's familiar with mine. He is among the people I respect most in the industry.
  • 3 0
 @Planet-26:

No worries, I'm not feeling "confronted" Smile . And the idea comparing a "Tron Bike", and a "Pogo Stick" bike, does illustrate the potential pitfalls for sure.

I use it for fitment reasons, like I hear lots of people do with reach.

Like a lot of people, I'm often between sizes. And I use it to know which size I should be considering for any given bike. I find it super useful when comparing brands, which might have different ideas about sizing in their sizing charts. YMMV of course though.

A more concrete example.

So as someone who was "usually a size large" rider, it was really eye opening to me to see that my previous Kona Process 153 29'er, was 32mm smaller in overall size than a size L Raaw.

I had been considering a move to an XL Process, so naturally I was looking at the XL Raaw for a while (which has 10mm less reach). But once I looked at Span, I realized that was probably way too large for me (at 57mm larger than my L Process). So its these sorts of comparisons that I find useful, personally.
  • 3 1
 @Drew-O: That's what I found the most interesting. Most of the midgets on Pinkbike think they need 490mm on a hardtail.
  • 6 1
 @R-M-R: respectfully disagree, it's intended to optimize descending / handling over seated position....just like a road bike is optimized for seated position vs descending / handling....XC bikes are someplace in between depending on rider strength, course optimization, etc.

When I raced BCBR in 19' I wished I had a shorter compact setup vs my long and low XC setup.

I use 'RAD' colloquially, but RAAD is part of that which does take into account angle, if you believe in the numbers he comes up with or not (they do end up shorter than current trend but work for me).....the fact is, he is promoting a repeatable bike fitting metric that is consistent, maybe you can add 15% to his numbers, but it's repeatable.

What good is reach, normalized or not, without bar sweep and stem length incorporated? They are both variables that need to be accounted for.
  • 7 1
 @Arierep: Internet MTBers are a curious bunch, coming up with some quite imaginative explanations as to why they are not overbiked Smile
  • 6 0
 @ocnlogan:"as someone who was "usually a size large" rider, it was really eye opening to me to see that my previous Kona Process 153 29'er, was 32mm smaller in overall size than a size L Raaw."

Exactly. A particularly amusing example occurred in 2016: the XL Pivot Mach 6 had a shorter normalized reach than the Small Mondraker Foxy. Two bikes in the same category and there was no overlap between their entire ranges of sizes.
  • 3 0
 @ocnlogan: If you use the same bars and stem length that can work, but as you point out RAD/RAAD takes into account angle, a shorter / taller bike is going to have a steeper angle (one of the A's in RAAD) than a longer lower bike will, even at same 'span'....
  • 3 1
 @EnduroManiac: Pros 'what they’ve been using while perfecting their riding', Internet commenters 'have the real knowledge'. Overbiked!
  • 2 0
 @RadBartTaylor: I don't disagree with you, I'm just illustrating how RAD/RAAD is a coincidental relationship, much like KOPS (knee over pedal spindle). For example, KOPS does create a decent fit for most road riders, but it's pure coincidence. We can incorporate additional parameters into KOPS, such as crank length, cleat position, saddle-to-bar drop, etc. that will improve the fit, but those are causative corrections applied to a coincidental relationship, much like the angle parameter applied to RAD.

As you said, your BCBR experience makes sense and was predictable. When I design bikes, I use dynamic geometry (the a single, or time-weighted distribution, of rider and chassis positions) and dynamic centre of mass location. This method would not only show the need for your change in geometry, it shows why the change is needed.
  • 2 0
 @RadBartTaylor:

Yep, totally agree Big Grin . 100%.

During peak covid, when I had new bike lust, and the inability to even see, let alone sit on or ride any of the bikes I was interested in, I created a giant spreadsheet to math out as many things as I could (since I couldn't test ride/demo).

And while span was the one I found the easiest to use for answering the simple "which size" question for me personally, it specifically doesn't mention HOW it fits, as you mentioned. So, I totally have the RAAD angle in that sheet as well, for exactly that purpose.

The cliffnotes version is that for long travel bikes, I have found that as long as I'm on a frame that has 795-820mm or so of span, I can make up for the rest with cockpit adjustments. And using the span number, I can quickly tell in some bikes thats a large, others its an XL.

Not trying to say everyone should do it. But its been useful for me. I bought my new bike 100% site unseen (Large Banshee Titan), and used the same span thing even when I'm renting bikes while traveling (XL Bronson, and S5 Stumpjumper), and so far I've been really happy.
  • 3 6
 @Drew-O: some of it I think is the nature of the EU EWS courses - the switchbacks are crazy tight. I think a lot of racers will size up for Whistler if not all the NA EWS rounds.
  • 6 0
 @shredddr: I haven’t heard of anyone in the top 10 changing sizes mid season.
  • 4 0
 @Drew-O, @ericolsen: A few EWS riders have made mid-season changes, as have several DH riders. I'm not aware of it being done strategically to suit different courses, though; my understanding is all changes were made with the intention of a permanent change.

Common strategic changes are, approximately in descending order of frequency: spring and damper settings, tire inserts, tire casings, tire treads, spring type, travel. A couple riders have reduced bar width for an exceptionally tight course and I've heard a couple have changed their head-tube angles for an extremely steep course, though most manage steep or flat course profiles via suspension settings.
  • 6 1
 @smoothmoose: Likewise, man. As a recreational rider, I made that decision way before the current level of long/low/slackness. My '18 plastic designer bike felt really good toodling around the hood. And caught my attention on the trail as well. But the glee didn't last long. A couple years, and I finally had to accept that for me...

1200mm wheelbases are to long to rail really tight switchbacks. 66° headtubes just aren't playful enough. Longer reach numbers are just way to far out there for comfort - and I'm a serious knuckle-dragger. And frankly, 140/160 just isn't necessary (or desired, given my skills & where I like to ride).

Still have that LLS. Def has it's place. Works better for bigger days, higher speeds, and bigger obstacles.

But my '15 non-boost 140/150 67°/73°(had to go to Pinkbike to find a Higher/Shorter /Steeper enduro/trail bike), gets 90% of the attention. Just because it's a more competent trail bike, and it's more playful & fun.

It'll do everything LLS will do. And given the day - just as fast (at least, not far off the mark). It's a better climber. Doesn't require that I stop&hop or skid my back wheel through a switchback. It's LLS's equal as a pedaller, but has the comfort edge for really long days in the saddle. It's just more versatile.

I've ridden one of the current LLS hardtails. My bud-s ESD. Stupidly slack. Wierdly steep at the ST. Geo that's become the norm! Comfy bike. Fun, toodling around. But..., see above.

Aspects of it, I really like. And am toying with the idea that my '16 alloy hardtail's frame needs to be replaced. But am backing away from from that class of geo, to something HSSer. I rode his Honzo before it got munched under a pile of rocks. Much more capable in my opinion.

What I wonder is whether I'm an outlier in this. If maybe the manufacturers are beginning to realize that maybe their geo mumbers have gone a little to far. Is this what we're seeing at the races? Are the pros starting to stress that if their bike sponsors want races won, they need to back the hell up?

I get glimmers, here & there. Be i terstung to see what happens over the next few years.
  • 2 1
 @R-M-R: I don't understand what you are trying to say - probably my simple brain. Using KOPS to illustrate, if we've defined foot position relative to pedal as metric that provides optimal power......doesn't matter if it's actually KOPS or KOPS +/- a "R-M-R" factor (say +XXmm), we can now set up a bike consistently. I don't care about the numbers as much as the consistent process, that's where RAAD comes into play in my mind.

If our definition of 'proper' rider position is back angled at XX degrees, knees bent YY degrees, arms bent ZZ degrees....RAAD will get us in the right body position. That body position spatially / relative to the rest of the bike is different.

Now maybe you disagree with their being a 'proper' riding position, I think there is room to argue that, but RAAD conceptually at least gets us consistently there.
  • 2 1
 @R-M-R: Who are you and what do you do for a living? You design bikes calculations for fitment? You seem really smart about all those stuff and I'm just curious
  • 2 1
 @Arierep: a lot of the freeriders seem to just not even worry about it at all. Most don't know how much PSI they're runnin other than a lot, or how wide of bars or how long of stem.
  • 1 0
 @ocnlogan: I think it depends on build and riding style too. I'm not tall but ride a quite high stack height compared to my reach numbers. For me it helps keep my ass out of the rear wheel as I keep the pedals weighted riding flats. As long as the front is DH bike territory slack and the chainstays are relatively long, I don't have too much an issue weighting the front.
  • 12 0
 @RadBartTaylor: Using KOPS as a starting point: Imagine we use it - with or without correcting factors - to establish an "ideal" riding position. Now imagine we take those relationships between hands, hips, and feet and create an equivalent position on a recumbent bike. KOPS says this recumbent position is miles from ideal, and probably no amount of correcting factors will fix it, yet it's a perfectly good riding posture. This is the problem with coincidental relationship.

RAD has similar problems, such as permitting the rider to be upside-down, as long as the distance matches. RAAD attempts to fix this by constraining the angle within a small range, and it still assumes a certain type of bike for a certain type of terrain. That's a bit like saying KOPS actually works, as long as the seat-tube angle is 73°, the drop is 10 cm, the cranks are 175 mm, etc. Neither system can accommodate a diverse range of bike styles, terrain, etc. because neither is based on the physics that drive bike design or ergonomics.

KOPS, RAD/RAAD, and other coincidental relationships can be made to work, but they're built upon an incorrect premise. They require corrections - some based on real relationships, some based on additional coincidences - to more closely approximate an ideal, physics-based relationship.

Let's examine RAAD in detail. First, assume the rider's hips are correctly placed in relation to their feet - which RAD/RAAD does not restrict, so RAD/RAAD has already failed, but let's overlook that, for now. For each rider, there must be some acceptable range for both the RAD and its angle. The resulting area of acceptable placement for the grips is an annular sector with the BB at the origin of the rays. As an alternative to RAD/RAAD, we can think about the rider's physiology. Limb lengths are constant, and there will be a range of acceptable angles at the hip, shoulder, and elbow (these are the joints that primarily define the resulting hand placement area). The acceptable area for hand placement created by the acceptable range of joint angles has nothing to do with the annular sector described by RAAD. Note this failure of RAD/RAAD is just for ergonomics; we haven't begun to consider weight distribution and handling of the bike.

But ... perhaps we're looking at this from different perspectives. I design bikes, so I need to know the actual relationships that make bikes fit and function properly. If I'm interpreting you correctly, you're seeking a convenient estimation of whether a bike fits. With these purposes in mind, you can see why I despite RAD/RAAD and how it misleads people who I hope will understand my designs, and I can see how you like the convenience. If RAD/RAAD meets your needs, it's none of my business whether you use it, but it is my business to debunk bike pseudoscience and to increase the understanding of bike physics.
  • 8 0
 @KingPooPing: My background is mostly in engineering and data science and I offer freelance services in those areas - preferably to the bike industry. For the bike industry, my areas of specialization are kinematics, fit, handling, and chassis dynamics, using a uniquely (as far as I know!) data-intensive process. I've also headed the product side of a small bike company.
  • 3 0
 @Planet-26: this is true until you ride a super long bike all season long and realize you miss the short wheelbase in corners. IMO the industry has gone a touch too long/slack and needs to come back a little bit. Every time my HTA would get more slack I got used to it, until my latest bike which is sub 64. Wishing it was back at 64 flat.
  • 2 0
 @R-M-R: I thought i was reading a Rap song
  • 1 0
 @glenno: wasn’t that right in line with everyone’s sizing chart a few years ago?
  • 1 1
 Well, I think everybody can (and does) read into these figures whatever they want.

My takeaway is that relatively independent of height many riders seem to prefer chainstays in the 430s - which happens to match my own preference.
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: Cool brotha!
  • 6 0
 I feel this whole article is missing the point. What I want to know is: who is wearing chamois and who is not?!
  • 1 1
 @Drew-O: Because they like what their sponsors provide
  • 5 0
 Does anyone know why shorter riders seem to prefer proportionally longer reach bikes? E.g. 450mm for a 170cm rider (Ella Connolly) vs 460mm for a 180cm rider (Richie Rude)
  • 2 1
 don’t forget the 50mm stem and short chainstays!
Basically sounds like a 2016 YT Capra spec
  • 1 5
flag matyk (Dec 9, 2022 at 4:57) (Below Threshold)
 I'm happy to see a lot of these numbers. Hopefully bike manufacturers see this and stop marketing the crazy slack bikes with super long chainstays. They handle like garbage but all you simpletons jump on whatever trend they feed you.
  • 2 0
 @jostaudt: I’d beware of making generalisations from small sample sizes.
  • 5 0
 I think you also have to take into account that the fastest race set up may not be the most comfortable or the most fun. Us mere mortals want a fun bike that lets us get away with riding over our head sometimes. Totally different set of goals. I recall Gwin going on at length about how his race set up felt horrible to ride and he never rode his race set up when he was just having fun.
  • 2 1
 @FuzzyL: I second that. Seems that there is a tendency to get too nerdy over numbers, for the sake of following some narrow trend, but it is the feel that dictates what actually works best in the widest spectrum of trails. I was quite glad to see that the numbers above almost completely reflect my own preferences. My bike is in high position, I prefer shorter over long chainstays (up to 435) and I certainly don't like flopping superslack headset angles.
Looks like slacker geo is set more to work on flowy, wide, open, fast and non technical trails that are getting popular with regular folks. But if you prefer dealing with the proper alpine gnar, and possess some skill, then a bit more conservative numbers just work better.
  • 2 0
 @smoothmoose: @smoothmoose: Exactly the same experience here. I choose the L instead of XL after testriding both. The L felt more playful, better control, easier to hop over things etc. No real benefit going to the XL.
  • 2 2
 @R-M-R: "RAD doesn't account for seat-tube angle" - neither does reach.
  • 2 0
 @R-M-R: yeah, I halfway suck at mountain biking and love my 62° head angle super long hardtail. The only thing that would make it easier would be training wheels
  • 4 0
 @thustlewhumber: That's because reach is just a frame dimension, while RAD/RAAD claims to be a bike fit tool.

@hankj: Some hardtails have the most experimental geometry on the market! I'm not going to comment on whether I like it, but I will say I'm glad we have such a range of options.

It's impossible to know how far to take things until you've gone too far. For decades, it was obvious bike geometry wasn't ideal, yet brands weren't testing the limits, so they just tentatively crept in the right direction. Finally, it's possible some modern bikes have gone too far - or maybe we just haven't caught up! Maybe the middle of the bell curve is now in the right place, or maybe things can still go a little further. At least we're in the ballpark and there are bikes available with a range of fit and handling parameters. No one is forcing people to buy a bike with an exceptionally long reach, steep seat-tube angle, slack head-tube angle, long chainstays, etc.; if that doesn't suit someone, there are plenty of bikes with more traditional geometry and/or 27.5" wheels. Agility, stability, upright, stretched - choice is a good thing!
  • 1 1
 @R-M-R: Part of the problem is that there is no longer many options, and in some cases no options, if you want a shorter 27.5 bike.
  • 3 0
 @NoahJ: My database says there are 65 current models available with 27.5" wheels, and let's not ignore the used market - put a new shock and fork on an old bike with your preferred dimensions and it's almost as good as new.

There's a reason things disappear. 26" bikes with 350 mm reach also disappeared; if they existed, almost no one would buy them. Personally, I feel the reasons are the same: the currently popular bikes work better. Sometimes people with outlier preferences are ahead of the curve, and sometimes they just have niche tastes. In this case, I think it's a matter of niche tastes - which is fine, and it's wonderful for people to enjoy a diverse range of experiences within our sport - but niche tastes will always be presented with fewer options.

Maybe the middle of the bell curve will swing back toward greater agility, as happened in the beginning of the 1990s. Until then, at least the bikes you like are often the ones on sale!
  • 1 0
 @EnduroManiac: longer stems creates more leverage/weight on the front tire. More weight = more grip through turns.
  • 5 0
 @R-M-R: one thing I've always found perplexing about RAD is the fact the that longer your arms are (if height stays constant) the shorter your span/rad/reach is supposed to be. I mean, the mental image of having straight arms for pumping resonates with me, but there's something missing obviously.
  • 4 4
 @R-M-R: outside of RA(A)D - what else do we have? It's good to have options, 'choice', as you say...but without something driving people to try something new many are at the mercy of manuf. claims of what they should be riding or god forbid the PB comments sections where people have confirmation bias.

I'd wager a bet that many pro's, at least the men, are much closer to RA(A)D than they are to any manuf claims of what they should be riding.

Not sure why you are so opposed to RA(A)D, it's a solid starting point, breaks down some unfortunate common trends of longer longer longer and makes people think about bike fit in new ways.

We are having a conversation about geo because of Lee's concept...
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: @RadBartTaylor @shredddr I could use some advice from the big geo nerds on here. I'm 6' with ~ 74" wingspan, currently on a large 2019 Rocky Altitude. The reach is fine, but bars (stack?) on my Rocky is definitely too low. Stem is at top of steerer, but I get too much weight in my hands while seated, even with fat grips and 35 mm riser. Love the maneuverability, but I feel on top of the bike rather than in it. I want a little more room for error in body position when it comes to hard braking and steep jank.

I'm pretty set on getting a Spesh enduro to race some multiday enduros and bike park days. Spesh says I should be on S4, but I'm starting to think S3 may be better for maneuverability and not being too stretched out. I also probably need to do a better job weighting the front and could put a longer stem on S3. Thoughts? PM me if it's easier.
  • 2 0
 @motts: I'd advocate for a S3, at 6-4 w/77" wingspan I am on a S4, with ~25mm of spacers and a high-rise bar, really like it, jumps great, turns great and stability is plenty, Whistler bike park to PNW tech terrain.
  • 2 0
 @R-M-R: better than the above article!
  • 5 1
 @RadBartTaylor: We are having a conversation about geometry because it's a popular topic in mountain biking. We are having a conversation about RAD/RAAD because you brought it up and are vigorously defending it.

"outside of RA(A)D - what else do we have?"

Many online calculators, fit services from shops, and manufacturers' recommendations. The appeal of RAD/RAAD is that it's simple. It's easy to be simple when physics is ignored.

I believe we continue to say different things: I'm saying it's based on flawed thinking, but I'm making no statement on whether it can put you, specifically, into a position you like. I believe you're saying it's convenient and maybe it helps you. If you want to use it and if it gets you close to a position you like, then fine, use it; that doesn't change that it's based on incorrect thinking and, if it works at all, it's only a coincidence due to mountain bike designs existing within a narrow range, which came about due to correct thinking and/or trial-and-error.


"without something driving people to try something new many are at the mercy of manuf. claims of what they should be riding or god forbid the PB comments sections where people have confirmation bias."

I'm not sure that's true, but even if it is, RAD/RAAD has nothing to do with that. Many manufacturers, fit services from shops, and online calculators make different recommendations. If RAD/RAAD makes yet another recommendation, why should we treat it any differently from any of the other myriad recommendations? The menagerie of opinions are each just the idea of one person; at least some of the other recommendations are likely to be based on more sound reasoning than RAD/RAAD.


"I'd wager a bet that many pro's, at least the men, are much closer to RA(A)D than they are to any manuf claims of what they should be riding."

What is it that makes you believe RAD/RAAD is more valid than the recommendations of other industry professionals? Bike companies don't just pull numbers out of a hat; their recommendations come from some logical process and/or trial-and-error. Some are better than others and some are based on better logic than others, but I see no reason to trust them less than a method that can be proven to be based on incorrect reasoning and coincidence. Again, that's not to say RAD/RAAD produces worse results for you, but if RAD/RAAD succeeds, it's only by coincidence and the prior work of others to narrowly constrain the range of options.


"Not sure why you are so opposed to RA(A)D"

Because it's based on incorrect reasoning and coincidence. Same reason I'm opposed to KOPS. If these sorts of techniques happen to work for you, that's great, but it's important to realize they are unlikely to work for a wide range of bodies and riding styles because the coincidental relationships do not hold true outside of the narrow range of bikes upon which they are based.
  • 7 0
 @bikefuturist: What's missing is a link to the physics that drives fit / geometry. The further you deviate from Lee's body, Lee's preferred bikes, Lee's preferred trails, and Lee's preferred riding style, the greater the error in the calculation.

To give another example, I was once told that a road bike fits properly when the handlebar blocks the rider's sight of the front hub. If the rider is a male of average height and average flexibility, and all bikes under consideration have the usual angles and dimensions, then yes, that will usually produce a good fit, so maybe it's a convenient guide for many people and will help them choose the right bike. It can be useful - but it's also infuriatingly wrong. A size XXXXS with the longest stem ever created would also satisfy the criterion, as would an upright "Dutch" commuter bike with a handlebar at the tip of your nose.

It's possible for a guideline to be both useful and utterly wrong, but for it to be useful, it can be applied only within a narrow range of variables, which were established via correct reasoning and/or trial-and-error.
  • 2 0
 @R-M-R: yeah that's true! the more the industry pushes 29" the cheaper i'll be able to buy my 27.5 used.
  • 2 0
 @bikefuturist: Oops, a clarification: In my example of a tiny bike with a long stem satisfying the bar & hub criterion, I should've also stipulated a very slack head-tube angle. Anyway, I'm sure you get the point, I just take ridiculousness very seriously. Smile
  • 1 0
 @jostaudt: probably because the bike sponsor has no smaller option Wink
  • 4 4
 @R-M-R: But 27.5 bikes are generally much more versatile than 29, right? Sales/marketing is the only logical explanation as to why/how 29 took over. It simply enabled a shift towards the much larger market of people with more money (and generally less skill), so I get it but it’s not that hard to offer options. However, eliminating one wheel size to create obsolescence and simplify manufacturing is much more profitable.

So here we are in 2022 impressed watching remy shred stuff on a 29’er that berrecloth and everyone else already shredded and tricked on 26’er back in 2006. Not knocking remy at all, but the most impressive aspect is that he does it on a 29er and not 27.5.
  • 1 3
 @emptybe-er: I think modern geometry is what's catering to people with less skill over wheel size. Saying a bike is "more capable" is just another way of saying "handicap." But hey, let's keep making bikes lower, longer, and slacker year after year. I will agree that we still need to see 27.5" bikes though. I prefer 29, but 27.5 is a little more fun at the bike parks. Both sizes have their place.
  • 3 0
 I think it’s a degree of they know what they like/what they’re really used to. Can’t lose sight of the fact of what happened when they put Yoann on the Donut. I’m sure he wouldn’t have been saying it was his preferred reach!
  • 1 0
 @Linc: as an undertrained, overconfident middle aged weeekend warrior I’ll take all the help I can get!
  • 1 1
 @emptybe-er: I beg to differ, If i'm correct He shreds mostly on a mullet set up.
  • 1 0
 @jostaudt: as an observation you could look at BMX and ask similarly why very tall riders ride such proportionally small bikes. It’s possible in the case of MTB that if you take wheel size, angles and trail types as a constant, that below a certain length, handling compromises start to arise. Likewise perhaps the reason some of the taller pros here like shorter bikes is because the bikes were developed around medium sized people/ bikes and therefore the medium bikes are the most coherent packages. Wild speculation though
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: It's simple trigonometry: a longer bike under the same sized rider means a longer base of support for the same height centre of mass. That means the circle of error for holding the COM in the correct position for the manoeuvre is relatively larger (or more forgiving). So the reduced range of motion (potentially) has to be weighed up against the performance and confidence gains that come from being centred more easily and more often.
  • 1 0
 @Planet-26: 200% this.
  • 1 0
 @jimicarl: Well it depends on your terrain you're riding. I prefer my current 64HTA/77STA enduro bike in size small, compared to my previous trail bike at 67HTA/74STA size medium for sure. What I'm saying is my current enduro bike in size Small is still 2.5 inchs longer than my previous trail bike in size Medium. If I went to size medium on my enduro bike it would be 3.75 inches longer - which is not necessary. The slack HTA helps with the steep descents and the steep STA helps with the long fireroad climbs we have here in Santa Cruz. But if your terrain doesn't justify this geometry, then you don't need it. The new geometry is worst for flat or rolling terrain.
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: I've had multiple "fittings" from pro fitters using all sorts of lasers when I used to race; industry standard procedures, computer imagery, etc, guess what, they all disagree.

So just like you, everybody has their methods and creative licensing to develop what works and what doesn't.

I also work in a tech industry where people over-analyze every decision....huge data models to try and get things right only to find out simple calcs and rules of thumb generally work, a quantitative model in a qualitative world.

And no, I don't agree that bike companies with vested interest to sell bikes and whom sell what people *think* they want, is a reliable source for fit data.

But again, stepping back to 30,000 feet, I think of RA(A)D and Lee's concepts are three different things:

RAD hypothesis - bikes are too long....100% agree with the concept, as we can see, pro riders are starting to trend this direction.

RAD measurement process - here is a way to consistently measure and get a sense how we should fit bikes moving forward....100% agree, it's repeatable and consistent

RAD calculation / numbers - here is what the number should be based on your body dimensions.....I don't necessarily agree, it could be +13.67% or -2.77%.
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: IDK... I'd rather ride a bit slower and have a more nimble/manoeuvrable bike. Lots of tech to cope with on the North Shore!
  • 70 1
 Very interesting how taller rider ride much shorter reach numbers compared to short riders that ride proportionally much longer bikes. Could it be that short rider get to ride longer bikes because that still is a short enough bike for an enduro track while tall riders have to limit their bike sizes to have a bike that still fit the course ?
  • 24 3
 Bingo Bango Bongo
  • 12 0
 Note the stem length also, the tall guys in the 470mm reach frames are running 50mm stems
  • 18 12
 By ‘short riders’, from this survey, you’re basically saying ‘women’. That opens up a whole different conversation about stability vs strength etc.
  • 37 6
 @Linc: Everyone questioned here is short besides Jack.
  • 9 1
 I agree. It's all about the wheelbase, not the reach. I there is probably an optimal range of wheelbases that work well for most tracks.
  • 12 2
 I have a theory that wheelbase (and reach to a degree) aren't hard-tied to a persons height. Just because you are taller or shorter doesn't mean a bike necessarily needs to be massively shorter or longer. In MX, you don't have 5 freaking sizes of bikes. You get one, and can adjust the seat etc. The wheelbases are the same...and it works fine.

Bikes are different and super light but wheelbase and stability are likely a bit more independent of the riders height than we might think. This likely is what riders are clinging more towards the middle of the sizing spectrum rather than the extremes...for people that are super riders and not subjected to effective marketing and post-purchase-justification.
  • 5 3
 Don't try to analyse anything related to mechanic, physics or anything based on pro rider's setup. They are riding things they feel right, so they can go faster, not things that are absolutely faster.
  • 5 1
 @Svinyard: bingo.....

To your point, MX bike reach can be adjusted ~25mm, seat height +/- 20mm, bar height ~20mm, footpegs +/- 5mm.....fits Ricky Charmichael (5-5) to Pastrana (6-2) to Bloss (6-5).....Pastrana and Bloss actually run LOWER bars than many of the shorter riders...go figure.
  • 7 0
 None of these riders are super tall either. They None are over 186cm. That puts them all solidly in a size large or less, and few of large bikes have a reach of 490+
  • 10 0
 We would probably need bar width to have a full picture.
  • 14 0
 Thanks, you get it! I've been saying this exact thing for years.

Jack Moir is the best example to your theory. He's the tallest of the racers here at 186cm and rides a race bike with 475mm reach because if he'd go bigger, that would make the bike unwieldy on tight switchbacks in the french alps. His personal trail bike that he rides at home has 510mm of reach though.

I can't stress enough how much you really, really can not infer any "universal truths" about bike sizing and geometry (especially reach) from the setups of pro EWS racers.
  • 9 5
 The bicycle is an adjustable mechanism. The rider is an adaptable organism. There will be convergence.

Pro riders who have been riding at a very high level for 10+ years are likely to have adapted to bike geometry from earlier in their development, and most likely will stick with something in their comfort zone. That might not be the bleeding edge of what's new.

Get some popcorn, sit back, and watch over the next 10 years to see where it takes us.

The good news is that bikes are still getting better. Just look back 5, 10, 15 years and see what a huge difference there is.
  • 6 4
 @uberstein: this is a weak ass rationalization. it doesn't take years to adjust to newer, better geo. particularly not for high level riders. radical modern geo trades agility for stability. most pros know how to keep a smaller bike stable.

just like what you like and stop desperately trying to prove to everyone else that it's "better."
  • 10 0
 I'm 200cm - I downsized from Stumpy Evo S6 to S5 based on wheelbase for my local trails. The S6/XXL fits me, but not the trails, so went smaller and effing love it
  • 2 0
 @adamdigby: Matt walker and jack are with 1cm of each other.
  • 3 1
 But you have to calculate stem length into the equation because some of them that have long reach numbers are using shorter stems. I think final reach numbers should account for stem length. Even handlebar backsweep and handlebar width can affect the reach feel, but that is another story. Lol.
  • 3 1
 @RadBartTaylor: Arm length has an affect on body position on the bike. A rider with longer arms with lower stack height may still have a more upright body position than a rider with short arms and higher stack height. No one size fits all.
  • 1 0
 @tacklingdummy: stem is not reach, unless are you also going to factor in back sweep bars, stem height, and use trig to calculate how offset the riders hands are in correlation to the center of the head tube, oh wait, that’s what a reach number is.
  • 4 0
 Been wondering this for a long time - critical missing piece in this survey is WHEELBASE
  • 1 0
 @tacklingdummy: I get it trust me.....stand next to somebody 10" taller or shorter, your finger tips are within an inch.
  • 1 0
 @5afety3rd: My statement was mainly in response to Balgaroth's statement "how the above taller riders ride much shorter reach numbers compared to short riders" because many of the pros above that are shorter riders and have longer reach numbers are using shorter stems. That makes a difference and it won't feel super stretched when on the bike. Perhaps there should be two numbers "actual reach" and "effective reach" like STA. Mondraker calls it "forward geometry."

I'm just trying to simplify the reach to include the stem, but like I said above handlebar backsweep and handlebar width does have an effect on the reach feel. If you have a very high angle backsweep bar, the reach will feel shorter. Also, if you have wider bars, it brings your body more forward, so the reach can feel longer. It opens up more debate. Lol.
  • 3 2
 Probably a 470mm reach bike with 435mm chainstays just rides nicely balanced - independent if you are 160cm or 185.
  • 1 0
 @FuzzyL: nope. My previous bike pretty much had those numbers, my GF who is 1m60 jumper on it and just could ride it, way too big. Maybe with 27.5 wheels and a low BB but I doubt it.
  • 1 1
 @spaced: Bar width and backsweep. Not sure how reach will tell so much if you don't combine it with stem length, backsweep and bar width. Basically, where are the grips with respect to the center of the bottom bracket?

Similar with the chainstay. As Matt Walker already mentioned, the chainstay needs to be proportional to the other dimensions but I wouldn't just say proportional to the reach, but actually to the wheelbase (so include reach, fork length and head tube angle if you're taking that detour). I'd even go as far as to say it also matters where you put your feet on the pedals. But I suppose these riders are riding clipped in (they didn't ask Sam Hill) so their foot position is comparable.
  • 2 0
 I’ve noticed this trend more generally too. From my small sample size and view point most riders tend toward the centre of the sizing range. Makes sense I suppose.
One thing I’ve been considering is whether taller riders benefit more from lower bottom bracket heights and I wonder if there’s anything in the idea of trying to adjust sizes accordingly - to ‘normalise’ the cog of shorter - taller riders. If that makes sense to anyone. There are several other factors involving handling etc to consider alongside but…yeah just something I’ve had in the back of my mind.
  • 1 0
 @adamdigby: let's find a bunch of average height racers and quiz them about setup and geo! hey, whaddya know - people like average!
  • 1 0
 @Dendens: to better weight the front wheel.
  • 1 0
 @ThomDawley: that's an interesting idea but it is discounting the increase in weight that comes with height. Say you normalise COG from someone 1m60 for 50kg applied for someone 2m for 100kg. Now theoretically at COG with an identical wheelbase you wouldn't have any more risks of going over the bars for either person. But we are in a dynamic sport so we move around and shifting 50kg vs 100kg over the same range of motion will have much more dramatic reactions for the 100kg case. As such the 100kg person will have to limit its range of motion a lot more and be very precise in every movement to not "over-input" the bike and crash. I am sure some physicist could calculate an equation to have proportional range of motion effect to suit a weight and height case. You would need to find out who has it best first, is it short riders or tall riders at the moment ? Think about bike sizing, currently with a bike that has fixed 435mm chainstays and reach varying from 410mm to 510mm, with fixed fork height and head angle you basically go roughly from a 1.70 ratio (front vs rear center) to a 1.95 ratio so the centering of your BB in between the 2 axles is radically different and so is your COG centering which also means that a size S vs a size XL will feel radically different and behave completely different so which is has the right proportions sorted ? My bet is probably somewhere within a current size M with S bikes needing smaller CS and L and XL need much and much much longer CS. Time will tell as we keep on moving away from XC and Road bike geos.
  • 1 0
 also worth considering lots of EWS tracks are pretty tight with sharp corners, lots of turns. Might affect their decisions on head angle and wheelbase.
  • 3 0
 @Balgaroth: i doubt physicists could design a bike which doesn't have some tradeoffs. Ultralong bikes absolutely do. people talking about bleeding edge progressive geo often fall back to arbitrary FC/RC proportions, which nothing objective supports. why not just state it like it is? A personal preference. It's so weird to me that people need to prove to others that it's objectively right. we need bike companies making different bikes for different riders. there is no "one true geo." and there's nothing to support that super long reach/CS bikes are faster/better/safer/the future. it's the attempt to amass some kind of pseudo-scientific argument to prove the superiority of your preference which gets tired.

ultralong bikes are available, which is good. but there is nothing objective to say that a bike with a 480 reach needs 445+ chainstays. It's a hobby, that's a preference, and I will be very sad if we see all companies making the same enduro barges. i don't like the way they ride, and there are lots of us that don't.
  • 2 0
 @TheRamma: never said there was a perfect geo you are putting words in my mouth. I am talking about how bikes should be in proportion across sizes. One brand can still decide that their L is 460mm reach and that 420mm CS are perfect for that reach. But then offering a size S with 420mm reach and the same 420mm CS won't offer the same ride qualities and behaviour which is very strange to me as that means that basically each bike size is a different bike, why does it keep the same name then ? Take skis, is you take a Fischer, Atomic or a Rossignol, for a given category their skis will have a different take on side cut, camber, rocker and tip size/shape. But if you take a 160cm ski and a 190cm ski, the binding will be centered the same way to have a ski that is as close as possible to the intended behaviour chosen by the brand/designer. That's all I am saying, at the moment if you read a bike review (for what it's worth) for a bike size M and need a size XL, you may as well not read it as it won't be informative, aide maybe from the behaviour of the suspension system but for bike behaviour, cornerability, stability and such it is worthless.
  • 2 0
 @Balgaroth: I was responding to your assertion that large bikes need much longer chainstays than they currently have.

Otherwise, you're free to pick FC/RC ratio as the defining characteristic of a bike, but I think you're greatly exaggerating the roll that static, seated weight distribution has to do in a sport that is very dynamic. As a dude with a long, torso, I can weight the front wheel with no problem, particularly on descents when I'm putting my face to the stem. I suspect at the same height, but with longer legs, wouldn't have the same weight distribution or ease of putting weight on the front. it's also worth noting that you get small changes in weight distribution for 10mm of CS growth (per bike designers who have studied it).

I respect the desire to have more equivalent bike experiences between sizes for the purposes of reviewing, but I don't know that controlling FC/RC is the leap forward you want it to be. Bike fit and tune is still pretty personal. Reviews are honestly just for entertainment anyway. PB's riding locations and styles don't reflect my own (not that it's their fault). I gotta ride a bike before I know if I want to buy it.
  • 3 0
 Most bikes are published with static geometry. Cotic may be the rare exception. Bikes with a telescopic fork and a conventional or high pivot rear suspension (so bb-centric designs like the DMR Bolt excluded) have both front and rear wheels moving rearwards as the bike sags into travel. So for those bikes, the FC/RC ratio shifts a bit. You'll probably preserve that ratio best on a fully rigid bike or on a bike with a bb-centered rear suspension design.
  • 24 1
 Tall people who are not world class in riding abilities now have way more capable options to choose from now. The fact that bike companies are not making their small size a 425 reach to fit 5 foot tall riders and their XL size 445 reach to fit riders "up to 6 ft 5 inches tall" is the best thing to happen to mountain biking since dropper posts. I don't understand why mid to upper 5 foot tall people are so upset by the fact that there are people actually able to use the longest reach and other "new" geometry numbers.
  • 29 8
 I'm so sick of "im 5'"9' so I'm right in between L and M". No, you're not. You are a medium sized person and belong on a medium sized bike.
  • 3 1
 @RonSauce: this year I finally realized that, got a medium bike with 455 reach and I’m so happy.
  • 5 5
 no one is upset Shaq can get a bike. It's just some Medium sized bikes are not really medium and it is transparent some companies as chasing dumb trends while claiming "no this is really best for you".
  • 6 1
 @RonSauce: I’m 5’9” and ride a large. It rides and feels great!
  • 20 1
 @RonSauce: I'm 5'9" and thy bike manufacturer said in right between their M and L. So I went with XXL.
  • 8 4
 1000% disagree.

XL rider here abs long chainstays are forcing me into mediums. I am a half decent bike handler though, not remotely pro level, definitely don’t need any more stability.
  • 11 1
 @5afety3rd:
+1
We might be in the minority, but the size specific chainstays just make L/XL bikes more and more boatlike
  • 7 0
 At 6”1 on a 500mm reach bike for the first time since we have overcome 130mm stems in the late 90s I feel a bike actually fits me, instead of having to fold myself awkwardly on to of it. Other riders at the same height might prefer a full 50mm less of reach - but I can’t see how it’s a bad thing that everybody has all those options now.
  • 6 1
 @gregs22: I honestly don't care if you're on a small or xl or medium, there is just no point in getting upset because bigger guys can fit comfortably on mountain bikes now.

I'm right between xl and xxl on size charts, im not mad about there being an xxl option. I "size down" to a bike with 510mm reach.
  • 4 0
 It's not just the height.

Im 183 (6 ft in complicated) but with shorter legs, longer torso, wide shoulders and 190 cm wingspan.

I ride 495 mm reach and for the first time in my life I don't feel like I'm hanging over handlebars
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: I’m 5’9 and trigger my friends by sticking with rather small mediums. My current Evil Following MB has made me realize reach numbers are more important than size, as I feel a bit cramped. I think it solely depends on personal preference, the majority of large’s I’ve tried felt just fine, I simply prefer a smaller bike.
  • 3 1
 @spaceofades: no, you're not in the minority at all. PB just gets to be an echo chamber. Years ago, it was posters telling us all that 27.5+ FS bikes with ultra low pressures were the future. Now we're all supposed to be on bikes that have 500+ reaches and "proportional" stays.

I get very tired of people telling me my large Lithium is unbalanced. No way! My Large ESD is unbalanced, that thing has 417mm CS. But it's also a blast...
  • 1 0
 @pakleni: I'm right there with you, 184cm, 197cm wingspan and shortish legs - I got a Privateer two years ago and it's the first time I've ever had a bike that actually fits. I had a Yeti 5.5 before that and that was way better than any other bike but I still had trouble weighting the front with the shorter chainstays. The privateer geo fixed that with the balanced front/rear.

I can see how people with shorter arms might feel stuck in the middle of the bike though
  • 2 0
 Because everyone like to pick geo numbers and be a dick about it. Wink
  • 2 0
 @TheRamma: since you have a ESD which has some adjustable stays, have you actually tried "long" stays ? Now keep in mind that for long stays, blanced geo you will most likely need to add one of 2 spacers under your stem but all this is reversible and free so if you haven't tried it maybe do so, if you come with and open mind you might even like it.
  • 1 0
 @Balgaroth: oh yeah, I've tried is all the way (430?) and midway. I didn't try changing spacers, though, but I think I'm maxed. initially thought I'd never enjoy the stays slammed, because it looks silly on paper. And it is silly IRL.

I enjoy how unbalanced it is at 417. it's never going to plow as well as my lithium, so I like that I can unweight either wheel really easily with the shorter stays. it's a bit chaotic, but that's the fun.

I'm not complaining about radical geo, it's people saying there is one, best geometry. there isn't a perfect reach/chainstay (or FC/RC) ratio for all riders. I want bike companies making all sorts of different stuff. the ESD is a beautiful mutant.
  • 45 19
 Once again, long bikes feel good to bad riders.
  • 30 0
 True, but 1990s bikes feel bad to everyone. Whether we've reached the optimum is to be determined.
  • 1 1
 @R-M-R: True, but there are so many various sub-disciplines in mountain biking. I think we should just embrace that it's not a one size fits all disciplines geometry that is ideal. Look at BMX running 20" wheels, top tubes can vary from 20" to 22" in 1/4" increments in some frames, that's 9 sizes only spanning slightly more than 50mm.
  • 3 0
 @XC-Only: Yes, of course. A road bike does not need a 1350 mm wheelbase any more than it needs 180 mm of travel, and 1990s bikes actually do still feel good ... as gravel bikes!
  • 17 1
 Ya Yoann Barelli is a pretty bad rider
  • 16 0
 Long bikes feel good to long people.
  • 7 7
 Steve at Vorsprung actually did some math as to why too long bikes feel bad to everyone. It's long bike placebo here mostly. People who have spent 10k on a new long ass bike now need to rationalize that expense
  • 2 3
 @spaced: Agree. And many of these PB comments fall into the same category
  • 8 0
 If a bike enables a bad rider to ride less badly, is that a terrible thing?
  • 4 4
 @uberstein: Maybe. It's the MTB equivalent of running training wheels on your bike. And then the problem is that trail designers make trails to appeal to bikes running these 'training wheels'... that's the problem.
  • 1 1
 @Linc: This, and that one never learns to ride a bike until they take the training wheels off and wobble around for a few rides.
  • 5 1
 Bikes that are too long do not feel good on tighter twisty singletrack because they just don't feel as nimble, however they do feel more stable at speed and steeper terrain. I do think there is a happy medium for every rider, but it is personal preference and the type of trails they ride.
  • 3 2
 It's like plus sized tires a few years ago, got super popular with newer riders because it helped their confidence but like anything it had downsides. More experienced riders wanted the agility and speed of 2.4-2.6 tires. The industry then came back. I wonder if this may happen with reach numbers. It seems like slacker head angle around 63-65 is just great and no one disagrees. But reach is getting a bit long. Most new bikes for me have a reach of 500-520 and it just doesn't feel great, unwieldly and not as agile. Instead I have to size down to get 490.
  • 1 1
 @Cgocal: Because I'm bad, I'm bad, Yoann

Yoann, you know (really, really bad)

And the whole world has to answer right now
Just to tell you once again
  • 5 1
 @DylanH93: In defense of plus tires, the first products had flimsy casings, tiny lugs, hard compounds, and were usually mounted on rims 30 mm or narrower. There are now a few models available with (slightly) stouter casings, proper lugs, medium compounds, and we now have nice rims up to 45 mm wide. A good plus set-up can work really well, but we can stick to one controversial topic at a time.
  • 23 3
 Ah, the difference between what people who ride bikes for a living use and what people who sell bikes for a living have to tell us to get us to buy bikes and keep them all in jobs.
  • 3 3
 So much this^
  • 2 2
 Consumers will buy anything they're told to whether it's good or not. Modern geometry designs is proof of that.
  • 3 0
 doubt half of these riders are "riding bikes for a living" . . . . . . more of a life style!
  • 3 2
 @OnTheRivet: there's an upvote button for that
  • 2 4
 @thegoodflow: Apprently I touched a nerve, that 510mm reach bike not working out for you?
  • 4 2
 @OnTheRivet: lol, ok. 500mm reach and a 50mm stem works great for me at 6'4". Really have no beef with your opinion on reach, ride what works for you. But, next time maybe you could try upvoting comments you agree with instead of saying "so much this"... accomplishes the same thing while sparing us the gross reddit colloquialisms
  • 17 2
 So key takeaway is based on modern geo, it seems like most pros are sizing down to keep the wheelbase as short as possible (shorter reach and shorter chainstays) to increase nimbility and relying on skill to overcome reduced stability.
  • 5 6
 SHHH most bikes already have chain stays that are too short in comparison to their reach.
  • 3 2
 Nimbleness? I like nimbility though. Leads my brain directly to nimbecile.
  • 2 1
 @getschwifty: it’s a Levy thing.
  • 6 4
 Yes. I hope this trend of making bikes with longer chainstays ends. More stable on a bumpy straightaway results in piss poor handling on every other section of trail.
  • 14 0
 I think a plot of height vs reach would be interesting - idle curiosity. It'd be interesting as well to see that vs a manufacturers recommendations... I'm 180cm with short torso and see myself looking at mediums now to avoid massive reaches.. Have tried a long reach and didn't get on with it.
  • 3 0
 I think wingspan plays a role in the equation too. I'm 188cm tall and on the cusp of L and XL with a lot of manufacturers. My wingspan is 185cm and I prefer bikes at the region of 485mm which is often around the large size, I don't like the feel of bikes with a reach of 500mm or more.
  • 5 0
 @commental:

I think Wingspan, and leg length makes a huge difference.

I'm 185cm tall, but with really long legs. I have a buddy who is taller by ~25mm, who needs to drop my saddle height to ride my bike.

If both of us do EXACTLY the same form (hinge at the hips), his shoulders/head will be ~25mm farther forward, and he will likely need a bike that is ~25mm longer in reach than mine.

But the flip side is also true. Same people, same hinging at the hips, my best fitting bike (in theory) would be ~25mm shorter in reach... but also higher in stack (otherwise I'd have to hinge more to reach the handlebars due to my longer legs).
  • 2 0
 Well at 180 you are between M/L anyway.

Plus some companies still offer smallish L's like YT for example
  • 2 0
 @spaced: very true. Until recently I've always gone for a large but I'm now finding myself looking at mediums but then very long legs means there's not enough stack or seat tube so crazy riser bars and seatposts needed...
  • 1 0
 @ocnlogan: I'm 182 with a wingspan of 196 and just as long legs. I fit saddle height with 190-192 cm friends. until now I have been riding Large/480mm reach. Just ordered a Medium/465mm reach - I hope and expect it will relieve the feeling I have had: That the bike is riding me and not the other way around  crossing my fingers - we'll see...
  • 1 0
 @carlchristian: Torso length is the key thing relevant when sizing up appropriate reach. 465 will be perfect.
  • 1 0
 @Linc: 188cm and 198cm wingspan and all legs. 500mm reach FEELS better than 480mm to me cornering and straight line charging.

Maybe I’m just strong enough to corner it.

Or maybe I should spend more time riding instead of lifting weights so I could be skilled enough to ride a medium Smile
  • 1 0
 @ocnlogan: this is super intersting bring in the same boat.

My n=1 feeling on a 480mm bikes with shorter rear ends was that having long arms and legs made me hinge further back due to the long limbs. Maybe a longer chain stay only would help the balance. Extending to 505mm reaxh 440mm rear made me feel perched in the middle easily and the most comfortable I have felt on a bike (that is with a 15mm shorter stem). Probably could have gone 490mm reach if i take that difference into account. I’m not opposed to the shorter stem in this bike.

I had no perceived (biased or not) issue personally flicking that bigger bike around but did initially adjust to committing to corners, but had none of the less than 50mm stem length washouts I was waiting for. I did have that running a 35mm on the shorter bike,

That was a short travel bike though so when my XL Madonna arrives I’ll have to see how the confirmation bias makes me feel in that situation Smile .

So much personal preference is in this. Trial and error, ride what you like/got/want
  • 1 0
 @ocnlogan: also agree on stack. Comfortable position for the long legged and maintains the reach without a stack of spacers.
  • 16 3
 It seems like most innovation/tinkering in a lot of sports comes from the sub-pro (aka weekend hack) level. We may not be anywhere near as talented, but we make up for it through interest in if this geo change will fill in for said void of talent. I personally try as many bikes as I am given opportunity, pros don’t seem to do that as much (based on sponsor/time restraints).
  • 7 1
 Been saying this for a while now - most innovation we see is designed to make average riders feel less average. It’s not about pushing the top end of the sport anymore.
  • 8 2
 I think it's a false argument. It's just the industry went too far with reach. I remember when people were pushing DH geo and the best DH pros were using the same geo random weekend warriors enjoyed. So that was true. What you are really observing is the industry chasing a trend. going too far and then correcting. Kind of like with crazy slack head angles and short chainstays we had in the early 2010s on DH bikes. Then the industry realized there is a sweet spot, the riders didn't want a 60HA or 425CS.
  • 4 1
 why do you think that pros don't try lots of bikes?
  • 3 0
 Yes, I'm sure that bike designers everywhere are getting most of their cues from the Pinkbike comments section. I bet R-M-C is furiously scribbling notes from all of the valuable intel here.
  • 3 0
 @TheRamma: it’s probably just me looking for confirmation of what I think, but comments like Richie’s (“Haven't ridden too many bikes to have a great idea”), that most of their preferred numbers mirror their current bike (probably sponsor bias there) and that it seems like most of the other bikes referenced that they tried are in the same brands stable. But they might just be sponsor related as well
  • 2 1
 @Agrey: yeah man, I get it. I'm also looking for confirmation! I'm the same height as Matt Walker. I like the same geo! I'm as smart as a pro! But when I don't agree with the PB opinions, it's obvious they're biased.

We all do this, to some extent. It would be better if we talked about what we liked more, and what's objectively "better" less.
  • 19 4
 Interesting that several pro racers figure the fox 38 is unnecessary. Better tell your local dentist he's over forked.
  • 6 0
 Yes, I have a fox 38 . And yes I'm over forked. Not a dentist.
  • 3 1
 Many riders - even pros - put more emphasis on weight than what's warranted according to the stopwatch. I would be interested to do some testing to see whether the reduced weight results in improved pace, reduced fatigue, and/or greater maneuverability (the latter two possibly resulting in a greater margin of safety).

Perhaps a fraction of that extra weight could be countered via lighter wheels. If the fork is stiffer, a little more flex could be allowed in the wheels, which might improve the traction more than flex in the fork.

None of this is certain, of course. This is how bikes evolve via incremental improvement.
  • 6 1
 pro racers are probably 30 pounds lighter and 100 times smoother than most recreational cyclists.
  • 6 1
 And 99.9% of non pro/causal riders can't tell the difference in the stiffness of a 36 vs a 38 no matter what they tell you.
  • 2 0
 Many of them are a lot ligher than most average (male) riders.
  • 15 0
 Averages:
Headangle: 64.31
  • 9 0
 Stem: 40.4375
  • 13 0
 Rotors: 204.6875
  • 11 0
 Chainstay: 434.5416
  • 8 1
 Reach: 457.8462
  • 4 0
 Some of the reach numbers are listed in cm, should be mm @ericolsen
  • 22 0
 Stanchions: 37.1429
(It seems Manitou is right to go with 37mm on the Mezzer)
  • 3 2
 Nice work. Besides reach, a gen 1 sentinel, size M/L-ish almost the ideal pro enduro race bike (ignoring travel). This geo dates back to 2016/17. Interesting. My sentinel I bought back in 2020 is proving to last the test of time geo wise.
  • 2 0
 So the conclusion is, based on the limited set of data, regardless of riders' physical proportions, height, size and sex this is the optimal bike geometry for an average enduro race course?
  • 3 1
 Also, love my Mezzer Pro. Blew my mind from day 1, coming off a Lyrik.
  • 18 0
 Men and women averages:
Headangle: 64.3
Reach: 458
Stem: 40
Chainstay: 435
Rotors: 205
Stanchions: 37.1
Coil: 6
Air: 7

Women averages:
Headangle: 64.4166
Reach: 445.416
Stem: 37.0714
Chainstay: 435.2
Rotors: 202.2857
Stanchions: 36.6
Coil: 3
Air: 3

Men averages:
Headangle: 64.238
Reach: 468.5
Stem: 43.05
Chainstay: 434.0714
Rotors: 206.5
Stanchions: 37.5
Coil: 3
Air: 4
  • 2 3
 @wburnes: *bike industry in shambles* *PB commenters rapidly adding inches to their height*
  • 2 0
 @jollyXroger: It might be, for the average rider who is 173,1875 cm tall with a wingspan of 175,8125 cm*.

*wingspan not quite accurate due to missing data
  • 12 0
 Pfff, Martin...a big eagle? I am the same height with 192cm wingspan, so a condor?

Richie killed it Big Grin
  • 19 0
 Negative ape index, claims big eagle status. I laughed at that.
  • 1 0
 Richie has a huge wingspan. When he's walking around, his hands are below his knees! btw. I'm a Pterosaur then. 182 with 196 wingspan
  • 9 0
 Always a good read Eric! Super interesting to see the perspectives of the top dogs in racing regardless of how applicable their speed is to many of us. I always gawk when I hear that Martin runs 180mm rotors front and rear. All of this varying information should hopefully inspire people to try some more funky set ups that go against the status quo of dh tires, cushcore front and rear, 220mm rotors, 500mm reach on a medium with a 62deg HTA. Maybe some of them will start rocking 10s drivetrains...
  • 11 0
 "Should I crunch the numbers and make fancy graphs?" Yes! But only if they really are fancy.
  • 2 0
 Yes! Fancy graphs, please!
  • 12 0
 Best article in ages pb!
  • 2 0
 Well, it's still a list article
  • 1 0
 especially form eric olsen, killing it!
  • 1 0
 The rotor size is kinda pointless tbh, they should have included handlebar width, especially since they asked wingspan. Reach cannot be discussed without handlebar width. But well, it doesn't stop alle the people in the top thread from doing it Big Grin
  • 7 0
 I recently went from a 40mm stem up to a longer 50mm and the steering on my 63.5° head angle feels WAY BETTER! So much lighter to turn the bike, and I'm able to squeeze out some extra front end grip on turns. Keep experimenting, keep learning.
  • 8 1
 Note that NO ONE runs a smaller brake rotor at the back than at the front, and Alex Rudeau goes as far as running a bigger rear rotor. Why the bike industry keeps spec'ing smaller rear rotors is beyond me - that's the one that gets hottest!

Also would've loved to have seen the fork/shock pressures included. I hear that Matt W runs his pretty hard.
  • 3 1
 not many readers have seen that one, I guess I think hobby riders should defo rider bigger rotors in the rear because of dragging
  • 1 0
 Pressures would probably not tell us much because they depend on shock length and leverage ratio of the frame.
  • 8 0
 It seems regardless of height people are picking reaches of 450-470ish. I wonder if this has more to do with typical chainstay lengths to create a more balanced feeling bike.
  • 6 0
 At 5’7” and riding a 435 reach, 40 stem I feel pretty comfortable. I’ve tried longer reach and it’s OK going down straight but not good with up and manoeuvrability. Good to read this, thanks PB, more articles like this please!
  • 1 0
 Same for me, good to know, thanks.
  • 6 0
 I am not surprised whatsoever. Racers in general tend to be a little more conservative in their bike setup in general. Having ridden some more progressive bikes than my current enduro bike (64.5 HTA, 475 reach, 430mm chain stays), they are definitely a little more comfortable when things get a little crazy, but on the 70% of the trail that isn't wild, my bike feels quite a bit quicker under foot.
  • 4 1
 This. Richie and Jesse are optimizing setup to be fast everywhere, including flat, pedaling parts of stages. They don't go into the technical sections with a 60% chance of crashing, like the rest of us with limited skill and fitness. So while a short bike maybe a great compromise for them, a longer bike may be a better solution for you if you only ride steep and wild stuff.
  • 3 3
 @fentoncrackshell:pretty bold of you to assume that longer bikes ride better in steep and wild stuff
  • 7 0
 @housem8d: not really, compare DH bike wheel base to enduro
  • 5 0
 Funny thing is - my fastest times are not on the longest, slackest bikes. But I do feel that the long slack bikes saves my unfit ass when I am 3 minutes into a stage and I am (to quote M.Levy) breathing out of my eyeballs and trying yo find a line through the last rockgarden while keeping the vomit at bay.
  • 8 3
 Keep in mind, chainstay length on big brand bikes is dictated by focus group of dentists who actually buy Yeti's, not the factory EWS team. There isn't enough money in Enduro to get Richie Rude a custom layup, so he stick with 435mm whether he likes it or not.
  • 7 3
 that's not at all true. Connor Fearon was riding a custom chainstay on his Kona Process (actually lengthening it) for a few seasons. I believe the Process X was based on that feedback from him. It's not difficult for bike companies to make a custom stay.

Just sounds like you're rationalizing because pros have not embraced long chainstays (I doubt they will on current EWS courses, either). It's fine to like them anyway.
  • 7 2
 Seems like the men at least are all on similar sized bikes regardless of the size of the rider. Perhaps at that level having your bike fit the trail is more important that having it fit the body.
  • 7 1
 Ive seen sites recommend a 480 or higher for being 5' 10". I truly think around a 450-470 is perfect for us average M/L people.
  • 2 0
 This is me. I've been riding Mediums since i can basically remember riding, but my current bike is a 470 and i feel like i could stand to go 10-15mm shorter. I'm 5'10" but i think i have kinda short arms, and I like my bike just fine, but if I was being picky I'd change it for next frame. I've def seen more than a few 480's on a Medium or Large recommended for people 5'10". Seems weird and kinda ridiculous.
  • 1 0
 Agree here, 179cm on a 460mm reach medium. The large was 490mm and XL at 520! This long slack fashion is not made for all.
  • 5 0
 Pro's aren't scared of how a short bike feels fast and they need to steer at spped... for me a big long safe boat is most enjoyable/fastest...
  • 4 0
 Just because the pros ride the stuff doesn't mean that Joe should be. This conversation has been going on for years that the difference in skill is huge. Also racing or just having fun on the trail makes a difference.
  • 3 0
 Interesting article, wonder if these numbers are before or after adjustments for stack, which can change reach a fair amount. My 496 reach has ended nearer 480 after getting stack correct, until the stack was correct I thought the bike was too long as I was getting pulled forward, this feeling was fixed once the bar was at the correct height. Stack on bikes is a bit too small these days, but that is better than too big, as fairly easy and cheap to fix a small stack height. Bike manufacturers need to stop selling larger sized bikes with 20mm rise bars, total waste of metal. I also changed the stem to 35mm from 55mm, but this does mean the head angle had to be in steepest position, which is fine as I like the sharper steering, when it was nearer 64 the steering felt a bit vague…head angle and stem length are just about getting your hands/weight in the correct place over the front axle and tyre contact patch, slacker head angle = slightly longer stem, steeper head angle >65 can have a shorter stem…a bike with 64 head angle and a 32mm stem wound feel very vague.
  • 1 0
 Reach is a frame measurement that is independent of stack. The reach reference points are the center of the headtube at it's top and the center of the bottom bracket. I think that you are thinking broadly about the "reach" to one's grips, which would be affected by stack, but that is not what this article is referring to.
  • 1 0
 @e-fro: yeah, agreed, guess I am on about grip height really, higher rise bars and spacers under stem will bring the grips closer to you vertically, but the spacers under stem will also shorten the reach measurement.
  • 6 1
 Kudos to Matt and Charlie for not rounding those head angles to the nearest half a degree.
  • 9 16
flag misteraustin FL (Dec 8, 2022 at 12:23) (Below Threshold)
 64.6 degrees lol that has to be a joke. I'm sorry but the welding jigs/carbon layups are not even accurate enough to hold a 0.1 degree accuracy. I'd love to see them on a 64.7 degree bike and tell me its too twitchy
  • 10 2
 @misteraustin, that's the geo number of the Firebird in the high position.
  • 3 0
 @misteraustin: it's the high position on the pivot firebird. Accurate or not that's the spec sheet
  • 3 0
 @misteraustin: you can always measure it out I guesss
  • 3 1
 That's the geo number of the Firebird in the high position until you cycle through dog shit and set the bike up with the sticky shit down
  • 3 1
 @misteraustin: Carbon molds are 100% consistent enough to .1 of a degree. Alloy I'm with you.
  • 3 2
 @wburnes: the tools dont exist for you measure that accurately. Every digit past the decimal is just a rough approximation.
  • 4 1
 @RonSauce: lol you can accurately measure angles well beyond a decimal
  • 2 0
 @wburnes: sure, but it's hard without proper equipment. A smartphone with an app is not proper equipment.
  • 2 2
 @RonSauce: you can go on Amazon and buy a machinist bubble level that is accurate to 2 seconds. There are 3600 seconds in a degree... A high precision rotary table is about 10 times more precise. None of this is high tech, just precision machining that's been around for more than half a century.
  • 3 1
 @uponcripplecreek: true, but the problem is leveling and fixing the bike for accurate and reproducable measuring.
  • 1 1
 @uponcripplecreek: I know, I was being sarcastic.
  • 5 0
 Can you make the article more controversial next time @ericolsen? I love some good comment section drama.
  • 6 0
 Conclusion: I'm a monkey.
  • 2 0
 This data is interesting, but it's really specific to the bike as well as the rider. Put the same rider on a different bike with different CS length, stack, or suspension tune/balance, and they'd probably land in a slightly different place for things like reach and HT angle or visa versa.
  • 6 0
 Sponsored riders like what their sponsors pay them to race. Shocker
  • 6 0
 Well that confirms it, I'm not a pro.
  • 7 5
 Oh god, the rationalizations from the "long chainstays are faster" crowd is great! Where's the bozo that told me "you can't ride a bike with 430 stays fast, it's too dangerous?"

Look, keep liking long chainstays and reaches. It's a hobby. Just stop telling people they're faster and better in all situations. We already have Paul Aston to do that.
  • 2 0
 Why ask for wing span but not leg length? Torso size matters too. Anyhow, it seems that my outdated geometry bike would be perfect for me if I was an enduro racer. It only needs 50 mm more fork and three degrees of head angle...
  • 2 0
 All procyclists are the same. They want the smallest possible frame to given them smallest wheelbase for max zinginess, then they have ridiculously exaggerated stems or other provisions just to give them that short wheel base. Look at the mens pro road bikes and xc mountain bikes, they're clown bikes. They look absolutely absurd.
  • 5 3
 I live right by a popular trail system that has rolling terrain that favors short travel bikes and hard tails, and what looks absurd is the sheer number of ultra slow riders on Megatowers with super slack head angles, 35 mm stems, body armor, and a full face helmet. What’s more is that none of them can turn their bikes because that kind of bike doesn’t like to be in flattish terrain. At 185 cm, I’ll keep my 470 mm reach and 50 mm stem on my Ripley and fly past the squids all day long.
  • 1 0
 @babathehutt: I have a 'down country' (eye roll, l know) bike 120-100. 460 reach 60mm stem.. I get what you are saying. It would be foolish for me to have a long travel bike where l live too.
  • 2 1
 @KingPooPing: with that kind of bike, you also know about front wheel traction, short wheel bases, steep head angles, and long stems. Definitely more fun to ride a bike with the 65-67° head angle and a 50-60 mm stem and be able to shred flat turns like a boss
  • 1 0
 @babathehutt: For sure. Its a blast in the turns. I remember my old Tracer 2 From 2012 that Enduro bike had 67 degree ha. How things change
  • 3 1
 I have always had a suspicion that the longer slacker thing makes more difference to amateur riders than pros. Pros tend to have better technique and maintain a more balanced position so I would guess don’t don’t need as much of the safety net provided by long reaches etc to ride ins straight line over obstacles.
  • 3 0
 "What is your preferred head angle?"

recites current sponsor's enduro race bike's head angle to the tenth of a degree>

Yeah, sure, because you've really tested 64.9 vs 65.1...
  • 5 0
 Aha a confirmation on Jack's length.
  • 2 0
 * Height
  • 2 1
 Fascinating and timely discussion. I'm the bike dad/coach to four 14 yr olds who will compete in their first season of enduro racing (Team Big Bear). Three of the boys have been on hardtails, learning to jump, learning the steeps. One has a YT Jeffsy and has progressed nicely. Two of the boys just purchased enduro bikes in advance of the first race (a Santa Cruz Megatower X01 Coil and a YT Capra Core 3. Finding the right size for growing kids is a challenge. Keeping a diverse set of bikes in race-ready shape will be another challenge. If we survive year one, maybe we will seek to have a team bike to simplify maintenance and repairs.

Reach, head tube angle and chain stay length have been important numbers in the bike selection process. Forks can be swapped if needed, but for the most part, everyone is on Fox 38 except the Jeffsy. Brakes are a wild mix. The yet-to-be-named team has a lot to learn this year. We don't know what we don't know, but are having a blast learning to ride enduro.

I'd love to see a story about how to train for enduro.
  • 1 0
 @squawker fellow dad here, do you guys have a Instagram page or somewhere to follow your progress? I have three boys that will likely be racing in the coming years.
  • 1 0
 @el-brendo: not yet. The boys will likely set that up. They’re better at social media than I will ever be
  • 1 0
 @squawker: awesome. Good luck to you guys this season!
  • 1 0
 @el-brendo: thanks, and you guys as well!
  • 1 0
 @el-brendo: First Kenda Enduro Cup 2023 race was today at Vail Lake. My son was 13th, his team mates 14th, 15th and 16th out of 36. They did great for their first outing, and can’t wait for the next race.

I raced beginner 40+, wasn’t feeling it during practice yesterday on the hard tail chromag, crashed today in my first stage having never ridden the trail before. Before I crossed the finish line, I decided my future is being the coach and mechanic, not the competitor.

We haven’t created a social media account yet, but did decide on the team name: Hero Dirt Society. Stay tuned for the instagram page
  • 1 0
 @squawker: sending you a pm!
  • 6 0
 69420
  • 4 0
 After watching Metal Monday...I cannot believe Moir is not running inserts and keeping his tires on the rims.
  • 3 0
 He may run "all the" pressure Big Grin
  • 8 0
 Please refer to the video of him hammering the rim back into shape with a rock.
  • 2 0
 @Simpancz: 28psi rear on DH casing per his recent bike check
  • 1 0
 All the racers are very consistent with what they like. 64° ha, around 470 reach for the guys, 40 mm stem. Wow, to me i would feel so cramped! I felt cramped with a 470 reach 65 degree HA and a 50 mm stem. Im 5'11. Their riding ability, and terrain are so much different than mine. I can see when you're heading down badass downhills having full maneuverability is so important. I live in an area with mellow trails that I usually just sit and occasionally get a smidge rowdy.
  • 1 0
 As someone mentioned earlier, the reach number needs to have the frame stack # as well otherwise it’s not telling the whole story. If your frame has a shorter stack and you have to put 35mm of spacers under the stem to get it where you want it, your reach is now quite a bit shorter, especially if the bike has a slack head angle.

I also like the point made about pro MX, a sport that has been around for about 60 years. Ricky Camichael, recognized as the GOAT of the sport, was around 5’5” (167cm). He rode the same wheelbase bike as the pros who are 6 ft tall. There are no different frame sizes in MX. Sure they may use 5-10mm offset footpeg mounts, but that’s the only thing that would change the reach measurement of the frame and that’s a tiny amount in comparison to what different Mtb frames are. Most of the other adjustments are done with handlebar heights, bends and position. Some bar mounts which would be like changing the stem length. Maybe the reach number doesn’t have as much to do with rider size as it seems, maybe more with stability and handling feel? After all, all the pros want to go really fast.

As far as head angle goes, the point could be made that a lot of the EWS and enduro in general courses are not super steep. If you like to ride super steeps like the a lot of Sea to Sky corridor guys do, you might like things a touch slacker.

One last point, people can be off by a bit when asked how tall they are sometimes. We’ve all seen the dude who is 5’6 say he’s 5’9.5”. How are they all measuring their height? Barefoot, in spd shoes, hiking boots? Anyway, some variables to think about here.
  • 1 1
 IMO the MX comparison seems terrible to me. You don't have consider pedaling position on a MX bike.
  • 1 0
 @93EXCivic: While I agree they are 2 very different sports, it sounds like you are confusing reach measurement with effective top tube. ETT and seat angle determine your pedaling position. Reach represents your out of the saddle attack position feel.
  • 1 0
 Not only are the shorter riders (in this case women) on proportionally longer reach bikes. The stack is also proportionally significantly higher (more so than the reach in most cases). Looking at most of the men's bikes their handlebar is the same height or lower than the seat while for the women the bars are often higher than the seat. Odd how such significantly different riding positions work out for different people. I get that too long bikes are not good for some tracks but the differences seem to go beyond that. In the end all dimensions should grow/shrink proportionally to result in the same fit for a taller/ shorter rider (with similar body proportions).
  • 2 0
 @jostaudt: Shorter riders can't get their handlebar as low as they want due to the height needed for long travel fork with 29 inch wheels. So they compensate by having more reach to feel less cramped. The fit isn't as good as having lower and closer bar, but it's what need to be done due to geometric restriction of modern tall forks.
  • 1 0
 Maybe it's because I was a relatively chunky MTBer (about 195 lbs at the time) or maybe it's because my local mtn (Shepherd) has some of the most ridiculously chunky trails in the country, but the difference going from a 36 to a 38mm Zeb was massive. It was bigger than I had ever experienced from switching entire bikes. It was so much easier on the hands and the bike just went straight through the big granite chunks compared to the 36. I'm pretty fast for a local amateur, but nowhere near the pros and I could tell a huge difference
  • 1 0
 That’s interesting to hear. I’ve heard loads of good things about the Zeb.
  • 2 1
 As I thought, especially for amateurs like me, the 38 is an overkill, you rather feel the weight penalty instead of the benefits, if you don't have a racer's fitness. Plus all that rigidity may play against in some situations, instead of in favor. I can't imagine any amateur to be held back by a 35/36mm fork.
  • 2 0
 Terrain, terrain size, rider size, an ride style have a large impact on that choice as well. A 100 kilo amateur riding in gnarly terrain with big hits and big holes certainly could get a long travel 36 or Lyric flexing in ways that are undesirable. Ask me how I know...
  • 1 0
 Summing up the strong opinions in this thread.

1. New geo advocate/ bike buyer and coolaid drinker/Paul Aston - Pros are wrong and rely on pro level skills alone

2. Shorter bike advocate - Pros confirm I’m right, and longer reach/cs is a clear psyop by the industry for you to buy more bikes and allow crap riders to feel good

3. Old bike owner - Pros confirm I’m not missing out too much, old school for the win

4. Somewhat logical thinkers - Pros historically don’t like dramatic change (particularly the non DH disciplines). They ride tight twisty tracks often and take a shorter bike due to that last trade off (If only there were some quotes from pros or even B2B size comparisons from pros who say this).
  • 1 0
 The strongest relationship amongst height/wingspan vs reach/reach+stem is height and reach with a two polynomial equation (r2=>0.9, better than linear). The next best relationship is Reach+stem vs wingspan (r2=0.8Cool , but it could be worse because not everyone included a wingspan.

The height/reach relationship is as follows: Reach = (-0.0231(height)^2) + (9.339(height)) - 465.59
The wingspan/reach+stem relationship is: Reach+stem = (0.0368(wingspan)^2) - (10.827(wingspan)) + 1267.5

There also isn't a good relationship between stem length and height but there is with reach, and no good relationship for height/wingspan/reach and chainstay length.

The average head angle is 64.3 with a mode of 64; average and mode stem length is 40.6 and 40. For chainstay length and rotor size, average and mode are 434.5/435 and 204.7 and 200 respectively.
  • 5 2
 You should ask them how stock are their forks and shocks...Cause if you fink top 10 rides stock stuff you are dreaming.
  • 5 1
 Yea ur so right lol. Didn’t Jesse say in a interview that whatever is in is fork isn’t a grip 2
  • 5 0
 Sometimes they're testing entirely different internals, but it's usually just custom-tuned shim stacks and pistons, which are available to consumers via aftermarket tuners.
  • 3 3
 I’ve felt bikes are too long since 2017ish, 193cm and like 480 reach.

Definitely interesting all are 64.X HA, in my non professional opinion I’ve felt no negatives going from 64.X down to 63.X, maybe that head angle is just what comes stock to them??

A lot of variables though, I bet some are riding slacker/steeper than they actually think as the full-sus frames will all have wildly differing dynamic values.
  • 2 0
 Same. 194 and on a v2 banshee spitfire. Tempted by the enormous bikes and wheels but never like them when I try them.
  • 1 0
 @Edgibson: that was probably my most favourite bike
  • 1 0
 100%, I'm same height and I like 475 reach....
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: I’m 193cm as well and on 483-ish: It’s a blast. I do wonder if 500 wouldn’t be a tough better somedays but other days and trails I freaking love that it’s agile and jumpy. But hell often the steeper tech has some crap in it that I can’t just straight line. Moving a bike in and out of lines within corners isn’t always super easy and a longer rig has to have some compromise. Especially in 29in. Everyone moaning about stability etc clearly forgets what it was like to rip a 26” bike lol.
  • 2 0
 At 190cm ~480mm reach feels good on easier trails. ~500 feels better climbing and much better descending stuff that's near the limits of my skills.

Climbing comfort is probably partly seat angle, descending confidence is probably partly wheelbase.
  • 1 0
 It’s nice to know I’m not some weirdo cos I’m riding a ‘small’ bike!

@PhillipJ: I’ve def found seat post angle to have a greater positive impact on climbing over longer wheelbase going between 480 and 500 reach frames.

Descending the 500 has more stability but it’s trickier to reliably weight the front tyre, and much more difficult to lift the front wheel, so much so I think it makes me ride worse as I just end up monster trucking.

The slacker HA however I feel improves descending without impacting agility, climbing or front end weighting.
  • 2 0
 I also ride a Banshee Spitfire V2 Medium - 430mm reach, I am 183cm tall. Never understood why you need to stretch yourself out with long reach?
  • 1 0
 @steelpolish: same height, long arms, V2 medium was fine on 26" wheels and after swapping to 27,5 I'd appreciate 2cm longer reach, anyway still my most favourite bike I ever had
  • 2 0
 My 2015 Large Patrol fits the current race paradigm pretty well 430 CS, 65 HA, 457 reach and I’m 172cm. It just fits so well, and is so fun. no reason to upgrade
  • 3 0
 I learned that there's frames that accept a 220mm rotor and Alex likes a bigger rotor out back
  • 1 0
 "Alex likes a bigger rotor out back"

That struck me. It's so easy to lock up the rear wheel (physics, ya know) that I wonder why anyone would want a bigger rotor on the rear.
  • 3 0
 @MtbSince84: enduro-mtb.com/en/rotor-size-myth

Some argue that a larger rear rotor might help with modulation.
  • 2 0
 @MtbSince84: You tend to drag it more on long descents, so it could give you a few more minutes of riding before the rear fades. Some downhill folks do this too.
  • 1 1
 @MtbSince84: if that was the cut and dry case we would all be on 120mm rear rotors.

Its easier to lock up the rear, but unless your a ham fisted brake dragger, bigger rotors still have the same benefits front or rear.
  • 6 2
 So basically my Ripmo is awesome.
  • 3 0
 Anyone else want to know more about Alex Rudeau's choice to run a front rotor that's smaller than his rear?
  • 1 0
 Worth a read. www.brakeace.com/post/to-rear-brake-or-not-to-rear-brake-that-is-the-question I would love to get my hands on one of these.
  • 1 0
 I tend to be harder on rear rotors because of riding style, not skidding just use it to set the bike up for corners.
  • 2 0
 Using rear brake more often?
  • 4 0
 @jalopyj: relevant to the group of riders who are upsizing for heat management rather than for power.
  • 4 1
 People still gonna say Jack Moir is wrong about how tall he is cause they met him and he was taller than that...
  • 2 0
 Wow! Top tier athletes ride different bikes from people who ride once a week at 1/8th the pace? Crazy, who would’ve guessed!
  • 4 3
 So damn funny, peeps claiming a longer chainstay is best, then all the pros say 430-435, some even say "the shorter the better".

I no longer need to preach short chainstays, I am redeeemed!

Long live the short chainstay!!
  • 3 0
 Amazed nobody had bikes with 63-63.5 head angles! That feels normal to me on everything.
  • 1 1
 The fact that Jack Moir isn’t riding an XL for EWS is pretty telling. Honestly, I feel like we all know that longer isn’t always better at this point. I’m 185cm and ride 470-480mm reach preferably, which probably falls in line with most my height. I rode a couple 490-500mm bikes and am much happier sizing down.
  • 2 3
 Yelp, long reach numbers not all that, especially for optimal handling on mixed terrain. Goes to show you most the Pros at highest level don’t get fixated on geo too much. It’s the consumers and internet perpetuators that seemed the most focused. Case in point, two of my buddies who aren’t the best of riders by any means won’t touch a bike with chainstays longer than 430mm or stack higher than 640m. I don’t subscribe to that kind of reasoning myself.
  • 3 1
 Oh but they do get fixated on geo. Like you wouldn't believe, actually. You can't ever shake the feeling that the optimal setup would make you faster. It's a thing that gets in your head. The pros are not immune to that. For example there's a video on youtube of Jesse Melamed changing his headset to an angleset. He takes out a tape measure and meticulously measures everything in the process and how the changes affect his setup and notes it all down. You can really see how serious he gets with this kind of stuff.
  • 1 0
 @Muscovir:
Yeah, I believe that, especially with small tweaks to the bike for a given track or race for some incremental performance gains. Overall, my impression of article and above is that so many people fixate on certain geo numbers on bikes (reach and chainstay length in particular) that isn’t really all that necessary and seems most run smaller bike (added maneuverability) given their size like Jack Moir and Richey Rude
  • 3 2
 pinkbike getting emails from all the ad/marketing people complaining about this piece. "First headset cable routing now this! How are we supposed to sell them new bikes?"
  • 2 0
 Pro tip: Buy the size bike you like riding, and be happy about it.
  • 1 0
 The head angle and chainstay length preferences don't mean at much if you don't comment on BB height, the third element of frame stability that isn't as easy to market.
  • 2 0
 So Jank Eric works for the pink bicycle?? Does this mean the end for Jank and their dope pump holders??
  • 6 0
 Jank lives on
  • 1 0
 @ericolsen: Glad to hear.

I am also interested in a scatter graph of this data.
  • 1 0
 wow @ericolsen. love your pb contributions recently, very articulate and this 10 questions to 10 racer format was a great manifest!
  • 2 0
 Would have been good to ask handlebar width too. I doubt anyone would be on a bar wider than 780. Anyone got those stats?
  • 3 1
 They’re all just going to give you the numbers of their sponsor bike. Not exactly eye opening.
  • 1 0
 Reach and angle adjust headsets are fairly common, so those numbers could be outside factory parameters. I'm not looking up all those charts to find out, though
  • 1 0
 @AndrewHornor: right. The ibis bikes are definitely heavily modified.
  • 1 0
 So I’ve been in the fence about tire inserts and this shows me you can either or so anyone on here able to tell me pros and cons?
  • 1 0
 Honestly as a non pro, I would highly suggest them, the only con is a slightly harder tire change. Pros often don't run them, because they ride higher pressures than most casuals, and don't need to be as concerned about rims, so they just don't take the weight penalty from the inserts. You also don't see inserts at redbull events, because the impacts are just way to intense for any insert to matter
  • 1 0
 If you like tech or gnarly rutted blown trails and/or push yourself a rear insert is a godsend for saving the wheel/tyre from heavy landings, coming up short or just straight rim dinging rocks.
  • 3 0
 Do you regularly destroy rims? If so, then yeah get them! If not, then you probably don't need them.
  • 1 0
 @meditationman: I don’t destroy rims but I run carbon wheels and have lifetime in them and the bike shop told me just ride them if the break we got you but I usually run higher psi in my rear and front tire just for rolling speed
  • 1 0
 @DG370: I’ll definitely try out one in the rear
  • 1 0
 @A1990ToyotaHilux: since I run a higher psi in my tires I wonder how the tire would feel if I lowered the psi with inserts
  • 1 1
 @nlibot33: it would have the same support but with greater traction and less chance of burping, plus the added SHTF rim protection.
  • 1 1
 @nlibot33: EDIT typically run 5 or more psi less than normal with an insert.
  • 4 5
 The question on what pros prefer shouldn't matter for you. Anyone here taking conclusions from this article and adjusting their bikes accordingly/ criticizing Bike setups from casual riders, doesn't get it. Pro riding and casual riding should be counted as polar opposites to this sport.
A pro's setup will most probably make you slower and make trails a lot less fun for you.
Make your own God damn setup and don't be a dick about it!
  • 1 2
 "Pro riding and casual riding should be counted as polar opposites to this sport."

f*ck off, they're not "polar opposites" at all. That's so reductive it's insulting.

The spectrum of mountain biking is part of what makes it awesome. Some people just like to be on dirt and pedal for miles. Some people like to huck their meat and let it buck. If you're riding similar terrain to enduro pros, riding similar bikes, and have similar goals (rallying through rough shit at speed), taking a page from their setups certainly could help some riders. Yes, straight-up copying some random race winner's setup is stupid, but if you notice that some pro happens to ride the way you like to ride and also learn they're doing something different with their setup, it's worth at least giving it a try.

There are so many riders that don't ever really do a proper setup, and/or don't ever try different things setup-wise, it's kinda sad. Just exposing people to the variety of setups being used by the variety of pros going very hard and very fast could certainly help some riders start trying things and optimizing their setup, and that's a good thing.
  • 2 0
 most of then run 'short' chainstays ! below 440mm !! and head angle not sooo relaxed, 64-64.5 !
  • 2 0
 Be interesting to see how many riders (if any), would change their geo preferences after riding the Grim Donut.
  • 1 0
 So the enduro racers like their numbers to be around what the latest trail bike geo numbers are for a size medium. Very interesting.
  • 1 0
 No orangutan arm representation for me to compare to… sigh… I’ve got a +3 in ape index and it makes bike setup a little interesting.
  • 1 0
 What’s your setup like?
  • 1 0
 Would have been nice for one to put the cat amongst the pigeons with geo questions and said ‘depends on the track’. As opposed to listing the geo of their current bike
  • 1 0
 @ericolsen the bar width would have also been very intersting. Wing Span, reach and bar width would give pretty picture on what a rider prefers.
  • 1 0
 None of the pros want a 510mm Reach that's on my XL Optic?? Wink

Because they're the top of their field they can work with a smaller cockpit - I don't know, only spitballin'?
  • 2 0
 Rae makes the most sense to me.
  • 1 0
 Beauty and practicality.
  • 1 1
 They're skills are so good to go fast that they'd rather have a shorter/narrower bike to squeeze in and out of trees. Either that or this RAD thing is actually correct...
  • 1 2
 Nah, they just no better than to drink the koolaid.
  • 6 4
 Oh and the SB140 with a 65 hta is not slack enough....... ok pb
  • 3 2
 At 180cm, I love my 475 reach/435 CS/64.5 HA bike. Glad to know the fast guys like that too!
  • 3 1
 but, according to pinkbike comments, that front wheel has to be impossible to weigh properly! be careful, man...
  • 1 1
 @jzPV: 45mm stem. Boom, revolutionary.
  • 6 1
 Ok, but here's what I don't get: Why do you feel like you need validation for what you like?
  • 3 2
 @Muscovir: It's always nice to come across experienced people who have come to the same conclusions. It's not a need at all.
  • 2 4
 @mammal: it's also fair to say that people pretending to know what they are talking about on PB are always pushing ultralong and slack these days. They do kind of get annoying.

It's fun to see them taken down a few pegs by the fact that the world's best riders don't agree with them. It's even more fun to read all the desperate rationalizations for why we should ignore the best racers in the world. Clearly pros don't know as much about going fast as skankbanger420 on the PB forums! Lol.
  • 4 2
 @TheRamma: Bro you are the PB reader pretending to know what you are talking about.
Pro setups are not really compatible with casual riding styles. You will most likely be a lot slower on a pro's setup, than on the super long bikes made with the casual riders in mind.
  • 2 3
 @A1990ToyotaHilux: keep rationalizing! the problem with the ultralong/slack evangelists here is that they just need to constantly repeat that their personal preference is objectively superior. A bunch of mini-Paul Astons on here. Turns out, at the top level of racing, evidence refutes the claim.

Whatever, ride what you like!
  • 1 0
 wow the height vs wingspan thing has me confused... I'm 5'8" wingspan is 6'2" brutal
  • 2 0
 I wanna try a 475 cm reach like Martin Maes too!!!
  • 5 3
 This just blew the bike industries marketing narrative out of the water.
  • 3 1
 So, they all prefer the Stumpy EVO S4.
  • 1 0
 So say we all.
  • 2 4
 Cool to see. Nice one. I've lalways wondered about the fads vs tracks. Wider bars, did anyone go cut any trailside trees or make the trails wider for that. I tried the 800s and kept pinkying trees and not being able to squeeze through the same spots i used to be able to so I went back to 780, and ill prob try shorter next season just to see... Longer bikes, did anyone go open up all the tight corners? Or Just round them right out? Nope?
  • 3 2
 Crazy how PB is always pushing for 440+ chain stays and the pros are more in the 430 neighborhood.
  • 2 0
 for the size large frames that are typically reviewed by the pb crew, 440ish cs works well. most of the above bikes are in the medium reach range, where said shorter cs's make sense. all about balance.
  • 2 0
 That's just what the bikes they're provided with measure...
  • 2 1
 So we can conclude that long chainstays aren’t preferred by the pros … which means the rest of us are can shorten up our bikes now … it makes for a nicer handling bike when things get tight Smile

It’s also curious that folks who ride their bikes for a living don’t seem to appreciate long front ends … things that make you go hmmmm.
  • 2 1
 @sanchofula: yeah and people say well the pros are better they make their own stability and don’t need a long bike for stability. Well if you need a long bike to be stable at speeds, wouldn’t it be wiser to slow down a bit?
  • 3 0
 Love this content-
  • 3 5
 Here's an interesting thing. A long time ago Lee McCormack had a very crude measurement for "acceptable reach". He has a much more refined method but this crude one was interesting to me.

(height in CM) * 2.55 = Desired Reach (I'll add +- 10mm)

When you run down all these riders, they are so often within that range. What we don't see is the super long 485-490mm reach bikes being desirable here for riders in that Large Range. Corners don't get wider just because I'm on an XL...
  • 3 1
 Interesting that I don’t recall ever reading that formula. And RAD has never worked for me as a tall-ish rider with long limbs. And yet, when I punch in the numbers … it’s dead on to my preference. 480 at 188 height. Wow.
  • 2 1
 And, to add, Banshee is really doing this sizing game properly. Particularly for taller riders. I “downsized” to a large Titan and it’s the most comfortable bike I’ve ridden in ages. Longer chainstay, shorter reach, high stack = magic.
  • 1 0
 @blatant: Large Banshee Titan here at 185cm with 20mm spacers under the 50mm stem and a 50mm rise bar. I have long legs, though. Just read this formula for the first time and I matches perfectly.
  • 3 1
 What is this? An interview for ants?
  • 2 0
 Average adult male is around 177cm and female around 162cm.
  • 1 2
 @yupstate: sick cope
  • 1 0
 @BigMulaCeazy: I'm just "average" height myself at (178cm), but it seems like everything else these day's there's no grey area anymore. You're either "short" or "tall"
  • 1 0
 @yupstate: chill, I’m just joking around
  • 2 0
 One big table in Excel would be nice...
  • 1 0
 Unrelated to the geo numbers: that pic of Jack is so sick. Insane how far he's leaning that bike over...
  • 2 0
 Almost seems like one size fits most.
  • 1 0
 Yup..bc most are 5'10" ish.
  • 2 0
 Quite the reach Eddie holy.
  • 1 0
 After seeing Jack’s most recent edit I was suprised to see he doesn’t use inserts. Consider me over-biked.
  • 2 0
 @ericolsen It's Slawomir, not Slowamir. He is definitely not slow Wink
  • 1 0
 "Do you prefer to run the width of the fork you're paid to ride, or the one of their competitor?"
  • 1 0
 Biggest surprise to me was that Moir doesn't run tire inserts. He rolled the rear tire off at Sugarbush so ?
  • 1 0
 Probably related to ride quality and efficiency,
  • 1 0
 Bar width is such a huge factor here, it would give a lot more insight to the reach.
  • 16 17
 Martin Maes on Orbea FOX team prefers a 38 Zeb? Interesting.
It also would have been interesting to see the preferred bar widths.
  • 3 0
 That was a typo - the correct response is that he actually prefers the 36.
  • 4 0
 My bad! Still figuring out this pinkbike code thing. "36mm. I’m a light rider and quite precise. The 36’s is stiff enough for me I think."
  • 2 3
 That was an important miss.
  • 19 2
 @DavidGuerra: you're right someone could have died
  • 3 0
 Bar rise and whether running 160 or 170mm fork too.
  • 3 0
 Funny how this gets down-voted. You're right
  • 2 0
 Who cares,all I see is that he uses 180mm rotors front and back! WTF!!
  • 1 0
 He ran the 38 first half of the season then went back to the 36 (basing this on Instagram investigation, nothing more)
  • 1 0
 @nozes: Seems we're all over-rotored in addition to being over-reached.
  • 1 0
 @boozed: Plenty of them sporting 220mm discs. In principle, only lighter riders should be riding an 180 at the front. An heavier rider with that is a bit strange, but the strangest spec of this group is Alex Rudeou's 200mm front, 230mm back combination.
  • 1 0
 @DavidGuerra: That was just a little joke and I do agree. I think I understand the logic in the larger rear rotor - my rear pads wear out a lot sooner than the fronts, and I've watched a mate let the smoke out of his rears. If that's your riding style, a larger rear rotor makes sense to dissipate the extra heat you're generating.

A couple of years ago Enduro-MTB made the case that if a bike comes with mismatched rotors, some riders should consider moving the larger one to the back for that reason.
  • 1 0
 @ericolsen: ya the 38s can be too stiff.
  • 3 0
 @boozed: A bike with matching rotors is already a "special spec" for very technical, slow and steep tracks, where you are pretty much hanging on to the rear brake from start to finish. Otherwise, a larger rotor at the front is the standard because you can never apply as much braking force at the rear as at the front. With my current brakes however, I have not yet been able to experience a situation in which I didn't feel like I was getting all the braking power I need from my rear 180mm rotor. I can't say the same from the front 200mm one, though. I am not always able to skid the front wheel. I think a bigger rotor at the rear looks silly and is silly. It's just my opinion, if you have a different opinion that's fine.
  • 2 0
 @boozed: The extra weight of an e-bike does give some extra traction to the rear tire during braking, that a larger rotor might take advantage of. But the extra rotor size is also helpful at the front, so something like that would always look yucky to me Smile
  • 1 0
 @DavidGuerra: larger rotors become more important on larger vertical descents I find.

200mm front and rear are more than enough for normal riding for me. On 2k vertical technical descents in the alps, I need 220mm and HS2 rotors to prevent overheating.
  • 1 0
 @BarneyStinson: I would surely not mind having a 220 at the front and a 200 at the rear for a while. 220 at the rear seems quite extreme indeed, but I can understand the scenario you mention.
  • 2 2
 These folk all seem to prefer pretty conservative reach numbers... so much for trends.
  • 6 1
 This has been discussed ad nauseam. The tight, technical nature of many EWS stages requires nimbler bikes with shorter reach and these elite riders can handle the reduced stability.
  • 3 3
 So they prefer short bikes, cause reach areubd 470 is very hard to find on an Large size frame these days.
  • 4 1
 But Moir is the only interviewed rider who is actually "large" on a human scale.
  • 2 1
 my bike is too big. Im 6 foot 1 with 511mm.
  • 1 0
 Similar - XL 510mm reach and 6'0" (6'2" wingspan) ... but it was all that was available after a concentrated 7 month search in 2020. I'd go down to a Large next bike.
  • 6 5
 Further proof that longer doesn’t always mean better
  • 1 3
 I don't think anybody ever seriously claimed that longer is always better.
  • 1 1
 The numbers of riders around my height are pretty damn close to the bike I ride and absolutely love.
  • 1 0
 “T-Rex genes” lol, dead
  • 1 0
 Grant Hill drinks Sprite? Grant Hill drinks Sprite!
  • 1 0
 I count 16 respondents. What happened to the other 4?
  • 7 0
 They didn't respond
  • 1 0
 @ferd Don't be a Fred, ferd!
  • 1 0
 What their sponsors tell them.
  • 2 1
 So... no one is using 26ers?
  • 1 0
 Was expecting a lot of answers to be Free99 or Free,Ninety,Free
  • 1 1
 I feel soo good rn having a bike with 470 mm reach, 435 mm chainstay and 64,5 head angle
  • 1 0
 You could be pro!
  • 2 4
 Kinda seems as a general that males like 470mm reach and females like 450mm reach. even given a range in rider height and body proportions. End all bike sizing debates and just make those two reach numbers.
  • 1 0
 470, 475 is spot on for me. I'm 5'11
  • 2 0
 No seat angles?
  • 1 1
 Response time over stability. The rider is paid to stabilise the vehicle and finish the stage as fast as possible.
  • 1 0
 Biggest surprise out of this is Jack Moir doesn’t ride with an insert!
  • 1 1
 I just noticed, PB editors are capitalising every word in the titles of the articles. Lol
  • 1 0
 So SB150 is the best geo bike for M size riders.
  • 1 0
 These responses weren't exactly edited for clarity...
  • 1 0
 Preferred suspend travel front and rear?
  • 1 0
 Preferred suspension travel front and rear?
  • 1 0
 Rae morrison with an ape index of +2
  • 1 0
 What about seat tube angles?
  • 1 0
 Anyone believe Jesse Melamed doesn't know his span!
  • 1 0
 so @fox and @rockshox: give us the 170 Lyrik and 36 again!!!
  • 1 1
 One crucial parameter missing here: front center to rear center ratio.
  • 1 1
 Bike marketing departments are sweating now…
  • 1 2
 I can see the dweeb sheep rotating their angle sets and and measuring their wingspan, preparing for an online battle.
  • 10 11
 Proof that reach has gotten too long.
  • 7 6
 And CS length
  • 8 5
 @Linc: CS needs to get longer IMO
  • 3 0
 * for elite EWS riders
  • 2 0
 I feel you can climb so much better with longer seat stays.
  • 7 8
 Most riders are on bikes too big.
  • 11 4
 Nah @Linc has it. Most of us are better off on a longer bike than what a pro of the same height would ride.
  • 5 1
 I'm Jack Moir's height and currently ride 500 mm reach. It's much more stable and forgiving than the 470 mm reach it replaced. I enjoy riding it a lot more.
  • 3 1
 Nope, most pros are on bikes too small because they are much, much better than other people.
  • 2 5
 I’m 6’6” and my enduro bike has a 475mm reach and 3 1/2” of spacers under the stem. FIGHT ME
  • 5 1
 Nobody cares enough.
  • 3 0
 As a guy thats 3" taller than you, that sounds horrible. I'd be so cramped on climbs with that setup and have a really hard time weighting the front end for corners with bars that high. That's about how I'd want a dirt jumper to fit, but still with lower bars than that.
  • 1 2
 @GTscoob: flat corners aren’t a problem and climbing I’ve got a ton of room still. I’d be curious to see you standing next to your bike and see what your handlebars are in line with.

If you look at a lot of the enduro/DH pros when they are standing next to their bikes, their bars are somewhere in between the top of their pelvis an naval.

That’s about where I am.
  • 1 1
 No battle but did upvoted to keep you out of Downvote Hades (DH).

I'm 6'0" and ride 510mm Reach.
Below threshold threads are hidden







Copyright © 2000 - 2024. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.071424
Mobile Version of Website