Opinion: The Hot Chip Has Gone Cold - Flip Chips Don't Deliver

Jan 15, 2021 at 12:32
by Henry Quinney  
2021 Giant Trance X 29
Flip chips are a common sight but do they actually deliver on their promise?


Opinion: Henry Quinney


Has mountain biking outgrown flip chips? Well, I should be more specific. There will always be a place for geometry adjustment, particularly if it’s changing a downhill bike’s characteristics. I also quite like a frame that, much like a parent who enjoyed Lynyrd Skynyrd in their heyday, will welcome a mullet into the fold with open arms and greet it perhaps not with the suspicion it may often deserve. I believe those are noble causes and they do not stoke my ire.

Instead, I am of course talking about bikes that one pedals up-eth the hill and down-eth the hill. Your trail bikes, your enduro smashers, your all mountain bruisers… these are the types of bikes where I feel flip chips aren't as useful as they'd seem.


How Did We Get Here?

The phrase phrase 'flip chip' is already making me somewhat nauseous and I’m only on the third paragraph... Geometry adjustment has of course been around for a very long time indeed. Predictably, Cannondale, never a brand afraid to do things differently, are one of the companies to have their fingerprints all over its genesis, but at least those bikes offered a very real adjustment. Another hat tip to the venerable (and lovably terrible) Rocky Mountain Pipeline, with a 69.5°–71° headtube angle adjustment.


The Headtube Bone is Connected to the Seattube Bone

The problem with geometry adjustment is that it’s very hard to adjust one part of the bike in isolation. Now this wasn’t so bad for a time when head angles were steep or steeper, wheelbases were short or shorter, and seat tube angles weren’t viewed with the same critical eye as today.

Most geometry adjustments today use a flip chip (often in the link), which allows riders to choose between one mode steeper headtube, steeper seattube, higher BB, longer reach, and another mode slacker headtube, slacker seattube, lower BB, and shorter reach. But what if you want a slacker headtube, a lower BB, a steeper seattube, and more reach? Too bad, bucko.

The fact is we do now have a highly critical eye when it comes to our geometry, and me casually knocking off half a degree from the seat tube angle to rake out the front of the bike is purely nonsensical. Frankly, I want my cake and I want to eat it too. I want my progressive geometry without Sophie’s Choice of deciding between an appropriate seat tube angle or a slacker headtube.

Much like a decrepit family labrador whose chewing is merely a toothless ploy that is more about soaking and gumming food into submission than it is about sharp teeth and impressive weaponry, these minor adjustments don’t deliver on the bite they promise.
It does what it says on the tin.


An Excuse for Playing it Safe

I believe many of the minor adjustments often offered to the consumer such as these are more about hedging bets than driving bike design forward. This is one of the elements that frustrate me the most - fli... geometry adjustment chips are often seen as progressive, but I would argue they’re a safe bet in lieu of actual radicalism. They’re definitely more Avril Lavigne than the Clash, and that’s because instead of having to do a job properly, it only has to be ‘within half a degree’. They’re not driving questions of ‘Should I stay or Should I go?’ but instead suggesting that they can just hang around the smoking area saying we’ll 'forget they’re even there.' I call BS.

Nicolai G1
Nicolai G1
I don't hate adjustment. Nicolai's 'Mutator' system offers real, useful adjustments. It does potentially add to the complication, cost, and weight of the bike though.

I would argue that fli… oh bloody hell, flip chips actually prohibit bold design by letting manufacturers play it safe. Funnily enough, I don’t really know what subsection of mountain bikers they’re appeasing. I believe people that decry progressive geometry will be recusing themself from a new purchase and half a degree won’t change that. I would also argue that people who have no interest in geometry won’t be put off by numbers that they don’t have any understanding of. What it is, in my mind, is something that will solely frustrate the person that does care. And what’s worse is that if you’re only just really getting into riding you’ll only appreciate crap geometry once you’re well down the line on a bike that suffers from it and, quite frankly, if you do have a bike that suffers from particularly dated geometry then half a degree will not butter the parsnips.

It seems to me as superficial as a tick on a spec sheet. Nothing more meaningful, nothing less. The idea of a new bike in 2021 offering 0.3 degrees of adjustment isn’t just taking the proverbial pee but rather holding the refuse to ransom.

2018 Pinkbike Field Test
You can never please everyone, but does a flip chip, pitting a slacker head angle and a steeper seat tube against one another, risk pleasing nobody?


A Bike at War With Itself

For me, the biggest frustration lies in that often when you change the orientation of a chip to achieve the desired slacker head angle it inversely affects the desired effect upon the seat tube angle. Can I not have the head angle I want without my saddle going into the nosebleed section? I just don’t understand why you can’t combine the best of both worlds. I don’t see why you should have to choose.

You can, of course, slide a saddle on its rails, but here is where I would chime in that often, even on bikes with ‘progressive geometry’, I exhaust this option. I don’t think that I’m alone in this and it’s my belief that on a modern bike any fitting option should not be at its limit just to keep it in line with the very thing it claims to be - progressive.

I would say that the only time I’ve been happy to have a bike with a f-f-f-flip chip (that’s it, I’ve actually thrown up) has been when I wanted to experiment with the stroke length of my rear shock and I’ve been happy for the clearance. I would go on to say that the stroke length adjustment coupled with a Works Components angle-adjust headset made for a very versatile bike indeed. But that’s it. That’s the only time.

2021 Rocky Mountain Altitude
Ride-9 ways to puzzle yourself to death.
2021 Rocky Mountain Altitude
But adjustable chainstay length, as seen on this Rocky Mountain Altitude, is a very useful adjustment to have available.


Not All Flip Chips

A bike I would suggest is tackling this issue with real verve and gusto is a bike like the new Stumpjumper Evo. Not only does it offer real adjustment, it does so while trying to keep each adjustment in isolation of one another. Personally I would take the term “isolation” with a pinch of salt, but it will leave other dimensions largely unchanged. I think this kind of bike is very important for a few reasons.

Firstly, it's a benefit for an increasingly educated consumer base. Secondly, it goes between two ends of the spectrum as opposed to offering two shades of beige that even Steve Jobs would find hard to distinguish. Thirdly, it offers a position that many would find too slack (hurrah). Finally, it’s got a pragmatic approach which is vital in changing the conversation. The extreme options, a la Pole et Geometron, have pulled the conversation of geometry kicking and screaming into a better place, but it’s the pragmatist who will actually offer an option that doesn’t intimidate the end-user and will, in turn, change the conversation for good. In my mind this is what geometry adjustment should be for, to help our bikes wield a greater element of versatility.

2021 Specialized Stumpjumper EVO review
2021 Specialized Stumpjumper EVO review
The 2021 Stumpjumper Evo uses something of a two pronged attack to take care of geometry adjustment, but it is the headset cup that really piques my interest.

I’ve ridden so many bikes that suffer from trying to be too many things to too many people, and it risks not giving anyone the exact thing that they want. It leaves you cherry-picking ideal traits from both settings. Even bikes endowed with very good geometry sometimes have got me asking why can’t I just have the head angle of the low setting with the seat tube angle of the high? Why must we jump through these hoops? It’s not as if the brand doesn't have control over making the bike. They can literally make a bike how they see fit. Why does the end-user always spot these things in five minutes on a bike that most likely underwent several stages of prototyping? Am I missing something?

So what do I want? Parsnips? Mullets? A mulleted parsnip? Perhaps, but moreover I would urge bike designers to place good geometry above arbitrarily adjustable geometry. To nail their colours to the mast and take more risk with bike design without being safe in the knowledge they can offload half a degree to the good if needs be. If they feel they must go down the adjustable route then at least give real options and real alternatives.





What Position Do You Run Your Adjustable Geometry In?

If your bike has a flip chip or other geometry adjustments, let us know where it's sitting. If you regularly use it in several modes, check them both. For simplicity's sake we're referring to the headtube angle when we say "slack" or "steep" modes.




351 Comments

  • 438 5
 I think one of the benefit of flip chips, is to offer one same bike to two riders, not to offer two bikes to one rider.
  • 79 1
 I was in the anti flip chip camp until you wrote this, that's an excellent point!
  • 44 35
 You share your bike?
  • 24 3
 A lot of bikes come 29 specific and I've never liked 29, so the flip chip is always a welcomed thing
  • 92 0
 @DaFreerider44: Yep, any flip chip intended for wheel size conversion is absolutely welcome.
  • 17 2
 Yeah my Tallboy is my XC/trail bike (have an enduro bike too). I don't need it to be slacker. 0.3° is enough to decrease pedal strikes a significant amount so I run it in high position. The flip chip let me fine tune the geo to suit me. I don't need two bikes in one.
  • 51 34
 Ever seen that kid in walmart squealing because he can't have what he wants? He grew up to be the author of this article.

Kidding aside, engineers and designers battle with a ridiculous number of choices when creating a design. Often times, the options are endless and deciding on what works the best for every rider.. its not possible. It also seems as though the optimal design often colides with some issue that the typical rider never thinks about (manufacturing capabilities, stress concentrations, etc) If, the company has enough resources, you can develop and test different prototypes, attempting to "nail your colours to the mast" until your blue in the face. Doing so, eats up time, money, and lengthens the ROI. That's why Specialized has just a few adjustments and their geometry is spot on; they have the resources to figure it out.

How would I know? I'm a product design engineer and make similar decisions. Narrowing the target market by only offering one geometry has got to be risky business for smaller bike companies. So in short, I agree with @faul
  • 5 1
 This! It is like suspension knobs, u can sell 1 shock for 100500 customers and everyone will be happy
  • 20 0
 I like them. Great for running a 27.5 in the rear in a mullet combo. I also like running it in the steep setting and then adding a 2* angleset up front so it further steepens the STA, slacks the front, and drops the BB back down. Total win for me.

The process X seems to be done right as well.
  • 12 0
 Never had a flip chip bike but I did have a 2 position Rock Shox Pike. 130mm and default HTA for climbing, 150mm and slacker HTA for descending. LOVED IT!
  • 2 0
 Yup. Had a 17.5 Remedy that was too small so I ran it steep to squeak out a little extra reach. Now I have an 18.5 and get to be a rad slack dude. Done the same for every bike with a chip. Pick the best one for me and chill
  • 7 0
 Scott uses it to allow both 27.5" and 29" on the same frame, which makes a lot of sense
  • 6 0
 They're useful when going mullet. But, a cascade link is really boss.
  • 35 2
 @RonSauce: 2 guys 1 bike
  • 3 2
 @MrDiamondDave: highly underrated comment, thank u made my evening
  • 3 2
 @MrDiamondDave: I wanna say that's a tandem bike, but we all know what you're talking about
  • 4 0
 @boozed: I have a Scott Spark XC bike and it makes the bike more like a trail bike when it's in slack mode... if I was racing I can see how the other mode would be better, but I'm more into an having a better all-around bike and the flip chip makes it possible.
  • 6 22
flag mior (May 20, 2021 at 19:43) (Below Threshold)
 @DaFreerider44: f 29ers
  • 1 0
 I’ve never had a flip chip, but the adjustable mount point on my 2003 Intense Tracer did the same thing. And thank god for that thing, the mainstream weren’t close to ready for a 4” travel bike with a 69 degree HA when they came out with that bike. The standard mount point had a 71 HA that almost everyone was wanting. I put it in slack mode and it was the best damn option at the time for a trail bike, remember this was before any pedal platforms in rear shocks so 4” was pretty long travel, even though Steber always made TTs too short and I had to run a stupid 120mm stem.

I think the same thing applies today. I have a V1 Ripmo and wish it had a flip chip so I could have slacked it from the beginning. I over-forked it by 10mm to get a little slacker. Yes, an Angleset would work well, but there’s only like one company in England that sells a angle headset worth a damn. And, most companies make XL’s with too short of a head tube so I’m ok with a little more front end height. Additionally, a flip chip may let me experiment because I’m mullet curious.

I’m all for companies selling with a flip chip so they can sell to the scared masses via the bike shop that’s also afraid of change while really having the setting that the designers all really want.
  • 12 0
 I've never had a flip chip, but my ability to adjust the tilt of the screen on my laptop as it is sitting on my lap does the same thing. I personally like to leave my screen angel slacked to the max. I feel that it best simulates proper riding position, preparing me for maximum performance on my potential, future, ultra-adjustable mountain bike. Additionally, it optimizes the air flow when I fart.
  • 1 0
 @joemo5: Are you in the bike industry? It'd be nice to chat about design work in other fields.
  • 2 1
 @billreilly: there is no flip chip on any of the modern Scott spark rc...
  • 2 1
 @RonSauce: more a matter of being able to offer the rider the choice at time of purchase, or if they change their needs RE geometry later once riding the bike for a while.
  • 2 0
 I totally agree with the flipchip allowing subtle customization for the end rider, but I would really like to see a poll over how many have actually tested their bike in both/all settings (ignoring the wheel size thing) before deciding between slack/steep!
  • 2 0
 @RonSauce: no, but I sell them. Ride-9 let me configure a bike for a variety of customers from the same frameset.
  • 4 0
 Bingo. The triumph of love geo means pedal strikes on technical climbs. Chips offer shops and riders experiencing pedal strikes a cheap way to solve (maybe) a really annoying problem. We only call it adjustable geo because " hit your pedals all the time mode" won't fit on a tiny chip.
  • 5 2
 You don't like flip chips?, to bad bucko, the industry does, it sells bikes, they are not going anywhere.
  • 14 1
 The article: Bike designers are using flip chips as a crutch to avoid taking risks with geometry and force the riders to jump through hoops to get the bike they want.

The comments: I like flip chips, they allow me to make a safe bike's geometry suit my needs by jumping through a bunch of hoops.
  • 1 0
 Good point, mate
  • 3 1
 @Patrick9-32: You think taking a bolt out and putting it back in is "jumping through hoops"?

So you thinkbit would be better if manufactureres made bikes that suited less people's needs? I'm failing to see the downside of flip chips in this argument.
  • 2 0
 This is a very good point
  • 2 0
 @MrDiamondDave: 2 guys 1 bike: I love that TV show Razz
  • 3 0
 @jeremy3220: The point of the article is that, instead of trying to make a bike that can please everyone, bike designers should focus on one target rider type and make a bike that works great for them. Then you wouldn't have people like the ones in these comments who are like "set the bike in the highest setting to get a good seat tube angle and then put an angleset in to get the headtube angle to the right position again." That is jumping through hoops. Using the more slack headtube angle makes the seat tube angle worse. They could have built a bike with the right seat angle and headtube angle in the first place.
  • 3 0
 Agreed. I’d argue...do away with flip chip. Offer two linkage options - one specific to a air and one coil specific. I don’t see how the industry misses this and let’s that aftermarket (Cascade) meet this demand!
  • 1 0
 Totally.. ride your bike set up for some tighter east-coast jank then go out west on a trip and ride different mountains, different trails. Chips Flipped, bike dialed.
  • 2 0
 @Patrick9-32: Those companies that use it as a crutch for conservative geo are going to make conservative geo bikes anyway.
  • 1 0
 @jeremy3220: but right now people buy them anyway because they can jump through hoops to make them work properly. If they just made a modern bike in the first place they could make a bike which worked better for less money.
  • 3 0
 @joemo5: You are making the authors point, its a way to play things safe. Design by committee, and you make no one happy. Customers think they want options, adjustability, change, But then become over whelmed with the decisions presented to them.
.3 of a degree doesn’t change anything, for anyone, at a recreational level, and lets be honest with ourselves, 99% of us are recreational users.

Design your bike, oven, operating system, whathaveyou..Hang your hat on that design as being the best that it can be, and stop listening to the knob turners about Koms they missed...

Be good to one another out there
  • 1 0
 @Patrick9-32: Yeah brands that don't make modern geo bikes should. Of course they should, that's the real problem not flip chips. You can do both. If we're going to say they should have modern geo then I say they should have modern geo and a flip chip if they want. If you're building a 120mm bike with a 65° hta and 77.5° sta, what's adding a flip chip going to hurt?

I get your point but it sounds like the real problem is simply companies not building modern bikes.
  • 1 0
 @ATXZJ: I agree. I have a Process X and run it in the long chainstay setting, and would like to experiment with the mullet/MX setup when I am able to get a 27.5 rear wheel. Love this bike.
  • 3 0
 @zede: The geometry on the new Scott Spark is slacker than before, so it's almost like halfway between the 2 flipchip settings on my bike (2013 model with 120mm front and back):

2021 Spark: Head Tube Angle: 68.5°, seat Tube Angle: 73.8° (RC model 100mm)
2021 Spark: Head Tube Angle: 67.2°, seat Tube Angle: 73.8° (non-RC 120mm)
2013 Spark: Head Tube Angle: 68.0°, seat Tube Angle: 73.5° (slack mode)
2013 Spark: Head Tube Angle: 68.7°, seat Tube Angle: 74.2°

It's a decent compromise.
  • 3 1
 @boozed: this is what every frame manufacturer should do!

Also no more stupid 27.5 specific forks!
Figure out how to build a fork that takes both wheelsizes without adding to much bulk or height so I can finally put a 29“ wheel in!
Maybe flip chips in the front axle mount to switch between 27,5“ and 29“.

This would be my dream, that I’m able to run every bike a mullet or a full 29“!
No more need to buy a new fork when I want to upgrade my front wheel to 29“ and let’s face it, pure 27,5“ is the combination we’d opt for the least often.
  • 1 1
 @downcountry: This is what flip chips SHOULD be used for IMO, to change suspension characteristics rather than minor geo tweaks. If the geo changes to compliment steeper/slacker geo (like Ride-9) then fine but it should primarily be for suspension behaviour.
  • 2 0
 @Spoonmeister: With recent "updates" to proper geo across the industry, it is now the more appropriate use. In the past, they were trying to hedge against being 'too' far out front since most mfg really have no way of quantitatively assessing performance improvements. All they had was field guys, and pros saying yeah, Nico likes this, yeah, Gwin likes that. I think the biggest leaps forward on this front came from....dare I say it, Chris Porter and Geometron bikes.
  • 92 4
 Phew. This is far more rational opinion than internal cable routing without in-tube molding.
  • 119 3
 I treat my needlessly strong opinions about small questions of design like my children and I love them all equally.
  • 8 1
 @henryquinney: This is comment gold
  • 7 6
 @henryquinney: my take is that you think a flip chip is making your seat angle too slack. If you’re anything like levy and kaz you’re probably riding a bike with too big of a reach. Now I agree flip chips are not useful when the high setting is a 340mm bb height and the low setting is even lower. I don’t know where mountain biking is going but for me that is just too low for actual alpine mountain riding.
  • 4 0
 @henryquinney: I'm sure you love all your children, but everyone knows it's impossible not to have a favorite. (or favourite in this case). Wink
  • 5 0
 @henryquinney: Your problem isn't the technology, it's the name. Silly Brit, it's called Flip Fries.
  • 1 0
 @noapathy: I KNEW my parents lied to me!
  • 2 0
 @Connerv6: AFAIK, that's parents' job. Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy. OK, kid, now that we've taught you all these things good luck out there.
  • 54 1
 Fucking math
  • 9 1
 preach
  • 47 1
 NEEEEEERRRRDS!
  • 43 0
 2020 Slayer 29 in HIGH (Pos. 4): 64.8 degree HA, 18mm BBD
Same bike, LOW (Pos. 1): 63.8 degree HA, 34mm BBD

To me, this bike actually flips between two useful positions. I run Pos.4/High for general purpose riding and it is still very capable while pedalling better and running into less crank strikes.

Pos. 1/Low is in park/downhill mode and it radically changes the way the bike rides. My flip chip is super useful.
  • 8 1
 I notice a big difference between the Neutral and Slack settings on my 2020 Slayer 27.5 as well
  • 4 0
 I so wish for something similiar to this for my Tallboy4. On that bike it'd be actually really useful to have a proper high position. As it is, Low/High changes the BBD from 38mm to 41mm and the HA from 65,5 to 65,7. It's just so unbelievably useless. I get that the low bb is partly responsible for how good the bike is downhill, but they might've as well just left the flip chip out. Adjustable chainstays are great though on the TB4.
  • 17 0
 Agreed! I was stoked to have the Pos. 1 for bike park last year and then the more all-day friendly 2-3 positions for general riding.
  • 2 0
 @JesseMelamed: Right? Your opinion carries a little more weight than mine...

With all the time you've put in on the new Altitude, do you think it would have a similar vibe if it were over-forked to 180mm up front?
  • 3 0
 I agree it's super useful. I was in slackish number 2 (second slackish?) then got a new progressive spring coil shock that seemed to sit a little lower in it's travel and moved to number 3 and kept the same ride height and the bike feels great there. If you wanna make changes like that it's made easier by the flip chips.
  • 2 0
 I have the 27.5 and think the same thing. Steeper for pedaling my regular trails, and can still have all the fun you want, steeper for park/shuttle laps. Easy enough adjustment to do for which type of riding you are doing that day, although I wouldn't bother to use it on the trail.
  • 2 0
 Same. I flip my chips depending on the terrain I'm riding. Slack/progressive shock/low BB for rowdy terrain, steep/linear shock/high BB for mellow terrain.
  • 3 0
 @eebsteez: a pro and a regular rider agreeing about this type of design is a great thing
  • 1 0
 @eebsteez: I think it's possible. The BB is lower on the Altitude so you could run it in pos 3 with the 180mm fork and get something close to the Slayer, I don't think it would be as slack though, and you wouldn't have the same rear travel.
Riding the two bikes back to back I definitely felt like the Altitude was just as capable riding big terrain, but it did lack some of the bike park comfort and smashability of the Slayer.
For proof, there was a day I was riding with my brother and he rode my Slayer and I rode my Altitude. Both felt similar, and we came across Remy's big drops that he always filmed and I hit them on both my Slayer and
Altitude with no issues and happy on both.
  • 1 0
 @nvranka: We do try to design bikes with the consumer in mind, while trying to optimize them for us to race.
  • 42 1
 See the problem here is that first you gotta dip, then flip, then rip your chip.
  • 26 1
 don't double dip the chip
  • 57 1
 Tool on my hip, pocket unzip, allen key equip, chip flip, then rip!
  • 9 1
 @eebsteez:

I read that in rich stir fry’s buck65 voice and it was perfect.
  • 30 0
 Just put each chip in the opposite position to its counterpart and then you get the best of both worlds.

Spend time on your bike on the same trails and you should notice the difference... otherwise, why would we bother with tyre pressures; rebound and compression settings (etc).
  • 10 0
 that setup is called the Will and Harry
  • 31 1
 I’ve got a flip chip. Tried both settings, settled on OEM. Never flipped said chip again.
  • 7 0
 Same. When I first got my bike it came in the low setting, so that’s how I rode it for the first month or so. Then I decided to flip it into the high position to help with all the pedal strikes I was having. I was surprised by what a change it made, but after a few rides I went back to the low setting. I preferred the lower, slacker feel and figured I should just work on foot position and reading the trail better to avoid pedal strikes.
  • 3 0
 @bdub5696: I did same thing on my bike. Smile
  • 2 0
 @bdub5696: Yup... and 165 cranks help loads for pedal strikes.
  • 4 0
 @davec113: and furthermore...165 cranks are just better, for everyone under 180cm.
Amen.
  • 20 1
 The US Air Force noticed a startling rash of operator error crashes in the 40s. In response, they used thousands of pilots for measurements and aimed to make a cockpit that fit most of them. What they actually found was that creating something for the "average" pilot made the fit terrible for almost everyone. They ended up making the cockpit adjustable, despite the extra cost and complexity. The wisdom of this was summed up as the USAF discovering the flaw of averages, with the adjustable solution being so good that it was proclaimed that it would lead to the "End of Average".

I like the brilliance of the Guerrilla Gravity Revved frame design.
  • 6 0
 Love this. The sign of a good compromise is when everyone is equally unhappy.
  • 18 0
 The worst offender clearly is the Strive. You have to choose between very outdated geometry and just slightly outdated geometry, and most slacker enduro bikes still climb better. The shapeshifter also adds tons of complication.
  • 4 0
 Canyon needs to spec an angle set on that thing
  • 5 0
 @boozed: or spec modern geo with that thing
  • 3 0
 I'm quite happy with mine.
  • 2 0
 Canyon is behind on all their geometry. Their XC bike still runs a 71 HA, FFS.
  • 1 0
 @whambat: for whatever it's worth the current Exceed has a 69 HTA across all sizes.
  • 4 0
 @whambat:

Have you check their new Spectral 29er.?
Modern geo on that bike
  • 4 0
 The Strive desperately needs a geometry update
  • 2 0
 @Brdjanin: after three hours on their website trying to find geo of their bikes, I will agree that the Spectral has some good geo.

@Mazador And the Exceed looks ok. It’s not as progressive as the BMC bikes, but 69 HA isn’t bad and it has a steep enough for XC SA. Ironically, their hard tail is more progressive than their XC FS Lux, which is what I looked at recently after the WC bike checks. And I was wrong about 71, Lux is 70.

Canyon bikes always look like a good deal, but whenever I’ve shopped for one, they seemed behind a bit on geo. Glad to see they are getting updated.
  • 1 0
 Extrapolating on the article, what we (I) really want and need is a bike with on-the-fly adjustable geometry and other properties. It started with the rear lockout, you can go from a fully to a hardtail (sort of) for climbs or flatter parts. I see that especially the dropper is a tool in this category.

Now, I have a Canyon Strive which has the shapeshifter in the rear which is a good start in this direction. However, it needs refinement. What you want to do is to run the bike like the enduro team does. Increase the shock lenghts to 160 mm and 180 mm back and front, respectively, and maybe add the ~10 mm spacer under the lower head cup. Also, you´ll want to punch the saddle as front as it goes (outdated seat tube angle).

The Strive out the box seems to have a climb mode and a flat mode. You can make it to sort of to climb/flat and DH. It feels great now, can send down the hills and also climb. I hope the next iteration will be closer to this and maybe have the modes further apart in characteristics. I wonder if someone has the time and effort to machine a custom shapeshifter link.

In conclusion, please start making bikes with "good" geometry AND two/three on-the-fly modes for climb/flat/downhill.
  • 1 0
 @JudgeJor: Years ago a company called Bionicon made bikes with simple geo & travel change but I don't think they exist anymore. It sounds like the sort of thing you're after.
  • 18 0
 I’ve got a 2021 Stumpy Evo, it’s steep and high on the trails, slack and low at the park. Works perfect for me.
  • 7 2
 I think that might be the only bike right now with a worthwhile flip-chip..
  • 4 0
 @Kyleponga: My Knolly Chilcotin offers a pretty good flip chip. Low/Slack mode with more a more progressive shock rate = 64 degree HA, 77.2 SA and 337 BBH.

While the high/less slack mode with less progressive rate = 64.75 degree HA, 78 degree SA and 364 BBH.

And it's just one bolt so it can be changed trailside easily. Changes from enduro smasher to capable trail bike in a few seconds.

But like others have mentioned, I'd also like or prefer an adjustment that would allow for an easy mullet conversion.

Though on their 27.5 bike (Warden) which has the same flip chip... you can mullet it easily by dropping your front travel by 10mm and put the flip chip in the "high setting" so you essentially end up with a 160/160 mullet that has the same geometry as the full 27.5 bike in the slack setting with 160/170. That's what I rode last year and will probably go back to next year. Mullet is the way forward.
  • 2 0
 @islandforlife: That’s cool about the spring rate change. I rarely change my StumpJumper but if it allowed me to run a coil in one setting and air in another I’d find that more useful
  • 1 0
 @DizzyNinja: Ya, the Chilcotin plays well with a coil in either configuration... it's just even more progressive in "Slack".
  • 2 0
 @Kyleponga: i doubted it all until I got my evo. Its a really sweet setup and definitely noticeable.
  • 1 0
 I'm almost the opposite but it's an awesome feature. Just got mine but have already tried out low and steep for trails and love it but we don't have a ton of rocks in Bend. For park and racing I'll probably go slack and high though.
  • 1 0
 @islandforlife: Knolly invented the flip chip
  • 2 0
 Same! Love being able to switch it from feeling like a trail bike to feeling like an enduro bike in a few minutes.
  • 2 0
 I also have a 2021 Evo and was relieved to see the author point it out as one of the few bikes where the adjustable geo is a positive attribute. I was a little skeptical about the swap-able headset cups at first, but I'm glad to see Specialized seems confident with the design and integrating it into the new Levo and Kenevo. It's pretty amazing how drastically different the adjustments can make the bike, steep/high gives a 65.5* HTA and short wheelbase, slack/low gives a 63* HTA and adds 27mm of length to the wheelbase (for size S3), while only reducing the reach by 4mm. Add in the $60 mullet link and you gain even more versatility!
  • 16 1
 “ Why does the end-user always spot these things in five minutes on a bike that most likely underwent several stages of prototyping? Am I missing something?”

This is exactly my experience with bikes. The customer shouldn’t be the first level of QA. Get your game tight bike industry, you’re embarrassing yourselves.
  • 1 0
 This idea needs its own article... How to bike companies ensure their bikes don't only just ride good, but are also user friendly?

Some bike brands, like Santa Cruz, make spare parts, bearings, and support readily available. Their bikes are well thought out and for the most part seem durable and easy enough to work on... They are also expensive...

Other brands seem to puke out a bike which might ride OK, but is riddled with odd design issues, has a million little grommets to put back together if you ever take the linkage apart, and seem to go out of their way to make it difficult to find parts and information about their bikes.
  • 12 1
 As someone trying to optimize the bike to go as fast as possible I am super grateful that my bike (Rocky Mountain Altitude) has a ton of adjustment (ride9 & adjustable CS length) it allows a huge range of fine tuning especially of you throw in Anglesets or reach adjust cups into the mix.
  • 5 1
 Hey Remi,
Since you have so much adjustment, have you tried any mullet variations yet? I'd love to see you and/or Jesse give it a go and document it on your new channel. You think Rocky would be cool with that? Here is my own quick synopsis of what I've been testing over the past two years:

1. Knolly Warden, full 27.5 with 170mm fork and 160mm rear travel run in the "slack" setting (won't get into specific numbers here) - super fun, maneuverable, rear-wheel-steery, felt really good in the air. Didn't like how much more work the front end of the bike was in really rough terrain (27.5)... little less stable at high speed... but cornered really well. Overall fun, but ultimate pace was slower than previous 29r I was on.

2. New Knolly Warden, modified from full 27.5 to a mullet with a 29" fork/wheel lowered travel to 160mm, 27.5 out back, put geometry in "high" setting. Lowering the front travel and putting the geo in high meant that even as a mullet it was basically the same geo as the full 27.5 bike set in the slack setting. This set up was awesome... 29 out front gave tons of confidence and grip and just rolled everything, good high speed stability, still had that 27.5 steerability and maneuverability yet seemed to keep 95% of the speed of the a full 29r. Then the cornering ability helped to trump the speed of the full 29r altogether. Also really liked it on really really steep and gnarly double black+ stuff... not having that 29 inch wheel out back feels so much better on that kind of terrain. Set my fastest times on this set-up

3. New Knolly Chilcotin 29r (which is basically the full 29 inch version of the Warden) set-up as 160 rear and 170 up front. It's a fast enduro smasher and I love it, but I've been wishing for that Mullet goodness from my last set-up, especially on the really steep gnar... and I don't seem to be able to match the speeds of my previous mullet set-up. Sure it feels faster in some scenarios, but slower in others... and all in all it's just a little slower and little less fun than the mullet... which it sounds like I will go back to next season.
  • 1 0
 This. When I bought my 2018 Altitude, I intended for it to be my do-everything trail bike. In the past year or so, I have focused more on downhill performance. The flip-chip allowed me to move to a longer stroke coil shock without sacrificing the geometry and increased progression for the coil shock. I agree that not all flip chips are useful. My intended use of my bike changed and I am fortunate that my bike was able to adapt to my needs. Without this, I would have been looking for a new frame.
  • 8 0
 Run it in the higher setting, and make sure the head tube can take an angleset. An angleset not only makes your head angle slacker, because your fork is the same length it actually lowers your head tube slightly, steepening the seat angle. So high setting gives better seat angle and reach, slightly lower head tube does the same, angleset sorts out the head angle. Problem solved. Just costs £60 extra (works components).
  • 1 0
 This. Both of my bikes are run this way. Geo adjust is terrific as most others run the same frame as mine in low. Low didn’t work for me.
  • 8 1
 I absolutely notice the difference but agree that I'd like the high reach and seat angle in the low setting. Maybe not on the slackest examples but I bet most of us are using the low setting anyway.
  • 15 7
 The only reason I didn't buy a GG bike(s) is this.

Gnarvana: big travel, slacker HA, shorter reach, slacker STA
Trail pistol: short travel, steeper HA, longer reach, steeper STA

Not faulting GG for needing to work within geometric reality, but those relationships stop making sense after the HA part...
  • 41 1
 @sspiff: this is every brand that tries to make multiple bike platforms out of a single front triangle mold.
  • 5 0
 This year I upped the fork on my bike and put on an angleset and was pretty happy it has a flip chip (or ride 9). I used to have it in the slack setting but with 20mm more travel and the headset my HTA measured close to 62 but now I have it in the steep setting and it made all the changes work out better.
  • 13 0
 @sspiff: We need to all return to alloy! Just miter the tubes a tad different before welding, instead of needing a half million dollar mold.
  • 6 6
 @sspiff: But the two bikes are not even in the same category.

This is only a downside if you are looking at comparing the bikes based on their travel, not on the geometry or intended use.

If the Trail Pistol "fits you" from a short-travel-29er perspective (geo/intended use), then great. If it doesn't, then look for a different bike. However, if the Gnarvana fits you from a long-travel-29er perspective (geo/intended use), and all other aspects of it are agreeable, then it should be a contender. If not, same rule applies - look for a different bike.

Seems a little unfair to write the brand/company off based on the fact that their geometries are locked in based on wanting to use a universal front triangle.
  • 2 0
 @GravityCandy: Did the same on my '16 134. 160 Pike (from 140). -2 deg angleset. 65HTA. I'd do the same in my future bike to get the bike dialed, and flip chips would be an advantage to negate angleset/travel changes.
  • 2 0
 @kinematix: that's the conclusion I came up with also. I have a Trail Pistol and Smash setup, though all the parts started from a Smash build, so I tend to run it as a Smash most often (why shorten the travel to still have a 32+ lb bike?). Ideally a Trail Pistol would have a Pike Ultimate or 34, light wheels, etc, a Smash would have a Lyric/36 and enduro wheels, and a Gnarvana would have a Zeb/38 and indestructible wheels. Instead of having a whole build kit for each configuration and thinking about the downsides to each config, in my opinion it makes more sense to just pick which model works best for you and if the geometry works, great, if it doesn't, get a different bike.
  • 2 1
 @sspiff: I'm not sure I agree...seems like shorter reaches work well for steeper terrain...see the reach number on most downhill bikes. So as the reach gets shorter, to keep the butt-to-hand measurement the same, wouldn't the ST trend slacker?
  • 3 0
 @GravityCandy: THIS ^^^ Anglesets make flip chips work really well. If GG had their replaceable cups for change in reach integrated with angle adjustment they'd be baller...
  • 3 0
 @sspiff: GG lol
  • 1 1
 What makes the GG (and others like em) likeable for me is that because it can also take a longer stroke shock and and angleset, it's quite easy to keep it in the shorter//steeper/less travel mode, which is better for my local trails (and probably most people's) but it can also be configured for park days.
  • 3 0
 @hamncheez: Welcome to Commencal club, my friend
  • 7 1
 I've always used the slack position when available. Reach adjust headset cups like Guerrilla Gravity use and adjustable chainstay length solutions are much more desireable to me.
  • 1 0
 I’ve never been interested in the flip chips, but the adjustable reach on my Shred Dogg has let me dial in my fit just that much better. It’s not something I change often, but for the initial set up it was great!
  • 5 0
 I've had my slayer for 3 yrs, and I've ridden every type of trail from moab to skinnies. Always ran in the slackest setting and ever worried about. but this year I threw a 180mm Fox 36 on it and had to make the adjustment to a more nuetral position to keep the front wheel on the ground in the climbs. I think the 4 way adjustment on my rocky mountain is about perfect for any type of riding. Science rules!
  • 7 5
 Are you from 2001
  • 9 0
 @browner: I'm not quite sure what that is supposed to mean? Is it a compliment?
  • 15 0
 @browner: Most of us have been from 2001 in some way or another.
  • 2 1
 @DKlassen8: good morning, dave.
  • 6 1
 @austinsteve77: the words slayer, moab and skinnies are a full line in 2001 MTB bingo
  • 5 1
 @browner: 2001 was a dark year indeed. Its a good thing they got rid of Moab in 2002.
  • 5 0
 I've long been a believer in "put it in low and slack, and never touch it again." Then I purchased a 2021 Specialized Enduro. For this particular frame, putting it in the "high" setting provides a more reasonable bottom bracket position which makes the bike noticeably more nimble. Carrying your weight ever-so-slightly higher allows for quicker disengagement between lines, and saves me at least some headache on technical rocky climbs (I use 175mm crank arms, so pedal strikes are common).

To me, flip chips don't cause any issue if they are well engineered. I can't imagine that they cause much, if any, compromise to the bike itself, and they do provide a bit of tinkering adjustability.
  • 1 0
 I'm in New England where most of the trails are tight, twisty, and full of root-balls and unexpected rocks. Having a slightly higher bb can be nice sometimes... (especially on climbs), but even when landing in a pile of rocks. I've ridden some bikes where I'll land in some chunk and my heels scrape the ground.

I also am partial to 175mm cranks... but I think they are going the way of the Dodo.
  • 5 0
 Flip chips suck-the Trek style ones (now also in use by Giant) are notorious for coming loose even if they're torqued to spec at the start of a ride. None of the bikes they come with ride better "steep" than "slack"......ever.

The bit I'd like to see more adjustable is the rocker link. Cascade Components links don't make a bike "better" but they keep the stock geometry and do change the leverage curve on the suspension. That's a difference that can make a bike better suited to a particular rider (and rear shock).
  • 1 0
 Honestly dont see point of flip chip. I have fuel ex 2020. It is in slack mode since i bought it 8 months ago. Never had need for geo adjustment in steep. I have greased bearings and didnt used torque wrench, not a single bolt came loose.
  • 4 0
 I'm 100% pro-flip chips. Nowadays, bikes are designed quite slack and long already. On flip-chips the reach alteration is usually very minimal, but the HTA and BB alterations are more substantial.

The option of making it a mullet or adjusting the geo steeper is good. More versatility is better. You don't have to use it and it doesn't impede or infringe on anything. Also, you don't have to do a lot of hacks to the frame like putting in an angleset headset, offset bushings, or other hack to alter your frame's geo. Versatility in a frame is good.
  • 5 1
 Just trying to figure out the flip chip orientation for the Ride 9 on my Altitude makes my head spin... Nvm trying to figure out if I like my HTA 1mm Slacker or my BB 2mm lower... FFS
  • 5 0
 What Nukeproof did with the Giga's progression adjuster and how it doesn't change the geometry, just the kinematics, is the future.
  • 2 0
 Yea I’d rather a bike with well designed geo be able to swap between coil and air
  • 3 0
 I'm a tinkerer, but once I find a setup I like, I set it and forget it. One or two choices of geometry adjustment to get my bike dialed would be nice. I like anglesets and overforking and a flip chip would be an easy way to compensate for that.
  • 4 1
 I’ve tried to use the Ride 9 chip on my 2019 RM Instinct to fine tune the geometry, and I completely that it is very frustrating that trying to get a lower bb and slacker hta also affects the spring rate of the shock and the sta. It feels like a huge compromise you can never be fully happy with.
  • 3 0
 I've enjoyed playing with my flip chip on my Trance X for three reasons: One, I noticed a real difference in the poppiness that it gave the bike going to the high position raising the bb relative to the axle height- hopping downed trees easier while it climbed with more vigor around our tight, punchy, rooty climbs and reducing pedal strikes especially. Second, going low really changes its attitude if going to bigger open or fast DH places where pedaling isn't the priority and just hucking and hugging..... But mainly thirdly because it allows for nearly exact geometry to the low position with a mullet set up, which after trying has been, to me, AMAZING! The X's 10mm BB adjustment allows it to be run in the high position but get the geo of the low while putting the axle and BB closer to level which makes it noticeably nimbler hopping big trees and accelerates better over nutty roots up hill. Yes, a few more pedal strikes per BB (which is same height as if running 29 r wheel in low position) but since techy climbs are easier with quicker small wheel- its a fair trade for all the other benefits.
Maybe not all flip chips are as noticeable but I enjoy mine and would flip mine for different days relative to the trails even if hadn't found the heavenly mullet life. Which to say-- is the good life!
  • 3 0
 Ride-9: Going from neutral to slack was very noticeable. Slacker HA is nice and slacker STA doesn't bother me as much as it does some. The real compromise is in how the more progressive rate comes along with reduced travel: anybody riding hard would want the best of both those worlds.
  • 3 0
 First, I love that Henry has strong opinions that he’s willing to unabashedly put out there. It’s fantastic to hear something a bit more colorful than “I would prefer to see 4 piston brakes” over and over.

But are you really upset about flip chips Henry? Or are you just upset that they didn’t build the bike with the geometry you want? Because reading between the lines, it seems like you think there’s a “right” direction and a “wrong” direction for these “adjustments” and you just don’t like that you can’t adjust it to the “better” position and leave it there. You can’t imagine that someone might do better with a steeper head or slacker seat than a big manufacturers trail bike, so these adjustments are only trade offs in your mind.

Which is great and all, but it sure is a long winded way of saying that bikes aren’t progressive enough.

But at the same time I agree with you. Of all the geo adjustments you can make - adjustable chain stays, angle sets, fork travel, seat post offsets - flip chips are the least useful. They’re fundamentally marketing gimmicks.

I’m strongly considering a hardtail with sliding dropouts and a press in headset with a helm fork. Seems like it would offer a tremendous platform to experiment with angles and chain stay dimensions before deciding what my next full suspension should be.
  • 3 0
 I think that's the thing that gets us about many (not all) flip chips. They're so often used as a crutch by product managers who know what "good" is, but are too conservative or limited by convention to do the right thing.

Also I love me some 4 piston brakes and I'll keep whinging about it until more powerful brakes are the norm. Smile
  • 4 0
 @brianpark: I don’t mind the 4 piston brake comments. I mind that I can often read multiple reviews for multiple bikes and the harshest thing anyone says is about the brakes.

Of course bikes are awesome now, and and every bike has a target rider, but it would be nice to hear “I just really didn’t have fun riding this and don’t recommend it at all” every once in a while instead of reading between the lines of faint praise.
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: blame the bike shops, not the product manager. If the shop’s buyer thinks it’s too extreme, it will barely make it into the shop. And if it doesn’t get enough initial orders from the shops, it may doom the model.
  • 3 0
 @whambat: Absolutely. I'm generalizing here, but some shop buyers and especially distributors are some of the biggest barriers to progress in this industry.
  • 1 1
 @brianpark: if you were building a new brand, what are the correct numbers for XC, trail, and enduro bikes? Are they even different? I keep hearing that this or that bike needs a different geometry for its intended purpose, but haven’t seen a clear idea about what the ideal is. For all I can tell, writers think we’re headed to grim donut territory and are just trying to push us there faster.

Would probably be a decent article for Henry’s next rant. If there’s already an article on it that I missed a link would be much appreciated.
  • 1 0
 @Blackhat: marketing and hype behind numbers claiming to make you a better rider is what they are after. Ride a 2017 reign compared to a current 27.5 bike. The average rider would get on fine with either. It's all about the sales and convincing you your outdated bike sucks.

Some change is for the better for sure but not all will make you ride like Jesse melamed
  • 4 1
 Geometry adjustment is very useful. It cost next to nothing in weight and you don’t have to mess with em if you don’t want toS All your long winded hot air against flip chips is just that. Fuggof with your basic bs @henry Quinney
  • 6 2
 Without reading this article I can only assume that flip chips are great. Based only on his last opinion being laughably wrong headed.
  • 6 0
 Angle set, angle set, angle set.... all day.
  • 7 0
 The Stumpy Evo's angleset that can be changed trailside is a game changer. Local trail ride? put the head angle at 65. Bike park day? put it at 63.5. For this reason, it's the only bike that can truly be called "one bike to rule them all" IMO. I've run Cane Creek and Works Anglesets, and they're great, but nobody wants to be pressing headset cups in and out of their $3k frame often, if at all lol.
  • 3 1
 @piratetrails: by changing trailside im assuming you still need to remove fork, cups etc?
  • 1 0
 @coletrane-mtb: Cube Stereo/Two15 and Radon Swoop bikes do have easy head angles adjustments as well. It's made possible by a headset from acros. You simply have to turn the headset cups 180°, that's it. There is one version with 0.8° and one with 2.0 degrees I think.
  • 3 0
 @justanotherusername: Nope, you don't need to remove the fork to change the angleset on the SJ Evo. It's surprisingly easy to accomplish and can be done in under 5 mins.
  • 1 0
 But an angleset is a hassle to remove old headset and install new one. Much easier to just flip a chip. Also, it still will shorten the reach and lower stack height slightly if used just like a flip chip.
  • 3 1
 I like the idea of a chip if it makes a significant difference. Like, turn my XC bike into an Eunduro bike, otherwise a minor change doesn't seem worth the complication. So many good bikes out there right now, I think there's one that will make everyone happy. Also, no one should have just one bike.
  • 2 5
 yep. just one more thing to break.
  • 2 1
 There are many poor people like myself out there just happy we have "a" bike to ride. but good on ya for being so successful $$$$$
  • 1 0
 Some riders enjoy the fine tuning, some riders don’t even notice. Geo adjust is for those with the sensitivity/experience or desire to tweak. Not for everyone.
  • 2 0
 I'm using the Trail (steeper) mode, but I also mulleted the bike which made it slacker, so I'm actually a bit slacker than the original Gravity (slacker) mode. But I wish there was just a mullet mode which preserved the angles and BB height... my setup is a bit of a hack (a bit slacker and higher).
  • 7 4
 Not everyone has the same body shape and not everyone wants the same things of a bike. Those chips give the ability to adjust a bike to how you want it, and that's a good thing.
  • 5 0
 I’d be stoked if my bike had adjustable chain stay length, every other flip chip idea I’ve seen made my eyes roll hard.
  • 1 0
 Adjustable chain stay length is the best way to go I think too. An added bonus that many don't think about is balancing out a different size frame.
  • 3 1
 How much complexity / cost / weight does adding a 2nd shock hole or small metal parts really add? Not that much. Benefits outweigh the drawbacks bigtime. I set my enduro bike to low/slack f or whistler days and middle setting for all else. Its great. Flip Chips add a whipping 20 grams!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Frown
  • 2 0
 I am more in the set and forget category, and I think it makes more sense for brands to lengthen the CS as frame sizes increase. My P3 Privateer is running 446mm stays and it is the most balanced bike I've owed. I came from a V1 Sentinel and really noticed the difference the 11mm longer CS made, slightly less agile in the corners but it is crazy fast and stable, and the Sentinel was already a fast and stable bike.
  • 5 0
 This poll just proves that pinkbike is populated by a bunch of slackers avoiding work.
  • 4 2
 Does anyone move them around on a regular basis? No.
But does it help a rider fine tune the geo of a bike to what they are used to or to the conditions where they live? Absolutely. I have known people who’ve moved and went from a slack geo to a steeper one for their new terrain.

In short, the author is short sighted and not seeing the bigger picture. I’d rather have the option than none at all. A lot of people would and it makes it easier for shops to sell people a bike.
  • 2 0
 Mondraker summum carbon previous generation 2015 to 2020 did it right! The bike could be adjusted to have a headset angle between 65° and 61° and you could adjust your chain stay length between fire at 430 mm to 445mm 460 mm. It really changed the bike and allowed you to ride the bike and all types of conditions.
  • 2 0
 How tight are the tolerances of most frames anyway? I wager it is not far off what many flip chips do.

That being said, I'm surprised at how different my current bike feels with a 1° slacker headset...super positive change.
  • 2 0
 I just want more flip chips like the Kona Process X for mullet vs. 29er rear! I think the problem now is flip chips just don't make enough of an actual difference to change them.

Have a 2021 Evo and I actually do love the ability to tweak things between the headset cup and flip chip. Broke my 29er wheel so am running the bike in "Steep/High" setting. But with the 650b wheel, it is closer to having a 29er in the rear in "Slack/Low" setting. Perfect use case for me.

Also neat to have adjustable geo for roadtrips/traveling where I only want to bring one bike. I don't change my settings much here riding my local trails, but there are definitely places I travel where moving to a steep set up (65.5 degrees) would be rad for trail riding (e.g. Missoula, MT), but then being able to go super slack (63) for hitting Big Sky or Silver Mountain bike park on that same trip is a cool scenario for sure.

I want MORE flipchips for these scenarios!
  • 2 0
 LOL at the Prophet picture with the "FR" mode. When I had that bike, the "FR" mode still very steep specially considering today's head tube angles in the low 60s.

The v1 Jeffsy had a flipchip, and I didn't feel much difference between the two settings. A flip chip isn't something I look for when looking for a new bike.
  • 1 0
 I tried my Prophet in xc mode for all of a couple of rides and realised even then that the HA was far too steep for the intended riding. Left it in FR for years though and never looked back. Such a great bike!
  • 2 0
 I've used the ride-9 on my RM Altitude a lot more than I thought I would. It's nice to be able to somewhat match the geometry to the terrain and be able to feel a difference, I'm really glad it's there. Conversely, I've never even thought about touching the flip-chip on my Django, and didn't even know that the Capra I used to own had one...
  • 2 0
 Have flipped my chip a few times on Firebird 29, but always reverted back to high. For me, a possibility to choose a better performing geometry has proven useful. I have seen slack and low being useful on open fast flow highways without any technical shit. Once you take your bike out to real gnar, rocks, steep, windy and technical, higher position with more clearance has proven way better, more responsive, agile and fun, without really sacrificing anything in terms of stability or safety. Way more pros in high, than in low position. And Firebird isn't even super slack, so I am not thrilled with what the future might have in store for us geometry wise. Or, at leas: keep them flip chips on, for those of us who like ride and play more than just sledging straight on.
  • 1 0
 Firebird is a green example of a very useful flip chip. For bike park days - low. For local rock and gnar - high. My personal ride is mostly set in high with a -1 works HS. Nice reach and 63degree ( measured ) HA. 62 HA for DH park days
  • 2 0
 Have the Rocky Ride-9 system. Has been particularly useful for coil as I'm able to fine tune shock progressivity. It's not something I change regularly, but is a fantastic 'free' feature which allows you to tune your ride as you get to know it/upgrade it over time.

My partner also rides a Rocky and initially rode very 'light' on the bike. As she progressed she we moved it from steep to neutral as she pushed harder through the pedals/found herself on steeper trails.
  • 4 2
 More shit ass takes. No one is forcing you to use your flip chip, there is no disadvantage to having one. you can simply just not use it. Like everything it's always going to be a compromise. Complaining the STA is too slack in low but the HTA is too steep in high just means you should have bought the bike with the right geometry. Maybe some other rider prefers your bike in the high setting. It's no disadvantage to you, but means the bike can potentially appeal to a greater range of riders
  • 2 0
 Super low/slack position for uplift days (so the seat angle doesn’t matter, the slightly shorter reach doesn’t matter because you’re mostly pointing downhill, the BB can be really low without pedal strikes being annoying on technical climbs), and a slightly less low/slack position for all other rides.

Do it on a ~150mm full-sus and I’ll have a 63.5 deg head angle and 330mm BB for uplifting and a 64.5 deg HA and 342mm BB the rest of the time.
  • 2 0
 While it's not quite what you're after as it has no flip chip, 2021 Marin Alpine Trail has a 63.5 deg head angle with 342m bb height, which I think is a great compromise, and is probably the best example of best of all worlds geo that I've seen. And all of this without messing with flip chips.
  • 2 0
 @Thebluelion: Very similar to the 2021 Transition Sentinel. 63.6 HTA and 346mm bb height.
  • 1 0
 @bonkmasterflex: Man that Sentinel is one gorgeous looking bike. Close to being my ideal bike with it's looks and geo, not that I'd be able to afford it within this lifetime
  • 2 0
 to me a flip chip is where you pull a cool ranch dorrito from the bag and flip it over a few times to see which side has the most red and green seasoning speckles on it so you can make sure to put that side down on your tongue for maximum flavor enjoyment.
  • 3 2
 Whoever designed any given bike has obviously spent much more time figuring out how it performs than I have. If i didn't like it, I would lean more to getting a different bike than trying to significantly change any geometry/suspension numbers, especially since adding these adjustments often has some design compromise.
  • 3 0
 I took the shapeshifter off my strive as I never switched geo even when the choice was on the bars. I’m definitely a set and forget person.
  • 2 0
 Did you feel like it made much difference? I (briefly) rode one and couldn't tell if the shapeshifter was on or off.
  • 3 0
 @boozed: going down yes. much better being slacker with more travel. Climbing not so much as i tend to cruise up to the top to enjoy the decent, So slack it stayed. plus having the extra cable on the bars upset me the more i looked at it.
  • 1 0
 I have the cannondale prophet pictured there, and the change is noticeable but it still always on the slacker mount and I used it on some chill rides, I don´t want to break it, I built it las year because I loved that bike since I was 12. Now that I´m 28 the only bike I had with geo adjustments was a trek slash 8 with minolink(the previous version), never used it, it was perfect on slack mode and never tried the other position, now I own a commencal meta AM 29 2021 and it is perfect, it doesn´t have any geo adjusments.
  • 3 2
 I run my old V10 chip in the 8.5" setting. Back in the day on my Marin Attack trail I ran the bike steep for the climbs then moved the QR to middle or slack for the descents. The. I bought an Alpine. Link for it. That bike was some time ago too.
I would say that some modern bikes are just too slack for the riding around here, sacrificing cornering for stability. When we see pro riders steepening their head angles on bikes but using the low BB flip chip position that tells a story in itself.

Adjustable anything is only any good if you understand it or how to compare setting 1 to setting 2 alone with the suspension changes required when making the flip chip change.

The mind boggles at the choices sometimes.
  • 1 0
 You seeing Scottish riders steepening their head angles? That is interesting, trail or dh bikes?
  • 3 0
 I don't care about adjustable geometry unless it actually makes a difference. Half a degree here or there isn't gonna magically make you that much faster
  • 2 0
 Won't make you faster but could inspire more confidence or just suit your preferences better.
  • 1 0
 I do ride a Cannondale Prophet (same color as above) and I use the 69 degree mount. But the bike has been converted to 27.5 with a 150mm fox 34 so the head angle is about 67.5 anyway.

Honest question is it even worth considering the effects of adjustments like these if running the bike in a non stock form?

What do flip chips do or do not do for MX setups for example?
  • 1 0
 Depends how far into adjustment the manufacturer goes. My beater park bike is a 2016 Voltage and that thing is loaded with adjustments. 415-425mm chain stays, 170/190 travel and 62-66 degree head angle. I can build her as a burly trail/enduro rig or a dedicated downhill rig. On the flip side my Status 140 only has one flip chip with like .5 degree adjustment. Not worth it, especially on a trail bike
  • 6 0
 I ride a hardtail.
  • 1 0
 If I was torn dead even between two different bikes, I would pick the one with the flip chip. Allows for adjustments down the road. Different trails, different technologies, different rider (resale value), I want flip chip options! (I also love climb switches on shocks and use them if warranted).
  • 1 0
 That's why I adjusted the geometry of my Orbea Rallón R4 in the "lower" setting with a -2° Superstar Slackerizer headset. It has everything where I want it. And for those XCish days, I just swap it to the "Low" setting to have a better pedaling position and a much more flickable bike.
  • 1 0
 It just depends on the bike is designed. I used to have access to a lot of different bikes, and I just loved Evil's flip chip design because it had a great low pedaling mode and you could go even lower for park riding. That was awesome for the bigger bikes! Even on the Following, I knew some people who only rode in the extra-low setting ever but I preferred the feeling in the high setting a lot of the time. Fun bikes that had two "flavours" of the same bike. And if it's done well, (good bike with a couple "modes" of how it rides) more people can enjoy the bike more closely to how they want to. That being said, I always hated the fine-tuning ability of the Guerilla Gravity stuff. I only ever got time with the Trail Pistol, but it seemed a lot like they had gotten a bike that sat -roughly- where they wanted it to and then left the finishing 5 or 10% to the rider, but I could never get it to a point where it really felt at home. It always felt like it was in that "thereabouts" region. Same goes for the Rondo Ruut I had for a fall. It had that twin-tip flip-chip design thing and I found that it didn't really feel like there was a point and it didn't feel dialed in other spot. On mountain bikes, with very variable terrain, riding styles, and disciplines, I can appreciate the extra versatility but the gravel/road implementation we're seeing these days to me drives home the problem that arises: you have to make a good bike that has some adaptability, not a bike built for adaptability.
  • 4 3
 Dumbest hot take yet. Nobody is forcing you to use it. But it’s an easy and convenient feature that can dial your bike in slightly better for you.

I upforked my 2018 Hightower and the high setting felt way better. Before that I always ran it in low.

Awesome little feature at barely any cost to me or manufacturer.
  • 6 0
 I like beer
  • 2 0
 Now that's an Opinion I can get behind!
  • 1 0
 I voted Slack because until this year that was always my go to setting. But this season I am riding a Force29 mulleted and riding in the slack position wouldn't work so I ride the high position, yet my bike is slacker than the standard bike is slack mode so I guess in the end I am still always choosing the slacker option lol
  • 2 0
 I think Evil need to be recognised for their approach on this topic. Are they sticking two fingers up at the industry norm with their flip-chip settings being "Low" and the natural alternative; "Lower"?
  • 1 1
 They also sell an angleset for when you maybe need ‘lowest’?
  • 1 0
 Nice, considered article. Like the Nicolai, I have amongst the 650b and 29ers in the workshop, a 26 inch Orange Alpine 160. This simple pivot, old bike has an adjustable ‘sled’ for the rear shock top mount...and after the first day DH in the Alps I moved it to the longest, slackest position: 65 head angle (160 front travel), lowered BB by over 10mm, and extended wheelbase by nearly 20mm. Uplift and then onto the red DH at Crans Montana..... WOAH NEDDY!!!....bloody hell this thing is ON... genuinely a huge difference, stable, massive traction and much better at rolling over things rather than crashing into them. Glad they fitted that there sled....
  • 1 0
 Not quite a flip chip, but my old Norco Fluid LT had adjustable geo. You could change how much rear travel you had by moving between 2 mount positions. It was great, 20mm less travel for pedal days and full travel for more rowdy days. I'm in the more options are usually better camp.
  • 1 0
 It's not about me changing the nature of my bike all the time for different applications. It's about the ability to tailor the bike to my current needs, which generally don't change that much. I experiment until I get it how I like it then I leave it alone. That is difficult to do without adjustable geometry.
  • 2 0
 I am glad to have the flip chip on my 2021 Stumpjumper. The bottom bracket was just too low in the slack mode for the rooty riding here in Puerto Rico, but was great for the trails in SoCal.
  • 1 0
 !^^^^^ This ^^^^^! Some people like to pedal their bikes up or along trails with step ups, roots and rocks. Bringing the BB up to a height that actually allows reliable pedalling for these conditions is huge, and a much bigger deal than nuances of 0.7 degrees in some angle. Flip chip allows the fire road climbers to play the Levy game, while the trail pedalers can get father away from grim donut BB height.
  • 1 0
 "Why does the end-user always spot these things in five minutes on a bike that most likely underwent several stages of prototyping? Am I missing something?"

There is a major time lag from when the bike's geometry was decided to when you see the final product... Once geo is locked, then the frame is designed and engineered, then the frame is produced, then the bike is produced (assembled) then it is shipped to distributors, then shipped to the shop, then finally seen by the consumer. So, that geo on a brand new bike that is not SPOT ON perfect for your up-to-date internet engineer? It was made at least two years ago.

Brands that are on trend with geo are absolute wizards at peering into the crystal ball, and/or maybe got a little lucky.
  • 2 1
 As a designer and builder of custom bikes, I say boo hoo to your little problems with an innovative solution to adjustable geometry/suspension performance. I put a 63 degree head angle on a freeride bike in 2009 and everyone I knew said it was too slack. Now you see that on a trail bike. Longer chainstays? Lower bottom brackets? This whole industry is hopeless. At least chips give the rider an option on their preference. I like my 26" wheels. I like short chainstays because i'm not going for a speed record. I want a bike I can move around without getting in my own way.
  • 1 0
 I have steep /slack settings on my frame, tried both, stick with more balanced slacker / shorter / lower - just because i like how bike feels in that settings. In general i like idea of adjustment to y bike for you liking and ride in that setting.


I do not see any reason to change that mid trail or btw trails;
Also
I like the idea with headset cups that several manufacturers are offering as well as shock mount chip to adjust bb height
  • 1 0
 What's funny is it's not a new thing as bikes and riders used it back in the day too. The Specialized Bit Hit had 4 settings and the Norco Shore and Giant AC had 2, so did the Banshee Scream. Sure most people just did the old set it and forget it, but the option was and is still appreciated today when getting the bike setup initially. How this could ever be a bad thing is beyond me.
  • 3 0
 That Rocky Mt Pipeline reference had me laughing... It had a quick release to change positions. Very convenient actually, but horribly sloppy
  • 1 0
 never had a bike with geometry adjust. until shapeshifter or something similar can be found on all bikes most people wont change their geo often. it gives people two options based on their geo preferences instead of being fixed
  • 1 0
 Adjustable bikes are for the peasants, I just buy multiple bikes until my garage is full, then sell the house an buy a house with a bigger garage. I am currently working with Autodesk and the PB comment AI bot on a new design.

Note; this comment was not posted by and AI bot
  • 1 0
 Flip chips are highly useful if you travel with your bike... terrain demands are very different from one place to the next. Sure, it'd be nice to have more flexibility in the adjustments but, for what can be accomplished with flipping a single bolt, they're doing OK imo.
  • 1 0
 This is all starting to sound like ski boot fitting and professional instruction. Shim yer boot, cant your boot, control ramp angle, get the cuff aligned to your lower leg, get custom liners, custom insoles... Its actually nauseating. Adjustability is always good unless it is a failure point. Thats all there is to say.
  • 3 0
 Considering I do not like low bottom brackets I only ride my bikes in the high position.
Where I ride, you are pedaling 99% of the time and pedal strikes are annoying.
  • 3 0
 Wouldn’t have bought my 2020 stumpy evo without the flip chip; too low and slack in the low position for my taste and terrain..
  • 1 0
 I guess it depends on the brand and how much "change" the flip chip does? What's wrong with choices? Does it hurt anything?
Personally I feel the flip chip on the new Giant Trance X works pretty well and is noticeably different.
  • 4 3
 Don’t care for all of the adjustments. A st 29er with a 67 degree ht and a 74-74.5 seat tube is perfect for how I ride. And it probably works well for most people. I’ve ridden with people who think the long and slack thing is better only to watch them struggle to keep their bike straight on climbs and not do that well on descents. The long low and slack geo is for people who haul ass. Most of us are general trail riders and it just makes these new geo bikes a handful
  • 4 0
 But many of us are not average trail riders and it’s usually the DH oriented bikes that have the geo adjust. I would be killed trying to ride your suggested geo on my local trails....
  • 1 0
 *Great example
  • 1 1
 @professed: I’m talking most people. On terrain where you would think my geo would be at a disadvantage it is not. I ride a lot of rock gardens, drops , and some jumps. On paper it may look like it won’t cut it but I assure you my trail 429 is the truth
  • 1 0
 Like all thing bike it depends on so many things, cant just right it off as all Flip Chips are useless, but I realize your job Henry is to shake it up a little.

Some manufacturers implementation of FC is fairly weak, others quite useful. I've had both and am really impressed with the Ride9 & CS chip on my RM Altitude. These adjustments let me dial in the bike perfectly for me on my home trails, then if I ride elsewhere I can go slack or even shorter.

The changes are quite noticeable and I am very happy they exist...on this bike....some others not so much.
  • 1 0
 I'd fucking love one on my bike. Also wish companies would release several different chainstay lengths for their bikes as well. Hell I dont care if I have to buy the longer ones after I get the bike. Just let me mod it to make it what I want.
  • 1 0
 I like how Mondraker uses the chips on my brothers superfoxy. The chips are where the axle/derailleur hanger mount to the chainstay so you can add or take away from chainstay length.
  • 2 1
 Never been a fan of “flip chips” but bikes that you can move where your shock mounts yes. Like most modern Santa Cruz bike and especially 2012 era Canfield bros bike. Pop quiz who knows what bike is in the first picture with the xc and fr shock mount positions?
  • 2 0
 Up-forking, up-stroking and wheel mixing. These are ways to make a bike versatile. They are a lot harder if there is no adjustability in the frame. Flip chips save many a frame from the ol' drill method on the shock mount.
  • 3 0
 Ride-9 lets me customize the bike frame for my weight and riding style. How someone could see the drawbacks of that tells me everything I need to know about that person.
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney

"The extreme options, a la Pole et Geometron, have pulled the conversation of geometry kicking and screaming into a better place, but it’s the pragmatist who will actually offer an option that doesn’t intimidate the end-user and will, in turn, change the conversation for good. In my mind this is what geometry adjustment should be for, to help our bikes wield a greater element of versatility."

The thing with the Geometron G1, is that you can call up and talk to them about setup, get the bike working for you. How many manufacturers offer this service? None that I can recall.
  • 1 0
 Oh completely. I think the whole package and service they offer is fantastic and they're a brand I really admire. However, even the idea of having a geometry that happily sets itself apart, or indeed the customer helping to choose their own geometry, could be a little intimidating to some I would imagine. It's not too dissimilar to music or fashion - an alternative band or designer makes something extreme and experimental but the public at large won't really take it up until its elements are broken down a bit and sung on Radio 1 or available in GAP. In my opinion, anyway.
  • 2 0
 @henryquinney: The G1 was definitely pushing the boundary with its geometry, but look where the other manufacturers are now, the Stumpy Evo, Enduro and Kenevo SL are all pretty close on paper, its a well known fact that they've had Geometrons to play on.

Where a lot of the manufactures go wrong is having adjustable head angle, but the same length chainstay on each size, which ruins the balance of the bike, depending on what their test riders rode.
My XL smuggler is 430 chainstays, G1 is 455 and Ransom Eeeeb is 465. Both the G1 and eeeb feel way better in the turns than the smuggler does and they both climb up steep inclines better,
Making the reach longer without doing anything else is just plain lazy, hoping that consumers get blindsided by the reach and head angle, without considering anything else.
  • 1 0
 The only company who does adjustable geometry right is Guerilla Gravity. They offer it to be able to fit fewer frame sizes to more differently sized people - which in turn cuts back on the price of the frame and benefits the rider.
  • 1 0
 Extrapolating on this, what we (I) really want and need is a bike with on-the-fly adjustable geometry and other properties. It started with the rear lockout, you can go from a fully to a hardtail (sort of) for climbs or flatter parts. I see that especially the dropper is a tool in this category.

Now, I have a Canyon Strive which has the shapeshifter in the rear which is a good start in this direction. However, it needs refinement. What you want to do is to run the bike like the enduro team does. Increase the shock lenghts to 160 mm and 180 mm back and front, respectively, and maybe add the ~10 mm spacer under the lower head cup. Also, you´ll want to punch the saddle as front as it goes (outdated seat tube angle).

The Strive out the box seems to have a climb mode and a flat mode. You can make it to sort of to climb/flat and DH. It feels great now, can send down the hills and also climb. I hope the next iteration will be closer to this and maybe have the modes further apart in characteristics. I wonder if someone has the time and effort to machine a custom shapeshifter link.

In conclusion, please start making bikes with "good" geometry AND two/three on-the-fly modes for climb/flat/downhill.
  • 1 0
 Some of the adjustment chips cost SFA to make and fit... and it give two different riders a different bike to chose.

Once adjusted I don’t expect many riders will go to the alternative setting. Just enjoy the bike as selected.

...If you are a bit retro and don’t care for the modern super slack setting? ..... Flip it over and have a wee bit steeper feel. Nice.
  • 1 0
 For the sake of elongated holes and eccentric hardware, why not? My Devinci Troy just has a high/low chip, it stays in the low mode unless I'm at a particular trail network in my area that's relatively flat and chunky, then it bides me some well needed pedal strike clearance and less wheel flop while tackling boulders. I would love for it to have more settings, particularly progressivity and chainstay length adjustment. Even if it is best left the way it is, I would love to be able to experiment with it.
  • 1 0
 My bikes came with the minolink in low, and it will stay in low. That 0.3 degree HTA adjustment and 3mm BB lift just isn't worth it. Being able to change the suspension progression, or chainstay length would be more useful. If I want a real HTA adjustment, I'll just get an angle set.
  • 1 0
 I've always loved my adjustable frame options because I love to tinker with stuff. I even love having suspension adjustments I'll never use again once they're set correctly. After reading this I do see how they really need to be localized to one or maybe two specific areas. I think this makes me interested in more flip chips and adjustments in more areas though. CS, STA, HA, BBH, travel, even reach should all have their own adjustments! Do you think the Transformers franchise would fund my development of such a bike?
  • 1 0
 Quintuple bonus points for the Sophie’s Choice reference.

By the time Henry has published 25 opinion pieces on PB, its servers will require more memory than YouTube — due to the commenting enthusiasm. There has to be a PhD in psychology to be winkled out of the PB comment sections.
  • 1 0
 I have a SC Megatower that I've tried in all chip configurations and always come back to short CS/high. I like the slacker HT of the low position, but don't like the lower BB. The long CS position was interesting, but I'm not that tall and it was definitely harder to move the bike around. I kind of agree, but also appreciate the ability to play with it. I think the adjustments that SC gives is enough. Ride-9 would be too intimidating.
  • 1 0
 I'm all for chainstay adjustment, but adjustable dropouts usually don't leave you with much option if you want to run bigger tires.

The dropouts on my Stache have ~20mm of adjustment, but slammed back is the only option that works if I want to run 29x3.25" tires.

I've come across at least one framebuilder that offers sliding dropouts with 55mm of adjustment -- I'd love to see more options in the 50-70mm range:
www.erman.bike/en/blog/erman-sliding-dropouts
  • 1 0
 Adjustable HA via angle set, adjustable chainstay length, and adjustable linkage progressivity – that's all I could wish for in a frame. Some flip chip designs affect all three at the same time, but it would be a lot more flexible if each could be adjusted separately...
  • 1 0
 I like the flip chip on my 2018 Capra 29. It allows me to adapt to the type of trails I'm riding. I dont flip it based on trails for that day, I flip it based on trails I'm favoring for that season. First summer I rode it in low mode because that's how it came. 2019 summer I was doing more trail riding and less steep trails so went to the high position out of curiosity. I thought it cornered better and climbed better. Unfortunately gave up a little bit in how well it handled rougher sections of trail. 2020 summer I went back to low mode and it was better for the rougher and steeper trails I started riding. This year I went from 160mm of travel fr/rr to 170mm of travel fr/rr. Still in low mode and I'm struggling to feel comfortable on the bike. I may go to the high mode which will match my angles from before the change in travel.

My point is that I get to experiment with different feeling rides without having to buy a different bike.
  • 1 0
 I was riding a Rocky Thunderbold with the ride-9 and could never fully get that bike set up to where I really liked it, and I tried ALL the settings. I now ride the new Rocky Instinct and it fits me so much better that I haven't even bothered to play around with the ride-9 and just left it in the neutral position. Turns out a guy at the lbs who rides an Instinct as well said the same thing. Out of the box the BASE geometry is so much better you don't really need to tweak the degrees to get it right. I guess the option is always nice but like the author said..if they make it right from the start you really shouldn't have to mess with it too much.
  • 1 0
 I hate that nobody ever talks about stack height. Its so annoying that for tall person (long legs) handlebars are so low on XXL bikes. Feels so unnatural and its hard to balance your weight when u are leaning down for handlebars.
  • 1 0
 Alright, so flip chips don't give you what you want... But is their presence hindering anything performance wise? Are they adding substantial cost to bikes? I believe not, on both accounts. They may also add value in the minds of other riders. So should they certainly shouldn't stop using them, right? In this article it seems like you're actually asking for more flip chips, in fact!
  • 1 0
 "Progressive" is overrated. Most things that are "progressive" are crap and worse than what came before.
I don't give a f*ck about "bold design." I want design that works, and most of the time, being "bold" is no different than changing things just to change them, not because they are actually better.
  • 1 0
 There's nothing "wrong" with flip chips per se. My issue has been that for my personal riding and preferences they rarely worked as advertised. I either found zero difference between chip positions or found the "soft" position to actually to be more "firm".
  • 3 3
 Not a flip chip fan for HTA and BB height, I'm okay with altering chainstay length, but I'd really just like my bike to have the geometry I want and not have extra parts that could creak one day. I am a fan of adjustable travel (100/120 bikes) or progression settings though, that I'd actually tune depending on where I was riding
  • 1 0
 My Rocky Mountain Element rips in the steep position with a 2 degree angleset. I would still probably ride it in the steep setting to get the longer reach and better pedaling position, even if I didn't have the angleset.
  • 1 0
 flip chip (minor change) + reach adjust headset + offset shock bushing has allowed me to get away with just enough geo editing to make mullet not perfect, but work pretty well on two of my bikes.
  • 1 1
 I want that those Specialized style angle cups but instead of Ht angle I want reach adjust. Just give me the slackest Ht angle you had in mind. Reach is far more important and we are all locked in with 3cm increments between options.
  • 3 1
 Plenty of places make reach headsets....
  • 3 0
 @justanotherusername: yea but hardly any make reach adjust headsets for tapered steers with current cup "standards".
  • 1 1
 @rustiegrizwold: I imagine that’s a fact of physical space rather then motivation.

Works look to do them for a lot of headtube sizes but you are stuck with high stack headcups which is why I don’t go there myself.
  • 1 0
 I have the new Status 160 so my steep setting is probably more like slack, but it could still use a couple of degrees under by butt.
Buy the way, where went that Review/Video?
  • 1 0
 No flip chip for me on my Orange Four - I guess one of the benefits for Orange in making frames in house is that they can offer variations of essenitally the same design bike with differnt configurations relatively easily.
  • 4 0
 This guy just does not like having any options
  • 4 0
 Pick a geometry and be a dick about it.
  • 1 0
 So I know I ran my flip chip in the high setting for a while then low for a while. I bought a longer air spring and moved the bike back to the high position. If you tinker with your bike, it might be something to consider.
  • 2 0
 Flip chips are good if the bike can be both 29 and mullet. That’s a bigger decision for customers and 1.5 degree hta and sta
  • 1 0
 Giving the rider more options to optimize their setup is always a good thing, especially when it comes to mixing different wheel sizes. From my personal tweaking to perfection experience, the Ride9 system is a dream
  • 1 1
 Marketing research article...You're the product, readers. I love the adjustment on my aluminum Megatrail. Gives me an extra 20mm of rear end travel and slackens the bike out. I only use it going to down so I'm not really worried about the seat angle change. With smash stays I never change from plush to crush because the bike climbs fine in plush mode. Like the article mentions, I would love to have CS length adjustment almost more than anything.
  • 2 0
 I've thought about changing my flip chip, but then I remind myself I'm not that good and a half degree of anything won't make a difference
  • 1 1
 Maybe if bike companies would just design a bike right and now make bikes with 160mm travel with 340mm bb heights. So stupid. These things ride like a f***ing scooter. Guess it’s for the silly willys who just slide around like those 50 to 1 idiots. Go get a REAL MOUNTAIN bike like a pivot. Hopefully these new Santa Cruz’s are so stupidly low like those transition idots
  • 4 0
 I have hardtail and I ride it
  • 1 0
 I am thankful for the flip chips in both my bikes. I currently run steepest/shortest setting on my Remedy and Maiden, but I switch it back and forth probably twice a year on average.
  • 2 0
 With the occurance of mixed wheel sizes, the possibility to switch between mullet-mode, 29" mode or 27" mode on a DH bike is brilliant.
  • 1 0
 I use the flip chip feature on my Fuel EX a couple times a year, depending on the terrain at my destination. Thankfully, I don't know any better, and will continue on, blissfully unaware.
  • 2 2
 So, the author admits he doesn’t know why flip chips exist and then speculates they exist for. Here’s an idea, pretend to be a journalist for a few minutes, pick up a phone, dial up a bike company, and talk to some product managers.
  • 3 3
 The adjustability of the majority of bikes is mostly shit. The only exception to this I've seen recently is the new Stumpjumper Evo which has an incredible amount of adjustment potential.
  • 6 0
 So you’re paraphrasing the author?
  • 1 4
 @CircusMaximus: I didn't read the article but I'll take your word for it!
  • 1 2
 You could do an on the fly "Flip Stem" for the Spandex clad XC racer posse. On everywhere except the clmbs they could have the stem pointing in the correct direction. Then on the climbs they could flip it so it is the same level as the fork axle! Makes total sense!
  • 3 0
 I had a Cannondale Prophet back in the day! (pic of the two shock mounts)
  • 4 1
 or just buy a norco sight and have perfect geo
  • 4 0
 I have a norco sight and while the angles are perfect I'm a bit between sizes. I wish it had a long and short setting in the chainstay and headset
  • 1 0
 I like being able to run my 2012 Spark in Low/Slack mode, turned it into a mini trail sled. Simple and easy to integrate so why not?
  • 3 2
 If you have to adjust your bike after you've bought it, you've bought a bike that actually doesn't fit you in the first place.
  • 5 1
 Did you adjust your seatpost? You bought the wrong bike, sorry mate
  • 1 0
 @Civicowner: agreed. Most people should be making some sort of adjustment to their bike after they bought it. Look at ews pro bikes. 2 riders on the same bike will have very different set ups. Having to make an adjustment that is built into the bike (flip chips) just means you like one aspect of the bike compared to someone else that likes another.
  • 1 0
 @Civicowner: In fact, I do - maybe once every year after I lock it in at the beginning of the season after I take everything apart for cleaning. I don't go about changing my frame setup after every few rides. Usually, like 99% of the time, it's dialed into exactly the way it was before after putting my bikes back together from a total teardown.
  • 1 0
 @CSharp: And i use my flip chip twice a year.
  • 1 0
 I can feel the difference on my enduro between slack and steep position. In fact, I've used it regarding the trails I'm going to ride.
  • 2 0
 Pretty sure there were no mullets in Skynyrd, just long hair front and back.
  • 1 0
 Nicolai Bikes last long time compare to plenty leading brands.... few gram one or another way dont make any difference. I like to have an option.
  • 1 0
 I had a Devinci Atlas once with a chip. Played around with it and settled on the slack/low BB setting. Forgot about chips since then except with fish from time to time.
  • 2 0
 Just give 90% of us 65 head angle , 76 seat angle and a lengthy reach and we’ll be happy
  • 3 0
 A mullet gt sensor in high mode
  • 1 0
 back where you started, here we go round again...........-the Kinks
  • 3 0
 A flip chip sounds cool until you have one and never touch it
  • 3 0
 Anybody ever tried Heinz baked beans on toast ?
Really nice.
  • 3 0
 Who cares if it doesn't do anything its not bothering me by being there.
  • 3 0
 Get rid of all the flip chips and make my bikes cheaper and simpler.
  • 3 0
 As a HT rider...... what chip?
  • 1 0
 Amazingly my 05 GTDHI has 2 chaintsay and shock mount options.
Using the slack and long chainstay ones makes it behave a lot like "modern" bikes
  • 2 0
 I'm thinkin' that the author forgot what the original intent of flip chips was - 29 -> 27.5 plus optionality.
  • 1 0
 You don't need chips to do that. Just bolt the wheels on.
  • 2 0
 @Jheitt142: yup. but there was enough of a difference in wheel + tire diameter that some people wanted to keep a more consistent geo.
  • 1 0
 I would 100% pull the trigger on a Gorilla Gravity, but the head tube chip is the ugliest shit in the world, who on earth is running that in short mode????
  • 1 0
 Depends on the bike. DH? Using both steep or slack depending on a track. Trailbike? Leave in the slack, is closer to DH bike.
  • 4 0
 Well said Henry Quinney
  • 2 0
 Fit chip a one time use just like a bandaid
  • 2 0
 Make seat tube angles slack again!
  • 1 0
 Any way to see results without voting? Not everyone has an adjustable geometry bike!
  • 1 0
 Stumpy EVO is the wave of the future...the wave of the future...the wave of the future.
  • 2 0
 I'm so crap I wouldn't notice it.
  • 1 0
 Would much rather have the chips than any “headset angle adjust” cups. They’re the worst.
  • 2 0
 I definitely want my parsnips buttered.
  • 1 0
 Flip and Chip are two very unpopular names for boys, or dogs, these days.....
  • 1 0
 Quite the elegant and veiled argument for obsessive seat tube angle pining, and angle sets.
  • 2 0
 Play with your stroke length. Dick Pound. Butter on the parsnips.
  • 1 0
 If I have flippity-dippity chippity chips I want at least 1deg of HTA adjustment.
  • 1 0
 All I'm envisioning is a Grim Donut Flip Chip. The size of a bagel. An Everything Bagel.
  • 1 0
 Truth is, that flip, chip is all bulls***, as the bike industry just wants to f**k us, riders.
  • 2 0
 Awsome article! Great humour! Thanks @henryquinney
  • 2 0
 Missing the poll option of "I don't buy bikes with adjustable geometry"
  • 1 0
 My 2016 Insurgent has been in Low since I got it. Never tried the X-Low setting
  • 2 0
 They don't make enough of a difference for me to care
  • 1 0
 As best I can tell, it's just a fine-tuning feature, which seems fine. Get the bike set up how you like it, then leave it.
  • 4 3
 Make a poll a-bout
CASSETTE/REAR DERAILLEUR vs GEAR⚙BOX
  • 1 0
 direct mount VS
  • 2 0
 But you can only answer if you've spent a full season on a both
  • 1 0
 @Jheitt142: if they want to make a slack bike then make the bikes we want and stop adding chips and links that jeopardize the entire bike. Any weak link is a weak link
  • 1 0
 @Jheitt142: I used to have a German frame with a 4 or 5 inch travel set up by moving the bolt to the second hole. There was play in one setting from the unused holes and I tried to have them filled but gave up and left it in the solid 4" setting as the link plates were carbon and it was 2001
  • 2 0
 Who would have thought?
  • 1 0
 Like Levy - put it in the slackest setting and go.......
  • 4 2
 All bs, just ride????
  • 1 0
 where's the option for no chips at all, to all my bikes that I have ?
  • 1 0
 If you don't like Skynyrd there's something wrong with you
  • 1 0
 Aren't they flip crisps in blighty or are you talking about french fries?
  • 1 0
 Slack head angle (and seat angle) for uplift days?
  • 1 0
 Long and steep FTW! would love an altitude in full steep mode where I live
  • 1 0
 Yes! Now do travel adjust!
  • 1 1
 Can we call them flip crisps?
  • 1 1
 Spot on! Flip chips leave the engineers job to the enduser.
  • 6 5
 This article sucks.
  • 1 2
 Just set it and forget it! I always go longer, lower, slacker!!!!
  • 1 0
 I'm with you.
My DH bike went into long wheelbase mode prior to the first ride and it's never going to change. My last DH bike came with an AngleSet and I never adjusted it (I got it quiet on the first installation and didn't want to risk making it creak by monkeying with it - plus I didn't think a 1 degree slacker head angle would make any substantive difference to my riding).
My Enduro bike went into low/slack mode before the first ride and has been there ever since. I don't plan to try high/steep, ever. It has a TALAS fork, which I use on some long firetrail climbs but mostly ignore.
I once had an XC bike with remote suspension lockout on the bars - I usually noticed about half way down the descent that it was really rough and then flicked it to 'on' so I ended up stripping the remote off and leaving it permanently on (in the heat of racing I can't remember such things).
I don't even play with fork/shock settings - get them right once and then get used to it. Adjust the rider, not the bike?
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