Opinion: Your Next Bike Will Be Steeper

Dec 8, 2023 at 14:07
by Henry Quinney  


The Lay of the Land

I don't know if I've ever mentioned it, and I'm often a little bashful when it comes to this sort of thing, but I really, really really enjoy riding my Transition Spire. After using it as a long-term loaner I finally got around to buying it at the start of the year. I love that thing, and it was only really procrastination that had stopped me from putting my money where my mouth was until then.

Bikes like the Spire are great because they can genuinely hold a candle to the stability of a downhill bike. People telling me that that their enduro bike basically is a downhill bike is something I had been growing very tired of because people have been saying it for years. "What downhill bikes are you riding that makes you think that your 2015 enduro bike is remotely similar in terms of capability?" I would often think to myself.

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The meme-team.

That all changed in the summer of 2021. In that Field Test, there were five enduro bikes, and two of them finally made good on the promise of a 170mm-ish bike that could truly hold its own with downhill bikes - the Norco Range and the Spire. Both are fantastic bikes, although I would argue that the Spire is a bit more versatile. For years bikes had been getting incrementally slacker, all while reaches had grown and seat tubes had steepened. It finally felt like the enduro bike had arrived in earnest.

There were flashes before. One example has to be the latest and current version of the Specialized Enduro. This was a bike that was truly ahead of its time when it was released, and even though rumors swirl of the revised version it's still a very very good bike. While the Enduro does so many things so well, it never felt like a true brute. It's only small things, but the slacker seat tube angle can result in a stretched-out riding position with its comparatively long reach. The 64-degree head angle felt good, but compared to the slackness of the Spire, coupled with small dimension issues, it always felt just a little less capable. That said, it was better than nearly everything else when it was released, and probably represented an important stepping stone to the very bikes I'm comparing it to.

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Isn't she lovely?

We tend to ride enduro bikes on just about anything going, and they certainly aren't limited to the flat-out speeds of true downhill runs. This means that they suffer from the negative consequences of excessive handlebar flop more. The consequences are exposed mainly on slower, techier and tighter trails. Handlebar flop becomes more apparent when the head angle becomes slacker. This is because as we turn the wheel it has a great effect on the height of the top tube. This can complicate leaning the bike, especially when we're not relying on a centrifugal force to help stand the bike up. But is there any way to reap the benefits of stability without encouraging this trait?

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Heavy feet and light hands lay strong foundations in terms of technique, but could our bikes help us develop this habit more intuitively?

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What the Hell is Stack?

Stack is the vertical height difference between the top of the head tube and the bottom bracket, and it's a cousin of reach. Reach, as we know, is the horizontal difference between the BB and the top of the headtube. The two are very relevant to one another, and when combined can paint a very vivid picture of how a bike will fit when you're standing up and descending. That said, both will have an effect when seated too, even if these changes are often considered as a byproduct of getting a particular standing position.

A higher stack will bring the rider's weight rearward, and a lower stack will place more of it on the front wheel. We all know when a bike feels too high at the front, the feeling of the front washing and failing to find grip, as well as a sensation of vagueness as we transition between turns and feel the bike feel quite unpredictable as it goes through the y-axis. This can be the drawback of excessive stack. However, a higher front can also lower our center of gravity by putting more of our weight through our feet, changing our body position to make tackling steeper trails safer and easier, as well as making certain movements like front wheel lifts easier.

Why Your Next Bike Will be Steeper

To look at stack in isolation would be to do it a disservice. Like any geometry dimension it plays its role, but it needs to contribute to a balanced chassis and not undermine one. However, a higher stack can give us a lot of positives when finessed correctly.

I believe that stack and chainstay lengths are related very closely to one another and the higher the stack the longer the stays need to be to put weight back onto the front wheel. When you do have a bike that manages to give you a very upright position all while ensuring the bike has a very good balance, it's amazing how it can open up the terrain and be both comfortable and confidence-inspiring.

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The Commencal Meta SX represents what I believe to be the new frontier of geometry and it's not the only one. The Unno Burn has some great angles and dimensions.

I believe that the next generation of enduro bikes will further explore this, and designers will embrace how much stability can be delivered with a higher front and longer rear-centre. As this concept is played with, I think we'll rarely see bikes come with anything slacker than 64-ish degree head angles because simply it's not needed, and by maximising the relationship between stays and stack we might be able to get bikes that offer the same level of high-speed stability all while doing so without the handlebar flop at slower speeds. Expect more mixed wheeled bikes, too. I'm not 100% convinced about them in every application but having the small rear wheel can really blend in with these aspects of geometry, giving us a position that bleeds into solid technique and plenty of clearance to let the bike get busy while letting the rider remain calm and composed

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I'm just gonna leave Brohm's dogstagram here.

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What a sweetheart. Not a bad day in the office, that one. Plus, I think I did Tina proud.


Author Info:
henryquinney avatar

Member since Jun 3, 2014
323 articles

368 Comments
  • 133 27
 Pinkbike is definitely ragebaiting to fill a click quota before year-end based on this and Seb's last two articles (chainstay length and moped naming conventions)...

But yes, bikes have gotten too slack and too long IMO.
  • 107 8
 Haha I actually worked on this video for a while but I can see why it seems like that.
  • 24 1
 I did put +1 angleset into the spire once it arrived ; ).. of course I then put a 27.5 wheel on the rear hahaha
  • 24 0
 @Lagr1980: My friend has done this also. I kinda and curious to run a medium with a plus one. Did you use any after market mixed wheel linkage? Or just running stock? Would love to try it mixed wheeled, also.
  • 82 1
 @henryquinney: I appreciate the unnecessary dog shots.
  • 8 2
 @henryquinney: just giving you the gears, but the rapid succession of these articles with two weeks left in the year made me laugh.

FWIW, I agree and landed on a very similar setup on my Knolly Chilcotin to what you're talking about here. +1* angleset to steep HA, 40mm rise bars for higher stack, and geometry in the slack position for longest chainstay possible. Also running it as a mullet with a Cascade Components MX eyelet to ~preserve geometry with the smaller rear wheel. I wish the reach was a bit shorter so I could run a 45mm stem instead of 31mm stem, but it rips.
  • 31 7
 @gmiller720: all dog shots are necessary.
  • 12 0
 @scotteh: ha - It’s a very fair comment, and I kinda wish we could say we’re that organised. What is more likely is we talk alot about it in meetings and Seb, or instance, probably thought I was talking nonsense and I got further entrenched.

Glad your bike is running mint! Fun to play with and satisfying to get.
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney: For sure. DM me if you're curious about running your Spire as a mullet and want to borrow the Fox DHX2 with CC MX eyelet (same i2i / stroke as your Spire). It's got a Sprindex coil so should be pretty easy to tune for your weight.
  • 6 1
 I recently made my Spur a degree steeper and it sharpened up the handling like a treat... Maybe it's just where I live but most of the mountain bike trails are not long straight lines.
  • 5 2
 @Lagr1980: We also ran +1's in the sentinal's - transition got super close but made the HTA just a bit to slack.
  • 2 0
 @henryquinney: I do run a Cascade components link, which is not mullet specific.. with the flip chip in high, its as low as stock 29er in low position..
  • 29 1
 The "new fronteer of geometry".

Aka, what Banshee and Raaw have been doing for years. The Titan and Madonna v3 in particular are good examples of long chainstays and high stack.

That said, the Commencal Meta is also a good example, particularly because it has iterated so quickly recently, going from pretty steep/low with shortish chainstays (2019 model), overpivoted on the trend with suuuuper long and slack with very short chainstays (2020 model), and they've been slowly been making it steeper in HTA, longer in chainstays, and taller in stack since then.

I've been arguing this same thing for the past few years here in the comments section (and other places). Longer chainstays enable more front end grip (at the same stack), or more stack (same front end grip), or a combination of both. And for taller people, that is more acutely noticeable.

Chainstay length, Reach, and Stack are the main measurements I look at when I look at a bikes geo, and if it will fit/suit me.
  • 2 0
 @Lagr1980: Oh I am very mullet curious with the Spire....
Buddy has been threatening to +2 angleset his Spire for a while now.

Very curious how you've gotten on with it.
  • 3 0
 @henryquinney: I think theres a series of articles here for you,
Cool stuff to change yer Spire around a bit....I'll volunteer for the full Cascade link, 180 fork, +1 angleset, mullet set up if youd like....
  • 22 1
 @ocnlogan: Thats cool,
I'd like to make a general suggestion to the group.

Would it be naive of me t suggest there is no "right" or "best" and certainly no need for "arguing" our own personal opinion?
Would it be crazy to think that there is only "different" and that all different setups are just a series of compromises on the any given trail? Like a long chainstay might be better for some on the way up, but be great on one section of trail, and be no where near as fun on the next section of trail?

Sometimes the compromise suits you, sometimes it doesnt, and there really is no right or wrong, cause its just bikes in the woods?
  • 12 2
 Evil figured this out years ago and has stayed the course.
  • 4 1
 @Borealwoods: Have to give props for Evils Following MB... That had a magical feel down under foot... I didn’t feel it in the V3 though.
  • 4 0
 @onawalk:

Of course. It is just biking, and it is a combination of preference, and "best tool for the job". And all design is a compromise.

In my other comment on this article I do mention that "for me personally" this is what I've liked. I neglected to state that here (sorry), perhaps just because I found it interesting to see an article stating something similar to my view.

If you're (the royal you in this case) looking for "maximum poppy bike", and have a "50:1 crew" or "Ride or Die" riding style, your preferences are likely going to guide you to a bike with way shorter stays (as to some degree, you could describe that riding style as wanting manuverability/instability). If you're racing (or ride like you're racing), you're probably looking for something more on the stable side. So its good to be able to find bikes that match those desires.

So yeah, my preference due to my body size/riding area/riding style is longer stays, and higher stack. But I'm not saying thats "best" for everyones preferences. But I am jazzed that longer stay'd bikes are becoming easier to find, as previously it was pretty hard to find.
  • 1 2
 @scotteh: weird, you can slacken it out and run a 45.
  • 6 7
 I wanted to be a mtb racer but ended up making tiktok dances.
  • 3 1
 Quick question, how much stack is considered "tall stack" (if reach is 460mm)?
  • 2 10
flag foggnm (Dec 11, 2023 at 13:11) (Below Threshold)
 It seems in the last month or two lots of articles written to just fill space but I guess that's understandable. Really I'd like more Brohm pics and less bike review articles.
  • 13 0
 @onawalk:

This is correct, one thing Quinney fails to mention, is that modern bikes have gotten very long. The short chain stays help to keep the front “wheelie-able”. If these changes come, the bikes are going to get even longer and more unwieldy. They will be super stable , but good luck lifting a 34lb 1300mm bike with the rear axle, even further behind than it already is…
  • 1 1
 Like a limousine
  • 2 0
 @Saidrick: Have they really got that long? My 06 Enduro WB is 113cm, my 14 Enduro is 115cm, my 22 Stumpy Evo is 122cm. So 9cm in 17 years? I guess I should go measure my 99 FSR DH now.
  • 4 0
 @ocnlogan:
Why i didnt “upgrade”
my 20 Meta.
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney: were 90's freeride bikes part way there. Just add longer reach?
  • 1 0
 @Borealwoods: But they do offer angleset's on their website and sell a lot of them. As far as reach / TT length, they also are not short, nor are they too long. Their small frames are as big as some other companies medium size frames and medium like large to others as well. This is not contradicting but does suggest some companies bikes are way short for any given frame size.
  • 1 2
 thier current state of ads says it all........ fk all to do with bikes an just get ignored but, it pays the bills an makes every thing we buy more expensive so hey ho..............
  • 3 0
 I was just thinking about the thought put into this and how it wasn’t just an off the cuff article, and how Henry has written almost 300. Then I read this comment on top.
  • 2 0
 @Saidrick: High stack makes bikes easier to wheelie.
If both stack and chainstays grow, bikes might actually end up easier to manual than the current crop of low-stack, very-long-reach bikes.
  • 8 0
 @ocnlogan: "Aka, what Banshee and Raaw have been doing for years. "

How come there is never any Banshee in the bike field tests?
  • 1 0
 @opignonlibre:

Maybe because they reviewed one separately, and they don't tend to have bikes in the field tests that they have already stand-alone reviewed?

That said, they certainly haven't shied away from including other smaller/more boutique/less mass market bikes in various field tests (Pole, Raaw, Unno, Contra just to name a few offhand).

VitalMTB did a field test a year or two ago with a Titan mullet in it, and it seemed to do well (iirc at least one editor chose it as their pick).
  • 3 1
 Too long yes. Too slack? Naah.
  • 2 0
 Ragebaiting? The ebike poll was meant to be tongue-in-cheek although I can see how some people would be triggered by it, but I don't see anything inflammatory about the chainstay length article (except for how bloody long it was).
  • 4 0
 @seb-stott: you and Henry both had well thought out articles on geo and both generated a fair amount of discussion, definitely not rage baiting.
  • 1 0
 @Ttimer:

Maybe you’re right, but doing that will require a trade off some where else on the bike.

I suspect, higher stack and longer chain stays will negate each other, except that bikes will be longer and heavier, and still be harder to manual because that.
  • 4 0
 @Saidrick: Me and a buddy ride Spires, his is 38ishlbs (XL), mine 33ishlbs (M)
Both bikes are what youd consider long, low, slack. I dont think either of us having any issue with getting the bikes in the air, or manualling when needed. I have a shorter travel bike, but in the same weight range, and its more fun on mellower trails for sure, but obviously not as good on the terrain that the Spire excels at.

We are incredibly adaptable animals, and its not hard to get used to, and its not hard switching back and fourth between bikes
  • 1 0
 @onawalk:

Agreed. People act like long wheelbase bikes with long chainstays can't manual. While the longer chainstays do make it harder to manual than a short chainstay bike, the taller stack height actually helps make it easier (you're standing more upright with your hands an inch or two higher than on a short stack bike). It may be a net-negative (or a wash), but its definitely not as bad as you'd "think".
  • 1 0
 Ok, less quick question then. How much stack is considered high stack?
  • 1 1
 @someguy101:
However a Tictok dancer on a salary, as opposed to the other Tictok / YouTuber that is seeing directly proportional financial gains to their embarrassing non pro racer videos.
For Henry’s sake, I do hope he negotiated some form of profit share with his involvement in the video content. This one didn’t really do it for me, however I found his involvement in the pinkbike team to be very good and his bike show vids and pit walks are fun.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: I think thats like asking what a "slack" bike, or "long" bike, or.....
Really depends on the rest of the measurements, and intended use id say.

66* would be a slack XC bike, but not a Slack enduro bike, does that make any sense at all?
1200mm would be along Medium XC bike, but not a long Enduro bike....And so on.
Lets say 625 stack on a medium, 450-460 reach, is in the middle. Meta SX in medium is 639, Arrival 170 in medium is 619.

Spire in medium is 619, which is the same as the Arrival. Arrival has been criticized for its low stack, but I have never considered the Spire to have a low stack. its just another number to take into account with all the other BS numbers and such.
Always remember, there is no "best" and everything is a tradeoff or a compromise of something else
  • 1 0
 @vinay: saw a BTR on his insta with your name on it..
  • 2 0
 @onawalk: Thanks! Yeah I just needed to have some rough idea of what he was considering as high stack in the article. My stack is 619mm for a 460mm reach according to the geometry chart though obviously there will be a shift towards the latter as the hardtail sags into the suspension. Head tube length is already 150mm so increasing stack even more would give you a pretty whopping head tube. They recommend a higher stack handlebar which gives you a little more room to play.

@naptime: Yeah my BTR (Ranger #166) is actually from May 2018. This fall I clipped a pedal on a stump which sent me into a bit of a spin and a crash. There was a crack where the seattube joins the bottom bracket and progressed into the downtube. Thinking of it, this small area must have taken quite a beating when this happened. There also turned out to be some corrosion at the bottom of the seattube so the area was already weakened. Burf is now building me a new one under his crash replacement policy. It will be pretty much the same as what I had (26" wheel specific, size large with a 400mm seattube, RAL6001M, ISCG05 mounts...) except that I'm not getting the decals and I'm getting the integrated seatpost clamp. I hope this will allow me to protect the frame with a wrap without creating channels for moisture and dirt (where the wrap would overlap the decals). And I was using a seatpost clamp with a lip seal but I'm afraid it might have been counterproductive and worked as a funnel instead, so now I'm just getting his integrated clamp instead. I don't have an account on Instagram but as you mentioned it, I can see the tiles on his page. It's a beauty, I missed her! I also noticed a yellow bike with what looks like an UDH mech hanger and I can't see what's on my bike. I'm fine with either. As long as I can just bolt on my good old Zee mech, I'm good Smile !
  • 1 0
 @vinay: RAD a BTR is on my dream bike list
  • 1 0
 @Jready: same here Smile
  • 3 0
 @naptime: Yeah, they're truly great. At the end of the day though, it helps if their vision of what a bike should be like coincides with what you're looking for. Some builders build basic yet decent, others invest a lot of time and effort to add frivolous details. In my case, it was their concept of matching a relatively short travel fork with a tall headtube to get you long travel geometry without the long travel suspension (and all that does to your geometry as you move through the travel) and the short chainstays. They only had to double check I really wanted such a short seattube but at least they understood perfectly well what I was after. So you can actually bounce off ideas and settle on something they expect to meet my demands. I can imagine it would just be a whole lot more difficult if your builder doesn't understand what you're looking for. For instance if Chris Porter would have to build my bike. Yet the other way around, I'm sure there are also loads of proponents of long chainstays who'd be happy to ride a Chris Porter designed bike. So yeah, of course the first step when looking for a new frame would be to look whether there already is a stock option out there which perfectly meets your demands. I checked with Cotic but they informed me that the top tube of their regular BFe just is too tall for my liking. Next step is to find the builder that meets your needs. Initially I was discussing options with Alex Clauss (Portus Cycles) and Steven Olsen (Olsen Bikes) as I was considering a Pinion gearbox, also discussed Effigear with Tam from BTR. Eventually the gearbox wasn't worth the longer chainstays for me so I went with BTR. But I trust all these builders will deliver great bikes that jive with their vision.

TL;DR: If BTR bikes match with what you're looking for in a bike, go for it. Just really think hard about what you're looking for as the options are endless!
  • 36 0
 Isnt that pretty much what Banshee has been doing with their 29ers since ~2016?

Fun fact: DH bikes never hopped onto the short-fork-offset trend. Mabye because dual crown forks have made it super easy to swap between and test out different offsets?
  • 12 0
 This.

Prime/Titan in xl, 650 stack, 460 cs, 495 reach, 65 HA, FC:RC ratio of 1.8

If you fit the L with 450 cs, or the XL with a 460 cs, perfect balance.

RAAW is basically the same. Lots of well balanced mediums out there from other companies, always have been.
  • 7 0
 @willaskew:

Yep, this.

I went from a Kona Process 153 29'er, with 425mm chainstays, and like 621mm of stack that had a FC/RC ratio of ~1.9, to the Banshee Titan (FC/RC ratio of 1.8 in size L as mentioned, with 452mm chainstays, and 647mm stack) and immediately felt an improvement for me/my riding style/location.
  • 4 0
 This
  • 2 0
 @ocnlogan: According to mbr the actual measured reach on Large Titan is 462mm, thus I believe that ratio might be even lower than 1.8.
  • 3 0
 @Beskyd:

Yeah, frame to frame variance is a thing, I was just going by spec sheet geo. I haven't measured mine.

I've also got mine with using a fork with a longer A2C, so the stack is higher/reach is shorter (calc says 467mm reach 652mm stack).

Have wanted to try out the longer dropouts, just to see how it feels, but haven't done it yet. But that would also push the FC/RC ratio even lower if one was wanting that.

Also, Forbidden bikes are really interesting for this reason. They're one of the few brands who seem to try to keep the FC/RC ratio the same across sizes. If the seat tube length on the XL dreadnought was shorter, I may have one of those already (the L is a smidge small for me :/).
  • 17 0
 That's banshee for ya, quietly integrating usable innovation into their frames and never giving two F's about marketing.
  • 1 0
 @chalcid: Sorry but what's a FC:RC ratio?

Trying to dial in my v2 prime. Wanted a burlier fork so scored on a 38 that was already at 170. Bike had a -2 angleset in and it feels like a MFing chopper. Might need to mellow something out lol.
  • 2 0
 @dglass:

It’s really just a way of looking at bike geo, that will tell you something about its weight distribution.

It’s super simple. It’s literally just the number you get when you divide the front center of the bike (distance from BB to front axle), by the rear center (distance between BB and rear axle, ie, chainstay length).


A bigger number means more wheelbase in front of the BB than a bike with a smaller number.

If you put a -2 angle set in, and a longer fork, the “waaaayyyyy” choppered out feeling is from your front center getting super long, and not having enough grip (weight on it). To fix that either lower your bar height/stem, get a longer stem, or get the long dropouts to add some chainstay length.
  • 11 0
 Glad to see the banshee comment near the top, because it was what i came here to say. Tall head tube. Long back end. Slightly shorter than on trend. Lovely.
  • 3 0
 @Ttimer Fun fact: DH bikes do not have to navigate technical climbs, or limit wheel flop for lower speeds in general. Short-offset forks are what help non-DH bikes with DH HTAs not suck at doing everything else that is not DH.
  • 2 0
 @ocnlogan: Thanks for the explanation. I might play with flipping chips to steep, dropping fork down to 160 or taking angleset out.
Got my lightly used XL prime w/ DHX coil on it when my L prime cracked. Had an angleset in when I got it. Took it on some fast DH trails on friday and it absolutely plowed at speed. I was amazed.
  • 3 0
 Yes sir, My Titan with the "short" dropouts and 170 Zeb is the actual Goldilocks bike. Those maple syrup swilling cannucks know what they're doing. And the only thing that improves upon their work is custom valved suspension from Fluid Focus. It's a magic carpet now.
  • 2 0
 @dglass: Hold tight, XL Prime, with -2 angle set, and a 170 fork?
so sitting somewhere around 64* HA, 448 CS, 650 Stack (approx) but only 480 Reach (approx)

The Stack, seems high, or would for me anyway, the rest seems like a Large Transition Sentinel.
I'd drop that fork to 160, and see what you think.
  • 1 0
 @onawalk: Yeah I probably will next time I service it. It plows so good on the chunder now though! Wheel flop isn't bothering me so I'm not in too much of a rush.
  • 1 0
 @dglass: Sweet,
Then keep on keeping on my man!
  • 34 0
 Yes but, what the hell are you wearing?
  • 70 3
 Sweet sweet denim.
  • 59 1
 Double Denim is known as the Canadian Tuxedo. He has finally integrated.
  • 1 0
 Lookin fresh
  • 8 0
 Government issued tuxedo.
  • 20 0
 Canuckastani special forces standard issue uniform.
  • 3 1
 George Costanza approves. Don't change a damn thing Henry

www.youtube.com/watch?v=imgGyD6waTA
  • 13 0
 life is jort
  • 8 0
 @henryquinney: Just when I was trusting your opinion on the Spire, you come out with a denim jacket with the collar popped. Never trust anyone with their collar popped. May be arrested in certain areas for that.
  • 2 0
 @henryquinney: That outfit was premeditated. Currently sanding eyeballs. For shame!
  • 1 0
 Yes. I couldn’t concentrate because of that jacket…
  • 3 0
 @dualsuspensiondave @Alloypenguin - I atone for my sins.
  • 1 2
 In the mountain bike community when you are a pretentious and awful writer with bad takes you make up for it by dressing like this and buying a dog and encouraging everybody to follow it on social media.
  • 1 0
 The absolute audacity of DCA to accuse someone of bad takes is hypocrisy to an incomprehensible level.
  • 2 2
 @L0rdTom: So to summarize, Henry's big takes are internal headset routing is awesome, two cross spokes are the future, but maybe strings will replace spokes. And maybe pull shock which have always failed. And now steep head angles which no aggressive rider is asking for. These are all complete ass clown takes which make Pinkbike look as stupid as the clothes Henry wears.
  • 1 0
 Are you ok? You've entirely missed the point on each of those, but more worryingly you seem incredibly angry, It's bikes mate.
  • 33 5
 Geo is all about personal preference. It’s a good thing that the entire bike industry does not try to conform to any specific geo trend and that many brands often do what they want. Variety is a good thing. I happen to think the Spire is one of my least favorite bikes I have owned and my HD6 with its short chainstays is way more fun to ride.
  • 4 0
 It is friggin cool that there is so much variety, and the ability to play around with different setups.
The Spire is a pretty "out there" bike, it really seems to sit on the edge of sillyness, when it comes to geo. It works so well in some areas, and struggles in others, but is much more playful than i ever would have imagined on paper
  • 13 1
 Richie Rude won the '23 enduro championship again on a bike with a relatively low stack height for his size. I'm not saying racing geo is for everyone, but you're still seeing personal preference at the pointy end with very, very fast people win races with lower stacks.
  • 4 1
 @dthomp325: And don’t underestimate how different a world class racers needs and priorities are from those of normal riders.
  • 2 3
 @dthomp325: Richie could win on a milk crate. Yeti makes middle-of-the-road bikes to serve the average rider on average trails. Some folks are faster, some ride steeps all day. I've tried a range of geometries and I would rather be riding 63 degrees, high stack, and long chainstays for my local trails, which are around -30% average grade. If I have to ride blues all day, I'll bring a shirt travel trail bike.
  • 2 0
 @redrockmtb: Your point is more valid than anything in this awful article, but writing an article on that would get zero clicks.

So instead we get to read about how this goof ball loves headset routing, 2 Cross wheels, spokes made of strings, and now steep geometry.
  • 23 0
 Tried slack enduro types for years. Blew out a rim, and took the old hardtail out while waiting on replacement.

The rock gardens were hell. The steeps were hell, the jumps were based on small trail features i normally just ignored while looking for something big to hit.

The amount of fun on the smoother tight twisty backwoods trails suddenly came back.

The very dangerous speeds likely to cause huge medical bills in the event of a mistake...dropped to normal casual and somehow very fun.

The climbs became interesting, (singletrack anyway) and the distance covered out back increased dramatically.

No more suffer the climb to get the good down hill.

Yeah, I also like head angles and bikes geared for the mountain tour, rather than downhill specific now.

But I don't rip. And I dont park unless rental bike.

I may be on the wrong site...
  • 8 6
 "No more suffer the climb to get the good down hill." "But I don't rip. And I don't park [on this bike]."

So why did you ever get an enduro bike? That's pretty much what they're for: suffer the climb to rip the downhill, and probably the best one-bike quiver if you like to hit park and trails (unless those trail are like totally flat, then maybe LT trail bike for best middle ground, but it doesn't sound like yours are totally flat).
  • 11 1
 @justinfoil: you are right.

My riding has improved with milder geometry. (My riding enjoyment on local trails I have to ride up and down)

I can rent decent rig for park days. Lift served. Tons of fun.

The enduro bikes are sold on to others.

Just my experience. Not trying to talk others into it...they should do what is most fun for them.
  • 1 0
 @nematon785: this is the classic overbiked vs underbiked argument.

FWIW I agree with you, although often we need to try things out for ourselves.
  • 25 0
 So all I need is an angleset and some spacers and I’m next gen?
  • 13 2
 only if your angleset supports cable tourism
  • 5 0
 Angle set and riser bars
  • 2 0
 That has always been the case.
  • 17 1
 Great. Currently bought a Banshee Titan with huge stack and long chainstays. I maybe missed buying bitcoin years ago but I am ready for the next MTB trend.
  • 11 0
 Dakota Norton.....This guy runs a super tall stack cockpit on his DH bike, in order to approximate the motocrosser riding position when standing up. Like him, I've tried to get my bikes in this realm for as long as I've been mountain biking, but in the 80's, 90's, 20's, bikes were just too short and stubby to make it work as I hoped it would. It's this a 'moto' position that Henry is basically describing as the future for enduro and trail bikes that employ a proportionate tall stack and reach/rear end. As I've always suspected, one only has to look at the development of motocross bikes to see just where mountain bikes will eventually end up being like (one example, they've been doing mullets for decades now...). It's already happening it seems, but we're years away (maybe?)
  • 9 0
 Not sure I follow....moto bikes are relatively static and are not an upright setup....at least for the top guys, very minimal adjustments are made and I bet for most "average" riders a moto setup and a MTB setup are in the same ballpark.

Most moto guys tall or short - have a MUCH more sim position on the bike than varying rider heights on a MTB.

I'm tall @ 6-4 but run a S4 Specialized and run a fairly stock setup on my moto...they are very close in stack and reach, a very average setup for most guys.

It's part of the reason I like the idea of shorter bikes....if the tall moto guys run a setup damn close to the short riders why won't it work on a MTB?

Most top moto guys raise/lower bars maybe 20mm, push/pull them 10mm, seat up or down 20mm and pegs 5-10mm max.....so it's basically less than an inch in every direction from riders 5-4 to 6-6.
  • 2 0
 I don't think stack alone solves too much. Some of these guys are trying to mimic motocross bikes, but that's also because they don't want to feel so different switching back and forth. Mostly just preference and conditioning to a certain stack height. Mountain bikes take more pressure on the front end for traction and maneuverability as they don't have a motor. Although similar in certain aspects, they are a little different as they really aren't designed around riding down hills fast as they can and the engine changes the physics. Mountain bikes would have to shorten up quite a bit for a higher stack and steeper HA to be benificial. Would be a complete reverse on our progress.
  • 2 0
 @RadBartTaylor:
I'm no expert in either moto or mtb, but you are right here. Taller guys on moto just add seat height, maybe bar height, but they run the same bike the short guys ride.

Its always suspension setup with moto. Stiff for supercross, soft for woods/enduro.

Rarely seen is a long bike reach and maybe that is because you can snug forward or back along the seat to get in a good position.

Guys hanging back on a long seat never seems to happen, more riding forward almost up the gas tank is what I see a lot.

A long stretched out almost horizontal position is very rare, and not effective.

They ride forward, upright, and they rip. They also put foot forward and lean super hard while givin the balls on the gas.

Not even remotely close to mountain biking in terms of body position.

My guess is when your on the gas, you move back a tad to dig in, forward a bit to get her to slide and dig into a berm.

You cannot hit gas to set her up on a turn in, and no seat (dropped outta the way entirely) changes everything.
  • 4 1
 Gross oversimplification of Dak's stack height. It looks like a lot of spacers, but he runs the minimum crown height on his forks so it works out to a little more than average stack height. On steeper tracks, he will run more crown height, effectively slackening + raising the front end. To accommodate, he takes out some spacers so his stack works out to about the same number.
  • 4 0
 Look at Jackson Goldstone when he rides - he looks like he's on a motocross bike, not a mountain bike. The tall stack of a DH bike relative to his short stature obviously works very well.
  • 2 1
 @jwdenver: I don't think its a body position thing I think it's more style, little whips, popping up over stuff....he looks great on a bike regardless. I think Sam Hill looks more like a moto guy, very neutral, always balanced on the bike and those seated leg out corners....
  • 3 0
 The general positioning on a motocross bike is very different from a DH bike. MX bikes have a rearward steering bias and DH bikes steer with a front wheel bias. If that position is too low on a MX bike then it can throw off your cornering ability.
  • 3 0
 Dirt bike rims are mullet but the tires are pretty much the same height front and rear. Not comparable to a MTB at all. Because motos have an engine that puts most of the weight/force on the rear tire. It has to have a lot more sidewall to avoid pinch flats. That’s why motocross bikes have a 19” rim (less chance of pinch flats) and enduro bikes have an 18” rim (huge pinch flat probably, most hardcore guys rim solid inserts these days).
  • 1 3
 @stubs179: backwards - all things equal a 19" rim is going to pinch sooner than a 18" rim will at the same pressure. Generally speaking front tires are the bigger issue pinch flat wise, you have a fraction of the sidewall vs a rear and can't go to high PSI or you lose front end traction.
  • 9 1
 This is exactly why Raaw makes the perfect enduro bike from a geometry perspective. I personally like aluminum and external routing, but those are preferences that can be argued one way or the other. But I think the their longer chainstay, reasonable head angle, average reach and tall stack are all spot on in their respective sizes. Now with adjustability added it really is perfection in my opinion.
  • 5 1
 I just wish they had XXL for us long bois. $1600 v2 frames right now but sizing doesn't work for me, brutal
  • 4 0
 @Gristle: the V3 has XXL. 530 reach 472 stack, 450-460 rear. Perfection.
  • 2 0
 @danielomeara: but I'm a cheap bastard and want the discounted one. Thanks tho, I didn't know that. That does sound spot-on.
  • 7 0
 I've been thinking more about the heavy feet lighter hands idea this season as my hands have been taking a beating and I've not been able to 100% isolate the issue. The idea of higher stack and longer stays does seem intuitive for climbs, but I wonder about longer stays feeling more boating when popping off stuff etc. I've not had anthing longer than 435mm outback on a bike, maybe ever. Back to stack, though, is there a difference in a bike with higher stack and lower bars versus higher bars and lower stack?
  • 2 1
 Not if you have your bars rolled to match your HA, but if they are more vertical then yes, slightly different (more) than the riser number. Under stem spacers increase stack directly. Both spacers and risers reduce reach. If you roll bars fwd to re-increase reach you throw off the stem/fork offset relationship. Someone feel free to correct this.
  • 1 0
 It's mostly just timing to get used to longer stays re: jumping/popping. You still need to keep the bike loaded until you're off the lip, or whatever you're popping off, and with the rear wheel further back you'll have to keep it loaded for a tiny bit longer relative to when your CG gets over the lip. That and a tiny tad more rearward weight bias if you need to effectively manual off the pop. But it's not crazy hard to get used to, and a nice trade-off to increase the room you have to move around between the wheels to maximize traction when not popping off, especially when climbing.

If the "effective reach" (BB to grips horizontally) remains the same, there won't be much difference if the effective stack (BB to grips vertically) comes from bar rise, stem rise, spacers, or head tube, for the aspect of climbing balance. There could be some difference for steering feel if the stem length requires changes to keep that effective reach the same.
  • 4 1
 The more you increase stack by adding spacers, the more your reach is reduced (approx 5mm lost in effective reach for every 10mm you add in spacers... given an approx 64 head tube angle), higher rise bars don't affect your reach (think it's still affects it a little, but it's marginal... like a couple mm's).

So if a bike is designed with a high stack and you don't have to adjust it (add stack), you obviously don't mess with your reach.

There are some bikes out there that are designed with this flexibility in mind. They start off with a short head tube (and stack) and a long reach. So you can add spacers (stack) and reduce your reach. Or add a higher rise bar (stack) and keep your reach. Or you can do both or neither. Some people love that long, low and forward attack position as well. Short head tube bikes with long reaches are the most flexible platform. Add in flip chips at the rear and you can customize these bikes quite a bit.

Bikes that come with a high stack can't be adjusted as much since you can't reduce their stack. You're sort of stuck with whatever reach number you have.
  • 2 3
 @islandforlife: "Or add a higher rise bar (stack) and keep your reach."

What you're describing is the same as adding spacers and a longer stem...yeah it preserves the 'effective reach' but I don't want a longer stem. Riser bars (with no roll back) increase your effective stem length as a way to maintain effective reach. You can't cheat the actual reach unless you have a reach adjusting headset. Yes, in theory you could buy a frame with a reach longer to compensate for the low stack but this make sizing a bit more difficult as you have to predict what it will feel like once you add spacers, swap stems, bars, etc.
  • 1 0
 @jesse-effing-edwards sounds like your reach is too long or you're seat angle to steep.
  • 10 0
 The Madonna V3 looks like the sweet spot. 64 HTA, long rear centre and high stack.
  • 10 4
 ah no, 1284 wheel base on a large is far to long.
  • 1 0
 @HeatedRotor: have you ridden the V3?
  • 3 0
 @haen: Regardless of bike, Wheelbase is something that has consistent feel across bike designs but no i havnt but ive ridden an absolute shit ton of current/past gen bikes - Ie i currently have current gen frames of: slash, mega, giga, geo g1, sentinel, spire, bronson, session, sb160, one-sixty, Spectral, reign & fuel EX(all as bare frames with only 2 built up)

In the last 3 years, sb150, tyee, spindrift, altitude, stump evo, slash, fuel ex, Meta TR & SX, Alpine trail, Reign, tues, v10, sight, range, enduro Plus several others.

Im lucky to be in a position to own/have owned many bikes which lets me experience every design etc.
Wheel base is Always the same - boat or not(the general rule to this doesnt really apply to HP bikes due to changing WB)
  • 2 0
 @HeatedRotor: that’s a lot of bikes. Enjoy!
  • 3 0
 @HeatedRotor: What is that position you talk about ? Bike thief ?
I'm joking, but that's almost one bike per month.
  • 2 0
 @HeatedRotor: Is there one Bike which you had already a long time? One which you allways fall back to because you like it the most or how do you choose a Favourit? If you have one. I ask because I have 4 Bikes ( A Privateer 161, Status 160, Spec Enduro and a Devinci Wilson Dh) and I cant choose most of the Time which one to ride (mostly because the all fill the same Spot in my Quiver)
  • 8 1
 "[Handlebar flop] can complicate leaning the bike, especially when we're not relying on a centrifugal force to help stand the bike up."

A) we don't rely on "a centrifugal force" to help stand the bike up. Even if you mean "gyroscopic inertia", it's been shown that really doesn't have a huge influence on keep a bike upright. Bikes have been created with an "extra" counter-rotating non-ground-contacting wheel and they can still self-balance. It's more about the front being able to move laterally faster than the rear which allows the bike to move around under the CG to provide the inverted-pendulum balancing effect.

B) "handlebar flop" is not a thing in the context of leaning a bike and the front end lowering as the wheel turns. "Wheel flop" is the measurable metric and it lowers the entire front-end, from the axle up, not just the top-tube. If you mean "handlebar flop" in that it takes more bar input to induce a given steering force, sure, but that's not necessarily bad since it widens the input range, meaning it takes much bigger moves of the bar to put you in a bad position. Especially important at speed since too much steering input will either break front-wheel traction and cause a low-side wash-out crash, or if the traction holds you'll be thrown into a high-side OTB-ish crash.

C) I think wheel flop is overrated as a metric. Or rather, backwards-rated. Yes, more wheel flop means the bars will be turned more for a given lean, with no rider input on the bars. But there is always rider input on the bars, and more wheel flop means there is also more counter-steering force available from that rider input to help pull the bike out of the lean. It widens the range of steering and turning inputs, making bar rotation (steering) more forgiving while also increasing the effect of both hand and foot pressure in adjusting the lean (turning). More wheel flop doesn't directly make turning harder, it just makes riding no-handed harder because larger inputs are needed through the seat to alter the lean in order to pull the front wheel around with no handlebar inputs. Since handlebar inputs are a given for normal riding, wheel-flop combined with mechanical trail provides a nice feedback mechanism to how the front end is managing traction in relation to both steering and leaning.
  • 6 0
 Personally I like 64 head angle the best if the reach is long enough.
With a longer reach but un-extreme slack head angle, you still get plenty of bike out in front of you for confidence on the steeps, but the bike is much easier to control through techy sections at slower speeds, or technical climbing. 63.5 is still fine, but sub 63 I’ll not sure about…

Have tried pretty much everything from 68 down to 62 and inbetween.
  • 6 0
 I like 64-65. Less than 64 is great for railing berms and bombing straights, but in tight corners it becomes a handful.
  • 9 1
 In my opinion ideal HTA's are: XC-68, DC-66-67, Trail 65.5, Enduro 64, DH 63.5. Of course give or take .5 in either direction.
  • 2 0
 Yeah, that’s definitely the ballpark.
  • 2 1
 Why do you need so steep on XC (and DC)? With a fairly steep head-angle, you have to make precise and taut steering inputs, especially climbing when the front unloads. With a slacker HTA, it's easier to just blast up and allow the slackness to both keep you from getting hung up and maintain traction at wild steering angles, so you can put more effort into pedaling instead of making a bunch of extra steering inputs. Wouldn't it be more energy-saving to allow looser lines all round, even/especially on climbs?

Levi used to talk about steep angles helping him when "breathing through my eyeballs (eyelids?)", and I never understood that because steep HTA requires more preciseness in steering inputs, and precision hand-movement seems like something that would go out the door early when eye-breathing.
  • 4 0
 @justinfoil: not an xc person myself, but I think the idea is that steeper hta tends to be more ok with steering with the bars and that is a lot less physical moving you have to do than leaning the bike over as is preferable with something on the slacker side. When you are motoring around twisty flats or techy climbs, a little steeper hta can feel like less effort. Also a 66 hta, is really not all that twitchy for the use case of "DC."
  • 2 0
 Pretty spot on. I seem to get along best with a 65 hta for aggressive trail/ all mountain style riding. Any slacker and you lose some of the "do-it -all" ability and any steeper results in less confidence on the steeps.
  • 2 0
 @justinfoil: Do you not notice how xc racers almost never need aggressive front tires?
Traditional XC geometry put a lot of weight on front wheel to the point that you get enough grip from slicker and faster front tires.

Make HTA slack and front wheel kick forward then suddenly, you need a more aggressive and slower front tire.
  • 5 0
 To all the people wondering what the gold stem at the end of the video is and why I made it, this is the RR (Raised Reversed) stem. It is both Raised up and Reversed in offset so that your hands are ultimately behind the steering axis instead of in front as is traditional.

The Raised height helps improve the riders stance with a better arm angle to the bars for confidence, proper bend in the elbows for control, and more rider weight supported by their legs instead of hands. It also gives a longer lever between their hands and feet to give them more leverage for maneuvering the bike. These help the rider to feel more comfortable and confident, and makes the bike more maneuverable.

The Reversed offset improves and calms the steering dynamics. Since it arcs out instead of in when turning relative to the frame, it allows the rider to position themselves on the outside of the bike when cornering to load their side knobs properly while also leaning the bike in further for a kinematically tighter turn. The hand to front axle position parallels a 59 degree headtube angle for ultimate confidence in steep terrain, with a steering feel that is less floppy and more direct than the stock headtube angle of the bike with a traditional stem. These help the rider corner much better with improved feel of the front end, keep better balance in loose terrain, and feel more confident in steep terrain.

I am consistently significantly faster riding on a bike with the RR stem relative to traditional 50mm - 35mm stems. I have gotten better race results, such as when I won the Southridge USA DH Expert Men 19-29 race with a time 3 seconds faster than 3rd place in Pro Men, and I can now ride more technical terrain and bigger jumps than I ever could before using the RR stem. The RR stem has been in development for over 3 years testing all kinds of different heights and offsets on various bikes and terrain, always benchmarking against the traditional 50mm - 35mm stem. I tested anything from below traditional height to about 80mm taller than the RR stem you see here, and 70mm offset forward all the way to 70mm offset Reversed. The RR stem that I now sell on the Be More Bikes website:
bemorebikes.com
is the culmination of all of that testing to find the best Enduro mtb stem geometry with a -15mm Reversed offset. If you have any questions please leave a reply, or check out my Tech and FAQ’s page here:
bemorebikes.com/tech-and-faqs.html
I love having discussions.
  • 1 0
 @bemorebikes Thanks for chiming in here. I was hoping to see somebody talk about the Raised Reversed Stem in these comments. While I haven't tried it yet, I am glad you are thinking outside the box and challenging the norm. Good luck with it and cheers!
  • 10 5
 66°-67° is OPTIMAL for my home trail system.

My current bike is 63°, and the extended front-end length of this head angle makes the weight balance too back-heavy.

I've attempted a lot (longer stem, lower handlebars, knobbier front tire, rolling my handlebars forward) to combat this, but it looks like I'll have to get a different frame for the steeper head angle alone.
  • 8 0
 not that im a super slack fanboy, but iv found that these giant front centers, can actually feel like less with reasonable chainstay lengths, and by that i mean longer chainstays not micro as is/was being heavily pushed.
  • 2 0
 @englertracing: Agreed. I actually have a sliding rear dropout on this 63° bike, and when I push it all the way back, it does feel "better", but still not "optimal". The front end still wants to wash out on me more than my older and steeper frames Ive had in the past
  • 2 0
 @englertracing: I ride XXL bikes and I've noticed this too. With short chainstays it feels like you really have to manage the length of the front center. Makes you have to shift your weight around a lot more.
  • 1 0
 @JonDud: Wouldn't have agreed before, but just bought an adjustable head-angle bike. In the slackest setting it's amazing how much it slowed me down on anything that wasn't steep and gnarly. All the effort went into keeping the front end from plowing.

Squamish was the only place it was ideal for, and that was mostly 90° slabs lol.

Steepened it up a degree and everything clicked into place all around.
  • 1 0
 is an angleset out of the question for your frame? seems cheaper than a new bike
  • 3 0
 3-4deg steeper might be a bit excessive. Having done quite a bit of testing a variety of trail bikes I have found anything south of 64deg with modern short offset forks starts to give you the classic understeer feeling with the front end washing a bit (especially on flatter rolling terrain). There are places where slacker head angles are very beneficial but mostly for taller riders (6'+), very steep terrain, and very high speeds (downhill).

Some of this is front center length but I also think a lot of this has to do with steering geometry. The same feeling use to occur at steeper head angles when longer offset forks were the norm. I would highly recommend trying the below before moving to a different frame:
+1.5-2 degree angleset (any angleset installed backwards will give you this. Works makes a nice 1.5deg one and Wolftooth a nice 2 deg angleset)
40-45mm stem (seems to play the best with short offset forks)

A 1.5 degree anglset would bring the head angle from 63 to 64deg (angle change is not 1:1 with head angle change), shorten the reach by 5mm, raise the stack by 4mm, and shorten the front center by 17mm. The combination of everything will likely help a huge amount.
  • 1 0
 @canned-slammin: absolutely. -1 deg angleset + install was less than $150 a few years ago for my Sb5.5. Still haven’t let that one go, just too good.
  • 1 0
 Same...mounting a -1.5° on my Transition Smuggler just made it sluggish and awkward. The original 66° HTA + a 150mm fork are perfect and nothing else's needed.
  • 3 1
 @JonDud: Some of it comes down to riding style/position. With a shorter front-center, you _have to_ ride more off the back to get your CG in a good safe place in relation for the front axle when it's steep and nasty. When FC is longer, you can really stand up in the middle of the bike which allow you to both drive the front end _and_ allows for more front-to-back weight shifting to maximize traction.

One of the best things is that you can start to feel "safe" with respect to being behind the front axle while still having some nice bend in your arms and be standing over the BB in a nice strong position, as opposed to being in the back-seat with mostly straight arms and effectively doing a wall-sit with your legs in a fairly weak and useless position.

It takes some getting used to, and the tweaks you mentioned all can help, but the real help is changing your mindset and position. Thinking more about staying in the middle of the bike and driving the front, since you can load it way more relative to the back while still not overloading it and risking an OTB, can really help with the "always washing out" feeling. You can still get way back if you really need to, but you'll find much less need for the straight-arms wall-sit quad-burning position.

Of course, it could just be too much front-center for you and a smaller size or steeper HTA may be the best solution, but instead of thinking "it's too back-heavy", I like to think of it as "there is so much more room to make it (relatively) front-heavy when needed". More space to "ride the fork" while staying "safe" from OTB.
  • 2 0
 @RoboDuck: Short offsets give the trail of slacker HTA with the front-center of a steeper HTA. So "slack HTA _and_ modern short offset" is going to be very close to "slightly steeper HTA with long offset" WRT to understeer-y feel, since the front-center is going to be very close as well.

Why would a +1.5 angleset decrease the reach? It's either pushing the top bearing forward or the bottom bearing backward, both of which are going to move the bars away from the rider by steepening the steerer tube angle. The raising of the front end will reduce the frame reach a bit, but the reach decrease from that will be less than the increase in stack, so close to break-even or better for reach when combined with the steerer angle increase.
  • 3 0
 @justinfoil: The reach reduction is from an increase in stack with a bottom cup offset. With the bottom cup offset the steerer is assume to pivot about the centre of the headset which is where the reach is measured from. You are correct that if the top cup moves the reach change will be different. These numbers came from a geometry solver so i didn't just pull them out of my rear end Wink
  • 1 2
 @RoboDuck: Lower stack does not always increase increase (unless you're doing something extra like changing from a ZS bottom to an EC bottom, but why do you need that?). For WolfTooth, the largest lower stack for GeoShift is 13.0mm on the EC49, and for an EC49 normal headset the lower stack is 12.25mm. 0.75mm extra stack is doing nada for noticeably reducing reach.

And based on their own pictures, both Works and WolfTooth get the new angles by offsetting the upper bearing for most headsets. Certain types & sizes (EC56) offset the bottom bearing, but unless the stem is absolutely slammed, it's still going to move the stem & bars forward a tad, not back. And if you're trying this steep and tall thing, you're probably not slamming the stem since you want more stack.
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: Stack always increases with positive anglesets because of the angle change alone (the inverse is true as well, negative anglesets lower the frontend). Any headset stack change is a separate variable that needs to be accounted for.

This sentence was poorly worded "The reach reduction is from an increase in stack with a bottom cup offset" but was combining two things. I am assuming a bottom cup offset, and therefor the only reach change will be from the inherent stack change.

Reach is not measured to stem and bars it is measured to centre of upper headset cup. If you use an upper headset adjust then the reach impacts will largely be washed out. In any event 4mm of reach will not be the the primary impact when making the change.
  • 2 2
 @RoboDuck: Sure, a whopping couple mm less reach. 64 degrees to 65 degrees raises stack by approx 4mm, almost 8mm going to 66 degrees. However, if you go with the actuality* of most angle changes coming from the top cup, effective reach is minimally changed. And guess what... a couple mm of reach change is not a big deal in relation to such drastic changes to head angle, front-center, and wheelbase. (You said that, too.)

Yes, reach is measured where you said, but the effective reach of where the grips are is the real important measurement. If the reach at the cup changes but the reach at the grips doesn't change, should it even count as a change in reach? I say no.

*Why did you assume it's the bottom cup? Did you not even look at the available products?
  • 7 0
 Geeze, everyone trying to get their bikes running like banshees. Banshee is way ahead of the curve at fractions of the cost .
  • 4 0
 I generally agree with the direction of this article. I played a bit with spacers under the stem earlier this season, and I was amazed at the difference 10-15mm of "stack" adjustment made. It simultaneously gave me a more natural and upright stance when descending, but also allowed me to dynamically weight the front wheel by shifting weight into my handlebars at will. All the while, I felt a bit less fatigued when descending because you can load your hips more when blasting on straighter sections of trail. I think we'll see a lot of enduro bikes with similar reach, higher stack heights, slightly longer (than historic) chain stays, and centering on 63-64 degree HTA.
  • 2 0
 Spacers also decrease reach. You need to play with riser bars to increase stack without shortening reach. This is the xl-xxl problem, relatively low stack in relation to reach, so we are on a full compliment of spacers effectively shortening reach.
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: I totally agree. Personally, I was fine with shortening reach a little bit. I feel pretty comfortable anywhere between 578-592mm reach. My current bike is on the longer side of that range.
  • 1 0
 Riser bars change the offset from the grips to the steering axis. A higher rise bar is effectively putting on a bunch of stem spacers and a longer stem
  • 1 0
 @KJP1230: 578 - 592 phu, that's a long ass reach Wink
joke aside, rode XL so with 509 reach 649 stack but going for an L with 490 reach 640 stack. Shorter Reach isn't that much of a problem, but the stack is. Going with 25mm spacer and 38mm riser. To compensate the even shorter reach, i slapped on a 50 mm stem. don't get this whole 35mm thing anyway.
  • 4 0
 I am genuinely curious now. It would be sick if I could ride a bike that was as confident as my 22' Transition Patrol in the steeps, but also have a tighter feel on more mellow descents. Its basically got to be near vertical before the Patrol really comes alive.
  • 1 0
 Maybe a shorter offset fork. Fox only builds the 38 29er with a 44mm offset, but it's the same CSU for 29 and 27, so a 37mm offset 29er fork is possible. Reduction in wheelbase (and front-center) should help with steering quickness feel when flat and/or slow, while that shortening is countered a bit by the increase in trail to maintain steep & fast stability.
  • 4 0
 Is it just me that can't understand how anyone can actually ride downhill while putting substantial weight on the bar?
I have seen the assertion that a lower stack puts more weight on the bars many times but I really only carry my weight on my feet, with only enough on my hands to feel a little pressure and know I'm not hanging off the back. So lowering stack only seems to me to make the bars harder to reach while not affecting my front to rear balance at all. Maybe I'm weak, or old and inflexible, or maybe I just learnt on old and super short bikes but it's hard to understand how people can actually lean on the bar and still stay on the bike.
  • 4 0
 I could not agree more with you Henry, I have mulleted my spire and put a +1.5° angleset, and the combination of high stack and long chaninstays feels more balanced than anything I have ridden before.
  • 1 0
 Sounds mint!
  • 3 0
 All very interesting but... This line of thought pretty much makes Leo Kokkonen "the man" since he's headed this direction for years. I mean the past and current offerings (i.e. Evolink, Stamina) and now the Vikkela offer reasonable headset angle at 64'ish, longer chainstays at 450-455 and stack height of 650'ish. This feels really close to what Henry' talking about. Perhaps Pole's lack of Pinkbike ad revenue leaves them out of the frame here... hope that's not it but they [Leo that is] seems to be leading the charge well.
  • 4 1
 Leo is one of the industry's true thinkers, and I'm always excited to see what he's up to. That said, "being left out of the frame here" has nothing to do with ad revenue. It's worth noting that I tested a Pole at the same time as the Meta and just didn't like it as much. That said, I very much respect their approach.
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney: I do appreciate your response on this but you can understand peoples suspicion, when Pinkbike was purchased by Outside and runs on ad revenue. That said, I certainly enjoy you as a host and reviewer.
For perspective, I ran North American marketing for a major ski brand and frequently experienced pressures (often unspoken but nonetheless real) to spend ad dollars with those who alluded to favor with our products. It's a very real thing in these (& allSmile industry' so pardon my skepticism. Happy 24' to you!
  • 4 0
 5 year-old bikes just got more appreciation. Slack bikes have it's place, but for riders riding tighter twisty trails, steeper HTA is not bad because it makes the bike more nimble.
  • 1 1
 what about for steep tight twisty trails?
  • 2 0
 @jaydawg69: I'm rocking a 67.5 degree head tube angle and can do the steep tight twisty trails. However, I would like it to be little slacker around 65-66 ish.
  • 3 0
 I feel seen. I went from a knolly chilcotin 151 to a deviate highlander. 64.2 to 65 deg HTA and 436 to 441-464 chainstay length. Deviate has 2mm higher stack.

The difference in handling is profound, the highlander really is much more enjoyable on tight techy stuff and I don’t think it’s any less capable in a straight line than the chilcotin. I wouldn’t say the chilcotin was incapable though, just that the highlander is an improved experience.
  • 3 0
 Yup. Steeper. Taller. Shorter. WOOHOO!! I'm shopping for a new bike. Hell..., I'm always shopping for a new bike. But when I see something that looks like it might fill the bill - I go right to the geo. If the head angle is steeper than 65.5°, or the wheelbase is longer than 1200mm (I'm between a M & a L) - that bike is off the list. Can't imagine I'm the only one. Can't imagine that sales don't reflect this.
  • 2 0
 I've been pondering something for people in between sizes. Is it better to size up, and then reduce reach by decreasing stem length, using more headset of spacers, and a fitting a lower rise bar, or size down with a longer stem, less spacers and higher rise bar? From My understanding, roughly every 10mm of spacer you put under your stem decreases reach by 5mm.

For example: I've been shopping for a new enduro bike and debating the between a M and L. The M has a 455 reach, 625 stack, 440 CS, 64º HTA and comes stock with a 42.5mm stem. To make it feel longer I'd fit a 50mm stem, 50mm rise bar and use 5mm of headset spacers. Perceived reach (I made that term up) is now 460mm and the handlebar height is 1025 mm from the ground.

the L has a 475 reach, 640 stack, 445 CS and comes stock with a 42.5mm stem. To make it feel shorter I'd fit a 35mm stem, 20mm rise bar and use 25mm of headset spacers. Perceived reach is now 455mm and the handlebar height is 1030mm from the ground.

Would these bikes ride drastically differently? I'd assume the biggest handling difference would now come from the CS length and different stem lengths, but what the hell do I know?! I'm not an engineer, and I suck at math Smile
  • 7 1
 Maybe I should set my Stumpy Evo to the steeper HA setting?
  • 3 0
 I ride mine like that a lot.

Low and slack for bike park trails and berms, high and mid/steep for EWS enduro trails and Alpine switchbacks.
  • 1 0
 @BarneyStinson: Does that lift the bb a little? I liked the way mine felt with the chainstay adjuster in the longer position, but feel like the BB is scraping the ground pedaling up tech stuff, mullet setup probably contributes.
  • 2 0
 Coming off my Ripley to the Stumpy EVO, moved the HA to the steepest for all-around riding is perfect for me.
  • 1 0
 @motts: yes it does, both shorter chainstay setting and steeper headtube both reduce bottom bracket drop.

I find low is great if I’m doing full send type riding, so less chance of catching my chain ring or pedal striking, but if I’m doing more techy stuff I prefer it higher.
  • 1 0
 @BarneyStinson: I have mine set to mid HA and Short/High rear with 170mm fork…and my 175 cranks hit a lot of rocks, I’m hoping it’s my crap fitness, but I have definitely been looking at 165 cranks.
  • 2 0
 When I had one I really enjoyed the steep HA setting for anything but the steepest trails in my area. So cool that frame has meaningful adjustments compared to a lot of bikes on the market.
  • 2 0
 @wobblegoblin: I’m 6’1” and mostly legs. 175mm cranks and pedals on my low bb Jeffsy looked like a failed Rodin apprentice after a year. Highly recommend 165 cranks.
  • 1 0
 I like mine in high/neutral for most everything with a 170mm fork. I am using 165mm cranks also.
  • 1 0
 @wobblegoblin: I’m on stock 170s. If I need to replace I’d go to a smaller chainring and 165s.
  • 2 0
 @tomfoolerybackground: “failed Rodin apprentice”

Well done.
  • 2 0
 I run my new Knolly Fugitive in the steep setting and it feels better climbing and descending. I've always run bikes in slack mode in the past, but the new Fugitive has higher stack and slightly shorter reach. It just feels more alive in steep mode to me, and still rips going downhill.
  • 11 9
 If the bike hasn’t got a 63 deg head angle or less I wouldn’t ride it.
The bike industry is going around n circles with geometry. Everyone has personal preferences and adjustable head angle, bb height, reach and chainstay length is always a bonus on a bike.
It does annoy me when so personal ideas are pushed on readers.
Until you have tried and tried all the different styles and geometry’s available you won’t know what is best for you. After 33 years of riding and racing I now know what suits me best. 475-480 reach, 62.5-63 deg head angle, 1310mm wheelbase, 445-450 chainstay length. Bar height from the ground on all bike stays the same at 1100mm
Every one is different found out for yourself it makes all the difference when it right for you (Not someone else or manufacture telling you)
  • 5 0
 Tell me you ride a Geometron without telling me you ride a Geometron? I ride a S2 RocketMax, which is geometrically similar, but still nowhere near the "1300 club".
  • 2 1
 You say the industry is going round in circles, but aside from Chris Porter no one has ever made bikes with the geometry of the last few years. I think it's less cyclical fashion and more trial-and-improvement as each category of bike is honing down on better geometry for the use case.
  • 1 0
 Orange switch 7 at the moment lol@fentoncrackshell:
  • 4 0
 @derryair How can you be so specific about frame sizing/geometry but ignore BB drop? You should be measuring bar height relative to the BB otherwise you are in different positions from one bike to another.
  • 1 0
 Yep, I like a 63deg HA (maybe 62.5) with 445-450mm rear and high bars. Maybe I'm doing this high stack thing without having a particularly long HT anyway?
I don't measure wheelbase, I think of it as an output of getting everything else right for me.
This is for enduro-y riding. On a trail bike I'd be happy with a 64deg HA and slightly shorter rear. Though I am going to try a -2deg headset in my Stage Evo and see how it goes at 63deg.
  • 6 0
 Enough with the Geometry talk...post the link for the jean suit
  • 2 0
 One advantage of slack head angles is that the front wheel picks up more camber as you steer.
Increasing camber, generates grip. Who doesn't want to get more front grip as you steer?
I'd like to see experimentation with sub 60deg HA. Remember the grim donut...
  • 3 0
 8 seconds faster on a 2 minute course....
  • 2 0
 I enjoy your stuff, Henry. As a guy who is always running way more spacers and higher rise bars than most folks and still having it fit right, I agree with your statement. Too slack and you can't adjust it back. Too steep and you can't adjust it back. It needs to be in the middle, so everyone can make it work for themselves.
  • 2 0
 I've been intrigued by this geo direction for a couple of years. Primarily because some riders that I really respect speak very highly of the Banshee Titan. Honestly, just scared to plunk down the money to test out something that flies in the face of other hard fought geo lessons I've learned over the years. In reality most mainstream manufacturers will add the stack and steepen the HTA but still have 435mm CS on their XLs with 75.5' STAs, so they'll just screw it up anyways.
  • 2 0
 I'm running my Stumpjumper Evo S3 (I'm 5'6") in high BB (35mm drop) + neutral HA (64.5) + Specialized 27.5 link (cascade link is too expensive and I don't need the extra progression). That gives me a 436 chainstay. I'm a fan. I just need to dial in my handlebar/stem spacer location. I think I'm getting pretty dang close. I haven't changed the stem or handlebars, so if anyone has suggestions on upgrades there I'm open to it. Run the stem low on the steerer tube + higher rise bars?

All this to say that I'm on board with Henry's theory here: higher stack for DH confidence + slightly steeper HA to manage wheel flop when climbing.
  • 1 0
 How great is that adjustability though? That's the next thing all frames should have!
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney: another Stumpjumper Evo owner here, and yeah the adjustability is great, both for being able to set the bike up for my intended purpose, and laying around with geometry to see how it changes the feel of the bike. That’s what made me realise that a bike can be too slack and low for certain types of riding. YMMV
  • 1 0
 Definitely give higher rise bars a try if you can. I'm running 35mm One Ups and they are great.
  • 2 0
 My opinion as someone who has ridden a fair share of steep rowdy trails is you dont gain any performance from a head angle slacker than 64 deg, you just gain wheel flop. Keep head angles between 64 and 65. My take from demoing and owning many bikes is the only real dimensions on a bike that matter are the chain stay lengths and bb height. I prefer short and low all day.
  • 2 0
 As Henry mentioned, all angles individually are just a small part of the puzzle. For example: I have a Evil Following V3 that I picked up from a bud that had tossed a +1 angle set in the frame and lengthened the fork by 10-20mm looking for a little more stability at speed. It made the front end floppy and vague unless you were on top of the handlebars and with the Evil’s reach that made things a little awkward, especially in the northwestern US. I went back to stock in both head angle and fork length which improved a lot of things but I could see where my bud had been trying to get to so I swapped the 51mm offset fork for a 44mm and now my bud keeps bugging me to sell the bike back to him. A little rearward axle shift = a little forward cg shift and the trail is increased by the reduced offset (instead of slacking out the bike) thus you get a little more stability at speed without sacrificing slow speed handling. This works well on smaller travel bikes but on long travel bikes you also have to factor in a higher likelihood of fork chatter from fork binding caused by the angle at which the fork is presented to the distortion it is trying to absorb so you increase the fork angle then increase the offset to preserve trail (too much is just as bad as not enough and the sweet spot is definitely dependent on rider, intended use, and what the rest of the bike is doing).
There’s a lot going on even with minor changes to any bike and there are usually a number of ways to achieve a change in any specific number. Said change should be made with a larger picture of what it will do to every other aspect of the bike and subsequently its handling. It doesn’t hurt to strike up a conversation with a reputable suspension shop beginning with where you are (set up wise), what you intend to ride, and how you want the bike to feel. Just going to some random thread on the interwebs is a great way to invest a crap-ton of cash into screwing up a good bike. Keep notes and when in doubt, go back to zero (stock, even if just on paper) and think about other ways you could arrive at the “feel” you are looking for.
  • 2 0
 I skipped all the comments but will say this: Stack is not the solution to wheel flop. The best of both worlds can be had with fork designs that decouple trail and front-center length from steering axis angle. All that's needed is the community to accept the aesthetic consequences.
  • 2 0
 This piece doesn't make sense to me? You rave about the spire edging out the enduro in confidence and use the slacker head angle as reasoning, then go on to explain stack and I'm assuming the point you're trying to make is that a correctly proportioned bike in the chainstay-stack relationship will provide such body position and confidence that sub 64 head angles become redundant? But then what were you yapping on about the spire's slackness??? I consider myself bamboozled!
  • 1 0
 Welp there's a video too
  • 3 0
 I was belligerently high writing this comment
  • 2 0
 @slowandcontrolled: this was a wild ride
  • 2 0
 BB drop is way more important than stack but easily forgotten when trying to interpret a feeling. It's all about leveraging around the rear axle. You can change stack with spacers but BB drop is fixed. This is what Increases or decreases your static load onto the rear axle. This sensation can feel like the stack height as you sink down farther below the axle line for stability. But this also makes you at a worse point to leverage onto the back axle for rotation and front wheel lift and rear wheel load. Stack height is important sure. But you're misguiding you're interpretation on a feeling around the wrong parameter.
  • 2 0
 Sounds like you’re a high stack guy. Your article made it very clear to me why I’m not. At 6’4” the available chainstay lengths (typically one size fits all) rarely keep pace with the longer XL/XXL 500mm+ reach measurements. Some companies are now adding in a jumbo stack (i.e. headtube) height to their XL/XXL sizes to ostensibly “fit” taller riders in a seated position so we don’t have the exaggerated seat/bar unevenness. The result was abominable in my experience - the front wheel just drifts around and washes out all over the place. But hey, the bike “looks” like it fits us big guys better. Until chainstays really catch up with the growing reach numbers, adding in a monster stack/head tube is not a great move (at least in my very limited experience). In practical terms, love the low stack on the XL Arrival but was lucky to even survive the combo of massive reach and stack on my XXL Megatower 2 with nearly identical chainstays.
  • 4 2
 Interesting read from Henry, I think he has missed every fundamental of body position and how it works with suspension kinematics exceptionally well.
Keep up the good work Henry, your as entertaining as you are annoying!
I would love to spend a few hours in the pub discussing geometry, kinematics, stack and reach and how they really work, we could do some interesting tests to dispel your beliefs with ease.


If someone on the Mx position theory can show me some flat Mx tracks with big jumps and how that relates to riding down an average 25% gradient into tight turns at speed with roots and rocks and no throttle and the majority of the wight being the rider...
Enduro Mx bike v Gee on his old Dh bike (how diddy does it look and nobody on here could match the speed he came down the hill on the latest any bike!)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqBy1R7IMGE&t=1s
  • 6 0
 Honestly, I would also love to spend those few hours in a pub. Last time I visited a pub in Scotland I was walking out onto the street and this random guy just walked up to me and knocked me clean out. He took one look at my lame as fuck red chinos and knew I wasn't for him.
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney: Dang, that woudnt happen up in the North of Scotland, maybe in the rowdy areas of the central belt. Your more likely to end up sleeping in a field with a bad hangover up here in the North. Not fully north, Inverness area.
  • 2 0
 Having just demo'd an Atherton 170 I can state that they have been quietly taking the 'new' approach for years with a higher front end. It may just be my tastes but I find these videos ever more cringeworthy with overly drawn out puns and pervy innuendos. I cant work out if this is Henry being made to do this, or he should be supervised in a bar environment. Personally I think the video would have been better without the painful dad jokes and would have been shorter and more digestible too. Honestly the Tina Turner stuff dude...why did you agree to that.
  • 8 0
 Ha - honestly, I just make what I think is fun. I don't really care about anything else other than enjoying my work. Tom, who films, and I are normally just laughing all day thinking of how stupid we're being. I love it.
  • 2 0
 @henryquinney I have to admit that the Meta SX V5 is a tempting frame for it's looks and the gains to be had from it's unique geometry. I must say however that three red flags for me from the recent Field Tests with it are 1. that it's noisy, 2.the iffy water bottle placement, and 3. that farkakteh press fit bottom bracket. It seems you got around the bottle issues in this video and I would think a 22 oz bottle would clear the shock reservoir without having to rig it with zip ties or a Wolf Tooth rad cage adapter. How about the noise and pf92 issues?
  • 2 0
 Apparently Commencal have found a fix to the noise issue by fitting spacers on the main pivot - but I would ask them directly for better insight as I only heard it second hand from a friend. I also experimented with a topeak bottle cage extender similar to the wolf tooth one and that worked well too! Can’t speak for the longevity of the BB, but I think BBs and particularly DUB have improved durability significantly. Could be a great buy, and I really enjoyed riding it.
  • 2 0
 upvote for yiddish
  • 1 0
 I think this article is smart, but really it boils down to preference. Look at Kasper Wooly and Jack Moir. Jack rides an XL front end with a L rear end, and Kasper rides a M front end with a XL rear end. also, Kasper and Jacks stack are totally polar opposite, and they both achieve the same thing.
  • 5 0
 Short haired pointers are the best trail dogs/ woods companions
  • 1 0
 Thanks to God, Randomly I met an old classmate at Greyhound bus station here in summerfield Florida who helped brought my life back on track by introducing me to a computer guy who helped me recover all what i lost to skammers, my entire retirement savings was gone to these fake investment lady who was a disguise. i was so depressed for 8 months until i just got it all recovered two weeks ago, thanks to Mr Taylor at Refund Policy recovery agency for handling my recovery successfully and within 21 hours i got my recovered losts back. this is their contact below refundpolici (at) gmail (dot) com. Wassap and xell : +1 ( 657 ) 2 6 2 4 4 8 2
just incase anyone finds themselves in thesame situation as me 9 months ago. God bless you all
  • 4 2
 It was like a few days ago when you said that 10mm longer cs have no perceivable effect on front-rear weight bias and now you tell me that cs on Spire balances too slack ha, go figure
  • 3 0
 Different guy
  • 5 0
 Fact: Your Next Trail Will Be Steeper
  • 1 0
 Think this is spot on debate Henry, I had a Cove G-Spot Med. mkII way back when it had a longer front and longer rear end, I think the HA was around 65 deg and loved it.
Next bike was a 27.5 (2016) stumpy with shorter rear end i upsized to an L shorter stem (50mm), up forked it by 10mm and it finally felt great once I got high rise bars on it.
Anyway love all this discussion as it’s right on point!
Cheers
  • 1 0
 Give me slack HA and high stack. I don't know if it's my riding background or body proportions, but always feel stack is too low, so I end up with loads of spacers and bar height, which brings my pars back towards the bb shortening everything. Go up a size for good stack, my bars are too far away, it's like double longer because I don't lose length with spacers and bar height. Just to put it out there, stack on geometrons is too low.
  • 3 0
 I'm the opposite - I prefer lower front ends in general....but you just like Jack Moir who runs 2" of spacers and tall bars, it works it works and I think has much more to do with body proportions than anything...tall torso vs long legs makes a huge difference.
  • 2 0
 Go check out Brian Cahal's "Raised Reverse Stem" first ride impressions video on YT. I think he had it on a Geometron.
  • 1 0
 I’ve been playing with higher stack on my geometron and because of the massive reach and 62.5ha going too tall you loose the pressure on the front wheel on flatter tracks reducing front end grip. The high stack feels amazing on steep trails with the head angle but trying to get it around steep switchbacks is a nightmare.
I’m now convinced 63.5-64 ha seem perfect for most things. Look at mx bikes. High stack heights and a 63.5 ha across the board.
Looking forward to getting a Madonna v3 next year and seeing if it answers all my woes
  • 1 0
 Also notice that Honda doesn't install a CR80 swingarm, on to their CRF450 to save money, wheelbase, or whatever. So the tall stack heights work. Also worth mentioning is that with a seat that has a solid 150mm sweet spot of where you can sit and no need to pedal, a standard MX bike is obviously going to fit a huge range of body types.
  • 1 0
 Just put an angleset on the Nicolai?
  • 1 0
 I followed someone on a Geometron down “Dream Forest” in La Rosiere this year. I’ve got to admit it was quite amusing watching him trying to get it round the switchbacks.
  • 2 1
 There is no reason to have bikes with higher stack (i.e., longer head tubes) than necessary to have the frame stiffness required. I would guess frame designers make the head tube a bit longer on larger sizes for aesthetics. But, handling-wise, nothing changes if you reduce the head tube length by a cm and add a cm spacer under the stem. So, why limit potential customers' cockpit setups by making head tubes unnecessarily long?
  • 2 0
 Good article. I've been hopeful for the day to come where the "low, long, and slack" trend starts to fade. Hopefully now we can have more bikes that don't handle like a freight liner.
  • 2 0
 I don’t ride crazy steep trails, but I appreciate the slower steering and speed, and stability, that a slack long bike provides in my straight, high speed, ultra chunk trails.
  • 6 0
 Best Henry video ever
  • 1 0
 Ha - thanks!
  • 4 1
 This is why people have been buying 50+mm riser bars. Stack height has been way too low for years. Pretty sure it's most of the reason that Friday Fails exists.
  • 2 0
 Yup, all my friends and I got 50mm riser bars this year and we've all loved it. I'd be happy if bikes came with taller stacks in general but riser bars will do just fine in the interim, plus they look cool.
  • 1 0
 I can ride anything on my 67.5deg HA Giant Trance Advanced that I can on my much slacker SC Megatower. But, for actual trail riding, the Giant is a better bike in nearly all regards. The steeper headangle and shorter rear end make it turn better on climbs, rides nicer and more comfortably on XC and AM type trails. If you don't ride the likes of Whistler on a daily basis, even if you do, a more trail orientated bike will be a better choice in most all occassions
  • 1 0
 I’ve seen so much nonsense written about geometry and bar width, etc over the years that I take it all with a pinch of salt.

There was a time in the early 90s when anything with a head angle less than 71 degrees was described as slow steering and old fashioned. Ditto bars wider than 650mm.
  • 1 0
 Really what we want, all of us, no personal preference allowed, is a 60 degree head angle, plus 5 degree seat tube angle with the seat mounted backwards to support our huge testicles, and a 24 inch rear wheel with a five inch wide tire and 300 mm rear centre so we can manual all they way down the trail rendering front end geometry irrelevant.
  • 1 0
 I have an "incredibly steep" 2020 Trek Remedy in high position, and also run my Rocky Maiden in the steepest setting. I love the way the bikes feel so I kind of agree with Henry! But I also have an Arrival and that thing is miles longer, lower, and slacker. The Arrival is also much faster when I ride it with equal effort so.....
  • 1 0
 Haha - incredibly!
  • 1 0
 This from @seb-stott has been a game changer for me. A million thanks:

“grips roughly level with the saddle top when it's at full extension (so zero saddle-bar drop)”

www.pinkbike.com/news/importance-of-handlebar-height-mountain-bike.html
  • 1 0
 I love my Ripmo-but it’s a lot of bike for the trails out my door. Will absolutely get a shorter bike, as a second bike. No short travel bike is really fun on the ragged edge. Big bikes are kinda blah on blue trails (no matter how poppy the suspension setup is). Now that head tube angles (and trail) are reasonably slack on short travel bikes, they’re a compelling option for a lot more riding.

This happened with skis about a decade ago. Waist widths ballooned up to over 120 underfoot. That was overkill for all but nips deep blower. Now, the two ski quiver (at least in western NA) is a pair of narrower skis (80-90 waist) and a second set wider set (100-115 waist). That covers the most bases for maximum fun.
  • 1 0
 It only took a few years for experts to realise that pedaling matters and bikes should not be too slack, because of wheel flop. It will take a few more years to realise that high stack is not an answer because there should be a certain level of saddle to bar drop for powerful pedaling position. But hey, they need to generate content and generate sales, so, understandable…
  • 1 0
 Everyone's been sold the long reach thing and now they have no grip on the front wheel and can't throw the bike around. I had a large 2015 capra and in a straight line it's great but I couldn't corner fast or get any front end grip. 445mm reach. I bought a medium 2015 capra and it's the same geo but man, what a difference the correct size bike makes. I'm faster and way more confident. 425 reach. I'm 5'6 for reference.
  • 1 0
 I particulary love that Henrys example can literally be solved by spacers Spire is 20mm lower stack and 5mm longer reach, at 63 degrees, thats a 20.616mm spacer. Of course that assumes the bikes are actually running the fork they were designed with. The commencal states 586mm fork, a 170mm Fox38 is 583mm. Spire doesnt list, assume it designed for the Fox38, but base spec comes with Z1, 580mm a-c.
  • 1 0
 brain-fart. 10mm stack is 11mm spacer. Cant do 20 at that angle pbviously.
  • 1 0
 In way after the discussion to make a prediction: the prediction about head tube angle is dead wrong.

For riding on dirt in disciplines where cornering speed is the most important performance metric, the correct head tube angle is 63.5 degrees. If you want to change the way the bike corners, those changes are best made by adjusting stem length and fork offset, not HTA. It's not coincidence that every full size MX bike since the early 90's has been 63.5 degrees (=/- 1/4 degree), or that every relevant DH bike, and basically every long travel enduro bike, has settled on that exact number, despite wide variations in fork length, wheel size, fork offset, wheelbase, reach, stack, rear center, etc.
  • 4 0
 I smell a new 28.25" tire size forthcoming...
  • 5 0
 Tbh. I would be all over 28” lol
  • 4 0
 Are we all just gonna ignore that Canadian tuxedo then?
  • 7 0
 What's a Canadian?
  • 2 0
 just missing the top hat tuke
  • 2 0
 @Bitelio: They live in Canadia.
  • 1 1
 @Bitelio: it’s kinda like a Scott but somehow more polite yet more prone to war crimes…
Both thrive in cold and sparsely populated environments.
  • 1 1
 I think it's true - if you increase stack and keep reach the same, you actually make the frame longer since the head tube is at an angle, so between this and longer stays, you've increase the wheel base, which is part of the job that slacker head tubes were doing before.

You can see this trend in the new Madonna, also Nicolai have moved away from the 62 degree head angles and more to this approach.
My crossworx (which is a company started by a couple ex Nicolai guys) has 653 stack, 447 stays, and a 65 degree head angle. Same idea. I think since they were able to start from a blank slate they were able to apply things Nicolai have learned that are only appearing on their latest bikes now.

I am running it with a 170 Ohlins which is an even taller fork, for about 660+ stack and head angle around 64.25.
  • 1 1
 "The 64-degree head angle felt good, but compared to the slackness of the Spire, coupled with small dimension issues, it always felt just a little less capable."

Less capable at what? Smashing down chundery steeps with no regard for line choice? That's one small aspect of riding, pretty reductive to use that as the sole basis for applying the label of "more capable".
  • 1 0
 The Spire also has a solid inch to 2 inches of extra wheelbase for comparable sizes (based on similar reach and stack). That adds a bunch of descending capability regardless of a degree of HTA either way.

And if you are reducing "capable" down to an aspect of descending, how does the slack seat tube angle and "stretched-out riding position" (which really should be "pedaling position") have anything to do with that?
  • 2 0
 I cannot imagine wishing for a bike with MORE smashy credentials than my enduro, but I think at this point "capable" is official shorthand for "capable on dh race track style trails", people rarely use it when describing capability on skinnies or tight awkward jank.
  • 5 1
 Slacker the bike, the less you bumble. It's science.
  • 2 2
 This will not happen - more stack height makes it difficult to upsize and so in consequence more frame sizes will be needed. As the bike industry is itself downsizing and looking for cost reductions, larger frames will get less stack instead while reducing the number of sizes to three or four (except for the big players like Trek or Canyon).
  • 3 1
 This is correct, brands are moving to lower stack, not for straight out Performance but so people can upsize in frame size, then use spacers to bring the front up if you wish - This is very similar to what merida and trek have done recently with the fuel & one-sixty(an their others) - got to ride a merida on a demo day and was super iffy about it due to the 498 reach in large, by the time i lifted the front etc is was perfect, that bike rides damn good - i went an bought one.
  • 2 0
 So, basically we are talking about over-forked Pole Evolinks and Banshee frames (e.g. 170f/140r). For riding in the south-east, at least, those combos eat trail at any speed.
  • 4 0
 7:26 for the best part of the video
  • 2 2
 Good for you, tall people. You have all choices in riding either low or tall bar. You don't have a problem with too tall stack height so you don't have to worry about it from slack or steep HTA.

I'm only 5'6 riding medium XC bike. Stock stem set my bar in a very tall position. A few inch higher than my seat. Small sizes don't have any lower head tube. The reach is just shorter.
I need FSA SL-K drop stem just to have my bar a tiny bit lower than my seat. A bare minimum for me to be able to lean over and pedal efficiently. If I don't lean over a bit, I don't pedal well. Then if I lean but the bar is too tall, I have to absorb the short distance between my shoulder and the bar with highly bent elbow. That zap a lot of energy.
Lower handlebar allow my elbow to be less bent, saving me energy for the lean over posture I require to pedal efficiently.
When bike HTA get steeper, that increase stack height on top of already too tall 29" wheels bike with full suspension fork (which also gain more travel over the years). NOPE. Maybe try steeper HTA for L to XL bikes. But please don't make S-M bike any taller.
  • 1 0
 Have you considered trying one of the high spec "youth" bikes that many companies are now selling? They come with 26 and 27.5" wheels which allows a better stack height and may address your issues.
  • 1 0
 @L0rdTom: I might start to look into that.
These days, this 5'6 rider can still ride a normal adult mountain bike size M.
But if the bike keep getting taller. I'd have no choice but to migrate to youth bike.
  • 2 0
 @Hexsense: I mean there's plenty of "youths" at 5'6 and over! At your height they are just mountain bikes with smaller wheels but fully modern geometry. I'm waiting for a second hand one to come up for my girlfriend.
  • 3 0
 That was WAY more entertaining than it had reason to be...bravo! keep it up
  • 4 0
 damn you guys are really into bikes
  • 2 0
 I really don't like that pinkbike is removing valid and polite comments under the YouTube version of this video but that are not in line with the party way of thinking :/.
  • 1 0
 No it simply wont. (be steeper). We've spent years in mtb coming down to HTA that the moto world has had hashed out for 30 years. This is dumb and Im dumb for giving it a click I guess.
  • 2 0
 I love slack bikes, long reach, and 29” wheels. Make them slacker and put downhill forks on more enduro bikes. This is the future.
  • 1 0
 To add confusion about stack is... you can create your own stack via stem spacers, handlebar rise, or both. So stack is really a shared geometric condition between the frame geometry and the cockpit setup.
  • 1 0
 We'll have to wait and see how the newest crop of enduro bikes stack up to the current generation. Will they change as you suggest or will they stay the same?
  • 2 0
 Happy that my 2019 orbea rallon with updated rear link has geo that still fits the bill.
  • 2 0
 For aggressive all mountain bike 64° HTA is the sweet spot, and for freeride, park and DH bike 62-63°.
  • 2 1
 High stack makes descending steeps marginally better, but makes cornering generally horrible. I guess it depends on what you ride and what you want to optimize.
  • 2 0
 How does it hurt cornering? High stack doesn't move your feet up, so keeps the CG at mostly the same height, but gives your arms slightly more leverage to adjust the lean angle since the lever arm from ground to grips is longer.
  • 1 0
 @Mlloyd550 that is not my experience with higher bars. I can lean the bike over easier in corners.
  • 1 0
 Aggressive cornering requires a lot of weight over the front tire to generate traction. High stack makes weighting the front tire more difficult and awkward.
  • 2 0
 @henryquinney What tube mount is that you got there? Haven't found one I like on my spire yet.
  • 1 0
 It's this one I found in the Transition shop in B'Ham. It's some obscure brand out of the US. Truthfully though, the strap was awful so I got a velcro look from Canadian Tire haha. The CNC plate is nice though.
  • 2 0
 High stack, slightly steeper head angle, longer chainstays? Sounds like a Banshee Titan to me.
  • 2 0
 Haha I made almost this exact comment on the youtube video
  • 3 1
 Transitions have been far too slack for at least 3-4 years. 62 degree HA is laughable on a bike you pedal
  • 1 0
 I see this article, and raise your a frame I've handed off to a aluminium fabricator to make it 3.5-4 degrees slacker than factory.
  • 1 0
 Alright you say how much you love that Spire, but let's talk about your long term saddle choice...ANVL? Is your taint not destroyed after two years on that 2x4
  • 1 0
 Too much theatrics but good article...finally the rest of Pinkbike delivering good content besides Seb... Matt b is chill too
  • 1 0
 Ohhhhhhh! So that’s why I’m not as fast as the pros. It’s because I have to much wheel flop! And I was just beginning to think my brand new bike was actually rideable.
  • 1 0
 I think he meant to say your future bike will be cheaper not steeper. We have reached peak bike, now roll out the clones at bargain basement pricing.
  • 1 1
 Confidence Inspiring...oh my god....Pinkbike has fully turned into Mountain Bike Action Magazine. Take all those sponsors you know whats out of your mouth, and write some friggin content we actually want to read.
  • 1 0
 I got a Pipedream Moxie earlier this year and I haven't got on with the slack HA at all. It will be for sale in the new year
  • 3 1
 Too long, too slack, too low.

Unless you only ride park Wink
  • 3 0
 "I got a stick!"
  • 1 0
 I'm still riding a 2012 XC full-sus, so I'm pretty confident my next bike will be slacker.
  • 1 0
 "What's stack got to do with it?" seems like a 'subtle' dig to " Stand up to the jump" haha
  • 1 0
 Gosh...GoreTex dungarees. Them Kanucks is the most dapper gents on the planet!
  • 1 0
 I just moved from a 2016 frame design to a 2020 frame design and I think its the sweet spot
  • 1 0
 I am waiting for the electronically controlled geometry bike. Never mind, I'll be dead before that happens.
  • 2 0
 Dog does not look impressed...
  • 1 0
 The constant nonsense about plus minus a few degrees ... on a downhills bike of all things ...
  • 1 0
 440 mm chainstays are definitely uncommon. And 445 would be nice to try as well.
  • 1 0
 Stop selling us new black magic and make bikes more affordable. We'll buy them, I promise!
  • 2 0
 The truth is we don't want affordable bikes otherwise we'd be buying the affordable bikes that are out there.
  • 1 0
 @L0rdTom: Do people buy bikes they can't afford then? You'd say people only buy what they can afford which by definition makes them affordable.
  • 1 0
 High stack, weigh the pedals.. Pushing even further into MX bike territory.. Fantastic!
  • 1 0
 Yep, I've got that 2018 geo, and I've often commented that the frame geo is a sweetspot, especially for my area.
  • 1 0
 Bike sizing is JACKED! 6ft in me boots an mediums an even SMALLS feel good.....
  • 2 4
 I like how PB disabled to YouTube comments so we'd come here to comment. nice . it worked ! However what you are saying is industry swaying snake oil BS.... under sag the head tube steepens , even showed this in your video, want a stable head tube while turning up a tight turn ? NO.... I want exactly what you are showing in your car park test, the head tube to drop so i stay stable. exactly why enduro is the do it all DH ascending platform . Henry, just co you talk "propa" doesnt mean you know what you're talking about fk'n jurno ... stick to road bikes mate
  • 3 0
 We didn't disable comments, so I don't really know what you're talking about. Just because you talk propa...
  • 1 0
 Maybe it will, maybe it won't. I know for certainty though it will have a motor and battery.
  • 2 0
 Oh... You mean the Banshee Titan!
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney great piece of work! just out of curiosity, did you speak with bike manufacturers about this?
  • 1 0
 Thanks for the kind words. Not really, in terms of speaking to brands. I just went off what I was seeing in and testing.
  • 1 0
 Glad my (now worthless) GG Gnarvana nails the "new" High and Long geo hype Smile
  • 3 2
 Made it to the singing and had to turn it off. Might be an interesting topic with a presenter I could stand to watch.
  • 2 1
 I one hundred percent disagree, that was the point that snapped me back into paying attention. Keep up the great work lately Henry.
  • 1 0
 I wonder if this guy was ahead of his time? bemorebikes.com/raised-reversed-stems.html
  • 1 0
 Truth: My next bike is a Spire.
  • 1 0
 Won’t be a 29”r unless it’s a road bike
  • 1 0
 That's some big f*cking tyres for a road bike. DownGravel?
  • 1 0
 @L0rdTom: yep, downgravel hahaha
  • 2 3
 Yep either clickbait bullshit or lets just wait which manufacture paid ya'll to write this. Or yeah maybe neither yet this is how many of us view PB now.
  • 1 1
 But will you super slack long chainstayed bike actually fit down techie trails where clipping trees is a real concern
  • 2 5
 Nah. These turds only ride smooth, easy trails.
  • 3 1
 How would chainstays effect clipping trees? Your handlebars are the primary limit there. Long chainstays and slack HTA could actually help, since you get more forgiveness in handlebar angle. You can twist the bars a bunch for an instant to avoid hitting your hands on something but still be further away from tucking the front wheel and maintain more traction and thus direction control which helps in missing the next tree. Or take a wide line and cut in hard on the outside. More options more better.
  • 2 0
 Pretty sure he called for less slack bikes, just taller and longer chain stats, precisely for being able to handle tight tech.
  • 2 0
 It's motocross geometry
  • 1 0
 Current bike is ~65° and 170mm now, I don't think I'm going steeper.
  • 2 5
 This is pathetic Everyone is different, different styles, different preferences on bikes, come from different backgrounds and other parts of the sport and other sports totally that has a massive impact on the way they like to ride Why do you have to put a label on it!!!! Just ride what you like for fun and love of the sport Otherwise you can be a sheep and follow what the media say
  • 3 1
 Is it safe to assume you still want 70° head angle on your downhill bike and 350mm reach on a large because you won't follow what the media say? Or is it that actually most of us want a generally similar thing and moving the nominal to a point that everyone can work from is a better solution?
  • 1 0
 *northeastern US…
Autocorrect strikes again
  • 1 0
 Basically Henry states what @astonmtb has been preaching for years.
  • 1 0
 Peter Verdone is gonna go insane if he finds out about this
  • 1 0
 Sounds like a new grim donut is needed. Steep, high front and long rear.
  • 1 0
 Yay, my 2018 bike is now a 2025 model!
  • 2 0
 double denim ? hell no
  • 1 0
 So more Daq and less Nino? Lol
  • 1 0
 Dogs, they shite every where, people are bad enough
  • 1 0
 Nope. My next bike will be slacker than the current one.
  • 1 0
 Epic Canadian Tuxedo, and interlude.
  • 1 0
 My next bike will be cheaper!
  • 1 0
 love the topic and content- but the b roll skits are kind of tough..
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney Beautiful dog. What breeder did you get him from?
  • 1 1
 The real question, you’re using Shimano brakes??
  • 1 0
 Amazing stuff Quinney!
  • 1 0
 Just get a Spire
  • 1 1
 PSA - it gets kinda weird @ 7:40. You've been warned.

And @ 10:48
  • 1 0
 You gonna hunt that dog?
  • 2 0
 One day, yeah. Right now Brohm's having fun scent finding.
  • 1 0
 @ollielammas: thank goodness.
  • 1 0
 71/73
  • 1 0
 Came for the dog
  • 1 1
 yawn
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