Throwback Thursday: How Much Has Geometry Changed in the Past 10 Years?

May 26, 2021 at 8:34
by James Smurthwaite  
Geometry has been one of the big talking points over the past 10 years of mountain biking. Ever since trailblazers such as Mondraker and Geometron started banging the longer, lower, slacker drum, bikes have become far less like their road bike counterparts and far more capable at tackling the world's toughest trails. But how different is modern geometry from that at the start of the 2010s? To find out, we picked 10 lines of bikes that have been present through the decade and compared their numbers from back in the day until today.

Back in 2011, a full geometry table was the exception not the rule - in some cases figures that we take for granted, such as reach, aren't even included. We've tried our best to compare like for like as much as possible and have tried to work around any omissions for figures we can't find.

From short-travel XC race bikes to downhill sleds, here are the geometry changes over the past 10 years.



Scott Spark



2011

Travel: 110mm
Wheelsize: 26"
Head Tube Angle: 69.8° (medium)
Seat Tube Angle: 73.5°
Reach: N/A
Top Tube Horizontal: 585mm (medium)
Wheelbase: N/A
Chainstay Length: 422mm
Full geometry info
2021

Travel: 100mm
Wheelsize: 29"
Head Tube Angle: 68.5°
Seat Tube Angle: 73.8°
Reach: 429.5mm (medium)
Top Tube Horizontal: 600mm (medium)
Wheelbase: 1127.7mm (medium)
Chainstay Length: 435mm
Full geometry info



Niner Jet 9 R.D.O



2011

Travel: 100mm
Wheelsize: 29"
Head Tube Angle: 70.5° (120mm fork)
Seat Tube Angle: 73°(120mm fork)
Reach: N/A
Top Tube Horizontal: 599mm (120mm fork, medium)
Wheelbase: 1123mm (120mm fork, medium)
Chainstay Length: 455mm
Full geometry info
2021

Travel: 120mm
Wheelsize: 29"
Head Tube Angle: 66° (low)
Seat Tube Angle: 75.5° (low)
Reach: 444mm (low, medium)
Top Tube Horizontal: 605mm (low, medium)
Wheelbase: 1179mm (low, medium)
Chainstay Length: 430mm
Full geometry info




Mondraker Foxy


Mondraker Foxy Carbon XR 29 photo by Justin Kious

2011

Travel: 140mm
Wheelsize: 26"
Head Tube Angle: 68°
Seat Tube Angle: 75°
Reach: N/A
Wheelbase: 1133mm (medium)
Chainstay Length: 430mm
Full geometry info
2021

Travel: 150mm
Wheelsize: 29"
Head Tube Angle: 66°
Seat Tube Angle: 75.5°
Reach: 470mm (medium)
Wheelbase: 1210mm (medium)
Chainstay Length: 435mm
Full geometry info



Commencal Meta AM


2021 Commencal Meta AM

2011

Travel: 150mm
Wheelsize: 26"
Head Tube Angle: 67°
Seat Tube Angle: 73°
Reach: 419mm (medium)
Effective Top Tube Length: 583mm (medium)
Chainstay Length: 430mm
Full geometry info
2021

Travel: 160mm
Wheelsize: 29"
Head Tube Angle: 63.6°
Seat Tube Angle: 78.5°
Reach: 470mm (medium)
Top Tube Length: 600mm (medium)
Chainstay Length: 433mm
Full geometry info



Cannondale Jekyll


Shoot for the Cannondale Jekyll review

2011

Travel: 150mm
Wheelsize: 26"
Head Tube Angle: 67.8°
Seat Tube Angle: 73.6°
Reach: 415mm (medium)
Top Tube Horizontal: 588mm (medium)
Wheelbase: 1131mm (medium)
Chainstay Length: 428mm
Full geometry info
2021

Travel: 150mm
Wheelsize: 29"
Head Tube Angle: 65°
Seat Tube Angle: 75°
Reach: 440mm (medium)
Top Tube Horizontal: 611mm (medium)
Wheelbase: 1207mm (medium)
Chainstay Length: 442mm
Full geometry info



Yeti SB66/150


Yeti SB150

2011

Travel: 152.4mm
Wheelsize: 26"
Head Tube Angle: 67°
Seat Tube Angle: 72°
Reach: 425.6 (medium)
Wheelbase: 1148.1mm (medium)
Chainstay Length: 433.1mm
Full geometry info
2021

Travel: 150mm
Wheelsize: 29"
Head Tube Angle: 64.5°
Seat Tube Angle: 77°
Reach: 460.2mm (medium)
Wheelbase: 1223.2mm (medium)
Chainstay Length: 433mm
Full geometry info




Santa Cruz Nomad



2011

Travel: 160mm
Wheelsize: 26"
Head Tube Angle: 67°
Seat Tube Angle: 71.5°
Reach: 383mm (medium)
Wheelbase: 1121mm (medium")
Chainstay Length: 442mm
Full geometry info
2021

Travel: 170mm
Wheelsize: 27.5"
Head Tube Angle: 64°
Seat Tube Angle: 78° (medium)
Reach: 450mm (medium)
Wheelbase: 1222mm (medium)
Chainstay Length: 430mm (medium)
Full geometry info



Rocky Mountain Slayer


2020 Rocky Mountain Slayer

2011

Travel: 165mm
Wheelsize: 26"
Head Tube Angle: 66.5°
Seat Tube Angle: 75°
Reach: N/A
Horizontal Top Tube Length: 575mm (18" seat tube)
Wheelbase: 1147mm (18" seat tube)
Chainstay Length: 428mm
Full geometry info
2021 (29er, Pos 1 slack position)

Travel: 170mm
Wheelsize: 29"
Head Tube Angle: 63.8°
Seat Tube Angle: 75.8°
Reach: 469mm (large, 17.5"seat tube)
Horizontal Top Tube Length: 628mm (large, 17.5"seat tube)
Wheelbase: 1249mm (large, 17.5"seat tube)
Chainstay Length: 443mm
Full geometry info



Specialized Demo


Specialized Demo Race Photo Kifcat Shaperideshoot

2011 (low setting)

Travel: 203.2mm
Wheelsize: 26"
Head Tube Angle: 64° (low setting)
Seat Tube Angle: 76° (low setting)
Reach: 430mm (medium)
Wheelbase: 1191mm (medium")
Chainstay Length: 421mm
Full geometry info
2021 (29", rear position, low bb)

Travel: 205mm
Wheelsize: 29"
Head Tube Angle: 62.8° (29", rear position, low bb)
Seat Tube Angle: 76.8° (29", rear position, low bb)
Reach: 446mm (S3, 29" rear position, low bb)
Wheelbase: 1269mm (S3, 29" rear position, low bb)
Chainstay Length: 448mm (S3, 29", rear position)
Full geometry info



Trek Session


Trek Session Photo Kifcat Shaperideshoot

2011

Travel: 203mm
Wheelsize: 26"
Head Tube Angle: 64.0° (medium)
Seat Tube Angle: 72°
Reach: 390mm (medium)
Wheelbase: 1178 (medium)
Chainstay Length: 441mm
Full geometry info
2021

Travel: 200m
Wheelsize: 29"
Head Tube Angle: 63° (29" F/R, Mino Low)
Seat Tube Angle: 76.5° (29" F/R, Mino Low)
Reach: 465mm (29" F/R, Mino Low, R2)
Wheelbase: 1277.3mm (29" F/R, Mino Low, R2)
Chainstay Length: 445mm (29" F/R, Mino Low, R2)
Full geometry info




249 Comments

  • 296 5
 That Trek bike looks familiar
  • 134 1
 Sayyy the line Baaart!
  • 32 2
 It's hard to imagine how they could have changed it any LESS after moving from 26' to 29" wheels.
  • 34 1
 Looks like an ooga booga.
  • 11 0
 already head tube dialled in 2011
  • 9 0
 I didn’t do it
  • 20 0
 yeti ahead of time !
  • 2 0
 390mm reach. I have a medium 2009 Trek 69er with that same reach, yet the ETT is virtually identical compared to my large Transition Patrol (475mm reach) and they fit me exactly the same.
  • 6 0
 Nice to see the trek session in 2021 still Looking like a session
  • 7 0
 @WR404: Woozle wazzle?
  • 2 0
 This is a nice comment
  • 2 0
 @WR404: Woozlewozzle? Edit: Damn, late to the party!
  • 1 0
 @caste1200: In what way? The 72 degree STA?
  • 1 0
 Looks a little like something beginning with ses... hmmm
  • 2 0
 It's all about that 3 magic inches
  • 1 0
 I did not know what a 2011 looks like. A session frame seems to not have changed much in the last 10 years.
  • 1 0
 @iliveonnitro: Hey idiots look over here
  • 1 0
 200m of travel is pretty insane!
  • 1 0
 @iliveonnitro: hope everyone gets the reference
  • 1 1
 Looks like a Session.

Big Grin
  • 1 0
 damn the 2015-2016 demo had a shorter reach in a medium size than the 2011 demo.
do you think they made it shorter because they were putting big (27.5) wheels on it?
  • 140 3
 383mm reach on the early nomad.. what was this.. a bike for ants??
  • 28 2
 Seat tube angle was also 71.5 degrees. That would require a much shorter reach to get the same effective span from bars to saddle. Reach has gotten longer for two reasons: because longer bikes have advantages and because steeper seat tubes have advantages. If you address the latter without extending the reach, you end up shrinking the cockpit.

So with that in mind, the 383mm on the Nomad with a 71.5 degree seat angle isn't that different in terms of cockpit area from the Jekyll with a 415mm of reach and a 73.6deg seat angle. At least not when seated.
  • 26 4
 @big-red: Ah so ants that pedal while seated.
  • 4 4
 My back hurts just from looking at it
  • 11 6
 @big-red: steeper seat tubes don't have an advantage in of itself.
  • 3 0
 Look at the stem on the 2011 as well.
  • 14 17
 I don't think a steep STA has an "advantage". It's only an advantage if you can't get your saddle forward enough. Seat tubes don't do anything but house the seat post. Its the saddle position over the bottom bracket. Do people not know that the saddle can be moved back and forth on the seatpost...or do they just center the saddle on the post of whatever bike they have?
  • 4 0
 To give you an idea of how insane the used market is right now, I just sold my 10 year old NomadC for $1800. It was a rad bike though and I miss it.
  • 8 0
 Nomad is the only bike on this list that didn't got to a 29er!
  • 6 1
 @Themissinglink83: I think they might, especially for taller riders. There's a pedaling position change that is a benefit for some riders. Having the seat horizontally closer to the BB also reduces the leverage of the rider's body weight on the rear suspension while seated. I'm less confident in this statement, but I think that improves the sensitivity of the rear suspension during seated climbing.
  • 4 0
 I had a Nomad 2 C in XL. The reach was a bit short, but it was a great do it all bike. It was especially good descending tight techy trails. I hope it's still going strong with someone else.
  • 3 0
 @abtcup: I disagree to a point. My long legged wife rode my old evil for awhile (mistake) with a 200mm post that bound like crazy due to the slack actual STA. She's pretty lightweight and could barely get it to drop. That said, I didn't have the same problem with a shorter 160mm post on the same bike.
  • 2 1
 Thing is, the actual seat tube angle on that early Nomad looks steeper than the current one!
  • 5 2
 @abtcup: "It's only an advantage if you can't get your saddle forward enough"
I guess slack head angles are only an advantage if you can't fit an angleset as well.
  • 4 1
 I think one thing we can agree on is that the new Nomad is a pretty bike. Looks just right.
  • 7 4
 @big-red: that's sort of backwards, seat tubes got steep because reaches were getting so long that bikes with conventional seat tube angles were horrible to pedal. A steep seat tube angle has no benefit on a bike with a more conservative reach
  • 14 1
 @nfontanella: Partially, but imagine climbing a steep grade on two bikes with the same chainstay length and a relatively conservative reach, but with different seat tube angles. Standing climbing would feel the same, but seated climbing on the steeper seat tube would allow for your centre of gravity to be further forward even on a moderate reach bike. The problem obviously would be the resulting cramped cockpit on that steep seat tube and shorter reach setup. But it would still get your weight further in front of the rear axle, even on the shortest chainstays. So steeper seat tubes have a seated climbing advantage, but longer reaches are what allow them to still be comfortable. Both help, but neither works well without the other.

The real x-factor that hasn't been talked about in this thread though is that droppers allow all of this. Riding my modern bike with the seat post at full height is not the same as riding my bikes from 12-25 years ago without droppers. I would love my current bikes a lot less if it wasn't for dropper posts. It's actually one of my pet peeves when people talk about how bike designers took soooooo long to figure out modern geo bikes. Sure, part of it was definitely that geo evolution took time (otherwise DH bikes would have gotten longer and slacker sooner), but I think a lot of people really underestimate how much dropper posts factor into longer bikes and steeper seat tubes being possible.
  • 6 1
 @nfontanella: not so fontanella..... Hill climbing frame of the 1950s - THE 1950s - had SPLIT seat tubes, very steep seat angles and very short chainstays. In the 1950s. This played on my mind in the 1990s, so we ran Marins with long top tubes, short stems, and in line seatposts, with the saddle slammed forward on the rails. Yep we were there in 1998. Those bikes climbed like goats.
  • 1 0
 @abtcup: You are correct about position over bb. Depending on where the seat ends up, pushing it forward isn't enough with a 76degree sa .
  • 3 0
 @nfontanella: exactly. Xc bikes typically have 73 stas and climb quite well, or so I hear.
  • 1 0
 @Themissinglink83: when you have short travel and stiff suspension, the back end doesn't sag much when climbing, so the rider's weight doesn't transfer so much rearwards. Longer travel bikes need steeper seat angles because of that
  • 2 0
 @jhtopilko: I have more than one bike. They all have different STAs...but the saddle is pretty much in the same position relative to the BB. My saddle position does not change despite different the STAs. One degree change in STA is roughly a 10mm change in saddle fore/aft.
  • 1 0
 my kids bike (im short) has a 345mm reach
  • 1 0
 How can we be expected to shred if we cant even fit inside the cockpit?
  • 2 0
 I think bikes are getting too long now. I am happy for all the tall people that have bikes that fit them, but I just want the smalls and mediums to be a little smaller. you don't really notice a bike being too long until it gets really steep.
  • 1 1
 @abtcup: A bike with too slack a seat angle will never feel right. At best a saddle can be slid 20mm fore or aft. A bike with a shitty STA like 73 degrees places the seat 60mm behind a bike with for example 78 deg STA (for someone 5'10") No saddle adjustment can compensate for that.
  • 113 1
 It seems that bikes on the extremes of usage, like XC bikes and DH bikes, have not changed nearly as much as bikes in the middle, like trail, all-mountain, enduro, etc.
  • 71 0
 Exactly. Trail bikes have gone from being long travel xc bikes to short travel dh bikes with more gears.
  • 3 0
 @pmanpman: Yeah, that definitely makes sense. Modern day trail bikes are so capable!
  • 1 0
 @pmanpman: was going to suggest exactly this
  • 3 0
 Definitely, besides a few things I was surprised how similar they were to modern day counterparts.
  • 3 0
 @pmanpman: bang on.
Trail bikes became enduro bikes.
They also had to change to accommodate larger wheels with longer travel. Imaging the chainstay length of a bike with a slacker seat angle, 160mm travel and 29" wheels!
Riding has changed too, flow trails are far more popular than traditional tight and technical trails.

Will be interesting to see where we are in a few years once the cyclic change of short to long to maybe shorter than we are just now, but not by much.
  • 82 0
 In the last ten years my own geo has changed a fair bit too, in particular the addition of a beer belly and love handles....
  • 114 0
 You mean a larger front centre and a wider rear end.
  • 61 0
 I call it boost spacing
  • 14 0
 But it makes for a plusher ride.
  • 2 1
 Covid kilos...
  • 8 0
 @chakaping: better sprung to unsprung mass ratio.
  • 1 0
 I think you're just running a revers mullet setup
  • 50 1
 Really interesting article, thanks for this.

So, the takeaway is that bikes seem have ~70-100mm more wheelbase for any given size, while ETT measurements seem to have grown by approximately the amount of stem length that we've lost over the years.

So cockpits stay vaugely similar, but we've got bigger wheels, and more stability at speed.
  • 7 0
 Except for Reaches in high 300's. That just seems crazy now.
  • 16 4
 This is why as of late, the ETT is one of, if not the most important geometry numbers I look at when sizing a bike. Especially if the bike will be used for rolling terrain and not just lonnng climbs followed by lonnng descents.
  • 8 4
 @Lloydmeister: I'm just a bit worried that on a few bikes, reach was "N/A". Is this just a literature study so if it wasn't mentioned in the catalog, it wasn't there? As most of these bikes have a straight seattube that ends at the bb, reach and stack could be derived from numbers like bb height, head tube length, axle to crown length and ETT. Which indeed is a hassle of course, but that's why we leave it up to number crunching journos Wink . That said, it may be only a matter of time before reach and stack are replaced by the RAD and RAAD Lee McCormack is using. But then please, in 2031 don't release an article claiming bikes in 2021 didn't have RAD and RAAD numbers!
  • 5 0
 My detailed knowledge of bike geometry was current from 1984-2002, then paused and restarted in 2018. So I'd be very interested to see the 2001-2011 comparison as several parameters like wheelbase and stem length (and presumably therefore ETT) seem to have already been well along the path by 2011, but in 2001 we were much closer to the traditional road bike dimensions, eg 1040mm wheelbases and 140mm stems. There must have been a point in the early 2000's where trail bikes really let go of the edge of the road bike pool.
  • 3 1
 "So, the takeaway is that bikes seem have ~70-100mm more wheelbase for any given size, while ETT measurements seem to have grown by approximately the amount of stem length that we've lost over the years.

So cockpits stay vaugely similar, but we've got bigger wheels, and more stability at speed."

...and the cranks have moved back relative to body positioning (longer reach).
  • 4 0
 And they look so much better now, too. Can't wait to do this again in 10 years. Hope we've progressed even more!
  • 5 0
 @yupstate:

Its hard, because with newer bikes with steep STA, you sometimes end up feeling like you have to choose between sizing by Reach, or ETT.

My current bike has 475mm reach, and an ETT of ~630mm. But if I look at what size Privateer 141 to buy (to use a recently reviewed example), it gets kind of confusing, especially if I feel both numbers I have now are close to correct.

The P3 has 485mm reach, but only 612mm of ETT. But the P4 has 510mm of reach, and a 639mm ETT.

The right answer would be to try to demo one. But good luck finding a demo these days (let alone something as boutique as a Privateer, or Banshee, etc).
  • 5 0
 Really hope pinkbike does more like this. One of the most interesting articles I've seen from them in a while. Love when they do "history" of mtb kind of things. Fascinating to see how bikes have progressed in ten years. Wonder what the 2001 vs the 2011 models were like.
  • 2 0
 @ocnlogan: You got it. When steep seat tubes became a fad a couple years ago, no one was talking about ETT, which was good for manufacturers since you can't adjust all of these things independently. Some manufacturers, eager to get on the seat tube angle bandwagon, kept everything else relatively the same and just steepened the seat tube, resulting in my opinion in some silly short ETT numbers if you were sizing by reach. If you size by ETT, you either have to go way longer in reach than you're used to (even though everyone knows the reach they NEED), or you give up on the 78-degree seat tube, or you have a cramped pedaling position. You can't have them all.
  • 2 1
 But why even size by ETT? For me, the more upright position, the better. It's simply more comfortable. Fox XC you size for ETT, for enduro size for REACH. With steep ST you already have weighting the front wheel sorted. So in reality, the choice is between bike which rides well on tame terrain vs a bike which rides well in the mountains. Simple as that.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: can you please explain what RAD and RAAD stands for?
Those abbreviations in the mtb world sure got out of hand the same way like they did in the company I work for..
  • 1 0
 @Pukeproof: Yes.
RAD: Rider Area Distance = distance between BB and projection of the tip of the handlebars on the center plane
RAAD: Rider Area Angle in Degrees = angle between horizon and line between points mentioned above

It is a way Lee McCormack measures bike geometry (leelikesbikes.com).
  • 33 1
 And what about the price 2011 vs 2021 ?
  • 19 0
 What was the value of the dollar/ inflation in relation to back then.
  • 18 0
 dollars per millimetre of wheelbase
  • 2 0
 @NorCalNomad: More than you'd think (~19% using CPI - www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm).
  • 33 6
 Good question. Maybe we can do that next week.

To be honest, even if you take inflation out of the equation, what you get for $5000 in 2021 is way, way better than what you got for $5000 in 2011.
  • 17 2
 @brianpark: The way things are going, 5000$ will get you SX/NX and a Rockshox 35/Domain in the near future. But geometry is indeed so much better now.
  • 19 0
 @brianpark: Are you saying this purely because of a decade of technological advancements? Or because $5000 back then for a MTB would have only got you less than mid-range components? I think you have to compare builds relative to where they are positioned in their era, otherwise you can just say a $3k Vitus Sommet is better than any bike from 2011 and call it a day.
  • 7 0
 @justwan-naride: RS 35 damper was already dated in 2011, same goes for Sram SX-build quality
  • 12 0
 @brianpark: how about an article like this, but pick the bikes with the longest running names in mountain bike history?

The Stumpjumper has been around since the start, and the Rockhopper is still in production too (and far more similar to its earliest itineration than the Stumpie). Yeti did a tribute bike to the Arc recently, did they not? Rocky Mountain still uses many of the same names as their bikes from the nineties. And there must be many others too.

Something like this would illustrate a far greater contrast than looking at just a 10 year window, and also shine a much deserved spotlight on bikes and bike companies that have somehow stood the test of time.

Just like it’s interesting to see how different modern Corvettes or Mustangs are from their early ancestors, it might be fun to put two vastly different RM Altitudes side by side. Same name, but definitely not the same bike.
  • 3 0
 @MB3: yes please! Love the idea. Choose some of the iconic bikes that have been going forever and give us the full history. Many more bikes before 2011 haha.
  • 4 0
 @brianpark: but what about $2k. Got you a hell of a bike in 2011. Can it even get you a bike in 2021?
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: 2012 was bad year for geometry, what happened to all carbon molds that became obsolete?
Not like any are used anymore!
  • 1 0
 @nufenstein: it can get you a boutique brand aluminium frame made in Taiwan.
  • 3 0
 @MB3: I'd love to see a visual of all the Stumpjumper generations through the years like you see for 911s and the 3 series.
Like this poster: kaufmann-mercantile.com/products/porsche-911-evolution-car-poster?variant=4610639429726&gclid=CjwKCAjwqcKFBhAhEiwAfEr7zW3WdH3JC71WmekM6xiI0jbHj-MlXNqaUV33neLaIgvVoxQkMgF2kRoCoUkQAvD_BwE
  • 1 0
 @dcreek: seeing as I’m considering a Stumpjumper as my next bike, that kind of poster is something I’d love to hang on the wall of my man cave.

I also have a buddy who used to ride an M2 Stumpjumper back in the early nineties (so did many others... you used to see lots of them at my local XC races). There’s another Stumpie fan who would love that poster.

By continuing a name over so many generations of mountain bike history, it imbues that bike with heritage and legacy.
  • 28 0
 That 26" Scott Spark looks to have all the 2020 numbers, should get one before Covid sells them out
  • 8 0
 Just a shame their 2020 numbers are actually 2005 numbers
  • 1 5
flag mtbtrekracer (May 27, 2021 at 23:27) (Below Threshold)
 scott doing scott things, the old ransom/genius was crap and so is the 2021 ones.
  • 24 0
 Having a few older MTBs and some newer ones the biggest noticeable diff for me is the BB height. Apparently back in the day the trails had huge obstacles that you didn't jump and you had ride over while preserving your 46t chainring
  • 16 0
 triple chainrings! how i don't miss those days!
  • 3 1
 And the wheels got bigger. The jump from 29er to 26er grossly boosted protection and ease over large obstacles.
  • 2 0
 @SuperHighBeam:

One can make a bottom bracket at whatever height a designer prefers, regardless of wheel size.

32” wheels and 11” bb height? No problem.
  • 7 0
 @swangarten

Although, oddly enough, older bikes never had nearly the amount of the pedal strikes that modern bikes have....
  • 1 0
 Short frames,long stems,narrow bars,and triple cranks..these things really makes me feel bad when riding an old bike.
  • 2 0
 @SuperHighBeam: 29’ers don’t have high bb’s. They ride horribly if they do, like they did when they first came out, because your CG is raised. Having lower bb in relation to axle height vs 27.5/26 is the main reason 29’ers are more stable and also more boring.
  • 5 0
 @lenniDK: Sounds like a Shania Twain song
  • 1 0
 @Saidrick: My 2003 S-Works Enduro was a nightmare for pedal strikes - way worse than my current bikes with progressive geometry
  • 18 1
 I've a bike that has a 67 deg head angle, circa 2016-17, which I enjoy immensely. The marketing, ads folks at pinkbike seems intent on convincing (fomo) me thats its hella out of date and I need to have a bike which is 2-3 degree less head angle.
  • 8 0
 Not everyone needs a lead sled
  • 3 11
flag mybaben (May 27, 2021 at 14:26) (Below Threshold)
 Depends on your trails mate. In the PNW 67' feels sketchy!!
  • 13 1
 @mybaben: That perspective is almost entirely dependent on rider skill and experience.
  • 10 0
 My bike is a 2017. 27.5, 66.5 HA, 435 reach (I'm 5'10), and on my local trails, it's an absolute blast- so much better than 2010-ish bikes, yet it hasn't gone "too far". These trails came about when things tended to be a lot tighter and it's really 50% up 50% down (with zero fire roads), so when you get to a bike that's got a 63 HA, a 500mm reach number, and a 1200+ WB... people have started riding bikes like they're driving big rigs- I'm starting to see "pre turn" lines getting cut into turns, and the trails are starting to get wider and wider. On the climbs, guys are pushing these endro rigs, and despite their "steep seat tube angles", they are more and more averse to every little root, so again, widening trails.

It's not making anyone a better rider in this particular terrain- I still blow by most of these guys. It is; however, turning the trails into highways. The longest and slackest just isn't the best all the time- but I can see why guys want these bikes, based on the general sentiment toward "old geometry". I hope things settle in soon... it wouldn't surprise me to see a slight "correction" back the other way, because it's starting to get a little crazy- everything is a park bike now.

I sincerely wish I lived in a place where I needed the latest long & slack geometry to maximize my riding experience. I just... don't (womp womp). A lot of folks out there don't, though. I dunno. It's not that big of a deal, the "every bike must be more long and slack than the last" is just a little annoyance that I probably overstated here, heh.
  • 2 4
 Wow, down voted by all the PNW haters... Fine.
  • 4 1
 @dlford: I disagree. 64' is simply more stable down steep fast sections than 67'. Nothing to do with rider skill.
  • 2 0
 @phobospwns: I've noticed the same: plow bikes tend to also plow right off the trail in the corners. I always scratch my head over why people in the comments section either 1) always ride straight down steep near-cliffs (well, it is the PB comment section, so this probably is true, ha ha), or 2) tailor their setup and geo for what can't amount to more than 25% of total riding time (since downhill speed will be ~2-3x uphill speed). To each their own for sure, there will always be a market for the longest and slackest, and people should be able to get that. But no one seems to even acknowledge that there are downsides to super long wheelbases. I find I notice the wheelbase the most, but it's tied to any of the current trends (slack HA, longer reach, steeper STA all increase wheelbase). 1250+ mm wheelbase is a total barge unless you're on high-speed, wide-open trails.

A trend I would welcome would be a separation between enduro and "everyday trail" bikes. If you go straight up and straight down, then current geometry trends (long, slack, heavy) probably work well for you. If you ride trails like you describe above: 50%-50% up and down, some rolling terrain, some flats (and if we're honest, a lot of us do) something a little less extreme than what's considered "modern" is better, at least in a lot of ways. I'm not sure that current trends are actually making bikes better for that type of riding. I feel that for everyday riding on non-extreme terrain, trail bike geo peaked around 2017-18. Do we need to keep doing this until 100mm XC bikes have 62-degree head angles?

As you said, "longest and slackest isn't the best all the time"... except in the comments section :-)
  • 19 0
 Reach so short it cannot be measured.
  • 21 3
 Bikes were sure ugly 10 years ago compared to now.
  • 44 1
 yes, except for those Yetis
  • 4 0
 Agreed.
  • 14 0
 @hamncheez: the 2011 yeti looks ahead of its time.
  • 13 1
 I prefer the look of the older Demo. It's so unique and cool it never looks like anything else.
  • 6 0
 And in another 10 years, today's bikes will look weird.
  • 2 0
 @onetrykid: squint and scroll quickly, it looks like a session.
  • 9 1
 It's similar to cars. That 2011 BMW 760 plummets in value and goes out of style quick. A 2011 Carolla thats in good shape is still 100% viable and respectable transportation. A full suspension specialized stumpjumper from 2011 is borderline hideous, but a steel hardtail from 2011 is still completely viable and cool.
  • 4 0
 @hamncheez: Intense bikes from 10 years ago also look good.
  • 1 0
 I think it's mainly the components. 1x chainrings look much better than 3x
  • 3 0
 @hamncheez: this yeti looks5 even better then the new one. I think All other old bikes are ugly...
  • 1 0
 I don't know if it's just me,
but that Foxy is sic!

A 1x swap, sus overhaul, and yer ridin' in style.

Companies really need to do more retro schemes, on bikes us "normal" riders can afford.
Too much drab out there, need some spicing up people!

Big Grin
  • 12 0
 Actually just had a quick look at weights on a few bikes :
2011 vs 2021
MONDRAKER Foxy : 12.1kg > 13.8kg
COMMENCAL Meta : 13.2kg > 15.7kg
CANNONDALE Jeckyll : 14.1kg > 14kg

Was just a quick look need better diggin in off the info !....
  • 2 0
 my 2013 Meta 29 with a 140mm Pike, Hope/DT wheels, RF Atlas AM cranks, XT drivetrain and brakes came in at almost exactly 33lbs. 13.2kg seems a bit ambitious unless my fork/cranks/wheel build-up is that much of a difference. 4lbs. is quite noticeable.
  • 1 0
 @Sweatypants: I bet a lot of the weight increase is due to while size 26 vs 29 and wider rims, and maybe beefier forks.
  • 1 0
 @mrkkbb: possible... was just thinking 1-2 instead of 4. i don't run a dropper either for that pound that's tacked on now. oh well, interesting either way. I got a 2021 coming, we'll see how it gets on going from one to the other.
  • 11 0
 Interesting to see how XC and DH geometry hasn't changed a ton (in terms of angles), but trail/enduro bikes have.
  • 13 0
 I'm. Assuming thats because of dropper posts. Xc bikes you care about seated position. Dh bikes you care about stood. A good trail or enduro bike needs both
  • 6 0
 I see one crucial dimension missing fin the comparison. BB height from ground at sag (or at least bb drop). Bikes have gotten lower (usually to much IMO). Which has a huge effect on handling, rider seat position and pedal strikes.
  • 10 1
 Dont worry - In 10 years everything will revert back to what it was because.....marketing hype
  • 5 1
 Dude you think like me. I think carbon fiber is a load of crap. A planned obsolete. And if you look at the evolution of cars. In early 2000. They were compact and small, agile, sharp. In 2010+ they started getting bigger bulky and less attractive. And they predicted the future that cars will come back to the early 2000 models. And its the cycle of marketing indoctrination. The truth is.. the companies cannot run and stay alive if they cannot sell. There fore the cars or bikes you buy will not last as long as they did in the early 2000. Soon they will go back to 26er or even 27.5/26 mullet. There will always be a market for it. Wheel size imo depends on height. Style of riding and not just dj. Not to mention they try to label 26er as kids bikes nowadays even tho its been a standard forever.
  • 3 0
 Well perhaps not quite that much retrogression but one can already see the pendulum swinging back
  • 3 1
 @pballbiker: im guessing you cant afford a carbon bike?
I had both versions of the same bike with similar spec and the carbon was totally different to ride.
  • 5 3
 @mtbtrekracer: I can buy 10 if i wanted to. Here my thoughts..

Aluminum fails slowly allowing one to detect problems before anything serious happens. BUT.. carbon fails catastrophically ( snapping/shattering) which is wwway more dangerous to a rider. Not to mention there is internal cracking that is non detectable. So I dont think "lifetime warranty" is going to matter when the frames collapses because it is bound to fail. Also when you take your bike and jump it, drop it or land flat. This is were carbon is questionable. The sharp impact which send the forces outwards and could be multi directional.. which in my opinion is a weak point for carbon. Remember carbon is a fiber weaved together. One fiber snaps the rest follows. While metal bends and could absorb the impact (saving your life). I much rather ride home with a bent frame then have 2 seperate pieces to carry home. So choose what you want the ride. Stay safe
  • 2 0
 @pballbiker: here goes something to consider that relates to my previous, i had two 2021 slash 8's and cracked both in different places, im now on the 9.8 its been really good, i tend to have the odd crash pushing hard and attempting tricks i cant do lol.

Based on current heat treating etc, i dont believe alloy frames are "bend before break" (as much)now, ive seen alot of modern alloys crack, especially at the welds.

Guy at the local Jump line had a RM altitude, cased a jump and smashed the rear drop outs of an alloy frame
  • 1 0
 @mtbtrekracer: I find it kind of funny that this article talks about geometry differences in the past 10 years. Not yet mention the durability. here's me with a 2010 specialized enduro 26er. And im not a light rider. I am currently 280lbs and not light on the bike.
  • 1 0
 @mtbtrekracer:
the same happened to my 2018 Aluminium Altitude

the fourth broken aluminium frame for me...

now i’m on my first carbon frame a Bronson CC
  • 7 0
 I always wonder why it took the bike industry decades to get to where it is at now. Why wasn't everyone on a dropper in 2011? It isn't as if that is cutting edge technology.
  • 2 0
 yeah (in retrospect) the slow uptake of dropper posts is a bit confounding. the gravity dropper came out in 2003...
  • 5 0
 Same with wider bars. Such a simple idea and brings so much benefit. So crazy to watch the WC guys from only 10-12 years ago racing with 600s.
  • 5 0
 @xy9ine: my recollection is that the Gravity Dropper had some aesthetic challenges and the next few mainstream attempts had serious reliability challenges.
  • 4 0
 @toooldtodieyoung: that never showed Reverb sales
  • 10 0
 @mybaben: there were a few good reasons for this. As a recreational racer back in the early 90’s, the thinking at the time was that narrow bars were :

-better in super tight singletrack. The way I remember it, there were trails so narrow that the reasoning was that narrow bars were less likely to catch on a tree or rock face, especially when going through brush so dense that it was like riding through a doorway at an angle.

-better for packed cross country races. XC was the dominant form of racing back then, and most bikes emulated the pro bikes. Narrow bars allowed you to squeeze past or through other riders on above mentioned narrow trails more easily, without clipping them with your knuckles.

-lighter. We were gram weenies back then, and having narrow bars was one of the ways to achieve 130 gram weights with aluminum tubes.

We also didn’t know any better. Having never tried wider bars, I didn’t know the benefits to them.

Also, if we needed more leverage, especially for climbing or sprinting out of the saddle, we just grabbed the bar ends. Those were the best way to get power from your arms to help propel the bike just a little bit faster, just like a roadie with drop bars.

As I understand it, wider bars came from motocross influence. As time went on, MTB was getting more influenced by moto rather than road or bmx. Wider trails, fasterspeeds, and more riders riding putt-putt bikes when they weren’t on mountain bikes.
  • 3 0
 @MB3: That makes sense and they're good points. Recreational trails and WC tracks have def evolved and are way different then 20 years ago. It's just funny that it seemed to take so long to think creatively and ask questions about experimenting with different bar widths.
  • 2 0
 If you have a closer look, the meta had one of the first reverb's iteration.
  • 9 1
 F*kc it,I would ride any of those and still have a big smile on my face.
You can have fun on just about any bike.
  • 5 0
 Ha ha, the Slayer's comparison. I don't even have the 2011 version, I still ride (sometimes) my custom 2008 version with a 170mm Lyric RC2DH + great gear... and it sends so well. Hardcore AND oldschool at soon 47 yo. Dig it young wankers!!!
  • 6 0
 HUGE fan of old gen / new gen comparisons, shows how much one bike can drastically change from year to year.

i'm sure this is immensly helpful for folks that aren't as informed on geometry changes through the years.
  • 7 0
 Can't wait to see the geometry of bikes in 2077 with the grim donut compared to today's bikes
  • 8 0
 So the demo is a 200+mm travel trail bike
  • 2 0
 Pedals surprisingly well, you can put a axs dropper and a 12 speeds cassette and you're good.
  • 7 1
 I find it hard to believe that the trek sta is 4° steeper on the new bike because it looks just as slack if not slacker then the 2011 model.
  • 1 1
 I thought the exact same thing
  • 3 0
 again Why do people not understand this, for most people excl very tall riders, the seat tube angle itself can be 50 deg but still steeper than a 75 deg one.

Its only about where the seat is in correlation to the BB and because PB users are thick sometimes, if you are "over the back" too much, your bike is too small for you.
  • 3 0
 Amongst this group it would seem that the Commencal Meta AM changed the most. For most of the other the trend seems to be a slightly slacker head angle, a slightly longer chainstay, a slightly steeper seat tube angle, and a slightly longer reach. Visually, some have changed much more than others. Lower standover heights seem to be a unanimous trend as well.
  • 2 0
 Depends on your perspective, the meta was a middle of the pack geo bike in 2011, and is now one of the longest slackers production bikes.
If you got on the old one today it would most likely feel very nervous yet playful.

I would argue the nomad has gone from unrideable (I would definitely go otb from being way too far forward on the bike) to peefect fun geo today.

I say this as someone with a L sized 29er from 2019, but who rides a 2008 M sized Lapierre twice a year when I go back to my parents house.
  • 3 0
 I have to protest! 10 years!?! I was expecting 340mm wide bars and fluorescent colours with head angles of a road bike, I mean 1994 was… oh yeah I’m old and 10 years ago wasn’t the 90’s
It would be interesting to see what a low end budget trail bike looked like from each decade. 10k superbikes have always been a thing but I bet a Walmart special is better than a reasonable trail bike from 2000
  • 2 0
 In 2012 I was ridding a M size Jekyll,I remember hitting the bars with my knee pads,now my L size S.Enduro in crazy long compared to that. I ride side by side both bikes the same day,it is a shock for the brain and body,but fun to feel the difference in almost 10 years. I still love the Jekyll look,it was a fun bike to ride,but it was a hard to master compared to many other similar bikes and years light of any modern enduro bike.
  • 4 0
 Also, the wheelbase is always the bit that strikes me with these. That Scott Spark!
  • 4 0
 Just me or does the seat tube angle on the new nomad look slacker than the 2011?
  • 3 0
 Um yeah, the "theoretical" seat tube angles look like somebody is fudging numbers when you're actually looking at the frames.
  • 1 0
 Shock tunnel portion of seat 'tube' is 90d and much forwardly offset compared to 2011, but yes
  • 2 0
 @greener1: Cough, cough, Revel...cough.
  • 1 0
 @greener1: bottom of the seat tube is well forward of the bb now versus the old bike that went straight to the bb. That moves the saddle forward several inches in relation to the bb.
  • 1 0
 @DHhack: yeah, I know how it works, but just saying it's not really congruent with what your eyes see when you give it cursory look.
  • 3 0
 again Why do people not understand this, for most people excl very tall riders, the seat tube angle itself can be 50 deg but still steeper than a 75 deg one.

Its only about where the seat is in correlation to the BB and because PB users are thick sometimes, if you are "over the back" too much, your bike is too small for you.
  • 1 0
 Amazing article! Super interesting and something I hadn't really ever thought to compare. Please do more articles like this pinkbike. I only really got into mtb in 2017 and seeing the history is just really fascinating. 10/10
  • 1 0
 The only trend I like in bikes from 10 years ago was how lightweight they tried to make the trail and enduro bikes. However, I understand why they are beefing up the frames today because people are riding them much bigger and harder.
  • 1 0
 Amazing to see how far ahead of the game Specialized and Trek were. Not the most innovative or fancy bikes, but the design is solid and the geo is obviously 10 years ahead of everybody else. There is no doubt that the Session and Demo are responsible for most bikes we see today. I own a YT Tues and you can tell Aaron Gwin was familiar with the Specialized Demo when he helped design the Tues. Curious to see how Nukeproof and other British companies compare to US companies as far as geometry and product development. Something tells me those guys were ahead of their time too.
  • 4 0
 In 10 years time: Wow, I cant believe we were still riding 29ers in 2021!
  • 5 2
 I found it more interesting to realize that there was a time when Yeti actually build pretty bikes...
  • 2 0
 they should still sell 26" bikes for anyone under 13 or 5' tall they make uber sense enough of the 24" imitation BMX's for kids sell them 26ers
  • 2 0
 The Spark hasn't actually changed since 2016 though. Way ahead of its time. It's almost as though they don't know how to make it better.
  • 2 0
 That old Yeti is dead sexy. It's amazing how much MTB design has changed in the past 10 years. Most 10 year old motorcycles don't look all that dated in comparison.
  • 1 0
 The Slayer comparison is kinda weird comparing the 2011 M to a 2019 L. Just because the the seat tube was stupid long on the old one doesnt make it a fair comparison. Reach was 425 on the 2011 as well FYI
  • 2 1
 That Niner tho

70* HA? 455mm chainstays?! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
  • 1 0
 2011 seemed like a pivotal era. Probably the last year that several of those trail/enduro bikes got front derailleurs and non-dropper posts. By 2012 things changed and then geo also got better. Thank goodness!
  • 1 0
 Not the huge differences i first thought.the biggest change bien wheel sizes but minor changes in length reach gives us what we have now. Still no reason not to shred an older bike tho
  • 2 0
 It’s interesting how conservative the geo on the “big brands” bikes still are.
  • 3 0
 What's the point if Reach numbers are N/A
  • 1 0
 Agreed, the reach can be determined for these older frames by using one of the many online calculators. It would've also been helpful to get basic overlays of each to get the jist of the changes.
  • 1 0
 Someone just came.around to each bike, heated up the welds, pushed down on the seats and then pushed forward on the seat tube and put 29 wheels on.
  • 1 0
 It would be nice if you showed for each, a pair of stick figure diagrams (old and new), superimposed, with the specified geometry numbers.
  • 1 0
 I can remember thinking knee pads were needed so you wouldn't bruise your knees from smashing them into the clickers whilst peddling....
  • 2 0
 Had that Niner Jet 9 RDO. Climbed like a goat. I don't have any more nice things to say about it.
  • 1 0
 You had a 70 hta, and you thought you needed a 65hta, but then droppers came along and you realized that a 68hta is perfectly fine.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark - would be great to add stack, ett, stem length (for a 'feel' of intended cockpit size), BB height and weight. Cheers!
  • 1 0
 Effective seat tube angles got steeper while ACTUAL seat tube angles look like they all got slacker.......The burden of being 6’4” and taller.
  • 2 0
 Looks like an old session
  • 2 0
 How did anyone manage without a dropper though?
  • 7 0
 If you weren’t in a race, you got off your bike and used the quick release seat clamp to adjust your saddle height.

It was like tv’s before remote controls. You got your butt off the couch and turned the knob on the front of the box, or got your kid to do it for you.
  • 5 0
 Well, you kept your knees together on some descents to prevent your seat from banging you in the nads. On really steep stuff you could drop your seat with a QR seatpost clamp, or failing that, ride with your butt hanging way out over your rear wheel and a saddle at your sternum
  • 3 0
 I remember riding with the saddle 6 cm lower than I do now constantly. Not the best for power, climbing or my knees but I was younger and could manage.
  • 2 0
 TLDR: bikes are slacker and longer
  • 3 1
 so in short, how did it take us this long to move away from road bikes ?
  • 3 0
 Those 2011 bikes were already pretty far from road geo. The movement away must have started somewhere in early-mid 2000s. In 2000-2001 most XC and trail bikes still had the classic 71/73 angles, unchanged since at least the 90s or even 80s. Even gravity bikes were steep. The 2001 Kona Stinky had a 70 deg. HA, the Stab's HA was 69 (yeah that's a DH bike), Stab Primo 65.5.

All 2011 bikes in this article are below 70 deg. HA including the XC race bike. 67 for trailbikes and 64 for DH bikes isn't exactly "unrideable" even today. Though they were still short indeed (some to a ridiculous point - Nomad).

2012-13 was another step where HA didn't really change that much but reach did with bikes like the Process 111 (435 in Medium).

Of course we're much farther down that line now, but looks like in 2011 we were already on our way to this point.
  • 1 0
 was it a requirement that bikes had to look like shit a decade ago? (besides that Yeti of course)
  • 1 0
 Make it a 1x and the Commencal wouldn’t be half bad as a trail bike now. I love the color.
  • 1 0
 Lets forget about geometry and talk about aesthetics. The older bikes all look 'melty'.
  • 1 0
 Does "melty" mean ugly AF in your country? If yes, then I agree. LOL!! Wink
  • 2 0
 So that's why the cockpit of my '11 nomad felt so short. Because it was.
  • 3 1
 bring back short rear ends !
  • 1 1
 But the Chainstays are just as long on the 26ers.....
  • 1 1
 @ihatton929: they really are not. they were 20 30mm shorter... do you know the unit of measurement "millimetres"
  • 1 0
 @blazetech: Take a look at the chainstays on the first 5 or 6 bikes. A lot of them are within a few mm(did this American get that abbreviation right?) That Nomad actually had a longer rear end.
  • 2 0
 Man there were some ugly bikes in 2011.
  • 2 0
 The BB height changes would’ve been a neat number to see.
  • 2 0
 Both Niner's are ugly as sin.
  • 1 0
 Interesting but what about the weight of each bike ? See how this has evolved too ? Thanks
  • 1 0
 The change is NOT in line with the Paris Treaty. Way more than two degrees!
  • 1 0
 My 2011 Enduro had a 66.5 hta and 477 reach in XL. It was also ahead of its time...
  • 1 0
 That Foxy was a really good bike, but if I had to ride one of them now I think I'd take the Yeti or the Demo.
  • 1 0
 No wonder I don't like Scott. They haven't change anything but their wheel size in 10 years.
  • 1 0
 Rocky slayer was actually way ahead of the curve check that seat tube angle.
  • 1 0
 That old Commencal Meta AM still looks awesome. I wish it could have a child with the new version.
  • 1 0
 64 degree downhill bike!!!
  • 1 0
 go look up the geo for the 2009 Giant Glory
  • 2 1
 Where can I get those wheels from the old jekyll
  • 3 0
 Crankbrothers
  • 4 0
 Be careful, they might come with the shock..... :o
  • 1 0
 People just about giving them away for free in the BuySell
  • 1 0
 Front derailleur! The days of dropping chains half way down a run.
  • 7 0
 The nice thing about a front derailleur is that it can also pick your chain back up without you having to touch it.
  • 2 0
 The 2011 Yeti looks sick
  • 2 1
 That 2011 Specialized Demo looks like a proper weapon!
  • 2 1
 Too bad it looks ugly AF. It's a giant angry hornet or something... Wink
  • 1 0
 Next market will be the gravelocross cycle
  • 1 0
 Summary? its changed a lot.
  • 2 1
 Okay now do 2001 vs 2021!
  • 1 0
 Ah yes.... the 26ers. Ran a pair of Ditch Witch 24s back mid 2000s. Geesh.
  • 1 0
 Back when bikes were less of a bike and more a form of birth control...
  • 1 0
 Still love my gen 1 nomad, no plans of upgrading
  • 1 0
 Geometrons are roughly unchanged.
  • 1 0
 The yeti still holds up decently
  • 1 0
 Well, the old models seem much more beautiful than the current models.
  • 1 0
 The Yeti went from, "I'll have her home by 9" to "call me daddy."
  • 1 0
 That 2021 demo in the picture is a mullet setup.
  • 1 0
 Yeah, but how did their seats go up and down?
  • 1 0
 4 maybe 5 degrees?
  • 2 1
 1-10: Unrideable
  • 1 1
 Christ! How much has geometry changed in the last 10 minutes!!!
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