Chris Porter is not afraid to stand out from the crowd. In a marketplace where most bikes are within a few, if significant, millimetres from each other, his Geometron bikes stand apart. It would be all-too-easy to toss the mad scientist epithet at him, but that sells him short. Yes, his bikes are bigger and wilder than almost anything out there, but talk to him for more than a few minutes and it is clear that his ideas come from development, testing, trial and error.

Along with Cesar Rojo and Fabien Barel, he was one of the original figures to start experimenting with bigger and more extreme bikes. Over the past five years he has adapted, refined and, at least to his satisfaction, proven each iteration. By working with a custom frame builder like Nicolai and combining that with his day job of running the UK's long-standing Fox distributor, Mojo, he can fine-tune each aspect of his bikes to create something truly unique. We sat down with the softly-spoken giant to find out more about the man, where he came from, how his opinions of geometry evolved and what he sees as the fundamental problem with the modern mountain bike.



Photo by Saskia Duggon



The first big question: why should people listen to you?

They shouldn't necessarily, should they? That's their own decision, isn't it? I'm not saying I'm any better at it than anyone else. I'm still learning, but for my background, I came from motorcycle journalism, that was the start of what I do now. I worked for a motorcycle magazine and so rode an awful lot of motorbikes. You start to notice the differences between them and why some do this while some do that, why you've got to work hard to make this one work and not to make that one work, et cetera. You just start to learn the differences and I started to remember the feeling of riding each bike, so I could describe the feeling of riding a 1994 Gilera Nordwest U exactly. I could tell you exactly what it did well and what it didn't do well, even now. It's that sort of analytical process to try to figure out what it's doing and why it's doing what it's doing.

I wanted to race motorbikes but couldn't afford it so I ended up riding mountain bikes, racing mountain bikes. I started racing downhill in 1993 after a couple cross-country races because no one was doing that in the UK before that. After the motorcycle magazine, I then moved on to the mountain bike magazines and rode an awful lot of different types of mountain bikes. I wouldn't say people should listen to me. That's not what I'd say at all. I'd just say I've put a lot of time in and I've understood a lot of stuff about what I do.

Where do we start with your current theories? Where did your current view on mountain bikes come from and how should a mountain bike should feel when you ride?

Basically from riding. If you go back to the early 1990s with the motorbikes, you had very few motorcycles that were really sweet handling in all situations. You had to fight them at some point. Oversteering here, understeering there. Leaning off because it didn't want to turn at this lean angle but was comfortable at that lean angle, et cetera. Every now and again you get one that's an absolute peach and you could just ride it, you didn't have to fight it.

Every single mountain bike I ever rode until we got the chance to draw one ourselves, you have to fight at some point. Basically, they're not turning correctly at the proper lean angle and so you end up trying to turn almost fully upright. That's not to say there aren't good handling bikes. There are. They're called downhill bikes, but nobody wants to pedal one of those around a 40 km loop. It's not rocket science. A long, slack bike works really well, so why not try it for a trail bike as well?

Your theories started with Mondrakers, didn't they?

Yeah. We bumped into Caesar Rojo at the 2011 Trans-Provence and he was trying the forwards geometry prototype and it looked wild and radical then. I was on a Patriot from Orange and I had a minus two headset in it, I had offset shock hardware and I made a custom length shock. That had, I don't know ... It was like a 49-inch wheelbase, which at the time was incredible, and it was a 62-degree head angle. I still had a small cockpit between the handlebars and the cranks, and I looked at Caesar's bike and though, hey, he's got space. He's just got an old fashioned head angle. That's fixable with a headset. That's where it started. I got one of those prototypes and that was about the same time we were working with Fabien Barel and his downhill bikes. He had some massive bikes.

That's where we started with the Mondraker. We realised that every time we pushed it a little bit further, it just got better. Instead of having a bike that we pushed to the limit of its adjustment, we thought it'd be really nice to have a bike that's in the middle range of its adjustment where we currently are. That's where the project with Nicolai came there.



Photo by Saskia Duggon



What's your overriding theory at the moment in terms of a bike that rides well and how would you describe that?

There isn't one, really. You learn as you go along. Essentially I think the industry is ... It's not really progressing because currently, designs seem to go from the computer screen straight into production, with all the problems that entails with literally parts of frames hitting each other at full travel, parts of shocks hitting frames at full travel, no clearance. The kinds of things that you would find out if you actually built some prototypes, but they can't afford to because they're making huge CNC molds at, I don't know, 100 grand a time.

They kind of got stuck on the angles that they were at 20 years ago. They're not really trying different stuff. From my point of view, you'll never learn anything by looking at a drawing in 2D. You actually have to go out and ride it in three dimensions. That's the basis for everything that we do. It's all about experience, looking at a drawing and saying, "This amount of offset and this amount of trail is correct for handling," is complete bullshit, because when you lean it over, it gets a lot more complicated than that.

A huge amount more complicated. I think you just have to ride it and see what works. As far as I'm concerned, the downhill bike handles better than the trail bike, so trail bikes should be similar shapes, but just have more room for the rider.

It's interesting if you look at geometry charts at the moment, trail bikes tend to be longer than downhill bikes as the whole. They tend to reduce the reach on downhill bikes to keep the wheelbase shorter.

I think there are few ... All the good downhill bikes have got a decent wheelbase, and you need a decent wheelbase because essentially if you imagine riding and old fashioned trail bike with a long stem and you imagine going down a steep hill, then there's a limit to how far you can move your weight forward before it feels like you're going to go over the bars. That's the end of your forward leaning envelope. Then with really short chainstays, lean back and there's a limit to how far you can go back before the thing loops out. You've got a very small window. A very small envelope within which to move backward and forward, and that's simply because the wheels are close together.

If you move those wheels six inches further apart, you've literally got six inches further you can move backward and forward. You've got more room to weight the wheels independently. Lower the bottom bracket, that gives you, even more, space to move backward and forward. I don't think that's rocket science. That's really easy. It just seems like ... The way I see it, I don't know, maybe it's just we build smaller bikes, we can fit more of them in a container. Is it as simple as that?



Photo by Saskia Duggon



It seems that with mainstream geometry people are very worried about how long the wheelbase gets and people seem to be quite nervous about going past the 1,200mm mark.

I'm at 1,318mm at the moment, and I test on very tight tracks. Tight tracks that were built by people under 5'6" six at Mojo, and it's fine. Most of them can't keep up with this old fellow down there. It's fine. I really don't think there is a sort of overarching theory on geometry or belief about what bikes should be. They just literally don't have a performance criteria. There's nothing driving it other than fashion. That's my thoughts. There are no performance criteria to what they do. The only performance criteria that seem to drive the bicycle industry is weight. Yet we still have no sport where the lightest bike wins, so why are we doing that? Why are we obsessed with weight in this industry, because having the lightest bike doesn't win you anything. It's nonsense.

Even in cross-country riding and racing, the fastest guy around the loop wins. It's not the guy with the lightest bike. To come back to the thought that there is no overarching theory, come back to cross-country and have a watch it at the Olympics this year.



Photo by Saskia Duggon



Yeah?

Hardly anyone sat down on the bike for any of the climbs. Does that suggest that the seat angle's too slack? If you think about riding a normal bicycle or cross-country bicycle up a really steep hill, you have to shuffle yourself so far forward on the saddle or it becomes uncomfortable. Maybe the saddle is at the wrong place, but it's just where it's always been. Nobody has put it there for any performance reason. That's just how it's always been.

Okay, take one of your Geometron bikes, they start at 480mm reach, is the problem that the average consumer realistically won't have time to try a bike before they buy it? They might get a quick test in. If they're lucky they may get a day with the bike, but actually moving a bike that could be 80mm longer in terms of reach, that's fairly plausible with common bikes, that's going to feel shit to the average consumer when they go test it.

It isn't, no. It isn't. It feels completely natural. If you look at pictures of tall guys riding mountain bikes, you can see why. There's been an acceptance of coaching within mountain biking within the last few years and there's been an acceptance that there's a certain riding position that gives you a good connection between you, the bike, and the ground.

Coaches are going out trying to teach guys to get into this riding position, push the bike down, outside elbow up, turn your hips towards where you're going, and it's a really hideously uncomfortable position to be in. The reason you need to be in that position is because the bikes are too small, and if you had a bike that fits then the rider naturally goes into the position that is correct for riding the bicycle. If you like, I should be, as a bicycle designer, drawing the person into the correct position where they feel comfortable in the correct position, rather than forcing themselves into an uncomfortable position. No, I totally disagree with the idea that it's going to feel shit to them. I think when they go back on their own bike there might be issues and they realize, "Oh, actually, this doesn't feel quite as comfortable as I thought it did yesterday."

I think it's a more natural position. It's going to feel odd to some people and certainly, some people who are so used to riding a very short bike with flat pedals and short chainstays will spend a lot less time hanging off the back of the bike because that's the only way they can get downhill safely. That doesn't mean it's the correct way to do it. In order to turn a singletrack inline vehicle, which is a bicycle, you need to load the front tire, and mountain bikers currently are watching a lot of videos of guys skidding into corners and smashing turns. That's not the fastest way around a corner. Those guys are not winning the World Cups. You don't see videos of Aaron Gwin smashing loamy turns and coming to a halt in each one. He's holding speed through corners but his bike is big enough for him. Look at pictures of Aaron Gwin on the bike and his body is flat over the bike and he's able to lift his body parallel up and down full amplitude arms and legs. He doesn't have to ride the bike with his arms at full stretch and try to do everything in his hips.

I think it's quite natural. One of the reasons you wanted to do the interview was because the Americans are obsessed with this deviant geometry idea that's coming from Europe. It's because they haven't ridden it. Nobody's building one low slack bikes over there. They still think that 430mm is a very long chainstay over there. They don't get a chance to ride it, but they're welcome if they want to come over here.

Is that a symptom of the trail culture, the way that they've got a lot of the IMBA style of flow trails, where you don't particularly need that good a bicycle to ride it because it's not challenging in the same way a lot of the trails are in Europe?

I think that's absolutely right. One of the differences we've noticed when we go to the States, and you dream of California as an amazing place to ride, but one of the big differences between their riding culture and ours is that they will go for a ride. They'll do a loop. They'll go somewhere that takes in a scenic route that takes in a few little downhills on the way. We'll go to a patch of woodland and we'll ride up and down the same patch of woodland all day, riding the gnarliest trails we can find, mostly. The other thing is the legality of the trails thing—in Europe, it doesn't seem to be a problem. In Britain, yeah, most of the trails are technically illegal, but nobody's actually going to fine you for it, whereas in the States they actually do get a fine for leaving the legal trails. They don't have that sort of interesting and illegal trail network that we've got.

Basically, yeah, the trails are not as difficult so you can get away with riding basically a rubbish bike, can't you? You wouldn't design a plus tire unless you could get away with riding basically a rubbish bike. Plus tires are, honestly, who thought of that? Let's make paper thin, rock hard compact tires that are supposed to be ridden at low pressures. Of course they don't work. As soon as you try to load it in a turn, it folds. You put it up to normal pressure, it feels like it's rattling your teeth out, and it's still as heavy as a normal tire that's good. Honestly.

Talking to Fabien Barel recently, he feels that with current technology he'd want 2.8" on the front of his DH bike and 2.6" or so on his trail bike.

On his DH bike, yes, because you set the speed by using the brakes. The hill is steeper than you need for pedalling, but in a human-powered sport, grip is going to slow you down, isn't it? Essentially if you have a real grippy bike ... Let's imagine a downhill bike with real grippy tires and you're going to try to ride a cross-country loop, it's not going to be the best, is it?

No.

You want narrow rims, harder compact tires, et cetera. On a downhill bike you can get away with more grip, but on a trail bike, no. On a trail bike grip is going to slow you down.



Photo by Saskia Duggon



You feel that a limiting factor is weight? There's a certain acceptable weight for tires and then you have to maximize within that weight kind of thing? Is plus taking you outside that window?

In order to make a tire that doesn't fold, you're going to have to make a motorcycle tire, and in order to get it down to the pressures where they think you can run them, like 12, 15, 17 PSI, then it's going to have to have such a stiff carcass that it's going to be unusable and it'll still fold. It will still fold when you load it in a corner. Tire technology is one thing that we're lacking in the mountain bike industry. I'm not defending a 2.4", 27.5 enduro tire as the pinnacle of all development. It's not. We're 20 years into the sport. If you watch downhill, every weekend you still see people getting punctures. If I was paying someone a quarter of a million quid a year to race eight races, I wouldn't want to see him getting punctures. Being devil's advocate, I'd say people often say, "What would your perfect fork look like?" Well, it certainly wouldn't look like what we've got now, because one of the main design criteria of the bicycle and therefore the fork, is ease of getting the wheel out so you can fix the puncture.

One of the design criteria of the fork is that a wheel's got to be easy to come out because we get punctures. No! Solve the puncture problem. It's actually quite simple. No one else gets them, in your motorcycles, motocross, car racing. It's very, very unusual for them to get punctures. You watch a downhill race and probably 30% of the competitors are suffering from punctures on a weekend. I'm not defending the 2.4" and enduro tires as the pinnacle of all development. All I'm saying is it's better than the rest.

Okay. How would your ideal fork be different to what we have now? How would you like to see it change?

God blimey. That's too long a conversation. I don't think there's a single part on the mountain bike that you couldn't look at and say, "Well, that could be better." It's similar with all the internal parts of shocks and other components as well. There's not a single thing that hasn't been compromised by standards or assumptions from 20, 30 years ago. The reason we've got bigger axles on the front wheel than the rear wheel is because we've got a cassette on the rear with a cassette locking ring that will only allow a 12mm axle through the middle of it. It's pathetic.

We've got a wider rear axle at the rear at 12mm than we do at the front at 20mm and then people wonder why axles and hubs break in the middle on the rear wheel, it's not rocket science. Nobody has taken the rear derailleur off the rear wheel yet, so we still have to have a derailleur and a cassette on the rear wheel.

Is that one of the big things for you then, that you'd like to see the gears move forwards?

Well, it's only one of them, isn't it? It's only one of them. There's not a single piece on the bike that couldn't be made better. Instead of making them better, all we get is just basically desktop publishing, almost, rather than design. We just get nicer graphics and new colors. There's nothing really different, or we just get a different material like a carbon crank. Why would that be any better than an aluminum crank? I don't know. Why are they making carbon cranks? Aluminium ones were fine. That wasn't the problem. The problem is the punctures, the derailleur, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. The focus is all on basically weight and looks, it's not performance criteria. Not really performance criteria other than it weighs less than this guy's product of the same style.



MENTIONS: @mattwragg / @SaskiaD




245 Comments

  • + 224
 This could have been 10 times longer than it is and I'd still want to have read more. This guy gets it. Nice one @mattwragg
  • + 91
 Oh the irony of an article advocating longer geometry being too short
  • + 62
 This interview could have been about 20x as long, the call to Chris ended up at around 2 hours long, if I remember correctly, but you have to call it at some point...
  • + 14
 @mattwragg: yeah, definitely. Absolutely brilliant interview though, and I'd love to have a crack on a geometron at some point...
  • + 26
 @mattwragg: Matt could you put the whole interview up (a videoless video if that makes sense) as it would be very interesting to hear the whole thing.
  • + 5
 Right. I was expecting Chris start talking on wheel sizes.
  • - 2
 He needs to maximize his cables I think to match the bikes geo because a foot of cable sticking out the front of you bike at various points just doesnt cut it any more.
  • + 5
 @mattwragg: I watched a Steve Jones interview with Chris Porter a few years ago and tried a FG Mondraker when I got my next bike. Haven't had bike without an outrageous reach and wheelbase since. I do agree there are shortcomings though. I hate riding flat trails so it doesn't bother me, but when things aren't steep and/or fast, these bikes are pretty dead in my experience.
  • + 14
 Not sure I agree with everything Chris says - especially being on the other end of the size spectrum, but I'd gladly read/hear all of his reasoning in a much longer format as well. Mini-series maybe?

Actually, I'd like more of his taken, not just on the geometry, but all the components/elements that are "designed" for mountain biking. I real like his approach of "fixing" the real issue, not just the symptom.
  • + 34
 @mattwragg: Let's have a regular column from Chris Porter, talking about the shortcomings of a different part of the mountain bike each week, and how he would improve them. Really enjoyed reading that.
  • + 22
 It's not just geometry (longer / slacker etc etc) that he nails it's all the other "nonsense" that the interview is just scratching the surface of: Seat tube angle, carbon everything, axle sizes, punctures, tyres, plus bikes, forks...... I'm sure there was more. THIS GUYS GETS IT. I want to read / hear more.
  • + 4
 @jimijazz: the other irony is to see his bike with the lightest of derailleurs: XTR whereas his Geometron bike is available with a gearbox www.nicolai-bicycles.com/shop/fullys-x/ion-gpi.html
I'd be happy to read Mr. Porter answer that Smile
Now I agree with pretty much all he said and I knew before reading this what my next bike will be (though a 29er version, despite Chris Porter made them to prove they are less good than the 27er).
  • - 1
 " Look at pictures of Aaron Gwin on the bike and his body is flat over the bike and he's able to lift his body parallel up and down full amplitude arms and legs. He doesn't have to ride the bike with his arms at full stretch and try to do everything in his hips."
So, he's trying to use Gwin, who rides a size large Tues, with a reach of 450mm, to prove his minimum of 480 reach on a bike theory? Bikes are getting longer, but there is definitely a limit to how long we can go before we compromise comfort and the safe feeling of a longer reach and not going over the handlebars for actual speed.
  • + 15
 @KondziuNS: Aaron Gwin was testing a size XL earlier this year when I saw him at races and might have been on one at Lourdes, and at around 5'10", that would be unheard of a few years ago. What they say he rides and what Gwin actually rides also might be different. Check the paddock at Ft. William, I bet he'll be on an XL. I think it does prove Chris's point, which isn't to say you should listen to him, but to experiment.
  • + 1
 @dhrace507: Still, 10mm less than Porter claims to be minimum of a "good" reach on the XL, which he only moved onto this year, I wonder how did he manage to have a flat over the bike body position last year, eh?
  • + 7
 @EnduroManiac: He would probably reply that any gearbox isn't efficient enough yet. You can say the derailleur has to go and still think that the available replacements aren't ready for prime time yet.
  • - 1
 @KondziuNS: It's not that simple with a downhill bike man. I'm not sure how Porter would respond to this, but a Giant Glory for example is considered pretty well sized. It has a reach figure of 460mm in a large (which CP would deem short I guess) and a head angle of 63 degrees. If you increase the reach on a glory you're increasing the front centre by a significant amount because of the slack HA, which I don't think would be great for a lot of tracks. I know these figures because I rode a smaller DH bike alongside my Foxy last year and when I was getting on my DH bike I just couldn't ride it. It was so different because the reach was short. I bought a Glory because it's the only decently sized bike I can afford, and with a 50mm stem it's the same reach figure to the bar as my Foxy. It's now infinitely easier to jump between the two, but I'd definitely like to try a DH bike with about 480mm reach and judging by this years bikes that is the way we are heading (XL Summum, Sender and Phoenix).
  • + 3
 @mattwragg: You could always record calls like that, edit them and post them alongside the printed interview. Although Porter can be a bit sweary at times, so editing might take a while....
  • + 10
 @Fix-the-Spade: if someone can't take swearing in a chat between two grown men talking about everything, then for his own good, and as a mean of therapy, he should be electrified for being "socially progressive" - which a friend of a friend uses as euphemism for "retarded". Just saying...
  • + 2
 @jollyXroger: As was I, but look at the options available on the geometron: wagon wheels are possible, and they sell... All this before this season's UCI DH press.

Realistically, with a gearbox bike, there is no longer a pressing need to run small axles, so why not go 20x110 out front, and 20x157 out back (with blind pivots and 440-455mm chainstays to get heel clearance)? Tire development can happen, likely focusing on 2.5-2.75" tires in the 1kg range with 29-35mm internal width rims, and in properly sized bikes (480/510/540mm reach) with wide bars and fork offset matched stems, they'd actually handle properly.
  • + 5
 @tehllama: Actually a gearbox bike would not need a 157mm wide axle out back. No cassette means wider flange spacing is possible. Dishless even.
  • + 2
 @KondziuNS: Check the numbers on the Nicolai dh bikes... they're smaller for a reason.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: You gotta be careful doing that Waki, the people who complain about moral standard the most usually have the nastiest kinks. Either way they'll get a buzz out of it.
  • + 1
 @KondziuNS: Mojo G19 DH Frame reach numbers for the four sizes: 445, 455, 475, 495. The DH frames are much shorter than the EN/AM, Trail and XC frames Mojo and Nicolai are producing now.
@hamncheez people need to stop putting a Gates on a Pinion FS bike for one.
@tehllama I'm not sure if 157 is necessary. I understand the benefits of 157 over 150 are related simply to wheel removal/installation. The frame would no longer need a rear mech so the risk of such a wide axle are less though... A single speed hub with flanges pushed to the max. Rear axle diameter can increase as gearbox driven sprockets aren't limited to being able to fit an 11, 10 or 9 tooth cog anymore.
  • - 1
 @danielgrafik: same, I think he hasn't taken in account some of the wider profile of rims esp in the Geometrons classs that support current tire technology, but I get where he's coming from re plus and rear the Rd, cassette cad design moulding etc, what people fail to understand is the industry is about itself it has and will make a ton of money out of what it already does so why change they have no reason to change when consumers, magazines online etc have bought into the marketing hype, they're are a few out they're that do do mule testing and pay riders for feedback, you could argue allot of that now is taking place by teams in the EWS, but mainstream people who walk into a LBS that buy a bike prob don't even know how to locate Pinkbike website let alone ride a bike with that seat angle!

Cool dude though and he's def talking my launguage I see similar problems occurring here now that MTB has become mainstream re trails the right type of trails and again what majority of riders lay to ride or are force fed, you see more injuries on these so called professionally built trails than illegal trails and others are like roads, Clubs focusing on numbers rather than track quality, which lead to lower easier maintenance now just an increase in costs all round is happening everywhere by these insiders, they call it progression! so again the industry one design bike will suit those parameters, jo blow riders get force fed the LBS what's yr budget oh you want this bike! And you look cool so buy it, I'll give you 10% discount (off the inflated std price last week) lol..
  • + 1
 @KondziuNS: Great example really, Gwin now rides an XL Tues with a custom longer chainstay. Look at his time with Specialized and you will see he was trying longer XL frame with longer chainstays years ago and has been quite successful with these longer bikes.
  • + 1
 @danielgrafik: me too. I have short legs with limited range from shitty flexibility, regardless of how much yoga i do. short chainstays are a godsend haha.
  • + 1
 @pwn1 So true! Best article on pinkbike i've read in years!
  • + 3
 @KondziuNS: have you rode a geomatron... i own one and i can tell you it its the most comfortable and quickest bike i have ever riden. and i have been riding for 24 years. the reach is perfect and the whole package is amazing!
  • + 0
 Can we send a big eff you out to @foxracingshox for only having the 2018 36 27.5 170mm fork come in QR15 axles?

Why do you hate people that ride the gnar!
  • + 1
 @gonecoastal: you are talking as if they owe you anything
  • + 53
 Send a Geometron to Mike Levy for review.
  • + 55
 why, so he can tell us it climbs like a goat and descends like it's on rails?
  • + 6
 As far as I can remember, it's been tested by Paul Aston a few years ago.
  • + 3
 read pole review.. it is same..
  • + 9
 @trauty: And that, I believe, is the point. Of course Paul Aston loves Pole and Geometron, we know that. But Levy and Kazmier might have a different take on the "slacker is better" chant past the 65° mark. I'd personally like to hear what people who prefer more playful bikes rather than buldozers think of that (since I probably won't have an opportunity to try those bikes myself soon...)
  • + 5
 @pospist: Agreed. I find Aston's reviews on some products contain too much confirmation bias (the gearbox review being the prime example). Send it to Levy or Kazimer. It would also be far more relevant to my PNW and BC riding.
  • + 8
 @pospist: I've got a Geometron G13, the 130mm travel 29er version, in the 'Longest' size, 510mm reach.

I won't get into a full review, but just to say it's NOT a bulldozer. More like a scalpel, or a Porsche sports car, or a fountain pen. Clean, quick, precise and incredibly capable.
  • + 1
 @brit-100: How tall are you? (Just for perspective on sizing)
  • + 3
 @jollyXroger: I'm 6'2, 188cm.
It was suggested that I try the 'Longester', extra large G13, but I felt that was a step too far. With a 35mm step, the Longest is a very nice fit.
  • + 3
 Or have Felton review it in all his hyperbolic glory!
  • + 1
 @brit-100: I'm 6'3" (+190cm). G13 looks interesting to me. XL seems excessive to me as well. Though, I don't get why Nicolai didn't give this 29er more travel.
  • + 2
 @jollyXroger: More travel is something I asked them. I believe (they didn't confirm) you could possibly fit a 200x57 shock and end up with 145-150mm travel but a slightly high BB. They seem to have something up their sleeve, they didn't commit on any timeline though.
  • + 2
 @brit-100: I'm 6"6 and the 'Longester' XL is perfect although some say XXL would be even better but i found the later one 'too high'!
  • + 4
 @jollyXroger: There are a couple of 160mm travel 29ers, belonging to Mojo staff. If you speak to Mojo, they'll get one built for you!
  • + 1
 @boomforeal: +1 pahahahahah ???? BURNED
  • + 1
 @brit-100: How does it climb?
  • + 3
 @trauty: i would like to have comparison of pole vs. geometron.
@mikelevy: @paulaston:
  • + 5
 @squarewheel: I would also like to see a round table discussion on the subject from opposing camp designers. Put Santa Cruz's Joe Graney and someone from the Big Three on one side and Leo Kokkonen and Chris Porter on the other. Cesar Rojo can be in the middle and let them battle their design philosophies, every thing from geometry, wheel size, construction materials, bike industry components "standards" to gearboxes.

Sure it would be hard to sit them down together at the same place and at the same time so you could also devise a list of questions and send it them.

Sounds like a mission for @vernonfelton
  • + 1
 @squarewheel: just by comparing geometries the bikes would ride very similarly.
notable difference is longer shock stroke on nicolai which is better for downhill IMHO + its horstlink which is my favourite suspension design also. chainstay is shorter on nicolai also , so another plus point for me.
I would like to try them too though..
  • + 1
 @pospist: my pedal bike is 170mm Banshee Rune so it's about a 63.5 HA, and easily the most playful bike I've ridden. That being said it has some pretty short stays and a modest reach at 455 for a size large, but I'm 6'1 and it feels spot on
  • + 29
 Nice interview, but I think he looses at one point: Most people don't want a bike that is really good in steep stuff, because they never ride steep stuff. Most MTBs are ridden on fire roads (Waldweg in Germany). Only a small part oft the mtb community is really riding gnarly stuff. And these people really like there short bikes, because they feel nimble and they could load it in there cars and they are lightweight.

Compare it to the skiing industrie: Most people are riding really slow with a bad technic on beginner slopes. They are not happy with a 190mm GS Ski with 27m turning radius. For good skiers this ski is perfect for riding on slopes, but not for beginners.

This ist why we will see lot more Fashion MTBs than real riding-machines. Thank you for building some of them.
  • + 49
 I used to snowboard a lot and while I rode the entire mountain I chose to ride a park board everywhere basically because I could dick about on it. The smallest features could be jumped, etc. I'm coming full circle on bike geo - now I want a bike more like the park boards I used to ride - something that may terrify me (in a good way) at speed but that play on the side hits, 360, whip like a bmx.
What I think I mean is, in the hands of a good rider a shorter, more nimble bike can do everything but you can't take a back country powder board to the park and expect to have a good time.
I hope that makes sense to somebody...
  • + 23
 I think your comment highlights the difference in riding culture in different countries, I would say very few people in the UK routinely ride fire roads and a lot ride technical trails.
  • + 10
 @DC1988: a lot of people around here (south east) ride "enduro" without knowing it - slow pedal up a fire road and blast down single track and repeat.
  • + 8
 @ThomDawson: it makes a lot of sense Wink

on powder, I'm more on skis though, so let me give you another analogy why I like people like Porter thinking out of the box:

In the old days, we used to ride our normal skis a lot in the backcountry (doing some seriously steep couloirs and stuff). It was the question if the RS skis where better than the SL skis, but objectively, both skis sucked... But we had no alternatives.

Then the large powder skis came along, which made it much better off-piste, but they seriously sucked everywhere else (like your powder board Wink )

Finally, some guys started to think out of the box, and skis like Atomic Bent Chettler with win tips, rocker, small radius side cut, but very wide, were invented.

And now I pick them 80% of the time, because you can go backward, fool over small obstacles, carve them, but also do some serious powder much better than we ever could...

If designers had accepted current truth, we would never have seen this evolution.

I feel it to be the same with 29er bikes, slack head angles etc. It's clear to me that super long slack bikes will be more for DH, but if you take a Jeffsy29 CF, add a 160 fork, a coil shock, it's amazing how it rides in 95% of all conditions up and downhill.

Key ingredients are a really playful 29er geometry, 65 degree head angle, and a progressive suspension that allows for a coil shock. All that below 13kg..... I see real progress Smile
  • + 4
 i absolutely love gs skis with a 27m turning radius. some of the most fun you can have in the world. but i would also love a geometron bike. im tall though. horses for courses i guess.
  • + 2
 @m88888m: I see your point and totally agree. I never meant to say that I'm against the long bikes or CP's theory - I'm most certainly not. I think the 'mainstream' geometry we have is in a good place at the mo and that's largely thanks to people like Chris thinking outside the box, without people doing that we'd be stuck in the dark ages (CP may say we still are...but I'd have to disagree).
I also really like the sound of your coil shocked jeffsy idea...you got me thinking about 29ers again when I thought I never would. Trouble is YT size me out of their frames with stupidly tall seat tubes but that's a different matter.
  • + 4
 Agree - its different everywhere. In SA, hardly any people race enduro and DH - its all marathon events and district dirt roads. ( and lots of medical bills when they crash on the odd tech bits)
  • + 1
 @m88888m: I guess you refer to "enduro" skis in general. Geometron skis Would be rather more like those swallow tail fatties that not everyone is a fan of. ????
  • + 4
 @ThomDawson: Great analogy, a lot of people compare biking/boarding/skiing, but I somehow forgot how many of my friends do this exact thing, choose a short or mid-size board b/c you can dick about on it. Especially once you develop a certain skill level, you can really enjoy riding different styles and models and a good handler can work wonders with pretty much all of them. My primary bike now is a medium spartan (I'm 5'8"), short compared to even relatively long bikes coming out, and while the suspension is almost definitely underrated, it's the handling that really shines. It responds very naturally to bike lean and body lean, it's just plain easy to ride. And as a plus the thing is automatic on the manuals. I've ridden reaches as long as 460-470, which would be pretty long for my height, and I got along great with them but I really missed hanging off the back of the bike and being super mobile on the downs. I ride plenty of steep and I grew up somewhat in the freeride generation, so I rode just like chris porter, heading into the mountains, finding some rock hucks and just sending it for hours. I take a bit of exception to the statement that America just goes for loops, I'm not sure I rode a loop the first 10 years I was on a bike. Anyway, props for the point, developing skills is so key regardless of what you ride, and then you can ride anything. Cheers ; )
  • + 1
 It's all about who's in charge and driving mainstream development, mainly Baby boomers! They don't want to hurl themselves of cliffs or ride a pirate trail that's too hard or they're children might ride that scares the crap out of them when little Johhny rides with his friends! Looks at yr clubs, MTB bodies who's running them, same with trail building and maintenance, it's not young people it's old people! The people who build and ride trails Chris is talking about are out for fun and pushing the envelope withi theyre mates that was the best part when I started MTB, it still is, but its hard to do now! Also thanks strata aholes and some youtbuers with no sense! Look who avoctaes for access, look at the type of person who builds a pirate trail, they aren't in it for personal glory or for having a legacy well I am responsible for MTB in this area or that, I got this happening, that's why they're is a cultural difference, what happened in the US 20 years ago is happening here and Austrailia your country, control control and look at who! Those people are still riding the same type of bikes as 30yrs ago, more modern, more carbon than you have and cost more that your car, but still in Lycra and they are developing ground level trails and development, so the industry is plugged into that, why I was a huge fan of EWS, but even that is being grabbed at by these cling ons, you mark my words they will dumb it all down widen it flatten it increase call it progression and feed the same people and the cost of it will increase and pat themselves on the back and say wow we did a great job and bikes will continue on a snails pace like always!
  • + 1
 @ThomDawson: I ride a 160cm Salomon Sick Stick everywhere on WhistlerBlackcomb. Before that I was on a 156cm Salomon Sick Stick. Both boards are awesome, but I run the 160 centre stance compared to the 156 with a lot of setback (both are twin taper boards) which helped the front float when I was bagging heli vert in a previous life...
  • + 2
 @blackforest So true! Visited Nicolai 3 weeks ago and its stunning to see how the frames are made and i now understand why they are 'so expensive' cause its not all about €/$ but the precision and handmade qualitity and this is more than worth the 2400€ for a G13 frame! Even more when you are considering some US brands charge even more than this for Taiwanese made carbon Frames which are marginally (say 1 kg) lighter and not stiffer by miles!

Let the beginners buy the oldschool geometries and have some brands like Pole, Mondraker, Starling and Nicolai be there for the connaiseurs like Lotus, Porsche, Caterham and Co in the automotive sector!

By the way you can fold a Pole (although its 1300mm+ wheelbase) so it fits a Golf's trunk! And a XL G13 would fit a midsize estate with the wheels removed, although you wont carry them on the back of the car!
  • + 23
 it is very good thatsomeone does not accept the way it is. the geometron idea does notseem to work for me. last year i owned a very big and slack bike (porter would call it small) . i had massive problems in mostly flat sections where i had to unweight one wheel, furthermore flat corners were a real problem (buchanan descibes the same, riding a very long starling)- and most of all i only had fun on very steep trails. my current bike is a wee bit shorter and also has a short 430 chainstay .this feels so much better to me. my point is basically that beeing able to move more in the bike is not always positive. if you do not have the power or ridingstyle to do so the bike will feel dead and be less fun. i am not defending short and high bikes - the wb of mine is 1210mm- but getting used to these superlong vehicles can be quite a challenge.
  • + 7
 @optimumnotmaximum You are spot on, there is no point pretending you just jump on and don't have to change the way you ride with these bikes. I went to 29 and longer at the same time...what a shock.
  • + 20
 For the last few years I have been all over longer bikes (though again CP would call what I've ridden small...) but eventually I realised that my bike isn't a motorcycle and while those long bikes are undoubtedly faster, which I find a lot of fun, I'm not racing (on a serious level) and yes I wanna go fast but not at such an expense to jumps, manuals, ruts, pop, etc etc. I can't afford and nor do I want seperate bikes for every discipline I ride and if that means a compromise I want a bike smack in the middle, not awesome at one and shit at the other.
  • + 12
 "Long and slack" is part of what CP is designing, but it's not just that. The Geometron is a whole package, seat angle, tt length, reach, head angle, BB height all work together on it It really is more about where it puts the rider relative to the wheels than anything else. No surprise that it's very good downhill, but because you're not hanging off the back of it, it's a briliant technical climber, the front wheel doesn;t lift, it pedals really well, loads of traction, and does really well in flat corners too. Even tight steep switchbacks, where youd expect a ong bike to struggle, the room you have to shift your weight around just makes it easy.And whiel the numbers are extreme, actually sitting on the bikes is a different story, they do feel pretty normal.

For me, it clicked really quickly. Am sure some people will take longer, some may never like it, but I'd encourage anyone to give the bikes a try
  • + 6
 @honourablegeorge: what if you want the front wheel to lift Razz
  • + 4
 @Travel66: Agreed, hell, if I spend two weeks riding only my 26 Steel HT and then swap to the Spitfire Bandit (still 26), I have to relearn everything again from scratch....and vice versa.

But that's why bikes are awesome.. you have to get in tune with each and every one of them to "get" where they are at and what they are aimed at achieving.

Excellent all round @mattwragg ; a brilliant, thought provoking read. Thanks. If there is a way for us to get to hear / read the rest, I would be very grateful.
  • + 4
 @honourablegeorge: Spot on, it's not just about 2 or 3 measurements being bigger, but the bike as a whole. Tell riders they need bigger wheels, they eat it up. Tell riders they need bigger bikes, they call it a trend.
  • + 2
 @ThomDawson: You can lift it just fine. Smile
  • + 1
 @ThomDawson: I don't have the numbers in mind but the chainstays may not be THAT long (the vertical seat tube may make it long longer than they actually are), so it may not be that hard to lift the front wheel.
With a 78° seat tube and a rather low cockpit I think, you're sort of level when the road is actually going up by 10%, so it pedals really well (consequently it's not so good for pedalling on flat roads).
I've also read reviews about how it's surprisingly easy to handle in tight corners, cuz' with such a slack head angle, it's actually easier to do nose turn.
  • + 1
 @honourablegeorge: As a tall rider, I'd love to have a go on a long trail bike, but judging by the bike chain-rings and small cassets I always see on these bike, I have doubts these riders have a good understanding of technical riding. Much less sustained ~1000ft/mi technical climbing where tight switchbacks are common.
  • + 1
 @ThomDawson: THIS
  • + 21
 Sounds like a charlatan to me. Is he seriously claiming he is the only one that's knows about bike geometry. So all the thousands of other engineers and bike designers should quit their jobs. And since when has a nicloai bike won a world cup or ews?
And that part about Americans not riding gnar? What the hell? I guess that's why america has the number on ranked dh and eduro rider in The world. And not everything is about speed. A lot of his points can be counter argued.
  • + 22
 Yeah, sounds like a bit of a generalisation that all Americans just ride loops round flow trails.

I think the point about geometry is that the industry is conservative. If an engineer at Giant or Trek or Specialized say put forward an extreme geometry design. Would it ever get made into production? Would it even get prototyped?
  • + 25
 Hes not that far off the mark about the US. The collective goal of advocacy groups and bike companies is to grow the sport, which means more flow trails and bikes generally designed for the average rider (which is good for the sport as a whole). However anyone who rides gnar ends up feeling neglected and sometimes sees their favorite old school trails get paved over so the beginner on his 8k carbon wonderbike can get thru a rock garden (looking at you Killington...)
  • + 10
 @surfhard987: We have been seeing the 'paved over' thing happen here in Oz too. Makes me want to scream. These new riders can only get around a corner at speed if it has a berm. Pathetic.
  • + 16
 @iamamodel: I think eventually mountain biking is gonna end up as the summer version of skiing. The majority of riders will be people that come out for a week or two a year on mega expensive equipment in their shiny new gear and ride in resorts or trail centres. These same people will be able to then boast about how they can now ride a black and how their shiny new kit is better than everyone else's. Also you will not be worth talking to if you didn't do at least one week in the alps this season etc etc.

This will mean we get a LOT of flow trails, bikes designed for beginner/intermediate riders and the more serious/skilled of us will be on completely different terrain and equipment. Exactly like most skiing.
  • + 4
 Great article. Admire the guys willingness to think outside the box and try different things but I do have to agree that there is certainly some over generalization in many of the arguments. Maybe there just was not enough time to delve into the specifics of his points but to say an entire country's trails are all flow and that there is nowhere with chunky, rough, suspension eating trails is ridiculous. You are lumping a pretty large landmass into a single trail type category. In the end, people vote with their money so if what he is pushing is in fact the better solution it will eventually catch on.
  • + 3
 @ZebraJacket99: Completely agree, there's tons of rowdy chunk in this country, and I love every inch of it, but there's not a lot of new stuff like that being built. It's all new flow trails that either navigate around that stuff, or they go at the rocks w/ a pry bar to get them off the trail. Great for the growing market segment of riding which @dhridernz described perfectly, which bike companies absolutely love, bad for anyone who cut their teeth learning to ride on hard stuff
  • + 2
 @surfhard987: Yes or my personal fave, cutting roots out to smooth a section out. never understood that one. I can enjoy a flowy roller coaster as much as i can enjoy a trail that looks like an octopus is trying to eat it but cutting out roots just assists trail erosion.
  • + 3
 @surfhard987: Ha, I think trail advocacy here in the states is making mountain biking worse. Just look at the Wasatch Over Wasatch trail. Thousands of dollars to build, tons of land use issues, and its the worst trail I've ever ridden.
  • + 4
 @surfhard987: I'm not too much into generalizations, especially for a country as large as the US. But what sounds pretty unbelievable to me is that typically US commenters here op PB mention that beginners ride the most expensive (potentially pedal assisted) bikes. In my experience beginners who buy their first bike without proper advice may be lured into getting that aluminium bike with mechanical disc brakes, poor quality pedals, triple crankset and a large brand logo (possibly with a carbon weave pattern). And that's probably the bike that would do just fine on an overly sanitized trail. But your beginners typically ride 8kUSD bikes? And then, once they've gained experience and are not beginners anymore. They sell their beginner bikes and get a decent bike for 2.5k? At first I wouldn't believe it but I've seen comments like these so often that it makes me wonder, is it the reality over there?
  • + 1
 @surfhard987: I do lament all the flow trails, which is why the decline of freeride really is some kind of tragedy. People don't just take their bikes into the woods anymore and look for fun lines and hucks, that was the original joy of biking for me. Even in skiing/boarding, where it's so commercialized and the vast, vast majority ride groomers and nothing else in their lives, almost all the good skiers/boarders I know get out a few times a year to just hike a nice hillside and get some turns in. And this is accepted among the majority that never does it. But I feel like this has really died in mountain biking, and a lot of the newer bikers I go with find it more or less unnatural to stop on a trail and go ride down a dried up riverbed or gully or natural rock feature, just for the 100m of thrills. It would be awesome to have some designated freeride territory, just like ski resorts have the bowls, trees, backcountry, etc.
  • + 4
 @gemma8788: I now ride moto trails in the back mountains, away from most of the popular MTB trails. They are straight up and straight down- 2300 feet of climbing in just a few miles. Way more fun since they are natural with no work done on them.
  • + 3
 He's worked with Fabien Barel and Steve Peat to win World Cups. Nicolai's were winning since the beginning: "1995 Michael Schumacher, Brian Lopes and Leigh Donavan become World Champions. Mongoose badged Nicolais win the US NORBA downhill racing series and take a World Cup victory." - www.nicolai-uk.com/index.php/contact/nicolai-company-history
  • + 1
 @dhridernz: It is already turning into that. As someone who works at a bikepark in France I see that the technical trails are the least ridden trails. It is all about flow and jump trails now. No need for long travel DH bikes anymore.
  • + 17
 After reading this I cant tell if this guy actually likes biking, or if he just rides around pissed off all the time. Very interesting ideas that I hope we see more discussion around, coming from someone who looks down his nose at nearly every biker on the planet. Couldn't agree more about drivetrains, but not as quick to name gearboxes as a solution as some here. Many points without real explanation, leaving glaring holes in his logic in places. All the same, I hope he keeps pushing, and I hope we see more bikes like this.
  • + 3
 Ha ha far from it. I bumped into CP and his mate just this Saturday in their local woods. They were the friendliest people we've met there - They built most of the trails there and were very much focused on riding and offered to show us some new trails. No egos here.... Bike talk came from questions from us - not the other way round. You won't find nicer people
  • + 3
 i live in the small welsh town where mojo is based, and own a geomatron and know CP. What he knows about suspension and geometry is outstanding! He has had hundreds of set ups on the geomatrons and is constantly tweaking! oh and so you know the tracks around mojo/me are steep and tech! and the geomaton eats it up like a fire road! If you want a bike that rides up well and then rides down like a DH bike then get a tronny!
  • + 16
 When we talk of long bikes, it should also be noted that Cesar Rojo, who started the trend, reverted a bit from the forward geometry with 2017 Intense Tracer. Casting some doubt on Pole, GeoMetron, but also Mondraker.
His UNNO bike also features 435mm chainstays.

RC: You pretty much established the rider-forward geometry movement while working with Mondraker. The 2017 Tracer, however, seems to be a step back from the more exaggerated numbers that we would expect from you. Can you explain?

Rojo: Well that initial Forward was developed around a ten-millimeter stem, so we did compensate the bike length for that. But, once Mondraker went back to the 30-millimeter stem, they never compensated, so the bike was 20 millimeters longer that it was designed for.

In the latest years, I have been jumping around some Mondrakers we still have in the office, and other not-so-extreme long bikes and the main difference for me was that those extreme long bikes are super stable, give lots of confidence, but also take away fun due to being so long and hard to maneuver - even more if you are not so strong.

So, in the end, when you buy a bike (at least from my point of view), fun to ride is on the high side and performance, for sure, is super important. But, since I am not trying to win EWS’s, I put the fun part as a quite important one. So, in the end, it is all about compromises, and those [long] bikes have advantages, but for a certain, very small group of persons. And, they still need to be proven by winning races. As you know, in downhill, Mondraker has no forward geometry, so really, no wins on long bikes yet.

www.pinkbike.com/news/2017-intense-tracer-review.html
  • + 3
 good points!
  • + 11
 The two biggest problems in mountain biking are obsession about the weight from XC side and obsession about the wheel size from gravity side. If Greg Minnaar rode a 27,5" V10 with a radically long geo, nobody would care much. You would not have Steve Jones running like a maniac through pits shouting : "SANTA CRUZ HAS A 29 INCH MOUNTAIN BIKE!!! WHAT DO YOU THINK FABIEN?!!!!!"
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: hahaha that was kinda cringe!
  • + 1
 great find. i think rojo is absolutely on point.
  • + 14
 Interesting read. I agree with some of what he says, but am not totally sold on most of it. Seems like a bit of a curmudgeon who has his own very specific idea of what's best and if you disagree you are a moron.

The USA has rubbish IMBA flow trails (honestly, how many of those are there in the country) that we ride in a loop and stop to take 18 snack breaks on because we are all fat and the UK is full of awesome muddy ditches filled with rocks that they ride 35 times in a day because they are so gnarly... ok dude.

Looking forward to arguing with people in real life who read this and didn't quite understand it either.
  • + 12
 "There's not a single piece on the bike that couldn't be made better. Instead of making them better, all we get is just basically desktop publishing, almost, rather than design. We just get nicer graphics and new colors. There's nothing really different, or we just get a different material like a carbon crank"

This is why we can't have roadie like uci standards governing our sport. Let our top kidney dollars paid towards meaningful innovations instead of buying as Chris put it Desktop Publishing beauty upgrades. Have a look at road.cc, all they reporting are basically just carbon this and carbon that, the latest ultegras and the still endless bickering over disc brake trial runs at uci sanctioned races. Pathetic.
  • + 13
 So whatever you buy it will be out of date as standards keep changing for the next 20 years till they sort everything out....
#12mmrearaxleaintdead
  • + 11
 He is right. We are an 'action' sport obsesed by coolness and fashion. Stick an Orange bike on here and it gets slated yet that is what works well in the country that created them. The industry sees it as one sport but its not. Steel hard taild rule here for a reason that may not suit elsewhere. Equally, when was the last time anyone saw a xc rider here in the UK? Like a proper roadie on an mtb type? Saw loads in spain the other day and they were on big money but as Said above, just smashed fire road.
Everywhere is different and maybe the industry just wants an average...and a bike that can still fit on a car rack!
It is good what CP is doing though. If you dont try new things we stagnate. Well done that man.
  • + 8
 "When was the last time anyone saw an xc rider here in the UK". Errrr ... last Saturday, at an XC race in Hants? I like my big bikes and baggy shorts as much as the next poster but luckily #xcaintdead and there's room in my life for an hour and a half in lycra with my heart rate in the red and my lungs in my mouth every now and again.
  • + 4
 @Surlybyname: surly by nature... Wink
  • + 6
 His point on te fascination with weight is a very good point. The fascination with weight has led us down this carbon route where bikes are tested once released and not as prototypes. With metal the geometry can be dialled in a lot quicker.
  • + 2
 Every sport or hobby is interested in coolness and fashion to some extent, and MTB is hardly the worst offender. Skateboarding is the epitome of a fashion sport, the whole point is to look cool while doing it. Even military combat uniforms are not 100% utilitarian.
  • + 2
 @tmcp1127: I get your point and agree with your first sentence, but to say the whole point of skateboarding is to look cool while doing it is absurd. How do you explain the constant progression of skateboard tricks in terms of technicality and size since its inception? Wouldn't it be easier to simply don your coolest outfit and casually roll down the sidewalk with all four wheels planted, knowing that you have nailed the whole point of skateboarding, which is to look cool while doing it?
  • + 4
 @mxsdx: I didn't mean to belittle it, I think skating is awesome. Skating is all about having style while doing it, and making difficult tricks look easy is part of that. But you have to wonder why almost no skaters wear helmets, and I'd say it's because it doesn't look cool.
  • + 2
 @tmcp1127: Fair point on helmet use. Cheers!
  • + 12
 No gnarly illegal trails in California? UK has more technical trails? Sorry but I can't take him serious after that comment.
  • - 4
flag Sladey (May 2, 2017 at 7:14) (Below Threshold)
 he's right
  • + 8
 @Sladey: Are there even any mountains in the UK?
  • + 9
 @Three6ty: Yeah, you can tell the riding is rubbish here by the way we've never managed to produce any decent riders.
  • + 0
 @metaam: same
  • + 10
 Amazing interview! Even if you do not agree with what he is saying I can admire the passion. Not many other builders out there willing to put a published interview out on PB that absolutely calls out so many topics which many of us accept as fact or the "correct way". I was clinging onto every word waiting to see what he would call out next... brilliant
  • + 10
 "They don't have that sort of interesting and illegal trail network that we've got."

Or maybe the locals didn't want to show an old British man on a strange looking bike the goods
  • + 9
 Rode a mojo G16 a few weeks ago. It made my sb6 feel like an xc bike on the downs yet still pedalled up pretty well. You've got to try one before slagging them off. It just allowed me ride way harder than I've ever ridden before, jumping, turning everywhere. Awesome bit of kit. Had absolutely no problems with tight turns.
  • + 1
 I'll second that
  • + 6
 I second that, having had a blast on CP's at Bike Park Wales last year I now own one and it's the best bike I've ever had the pleasure of riding.
  • + 1
 I rode a G16 on a demo day last year, really interesting ride, the downs were so much faster than anything else I rode, just planted and very stable, just seem to make it easier. The only concern I had was using the bike as a trail bike on weekends so as many up's as down's would it work....It would be amazing on the downs but the ups are hard work around here so would it be as efficient as other enduro style machines. I'd be interested in seeing what the 29'er version is like as a comparison to the 27.5 i rode
  • + 4
 @poppagee: I have ridden my XL Transition Patrol, the G16 and G13 on the same trails back to back, up and down. The Gs climb slightly better with a more direct drive to the cranks - I wouldn't worry about climbing. I prefer the 29 but that is from a 6'4" perspective and my bike religion (it was faster as well).
  • + 13
 nice dose of reality. Thanks Porter.
  • + 8
 It is a great article and he has some good points. I disagree that you can compare the puncture resistance of motorcycle and car tyres with MTB tyres because MTB is human powered, and another half a kilo in rotating mass will be detrimental to the ride. In MTB, everything is a compromise - you just gotta find the balance that works for you. What are you prepared to sacrifice, and how often do you expect it to fail in order to achieve the benefits you are looking for?
  • + 1
 @iamamodel Yes it always a thin line between tyre weight and tyre puncture resistance!

Think there is no thing like the perfect puncture resistant, low roll resistance, high grip tyre. Not even with a Schwalbe Citizen Pro in road cycling!
  • + 7
 Chris Porter. I love you...its about time that there was a shakeup in the stagnant geometry designs . Please put a gearbox in your next evolution of the Geometron. Please upvote this as bicycle manufacturers need to realise that shafting the actual person who buys their product to indulge in their passion needs to realise that every once on a while they need to push what they think are the perceived limits of MTBs. They are a breed unto themselves. MTBs are not in any conceivable way related to road bikes..
  • + 8
 Err. They have put a gearbox in one......
  • + 0
 I've never ridden a road race bike (seems scary actually) and I haven't studied the geometry numbers of these, but I'd say that the geometry of older mountainbikes might be inspired by these frames but then got messed up with what we've bolted to these. A BMX and road bike (probably) have their head angle around 71 degrees. But these don't run suspension forks. If you bottom the fork out, you still want enough stability so you need to slacken the head angle to compensate for that. Same with stem length. Road bike stems might be long but then again these handlebars have a huge backsweep (if you'd call it that) so effectively it isn't that long. Bolting a flat bar to such a long stem gives you something completely different. And because they have their hands that low, you can't have long reach as well. So I wouldn't say MTB took the geometry from road cycling. They merely messed it up.
  • + 3
 They keep messing up the gearbox by running gates belt drive. Chain please
  • + 10
 I like this guy. And I'd absolutely love to try a forward geometry (etc) bike.
  • + 11
 As I see it,CP built the perfect bike for him and his riding.
  • + 1
 insightful, well said and pretty much brilliant.
  • + 2
 And almost any one else can get into contact with Nicolai and design/build their own version.
  • + 2
 And tall people. Because most brands really resent having to cobble together some ill-conceived ill-fitting bike for that segment.
  • + 9
 Thanks @PinkBike, you are 'bombing' right articles! Pole, Nikolai, Mojo - More stuff like that!
  • + 7
 I wonder what would happen if you took the suspension design of the new Marin/Polygon and married it to the geometry ideas of Clay/Mondraker/Pole. That would be a very interesting bike
  • + 3
 with a pinion 18 speed gear box obvs
  • + 5
 Great interview! Having met Chris i can safely say he knows his stuff! Admittedly some of his suggestions for bike set up were a little bit scary to me and made some of my team mates laugh at me.... however they have worked for me and i am genuinely exited about my G19.
  • + 5
 This man's suspension knowledge is second to none! A couple of years ago a Bike Park Wales Chris was their in his Mojo guise doing free suspension tunes. I couldn't get my fox clad Transition Covert to perform to my liking after months of trying, so I thought that i would speak to Chris. Chris said that i was about the same size and weight that he was and he knew exactly what was needed! 10 minutes later after adding volume spacers to both forks and shock plus other fiddling etc etc, I had what felt like a new bike! and all for Free! What a chap! Thanks Chris!
  • + 4
 Great interview, thanks! I do understand that he designs these bikes to meet the goals he's after (stable, predictable handling) but I don't think these goals are for everyone. He wants you to be able to move within your envelope without upsetting the bike whereas I think, for the riding I like to do, you need to be able to go beyond that. Heck, I ride a mountain unicycle, there is no such thing as a wheelbase! I'd much rather be able to ride my bike like Chris Akrigg (nowhere near yet, or ever) than to be stable at speed like for instance Gee Atherton. Akrigg could probably even ride a Geometron or Pole ride as if it were a BMX but I'd say a more (or even too) agile bike is simply more suitable. That doesn't make Porter pointless of course. Agile bikes are there already. Wheelsize, axle dimension and gearbox discussions are proper PB northern hemisphere filler material. What Porter is after is a bike that behaves properly within the entire envelope your body can move, that's easy and safe to ride at speed. If it wasn't there already, it is good he's developing one. He won't ever develop a unicycle.
  • + 3
 I'm interested to hear if the mountain uni cycle community also want a longer reach on more of their bikes?
  • + 2
 @teamcliff: Dude, we're way past that. Horizontal measurement from the bb to the nearest headset is a couple meters at least, if not kilometers. You won't hear us complain about a cramped cockpit. Stem length is 0mm so handling is still nice and direct.
  • + 4
 After having suspension set up problems i popped into mojo to meet with Chris, we spend an hour going through and setting the bike up. he has some real radical ideas that to me id never have thought of trying, i decided to humour his set up ideas and haven't looked back since, this man really knows how to set a bike up would love to hear more from chris on a regular basis. don't knock it until you try it eh?
  • + 7
 brilliant article. love this guys views. i want a geometron more than ever now. with a gearbox. that doesnt puncture.
  • + 2
 i own a tron! they are amazing! and i live in south wales riding up over 5000ft of climbing on steep welsh mountains every ride and it climbs with no issues!
  • + 4
 Great interview. Chris comes over as a passionate and frustrated individual at the industry. This:

"because currently, designs seem to go from the computer screen straight into production, with all the problems that entails with literally parts of frames hitting each other at full travel, parts of shocks hitting frames at full travel, no clearance"

Is so telling. How many times have we heard about this kind of thing? I'd always assumed it was from poor manufacturing tolerances, but if what Chris is saying is true, this is INSANE. Selling £5k bikes that have literally had zero testing??!?!?!
  • + 2
 that set off my BS detector, I don't believe too many are designing anything without prototypes these days, and I can't say I hear of issues very often, in fact what I hear is that just about every bike these days rides pretty good, its just a matter of personal preference in many cases.
  • + 3
 @app-uncture: I agree it's a big claim. However as one example on my previous 2014 bike, the rear derailleur hanger was held in by a tiny screw which would always come loose. Worse still it was a 2mm head and would get rounded easily. This was a common problem on the forums. A year or so later an updated hanger was released. It wouldn't of taken huge amounts of testing to be found before it went into production.
  • + 6
 Hey now, not all of us in the states ride tamed down imba loops! Bring your bikes over Chris, i'd love to ride one.
  • + 7
 whats up with the saddle angle?
  • + 2
 The saddle is at an angle where my Form over Function alarm goes off. I don't care how well it works, it looks wack.
  • + 3
 @endlessblockades: Thats the "Prostate saver angle"
  • + 1
 @Three6ty: more like the end over on a DH
  • - 1
 It points down on a level road, but it's level on a climbing road.
  • + 1
 The saddle is angled that way to make you feel comfortable and stable on the climbs. Once the front wheel is higher than the back the saddle becomes horizontal again. Way more efficient, especially for steep climbs.
  • + 5
 Thanks Matt and Chris for a great article. If you look back at history, some of the greatest things were the singular vision of one person for one purpose.
  • + 3
 it's really interersting interview, but at some point I didn't like Chris' demagogy...

„...having the lightest bike doesn't win you anything...“ – lightest bike doesn't win itself for sure, but it really helps to win, or to pedal uphill... it makes difference to pedal 12 kg bike or 15 kg bike
  • + 3
 This man obviously hasn't ridden anywhere in the states. Really?
We don't have technical trails? Or illegal trails? Has he ever ridden Mammoth, or at the TDS enduro site? I have to ride on illegal trails every day, too. And most of them are quite technical. And a Brit can't hate on 'merican trails! Just cause you have a ton of rain doesn't mean it's ultra techy! We have rain too!
  • + 3
 Just get out and ride your F***ing bike!!! Technology is great but in the end it's a bike. Use it for recreation, to get fit, to race or whatever.
This guy seems a little pissy about how nobody is making the most efficient or ideal bike or geometry. There are a handful of riders in the world that make enough money to support themselves. The rest of us do it for fun. So we don't need the best of the best or the most efficient for our weekend rides. Just give me a bike that handles great, shifts good and is somewhat light and ill get by and have just as much fun as the next guy!
  • + 6
 I don't know, I think my bike rides pretty well with it's short chainstays and only kinda long reach.
  • + 3
 This is probably going to be an unpopular opinion, but I think he kind of sounds like a stuck-up a*shole. "My bikes are the best and everyone else's bikes are total crap because they don't believe the same things I do."
  • + 3
 He comes across better in video, more blunt than stuck up. Also got to keep in mind that being good at interviews is a skill that requires practice. Or maybe he's a dick, I don't know. Mojo seem to be a good crew from what little I've had to do with them so he's doing something right.
  • + 26
 Regardless of whether you agree with his ideas or not, I believe we should respect Chris as he put his money where his mouth is. You can go and ride a Geometron and decide if you agree or not. I interviewed him precisely because I know he has strong opinions and is not worried about sugar-coating them.
  • + 5
 @mattwragg: and we need that...well done!
  • + 1
 @Travel66: there is a video with him and Steve Jones on dirt that everyone should watch. He's a standup guy.
  • + 3
 @jaame: do you have a link for us lazy ones?
  • + 1
 @jaame: cheers. Had seen it before but good to see again.
  • + 3
 I agree! Super ignorant about mtb trails here. Ya we just go for scenic loops, nothing too gnar here...dork
  • + 2
 @mattwragg: did you bother to ask him how the long and low works for the other 80% of riding that gets done. You know, flat and uphill.? You'd have sugar coated that reply.
  • + 4
 maybe hed have more influence on the industry if he had more tact. Or if his ideas applied to more than a fringe of the sport. Thats my strong opinion, no sugar coating. still a great interview, and I would certainly like to see more
  • + 2
 @BryceBorlick: CP is legend. he doesn't need more tact as he isn't a puppet from main stream companies like giant etc worried about his bonus. He is always changing and evolving his set up to try and make it better and is the guy who is actually doing something about it and pushing boundaries instead of releasing ANOTHER frame just with a different colour scheme. To anyone who has not actually rode a geomatron then you have literally no idea what you are missing out on! oh and @Bustacrimes i ride up over 5000ft of welsh mountains multiple times a week and it climbs up just as well as any other bike. difference is i smoke everyone on standard geometry bikes on the way down
  • + 3
 @Bustacrimes: Part of the theory behind the Geometron is that the front and rear are thought separately, then merged together in a coherent way. When you go down the front matters most (front wheel grip, room to move your weight), when you go up the rear matters most (not lifting the front wheel, peddle position).
When you go up, the steep seat angle and low front sort of put you in a level position. You're climbing as if you were on a flat road.
This bike is made for going up and going down, but probably not at its best on flat ground and very tight turns.
  • + 4
 @Will-narayan: I would love to get a bike like that without the industrial look of Nicolai. Shallow I know. I believe the geometry is good for the riding I do. He's right that mtb geometry started out as road bike geometry and it is slowly evolving. Mark my words in ten years everyone will be riding bikes with this geometry, or at least closer to it that we see in the mainstream atm.
  • + 2
 @jaame: then probably you have to go for a pole.
  • + 2
 This guy seems really narrow minded. Ok cool, super-slack bikes are great if all you do is ride up a road and down a steep, rooty trail all day. Maybe super-slack bikes are also good for pedaling around "mellow" trails too, but jeeze allow for ideas other than yours...
  • + 4
 "You wouldn't design a plus tire unless you could get away with riding basically a rubbish bike." Thanks Chris, your subtle hints about tire design made my day Smile
  • + 6
 Best rant ever and I read every word. Super interesting dude.
  • + 3
 Well its obvious that he's oblivious to the 'real' California mtb trails..what an ignorant thing to say. Yep, nothing to ride here but boring imba trails... dont come here!
  • + 1
 Very interesting view on UK vs. US riding. Seems to make complete sense when you ride a few US bikes over here on the pixie built trails most of us use. Take FoD as an example, very few manufacturers are designing / testing bikes to ride those sort of trails. None of them are built to a standard.

Also explains why so many US components die in the mud. (Crank bros, I'm thinking of you)
  • + 4
 North America gets wet too. Our BC brothers and Sisters, for example. From desert, to granite, to fern juice loam, we've got it all. What's the tallest mountain in the UK, again? Ben Nevis?
  • + 1
 " The only performance criteria that seem to drive the bicycle industry is weight. Yet we still have no sport where the lightest bike wins, so why are we doing that? Why are we obsessed with weight in this industry, because having the lightest bike doesn't win you anything. It's nonsense." C. Porter

Quoted for posterity.
  • + 1
 These things don't have motors to get the front tire up. I like to effortlessly loft my front tire over bomb holes and roots. I like longer and slacker than normal front center bikes, with the shortest stem possible, but these chainstay and reach numbers won't work for me.
  • + 4
 i can manual my geomatron perfectly fine.... guessing you have riden one to have this view
  • + 4
 @kiddynick: exactly! The current fashion is to have a 32-40mm stem on a bike that hasn't been corrected for that length of stem. Shit at climbing because of it. Bring on the 80 degree seat angles I say.
  • + 5
 Bought a G16, best bike I've chucked my leg over. Top man, thank you.
  • + 2
 I've ridden a geometron (very, very briefly) the shorter one of the two that team riders get to choose from I think, I'm 6ft, and just from jumping on it and having a quick blast, it certainly didn't feel too long.
  • + 0
 Mtb cheaper than moto? With or without racing there's not that big of a gap. Maybe back when he's talking about it.Depends on what level you're at. Amateur level not sinking tons of $$$ into race engines and whatnot, just wanting to race. They're not that far apart. Yz250 2 stroke is about the price of a cool full suspension mtb, and easily less $$ than many carbon full sussers.
Are dirtbikes more expensive, yeah, but the margine ain't that big. If you got enough money to race mtb, you probably got the $$ to race dirt bikes too. A 2t top end, premix oil, and cheap rotella for the gearbox brings me a long way.
  • + 2
 Small bike companies new sales pitch "The big companies have no idea what they're doing. They probably don't even ride bikes"
  • + 3
 Seriously, layer upon layer of management within big companies, and share holders demanding a return every year, does make you question how much decision is made about the quality/cost conundrum.. seeing Big S put a $30 BB in an $8k road bike does make you wonder wtf they were thinking.
  • + 4
 @Bustacrimes: it's pretty obvious what they were thinking. Cha ching. Margins, margins, margins.
  • + 2
 @jaame: And if they see that a smaller brand might actually be onto something with their product the holding company will buy them off and add them to their portfolio. Corporate mergers and acquisitions strategy 101.
  • + 3
 @jollyXroger: or just copy the product and pretend you're the originator of new stuff.
  • - 1
 Chris is a canny man. He only focussed the conversation on perceived benefits for riding downhill. For anyone riding there bike in the flat or uphill (it's actually 80%+ of any enduro) his geo is not offering anything and doesn't have the fun of short stays (which he also dismissed.)

Great salesman.
  • + 3
 yes it does it has a super steep seat angle which makes peddling more effieient. also the long reach means your front wheel stays planted during climbs so you don't have to shift body weight forward onto the nose of the saddle to compensate. So in short yes he has considered the other 80% of riding .....
  • - 2
 @kiddynick: on a good all round bike you don't move forward either. Any bike that long will wander at the front on steep climbs. Pedalling efficiency uphill is more related to overall geometry than seat angle. Enjoy your Geometron though.
  • + 1
 @Bustacrimes: Dude you obviously haven't ridden one. A steep seat angle put more weight on the front and a long front does the same as does longer chainstays. All combined make for a super efficient climbing bike. If you are not moving forward on your saddle on your regular bike it means a) you are already out of the saddle for that climb or b) you are not riding very steep hills. I ride hills that require 26 chain ring with a 50 cog and no regular bike can climb up them because of their crap geo.
  • + 3
 He's riding Stan's Crests!?!
  • + 1
 Crest, carbon bars, no bash guard, no knee pads, gnarly!
  • + 1
 As ever it depends what you want. Do you want a dh bike that can be ridden uphill as your trail bike or do you want one that goes uphill and along as well as down?
  • - 1
 Yes bikes can go a lot longer, but not needed all the time, just when going down, What about geomertry ajustments on the move?
Also agree that gearing should change, I spent a long time working on sealed gearing
Will talk to you at Fort Bill if you are there
  • + 5
 Ride a long bike up a hill... Probably even more beneficial there
  • + 2
 That saddle angle though!!!!! good god . If that's the angle to saddle needs to be then I'm out.....
  • + 2
 Kind of fits with what he's saying about seated climbing, and the general profile of riding mostly up to then go down, as opposed to rolling hilly loops and all that. If you're grinding up a logging road, or climbing up steep climb trails, that saddle position would be way more comfy than being perched on the nose of the saddle. If you occasionally ride level ground in there, however, that would be seriously uncomfortable.
  • + 1
 Can't relate to that saddle setup regardless of the long reach.
  • + 3
 Great interview. Would have been interested to hear his thoughts on 29ers!
  • + 7
 there are interviews where he talks about them...he does not like them:
-when braking they have problems because your weight is pushing under the contact patch
-turning is too much affected by the gyroscopic forces of the big wheels
-the bb gets too low compared to the axles, which makes turning difficult

..thats at least what i remember
  • + 2
 @optimumnotmaximum:
Yeah I thought he had been pretty anti in the past I just wondered if that had changed with the new breed of modern geometry long travel speed machines. His number one motto seems to be the clock never lies after all!
  • - 3
 @symanoy: last worldcup actually proved 29ers are slow- come on look at the results, best 29er at about 65.place - the syndicate was just wrong
  • + 12
 @optimumnotmaximum: this is german humour right?
  • + 3
 @symanoy
He now makes a trail 29er....the G13
  • + 4
 @optimumnotmaximum: Either you did not follow the race, or you're just plain ironic Wink
  • + 1
 @optimumnotmaximum: Really? Did you actually watch the race or just quoting the results? Did you see where they came in quallifying? "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt".
  • + 1
 @symanoy: I think he based those comments off his own 29 prototype
  • + 1
 @optimumnotmaximum: did you watch the race? You obviously didn't
  • + 10
 @simooo: irony, some get it - some dont
  • + 7
 @Travel66: just be glad that it is not german sex
  • + 1
 @optimumnotmaximum: I thought it was funny. But then, I ride a German bike.
  • + 3
 Okay, I want to design a bike now
  • + 2
 He is a leggend!! More Chris Porter ob PB please
  • + 2
 interesting..................
  • + 2
 His saddle is loose I think.
  • + 2
 Great Interview, Matt.
#chrisknows
  • + 0
 This dude makes sense! I have been pedaling a DH bike like it's a trail bike and now I know why! I thought I was CRAZEEE. It just feels right going up, down, and around!
  • + 1
 Appreciate this but please interview Allen Millyard. Miles ahead of anyone and always will be.
  • + 2
 Bike looks awesome but what's up with that seat angle setup?
  • + 3
 The saddle angle is intended to be like this, in case you wondered – it’s optimised for the steep, long climbs that Chris spends a lot of time riding.

From a Factory Jackson article.
  • + 0
 @TheElectricGhost:Many of us ride steep and long climbs. How about EWS racers?

This seems to be a trait of those who ride the super long reach bikes who are more laid out over the saddle. Images on the Pole Bicycles website show a similar saddle setup - looks very odd at best, to each their own.
  • + 1
 @teamtoad: I've no idea at all? The text was copied from a Factory Jackson article. I have no comment at all on how Mr Porter has his saddle, as you said each to their own.
  • + 2
 @teamtoad: the saddle angle is something me and chris discussed when setting up my alpine 6, i was having trouble climbing, having to get out the saddle too much, chris explained about the seat tube angle and how pushing the saddle forward and dipping the nose to be parallel with the ground on a climb would help... i did think yeh right goof ball at first ... until i tried it safe to say i won't be going back it may look odd but then its not all about the fashion....
  • + 4
 @dashy1990: ok not about the fashion but it must feel terrible on flatter terrain.
  • + 2
 really interesting interview, thanks matt!
  • + 1
 what is this puncture he is talking about
  • + 2
 Great interview. Thanks!
  • + 0
 I think this guy has forgotten a bit about the fun of just riding your bike
  • + 3
 i live by mojo and ride the tracks this bike was developed on. he has not forgotten the fun of riding. the geomatron makes it even more fun! p.s. without people like CP pushing boundaries then you wouldn't have the next generation of bikes or any advancements in technology!
  • + 2
 Podcast?
  • + 1
 Has anyone mentioned that seat angle yet?
  • + 2
 The saddle angle is intended to be like this, in case you wondered – it’s optimised for the steep, long climbs that Chris spends a lot of time riding.

From a Factory Jackson article.
  • + 1
 why is mtn biking exclusively about top speed now.
  • + 1
 Good question.
  • - 2
 So we're all gonna sit here and ignore his f*cked up saddle position? I bet his arms, hands, and shoulders are done...

Or he just likes feeling like hes about to go OTB every ride
  • + 2
 Yes he's an idiot, and Fabian Barel too.
  • + 0
 Old man yells at clouds...

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