Pinkbike Poll: The Great Chainstay Debate - What's Your Preferred Length?

Nov 14, 2019 at 14:23
by Mike Kazimer  
Greg Minnaar V10
Greg Minnaar's stretched out Santa Cruz V10.

What's the ideal chainstay length? It's no secret that mountain bikers love to argue on the internet, which means there have been countless heated debates on this very topic, with the 'shorter is superior' crowd on one side and the 'balanced is better' camp on the other. The distance from the center of the bottom bracket to the rear axle plays a crucial role in how a bike will handle, but it turns out that there's not one magic length that will work for all riders in all situations.

Shorter chainstays can make it easier to snap a bike through tight corners and lift the front end up into a manual, just like longer ones can add additional stability at speed, but there's not an exact science as to how a bike's chainstay length is decided upon. In the end, it's really up to the frame designer to decide what will best suit the bike's intended purpose. The length is also dictated to some degree by the suspension design and travel amount of a bike - it's a lot easier to create a hardtail with a super stubby back end than it is a DH bike with big wheels and loads of travel.

Having different chainstay lengths for different frame sizes makes a lot of sense, since only increasing the length of a bike's front center for different sizes can affect the balance of the bike. 420mm chainstays may feel great on size small bike with a 430mm reach, but they may not be as ideal on an extra-large bike with a 510mm reach. More companies are starting to change the chainstay lengths of their frames for each size, and there are others that offer frames that allow the chainstay length to be adjusted via a flip chip, but it's still not the norm.

Trek 2016
Trek's Stache 29+ hardtail has adjustable dropouts that can shrink the chainstay length all the way down to 405mm.

But does that mean a tall rider won't like a bike with short chainstays, or a short rider won't be happy with longer chainstays? Not exactly – at a certain point it becomes a matter of personal preference, which is one of the reasons there are so many opinions.

For this week's poll, imagine you were designing your ideal mountain bike. For the sake of simplicity there's no category for this mythical bike – enduro, trail, XC, it doesn't really matter – let's just say it's a bike that you'll be using to go up and downhill on a wide variety of terrain.

First, find the section that matches your height, and then select your preferred chainstay length in the poll below.



Rider Height: 155 - 164cm // 5'1” - 5'4”

What's your preferred chainstay length?




Rider Height: 165 - 174cm // 5'5” - 5'8”

What's your preferred chainstay length?




Rider Height: 175 – 183cm // 5'9” - 6'

What's your preferred chainstay length?




Rider Height: 184 – 191cm // 6'1" - 6'3”

What's your preferred chainstay length?




Rider Height: 192 - 201cm // 6'4" – 6'7”


What's your preferred chainstay length?




266 Comments

  • 372 14
 Need a "I don't care, I just ride my bike" option.
  • 6 1
 You said it Ralph!
  • 135 11
 Alternatively: "I have no idea how long my chainstay is but my bike rides just fine."
Shocking to me anyone thinks they've spent enough time on enough bikes with differing stay lengths to have an opinion that is granular to five or six millimeter increments (other than say, a professional bike reviewer).
  • 12 4
 but, but .. what is the chainstay? Wink Smile
  • 7 57
flag Cashallen (Nov 15, 2019 at 6:09) (Below Threshold)
 @kovaldesign: the distance from the center of the bb to the center of the back axle
  • 16 11
 @fullfacemike: As a professional bicycle mechanic for the last 30 somethin' years I'm pretty sure that I have about that much riding time on just about every bike in the northeast in my size through nothing other than test rides. Can I tell a difference in 6mm increments: yes... I would argue that 3mm increments would be better suited but would make for more "confusion" and missed hits in the right box. But that just my 2 cents worth!!
  • 20 2
 It doesn't matter the size as long he knows how to use it. Effort matters!
  • 7 6
 @chyu: That _is_ what she said!
  • 13 2
 @fullfacemike: actually its very easy to notice even for a rider of intermediate skill provided you test back to back a say 435mm then a 445mm on the same course. Chainstay length is huge on how a bike will behave! If you really wanna easily feel a difference take a bike with an adjustable chain stay then try to manual short vs long setting! you can still manual but its easier to get the front up if the chain stay is shorter.
  • 14 3
 @rockchomper: But how often would someone be testing two bikes with all of the same components and geometry, only change being chainstay length? (Other than adjustable chainstay on a single bike - not many in the full suspension market). I would argue slim to none chance of that type of comparison, in which case most folks could not discern what riding effects are purely chainstay length and what come from the sum total of component and geometry difference between the comparison bikes.
  • 2 1
 @klondike08: i'd have to agree and disagree. I have ridden ALOT of bikes (blessed to have so many free demos in my area) and after testing so many bikes i notice the ones I like most have short chainstays. so I consulted the google's and found short chainstay bikes are more easily poppy and playful (especially for a shorter rider AKA myself) and what my reasearch found lined up with what I felt on the shorter chain stay bikes. I understand wheelbase effects this aswell but after testing to long dh bikes one with a short and one with a long chainstay I blindly opted for the shorter chainstay one finding out later the one I chose had a shorter stay. also both bikes were horst link so that pretty much takes the suspension variable out (kinda).
  • 7 5
 @lRaphl : If im spending upwards of $3500+ dollars, I definitely care!!
  • 2 0
 preach
  • 4 0
 came here to say that... I just have no damn clue
  • 1 0
 Yup. Whatever they are on my current bike is just fine thanks....
  • 1 1
 @fullfacemike: Adjustable chainstay length used to be a thing. System sucked, but many of us monkeyed neurotically with chainstay length.

(BTW only correct answer is 17.2" lol)
  • 7 0
 Looks like Norco has the ride idea
  • 4 0
 @fullfacemike: Sold my bike about a month ago and have been demoing various bikes (and will demo more) with the intent to buy in the early spring/late winter. I'd say, it's not something that is truly comparable from bike to bike necessarily. The chain-stay length tends to be just one part of the whole geometry philosophy of the bike. So I never found that I could attribute differences between two various bikes to be specifically about the chain-stay length (which is part of why this "poll" is ridiculous... but it's generating clicks so...)

But, when I was demoing the Santa Cruz Megatower... I had the option, via a flip chip on the rear axle, to alter the chain-stay length by 10mm. But again, just changing the chain-stay length without changing anything else is not what that flip chip is meant for. It's a 160/160 bike and setting up the bike with the other flip chip in "high", the chain-stay setting is meant to be in the shorter setting. Flipping the bike into "low", the bike was still great (I'd say better)... and then I also changed the chain-stay setting to "long" and didn't like the handling as much. But, many people will overfork this bike (170mm), when you do that, being able to lengthen the chain-stays keeps the bike feeling more balanced vs the shorter setting. Plus Santa Cruz doesn't alter their chain-stay length by bike size, so if you're a taller rider being able to lengthen the chain-stay is nice.
  • 2 0
 @islandforlife: True, and frame size/rider height also makes a difference. On my Megatower, I ended up liking the 'Low/Long' setting the most, for park days as well as trail riding. But I'm riding an XL, so the longer chainstay just balances out the longer reach.
  • 7 0
 @IRaphl no.... you need to pick a chainstay length and be a dick about it god damit
  • 7 1
 @klondike08: This guy gets it. Doing apples-to-apples comparisons of chainstay length basically never happens. Even folks with adjustable dropouts riding back-to-back laps have to factor in fatigue, familiarity, weather, trail conditions, etc. although I'll admit you could get a pretty good idea from this if you really set out to do so.
Everyone needs to read this: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect and think about where they lie on that curve.
  • 2 0
 @H3RESQ: Can I just NOT take a length and be a dick about it please?
  • 2 0
 @fullfacemike: Best reading I had in a long time! Thank you!
  • 1 0
 @lRaphl: haha!
  • 1 0
 @CrispiRider: many times...
  • 4 0
 @fullfacemike: it only takes one bike with adjustable chainstays to figure out how it affects ride and feel. Enough to gerner a valid preference.
  • 3 0
 @cthorpe: Exactly!
  • 2 1
 This. I have no idea how long mine are on any of my bikes but they're lots of fun to ride!
  • 2 1
 @rockchomper: congrats on being the first chainstaysplainer \m/ #itsAwellActually
  • 3 0
 @dolface: ehh somebody had to do it! Question: do i get an award for this achievement?
  • 2 3
 Can't upvote you more. Seat angle needs to be steep so you can actually pedal up the hill. Head angle around 65 is ideal. Any less I feel is not justifiable and is a bit of a wonderer on the climbs, suspension don't work on the front at anything other than close to a proper bit of dh.Low stand over essential. Allows desired reach to be achieved and people can upsize frame size to get the reach they like. We need a frame that can take normal 27.5 wheel sizes or 29. My ripmo is perfect for me however. No idea what chainstay length is but I pray this is not going to be the new reach, seat angle or head angle because there is nothing left in the industry to try and reek more money out of us....
  • 1 0
 @rockchomper: 500 internet points! Just send me your SSN and bank account number and I'll send them over.
  • 2 0
 @rockchomper: Damn straight! That goes for frame color as well.
  • 2 0
 I prefer the Pole XC prototype one
  • 2 3
 Only option available pinkbike demonstrating a complete lack of concept by fundamentally ignoring zero and its properties, each increment should begin where the other left off so a bike with a half mill difference doesnt fall through the cracks, no bike left behind please. Secondly how desperate are marketers nowadays if letting the market decide economic trends has such an awful data collection that polling unwitting consumers and enthusiasts will determine the proper direction to follow a trend?? All my bikes have different chainstays, point is the axle lines up on either side and holds the wheel perpendicular to the ground. Build a bike to perform through all the variable conditions it will go through with a discerning rider, then it will be a good bicycle that will last and accrue sentimental value along with good rapport between consumer and industry. This is blatant avoidance of science for buzzwords. Take a dot move it along a plane and make a bike that can move the dot through the plane, then take many dots of fractions of the first dots weight and account for the motion major dots and physical centrals of weight will be for any motion of the bike while the bike responds. Science everyone its not that hard when its encouraged by the establishment. However the pythagorean theorem proves calculus so newton and liebniz were fractional frauds but not without credit to their reworking of simple structure
  • 2 0
 @fullfacemike: thank you one sane person on pink bike
  • 1 0
 @fullfacemike: get a frame with adjustable chainstays. Ride a BMX or DJ, as well. It's noticeable. Is it super important? nah, a good rider can compensate for anything inside of the extremes. Is it going to be easy to compare chainstay lengths when using entirely different frames? sure. But 5mm is very noticeable, even on a 29er.
  • 137 0
 i want a girl with short skirt and a long jacket
  • 8 3
 Love Cake.
  • 29 0
 Is she fast and thorough and sharp as a tack?
  • 8 1
 Nah nah nah nah
  • 11 0
 It all went wrong when she traded her MG for a white Chrysler Lebaron though
  • 9 38
flag stumphumper92 (Nov 15, 2019 at 7:07) (Below Threshold)
 @ReformedRoadie: Cake is trash
  • 2 1
 @stumphumper92: and opinions are like a*sholes, everyone has one. Gotta love the 'if you like what I don't like your it's wrong attitude.
  • 3 0
 On the radio as I read comment. Sweet!
  • 6 0
 @EgoLicentia: She's touring the facilities and picking up slack
  • 2 1
 @bman33: False. My son was born without an a*shole.
  • 1 1
 @bman33: Their newer album was good. But I'm sorry this song is just not a good song. (in my opinion so it means it's a fact)
  • 3 0
 That bass line just started playing in my head.
  • 52 0
 My preference would be reading the rest of the field test, specially when you test the Pole. Don't mind that you snapped the frame either. Just send the articles. Chainstays are cool if they are long enough for my foot size 11 doesn't hit the RD. So from 445mm and above,
  • 3 0
 Yes please.
  • 7 0
 where does all this talk of the pole frame snapping come from?
  • 1 0
 @vapidoscar: I second that.
  • 7 0
 @hamncheez: Goes to Pole's website and you will see one case of it.
  • 6 15
flag WAKIdesigns (Nov 15, 2019 at 5:44) (Below Threshold)
 It all depends on a bike. Good luck riding XCish bike with long chainstay, I can guess owners backwheel, airtime figures and style points right away. Good luck riding geo more extreme than DH bikes on a trail bike that cannot be fed enough kinetic energy to fly off small marbles with these stays. There is a reason why I use the term Jerrymetry... if you want to feel confident riding steeps with rocks in the straight line then all the power to you Smile
  • 5 3
 @dustydubya: Thanks for the info! Yes good explanation of the entire situation on poles website, and pretty cool of them to put it out. Thanks Pole.

Also, I think two bikes failed in the field tests? The Sunday comics said one happened on a jump line at Whistler I believe.
  • 5 13
flag vinay (Nov 15, 2019 at 6:16) (Below Threshold)
 @dustydubya: Definitely wise from Pole to publish their part of the story before Pinkbike publishes theirs. I trust Pole on this one.
  • 1 0
 Yeah, that was the old style rear end. The new rear end that is actually being shipped looks quite different than the one in the review.
  • 7 7
 @vinay: accident prototype part. Well played. I mean I’d do it myself. I’d recommend such formulation to anyone and the absolutely not engage in any online chatter. People will twist the most sincere and true story anyways. Everything you say will be used against you. Truth is irrelevant. If they are convinced that you are lying before you open your mouth, you may as well lie to them.
  • 8 3
 sometimes when you apply to much pressure to the pole it tends to erupt :- /
  • 2 10
flag WAKIdesigns (Nov 15, 2019 at 7:10) (Below Threshold)
 @Ayyggss: Did you make a snarky chuckle after you wrote that?
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: i checked the shipping status on my taival :shrug:
  • 2 0
 Yeah, we all anticipate watching Kaz riding a pole Wink
  • 2 7
flag WAKIdesigns (Nov 15, 2019 at 8:10) (Below Threshold)
 @lkubica: Kazek na Polu...
  • 1 0
 I have seen of the machine frames fail but was a test mule and being risen harder than most. Would still have one
  • 3 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Alright, let's wait for the PB story then. The Pole story is the bike accidentally was delivered with the wrong chainstay which wan't up to the job. And PB was unwilling/unable to redo the test with the proper component. I actually expect PB to come up with the same story. If I understand correctly the rider who did the huck tests isn't one of those regular testers who spent all those days in the camp so he may not have been able to return separately to have another go on the repaired Pole bike. If PB comes up with a very different story, well then we'll see how viable that one is. I currently see no reason to not believe the story from Pole.

@mattvanders: For me it would be more about geometry than smooth lines and innovative construction methods. If I'd get one of their full suspension bikes, it would probably an Evolink. Just straight tubes welded together does the job nicely. I understand you can also fold these for transportation or storage, which seems convenient enough.
  • 2 8
flag WAKIdesigns (Nov 15, 2019 at 8:34) (Below Threshold)
 @mattvanders: everything can get broken. Everyone makes mistakes. You can always get a frame from warranty and sell it right away.
  • 12 2
 @vinay: I don't think I could trust a company that sent the wrong part to the most important bike test out there. My gut says they wanted to be able to brag that their XC bike did great in the trail bike test, but when a part breaks in the test you just have to accept that your reputation is going to take a hit.

Stuff like this is why I hate Ferrari car tests, they never send a legit production car and they send a team of engineers to make sure it scores well.

Just send something that comes off the production line so people know what to actually expect. And don't blame Pinkbike for getting clicks from your bike breaking, if you don't like them taking advantage of the shock value build a stronger bike.
  • 10 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I don't think they are lying, I think they made a stupid gamble and should own up to it. Their story makes them into the victim and PB into some monster for wanting to get some clicks.

This is one of, if not the, most important bike reviews for mountain bikes. If you want to get more people interested in your bike it needs to not snap in the test. Also it is not like this test is a surprise, the drop to flat is in the test. If you are sending a prototype then you should probably test it to make sure it isn't going to snap when they do exactly what they tell you they are going to do.

But the real question is when is PB going to share that video? It should be great since they brought the special camera. Will we see ultra slow motion of the frame snapping?
  • 1 7
flag WAKIdesigns (Nov 15, 2019 at 8:58) (Below Threshold)
 @Rigidjunkie: I don’t care about truth here and I don’t accuse them of anything. Anything can break. I messed up EX11 rim on a fire road, having been riding 28spoke ex471 for 3 years on world cup dh worthy chunk.
  • 5 1
 Seriously. PB always says they will review stuff truthfully and if something warrants a poor review, they will absolutely give it one. Even in the comments of some other post, they stated it was their job to report on the broken frame. Now they are folding like they don’t have a spine and letting Pole bully them. What a f*cking joke.
  • 3 3
 @Rigidjunkie: So that's your gut feeling against mine then. You think they did it on purpose, I think it was a mistake. According to their article they made the same mistake back in March this year and they also broke the swingarm. Doing the same thing again on purpose isn't just a gamble, it would just be to be certain that it is going to fail again. Not sure why anyone would do that.

Whether it is the most important bike test out there is arguable. Pinkbike is pretty mainstream so that does make it an important bike test. But Pole has already been getting widespread attention from various media, Pinkbike is just one of them. At the end of the day it is up to PB to do what they feel is best, it is their test after all. Do you want to tell your readers what the production bike is like, the bike the end customer is going to ride. Or do you want to tell what the (faulty) preproduction model is like, the bike no customer is ever going to ride after all. Leave that up to PB to decide and put that in perspective. That determines how "most important" that bike test is.
  • 1 1
 @themostnate: Blah, blah, preproduction prototype, blah blah bad PB took money for field test and f*cked us.
I would love to see a photo of a chainstay of a 140mm Stamina from an owner.
  • 2 0
 @lkubica: I’m getting mine in 6 weeks and if all goes to plan, I’ll upload pictures of the frame and bike build ????????
  • 2 0
 @lkubica: (the questions marks were a “thumbs up” )
  • 1 0
 @Vertik: I am sure yours will have new cs, question is which cs had bikes already shipped. In other words, does Pole lie or are they simply had bad luck. They response suggest that they are stupid as f*ck, so maybe the second option is more probable that I thought initially Wink
  • 1 5
flag WAKIdesigns (Nov 16, 2019 at 7:18) (Below Threshold)
 @lkubica: the only problem I would have with them as a potential client would be if anything like that would happen to me would they also blame me? It’s been a bit too much blaming others for own shortcomings in case of Sick.

Let this be a bit of reminder to dumbest of haters who say that big companies have ridiculous mark ups. These mark ups among other things are in place to cover for warranty returns. If a company likePole screws something up with a dozen of frames requiring replacement out of their own pocket, they are screwed. And if someone thinks big companies treat their customers as guinea pigs, then think twice... think what a small company does...
  • 4 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I never cared about Sick bikes and I wouldn't have known about them if it weren't for Pinkbike. Seems like they're mostly interested in failures instead of good British bikes. Other than Cotic press releases, have they ever bothered to actually have a proper go on a bike from Cotic?
"Hey look Norco has a short travel bike with low and slack geometry, now that's really special!"
"BTR has the Pinner too but we failed to properly preload the headset which got us in trouble so that makes it a bad bike."
"Cotic has a short travel lowslack bike too? Why ever bother riding it?"
The Flare bikes look good fun to me.
"Oh boy Sick isn't delivering, now that is going to generate clicks."
Sorry but if there is no bike, I'm not interested.

The message on the Pole website doesn't come across like blaming, merely putting things in perspective. Pinkbike broke a bike that wasn't like the bike you'd buy as a customer. So that gives the fact that it broke zero information to the end user. But it wasn't blaming. They were quite clear they were wrong sending out a faulty bike for testing. The question I now have is, what is the point of testing preproduction samples if the who purpose of the bike test was to do a group test of bikes they audience is likely to consider as a next bike? Seems to me like it would be best to call for either send finished production bikes or just send nothing at all.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: who’s your plug?
  • 1 0
 @nskerb: What's a plug?
  • 1 0
 Brilliant
  • 25 0
 The more interesting question would have been: "What is your preferred ration of front center over rear center of the sagged bike?"
  • 5 0
 Yes. CS length on it's own is irrelevant.
  • 6 1
 @fartymarty: I wouldn't say irrelevant per se, but it is certainly dependent on what kind of riding you want to be doing. Much like wheel size I guess. 29er is definitely faster, and I think long chainstays are too... But 275 or even 26 and a short back end is better for jumping and such IMO.
  • 2 5
 @fartymarty: Unless it's a hardtail. I don't think Pinkbike hardtails. They only downhill. Anyone can point downhill with reckless abandon, a real MTBer goes uphills too.
  • 9 0
 Or maybe, “what experience do you have with longer rear centres?” Voting on something that many haven’t tried will only show the common size being ridden for the most part.
  • 3 0
 Its more complex than just rear-center to front-center ratios.

When you ride, you have weight on your hands. You also use your upper body to control the bike. I've been playing around with anglesets and different reach bikes, and I even built a custom geometry hard tail. I'm no professional, but in my experience having ultra short chainstays with a long reach can feel balanced if the head tube angle isn't too slack. The 650b Cannondale Jekyl had a slack 65 deg HTA with ultra short chainstays (420) and a medium reach, but it felt way unbalanced and rode like crap. I built up a bike with equally short chainstays (420 again) but a 67 deg HTA and a much longer reach, and it rides much more balanced and stable, even with significantly less travel.

TLBig Grin R: I think a good balanced bike might have more to do with chainstay length compared to HTA and stack height, rather than just the overal front-center length. All things being equal, of course, like height and riding skill.
  • 2 1
 @hamncheez: Yeah, the longer reach probably shifts your weight forwards so that creates a different front-rear weight balance over the wheels. It probably doesn't make sense to view any number (of set of numbers) in isolation. My frame is a BTR Ranger, 26" model size large with as the only modification, the seattube sized down to 400mm (to lower the top tube). Full geometry numbers can be found here: www.btr-fabrications.com/products/ranger-frame/#frame-options. In short: 415mm chainstays, 1213mm wheelbase, 460mm reach, 63deg head tube angle with a 120mm travel fork and a 150mm head tube. To me this feels perfectly balanced. I still have more than enough pressure over the front wheel. Now that it is getting wetter out there, it doesn't take much to make the rear wheel lose traction in a corner (without braking) but I have good control over when this happens. My previous hardtail (DMR Switchback) had a 420mm chainstay, 375mm reach and a 69deg headtube with a 130mm travel fork and got real uncontrollable at times. That said, I ride with my midfoot over the axle so compared to the axle under the ball of your foot, I have basically increased the rear center and shortened the front. My bike may be different for people who ride with the ball of their foot over the axle or those who sit down as they ride.
  • 4 6
 @AJBarlas: one could say what experience do “you” have with short rear centers. Saying 430 is short is ridiculous. You know why folks preaching certain geo is bestest for everything? Because they are full of crap or ignorant or can’t ride for sht or all at the same time. You know how you can tell? BMX racing and Slope Style. These people send stuff that 99% of people wouldn’t send on DH bikes.

Using DH geo on 140 bike is plain ridiculous. I am glad Pole finally made a bike that makes sense, that is Stamina 180. Travel matches geometric capability. I’d buy one if I had the cash

I have fond memories of riding Stumpy Evo with 456 stays, but would Take Enduro with 430 stays any time of the day
  • 2 0
 @Geochemistry: username checks out
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez:
Agreed. I aim for around it over 35% rear centre.
As I ride XL if XXL bikes that gets very difficult to achieve or find. Pivot and Santa Cruz for examples end up at 32% and yes, I can feel the difference compared to my Banshee.

Most bikes I've ridden below that I have disliked.
The know exception has been my hardtail but that's not had a full trail ride yet.
  • 1 1
 @The-Reverend: what Banshee do you have?
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns:
I've two.
I'm running a MY18 Prime with the long drop outs. I've got them both actually and prefer long + low setting.

I also have a V3 Paradox.
  • 1 1
 @The-Reverend: I’m just very curious about the Darkside. How does it work with coil shock
  • 1 0
 @AJBarlas: Agreed. I didn't vote because it doesn't make sense to vote. I don't have a test mule where i can change the CS length from 420 to 450 mm to say how it affects the handling of a bike. Or at least multiple bikes with generally the same characteristics but with different chainstay lengths. Comparing different bikes with different CS-es doesn't give you the right picture since the handling is a factor of too many things.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I'm afraid I can't answer that. I've never run a Darkside.someone will no doubt comment though.
  • 1 0
 @Primoz: what I did was think about my last two main bikes and compared how I think they stack up, then voted in the middle. For my riding I think I would like to try 440. 450 was better than 430 for most riding, but I also switched from 275 to 29 at the same time to confuse things further. 450 climbs like a beast but it’s not good for tucking in to get backsides. Everything is a compromise right?
  • 2 0
 @jaame: That's my point, i went from a 425 mm chainstay to 434 mm and i'm now on 440. I also went from 26 to 27,5 to 29 inch wheels. And from 1130 to 1217 to 1292 mm of wheelbase. And 68 to 65 and 65,5 degree head angle. And 593 to 640 to 680 mm top tube (this one was a shocker for the old Meta 5.5 now that i see it).

The three bikes are 2008 Meta 5.5 in L, 2015 Reign in L and 2019 Bird AM9 in XL. Yeah, both previous bikes were too small for me (should have gone for an XL, but with the Commencal it was fashionable to have a smaller bike and with the Giant there was no option of getting the 1 in XL plus the bike kinda fitted at the time... good old days Smile ). But still, all three bikes ride and handle completely differently. I can't really comment on the chainstay lengths and which i prefer because from these three i obviously prefer the 440 mm. But for my ideal bike that i would like to try now (it wouldn't necessarily be any good) would be a Pole-like steep seat tube, about the same length of the top tube i have now, ~540 mm of reach off the top of my head (depends on the seat tube angle of course), maybe try 66° of head angle and have 420 mm of chainstays. Minimise the wheelbase and maximise the cockpit space. And put the front wheel closer to the handlebar (to weight it properly) and move the rear wheel closer to the feet. With the steep seat tube, your weight still wouldn't be all over the rear axle on the climbs as well.

I think you do most of the loading of the front through your arms and for the rear mostly through your feet. So it makes sense to me to have the distance between each body part and corresponding axle as small as possible.
  • 1 0
 @Primoz: Ideally you shouldn't have to focus too much on consciously weighting your front wheel. A more neutral position is ideal for stability and balance. Look at someone like Sam Hill, he rides a medium nukeproof mega (450mm chain stay, 1197mm wheelbase) and the part of the reason he is able to keep such a neutral position is because his bike is so well balanced. Ideally much longer bikes like the bigger sizes of Pole bikes should have even longer chain stays than 450. If you go too short with the chain stay your front wheel will wash out easily, especially with a much longer cockpit. I think a Pole like front center combined with 420mm chain stays would create a ridiculously unbalanced and difficult to ride bike.
  • 2 0
 @Primoz: meta was a piece of sht in every possible way, just like the next bike they made. I have the meta 4x vip up stairs and wouldn’t piss on it if it was on fire. The whole point of this poll being stupid is that one cannot consider one factor out of the whole sea of variables and even if we would consider other numbers on the bike we still fall short. Pole and Geometron apply very similar geo across the whole range, so do most awake as fuk companies. There is no way an xc bike can make use of DH bikes geo, hence there is no point in providing one with it. XC frames have more flex, they use wobbly thin tires on wobbly wheels. I am not saying 69 head angle is any good to anything else than dj bike, I will gladly accept 66 with 100 fork. But I have been riding bikes that ask to be ridden down fast but run out of steam due to setup and lack of travel. I will never forget the chunky, super balanced stumpy evo 29 from 2013. 456 stays and full control. Buy I was riding slower trails and climbed fireroads. Terrain, available speeds, skill, riders physiology - it all matters.
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: of course the Meta was shit. But all bikes at the time were shit. Some more than others, but still, shit compared to today. And that's the point i was trying to make, you can't comment on ideal chainstay length when you have completely different characteristics on the frame in other dimensions. You need identical frames with different chainstay lengths, but then have the suspension kinematics modified for them to be similar as well. And you simply cannot have that unless you have a test mule.

@theelias09: agreed, but i think with many bikes these days and how long they are you actually do have to force yourself to weight the front wheel. I have to with my bike and i'm thinking it's because of riding flat pedals. I'm pulled backwards because i'm dropping my heels and rotating myself around the pedal axis since my ankles are already locked. I'll be trying out SPDs after 12 years in the winter to see if i'll be able to be a bit more centred on the bike without fear of my foot being thrown off.

That's another thing, i think long reach bikes will require running clipless pedals for that exact reason.
  • 1 0
 @Primoz: Not sure what's considered long these days. I'm about 6ft tall, ride with platforms and my bike has a 460mm reach. I think this about average modern these days. Either way, I have no issues loading the front wheel even when dropping the heels. I don't know how much it matters but I ride with the midfoot over the axle. If you ride with more of the forefoot over the axle (which when riding clipped in you probably have do the way these shoes are made) this probably positions you slightly different on a similar bike. First of all you may be something like 50mm shifted back compared to me. So that makes the chainstay considerably shorter and the reach longer. The other thing is that if you drop the heels, when with the ball of the foot over the pedal axle doing so will also lower your body. So with respect to your body, the handlebar would feel higher (like more stack). I can imagine both effects will make it feel harder to load the front. Could this be the case for you too? Then of course if you still prefer this foot position then yes, the longer reach may not be ideal for you. For me it was the other way around. I came from having the pedal axle under the ball of my foot (still on very concave platforms). That bike had relatively short reach but I could just handle it. Then I got different pedals designed to have the midfoot over the axle so that's what I did. This made the bike uncontrollable. Lots over oversteer which could be fun at times but hairy when lining up for a jump. I just had way too much weight over the front. Getting a slightly shorter chainstay and considerably longer reach and front center on my next frame set that straight for me.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: I'm 6 3 and ride 520 mm of reach. Bird AM9. And i am standing on the balls of my feet, yeah. It does pull me a bit more rearwards, but the shoe sole is a bit bigger there, giving more grip (covering more pins maybe) plus i have much better feeling. I couldn't ride with the axle underneath the middle of my foot.

I don't think the handlebar has any effect on it (i actually chose a 40 mm rise bar), it's simply that i feel myself pulling backwards and have to pull myself forwards, but then i instantly get afraid of blowing off the pedals. It's not that i can't load the front. I can, when i pull my body forwards. It's the fact that i get pulled backwards subconciously.

SPDs will confirm this, i just need to make a purchase and the weather needs to improve so i can actually go out and ride!
  • 1 0
 @Primoz: Oh yeah, my geometry is nowhere close to that. My reach is 460mm, more numbers in my post above from November 15. My pedals are Catalyst pedals which are designed to bridge the gap between the ball and the heel of the foot. I feel shorter pedals are much less comfortable under the midfoot and indeed when I ride short pedals like that I tend to ride with the ball of my foot again. Or require stiffer soles to spread the load.

Back when I got into mountainbiking I was told that if I wanted to get serious, I needed to get used to riding clipped in. So that's what I did. But I never really got on with them (SPD type pedals). They either unclipped when I really didn't want them to or they didn't release when they should. After a few years I switched to platforms and it was a revelation. I was in control again. I had a short stint with Time Z pedals because I got a heavy full suspension bike and thought it was going to help with climbing, but soon enough I ditched them and never looked back. So from my experience it seems scary to rely to SPD pedals for grip when you can't shift in a good position to extract enough grip from platform pedals (by dropping your heels) but I realize that others have much better experience clipped in so if it works for you then great.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: I'm one OneUp aluminiums currently. As for clips, i raced XC almost 20 years ago (junior categories), but went with flats in 2008 with my first full susser in the height of Sam Hill era.
  • 23 0
 As a person who rides an XL, I think this is possibly the most important piece of geometry to be considered on modern bikes. I don’t normally comment here but I would really like companies to hear this.

Let me start by saying I’ve owned 4 modern aggressive 29ers and ridden at least a dozen. With chainstays ranging from 430.5mm to 446mm all with a reach from 500-515mm. I also ride 400hours a year and am what you may call a local fast guy, though far from being professional.

The single best way to make an otherwise great (extra large) bike awful is to give it a short chainstay (435). Having this sort of a chainstay does not make it turn fast, the only thing it does is make it break traction quickly. Because the rear end is so short, your weight is always hovering right around the rear axle. This means you cant properly weight the front tire, and as a result:
1. Front feels drifts unpredictably.
2. When riding steep sections the front tire doesn’t bite, you can’t slow down effectively.
3. When you want to hit a turn and not break traction, your weight often shifts backwards under compression and you get the ‘loop out’ feeling. That makes you panic break and standup in the turn, if you haven’t crashed by now.
4. Tall riders also have high seatposts, therefore when pedalling they’re extremely close if not over the rear axle. Factor in dynamic geometry and climbing a steep pitch and it takes immense amounts of effort to keep the front wheel from wandering, and you from looping out. (I’m also a firm believer in steeper seat angles for larger bikes).

The point: the best cornering modern aggressive 29er I’ve ever ridden, was also the fastest in a straight line, the most controlled when riding steeps, and the most comfortable to climb tech pitches with, also had a 446mm chainstay. PROPORTIONAL SIZED CHAINSTAYS are the absolute best and I wish every company adopted them.

Thank you for listening to my rant.
  • 2 0
 Sorry for the typos. Typing this while standing on a bus ain’t easy. I think you get the gist!
  • 1 0
 So I’m guessing...XL Megatower? As another XL rider, this is one bike I preferred in the Long (445-446) position vs. short (345-346). A more balanced feel with better traction on the front in corners and going down while also better traction when climbing and less looping out. Also, the new SC seat angles (MT, HT2, TB4) are not ‘steep’ by any means on the larger sizes, makes me really want to try the Forbidden Druid.
  • 1 0
 Great post. I think a lot of people should read this and try to understand it. Naturally other specs play a part, especially head angle, but another thing this can show is what the CS/reach ratio would be on shorter reach bikes, for smaller humans... If your 446cs/515 reach is what works great for you, 515mm/1.155=446mm. So if you were 5'10" and rode a 470mm reach bike, the same CS to reach ration would be a super short 407mm CS length. Food for thought!
  • 1 0
 Thank you for your insights
  • 2 2
 Ehh. Im a shorter guy, 5' 11" ish. Rode 490 reach 430 chainstay XL for years. It actually works good if you can throw your weight around, you just got to throw it around a lot. This bike spent more time in nose wheelie than my subsequent shorter bike that has longer stays.

I prefer longer, but short ones work on long bikes, just need to get a little wild with riding style.
  • 1 0
 @skerby: Do my equation above.. His bike at 515mm reach and 446mm stays would be the same as a 490mm reach with 424mm stays. I wouldn't personally call 430mm stays short, with having a 490mm reach, personally ....
  • 1 0
 @thuren: That is a really good point. My bad, lol
  • 1 1
 @thuren: The wheelbase is what you should be comparing, not the reach. Regardless of the reach, head angle and fork offset affect how hard it is to weight the front wheel.
  • 1 0
 @theelias09: For sure, the wheelbase is valid as I note, but I'm just trying to make a simple point here assuming a more norm these days 64-65* HA.
  • 1 0
 @theelias09: And technically, they are both valid, along with stem length, saddle position, etc.. My main point is the reach/front center ratio between sizes... Comparing the same model bike, really, for simplicity sake.
  • 1 0
 Agree on short stays putting you in the back seat in corners. Also an xl rider on a bike with 'short' 435mm stays & it often feels like you are riding the back wheel when loading up in a berm. I think manufactures will catch on with proportional stays, or just make them adjustable like they used to 10 years ago, let the rider decide, how hard can it be?
  • 1 0
 @thuren: Front centre/rear centre (or your Reach/Rear Centre) is not quite as simple as just dividing the front centre measurement by the rear centre measurement and then transferring across sizes. Its more nuanced than that by taking into account rider position and weight distribution at different heights. Just look at the new Norco (fancy Ride Aligned triangle) or Forbidden Bikes numbers, they're not just going, ok, we got a Large Druid(783mmFC/438mmRC=1.79) and then transferring that ratio to the rest of the sizes, its more complex than that. Interestingly Forbidden decided to push it with 12mm gaps in Rear Centre length vs. there more conservative 5mm gaps of the Norcos.

Forgive my mistake in my original post, I meant to write 446 vs 436mm chain stays for the Megatower.
  • 1 0
 @robnow: XXL megatower. I totally agree with the seat angle not being steep enough. I wouldn’t buy a megatower because the stack is too high, and the seat angle is too slack for my liking. But I can certainly applaud the balanced feel of the bike.
  • 3 0
 @i-ride-on-dirt: Just wait for the WeAreOne built Forbidden Enduro bikeWink
  • 1 0
 @robnow: Yep totally familiar with the concept, but when it comes to traction at the front and rear tire contact points, 100% weight on pedals standing, actual weight bias front to rear is as simple as measuring it out by FC/RC ratio, which is extremely important if you want one size bike's designed platform to put pressure on the ground like the other sizes. My bike's(at sag) proportions are 1.95:1 ( 819mm FC/420mm RC ) Which is pretty damn close to the Megatower XXL FC/RC ratio in the long CS setting... I agree with the Druid 12mm RC changes between sizes, as mathematically it totally makes sense. If a bikes front center grows 25-30mm per size, the RC should grow 12-15mm too, each size...
  • 1 0
 @thuren: you ride your bike without touching the handlebars...awesome! 2 points of contact bro, sometimes even 3 :0, not just 1. And a varying Centre of Mass somewhere between the 2.
  • 1 0
 @robnow: Shocker! I had no idea I was holding the bars and sitting on the saddle!
  • 2 1
 It's not a rant, it's just the plain truth. Like you I'm XL / XXL and it makes a significant difference.

My way of describing it to others is like riding a BMX on the rear axle pegs. Sure, it's great to wheelie, but frankly disastrous everywhere else. I recall riding a SCHTLT and wondering why on earth people spent money on it it was that bad (for me).

I've grown tired of seeing brands claiming to obsess over the details yet they ignore this time and time again: Ibis, Pivot, Trek, Specialised... I'm looking at you, but the list is almost endless.
Santa Cruz have just woken up to it. YT and Norco along with Banshee got this ages ago. I may have missed others.

It's so incredibly lazy and arrogant of them and they have absolutely no solid argument to continue with this. The blatant lies that "shorter is best" that many push is insulting.
It's simply down to laziness and trying to keep costs down.

I've looped out on a Pivot I owned and the short rear centre was no doubt part of the reason why it happened.
That caused a very serious spinal injury and led me to seek bikes with longer rears to keep the bike balanced.

My only exception has been my Banshee Paradox hardtail and that's not been ridden on a trail due to recovering from surgery. If it's too twitchy I'll sell it in a heartbeat.

Sooner or later brands will start to address this properly however I suspect it'll be only when they feel it's costing them more than not doing it is saving.

I am looking forward to how some of these brands are going to market this without admitting they produced a substandard bike before.
  • 1 0
 @i-ride-on-dirt: did you check the 2020 Norco Sight? STA and chainstay length vary with size. I'm not very tall but I seriously consider this bike.
  • 2 0
 Like i wrote above (under another comment from the main level, I am also an XL rider, a steep seat tube preacher, hater of reach numbers because they are useless for seated fit, etc.):

A bike I would like to try now (it wouldn't necessarily be any good) would be a Pole-like steep seat tube, about the same length of the top tube i have now, ~540 mm of reach off the top of my head (depends on the seat tube angle of course), maybe try 66° of head angle and have 420 mm of chainstays. Minimise the wheelbase and maximise the cockpit space. And put the front wheel closer to the handlebar (to weight it properly) and move the rear wheel closer to the feet. With the steep seat tube, your weight still wouldn't be all over the rear axle on the climbs as well.

I think you do most of the loading of the front through your arms and for the rear mostly through your feet. So it makes sense to me to have the distance between each body part and corresponding axle as small as possible.
  • 13 0
 What we can conclude from this is that the taller you are, the less likely you are to know what a chainstay is.
  • 12 2
 As someone who wants to show off my internet engineering PHD, in just going to add 10mm to whatever the holy trinity of bike geniuses (Leo from Pole, Paul Aston and Chris Porter) say is best.

Anything else is unridable
  • 3 0
 No you must subtract 10mm. That way you are "forward thinking" and "progressive" but not far enough from the norm to be branded as too much
  • 8 2
 I remember when super short chainstays were the fashion, and flat bars!!!
Funny how we pretty much always come back to around 440mm and riser bars.

I remember buying my Mega XL TR275 way back when, I wanted the 440mm chainstays and I was going to run 26" wheels (I am 6ft1).
I was told I was crazy, mad, bonkers and why not buy the Mega TR which had 430mm chainstays as it would be better and running small wheels on a 275 would not work as the BB was so low.
I still ride my MegaTR 275 with 26" wheels, 165mm cranks, -2 angleset and a 160mm fork.
Wait... that is pretty much where bikes are now, just the seat angle is 1 degree steeper Smile I was not mad, just ahead of the game. haha

26 is still the most fun too, which is what this bike is about, nobody has changed the local walkers paths and trails around the cliffs to open up and berm the corners for those big wheels...
  • 2 0
 Now that all these 29ers with long travel end up with super tall stack heights, don't be too surprised to see flat bars start a comeback.
  • 1 0
 @j-t-g: we already have some solutions.
Short head tubes too compensate, coupled with additinal robustness and tapered steerers.
Negative rise stems to compensate.
  • 8 0
 Pick a chainstay length and be a dick about it...
  • 5 1
 Pick a dick and be a chainstay a put it.
  • 4 0
 Surely the vast majority of us aren't informed enough to make a proper decision (myself included), all we have to go on is market trends and what reviews say which is their opinions and not our own.
Most of us only have our current bike and maybe a few bikes before to judge on and without trying the same bike with different chain stay lengths we can't put anything down to purely chain stay length.
I would like more bikes having adjustable dropouts so we can try different lengths on the same bike and then form a more informed opinion, also gives more flexibility for peoples preferences and to balance it with the front centre.
  • 4 0
 I've run my Ti Honzo with (sliding dropouts) in all different positions. (On the same bike) for instance just a few millimeters of shorter stays makes a drastic difference in the cornering ability/agility, and only takes a little bit away in stability. I prefer a bike that maneuvers faster! Sometimes "fast" is not just straightline speed, it's using the speed and keeping it using skills.
  • 4 0
 So you've got a bunch of 6'4"+ guys likely on bikes with too slack seat angles and too short rear centers who've probably never even seen a bike with a different layout let alone ride one with 450mm+ chainstays all saying what they have is what they prefer.
  • 6 0
 i want a kona with the chainstays of a hill climb moto and headset cups like dolly parton.
  • 6 0
 My considered opinion is that the three bikes I own is not a large enough sample size to form an opinion.
  • 3 0
 Depends on the bike and the demands of the trail. As a tall rider, climbing with a high seat over a short chainstay can suck. But ripping through tight turns is great. A little more stability on longer stays in the rear end would be nice at times, but then you sacrifice the nimbleness of being able to bunny hop and pop over stuff. It's always a compromise. Sometimes I hate my chainstay length, other times I love it.
  • 5 0
 How can anyone who is not an experienced bike test rider answer this? The title should be: Your preferred chainstay length based on what you read on the internet.
  • 1 0
 As a tall and pretty heavy person. I had pretty much been on Norco bikes, so a bike that actually sizes the rear end for the size of the bike, for several years. Jumped on an Evil Insurgent and could barely keep the front on the ground on any sorta steep climb and almost looped out the first few times I pulled up on the bars to get over stuff on flat ground. Quickly adapted to being super subtle with any weight transfer and it was a pretty fun bike generally but could definitely tell those chainstays were way too short for me.
  • 3 0
 I know that long swingarms(chainstays) and good suspension action are very closely related from Moto and engineering principles. The marketing of shorter and shorter chainstay lengths never made sense since the entire dimension should be dictated by balancing CoG within the contact patches. Very few framebuilders seem to truly understand this or male a cost/value decision to offer only one length and just run with it to market. If your smart you see this is foolish.
To my knowledge the only maker really addressing this is Nicolai/Geometron and to a lesser degree Norco. When you go to market with a fixed length chainstay across 4-5 frame sizes it is likely you smallest bikes ride much better and balanced than your large sizes which is where I live.
  • 3 0
 This survey doesn't specify wheel size. !?! For a trail bike where I prioritize fun over speed I want a short stay. For a race bike I can see benefits of a longer stay but still would prefer a shorter stay to help manual. IMO the stays are getting too long and this stay based on height thing is BS.
  • 3 0
 Spoiler alert: the most popular answer in each height group is 430-435. The average preferred length does skew slightly longer in the taller groups. One factor I didn't see when skimming the comments is the interaction between chainstay length and BB drop. A taller BB will exaggerate all the negative characteristics people are ascribing to short CS. (The relationship of interest is BB height relative to axle height, not BB height from ground.)
  • 1 0
 How so? I finding riding 26" bike the stays feel longer because of a higher bb vs the axles, where a 29" bike with the same length stays feels short because you stand 'deeper' in the bike with the bb drop. This is riding back to back on a spesh pitch from around 2008 vs 2018 enduro.
  • 1 0
 @zyoungson: The higher the bb, the higher your center of mass is. The higher your center of mass is, the less stable you are front to rear, because you have a longer (taller) lever working against the rear axle (which is the pivot point). A longer wheelbase and longer CS add stability by bracing against that leverage. A longer and lower bike is a stabler bike. That's why trials bikes have ridiculously high BBs--you don't want it to be stable, you want the bike to respond more to your movements.
  • 2 0
 My Yeti SBC6 which has the longest chainstays of any bike I've owned also corners the best of any bike I've owned. My only grumble is that the reach could be longer for the size large I'm riding but I'm not getting an XL as he HT is massive! The newer yetis have short chainstays and I'm not sure I want that anymore...
  • 6 0
 I’ll let the engineers do the thinkin’, I’ll do the ridin’.
  • 4 2
 Your riding position will adapt to these minor changes in bike geometry. If you're telling me 10 mm in chainstay length will make a noticeable difference, I'd have to say you're experiencing the placebo effect. Until I see some blind reviews where bikes are accurately reviewed without prior knowledge of geometry, I'm calling BS on this whole thing.
  • 2 0
 Two previous bikes had shorter chain stays, the immediate predecessor being a nomad 3. The SB6c is better. My V10 also cornered better than the demo before it. Maybe it's the suspension platform maybe it's something else or maybe it's a number of different things. But my experiences with bikes that have longer chain stays are that they corner better. That may not be true for all but it works for me.
  • 2 0
 I find this question difficult to answer, simply as I don't have enough time on bikes of each of those chainstay lengths. But also because chainstay lengths are only part of the "balance" (ie, front center/wheelbase as well).

All I really know, is that at 6'1", I've been starting to feel that the 425mm chainstays on my Kona process 153 29'er (in size Large), are at least a bit on the short side for my preferences. It is nice to (try to) manual pretty easily, but I feel I have to be WAY over the front of the bike to keep it balanced at speed.

I think I'd prefer something longer.

I just don't know how much longer.

I'm currently looking hard at the new Norco Sight frames... I love the idea of the STA and CS length changing depending on the rider size, but the XL Sight has 445mm chainstays, which seems like a huge jump up from my Kona.

TIME TO DEMO!
  • 1 0
 20mm isn’t even 5% if you want to look at it another way
  • 1 0
 @yzedf: 5% is quite significant though when it comes to weight distribution. On an 860 front center, the fc rc ratio of the 425 vs 445 chain stays would be 2.02 vs 1.93. That difference would only decrease slightly on smaller front centers.
  • 1 0
 @theelias09: More or less weight on the front is easily manipulated with stem length and or bar height.
  • 2 0
 When will people realize, long stays work better for taller riders & bigger bike sizing, short stays work better for smaller people, but end of the day comes down to personal preference & how/where you ride. Just like we went thru a few years ago with 29" wheels. Short stays are a hangover from when we had tiny bikes & rode over the back wheel, you needed short stays otherwise it felt like a bus.
  • 1 1
 You need short stays to make a 29er handle like a regular bike for 6' people. If you're tall (the ideal candidate for 29" wheels from a fit perspective) then you also need a steep enough seat angle and long enough chainstays to balance it all out. A taller rider will have the center of gravity/leverage to move a bike like that around. It's ironic that in trying to make 29ers handle normally for smaller people they've made them terrible for taller riders. At least until recently. Now companies are finally getting off their thumbs and building bikes to fit varying people rather than what's convenient for them to manufacture. If a company doesn't vary ESTA by size and offer at least two rear center options they think XS and XL don't deserve proper fitting bikes. If you're an XS or XL person don't buy bikes from these companies.
  • 2 0
 I'm probably the minority, but I think different seat tube (and even head tube) angles on different frame sizes would be way more effective than varying c.s. lengths. Just look at short people on super steep seat tube bikes with all the weight on their hands and tall people on slack seat tube bikes ready to wheelie just breathing on the pedals.
Also just because I'm tall doesn't mean I need a 48"+ wheelbase. At 6'2", give me a long reach, steep seat tube, a steep (for 2019) head tube and I'm down with short c.s. so I can bunny hop/ manual easy.
  • 2 0
 Does this not mainly depend on the type or riding you do?
Maybe better poll would be?
Type of riding you do and preferred chain-stay length on each?
XC
Trail
Enduro
Downhill

For me I do mainly do slower technical trail/XC riding up and down so I prefer bikes with shorter a WB shorter CS like 430mm.
  • 3 0
 Adjustable! My Stache and XTC frames both have sliding dropouts to change the effective length, and a bonus is easy single speed capability.
  • 3 0
 CS length should be a proportion of wheelbase vs proportion of height. The CS length I like on my trail bike is not the same as I like on my DH bike that's 50mm longer.
  • 1 0
 I haven’t tried enough lengths to really know what’s better or figure out what length is good for certain ride characteristics, however I would be interested in an adjustable chainstay length on my next bike to try different settings.
  • 1 0
 Its surprising to me how little people think about chainstay length. I would argue that changing a chainstay 10mm is more noticeable than changing head angle by a degree. It's one of the most important things i look for in a bike, as it makes a profound difference in how a bike rides.
  • 1 0
 Went from a Turner Burner with 437mm to a Guerrilla Gravity Megatrail with 427mm cs. The burner was stable off of jumps but tough to bunny hop without something to pop the front wheel off of. The Megatrail is more squirrely off of jumps but is more nimble even though it has a longer wheelbase and front center. If I had to choose another bike I would look for a CS around 433mm. That would be the sweet spot. I’m 6’1”.
  • 1 0
 My dh bike is 423 and it’s too short. Demo rode a dh bike with 440 and was much more balanced feeling.

My trail bikes have ranged from 415 to 434. They all felt too short when trying to muscle up steep technical climbs. My piece of crap Mongoose fat bike has very long chainstays, and it’ll climb up anything I have the power for without drastic changes in body position. To say that it’s annoying I can only clean a couple of climbs on my $399 bike is a bit annoying!
  • 2 0
 Sorry, did I miss the part where wheel size was mentioned? Or is the assumption that it doesn‘t matter and the same chainstay length will work for all wheel sizes (which I, for one, strongly doubt)?
  • 1 0
 As 6' 6", I'd say I'm a big dude - however I prefer a short rear end. A long reach / front makes you lean further shifting your weight forwards. Do a trackstand with both wheels on a set of scales and you can see where your weight is.
  • 1 0
 You should be driving the bike thru the bb to make it corner, that changes the game. When you have to consciously weight the front end to make it stick in a corner it becomes a pain in the dick
  • 1 0
 @zyoungson: I get that, yes. But by moving the bars forward (in this case through reach) your mass moves forward.
  • 1 0
 at 5'10" i have tested my medium 27.5 banshe rune v2 with dropouts creating chainstay length of 425, 435, and 457mm
all else the same 457 was significantly faster and easier to ride.

457mm CS made for less looping, easier to bunnyhop high, more naturally weighting pedals, better front wheel traction at all times, easier to drift rear wheel around tight corners, less pressure on hands and lower center of gravity (because weight isn't on handlebar so much)

there are multiple top pro's who have murmured avocation of long chainstays. Most consistent World cup winning bikes have had long chainstays. Riders successful riding long CS going to short CS have consistently struggled.

Are all you "short chainstay are right" proponents saying Minnar is wrong to have xlong chainstays?
Sam hill is riding 450mm chainstays. Danny hart's mondraker was long, Skarcen has 460mm chainstays. Fabien Barel's Stabs had 464mm chainstays, that didnt seem to slow him down.
  • 1 0
 Longer reach, slacker headtube angles, and heavier front ends make bikes much harder to lift the front wheel. it's not just long chainstays. if you are able to easily lift the front end of a bike, beyond that your doing detriment because you dont want a bike that will loop out easily.

I find that i can yank up harder and higher on a bike with longer chainstays without looping it out and the same also applies to lifting my front wheel over obstacles while climbing.

my ideal bike is around 60% weight on rear wheel. Modern bikes like kona process are like 70%
When you have more weight on one wheel than the other the more loaded wheel will see more stress, require a heavier spring, more damping, you will need sturdier tire and rim. the contact pressure at the ground will be higher on one wheel, so less loaded wheel (the front) will be more likely to skate, and the more loaded wheel will be likely to sink. the difference between how hard your rear and front wheel hit things will be polarized, which is not good.

I've been mtb'ing for over 16 years, starting with lots of urban riding. i can hop up a bar height ledge from flat, a 6 stair or or over a large log on a trail.
  • 1 0
 In the motorcycle world, it is so nice to be able to lengthen or shorten the wheelbase by moving rear wheel forward or backwards (which also affects the leverage on the shock) in addition to putting more or less weight on forks by raising or lowering them in the triple clamps.
Being stuck with one set chainstay length is dumb.
  • 1 0
 I have a hypothesis that the relationship between rider size and chainstay preference is more related to femur length than anything else - that’s what determines how far behind the BB your hips tend to end up.

Mine are long and my latest bike has 455mm chainstays (same as the reach) and it handles brilliantly.
  • 1 0
 i havent got a clue what mine is. Its long enough to fit the wheel in there, and allow the suspension action to cycle fully. I find it hard to believe that anyone can really tell the difference of 10mm that a flip chip offers.
  • 4 0
 yeah wait, what‘s a chainstay?
  • 40 0
 it's that little plastic piece that goes over your front chainring that makes the "chainstay".
  • 3 0
 @rocky-mtn-gman: so does that mean the lenth will help the seatstay
  • 4 1
 If you have 500+ reach then you need 445+ rear stays to balance it out on the XL and XXL bikes.
  • 1 0
 Looks like bike makers are slowly getting their head around this
  • 1 1
 Can’t wait to throw my 52” wheelbase around some corners.
  • 2 0
 It’s not really about the riders height, it’s more about how the bike is going to be ridden and the skill set of the rider
  • 4 0
 Norco's length that scales with size
  • 2 0
 I just put in what my bike currently has, because the chainstay length I have to ride is 107.3% better than a chainstay length I don't have to ride.
  • 1 0
 Is it just me or is 405 still pretty long especially for a slalom bike like the comment suggests my current DJ is 385. This question needs to be broken down into discipline to add any value
  • 2 0
 I'm 5.6 and ride a 2015 Enduro evo, it has 423mm stays and they're perfect for me — flickable and fun. Definitely will stick to sub 430mm for my next bike.
  • 1 0
 Rode the new Reign e1 pro (or whatever) and it has 470mm chain stays. I negotiated some really tight switchbacks on a technical climb. Seemed fine. For that application it worked. Yes, it is an evoke though.
  • 1 0
 *e-bike
  • 1 0
 Not something I really consider, as like many its not a make or break issue when picking a bike. Most people can't afford to dismiss a bike because of stay lengths.
  • 2 1
 @fullfacemike: it's one of the most important things for me when selecting a bike. It makes a massive difference to me.
  • 4 1
 Short enough that I can wheely and huck things easy on the trail Wink
  • 3 0
 As long as a 29" wheel won't fit I'm happy as a sandboy.
  • 2 1
 Which has nothing to do with chainstay length, the stays on my 29er are way shorter than on my 27.5 bike, and the stays on that are shorter than on any 26“ bike I ever owned (ok, all of those had front derailleurs. And yes, it says Canfield on the 29ers downtube)
  • 3 0
 Get back to the Field Test!
  • 3 0
 Can't wait for the sock length article!
  • 1 0
 Two 29ers with two different lengths. Like the 435s on my Trance Like the 415s on my Honzo Each suits the bike but no option to choose!
  • 3 0
 Did anyone else have to Google how long the chainstay on their bike is?
  • 2 0
 I have not clue what my chainstay length is. If the bike feels right, it feels right.
  • 5 1
 Girth is what matters
  • 2 0
 CS length doesn't matter! What matters is: the color of the bike, and does my kit make my bars look too wide?
  • 3 0
 As short as possible. Forever slammed. 26 4 lyyffeeee.
  • 3 1
 What's a chainstay is the ONLY answer possible in these cases Smile
  • 2 0
 My answer would be one that is balanced with front center lenght.
  • 2 0
 This poll does not make much sence without specifying the bike type.
  • 1 0
 I like a fc-rc ratio of 1.7 on my hardtail, similar ratio as a lrg yt capra at 1.75. Hardtail is 430 cs and capra is 435 cs.
  • 2 0
 Whatever the length is on my Pole Evolink, it's perfect.
  • 4 1
 Until they break, then it’ll be shorter Wink
  • 2 0
 Depends entirely on the front centre length. Gotta be balanced.
  • 1 0
 Interesting is that this mattered when i was in the process of buying a bike, and now I couldn't care less...
  • 2 0
 'Shorter is superior' - that's what she didn't say...Michael Scott
  • 1 0
 My opinion is.....Who cares?!?!?! Just get out and ride what ever bike you have and enjoy it!
  • 1 0
 We all deserve more than one bike so we don't have to pick! There's no one perfect geo for all trails.
  • 2 0
 Conclusión, don´t make them larger thatn 440mm
  • 3 1
 420mm is obviously the optimal length for chainstays, come on guys
  • 2 0
 long for dh short for dj park trial street medium for enduro
  • 1 0
 I dunno, don't ride fast enough to want 'em any longer than whatever they are!
  • 2 0
 425 in the left and 455 in the right for the best of both worlds
  • 1 0
 My quesiton is what is the valve coming out of the back of the chainstay on the stache?
  • 2 1
 Having a frame that fits me is the most important thing. Ive never even worried about chain stay length.
  • 1 0
 I need to check what the pro's run and cross check it with forum regulars to make my decision.
  • 1 0
 I honestly have no idea how long the chainstays are on any of my bikes. IDGAF. I just ride.
  • 2 0
 What does the marketing department say we should have ?
  • 1 0
 The wider the better! - your wallet, ie. That goes for your handlebars as well (they say) Wink
  • 2 2
 This is too much tech for those who just want to ride a bike and chill with friends.. who cares about that ?
  • 2 0
 Why care about any bike tech? Why not just buy a $150 Walmart bike?
  • 1 0
 Apparently the 6'4 to 6'7 crowd doesn't know what a chainstay is
  • 1 1
 It is really all about wheelbase and rider position within that measurement, not chainstay length.
  • 1 0
 Anyone know where to find 35mm bore flat or with little rise handlebars??
  • 1 0
 There should be the option to have a long chainstay in most cases.
  • 1 0
 Came here for the 420-69 option.
  • 1 0
 same length as the pivot point of shoulder and grip centre point
  • 1 0
 26 an short as possible cos plus size bmx
  • 1 0
 Had to look up the chain stay length of my bikes so I had an answer.
  • 2 0
 I have a Blue Bike!!!
  • 1 0
 385mm chainstays for the win. 26 ain't dead!
  • 1 0
 Depends on the geo of the rest of the frame...
  • 1 0
 I don’t care I’ll test the bike and then decide if I like it or not.
  • 1 0
 This long
  • 1 2
 What’s your preferred CS length: oh well:

DJ 380, XC/DC 415, enduro 435-440, DH 435-450.
  • 1 0
 How tall are you though? What matters is proportions and bigger bikes are proportionally going to have shorter chain stays most of the time.
  • 2 0
 @theelias09: I'm just under 6' and can get behind these numbers. Whenever I see these super long bikes being made to seem great for everything, I picture the annoyingly tight & twisty out of the saddle climbs we have locally and I can't imaging anything worse. No interest when it comes to all the jumps & features we have too. But I spent the summer out west doing slower longer climbs to high speed downs and there I can totally get behind the longer geo, front and back for stability going down and more balanced seated climbing.

I'm glad there are a mix of bikes to choose from, cause if everyone was going long as reach & 440+mm chainstays I'd have few bikes to choose from in the future that would be more fun than what I already have.
  • 1 0
 @JesseE: same for me seems these are pretty good numbers for peolple just under 6'. waki is a half inch smaller i think but nevertheless.
  • 1 0
 @theelias09: I am 5'10"
@JesseE - for me personally it is about speeds bikes are ridden at, setup and evenutal possibility of styling. 29" Enduro bike with DH tyres has so much stability out of gyroscopic effect of wheels it makes little sense to go overkill. and yeah, I love the fact that there are bikes like Pole, I am all for diversity I just don't like the BS of it being better for everything and potential phasing out of good bikes. It is obvious Optic is a step too far.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I'm not gonna let any of these companies tell me what to ride! I found the review of the Pole today a slight vindication of my beliefs, haha.
  • 1 0
 @JesseE: they said, itt's not poppy, it likes to just sit on the ground, it likes high speeds, hard to handle at lower speeds. Optic: very good but you can't forget you are on a 120 bike

I rest my case... everything I was pounding out of my keyboard for the last few years...

How else can it be that increasing wheelbase wouldn't require you to work harder to throw the bike around? It's physics. At some point bike is too short, you get too much feedback, yes. But at some point... it gets too big for the job...

Also I am tired of people calling bumpy, choppy trails with tight turns "technical" like KAz did... Riding Dirt Merchant is technical. Racing Air DH is technical. Riding VDS track is technical. Being wobbled on rocks at little speed, needing to slow down to almost zero for 90 degree corner is easy in many respects...
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I often feel I'll take as little inherent stability as I can get by on in the name of fun. I had my trail bike at SilverStar for a bunch of days this summer and while I (obviously) couldn't plow through sections like I could on the V10 I rented, I actually got more of a kick outta the trail bike, literally and figuratively, so if I was was to move to a place with mountains I still wouldn't buy a super long stable plow-er, cause I just find a quicker bike more exciting - probably cause I'm just not that good, either.
  • 1 1
 It's not the size that matters.
  • 1 0
 "Happy wife happy life"; in my case, erm, the opposite I guess.
  • 1 0
 @Kramz: it's about happy endings regardless of the size...
  • 1 1
 I need bigger reach and i ll try longer chainstay
  • 1 0
 I need shorter reach and shorter chainstays. Longer seat tube though.
  • 2 1
 420mm stays ideal.
  • 1 0
 Which ones a chain stay?
  • 1 0
 *e-bike
  • 1 0
 Had to google it
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login
Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.060754
Mobile Version of Website