The Basics of Modern Mountain Bike Geometry
You've probably heard it said before: Geometry is the single most important factor in determining how your mountain bike will perform. It's not the only piece of the puzzle, of course, as your tired, over-worked suspension and worn-out tires also count for a lot, but it's geometry that takes the biggest slice of the what-matters-on-your-mountain-bike pie chart. Let me put it to you this way: Adding the latest Kashima-coated, 17-way adjustable suspension to your 2005 Big Bouncer won't do much beyond giving you more dials to turn before you bounce over the handlebar. But give that 'ol rig geo from 2020 and it'll instantly be easier to ride and far more capable, stock suspension notwithstanding.
Geometry has changed a lot over the last decade; numbers that used to make complete sense now seem downright scary, and terms that used to be important are less so. There were smart folks building bikes like this long before the bigger brands caught on, but it's only been in the last few years that forward-thinking geo has been (almost) universally embraced. It's probably time to have another look at modern mountain bike geometry, and while you can make it as complicated and interconnected as you want, that's not the gist of this Explainer video. Instead, we'll go over what the terms mean, what they do on the trail, and how they've evolved since that '05 Big Bouncer.
Previous Explainer episodes:Episode #1 - What's the Deal with Linkage Forks?Episode #2 - Carbon Fiber Leaf SpringsEpisode #3 - What's the Deal with Chains? Episode #4 - What's the Deal with Cross-Country Racing?