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  1. #1
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    Why is my new bike so unstable?!

    I just upgraded from a cross country hardtail to an aggressive all-mountain hardtail w/ a longer wheelbase and slacker head-angle. I found my new bike to be less stable than my old bike on technical trails, it's easily thrown off-line and super twitchy. Does anyone know whats causing this?

  2. #2
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    If might be floppy and not twitchy. Depending on how slow you're going...long and slack bikes don't work that well at low speeds.

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    Probably you since itís such a drastic change in geo.


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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxx_shredder_xxx View Post
    I just upgraded from a cross country hardtail to an aggressive all-mountain hardtail w/ a longer wheelbase and slacker head-angle. I found my new bike to be less stable than my old bike on technical trails, it's easily thrown off-line and super twitchy. Does anyone know whats causing this?
    At what speed? Did you move over the same handlebar and stem? Did you get fitted for it?

    For me, I found that I had to go with wider bars and shorter stem to make mine feel comfortable. Bars went from 730mm to 760mm and stem went from 50mm to 35mm.
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  5. #5
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    Need 750+ bars and 60mm or less stem to make the most of the longer/slacker geo.

    And maybe try riding it faster.

  6. #6
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    You can't win em all. Everything is a trade-off. A bike that feels nimble climbing tight switchbacks isn't going to feel stable hammering down a rough jump-fest. The length and geometry that feels so stable going down will be working against you climbing up.

    Stick with it. Good descenders still climb acceptably, they just feel different. It'll take a while to get used to how the bike feels and the way it steers. In my opinion the odd climbing feel is more than offset by the descending confidence.

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    I am also sort of dealing with this. After years on an old Salsa Spearfish and (rigid) Ala Carte with 71 head angles I just got a SC 5010 v1 which is 68. Not exactly aggressive by today's standards, but still very different, almost scary handling. And this is a bike billed as "a bike handler's dream." Hmmm.

    Actually the 5010 feels pretty good overall, climbs very acceptably and is fun downhill as best I can tell in the week I've had it. The problem is my local set of trails is nearly flat- just some modest rolling climbs & descents. Most of it is tight, twisty desert singletrack with lots of rock obstacles and large boulders to weave around. I am really having problems holding the line I pick and even keeping the bike on the trail. We like to ride this stuff fast, for which the handling needs to be intuitive...and it is not.

    So my question is, can I help myself out with cockpit changes? I am going to be changing the bar & stem anyway...curious if I might be able to leverage these changes to produce more precise steering? I am not terribly concerned about affect on downhill handling as I am not an aggressive rider.

  8. #8
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    Get an angle set headset...steepen the head angle and reduce the travel in the suspension. Or just get use to the new gig...The new bike geometry reminds me of the 70's Harley choppers with there long front ends and floppy front wheels....well thats just me. Thought about changing my 70.5 head angle to a 69.5 or 68.5 and adding more travel....but it was just a thought.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by gartenmeister View Post
    So my question is, can I help myself out with cockpit changes?
    Usually. The obvious one is stem length but bikes are shipping with shorter stems these days so going shorter isn't the easy option it use to be. If you can borrow a few stems of different lengths you might find that going longer or shorter makes the bike handle more like you expect.

  10. #10
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    "Modern" bikes definitely need the appropriate cockpit set up to make the most of the handling; shorter stem and wider bars, and subsequently the bike needs to be the right fit to allow that to happen. [obviously] they also require a different riding style, and while your new 5010 may not have Pole/Nicolai type numbers it will feel different and will take some getting used to.

    Despite what some people still seem to proclaim, modern geo with longer front end an steeper STA actually puts the rider in a better position for climbing, especially on steeper grades, as the weight is further forward and centred between the axles rather than hanging out over the back end as with the classic ≤73* STA + setback post type set up. Yes longer wheelbase and slacker HTA mean tight switchbacks require more effort/input/skill, that's the trade off. It often amuses me that those who are always quick to point this out, as though it is an insurmountable problem, are also often those who bag the same bikes for making trails "too easy".

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    This is the same thing I found since joining the 21st Century. The bike can be a pig to wrestle with picking through the trails but if I roll out and trust the bike it'll float through almost anything and hold a line beautifully even over masses of diagonal roots.

  12. #12
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    Some friends in the past years switch from XC hardtail (full racing mode) to fun "trail bikes". 2 mistakes they all did: having to much air everywhere; tires and suspension and the rear shock rebound full open.

  13. #13
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    I've found that there's a limit to the benefits of wider bars, myself. You have so much leverage over the front end that you end up twitching it around when you are in low speed situations. If my front end feels wander-ey, when picking my way up a slow climb for example, I slide my hands inward a little on the grips so I don't yank it around as much. It helps. If you've gone from a cross-country-ish set up to a trail-ish set up, your new bike probably has wider bars than you're used to. Try choking your grip inward a bit to see if it helps, or even put your old bars on for a try. I've found 69-73cm wide to be about perfect for me.

  14. #14
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    A lot of varied advice here. I'd say don't start playing with changing things out immediately unless you're experiencing physical discomfort (wrist/knee pain, etc). Getting used to the bike can take a little time, but as others have said it'll happen. Want it to happen faster? Do some practice sessions like back when we were beginners. Put some obstacles down on the ground and do figure 8's...all that good cornering skills stuff. You're learning the new bike.

  15. #15
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    Just a suggestion... Have the spoke tensions checked. Could have some movement when taking curves.
    I like turtles

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonSonic View Post
    This is the same thing I found since joining the 21st Century. The bike can be a pig to wrestle with picking through the trails but if I roll out and trust the bike it'll float through almost anything and hold a line beautifully even over masses of diagonal roots.
    Yeah, I'll go with that. Just point it and let it do it's stuff. Wet roots still scare the crap out of me though :0(

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Yeah, I'll go with that. Just point it and let it do it's stuff. Wet roots still scare the crap out of me though :0(
    It took me so long to learn to trust it, I'm still not there. Every time I'm out I dare it to throw me or drop me or slip out and it keeps not doing that. At this point we're going fast enough it's scary.

    Amazing how good these bikes have gotten.

  18. #18
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    Yeah, but wet roots still scare the crap out of me! :0(

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    Quote Originally Posted by cadoretteboat View Post
    Some friends in the past years switch from XC hardtail (full racing mode) to fun "trail bikes". 2 mistakes they all did: having to much air everywhere; tires and suspension and the rear shock rebound full open.
    I agree. I feel like I spend way too much time letting air out of things, or playing a therapist for people who are afraid too do it. It is like a mental block. We apparently have all been taught there is a magic number that can't be violated. And the psychosomatic effects are tremendous.

    At a group ride a teenager asked me what tire pressures I thought he should run. He looked to be 135# on a 3 inch tire. I said 14 psi in the front 16 psi in the rear. He looked at me like i was trying to kill him, and said he would never finish the ride because he would be so slow.

    IMHO this tread is mostly spot on. Get the fit as close as possible. Some changes can only happen after seat time or adjustments, but most don't need to wait. Then adjust the bike. And don't stop until it is right, or a change either way is definitely worse.

  20. #20
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    So you bought a new bike that's drastically different than anything you've ever ridden and you're wondering why it feels so different? Well that's because you bought a bike that's drastically different than anything you've ever ridden.

    Ride it for a couple months and then let us know what your issues with it are.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by David R View Post
    Yes longer wheelbase and slacker HTA mean tight switchbacks require more effort/input/skill, that's the trade off. It often amuses me that those who are always quick to point this out, as though it is an insurmountable problem, are also often those who bag the same bikes for making trails "too easy".
    Or people running plus tires and complaining about how long travel bikes mute the trails.

    I just went to a bike 3.5" longer than my old one and don't have any issues with tight switchbacks. Sure it feels different but it's not actually a problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by xxx_shredder_xxx View Post
    I just upgraded from a cross country hardtail to an aggressive all-mountain hardtail w/ a longer wheelbase and slacker head-angle. I found my new bike to be less stable than my old bike on technical trails, it's easily thrown off-line and super twitchy. Does anyone know whats causing this?
    Get in an attack position, elbows out.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by David R View Post
    "Modern" bikes definitely need the appropriate cockpit set up to make the most of the handling; shorter stem and wider bars, and subsequently the bike needs to be the right fit to allow that to happen. [obviously] they also require a different riding style, and while your new 5010 may not have Pole/Nicolai type numbers it will feel different and will take some getting used to.

    Despite what some people still seem to proclaim, modern geo with longer front end an steeper STA actually puts the rider in a better position for climbing, especially on steeper grades, as the weight is further forward and centred between the axles rather than hanging out over the back end as with the classic ≤73* STA + setback post type set up. Yes longer wheelbase and slacker HTA mean tight switchbacks require more effort/input/skill, that's the trade off. It often amuses me that those who are always quick to point this out, as though it is an insurmountable problem, are also often those who bag the same bikes for making trails "too easy".
    Modern mega reach frames also need the steep seat tube so you can actually reach the bar...and help keep weight on the bar to keep front end flop manageable when not going downhill.

  24. #24
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    I have your exact bike and can tell you that the bar stem combo on this bike is crucial. If you donít have enough of your weight on the front end and the bike is has terrible handling. Long story short I tried a short stem with short 711mm bars and the handling was absoluetly horrible. I went to 750mm bars and an 80mm stem and it begs to carve turns. I am certain I could go with wider bars and shorten the stem up more but I like it the way it is. I use the bike for everything from dirt jumping to all day rides and it can handle it. Compared to todayís geo the v1 geo is almost more xc then am. If you get it set up for you it will do what you need.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by thenry View Post
    I went to 750mm bars and an 80mm stem..
    80mm? Isn't that longer than the original?

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by thenry View Post
    I have your exact bike.....
    Was this for me or the OP? I'm the 5010. OP what are you on?

  27. #27
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    Modern geo and 80mm stem dont exactly fit in the good advice category. Your bike to small!

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    You can't win em all. Everything is a trade-off. A bike that feels nimble climbing tight switchbacks isn't going to feel stable hammering down a rough jump-fest. The length and geometry that feels so stable going down will be working against you climbing up.

    Stick with it. Good descenders still climb acceptably, they just feel different. It'll take a while to get used to how the bike feels and the way it steers. In my opinion the odd climbing feel is more than offset by the descending confidence.

    Pig, I have a 27.5" and a 26" just like you do. The 27.5" with modern geo does great up hills, front tire hardly ever rises up. This appears to be like what another poster on this thread said: longer bike = rider and weight more centered and not all in the back. The 26" with older geo and tighter frame climbs WORSE, front tire often will wheelie and I usually have to stop and walk the bike up from that point. I'm almost tempted to do a crazy thing and put a front hub motor on the front wheel to help with stabilization and traction up hills (and yes I know it would kill handling). But I don't want to risk the dropouts snapping under torque.

    What tips are there to help a bike stop the wheelies uphill, besides leaning forward?
    Pierced from below, souls of my treacherous past

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by richj8990 View Post
    What tips are there to help a bike stop the wheelies uphill, besides leaning forward?
    Ehh, leaning forwards works for me?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Ehh, leaning forwards works for me?
    I don't need to lean forward at all on the 27.5" unless it's a very slow crawl in the granny gear. I'm not sure why everyone says smaller tighter 26" bikes climb better, they sure don't seem like it.
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by richj8990 View Post
    What tips are there to help a bike stop the wheelies uphill, besides leaning forward?
    1st try moving the saddle forward where it bolts to the seat post, this helps seated climbing. It helps as long as your knees don't start hitting the bars. A longer stem will get you forward as well, but that limits how far you can move behind the saddle when the going gets going.
    oops I wasn't clipped in

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by richj8990 View Post
    What tips are there to help a bike stop the wheelies uphill, besides leaning forward?
    Tip to taint.

  33. #33
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    You guys have been trolled.

    OP has one post, ever, and this is it. Hasn't been back since.


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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by _CJ View Post
    You guys have been trolled.

    OP has one post, ever, and this is it. Hasn't been back since.


    .
    Doesn't matter. We just like to hear ourselves talk.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by David R View Post
    "Modern" bikes definitely need the appropriate cockpit set up to make the most of the handling; shorter stem and wider bars, and subsequently the bike needs to be the right fit to allow that to happen. [obviously] they also require a different riding style, and while your new 5010 may not have Pole/Nicolai type numbers it will feel different and will take some getting used to.

    Despite what some people still seem to proclaim, modern geo with longer front end an steeper STA actually puts the rider in a better position for climbing, especially on steeper grades, as the weight is further forward and centred between the axles rather than hanging out over the back end as with the classic ≤73* STA + setback post type set up. Yes longer wheelbase and slacker HTA mean tight switchbacks require more effort/input/skill, that's the trade off. It often amuses me that those who are always quick to point this out, as though it is an insurmountable problem, are also often those who bag the same bikes for making trails "too easy".
    Wow, that's a lot of bullsh!t. Being centered and more inside the bike is great for just pedaling moderate inclines or steeper climbs with a fair amount of traction, and they monster truck up anything that allows you to sit and spin. That does not always translate to situations that require weight shifts to maintain traction and tight lines. Switchbacks are more challenging, but obviously not insurmountable. It's holding a tight line on a climb or through tight and twisty singletrack that the modern geometry struggles with. Not impossible, just not as nimble and intuitive as shorter, steeper geo. They do make easy work of straights and high speed sections, though. Different challenges for different riders in different situations. Of course, you obviously know what is best for everybody in all situations, which just so happens to be your preference, so I'll just throw in my two cents and take my 27 years of mountain biking experience with me back to my cave.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Ehh, leaning forwards works for me?
    Funny that. It works for me, too!

  37. #37
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    Thanks for the advice, I'll try moving my saddle forward and getting a shorter stem.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by David R View Post
    "Modern" bikes definitely need the appropriate cockpit set up to make the most of the handling; shorter stem and wider bars, and subsequently the bike needs to be the right fit to allow that to happen. [obviously] they also require a different riding style, and while your new 5010 may not have Pole/Nicolai type numbers it will feel different and will take some getting used to.

    Despite what some people still seem to proclaim, modern geo with longer front end an steeper STA actually puts the rider in a better position for climbing, especially on steeper grades, as the weight is further forward and centred between the axles rather than hanging out over the back end as with the classic ≤73* STA + setback post type set up. Yes longer wheelbase and slacker HTA mean tight switchbacks require more effort/input/skill, that's the trade off. It often amuses me that those who are always quick to point this out, as though it is an insurmountable problem, are also often those who bag the same bikes for making trails "too easy".
    Amen.

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