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  1. #1
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    Tips to sharpen the Anthem?

    I have a 2011 Anthem X 1 that I trail ride (rough, rocky/rooty trail ) and race mostly endurance events which the Anthem is very good at. This year I am thinking of doing some short course racing as well and have been working harder at trying to improve mine and the Anthems single track handling. I'm only going to have the 1 bike for all riding. Last season I had a similar feeling and bought a hardtail 29er (Scale) but I missed the dual suspension and it got sold.

    On the Anthem I have shortened the stem from 100mm to 90mm to 80mm (medium frame, 700mm bar, I'm 5'9") which helped but it feels as though I can initiate tighter high speed turns but I don't seem to be able to complete the turn without a fair lean angle on the bikeor a fair amount a bit of bar wrenching/pressure or often Ill just overshoot the exit. I am starting to realise how much I miss sharp handling. I've experimented with seat height and position, bar height etc but without significant improvements. I read another posters similar issues and from the feedback I am guessing the long chainstays don't help? Not sure.

    I rode a friends Epic 29er and the geometry instantly felt great and it felt much more nimble and better in turns/cornering and pretty stable at speed. The Anthems suspension (apart from steep climbs) was much, much better. If I could have the Anthems suspension on the Epic frame that would be perfect.

    Does anyone have any tips that might help to sharpen/improve the handling?

    The other option is to sell the anthem and shell out for an Epic but the cost is a worry as is the possibility of missing the maestro suspension.

    Any thoughts/suggestions appreciated.
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  2. #2
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    Several variables here. Cockpit, tires, and shock set up.

    I'd start with your handle bar. For a guy your height, 700mm is really wide. (I'm guessing here as I can't see you). I'd recommend cutting it down. Put a tape measure on the ground, put your hands on it and do some push ups in a comfortable position. Then reset and do it several more times. This is a very general way to do it but the number from the outside of your hands should approximately be your "optimal" handle bar width. Of course other things come into play like riding style and types of trails in your area, ie lots of trees.

    Second, were the tires the same between the two bikes? A tire plays a huge roll in your cornering ability. Mess around with several different types.

    Third, after riding many Anthems over a couple years, I've found the RS Monarch outperforms the Fox RP series for XC and endurance applications. If you don't want to replace your shock, mess around with air pressure and rebound settings. This has more to do with cornering than most people give it credit for.

    Good luck!
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  3. #3
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    Slam the stem or at least get the bars as low as you are comfortable with and like Silentfoe said I would cut the bars down a bit too. A more "aggressive" posture on the bike should help, IMO.

  4. #4
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    Good question. I have an Anthem too and I recognize a bit of this, but not all.

    First of all, most of this is bike handling technique. Not making a corner exit is often a case of not looking through the corner. Sure, some bikes seem to corner by themselves, but be aware of that when testriding the Epic you're probably applying your Anthem body language to a bike that requires less rider input. It's no surprise you're suddenly exiting corners in a good way, because there is some overshoot in the force you put into it. If your handling skills are the real culprit, once you get used to using slightly less body movement to make the new bike corner, you'll end up outside of corner exits all over again. Just be aware of that: Fix the real problem.

    Some bike related tricks to help things: Check spoke tension and wheel build in general... weak wheels that collapse under you in corners can make it really hard to corner fast. My cornering improved big time when I started riding wheels laced with DT Comps instead of DT Revolution. Suddenly the bike railed corners, instead of wobbling to the outside of them. Check headset, fork and frame bearing play too. Too much play and a bike tends to ride all over the place.

    Then there's suspension. The Anthem uses a lot of its suspension by design and damper tune. A rear end that sags a lot more than the front, effectively reduces head angle when you compress the bike mid turn. You could experiment with that: Put the damper on max platform, up the pressure a bit, try a little more sag on the fork and try how that works out. I tend corner my Anthem with a lot of weight on the front and that seems to work well.

  5. #5
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    As an Epic owner, and my wife having just bought an Anthem, I'm a fan of both bikes. If you look at the numbers that are relevant, the only significant difference is the chain stay length which is .6" longer on the Anthem. If anything, the head tube angle is steeper on the Giant.

    So a congenital difference must be that the weight distribution is slightly more forward when you are pedalling and/or cornering and that's what you're not so happy with. Moving the saddle back won't change that.

    Yesterday I had an odd learning experience. There's a race course that I train on that has a lot of tight switchbacks and tight descending turns. Instead of leaning the bike into the switchbacks I held it upright and just turned the bars tight and pedalled smoothly and it worked better than the lean it over to turn technique that is gospel. When you lean a bike over with the bars turned hard the tire contact point moves forward and eventually the steering jackknifes.

    Look at motorcycle road racing where the riders attempt to reduce the lean as much as possible by hanging off the inside. Certainly, a leaning wheel will tend to turn in the direction of lean, but at low speeds the lean angle will be insufficient and you'll have to turn the bars. How much of each is the skill testing question.

    I'm rather in favour of keeping the wheel angle similar to the angle of CG to contact patch unless there is a good reason to do otherwise. If you're sliding it helps controllability to over lean the bike a bit and weight the outside pedal because you are less likely to high side and can correct more and catch the bike when it hooks up again. But ultimately you will get more corner speed from the increased traction of a more upright wheel - if you can control it, and the tire designer didn't make lean angle choices for you by leaving out as many transition knobs as he figured he could get away with.

    The other common problem - I'm guilty as charged - is to be spooked by front end washouts such that you don't get enough weight on the front wheel. Watch a motocrosser enter a corner with the inside leg thrown forward; this is to move weight to the front wheel to enter the turn and also to keep it from bouncing and getting sketchy traction.

    It sounds to me like you're spooked by the inherent CG of the Anthem being further forward than you're used to so you want to move it back to where you're familiar. I'd get a nice wide 'serious' tire like a 2.4 Ardent or Purgatory and put about 25-28? lbs in it and just shove that front end around. Take charge of it rather than just leaning the bike and hoping the front end will follow along doing the right things.

    As to the back end of the Epic vs Anthem, I wouldn't read too much into the inherent qualities of the two suspension systems unless you've spent some time tweaking them, especially the Epic. Turn the Brain off. Set the rebound to something reasonable and then start moving brain settings up about two clicks at a time until it's on hard. Until you've done that you're just testing someone else's settings; the range is huge.

    You may also just have a tire combo that doesn't work well; a marginal tire will tend to spook you into running wide. There's a pile of tires out there that I wouldn't remotely consider putting on the front. I'd pick that as more likely than the effect of moving the crank centre 15mm forward between axles 1100mm apart.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dambala View Post
    Slam the stem or at least get the bars as low as you are comfortable with and like Silentfoe said I would cut the bars down a bit too. A more "aggressive" posture on the bike should help, IMO.
    Bar width is one of those subjects that most people have an opinion about and everybody else is wrong - until they 'discover' a new opinion. Going from a 700 bar on an Anthem to a 685 bar on an Epic moves your hands in about 1/4". Rather than cutting your bars down, I'd just move everything in on the bars until you feel better about it and leave some excess hanging out; you may change your mind. Bars have been getting longer, tires getting wider and wheels getting larger for a quarter century now; maybe there's relationship?

    I don't happen to think that how far apart your shoulders are has anything whatsoever to do with it; otherwise pretty much every motorcycle out there is wrong somehow. A triangle from the contact patch to the bar tips might, tho...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bulerias View Post
    Bar width is one of those subjects that most people have an opinion about and everybody else is wrong - until they 'discover' a new opinion...
    Here's my wrong opinion: There's an optimal bar width that varies with a person's shoulder width, arm length, application, personal preference, etc.

    Back in olden times everybody ran a 22" wide bar. Which in my opinion is pretty much too short for anyone, unless you're a hipster riding a fixie with no brakes in urban traffic.

    But now there are people that say that any bar less than 700 mm wide is too narrow, without any qualification. I think gravity suggests longer bars all else being equal, but there's no single right size for everybody. There's a size that fits a person. I really like Silentfoe's tip about doing pushups.

    I also wrongly feel that bike fit is the most important place to start. Especially a bike whose primary purpose is endurance (but that may be pressed into service for shorter races). Dicking around with stem length, bar height/width, saddle position to get a bike to handle differently is probably fine for gravity. But for a bike that you want to be able to pedal for hours at a time, there is an optimal place for your saddle to be relative to cranks, there is a comfortable bar position relative to saddle, etc. It's about comfort, and it's about pedalling power and efficiency. I have no idea if your Anthem was set up well to maximize those things, but you should focus on getting fit right for pedalling.

    If your bike doesn't handle the way you want when it's set up properly, you should either work on technique or get a bike that suits you better.

    Again, that's $.02 worth of my wrong opinion.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bulerias View Post
    As an Epic owner, and my wife having just bought an Anthem, I'm a fan of both bikes. If you look at the numbers that are relevant, the only significant difference is the chain stay length which is .6" longer on the Anthem. If anything, the head tube angle is steeper on the Giant.

    So a congenital difference must be that the weight distribution is slightly more forward when you are pedalling and/or cornering and that's what you're not so happy with. Moving the saddle back won't change that.

    Yesterday I had an odd learning experience. There's a race course that I train on that has a lot of tight switchbacks and tight descending turns. Instead of leaning the bike into the switchbacks I held it upright and just turned the bars tight and pedalled smoothly and it worked better than the lean it over to turn technique that is gospel. When you lean a bike over with the bars turned hard the tire contact point moves forward and eventually the steering jackknifes.

    Look at motorcycle road racing where the riders attempt to reduce the lean as much as possible by hanging off the inside. Certainly, a leaning wheel will tend to turn in the direction of lean, but at low speeds the lean angle will be insufficient and you'll have to turn the bars. How much of each is the skill testing question.

    I'm rather in favour of keeping the wheel angle similar to the angle of CG to contact patch unless there is a good reason to do otherwise. If you're sliding it helps controllability to over lean the bike a bit and weight the outside pedal because you are less likely to high side and can correct more and catch the bike when it hooks up again. But ultimately you will get more corner speed from the increased traction of a more upright wheel - if you can control it, and the tire designer didn't make lean angle choices for you by leaving out as many transition knobs as he figured he could get away with.

    The other common problem - I'm guilty as charged - is to be spooked by front end washouts such that you don't get enough weight on the front wheel. Watch a motocrosser enter a corner with the inside leg thrown forward; this is to move weight to the front wheel to enter the turn and also to keep it from bouncing and getting sketchy traction.

    It sounds to me like you're spooked by the inherent CG of the Anthem being further forward than you're used to so you want to move it back to where you're familiar. I'd get a nice wide 'serious' tire like a 2.4 Ardent or Purgatory and put about 25-28? lbs in it and just shove that front end around. Take charge of it rather than just leaning the bike and hoping the front end will follow along doing the right things.

    As to the back end of the Epic vs Anthem, I wouldn't read too much into the inherent qualities of the two suspension systems unless you've spent some time tweaking them, especially the Epic. Turn the Brain off. Set the rebound to something reasonable and then start moving brain settings up about two clicks at a time until it's on hard. Until you've done that you're just testing someone else's settings; the range is huge.

    You may also just have a tire combo that doesn't work well; a marginal tire will tend to spook you into running wide. There's a pile of tires out there that I wouldn't remotely consider putting on the front. I'd pick that as more likely than the effect of moving the crank centre 15mm forward between axles 1100mm apart.
    I have an Anthem X29 and this information has given me some great food for thought. Great thread, also.

    I tend to feel my Anthem gets squirrely when I get too far forward like when I'm out of the saddle and charging hard into a corner. But, if I'm too far back the front doesn't bite and just pushes through the corner. There is a sweet spot, as with every bike, where the weight distribution is perfect and everything "clicks". This sweet spot does seem to be a bit farther forward than other bikes I've ridden. I am assuming this is due to the steep head angle and longer chainstays.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    I also wrongly feel that bike fit is the most important place to start. Especially a bike whose primary purpose is endurance (but that may be pressed into service for shorter races). Dicking around with stem length, bar height/width, saddle position to get a bike to handle differently is probably fine for gravity. But for a bike that you want to be able to pedal for hours at a time, there is an optimal place for your saddle to be relative to cranks, there is a comfortable bar position relative to saddle, etc. It's about comfort, and it's about pedalling power and efficiency. I have no idea if your Anthem was set up well to maximize those things, but you should focus on getting fit right for pedalling.

    If your bike doesn't handle the way you want when it's set up properly, you should either work on technique or get a bike that suits you better.

    Again, that's $.02 worth of my wrong opinion.
    This is one of the better statements I have read concerning bike fit. And thanks for stating it here as it is very relevant to this discussion. If you plan to pedal a bike for any period of time, and efficiency and comfort is desired...your position over the pedals is a fixed variable. If you move your saddle back to make a bike "fit better" then you bought the wrong size or the wrong bike. I am not referring to the OP or anyone specifically. Just a trigger point for me, I guess.

    As I've aged my handle bar position has grown a bit closer, higher, and wider. And, as Tom stated, this has been about acheiving a comfortable and efficient pedaling position. But my height and position over the pedals has always remained constant.

    This is veering off the OP's topic a bit but it is certainly pertinent to the discussion.

    These kinds of threads are why I return to this forum. Thanks to all.

  10. #10
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    Lots of good suggestions above. Bularias has some great suggestions, especially regarding tire selection/pressures and how they can affect cornering confidence.

    Was your friend's bike also a Medium? Looked at the geometry, and the 18+" chainstay length caught my eye. I don't own either bike, but I owned two hardtail frames that were basically the same except for this measurement, and I certainly prefer the shorter stays on tighter twisty trails (sold the Jamis). Otherwise, the shorter WB and slightly steeper HT angle would both suggest better low-speed maneuverability in favor of the Giant.

    On handlebar and stem choice: Shifting toward a wider & shorter reaching cockpit (ie wider bars & shorter stem) isn't a magic bullet; like wrongly stated above, it should be about fit and comfort in your application. I won't say your 700mm wide bar is too wide (I have no idea), but shortening the stem without going wider or lower will certainly move your CoG back and up, and this will take weight off the front wheel. Moving the saddle rearward will move your CoG back too. Additionally, these changes will throw off your front and rear sag settings; Any cockpit changes should be followed by at least a brief reassessment of suspension settings. This might only equate to a +/-5psi on each end, but between both it will certain make a noticeable different in how it handles.
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  11. #11
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    Rear sag and fork rebound. These two things can have a bigger affect on cornering than cockpit setup, especially since it sounds like you are already close in that regard. Too much rear sag equals slow steering and too fast fork rebound will cause understeer. How much sag are you currently running? Couple low front sag with high rear sag and it gets even worst.

  12. #12
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    Comfort->More Riding->Faster

    Quote Originally Posted by titusquasi View Post
    ...As I've aged my handle bar position has grown a bit closer, higher, and wider. And, as Tom stated, this has been about acheiving a comfortable and efficient pedaling position. But my height and position over the pedals has always remained constant...
    +1 to this.

    I'm 48 and have been riding mountain bikes now for 26 years. Back in the day, everybody had narrow bars that were low and forward. I was a victim of the dogma that said 'you can't be fast if your bars aren't lower than your saddle' for way too long.

    About 10 years ago a shop owner who is now one of my best friends looked at my setup and rubbed his chin. "Ever think about bringing your bars up a little higher?" he asked me.

    "If I do that my climbing position will be wrong." (me)

    "Does your back hurt after a long ride?" (him)

    "Sure, but that's just because my abs are not strong enough." (me)

    "How about I put a riser on your bike just to try? No strings attached. You don't like it, I'll just put your old bars back on." (him)

    "OK, but I'm not going to like it." (me)

    Wow. I climbed better because I was more comfortable and could breath better. My descending? Revolutionary improvement, immediately.

    Later we talk about it and he tells me, if you're comfortable you'll ride more. If you ride more, you'll be faster. He was a semi-pro racer back in the early 90s. He said that sure, it hurt, but nobody questioned that you had to have your bars low. He's sure now that he would have been faster if he'd raised his bars. And the hurt? He was in his 20s, you could recover from anything then. Now, hurt stays with you longer.

    In the last 10 years I've become faster and fitter than I have ever been. Throwing off conventional wisdom about how your bike has to be set up if you're "serious" has been one of the key reasons. I'm more comfortable. I ride more.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by titusquasi View Post
    I have an Anthem X29 and this information has given me some great food for thought. Great thread, also.

    I tend to feel my Anthem gets squirrely when I get too far forward like when I'm out of the saddle and charging hard into a corner. But, if I'm too far back the front doesn't bite and just pushes through the corner. There is a sweet spot, as with every bike, where the weight distribution is perfect and everything "clicks". This sweet spot does seem to be a bit farther forward than other bikes I've ridden. I am assuming this is due to the steep head angle and longer chainstays.
    Anthems seem to come with Schwalbe Racing Ralphs; I don't like to diss a popular tire like that but it's on my list of 'Not For Front Wheel Application'. Normally I disregard the 'this tire's no good because I fell off' rants but..... I'm running one on the rear at the moment and it's lasting longer than I'd hoped! They work fine upright but the skip every third knob transition and floppy side knobs are just too spooky for me on the front. Knobby Nic, Ignitor, Ground Control, Purgatory, Ardent, there's a list of good fronts that may or may not work well for you out back. I'm leaning toward Specialized's Ground Control 2.3/ 2.1 as a do all affordable combo to find out if you or your bike's the problem or the tire. At least that way the compound will be the same. And they're pretty smooth rolling and not too heavy and don't seem to do anything really wrong.

    To much air pressure on the front is another thing that will make it spooky; I think that 29 requires a lower pressure due to the longer contact patch, and seem to still handle well with a wider tire than you'd think. 25-28 lb in a 2.4 Ardent EXO is my idea of a sweet spot, but just my taste. Heavyish. Says 35-65 psi on the [burly] sidewall. You may want a wider bar to wrangle it. Caution: may egg you on.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    +1 to this.

    I'm 48 and have been riding mountain bikes now for 26 years. Back in the day, everybody had narrow bars that were low and forward. I was a victim of the dogma that said 'you can't be fast if your bars aren't lower than your saddle' for way too long.

    About 10 years ago a shop owner who is now one of my best friends looked at my setup and rubbed his chin. "Ever think about bringing your bars up a little higher?" he asked me.

    "If I do that my climbing position will be wrong." (me)

    "Does your back hurt after a long ride?" (him)

    "Sure, but that's just because my abs are not strong enough." (me)

    "How about I put a riser on your bike just to try? No strings attached. You don't like it, I'll just put your old bars back on." (him)

    "OK, but I'm not going to like it." (me)

    Wow. I climbed better because I was more comfortable and could breath better. My descending? Revolutionary improvement, immediately.

    Later we talk about it and he tells me, if you're comfortable you'll ride more. If you ride more, you'll be faster. He was a semi-pro racer back in the early 90s. He said that sure, it hurt, but nobody questioned that you had to have your bars low. He's sure now that he would have been faster if he'd raised his bars. And the hurt? He was in his 20s, you could recover from anything then. Now, hurt stays with you longer.

    In the last 10 years I've become faster and fitter than I have ever been. Throwing off conventional wisdom about how your bike has to be set up if you're "serious" has been one of the key reasons. I'm more comfortable. I ride more.

    I noticed that Kulhavy's Olympic winning bike has the stem long and slammed as far as it will go. Wonder how many noobs will copy that 'look' to be serious? It makes sense if you are closed course racing at those speeds and the slight difference in wind resistance is a factor, but for function probably not. He's getting paid to win, any way he can. I'll be he has wider bars set higher when he's not getting paid.

  15. #15
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    Fantastic replies!

    Can I just say thankyou to everyone that replied – this is exactly the sort of information that I was after. Given the great responses I will try and reply to the raised issues. Sorry for the long post.

    I'd start with your handle bar. For a guy your height, 700mm is really wide.

    Just tried the pushup trick – no dice. I felt most comfortable at 760mm. But I will push the grips and controls in (without cutting – just yet – as Bulerius suggested, good tip by the way) to make it a 680mm or less.

    Second, were the tires the same between the two bikes?

    The front tyre I am running is an Ardent 2.4 – quite a tall tyre so that might slacken the geometry a bit. Rear is a crossmark (hate them on a 29er). The epic bikes tyres were stock – very short knobbies but gripped well – not sure what they were.

    If you don't want to replace your shock, mess around with air pressure and rebound settings. This has more to do with cornering than most people give it credit for.

    I have set the rear shock a little plush looking at what most people per weight set it (i’m 190 with gear and set to 175psi). Rebound is set fairly fast as the rear felt a little dead for me when slowed down but that’s some thing to change as well. I usually like my fork to be plush so running about 25% sag. This is definitely another place I can look to modify.

    Slam the stem or at least get the bars as low as you are comfortable with and like Silentfoe said I would cut the bars down a bit too.

    Yep the stem is upside down and against the head tube. Definitely will ‘ modify’ the bar length.

    First of all, most of this is bike handling technique. Not making a corner exit is often a case of not looking through the corner.

    I was worried that this might be a problem. I’ve been riding and racing mountain bikes for 10 years and you’d think I’d be better at handling by now. Maybe I’m just faster and not adapting to it....one can hope.

    If your handling skills are the real culprit, once you get used to using slightly less body movement to make the new bike corner, you'll end up outside of corner exits all over again. Just be aware of that: Fix the real problem.

    Interesting point. When modifying the bikes stem, seat position etc. I do find that I have to modify my riding style. It sounds really stupid but I had a random position out riding on the weekend that seemed to work for most of my riding (mostly saddle height and distance from the bars modified) then modified it further once I got home to get close to the bike fit measurements I had done up (more on this later). After that my riding style had to change to accommodate and handling was off. Duh all round.

    Some bike related tricks to help things: Check spoke tension and wheel build in general... weak wheels that collapse under you in corners can make it really hard to corner fast.

    The wheels are stock and have had to be trued a few times and I can feel some flex – not heaps. I have another stock set so that might be worth trying.

    Put the damper on max platform, up the pressure a bit, try a little more sag on the fork and try how that works out. I tend corner my Anthem with a lot of weight on the front and that seems to work well.

    I’m trying to avoid too much wrist pressure but upping the pressure on the shock seems like a common theme.

    The other common problem - I'm guilty as charged - is to be spooked by front end washouts such that you don't get enough weight on the front wheel.

    Lots of good thoughts Bulerias and yes this happens to me. I can’t blame the tyre! I was also thinking how can chain stay length difference make such a ...difference with similar overall wheelbases. More weight over the front wheel also seems to be a common theme.

    Dicking around with stem length, bar height/width, saddle position to get a bike to handle differently is probably fine for gravity. But for a bike that you want to be able to pedal for hours at a time, there is an optimal place for your saddle to be relative to cranks, there is a comfortable bar position relative to saddle, etc. It's about comfort, and it's about pedalling power and efficiency. I have no idea if your Anthem was set up well to maximize those things, but you should focus on getting fit right for pedalling.
    AND
    If you plan to pedal a bike for any period of time, and efficiency and comfort is desired...your position over the pedals is a fixed variable. If you move your saddle back to make a bike "fit better" then you bought the wrong size or the wrong bike. I am not referring to the OP or anyone specifically. Just a trigger point for me, I guess.


    This is becoming a bit of an issue for me. If I set up my Anthem based on my bike fit I suspect handling will suffer because the seat looks way back on the rails. Last night before I wrote the original post I set the saddle height fore and aft as per the bike fit recommendations. I guess slowly modifying from there with all the other recommendations ie shock and fork settings and wheels might be a good way to go. The wrong bike (geometry) for my body shape is a possibility.

    This sweet spot does seem to be a bit farther forward than other bikes I've ridden. I am assuming this is due to the steep head angle and longer chainstays.

    That’s what I’ve been feeling too when modifying seat fore and aft but have never been forward enough to get squirrelly.

    but shortening the stem without going wider or lower will certainly move your CoG back and up, and this will take weight off the front wheel. Moving the saddle rearward will move your CoG back too. Additionally, these changes will throw off your front and rear sag settings; Any cockpit changes should be followed by at least a brief reassessment of suspension settings. This might only equate to a +/-5psi on each end, but between both it will certain make a noticeable different in how it handles.

    The CofG thing I suspect is a real issue for me finding the sweet spot on this bike. I thought about how all these things affect balance and tried the wider bars and flipped stem down all the way but didn’t realise how much of an effect it makes on suspension.

    Rear sag and fork rebound. These two things can have a bigger affect on cornering than cockpit setup, especially since it sounds like you are already close in that regard. Too much rear sag equals slow steering and too fast fork rebound will cause understeer. How much sag are you currently running? Couple low front sag with high rear sag and it gets even worst.

    More great information that makes me realise I haven’t paid enough attention to suspension set up!

    I think that 29 requires a lower pressure due to the longer contact patch, and seem to still handle well with a wider tire than you'd think. 25-28 lb in a 2.4 Ardent EXO is my idea of a sweet spot, but just my taste.

    I might be running too much - ~32 psi. Dropping the pressure sounds like a good idea.

    If your bike doesn't handle the way you want when it's set up properly, you should either work on technique or get a bike that suits you better.

    At the end of the day the two main issues are:

    Do I want to drop a heap of cash to get a bike that handles better for some trail work and potentially lose the other advantages of the Anthem? OR

    Fettle and fine tune a bike that I might never get to the level of handling of a bike I virtually got and rode and felt close to perfect (suspension aside but that can be tweaked too!).

    Thanks again for everyone’s input. Will be a big weekend of playing with the Anthem!
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    Good recap! Giving some feedback on what was useful happens way too little on this forum.

    Tire choice is an important subject. Good one, Silentfoe, I missed that (post was parallel). You are definitly on to something there: Small tires can make a bike feel incredibly easy to corner. That alone could be a lot of the difference in feel between the Epic and the Anthem. Small tires effectively reduce fork trail. A big tire up front and a small one in the rear increases fork trail even further. This is probably one of the easiest bits to try out, if you can borrow some tires or have some lying around.

    @V-tach, if you have the original wheels, you're fine in that department, even more so if they are recently trued.

    I completely agree with Tom P too: Bike fit should focus on pedaling. If you're on your seat in corners, that is the first sign some bike handling improvements can be made, so where the seat is, is irrelevant. At 5'9", there is very little chance a Medium Anthem is the wrong size btw, unless your upper body / leg measurements are way out of the ordinary.
    Last edited by JeroenK; 11-30-2012 at 01:09 AM.

  17. #17
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    Drop the pressure in the front tire for certain. I'm 205 running 2.25 inch wide tires on the front of my anthem and run about 28 psi. Most people can get to focusing a lot on suspension setup, and ignore tire pressure as a handling point. Don't look past this like most people, experiment with it, getting it right can make a tire or a bike you thought was a dog in corners into a railing machine.

  18. #18
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    OK, so you got some good responses, some I agree with some I don't and you tried some stuff and gave good feedback, here's my thoughts........

    You've been messing with this bike to get handling out of it, but you rode another and it handled better with less aggressive tyres (stock Epic tyres are Fast tracks) with the Ardent upfront your front should bite more aggresively, so if it was me I'd be looking at the geometry of the Epic and the actual frame size (you didn't say what size your Anthem is or your friends Epic), also wheel size as you didn't say if your friend was also on a 29er Epic or 26er.

    The seattube angle in steeper on the Epic and the headtube angle is 1/2 degree slacker, so that's quite a bit of difference between them, with those differences, despite the ETTs being the same the Epic will actually have a slightly longer REACH measurement than the Anthem.
    Anthem also has some pretty long stays, over a 1/2" longer than the Epic, so that's one negative in handling tight stuff and being nimble.

    My advice to you....if your friend was in fact riding a 29er Epic of the same size as you, then I'd simply see how his was setup in terms of stem length, bar height relative to BB and saddle height, saddle position relative to the BB and then just copy his setup as closely as you can and compare that to your current setup.

    Another thing is, that while you preffered the suspension of the Anthem being more plush/active, the Epics stiffer ride will also make it handle differently, doing things such as not diving as much under braking maybe, therefor keeping weight back a bit, so take this into consideration as well, because how a suspensions system works/is setup has as much to do with handling as the fit.
    Last edited by LyNx; 11-30-2012 at 04:45 AM.
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    More good thoughts!

    You're right - should have specified the comparison. Both bikes are medium and my friends is an Epic 29er

    My advice to you....if your friend was in fact riding a 29er Epic of the same size as you, then I'd simply see how his was setup in terms of stem length, bar height relative to BB and saddle height, saddle position relative to the BB and then just copy his setup as closely as you can and compare that to your current setup.


    You took the thoughts right out of my...brain? I have organised to ride my friends bike again this weekend. I told him I was bringing a tape measure - he thinks I am a geek and a wanker but hey, if it helps, what the worry?

    Another thing is, that while you preffered the suspension of the Anthem being more plush/active, the Epics stiffer ride will also make it handle differently, doing things such as not diving as much under braking maybe, therefor keeping weight back a bit, so take this into consideration as well, because how a suspensions system works/is setup has as much to do with handling as the fit.

    His setup did feel very firm (even with the brain turned all the way off). I got out for 30 minutes after work this arvo and re-rode the test loop. Saddle positioned as per the bike fit and put 190psi in the shock. The change was dramatic and my cornering was much improved plus I was much faster all round (climbing, switchbacks etc.). And this is before adjusting anything else - things are looking up! Next will be tyre pressure (thanks Cotharyus) or tyre type.

    Interestingly I pumped the shock to 175psi 5 days ago and when I started to pump it up this arvo it was down at 160psi - 2 weeks ago I had the seals changed so I'm wondering if it might be leaking. You'd think I would have noticed riding with the shck so low...Anyway it might be the source of most of my problems.
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    What a great thread! I have the Trance 29, and am also looking for tips to get a proper setup, and the knowledge on this thread from all contributors amazes me.
    So you increased the rear shock to 190psi and that helped. I'm sorry but I can't find what you were originally running? Good to hear you are getting this sorted.

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    Please. Someone point this person to the quote button. Trying to read this thread is driving me insane.

    Anyway. My experience on the anthem says that I'm happier with more weight on the front wheel. Lap times showed an improvement.

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    Interestingly I pumped the shock to 175psi 5 days ago and when I started to pump it up this arvo it was down at 160psi - 2 weeks ago I had the seals changed so I'm wondering if it might be leaking. You'd think I would have noticed riding with the shck so low...Anyway it might be the source of most of my problems.[/QUOTE]

    The typical shock loses about 10-15 lbs filling up the pump every time you connect the hose. So it was probably right where you last had it. The suggested retail pressures are almost invariably about 10% lower than what I end up liking so now I just cut to the chase. Same applies to forks.

    You have to wonder how many sets of seals were changed for this reason. Keeps 'em fresh tho'.

    Big business opportunity for a non invasive suspension pressure gauge; but then the best one is the shock sag itself.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
    Please. Someone point this person to the quote button. Trying to read this thread is driving me insane.

    Anyway. My experience on the anthem says that I'm happier with more weight on the front wheel. Lap times showed an improvement.
    Which person are you referring to? Maybe you should try using the quote button

  24. #24
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    I'm fine with his quoting style. Actually this way his replies take less space than with the boxes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeroenK View Post
    I'm fine with his quoting style. Actually this way his replies take less space than with the boxes.
    I agree.

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    Having the '12 version of this bike I have to agree that front tire pressure helped me the most overall. Lower pressure also helped immensely on climbs with obstacles (less bounce!)

    My rear racing ralph is almost bald after a full summer already. Thinking of using the front on the back and getting a better tire for corning though.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by V-Tach View Post
    I have a 2011 Anthem X 1 that I trail ride (rough, rocky/rooty trail ) and race mostly endurance events which the Anthem is very good at. This year I am thinking of doing some short course racing as well and have been working harder at trying to improve mine and the Anthems single track handling. I'm only going to have the 1 bike for all riding. Last season I had a similar feeling and bought a hardtail 29er (Scale) but I missed the dual suspension and it got sold.

    On the Anthem I have shortened the stem from 100mm to 90mm to 80mm (medium frame, 700mm bar, I'm 5'9") which helped but it feels as though I can initiate tighter high speed turns but I don't seem to be able to complete the turn without a fair lean angle on the bikeor a fair amount a bit of bar wrenching/pressure or often Ill just overshoot the exit. I am starting to realise how much I miss sharp handling. I've experimented with seat height and position, bar height etc but without significant improvements. I read another posters similar issues and from the feedback I am guessing the long chainstays don't help? Not sure.

    I rode a friends Epic 29er and the geometry instantly felt great and it felt much more nimble and better in turns/cornering and pretty stable at speed. The Anthems suspension (apart from steep climbs) was much, much better. If I could have the Anthems suspension on the Epic frame that would be perfect.

    Does anyone have any tips that might help to sharpen/improve the handling?

    The other option is to sell the anthem and shell out for an Epic but the cost is a worry as is the possibility of missing the maestro suspension.

    Any thoughts/suggestions appreciated.
    Tires make a huge difference in how a bike steers. You've got Ardent 2.4's for some reason and the Epic had race tires. Why not swap whhels and compare.

    If you want a sharp handling bike for racing, use narrow, light tires. Some tires also steer quicker than others. On my AX29er i don't go any bigger than a Ro Ro 2.25 and it steers nice and light. Even a MK2 2.2 , which is narrower steers heavier. The heavier tire on a 29er compounds the problem. That's why on a 29er i don't go over a 650g 2.25 tire. They have more than enough grip compared to 2.4" tires i run on my 26" bikes. The 29er Ro Ro 2.25 is a gem on the front. Can't wait to try the 2013 version.

    I run a 120mm fork most of the time. Putting the OEM RLC back on and the steering is plenty sharp.
    Some forks also steer quicker. The Fox forks, even with a lower AC, seem to steer slower than the same travel Rockshox and Dt Swiss forks I have. Possibly due to a little more flex in the Fox forks ?

    As per bike set up. I'm riding about 33 to 35% sag both ends to get the most out of this bike for trail work.More sag also means you can use your body weight to more effect, and balance during cornering. The same reason my tire pressures are always very low . I'm 160lbs and ride 16 psi front and 22 rear. Your seat posn has nothing to do with your steering unless your sitting for some reason. Get your seat approx relative to BB for pedalling eff[ don't be bike fit rule zealous but sensible unless your sitting in the saddle 90% for 2 hrs plus] and then play with stem bar width etc. I find 20mm extra bar width and I can shorten stem 10mm gives identical reach. Just a matter of what set up you want, long and narrow or short and wide. You can get the same reach with both. Short and wide is better for a neutral standing cornering posn[ attack posn] on Ax with it's long chain stays.
    Last edited by gvs_nz; 11-30-2012 at 11:21 AM.

  28. #28
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    Quote button? What's that?

    Quote Originally Posted by bulerias View Post
    The typical shock loses about 10-15 lbs filling up the pump every time you connect the hose. So it was probably right where you last had it. The suggested retail pressures are almost invariably about 10% lower than what I end up liking so now I just cut to the chase. Same applies to forks.

    You have to wonder how many sets of seals were changed for this reason. Keeps 'em fresh tho'.

    Big business opportunity for a non invasive suspension pressure gauge; but then the best one is the shock sag itself.
    I normally estimate about 10psi loss from the pump and 5psi on the fork - probably should have pointed that out - the shock was sitting at a real 160 (measured 150). I had no problem with it holding air before but it was starting to leak oil badly down 1 area of the piston - so I had the seals done. Its just a good lesson now for me to recheck shock and fork pressures regularly.

    I'll try a small front tyre this weekend (Ikon?) as well as lower pressures in the Ardent.

    AND

    Being a higher level primate I've been able to learn and now I'm using the quote button! Actually I've used it before but trying to quote from multiple people into 1 reply was just too hard.
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  29. #29
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    Your OEM crossmarks have larger edge tread and more cornering traction than the Ikon in loose over hardpack. Ra Ra is better because of the extra width[if you don't mind them drifting until you hit the edge tread].Ro Ro is much better than all of them.
    Last edited by gvs_nz; 11-30-2012 at 04:07 PM.

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    I have same bike and similar body type 5'8 and 175.

    Some things that have helped me some of this is redundant to other posts but figured I would add to it.

    Tires - I ditched the crossmarks early,besides lack of sidewall stregth I could not stand the difference in traction when leaning the bike. Seem like no traction in transtion from upright to leaning the bike, this could be your issue on a number of tires.

    Suspension - I have had to run the fork soft and shock firm to really get it the way I want. Probably does help because especially the downhill corners I can really feel fork working but in a harsh type of way even with lower pressure and slower rebounds. All my stuff is at Push right now will report back when I get it back and ride time on it. I think my fork probably had some "defects" from fox and it never was really right, I can see how cornering would not feel right if your fork is not consistent..

    Stem and Handlebars - Shorter 0 degree stem but handlebars with more sweep helped the most, I noticed some handlebar discussion in the thread but really look at the sweeep of the bars on your friends epic. I am using the niner upside down and have them tilted quite a bit down as well. Often told they look funny but heck they work and get ny back stragiht and upper body relaxed where my shoulders dont feel like they are pushing out and still plenty of elbow bend.

    Saddle angle/height - Just play with not experience from this bike but in general, you sound knowledgeable so doubt this is. I rode the stock Fizik for a year before finally got rid of that thing.

    In general this bike has been a lot of tinkering for me maybe becuase only FS I have owned, but i wouldn't trade no way no how, great for longer backcountry type rides.

    Good luck and keep trying I think eventaully you will be happy.
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  31. #31
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    I have 5'8"... In my experiences.... When i buy medium frame size i had problems with bike fit and use short stem and saddle forward adjust and i haven't a good position to ride well and have a good confort.... I pass to use small sizes..

    Our stature is inferior limit to use medium size.... Our stature is more to small than medium size..

    Adam craig from team giant has 6' tall (recomended size is Large) and uses medium frames... Search on google... He said smaller frame gives him best position to efficient pedalling, confort, best cornering, more options for stem position, shorter wheelbase, recessed saddle, short chainstay, more traction and a little less weight....



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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by ftajiri View Post
    Adam craig from team giant has 6' tall (recomended size is Large) and uses medium frames... Search on google... He said smaller frame gives him best position to efficient pedalling, confort, best cornering, more options for stem position, shorter wheelbase, recessed saddle, short chainstay, more traction and a little less weight
    Yes, you should always buy or set up your own bike based off of what the pro's ride.
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  33. #33
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    I am 5' 9 and 1/2" tall. I wear 30" jeans. The Giant Anthem X 29'er 1 is on my short list of 29'ers that I am chosing from. I hope to acquire one next spring or next fall. I like quick handling bikes. I hope to learn what tweaks can be made to ensure the quickest handling possible on this bike in tight singletrack. The chainstay does seem like the one longer than usual dimension vs other bikes, but, the wheelbase is shorter than other bikes.

    Any chance a steeper head angle via adjustable headset would help?

    What size Anthem X 29'er would suit me at my height?

  34. #34
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    Well, if you know your way around building a bike and want a really nice, race oriented XC FS 29er, browse on to Jenson and check out their 12 days of x-mas deal for today - Jet9 + SID for $1258.
    Quote Originally Posted by morkys View Post
    I am 5' 9 and 1/2" tall. I wear 30" jeans. The Giant Anthem X 29'er 1 is on my short list of 29'ers that I am chosing from. I hope to acquire one next spring or next fall. I like quick handling bikes. I hope to learn what tweaks can be made to ensure the quickest handling possible on this bike in tight singletrack. The chainstay does seem like the one longer than usual dimension vs other bikes, but, the wheelbase is shorter than other bikes.

    Any chance a steeper head angle via adjustable headset would help?

    What size Anthem X 29'er would suit me at my height?
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    Well, if you know your way around building a bike and want a really nice, race oriented XC FS 29er, browse on to Jenson and check out their 12 days of x-mas deal for today - Jet9 + SID for $1258.
    I will check that out.

    What about the fact that the stock wheels on the Giant Anthem X 29'er are very heavy? Wouldn't lighter wheels quicken handling among other things?

  36. #36
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    The stock wheels on just about every production bike, regardless of brand, are heavy. That is why there is a thriving aftermarket for wheels. Think of them as good starter wheels, upgrade as necessary.
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    The stock wheels on just about every production bike, regardless of brand, are heavy. That is why there is a thriving aftermarket for wheels. Think of them as good starter wheels, upgrade as necessary.
    In terms of handling - the original thread topic - the overall weight isn't important, just the part out at the rim. The difference in rim weight isn't as great as relative wheel weights would suggest. Alloy nipples and skinny spokes or fewer spokes can make a difference but it's the weight out at the rim that you feel, most of which is often the tire.

    Actually, I don't think the rim weight is all that high on an Anthem rim; there's a whole thread on the PXC SXC theme and the stock wheels aren't so bad as I recall. You can't buy some exotic flyweight hub and expect to experience less rotating mass.

  38. #38
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    I have a recently acquired 2013 Anthem X Advanced and have had a similarly interesting time working on getting it set up 'just right' for me too. I will say, as a couple of others have, that I wouldn't really want to trade this bike for anything else out there. In spite of the challenges in getting it to corner like my other bike, it's just faster everywhere I ride it, and I can ride it much longer, and it's just downright fun to ride. Unlike some of you, I have found it to turn very quickly, as in not a lazy handler. I began by using suggested sag settings and pressures for my 180lbs, which resulted in a comfortable ride, but constant pedal strikes and frequent tip overs. I wound up at around 240psi in back and 90-100 in front. This bike has a SID fork and Monarch fork. Initially it wouldn't stay upright in a loose corner, tight or not. Once I got the rebound better suited for the surface here it got a lot better. Keeping the shock high in the stroke was really helpful for me also. I got a lot of very helpful tips from the suspension forum. I am at a point where I've done lots of tire, wheel, bar and stem testing, on top of air and rebound, and am really only struggling on a certain type of corner now. My local trail is totally flat singletrack with lots and lots of corners in the 8-10mph ballpark. Not fast. Surface from the top is an inch of dry hard leaves, then a layer of loose sand, then hard sand, and tree roots up to probably 6" in height through the whole loop everywhere. It's seemingly pretty simple, but not in actuality. Other places I've been with the bike it simply devours. It's amazing. If I can get a hold of a larger frame I may see how that affects the loose sweepers I've been chasing here. Otherwise I'm gonna continue making small adjustments. I'm 5'5" so could have gone with an xs or small. I went for the xs and am going back and forth between a 100 and 110mm stem. Seat is comfy for me. Back pretty far, but right as far as efficiency and comfort go. Have any of you tried this bike in two different sizes? Also, on this particular surface, I have tried 5 or 6 different tires with stock wheels , Crests, and ENVE's with tubulars. Tires have been Racing Ralph, Furious Fred, Nobby Nic, Tufo XC2, Maxxis Aspen. While there are some fairly big differences between them all, now that the bike is turning better, there isn't as huge a performance gap between them as you might think. I do think that transitional areas are the one area where the bike makes me work hardest. I expected a massive improvement going to the Nobby Nic, but there wasn't any. Which makes me feel more confident that working on suspension and weight transfer is the right thing to do. Awesome bike.
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  39. #39
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    0sparky0, a thoughtful response, but one BIG suggestion, PARAGRAPHS! That was damned hard to read all together like that, try editing it into some paragraphs so people can and will actually read through it, because as said it's actually a thoughtful reply.
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    Oops. Sorry all.

    While I'm here, on my second paragraph I would clarify that there is a difference between the tires I've tried, but it wasn't as massive as I had expected. With the leaves, sand and more sand, none of them are particularly grippy so far on most of the trail. The most noticeable differences, like one might expect, are in faster corners. The Racing Ralph's that came with the bike are really great all around tires for me. I have a Rocket Ron coming.
    This may hurt a little..

  41. #41
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    If that's the case try a tyre with taller, more spaced knobs like the Maxxis Beaver, or Bontrager MudX, they're made for mud, but also work exceptionally well it cutting through stuff like that and finding grip. Be fore warned though, they only come in 2.0" right now, so if you need volume, they won't have it, but with FS I'd think you'll be OK.
    Quote Originally Posted by 0sparky0 View Post
    Oops. Sorry all.

    While I'm here, on my second paragraph I would clarify that there is a difference between the tires I've tried, but it wasn't as massive as I had expected. With the leaves, sand and more sand, none of them are particularly grippy so far on most of the trail. The most noticeable differences, like one might expect, are in faster corners. The Racing Ralph's that came with the bike are really great all around tires for me. I have a Rocket Ron coming.
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    I had originally planned to reply months ago but December got away on me then Christmas, etc .... I lot has happened since then. Anyway.

    I made adjustments to the Anthem based on what people suggested and then rode the adjusted Anthem back to back with the Epic (the bike that started all of this). The adjustments people suggested definitely made the Anthem corner better and feel more balanced. I got the Anthem to the point that I felt it cornered just as well as the Epic but the fit of the Epic (feeling in the bike not on the bike) was definitely better. However riding the 2 bikes back to back made me realise the Anthem suspension was something I would never give up compared to the Epic's suspension. Slower cornering/handling on the stock Anthem would have been a very acceptable trade off and realistically the Anthem was much faster through any slightly technical (rocks/roots/drops etc.) terrain anyway.

    The things I changed on the Anthem one by one that made the most difference included:

    - Higher pressure in the rear shock (bout 20-25% sag)
    - 80mm stem (from a 90mm)
    - Similar tyre heights front and back
    - Raised the stem/handle bar height

    That last one was the biggest surprise for me (the others make sense to keep the original head angle) and also made a big difference - almost as much as increasing the pressure in the rear suspension. I thought it would shift too much weight up and back, and decrease front tyre grip. I think what happened was just the opposite due to my riding style (lack of skill...). With the bars higher I felt more balanced and was more willing to stay in a balanced position rather than going off the back of the seat for fear of over the handle bar-ing at speed on descents. I never really noticed shifting back so much before and it wasn't much movement but enough to throw the balance out.

    The reason why I tried the higher bars was in my frustration I got a great deal on a Carbon Anthem and bought one - stock bars were much higher than the aluminiúm Anthems.

    Now the story changes because stock, out of the box (90mm stem, bars cut down to 705mm) the carbon Anthem way out handled the modified aluminium Anthem and the carbon Epic for that matter. I modeled the aluminium Anthem (with 80mm stem) as much as possible on the carbon bike trying to achieve a similar ride but to no avail. The carbon bike just handled sooo much better. Stiffness? Lighter wheel/tyre weight? I dunno - what else is there?

    As a side note the carbon Anthem's suspension (SID/Maestro) is very efficient, can take big hits but is not as plush or trail friendly as the Fox equipped bike. The ideal trail Anthem in my mind would be a carbon frame with Fox front and back.

    I must say the suggestions and help off this forum has been great and made me think about things I wouldn't have considered important. So thanks again to everyone who contributed. The whole process also made me realise how finicky I am getting about my bikes and setup, and what works for me may not work for someone else. It also reinforces how different we all are in size and riding style.

    I got lucky with the carbon Anthem handling wise when I bought without test riding. Strange how life works - because it made me much faster - to the point now that I wanted more travel...so sold the Anthem carbon and bought a Cube carbon (story in another thread). I'm starting to feel like a MTB tragic.
    Last edited by V-Tach; 08-05-2013 at 06:30 AM.
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  44. #44
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    Great to hear the OP chime back in with what he's done and the results, glad it's working out for you. Now as to your "ideal" Trail Anthem, if you really are after that, if the carbon Anthem is also a 29er, then the fork and shock will bolt directly from the old alu one and vice versa, so why not swap them about and experiment and see if you can obtain Nirvana
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    Quote Originally Posted by V-Tach View Post
    I had originally planned to reply months ago but December got away on me then Christmas, etc .... I lot has happened since then. Anyway.

    I made adjustments to the Anthem based on what people suggested and then rode the adjusted Anthem back to back with the Epic (the bike that started all of this). The adjustments people suggested definitely made the Anthem corner better and feel more balanced. I got the Anthem to the point that I felt it cornered just as well as the Epic but the fit of the Epic (feeling in the bike not on the bike) was definitely better. However riding the 2 bikes back to back made me realise the Anthem suspension was something I would never give up compared to the Epic's suspension. Slower cornering/handling on the stock Anthem would have been a very acceptable trade off and realistically the Anthem was much faster through any slightly technical (rocks/roots/drops etc.) terrain anyway.

    The things I changed on the Anthem one by one that made the most difference included:

    - Higher pressure in the rear shock (bout 20-25% sag)
    - 80mm stem (from a 90mm)
    - Similar tyre heights front and back
    - Raised the stem/handle bar height

    That last one was the biggest surprise for me (the others make sense to keep the original head angle) and also made a big difference - almost as much as increasing the pressure in the rear suspension. I thought it would shift too much weight up and back, and decrease front tyre grip. I think what happened was just the opposite due to my riding style (lack of skill...). With the bars higher I felt more balanced and was more willing to stay in a balanced position rather than going off the back of the seat for fear of over the handle bar-ing at speed on descents. I never really noticed shifting back so much before and it wasn't much movement but enough to throw the balance out.

    The reason why I tried the higher bars was in my frustration I got a great deal on a Carbon Anthem and bought one - stock bars were much higher than the aluminiúm Anthems.

    Now the story changes because stock, out of the box (90mm stem, bars cut down to 705mm) the carbon Anthem way out handled the modified aluminium Anthem and the carbon Epic for that matter. I modeled the aluminium Anthem (with 80mm stem) as much as possible on the carbon bike trying to achieve a similar ride but to no avail. The carbon bike just handled sooo much better. Stiffness? Lighter wheel/tyre weight? I dunno - what else is there?

    As a side note the carbon Anthem's suspension (SID/Maestro) is very efficient, can take big hits but is not as plush or trail friendly as the Fox equipped bike. The ideal trail Anthem in my mind would be a carbon frame with Fox front and back.

    I must say the suggestions and help off this forum has been great and made me think about things I wouldn't have considered important. So thanks again to everyone who contributed. The whole process also made me realise how finicky I am getting about my bikes and setup, and what works for me may not work for someone else. It also reinforces how different we all are in size and riding style and the old adage "test ride, test ride, test ride".

    I got lucky with the carbon Anthem handling wise when I bought without test riding. Strange how life works - because it made me much faster - to the point now that I wanted more travel...so sold the Anthem carbon and bought a Cube carbon (story in another thread). I'm starting to feel like a MTB tragic.

    And the moral of the story continues to be not to take advice from people with no saddle time.

    Stories like this just leave me shaking my head.

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