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  1. #1
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    Climbing with a 67 degree head angle

    I know there's got to be more than a few of you that climb with slack geometry.

    I'm looking a new ride, and would like to run a 36 Van on the front, which obviously doesn't have travel adjust. I know a Lyric U-Turn is another coil option, but I prefer the feel of the 36.

    I do tons of climbing to get to my downs, and a lot of it is pretty steep and tech.

    For what it's worth, I like to run my bars pretty low relative to my saddle, and will likely end up running an 80 or 90mm stem.

    Whatcha think?

  2. #2
    pin it to win it
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    I run a fox 36 float on my BlurLT2 which has.a 67 headangle. I run a 50mm stem almost zerostacked. It will do whelies on steep stuff if your in the saddle, but out of the saddle it dosnt pull up at all. Just go for it, you will love the headangle on dh stuff.

  3. #3
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    I think MBA coined the term "Cosmic Crunch" back in the 80's for climbing up steep stuff. IIRC, it involves:
    - sliding forward on the saddle [if the nose of the saddle is becoming intimate with your anus, that's about as far forward as you need to go]
    - pulling down and back on the bars, as opposed to up and back
    - leaning forward enough to keep your front wheel on the ground, but not so much that you lose traction in the back

    That's about it. More traction in the rear will let you get right off of the saddle and hammer away. A longer stem moves your center of gravity forward a bit and helps reduce wheelies. Short legs and a long torso help as well.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkrobe
    I think MBA coined the term "Cosmic Crunch" back in the 80's for climbing up steep stuff. IIRC, it involves:
    - sliding forward on the saddle [if the nose of the saddle is becoming intimate with your anus, that's about as far forward as you need to go]
    - pulling down and back on the bars, as opposed to up and back
    - leaning forward enough to keep your front wheel on the ground, but not so much that you lose traction in the back

    That's about it. More traction in the rear will let you get right off of the saddle and hammer away. A longer stem moves your center of gravity forward a bit and helps reduce wheelies. Short legs and a long torso help as well.
    That is how I climb. I'm just wondering if I can do it with a 160mm fork and slack head angle.

    Technique isn't a problem, but at some point one's equipment has to come into play.

    So, who can climb the steep, loose, techy stuff with a long fork and slack head angle?

    Anyone? Bueller?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by juan_speeder
    I know there's got to be more than a few of you that climb with slack geometry.

    I'm looking a new ride, and would like to run a 36 Van on the front, which obviously doesn't have travel adjust. I know a Lyric U-Turn is another coil option, but I prefer the feel of the 36.

    I do tons of climbing to get to my downs, and a lot of it is pretty steep and tech.

    For what it's worth, I like to run my bars pretty low relative to my saddle, and will likely end up running an 80 or 90mm stem.

    Whatcha think?
    I think you will be fine.

    Pinkrobe is correct, If your climbing steep hills you will have to lean forward more to help keep the front end down.

    I also find you get more "front wheel flop" the slacker the head angle.

    So you will have to learn relax and stay in control, or else you will expend more energy controlling the wheel flop or steering all over the trail.

    Once you get used to the slacker angle.

    Helps is to try and relax your upper body.

    I went through a similar choice. Had a talas with adjustable travel.

    For new bike was trying to decide between 36 van, talas, or totem coil. (also making the bike have a slacker head angle)

    I find on the steepest climbs I have to lean forward more to keep the front end down. No big deal.

    You can always stand up

    Way worth it for the plushness of a coil fork

    Also 67 isnt that slack.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by juan_speeder
    That is how I climb. I'm just wondering if I can do it with a 160mm fork and slack head angle.

    Technique isn't a problem, but at some point one's equipment has to come into play.

    So, who can climb the steep, loose, techy stuff with a long fork and slack head angle?

    Anyone? Bueller?
    IMHO, If you have technique down you will have no problem.

    yes, even at 65.5 with totem coil and 45mm stem.

  7. #7
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    You shall require more technique or maybe you will develop new skills in order to keep your front tire on the dirt, but you eventually will, there are better choices to climb steep hills than a long travel suspension with a slack head angle, but somebody have to pay in order to keep your down hill capabilities.
    I ride a Turner Six Pack original 68 degree plus a Marzocchi 66 RC2 180mm it is now about 67 degree with a 40mm stem. I spend some time in the nose of my saddle but it is possible
    In my workshop, dirty hands is a state of mind

  8. #8
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    I sometimes ride my Nbr 1 bike... Spec 07 Enduro with a 180mm RC3 with 2.75" TST coil in rear.... I push bike uphill cause I can't keep front down and maintain traction on climbs. But damn is it fun when going down hill

  9. #9
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    My main AM ride's got a 67 degree HTA and a fixed travel fork. It's alright. Get yourself as far forwards as possible and have at it.

  10. #10
    ffwd
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    My angles are the same with a 66 180 mm fork/50 mm stem. I ride steep wet, rooty, rocky, singletrack climbs.(hate walking my bike) I don't even think about what is good or bad for climbing. Just get it done with power, technique, luck, skill, swearing and a few snot bubbles.

  11. #11
    Chillin the Most
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    65* head angle, fixed travel Totem Solo Air fork and 40mm stem, no issue climbing.

  12. #12
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    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead!

    Quote Originally Posted by pkrip
    My angles are the same with a 66 180 mm fork/50 mm stem. I ride steep wet, rooty, rocky, singletrack climbs.(hate walking my bike) I don't even think about what is good or bad for climbing. Just get it done with power, technique, luck, skill, swearing and a few snot bubbles.
    That's to funny, SNOT BUBBLES

  13. #13
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    My Sanction has a 64* angle but I can reduce the travel from 160 to about 130, so that helps. At first I had a hard time keeping the front wheel on the ground but eventually I got used to it. It just takes more technique and legs, the +/- 34lbs don't help either...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by GS833
    My Sanction has a 64* angle but I can reduce the travel from 160 to about 130, so that helps. At first I had a hard time keeping the front wheel on the ground but eventually I got used to it. It just takes more technique and legs, the +/- 34lbs don't help either...
    I have an extremely difficult time believing that your sanction has a 64˚ HA, especially given that its listed at 66 with a 160mm fork. 64 is DH and almost impossible to climb on - I know, I'm riding one. I don't believe you.

  15. #15
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    Well let me share the whole story:

    I took a frame that was originally designed around 130mm fork and installed a Marzocchi 180mm RC3.

    Removed the stock 8.5 x 2.5 rear shock and installed a 8.75 x 2.75 Rocco. So my geo is all jacked up... that explains some of my climbing issues.

    So I ended up with this:

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by William42
    I don't believe you.
    You don't have to believe me; http://www.gtbicycles.com/usa/eng/Pr...rchived=t#2592
    That's what the GT website lists for a Medium size frame...unless THEY're wrong...

  17. #17
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    They are probably wrong. small, large, XL all say 67*.
    Also, the Sanction 1.0 and 2.0 say 67* for the medium (presumably the same frame).

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by zfeldman
    They are probably wrong. small, large, XL all say 67*.
    Must be then... you can't trust anything these days!

    BTW: I'm not technically a "liar" William42...

  19. #19
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    I think its wrong, why would the small, the L and XL have 67 and the medium 64??

    Quote Originally Posted by GS833
    You don't have to believe me; http://www.gtbicycles.com/usa/eng/Pr...rchived=t#2592
    That's what the GT website lists for a Medium size frame...unless THEY're wrong...

  20. #20
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    My adjustable Prophet Ihas two head angle positions: 69 and 67.5. Most of the time I'm in the 69 but the 67 is a blast for decents. Climbing in the 67 is not too noticably harder than in 69, but it is there. Primarily if you do alot of switchbacks you will find it harder. But when just going straight up? You can make the very small adjustments needed just fine. Then enjoy the ride down better.
    2016 Canyon Strive CF 9.0 Race
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by juan_speeder
    I know there's got to be more than a few of you that climb with slack geometry.

    I'm looking a new ride, and would like to run a 36 Van on the front, which obviously doesn't have travel adjust. I know a Lyric U-Turn is another coil option, but I prefer the feel of the 36.

    I do tons of climbing to get to my downs, and a lot of it is pretty steep and tech.

    For what it's worth, I like to run my bars pretty low relative to my saddle, and will likely end up running an 80 or 90mm stem.

    Whatcha think?
    Sure you can climb with a long travel fork and slack angles, it's just not as easy as with a short travel fork and steeper angles.

    I find the "effective" seat angle (seat tube angle with the fore-aft position of the saddle factored in) to be even more import than the head angle. Steepening that by sliding the seat forward can make a difference when the bike is pointing up, but you have to balance that with the fact that it may become too steep on flats or pointing downhill. The saddle-nose-in-the-butt method works somewhat on the same principle, and does not leave you with the seat too far forward the rest of the time.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by juan_speeder
    Technique isn't a problem, but at some point one's equipment has to come into play.
    I have found that a coil rear shock can help on the steeps as it can have a more supportive midstroke. I had a DHX Air that would sink into half it's travel on steep ups, the deeply sagged shock really upset climbing geometry.

    This is just a tip if technique and riding position adjustments are exhausted.

    P

  23. #23
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    My gt avalanche has a HT angle of 68 iirc (measured it a few months ago fading memory), when the fork is at 130mm, it doesnt climb well at all. Its only usable at 100mm and even then its a joke. I dont think its the HT angle that does it but its that all your weight is higher up/want to tip over backwards. I think this wouldnt be a problem if I had a rigid short fork no matter what HT angle.
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  24. #24
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    my balfa belair runs about 68 degrees with 130mm. the bike climbs pretty good from the front of the saddle but gets tiring on long, smooth climbs. the front end will definitely start to wander if i stop paying attention.

    it's doable...but takes more effort IMO.
    what would rainbow unicorn do?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.P
    I have found that a coil rear shock can help on the steeps as it can have a more supportive midstroke.

    P
    Agreed. If my bike would support the use of a coil, I would much prefer it, largely for this reason.

  26. #26
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    Damping the rebound a couple extra clicks keeps it from getting bouncy ( instant fix on almost any fork). A saddle with a longer nose lets you maximize the effect of that extreme climbing position while keeping a normal balance F/R the rest of the time. Good grippy tires might hold on even when you leave the rear unweighted. If you don't use leg armor, pad the stem, cause when the back tire does break free you will inevitably launch your knee right into it with all the force you are able to generate( it really is a special kind of pain when it happens).

  27. #27
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    Well, even with terrible technique, I've made my way up some steep and pretty technical climbs on my big bike. 66 or 67 degree head angle, 8" Boxxer, 42+ pounds... and a whole lot of mashing my way up! If you have better technique, and aren't running your fork like a sponge as I am, you shouldn't have too many problems that you wouldn't have on any other bike.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by William42
    I have an extremely difficult time believing that your sanction has a 64˚ HA, especially given that its listed at 66 with a 160mm fork. 64 is DH and almost impossible to climb on - I know, I'm riding one. I don't believe you.

    Hey, the last place any of us should rely on is the GT website.... I have sent them in so many typo's, it makes you wonder if they are outsourcing their webdesign team in india or something.... it's just stupid.

    I even called them to see why my sanction came with a cane creek head set, when the stupid website said it comes with an FSA orbit x..... guess what they said?

    "Sh1t, I don't know"

    In any case, that's customer service.... their engineers are a complete different thing.
    They make the best pedaling full suspention bikes period.

    Sure people try to say GT is crap or whatever, but ask any owner...and we know GT is actually really good at making bikes.

    Anyway, off the topic.

    For the post question, I changed my stem to 50mm and high rise 30" wide bars, and I put in a Magura Wotan 160mm with instant height adjust, and I Can climb anything I did with my full carbon GT Marathon Team which weights 22.8 pounds. I'm just stronger now, cuz there is more than 10 pounds of difference between the bikes.

    The angle on my GT is 67 degrees, like in all Sanctions, except for 2009 models which were slacked to 66 degrees.

  29. #29
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    ok ..everbody has his own riding style...but I made the experience that the headangle alone does not decide it...the seat angle and balance of the bike is, for me, more important...what I learned during the years is ...
    as long as the seatangle is > 70 degree, slow! but efficient climbing is not a problem (with a slack head angle), but with a seat angle of < 68 degrees it is at least very difficult if not impossible (with 66 or less).... this also explains for me the fact that a coil spring as mentioned before makes climbing much better...
    with climbing I mean long seated runs for about 3000 vertical feet, mixed on fireroads or technical trails...
    one very good example for my opinion is this, 66.5 !! headangle and 74 degree seatangle...
    http://www.orangebikes.co.uk/2009bik...p?model_id=106

    I bet it will be good on the ups and on the downs...

  30. #30
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    I dont understand.
    Quote Originally Posted by Curmy
    Carbon is a fad.
    Quote Originally Posted by robicycle
    Just lube your ass with asscream and ride for how long you want.

  31. #31
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    Almost all aggressive All Mountain riders I know ride with a 67 HA or near there. It seems to be the best all around angle for the geo needed for what is required for this kind of riding. Skill comes into play here....I myself and have seen many very steep slickrock sections cleaned with a 67 or so HA. Most real AM designed bikes tend to be 160mm and this 68-67 seems to be very common on those said bikes.

  32. #32
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    All you have to do is hook up with some locals! Mike, I run about a 67 degree HA and I can out-climb most anyone that I know (with a few exceptions) in the technical stuff.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by juan_speeder
    I know there's got to be more than a few of you that climb with slack geometry.

    I do tons of climbing to get to my downs, and a lot of it is pretty steep and tech.

    For what it's worth, I like to run my bars pretty low relative to my saddle, and will likely end up running an 80 or 90mm stem.

    Whatcha think?
    You will be just fine.

    While I appreciate slamming 160 to 120 for a very long ride up, going up with 160 and slack front is definitely possible, if the bike fits you.

  34. #34
    Be happy......go riding
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    Geometrically inept

    I don't mean to hijack this thread, but I feel I'm asking among folks that would know the answer. What's the easiest way to accurately measure the head angle of a built up bike?

  35. #35
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    I used an instrument which is a beefed up hybrid of these 2, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sliding_T_bevel
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protractor kinda.
    Quote Originally Posted by Curmy
    Carbon is a fad.
    Quote Originally Posted by robicycle
    Just lube your ass with asscream and ride for how long you want.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trailmix
    I don't mean to hijack this thread, but I feel I'm asking among folks that would know the answer. What's the easiest way to accurately measure the head angle of a built up bike?
    With a magnetic angle finder. Usually you can stick it on the front of the head tube. Check the level of the floor first.


  37. #37
    Be happy......go riding
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    Thanks guys. I figured that there was an easier way to do it than trying to recall my long forgotten geometry skills.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by All Mountain
    With a magnetic angle finder. Usually you can stick it on the front of the head tube. Check the level of the floor first.


    I've got the same angle finder, it's not the most accurate thing. Mine changes the reading by two degrees if you turn it around. Then again, two degrees is nothing once you throw a rider on the bike and bounce him down the trail.

  39. #39
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    The rear suspension is a factor, what frames are you considering?

    I have a Reign X1 with the original Van36R fork, and it climbs pretty well. It does not squat much if at all, which really helps keep the front wheel on the ground, and the coil shock likely helps too, like others have mentioned. My other bike is a Stumpy FSR so I know what squat is like. That bike climbs great, but only when I drop the fork.

  40. #40
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    Easy

    as has been said, if your geometry is off, but your comfortable with riding as such, then it shouldn't be a problem, its all about technique, clearly if you run your Hbars lower than your saddle, your inclined to lean forward. At that point its all up to your Rear shock, itd be much easier if your rear shock locked out.

    I use a DT swiss XM 180 and have it with remote lockout, I have a 140mm front fork, and I can climb anything with the rear locked.

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