I'm wide variety of bike experiences. I've been a bike messenger, raced offroad, raced on road, and designed and welded together a hard tail. I'm well acquainted with the various interactions of angles, wheelbase, trail, chain stay length etc.
But it seems to be that all mountain has a very particular set of needs. Because of that seems like all mountain bikes require a different fit than other bikes.
My current blur lt2 (160mm fork, 140mm rear) has a 5" (center to center) stem, with that I get a pretty good fit. A nice position relative to the pedals and a comfortable riding position and reach to the bars.
However I've never felt as comfortable as some other bikes on steep downhills. Seems like with a shorter stem I'd need a bigger frame, and the front wheel would be further forward. Thus for a given descent my center of gravity would be further back relative to the front tire contact patch. My guess is that with a 4" longer frame and a 1" stem I'd be just as comfortable, but the bike would feel better on the steep descents.
Seems like the current trend for many recent bikes they are in fact making long top tubes and building bikes with close the smallest possible stems. Makes sense to me.
Seems like frame designs should be:
* cross country = optimized around pedaling efficiency (suspension and position on bike), room to breath, light and fast.
* all mountain = optimized around more technical riding (suspension and position on bike), balancing climbing and descending, heavier, more suspension travel and somewhat less efficient pedaling.
* downhill = optimized around downhill, weight to the rear, and compromised other characteristics to optimize for suspension travel
Does anything thing it would be worth while to try to adjust for a rider + bike to have a perfect 50/50 weight distribution (traditionally about 2/3rd of your weight is on the rear tire)?
Sure the seat/pedal relationship is important, and the angles, wheelbase, trail, chain stay length etc make big differences. But weight distribution can vary quite a bit. I for instance have a longer torso than normal for my height.
Any other tips for finding the best fit for an all mountain bike?
Sure I plan to ride various alternatives. But finding a wide variety of really nice dual suspensions to ride can be tough. I'm just hoping to narrow the field down to 3 bikes or so that are most likely to be a good fit.
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