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  1. #1
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    How much difference is "modern" geometry?

    Currently own a 2011 Giant Anthem X 29er, and thinking of getting something more modern.

    The Giant is what I would call older XC geometry, with 100mm front and rear, a 71 degree head tube angle, slacker seat tube, and long chainstays.

    Anyone have 2 full squish 29ers, say from 5-10 yrs ago vs recent? For mainly XC riding on Eastern US conditions (rooty with smaller rocks) and lots of steep medium climbs, do you think there would be a noticeable difference?
    Last edited by diylighter; 08-04-2017 at 06:38 PM.

  2. #2
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    Yup. I went from a 10 year old specialized stumpjumper to a 2017 santa cruz bronson. The slack head tube is noticeable in that you don't get hung up as much on roots, rocks, and obstacles in front of you. It is forgiving. The shorter chainstay is nice when moving from 26" to 27.5" because the bike is still just as manuverable and playful despite bigger wheels. I would also mention that improved suspension and linkages really eliminate pedal bob on full suspension bikes.

    I would suggest you demo a newer bike. I was skeptical until I tried it, and now I love the newer geometry.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by diylighter View Post
    Currently own a 2011 Giant Anthem X 29er, and thinking of getting something more modern.

    The Giant is what I would call older XC geometry, with 100mm front and rear, a 70 degree head tube angle, slacker seat tube, and long chainstays.

    Anyone have 2 full squish, say from 5-10 yrs ago vs recent? For mainly XC riding on Eastern US conditions (rooty with smaller rocks) and lots of steep medium climbs, do you think there would be a noticeable difference?
    this might not apply as much to your bike since it is a xc 29er but i'll add my .02

    I currently have a 2011 heckler (150 F&R with a 70 or 69HA) and I have been riding my gf's 2015 devinci troy (150/140 with a 67 HA) while she is out of town and the difference is pretty big. on the first ride it felt a little larger but as I settled in to the bike it really came alive. even though i thought i would loose some playfulness going from 26 to 27.5, and the improvement in suspension is fantastic (that could just be coming from a single pivot to a multi link). After 2 rides I was climbing and descending faster. I can safely say that after even 5 years things have improved a whole lot.

  4. #4
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    I do have a 29+ hardtail with slacker angle and *think* I like that better, but hard to compare since they're really not the same.

  5. #5
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    The geo trend of longer and slacker may not help that much for XC and climbing. However the better suspension tech can pay dividends. You need to demo newer designs and see if it's a signifcant enough improvement for you to upgrade.
    Everyone is entitled to my opinion.

  6. #6
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    It is definitely different. In my case, it is different enough to cause fitment issues. It also is not better on tight, twisty, tree-lined trails, despite some people claiming the new geo is better for everything. There are compromises, like a longer wheelbase and fitment differences to consider, but it is a positive for many people.

  7. #7
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    I demo'd a 2017 Pivot Mach 5.5, which is a 650B+. Even though it was carbon with light wheels, I wasn't that impressed on the muddy rocky demo route. Mostly, I think it was because the front wheel on my Giant is wide at 30mm inner with an Ardent 2.4 which makes it between a 29er and a 29plus. Another option would be for me to add a 120mm fork to the Giant, which would slacken the angle, but also increase an already long wheelbase. Thoughts?

  8. #8
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    How much is just down to perception rather than actual improvement?

    My bike is a 2013 Commencal Meta. Compared to my mate's older Giant it feels massively more stable, you feel like you are 'in' the bike instead of 'on' it. We ride the same trails though and I go over the bars more often than he does ;0)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    How much is just down to perception rather than actual improvement?

    My bike is a 2013 Commencal Meta. Compared to my mate's older Giant it feels massively more stable, you feel like you are 'in' the bike instead of 'on' it. We ride the same trails though and I go over the bars more often than he does ;0)
    I seem to go OTB more with that 71 degree head tube, but hard to say vs 68.5 degree 120mm fork with 29+ wheels. Pivot demo was short so hard to tell really. Maybe need another demo on local trails.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by diylighter View Post
    Pivot demo was short so hard to tell really. Maybe need another demo on local trails.
    You're right it takes a bit of time to adapt. 1st the bigger wheels make a big difference, in my area the trails are full of root/rock and it will amaze you how much faster the new wheels roll. 29 and 27.5. 2nd the slacker HA slows steering but not maneuverability despite what ghoti posted above. A riding pal of mine bought a 2016 27.5 Scott Spark, it's a dual suspension XC racer. Scott has pushed the head angle out and lowered the bottom bracket like most all bike makers. That guy has increased his cornering speed a lot over his Giant Anthem, a 2013 29er. So just because the bike is longer and lower doesn't mean it's slower in the real tight stuff. My old bike is a '05 SC Blur, 70* HA and longer chain stays than my Kona 134 Process. It took a couple of months but my times on the XC loop dropped after I learned the bike. On the flow trails the Kona is way faster/safer/easier, so stable over the drops and jumps. You're gona be happy!
    oops I wasn't clipped in

  11. #11
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    The thing that surprised me about the slack HTA was how floppy it was going over rocks uphill. It seemed to want to twist out of my hands even with the enormous handlebar.

    Downhill it makes everything wonderful

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
    The thing that surprised me about the slack HTA was how floppy it was going over rocks uphill. It seemed to want to twist out of my hands even with the enormous handlebar.

    Downhill it makes everything wonderful
    Hmm. I accually find technical uphills easier with slack HT. Combined with a steep ST of course.

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim c View Post
    2nd the slacker HA slows steering but not maneuverability despite what ghoti posted above.
    Where did I state that? You have very poor reading comprehension or are just extrapolating things out the ass. But nonetheless you are very wrong here buddy. If you extend the HTA and increase the wheelbase you do decrease maneuverability. You gonna prattle on about how you can defy physics now too?
    Everyone is entitled to my opinion.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
    The thing that surprised me about the slack HTA was how floppy it was going over rocks uphill. It seemed to want to twist out of my hands even with the enormous handlebar.

    Downhill it makes everything wonderful
    That is probably due to having less weight on the front end so it flops over when it encounters steps, rocks or other obstacles.

    Quote Originally Posted by ghoti View Post
    Where did I state that? You have very poor reading comprehension or are just extrapolating things out the ass. But nonetheless you are very wrong here buddy. If you extend the HTA and increase the wheelbase you do decrease maneuverability. You gonna prattle on about how you can defy physics now too?
    Right, if you increase the wheelbase then you increase the turning radius. This will hinder "maneuverability" unless jim c is using some obscure definition of the word.

  15. #15
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    If I were you, I'd learn about geometry, not marketing.

    Good luck.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim c View Post
    You're right it takes a bit of time to adapt. 1st the bigger wheels make a big difference, in my area the trails are full of root/rock and it will amaze you how much faster the new wheels roll. 29 and 27.5. 2nd the slacker HA slows steering but not maneuverability despite what ghoti posted above. A riding pal of mine bought a 2016 27.5 Scott Spark, it's a dual suspension XC racer. Scott has pushed the head angle out and lowered the bottom bracket like most all bike makers. That guy has increased his cornering speed a lot over his Giant Anthem, a 2013 29er. So just because the bike is longer and lower doesn't mean it's slower in the real tight stuff. My old bike is a '05 SC Blur, 70* HA and longer chain stays than my Kona 134 Process. It took a couple of months but my times on the XC loop dropped after I learned the bike. On the flow trails the Kona is way faster/safer/easier, so stable over the drops and jumps. You're gona be happy!
    So maybe the better Scott cornering was due to two reasons: Smaller wheels and shorter chain stays? Hoping to get a direct 29er comparison if anyone has done that, but appreciate comments so far

  17. #17
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    and Jim do you mean wider wheels are faster, as in spark plus?

    I can attest that the 29+ wheels carry momentum bigly. Uphill on dry trails don't see much difference. Do notice they take some adjustment on super tight switchbacks but that's also probably related to wide bars. On our rides, not much is gained or lost in the switchbacks so would take climbing and general speed over maneuverability.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by diylighter View Post
    Currently own a 2011 Giant Anthem X 29er, and thinking of getting something more modern.

    The Giant is what I would call older XC geometry, with 100mm front and rear, a 71 degree head tube angle, slacker seat tube, and long chainstays.

    Anyone have 2 full squish 29ers, say from 5-10 yrs ago vs recent? For mainly XC riding on Eastern US conditions (rooty with smaller rocks) and lots of steep medium climbs, do you think there would be a noticeable difference?
    Update: I demoed a pivot Mach 5.5 with b+ wheels, yeti SB 29, and Ibis Ripley 29 on local trails. In the end, stuck with an upgraded Trek Stache. None of the other bikes had the same rollover and traction, and I love the short chain stays and connected feeling (Ripley was closest). For 95% of the riding I do, a modern plus hardtail seems best. For the other 5% it would be a flight so planning to rent.


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  19. #19
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    Way to go diylighter, new bike feeling is a great thing. Sorry I missed your question 3 weeks ago, but to address it now I have to say you misunderstood me. I was referring to 29 and 27.5 wheels when I typed the word bigger. I've never spent much time on +tires so can't say if I like them or not. The added traction vs. the added weight and girth. That is tuff because in a couple of spots (on the trails I ride) it's like threading a needle getting the line choice just right. I'm worried a wider tire will be deflecting off rocks and causing me trouble, plus I've found I prefer the lightest tire possible. As long as its knobs are big enough to work on the hardpak I usually ride.
    Last edited by jim c; 08-30-2017 at 11:03 AM.
    oops I wasn't clipped in

  20. #20
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    It's like you 20 year old girlfriend vs your 40 year old wife. Do you need it? Not really, but is it nicer and softer? Yea probably.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by diylighter View Post
    Currently own a 2011 Giant Anthem X 29er, and thinking of getting something more modern.

    The Giant is what I would call older XC geometry, with 100mm front and rear, a 71 degree head tube angle, slacker seat tube, and long chainstays.

    Anyone have 2 full squish 29ers, say from 5-10 yrs ago vs recent? For mainly XC riding on Eastern US conditions (rooty with smaller rocks) and lots of steep medium climbs, do you think there would be a noticeable difference?
    I'm also on a 2011 Giant Anthem X 29er. I've been demoing some modern geometries & really liking the Pivot Switchblade. One downside I have noticed, however, is difficulty keeping the front wheel planted during technical climbs. It can be done, but takes some effort & forethought to get my weight forward & setup my approach to any obstacles. I spent a bit of time dialing in saddle position, but never felt I got it quite right. That's not surprising, because even on my Anthem it took several months of tweaking.

    Looking at the geo differences, it's not surprising that the Pivot's front-end comes up so easy. The chain-stay is 1.3 inches shorter than the Anthem. I can hardly manual on the Anthem.

    On level ground & downhill, the Switchblade was far superior in handling, maneuverability, pedaling, & comfort. It was also far better on non-technical climbs. I'm sure I could get used to getting my weight forward for technical climbs.

    Another bike I'd like to demo is the Salsa Horse Thief. Similar geo to the Switchblade, but with Al rear triangle, shorter travel suspension, lower component specs, & in my price range.

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  22. #22
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    How much difference is "modern" geometry?

    Hey Burtronix,

    FWIW Last weekend I experimented with a 3.0x29 tire on a 29mm inner rim. The Chupacabra is a tire that I really like on my Stache and it was terrific on the rocky technical route. The larger diameter seems to put the anthem in a higher, more modern position. With 120mm fork and shorter chainstays it would be amazing, but for the price it is great as a secondary ride for me.

    If still looking, maybe check out the SC Tallboy. Great review on outdoorgearlabs

  23. #23
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    I've really been wondering about this geometry stuff too. I've been riding off and on for over 20 years on very few bikes. My current ride is an 08 spec. SJ FSR and looking at geo charts it actually seems to have fairly modern geo. Head angle is a bit steep at 68.5 and stack is comparatively short to the newest stuff but otherwise it's right there. I am looking at something new e within the next year or so and haven't demo'd anythimy yet but will probably be looking at direct to consumer (YT, Commencal, etc.) Unless a screaming deal is out there. I'm sure I'll notice the suspension advances, but how likely is the geometry changes to be noticeable

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by xmarvin1 View Post
    My current ride is an 08 spec. SJ FSR and looking at geo charts it actually seems to have fairly modern geo. Head angle is a bit steep at 68.5 and stack is comparatively short to the newest stuff but otherwise it's right there.
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    surprised to read this
    I thought Spec and Trek had stretched out their front-centers and shortened chain stays over the last few years. I went from a '05 onto a '15 and it took several weeks of rides to learn the new body-english I now use to negotiate tight turns. I love the difference those changes, along with a lower BB, made when up to speed and riding a twisty stretch of single track.
    oops I wasn't clipped in

  25. #25
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    Just look how much further back you sit, how far out the front wheel has come from under the handlebars.

    2008
    How much difference is "modern" geometry?-spec08_sjpro_hi.jpg

    2018
    How much difference is "modern" geometry?-stumpjumper-fsr-expert-29-6fattie-2018.jpg

  26. #26
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    Agreed about getting used to the new style. I got out my Hardrock to clean it up to sell it, and it feels strange. Very long and narrow and leaned forward.

  27. #27
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    I have an Ibis Mojo SL, 2010 vintage, 26" tires. This summer, I bought an Ibis Mojo 3 with 2.6" Nobby Nic tires. It took some time to get used to the new geometry. I wasn't blown away at first, but once I got used to it and learned to trust what it could do, I love it and am a much more confident rider on the Mojo 3.

    The new suspension design and shocks make this heavier bike a better climber than the Mojo SL (which is a great climber). The dropper post on the Mojo 3 made a big difference (once I got used to using it. I always felt like I was about to go over the bars on the Mojo SL (even though I rarely did) because the 26" tires would occasionally stop dead and because of the geometry. With the new geometry and bigger wheels/tires, that feeling is gone and I am riding technical stuff with much more confidence. I'm not sure if it's the dropper post or the dropper + geometry, but I'm pumping the bike much more in corners (fun, fun!). I'm also less likely to ride my hard-tail because the new suspension is so efficient.

    I was going to sell my Mojo SL, but decided not to because it is still a super-fun bike on especially tight trails and on trails that are not friendly to wider bars (plus resale of 26" bikes stinks).

  28. #28
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    the difference is huge if you doing single track with many obstacles.

  29. #29
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    Modern geo is much better. Mainly better on descending. However, steeper seat tube can help some with pedal position on the ups. Slacker head tube is better descending and less twitchy at higher speed. Longer reach helps with not having to shift weight fore and aft so much on really technical downhills. Just gives you much more room in the cockpit and larger room for error.
    Last edited by aliikane; 2 Weeks Ago at 01:37 PM.

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