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  1. #1
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    Trance x1 stem options

    Posted this on the Giant board but it doesn't seem to get too much traffic over there so I am taking it to you folks:

    I just bought a *new* '11 Trance x1 but have not had the chance to get it out on the trails yet as we are waiting for the damn snow to melt up here in the White Mountains. I've seen some posts where people have negative opinions about the 100mm stock stem in relation to it's downhill handling. Now, I realize this is a "trail bike" but I plan on doing mostly AM riding with some fast and tech downhill sections...but I also don't want to compromise it's climbing ability too much because I have to earn those downhills with long climbs and sections of more XC-type terrain.

    My buddy who also has a Trance ('09) was a little shocked when I said I was thinking about a shorter stem pretty much right off the bat. He said "that is what makes it a trail bike. You are almost directly over the front axel with that set up". Obviously I am going to put some miles in before I buy a new stem and maybe I will end up like the 100 but I like to have options. Would going with something shorter (80-90mm) give me a good mix of climbing and dh performance? Sorry if these are dumb questions lol, I've been riding for years but never was too finicky about my set ups. Kind of a set and forget guy that never messed to much with things like stock stems etc. Since I have been reading this forum more I have realized that small tweaks in the cockpit can make life better or worse quite easily. Thanks for reading. Cheers.
    2011 Trance x1

    All good things in all good time

  2. #2
    Te mortuo heres tibi sim?
    Reputation: scrublover's Avatar
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    What size frame? Stock width bars? What was your prior setup? Could go shorter, but you could also argue to give it a ride or three before doing so.

    On the size small TX I was riding for a while, I found a 70mm stem with 785mm wide low rise bars to be my sweet spot.

    Maybe pick up some cheap/easy to get or take off stems from local shops to try to get the feel dialed before picking up something spendy.
    Florence Nightingale's Stormtrooper

  3. #3
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    Thanks scrublover! It is a medium frame with the stock bars as well which according to the spec sheet on the Giant website is 31.8 (? guessing that is inches). Like I said I never spent much time fiddling with cockpit adjustments over the years so I have no idea what the measurements were on my old bike. It was a Jamis hardtail that I upgraded quite a bit (drivetrain, fork, wheels) but never did anything with the stem etc. Thinking back now I do recall my arms feeling a bit stretched out on the old bike which I compensated for by moving the seat forward.

    Honestly, it has been very eye opening reading these forums the past few months and realizing that I can make small adjustments to the cockpit and drastically change the ride...no idea why it never crossed my mind in the past, always just jumped on the bike and rode lol. And yes, I plan on riding it the way it is before I make any changes and hoepfully my LBS will let me try some loaner stems. How would you describe your "sweet spot"?
    2011 Trance x1

    All good things in all good time

  4. #4
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    Your bars being 31.8 is the diameter, it means when you buy a new stem you want one that's 31.8 as well (not 25.4). You can measure the bar width with a tape measure (from one end to the other), probably something like 640mm or 680 or 710 etc.

    Once you get some time on it, if it feels comfortable, you're not too stretched out, can get behind the saddle no worries then you might be happy with what's on there. But not real harm in trying something different, it's the best way to see the difference and what works for you.

    I've experimented with different stems a bit, Got a new bike recently and put my 50mm stem straight on there, in the end I don't think it's ideal because I"m not getting out on the trail much these days, well not at all at the moment but I just love the handling of a short stem. And riding such a short stem on paved paths seems to give me numb hands. I relented and put the 95mm back on. I guess a 70 or 80mm could be the "sweet spot" where it's somewhere between the two extremes and would suit someone doing a bit of everything (riding wise). (As a note I was riding an old 19" frame before, but now have a 17" so it's more of a correct fit for me in the first place).

    If you bike came with pretty narrow bars (like 640mm) going wider can make quite a noticeable difference too.

    Be ware, once you start changing things it can get pretty obsessive

  5. #5
    Te mortuo heres tibi sim?
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    Pretty much what ducktape said, particularly in regards to obsessive once you start changing things...

    Thinking you'll want shorter, but may as well give it a ride or three. Costs nothing, and maybe it'll work.

    Anyhow, I played around with 50-70mm stems for a few years, and at the same time, began running wider bars and lower front ends (read: fewer and fewer spacers below the stem) My stem and bars are pretty much slammed as low as I can get them, with a really wide bar, and 70mm stems (60mm on my big bike) Even as a short dude (5'8") I've found I really like wiiiiiide bars. 785mm. Love 'em.

    Lets me get back low and behind things when needed, but lets me weight the front very well most of the time. I've discovered I really like weighting the front end and riding sort of nose heavy.

    YMMV - play around with the stuff on the bike, swap spacers around and rotate your bar a bit on a ride to see what you like. Too stretched? Go shorter on the stem, IMO, 20mm at a time for starters. Anyhow, don't be afraid to tinker and move stuff around. Truvativ AKA and Stylo stems are good - not spendy, light-ish, stiff, and just work well. You may even end up keeping it if you find the right one. Don't just listen to the forums and the people telling you that you need some uber-spendy FR worthy stem and bar setup. Find what works for you and your riding.
    Florence Nightingale's Stormtrooper

  6. #6
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    Ok so I realized quite shortly after my last post that 31.8 was the diameter hah. Gonna have to measure the bar length tomorrow. Thanks for the replies guys, very helpful. I figured as much that tinkering leads to more tinkering and more $$ spent which my be, subconsciously, why I never got into before. I have a little bit more cash to work with these days so it shouldn't be too much of an issue to get obsessive...but knowing how I get with ski equipment scares me a little but because there is way more stuff to screw around with on a bike =). I'm gonna give the 100 a few rides and see if it feels good or not and then proceeded accordingly. Thanks again. Have a good weekend.
    2011 Trance x1

    All good things in all good time

  7. #7
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    I put a 50mm stem, 745mm bars on my '11 Trance X2. My HTA is also slacked out to 67.5* vs the 69.5* stock and it woke my bike da fuk up for tech and downhill handling. It was almost like buying another bike. Yeah, I gave up some ground on climbing... but I ain't racing and really don't care. You learn to compensate. I can still climb steep stuff... just with a little different technique. It is a bit twitchy at slow speeds however, that definitely takes some getting used to. But when I point my Trance downhill at some twisted steep trail... it's worth it

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by abeckstead View Post
    I put a 50mm stem, 745mm bars on my '11 Trance X2. My HTA is also slacked out to 67.5* vs the 69.5* stock and it woke my bike da fuk up for tech and downhill handling. It was almost like buying another bike. Yeah, I gave up some ground on climbing... but I ain't racing and really don't care. You learn to compensate. I can still climb steep stuff... just with a little different technique. It is a bit twitchy at slow speeds however, that definitely takes some getting used to. But when I point my Trance downhill at some twisted steep trail... it's worth it

    How were you able to slack out the head angle? Different fork, bigger tires ?
    2011 Trance x1

    All good things in all good time

  9. #9
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    I just sold my '11 trance X1 with a 70mm Thompson stem and 740mm CB Iodine Carbon bars. That combo is as sweet as chocolate on that rig. I just took that same setup over to my new SB-66c.

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