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  1. #1
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    Tall RM ETSX riders...what size bike do you ride?

    It's muddy on the East Coast still, so I have time to make the right decision between a Heckler and a ETSX.

    On the ETSX, I am stuck between choosing between the 19" and the 20.5" sizes. My LBS has a 19" in stock, but does not have a 20.5".

    The 19" feels ok, but I'd like to hear from other ETSX riders. I'm 6'2'' with a long torso, and ride aggressive x-country. I currently have an old Bontrager Race with a shorter tt, but I prefer to be stretched out a bit.

    Specifically, I'd like to know what a longer head tube does on a bikes handling (the 20.5 has a 155mm head tube, significantly longer than the 19).

    Overall, how tall are you and what size do you ride, and how do you like it?

    Thanks for any and all input.

  2. #2
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    you are comparing apples and oranges on two counts

    Apples and Oranges Count One:

    ETSX vs Heckler:

    ETSX is a 4 bar chainstay pivot design
    Heckler a mono pivot design

    Apples and Oranges Count Two:

    19" ETSX 2003 vs 20.5" ETSX 2004:

    ........................2003....2004
    Size....................19.0"...20.5"
    Head Angle..............71.0...70.5
    Horiz. Toptube Length...595.....615
    Wheelbase...............1087....1110
    Standover Height........774.....825


    I've done it this way since these are the two you are comparing.

    The geometries have changed between 2003 and 2004 for two reasons.
    The taller fork slackens the head angle on the 2004's. But there is
    another reason. IMO RM has changed which rear travel position they
    use to measure the geometry.

    A little bit of history.

    The first year I rode only in the 4.5 travel setting with about
    25% rear sag and about 10% sag on the front. I would play with
    variations, but the only way to get a balanced geometry was to
    run minimal sag on the front maximal sag on the rear. Since I
    loved the performance I just left it that way. Last year I got
    serious about figuring out what was going on and discovered that
    the travel setting for 3.5 and 4.0 only change the leverage ratio.
    The 4.5 travel setting changes the leverage ratio and the ride height,
    steepening the head angle by about .6 degrees. I worked this out
    using a laser level and some basic trig. Sure enough, using the
    4.0 or 3.5 settings I was able optimise sag both front and rear.
    I reported this to RM through an engineering contact I have.

    So: for 2004 I believe RM is using the 4.5 setting to measure
    geometry. It makes sense. A 25 mm taller fork should reduce
    head angle by about 1 degree but RM lists the head angle as 70.5.
    The additional .5 comes from the 4.5 travel setting. Also the
    standover heights have changed more than could be explained
    by a taller fork. This applies to all sizes.

    Therefore the differences between a 2003 19" and a 2004 20.5"
    have magnified beyond the differences between frame size.

    I have listed the most critical dimensions in choosing a bike.
    Head angle and wheel base will determine the ride characteristics.
    The rest determine fit. The standover height for the 2004 20.5"
    is a full 2" taller. You say you have a long torso which also
    means you have shorter legs. Need I say more. And there is
    only about .75" difference between the respective top tubes.

    Get the 2003 19" OR order a 2004 19". I think you would regret
    buying the 20.5". It's a bike for someone approaching 6'6".

    I am 5'11" to 6' depending on time of day. I ride a 19".
    I changed the seat post to Raceface XY and the stem to
    a Raceface 90 x 15 with a 1.5 riser bar. Fits like a custom build.

    michael
    Last edited by mrdy; 03-09-2004 at 12:11 PM.

  3. #3
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    Dang...

    Dude, there are some smart people in the world and you are clearly one of them.

    You measured your geometry with a laser and some trig? Nice.

    One question: the 20.5" in question is a 2003, not a 2004. Did I mislead you with my post above? How much does that change the equation?

    Thanks for the info

  4. #4
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    I didn't realize you could still order a new 2003...

    The standover height for a 2003 20.5" is 1" taller than the 2003 19".
    Two points to consider: The Horizontal Toptube Length hasn't changed
    between model years with the 20.5" being 20 mm longer AND The 2004 ETSX's
    now come with an offset seat post where as the 2003's have a zero-offset
    seat post. RM probably realized that the increased standover heights of
    the 2004's would push people down one frame size and the offset seat post
    compensates for the shorter top tube.

    I understand your dilemma. I had the luxury of test riding an 18" and 19".
    The 18" was too small. The 19" standover height was a bit too tall for me.
    My inseam is 31". But everything else about the 19" was near perfect.

    And after figuring out what was happening to the geometry I now use only the
    4" travel position. I wish the fork was a 110 mm or 115 mm. I think 125 mm
    is overkill for a 4" travel bike. At least the 2004's have a fork you can change.

    Consider that the respective standover heights for the 18", 19", 20.5"
    are 29.5, 30.5", 31.5" for the 2003's. For the 2004's add 1" to each.
    If you could only buy a 2004 you would probably end up buying the 19"
    any way. Not trying to make up your mind for you...

    Whatever you decide, if you opt for an ETSX don't run low tire pressures.
    It seems to be fashionable and I just don't understand. Traction is a
    function of tread pattern and compound, and suspension compliance.
    The suspension needs to be able to feel what's happening at the tire
    terrain interface. Low tire pressures prevents this. I've often
    wondered if the people who think the ETSX is flexing are actually
    feeling flex in the tire. I know that's happened to me when I've been
    lazy about checking tire pressures. As to what is a minimum is rider
    dependent and found by trial and error testing.

    michael

    Footnote
    It's amazing what some of the new gadgets can do. The laser level is a marvel.
    Wish I had that some years ago when I was renovating a house.

  5. #5
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    after thought

    Now you've got me thinking

    I've been considering buying a second ETSX. Just checked RM's website and the
    standover height on a 2004 18" is the same as my 2002.5 19". Which size do I buy?

    OR

    Buy an ETSX 70 19" frame and do my own build. Never done that before. Maybe it's time to.

    michael

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darren
    Overall, how tall are you and what size do you ride, and how do you like it?
    I'm 6 ft tall with a long torso. I ride a 19" 2003.

    I too was weary of the "short cockpit." My lbs swapped the 5 deg stem with a 15 deg, putting the handlerbars more in line with my seat height. It's been great since. The bike rocks, good luck in your decision.
    cannondale flash 29er
    rocky mountain etsx-30 (retired)
    trek madone

  7. #7
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    I'm 5'11" and change. 175lbs and 32" inseam. I'm looking for an ETSX70 and rode an '02 model against an '04 Stumpjumper. The stumpy's wheelbase was about an inch shorter to my eye and lifted the front wheel on flat pavement at the slightest provocation.

    In contrast, the 19" ETSX required effort to lift the front wheel. After the ride, I noticed two things: 1) seat was moved as far back as the rails would allow. 2) the quick release on the rear shock was loose enough to allow the rear suspension to move.

    Would either or both of these conditions contribute to my inability to bring the front wheel off the ground? I'm worried about my ability to loft the front wheel over obstacles when necessary.

    The bike salesman was sure I needed a 19" but he assumed a puzzled look when I contrasted the two bikes' ride.

  8. #8
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    so the 70.5 degree head angle is in the 4.5" mode with a 125mm fork? how does the bike descend in that configuration? it seems like it might be a little twitchy, but feedback from the people who ride it means more to me than numbers.

    what would the head angle be if you ran the bike in 4" travel mode with a 125mm fork? do you think that would make it more stable?

  9. #9
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    Good job!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan
    so the 70.5 degree head angle is in the 4.5" mode with a 125mm fork? how does the bike descend in that configuration? it seems like it might be a little twitchy, but feedback from the people who ride it means more to me than numbers.

    what would the head angle be if you ran the bike in 4" travel mode with a 125mm fork? do you think that would make it more stable?
    In theory, the bb height of the ETS-X should not change in the different travel modes if the bike is weighted by the rider. That's because in weighted mode, the bb height rise of the longer travel settings gets compensated by the added sag.

    If been on an ETS-X for more than a year now. I found that a fork setting of 110mm works best on this bike (I'm using the TALAS). If I run the TALAS at 125mm downhill the bike is as stable as my Slayer was. But then, the same applies to the 110mm setting.

    Regards,
    Braumeister

  10. #10
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    Good job! thanks for the feedback...

    I'm into my third year on an ETSX and have a 100 mm fork. I've a very good understanding
    of the geometry and thought the 100 mm is too short but that 125 mm would be too long.
    Unfortunately, there aren't many forks in the 110 - 115 mm range and I'd prefer a coil fork
    without travel adjust. Any thoughts?

    michael

  11. #11
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    Smile A 105mm Marzocchi works perfectly

    I've tested a 105mm Marzocchi MX Pro Air fork on my ETS-X and the geometry felt perfect. Two months ago, I've bought a 105mm 2003 Marathon S from Supergo. The performance was absolutly stunning!

    The Marathon felt much plusher than my TALAS, but also less stiff (200lbs rider). Since I had to use the Marathon for a bike that I was going to sell, I'm back on the TALAS, now.

    So, in short, I think a 105mm Marzocchi coil fork (MX Comp, Pro or Marathon S) is a perfect match for the ETS-X frame.

    Greetings,
    Braumeister

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