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  1. #1
    AKA Pat McGroin
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    head angle question

    H guys, Recently had a steel 29er built for me and it's darn near perfect. I live in an area where some of my favorite trails have skinnies, logs and even large chunky rock sections that are narrow and slow.
    I also have a season pass at Rays Indoor Bike Park, and ride there 2 to 3 times a week. Lots of skills sections with cool skinnies to ride. I find I am having a hard time riding low speeds and holding my line. After nearly 300 miles, I think I have given myself enough time to adaptto the new frame.
    I let the builder use his discretion regarding geometry as he has an excellent rep., and what I have is 68.5 head angle 72.5 seat angle, 57mm bb drop, PMW sliders set up short at 433mm.

    Here's my question: If he steepens the head angle by 1 degree, all things being equal, will that help the bike hold a line.? We have discussed the problem, and he has offered to rework the head angle no charge.
    I really want to make this beauty perfect for me, is this the right direction to look?
    My favorite ride is my Ritchey P 29er which has more drop, steeper 70/ 73 angles. What say you?

  2. #2
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    Sure, you can trade high speed stability for low speed stability to an extent. A steeper head angle will generally mean a bit less wheel flop and improvements at low speeds. Of course, if you get going faster, you may wish you'd never done it.

    Were you able to ride these features on previous bikes? Or is it just this bike?

    Honestly, I would just get a cheap trials bike (just an old/small 26" from 10-20 years ago will work fine too) and ride that when you want to do manmade stunts at low speeds. What you have (long stays, slack HTA, 29" wheels) is sort of the opposite of what you want for trialsy stuff.

    BTW, out of curiousity, how on earth is he going to steepen the HTA on an already built frame?

    -Walt

  3. #3
    AKA Pat McGroin
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    On my other bikes success rate is maybe 4 out of 10, vs 1 or 2 on this one. I honestly was surprised when he said he could steepen ghe head angle, didn't think yhat was possible. Don't want to drop names, but he's a very well known builder since the late 80s.
    Thanks for your reply, Walt.

  4. #4
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    You could replace the whole front end of the bike, I guess. Or if it has a 1 1/8 head tube, you could just *barely* squeak out a degree at the same time as replacing it with a 44mm, assuming the head tube is pretty short.

    My advice is to just ride the bike where it works well and take out other ones when you're riding skinnies/low speed tech.

    -Walt

  5. #5
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    I doubt you'd even notice a 1* change in the HTA.

    Putting a 1" shorter fork on it and you will steepen everything 1-1.5*, as well as drop the bb about 10mm, making it very similar to your p-29.

    You could also check the top tube length, most newer bikes are built longer to allow a 50-60mm stem, which offsets the slower steering that a slack HTA creates.

    Lastly, fork rake. If you are running an older fork, something with a 51mm rake will make the steering a bit more lively.

    End of the day...... its not the bike, if its almost perfect, just ride it, you'll adapt.

  6. #6
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    While you've tried to describe your problem, to me at least, you've failed to do it properly and explain exactly what the feeling is you're having, is it wheel flop, vague steering feel, is it a rigid or does it have a sus fork?

    To me it sounds like a really nice bike, geo sounds spot on, once the reach is suitable for you and you have the appropriate length stem on it.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  7. #7
    wanna ride bikes?
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    If all you want to change is the HTA by one degree, why not try an angled headset for under $100? Cheap experiment and if you don't like it, it's not a permanent change, you can easily go back.
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  8. #8
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    I tend to agree with the just ride the "darn near perfect" bike and you'll probably adapt. However, if you do think you need something changed, then I'd listen to this advice:

    Quote Originally Posted by Black Squirrel View Post
    Putting a 1" shorter fork on it and you will steepen everything 1-1.5*, as well as drop the bb about 10mm, making it very similar to your p-29.
    Easier than swapping out the fork or changing the travel, you could just lower the air pressure/increase the sag. Run with heavy compression damping and it might not be the best ride on the trail, but it will tell you if you notice the steering difference on skinnies.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Blue Sky View Post
    H guys, Recently had a steel 29er built for me and it's darn near perfect. I live in an area where some of my favorite trails have skinnies, logs and even large chunky rock sections that are narrow and slow.
    I also have a season pass at Rays Indoor Bike Park, and ride there 2 to 3 times a week. Lots of skills sections with cool skinnies to ride. I find I am having a hard time riding low speeds and holding my line. After nearly 300 miles, I think I have given myself enough time to adaptto the new frame.
    I let the builder use his discretion regarding geometry as he has an excellent rep., and what I have is 68.5 head angle 72.5 seat angle, 57mm bb drop, PMW sliders set up short at 433mm.

    Here's my question: If he steepens the head angle by 1 degree, all things being equal, will that help the bike hold a line.? We have discussed the problem, and he has offered to rework the head angle no charge.
    I really want to make this beauty perfect for me, is this the right direction to look?
    My favorite ride is my Ritchey P 29er which has more drop, steeper 70/ 73 angles. What say you?
    Does this relate?

    Steering Geometry Anyone?

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  10. #10
    pvd
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    This is a skills problem.

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