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  1. #1
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    Trance guys - where do you run your travel? Stem length?

    Hi all -
    ecstatic owner of a 2014 Trance 27.5 1. Following the advice here, I ditched the OEM evo 140/120 Talas and picked up an OEM fact 160/140 Talas.

    Out today on my third ride with it, spent a little more time at 160. Was trying to get away from pedal strikes and slack out a little so the 50mm stem I have (medium frame, otherwise stock) was less twitchy.

    Really liked the feel of it in 160, but still feels a little nervous. Pondering switching back to the 70mm it came with to open up the cockpit a bit and maybe gain some low speed stability.

    Somewhere I read that stem length could be eyeballed by looking at the front axle while riding - if the axle's in line with the bars, it's about right. I find it's in front of the bars a little bit. Until I man up and drop the post and get crackin - then the axle is in line with the bars. But it kinda feels like I need be be riding it harder than I really ought to (still shaking off my latest injury ) for the bike to smooth out.

    Thanks for any advice as I continue getting to know my new bike.
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  2. #2
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    The stem axle thing is strictly for roadies. Forget you ever heard it.
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  3. #3
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    50mm stem. love it.

  4. #4
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    Nervous?
    Too fast rebound, tyre pressure or tires themselves, riding style...?

    Those are the first things that come to mind. I don't think stem makes that much of a difference there.

  5. #5
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    i run a 50mm stem on my trance, i also ride a medium frame. and yeah i have to agree, the trance is happier the faster it goes. i make it a goal everytime i ride to avoid using the brakes when possible and embrace the speed. ride it hard and it will reward you
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    The stem axle thing is strictly for roadies. Forget you ever heard it.
    It may be for roadies, but its about where my set up is at.

    I always wonder why anyone would even ask about someone else's stem length etc. What difference does it make? Unless they are your identical twin, there is no reason to think that your set up should look like anyone else's set up.

    And I also don't understand what's so hard about figuring out what position you like best without going by some MTBR members advice, or some magazines latest "this the only right set up for 2015" BS.

  7. #7
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    I can say as a newer rider i definitely needed advice as far as setting up the cockpit, but am also confused a little by kyles questions. On a trail bike where you're going to spend a lot of time sitting stem length is mostly dictated by comfort. I know when i moved my saddle up 0.5 cm i felt the difference in my lower back on the next ride. The longer your upper body, the more leaned over you need to be. A short stem wont make the ride better if you're all jammed up.

    Did your LBS do a fit for you when you bought it? If so did they decide on a 70mm stem for you? (cant remember if you bought new or used). Get the cockpit right and then leave well enough alone.

    I think this travel adjust nonsense might actually be bad for new riders. Spend more time playing with buttons to try and avoid pedal strikes instead of working on your riding technique. You really dont need 160mm travel front unless you're tackling fast/steep terrain.

  8. #8
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    Hi guys - appreciate the insight. Just wondering what other guys are running out of idle curiosity... not trying to get the "official MTBR 2015 setup" or anything like that - I understand everyone's different.

    I bought the bike used and dead stock (70mm stem, 140/120 fork). Spent some time getting the saddle position right, not too much guesswork there.

    I admit to still being puzzled by the pros and cons of stem length... plenty comfortable with either the 70 or the 50. I may go back to the 70 to see if I can tell a difference after riding it for a few weeks now.

    Re: Riding hard - agree that it's more stable when ridden more aggressively... my old XC bike got sketchy when ridden hard, hence the upgrade.

    After a couple of pretty decent crashes, I've slowed myself up a bit. Still healing and a little gunshy, and the trails being wet/muddy/slippery changes things up a bunch too.

    Re: trying 160 - I'd kept it almost exclusively in 140, and figured I'd give it a go on a fast/steep/rocky downhill section. Agree that switching on the fly is awkward.

    Thanks much for the feedback!
    2012 Specialized Camber Comp
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  9. #9
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    20mm in stem length is a pretty big change to riding position. How leisurely are your rides and for what duration? Also what size frame are you on?

    On a L with an upper body that should possibly be on an XL riding position makes a huge difference to the bike. Maybe on a M with a short upper body it's less significant? I know one video i watched suggested that shorter riders could be more upright where as bigger riders needed to be more bent over for a capable downhill stance. The logic seems sound to me.

  10. #10
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    Thanks FF, appreciate the feedback.

    I'm 5'10", 32" inseam. Longish arms.

    My seating position is pretty upright now that I take the time to pay attention to it.

    Rides are 1-2hr, 10-15mi, 1500-2000 vert. Long slowish grindy climbs, combination of rocky/tech and smooth/fast downhill.
    2012 Specialized Camber Comp
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  11. #11
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    Finally got out today for a bigger ride. Put the 70mm on. Bike felt more comfortable - insofar as beating oneself to bits mountainbiking is comfortable.

    But it actually felt twitchier. Made it easier getting around switchbacks, but a little more effort to keep pointed straight.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyle242gt View Post
    Finally got out today for a bigger ride. Put the 70mm on. Bike felt more comfortable - insofar as beating oneself to bits mountainbiking is comfortable.

    But it actually felt twitchier. Made it easier getting around switchbacks, but a little more effort to keep pointed straight.
    If you bring in the stem, you actually need to go with a wider handlebar as well.
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  13. #13
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    Riding with a 90mm stem i've never felt any amount of twichiness. The geometry of the trance is long and slack, your bike should feel on rails no matter what your stem length.

    If your trance feels twitchy it makes me think something is wrong with your bike.

  14. #14
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    Thanks foes.

    The "twitchiness" I refer to is a sort of reluctance to stay pointed straight. It's not objectionable, but feels, shall I say, "high spirited" like a horse that will do what it's told even when it doesn't want to.

    Higher speeds, harder riding (UH or DH) it smooths out. It may just be me getting used to the 67hta.

    Wider bars might be a good idea. My other bike (68hta 29er HT) has 780's IIRC vs the 760's. It feels more stable.
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  15. #15
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    Head tube angle is definitely significant factor there, as is stem length.
    Longer stems make the bike less "twitchy" and steering less direct, but not as agile.

  16. #16
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    Surprised no one has mentioned the ELL (effective lever length). Most people seem have an ELL of around 430. It seems to provide the best compromise in cockpit control/fitment. How you arrive at 430 however, depends on your fitment on said bike and your arms spread...it's a bit of a balancing act and it's personal. It can be narrower bars+longer stem (say 680/2+90=430 ) or wider bars+shorter stem (say 740/2+60=430). Anecdotally or otherwise I tend to hear people preferring the latter; more control and less twitchiness, but at the end of the day it's up to you to test.

  17. #17
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    That's a cool metric, lucifuge, good food for thought if nothing else.

    760/2 + 70 = 450
    760/2 + 50 = 430

    My HT (If I'm remembering right) is 780/2 + 60 = 450
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyle242gt View Post
    The "twitchiness" I refer to is a sort of reluctance to stay pointed straight. It's not objectionable, but feels, shall I say, "high spirited" like a horse that will do what it's told even when it doesn't want to.
    Yeah i cant say i've ever had that feeling on my trance. Maybe you're coming from a DH rig and it's relative to that? Know anyone else with a trance you can ride? You bought your forks second hand right? Honestly makes me think you have bent components because my trance tracks perfectly most all the time.

    I also dont really agree with using bar width to calculate stem length. IMO stem length is about being in the right place in the cockpit, relative to where is a comfortable position over the pedals when standing in the attack position. About 70% of my riding is done in the seated position so i also consider what will have me in a comfortable attack position seated. The big bonus to a longer stem is it keeps your weight over the front end when going up steep climbs, keeping the front end down.

  19. #19
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    Good memory - yeah, the fork is used, but it's no different at 140 than the OEM evo. Kind of a lone wolf, so nobody to compare to. But I'm confident the bike is solid, all those PR's can't lie.

    I previously rode a 29" 70*HTA XC bike with 720bars 75stem... so not only am I getting used to a slacker bike, but also smaller wheels...
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  20. #20
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    The position of spacers above/below the stem makes for a big change too. The trance can, IMHO, benefit to have the stem quite low as the bike generally has a rear bias and extra downforce at the front makes for much better control and confidence. Helps in reducing unwanted manuals in climbing lol

  21. #21
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    Bump for posterity -

    Put 800mm x 30mm rise Spank Spike bars on yesterday, along with the 50mm stem.

    The twitchniess is gone! Had a great ride, felt very confident and stable.

    Getting a little lower back pain lately, going to move the seat around a little bit and see what I can do.
    Last edited by kyle242gt; 01-15-2015 at 02:59 PM.
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  22. #22
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    glad you're happy with the new setup. For me lower back pain = too small a cockpit. I moved my seat up maybe 5mm from a rear bias to centred and instantly noticed the difference in my back. At the very least do you have any spacers below the stem that you could lower the bars a bit? That might help.

    The short stem for every MTB on the planet bandwagon drives me a little bit bonkers. Short stems are only a good idea if the cockpit still fits you, and not all bikes are designed with a long enough ETT/reach for a short stem.

    I won't even bust your balls for writing that you have a 500mm stem, it's just too easy lol.

  23. #23
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    You haven't lived until you try a 500mm stem.

    hahahah

    50mm yeah. I may swap the 70 back on to see if that makes it more comfortable.

    First I'm going to check my seat position- I think it's a little too high and forward.
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  24. #24
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    Just out of curiousity (kind of related to measurement), do you guys know how GIANT came up with the numbers for their frame sizes? (i.e. L/20", XL/22")?

    I'm 6'2" with a 33-34"inseam. I was on the Large and thought it was a bit cramped (LBS thought it looked cramped as well). Got the XL with a 70mm stem and that seemed to make it a bit more comfortable. However, I'm finding it really hard to control in the technical stuff that isn't downhill.....maybe it's because I'm used to a xc bike....I'm hoping it's not becuase the bike is too big!

  25. #25
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    I'm your height or maybe a hair over and went for L as I already had L and XL bikes and I like L more on bikes with longer top tubes such as trance.

    Running it with 65mm stem it feels comfortable,
    Note that on this type of bike you're more upright compared xc bikes.

    If you're stretched out, you might have problems going down steep technical terrain because you won't be able to get back far enough plus longer wheelbase makes it less agile.

    Quote Originally Posted by davemsc View Post
    Just out of curiousity (kind of related to measurement), do you guys know how GIANT came up with the numbers for their frame sizes? (i.e. L/20", XL/22")?

    I'm 6'2" with a 33-34"inseam. I was on the Large and thought it was a bit cramped (LBS thought it looked cramped as well). Got the XL with a 70mm stem and that seemed to make it a bit more comfortable. However, I'm finding it really hard to control in the technical stuff that isn't downhill.....maybe it's because I'm used to a xc bike....I'm hoping it's not becuase the bike is too big!

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