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  1. #1
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    SL-R Slacker Head Angle... better for Climbing?

    The info you're about to read is definitely debatable, so please add your thoughts on this!

    I've loved my old Mojo C uphill: poised and balanced on steep climbs. On super steep climbs I lowered the talas to 120mm, and this seemed to help a little. However, lowering the talas to 100mm never got me up the toughest sections- it seemed too twitchy and my steering input often resulted in over correcting and zig zagging. I guessed this was because even though lowering the front end is good, making the head angle too steep results in a spaztic set-up.

    Enter the SL-R with a -1* headset and 150mm talas = 67.5*, or 68* when talas is at 130mm. I've been riding this for 2 weeks now on familiar steep climbs, and love it. It's climbing better than the old bike, and it seems easier to make many sections compared to the old set-up. Yes it's lighter and even more efficient, but I'm talking about 1: keeping the front wheel planted, 2: keeping the bike going where it needs to for left/right balance.

    A. Slacker head angle results in calmer delivery of steering input. With the slacker set-up, it seems easier to balance and keep the bike going straight, because my input ends up being calmer and more appropriate.

    B. Slacker head angle keeps the front wheel planted better, because the weight of front wheel & fork, is farther forward relative to seat and bars. On steep climbs, wouldn't this help? In determining what keeps the front wheel planted, isn't it much more relevant where my center of mass is relative to the REAR wheel? If this is true, then the seat tube angle is much more relevant than the head angle. I hear so much conversation about a slack head angle causing the front wheel to lift on climbs, and it doesn't make sense to me.

    So, does anyone agree with this? If so, how slack is too slack for climbing? (my guess is when steering input is too lethargic and delayed, making left/right balance difficult) Could somewhere around 67.5* be the climbing sweet spot?

    Side note: I'm tempted to try a -1.5* headset, because the -1* works components headset raises the space between the frame and fork (crown they call it?) With my crude measuring tape on carpet, the SL-R BB with -1* head angle, 150mm fork, is almost 1/2" higher than my old mojo c.

    Side side note: Off topic, but this bike now goes down steeps like no tomorrow! So calm at high speed! So predictable! Easier to not go over the handlebars! (although this required much trial and error figuring out how to set up the fork correctly- separate thread for that I guess)

    Thanks for your input .................
    Last edited by BikeSkiParaglide; 10-13-2012 at 08:08 PM.

  2. #2
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    Reputation: getbusyliving's Avatar
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    I think this is an interesting topic, but I also think you may be experiencing a change in more variables than just the head tube angle, since it is difficult to isolate head tube angle by itself. When you change from even the same base frame geometry (mojo classic to SLR w/ angle adjustment), you have other variables introduced beside ht angle that are tough to neutralize: 1) Longer wheel base when you slacken ht angle. 2) New fork with different travel/ travel adjust specs (which also might be lighter or heavier; 3) Potentially (accidental or intentional) different stack height relative to seat height . 4) Other slight differences in bike fitting elements due to change to new bike (seat height, saddle angle, saddle fore/aft). 5) Since it's a new bike, maybe different wheels, tires, drivetrain gear combos, bar width or height, etc.

    If you're meticulous you can neutralize some of those, but the point is when you move from one frame and fork combo to another--even very similar frames--little things can change that are not obvious, and can add up to change the whole ride.

    Don't want to make this post a total cop out, so here's my take on ht angle: In support of your theory, I think 1 degree slacker means a lot less to climbing prowess than a lot of people would lead you to believe, as long as you compensate for the new angle by fitting the bike properly for your own body and riding style.

    Sounds like was a good change for you, so congrats!

  3. #3
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    Reputation: Cable0guy's Avatar
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    I find the opposite for me, not just on SLR but on all other bikes I tried where I can tinker with the HA. But then again, I s*ck at climbing, being an out-of-shape DH guy.

  4. #4
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    Th HD climbs better than the classic so I I think what you are finding are just the general imrpovements to the linkage rather than a specific HA issue.

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