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  1. #1
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    Off the front....but why?

    I know this was discussed before, but never why. When I and others first rode the Delirium, we had to adjust to a more forward riding position - ie attack mode. This came up in discussion today on our ride. So why are Knolly bikes best ridden when off the front and other bikes better when riding off the back. I assume it is multiple factors, but which ones contribute the most. I don't have an answer, I can guess but I really don't know.

    I think first head angle, but what's the rest.

    I welcome your thoughts as to why...

  2. #2
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    Maybe it has something to do with the wheelbase? Depending on what fork your running it could equate to a reasonably long wheelbase....
    Old enough to know better, too old to give a F$cK

  3. #3
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    I find this really interesting too. Before I got my chilli i did read that knolly's are best ridden in attack position with weight in front and i just didn't get it. At the time I was riding an intense ss where I was hanging off the back. Since having the chilli i do find that I ride with the weight forwards. It makes for a much more controlled and exhilarating ride.

    The only thing I can think of is that the chilli is that much more stable and controllable that it puts you in the ideal position to ride....that being the attack position.

  4. #4
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    everybodys centre of gravity is different slighty as we have different arm/leg lengths and different height/frame sizes. but the difference in correct body position shouldnt be too much different for each rider (forward/back an inch or two).

    i know when high speed cornering on the chili, to turn sharp, its better to be 'in the bike', ie outside foot down, rather than being over the front trying to force traction on the front wheel. a combination of both can result almost in oversteer and blow off speed.

    on their own, 'in the bike' works better than 'over the front', when cornering.

    on the straight fast and choppy, weight slap bang in the middle of the bike works so lovely.
    2013 Knolly Endorphin | 2013 Knolly Chilcotin | 2014 Knolly Podium.
    Tweed Valley, Scotland.

  5. #5
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    I think it is a mass/center of gravity thing. The Delirium (& Podium) have more mass with the whole 4x4 linkage right behind the seatpost than other designs which causes the rider to have to weight the front of the bike more.

  6. #6
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    I agree with the center of gravity and maybe I making something simple more difficult.

    Craig - I actually think the weight is more upfront on the Knolly. Though the linkage is behind the seat, the bulk of the material is forward of the bottom bracket. Does the frame weight play a significant role in this behavior considering that the frame is 10% of your body weight.

    Bigcrs - long wheelbase. I agree Knollys tend to have a longer wheelbase. I know there are other bikes with long wheelbases, where folks ride off the back though.

    tom34 - I actually wonder how many bikes have this tendency of riding off the back? Is Knolly unique?

    cfrench - I agree, but a number of folks assuming different sizes on different frames mentioned this change in riding toward the front. Most of these folks were on Delirium-Ts before, which was ridden more off the back. Everyone once they got used to it, preferred this different riding position.

  7. #7
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    This was the biggest cause of me moving from a medium to a large. My previous bike was a Large Banshee Scythe. The dimensions between the L scythe and the M Chilcotin were near identical. The Banshee reacted best to ridding off the back but that same method did not translate to the Chilcotin. Not sure what the dynamics are but I definetely noticed that the Chiclton rewards more aggressive off the front input. Trying to ride off the back of the Chilcotin left the front too volatile. I had a lot of problems with steep on the medium frame. Moving to a large I was able to keep myself centered on the bike and even a little forward when required.
    "Mi amor Nuevo Miércoles!"

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  8. #8
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    I was wondering when you'd chime in here, Calhoun.

    I will say that I rode my Delirium for years with a 34/40/50mm stem combo.

    On the chili, I started with a 50, then that stem had a slipping problem it seemed...went to a 40mm that I had laying around and liked it, mainly because it felt more like the cockpit on the Delirium. Then I went back to a 50mm stem and was really reminded of how much more balanced this bike is when ridden aggressively off the front.

  9. #9
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    I agree with Center of Gravity.

    Podium vs. Vtach are night and day with how they handle chop, ledge, and turns at speed. Really have to re-adjust/learn lines for new bike.

    Noel has good a good sense for Geometry so I'd guess stack/hta/sta combos and BB placement in relation to pivots has something to do with it all (short HT/shorter stack/Pivots all above plane of BB and some forward).

    Now that I'm used to it, its like standing at the front of the bus vs. in the middle and rewards a bit more aggressive line choice because if you can keep the front on line, back will follow with some serious certainty.

  10. #10
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    This has nothing to do with mass / centre of gravity of the frames, nor the suspension design (and frankly, the impact of a frame's centre of gravity is way, Way, WAY blown out of proportion, unless the design has an extreme forward or rearward weight bias). It's pretty much all due to frame geometry.

    We made a conscious decision starting with the 2010 product (Delirium and Podium) to move the riding position forward: this puts the rider into a more aggressive riding position (both for climbing and descending) "in the frame" and ultimately leads to even higher all around performance.

    Cheers,
    Noel Buckley
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  11. #11
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    I don't think this phenomenon is totally unique to Knolly but something to note is that different linkages require more weight over them to respond to bumps. Perhaps the 4x4, when set up properly, moves a little easier through the travel and requires less weight over the rear wheel to accept bumps and feel balanced. I never got my Knolly setup well enough to tell.

    Like others have said head angle, wheelbase and stem length are likely the biggest contributors. I went from a steeper shorter DW frame to a longer wheelbase slacker DW frame and my position had to be more forward and aggressive to maintain good traction and a balanced ride. Also, as I have gone to shorter stems I have had to conscientiously move my body more forward over the front on descents, regardless of the frame.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by knollybikes.com View Post
    This has nothing to do with mass / centre of gravity of the frames, nor the suspension design (and frankly, the impact of a frame's centre of gravity is way, Way, WAY blown out of proportion, unless the design has an extreme forward or rearward weight bias). It's pretty much all due to frame geometry.

    We made a conscious decision starting with the 2010 product (Delirium and Podium) to move the riding position forward: this puts the rider into a more aggressive riding position (both for climbing and descending) "in the frame" and ultimately leads to even higher all around performance.

    Cheers,
    got a diagram?

    i thought we were talking about where the rider positions themselves with respect to the bb (as a central reference point) not where the frames centre of gravity is, or is that the same thing?

    when are you gonna show us your new endo dude?
    2013 Knolly Endorphin | 2013 Knolly Chilcotin | 2014 Knolly Podium.
    Tweed Valley, Scotland.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by knollybikes.com View Post
    This has nothing to do with mass / centre of gravity of the frames, nor the suspension design (and frankly, the impact of a frame's centre of gravity is way, Way, WAY blown out of proportion, unless the design has an extreme forward or rearward weight bias). It's pretty much all due to frame geometry.

    We made a conscious decision starting with the 2010 product (Delirium and Podium) to move the riding position forward: this puts the rider into a more aggressive riding position (both for climbing and descending) "in the frame" and ultimately leads to even higher all around performance.

    Cheers,
    This might explain what I've had difficulty putting into words. Coming off a V-Tach and going directly onto a Chilcotin took some getting used to. Initially, I set up my Chili the same way I would my V-Tach, and it felt weird. I had a 170mm fork, with external headset and too many spacers, and to much rise on my bars, putting me waaay back on the bike (where I was used to being on the Tach), and the bike did not handle it well on the high-speed turns (it was comfortable for XC though). Front tire couldn't get traction, and I couldn't pull the bike down into a turn. Moving the shock to steep setting, getting rid of all spacers and dropping the bars a bunch made a huge difference, and likely put me more into the position the bike was apparently designed for. Corning ability improved dramatically. It was night and day.

    I've got a Large Chili on the way, so I'll see what difference moving from an XL to L does. Hoping to see an improvement on freeride/jump lines, where you need to get aggressive with moving the bike around under you. I'm wondering if I'll need a stem longer than 50mm with the Large?

  14. #14
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    I have a new Podium and FOR ME, my bar/stem is VERY high by comparison; but then, I am running a Monster T and the added leverage for the height makes sense (vrs weight). I run a straight Thomson post with a Chromag seat, no issues. But I find the bike rides better when my seat is lower, rather than higher.

    I admit I am unique with my fork but I think the fact is: most front ends are much lighter now and that is the difference; the frame is now heavier and in my case, it is not so. But the stability and tracking with my setup is amazing. You can just power through rough stuff.

    I would like a shorter wheelbase and slightly steeper head angle, but this is a DH bike, and there are always compromises. Now, if there was a FREERIDE version with the aforementioned amendments, we would be in heaven.

  15. #15
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    I could be wrong, but isn't the axle to crown height pretty tall on a Monster T (595mm)? It might only have 200mm of travel, but I think it's a taller fork overall than today's 40's, Boxxer's, 888, etc.

    If you want a shorter wheelbase and steeper head angle, maybe start with that fork?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by knollybikes.com View Post
    This has nothing to do with mass / centre of gravity of the frames, nor the suspension design (and frankly, the impact of a frame's centre of gravity is way, Way, WAY blown out of proportion, unless the design has an extreme forward or rearward weight bias). It's pretty much all due to frame geometry.

    We made a conscious decision starting with the 2010 product (Delirium and Podium) to move the riding position forward: this puts the rider into a more aggressive riding position (both for climbing and descending) "in the frame" and ultimately leads to even higher all around performance.

    Cheers,
    Thanks Noel

    Maybe this is stating the obvious, but it seems that Knolly frames are effectively one size larger than the norm. Has Noel basically figured out that by riding a larger frame but with a short seat tube and standover height, we are a better more aggressive rider with little negatives by doing so? We have a longer bike that is stable, but not so long to keep it from being playful. In general, it is about 1 inch in wheelbase. The stability allows us to charge faster. In addition, the chainstays are on the short side, but just right also maintaining the playful nature. To accomplish this, Knolly frames (though an effective size larger) maintain short seat tube and a low standover height.

    it should be mentioned that the trend for shorter stems plays a role in this.

    For example, I ride a medium Knolly frame. It has a 17in effective seat tube. The Knolly medium frame (45in wheelbase) is equivalent to most large frames, which support a 19in seat tube, which is a no-go with my 125mm seat dropper. I could go to a shorter 100mm dropper, but I wouldn't get the seat as low as I like. Still not sure I can make it happen. In addition, the standover of Knolly frames is pretty darn low (which I like). A large frame by another brand would have a much higher standover.

    I can only think of two models that try something similar, but with a much different approach. Nomad - long stays, short wheelbase, Enduro- long reach/top tube, but short stays, and the new Bronson mimics Knolly's number.

    It is pretty cool and definitely something that works well. I sort of recognized this, but didn't completely think about it until recently. It is funny how it is right in front you if you open your eyes. I know I have grown to really enjoy the Knolly riding position. Anyway, the brain can go back to other things.

  17. #17
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    There is no way I would trade in the fork. Ever. It is stiff, tracks true and is (relatively) easy to work on. It also handles perfect with the Podium rear end. Match made in heaven.

    I am aware the wheelbase is longer on the Podium as is the head angle. But as a DH bike it is also by design, and the fork would do nothing to help with either; perhaps a small bit. Moreover, I run my fork soft with high ramp up with no issues. So the sag takes care of additional rake.

    I still think if Noel were to make 2 versions it would solve the lack of the Delirium and V-Tach not being offered. Just me.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dude! View Post
    Maybe this is stating the obvious, but it seems that Knolly frames are effectively one size larger than the norm. .
    I disagree, my mate has a medium 2012 Specialised Enduro EVO and it feels exactly the same size to me as my medium Chili.

    I think its the long wheelbase / slack head angle thats throwing you off here.
    2013 Knolly Endorphin | 2013 Knolly Chilcotin | 2014 Knolly Podium.
    Tweed Valley, Scotland.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by cfrench View Post
    I disagree, my mate has a medium 2012 Specialised Enduro EVO and it feels exactly the same size to me as my medium Chili.

    I think its the long wheelbase / slack head angle thats throwing you off here.
    If you read my post, I say the Enduro has a long wheelbase (i.e. long top tube/reach) with short stays, so it is similar but different. Ironically this is how the conversation started because I rode my friend's Enduro and I realized immediately that I had to move farther back. Ride them back to back and you will notice that your ride position is different. This is not to say this is bad, but it is an interesting difference.

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