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  1. #1
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    Santa Cruz Bronson 2016 - Anyone Going Up Hills Front Wheel Lifting

    Maybe its me, just want to ask here. I have the Bronson 2016 S Kit in a Large and seems that always going up hills the front always lifts up very easy. My wife has a 2016 Bronson R Kit in a Medium and when I go up hills on it, it doesn't seem to lift up like my Bronson? Could it be my handle bars? They are still stock width?

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    Sag of the rear shock makes a big diff., also the bar height relative to your seat height. There are other factors but those stand out on my bikes. I tend to use the middle position on the climb switch to limit shock compression on steep ups.

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    there isn't enough weight on the front wheel - you need to shift weight to the front either through physically shifting your body position (ie sitting on the nose of the saddle) or looking at a longer stem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nathanbal View Post
    there isn't enough weight on the front wheel - you need to shift weight to the front either through physically shifting your body position (ie sitting on the nose of the saddle) or looking at a longer stem.
    Yes. Likely body positioning. Hinge forward at the hips more, nose s/b more over stem, engage your lats and shoulders down and back (e.g. drop them down towards your "hip pockets"). Moving forward on the seat will definitely help but proper body positioning as per above has to be combined with it .

    Check out www.bikejames.com or Mountain Bike Camps, Instructor Training & Tours in Whistler, BC | ZEPtechniques for good information on proper body positioning. Their blogs and videos are very good.
    Last edited by SCJG; 03-20-2017 at 03:50 PM.

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    How far back on the rails is your seat? How about on your wife's bike? I had the Bronson and thought it climbed really well seated. Didn't really notice more lift than other bikes I have ridden.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fruitafrank View Post
    Sag of the rear shock makes a big diff., also the bar height relative to your seat height. There are other factors but those stand out on my bikes. I tend to use the middle position on the climb switch to limit shock compression on steep ups.
    Thanks, this makes sense. I do have the sag setup but might have to recheck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Salespunk View Post
    How far back on the rails is your seat? How about on your wife's bike? I had the Bronson and thought it climbed really well seated. Didn't really notice more lift than other bikes I have ridden.
    I will check this when I get home. What's a good starting point? I agree, this Bronson V2 is a great bike and climbs great! Love riding it at Mammoth Lakes.

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    ELcamino, Yes I was assuming you were shifting weight forward, bending at the waist etc. On my Bronson I ran 30 to 35 % sag and climbing steeps as you power the pedals the shock will settle deeper and shift weight to the rear. On another bike my stem was above the seat and prevented enough weight shift forward. All of the suggestions help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCJG View Post
    Yes. Likely body positioning. Hinge forward at the hips more, nose s/b more over stem, engage your lats and shoulders down and back (e.g. drop them down towards your "hip pockets"). Moving forward on the seat will definitely help but proper body positioning as per above has to be combined with it .

    Check out www.bikejames.com or Mountain Bike Camps, Instructor Training & Tours in Whistler, BC | ZEPtechniques for good information on proper body positioning. Their blogs and videos are very good.

    Thanks for the info SCJG. I just took a look at my seat rail. It is sort of in the middle. You guys think this also should be moved forward more?
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    The seat rail is about half way...
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElCamino78 View Post
    Thanks for the info SCJG. I just took a look at my seat rail. It is sort of in the middle. You guys think this also should be moved forward more?
    You can try that and see what happens, easy to go back and forth a bit. The other suggestions are good too.

    You said that climbing on your wife's medium was fine, but on your large the front was lifting? To me that's a classic case of not enough weight forward, so I still suggest focusing on body position adjustments as your likely problem.

    Get someone to film you climbing when you are having trouble with the front end and then compare what you see to what you see on Bikejames' or Paul Howard's / Zep videos. Paul's "myth-busters" blogs are especially good on the Zep site. That may help you pinpoint better what's happening.

    BTW, did you ever mention how tall you are ? And the rest of your dimensions ?

    Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ElCamino78 View Post
    The seat rail is about half way...
    I would move it forward and see how it feels. Just as an FYI different seats will have different rails, so forward on one seat may be middle on another.

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    The first thing I would try is removing some spacers from under the stem to lower the bar height.

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    Quote Originally Posted by d365 View Post
    The first thing I would try is removing some spacers from under the stem to lower the bar height.
    +1. On my '17 Jet 9 RDO Plus I had the same problem. I lowered the stem one spacer and it solved the problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fruitafrank View Post
    ELcamino, Yes I was assuming you were shifting weight forward, bending at the waist etc. On my Bronson I ran 30 to 35 % sag and climbing steeps as you power the pedals the shock will settle deeper and shift weight to the rear. On another bike my stem was above the seat and prevented enough weight shift forward. All of the suggestions help.
    I mostly try to get my weight as forward as possible when climbing. Going to try all these great suggestion from all. This is a great site and appreciate all the help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCJG View Post
    You can try that and see what happens, easy to go back and forth a bit. The other suggestions are good too.

    You said that climbing on your wife's medium was fine, but on your large the front was lifting? To me that's a classic case of not enough weight forward, so I still suggest focusing on body position adjustments as your likely problem.

    Get someone to film you climbing when you are having trouble with the front end and then compare what you see to what you see on Bikejames' or Paul Howard's / Zep videos. Paul's "myth-busters" blogs are especially good on the Zep site. That may help you pinpoint better what's happening.

    BTW, did you ever mention how tall you are ? And the rest of your dimensions ?

    Good luck!
    Yes I do lean forward, though some of these suggestion might solve my problem. I can already see that I will move the seat forward a bit. My wife's is forward more. Also the sag might need to be revisited on bike and from another comment was to lock out the rear as I climb. Thanks for responding .

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    Quote Originally Posted by d365 View Post
    The first thing I would try is removing some spacers from under the stem to lower the bar height.
    I am sort of new to MTB I will check and see how many spacers there is. Maybe compare to my wife's bike, though hers is a medium and that might be a difference from my large?

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    Quote Originally Posted by UPSed View Post
    +1. On my '17 Jet 9 RDO Plus I had the same problem. I lowered the stem one spacer and it solved the problem.
    I will definitely give that a try. Will have to see how many spacers it has from stock.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ElCamino78 View Post
    Maybe its me, just want to ask here. I have the Bronson 2016 S Kit in a Large and seems that always going up hills the front always lifts up very easy. My wife has a 2016 Bronson R Kit in a Medium and when I go up hills on it, it doesn't seem to lift up like my Bronson? Could it be my handle bars? They are still stock width?
    What is your Height? You might be able to ride a medium or the large. How does your wife's bike feel fit wise? I"m 5'10" so I could be on medium or large. I prefer the large over the medium.

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    At the risk of sound like "that guy" in my experience front wheel lifting is nearly always related to / compounded by technique & body position given that nothing is completely out of whack with bike setup.

    Here is a technique to try.

    When climbing steeps scoot forward on saddle and rotate chest / lean chin toward bar , then pull your​ elbows in toward your body. Then when the going get tough don't pull up on your bars, pull through / in line with your forearms / elbows that are tucked in. This will pull "down" / along the bike axis not up results keep front wheel down and added traction on the rear.

    EDIT: Another tip to try / adjustment put your thumbs on top of the grips, this will facilitate bringing the elbows in and when you pull you wont pull up as much it will naturally be along the axis of your forearms.


    Try it.

    BTW I ride a V2 Bronson and do lots of climbing including the steeps often.

    EDIT: Climbed 5K ft today on the BV2
    Last edited by bvader; 03-25-2017 at 04:37 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BluePitch View Post
    What is your Height? You might be able to ride a medium or the large. How does your wife's bike feel fit wise? I"m 5'10" so I could be on medium or large. I prefer the large over the medium.
    I'm 5'8", I feel good on both bikes and also like riding the large. Will be heading out to Mammoth Lakes this summer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bvader View Post
    At the risk of sound like "that guy" in my experience front wheel lifting is nearly always related to / compounded by technique & body position given that nothing is completely out of whack with bike setup.

    Here is a technique to try.

    When climbing steeps scoot forward on saddle and rotate chest / lean chin toward bar , then pull your​ elbows in toward your body. Then when the going get tough don't pull up on your bars, pull through / in line with your forearms / elbows that are tucked in. This will pull "down" / along the bike axis not up results keep front wheel down and added traction on the rear.

    EDIT: Another tip to try / adjustment put your thumbs on top of the grips, this will facilitate bringing the elbows in and when you pull you wont pull up as much it will naturally be along the axis of your forearms.


    Try it.

    BTW I ride a V2 Bronson and do lots of climbing including the steeps often.

    EDIT: Climbed 5K ft today on the BV2

    Thanks for additional tips... One thing that is different between both SCB V2 is the handlebars and size. My handlebars are wider.

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    Yeah those wider bars make it a bit tougher because it is very easy to get that back-n-forth thing going and in all honesty all that technique / focus can come at a bit if a price...That price being energy. Keep on it, make sure the rest of the bike setup is solid and you will adapt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ElCamino78 View Post
    I'm 5'8", I feel good on both bikes and also like riding the large. Will be heading out to Mammoth Lakes this summer.
    5'8" according to the Santa Cruz chart you should be on a medium. While riding a size larger may help on the downs it can be hinderence for climbing and maneuverability. Your gonna have to adjust your riding style and possibly adjust your stem/bar/saddle/spacers under your stem, etc. If your bars are way out in front of you then yes your front wheel is gonna lift. Try a shorter stem, less spacer under the stem, bars with more pull back.....it's tough to weigh the front end down if your arms are at full extension.

    I had a similar problem with front end wash when I bought a bike that had the new"longer top tube" design. Turning the bike the front tire would wash out because I wasn't used to keeping the front weighted. I was used to riding with my body a little off and in back of the seat. No weight on the front and the tire had no way of hooking up. I learned how to stay in the "attack position" where you never really rode behind the seat. You stay more in front of the seat pressing down on the bars......took some getting used to. Climbing will net the same result. If you don't or can't weigh down the front it's gonna lift.

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    5'8" on a large Bronson seems like a stretch to me. Like mentioned by Bluepitch Santa Cruz sizing chart says 5'10" - 6'1" for a size large. My son is 5'8 and rides a medium Bronson and he's more stretched out on that bike then his last two bikes. I'm 5'9 3/4" and like my bikes a bit a bit large but after riding his and a large Bronson I'll be buying the Medium later this summer. I know this doesn't help with lifting your front end but there's no doubt that's a big bike for you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bvader View Post
    Yeah those wider bars make it a bit tougher because it is very easy to get that back-n-forth thing going and in all honesty all that technique / focus can come at a bit if a price...That price being energy. Keep on it, make sure the rest of the bike setup is solid and you will adapt.

    Thanks, will do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BluePitch View Post
    5'8" according to the Santa Cruz chart you should be on a medium. While riding a size larger may help on the downs it can be hinderence for climbing and maneuverability. Your gonna have to adjust your riding style and possibly adjust your stem/bar/saddle/spacers under your stem, etc. If your bars are way out in front of you then yes your front wheel is gonna lift. Try a shorter stem, less spacer under the stem, bars with more pull back.....it's tough to weigh the front end down if your arms are at full extension.

    I had a similar problem with front end wash when I bought a bike that had the new"longer top tube" design. Turning the bike the front tire would wash out because I wasn't used to keeping the front weighted. I was used to riding with my body a little off and in back of the seat. No weight on the front and the tire had no way of hooking up. I learned how to stay in the "attack position" where you never really rode behind the seat. You stay more in front of the seat pressing down on the bars......took some getting used to. Climbing will net the same result. If you don't or can't weigh down the front it's gonna lift.

    I should have done my research before believing the LBS that recommended the Large for me and the Medium for my wife. I did do a test drive and felt good, though I didn't do much of climbing during the test. But from all the great recommendations from all of you guys here, I should be able to maybe keep the bike down on uphill climbs. I think I might shorten my handle bars width, etc... Thanks again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bammer55 View Post
    5'8" on a large Bronson seems like a stretch to me. Like mentioned by Bluepitch Santa Cruz sizing chart says 5'10" - 6'1" for a size large. My son is 5'8 and rides a medium Bronson and he's more stretched out on that bike then his last two bikes. I'm 5'9 3/4" and like my bikes a bit a bit large but after riding his and a large Bronson I'll be buying the Medium later this summer. I know this doesn't help with lifting your front end but there's no doubt that's a big bike for you.
    This was my mistake on following the LBS saying the large should be good for me. I did have a large Giant bike previous, so I thought it should be the same. I did test it and felt good, but in short testing I wasn't feeling the bike was big. For sure my next SC will be a medium, thinking maybe next year. Might get a Nomad or Hightower? If not, will get next version of the Bronson. This makes sense since my wife's is a medium bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ElCamino78 View Post
    I should have done my research before believing the LBS that recommended the Large for me and the Medium for my wife. I did do a test drive and felt good, though I didn't do much of climbing during the test. But from all the great recommendations from all of you guys here, I should be able to maybe keep the bike down on uphill climbs. I think I might shorten my handle bars width, etc... Thanks again.

    Put a shorter stem on your bike if your going to keep it. Go with a 35 /40 mm instead of the stock 50mm one. And ask your LBS to give you one to try until you find the right size, as they really did steer you wrong.

    Don't go with a narrower bar. That will just hurt your riding on all fronts

    And with all due respect/not to be a dick to bvader , but you DONT want your elbows in. That's an old school roady technique that was mistakenly adopted by mtn bikers yrs ago, and has since been discarded

    again, for modern /proper technique check out Paul Howard's blogs on Zeptechniques.com for all of this. He trains people to be mtn bike coaches, and he offers exceptional recreational rider clinics. He's the real deal.

    Good luck, and good riding. The Bronson is an awesome bike, and by today's standards the reach and effective top tube measurements on the Bronson are short(ish) so it's likely you will be able to salvage things here....

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCJG View Post
    Put a shorter stem on your bike if your going to keep it. Go with a 35 /40 mm instead of the stock 50mm one. And ask your LBS to give you one to try until you find the right size, as they really did steer you wrong.

    Don't go with a narrower bar. That will just hurt your riding on all fronts

    And with all due respect/not to be a dick to bvader , but you DONT want your elbows in. That's an old school roady technique that was mistakenly adopted by mtn bikers yrs ago, and has since been discarded

    again, for modern /proper technique check out Paul Howard's blogs on Zeptechniques.com for all of this. He trains people to be mtn bike coaches, and he offers exceptional recreational rider clinics. He's the real deal.

    Good luck, and good riding. The Bronson is an awesome bike, and by today's standards the reach and effective top tube measurements on the Bronson are short(ish) so it's likely you will be able to salvage things here....

    Thanks for the great advice... I will change out the stem, will try out a 40mm first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCJG View Post
    Put a shorter stem on your bike if your going to keep it. Go with a 35 /40 mm instead of the stock 50mm one. And ask your LBS to give you one to try until you find the right size, as they really did steer you wrong.

    Don't go with a narrower bar. That will just hurt your riding on all fronts

    And with all due respect/not to be a dick to bvader , but you DONT want your elbows in. That's an old school roady technique that was mistakenly adopted by mtn bikers yrs ago, and has since been discarded

    again, for modern /proper technique check out Paul Howard's blogs on Zeptechniques.com for all of this. He trains people to be mtn bike coaches, and he offers exceptional recreational rider clinics. He's the real deal.

    Good luck, and good riding. The Bronson is an awesome bike, and by today's standards the reach and effective top tube measurements on the Bronson are short(ish) so it's likely you will be able to salvage things here....
    Hey man no offense taken and thanks for the link. I try to take a course every year if I can, as my last coach said "You could practice turns everyday and still have room to improve" Thats the way I learned and its effective for me. Obviously Elbows out for all other riding positions.

    Edit: Hmm but as I look at pics of world champ XC racers some in / some med / some wide depending on the circumstances.


    BTW : I am 5'10 (barely) and I ride a medium, lots of folks told me Large, but my LBS who I trust a lot suggested Medium and it was in line with what I demo'd. I feel very balanced on the trail both Up and Down.
    Last edited by bvader; 04-05-2017 at 05:55 PM.

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    Agreed on some of the suggestions above. Like a poster above I am also just shy of 5' 10" and ride a medium. For me it feels right. Couldn't imagine trying to pilot a large down the tech terrain I ride.

    As for the climbing bit, I have 3 or 4 spacers under the stem (stock 50mm) and am still running the low/mid riser stock handlebar (Santa Cruz carbon bar). I was cut down a little bit to about 785mm but for my liking is could be a little narrower, maybe 760mm - 770mm. I don't have super wider shoulders but don't know how people my size or shorter can run 800mm or wider bars, especially with so little rise.

    Back to climbing, I am likely in the minor that actually likes a lighter front wheel. For regular climbing up smoother pitches regardless if it is really steep or not, just slide slightly forward on the saddle as noted above. For the steeper and techy climbs makes it much easier to let the front wheel lift up over roots and rocks or ledges with only a slight lean back. No drastic movements or exertion of energy to loft the front wheel up, just sit on the saddle and put some power down, once the front wheel is over the obstacle, push forward and un-weight the front back wheel a little (rinse and repeat until done).

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    Quote Originally Posted by rideitall View Post
    Agreed on some of the suggestions above. Like a poster above I am also just shy of 5' 10" and ride a medium. For me it feels right. Couldn't imagine trying to pilot a large down the tech terrain I ride.

    As for the climbing bit, I have 3 or 4 spacers under the stem (stock 50mm) and am still running the low/mid riser stock handlebar (Santa Cruz carbon bar). I was cut down a little bit to about 785mm but for my liking is could be a little narrower, maybe 760mm - 770mm. I don't have super wider shoulders but don't know how people my size or shorter can run 800mm or wider bars, especially with so little rise.

    Back to climbing, I am likely in the minor that actually likes a lighter front wheel. For regular climbing up smoother pitches regardless if it is really steep or not, just slide slightly forward on the saddle as noted above. For the steeper and techy climbs makes it much easier to let the front wheel lift up over roots and rocks or ledges with only a slight lean back. No drastic movements or exertion of energy to loft the front wheel up, just sit on the saddle and put some power down, once the front wheel is over the obstacle, push forward and un-weight the front back wheel a little (rinse and repeat until done).
    With the help of all the great suggestions, I tested some of the suggestions and was able to climb like a PRO! Well... not really but as a regular biker. What I really like about the Bronson V2 is that it feels great on climbs and down hills! Also what some of my problem was that with my Camelbak it also added some weight and causing me to sort of be rear heavy and would cause the front to lift easley. Now I am leaning forward and putting more weight and climbing better. Also thinking of either getting a 40mm stem or maybe work on the spacers for the stem. Thanks again everyone! Last two days of mountain biking was GREAT!

    Santa Cruz Bronson 2016 - Anyone Going Up Hills Front Wheel Lifting-dsc09556-edited.jpg

    Santa Cruz Bronson 2016 - Anyone Going Up Hills Front Wheel Lifting-dsc09399-edited.jpg

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    Yep, climbing technique really makes a big difference on the steep stuff. I've seen people post, get a longer stem and others said, get a shorter stem in this thread. With the problem your having I don't believe a shorter stem helps it just moves your weight further back, lifting the front wheel easier. The advice to remove a spacer or two from under the stem is the better option.

    Just remember lowering the stem will help keep the front end down on climbing but will also affect downhill body position as well. I would start with removing one shim from below and ride it for a while.

    Also check your fork pressure, if your running it rather high it will contribute to the front end lifting easier when climbing. A slighter lower psi would allow the fork to sit just a bit lower in it's travel, keeping the front wheel glued down better. All of these changes if done in small adjustments can help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bammer55 View Post
    Yep, climbing technique really makes a big difference on the steep stuff. I've seen people post, get a longer stem and others said, get a shorter stem in this thread. With the problem your having I don't believe a shorter stem helps it just moves your weight further back, lifting the front wheel easier. The advice to remove a spacer or two from under the stem is the better option.

    Just remember lowering the stem will help keep the front end down on climbing but will also affect downhill body position as well. I would start with removing one shim from below and ride it for a while.

    Also check your fork pressure, if your running it rather high it will contribute to the front end lifting easier when climbing. A slighter lower psi would allow the fork to sit just a bit lower in it's travel, keeping the front wheel glued down better. All of these changes if done in small adjustments can help.
    In most cases with this problem you are right, a longer stem would likely help. And yes, taking a few spacers out would usually help too.

    Respectively though, the reason for the shorter stem suggestion here is he's only 5'8" but his LBS convinced him to buy a large instead of a medium. He's too stretched out in the cockpit when climbing as a result.

    The other "a ha" was he also stated he has no problems climbing on his wife's medium (with a corresponding shorter ETT and Reach), just on his large.

    In this case a shorter stem swap is an easy experiment that his shop should make happen given their bad advice.....at no cost to him either. If it doesn't help then he can move on from the idea and cross it off his list....

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCJG View Post
    In most cases with this problem you are right, a longer stem would likely help. And yes, taking a few spacers out would usually help too.

    Respectively though, the reason for the shorter stem suggestion here is he's only 5'8" but his LBS convinced him to buy a large instead of a medium. He's too stretched out in the cockpit when climbing as a result.

    The other "a ha" was he also stated he has no problems climbing on his wife's medium (with a corresponding shorter ETT and Reach), just on his large.

    In this case a shorter stem swap is an easy experiment that his shop should make happen given their bad advice.....at no cost to him either. If it doesn't help then he can move on from the idea and cross it off his list....
    ^This

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCJG View Post
    In most cases with this problem you are right, a longer stem would likely help. And yes, taking a few spacers out would usually help too.

    Respectively though, the reason for the shorter stem suggestion here is he's only 5'8" but his LBS convinced him to buy a large instead of a medium. He's too stretched out in the cockpit when climbing as a result.

    The other "a ha" was he also stated he has no problems climbing on his wife's medium (with a corresponding shorter ETT and Reach), just on his large.

    In this case a shorter stem swap is an easy experiment that his shop should make happen given their bad advice.....at no cost to him either. If it doesn't help then he can move on from the idea and cross it off his list....
    Yep this is the dilemma he faces. Were it my bike, I too would use a shorter stem for a "better bike fit". The thing is he's not complaining about being stretched out or bike fit, his problem is lifting the front end on steep climbs. I feel the shorter stem will only make this worse. By all means if his shop will let him try one it's a great option.

    The funny thing is if he came to me and said I'm 5'8" and bought a large 2017 Bronson and it's a bit to big. I would tell him to try shorter stem. He's always going to be fighting the large frame in one way or another. For now, it's just a matter of dealing with his primary complaint.

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