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  1. #1
    rdb
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    VPP and chain stay lengths for 29ers.

    A size large Specialized Enduro Comp 29 SE has 16.9 inch chain stays, 46.6 inch wheelbase, 155 mm rear travel. A size large Tallboy LT has 17.7 inch chain stays, 44.8 inch wheelbase, 135 mm rear travel. Some of the wheel base difference could be due to the Enduro Comp having a 67.5 degree HT angle with 150 mm fork and the Tallboy LT at 69.5 degrees and 140 mm fork.

    I’ve been thinking about this for a while and this article Giant Debuts Trance 27.5 Models prompted me to post in this forum. Giant seems to be de-emphasizing 29ers in their line up, in favor of 650b. The author thinks it is because the Maestro suspension does not work well with big wheels. He specifically mentioned Devinci and Specialized as companies that have suspension designs that seem to work well with 29er wheels. I checked Devinci’s website and they have 16.9 inch chain stays on their 100 mm travel 29ers, which is shorter than the Tallboy’s 17.5 inch chain stay.

    At what length do chain stays become too “long”? What is the issue with long chain stays? Does the chain stay to wheelbase ratio have any impact on how a bike handles? Does anyone think VPP could allow shorter chain stays than the current designs or are the stays as short as Santa Cruz could make them? If Santa Cruz could have made them shorter, why didn't they? Does it really matter? The Tallboy and Tallboy LT have received good reviews in the press and they have been big sellers for Santa Cruz, so people are voting for them with their wallets. Will the average rider even notice the difference between a 17.7 inch chain stay and a 16.9 inch chain stay, if the rest of the bike’s geometry is well thought out? Not trying to start a war over suspension designs, just hoping someone can shed a little light.

  2. #2
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    VPP and chain stay lengths for 29ers.

    + 1. Looking into my first FS 29 early next year and I Was just looking at those numbers yesterday asking myself the same thing.

  3. #3
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    VPP and chain stay lengths for 29ers.

    Gross generalization - short chain stays better for twistys, long chain stays better for climbing

  4. #4
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    I'm curious to know how the Tallboy LTc handles as reviews don't complain about chainstay length hampering handling. I've ridden an Ibis Ripley a few times now and it handled well in the twistys so 17.5" is not too long for sure. I hope to ride a LTc soon to see how it compares.

    Looking at 29'ers using parallel link suspension linkages like the Tallboy (e.g. Ibis Ripley, Banshee Prime) they have chainstays of ~17.5". I'm fairly certain the designers of those frames were aiming to keep them short and they may be at the limit. Santa Cruz probably could have cut the LTc chainstays down another 0.25" if they really wanted to.

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    Foxbat, I rode a TBc for 2 years and the geometry was spot on for me, quick, flickable, handled switchbacks well. I then went to the TBLTc and a little more stable but still handled tight trails well. I rode my friends Yeti-95 which has short chainstays and I found the handling sluggish compared to my LTc. I then rode the SB-95 in carbon with XT build and similar results for me. My Yeti friend thought my LTc was quicker handling than his bike also. Don't over think numbers without a Demo.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by fruitafrank View Post
    Foxbat, I rode a TBc for 2 years and the geometry was spot on for me, quick, flickable, handled switchbacks well. I then went to the TBLTc and a little more stable but still handled tight trails well. I rode my friends Yeti-95 which has short chainstays and I found the handling sluggish compared to my LTc. I then rode the SB-95 in carbon with XT build and similar results for me. My Yeti friend thought my LTc was quicker handling than his bike also. Don't over think numbers without a Demo.
    Your experience doesn't surprise me. I think Santa Cruz has been very good lately at dialing in the geometry of their bikes. I just demoed a Bronson today out at Sandy and the bike felt really well balanced and natural. Too bad I didn't have the chance to try the LTc too.

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    Forget the numbers and just go demo various makes/models. I'll bet you find your dream bike. I recently demoed a Nomad C, Bronson C, and Tallboy LTc -because prior to the demo, I'd never ridden a VPP bike. All are awesome bikes but for me and my riding style one stood out more than the others. It all boiled down to "fun factor." I had more "fun" on one of them, so I bought one and have LOVED every minute of riding it. It gave me a renewed sense of why I love to ride. And guess what, the geo stats didn't factor into my decision.

    I recommend riding various makes and models and forget the stats like chain stay length or even suspension design. If it makes you laugh and want to ride non-stop then you found the right bike for you. Especially with so many demo fleets making appearances at your local riding areas.

  8. #8
    rdb
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    I currently ride a Superlight 29. I bought this bike after not mountain biking for about 25 years. The Superlight is a great bike, but I am looking for a plusher ride. The Solo looks like a good bike for my style of riding and the types of trails I ride. I went to a couple of Santa Cruz demos this summer. No Solos at either demo, but I rode a Blur Tr at one demo and the Bronson at the other. Both bikes were great, wish I had had time to ride a Tallboy. Hopefully SC will come back next summer and I can demo a Solo and a Tallboy and then make a decision. I will demo some other brands in the meantime, but I am really thinking the Solo would be the bike for me.

    Good advice, forget the suspension, geometry, wheel size, and go for what gives you personally the max fun factor.

  9. #9
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    good fit is much more important than 110% perfect geo, if a bike has .05" shorter chainstays but you are somewhat between sizes on this particular model, you may have more fun on a different bike.

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    All mini link bikes like VPP and Maestro will have longer chainstay lengths than an equivalent Horst Link or single pivot (the Devicini uses split pivot, but that's really still classified as a single pivot) because they have the mini-link connecting the rear triangle to the main frame.

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    As already mentioned, it's more about the ride than the numbers, and everyone has their own personal preference. Short chainstays generally make it easier to manual and make the bike feel more "tossable", which is a lot of fun. On the other hand, short chainstays also make it harder to keep the front end from wandering on steep climbs. So there is a sweet spot depending on your riding style, preferences, and terrain.

    For me, the TBc is spot-on for a FS 29er. It is tossable and fun, and easy enough to get the front end up over obstacles, and the front end doesn't tend to lift and wander on climbs. I rode a 650b bike with 16.9" stays for awhile, and it was really fun overall, but the front end really wanted to lift and wander on climbs, and I ended up putting a longer stem on it to help it climb.

  12. #12
    rdb
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    Quote Originally Posted by kongkers View Post
    All mini link bikes like VPP and Maestro will have longer chainstay lengths than an equivalent Horst Link or single pivot (the Devicini uses split pivot, but that's really still classified as a single pivot) because they have the mini-link connecting the rear triangle to the main frame.

    Thanks. That would imply SC couldn't match Specialized 16.9 inch CS length with VPP. Not that it matters, as others have pointed out, SC bikes all have a balanced geometry and handle well.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jabrabu View Post
    As already mentioned, it's more about the ride than the numbers, and everyone has their own personal preference. Short chainstays generally make it easier to manual and make the bike feel more "tossable", which is a lot of fun. On the other hand, short chainstays also make it harder to keep the front end from wandering on steep climbs. So there is a sweet spot depending on your riding style, preferences, and terrain.

    For me, the TBc is spot-on for a FS 29er. It is tossable and fun, and easy enough to get the front end up over obstacles, and the front end doesn't tend to lift and wander on climbs. I rode a 650b bike with 16.9" stays for awhile, and it was really fun overall, but the front end really wanted to lift and wander on climbs, and I ended up putting a longer stem on it to help it climb.

    I calculated the CS length ratio to wheelbase length on various large frame sizes. Bronson had the had the smallest ratio, and I noticed on my demo a little more wander while climbing, not enough to make me not like the Bronson, but noticeable. May have been other things going on. But something to think about it when deciding what bikes to demo.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdb View Post
    Thanks. That would imply SC couldn't match Specialized 16.9 inch CS length with VPP. Not that it matters, as others have pointed out, SC bikes all have a balanced geometry and handle well.
    It would probably be tough to do on a 29er. The TR has 16.9" stays, but it's a 26er.

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