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  1. #1
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    Anyone prefer a slacker head angle on their race bike?

    So, I'm a Cat 1 racer that is a little late to the 29er party... started riding them last year. I've ridden anthems, top fuels, now a superfly, as well as raced a Trek remedy at a couple enduros (anglesetted down to 66.5deg ha)...

    My bike fit is a bit odd, I'm not a typically proportioned rider... and I find myself feeling much better and even faster on a slack head angle bike 68-69, even on a 29er. I think I might be able to explain why, but curious if others prefer a slacker head angle (think 68-69, as opposed to the typical xc racing 70-71).

    So, kind of a focus group here to develop hypotheses...

    Do you prefer a slacker head angle on your race bike? How fast are you? Any thoughts on why you prefer a slack ha while the industry keeps making 70-72deg head angle 29er xc bikes?

  2. #2
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    I had a choice to get the new Superfly 100 elite at shop cost but I decided to build a Jet9 RDO with a 120mm Fox fork on it instead. I had a Superfly hard tail last year. I like the handling much better then the more "race" inspired geometry and suspension design of the Superfly and Epics I test rode.

    I only have money and space for one MTB so having a great trail and race bike is also nice.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by azpoolguy View Post
    I had a choice to get the new Superfly 100 elite at shop cost but I decided to build a Jet9 RDO with a 120mm Fox fork on it instead. I had a Superfly hard tail last year. I like the handling much better then the more "race" inspired geometry and suspension design of the Superfly and Epics I test rode.

    I only have money and space for one MTB so having a great trail and race bike is also nice.
    Cool... here is my hypothesis. I'm 5'11" with long legs... almost 35" inseam. so my seatpost is sky high. I ride a size large frame with 90mm stem... HYPOTHESIS: with a steep HA 71deg bike, the front wheel is not far out enough in front of my high center of gravity to make me feel stable. My superfly ht is slacked out to 68.5/69deg HA and I love it. Climbs like a goat and I can rally the corners like nobodies business. I'm going to angleset my sf100 by 1.5 deg, to get it to 69.5.... hopefully that will be awesome.

    Anyone else with proportionally high center of gravity find themselves preferring slacker HA's? Or am I just nuts?

  4. #4
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    Yeah 6'2" tall 39" inseam 67 HA 29er, don't think I am racing this year but probably mid pack expert now, but love the down hills tho.
    To be honest I am a single speeder and the geo suits standed climbs more, I put gears on and had alot of trouble keeping a straight line on the really steep stuff.

  5. #5
    Rod
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfxc View Post
    Cool... here is my hypothesis. I'm 5'11" with long legs... almost 35" inseam. so my seatpost is sky high. I ride a size large frame with 90mm stem... HYPOTHESIS: with a steep HA 71deg bike, the front wheel is not far out enough in front of my high center of gravity to make me feel stable. My superfly ht is slacked out to 68.5/69deg HA and I love it. Climbs like a goat and I can rally the corners like nobodies business. I'm going to angleset my sf100 by 1.5 deg, to get it to 69.5.... hopefully that will be awesome.

    Anyone else with proportionally high center of gravity find themselves preferring slacker HA's? Or am I just nuts?
    I prefer very fast handling so I like my 70/71 degree head angle. I just hop on and ride. I had an anthem x before and really liked how it handled. If that doesn't slacken it out enough for you, there's always a 20mm longer fork. Everyone is different. If you're comfortable, it doesn't matter what we think.
    There is not much choice between rotten apples.

  6. #6
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    Yes, 70-71 just feels awful, even for xc racing. I think it would be difficult to slacken bikes like the Anthem that already have longish wheelbases. I would like a lightweight short travel xc bike with shortish stays and a 68-69 ha. If feel a 68-69 ha helps a lot when riding over obstacles on technical climbs and the bike obviously handles better on descents.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfxc View Post

    Anyone else with proportionally high center of gravity find themselves preferring slacker HA's? Or am I just nuts?
    I am with you on this, 6'3" with a 36" inseam here and the slacker HTA's feel much better to me. Currently I am on a Scott Spark 900 SL with a HTA of 69.5 (low setting) and it is just about perfect. There might be some validity to your Hypothesis on the high CG rides benefiting from the slacker HTA.

  8. #8
    LMN
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    From the other end.

    I am short with a low center of gravity and I like bikes with steep head angles. I really struggle on bikes with slack head angles, can't weight the front wheel enough to get them to turn.

    I think you are on to something.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

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    Re: Anyone prefer a slacker head angle on their race bike?

    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    From the other end.

    I am short with a low center of gravity and I like bikes with steep head angles. I really struggle on bikes with slack head angles, can't weight the front wheel enough to get them to turn.

    I think you are on to something.
    And i always feel like i have too much weight up high over front wheel, top heavy over front wheel so to speak, on steep ha race bike setups.

    Ironically, since i have a short torso and arms, i always end up running shorter stems.

    I think relative center of gravity, race worthy wheelbase and head angle are/ought to be considered related.

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  10. #10
    dru
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    There's a lot more to steering than HA. TT length, chainstay length, and overall wheel base all play a role. Trail does too, but it is fixed by the fork manufacturers and is standardized for the most part except for G2 geometry forks.

    Being I'm super tall and ride XXl sized frames, the 70* HA on the 26er is nothing faster than neutral, and the 73* on the 29er would be the same. I think these angles would be more of a handful in a mdeium size frame.

    Just something to consider.

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  11. #11
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    Thanks for insight guys. I have ridden numerous siez 19/large trek bikes, and just bought a large sf100, and it feels awfully short up front, like it wants to send me over the bars. Here's my thread investigating particular geometry quirks on the trek forum: 2012 Superfly 100 Aluminum Effective Top Tube

    I'm paranoid that I've just purchased a bike that's too small for me-- yet I would never have imagined that at 5'11" (and previously owning 3 large treks) that I should ever consider an XL. anyone want to validate or dismiss my paranoia?

  12. #12
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    So when I started this thread, I was considering slackening my '12 sf100 HA with an angleset, pushing that front wheel out a bit for stability, but now I'm wondering whether I just needed a larger bike with longer effective top tube. Ugh.

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    I'm 5'10" and had a large Superfly hardtail last year. I ride with my seat 30.25" up from the BB center and run a 100mm stem as low as possible with out hitting the top tube.

    Now I ride a med. Jet9 RDO. Witch is an 18" frame with a 100mm stem.

    Here is a picture of the set ups.


    You might just need a longer stem or a bar/stem combo with more rise to feel comfortable on the downs and give up a bit on the ups and flats.

    Do you know any one with a bike you can test ride or have a test bike a available to you to try?

    I had a large Niner hard tail and didnt like the handling compared to my large Superfly or Med. Niner.

  14. #14
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    I've got 2013 Camber Comp Carbon 29. 70 degree HTA. Been running it a few months now and I sort of miss the slackness of my old FSR XC which had 68.5 HTA. Replaced the flats with some easton riser bars which has improved things. I've written to cane creek, FSA and works components and none of those guys do an angle set to fit the intregrated headset of the camber. so now I'm looking at Burgtec offset bushes for the rear shock and replacing the air spring in the Reba front fork to 120mm, which SRAM says can be done. Any other thoughts/similar experiences?

  15. #15
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    If it has a Zero Stack headset, you can use one of these: Full Headsets - Most Common Sizes

    If it has a fully integrated headset, you'll be out of luck.

  16. #16
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    I'm 6'2", and prefer a slacker HTA than most. HTA is one piece of the puzzle, but I certainly would think that if all else is equal, a higher CG would require a slacker HTA to maintain the same ability to roll over obstacles.

    I'd love to hear some enginerds or physicists weight in on this.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfxc View Post
    Cool... here is my hypothesis. I'm 5'11" with long legs... almost 35" inseam. so my seatpost is sky high. I ride a size large frame with 90mm stem... HYPOTHESIS: with a steep HA 71deg bike, the front wheel is not far out enough in front of my high center of gravity to make me feel stable. My superfly ht is slacked out to 68.5/69deg HA and I love it. Climbs like a goat and I can rally the corners like nobodies business. I'm going to angleset my sf100 by 1.5 deg, to get it to 69.5.... hopefully that will be awesome.

    Anyone else with proportionally high center of gravity find themselves preferring slacker HA's? Or am I just nuts?
    Yep. About the same here. 5'11", 34.5" inseam. I have ended up on bikes with long top tubes. Currently on a Spark 29 Large (69.75 HT angle, 24.5" eff. top tube). So I guess I just lengthened the front center with top tube rather than heat tube angle.

    I've tried it in three BB height configurations and settled on the middle. So the lowest did rake it out a bit far, and the highest was too quick for the high speed trails in UT. Trouble is, that this bike is so long that everything else I ride now feels sketchy. I might have to go XL if I switch brands.

    Just as a long front center is helpful, I've also found that with the CG up this high, long chainstays aren't really a bad thing either. They keep the weight transfer in check going up the steep stuff.
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  18. #18
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    Handling a slack bike is too much after 2 hours of hard racing. I just want to bike to go where its supposed to, I dont want to have to put my hips and whole body into the corners.

    On my play bike, I run a 67* HTA. And yes, WAY more fun.
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  19. #19
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    more info

    Quote Originally Posted by Crispy01 View Post
    Yeah 6'2" tall 39" inseam 67 HA 29er, don't think I am racing this year but probably mid pack expert now, but love the down hills tho.
    To be honest I am a single speeder and the geo suits standed climbs more, I put gears on and had alot of trouble keeping a straight line on the really steep stuff.
    same size/shape - what is the length of the top tube on that bike?

    i'm trying to decide what my HA should be with a 600 top tube, 445 chainstay and 1148 wheelbase
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Anyone prefer a slacker head angle on their race bike?-gravity_29er_geo.gif  


  20. #20
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    I went from a stumpjumper ht (71*) to superfly ht(69*) and I absolutely love the more relaxed head angle on the superfly. I feel way more confident on long, straight-ish descents where you pick up a ton of speed, which was one of my weaknesses and is quickly becoming a strength/one of my favorite parts of races

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