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  1. #1
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    A question of wheelbase

    Not brand or model specific, so thought I'd post my recent riding observations on this forum since they involve 29ers.

    I've been riding awhile and I really enjoy building and riding new bikes. My personal riding tastes run toward technical gnar and high speed shenanigans.

    Because I'm a nerd and really, really like bicycles, I've taken part in most of the "technical advances" that have occurred over the last 15 years; you know, short chainstays, ever-lengthening reach, various stack trends, increasingly slack head angles, increasingly steep seat angles, etc.

    I think, for the most part, these trends have been a net positive. Oddly, even though I'm relatively tall and ride XL 29ers, the one number I never paid a lick of attention to was wheelbase. And that number has grown radically over the years. Two of my recent bigger bikes -- a Ripmo with a -1 headset and a 51 offset fork and a YT Capra -- have wheelbases north of 1250mm.

    It wasn't until a bought a Giant Trance 29 a few months ago as a backup bike that I had a revelation. Though it's pretty slack for the amount of travel it has, the Trance is decidedly older-school in many other respects.

    It's not a perfect bike, but with a wheelbase 2 inches shorter than other bikes I've ridden recently, it's one helluva party on two wheels. Riding the Trance back to back with the Ripmo on the same rowdy trails on South Mountain in Phoenix really opened my eyes to how much fun a bike with deep-feeling suspension and a shorter wheelbase can be.

    Nothing revelatory I imagine, but thought I'd open it up for conversation to see others' thoughts.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  2. #2
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    Got a Lunchbox 29+ (mine measures around 1145 mm with a 170 mm 51 mm offset fork), it felt different right away, figured out it is two inches shorter than my Trek FS (with Pike at 150 mm; seems to be around 1200 mm).

    I was just getting used to the longer wheelbase of a size large bike I have (that is 1206 mm).

    I donít have much riding time on the new one, but the longer wheelbase feels more stable to me when riding faster.

    I am looking for a used small Pole Machine to try (or a Stamina...but those are so new I probably wonít find a used one for a while), which has a huge wheelbase for a size small at 1275 mm (I normally ride mediums).

    Not sure which I prefer yet (shorter vs longer), probably depends on where Iím riding.
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  3. #3
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    Hey Blatant... check out the last 4 videos by SteveM

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIF...xXWztlig1TiT5g

    There is a lot of great info in these videos. I think there are some very useful tidbits - first front center is critical (and one can ignore head angle). Secondly, maybe your set-up with suspension on the short travel is better than on the long travel. Based on this info, I have a hypothesis that the heavier the rider, the less travel they use effectively until hitting the upper human limit.

  4. #4
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    Although my bikes have become longer over the years...because I don't like steeper STAs I've been putting 1" setback droppers on my last couple "modern geo" bikes and then sizing down to keep the bars at the right spot with my preferred stem length.

    I do feel like my longer bikes are less "party on two wheels" than older shorter bikes. That seems to be the trade off for the ease at which they handle higher speeds.

    I'm glad that my preference for slacker STAs keeps me on smaller bikes than I would otherwise be on. I feel like I'm the sweet spot between super long bikes of today and the shorties of the past.

    I keep two FS bikes rolling so I have an older winter bike and the summer/primetime rig. At the moment the winter bike is shorter WB and a 275er. It's nice to switch to that bike for few months every year from my longer WB 29er.

    No real wrong answer they are just different.
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  5. #5
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    I've found while a shorter wheelbase feels more nimble, it doesn't actually matter until I'm in very tight sections of trail. For example, switchbacks that are literally tighter than the turning radius of the bike. Otherwise I'm faster and prefer my longer slack bikes. I'm also 6'5" and on the east coast for perspective.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    Not brand or model specific, so thought I'd post my recent riding observations on this forum since they involve 29ers.

    I've been riding awhile and I really enjoy building and riding new bikes. My personal riding tastes run toward technical gnar and high speed shenanigans.

    Because I'm a nerd and really, really like bicycles, I've taken part in most of the "technical advances" that have occurred over the last 15 years; you know, short chainstays, ever-lengthening reach, various stack trends, increasingly slack head angles, increasingly steep seat angles, etc.

    I think, for the most part, these trends have been a net positive. Oddly, even though I'm relatively tall and ride XL 29ers, the one number I never paid a lick of attention to was wheelbase. And that number has grown radically over the years. Two of my recent bigger bikes -- a Ripmo with a -1 headset and a 51 offset fork and a YT Capra -- have wheelbases north of 1250mm.

    It wasn't until a bought a Giant Trance 29 a few months ago as a backup bike that I had a revelation. Though it's pretty slack for the amount of travel it has, the Trance is decidedly older-school in many other respects.

    It's not a perfect bike, but with a wheelbase 2 inches shorter than other bikes I've ridden recently, it's one helluva party on two wheels. Riding the Trance back to back with the Ripmo on the same rowdy trails on South Mountain in Phoenix really opened my eyes to how much fun a bike with deep-feeling suspension and a shorter wheelbase can be.

    Nothing revelatory I imagine, but thought I'd open it up for conversation to see others' thoughts.
    Exactly, the length of the bike it going to increase stability, but at the cost of playfulness and agility.

    But something has to give somewhere in order to reduce wheelbase: Short reach/TT, shorter chainstays (my preferred), or steeper HTA.

    I kinda feel like the HTA might be over valued in contemporary MTB culture, as well, a slacker HTA also reduces ETT which then leads to increase front center designs, compounding the problem.

    I've recently started pushing back on the new age geo by increasing HTA a degree HTA (XC bike 68, mid travel bike 66), uing short offset forks which reduce WB, and continuing to use shorter chainstays (XC 430, mid travel 423).

    As a result, both of my bike have a fairly long reach/TT (XC 468/627 sz large, mid travel 493/625 sz large long) which provides some stability to offset the "conservative" geo and allows me to stretch out.

    Current bikes:
    Fezzaril Signal Peak 29, 120/120, 51mm offset, WB 1182
    Guerilla Gravity Shred Dogg 27.5, 140/160, 44mm offset, WB 1240

    Long bikes are great for going straight, but I rarely go straight for long
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  7. #7
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    Interesting thoughts. I was just using some recent bikes as an example. Obviously, wheelbase is just one part of a complex setup. I guess riding the Trance on top of a series of really long bikes was just eye-opening.

    The Giant has budget suspension, but Maestro does have an unusually deep and excellent-feeling suspension. Even at higher speeds through big chunk, it remains composed and not skittery in the rear. A different example, the Canfield Riot, even shorter WB, more travel and one of the sketchiest bikes I've ridden at speed through big square edges.

    Here's some more concrete Strava data: National Trail at South Mountain in Phoenix, Starting from Buena Vista saddle down to the bottom. It's 3.15 miles, mostly down, couple small climbs, not the craziest trail on the mountain by far, but it's unrelentingly rocky and will eat your lunch if you're not on your game.

    I know Vik knows he because he rode with me on it.

    My PR is on the Ripmo. On the Trance, my best time is 56 seconds slower. And I may have had more fun, though I don't specifically remember. The Giant is almost as slack but with much less travel (160/145 vs 130/115) and a 2-inch shorter wheelbase.

    To Jeremy's point, which I mostly agree with, another example.

    Corona de Loma trail at South Mountain. The ending DH portion is pretty short, but a fall line down the mountain and nothing but rocks. It is .82 miles long, averages a -17% grade and has about 20 180-degree switchbacks coming down.

    PRd on the Trance and it really felt fast through those turns, since you could just drop in without having to muscle around a long bike.

    But I think I notice the WB thing just as much climbing. Here, we have a lot of big ledges. It's refreshing, as soon as the front pops up on the rock, the rear tire is right there. On bigger bikes, you definitely notice that delay before your rear hits the rock face your front cleared five minutes previously.

    What does it mean? Probably not much, but I'm certainly having a fun time right now on a shorter WB bike.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  8. #8
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    I prefer shorter WB bikes. One of my biggest reasons I'm reluctant to get rid of my Canfield Riot. Shorter bikes are easier to become one with IMHO I prefer shorter WB cars as well though, so don't mind the nervous feeling when going fast.

  9. #9
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    I like the shortest wheelbase bike I can get. I just don't want to fell like a kernel in an air popper when going at speed downhill. But I can see why Aaron Gwinn is thinking about racing the XL M29. J

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    ...
    Here's some more concrete Strava data: National Trail at South Mountain in Phoenix, Starting from Buena Vista saddle down to the bottom. It's 3.15 miles, mostly down, couple small climbs, not the craziest trail on the mountain by far, but it's unrelentingly rocky and will eat your lunch if you're not on your game.

    ...
    My PR is on the Ripmo. On the Trance, my best time is 56 seconds slower. And I may have had more fun, though I don't specifically remember. The Giant is almost as slack but with much less travel (160/145 vs 130/115) and a 2-inch shorter wheelbase.
    ...
    Corona de Loma trail at South Mountain. The ending DH portion is pretty short, but a fall line down the mountain and nothing but rocks. It is .82 miles long, averages a -17% grade and has about 20 180-degree switchbacks coming down.

    PRd on the Trance and it really felt fast through those turns, since you could just drop in without having to muscle around a long bike...

    What does it mean? Probably not much, but I'm certainly having a fun time right now on a shorter WB bike.
    So I am considering replacing my first generation 5010 with a 29er for better roll over. That bike is 68 deg HA and 130F/125r currently on 27.5x2.6. I find you comparison of the Ripmo to the Trance interesting. I have a 100/100 XC bike already so was thinking I need at least 130 rear travel, but where you do think think the 115 travel is limit wise vs the bigger travel Rimpo. I prefer a bike a I can maneuver vs just plow through and from reading your post and your terrain it seems the Rimpo is better for point and charge, but maybe not as good for nimble handling and trance can't match the high speed bumps, but can handle slow tech really well.

    My preference is for slow tech rather than bombing down stuff, but I hate to not have enough travel either.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  11. #11
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    I dunno. I've ridden the Trance down much of the bigger stuff at SoMo (Devastator, CDL, Holbert, Ranger, Geronimo, 24th St.). At 66.5 head angle, it's relatively slack for the amount of travel it has; and the travel it does have is very plush and usable. Honestly, the bike has out of its element on Holbert and Geronimo for sure, and maybe parts of Ranger, but with higher quality suspension, might've been different.

    While the Ripmo is a LONG bike, I don't consider it to be a particularly plow-oriented bike. It's firm and controlled and I found a lighter touch is better. Fantastic bike; I still think it's probably the best all-around bike on the market. Plow bikes I've owned: Capra, Nomad, Enduro, etc.

    The Trance is actually more plush than the Ripmo, which seems counter-intuitive, and it's actually less snappy at the pedals. It rides like a much bigger bike, until you reach the end of the travel, which happens on the regular from the drops higher up on National and whatnot.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  12. #12
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    I have increased my wheelbase and gone from old school to modern geometry one the last 5 years. 5 years ago I was on a medium 11 Turner 5 Spot and now I'm on a large Knolly Fugitive. 6 bikes later. 26 to 29, steeper STA, a bit slacker HTA, 396mm reach to 477mm, 506mm stack to 618mm, short wheelbase to 1218mm. I am definitely having more fun now and would not want to go back to a shorter bike. Cornering is great on any trail I care about. I generally avoid some of the super tight, twisty and flat trails we have but, that has nothing to do with bike choice.

    I worked at a recent Knolly demo day. Knolly would absolutely try to put me on a medium. I tried a medium for size and it felt like a clown bike to me. I left the sizing recommendations mostly to the suits from corporate since it was there event. I typically recommend that a customer tries two sizes if they are at all close to in between.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Legbacon View Post
    I have increased my wheelbase and gone from old school to modern geometry one the last 5 years. 5 years ago I was on a medium 11 Turner 5 Spot and now I'm on a large Knolly Fugitive. 6 bikes later. 26 to 29, steeper STA, a bit slacker HTA, 396mm reach to 477mm, 506mm stack to 618mm, short wheelbase to 1218mm. I am definitely having more fun now and would not want to go back to a shorter bike. Cornering is great on any trail I care about. I generally avoid some of the super tight, twisty and flat trails we have but, that has nothing to do with bike choice.

    I worked at a recent Knolly demo day. Knolly would absolutely try to put me on a medium. I tried a medium for size and it felt like a clown bike to me. I left the sizing recommendations mostly to the suits from corporate since it was there event. I typically recommend that a customer tries two sizes if they are at all close to in between.
    I rode my old bike for the first time last weekend since getting my Fugitive in November. 60mm shorter reach, 100mm shorter WB. The smaller bike requires a lighter touch, which was nice at slow speeds but the big thing I noticed was how much I had to exaggerate my weight shifts on the bike compared to the Fugitive. I struggled a bit with the first descent but settled in pretty easily after that. I wouldn't mind a light XC/trail bike with geometry about half way between my two current bikes.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    I prefer shorter WB bikes. One of my biggest reasons I'm reluctant to get rid of my Canfield Riot. Shorter bikes are easier to become one with IMHO I prefer shorter WB cars as well though, so don't mind the nervous feeling when going fast.
    The idea behind the Riot is where I'm coming from, though their bikes are a tad shortish compared to the current bike geo, they had that playful feel that I love. Lenz makes probably the shortest bikes with big travel, super short chainstays, and compact from centers, but the dropper is limited to 125mm.

    GG makes some nice bikes, but their big travel 29er and 27.5 are long (Smash, Mega Trail), so it's only in the short travel Trail Pistol 29 and Shred Dogg 27.5 that the wheelbase is shortish.I just replaced my Smash (ridden 27.5) with a Shred Dogg 27.5, CS is 423, very evident, waaay more agile than the Smash.

    Oddly enough, I just looked at the geo on my frame and the Smash, geo for both are quite close 1246 vs 1250, I'm running teh short cup so my Shred Dogg is probably a tad shorter ~1243, which is still really long!

    My Shred does have a slightly more slack HTA of 66 vs my Smash had a HTA of ~65, additionally I think my BB height is lower, so it could be a combination of things that contribute to increased agility.

    Vick, an MTBR poster, rides a medium GG Smash and uses a set back dropper, he did this by choice to keep the bike more compact.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    I dunno. I've ridden the Trance down ...
    Thanks
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    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    So I am considering replacing my first generation 5010 with a 29er for better roll over. That bike is 68 deg HA and 130F/125r currently on 27.5x2.6. I find you comparison of the Ripmo to the Trance interesting. I have a 100/100 XC bike already so was thinking I need at least 130 rear travel, but where you do think think the 115 travel is limit wise vs the bigger travel Rimpo. I prefer a bike a I can maneuver vs just plow through and from reading your post and your terrain it seems the Rimpo is better for point and charge, but maybe not as good for nimble handling and trance can't match the high speed bumps, but can handle slow tech really well.

    My preference is for slow tech rather than bombing down stuff, but I hate to not have enough travel either.
    So Joe, why do you need more travel for slow tech? Maybe you just need "enough travel" and differenty geo.

    I'd suggest looking at the Trail Pistol 29, enough travel, burly, not too heavy, good all around geo.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    So Joe, why do you need more travel for slow tech? Maybe you just need "enough travel" and differenty geo.

    I'd suggest looking at the Trail Pistol 29, enough travel, burly, not too heavy, good all around geo.
    I need "enough travel". 100 is not enough, but what is enough? That is what I want to gauge.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  18. #18
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    I don't want to get too far into the weeds on this, but "enough" travel really ultimately depends on the bike as a whole.

    The Trance at 115 is pretty short, but it's a beast and you can still pedal it all day if that's your thing. It's just as fun at Hawes as South Mountain.

    The Banshee Phantom, 105 rear travel, is an absolute war machine that pedals great.

    Then you take something middle of the road like, say, the RM Instinct. 140 rear travel, 140-160 up front. For me, nowhere near the attitude or ability of the two bikes mentioned above.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  19. #19
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    Interesting discussion. I demoíd many bikes over the last 6-8 months leading up to a liquidation and rebuild of my stable. One of the things I noticed most while demoíing bikes was the wheelbase. I could make a solid case for any of the top 20-30ish bikes on the market and be happy with them, each has a compelling geo package and is well designed so itís about ergo and riding style. I digress... with as capable as some of these short travel rippers are (trance 29, the sc blur, intense sniper, sb100 etc etc) they start to on the aggressive nature of their longer travel siblings. This sorta unlocks taking some of the things I do on my bigger bike, and doing more precise smaller versions of that on my trail bike.

    Meanwhile, 140-170 travel bikes pedal better then they ever have. Meaning the lines are blurred between what qualifies as the one bike to do it all, or which bike to take on which trail.

    Consequently, I ended up purchasing a trance 29 and a megatower. Which bike I ride on a given day obviously is based on what trails, but a lot of time wheelbase is a huge driving factor on which one Iím riding on a given day.

    Regarding travel, that depends on many, many things. As Blatant has suggested, short travel 29rs are capable of more then ever before and hot damn are they a hoot. However if I were forced in a 1 bike stable that wouldnít be enough travel for me. I think the answer to how much is enough lies some where in the 140mm range. I base this on seeing the amount of people that had hightowerís But were searching for just a bit more (and a few other bikes in this range). If youíre pushing your limits that seems to be the range that gives riders just enough headroom to ride out a bad line. Obviously really skilled riders can kill it on anything, but for the rest of us, just enough travel to make a poor line choice and not pay dearly is pretty nice.

    At any rate,

  20. #20
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    P.s. Blatant, Iím riding in your neck of the woods tomorrow. Wife is in PHX on business and Iím free loading off her hotel room and brought my bike. Iím going to go cliche and hit national tomorrow. Hoping I can some how hit Geronimo as well, but Iím coming off an xc race with tired legs. Weíll see.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    I need "enough travel". 100 is not enough, but what is enough? That is what I want to gauge.
    Enough to me is using an average of 90% of what I have for a particular ride, so it depends on the ride, the bike I choose, and how hard I ride.

    When I ride the Tahoe Rim Trail, esp the sections above South Shore, I prefer a longer travel bike ~140mm out back, BUT if I was doing a epic ride where endurance mattered more than adrenalin, I could get by with 120mm.

    So here's the thing: You can set sag on any length travel to avoid bottom out, so it's not about how much you need, it's about how much you want and the how much you're wiling to give up; ie efficiency, weight, etc...

    I replaced my 140mm hardtail with a 120/120 FS bike, the hardtail was more aggressive and honestly more fun, but I couldn't tolerate the abuse. I didn't replace it with a mid travel FS bike because I already had one (Smash, now a Shred Dogg), so I got an XC/trail bike (Signal Peak).

    It's taken me a while to find a balance in my two bike quiver; not counting my mountain unicycles
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by minimusprime View Post
    P.s. Blatant, Iím riding in your neck of the woods tomorrow. Wife is in PHX on business and Iím free loading off her hotel room and brought my bike. Iím going to go cliche and hit national tomorrow. Hoping I can some how hit Geronimo as well, but Iím coming off an xc race with tired legs. Weíll see.
    Sweet, man, I'd join you. But I sold the Ripmo to experiment with a one-bike stable for awhile. And the Fox fork on my Trance went bad. Arrived back at Fox last Wednesday and was told 1-2 day turnaround. After several days of no one returning calls or emails, they said today it would be TWO MORE WEEKS!!

    TL;DR: I'd join you but I have no bike to ride.

    PM me if you need help route-finding. Geronimo is great. Problem is, without a shuttle, it puts you in a tough spot. Once you've climbed up National to get to it, Geronimo spits you out basically in the middle of nowhere. Only real option is to ride a few blocks on the street and climb back up 24th Street.

    Be ready. 24th is no joke. It's a 1-mile climb full of huge step ups and chutes and it gains about 700 vertical feet in that mile. That's after you already climbed National, which is a feat in itself.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  23. #23
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    I think another aspect of bike length preference has to with riding style. A shorter wheelbase will have a tighter turning radius but I've also found old school geo is harder to lean and flick into corners. When transitioning from braking to leaning into a corner a bike with a shorter reach can make it harder to get your hands neutrally weighted. It can feel like you're fighting to get the weight off the bars and lean the bike. The longest and slackest bike I've owned has been the most intuitive in the corners (possibly also due to the shorter offset fork and 40mm stem). People who ride stiff aren't going to see that benefit.

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    This is something I've thought about as well. I'm about 6'4" and ride XL bikes. The front center to rear center ratio is different for someone my size vs the smaller size crowd. In order to have a similar ratio with the steep seat tube, slacker head tube, and longer front center the chainstays would need to be much longer. That would make the wheelbase massive. I'm thinking that would be the fastest way down a rough downhill course. I also think it would be the least amount of fun. My last 2 bikes were an Enduro 29er and Nomad. Last weekend I demo'd an XL Ripley 4 (WB - 1236), XL SB130 (WB - 1259.7), and a S3 Stumpy Evo (WB - 1252, but longer chainstays and shorter relative front center). The Ripley 4 was the most fun, poppy and playful bike of the 3. There are obviously many differences in these 3 bikes other than WB, but not surprisingly the Ripley 4 was also the one that requires the most careful line selection on the way down. I'm no longer interested in going as fast as possible downhill, but rather want to work on fitness and having fun. I ordered up a Ripley.

  25. #25
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    29ers have gotten long for sure, I bought a Primer 2 years ago and sized down from XL to L for that very reason. Went with an 80 stem and the cockpit fit and feel is perfect, 47" wheelbase. The steep seat tube and slack HA of the newer geometry are nice but the wheelbase is definitely an issue, also don't like the feel of a short stem/super slack HA for trail riding but maybe that's just me

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    ...
    So here's the thing: You can set sag on any length travel to avoid bottom out, so it's not about how much you need, it's about how much you want and the how much you're wiling to give up; ie efficiency, weight, etc...
    I gauge 100mm as not enough because that is what I have on my Epic. Great bike, but it not ideal for the big parts of South Mtn. My 125mm 5010 is pretty good, but even that feels a bit soft if I am more normal trails. My next Big terrain/enduro bro bike will be a 29er for sure. The 5010 is nice, but I really love the rollover of 29ers on the rocky ledgy terrain we have here. But how much travel in the rear? 120, 130, 140? I don't have big desire to ride the super gnar and chunk super fast. I just want to ride it a reasonable pace and not hate life when climbing and feel like I can't get the bike to turn. When I mean hate life climbing I don't mean dirt roads. I mean technical single track climbing as most of the time here in order to ride the chunky gnarly descents you have climb some steep chunky gnarly stuff to get there. Since I rarely shuttle don't mine giving up some DH speed or jump capability to get climbing ability. Seems like a fair trade even if I might do the occasional Enduro race. Oh I ride flow trails and jump lines even less than I shuttle so I have no desire for bikes that are optimized for that.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    I gauge 100mm as not enough because that is what I have on my Epic. Great bike, but it not ideal for the big parts of South Mtn. My 125mm 5010 is pretty good, but even that feels a bit soft if I am more normal trails. My next Big terrain/enduro bro bike will be a 29er for sure. The 5010 is nice, but I really love the rollover of 29ers on the rocky ledgy terrain we have here. But how much travel in the rear? 120, 130, 140? I don't have big desire to ride the super gnar and chunk super fast. I just want to ride it a reasonable pace and not hate life when climbing and feel like I can't get the bike to turn. When I mean hate life climbing I don't mean dirt roads. I mean technical single track climbing as most of the time here in order to ride the chunky gnarly descents you have climb some steep chunky gnarly stuff to get there. Since I rarely shuttle don't mine giving up some DH speed or jump capability to get climbing ability. Seems like a fair trade even if I might do the occasional Enduro race. Oh I ride flow trails and jump lines even less than I shuttle so I have no desire for bikes that are optimized for that.
    For the technical climbing you're describing, I'd be on my big bike, 140mm rear travel, it's designed for rock crawling as well as for gnarly descents. I could do the same climbing on my XC bike, but that's not really it's strength.

    Where I struggle with choosing a bike for the day is when it'll be a long day AND I'll have technical climbing and descending. In this case I just choose to either work harder (big bike) or not ride as fast downhill on the tech (XC bike).

    The thing is, my idea of an XC bike is probably your idea of a trail bike; the 5010 is my kind of XC bike

    I don't know that a 29er makes the best big bike for slow tech, the added height from the wagon wheels exacerbated the high COG of the longer travel. I stepped down from a big 29er to a big 27.5, it's just so much more manageable and more fun to ride.
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  28. #28
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    The bigger wheels get caught in rocks less and get over step ups better. The 27.5 get noticeable hung up more unless you just use sheer speed to plow through. I even noticed the difference between 29x2.3 and 29x3.0. The 3.0 just roll over everything at low to moderate speeds. But those are big meats. I am thinking I will like mid travel 29 with 2.6. For me my XC bike is 22.5lbs and my "Big Bike" is 30lbs. Through the tech moves my XC bike is so much easier to maneuver, lift wheels and use my body weight get over stuff. I can't just sit a pedal I have to be active on it and stand shift weight. My 5010 takes more effort to get it move the same way. That is due to softer suspension and more overall weight. Plus less roll over.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  29. #29
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    I do believe we have strayed from the OPís topic 🙄

    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    The bigger wheels get caught in rocks less and get over step ups better. The 27.5 get noticeable hung up more unless you just use sheer speed to plow through. I even noticed the difference between 29x2.3 and 29x3.0. The 3.0 just roll over everything at low to moderate speeds. But those are big meats. I am thinking I will like mid travel 29 with 2.6. For me my XC bike is 22.5lbs and my "Big Bike" is 30lbs. Through the tech moves my XC bike is so much easier to maneuver, lift wheels and use my body weight get over stuff. I can't just sit a pedal I have to be active on it and stand shift weight. My 5010 takes more effort to get it move the same way. That is due to softer suspension and more overall weight. Plus less roll over.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    I do believe we have strayed from the OPís topic 🙄
    Well the underlying context is maneuverability and some might argue that 27.5 is more maneuverable, but I think wheelbase is also important in getting that feeling.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    ...Lenz makes probably the shortest bikes with big travel, super short chainstays, and compact from centers, but the dropper is limited to 125mm.
    This might be still true for some models, but I have a newer medium LenzSport Lunchbox 29+...Iím running a OneUp 150 mm dropper on it...and I have a short 29 inch inseam.

    That said, still wish I could insert it 5 mm deeper...but, I still donít feel the need to reduce the dropper travel with a Oneup shim.
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  32. #32
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    Since this thread has totally gone off topic ...

    How do you like the Lunchbox?

    I have lusted over a Lunchbox 29+ Rohloff, but I just donít know that I would like the suspension feel. How does the ride quality compare to the Full Stache? Why do you have two FS 29+?


    Quote Originally Posted by jbsocal View Post
    This might be still true for some models, but I have a newer medium LenzSport Lunchbox 29+...Iím running a OneUp 150 mm dropper on it...and I have a short 29 inch inseam.

    That said, still wish I could insert it 5 mm deeper...but, I still donít feel the need to reduce the dropper travel with a Oneup shim.
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    Since this thread has totally gone off topic ...

    How do you like the Lunchbox?

    I have lusted over a Lunchbox 29+ Rohloff, but I just donít know that I would like the suspension feel. How does the ride quality compare to the Full Stache? Why do you have two FS 29+?
    Been sick, donít have much time on the Lunchbox 29+...so far, I like the FS geo more.

    I plan on riding them back to back.

    Did a quick measurement:

    FS BB height is 340 mm (low setting), slammed seat height (height from the ground) is 890 mm, wheelbase is 1185 mm (have Pike at 150 mm)

    LB+ BB height is 360 mm, slammed seat height is 940 mm, wheelbase is 1150 mm

    I feel lower and more ďinĒ the FS vs higher and on top of the LB+...so far, I prefer the lower BB, lower seat height, and longer wheelbase of the FS.

    Same OneUp 150 mm dropper on both bikes.

    Donít think I have the suspension dialed in yet, but the LB+ is plush.

    On the LB+, I have a Yari 180 mm with a Lyrik RCT3 damper in it set at 170 mm...the rear shock is a Vivid Air R2C.

    Another noticeable difference is the wheels...currently stock 28 hole duroc 40ís on the FS, stiffer LB carbon 50 mm (i45) 32 spoke rims on dtswiss 350 hubs on the LB+...tires are stock XR4ís on the FS, SE4ís on the LB+.

    Only planned on keeping one...I assumed it would be the LB+ with more travel...not sure exactly which one yet, both are great bikes (despite the FS rear flex).

    FWIW...I am far from being an expert rider...mikesee can give you a more accurate ride comparison between the two.

    Note: I used to have a much older generation Lunchbox (before the Punk Ass), I believe it took a 200 mm x 50 mm shock...this new one has a longer shock and looks like a 63 mm stroke...I never rode the Punk Ass version.

    My BB also seems a bit higher than the specs for the new LB+ on Lenzsport.com, and my rear axle is also different than the specs (12 x 148 mm vs 12 x 157 mm.

    Last edited by jbsocal; 1 Week Ago at 07:23 PM.
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  34. #34
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    IMO, the industry has to keep reinventing stuff and coming out with "new" geometry to keep people buying bikes and interested. Some of this is good, but the large majority of it is blown way out of proportion in terms of how much better it makes things. Bikes have always been evolving and going to an extreme, like a 1998 FSR XC, would surely be a little tough to ride hard on rough and DH terrain and kind of sketchy, but for stuff from 5 and 10 years ago, the industry is trying to make it seem like your old bike will no longer roll down the hill because it has square wheels. It's not that big of a deal.

    My XC rig with 100mm of travel and 70.3 degree HTA (and dropper) absolutely rocked the DHs on the last race, because I could insert my bike so quickly into a line and pass people, and I passed trail and enduro bikes (that were running a shorter race) like they were standing still. You'll see this at the higher levels, the expert and pro XC racers have excellent descending skills, often they ride multiple disciplines. Even though I don't live around there anymore, I used to ride my DH bike down these same descents, some of them pretty darn gnarly. But it takes a damn gnarly descent to make my enduro bike faster on the descent, at least what most would consider a "black diamond", sometimes more. I like rocking the enduro and DH races as well, and my enduro bike does pretty well in those.

    I'm not so ignorant to think that there aren't people faster than me, but lots of people "think" they are fast. You think you are fast until you race hundreds of people all trying to do the same thing. Then you find out that you weren't as fast as you thought. The geometry isn't holding me back here, even on the DHs on my XC bike. I don't "need" a slacker HTA, or longer wheelbase, or more boost, etc. These changes are all pretty marginal IMO.

    I do relax my XC rig with a 120mm fork and slightly wider rims/tires when not racing it, but when I'm in full on race mode, I don't even notice the slightly steeper HTA. I just keep putting down the power everywhere I can and take the holeshot when it appears.

    Other things such as suspension compliance, tire traction, etc., make just as much as a difference as some of these geometry tweaks. IME, humans are amazingly adaptable, which minimizes the effects of many changes. Sure, we think that something is helping or maybe we turn in a "PR" on strava, but there are so many more variables that could have accounted for it and in the big picture I don't think these geometry tweaks have nearly the effect that is claimed.

    Vorsprung has some pretty good information on this and I think they are on spot. Sure, there are some benefits, but there are some negatives too and this newer geometry is not a silver bullet.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  35. #35
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    I went from a 26er to a 27.5 with a longer wheelbase and saw an improvement in a particularly difficult tight climbing switchback where I ride. Last year, I went from that 27.5 to a Giant Trance 29 with yet one more inch of wheelbase and again saw an improvement in maneuvering that particularly hard to make turn. In each case, the other design characteristics seem to have trumped the longer wheelbases these bikes have.

  36. #36
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    I completely diagree.

    I have a riding buddy who hates spending money on new bikes, so he rides a couple olde XC hardtails, I get the opportnity to ride them once in a while and let me tell you, those bikes are downright scary!

    So he rides these bikes fast, I suppose he's used to how they ride, but when he gets on my bikes he goes even faster; he's a very fast SS racer.

    So sure, you can blame progress on the messenger, but we call it progress for a reason.

    I make a point of following trends in my sports and trying new things over time; rarely have I been disappointed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    IMO, the industry has to keep reinventing stuff and coming out with "new" geometry to keep people buying bikes and interested. Some of this is good, but the large majority of it is blown way out of proportion in terms of how much better it makes things. Bikes have always been evolving and going to an extreme, like a 1998 FSR XC, would surely be a little tough to ride hard on rough and DH terrain and kind of sketchy, but for stuff from 5 and 10 years ago, the industry is trying to make it seem like your old bike will no longer roll down the hill because it has square wheels. It's not that big of a deal.

    My XC rig with 100mm of travel and 70.3 degree HTA (and dropper) absolutely rocked the DHs on the last race, because I could insert my bike so quickly into a line and pass people, and I passed trail and enduro bikes (that were running a shorter race) like they were standing still. You'll see this at the higher levels, the expert and pro XC racers have excellent descending skills, often they ride multiple disciplines. Even though I don't live around there anymore, I used to ride my DH bike down these same descents, some of them pretty darn gnarly. But it takes a damn gnarly descent to make my enduro bike faster on the descent, at least what most would consider a "black diamond", sometimes more. I like rocking the enduro and DH races as well, and my enduro bike does pretty well in those.

    I'm not so ignorant to think that there aren't people faster than me, but lots of people "think" they are fast. You think you are fast until you race hundreds of people all trying to do the same thing. Then you find out that you weren't as fast as you thought. The geometry isn't holding me back here, even on the DHs on my XC bike. I don't "need" a slacker HTA, or longer wheelbase, or more boost, etc. These changes are all pretty marginal IMO.

    I do relax my XC rig with a 120mm fork and slightly wider rims/tires when not racing it, but when I'm in full on race mode, I don't even notice the slightly steeper HTA. I just keep putting down the power everywhere I can and take the holeshot when it appears.

    Other things such as suspension compliance, tire traction, etc., make just as much as a difference as some of these geometry tweaks. IME, humans are amazingly adaptable, which minimizes the effects of many changes. Sure, we think that something is helping or maybe we turn in a "PR" on strava, but there are so many more variables that could have accounted for it and in the big picture I don't think these geometry tweaks have nearly the effect that is claimed.

    Vorsprung has some pretty good information on this and I think they are on spot. Sure, there are some benefits, but there are some negatives too and this newer geometry is not a silver bullet.
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