AM bike geometry for riders with long legs and short torsos- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    AM bike geometry for riders with long legs and short torsos

    I'm 5'11 with a 34 inseam, shortish torso and longish arms.

    I'm looking for a new AM/Enduro frame in large (150+ mm travel) and there are a few finalists. I have certain reach numbers in mind but I'm getting preoccupied with seatpost angles. Because I know with a long inseam, the seatpost will be extended further, which will put me further out over the rear axle. While my current bike's reach is relatively short and comfy, the seattube angle is 72deg which is slack...and I can feel it on climbs.

    All that being said, I feel like I should be focusing on frames with a 75-76 deg seattube angle and not worry about reach so much because I'll be able to play with stem lengths.

    I was looking at the Hightower LT as it looks great across the board but the seatpost angle is slack, especially with a 160mm fork. It would closer to 73deg. Then there's the Spec Enduro 29 with a 76 deg post angle with a 160mm fork. There are others, but these two were just two options I was considering.

    Thoughts?
    Intense 951 Evo and Santa Cruz Megatower

  2. #2
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    Being 5'11 is pretty cool as you're so dead squarely a fit on basically everyones size large frames. Theres always exemptions, but at that height you fit more larges than you don't.

    Theres kind of no "right" geo. The industry is pushing steeper STA's and I think it changes the style of the bike more than the fit. You'll physically fit a large 72 sta just like you'll fit a large 77 sta, but they'll ride different. I like long travel and steeper sta's. I'm doing very little flat pedaling, so its perfect.

    Spec bikes are mushy pedalers and they're extremely expensive for what I feel you get. I like their geo overall, but I strongly dislike their suspension performance.

    Id start pulling up bikes in linkage design and checking numbers. Long travel with a fair amount of anti squat is pretty awesome! You can pedal around a 150+mm bike all day long, if it pedals well. If it doesnt, thats a lot of travel to be bobbing around on.

    The hightower is a great bike from a great company. I would like a steeper STA, but its still a good bike either way. Id check out the orbea rallon, its an incredible bike. Dont skip over the YT capra either! The new evil frames have a very steep STA and great performance too.

    Theres so many good options, I just couldnt justify settling for a crusty old specialized bike these days.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the info!

    Initially I was eyeing the Hightower LT (the Megatower would be cool, but it's a big bike for climbing up techy stuff), because the HT LT almost matches the geo of my current bike: '15 Carbine 29 in large. Except the HT LT has a slightly longer reach, slightly lower BB, bit more travel and better suspension curve. The slightly longer reach and slightly steeper seat angle would cancel eachother out.

    I don't think I need crazy long reach numbers. I find with my current bike with 50mm stem and 800mm bars, I'm comfortable. I'm just all legs.
    Intense 951 Evo and Santa Cruz Megatower

  4. #4
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    How gnarly are you getting on this bike and what's the most common category of bike you see in that area? DH bikes, 160mm bikes, 140mm , hardtail, etc?

    I moved from a HTLT to a Megatower. I honestly think the MT makes the HTLT obsolete, even more so if the HTLT has a 160mm fork. The MT climbs and descends better. The HTLT has a bit of an advantage in regards to pedaling out of the saddle. In the saddle the steeper STA of the MT more than makes up for an pedalling efficiency advantage the HTLT has. Perhaps more importantly if you're riding places that actually require that much travel, the MT is so much more capable. The HTLT is a trail bike on stilts. I need something slacker when I'm riding down gnarly descents that most people ride on DH bikes. However, if you don't need that much bike then I'd wait for the new Hightower, get a Bronson, or some other mid travel bike with progressive geo.

  5. #5
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    Go ride a bike with a 76 degree STA and see what you think----I am your exact dimensions but am more trail and did a long large demo on a Ripley so not really AM-----but I turn out to be one of those that really do not like the added weight on my hands----others love it so the asking here gets you little---you need to go ride and see for yourself----I was very optimistic after all the forum raves but alas 76 with the current stack heights is not for me and for some growing set of folks but may be for you

  6. #6
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    jeremy3220...

    Most of the bikes I see are AM bikes. If there are full-blown enduro bikes, they're riding the access trail to the upper part of the mountain, whereas I try to ride the climbing, technical trails. Some of the trails I ride down are used in some of the local enduro races. That's on the North Shore of Vancouver. Some of the trails do require a decent amount of travel going down, but they're still doable at a good speed providing you pick decent lines. Did you notice the weight increase going to the MT??

    pctloper....

    Good point on the added weight on your hands. I suppose to alleviate that, you need to increase the height of your handlebars which raises the front end, putting you back in that situation where you need to really lean forward when climbing.
    Intense 951 Evo and Santa Cruz Megatower

  7. #7
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    You dont mention your riding style, terrain you like to ride or chosen head angle and type of suspension designs you like.

    Make sure you tick those things off the requirement list first then search for the right sized stead. There are many good am bikes out there. But they vary along the spectrum super slack super stable, to chuckable and twitchy. Form super plush to taught.


    Selecting a bike just on reach and seat tube angle could get you a lemon that doesnt suit your riding style.

  8. #8
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    Have you demoed the new bikes with steeper seat tubes? I was not a fan when I did. My quads worked a lot harder and I didn't find it to be a more powerful position overall. I didn't time myself so maybe I'm missing something. I suspect the steep seat tubes are a fad, not a trend.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by craigsj View Post
    It's as though everyone has forgotten that saddles are adjustable. You haven't mentioned, and no one has asked, where your saddle is adjusted on your current bike so how can you expect anyone to advise what a change in STA will do? The STA only defines where the seat clamp is, nothing else.
    Good point. Slam your seat all the way forward and let me know how that works out for you.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Robin View Post
    jeremy3220...

    Most of the bikes I see are AM bikes. If there are full-blown enduro bikes, they're riding the access trail to the upper part of the mountain, whereas I try to ride the climbing, technical trails. Some of the trails I ride down are used in some of the local enduro races. That's on the North Shore of Vancouver. Some of the trails do require a decent amount of travel going down, but they're still doable at a good speed providing you pick decent lines. Did you notice the weight increase going to the MT??

    pctloper....

    Good point on the added weight on your hands. I suppose to alleviate that, you need to increase the height of your handlebars which raises the front end, putting you back in that situation where you need to really lean forward when climbing.
    So if it's the kind of steep terrain most people are riding AM or enduro bikes on then I'd put an emphasis on aggressive geometry. This will probably be more important anyway. Something with enduro geo but about 140mm of travel might be the ticket.

    On the hand pressure thing... this is why reach is so important. You don't need your bars extra high. Simply having sufficient reach and stack will alleviate all or almost all of the hand pressure problems. Also, putting a long stem on a modern geo bike kinda defeats the point. I don't care what people ride but I suggest if you're going with a modern/progressive bike to not try and pick it apart. People try to turn their new bike into their old bike and it creates other problems...like sizing down then there's too much pressure on your hands.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by plummet View Post
    You dont mention your riding style, terrain you like to ride or chosen head angle and type of suspension designs you like.

    Make sure you tick those things off the requirement list first then search for the right sized stead. There are many good am bikes out there. But they vary along the spectrum super slack super stable, to chuckable and twitchy. Form super plush to taught.


    Selecting a bike just on reach and seat tube angle could get you a lemon that doesnt suit your riding style.
    I'm not sure theres a way to associate a certain bike to a certain style. Most of my riding is long climbs, so I bought a 160mm bike. I dont regret doing so at all, and it works better than my previous 125 and 140mm bikes. Everything about the paper specs would make it seem like a bad choice, but on the trail it works just so much better.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Robin View Post
    I'm 5'11 with a 34 inseam, shortish torso and longish arms.

    I'm looking for a new AM/Enduro frame in large (150+ mm travel) and there are a few finalists. I have certain reach numbers in mind but I'm getting preoccupied with seatpost angles. Because I know with a long inseam, the seatpost will be extended further, which will put me further out over the rear axle. While my current bike's reach is relatively short and comfy, the seattube angle is 72deg which is slack...and I can feel it on climbs.

    All that being said, I feel like I should be focusing on frames with a 75-76 deg seattube angle and not worry about reach so much because I'll be able to play with stem lengths.

    I was looking at the Hightower LT as it looks great across the board but the seatpost angle is slack, especially with a 160mm fork. It would closer to 73deg. Then there's the Spec Enduro 29 with a 76 deg post angle with a 160mm fork. There are others, but these two were just two options I was considering.

    Thoughts?
    I have pretty ,uch the same measurements as you; I owned the OG Hightower and a 2017 Enduro. I went with the XL Hightower as the large was cramped for me. Never could get the right feel on the bike; longer stem, shorter stem, seat all the way forward, etc. etc. And the seat tube angle was too slack. Got a large Enduro and it fit quite a bit better and climbing was surprisingly easier than on the Hightower despite the extra travel. Sold both of those bikes for for a large 2019 Stumpjumper and it fits me quite well and the STA is steep enough to be a good climber for me.

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