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  1. #1
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    Setup changes from XC to all mountain/enduro bike

    I have a Santa Cruz Highball (hardtail XC) that is pretty much setup as an XC race bike. I went to a really highly recommended fitter when I lived in Indy with a background in XC racing. I toned the cockpit back just a tad from his initial fitting to make it more comfortable for me as Iím no hardcore racer but it feels great and fast on my Midwest hometown single track trails.

    With my move out west in the Wyoming mountains Iím looking at getting a full suspension all-mountain/trail bike to better handle some of the more rugged terrain. Iím 6í6Ē-6í7Ē so my size options are limited (looking at Santa Cruz Hightower XXL frame FWIW)

    My question is how would a cockpit setup change from an XC setup to a more aggressive all mountain/trail setup?

    if geometry remained constant what changes to the following would you recommend:

    -Reach (defined here as saddle tip to center of bars.)
    -Stack (spacer additions/subtraction)

    My Highball has a 100mm stem, 6 degree down, 50mm of spacers below the stem.

    Thanks for any input!

  2. #2
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    geo WONT stay the same

    just get the bike you want, tweak it until it feels good. the Hightower is badass. demoed it in Santa Cruz

  3. #3
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    A lot shorter stem and a dropper post. Wider bars with more sweep so likely risers. You'll spend more time farther back on the bike.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    A lot shorter stem and a dropper post. Wider bars with more sweep so likely risers. You'll spend more time farther back on the bike.
    ^^^this, ^^^this & ^^^this. Longer wheelbase. Given the same reach (as you defined, OP), more top tube and less stem. Ideally 50mm stem or shorter (better yet). Get as long a dropper as will fit. Want the bike to climb well, too? Steep seat tube angle like 76-78į. Guerrilla Gravity has this geo nailed. Even if you don't buy one of their bikes, school on their XL or XXL frame geo, it's what you want. Yeah I'm a GG fanboy, whatever. This geo is the future. You can read the newspaper while descending tight singletrack at 30mph.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by rian4224 View Post
    Midwest hometown -----> Wyoming mountains
    Discard everything you got from the fitter. Not relevant. Fitters fitting a >6'2 individual are not reliable because it's not a well-treaded path, and the compromises are different when you have real mountains and the height to make stupid fit decisions regardless of whee/suspension choice. Fortunately we're not getting screwed any more!

    The bike's handling will tell you how to set it up. Your 'ideal fit' will change when you change bikes/develop skills/ become comfortable. You should expect to have ~1-2" saddle-bar drop at full leg extension, roughly 685mm ETT, and >480mm reach. Chainstays under 430mm are most likely a handicap. A good Trail bike will fit those numbers, but with a steeper head angle and short-ish chainstays.

    100mm is a good road stem length. No redeeming qualities on a mtb.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottzg View Post
    Discard everything you got from the fitter. Not relevant. Fitters fitting a >6'2 individual are not reliable because it's not a well-treaded path, and the compromises are different when you have real mountains and the height to make stupid fit decisions regardless of whee/suspension choice. Fortunately we're not getting screwed any more!

    The bike's handling will tell you how to set it up. Your 'ideal fit' will change when you change bikes/develop skills/ become comfortable. You should expect to have ~1-2" saddle-bar drop at full leg extension, roughly 685mm ETT, and >480mm reach. Chainstays under 430mm are most likely a handicap. A good Trail bike will fit those numbers, but with a steeper head angle and short-ish chainstays.

    100mm is a good road stem length. No redeeming qualities on a mtb.
    Maybe not on an all mountain bike, long stems still work well on XC bikes, particularly for taller guys.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    A lot shorter stem and a dropper post. Wider bars with more sweep so likely risers. You'll spend more time farther back on the bike.
    If the OP is 6'7", very few frames will give a correct fit with "a lot shorter stem" as most around here seem to define it.

    "Fit" beats "short stem dogma".

    FWIW, I'm 6'2" and run a 70mm stem on an XL Devinci Spartan (original model which was quite short). I tried running 55mm and it just doesn't fit me.

    All I'm saying is get the fit right rather than believe the best stem length is the shortest one regardless of where it leaves your fit on the bike.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by petercarm View Post
    If the OP is 6'7", very few frames will give a correct fit with "a lot shorter stem" as most around here seem to define it.

    "Fit" beats "short stem dogma".

    FWIW, I'm 6'2" and run a 70mm stem on an XL Devinci Spartan (original model which was quite short). I tried running 55mm and it just doesn't fit me.

    All I'm saying is get the fit right rather than believe the best stem length is the shortest one regardless of where it leaves your fit on the bike.
    He didnít say that.

    OP is considering a new bike. eb1888ís short stem suggestion implies OP buy a frame with a long enough top tube that he can employ a short stem. I agree.

    I was riding a fantastic bike with a 65mm stem. Loved it but sold that frame and ordered the next size up in part so I could shorten the stem. Saddle to bar dimension remains identical between the two frames.

    The higher oneís center of gravity, the more important the front wheel be out front. Longer TT + shorter stem = moí bettah.
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  9. #9
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    What about something like the XL Kona process 153 29'r. Longer reach than the hightower xxl. Might be easier to find and demo, just to get a feel for longer reach, 170mm dropper and still should have enough room to adjust as necessary. That hightower seams to have short reach for an xxl
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  10. #10
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    Crap, i'm 5'9" and hopped on my buddy's XL Spartan, and it didn't feel big at all. Most brands are still pretty short and tall guys can't just size up.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  11. #11
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    Get a Hightower. In the meantime, just turn the stem over so that the 6 degree drop is a 6 degree rise and see what you think. It may or may not be better, but it's free.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus View Post
    ^^^this, ^^^this & ^^^this. Longer wheelbase. Given the same reach (as you defined, OP), more top tube and less stem. Ideally 50mm stem or shorter (better yet). Get as long a dropper as will fit. Want the bike to climb well, too? Steep seat tube angle like 76-78į. Guerrilla Gravity has this geo nailed. Even if you don't buy one of their bikes, school on their XL or XXL frame geo, it's what you want. Yeah I'm a GG fanboy, whatever. This geo is the future. You can read the newspaper while descending tight singletrack at 30mph.
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    There are a few really tall guys riding XL Guerrilla Gravity bikes that love them. Certainly worth checking into.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/guerrilla-gra...r-1050488.html

    Yeah, I'm a fanboy too.
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  13. #13
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    Thanks for all the great replies. Iíll check out the Kona and see what I can find for a possible demo. From what I could research the Hightower has the best combo of longer reach and effective top tube as far as carbon frames go. Specialized and Trek have a couple potential options in alloy frames but not quite long as the HT.

    I agree, guerrilla gravity has the best geo for taller riders that I could find in XL (they even offer XXL frames as special order if you contact them directly.) I would actually love one but the thing that holds me back vs. a Santa Cruz HT is if I match builds a guerrilla gravity alloy Smash is actually more expensive that a HT Carbon S build. And the Santa Cruz comes with a lifetime warranty vs GG at only 1 year.

    My Highball is shorter than the Hightower so Iím pretty sure I can make it work. I just want to make sure I can set th cockpit up for some rowdy aggressive riding and still be comfortable for my height.

  14. #14
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    brake lever angle is totally different for XC and DH/Enduro, since the seat height is so different.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by UtahJohn View Post
    brake lever angle is totally different for XC and DH/Enduro, since the seat height is so different.
    my seat height is the same on xc and enduro, so is brake lever angle
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  16. #16
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    Not sure how seat height influences brake angle. I adjust mine so my forearm and index finger are in a straight line while I'm in the position I use while braking hard. I'm never on the brakes much while seated.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  17. #17
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    It is personal preference, but XC guys are more often in a high seat position, and have levers angled down more than enduro/DH guys (who spend more time behind the seat, and have a lower seat position. You can't have the levers down when you are so far low/back on the bike. A lot of XC guys run the levers in the down position, but it is not common for Enduro/DH. I ride mine close to flat, but I would do that for XC also.

    I'm just saying you can get away with angled levers for XC, but not the other.

    https://youtu.be/ul5bS9_WIZQ?t=1m25s

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by UtahJohn View Post
    I'm just saying you can get away with angled levers for XC, but not the other.https://youtu.be/ul5bS9_WIZQ?t=1m25s
    I do not find this to be true. I ride my levers down (below 45*) in anything from Whistler to local FR suffering, as do some of my friends. In the vid you hear the guy say "personally" a few times...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by EatsDirt View Post
    I do not find this to be true. I ride my levers down (below 45*) in anything from Whistler to local FR suffering, as do some of my friends. In the vid you hear the guy say "personally" a few times...
    Agreed. And speaking strictly for myself, because...

    I didn't watch the vid because I don't care what angle other riders put their brake levers at but personally I ride wicked steep stuff on my AM rigs (HT & FS) and my levers point down about 45 degrees because that's where my first knuckle on my index finger is. Finger length, personal preference... this is all that matters. It's like asking what's the best stem length. The answer varies from one rider to the next so there's really no point in even asking.

    Put your lever's hook wherever it nestles into your index finger.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rian4224 View Post
    With my move out west in the Wyoming mountains Iím looking at getting a full suspension all-mountain/trail bike to better handle some of the more rugged terrain. Iím 6í6Ē-6í7Ē so my size options are limited (looking at Santa Cruz Hightower XXL frame FWIW)

    My question is how would a cockpit setup change from an XC setup to a more aggressive all mountain/trail setup?

    if geometry remained constant what changes to the following would you recommend:

    -Reach (defined here as saddle tip to center of bars.)
    -Stack (spacer additions/subtraction)

    My Highball has a 100mm stem, 6 degree down, 50mm of spacers below the stem.

    Thanks for any input!
    Getting a shorter stem helps reduce your leverage over the front axle, which makes it harder to go OTB. It's real nice when you are going down steep stuff. Same story with slacker HTA. You don't need the same setup on both bikes, but personally I think it's good if you ride your XC bike on more aggressive trails. I mean some XC races literally use the same trails as enduro races so...

    Generally people go with a little less total reach and more rise on AM bikes.

    As far as stack goes, that's super easy to experiment with. I slam my stem because it allows me to get lower on the bike which I think helps with cornering. It's super easy to add spacers though.

    If you are afraid you wont be able to fit on a XXL hightower (505) without a stem longer than say, 60mm, there are other bikes with longer reach. The pole Evolink 140 comes to mind with it's 535mm reach.

    One thing to keep in mind though is that a bike with 500mm reach and a 73deg seat tube angle will feel longer when seated than a bike with 500mm reach and a 76deg seat tube angle. Especially for someone with a really high saddle (which you have at 6'6") the difference just gets worse the higher it goes as the seat moves further and further back. So keep in mind, a lot of these newer bikes with steep STAs will feel more cramped than their reach numbers alone suggest. But the steep STA is great for climbing.

  21. #21
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    Check out this thread by a guy your height on an XXL HT. http://forums.mtbr.com/29er-bikes/hi...l#post13608154

    It was too small for him, as you can see in the pictures. The slack seat angle that SC insists on using will put you on top of the rear axle.

    He's on a Pole Evolink now.
    Last edited by amish_matt; 08-02-2018 at 04:46 AM.

  22. #22
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    At you height a ďconventional geoĒ bike like a Hightower will not fit you properly. You will be perched on top of the bike with your ass over the rear axle.

    GG, Pole, Geometronís largest offerings will allow you to enjoy the steep stuff, both up and down in far more confidence inspiring comfort than shorter bikes from more mainstream brands. You have to ride these bikes to appreciate how radically beneficial their geometry is, simply looking at numbers on paper doesnít give you even a fraction of an idea.

    In an ideal world your stem length wants to be around 35 to 40 mm so the bike should have enough reach to allow this. Increasing the reach using a long stem to achieve comfortable fit on an AM/Enduro bike had significant drawbacks in terms of weight distribution and front wheel grip. Donít do it unless you have no other option.

  23. #23
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    some people touched on fit of some of the models your considering... really low stack heights took a couple of the ones I really wanted out of the running in the first 20 feet of the demo (Kona SC)..... add to that manufacturers cut the steerer so you can't even drop in a few spacers if your close. I only 6'3 but have more leg than arm... probably more like a normal built 6'4 or so. basically the bars are always way way below the seat hight full on road race drop and for me to get low in the attack position I was in a full deep squat thats much weaker than a nice halfway point you be at with a proper stack. stack and reach are going to be the main fitting numbers to look for, and if you find one you may consider frame only option so you can cut your fork steerer longer "slammed" stems look great in advertising photos but sucks hard for tall dudes!

    Not sure if its burly enough or will fit your needs but the new 2019 Stumpjumper has a good reach and decent stack. I haven't found one to demo yet just going from the published numbers

  24. #24
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    Great replies and info. Thank you.

    Couple questions/comments.

    Arenít the saddle placement (in relation to BB) for pedaling and cockpit setup 2 separate and independent measurements? Meaning 1st you would set up your seatpost/saddle height and fore/aft position to ensure you are pedaling as efficiently (and safely to avoid injury) as possible.

    Then you would move on to setting up the cockpit (stem length & degree of rise/drop, spacers used under stem, etc.)

    So if my saddle position remains constant in relation to the BB wouldnít seat tube angle not be that big of a deal because I would just adjust fore/aft on the saddle to get it into the correct position? (assuming the differences arenít too extreme and the saddle has enough room to slide fwd or back to make up for it)

    My baseline is my 2015 XXL Highball which has 30mm less reach than a Hightower and a slacker seat tube. I do feel a bit on top of it but then again itís designed as a XC race bike so hauling a** on flat trails or charging up hills it feels pretty darn good. Plus I went to LBS recommended fitter who definitely leaned toward the ďracierĒ setups which I liked.

    I think almost anything with 500mm+ reach would work but it seems stack height is what gets me. Hightower is at 641 so I would need 50mm of spacers under the stem w/ 25mm riser bars. SC ships all bikes with 30mm of space below the stem...but they said you can have your LBS request room for extra spacers or even an uncut steerer tube if you place a special order...so no ďon saleĒ deals for me.

    Definitely checked out the Guerrilla Gravity and Pole bikes. Pole seems to have the reach numbers but Stack heights are still a little low. Plus theyíre a ton of bike! I donít need 160, 170 or 180mm travel forks. If Iím honest with myself I donít have the skills to attack any downhills that require 160mm+ of fork travel. Plus I rarely if ever shuttle up so pedaling up to the top has to not completely kill me.

    GG might be something Iím going to revisit. Their mix of reach and stack heights look to be the best option right now. I used to be hung up on only carbon frames but Iíll go alloy if I get get a better tailored fit for my height.
    Last edited by rian4224; 08-02-2018 at 06:39 PM.

  25. #25
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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIR4...utu.be&t=4m15s

    Is worth watching for the first 30 seconds for entertainment value, and the 2nd 30 seconds was my point about brake lever angle.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    A lot shorter stem and a dropper post. Wider bars with more sweep so likely risers. You'll spend more time farther back on the bike.
    Is that like the 35mm rim for 2.3in tire deal? Insta post in every thread?

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