My Balance is too small for me! Options??- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Bonking ... not feelin' well My Balance is too small for me! Options??

    After completing my build, getting scared out of my wits riding it and riding a few other bikes, I have realized my large Balance is too short in the wheelbase for my riding. It gets knocked around a lot under me and I just don't feel stable on it. I need an XL.

    What do ya think is the best option? Trade someone straight across? Try and source an XL frame (preferable in raw, extra preferably with green links) and then hope to sell my L? Contact Canfield and see if they have an XL front triangle kicking around?

    It kills me to be in this situation because my bike is the most beautiful thing I've ever created, spec'd 100% sick with XT 12-speed, custom tuned DVO suspension, handbuilt wheels and Zee brakes.

    Builder's remorse!
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  2. #2
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    I'd say order the new one. They all got longer, the new L is like the old XL (your L is like the new medium). You could run the DVO coil it comes with (new frame is metric shock sizing) and sell your frame and shock. And you could swap your green links onto the LE polished frame and I bet it would look sweet! And I'm sure you'd have no problem finding a taker for the oil slick links if you take them off. Only hangup using your current build would be the new rear end is boost.

    That said, I may have an 2017 XL to part with once my 2020 comes in.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don_1138 View Post
    I'd say order the new one. They all got longer, the new L is like the old XL (your L is like the new medium). You could run the DVO coil it comes with (new frame is metric shock sizing) and sell your frame and shock. And you could swap your green links onto the LE polished frame and I bet it would look sweet! And I'm sure you'd have no problem finding a taker for the oil slick links if you take them off. Only hangup using your current build would be the new rear end is boost.

    That said, I may have an 2017 XL to part with once my 2020 comes in.
    What color is your frame? Keep in touch, if you don't mind...

    The boost rear of the new ones is definitely a hangup. I just BARELY built my rear wheel around a non-boost SLX hub two days ago. Although, if the machining is roughly the same as the previous-gen Balance, the rear triangle may pinch around a non-Boost wheel just fine.

    The other issue is cost. 16-17 Balance frame market is within reach, 2020, not so much...
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  4. #4
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    There are $12 spacer kits on ebay to push the disc rotor out 3mm, and 3mm spacers for each end of the hub. The hub spacers are loose fitting though, so kind of a faff if you don't secure them to the hub's end caps, as they risk falling out and getting lost when you remove/install the rear wheel's skewer.

    I saw the Balance's geo and it's worrisome that they're trying to run such short CS with such a long front end. I imagine that the balance would be well on the "too sketchy" end of the spectrum, opposite of the "too planted" side. Want to at least have some weight naturally on the front for control, but who am I to judge? Maybe you can just fit a grippy tire up front (and flat-resistant rear), magical front susp, and ride all aggro to compensate, and still enjoy all the fun you can have popping up into the air. I can understand such a design for a Jedi, considering its rearward axle path, but for a conventional susp and chain layout I'm curious to hear from future Balance owners if my fears are even accurate.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    There are $12 spacer kits on ebay to push the disc rotor out 3mm, and 3mm spacers for each end of the hub. The hub spacers are loose fitting though, so kind of a faff if you don't secure them to the hub's end caps, as they risk falling out and getting lost when you remove/install the rear wheel's skewer.
    My hub is a Shimano with CenterLock rotors so that does complicate things.

    What I need is a 150mm CBF 29er with a 65-degree head angle, 435mm chainstays and a 1235mm wheelbase. Iíd sell my car for that bike in a heartbeat.
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  6. #6
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    I have a Ď16 Balance and have never felt it to be unstable. I use it as my DH bike and have raced some enduros on it. Riding through high speed chunk feels very planted. Itís my favorite bike. I like it so much I just bought a 2020 polished one. You should try to ride one to see for yourself. My shop mechanic rode it and said it was best cornering bike he has ever ridden. No flex.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoneMTBR View Post
    I have a Ď16 Balance and have never felt it to be unstable. I use it as my DH bike and have raced some enduros on it. Riding through high speed chunk feels very planted. Itís my favorite bike. I like it so much I just bought a 2020 polished one. You should try to ride one to see for yourself. My shop mechanic rode it and said it was best cornering bike he has ever ridden. No flex.
    See mine feels like the back end skips around way too easily, but I think you might have helped me narrow down the issue. Iíve got four volume spacers in my shock to make it feel like a coil, but thatís only when itís on the floor. It feels like itís spiking hard over rocks and crap and I bet those volume spacers need to go.

    Maybe Iíll skip straight to a DVO Jade X.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by eicca View Post
    See mine feels like the back end skips around way too easily, but I think you might have helped me narrow down the issue. Iíve got four volume spacers in my shock to make it feel like a coil, but thatís only when itís on the floor. It feels like itís spiking hard over rocks and crap and I bet those volume spacers need to go.

    Maybe Iíll skip straight to a DVO Jade X.
    Try no spacers and a little more compression. Only a spacer if you bottom out hard.

  9. #9
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    I do have a Jade on mine. Love it. It does sound like you have too many spacers. Removing one or two will make a big difference.

  10. #10
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    What size frame, Rone? Just wondering, to consider the difference in front end length on XL and smaller sizes. Santa Cruz riders seem to have opened up to longer CS on their XL sized frames, though I imagine some worship Minnaar like some XC types worship Nino.

    Topaz is one of the more hard-to-bottom out shocks when set up with typical sag %. Steve @ Vorsprung recommended it to me for a linear single pivot bike (e.g. Starling Murmur), praising other things about it like its lack of friction. It's seemingly the shock of choice for an allegedly regressive frame like the Tantrum Shinning, but the Tantrum creator made a post on this forum showing an even larger prototype volume spacer custom made for it. Higher spring force deep in stroke, like from a progressive rate, means a strong pop from rebound, but I'd call that a buck rather than skipping.

    Things are never that simple, in troubleshooting. Can think of other causes, like when the rear hits a bump, it rotates the bike forward, which compresses the front. This brings the front's tuning into play. There's the balance too, where sometimes the rear feels so good that it demands a better feeling fork to better match it. The position and technique of the rider, especially regarding their legs, is also a concern.

    I also try stuff like no spacers and more compression, when faced with such a problem, rather than increasing rebound. I tend to settle with a firmer spring rate; I had settled with almost 100 psi in my Float X2 over my bodyweight in lbs, and still push the o-ring to the max, though without the usual squeaking, creaking, buzzing, and other audible signs of a bottom out. Convinced the higher negative spring volume and power is the reason why I have to run such high positive spring rate.
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  11. #11
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    So. I still think I want an XL, but taking those spacers out of the back made a massive difference. I was out in my parking lot plowing over concrete blocks and curbs and landscape rocks and it feels orders of magnitude better, absolutely erasing the back end bumps while somehow using less travel.

    Chalk that up to my own stupid mistake.

    But I still think I want an XL.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by eicca View Post
    See mine feels like the back end skips around way too easily, but I think you might have helped me narrow down the issue. Iíve got four volume spacers in my shock to make it feel like a coil, but thatís only when itís on the floor. It feels like itís spiking hard over rocks and crap and I bet those volume spacers need to go.

    Maybe Iíll skip straight to a DVO Jade X.
    Yes remove the spacers. In what world do you live in where adding spacers to an air shock makes it feel more like a coil. Coils are linear. To make air shocks feel like a coil you want more volume. Adding spacers to an air shock removes volume and makes it more progressive. Especially on a frame that has a linear to progressive linkage.


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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChvleSS956c View Post
    Yes remove the spacers. In what world do you live in where adding spacers to an air shock makes it feel more like a coil. Coils are linear. To make air shocks feel like a coil you want more volume. Adding spacers to an air shock removes volume and makes it more progressive. Especially on a frame that has a linear to progressive linkage.


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    That was basically the exact thought that popped into my head.

  14. #14
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    The Ď16 is a large frame. Iím 5í10Ē with long legs and arms. Iím able to run a 200mm dropper. The Balance feels great standing, but a little small seated with the seat all the way up. I think anyone that height could ride an XL and get away with it because of the short chainstays. The new one is a little longer reach so should be perfect for me. Love the coils on my bikes. Some have said it calms the Riotís rearend in fast chunk. The Balance is a little better than the Riot in that, but never really had a problem

  15. #15
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    Too fast rebound causes a rear shock to make the bike "skip around". I've got a '16 Balance and solved that problem after I turned in the rebound some. Too high compression damping causes "spiking" - overall harshness so I'm lead to believe your rebound is just too fast. Slow the rebound down by at least 2 clicks. The short chainstays make it far more "maneuverable" which takes some getting used to at first but you'll be thankful once you do; it's such a fun bike!

    Cheers,

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  16. #16
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    My prediction based on my experiments:

    Short CS means the front is less planted.

    Too planted and the front wants to dive on jumps/drops and makes them feel scary (the dive is a forward rotation that feels like an OTB), also feeling a bit awkward in corners. It's a fight on fears regarding confidence in the air. Speed generally comes safely, progressing with time, if big air doesn't require commitment. Can creep down steep descents at a crawls' pace, compatible with dragging both front and rear brakes for survival, at cost of general radness.

    Not planted enough affects general confidence at race pace. The rear brake lever is a safety blanket to the fear you have in carrying more speed; it initially feels suicidal at high speed, since you can't slow yourself safely enough from such higher speeds. You just have to develop cat like reflexes to go with it, getting more aggro. Your corner style definitely isn't railed, unless you literally find lateral support like a rail for your front tire (you start actively eyeing for these things to take advantage of)... more like gymkhana, as you figure out techniques that may involve dragging rear brake through, like a scandi flick, since you can't trust the front brake to scrub speed (it's more likely to unstabilize you, esp in braking bumps).

    Old large is a rad but somewhat balanced bike. I worry that the XL and new Balance is further on the rad and not planted enough side. Hope ya got trails with bermed corners everywhere, don't don't need to touch the front brake on any remotely sketch terrain. Don't follow behind someone with a planted front, else hope you got good balance to go as slow as them. It begs to be let go, but you tend to need to have the trail memorized to do that, knowing the good lines and knowing how safe other lines are, in case you get a bit too wild to stick to the main line. Not the most ideal for riding blind. It puts it on the rider to be confident, rather than instilling confidence like a more balanced bike; reason why it takes a while to get used to it. You cannot ride like Sam Hill, heels dropped, tilted somewhat back, risking it on inside lines--you gotta get more aggro, knees in front of the pedals and with a level mid-foot position, maybe with chin over the stem/bars and torso/CoG low for stability, aiming for more reliable lines around corners, but open to gapping sections.

    I agree with the more linear setup if you're set up for getting fast times, more than getting sideways and steezy. Light rebound generates pop, and helps keep the rear planted for getting enough traction for you to not hold back as much regarding putting down power out of the saddle on the climbs. This suspension philosophy works for the Ripmo, which also uses the Topaz and Jade.

    I was gonna suggest brake levers pointed down 45 degrees to encourage forward shoulders, as opposed to more level (which encourages elbows behind grips), but yours are already set up that way. Maybe ditch the spacers under stem too.
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  17. #17
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    Oh my word it feels so much better on trails now that the shock is actually working properly. Bringing the stem to the top of the steerer also helped a ton. I didnít feel like it was going to dismember me on the downs! Much more under control.

    I still think an XL would be a tad more stable but for now my bike is great again. Iím gonna order a green Deity stem to celebrate.

  18. #18
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    My '17 XL is raw with red links. (again, equal to the new large)

    Quote Originally Posted by eicca View Post
    What color is your frame? Keep in touch, if you don't mind...

    The boost rear of the new ones is definitely a hangup. I just BARELY built my rear wheel around a non-boost SLX hub two days ago. Although, if the machining is roughly the same as the previous-gen Balance, the rear triangle may pinch around a non-Boost wheel just fine.

    The other issue is cost. 16-17 Balance frame market is within reach, 2020, not so much...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by eicca View Post
    Oh my word it feels so much better on trails now that the shock is actually working properly. Bringing the stem to the top of the steerer also helped a ton. I didnít feel like it was going to dismember me on the downs! Much more under control.

    I still think an XL would be a tad more stable but for now my bike is great again. Iím gonna order a green Deity stem to celebrate.
    When I built my first Balance I put a 35 length stem on it. Made is feel too small. Put 50 on it and made a big difference.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by eicca View Post
    Oh my word it feels so much better on trails now that the shock is actually working properly. Bringing the stem to the top of the steerer also helped a ton. I didnít feel like it was going to dismember me on the downs! Much more under control.

    I still think an XL would be a tad more stable but for now my bike is great again. Iím gonna order a green Deity stem to celebrate.
    Riser bar and lowering the stem will gain you some reach at the bar height you want.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoneMTBR View Post
    When I built my first Balance I put a 35 length stem on it. Made is feel too small. Put 50 on it and made a big difference.
    Similar, I think I had a Chromag 31mm on there to start. I have a 60mm on now, and the reach feels perfect, but the front end feels a little floppy. Iíll have to buy some stems to experiment. I think I can also get away with a wider bar. Currently at 780mm and feeling like I have a ton of extra room in my ape index.

  22. #22
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    Your handlebar backsweep also plays into this, for a while I played with two different bars and two stems they ok out my hands in effective the same position, I was happiest when I switched to a stem and handlebar that was in between, both to get the reach I wanted


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  23. #23
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    Todayís ride felt really good. I moved my brakes about 10mm outward so my hands are at the very ends of my 780mm bar and I already feel a difference. An 800mm bar might be a great thing on this bike. The short wheelbase is starting to grow on me. I think Iíll keep this frame for my hoppy-skippy brawler bike and N+1 with a longer burly 29er for stability and speed on smash-n-ram rides.

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