Head Angle Question- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Head Angle Question

    I am getting ready to buy my first 6"-7" bike and have a question for you guys about the head angles. First, let me say that I am coming from a Santa Cruz with a 71 degree angle. I find that with this angle, I always feel like I am going to go over the bars on drops and fast descents, so I am avoiding things that my buddies are all riding. No matter how far back I get on the bike, I can't get past this. So, I have decided it is time to make the investment and go big. Now to the question:

    Is there a huge difference in the feel of a 67 degree angle and a 69 degree angle?

    I have been on a bike with 69 but not 67. I am interested in an '08 Reign x1 and it has 67 degrees but it also is not in stock and has to be ordered. Unfortunately, the bike shops around here don't stock long travel bikes so they don't really want to special order something so I can "check it out".

    Any input from you guys will be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    DWF
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    Go slack and you'll never go back. The farther you put that front wheel out there (within reason) the more stable the bike will be at speed and over the rough stuff. Loses some quickness in the corners and you get more wheel flop when climbing, but that's a small price to pay for being able to track confidently through the rough & technical at speed.
    A man must have enemies and places he is not welcome. In the end we are not only defined by our friends but those against us.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfields4013
    Is there a huge difference in the feel of a 67 degree angle and a 69 degree angle?
    Huge? It's pretty noticeable. What kind of riding are you wanting to do. Keep on the ground and go fast? Or hit jumps left and right and drop every cliff you can find? Or an all mountain kind of thing? That should really determine what Geo you look for in a new rig.

  4. #4
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    [QUOTE=DWF]Go slack and you'll never go back...QUOTE]

    Can't say it any better than this. Raked.

  5. #5
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    Idea!

    Quote Originally Posted by DWF
    Go slack and you'll never go back. The farther you put that front wheel out there (within reason) the more stable the bike will be at speed and over the rough stuff. Loses some quickness in the corners and you get more wheel flop when climbing, but that's a small price to pay for being able to track confidently through the rough & technical at speed.
    Yup, small changes in bike setup have made a huge difference in performance with my bike, resulting in greatly increased confidence. IMO, 67 deg is a good compromise that will give you good dh performance while still being able to ride trail and climb. My bike is at 67 now, 66 for lift served riding.

    Its true that the rider is the key, but learning on a bike setup for what you're riding will help you progress at a much faster rate.

  6. #6
    Err
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    67 if fairly slack but is still very manageable as an all around HT angle. I prefer about 68 deg for most things I do but prefer quick handling. I think you'll like the Reign.

  7. #7
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    The head angle on my bike is 66.75, and I've gotten so used to it that I take the incredible stability that comes with it for granted. The other day, I got on my buddy's pimped out Intense 6.6, which has a 68.5 head angle, and it felt retardedly squirrelly.. that's less than 2 degrees of head angle difference, so yea 67 and 69 will feel VERY different.. specifically at high speeds.

  8. #8
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    I appreciate the responses so far you guys! The riding I do does include a lot of climbing unfortunately. I am currently in Kansas City for work but will be returning to Denver in a few months, so Colorado is where the majority of my riding takes place. Whatever I get doesn't need to climb fast, it just needs to be do-able for extended periods sometimes.

    On a bike with 6"-7" of travel, can't you play with the angles a little bit by adjusting the suspension? The '08 X1 has a DHX 3.0 but I have always had air shocks, with the exception of an old vanilla a few years ago, which had zero adjustability. How adjustable are the new coils?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfields4013
    How adjustable are the new coils?
    Very depending on what you get. The DHX 5.0 has hi/low (propedal), rebound, and a boost chamber. Most top shocks have around the same adjustability. Coil are also slightly more reliable as of now, but that's almost a non issue at this point. Check out some of the Intense bikes, they have relativity steep HA's on full blown DH rigs. Or since you'll be in Colorado, maybe a Yeti for the local support.

  10. #10
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    There are also a few bikes that have head angle adjustments. (most of these tend to be high end and expensive frames).

    I believe Knolly has HA adjustments and I think Nicolai also has a few frames that are adjustable. There are also a number of other frame makers out there with HA adjustments, I just can't think of them.

    An adjustable travel fork also helps.
    Last edited by string; 07-20-2007 at 12:28 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfields4013
    I appreciate the responses so far you guys! The riding I do does include a lot of climbing unfortunately. I am currently in Kansas City for work but will be returning to Denver in a few months, so Colorado is where the majority of my riding takes place. Whatever I get doesn't need to climb fast, it just needs to be do-able for extended periods sometimes.

    On a bike with 6"-7" of travel, can't you play with the angles a little bit by adjusting the suspension? The '08 X1 has a DHX 3.0 but I have always had air shocks, with the exception of an old vanilla a few years ago, which had zero adjustability. How adjustable are the new coils?

    It would be helpful to use a fork with travel adjust, like the Lyric coil U-turn. It will steepen the HA from 67 to 69 and bring the front end down so it tracks better climbing. This is really nice for those super long CO climbs.

    I wouldn't worry about the rear shock, the Maestro suspension will work fine both climbing and descending without changing anything.

  12. #12
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    Do you care if your bike's handling is super precise when you're climbing?

    Do you care more about that then how stable your bike feels when you're descending?

    I do long ascents on my X1 (2000-3000ft). The bike will wander a bit, any bike with a 67 degree head angle will. I personally don't care, I'm not in a huge rush to get to the top, and the extra tracking ability when descending more then makes up for it.

    Bottom line is you'll still be able to climb, your steering just won't be as precise. Decide if that bothers you and there's your answer.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by gurp
    Do you care if your bike's handling is super precise when you're climbing?

    Do you care more about that then how stable your bike feels when you're descending?

    I do long ascents on my X1 (2000-3000ft). The bike will wander a bit, any bike with a 67 degree head angle will. I personally don't care, I'm not in a huge rush to get to the top, and the extra tracking ability when descending more then makes up for it.

    Bottom line is you'll still be able to climb, your steering just won't be as precise. Decide if that bothers you and there's your answer.

    No, my climbing is kind of all over the place as it is. I am just glad to make it to the top! I am a fairly slow climber, so being last to the top doesn't bother me. The important thing is downhill control and better handling in the rough stuff, off ledges/drops/, etc.
    Last edited by rfields4013; 07-20-2007 at 12:46 PM.

  14. #14
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    Sounds like thats your answer. Go for the slacker head angle.

  15. #15
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    one thing that's been a bit over looked...

    is the fork length / travel as well.

    For example, look at two bikes:

    one has a 68 degree head angle and a 6" fork
    the other has a 67 degree head angle and a 7" fork.

    When both forks are compressed, the "effective" head angle is going to be similar (though other dimensions may still be different such as bb height and such).

    When I design bikes, I won't put a head angle any steeper that 67 degrees with a 7" fork. Some frames are steeper but in my opinion that is too steep.

    For a 7" fork, the head angle should be 67 degrees or slacker. for a 6" fork, 68 degrees or slacker, and for a 5" fork, 69 degrees or slacker.

    This is MY personal preference but being the designer, it ends up in our products.

    Cheers!
    Noel Buckley
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    Instead of PMs, please contact me here.

  16. #16
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    Thanks for the info Noel. The forks on the bikes that I am looking at are both Fox models. The 69 degree bike has a Fox Float 32 with 140mm of travel and the 67 degree frame has a Fox Vanilla 36 with 160mm.
    Last edited by rfields4013; 07-21-2007 at 02:10 PM.

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