Longer reach for ss climbing?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Longer reach for ss climbing?

    Hi all,

    I'm 6'4" and ride an XL 2012 Karate Monkey with a 120mm stem and 800mm bars. Where I ride (Reno/Tahoe area), most of my rides are 1500 - 2500 feet of climbing. Since almost every trail is up and down with few flats, I leave my saddle down like a dirt jumper, and I probably sit for only about a minute out of a ride that lasts an hour and 30 minutes.

    Here's my question. Since I don't really have a need for a seated reach on this bike, I've moved toward thinking only about a standing reach. When I ran a shorter stem (everything from 60mm to the present 120mm), I felt cramped. I had nothing to pull back/up on when struggling to make it up some climbs. So I went longer and longer, but the shorter stems were more stable for descending and cornering.

    I've been thinking about experimenting with shorter stems again to see if I can still make it up climbs but regain some rough-terrain stability. I think I might need to revisit my climbing technique. I guess I do rely on a bike that is long enough for me to push-pull between my arms and legs. A new KM would give me a longer reach so I could use a shorter stem, but that's a long-term change. For now, I'm wondering if any of you have gone through the process I'm going through now, which is rethinking your balance between reach and stability on your given frame.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  2. #2
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    Reputation: JoePAz's Avatar
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    I think you need a longer top tube. At 6'4" you are in the range of possibly needing custom frame given not just your size, but how you want to ride it.

    My SS Vassago Verhauen has a long top tube (23.6) for a small frame. At first I thought it would be too big, but it feels good standing to have more room (80mm stem). I have carbon Highball with shorter top tube (23.0), but longer stem (90mm). So seated feel is the same, but standing the location of my knees relative to the head tube is different. My road bike is worst since it has much shorter top tube and long stem and drop bars. I can stand on that, but can easily band head tube with my knees. Even with a similar relationship to saddle, pedals and hands on the bars.

    As for a short term fix.... There are plenty of stems between 60 and 120 to try and see if you can find a compromise.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  3. #3
    Downcountry AF
    Reputation: *OneSpeed*'s Avatar
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    I set up my SS with the handlebars higher and farther out than my geared hardtail. I agree with your thoughts, set up the bike for your primary riding position. In this case that's standing. I also agree saddle position is way less important when your standing 90% of the time.

    IMO (this is highly bike specific) if you go too far beyond a 100mm stem the handling starts to get worse. I'm 6'3" and many XL's aren't as big as I would like, so I've been forced to use longer stems in the past. Bottom line was I started buying bigger frames.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  4. #4
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    It's interesting to read this. I'm 6'3" and have been riding a KM of different years models up until the 2015 version. Always a Large but recently I've been reviewing the XL of the 2017 models and thinking it'd be better for me. The longer top tube combined with a shorter stem sounds like a better fit. I actually asked for some opinions and got good / great feedback on this thread

    http://forums.mtbr.com/surly/2017-ka...s-1056221.html

  5. #5
    psycho cyclo addict
    Reputation: edubfromktown's Avatar
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    I'm just shy of 6'2" and also tend to go with a bit longer reach on my single speeds to get more leverage on climbs (generally by using a longer stem; ~90-100 mm on a wide range of medium-large to large size frames).

    I prefer this approach to getting a frame that is already quite stretched out as that can be limiting (particularly on more technical trails where a shorter setup might come in handy).
    【ツ】 eDub 【ツ】

  6. #6
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    Bar ends would give you some reach as well.

  7. #7
    Armature speller
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    Yep, bar ends.

  8. #8
    fnInt(1/x^2,x,0,1)
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    I'm 6' tall and ride an XL 2017/18 Santa Cruz Chameleon for my SS with a 40mm stem. It has a reach of 490mm I believe, and climbs pretty well. I've had shorter reach SS frames in the past and I wouldn't go back to shorter reach, but more for the technical handling than the climbing position.

    But to your question, I do think a longer reach helps with standing climbing also. Maybe it's just cause I like it for other trail sections and I don't really notice climbing.

    Sorry, my $0.02.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #9
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    This topic of a longer reach has only become a question for me since I bought a Stumpjumper in XL. All of a sudden my KM single speed seemed smaller in comparison. I am certainly used to it, but it does make me wonder if it wouldn't be a better ride at 6'3" to have a longer TT and maybe a shorter stem. If we look at the changes in geometry over the years, I have to admit I like the more modern interpretations of bike fit.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for your thoughts. Everyone's responses have got me looking at newer frames. The Santa Cruz Chameleon XL with 490mm seems to top the list. The Kona Unit XL is a close second with 484mm. Any other options I might consider? If I do get a new frame for trail SS riding, I'm thinking about turning the KM into a rigid drop bar monstercross rig.

  11. #11
    Downcountry AF
    Reputation: *OneSpeed*'s Avatar
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    Kona Honzo ST. 510mm reach on a XL. KONA BIKES | MTB | HONZO | Honzo ST
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  12. #12
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    Wow. 510mm reach is like 60-70mm longer than my current setup. I'd love to be able to run a short stem with that!

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