Works Components Angleset AndrewM
FIRST LOOK | TEARDOWN

3 Fresh Products For Fall

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Nov 19, 2018

Fresh Finds For Fall

In the spirit of prior art* and an ongoing answer to the question What's Fair As A Bike Reviewer, here are three products that have recently arrived for a long-term test. Everything is installed and running great but it's early days and I like to beat the crap out of review product which can sometimes take a bit of time. 

The Works Components Angleset is headtube-size-specific and it kicks the fork slacker by 2°. Bontrager's JFW boots split the difference between a regular cycling shoe and their epic winter boot the OMW. FSA's Afterburner crank may deliver the best performance-weight-price ratio of any crank on the market.  

*3 Fresh Things For Spring 2017, 2018 and More 2018

Works Components Angleset

The Works Angleset is a simple structure but installation is somewhat complex. The cups have to be aligned perfectly and it's important to get the right size to match my headtube length. If that's triggering your OCD there are a couple of brilliant trade-offs that make it worthwhile. 

Once the cups are in, the Works headset is like any other and in the case of this ZS44/ZS56 model it slackens* the head angle of my bike by 2°.

*technically it can also be used to steepen a head tube angle by 2°. 

Works Components Angleset AndrewM

I've been asked a few times lately if Jeff and I have fun working on NSMB.com teardown articles. The answer is of course NO. No Fun. Not Ever. 

The combination of a rear-offset upper cup and the slacker head tube angle (HTA) shortens my bike's Reach and top tube numbers. I'm between sizes and luckily I sized up when I purchased my new Honzo ST frame or the angleset may have made the effective cockpit too short. 

Running the same bar as I had with a standard King InSet, I've gone 5mm longer on the stem and I could certainly go another 5mm. My SR Suntour Durolux Fork also has a 44mm offset to help stabilize high-speed steering with the dinky stem and my prefered 16° backswept bar. 

Works Components Angleset AndrewM

Headset and Beere ready to go. Just missing the frame, grease, and press. Take your time and have a couple pops - alignment is key. 

Works Components Angleset AndrewM

Works Components makes 1°, 1.5°, and 2° angleset cups and also reach adjust options. These cups slack out the HTA by 2°.

Works Components Angleset AndrewM

Yes, it does reduce Reach. I've removed the classic Straightline stem to add 5mm of stem length but I could go longer yet. 

My bike is significantly over-forked compared to a stock Honzo ST and the slacker head tube in addition to the much taller fork improves both climbing and descending.

The manufacturing quality looks good and for under 80 USD | 105 CAD for the complete headset the value is excellent for such a niche product. It's early days and I may yet lower my fork, but either way this headset does exactly what Works says it will and being from the UK, I assume the bearing and seal quality is high. 

There is helpful fitment information at Works and I'll follow up with more insight once I ride the headset through our winter. 

FSA Afterburner

The Full Speed Ahead Afterburner crankset weights 670grams for a set of 175mm crankarms, 32t chainring, spindle, and hardware. I'm not a weight weenie but I still think that's impressive between their initial performance and a very reasonable 130 USD wallet whomping including the chainring*.

Also on the impressive list, thanks to their forged shape they are as stiff as any alloy crank I've ridden despite being made out of 6061 aluminum. I've been spending a lot of hours lately riding a Race Face Atlas Cinch crank so I think that's a solid comparison. 

*BB is additional.

FSA Afterburner Crankset AndrewM

Form and function. Sure it's early days but I say for certain that the Afterburner is plenty stiff. They're easy to install too. Just crank them down. 

FSA Afterburner Crankset Clairebarian AndrewM

They use a 10mm crank bolt but if your cranks are torqued up properly they aren't coming off with your EDC tool. 

The Afterburners also meet my one inalienable requirement for any mountain bike crankset; they're compatible with my treasured Wolf Tooth Camo System. Since reviewing Camo I've been running alloy spider and stainless steel narrow-wide oval rings on both my bikes and all that's needed to transfer one of the immortal sprockets to the Afterburner is an inexpensive spider. 

Don't see it on the list? The FSA cranks use the same direct mount pattern, and installation tools, as Cannondale's HollowGram crank program. That means a plethora of sweet aftermarket ring options from Absolute Black, Wolf Tooth, and etc exist when it comes time to change out a ring in addition to OE replacements from FSA or Cannondale. 

FSA Afterburner Crankset AndrewM

30mm Spindle, heavily shaped 6061 alloy arms, 32t aluminum narrow-wide ring, and all the hardware for 670grams in a 175mm length. 

FSA Afterburner Crankset AndrewM

The direct mount interface and install tool are the same found on thousands and thousands of Cannondale HollowGram cranks.  

Full Speed Ahead has also put energy into future-proofing the Afterburner by adding a swappable spacer to their direct mount interface to accommodate different chain line options. They call the system Modular which lacks the poetry of the Flowtron dropper post but is on point. 

The Afterburner looks to be a sweet setup for 130 USD. I'll be testing the cranks with both the stock round rings and my prefered stainless Oval option from Wolf Tooth. 

Bontrager JFW 

The Jack Frost Weather boot is intended as Bontrager's performance off-season shoe for milder climates. It's rated from 40F/4.4 to 25F/-3.9C and so far I've used the pair in temperatures as warm as 8°, albeit in the pissing rain, without complaint. Water cooled if you will. 

Combined with the excellent Agent riding pants they are close to waterproof without being too hot. Even when a bit of water gets on wildly wet days, when combined with wool socks, they're doing a great job of keeping my tootsies warm. 

Bontrager JFW Boot AndrewM

BOA adjusters, tall neoprene cuffs, and they're bright as... 

Bontrager JFW Boot AndrewM

The sole seems grippy on the greasy stuff and the cleat pocket is nicely rear oriented. 

With hundreds of hours of winter mountain biking and commuting ahead of them, this 200 USD boot has the potential to prove a great value if the upper proves durable, the sole maintains its stiffness, and the weather resistance proves sufficient. 

As an aside that doesn't matter on the dirt, the passive reflectiveness of the boots is impressive when I'm riding to the trails. 

I'll report back on the Bontrager JFW once I trash them thoroughly. 

Comments

fartymarty
+1 Andrew Major
fartymarty  - Nov. 19, 2018, 12:03 a.m.

I've been running a Works -2 for a few years now and no issues despite few muddy UK winters.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 19, 2018, 12:24 a.m.

Did you pre-service the bearings (heavier grease) and have you replaced them yet?

I like how simple the headset is vs. functionality. It goes together exactly like any other standard aheadset AND slacks out the HTA. 

Works has a solid rep and being UK based I know they know weather. Excited to ride it through the winter.

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fartymarty
+1 Andrew Major
fartymarty  - Nov. 19, 2018, 2:56 p.m.

I just installed it and rode my bike.  Haven't replaced them yet and onto my 3rd UK winter.

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amrskipro
+1 Andrew Major
AndrewR  - Nov. 19, 2018, 5:41 p.m.

Are you running a SQ-Lab handle bar? The only one I know of that has a 16º backsweep? If you are what do you think of it please?

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 19, 2018, 8:39 p.m.

Good eye. Yes, since I did a review in August 2017 (here) I've only run the 16° SQLab 30X 780mm bars on my single speeds. Not the original bar I reviewed mind you, after a number of hard crashes and just general use I replaced it. Now running the 16° on both my rigid Walt and my Honzo and just started riding one on my Marin Rift Zone (dual FS) as well. 

The sweep just works for me. The 12° was super easy to get used to coming off of 7-9° - where the 16° took a few more rides and playing with my position - but at the end of the day, the 16° makes a huge difference to my riding comfort. I was getting a wrist and elbow pain no matter what I tried (grips, rolling bar, more upright more forward) and the 30X totally resolved that. 

There are other options worth checking out. Syntace makes a range of rises, Oddity will make any length/sweep/bend you want, and Surly has their Sunrise Bar if you can handle 83mm rise. There are likely others. The aluminum SQLab bars are affordable and the quality and finish is high so that's my go to. 

Hope that's helpful!

Reply

rugbyred
+1 Andrew Major
Eric Van Sickle  - Nov. 19, 2018, 5:37 a.m.

I had a works -1.5 headset for four years on my last bike without issues. I recently installed a -2 on my newer bike once the original headset failed. I did not do any pre-service on either headsets. My old bike would get heavily washed while I’m being much better about this bike. 

Eric

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 19, 2018, 9:40 a.m.

Yeah, when I was first looking at the product I was thinking many are probably installed in DH or Enduro bikes that are getting hosed down.

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Vikb
0
Vik Banerjee  - Nov. 19, 2018, 5:40 a.m.

When we installed a -1 deg WC headset on my bike the only downside was having to press in the cups multiple times to get them centered. They always seem to rotate slightly as they go in so we had to estimate the amount of rotation and start the cups off centre to get them dead straight. Not terrible, but definitely not a job you want to start at 10pm before a big bike trip the next day.

Looks well made and I wouldn't hesitate to buy another.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 19, 2018, 9:44 a.m.

We didn’t have any issues with the cups rotating and they went in plenty tight - tolerances and frame materials are factors.

If I had done it at home I would have frozen the cups first but Jeff’s got the touch.

...

Reminder to anyone doing it at home - one cup at a time!

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GladePlayboy
+1 Andrew Major
Rob Gretchen  - Nov. 19, 2018, 2:16 p.m.

Sage advice!!

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agleck7
0
Agleck7  - Nov. 19, 2018, 7:06 a.m.

Is the reach shorter just from the offset top cup being physically further back in the headtube? Or is it more a result in the change in geo from the reduced HA?  Or is that the same thing?  Any idea how much reach is reduced when slackening? Or is it so bike dependent there's not a rule of thumb?

thanks!

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Vikb
+1 Andrew Major
Vik Banerjee  - Nov. 19, 2018, 7:23 a.m.

It's the same thing. The change in Reach will depend on the change in HTA. If you have a longer section of steerer above the top of the headset the bars will be closer to the saddle than if you had a shorter steerer.

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IslandLife
+2 Vik Banerjee Andrew Major
IslandLife  - Nov. 19, 2018, 8:58 a.m.

I use this - https://bikegeo.muha.cc/ allows you to put in different length forks and travel.  And it also has an entry for Head Angle adjustment... it'll show you exactly what and how much each measurement changes... really handy.

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AndrewMajor
+1 IslandLife
Andrew Major  - Nov. 19, 2018, 9:47 a.m.

Thank You! That’s a sweet time saver. I’ve curious about where the numbers on Honzo ended up (long fork + Angleset) but hadn’t made time to figure it out.

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IslandLife
+1 Andrew Major
IslandLife  - Nov. 19, 2018, 1:01 p.m.

Ya, it's really nice to use... one thing I've learned by playing around and figuring things out for my wife's bike I'm building from a 2015 Kona Precept DL + various parts... is that by adding 10mm of travel along with a -1.5 degree angle set, you pretty much preserve most of a bikes original geometry.  You end up with about a 2 degrees slacker HA, plus a longer wheelbase while you pretty much preserve your reach, stack, SA & bottom bracket height.  It's the ultimate upgrade to keep older bikes going (or adjust newer ones)... want that slacker head angle, longer wheel base and more travel?  But don't want to shorten what is most likely a shorter reach than most "modern" bikes as well as slacken their SA and increase stack?  Works great.

The only thing I wish you could buy is an angle set that also provides reach adjust.  Right now it's one or the other... not sure if putting them together would even be possible??

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agleck7
0
Agleck7  - Nov. 19, 2018, 10:05 a.m.

Interesting.  From playing with this a bit, over-forking (increasing axle to crown) seems to have a much bigger impact than angleset adjustments.  In fact, it was giving me a longer reach when i plugged in a -1.5 headset.  I'm guessing that was just a bug in the calculator.  

For example, for my 2016 Process 134, it's showing about 1cm reduction in reach for my 10 mm over-fork plus additional axle to crown from the bigger lower cup on my -1.5 Cane Creek Angleset

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IslandLife
+1 Andrew Major
IslandLife  - Nov. 19, 2018, 1:19 p.m.

Make sure you turn off the "automatically approximate reach and stack" radio button at the bottom.  Also, I've found sometimes for the numbers to calculate properly you need to tab through all the numbers and then re-input the fork change...

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AndrewMajor
+1 IslandLife
Andrew Major  - Nov. 19, 2018, 9:52 a.m.

In my case it’s a 50mm longer fork than stock and the -2 Angleset so its a long way from stock geo. 

Compared to a 20mm overforked and standard headset - as I originally was running the Honzo - I’d guess I lost between 1-1.5cm of Reach.

Interestingly between the slacker HTA and the reduced offset the handling feels excellent even with the significant overforkage.

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DemonMike
+5 Carmel natbrown AJ Barlas JVP JT
mike  - Nov. 19, 2018, 8:04 a.m.

BAHHHH !!! Why is so much of the winter foot wear SPD only ????

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JVP
0
JVP  - Nov. 19, 2018, 9:34 a.m.

^^^ This x100

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jt
+1 Andrew Major
JT  - Nov. 19, 2018, 9:50 a.m.

They're out there, but finding one that works for your climate is imperative. I tried the 5.10 EPS and found two bad issues: the tongue gaiter doesn't go to the top, so water leaks into the shoe too easily and the sole hardens drastically below 30F, making em slicker than goose poop on snow/ice covered trails. Currently running a set set of Chuck Taylor Waterproofs and loving em. Which is weird as I normally hate Chuck's fit. Weird, but works here in the northern Midwest.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 19, 2018, 9:56 a.m.

I ran into Tippie rocking so FiveTen hightop winter shoes - maybe two years ago? - and he was full-Tippied on them. I’d say they’d be worth checking out.

I find all my flat pedal shoes expand enough to accommodate a medium weight wool sock and my Showers Pass waterproof socks so I don’t have any need for a winter flat shoe. On the other hand my clip-in shoes tend to have uppers too stiff to comfortably stretch around the waterproof sock.

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legbacon
0
legbacon  - Nov. 19, 2018, 8:09 a.m.

Yes, where are the winter flat pedal shoes?

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Vikb
0
Vik Banerjee  - Nov. 19, 2018, 9:24 a.m.

https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5051-376/Freerider-EPS-High-Shoes

Here is one. They make it in a low top as well.

Reply

JVP
+2 Metacomet Vik Banerjee
JVP  - Nov. 19, 2018, 9:44 a.m.

I have the EPS. I like them, but they're not perfect. Not willing to compromise stealth grip, so the only real option for winter flats.

Not super warm, but good for fall riding down to just below freezing. They dry fairly fast. Tongue gusset keeps some water out, but isn't perfectly sealed (I fixed this by applying seam sealer internally, and put a tightly wrapped shoe tree in there to let it cure), and they REALLY need a neoprene gasket over the top like these Bontys. Water splashes down your leg, and so does dirt when riding duffy goodness or trail building. I think high tops collect a lot more dirt than low tops, especially when building.

If Adidas made the tongue actually waterproof and put a gasket on top, these would be five-star shoes.

I'd call them great for splashy, but not truly wet riding in cool weather. Still, they're a heckuva lot better than soggy old Impacts. 3 stars, up to 4 since I sealed the tongue.

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DemonMike
0
mike  - Nov. 19, 2018, 1:02 p.m.

Bloody expensive shoe and they do look like they would suck up water. I love my AM7,s , the lace cover makes a huge difference in the wet and muck . Yea they get wet but don,t seem to get as water logged and my 5/10 Freeriders.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 19, 2018, 9:59 a.m.

If your flat shoes open up like mine, definitely check out Showers Pass, SealSkinz, or Bridger Socks.

I really enjoy my Showers Pass socks but I’ve heard good things about the waterproof options from all those brands. 

Even my laceup clip-on shoes don’t really expand in volume (stiff upper?) to comfortably swallow the socks.

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amrskipro
0
AndrewR  - Nov. 19, 2018, 5:39 p.m.

I have been rocking Sealskinz with the Hydrostop. Highly recommend them. I run two pairs of ME-7 shoes. I keep the OEM insole in one pair during winter to allow for the slight extra room required for either thicker socks or Sealskinz (that said I could not feel my toes at the end of today's ride). The other pair I run a proper insole but I can only wear a Sockguy riding sock like my fav NSMB.com riding socks. Really liking my Pearl Izumi Summit Amfib Pant for cold riding at the moment too (although they need to design the phone pocket on a proper angle it is a little weird at the moment).

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shoreboy
+1 Andrew Major
Shoreboy  - Nov. 19, 2018, 8:31 a.m.

I installed a -1 WC headset on my Turner this summer.  Pressed in fairly easily, but keeping it lined up is a bit tricky as has been noted by others.  I measured my reach and TT both before and after installation (keeping my stem at the same height), and the change was about 1mm (so basically no change).  A -2 headset would have slightly more of an effect im guessing, but Im not sure it is really perceptible unless you are very sensitive to your reach number.

I also got a bit of cup creaking after an extremely dusty summer roadtrip, but greasing and pressing the cups back in seems to have fixed the problem.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 19, 2018, 10:09 a.m.

Reach is a funny number. Even with the -2 my Reach didn’t change that much where it’s measured as a Standard, at the headtube, but the effective cockpit (relative position of the bar - the Reach I feel on the bike) is notably shorter.

We greased the cups well with this ”invincible” Weldtite Lithium grease that Jeff loves. I always use Copper Anti-Seize for headsets and haven’t had a creaker in over a decade - Steel, Titanium, Alloy, or Carbon.

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agleck7
0
Agleck7  - Nov. 19, 2018, 10:14 a.m.

Is the noticeably shorter just when seated or noticeably shorter when standing/descending as well?

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AndrewMajor
+1 Agleck7
Andrew Major  - Nov. 19, 2018, 10:26 a.m.

So if you just  install an Angleset without changing the fork it actually drops the front a bit which steepens the STA and shortens the effective top tube.

Overforking the bike slackens out the STA (and HTA) and actually increases the ETT (although then I slam the saddle forward to get my pedaling position back).

Anyways, overforking + -2 Angleset the seated feel of the bike hasn’t changed much (partially because I have some control of that via the saddle) but standing climbing and descending the Reach is shorter.

Personally, I care more about a long wheelbase and weight balance between the wheels than long Reach by itself. With the chainstays run long, large frame, overforking and Angleset that Reach doesn’t feel super aggressive for a large but the weight balance is excellent.

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fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - Nov. 19, 2018, 3:03 p.m.

This is what I did with my OG Krampus.  It pushes the STA up to about 76 and ESTA (seat slammed forward) to 77 which is great for climbing.  Downside is I am running rigid forks to do this but think its worth it.  

I even dropped the travel on my Pikes down to 100mm with a Debonair spring to keep it progressive.  That kept the STA steepish but not as steep as the rigid forks.

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skyler
+1 Michael
Skyler  - Nov. 22, 2018, 5:11 p.m.

Curious about your Krampus, as I'm thinking of doing similar to mine. I like it fine as a rigid touring bike (it was horrible with a 100mm suspension fork), but I'm much more comfortable pedaling all day on bikes with a steeper STA. 

Based on the geo calculator posted higher in this thread, a -2 angleset only drops the BB by 4mm and steepens the STA by a fraction of a degree. You need to drop the BB about 20mm to get close to a 4.5 change in the seat tube angle...So something isn't adding up. My approach was going to switch to a shorter rigid fork AND do the 2 angleset. Even with that, I can only get the STA about 1.5 steeper.

fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - Nov. 24, 2018, 12:36 a.m.

Skyler, my measurements were taken with an angle measurer on my phone so there maybe a little inaccuracy but the STa is definitely a lot steeper.I

I do really recommend the -2 headset both for rigid and suspension fork.  It balances the front centre to the relatively long rear end.

geraldooka
0
Michael  - Nov. 26, 2018, 12:39 p.m.

I run a -1.5 works on my Krampus with the stock rigid fork and it bumped the set angle forward about .5 deg. to 73, how are you measuring this change?

Regarding doing this I can highly recommend it on a Krampus I thought the resulting 68deg head angle would be too much but it actually rides great with no loss of steering precision or floppy wheel syndrome, even in tight commuting duties. It was originally installed for an over-forking experiment with full intent on replacing the original headset but I have no intention of doing that now.

hankthespacecowboy
+1 Andrew Major
hankthespacecowboy  - Nov. 19, 2018, 9:05 a.m.

Shades of the Caramba Double Barrel cranks in those new FSA Afterburners - all they need now is some sweet ano options!

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craw
+1 Andrew Major
Cr4w  - Nov. 19, 2018, 9:56 a.m.

The link in the article for the cranks isn't for the ones pictured. https://shop.fullspeedahead.com/en/type/cranksets/afterburner-modular-crankset-1x-4317

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 19, 2018, 10:01 a.m.

Thanks; Price drop too!

Updated.

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hbelly13
+1 Andrew Major
Raymond Epstein  - Nov. 19, 2018, 10:57 a.m.

So you were running a 170mm Durolux even prior to putting the -2 degree angle set? So that puts yr bike in the 64.5-65 degree angle range? I have my Honzo set up with a standard headset and a 140mm fork (Revelation, meh.), but was thinking about bumping it up to a 150-160mm beefier something and maybe snagging an angleset too. Mine is a single speed and I am curious if you've had any issues with out of the saddle climbing (standard single speed fare)?

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 19, 2018, 1:42 p.m.

Hi Raymond, I only ride hardtails single speeded - if I'm going to sit and spin gears I might as well have all the benefits of a suspension bike as I see it!

The longest I've happily run on a Honzo sans angleset is the AC equivalent of a 150mm Fox fork. I found a 160mm fork made the handling strange and actually preferred 140mm overall.

I put the 170mm on for a lark knowing I could easily drop it and so far it's been great. The slacker HTA and longer wheelbase have an effect.

I'd guess it's 64° static as it sits and if anything a bit slacker with the 3" tire up front. I will try and work out the numbers when I have time.

There's a lot more movement out of the saddle than on my rigid Walt obviously, but with the Durolux set as I like it (fairly soft both in terms of air spring and compression damping) I don't find it any worse than running a 140mm really. The bar is a bit tall but I've been running my effective stacks higher and higher in the last few years and I've adapted to it quickly.

I'm running 44mm fork offset which helps with high-speed steering with the very short 35mm stem.

I wouldn't take it in an XC race (the 2.6" / 3" rubber would be working against that goal as well) but I ride it up No Quarter and I'm happy with the results. It's a bit like a modern take on an old freeride hardtail which I enjoy. I have it geared 32:22 for riding Fromme up No Quarter but I'm too lazy to change it for other local mountains just to drop a tooth.

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fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - Nov. 19, 2018, 3:08 p.m.

Andrew, did you see the Minnaar interview in PB a while back where he noted offset and stem length should be about the same.  I'm running a 46mm Pike and 40mm stem and it feels a lot better than when I had a 50mm stem.  I'm a fan of the shorter offset, had 51mm Fox previously and this feels better.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 19, 2018, 3:39 p.m.

I love reading and experimenting with this stuff on my own time; I’m not a bike designer/engineer (or a World Cup racer for that matter) so here are a couple observations but take them with a grain of salt:

1) There isn’t a vacuum sealed stem length vs. offset rule for mountain bikes.

Plenty of DH pros choosing to mate 50mm offset with 35mm stem and 62-HTA.

XC bikes built around shorter stem/longer top tube - Cannondale or Specialized for example - it seems to be HTA determines offset more than stem length. Scalpel and Epic both designed around 90mm stem for XC racing. Epic has gone from 51mm to 46mm offset. Scalpel is a 55mm offset. In both cases to improve handling.

2) If you read AJ’s recent IBIS Test they told him the best way to fix the handling issues he was experiencing - riding the bike aggressively- was to increase fork offset to 51mm. Barring that shortening the stem to 40mm would (and did) help.

In other words - untrendy as it may be - shorter stem and reduced offset isn’t always the way to make a bike more aggressive.

3) Chicken vs. Egg. Bike designers didn’t suddenly start designing bikes around shorter offsets because of some previously unknown magic trick that improves climbing and descending.

Riders kept demanding longer front centres, in order to make bikes fit this required steeper STAs and shorter stems. In order to get high speed handling back reduced fork offset is being used.

4) I think the next evolution will be riders getting over short stays in favour of size specific front and rear centres that better balance a riders weight between the wheels (yes, even longer wheelbases to follow). I am really curious how much of the ever lengthening top tubes, slackening HTAs, steepening STAs, and now reduced fork offset paired with short stems is just a result of trying to grow wheelbase without growing rear stays?

#wheelbaseisthenewHTA

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geraldooka
0
Michael  - Nov. 19, 2018, 10:44 p.m.

Re 4 that assumes balanced is somehow better than unbalanced. I love me some short stays, particularly on a hardtail where I need as much traction on the rear as possible. Plus, I like not having to ride like an acrobat to hop off lips and screw around wheeling down a section of trail for kicks. Practical? No. Balanced? I guess not. Fun? You bet. 

Re Works headsets I’ve installed 4 so far 2 shifted while installing it’s not a big deal after the first attempt planning for the shift makes it work. They are excellent products. Reach loss is tiny when you factor in the resultant drop of the front end for a hardtail it’s not even worth thinking about.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Michael
Andrew Major  - Nov. 20, 2018, 9:02 a.m.

Re. the actual Reach measurement I understand the math - what I’m interested in is the relative reach at the same bar height. Which I perceive to be notably shorter but I didn’t measure it in a vacuum separate from other changes. Something I’ll definitely play with when I have time IF Ken doesn’t just pop in with the answer.

Re. #4 - it’s pretty moot to argue because there isn’t a solid comparison to suggest (balanced vs short) to do a back-to-back experience.

Lots of hardtails with sliders but, for example, the Honzo is so tucked to begin with even the long setting is short.

My Walt has long enough stays (~1200 wheelbase | size medium) and I think it’s beautiful to ride centered over the BB - flowy.

Not suggesting DJ bikes need long rear ends and really they’re pretty balanced already (shorter TT, steeper HTA). But DH bikes and Enduro race bikes for examples I will be surprised if longer stays aren’t the norm within a couple years. AJ’s review of the new Norco DH Bike is an example of someone asking for this.

Anyways, if/when the #wheelbaseistheeegeadangle thing takes off maybe give it try if you can grab a demo - I think a lot of people (but certainly not all) who are shopping the shortest stays right now will be pleasantly surprised. If you hate it that’s cool too - geometry is great differentiator in how bikes ride and variety is awesome.

natbrown
+1 Andrew Major
natbrown  - Nov. 19, 2018, 11:16 p.m.

Geo is such an interesting subject. I agree completely on your first point and can remember thinking that Greg and Marshy were really just expressing what their experience was of what works for them and not some sort of objective law. In the simplest terms, the further forward your bar is relative to the front wheel, the larger proportion of rider mass is on the front wheel (and the more likely it is the centre of mass will move past the front wheel during deceleration). Of course then there's the affect on trail and the amount of sideways migration of the front contact patch as the wheel/forks/bars are turned, which I've never heard mentioned. And trail is not at all well understood.

Your fourth point is a good one too, and it highlights the lack of thinking in design by those designing and consuming. Of course there are exceptions to that though, so I don't want to be too harsh, haha. Taller folks complaining about virtual and actual STAs are very likely experiencing difficulties related to front centre:rear centre in addition to what they commonly state in terms of the inaccuracy of STA determination at HT height. As I was gasbagging about recently, I bet design will amble away evolving based on whatever facet of geo captures the attention of the masses over time.

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - Nov. 20, 2018, 9:03 a.m.

Right - we’ve had lower, slacker, longer (front), and shorter (rear)... what’s the next geo trend?

natbrown
+1 Andrew Major
natbrown  - Nov. 20, 2018, 10:17 p.m.

Ha, if only I knew. I think it probably comes down to where the geo roulette wheel stops at a pinkbike editorial meeting. What's the timeline or sequence for geo fashion over the past 10 years? HTA, rear centre, BB height, front centre, and now offset (perhaps as a proxy for trail)? It's pretty funny really.

I haven't actually ridden a bike with contemporary geo, so I can't comment at all on the feel, just the basic physics and ergonomics. Even though rear ends are typically short now, rider centre of mass has migrated forward relative to the BB, which itself has dropped, all counters that. Does it make up for it? I don't have the numbers. I'd hope that designers keep track of that, but hope might not be enough.

AndrewMajor
+1 natbrown
Andrew Major  - Nov. 21, 2018, 10:31 a.m.

Nat, weight distribution front of hasn’t changed that much as stem lengths have basically shortened to their minimum with a 35mm bar (35mm-50mm length). Bars are also trending notably narrower.

Also, the rider position starts at the pedals, which have moved relatively rearward the rear wheel has gotten more tucked. 

I think the net change is a much more rearward riding position and longer rear centre easily fixes that.

AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - Nov. 21, 2018, 10:33 a.m.

Haha Marty! The beauty of the Honzo is it’s off the shelf and relatively cheap for the quality. If I can find some dropouts that work and lengthen rear centre I will. Otherwise there are other things I’d change if going custom.

natbrown
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natbrown  - Nov. 25, 2018, 11:38 p.m.

Interesting. I had the impression that front centre had lengthened longer than stems had shortened...and I'm too lazy/haven't keep track of this detail. How much shorter are chainstays now, 15-20 mm? Thanks as always for your thoughts and info!

AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - Nov. 25, 2018, 11:48 p.m.

Nat, it was a very broad generalization. Once you factor for steeper STA and slacker HTA there are plenty of bikes that actually feel smaller than equivalent sized frames from the same companies a few years ago. In general I’m riding a large from most brands just with a shorter stem. 

Then there’s bikes like Guerrilla Grav where I’m solidly a medium - so yes, when it comes to qualifying size (S / M / L / etc) there are certainly some companies are pushing comparable top tube lengths.

natbrown
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natbrown  - Nov. 26, 2018, 8:53 a.m.

I guess I didn't really communicate the group of bikes I was talking about. I meant the more 'progressive' end of contemporary designs. I appreciate what you've got to say, so thanks. It's definitely changed my understanding a bit.

fartymarty
+1 Andrew Major
fartymarty  - Nov. 20, 2018, 1:56 a.m.

The big takeaway from the Minnaar / Marshy article for me was "trying" to balance front and rear wheel weight and that it isn't an exact science and varies depending on the steepness of the track.  Given rider weight / position has a massive effect, it is going to vary from person to person, track to track etc.

This leads nicely onto growing rear ends to compensate for longer front ends.  Why sliding rear dropouts (similar to a more advanced horizontal dropout for bolt in rear wheels) aren't commonly used is baffling.  Then you could change to suit.  Want a long stable rear end - move it back.  Want something playful - move it forward.  This would then let riders balance front / rear weight as they require.  Given we can move the front end (angle sets, offset cups etc) why shouldn't we be able to do the same with the rear.

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - Nov. 20, 2018, 9:07 a.m.

I was thinking the other days that I wish Kona made short and long versions of their adjustable dropouts. I’d love to lengthen the rear center of my Honzo and in addition to weirdos like me that want longer rear ends they could certainly sell them to owners of Honzos - new and legacy - who want more tire clearance. 

Doesn’t have to be a tonne. Make the shortest setting equivalent to the current long and let me adjust from there.

fartymarty
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fartymarty  - Nov. 20, 2018, 10:29 a.m.

Andrew, you could always get someone to mod the rear end of your Honzo.  Get some extra length and some horizontally adjustable dropouts.

kperras
+1 Andrew Major
Kenneth Perras  - Nov. 19, 2018, 11:46 a.m.

For a equal fork length, installing an angleset that slackens from the top like the works components one you installed, the reach will still likely increase by a significant amount. 1 degree, front center dependent, can increase reach by 10mm. You probably lost 5mm by making that HTA adjustment at the top with a bearing that moves up and back.

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - Nov. 19, 2018, 3:01 p.m.

Cheers Ken, I know you’ve lived this math on a number of bikes. I noted in a comment above that without increasing fork travel the STA gets steeper (top tube changes), Reach lengthens, etc but where I’m not clear is how much of that reach change is just theoretical. 

E.G. welding on a shorter headtube would increase my Reach measurement too (lower stack) but my actual riding position won’t change once I get my bar to the same height relative the saddle.

It’s never mattered to me beyond theory as I’m always overforking bikes and then experimenting with stem length, spacers, bar height and seat position vs. trying to calculate it first.

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tungsten
+1 Andrew Major
Drinky Crow  - Nov. 23, 2018, 2:57 p.m.

670gms, is that light?

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - Nov. 23, 2018, 3:40 p.m.

For the real weight on a stiff, SRP 130 USD, alloy crankset with a, relatively heavy, stamped ring I think it’s very good. I’ll have arm-only weight and some actual comparisons in the actual review. Cheers,

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reini-wagner
+1 Andrew Major
Reini Wagner  - Nov. 24, 2018, 12:35 p.m.

Hi @andrew, thanks for the very interesting article. Would be great to see a full feature review of the Honzo with the angle set - or at least some nice pics of the entire build!? Thanks in advance, fellow Honzo-ist

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AndrewMajor
+1 Reini Wagner
Andrew Major  - Nov. 24, 2018, 12:46 p.m.

Cheers Reini, what year of HONZO! are you riding? SS or gears?

I will do full follow up reviews on all the stuff in this piece, so definitely more shots of Honzo will show up. We don’t review our personal bikes, but there will also be more pictures of my Honzo, Walt, and Rift Zone on my Instagram account over time (linked to my name at top).

Really appreciate you reading!

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reini-wagner
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Reini Wagner  - Nov. 24, 2018, 12:55 p.m.

Hey!

I have a 2013 steel set up single speed, a 2016 AL with some upgrades (lev integra, tubeless rims + tires, suntour auron fork at 130, but stock 10 speed deore), and a 2016 Ti with a fox 36, xt brakes and 10 speed sram shifting. that last one will soon get the single speed 27+ minion treatment for the winter months. i love all three of them - wont be able to part with a single one :)

great info, thanks a lot. i'll check out your instagrams!

which vintage is your other Honzo? and do I recall correctly that you also rode an Explosif Ti some years back? do you still have it?

looking forward to these reviews, i'll keep an eye on the site.

i always enjoy your posts on nsmb, keep up the good work!

cheers

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - Nov. 24, 2018, 1:16 p.m.

I had a 2012 Steel (blue) which I ran SS and 2x1 (Hammerschmidt) and sold to pick up a first gen Raijin Ti. Which I ran Rigid SS and broke rather fiercely. Had a 2013 Honzo (SS | 140mm) that I cracked the top tube on and it was replaced under warranty with a 2014 that I had custom painted by Toxik Harald. My buddy Brent owns that now and rides it SS. Those were all mediums. 

My Explosif (large) I ran 29 front / 27 rear SS with a number of different forks playing with geometry. I had a 100mm Lefty, Fox 34 and Auron on that bike with different fork offsets and then my custom Waltworks rigid fork.

I still have the Explosif (and fork) and these days it's set up to pull my daughter's trailer bike with with 11spd cassette, a first-gen non-clutch 10spd XTR derailleur, and a friction thumb shifter. I tried to sell the frame but never had a serious offer and at the end of the day there's no bike cheaper than the one you already own but it is a bit of a silly waste riding it around with slicks. 

I've ridden a regular Honzo (not Big Honzo) with 27+ and it was really low for local trails. I'm running my Honzo with a 29x2.6" SE4 out back (plenty of room in longer wheelbase settings) and a 29x3" tire up front (currently burning out a DHF 3c 3" and then will buy an SE4 for it). 

I have two buddies with Ti Honzos. Definitely would be on my short list of my one-bike single speed if I wasn't addicted to riding rigid.

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reini-wagner
+1 Andrew Major
Reini Wagner  - Nov. 24, 2018, 1:41 p.m.

Wow, that is a seriously impressive list! Cudos!

With regards to Explosifs, I have a 26" orange steel 2011 (which never appeared on Kona's website, but is identical to the black 2010 one) currently on duty as a single speed 4 season commuter running hope pro 2 hubs with wtb kom i23s and maxxis treadlites tubeless - this one also serves as trailer pulley and babyseatcarrier. I rode it as single speed and geared, rigid and sprung mountainbike as well in earlier years. Each setup was great. I totally get your view on rigid single speeding!

I picked up a mid-90s Explosif frame and p2 fork, which are not yet fully built up. The frame was cracked at the chainstay yoke, but a good friend of mine patch-welded it up nicely.

Finally I still own my first foray into kona cromoly - the blue 2003 scab. currently it serves as a truing stand, but i previously ran it with a 125-165 marzo 55 and managed to squeeze a 27.2 dropper post into the 27.0 seattube. That thing looked and rode like a tank.

Regarding the Ti Honzo: yes I was really lucky to get my hands on a used frame last year, for a killer deal. I had bought a new Smuggler frame only weeks before, but I could not pass that one up. Madness!

How's the Honzo with 29 x 2.6"? I recently bought a 29x2.6 minion/rekon combo, which came off of an oem setup, and will be mounted next season. Which fork are you running that can handle 29x3 up front?

I guess with the WC angleset, this combo really makes a huge difference!?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, really appreciate that!

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AndrewMajor
+1 Reini Wagner
Andrew Major  - Nov. 25, 2018, 10:32 p.m.

I like the +/- tires (2.6") as long as they have a good sidewall - same as I feel about the Plus tires (3"). In both cases, I run them a few pumps from regular rim smacking for best performance. On the rigid, I like to bottom the front tire once a ride so I know I'm getting all the travel from my tires, but on the hardtail, it's not quite as sensitive. 

Currently, on the back of my Honzo I run a Bontrager SE4 and on the back of the rigid, I run an SE2. Would love to run an SE2 on the Honzo for the climbs but on the way down that bike demands more meet. I have oodles of clearance (29 ST) with the stays set long (where I like them). 

I've ridden two great forks that will swallow 29+ on the front of this Honzo. A Manitou Mattoc 29+ which has 120mm travel but is as tall as most brands 140mm fork. It's a great option with the regular headset but I haven't tried it with the angleset. 

The fork on the front of my Honzo is a Suntour Durolux 29". It has plenty of clearance for 3" rubber but if 3.25" knobbies ever exist they'll fit fine in the Manitou but not the Suntour. I linked to the Suntour review - it's an excellent fork, highly (and easily) adaptable, and relatively inexpensive to keep running.

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