repose
Beggars Would Ride

Angles Of Repose

Words Mike Ferrentino
Date Oct 6, 2022
Reading time

So, I just rolled back in the door from a two-week road trip with a half-finished screed on my laptop about underbiking, overbiking, and whether marketing is wagging the dog of mountain biking, or whether pinkbike commenters are actually wagging the dog of marketing which is in turn wagging the dog of mountain biking. Designwise, that is. And I was super ready to tee it all off with a quote from a friend who happens to be a brand manager for one of them bike companies, where he said “Dude, if we went and built the bike that most people need, nobody would buy it. A legion of jackasses who own 12-year old mulleted and overforked Nomads would crucify us in the comments section about the seat angle not being steep enough and the bike would be dead by the time it hit the showroom floor.

But then I just poked my nose onto nsmb.com and it would appear that Uncle Dave had already written something that pretty much sums up what I was going to say in a better way than I was going to say it. Damn. Scratch that half-written ode to evolutionary design and trend-marketing. Instead, let’s talk about seat angles. That way I get to use “angles of repose” as a title.

There was a writer named Wallace Stegner, who wrote some pretty sweet novels. All The Little Live Things was one of them. Angle Of Repose was another. It gets a bit dense at times, but it covers generations of ground and is a compelling look into family dynamics as they play out over said generations. I don’t really recall if there was anything in the book about piles of gravel or snow on a slope, which is where you’d usually find “angle of repose” mentioned. Nor is there any mention (that I can recall) about bikes, or seat angles. But Wally Stegner was my next door neighbour when I was a wee little lad in California before being uprooted to New Zealand, and “Angle Of Repose” really does have a nice feel to it, in so far as phrases can be thought of in tactile terms. As a kid, I had no idea that Stegner had quite likely plagiarized chunks of Angle Of Repose from the journals of Mary Hallock Foote. This writing gig sure can be a messy business sometimes. So, yeah, where was I? Ah, yes. Seat angles. Effective or otherwise.

stegner2

Okay, Pulitzer prize notwithstanding, and any allegations of plagiarism aside, it should be noted that there is NOT ONE SINGLE reference to mountain bike seat angles anywhere in this book...

The two-week road trip I just took was also the conclusion of my time with the Kona Honzo, and that burly aluminum hardtail was my constant ride companion for the past month, as well as the only bike I rode for the past two weeks. Prior to this final push, the Honzo had been rotated in and out among other bikes, all of differing geometry and all also featuring some sort of rear suspension, something the Kona does without in no uncertain terms. And I noticed something in this past month. My knees started to hurt. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the seat angle.

The Honzo has a 76-degree seat angle. That’s nothing to raise an eyebrow in this day and age, and I will fully agree that steeper seat angles have made longer travel bikes a lot easier to winch up steep hills, and that for people who ride flats (and often locate their feet even farther forward than us clipped-in old reprobates with our fossilized ball-over-pedal-spindle tendencies) steeper seat angles on long travel bikes are even betterer. But this is a hardtail, albeit one with burly intentions, and I was riding it on a ton of pedally trail rides, racking up modest but decent mileage. And my knees started to hurt kinda like they used to back when I would treat every ride as a race and would never stretch or warm up. Except I was riding real slow, and stretching a lot, because that sort of happens when everything starts getting old and worn out. And because I don’t really turn it up to 11 anymore, and because I stretch, my knees haven’t really hurt since about 2005. So, this was something that made me go “hmmmm.”

Since things can be adjusted, I slammed the saddle way back on the rails and dropped it a hair. Sure enough, the knee pain went away. But meanwhile, the bike was still a city block long, and I found myself thinking a lot about how a slacker seat angle would mean a shorter overall wheelbase for a given top tube length (I know, who even cares about effective top tube length anymore? It’s all about reach, bro!), and how the bike would probably still be supermega stable but might be a little bit more fun everywhere that wasn’t deathgrip steep and fast.

honzodl

Seventy Six Degrees in the Smurf Blue Shade...

Head angles have been marching slacker for well over a decade now. Seat angles have had maybe half that time to really get the “make them all steeper” memo across the desk of every single product manager in the industry, but the memo has been read and implemented far and wide. And, as mentioned, for the kind of bikes that appeal to the winch and plummet set, they make a lot of sense. A modern 160mm travel bike sags about 50 or more mm into its travel, which slackens the seat angle by about two degrees, so it makes sense to account for that dynamic, otherwise you are pedaling a spongy recumbent uphill. But for a lot of other applications, I am not sure I’m on board with this. Hardtails do not sag into their travel, so they don’t become slacker the second you sit on them. If anything, the fork sags in a bit, and the seat angle gets relatively steeper on a hardtail. So, that 76-degree seat angle gets up around 77 when sagged, and never, ever gets slacker than 76.

If one were to fall down that Leonardo Da Vinci derived biomechanical wormhole (like, how many of you know you can almost always set your seat height [thanks Uncle Dave for catching that I had angle in there instead of height; deadline brainfade] to perfection by hooking the nose of the saddle under your armpit and adjusting up or down until your long finger is in the dead center of your bottom bracket?), one might discover that 73-degree seat angles were not an accident, but were probably derived out of some species-wide femur length consistency. I don’t know, just spitballing here. But for over a century people have been riding and designing bikes and nobody except triathletes complained about seat angles until a few short years ago. And now, we all gotta have them as steep as we can get them. 78 degrees, bring it! How about 79? Can I hear a 79? SOLD! To the guy in the Norco t-shirt!

120131-leonardo-da-vinci-vitruvian-man-8a

Leonardo Da Vinci mighta had a thing or two to say about modern seat angles... But he was Italian, and probably would have been a big fan of Scott TwinLoc, so take whatever he might've said with a grain of salt.

Then again, for most of that century, nobody was riding the kind of stuff that is common fodder amongst the steep and rowdy crowd now. So, design evolves to suit the adapted needs of those on the ends of the bell curve, and we all reap the benefits.

It’s just that with seat angles, I’m not so sold on the benefits when they are applied wholesale across the board to just about everything with a decent set of tires. Aside from being able to balance a longer wheelbase, is there really any tangible benefit from super-steepening the seat angle of a hardtail? Do people like having the noses of their saddles gently nudge them in their buttholes when they are standing and trying to wind it up on a climb? Maybe I’m just old fashioned.

And this is where we get back to the bit that Dave already did a better job of expressing. There’s evolution, and there are trends, and sometimes the two can actually benefit each other. And then there’s marketing, and marketing will do whatever it takes to sell shit, and doesn’t really care about looking at anything through a long lens. It must have been hellish trying to ride XC bikes that were basically road bikes with flat bars and fat tires on the kind of terrain that “you people up north” were navigating. An entire sport was being fed by an industry that had decided what everyone needed was lightweight, twitchy, uncomfortable bikes that weren’t good for much aside from going uphill fast. Of course, a few decades later, it could be argued that the entire sport is being fed bikes that work great for getting rad in Bellingham and going downhill fast enough to make your hair bleed, and those bikes may not be the right ticket for the fat part of the bell curve elsewhere, but that’s what you’re gonna buy because that's what everyone is building, and good luck finding something that doesn't have a 76-or-steeper-degree seat angle.

bellcurve

I was gonna try and generate my own bell curve meme, but the only things I could come up with seemed shitty and cruel, so in the interests of keeping the tone in the room light, here's some binomial distribution dad joke material...

Picture of a Man standing inside a square inside a circle. Bell curves. Compromises. Some of us get exactly what we need some of the time. Most of us deal willingly with those odds. Some of us will always find something in need of "improvement." Please, for the love of whatever is sacred, don’t try to sell me some newfangled steep/slack adjustable seatpost. I fell for that once already, back in the 90s.

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Comments

Rowdy
Rowdy
4 months ago
+11 Pete Roggeman mrbrett Cr4w Tim Lane Mike Ferrentino Justin White Cam McRae Deniz Merdano Adrian Bostock bushtrucker bishopsmike

My one bike is a Doctahawk. I ride it everywhere. Backcountry, crosscountry, park, whatever... Long rides, short rides, smooth trails, rough trails, flat trails, steep trails. I don't necessarily like it's steep seat tube nor it's slack head angle. Knee issues aren't so much a thing for me but fatigued arms at some point into a long as ride certainly is. Seat in the butt kinda weird but I usually bump it down a smidge before I stand. As for the slack, well, wheel flop is something I've learned to mitigate after getting tossed to the ground a few times. I dunno, it's just kinda my bike and my body is kinda used to it at this point. Funny enough, I was quite happy with slacker seat tubes and steeper head angles when I bought this bike and I still am. All that said, I love my Doc and riding it well is kind of transcendental.

Reply

tim-lane
Tim Lane
4 months ago
+3 Justin White Andy Eunson Heathen

I agree. People talk about the benefit of weighting the front tire, but once you've weighted the front tire enough that it doesn't break traction, anything more seems to bring only a potential for disomfort.

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
4 months ago
+11 Kos Lynx . taprider Tim Lane Mike Ferrentino Andy Eunson nothingfuture bushtrucker slimchances57 Bogey Michael Joyce

Steep STAs are saving me a bunch of money not buying bikes I can't ride comfortably. I figure we'll eventually get to 90 degs as the standard and then some company will offer a revolutionary 74 deg STA that's comfortable to pedal all day when not winching and plummeting.

I should have a nice pile of pennies saved up by then for a fancy new machine.

Reply

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
4 months ago
+9 mnihiser Lynx . Mike Ferrentino Justin White Andrew Major Blofeld bushtrucker bishopsmike Jonathan Nolte

Uh. Yup. It’s kind of like bikes now are so good for what we do around here, they don’t need improvements but then why buy a new bike? Back when bikes were all steel road bikes and pretty much identical, you had bikes with filigree lugs and curly tubes (Hetchins) to set them apart. Now I don’t think we want slack seat angles lik}e road bikes because we ride mountain bikes in a more upright position. And full squish as you say gets too saggy on climbs. But hardtails with steep seat tube angles are illogical. 

Our riding techniques are still evolving too. Short stems were a godsend and long bikes made it even better. It lets us put more weight on the front wheel because the risk of going over the front is greatly reduced. But I think some bikes have gone too far with seat angles in order to o get more reach. Some bikes now have longer reach but shorter top tubes. Probably fine for the people that like to sit really upright but for us old guys that like to climb hard, it’s too cramped. 

If post manufacturers made offset heads that could be run either forward or backwards maybe we could all be happy. 

A bike fitter on YouTube says bike fit is like a spiderweb. Pull here and it moves over there. Frame geometry is the same. If one selects a bike solely  on reach without also looking at other parameters it might be less than ideal. 

It’s complicated.

Reply

krisrayner
Kris Rayner
4 months ago
+7 bushtrucker Mike Ferrentino Timer Blofeld Andy Eunson HughJass Heathen

The evolution of geometry hasn't kept up or exceed the rate of aging.  At one time I rode a Yeti ASR7 with identical seat and headtube angles, 67.  178mm of travel, aluminum frame, full coil suspension, 26" wheels and by todays standards horrible geometry.  Yet here I am 12 years later and I still have PR's on climbs and descents on that bike that I can't beat, cause I'm old and fat now.  If you think the secret to having more fun on a bike is a degree or two here or there, that's gonna be an ever moving target.

Reply

dsciulli19
dsciulli19
4 months ago
+6 Kos Lynx . Tim Lane Mike Ferrentino Justin White Heathen

Questioning the wisdom of the pinkbike comments section, how DARE you?! But seriously this is right. Steep seat tube is great for "winch and plummet" but 90% of riders in North America don't ride the north shore on a weekly basis. I think right around 75 - 76 for seat tubes works well in a variety of situations.

Reply

nothingfuture
nothingfuture
4 months ago
+6 Cr4w Mike Ferrentino Andy Eunson Justin White Andrew Major Michael

I ride exclusively hardtails, and I ride in New England, where it's short steep climbs and short steep descents. I also often ride on the road to get to the trailhead.

I'd been riding my previous bike for a couple of years when I finally put a dropper on it, and with the zero offset head it had, my knees started to hurt- something I'd never had happen before. Tried running flats to get my feet forward- no help. Slammed the saddle back on the rails and that got me some relief.

Cut to: having a new custom steel hardtail built, and we come to the issue of STA. I realize the trend is toward steep (say, 75+), but I buck that trend and have it built with 71.5. I've never regretted that decision- I can pedal for long periods without any knee pain, I don't feel like I'm cramped over the top of the bike, and my riding has improved.

I've no doubt the extra steep STA's on long-ish travel bikes help a lot for climbing seated- but geo needs to be specific at least to the type of bike, and I'm afraid "mountain bike" isn't specific enough.

Reply

OtherGrant
Grant Blankenship
4 months ago
+2 Mike Ferrentino Justin White

I'm in the deep South, so my riding is like yours minus any benefits of glaciation. In a fit of midlife crisis, I bought a modern full suspension trail bike last year. As long as things are chunky and I'm pedalling, it's great, but I do wonder what a wonder bike would look like if the big companies treated short up/short down with general jank all over as the normative "trail."

Reply

geraldooka
Michael
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Yup, just did the same thing, custom full suspension in my case but ya its so nice having a bike I can ride anywhere that still performs on trails too and I live in the steep and Chucky BC.

Reply

helpimabug
helpimabug
4 months ago
+6 Lynx . Mike Ferrentino Andrew Major Dogl0rd Andy Eunson HughJass

Isn’t a lot of “The Steepening” necessitated by long reach bikes?  People are riding what used to be an xx-large, but need the ETT of a medium to still be able to reach the grips while seated.

Reply

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
4 months ago
0

Ding ding ding.....

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
4 months ago
+4 Andy Eunson Cam McRae Dogl0rd HughJass

I suspect it's a combination of sag behavior and long reach. Long reach is one of those things that is maybe being pushed further for the sake of it at this point, too. "More" has been deemed universally better, so reach creeps out there year by year, along with a concurrent head angle slackening, and yeah, at that point you need to jack the seat angle up in order to keep rider mass somewhat between the wheels and be able to reach the handlebars. Works awesome when carrying the kind of speed necessary to stomp the gaps.

Reply

LAT
LAT
4 months ago
+4 HughJass Muesliman Heathen bishopsmike

“Dude, if we went and built the bike that most people need, nobody would buy it.”

this is interesting. i’d be very interested in an article where a secret industry insider spilled the beans on what the bike most people need. 

i’d also be interested in  what terrain it would be suited to and where this terrain is. i’m guessing that most mountain bike buyers don’t scour the internet for the latest trends or live the mountains.

it could be the anti-grim doughnut.

Reply

NealWood
NealWood
3 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Mike Ferrentino Heathen

I'm pretty sure we are nearing "peak reach".  Maybe it's because I live in winch and plummet land but I look at those as my two states.  The longer and slacker help with the decent and the steeper seat tube helps with the climb.  As long as the two states don't overlap too much then the world is a happy place.

Reply

craw
Cr4w
4 months ago
+4 Tim Lane Mike Ferrentino Lynx . JVP

I totally agree. My G1 has a 79' ESTA and I love it for climbing and descending but it is not great for flat ground pedalling but I don't live in a flat ground pedalling place so it's a fine compromise. I think a lot of bigger people rejoice at the way modern geo is trending but I think it's at the expense of a lot of smaller riders in more moderate places. In classic bike fashion we've sold one story to all the people. I've also reached a point of diminishing returns now that I'm on a bike that is finally proportionally the right size it's actually tricky to get down the trail sometimes because it's so long so for my next bike I'm considering just how much fit I'm prepared to sacrifice for rideability. 

I also have an aggressive hardtail and it's got a 76' ESTA and that's a bit steep. I'd say 75' on a hardtail is my happy number (assuming I measured the same way).

Reply

syncro
Mark
4 months ago
+2 Mike Ferrentino Andy Eunson

Bam! One post pretty much hits all the important points regarding bike fit and geo wrt riding style.

IMHO bike design and fit has to be focused on the rider's position in relation to the bottom bracket and the headset. You can make minor adjustments with saddle position and bars/stems but pushing those too far tends to throw off all sorts of handling and riding characteristics. Getting the fit right is more important than any specific handling characteristics related to geo because no matter how well a bike is supposed to ride if it fits poorly and is a chore to ride then it's no fun and useless no matter how well the design supposedly rails corners or handles steeps.

Reply

shenzhe
shenzhe
4 months ago
0

I agree with this overall. However, I think one issue is that for racers "fun" in the classical sense isn't actually their goal. That causes their bikes to get made so they can rail corners, handle steeps and do whatever else as fast as possible, damn the ergonomics. Then that race bike (enduro, xc, whatever) becomes a bike that I can buy and I think to myself "I like going fast, fast is fun" so all the fit compromises made in the quest for speed seem like they might be reasonable tradeoffs. In many cases those compromises may add some negligible amount to the actual cornering speed, especially for someone like me who will never be on their level, and the costs are meaningful and felt on a two hour ride so it's a bad tradeoff for the general population, but (collectively) we're dumb and bad at making beneficial decisions when we don't actually understand what we're trying to balance. And to the articles point, marketing generally tries to keep those comprimises out of sight and out of mind.

Reply

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
4 months ago
+4 Justin White Mike Ferrentino Tim Lane Tjaard Breeuwer

I've sat far across the "this seat angle is too steep" line, and its pretty uncomfortable on your arms if the terrain isn't actively uphill.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B48rP9Zn5Av/

Reply

alexdi
Alex D
4 months ago
+4 Mike Ferrentino Andrew Major Tjaard Breeuwer slimchances57

Definitely. That photo has the classic forward-tilted saddle, which means you're rotating your whole body around the bottom bracket like a watch hand. But then you end up with too much weight on the bars, planking to hold yourself up. Super inefficient. I doubt I'd want a hardtail more than 75 degrees.

With FS, I definitely prefer steeper seat angles because of sag, long shins, mid-shoe cleats, and super long legs that put me well into the slack portion of the bent seat tubes so many bikes have. I have the saddle slammed forward on my Trance with a nominal 74.5D (but 66.5D actual) angle.

Reply

andrewbikeguide
AndrewR
4 months ago
+3 Mike Ferrentino JTurn bushtrucker

That photo looks like a near perfect seat angle for someone who is spending a good proportion of their ride time climbing 8-17º trails (welcome to the Sea to Sky), add the slackening effect of sag on an FS and the saddle ends up properly supporting the sit bones during seated pedalling whilst climbing. My thumb suck non-scientific guess-timation method is approx 1º of nose down (on a level bike) for every 3-5º of average (long) climb angle - this accounts for different physiology. To be honest I see so many poorly set up bikes that just getting the saddle properly level would benefit most riders before they start whining about STA.

The point about HT STA is bang on however the STA of the early 90's were based on 'truths' that we pulled across from road cycling that were actually not 'true' for how we move about when mountain biking. The more current trend to have the cleat more under the front of the arch rather than centred on the ball of the foot (or even further forward -ouch) is the first contact point change that would move one to a slightly steeper seat angle (even on a hard tail).

Oddly mentioned that a steeper STA requires a longer effective seat tube length as in my experience the steeper STA generally leads to a slightly shorter effective seat tube length. For example I run my Optic (76º STA) at 798 mm and my Sight (78º STA) at 795 mm. Same seat post (AXS Reverb) and saddle stack height (SQ-Lab 611 Active 13cm). I have to have the rails slightly further forward on the Optic to get a better seated pedalling position (more naturally comfortable - subjective and more watts for the same heart rate - objective) whereas the Sight can be run centred. 

And yes I am one of those people that can feel 5 mm in the chain stay, 2 mm in saddle height and 1 psi in the tyres - I annoy even myself (but at least I do my pre-ride pfaff-ing at home before I meet up for a ride).

And don't even get me started on bike noise!

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
4 months ago
0

Cooper, what is that monstrosity, my knees ache just looking at that photo and seat angle, my gawd.

Reply

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
4 months ago
0

Ah, its from the brief flash in the pan internet oddity brand Sick! Bicycles.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
4 months ago
0

"What are they up to now?" Haha.

Reply

xy9ine
Perry Schebel
4 months ago
0

non-alcoholic brewery. unlike the previous venture, i guess they're actually delivering product? quite a few people scammed by sick co. 

https://www.instagram.com/mash__gang/

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
4 months ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

"non-alcoholic brewery"

sigh...

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
4 months ago
+2 Andy Eunson Pete Roggeman

Huh. Who knew. 

But I'm with Mike... that's suspiciously close to vegan bacon.

xy9ine
Perry Schebel
4 months ago
+3 Mike Ferrentino Cooper Quinn Cr4w

have to agree (based on a brief spin) that that bike went a bit too far - for a hardtail. that said, the 78* sta on my current dually is perfect. first bike i've owned that i haven't had to be uncomfortably perched on the nose of the saddle on steep climbs. (acknowledging that "flat pedalling" isn't in my lexicon).

Reply

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
4 months ago
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer

Yeah, it went much too far. It was hilarious on really, really steep climbs because it felt just right. Long chainstays, still weight on the front end, etc. 

But most of the time, it wasn't very good.

Reply

flattire2
Brian Tuulos
4 months ago
+4 Andy Eunson Andrew Major Lynx . LWK

Big squish bikes need steep seat angles to counter lots of rear sag (and fork extension under climbing)

A hardtail obviously, has no rear sag, so therefore a 74 ish SA is appropriate.

The failure of the bike industry to grasp simple geometry baffles me.

Reply

syncro
Mark
4 months ago
+2 Andy Eunson Lynx .

That's because it's all a big experiment with design/engineer teams that don't seem to include anyone with a sport science background that understands biomechanics and how it applies to mountain biking - a discipline extremely different from road biking. Bikes for the consumer need to be designed primarily around how the human body works first, then the environment they are are working in and finally how the bike best performs in the real world. A height of 5'8" up to about 6'2" seems to be the prime territory where bikes designed for performance mesh really well with body size for aggressive riding. Start getting much past either of those heights and compromises are going to need to be made, either on the bike design or on rider comfort.

Reply

Joe_Dick
Adrian Bostock
4 months ago
+4 Justin White Mike Ferrentino Cooper Quinn bishopsmike

I recently had to replace a 2016 hardtail frame and ended it with an updated version of the same bike (abet off shore vs on shore made frames) . The numbers are not out laddish for a modern bike, The seat post is a degree steeper (76), the head tube is a degree slacker, reach is ~15 mm longer and the chain stays are 5 mm longer. I swapped over all the parts from my old frame and it has been an interesting back to back comparison of incremental changes. On trail the updated bike feels more stable over all.

It might be less comfortable on long road rides, I have not done many road miles on it yet. I have a commuter / gravel bike that does that well if that's the intent of the ride. I did do a 10 day bike tour of mainly road on the old frame and it was fine. Any discomfort I have on long rides is from a lack of core strength causing poor posture. Stretch more, Do more Yoga.

The wheel flop comment is interesting. Its only something I notice at slow speeds in my driveway. Once on the trail, I have never noticed it.

Reply

just6979
Justin White
4 months ago
+3 Lynx . Kos Mike Ferrentino Andy Eunson bushtrucker Joseph Crabtree JVP

A 160mm full-sus bike doesn't end up getting slacker by 2 degrees, because both ends sag. Even if my bike, with its already "too slack" 76ish effective seat angle at my saddle height, approaches a full degree slacker in a steep steady state climb, I don't care because it's not popping wheelies the whole way up, so the effective seated rear center is in a pretty good place. I'm more often scooting back to maintain traction than forward to stop looping out. The people who want stupid steep seat angles are just climbing relatively smooth, relatively grippy, "roads", not going up actual trails with stuff on them. They just sit around and yell about angles louder than the people who are busy out there riding up and down and across trails.

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kos
Kos
4 months ago
+2 Justin White bushtrucker

Can I only upvote this once?!

Reply

joseph-crabtree
Joseph Crabtree
4 months ago
+9 Cooper Quinn Jerry Willows kcy4130 cheapondirt Lynx . JVP nothingfuture Tjaard Breeuwer slimchances57

"because both ends sag" There isn't much fork sag when climbing.

Reply

just6979
Justin White
4 months ago
-1 nothingfuture

Then why does it matter on hardtails?

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kcy4130
kcy4130
4 months ago
+2 Joseph Crabtree Tjaard Breeuwer

Because on flat ground the fork does sag some and thus steepen st angle of a hardtail.

Reply

just6979
Justin White
4 months ago
-2 kcy4130 nothingfuture

And forks don't sag on flat ground on dualies?

Reply

kcy4130
kcy4130
4 months ago
+2 Tjaard Breeuwer Velocipedestrian

On flat ground a full suspension will sag both front and rear. A hardtail will only sag front. Hence why full suspension bikes generally, should have slightly steeper st angle than a hardtail to arrive at the same sagged sta.

joseph-crabtree
Joseph Crabtree
4 months ago
+1 Cam McRae

The reference was to "bikes that appeal to the winch and plummet set" so it's about what it does on the climb. I'd say 2 degrees is pretty close on my 160mm FS as I've checked it with the shock o-ring on a smooth steep climb just out of curiosity. And my fork was topping out at times so I doubt it was sagging much.

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
4 months ago
+5 Justin White Lynx . Joseph Crabtree Cooper Quinn bushtrucker

Fair point - the slackening will be compensated a bit by the fork sag, but in my experience the rear sag has always been substantially greater than the fork sag. And then when you add in the pedaling dynamics/body weight/midstroke wallow that most longer travel bikes experience to some degree or another it usually "feels" like the rear is dropping a bunch more into the travel than the front. But yeah, that 2-degree slackening was maybe a tad sensationalist.

Reply

syncro
Mark
4 months ago
0

Mt. Sod  - Magic: The Slackening Online Debate

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
4 months ago
0

It would be interesting to try to measure this, but I imagine the only way to do it properly would be with some sort of telemetry. I don't think 2 degrees is out of line for some scenarios, but oh boy are there a lot of variables.

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xy9ine
Perry Schebel
4 months ago
0

warden's laps w/ inclinometer in order?

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cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
4 months ago
0

You're both overthinking it - all you need to know is 1) static geometry, and 2) where you're sitting in the travel. If you wanted to get fancy you could ShockWiz it, but really you could just use the O-ring to figure out the max on a steep grade. Then its just a geometry problem to solve for a couple triangles.

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
4 months ago
+3 Mike Ferrentino Andy Eunson Cam McRae Blofeld bishopsmike

Well, I never, cannot believe you actual thought and wrote that Mike, how dare you go against what the marketing depts have all been told is gospel :LOL: 

Right now I'm  with Vik, there's nothing out there I want because the ESTA are so stupidly steep for anyone who isn't lucky enough  to live someplace like the NS and such, or who actually enjoys pedaling flats and light rolling trails to connect to nice DH and climbing trails. 

For a HT, the ESTA has to be <73 degrees, not a question, for an FS, I can pedal 74 now because I'm on flats with feet a bit further forward, but any steeper than that and same issue, knee pain.

Such an absolutely spot on piece again, think we need a like/thumbs up button to click to show appreciation for the articles, not just the comment section. Can't believe that there aren't more comments, must have struck a nerve with the Gnar crowd and got them thinking LOL.

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Blofeld
Blofeld
4 months ago
0

I am curious if you have an explanation as to why a steeper seat angle causes you knee pain. I have heard this from other people before and can’t quite wrap my head around the biomechanics. All else being equal (basically impossible, but let’s pretend) The Steepening is moving your feet back under your hips, ~12mm per degree. This changes the angles of hips and ankles through the pedal stroke slightly, but in a way that could get extreme if you had big feet and subscribe to the ball-under-pedal-spindle foot positioning.

I run into the same issue here as when I used to think about the knee-over-pedal-spindle idea: discomfort or inefficiency due to small changes in SA should make standing up to pedal or a recumbent bike impossible. Now, I’ve had knee pain that’s been resolved by adding insoles, removing insoles, moving cleats and making other small changes, so far be it from me to accuse anyone of being a princess with a pea. I just wonder if it’s possible to nail down SA as the culprit for knee pain when so many things are changing at the same time.

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Lynx
Lynx .
4 months ago
+2 slimchances57 Blofeld

@Blofeld - First up, I am a "Princess and the Pea" feel person, I can easily feel and tell when the pressure in the rear is low because I can actually feel the change it causes to the geo, I have to adjust saddle height depending on if I'm wearing a chamois or not or which chamois, or if I'm riding in my actual riding shoes or flip flops, swapped from a 2.3" to 2.4" on the front or vice versa, I can feel the geo change. Heck a 1/2 degree can be the difference between the bike steering nice or having what feels like serious wheel flop to me, it can sometimes be quite annoying being so sensitive to such small changes.

As to the knee issues, well I think it comes down to how you ride, if you just put it in the easiest gear and go, especially when climbing, then yeah, you m ay not notice as much, but if you're not that type of rider who likes spinning like a hamster and pushes a harder/bigger gear, then the forces and stress you put through the  knee tend to show up - smallest ring I run is a 32t and biggest cog is a 46t running 29x2.6-3.0" tyres. 

The fact that I can IMMEDIATELY stop the knee pain simply by slackening out the bikes geo by 1 degree tells me it's not just in my mind - had to do this on a ride because my setback post broke and had to use a straight post (love Banshee's adjustable geo) .

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Blofeld
Blofeld
4 months ago
0

That is very sensitive! Thanks for the reply.

It makes sense that pushing a bigger gear would put more stress on the knees. I’ve felt that before and my idea right now is that standing more (with the saddle out of the way) is somewhat protective. Maybe we just find a happier spot when out of the saddle? Does sitting impinge on something or put our feet at odd angles? My commuter bike is geared 46-16 (road tires) but doesn’t hurt me - maybe because sitting just isn’t an option.

I’m going hunting for more examples on the triathlon-BSO darkwebs.

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mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
4 months ago
+2 Blofeld slimchances57

I do not know enough about biomechanics to even begin to phrase a qualified answer... buuuut, my personal experience has been that slacker seat angles are generally easier on my knees. i am not sure if it is a relaxation of direct downward load bearing or if it is a result of some lesser degree of acuteness in terms of how my knees bend during pedaling. I have always been sensitive/suspectible to knee pain, so I seem pretty finicky about seat height and pedal cleat position. If I set my seat too high or move my feet too far back on the pedal, my knees let me know immediately. Conversely, too low a seat makes my hips complain, and moving my feet forward on the pedals doesn't do much aside from dramatically reduce my top-end rpm. Standing, something I did a LOT of for a decade during the singlespeed years, doesn't really hurt my knees at all. I think that is because when standing one isn't really causing the knees to bend as much as they may while seated. But again, all of this is just my anecdotal observation...

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JTurn
JTurn
4 months ago
+1 Blofeld

I'm starting to see a trend of shorter crank arms. Do you think running with shorter cranks would offset the biomechanic effect of the steeper seat angle that is causing knee pain?  (any biomechanics folks here??) 

My daily rides are through chunky rocks gardens and wondering if the traditional 170mm length cranks are holding me back from riding a bike with a more "modern" geometry. Shorter cranks would offset a lower bottom bracket but I am curious if they would also relieve knee pain associated with a steeper seat angle. 

I'm on a Pivot now which is not exactly tracking the latest geometry trends and curious how constrained the geometries are by longer crank arm lengths. I'm definitely no expert here, just trying to imagine how "old-school" geometry might evolve if knee pain could be solved through some other means.

Blofeld
Blofeld
4 months ago
+3 JTurn bushtrucker Pete Roggeman

I don’t want anyone to think I’m discounting their discomfort due to steepening seats angles. I’m very much convinced it’s a real phenomenon, but I’d like to understand the causes…in case we need to go back to linkage dropper posts again (what a great retro find that was, BTW). 

The Google search for whiny road cyclists who switched to TT or tri bikes (with steeper angles) and had knee pain as a result found a few other interesting anecdotes in terms of knee pain.

  • Using the same saddle and position might not work when adjusting to a steeper seat angle.
  • Seats need to be higher with a steeper seat angle and low saddle heights often cause problems.
  • Shorter crankarms can compensate for the change in leg angles due to a steeper seat angle, which could give some relief.

There is also some evidence that power is delivered more efficiently with a steeper seat angle, which I think is consistent with Mr. F’s assessment of a more direct loading. In effect, a steeper seat angle could be letting the hips load the knees more even with the same perceived effort. And with small changes to setup happening…ouch.

Lynx
Lynx .
3 months, 4 weeks ago
-1 Andy Eunson Blofeld Justin White

@Blofeld - You move the STA forward/up, then you must compensate for that if you pulled your post directly out of another bike and set it to the same height, but when setting up a new bike, you have your BB to saddle measurement and you set that, end of story, that is a constant, IMHO.

Why would I want to go to a shorter crank to reduce my mechanical advantage and the ability to run a bigger/harder gear, makes no sense. Also, if you shorten the  crank, you're bringing your foot BACK towards your knee, thereby ADDING to the effect the steeper STA has on your knee, thereby actually making things worse.  Even if this was some form of solution, it's again compromise to make the geo work, which should not happen, IMHO.

Don't know WTF you ever heard that you produce more power with a steeper STA, if you had any understanding of body mechanics, you'd not even consider saying something like that. With a steeper STA you cannot engage/use the biggest leg muscles, your glutes effectively and so go to weaker muscles. Just look at standing squat vs seated leg press and the angles it puts on the hips, knees etc and the fact that the record is double for seat vs standing.

lamar454
Peter Appleton
4 months ago
+3 Justin White Andy Eunson bushtrucker

lay back dropper posts are the answer!

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just6979
Justin White
4 months ago
+2 Lynx . bushtrucker

Forward offset posts are the better answer. Pretty sure there are fewer nut jobs with their saddles slammed full forwards and still shouting about angles than people just riding along on varied terrain just fine with "normal" angles. Let's cater to the average rider with the frames, and the (vocal) minority can adapt with a seat post option.

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mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
4 months ago
+6 Justin White Alex D Lynx . Tjaard Breeuwer Andy Eunson bushtrucker

To both you and Peter, both forward and rear offsets are a nice thing to access, yet very few seem to realize this potential market. One of the cool things about the 9point8 seatpost is that there are three different head options available in order to customize ESA and reach, but 9.8 is one of very few brands inhabiting that dusty corner of the market.

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Flatted-again
Flatted-again
4 months ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

So there’s a company making an offset head for reverbs, but I think there’s a huge, untapped market for something like aenomly’s adjustable head thing with some offset. Better on the flats, still steep for the steeps.

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pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
4 months ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

What aenomaly is doing is interesting, but it's also pricey and heavy which is I think why it's not seeing more adaptation.

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xy9ine
Perry Schebel
4 months ago
0

yep. it's a neat idea, and a nicely built piece of kit. that it's more expensive than a decent dropper post places it firmly in a "yeah, don't *really* need that" category. though i respect that they're manufacturing locally, i imagine they'd be in a very different place with a cheaper offshore built product.

Dogl0rd
Dogl0rd
4 months ago
0 Velocipedestrian Blofeld

I'm enjoying one! Moreso for tilting forwards on climbs than back on the descents. Haven't found the tilt back helpful. Haven't noticed the weight at all practically speaking

Flatted-again
Flatted-again
4 months ago
0

Yeah, it’s definitely a minmax thing, like I’d rather have the climbing functionality than another way to make my suspension click,  but that’s not for everyone.

bushtrucker
bushtrucker
4 months ago
0

Yeah this. Forward offset posts could be easily sold to the "is your STA steep enough?" crowd without ruining bikes for the rest of us. Other advantage of forward offset dropper posts—or saddle pushed forward in an inline post—is that your sit bones end up over the center of the seat-tube which can make for smoother operation of the dropper. On bikes with dropper posts where I've had the saddle slammed back I always feel like the saddle is acting as a bit of a lever on the dropper. On cheap posts this can cause cause the post to rock a bit. Can imagine this would only get worse on a setback dropper.

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Useless
Guy Elliott
4 months ago
+2 Mike Ferrentino bushtrucker

I like the steeper STA geo as starting point given my tendency to overfork, mullet, or over-mullet-fork.  

(Confess I like to get rad in bham too)

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IslandLife
IslandLife
4 months ago
+3 Mike Ferrentino Blofeld bishopsmike

I flip my bikes every year... my last four bikes have been relatively similar with small changes in the amount of suspension travel and reach has been getting longer with every bike.  As I changed bikes, my seat tube angle has been getting steeper along with the HTA getting slacker.  Where I live I have crazy access to so many different riding zones.. my main local is a lot of steep technical climbs to a lot of steep technical descents... and it's my favorite style of riding.  But in-between those, I ride some more chill terrain (low angle, buffed climb trails and fire roads) and then everything in-between.

For me, I've found zero downsides to steeper seat tube angles and I love the change every time it gets steeper.  Obviously there's a point where it will be too much... my current bike is at 77 degrees, and I have my saddle quite far forward... I'd like to try 78 and see what that feels like.  My current ride is a 140mm bike so the sag is a little less than a 160+ bike.  For really tech climbing situations I bump my seat post down an inch... but I've always done this.. 75 or 77, it's just better and I think everyone does this, no?

I think this is also an argument for adjustable geo.  My bike has it and I can alter my seat tube angle by 0.75 of degree if I wanted to.  But I love it for everything, so I don't bother.  Think that gets tougher on a hardtail though...

I also think maybe some people don't take the time to really get their bike fit just right.  After I get a new bike... I'll be altering stem length and height, bar roll, seat angle, seat position and cleat position, sometimes a couple months into owning a bike until I've got everything feeling just perfect.

Anyway, long story short... I'm a fan of the steep STA whether it's flat and rolling or uber steep and tech.

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bushtrucker
bushtrucker
4 months ago
+3 Mike Ferrentino Blofeld Pete Roggeman

Great read Mike! As a lover of (relatively) slack seat tube angles there's a lot here I agree with. A couple quick thoughts.

When discussing slack seat tubes it's worth considering bar height. A lot of the early STA developments you mention would have came from road racing with very aggressive positions. People didn't necessarily ride trail back then so this road fit is what was translated over to the first MTB's. And there were narrower Q-factors then to!

I find when you lower the hands (and torso) it's easy to feel the hips wanting to push back. As I've aged and raised my handlebars to be able to sit with a straighter back for more comfort I can feel my hips wanting to pull forward. Kinda like standing up out of a chair. So I've now come to appreciate slightly steeper STA's and would say around 75 degrees at 25% sag is optimal for me on a hardtail. At the fork travel I run that's still a 73-74 degree static STA so very slack by current trends.

I feel like one way to be able to better compare fit is to convince everyone selling hardtails to list sagged geo. This would correct both stack heights and STA/HTA's. As reviewers of bikes I feel like that's something you could push for. I know Cotic do a great job of this listing their bikes at 25% sag. They also sell some really well designed all-around trail bikes, like the BFE Max with a 140 fork and 74.5 STA (sagged!).

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woofer2609
woofer2609
3 months, 4 weeks ago
+3 Mark Lynx . bishopsmike

"It must have been hellish trying to ride XC bikes that were basically road bikes with flat bars and fat tires on the kind of terrain that “you people up north” were navigating. An entire sport was being fed by an industry that had decided what everyone needed was lightweight, twitchy, uncomfortable bikes that weren’t good for much aside from going uphill fast."

It was, and I have scars to prove it. The industry was being designed around California flattish desert riding, and in some aspects of design, it still is.

We now have all mountain and enduro bikes that are designed around 64 degree HA's and 76 degree SA's and are designed to, as you say, "winch up steep hills" and descend steep enough to make our hair bleed, yet we insist on fitting them with 30 or 32t NW chainrings that are better suited to XC or trail bikes that are racing around the flattish Utah and California landscape (yes, I know there are exceptions to this, I've ridden some incredibly steep terrain in Northern California, but is the exception.) 

I understand that the anti squat geometry of ALL FS mountain bikes is based around a 30 or 32t chainring, but this makes no sense for bikes that are essentially winch/grunt/pedal/chairlift up bikes that are primarily gravity sleds on the way down. The last thing I'm concerned about on the way down any NS ride is if I have a short enough gearset to avoid spinning out. I'm far more concerned with brake fade and modulation. 

This is actually a case of win-win-win if designers applied this to new AM or Enduro bikes; a smaller front chainring (26/28t?) that increases clearance and is lighter is win#1, a smaller rear cluster (11-36?) is much lighter is win#2, and the fact that all the cogs on the rear cluster can be steel and therefore last FOREVER (or until I buy a new bike) is win #3.

So why isn't this happening?

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Lynx
Lynx .
3 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 woofer2609

@Woofer2609 - I wasn't jiving with what you were writing as I was reading, "Smaller rings, really", not until the  last paragraph where you pitched the complete idea. Quite an interesting supposition, only downside being no real "top end" gear for riding to the trails, flat trails or places where you want to and can crank  - you'd need to be spinning about 83RPM with 28-10 to achieve 20mph and 90RPM with 26-10 for same speed.

The supposition you gave is exactly why I still run a 2x setups, although giving 1x a try right now on the FS, but always have 2 rings on the crank, normally 24-32/34. I do run an FD on one FS, other is removed as IU try 1x right now, but depending on the ride, wheelset and cassette, I might do the entire ride in just the 32/34t ring or I might manually drop it down if I encounter a really steep, and/or long steep climb - doesn't take any time to drop to the smaller ring with my heal before the climb and then at the top, I ain't racing so a quick stop to put it back up isn't a problem.

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woofer2609
woofer2609
3 months, 4 weeks ago
0

I'm not opposed to 2X, but the simplicity of 1X is appealing and appreciated on my FS bike. I honestly can't think of any trail where I feel I'm "spinning out" and wished for a larger chainring. Yes, my terminal velocity on flat pavement with a 26t NW and an 11t small cog on an 11-42t cassette is about 26 kms/hour, but I'm not usually in that much of a rush.  I think that the majority of people are driving to trailheads, or peddling such a small distance that being limited to 26 vs 36km/h is a non sequitur, as wind resistance becomes such a factor that you'd need to expend twice as much energy just to overcome air resistance.  I've kept my 20 YO hardtail as a 2X setup, and it will probably stay that way, as a similar gear ratio 1X system that didn't add weight to the bike (which was supposed to be one of the advantages of 1X in the first place) would cost more than the bike. 

I just find it interesting (or telling) that we negated any of the weight savings of 1X by designing bikes that aren't often ridden on pavement around 30/32t front chainrings, thereby necessitating very expensive or heavy cassettes. Seems like an opportunity for a smaller company to take advantage of this.

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cxfahrer
cxfahrer
4 months ago
+1 IslandLife

But what about sliding the saddle a bit?

My hardtail has a 74° seatangle, but a quite short reach for my size, so I tend to shift the saddle ever more a tiny bit to the front until to the point, where the toptube feels to  cramped short - and then I start sliding the saddle back again... constant changes, ever so slightly. Keeping the experience interesting.

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justfrogurt
justfrogurt
4 months ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

How did you know Legion of Jackasses was my favorite band name?

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drewchilson@gmail.com
drewchilson@gmail.com
4 months ago
+1 redbarn

Amen. Not everyone wants to pedal a 1995 tri bike.

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rc231
rc231
4 months ago
+1 Lynx .

I like the steepish seat angle on my long travel bike for winch and plummet and slacker on the HT for trail riding. Make bikes for the terrain they are used in, and everyone can be happy.  Aggressive geometry short travel bikes are now a thing, but steeper long travel bikes seem like they would be a good fit for places like new england where it is rocks but no sustained elevation. I had my sentinel in boston for a bit and it was floppy and pedals strikes all over, I decided to fix the terrain by moving back to seattle but if I stayed a steeper and higher bike would have been in the cards.

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Lynx
Lynx .
4 months ago
+1 Velocipedestrian

*** Hey, just a side note to the "powers that be", you really need to remove the whole posts being moved up/down according to ranking, it really fvcks with the ability to follow threads and consequent replies, just try to follow this thread, if you dare. Keep the ratings,  just don't let that determine where a post ends up, keep replies to comments within them.

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fartymarty
fartymarty
4 months ago
+1 Velocipedestrian

Also it would be nice if the comments didn't cut off after a certain number of replies.

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velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
3 months, 4 weeks ago
0

Bonus props for both of these.

The stacking by rank works on pinktrike so we can ignore the drivel. Here with only quality answers it makes more sense to read them in reply order.

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pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
3 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 Velocipedestrian

Agreed on both and it's on the list to rectify ;)

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OtherGrant
Grant Blankenship
4 months ago
0

Please go back to your industry friend and get him to describe to you on deeeeeeep background the layout of the bike most of us need.

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mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
4 months ago
+4 Kos Hbar Adrian Bostock Spencer Nelson

It's probably a Fuel EX

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just6979
Justin White
4 months ago
+1 Velocipedestrian

Or a Stumpy, or a Trance, or any of the other "not modern/'progressive' enough" all-around trail bikes that are usually reviewed by that colorful site and many others as: boring, same-old-same, emotionless junk from mega corps that don't care about actual riders.

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kos
Kos
4 months ago
0

Bang on!

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kcy4130
kcy4130
4 months ago
0

"...don’t try to sell me some newfangled steep/slack adjustable seatpost. I fell for that once already, back in the 90s." 

Was that really a thing? A bit before my time. I remember I had a Marzocchi fork (~2003) that would lockout in a compressed state for climbing. It was pretty useless.

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mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
4 months ago
+1 kcy4130
mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
4 months ago
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer

I should also point out that I took some creative liberty there. I never owned a PowerPost. They seemed like a bad idea at the time.

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kcy4130
kcy4130
3 months, 4 weeks ago
0

Interesting! Thanks for the history lesson.

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mikesee
mikesee
4 months ago
0 Mike Ferrentino Cam McRae Joseph Crabtree IslandLife

The Pinkbike comment reprobates (<-psweet) hold far too much sway over the designs that the rest of us are offered.

Other than movie theaters and MMA gyms, where else do 16-to-24-year old males hold such outsized influence?

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just6979
Justin White
4 months ago
+1 Lynx . Jonathan Nolte IslandLife

I don't think it's the commenters holding sway, it's the reviewers. For going on like 5 years, a majority of reviews claimed that STAs were "too slack". Except "too slack" is only in the context of the very specific ride fantasy that they have: long smooth steep climbs to long steep descents and no other type of riding exists.

So of course designers are going to change things. They can't have a major publication saying "this one thing about this bike is flat wrong", even if that statement needs to be caveated with "wrong for this very specific type of riding and terrain" (which the reviewers didn't start mentioning until the commenters pointed it out first).

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andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
4 months ago
+1 Justin White Lynx . IslandLife

And they never define what steep is. I read tests of efficiencies of flat versus clipped in pedals. The test simulated a 6 percent slope. Around here we don’t even shift for a 6 percent slope. So when it’s claimed that steep seat tube angles work better on steep slopes, please define what you call steep. See Colours and Puke is a 2 km climb that gains 300 metres of elevation. 15% average grade. But it has a few pitches that approach 30% according to my Garmin. Being short I don’t need to slide forward to keep my front wheel planted and I am relatively good at climbing but no way I am climbing 30% for any length of time before I’m gassed. There are short pitches on technical climbs that are probably approaching 40% but a few metres long. I do slide forward on those but why would I want a seat tube angle for those short parts of the ride? Am I missing something?

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just6979
Justin White
4 months ago
0 Andy Eunson IslandLife

Plus, if you're sitting for a short 30-40% grade technical section, then you're magical and STA simply doesn't matter. Most mortals will be standing for those steepest steeps anyway. Unless of course if the climb is literally a road of some sort, then sit & spin might be the way to win. But in that case I'll just say: stop trying to make mountain bikes better at doing gravel bike things! If that's your ride fantasy, get a SwitchGrade or holler about the lack of seat-post offset options, and shut up about STAs being some nebulous "too slack" for the equally nebulous "steep climbs".

("shut up" is not direct at Andy, it's directed at annoying reviewers at LightRedCycle or where-ever)

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IslandLife
IslandLife
4 months ago
0

I'd say that most bike companies reply on their professional riders and testers to give them feedback on what their seat tube angles should be.  I also don't think it's a coincidence that the bike companies pros/testers, reviewers and most riders tend to prefer a steeper seat tube angle.

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Lynx
Lynx .
4 months ago
+1 Justin White

I'm going to have to STRONGLY DISAGREE with you on that one going by what I've seen/read of the Enduro Pros, most aren't riding the recommended size bike the brand they're riding for says, some now are even 2 sizes under recommended (riders... Richie, Jesie, Jack to name the top ones and many more follow suit). Also, those enduro pros aren't doing any long sections of flat or rolling pedaling, it's either climbing or descending.

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IslandLife
IslandLife
4 months ago
+1 Velocipedestrian Cooper Quinn Zombo

Most? No.  Jesse is a smaller guy on an appropriate medium. Richie does size down. Jack has said he sizes down for EWS races as the courses tend to be very tight, but at home rides a bigger bike.

Also, this comes up a lot but people fail to realize these are pros at the very sharp end of the field with insane strength, stamina and bike control skills.  I and most other riders need big bikes with longer reaches and wheelbases to compensate for our lack of the above. If I could handle a bike like those guys, sure I’d maybe size down for ultra tight race course as well. But my big bike allows me to ride better than the smaller version of the same bike.  These companies don’t just listen to their race riders feedback from racing, they get it from their general trail riding as well… as well as from their other (non EWS racer) testers.  Some of the best equipment testers (in multiple sports, I have buddies that do this for snowboarding) are people who are just great at feedback, understand the equipment from an engineering perspective and also ride more like an advanced non-pro rider and so their feedback is much more relevant.  These companies sell bikes to average to advanced non pros, so they develop bikes that help those people ride better. The pros take those bikes and adapt them to their highly skilled own needs and idiosyncrasies.

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Lynx
Lynx .
4 months ago
+1 Zombo

Yet above you said that the bike companies rely on theirs pros feedback, so which is it, you can't have your cake and eat it too.

Jesse rides a Medium because they don't actually make or offer a size smaller than that, so , what else can he do. As to Jack, yeah he sizes from a SM to a Medium when he's home on the 2023 Canyons, instead of the size L they'd say he should be on - the guy's 6'1".

I take your point, you don't want to have to work harder at it, you want to feel like you could be as fast as those guys, no worries, I get it, something very common in a lot of homo-sapiens. Me, personally, I like to constantly challenge myself and prove that it's me that got me and my bike to the bottom with some help from the bike, not me basically being a passenger and relying on the bike's geo  - but hey, everyone has their own preferences, just don't try to pass it off as a must have, always remember to IMHO ;-)

xy9ine
Perry Schebel
4 months ago
+5 Andy Eunson Joseph Crabtree Cam McRae IslandLife Andrew Major

i'll bet the readership demographic peak of the bell curve is a couple decades older than that. we're (mostly) old(er) bastards hanging out here.

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woofer2609
woofer2609
3 months, 4 weeks ago
0

This comment has been removed.

GB
GB
4 months ago
0 Lynx . bishopsmike

Any one remember forks with adjustable travel? Doesn't dropping the fork hight cause the seat angle to to be steeper ?  Also slack HTA for me is annoying on steep climbs . Switch backs the fork flops over . It's because of the slack HTA I believe.  I personally prefer healthy knees and a comfortable seated position.  Would be quite happy with a 69 degree HTA . Never bothered me in the past . Was never an issue . 

Going over the bars on steep dh is rider error . If a climb is punchy , steep and teck. My ass is not on the seat .  

A bike with a less than slack HTA is much more responsive to your input . Steers faster .  

Sorry going against the commercial , forced image of what industry tells me I need.

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roil
roil
4 months ago
+1 Justin White

Regarding steeper HTA, google "Peter Verdone" and check out where he's going with bike geo. Would love for NSMB to write an article on this guy!

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pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
4 months ago
+6 Tim Lane Velocipedestrian dolface Blofeld Zombo roil

That isn't going to happen. It's hard enough as it is for most people to recognize satire when they see it.

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just6979
Justin White
4 months ago
+1 roil

No one can deny PVD puts his money where his mouth is. He builds stuff, he rides said stuff, sometimes he breaks said stuff, but he always tries more stuff.

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fartymarty
fartymarty
4 months ago
+2 Justin White roil

I also like that PVD is trying stuff out - I like people who question the norm rather than following.  Maybe it does work for him, how he rides and his local riding.  At least he is exploring the fringes.

It's the same when Chris Porter started the longer / slacker geo trend we are currently riding.  If he hadn't pushed things so far we would still be riding around with short wheelbased 68 degree HA bikes.  IMHO he has probably forgot more about geo than most companies know.

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just6979
Justin White
4 months ago
+3 Pete Roggeman Velocipedestrian Jonathan Nolte

OTBs are not rider error when the front axle is so close to your feet that you have to basically stretch your arms as far as you can and effectively do a "wall sit" with your legs to get your weight to the right place to ride those steeps. That's super tiring, and a tired rider is often a crashed rider. Everything I ride today I used to ride with an early 2000s hardtail, I can just ride more of it before my body is acutely destroyed, since I now have an appropriate front-center thanks to slacker HTA and longer reach.

Flop is definitely a bit higher with slacker HTAs, but with wider bars you get more leverage to counter it, with longer wheelbases you have more time to counter it, and with bigger wheels there is momentum countering it. Even without those changes I can fully acknowledge the flop as it is on my 65ish degree HTA bike versus my old 68-69 degree bikes, and fully commit to it being a trade-off I'll gladly make for the much more flexible descending positions provided by a slacker HTA and corresponding longer front-center.

"Steers faster" doesn't mean it will "turn faster". In fact, steering too fast on a bike that doesn't actually want to turn fast is a great way to go OTB in a high-side type crash...

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pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
4 months ago
+4 Andy Eunson Andrew Major IslandLife Justin White

It greatly depends on where you ride, and if I had to guess, you're not riding on the Shore or on terrain anything like it, and of course that makes it likely you'd have different geo preferences. 

There are places where a 69 (or 68 or 67) degree HTA is suitable, or at least not shitty, but in steep terrain, I'd consider 65 to be 'steep/quick' but still fun for a lot of the trails around here. However as soon as you want to go fast or take on real steeps, you really want to be in the 63 range. If you interpret that as the industry 'telling you what you need', well, in certain types of terrain it is what performs best. Do you need it? Of course not. But reconsider the rider error in steep terrain part...technically that's right, but for riding terrain so steep that going over the bars means a series of 10 or 15 foot tomahawks, modern geo lets you maintain traction and control, not to mention confidence. In that terrain you don't want fast steering, you want stability - in flatter terrain you're able to carry higher speeds, which compensates for a slacker HTA, so you still have steering that feels plenty responsive without being twitchy. 

If the cost of all that is a bit of fork flop, a lot of riders will endure it because DH is the priority. That isn't for everyone.

There's a lot of nuance in it, and it applies differently to different bikes, different terrain, and different rider priorities.

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just6979
Justin White
4 months ago
+1 bushtrucker

Slack HTA  can also really help on off-camber stuff even if it's not steep. I haven't figured out an intuitive explanation yet, but I've felt it (same tires, same fork, very different HTAs: slacker is stickier when the trail slopes away, even with a longer front-center taking away front-wheel loading a bit), and I've read some reviews that mention the same.

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Lynx
Lynx .
4 months ago
+1 GB

@ Pete and all the rest on the NS, I can see where you guys are coming from, honestly I can, but please also acknowledge that to most of you, speed, seems to be the end all of a "good" time, however some of us enjoy a slower pace, with less aggressive (register, not so slack 66-68* depending on bike) geo and be able to "enjoy" the climbs as well without having to "fight" the slacker HTA preferred for descending at speed.

Now I may not live on the Shore, but I've had enough people come visit who've ridden there and were from there and they were impressed by the steepeness and tech etc of our trails for an island with a max elevation of 1,100ft, known for it's crystal clear water off white sandy beaches.

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pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
3 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 Cooper Quinn

Acknowledge. Fast is fun (it's also relative! I'm not fast but like to ride in a state of trying to go faster). 

Don't acknowledge: 68 will work everywhere on the shore. There are plenty of trails you could make it work - at a serious disadvantage - and others where you'd be foolish to even try. Doesn't matter how fast or slow you are - in the places I'm talking about you're doing everything you can to control speed and go slow enough to make it through the next section of the chute or negotiate the turn at the bottom. 

The shore is just one spot but it's the same throughout coastal BC, and we prioritize that kind of riding while also understanding it's not the same as everywhere else.

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andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
4 months ago
+5 Justin White Pete Roggeman Tjaard Breeuwer IslandLife kcy4130

I think you’re  right to a certain extent. But twitchy steering does not work well going down. It’s easier to adapt to going up with slack head angles than to adapt to going down with a twitchy bike.

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pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
4 months ago
+3 Andy Eunson Larrabee IslandLife

Yes, and also a hell of a lot safer.

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Tjaardbreeuwer
Tjaard Breeuwer
4 months ago
+2 IslandLife Velocipedestrian

Agree with the two points above: it’s a case of asymmetric optimization:

(Generally) steep head angles are easier uphill, and slack HA’s are better downhill.

But the effect of having the wrong set up is not equal:

As the people above mention: too slack on the uphill is annoying, but you compensate reasonably well, and if you don’t, the result is a dab.

Too steep on the descent is much harder to adjust for, and if you get it wrong the result is injury.

Since most mtb rides consist of both uphill and downhill, it makes sense to skew towards the slacker end of the spectrum.

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mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
4 months ago
+3 Andy Eunson Tim Lane Tjaard Breeuwer

Adjustable forks were an interesting band-aid. One of the major drawbacks was that cranking the travel down to make climbing better usually also dropped the bb enough to make pedal strikes a lot more likely. Cue up Andy's comment upstream about bike design being like tugging on a spiderweb. Also, during the Peak Adjustable Fork years, the bike company I was working for had a pretty broad range of riders involved in proto-mule testing. Every one of them reported that the bike felt "worse" or "slower" when climbing with the fork cranked down. This was something that we never really managed to get to the bottom of in a kinematic-design sense, but the fact that several riders in diverse terrain and differing levels of speed and fitness all reported the same effect was interesting. So, steepening the seat angle to aid climbing while also steepening the head angle and dropping the bb, but then finding out that it didn't actually make anyone ride uphill any faster, became something that the engineers wanted no part of. Once again, back to plucking at the spiderweb.

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andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
4 months ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

Not to mention reaching the bottom of Tunnel Vision thinking the 160 Talas needed an overhaul because it felt like the 120 on my hardtail only to discover, oh, I left it down. Again.

I never figured out the slower when dropped thing. I felt it a bit. I thought it may have been the fact that a dropped fork felt the same in a proprioceptive way as it felt like you had fork dive from braking. Who knows. Once a long time ago I was coasting down the Lions Gate bridge and not paying much attention to what I was doing. I decided to slow down a bit and pulled on the brakes a bit but my fingers weren’t on the levers so I just squished the grips. It felt like a sped up. Weird. More weird was that I could replicate that feeling knowing that I was squeezing only the grips.

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just6979
Justin White
4 months ago
+1 Andy Eunson

Just felt slower, or actually was slower?

The worse is probably because dropping the fork pulled weight forward, and sagged close to like 45%, much closer to those old not-very-linear air springs' "wall of progression". At least that's what I felt: it wasn't just a shorter fork, it was a badly tuned shorter fork. The final TALAS system attempted to address that with the air chamber also changing size with the travel, but alas TALAS 5 never graced my bikes. Looks like RS did air chamber manipulations, maybe also causing the shorter mode to be saggy but progressive.

Travel adjusts all lacked mid-stroke support in short mode?! That's why they sucked! But everything allegedly has mid-stroke support now... calling it: travel adjust is making a comeback!

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juanhernandez
juanhernandez
1 month ago
0

Because they all drank the same cool aide.  I see this problem with many 'riders' in their respective concubines.

Oh my, I have so much to read and get mad about. 

1.5M!  Dirbag-sheek. 

GIVE ME BY CRANK DOWN FORK BACK.  I need it for the climbs tomorrow.

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JSW07
JSW07
4 months ago
0

Pivot, has done a great job of designing bikes that fit the purpose rather than the trend. My switchblade has a 75 degree seat angle and a 65 degree ht angle (66 stock but I put in a 1 degree angle set) neither are steep or slack by today's standards but there really is no need for anything else where I live.

With all that said, you have to hand it to brands like Pivot for not building a bike soley based on trends.

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XXX_er
XXX_er
4 months ago
0

I bought a new bike after 15 yrs i liked the 1X with a chain that never comes off/ steep seat/ slack head angle/ wide bars/ the long WB/ upright position

then i bought a new bike with a steeper seat/ slacker head/ wider bars/ longer WB and a motor  all which I liked

call me trendy but these trends seem to work for me but i supose ymmv in which case you are so lucky,

you don't have to buy new bikes

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andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
3 months, 4 weeks ago
0

Just wait until we all want 155mm cranks and need new frames with 2 cm more bb drop.

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syncro
Mark
3 months, 4 weeks ago
0

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