Wolf Tooth GeoShift 2 NSMB AndrewM (4).JPG
EDITORIAL

Parked Projects: GeoShift -2° Vs. Budget Hardtails

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major (Unless Noted)
Date Apr 3, 2022
Reading time

The best laid Schemes fo' Bikes an' then...

I've had to plant or postpone some projects because of my injury this year, and the one I was most excited about was an at-least-monthly series looking at budget hardtails. To qualify the term 'budget' here, I'm talking about bikes placed between one-thousand and two-thousand Canuck-bucks, with decent pedals, even after all the price increases that have come down in '22. Rigs like the 1400 CAD Devinci Riff 29, Brodie Bike's 1200 CAD Khan Sport, the 1200 CAD Lava Dome or 1500 CAD Mahuna from Kona, and maybe a 1800 CAD Giant Fathom 2 with their in-house suspension fork and 150mm dropper post. My plan was to be riding Blue, Purple, and easier Black trails on hardtail bikes under 2K CAD, brand new.

I learned a lot from riding the Rocky Mountain Growler 20 in 2019, with 29x2.6" tires, and their previous-generation Growler 40 with 27-Plus, the year before and I was stoked for the opportunity to highlight other entry-level, trail-worthy, mountain bikes. As I've mentioned before, good geometry is free, and the tweaks bike companies can make to drive a better trail experience without sacrificing the flexibility and usability of their bread-and-butter bikes. This highlights the second facet to this recurring concept. In addition to riding the bikes bone stock, given that they all have 44/56 headtubes of similar lengths, I was planning to install the same Wolf Tooth Geoshift -2° headset in every bike and experience the difference.

Project GeoShift Kona Lava Dome NSMB AndrewM.jpg

The 1200 CAD Kona Lava Dome. Photo: Konaworld

Project GeoShift Brodie Khan Sport NSMB AndrewM.jpg

The 1200 CAD Brodie Khan Sport. Photo: Brodie Bikes

Project GeoShift Giant Fathom 2 NSMB AndrewM.jpg

The 1800 CAD Giant Fathom 2. Photo: Giant Bicycles

The headset wasn't the end either. With my trusty tub of Slickoleum, fresh rubber for the front, and proper rotors for the poor sleds clod with the 'Resin-Only' versions, I had grand plans to push the performance well past stock with the most limited investment possible. I'd take the time to lube the shitty cable-and-housing combos that most of these bikes come stock with, and report when it's actually the good stuff out of the box, and perform any other sweat-only upgrades that would drive up performance out of the box. I'm getting positively fired up thinking about it.

The good thing about waiting another year, is that it gives companies a bit more time to get on board with modern mountain bike geometry for their budget hardtails. Look at that Giant Fathom, 66° HTA with a 130mm fork, 465mm Reach on a size large with a 75° STA. It's build around the current trend in fork offsets (44mm on a 29er) and the stays are a very reasonable 435mm. It's nicely done and it looks fantastic too. But, how about for next year we trickle down the real trail bike geo to the lower-priced Talon lineup, where the otherwise well-equipped Talon 1 is looking pretty prime at 1200 CAD.

Wolf Tooth GeoShift 2 NSMB AndrewM (3).JPG

This is the Wolf Tooth GeoShift -2° angleset that's just waiting for a slew of budget hardtails to roll through my little home shop. It's going to get worked.

Marin SQ24 Claire Headset Press NSMB AndrewM.JPG

I know that sounds like a lot of headset pressing, and re-pressing, but my secret weapon is a kid who thinks pressing headsets is the most satisfying job in a shop.

Value

There is a lot of conversation about how expensive mountain biking has become and also how amazing budget mountain bikes are now compared to years past, so which is it? I like to lean on Kona here since so many of their model names have carried over through the years. Take the Lava Dome I mention above. In 2002 a fresh LD would have run you 650 USD and now, twenty years later, a Lava Dome will is 950 USD | 1200 CAD.

In '02 your fresh Lava Dome had a 71° HTA, 26x1.95" Tioga tires that were very sketchy even for the time, an absolute POS 80mm RockShox Judy TT elastomer fork (still featuring rubber boots on the stanchions, a practice that RockShox had ditched years earlier with their premium forks) basic Avid rim brakes, and a Shimano Deore drivetrain in the days when that was the bare minimum to achieve any amount of off-road durability.

In '22 your fresh Lava Dome still has 9-speeds! But now it includes what has really become an offroad expectation in the form of a clutch derailleur to keep the chain in place and quiet the drivetrain down. There is also a 1x system with a narrow-wide front ring to keep the chain from derailing and the MicroShift drivetrain delivers a solid range of gear options with a 9-46t cassette and a 28t chainring. It has rideable WTB Trailboss 29x2.25" tires, and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. Certainly, the basic 100mm Suntour coil fork isn't going to deliver equal performance to riders in every weight bracket and the geometry needs to take a step toward the current Honzo lineup but I think it's impressive how much more capable the bike is 20-years later for only 300 USD more, which essentially covers inflation over that period.

Shimano Deore 12spd NSMB AndrewM (1).JPG

Whether it's the current 10, 11, or 12 speed options it's very hard to argue against the shifting and manufacturing quality of Shimano's bread-and-butter Deore drivetrains.

Box 9 Drivetrain NSMB AndrewM.jpg

I do also have quite a bit of experience with clutched Box and MicroShift drivetrains and I'd consider either a solid choice for a 1-2K CAD mountain bike.

That story plays out over many brands. The 1500 USD you'd spend for that Giant Fathom 2 would be worth 950 USD in 2002 dollars. Never mind the, size-specific, 125-to-170mm dropper post and the very descent Giant Crest 34mm stanchion suspension fork that would stack up against any top-end fork from '02, but you'd have to buy a DH bike to get geometry that touches on what the Fathom provides now. It's, I think, one of the nicest looking bike in Giant's whole lineup and while it pushes up against my 2K CAD window, the return on your dollar for a 12-speed Shimano Deore M6100 bike harkens back to Giant's '90s reputation as a proper value leader.

GeoShift -2°

And for the record, I'd still put an angleset in that Fathom. A static 64° HTA on the a 130mm travel sub-2K CAD, Deore 12spd-equipped hardtail? Heck yes. It would be extra sweet if that Deore M6100 build included the matching four-piston brake system, but if they included those then I'd want some Aeffect R cranks too. I'm just never happy. This brings me to the second part of this project; the 'GeoShift -2°' bit. All of the, size large, budget hardtails I was looking at happened to have the 44/56 headtube in the size range that could be covered by a single Wolf Tooth -2° headset. Coupled with the fact that my daughter's favourite job in the shop is pressing headsets, my plan was as straight-forward as it was time consuming.

After riding each of these bikes stock, I would supervise the pressing of the -2° Angleset. Then I'd ride the bike with it's new geometry. Then I'd whack out the Angleset and my daughter would press back in the stock cups. Does 2° of head angle make that big a difference? I think so but maybe more so on some bikes than others. Is it enough to push a budget hardtail into another realm of viability without other component changes? Probably not, but who's to say without actually trying it. At the very least, it's a real world test of my opinion that most budget hardtails should have more aggressive geometry. It doesn't add cost, it doesn't take away from all around ride-to-the-store use, and it makes them more fun on the trail.

Wolf Tooth Geoshift Headset NSMB AndrewM.JPG

I've had great experiences with Wolf Tooth's standard and GeoShift -1° headsets in the past.

Rift Zone Works Angleset NSMB AndrewM.JPG

I'd also like to acknowledge that Works Components makes an excellent angleset.

9point8 SlackR Angelset NSMB AndrewM.JPG

Three cheers for the 9point8 SLACK-R as well, the only angleset solution for an IS headtube.

On that note, as the 'anglesets in everything' guy, I'll note here that I'm using a Wolf Tooth headset but I've also had great experiences with Works Components, which I've reviewed, and also, for the integrated headset bikes out there, the SLACK-R from 9point8. These are all products I recommend, with the caveat that they all require an extra degree of patience to install compared to a regular headset. That's especially true if we're comparing dropping in IS bearings to the process of aligning and tightening the SLACK-R.

Finally, a big thanks to Pete for putting in the leg work to get a bunch of budget hardtails lined up and of course to brands that committed to coming up with something in a year when selling budget hardtails is absolutely not a problem whether they're awesome bikes or not. And also thank you to Wolf Tooth for sending a -2° GeoShift headset, I have it put aside until I can un-park this project. Very much looking forward to it.

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Comments

velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+15 Andrew Major Niels van Kampenhout Mark Forbes 4Runner1 John Keiffer mrbrett silverbansheebike shenzhe ElBrendo Vik Banerjee Karl Fitzpatrick Timer Derek Baker Tremeer023 Zero-cool

Andrew, I can't wait to read these reviews. And props to Cam and Co for allowing (encouraging) this kind of content.

Chapeau!

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+8 4Runner1 ElBrendo Velocipedestrian Vik Banerjee Karl Fitzpatrick Lynx . Tjaard Breeuwer Zero-cool

Cheers! 

I don’t think you can really write about used bikes (min-max series) without also looking at budget new bikes as the other option.

Lots of support for writing about more-budget mountain biking. It’s great.

Reply

velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0

True. I think I convinced a friend not to buy a used Patrol frame & shock today. It was up against waiting another 18 months to get a 40th birthday new complete.

I love the process of building second hand parts into a great bike, but in his case all it took was asking him to consider the theoretical budget of the new bike vs this frame + shock & pivot service, new wheels, fork and no frame warranty...

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0

But 1.5 years :-O I hope that he at least has a functioning bike that he's able to ride and enjoy right now, if not, no way in hell I'm waiting even 6 months without a bike.

Reply

velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
4 months, 1 week ago
0

His current bike is fine, not exactly what he wants, but it'll do the trick until then.

What I think he needs is a spreadsheet.

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major 4Runner1 mrbrett

Good to see this still on track, think it will be an excellent help to many looking for their first good bike and maybe give other, more experienced riders some ideas for a 2nd bike to keep things spicy, on trails that might be feeling a bit "old".

Was going to question the 1200-2k budget, but guess I haven't kept up with the exchange rates and realised how far the Canadian dollar had dropped since last I needed any, 960-1600 US sounds about right.

Another nice one that should right at the top of that budget is the Trek Rosco, was going to say 7, but just checked and that's had a nice 150-200 price bump since I was looking at it for a friend back in February, so it would have to be the 6. Also of course, if you can get the Marin Pine Mtn1, it's at the top of the budget and no dropper, but think it's deservant of a place, if you can get one.

on the -2 angleset, to me, it's a very region specific thing and as mentioned, also depends on the fork offset on the bike you're going to be trying it on, not sure it'd be so nice on a bike with a say stock 66HTA and 51mm offset fork, but with a 44/46 offset probably nice if you live in a place like you guys do. For me, the ideal all around HT HTA is about 65-66 with a 130mm fork, something that can "handle" most anything going down and not ride/pedal like a pig on the climbs and rollier terrain and feel floppy as hell. Now if you had an older bike with a 68-69 HTA, then for sure, a -2 angleset would definitely bring it more into the all around Trail bike category, no question.

Side note...cool to see you're daughter's so into bikes and likes to help Daddy in the shop fixing and tinkering. Guessing you don't want to be installing an angleset using the ol' 2x4" method then? LOL

Reply

Glass
Glass
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+5 Andrew Major Cr4w cxfahrer silverbansheebike IslandLife Tremeer023 Joseph Crabtree

Slack head angles don't make bikes climb badly when coupled with a steep seat angle.

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+7 Andrew Major Joseph Crabtree silverbansheebike Justin White ElBrendo IslandLife Tremeer023

They climb fine without a steep STA as well. The whole idea that slack HTA's on a HT impair climbing is a myth.

Reply

flattire2
Brian Tuulos
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 PowellRiviera

Try climbing an old hardtail with a 70deg STA and let me know how that works out.  There is a sweet spot of where your butt is relative to the cranks.

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Now you're going to the other end of the extreme here, just like 76> degree ESTA are insane. My sweet spot on where I can find my position relative to the BB is about 74 degrees without needing a setback head since my knee injury, before that needed a setback head because I could push more power. FYI 35.25" inseam, so not short by any means and I also don't like short rears, must be over 430mm, 440mm+ preferably, depending on what bike and wheel/tyre size.

Agree on setback heads/posts, unfortunately, as far I know, 9point8 are the only ones who offer that option.

Reply

Timer
Timer
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Lynx .

Not so sure about that. There is more to climbing than STA and HTA "not mattering".

I have two bikes with similar STA, one is kind of modern and climbs steep stuff ok-ish. The other climbs like a rocketship. The latter is a 26" hardtail with a super short rear center and nearly vertical HTA.

Reply

craw
Cr4w
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0 Justin White Joseph Crabtree

Slack HTAs did affect climbing negatively when our whole weight shift was rearward. i.e. every bike all the time until just a few years ago. But seat tubes got steeper shortening ETT and we added a bunch of reach and occasionally lengthening the rear center. Think about it for a second. If your center of gravity is way behind the BB and fully unweighting the steering axis, of course it's going to steer lazily. Climbing an old DH bike uphill illustrates this pretty convincingly. Now try the same experiment with a modern enduro bike that has all the changes I described including a 64' head angle and it climbs/steers uphill just fine.

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+4 Lynx . Joseph Crabtree shenzhe Andrew Major

There are some people that find slack STAs an issue for climbing and there are other people, like myself, that don't. If I ever wanted a steeper effective STA for a few moments on a particularly steep section of trail I can just slide forward on the saddle moving my CG as needed.

I also really enjoy a light front wheel on climbs as it doesn't get hung up and is easy to lift/place on whatever line I choose.

With steep STAs and/or long CS I end up with rear wheel traction issues on steep climbs that I hate.

Now if you or someone else prefers a steep STA that's great. I am not disputing your choice. However, it's not some universal panacea.

Reply

cyclotoine
cyclotoine
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Cr4w Justin White

I'm over 6'3" and I have the opposite experience. steep STAs and longer chainstays give me traction and the ability to climb things I could rarely get up on short CS and slack STAs.

craw
Cr4w
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Justin White Andrew Major

That is totally height dependent. People at the center of the bell curve might have different feelings about ESTA depending on their proportions. Tall guys 100% of the time prefer a steeper seat angle because they necessarily sit further back at full length and most brands don't vary ESTA or chainstay length by size (until very recently).

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Justin White

How steep is too steep is a question without a universal answer but I think three things are clear:

1) STAs on larger sized frames should be steeper than on smaller sized frames. 

2) Therefore, STAs should be size specific. Like chainstays.

3) There absolutely need to be foreword and backward offset options on dropper posts. Reversible with the same post would be great.

flattire2
Brian Tuulos
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0 Justin White Joseph Crabtree

All frames should have steep seat angles, and now is the time to bring back the 'setback' seatpost design from 20 years ago for those that want to slacken it out.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Cr4w Vik Banerjee Justin White

I don’t think the STA matters. Slack HTA is more stable climbing out of the saddle, in the saddle, etc. Certainly a steep vs. slack HTA will handle differently on climbs. I like the extra stability of a slack and long bike everywhere, but I can appreciate where some people prefer a ‘sportier’ feeling.

Reply

mack_turtle
Jonathan Nolte
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Lynx . Tremeer023

People sit while climbing? This is foreign to me.

Oh, are we talking about gearie bikes again?

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Jonathan Nolte

Jonathan Nolte, still don't get you SS guys, you're CrAzY AF, can't imagine how frustrating it must be to pretty much always be in the wrong gear, LOL. That being said, I do tend to get out off the saddle and punch up little climbs or to crest a longer climb in a harder gear, but I've lost that ability (hopefully only for a little while) when I broke my kneecap, so I've been forced to sit and spin more :-(

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Vik Banerjee

Again I'll reiterate for myself and all of those who like to maybe push a harder gear seated or do lots of pedally type riding over mild to rolling terrain to get to trails or traverse between different places etc., steep STAs BLOW for that sort of stuff. If all you care about is the downs and getting to the top under your own power is just a necessary evil you will tolerate for the downs, then yes, steep STA coupled with super easy gears to spin like a hamsters up the climb.

In case you don't believe, check the stats for world records for seated leg press vs standing squat, it's double for the seated press vs squat, now think about that vs your position on the bike relative to the BB and steep vs slacker STA.

Reply

just6979
Justin White
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Seated leg press takes almost the entire upper body out of the equation. Apples to oranges.

Better comparison might be back squat to front squat.

Reply

flattire2
Brian Tuulos
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0 Mammal Joseph Crabtree

Super steep 78 STA on enduro bikes account for rear suspension sag while climbing.  In my experience, 75 STA on a hardtail is perfect.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Zero-cool Lynx . blackhat

I’ve witnessed some talented wrenches do some amazing things with a 2x4 and a hammer but no, I always use the proper headset press. I’ve owned it for 15+ years and I use it enough that it was worth the convenience of buying one.

My kid likes some jobs. Threading/pressing in bottom brackets, pressing headsets, bleeding brakes. Other stuff she’s content to ‘sort’ through my bins of widgets (bolts, spacers, springs, cogs, etc). 

Angleset is terrain specific for some of these bikes (Giant) but for others I think it’s more universally valid look at how they’d ride with a refresh. I say a hardtail should have a two-degree slacker HTA then the equivalent FS bike (same travel/usage) and some of these are quite steep in the regard. It’s also about adding a conversation/interesting element to looking at the bikes.

Yes, some bikes were bumped out of my target range this year, but I chose to keep it the same. Yes, Marin is also strong in this category. Being budget bikes, and with shortages, it started with a short list of rigs I could borrow locally. Plan was to expand out from there.

Reply

mammal
Mammal
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Vik Banerjee Andrew Major

I've only pressed in two angle sets, but both were with hammer and a piece of 2x4 and both were straight enough for rock and roll. It may not be the preferred method for some, but they don't tend to rotate during installation that way.

Reply

xy9ine
Perry Schebel
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

team BFH here. i smashed a -2 works HS (highly recommended) into a bronson with great success. though i did my time in a shop with pro tools, i've never felt compelled to buy proper tools for home gaming. primarily because i'm a cheap bastard? all my headsets, pf bb's, pivot bearings, etc all see the primitive caress of wood & steel. it's cathartic.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Lynx . Perry Schebel

Hey, what you do in the comfort of your own home… hahahaha. Seriously though, if it works for you repeatedly that's fantastic - I have seen examples of it going very wrong and certainly wouldn't advocate that people do it. Whether you make your own with threaded rod, buy a headset press, or, for most folks, pay someone to press in the 1-2 headsets they purchase a decade I think a press is the best practice.

At the very least. If you're paying a shop, or writing about installing headsets, I think the standard should be a headset press.

Reply

xy9ine
Perry Schebel
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

oh i agree. to be fair, i do appreciate a good tool. i've installed countless headsets back in the day with the very same park tool your kid is wielding above; it's a beauty.

cxfahrer
cxfahrer
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 mrbrett

I just installed my Works 1.5° ZS with a 2x4 and a hammer, it did work even without deep freezing the headset. But I would not recommend it, many things can go wrong. But they don't tend to turn, at least :).

I was a bit sceptical about the effect, but coming from a 65 on my Capra it really worked well with the 1.5° for 63.5 now. Much better fast cornering.

My main hardtail has 64° from the start, and it always felt strange when changing from hardtail to Capra on the trails.

I still have another hardtail with a 70° ha from 2008 or so, with a wobbly 9mm Tower fork, sometimes it's really fun to ride.

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Is the 64 dge HTA on the HT unsagged? If so the sagged HTA will be more like 65.5-66 deg depending on the fork.

Reply

cxfahrer
cxfahrer
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Yes I know, unseated. But I run not much sag (140mm).

The equation is not true in every situation! E.g. riding down a steep rock slab, where you would not sag in the rear with a full suspension bike anyway. In every situation where the riding dynamics are not influenced by a sagging rear suspension, it does make no difference - even in fast steep corners. But when pushing hard into the corners with the hardtail you notice the steepening hta pretty soon!

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 cxfahrer Michael Klein Lynx .

You know, if your hardtail had a rigid fork then sag wouldn't ever be an issue?

I'll see myself out... you know I'm allowed one comment about rigid forks per article and I like to get it in there.

Lynx
Lynx .
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Honestly, never bought a fancy one, but did make a fairly nice DIY, but still never use it on any of my bikes, just whack them in with the 2x4, but don't recommend people do that unless they're quite experienced as lot of the time they'll be timid and it'll go in crooked.

Agree and a little disagree on the HTA on HT vs FS, think it should be proportionate to travel as well, starting at .75-1 degree on a 80-100mm HT and going up to 2 degrees on the longer end of travel. Also personally, I hate a HT with a long travel fork, I personally just can't match/handle/take the stuff a 140mm> fork can.

Wasn't saying I was against the idea of trying the angleset on each bike, hope at least that's not how it came across, was just saying, region/areas specific and also rider specific and doing that experiment gives people some ideas, which is cool.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Lynx .

I've made a DIY one out of a threaded rod before. I've owned mine so long I couldn't tell you what I paid for it or what it cost per headset. Honestly, don't tell my friends, but I think it's paid for itself (and the labour) in last-minute "can you press a headset tonight?" beers over the years. 

Almost as lucrative as my always-perfect, published free on the internet, Magura brake bleed process which I've done one too many times in the almost pitch black, on my front stoop, whilst trying not to wake my sleeping child. Friends. Who needs 'em?!

Reply

hongeorge
hongeorge
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Cr4w

As someone who has never pressed in an angle adjust headset - are you manually trying to line up the headset so it's centred in the headtube? What kind of tolerance is there for less than perfect centring?

Reply

velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+5 Andrew Major cxfahrer T0m Joseph Crabtree Justin White

I've pressed in three... Yes.

A string from the BB and the seat tube help with making guide marks.

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+4 T0m Justin White mrbrett Andrew Major

I've pressed in a few Works Component headsets. I've never had one go in right the first time. My usual process is:

  1. Mark Centre on headtube
  2. Line up cup
  3. Press in
  4. Note how far off the cup has moved [they tend to rotate]
  5. Smash out
  6. Re-position off centre enough to account for rotation
  7. Press in
  8. If close enough leave it. If not close enough repeated #5-#7 until it is

My worst cup install was 3 tries I think. I'm not shooting for "perfect". Working in aerospace manufacturing made me appreciate nothing is "perfect" so I just ask myself is it good enough? 

Once installed I haven't had any issues with a WC headset. I wouldn't worry about the process too much, but I would give yourself some extra time vs. a normal headset.

Reply

mrbrett
mrbrett
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Vik Banerjee Lynx . kcy4130

I have a really dirty secret. I'm not that ashamed but generally don't share this info. Please don't tell anyone.

I use a 2" thick block of super hard wood (like good quality oak) and a hammer rather than a press whenever I'm installing an angleset. Or even new headsets that aren't of the angled variety these days.

Like push it as far as I can with my hands, lined up perfectly - check 4 times to make it totally straight (painter's tape on the head tube/top tube with a pen line marking center). Then bearings out, block of wood on top, and just tap that thing together. Doesn't take that much force - if it did then you have a frame or headset tolerance issue anyway. There's a distinctive sound when the headset cup is fully seated in a ZS44-56 but you could just tap it most of the way in and finish the job with a press.

Wolf Tooth gives you a 3-D printed eccentric adapter these days that can go under the block of wood if you're squeamish. Have not ruined any Cane Creek 40-70-110, CK, WT, or WC headsets with this method. Not the right approach for the kind of person that uses a pressfit BB remover tool rather than a drift + hammer.

Do you want to use this troglodyte-variable-swing-press-method for a super $$$ carbon frame? Probably not. But I doubt you're pressing an angleset into one of those, let alone working on it yourself. There's a great propensity to getting a cup crooked, if you're not experienced with basic tools, so also not likely a good method for a person that just watched 3 Berm Peaks and now figures they're a bike mechanic too.

Edit: Just saw Lynx post about a block of wood and a hammer below. I'm not the only one.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Vik Banerjee Velocipedestrian

Yeah, perfect to my eye certainly isn’t aerospace precision.

I find throwing the cups in the freezer lessons chance or the cup walking. 

Extra time is a great recommendation. But, I mean, I say that about every headset install (one cup at a time, etc). I’ve seen some horrifying frame damage not to mention folder headset skirts. Never install anything pressfit without 3x more time available than you need worst case.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Vik Banerjee

It’s got to be ~ perfect. Usually it’s one and done. Usually.

The worst is when everything is going in fine and then the cup you’re pressing (always one at a time) slips.

Just ask Jeff. My Honzo did not cooperate when we were shooting for my Works Components review.

Reply

craw
Cr4w
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Lynx . Timer Joseph Crabtree

That's a good point. Maybe we could stop producing new axle standards for a year and spend some time working on a system that lines up headsets in the frame and steerer/stems on the bike. It's so silly to have to eyeball these things.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Mark Forbes

Hahaha, it only matters for Anglesets! Now that most stuff is 44/56 Zero Stack you don’t even have to line up visible graphics.

Reply

ohio
ohio
4 months, 2 weeks ago
-1 Joseph Crabtree

Yeah, I vote for keyed stems and steerers too. We may get them by default along with internal routing systems, but that's not really a tradeoff I'm excited about.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 blackhat

Ugh. I see it on a road bike but on a mountain bike how many times have you crashed and had your perfectly torqued stem rotate on your steerer tube preventing other potential failures? Put a different way, have I seen more bent (aluminum) and broken (carbon) bars on,  DH rigs (having at the same time seen significantly fewer DH rigs) because people are crashing them harder and faster than single crown Enduro bikes, or because the stems are hard-mounted to the top crown and it takes less force bend/break a bar than it does to sheer 4x M5 bolts?

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fartymarty
fartymarty
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Velocipedestrian Andrew Major

Andrew, for me the "perfect" HT HA would be 65 degrees.  -2 takes it to 63 and +2 back to 67.  Add some slidey dropouts and its a winner.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Cr4w blackhat Jonathan Nolte

This is off-brand, I know, but sometimes I wish PF30 had caught on. You know, just for hardtails that were never going to come with sliders anyway.

Sliders > eccentric. Eccentric BB > nothing. The proper budget bikes would have had 24mm spindles anyway so wouldn’t even need a new crankset for the conversion.

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Carmel
Carmel
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Justin White

What is the 3d-printed looking part in the Wolftooth headset for? I guess just for shipping?

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Justin White

Just for shipping. Considered removing it for the photos but it seems like part of the current on-hold story.

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joseph-crabtree
Joseph Crabtree
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 mrbrett Andrew Major Carmel

Mine had an angle machined in to help align the headset press with the -2 degree headset bearings.

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jgshinton
John Hinton
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 mrbrett Andrew Major

I think it's supposed to help install without rotating the cup - might be wrong though.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0

That piece is just packaging that holds the bearing/crown race together. The headset does include some plastic press adapters that have a notch to help align the cup.

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4Runner1
4Runner1
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Velocipedestrian Andrew Major

Bookmarking this one for later. I’m hoping  to pick up a Kobain Deore 12spd this fall. The winter hardtail intrigues me. Also, I’m a total beginner in terms of wrenching my own bikes. So starting on a (relatively) affordable second bike is more appealing then potentially buggering up my Ripmo. 

Keep this stuff coming! Nsmb is better than ever, btw.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 4Runner1 Lynx .

Cool! There are things that you absolutely don't want to screw up - like always open the master cylinder before pushing back your pistons to replace pads. But for most other DIY wrenching jobs if you take your time and learn to know when you're over your head it'll go great. Having a good local shop/mechanic that doesn't mind taking over from where you got to (for the odd times it happens) is a key and, of course, reach out anytime. 

My biggest piece of tool advice for people going down the self-wrench path is to invest in a pair of Knipex parallel pliers (adjustable wrench). They come in many sizes, but I only own a 2"/52mm for home use. They make so many jobs easier and also make it way less likely that you'll screw something up compared to a standard adjustable wrench and even an open box wrench.

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jonathan_fo
Jonathan Fournier
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major 4Runner1

Ive got a Kobain 12s coming sometime this summer. Itll be a nice do it all bike to roam aroung the easier trails here with the kiddos. And most likely hoon the pilot skills on the harder trails.

It would have been nice to see the Kobain 11s here too :)

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Lynx . 4Runner1

The Kobain is a great-looking frame with good geometry and I love that there's enough value-added going on that it qualifies as made-in-Canada. Unfortunately, the 11s just squeaks outside of my 1-2K CAD limit that I'd hard set so that I wouldn't cheat. Either bike is a great value for what it is (...just need some machined-in-Canada sliding dropouts... hahahah) that I'd absolutely recommend to a riding buddy. 

A couple of notes. 

1) Standard but have to say it - ditch the crappy 'Resin Only' rotors ASAP. RT-26 rotors are for basic bike commuting not mountain biking.

2) Double-check the spec before you leave the shop. Technically the Deore M6100 chain is a Shimano HG+ (Shimano 12spd) specific product ("Optimized to work with HYPERGLIDE+ cassette sprockets and DYNAMIC CHAIN ENGAGEMENT+ chainrings") and Devinci is listing a SunRace 12spd 11-51t cassette as the spec. Presumably, the RaceFace Ride crankset is equipped with a RaceFace Shimano 12-spd specific ring. 

I'm not saying this shifting combo doesn't work (presumably it was done to jailbreak the rear hub) but I think the best practice here would have been to combine the Deore M6100 shifter and derailleur, SunRace cassette, a standard N/W chainring, and a non-Shimano 12spd chain like a KMC. The system certainly won't have the shifting advantages of HG+. 

------

I still think the 12s is a better value over the 11s mainly for the fork. The RockShox 35 Silver is actually a great product for the price-point but I think Devinci should have chosen to spec the SoloAir version. Coil forks are great until you're outside the narrow performance window for the stock spring.

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andrewc
andrewc
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer

I was lucky to snap up a 2021 SLX model which fortunately has all-shimano drivetrain bits. 

The brakes are the only real complaint I have out-of-the-box as the rest of the bike pretty close to min-maxed (cheap rear-hub aside). 

I took it out to Burnaby Mountain for a maiden ride last weekend and I had a blast. I've only ridden FS but was pleasantly surprised with how capable and confident it was on the steeper trails.

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andrewc
andrewc
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I actually just bought a Kobain SLX last week! I think you'll love it. It's been a blast so far.

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just6979
Justin White
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 silverbansheebike Mammal Andrew Major Michael Klein Lynx . Joseph Crabtree

"it doesn't take away from all around ride-to-the-store use"

This needs to be said more often, and maybe extended to just plain "all around use".

A common argument against slacker head angles is that it slows down the steering which makes it less than ideal for tight XC racing (this itself is arguable, but we'll give it to them for now), but those arguments also ignore that many/most buyers of these kind of bikes usually aren't immediately going out and trying to make a paycheck in XC racing.

Budget bikes should be about fun, value, and flexibility (which is really a form of value). Steep fronted XCO-race-oriented hardtails are great fun for many [experienced] riders, but for new riders (generally where the budget bikes are aimed), the flexibility of a less racy geo is so much more valuable.

I can definitely see this little project, when it is done, really showing the validity of "geometry is free".

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Justin White

Cheers. This sums up very succinctly my feelings on the subject.

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Lynx
Lynx .
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0 Andrew Major Joseph Crabtree Justin White cheapondirt

Justin White - You keep on forgetting to put the customary IMHO (in my humble opinion) in your posts, you keep stating stuff you think as fact, it's not, it's just your opinion, based on your beliefs!

IMHO, I think that bikes, especially FS with HTAs slacker than 66 degrees, unless being ridden on "shore" type trails, feel like crap, floppy and nasty on flat, rolling, pedally stuff, or just in general if it's not super steep. MY idea of fun is being the one accomplishing getting me and the bike down the hill, not having the easiest of experiences and letting the bike do most of the work and you don't need all that slack to accomplish that.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Justin White Michael Klein

Lynx, my counter to this is that if we're talking about bikes for folks that aren't certain what they don't know then too-slack will always be better than too steep. The default should be slow and stable. Whether that's a static 66°, 64°, 67.5°, sure open to debate. 

I think instead of the default being an unsagged 68° we could at least agree on 66° and give riders the ability to angleset 2° in either direction?

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Lynx
Lynx .
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Andrew, I'd give you 66 as the default HTA on your avg TRAIL HT, but slacker than that, that's to personal preference and rider locale.

Maybe it's because I own and rode the "first" proper 29er bike, well version 1.3 I think it was by then, but with a 72 degree HTA and 73 ESTA and 16.9" stays that everything else feels pretty stable to me and I don't like to get too much "help". Even taking it to a 69 HTA made it feel SO much more stable and less twitchy. It was my first bike with that short stays and the steering from the rear, sure did feel super weird ands scary, the thing would dart if you just though about moving, especially on the road and maybe that's sort of influenced my riding style/likes - took me a long time to mesh and understand the more weight forwarded bias the first FS Banshee took and setup.

[edited to correct geo]

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Justin White Lynx .

That’s my point, you have a developed understanding of what you like. And, I think it’s fair to say, what you like is steeper than what would best serve the average mountain biker? 

Certainly we write from a North Shore perspective but I could see these bikes settling around 65-static / 66-sagged and I think that would be great for the average mountain biker. How much difference does it really make on the same machine? That’s where Project GeoShift is interesting to me.

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Lynx
Lynx .
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Yeah, I guess so, actually just had to edit and update my reply as the HTA on the XLs is stated as 72 degrees on the Surly geo chart :-D 

Still feel that it benefits people to not start on just the easiest damn thing, like being given a car with all the bells and whistles, that basically does everything for you as you get your license, better to start off on something reliable and not as capable to build your skills on. Just like I think most should spend the first at least year on good flats to learn good technique - I didn't and regret it big time, I was a big time clipless crutch bunny hopper etc and now being forced to relearn cause I can't ride clipless as of yet :-(

just6979
Justin White
4 months, 2 weeks ago
-1 mrbrett

Not sure where I implied anything in that comment was 100% indisputable fact. Didn't know I was supposed to label opinions. Should I add citation footnotes next time?

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Lynx . Justin White

You know, next time I see Niels in person I'm definitely going to ask about having a footnotes option for each comment. I'd love to leave brief comments and then there's just a little 'see footnotes' box you can tick that opens up a pile of links and musings. 

I have to ask him in person or I'm not sure he'll believe I'm fully serious. Or, at least 4/5 serious.

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silverbansheebike
silverbansheebike
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 cheapondirt Andrew Major

Very much looking forward to this once it comes out. I think it follows a similar philosophy to the min-max series but may be better for those who don't have an eye for the used market.

Has anyone ever had trouble with anglesets becoming unaligned after a crash or anything like that? Ive always been skeptical, but also considering using one more and more lately.

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cheapondirt
cheapondirt
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 silverbansheebike Andrew Major

Agreed. The used FS market is still too hot to compete against new hardtails - unless the buyer is savvy and mechanically inclined.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 blackhat

Savvy more than anything. I've seen many a mechanically inclined person flummoxed by the fact that their main pivot bolt really shouldn't be seized as one with their bearings... especially on a carbon frame where bringing a blow torch into the relationship just doesn't seem like a solid option.

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velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Never had one change alignment once pressed. Been using Works for ~8 years.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 cheapondirt

Never had a traditional pressed-in angleset walk in any situation or heard of such a thing happening otherwise.

I will say from talking to other riders that if you have an IS headtube - which requires the SLACK-R - then read the instructions a few times. There are riders (two) who've contacted me about slipping issues, but it's a more complicated product to install and there's a process to follow. 

------

Yes, the used market is nuts. That's why my min-max series is "buy the bike you already own." In my sad bike shop experience, so many people buy bikes that need so much work that just to make them safe they're in new-bike territory. It's what inspired my piece Buyer Beware

Which, I mean, is maybe worth reading just for this photo of my friend Dale, ironically on one of the horrible bushing-Banshee's that predated the fantastic V2 frames like the Spitfire featured in min-max series. 

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Masacrejoe
Michael Klein
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Justin White

Problem with budget bikes having modern geo, is that you don't need to buy a new bike.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 BadNudes

Hahahaha. To quote The Wire, “sounds like one of them good problems.”

I’d love to see more folks upgrading their bikes instead of replacing them outright.

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tripsforkidsvancouver
tripsforkidsvancouver
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Velocipedestrian

Just installed a UK Works Components 2 degree angleset on my basically mint 2014 Kona Taro (one of the earlier versions of the long reach, low, slack-ish hardtail generation). Like a new bike! Highly recommended. #winningthebikepartspandemic. 6"3 with 36" inseam long legs and tranforms the bike with a 0.5 degree steepening of seat angle for tall guys.

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Jotegir
Lu Kz
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Looking forward to the "pimp your ride using nothing but slickoleum and other bodily fluids" series!

Edit: what the hell is a purple trail??

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Lynx . Tjaard Breeuwer

I can't be the only person who thinks we need more colours in the trail rating system?

The problem, as I see it, is that as what has qualified as a 'black' trail has gotten relatively easier there has been pressure on the network, or at least discussion, to re-badge some more aggressive Black trails as Double-Blacks. Then there becomes the issue that, with no actual change in sports surface, a trail network can end up appearing (on a map) as unbalanced compared to its previous state.

Where our local trail network used to have a number of trails signed as 'Blue-Black' they were then converted to black trails based on the standard of rating a trail to its hardest mandatory feature. Now there are some Black trails that are exponentially easier than others, and some folks argue - rightfully - that this can create dangerous situations or at least really degrade the user experience, and I think it leads to a lot of braiding from riders who can ride a certain level of trail in their mind and are unwilling to walk mandatory features that are too difficult for them. 

I think Purple is an important answer to this issue. 7th Secret - Purple. Expresso - Purple. Crinkum-to-Kirkford - Purple. Forever After - Purple. 

Anyways, obviously surrounded this post in a big bubble with IMHO flashing on repeat.

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Masacrejoe
Michael Klein
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Would magenta be harder or easier than purple? And how many cm of drop would determine the difference? Marine blue and turqoise are easy to define though.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Lynx . BadNudes

You know, for me, it’s all just part of an endless effort to get more Lilac into the mountainbikesphere. 

———

But I mean, purple is just what I call them - I had no issues with Blue-Black as a designation. I mean, it is something I think is worthy of a serious discussion.

There are many features other than drops that I think separate a current easier Black from a harder one. On the Shore I think mean elevation loss per metre is a good predictor as is TTF/meter. 

Anyway, I know it’s not a simple discussion to have but I do think the alternative will play out with some current black trails, which have always been black trails, being pushed into a double black rating and then the network, or parts of the network appearing over-saturated with advanced lines.

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Lynx
Lynx .
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Nothing to do with your guys trails, but I can really see Andrews point when more "regular" Black trails get re-labelled Double Black and then when you look on a map, holy crap, look at all those super advanced trails in that area, we need to either build easier ones or dumb some of those down and you know full well what the answer to that will be - easiest option, right, dumb them down.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Michael Klein Lynx .

Yeah, so without sounding like a conspiracy theorist or paranoid, there are some trails I really like, that have existed unchanged, at least in terms of difficulty and intention, for almost two decades.

[aside]Meanwhile, I don't think anyone can argue that changes in bikes - suspension, tires, geometry, brakes - haven't made riding them easier, or at least have made riding them much easier at the speeds and in the conditions they would have been ridden in the past. I recognize that speed itself is a TTF and that's especially true on trails where you make your own flow. [/aside]

And I genuinely can foresee one of them being reclassified as a double black, and then one of them being repurposed using that as a justification. I've actually meant to write a MEATengines piece about it so that if it happens I can look really oracular.

--------

And, I'll note here that I'd love to see more Green & Blue trails as well. I love riding with my daughter and certainly I'd love for their to be more terrain she could ride. But, I think there's plenty of room in our second-and-third growth front-country forests to add lines rather than always (usually) cannibalizing things that came before and are still loved, used, and maintained.

ThadTheRad
Jake Smith
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Just installed a Wolftooth -2 degree headset on my Kona Woo this past weekend. Overthinking the alignment of it was a bit stressful but overall the installation went quite smoothly. The 3D printed installation spacers were very nice to use and such a thoughtful detail. The relatively low stack height was appreciated as well, just barely had enough steerer tube length on a used fork to fit a BMX stem with low stack height on it without any spacers. 

Really taking a lot of self control to not buy a 1 degree EC34 Works headset for my partner's 2011 Trek Fuel if only for the sake of satisfying my need to tinker with stuff. But if we're running a 120mm 27.5" fork on a bike designed for a 120mm 26" fork it only makes sense to try and shave every single millimeter and degree where it counts, right? Right? It's not just my desire to tinker and change things that will probably go unnoticed by a beginner mountain biker, right?

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Tinkerers will tinker. 

.

Did you get your -2° from Wolf Tooth directly or from a stockist? I've had a few messages from folks lamenting they've been out for a while.

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Ripbro
Ripbro
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Those Tioga tires were a step up from the 'scratch' and 'sniff' tire combo that came on my first kona. Back in 2001, everyone had upgrade to Kenda Nevegals lol.

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4Runner1
4Runner1
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I had Tioga 2.3’s on my ‘99 (2000?) Holeshot. Hands down scariest tires I’ve owned. I’m still scarred. Literally.

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just6979
Justin White
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Smoke & Dart or WTB Velociraptors were the popular choices around me in the early 2000s. I'm actually pumped that S&D are being made again, makes my retro build that much more period correct with that rubber mounted on silver STX-RC hubbed wheels!

I did have that full-tan Dart Magic on that bike for a while, but not sure if I want to relive all the damn questions about it even if it was available!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Justin White

My first real mountain bike was STX-RC equipped from stem to stern!

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Lynx
Lynx .
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Were Nevegals out that early, thought it was later than that. Sadly they were one of the few options out there to offer some sort of decent grip, but they rolled like pigs.

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Ripbro
Ripbro
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0

You know I think your right. Nevegals were big later 2007 ish

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D4nderson
D4nderson
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

"buy the bike you already own" is such a refreshing thing. I love reading all these articles as they often contain exactly what's going through my head. I was flip flopping on a -1 degree wolftooth angle set for my bike (65.9 to 64.9 on a 29er) then thought if I was putting one in why not go full -2 degree. The only thing stopping me is concern about stress to the head tube, I haven't seen anyone having issues with angle sets and broken head tubes, but one of those things that eats at my brain. The other thing I saw some mention is making it too slack, would it take away from the snappy handling enough to cause regret? This content just keeps on giving! Im interested to see what develops with the hardtails!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 D4nderson Velocipedestrian

Hardtail or FS Bike? Are you over-forking at the same time or running the stock travel amount? Do you like the current seated pedaling position?

There are lots of questions beyond current v. future HTA. 

------

That said, I can only go off my experience, but I think any bike where you're actually thinking "I wish this was slacker" you're better to go -2° and get a real change. The difference is much more notable. 

On bikes where you're like "I wonder if I'd enjoy this bike if it was a bit slacker, it's really great now," like when I tested the Banshee Titan, a 1° is probably the perfect experimentation point. 

I mean, AB testing you almost need both, but if I was making the investment it would be straight to the -2°.

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D4nderson
D4nderson
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Lynx .

Good points. It’s full suspension and stock 160 so no over forking or other modifications. I felt it was ok but started riding black trails last year and started to feel a bit out gunned on super steep stuff, could honestly be that my riding skill needs to catch up vs trying to modify angles to make myself more comfortable.

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Lynx
Lynx .
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Hum, well maybe there's my disconnect from most on here, I can feel the change in HTA if I swap from a 2.3" to a 2.5" tyre, and need to adjust my saddle angle. Also, depending on if I'm wearing padded shorts and which ones, I have to adjust my saddle height, millimeters make the world of difference to me in this regard, if I need to adjust more than 3mm it's a "mile off".

This being said, would have to agree with Andrew on this one, most won't easily feel a degree change to the betterment if the bike really needs to be slackened.

"That said, I can only go off my experience, but I think any bike where you're actually thinking "I wish this was slacker" you're better to go -2° and get a real change. The difference is much more notable.
On bikes where you're like "I wonder if I'd enjoy this bike if it was a bit slacker, it's really great now," like when I tested the Banshee Titan, a 1° is probably the perfect experimentation point."

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Jimothy.benson
Jimothy.benson
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

This article is such a great resource to forward to a friend who has sought one out as their 'bike-knowledgeable guy' for advice on getting a proper bike to get into the sport. Thank you!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I hope once I’m pedaling we can make it a properly helpful series. Even then, we can only hit on so many bones.

If you hit the Gear Forum with a budget and hold people accountable for their suggestions - “what new hardtail would you buy for 1500 CAD AND why?” - I think you’ll be impressed with the level of feedback you get.

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Shoreloamer
Greg Bly
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

Luv this . Much needed article to get new people into the sport.  

I would suggest riding the bikes stock , but with a modest investment in a 7 inch rotor and metallic pads . 

After a getting to know the bike . I believe each 25 cms of travel is equivalent of about one degree of HTA.  So an 150 mm fork verses a 100 mm fork would give you a slightly higher BB and a 2 degree slacker HTA . 

Looking forward to next write up .  

Over forked I would be stoked to ride any of these hardtails .

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 Greg Bly

I have the provisions to over-fork, upgrade rotors, etc. But, I'm going to leave how far to take each bike to a case-by-case basis where I'm planning to install the angleset in all of them. 

Lots of opportunities to min-max any of these bikes though. All the frames look great.

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jason@bondtraining
jason@bondtraining
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

Andrew,  I like the prospect of this article and look forward to seeing how it plays out.  My quiver is missing a hardtail and this price point is in my budget.

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stinhambo
Steven Hambleton
4 months, 1 week ago
0

I'd love to see how you get on with a Norco Storm 1 with a dropper post as standard, tubeless compatible wheels, tapered headset and 11 speed Deore groupset! 

It comes with a 100mm Suntour fork but wouldn't you need to increase the fork to 120mm travel if you're slackening out the front end by 2 degrees?

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 months, 1 week ago
0

Regarding the angle change + over forking - not necessarily. 

It depends on a bike's stock geo but I've certainly installed anglesets in bikes whilst leaving everything else the same and had great results and I think I'll be good with most of these machines. One of the cool things about installing the headset in multiple bikes (every bike) will be having this conversation firsthand. I have a 120mm fork I can use if I think an over-forking is called for and it will be interesting to see if/when & how often I go that route.

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