Rift Zone Works Angleset NSMB AndrewM (2).JPG
TWO-MINUTE REVIEWS

Works Components Angleset

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Apr 2, 2019

Recycle, Reduce, Reuse

The Works Components Angleset isn't made of unicorn tears or re-purposed rainbows. Its cups get pressed in one at a time just like every other headset on the market. If your bike sucks, then your bike sucks, and changing the head tube angle by one or two degrees in either direction isn't going to change it.

With that disclaimer out of the way, there's more than a few folks reading this for whom the Works Components headset is going to be the best value product in mountain biking today. Over-fork your hardtail without drastically shortening the reach, breathe new life into an old favourite bike instead of replacing it, or make a budget bike more North Shore capable - for under 80 USD | 105 CAD.

Works Components Angleset AndrewM

Grab a couple cold ones - install will take longer than you think and I've needed multiple attempts each time.

Works Components Angleset AndrewM

Jeff thought this process was fun. I smiled much less when I moved the Works from my Honzo ST to my Rift Zone.

Works Angleset NSMB AndrewM.jpg

Once installed the Works Angleset has been faultless. When the time comes, replacement bearings aren't expensive.

Just last week I was chatting with a friend on Fromme about his 26" 2011 Rocky Mountain Slayer 70. It needs tires, a new fork, and a front rim but at the same time it's worth next to nothing on the used market. Compared to a new rig, a 170mm travel 27" Suntour Durolux RC2, 27" ARC rim, wheel build, fresh rubber and a Works -2° Angleset are a bargain. Thanks to forward thinking 'Straight Up' geometry, the seat angle is already touching on the modern realm, and it will even be a bit steeper with the angleset installed.

Throw in a full complement of pivot bearings, SunRace 9spd 11-40t cassette, Shimano XT 11-spd clutch derailleur, narrow-wide ring, fresh chain, and a rebuild and custom tune on the excellent Fox RP23 and that Slayer is going to rip at least 90% as well as any modern 27" wheeled rig in its travel range for easily under 2k in Canuck-bucks.

Used the bike is worth, maybe, 1000 CAD tops, so on the absolute maximum end - including money recouped from selling the Slayer - it's a 3k CAD investment in a really nice machine and I'm certain most folks would put that number closer to 2k.

Rift Zone Works Angleset NSMB AndrewM (3).JPG

Again, be prepared to install and remove the cups a few times before they're perfectly aligned.

XFusion Trace Works Angleset NSMB AndrewM.JPG

If 160mm front travel mated to 120mm rear travel is wrong then I don't ever want to be right.

Rift Zone Works Angleset NSMB AndrewM.JPG

Pro-tip: Freezing the cups beforehand will make the multiple installs and removals easier.

I've had the headset in two bikes to date - a Kona Honzo ST and my Marin Rift Zone - and I've been happy with the on-trail results in both cases. More than just a slacker head tube angle (HTA), I found my Rifty in particular handled much better when over-forked with the -2° Works setup than with a standard headset. There's something to be said for a 160mm travel front / 120mm travel rear setup for our terrain. The next bike I'm really looking forward to plugging it into is the Rocky Mountain Growler 40 - more on that in the full Growler review.

This is not a Chris King-quality piece of kit, but the cups and bearings are both functioning as new thus far and replacement bearings are only 16 USD each so I also can't argue with the value of the 80 USD investment before even considering the head angle modification.

Old bike or new, I love the tinker factor to the point that I wouldn't buy a mountain bike that couldn't take one of Works' headsets. I also can't look at older bikes out on the trail without imagining how close to modern metal they'd get with a few upgrades including one of these Works Components Anglesets.

Comments

niels@nsmb.com
+2 MTBrent Andrew Major
Niels  - April 2, 2019, 7:12 a.m.

Would be interesting to test that upgraded '11 Slayer in a modern day context!

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AndrewMajor
+1 Niels
Andrew Major  - April 2, 2019, 7:36 a.m.

Absolutely. 

Lots of good old bikes out there with not-1-1/8”-headtubes and not drop-in bearings that would be fun to try!

Slayer would be a top contender because with a heavier compression tune and big volume spacer in the shock they actually have a magic mix of initial suppleness, mid-stroke support, and end-stroke ramp that a lot of companies still can’t find today.

A bit short in the top tube, but with the Angleset, 51mm offset 27” fork, and a 60-70mm stem it would rip. 

I think I could run a 150mm dropper on a 19”. Just need to add a Stealth exit hole in the seat tube.

Reply

minotaur
0
minotaur  - April 8, 2019, 9:54 a.m.

Actually WC makes EC34 (1-1/8") sets with -1 degree, and there's a guy in Italy that goes up to -1.5°

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ackshunW
0
ackshunW  - April 9, 2019, 6:34 a.m.

Just picked up a -1 from Works for my version1 Evil Sovereign with a straight 1-1/8” headtube.  Love what these guys are doing and stoked to try it out—— but I have to learn more about this Italian option. Who’s the maker?

-Eric

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minotaur
0
minotaur  - April 9, 2019, 11:16 a.m.

Reply

ackshunW
0
ackshunW  - April 10, 2019, 6:38 a.m.

Thanks!

That looks awesome and really takes garage CNC to the next level. I wonder if it’s actually significantly different than the WC. My grainy-photo calibration says it looks like a pretty simlilar offset. To some degree the headtube length will factor in. Curious to measure the actual angle change on my bike after the switch. Or really front center change, that’s what I’m most motivated about.

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - April 9, 2019, 6:55 a.m.

The problem with 1-1/8” is not the availability of headsets (including WC Angleset) it’s the very limited availability of forks. 

To keep these legacy bikes rolling we really need one of the major manufacturers to keep a 1-1/8” fork in their collection. Preferably something in an affordable 160mm package that can be easily lowered. 

There are some great bikes out there that need a fresh fork (structurally/physically worn out, or just no longer supported) there’s a lot of slag on the used market, and in terms of new forks it’s inventory fumes.

I wrote a piece on it last year:  https://nsmb.com/articles/save-us-sram-and-our-bikes/

I think SRAM are best positioned (sales numbers and platforms) to step up but any mainstream budget 27” fork would be great.

Reply

ackshunW
0
ackshunW  - April 10, 2019, 6:42 a.m.

Hi Andrew,

Damn straight! I’m holding out for a good condition lyrik coil  uturn. Somebody’s got a NOS RC2DH 170 on EBay with a straight steerer for $700 US if you want to splurge.

Reply

velocipedestrian
+1 Andrew Major
Velocipedestrian  - April 10, 2019, 12:25 p.m.

Good luck. I have three 26" Lyriks in parts rotation to keep two functional. They're awesome, but I have no idea what to do when they eventually give up the ghost.

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - April 10, 2019, 1:23 p.m.

It’s really too bad. I’m not a engineerer, even on the internet, but as it’s been explained to me it would take nothing to make 1-1/8” steerers that press into tapered crowns.

27” forks are ~ the A-to-C of 26” so we’re just talking about a CSU swap. Beggars can’t be choosers - one model of Yari could be adjusted to multiple travels to suit. Fork, Boostinator kit, and just keep on keeping on instead of springing for a new bike.

Two SKUs added in manufacturing process and one for sales. Small investment in keeping some wicked bikes on the trail (makes me think of a sweet repaintedChromag TRL I saw this past summer).

AndrewMajor
+1 Niels
Andrew Major  - April 2, 2019, 8:02 a.m.

Another bike I’d add to the list is the 2013 Kona Process - still a walking-beam bike a la Stinky but with much of the DNA of the next and current Process generations.

Reply

paul-lindsay
0
Paul Lindsay  - April 2, 2019, 4:16 p.m.

That 2013 Process looks a lot more like my old 2007 Dawg than my 2015 Process!

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - April 2, 2019, 4:35 p.m.

“Looks”  is the operative word. It’s from the same team that came up with the Process 111/ 143/ 153/ 167 lineup for the following year. Traditional ‘Kona look’ but the ride is way more like the newer bikes. 

It really is a sleeper bike, though most infamous for coming with the worst dropper post of all time.

Reply

DemonMike
+1 Andrew Major
mike  - April 3, 2019, 12:34 p.m.

I loved my 2013 Process, dropper was junk. So was the rear drop out and hanger design .Other than that very fun bike.

Reply

UFO
0
UFO  - April 4, 2019, 9:11 a.m.

Tell me more about these full complement bearings. That era of Rockys were on bushings as I recall, but not the ABC bushings

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - April 4, 2019, 9:31 a.m.

2011-14 Slayer, only the chainstay pivot uses an IGUS bushing. This actually makes a lot of sense, my Marin does the same as did my Titus, for such a limited rotation application where bearing pitting and sideloads are the bigger issues.

The linkage uses:

2x 6001 2RS bearings

2x 3802 2RS bearings

The main pivot uses:

2x 6902 2RS Max bearings

When doing a full replacement there’s really no reason not to go Max all around and prefill with heavy bearing grease.

Sold lots of these bikes in the shop and I’ve worked on a couple-or-few too.

Reply

UFO
0
UFO  - April 5, 2019, 10:53 p.m.

Is this the case with Altitude and Elements as well? I recall playing with an Altitude back in the day with no shock attached, and it was stiction city

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UFO
0
UFO  - April 4, 2019, 9:11 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

MTBrent
+1 Andrew Major
MTBrent  - April 2, 2019, 7:17 a.m.

Aside from freezing and 'keep trying 'til you get it right', any tips on keeping those cups oriented correctly while being pressed in?  Looking forward to installing mine this week.

Also, as long as the geo doesn't go too awry, there's no such thing as over-forking!

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 MTBrent
Andrew Major  - April 2, 2019, 7:28 a.m.

It even took Jeff a couple of tries so “don’t settle” would be my other advice. I had more of a time with it rotating last minute in the alloy frame but sample size of one if each isn’t saying much.

I put a small marker line on the headtube where I want the headset to align - just made visualizing faster.

Certainly interested in any tricks others come up with!

Reply

rugbyred
+3 grambo MTBrent Andrew Major
Eric Van Sickle  - April 2, 2019, 8:26 a.m.

With english being my native language, hopefully I can explain my process!

When you instal the cup, they will rotate in a certain direction by a small amount. After your first instal, see how far off you are from centre and then start with the cups that much off centre in the other direction. No guarantees that it will rotate the same amount each time but there are three of us using them and that was the best way we found.

Eric

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - April 2, 2019, 10:38 a.m.

Thanks Eric! Same as my experience.

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Vikb
+1 Andrew Major
Vik Banerjee  - April 2, 2019, 5:08 p.m.

We had to install both cups 2-3 times each to get the rotation/placement correct. It's a bit annoying, but it's a once in the bike's remaining lifetime task as long as you aren't swapping headsets regularly. I don't plan to mess with mine now.

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DemonMike
+1 Andrew Major
mike  - April 2, 2019, 7:18 a.m.

Were you getting them locally for $105cdn??

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AndrewMajor
+1 mike
Andrew Major  - April 2, 2019, 7:24 a.m.

The headsets are sold direct through Works. $105 CAD is a conversion. 

This 44/56 sells for 60 GBP.

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DemonMike
+1 Andrew Major
mike  - April 2, 2019, 8:04 a.m.

Thanks , just need to figure out what size mt Django is.

Just noticed your build , Love it, my bike is 150/120mm 29er with a coil-over in the back. And more than likely a coil conversion for my 36.

How much did the reach change?

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AndrewMajor
+1 mike
Andrew Major  - April 2, 2019, 8:38 a.m.

After playing around with different stems I ended up with the same (40mm or 50mm) setups I was running with a shorter travel fork and standard headset. 

The headset kicks the fork out which lowers the front end (increases reach), while steerer position in headset reduces reach.

I threw out trying to math the static measurements as, of course, with sag % reach grows a bit with my body weight - ended up just playing around until I found my happy spot.

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DemonMike
0
mike  - April 4, 2019, 8:04 p.m.

Ordered a 1.5 set 3 tonight in 44/56 . on sale for 49 , add 16 for shipping

Can,t wait to try it out

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IslandLife
+1 Andrew Major
IslandLife  - April 2, 2019, 9:09 a.m.

Yep, great option and great product.  Along the same lines, if you're trying to put together a capable build on a budget for a wife/girlfriend/son/daughter, these things can really help take a bike that's a few years old, and make it more capable and confidence inspiring.

Recently picked up a mint 2015 Kona Precept DL, and using the vast assortment of excellent parts available on the used market + this S-works angleset, my wife now has an awesome set-up complete with a modern 1x drivetrain, dropper, and modern HA.  A good home service to the suspension while I keep my eye on that market as well and her bike rips!  It's even 27.5!  Spent $1100 on the bike + $400 on parts = $1500 for what has turned out to be a bike that is just as good and capable as any $3500 to $4500 new modern entry level trail bike.

Another note about using the angleset... I found while playing around with geometry calculators that when you slack the HA while you increase fork travel, most of the numbers remain very similar to stock (except obviously HA and wheelbase).

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AndrewMajor
+1 IslandLife
Andrew Major  - April 2, 2019, 10:33 a.m.

Those Precept bikes were so under rated even at the time. I know quite a few people who picked them up on end of year clearouts for their kids/spouses.

Reply

xy9ine
+5 MTBrent mrbrett Mammal Skyler Andrew Major
Perry Schebel  - April 2, 2019, 9:24 a.m.

these things are boss. as mentioned previously, a great way to refresh an older chassis (or dabble with aggressive numbers on a current frame). fwiw, mine went in dead straight first attempt. granted, i was using a block of wood and my trusty BFH rather than a fancy pants press. i'm all about cave man wrenching.

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AndrewMajor
+2 mrbrett IslandLife
Andrew Major  - April 2, 2019, 10:30 a.m.

Nice. First time!

I think this post needs a strong disclaimer - those without innate cave person wrenching skills either use the correct tool or pay someone to do it.

I’ve seen enough wrecked frames and headset cups...

Reply

fartymarty
+3 MTBrent mike Andrew Major
fartymarty  - April 3, 2019, 12:13 a.m.

Ditto on going in first time with a hammer and block of wood.  This was into a steel frame.

I also used a string line from the seat tube and a set square.

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MTBrent
0
MTBrent  - April 8, 2019, 4:54 a.m.

Installed mine this weekend (-2°, 44mm straight HT).

Count me in for cave man wrenching and first try going in straight!  "Set" the cups in just a bit with the good ol' big threaded rod, nut, and washers, and finished the rest with the BFH.

I kinda psyched myself out before doing it, but a bit of patience and frequent attention paid to alignment along the way worked wonders.

Reply

RideEverything
+1 Andrew Major
RideEverything  - April 2, 2019, 11:01 a.m.

I put the same -2 Works angleset in my '19 Honzo ST as well and I'm running a 160mm fork. 

The '19 Honzo is a warranty from my '12 Honzo which I had been overforking without an angleset. I found the more I overforked the '12 Honzo the wonkier the bike felt. 

So far I'm only 2 rides in on my new '19 Honzo with the angleset and I'm really liking how it feels and rides.

I wish I had gotten an angleset sooner as I had a great full susser that I sold that I think the angleset would have breathed new life into. That bike was so dialled but the new bike itch was too strong!

Andrew, I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on how your Honzo is riding with the angleset and the overforking. If you feel any major or subtle differences in comparison to the stock geo and/or fork travel.

Thanks for all your articles here on NSMB! I really enjoy the your bike nerding and perspectives on all things bike related!

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - April 2, 2019, 4:53 p.m.

I don’t have the best answers for you here, I can say definitively that I loved the 19 Honzo ST with the -2* Angleset with both a 170mm / 44-offset fork and a 160mm / 51-offset fork. 

I never road the ‘19 with a regular headset but I’ve ridden other years with various fork lengths and regular headsets and preferred 140mm or less. 

The nature of living in a small space and having a very motivated buddy who borrowed my Honzo ST and fell in love is that I sold my frame on and moved any product I was testing on to my Rifty. 

Regret it now, and Kona is long sold out of Honzo ST and Big Honzo ST.

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jan
+1 Andrew Major
Jan  - April 2, 2019, 11:18 a.m.

I have about 500km on a -2 Works on my 2018 Smuggler (kept the 140mm fork). I mostly did it for the lulz and to seek spiritual nirv-long-a.  The most obvious change was my need to keep weight forward as I gained about 20mm in front center, but I certainly enjoy the geometry changes on the descents. I also gained about 30mm in stack due to the external top bearing assembly (and subsequent interference with a 35mm BZA).

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - April 2, 2019, 4:36 p.m.

One more reason to stick with 31.8mm!

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AdamP
0
AdamP  - April 3, 2019, 9:28 a.m.

How are you finding it with the angleset, I have been considering a -1deg headset and 150mm fork. BB must be alot lower with the -2deg and 140mm fork. Do you have any pics of the bike with it installed?

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twk
0
twk  - April 8, 2019, 1:52 p.m.

That almost makes me believe that putting a -2° or -1.5° on my Bird Aeris AM9 (65.5° static) is actually a "good" idea!

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reini-wagner
+1 Andrew Major
Reini Wagner  - April 2, 2019, 2:02 p.m.

Andrew, thanks for the very inspiring article (as always). I can only chime in to what you and others above have posted - this really seems to be a great way (the best) to modernize the current fleet.

I'm considering a 2° headset for my Honzo Ti, to balance out the 150mm fork I'm running. I'm a bit worried about installing it multiple times until it sits properly...wrecking the headtube on that Ti frame is not something that I would take lightly.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - April 2, 2019, 4:40 p.m.

Cheers Reini!

I’ve put headsets into the Ti Honzo, I’d have zero (absolute zero) concern about pressing in / knocking out cups as many times as needed.

The one thing you want to check is insertion depth. The Works headsets have deep skirts and titanium is hell on tools. I’d be surprised if the Works wasn’t fine in any 44/44 but it’s worth noting.

I wouldn’t have a second thought about going -2* in the Honzo otherwise!

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reini-wagner
+1 Andrew Major
Reini Wagner  - April 3, 2019, 12:45 p.m.

Hey Andrew,

thanks for the reply, that is super encouraging. Great to hear that you have hands-on experience with that topic, and that you are very confident that this will work.

From the website, works components does offer a -2° headset for the Ti's straight 44mm steerer tube.

Oh man and I thought I was finally cured of upgraditis....

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - April 3, 2019, 1:16 p.m.

Hi Reini, Anytime! 

Works definitely makes 44mm options which ‘should’ fit any straight 44mm headtube of the correct length including on your Honzo. 

Personally, I’d just order a headset for the corresponding headtube size and assume it fits. 

But, all I was trying to say is one issue of titanium frames is the stuff is hell on cutting tools so some companies doing the post-weld prep only ream them as deep as a nominal headset cup (say a CaneCreek 40).

So someone who wants to cross their ‘t’s would make sure that their headtube is clean to the deeper insertion depth of the Works. If there’s any issue you may have a hard time finding someone to ream it deeper for you (because Ti is hell on tools).

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reini-wagner
0
Reini Wagner  - April 3, 2019, 9:50 p.m.

Hi,

Thanks, yes I forgot to react on that, very good point and thanks for emphasizing it again. I definitely will check this out beforehand. I currently have a hope headset installed, I'll find out how much deeper the insertion will be with the works. 

Cheers!

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velocipedestrian
+1 Andrew Major
Velocipedestrian  - April 2, 2019, 2:45 p.m.

I have a - 1° in a DMR Trailstar (all they offer in a straight 1&1/8") overforked to 170mm.

It's still a silly bike, probably 67°HA static, less sagged. Short reach, heavy as shit, limited tyre clearance... But fun. Gives the giggles every time I get it out. 

Had the headset in an old Horst 5spot previously, very excellent, and if I could justify rebuilding it I'd get a second one.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - April 2, 2019, 4:44 p.m.

The hardtail ‘comeback’ is such an over-stated phenomenon (they never really went anywhere) BUT the freeride hardtail comeback on the other hand! Trailstar is legendary fun with any fork length.

170mm fork on a hardtail can be total shenanigans and if you aren’t trying to win EWS (or the local Fiver even) nothing else matters.

Reply

cxiong22
0
Chong Xiong  - April 2, 2019, 6:37 p.m.

I've been thinking about one of these -2° for my transition double. It's currently sitting at about 67° ha/72°sa... It should make the seat angle steeper right? Bb lower? Any idea how much steeper the seat angle gets and how much lower the bb gets? Thanks

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - April 3, 2019, 7:15 a.m.

Assuming same fork length, it will make the STA a bit steeper and the BB a bit lower. I’ve never bothered to try and math out how much - most my bikes are frankenrigs anyways.

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Johnny-Laroux
+1 Andrew Major
JR  - April 2, 2019, 7:42 p.m.

I work in a shop that sell Marin. I keep eyeing the Rift Zone thinking what awesome mods could be done to it, at a low price point. Never considered a 160mm fork though!

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - April 3, 2019, 7:19 a.m.

Rifty is a great platform to experiment with. I’ve had mine single speeded and geared, 27+ - 29” - 29+ front rubber with 27+ and 29” our back. 120mm-160mm forks. Single speed and geared. 

I only wish the STA was 1.5-2* steeper. Nothing extreme but enough to give a better pedaling position through a range of fork lengths.

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Kelownakona
+1 Andrew Major
Kelownakona  - April 3, 2019, 12:51 a.m.

Was going to get one of these to freshen up an old but loved 29er Ti hardtail. Instead (as I've the part already) I slapped a 27.5 in the back end a la Maes and my god it's like a new bike - so much fun , manuals easier, corners better drops BB slackens front ...

Wasn't a fat tyre like ebikes do either just a regular Maxxis 2.4

Please do a test in the future switching out some rears.

Might still go for Works on front but this was an easier switch around and has to be more fun !

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - April 3, 2019, 7:42 a.m.

I ran 29” front / 27” rear for a couple years on the bike I muled parts on for NSMB. Any photo of my Ti Explosif in articles had this setup.

I ran it with three different suspension forks to play with offset (44/51/55) as well as a custom rigid fork. 100mm travel (or corrected) with a 29” wheel front.

I’ve also spent hours on a Cannondale Jekyll with a 29” setup up front with good results (140mm fork + 29” setup instead of usual 160mm + 27” setup). Originally I tried it just to get some hours on a 29" Trace 34 that weren't on my hardtail but it was my favourite way I rode the Jekyll.

I’ve tried the setup with other bikes (29'ers) but the big issue vs Angleset for me is how much slacker the STA gets. This is much easier to compensate for on a 27” bike when going 29" up front - as we’re seeing with Maes etc - than it is through installing a 27" wheel on the back of a 29" bike.

This is even true to some extent going 29" to 27+. As with most things folks just look at static geo - where 27+ is close enough to a 29" standard setup - but the sag on a Plus tire can make a notable difference compared to a regular tire. Hence why most 29/27+ bikes either have too low of a BB with 27+ or too high of a BB with 29".

I’m fully an advocate of folks trying stuff for themselves - have at it - but I'll also note, word to the wise here, like any hot trend there are a bunch of cons vs just running a dual 29” - especially on hardtails. There are reasons my Walt is 29+/29 and my next bike will be 29/29 as well.

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