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Nail on the head Perry. Yes, they climb better but they better centre rider mass, which greatly improves cornering, and any other trail riding that requires dynamic riding. Having ridden these longer bikes now for close to two years, moving back to smaller RC options has me battling to find a stable place to stand in chop, through deep compressions, and in cornering as you mention noticing.
It's all about balance. Not having a chainstay grow with the size of the bike is ridiculous. It's worse than asking someone to wear a size small jean when they're an XL. No one needs to see the plumber and the individual shouldn't have to be so uncomfortable! That's obviously dumbing it down considerably because there's so much more going on with a bike, but that only exaggerates the whole situation. I've been stewing on an editorial on exactly this for 6 months and will try to get into it this winter.
Andy, regarding the steeper seat angle for everyone. You have to find what works for you. I do find on long, flat road commutes to trailhead (usually when I'm in Aus.), my arms and hands can get sore and tired. On the trail I never have a problem, but my bike shape wouldn't work for road riding, and it's not supposed to!
That said, I believe strongly in steeper seat angles because I've personally found I'm better able to put down the watts (what little I have). Regardless of size, steeper seat angles move the rider over the suspension, creating a more efficient pedal stroke and less need, or none, for climb switches. The longer RC should only come into play for larger sizes but as we saw in the past with many manufacturers making shorter chainstays across the board, many are now making longer ones across the board. It's no wonder someone on a size small or medium doesn't like longer chainstays—it's the equivalent to me running something monstrous (no, I don't consider the 453mm of my XL G1 big). I recently had an enlightening conversation with a young EWS racer about his size small bike with 430mm stays. He felt that larger bikes should grow at each end, but also found that the size small he was riding, which had a longer RC than Reach, was heaps long in the rear. Imagine if I were to run an RC longer than my reach? That's the only way I could feel what he does on his bike.
Geometry is improving massively, but just like the introduction of big wheels, we all have heaps to learn before everyone has it pretty much dialled. I'm quite happy where I'm at now but will be testing different RC lengths, BB drop (and STA/HTA as a result) and wheel sizes. It's going to be a fun learning experience!
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