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Jan. 6, 2021, 9:35 a.m. -  Tehllama42

I'd say the 'without lengthening chainstay' is right - if all you're doing is moving the crank centerpoint rearward, you're just adjusting weight distribution depending on rider CoM and inclination angles, and those aren't really broad improvements in most cases.  Adding front center while keeping things the same (added wheelbase and reach/ETT) keeping things the same is just moving to a longer bike with the same inherent issues, but if you're in terrain where traction limit isn't frequent, that can actually still be a great bike feel if you're into mostly pick&place technical bits, and some straight line fast stuff.  Long chainstay (especially 29er) short front center is very confidence inspiring, but it's a real bear to get the front end up on demand, and it really only exists to be very forgiving of an 'off the back' riding style - stable to a fault, but loading the front tire is a real challenge. I personally like the feel of the long FC short RC bikes until I'm actually going fast, at which point I just can't get cornering at speed really sorted, the long-both combination provides all sorts of wiggle room on weight distribution, which is where I can find myself in the self-congratulatory two-wheel drifting territory, but most importantly at 9/10ths I'm on KOM pace despite being an out of shape oaf because I can load contact patches and feel the imminent breakaway. Norco has had the right idea all along - adjustability is still preferable, but ~450mm chainstays in L/XL/XXL sizes are a must for me anymore, in the terrain I ride (lots of high speed, flowy, grip limited decomposing granite surfaces).

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