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I made mention of this in a couple other replies, and heard the following back from Ken Perras:
_"The tall headset spacer was definitely a covid parts supply issue. We received the incorrect headsets and if we chose to wait to get the correct ones, the bikes would have been delayed by several months. This also affected a bunch of other 2022 models, not just the Element. So we decided to ship the bikes as is. 2023 and 2024 models will ship with the regular, 2.9mm tall, lower headset cup._
_The extra stack height doesn't hurt the Element for some riders, but others will find it a but disruptive to the bike's handling. I can say for certain that the extra A-C stack wasn't helping you with that front end pushing around."_
As noted elsewhere, the 64.5 number is what I measured in the slackest setting versus a claimed 65 degree head angle. My measuring was in no way hard science accurate - I used my iphone inclinometer, it was zeroed on the floor, and gave the reading of 64.5 (well, 25.5 if we're going full pedantic) on the fork stanchion. The general rule of thumb is an inch of fork nets about a degree of head angle change, so I'm willing to say that the headset spacer is worth about a half a degree. These are small numbers, and people fudge way more with fork swaps all the time, but the point I was trying to make was that this bike is already way out there on the edge of what defines XC bikes, and the headset spacer furthers that out there-ness. I also think this bike is awesome, in case that was not readily apparent.
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