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Does anyone need an update anymore?

Jan. 24, 2021, 8:39 a.m.
Posts: 1765
Joined: April 25, 2003

Posted by: D_C_

Posted by: rnayel

Posted by: tashi

2016 Rootdown to ?????

2021 Rootdown

I wouldn’t bother. The Rootdown has seen only minor tweaks since the first B.A. in 2016.

Mine is too small and a non-BA, but I’d go with something else just to have something else. 

But $$ and availability will probably determine what more than anything else.

Jan. 24, 2021, 8:56 a.m.
Posts: 1765
Joined: April 25, 2003

Posted by: RAHrider

Posted by: Vikb

Posted by: heathen

What is it about steep STA are you finding that hurts your old body? Much like Tasha i have found the steep STA to help my lower back pain.

I don't find the steep STAs comfortable for pedaling unless the trails are super steep. I don't generate power well in that position for general riding either. I also have no issue sliding forward on my saddle for those super steep climbs so I don't see the benefit of a really steep STA vs. something more moderate. I ride to the trails as much as possible and even though I would say our trails involve a lot of climbing there is still a fair bit of each ride that's either rolling or less steep climbing. Really steep STAs are an answer to a problem I wasn't having.

I'm 5'11" with a 33" pants inseam so not short, but not super tall either.

This ^

Also, a more traditional STA allows you to sit on your seat and keeps the pressure on your hands light. Your center of gravity is hovering over the pedals. Steep STA's tip that center of gravity forwards so it sits between the cranks and handlebars. This puts additional weight on the hands. I don't think most riders notice this as they put their handlebars higher than their saddle, which puts weight back on their seats. As a taller rider with long legs and shorter torso, it is very hard to get the bars even level with the saddle let alone higher than the seat. Also, you can't really generate a lot of power with your body sitting upright, so I don't really want my bars way up high.

I made a picture to explain it all. The blue circle is supposed to be the centre of gravity.

I‘Ve spent the last 30 years slamming my seat back and being a bit of a grinder (vs spinner) because, well, Big Mig did it that way, and what you’re presenting is the “right” way  

I started shifting my seat forward on my road bike because it helped me spin better -  was inspired by post-cancer Lances high RPM dancing on the pedals style.  It worked, I got faster and got some supplease going  

Then my back started aging rapidly. It went out a few times when my seat angle would slip (thanks Command Post) and my physio and I figured out the connection between the angle of my hips/lower back and back injury. Scooting forward and tipping the saddle nose down a tiny bit eliminated the curve at my hip/lower back area, eliminating pain and making a far stronger base for my legs to push from. 

Don’t take it too far and you won’t have too much weight on your hands. Obviously preference and experience are important here - I like my bars low so it doesn’t bother me.  And long reach and terrain and and and all play into it. 

TL;DR version: The diagrams are “right” but right isn’t always right for you.

Jan. 24, 2021, 9:50 a.m.
Posts: 14776
Joined: Nov. 20, 2002

I tried running the saddle flat on the new road bike  cuz I heard it was better but it didnt feel better so i went back to my preferred  nose high and the local road coach told me my body position on the bike even looked better and she has  coached a lot of people. So now i slam the seat all the way forward which is fine for the new enduro bikes and slightly nose high BUT ymmv

Jan. 24, 2021, 10:09 a.m.
Posts: 2383
Joined: Sept. 5, 2012

Posted by: tashi

Posted by: RAHrider

Posted by: Vikb

Posted by: heathen

What is it about steep STA are you finding that hurts your old body? Much like Tasha i have found the steep STA to help my lower back pain.

I don't find the steep STAs comfortable for pedaling unless the trails are super steep. I don't generate power well in that position for general riding either. I also have no issue sliding forward on my saddle for those super steep climbs so I don't see the benefit of a really steep STA vs. something more moderate. I ride to the trails as much as possible and even though I would say our trails involve a lot of climbing there is still a fair bit of each ride that's either rolling or less steep climbing. Really steep STAs are an answer to a problem I wasn't having.

I'm 5'11" with a 33" pants inseam so not short, but not super tall either.

This ^

Also, a more traditional STA allows you to sit on your seat and keeps the pressure on your hands light. Your center of gravity is hovering over the pedals. Steep STA's tip that center of gravity forwards so it sits between the cranks and handlebars. This puts additional weight on the hands. I don't think most riders notice this as they put their handlebars higher than their saddle, which puts weight back on their seats. As a taller rider with long legs and shorter torso, it is very hard to get the bars even level with the saddle let alone higher than the seat. Also, you can't really generate a lot of power with your body sitting upright, so I don't really want my bars way up high.

I made a picture to explain it all. The blue circle is supposed to be the centre of gravity.

I‘Ve spent the last 30 years slamming my seat back and being a bit of a grinder (vs spinner) because, well, Big Mig did it that way, and what you’re presenting is the “right” way  

I started shifting my seat forward on my road bike because it helped me spin better -  was inspired by post-cancer Lances high RPM dancing on the pedals style.  It worked, I got faster and got some supplease going  

Then my back started aging rapidly. It went out a few times when my seat angle would slip (thanks Command Post) and my physio and I figured out the connection between the angle of my hips/lower back and back injury. Scooting forward and tipping the saddle nose down a tiny bit eliminated the curve at my hip/lower back area, eliminating pain and making a far stronger base for my legs to push from. 

Don’t take it too far and you won’t have too much weight on your hands. Obviously preference and experience are important here - I like my bars low so it doesn’t bother me.  And long reach and terrain and and and all play into it. 

TL;DR version: The diagrams are “right” but right isn’t always right for you.

What saddle do you use? I have a SQLab 611 Active. That saddle made a big difference for me. I run a saddle flat. The previous saddle I had was always sliding around. The SQ holds the butt in place when . Which in return helped with my pedalling and lower back discomfort. I look forward to trying it on my new bike. It,s got a steeper STA and slacker HTA than my current bike.

Jan. 24, 2021, 10:25 a.m.
Posts: 1765
Joined: April 25, 2003

I’ve used a variety of saddles, I don’t have a problem sliding around.

Jan. 24, 2021, 12:05 p.m.
Posts: 984
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Posted by: DemonMike

What saddle do you use? I have a SQLab 611 Active. That saddle made a big difference for me. I run a saddle flat. The previous saddle I had was always sliding around. The SQ holds the butt in place when . Which in return helped with my pedalling and lower back discomfort. I look forward to trying it on my new bike. It,s got a steeper STA and slacker HTA than my current bike.

I'm typically on some variety of wtb saddle, but what I find is most important is saddle alignment. This means setting it up for climbing as that's where I spend most of the time actually sitting on the saddle. Nose down takes the pressure off the taint and it also gives you something to push your butt against when you're pedaling hard on a tough uphill section. In terms of where it sits on the rails having it set up so I'm seated about half way between the rear axle and the bottom bracket delivers good traction while keeping the front wheel down and efficient pedaling mechanics. Of course this can vary with the bike and other things like stem length, bar rise etc, but those things are easier to adjust if needed. Pedaling on the flat isn't as good as it could be, but for the amount of time/effort I spend pedaling on the flat I think it's well worth the sacrifice to be optimized for the climb.

Like tashi mentioned earlier, there are a bunch of factors that come into play, but comfort should be a prime consideration. I haven't ridden a new ultra steep STA bike so can't say how good or bad it is, but the trend to steeper angles in general is probably a good thing compared to the old big bikes like say a Norco Team DH with the monococque frames. Those things put you so far back they were a chore to pedal up the road on Fromme.

Jan. 24, 2021, 12:28 p.m.
Posts: 316
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

I love talking about bike fit as I find the human mechanical interface so so interesting. Plus the benefits are huge. 

I subluxated a disc in my lower back many many moons ago (2005ish). Ever since I have suffered from intermittent lower back pain while on long rides. I have found the steeper seat angles have really helped. I rarely get a sore back now. I do sometimes find the extra pressure on my hands annoying at times. But it generally only happens when I have been sitting and grinding out a long logging road climb. If I stand up and slow torque for a bit its gone.

In other ergonomic I run 165mm cranks on all my bikes as I find it really helps keep my knees happy on long rides.

I am also a spinner. 95rpm.

Jan. 24, 2021, 12:30 p.m.
Posts: 316
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

Posted by: syncro

Posted by: DemonMike

Like tashi mentioned earlier, there are a bunch of factors that come into play, but comfort should be a prime consideration. I haven't ridden a new ultra steep STA bike so can't say how good or bad it is, but the trend to steeper angles in general is probably a good thing compared to the old big bikes like say a Norco Team DH with the monococque frames. Those things put you so far back they were a chore to pedal up the road on Fromme.

You were riding that shore when we first met. Then you got the SX when we did some dawn patrol rides.

Jan. 24, 2021, 12:40 p.m.
Posts: 2383
Joined: Sept. 5, 2012

Posted by: syncro

Posted by: DemonMike

What saddle do you use? I have a SQLab 611 Active. That saddle made a big difference for me. I run a saddle flat. The previous saddle I had was always sliding around. The SQ holds the butt in place when . Which in return helped with my pedalling and lower back discomfort. I look forward to trying it on my new bike. It,s got a steeper STA and slacker HTA than my current bike.

I'm typically on some variety of wtb saddle, but what I find is most important is saddle alignment. This means setting it up for climbing as that's where I spend most of the time actually sitting on the saddle. Nose down takes the pressure off the taint and it also gives you something to push your butt against when you're pedaling hard on a tough uphill section. In terms of where it sits on the rails having it set up so I'm seated about half way between the rear axle and the bottom bracket delivers good traction while keeping the front wheel down and efficient pedaling mechanics. Of course this can vary with the bike and other things like stem length, bar rise etc, but those things are easier to adjust if needed. Pedaling on the flat isn't as good as it could be, but for the amount of time/effort I spend pedaling on the flat I think it's well worth the sacrifice to be optimized for the climb.

Like tashi mentioned earlier, there are a bunch of factors that come into play, but comfort should be a prime consideration. I haven't ridden a new ultra steep STA bike so can't say how good or bad it is, but the trend to steeper angles in general is probably a good thing compared to the old big bikes like say a Norco Team DH with the monococque frames. Those things put you so far back they were a chore to pedal up the road on Fromme.

Yup saddle alignment and position are very important. Learned the angle thing way back in the day. Numbnuts on a ride is a weird feeling LOL. Just looked at the WTB line up. all are thick padded with a taint groove . I can see that being comfy. For me the SQ has been the best saddle I have used in 30yrs of playing with MTB,s. I love the shape. I don,t have to find the sweet spot . Doesn't matter the post height. Once I get the angle for the saddle and rail position right. I sit after getting out of the saddle and I,m in my sweet spot. My Ergon I had to slide around to get the spot. Plus it,s comfy with no shammy #ironbutt4life LOL

And I remember the slack STA short post days. My old Norcos and Kona Entourage where very slack. With the dropper you where in wheelie mood if not careful climbing.

Jan. 24, 2021, 3:21 p.m.
Posts: 813
Joined: May 11, 2018

Posted by: tashi

Posted by: RAHrider

Posted by: Vikb

Posted by: heathen

What is it about steep STA are you finding that hurts your old body? Much like Tasha i have found the steep STA to help my lower back pain.

I don't find the steep STAs comfortable for pedaling unless the trails are super steep. I don't generate power well in that position for general riding either. I also have no issue sliding forward on my saddle for those super steep climbs so I don't see the benefit of a really steep STA vs. something more moderate. I ride to the trails as much as possible and even though I would say our trails involve a lot of climbing there is still a fair bit of each ride that's either rolling or less steep climbing. Really steep STAs are an answer to a problem I wasn't having.

I'm 5'11" with a 33" pants inseam so not short, but not super tall either.

This ^

Also, a more traditional STA allows you to sit on your seat and keeps the pressure on your hands light. Your center of gravity is hovering over the pedals. Steep STA's tip that center of gravity forwards so it sits between the cranks and handlebars. This puts additional weight on the hands. I don't think most riders notice this as they put their handlebars higher than their saddle, which puts weight back on their seats. As a taller rider with long legs and shorter torso, it is very hard to get the bars even level with the saddle let alone higher than the seat. Also, you can't really generate a lot of power with your body sitting upright, so I don't really want my bars way up high.

I made a picture to explain it all. The blue circle is supposed to be the centre of gravity.

I‘Ve spent the last 30 years slamming my seat back and being a bit of a grinder (vs spinner) because, well, Big Mig did it that way, and what you’re presenting is the “right” way  

I started shifting my seat forward on my road bike because it helped me spin better -  was inspired by post-cancer Lances high RPM dancing on the pedals style. 

I don't follow the Lance reference. Trek used a 73 deg sta back then. I also don't understand the idea that steeper sta allows you to spin more. I also don't understand the idea that steeper sta relieves pressure from the sensitive bits.

Slacker sta with a levelish saddle allows you to predominantly weight your Iliac bones. Steeper sta's actually move your weight forwards onto the perineum. Roadies have been spinning for decades with slack sta's. 

As has been said many times here, to each their own. I have more difficulty with numb hands than anything else. I'm sure there are lots of people who have different experiences with the same geometry. I do get a little frustrated with people saying that the new geo is the be all and end all. Some may find it doesn't actually suit them. It's good to have a few different approaches to the same problem.

If all I wanted was to go up turn around and come down at as high a speed as possible, modern geo would be the thing. Thing is I want to play on the way down and a shorter reach is actually better for that. Lovin my old geo.

Jan. 24, 2021, 4:15 p.m.
Posts: 1352
Joined: Nov. 8, 2003

Posted by: RAHrider

Posted by: Hepcat

Looks like the old triathlon bike debate all over again. 

In the end we all moved forward though, despite the loss in wattage. Comfortable equals fast it turned out.

I guess it depends on what people consider fast. I agree that having your handlebar high is comfortable, but it's not fast. A steep sta only offers a real advantage on the steepest climb. People like it because it makes the hardest climb easier. I would rather prioritize 90% of pedaling and use my core for the last 10%. If my bikes had the equivalent of a beach cruiser in terms of body position, id constantly be trying to drop my torso and id be pedaling with my elbows bent to 90 degrees and my hands, wrists and shoulders would be carrying more weight due to the more forward center of gravity. 

Tri bikes are fast because they are aero but they are not comfortable and they put a lot of weight on your hands. I would know, I used to compete in triathlon up to an international level. You have to be fit and flexible to make a proper tri bike work.

Yeah, I came from a triathlon background too. For MTB'ers who have been lucky enough to have never suffered 40k on a TT bike, "comfort" in triathlon is an oxymoron. Barely tolerable pain vs intolerable pain is a more accurate description 😅.  

For my absolutely destroyed L4 the upright seat angle is more comfortable. But then every body is different. My riding partner is my age and similarly broken but prefers a very slack seat angle. Of course he's dumb and wrong, but to each their own.

Jan. 25, 2021, 12:43 p.m.
Posts: 1765
Joined: April 25, 2003

Posted by: RAHrider

I don't follow the Lance reference. Trek used a 73 deg sta back then. I also don't understand the idea that steeper sta allows you to spin more. I also don't understand the idea that steeper sta relieves pressure from the sensitive bits.

Slacker sta with a levelish saddle allows you to predominantly weight your Iliac bones. Steeper sta's actually move your weight forwards onto the perineum. Roadies have been spinning for decades with slack sta's.

As has been said many times here, to each their own. I have more difficulty with numb hands than anything else. I'm sure there are lots of people who have different experiences with the same geometry. I do get a little frustrated with people saying that the new geo is the be all and end all. Some may find it doesn't actually suit them. It's good to have a few different approaches to the same problem.

If all I wanted was to go up turn around and come down at as high a speed as possible, modern geo would be the thing. Thing is I want to play on the way down and a shorter reach is actually better for that. Lovin my old geo.

I find it easier to spin higher cadences if I shift forward and easier to grind if I shift backward on the seat. Shifting the seat forward is just an extension of this

Lance comment was just for context - I started grinding because of Indurain, I started spinning because of (post cancer) Lance. I started shifting my position forward on the MTB when I started connecting the dots with my back pain.  Edit: I started shifting my cleats back a bit, and got a bit fussier about “KOPS” at the same time, probably complicating any analysis...

I deal with numb hands as well, but in my case, it’s something that pinches in my upper back so having the back all lined up is what fixes it. I like weight on the front end for aggressive riding, both mountain and road, but I think if your seat angle is tipping you forward enough that you’re always shifting back or it’s affecting the pressure on the handlebars you’ve taken it too far.

I don’t have a lot of pressure on my saddle in my high-performance bikes (pedaling hard, standing up, throwing the bike around, etc) so saddle position for me is mostly about getting the hips and knees in the right spot. doesn’t matter too much what saddle I’m running as long as it’s out of the way so I use Flites. It’s a different story for touring and city bikes - I tend to set those up so I have very little pressure on the hands and my taint etc are all comfy sitting for a long time. No idea how seat tube angles play into the taint comfort part of the equation as there seem to be a lot of - ahem - moving parts in that department.

Man I like nerding out on this stuff too! I’ve figured a few things out over the years with my setup having these conversations trying to understand other people’s setups.


 Last edited by: tashi on Jan. 25, 2021, 12:46 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
Jan. 25, 2021, 2:29 p.m.
Posts: 2
Joined: March 16, 2019

TL;DR: My next upgrade will be to a short travel frame that can carry two bottles inside the triangle.  

Currently the mtb advancement I'm most stoked on is the shift to allow us to carry all the things on our bikes.  My short travel trail bike is a Devinci Marshall.  I over-shocked it and slapped in a 2 degree Works angle adjusting headset.  It's now dialed from a riding perspective.  My long travel bike is a Fezzari La Sal Peak, and thing that I absolutely LOVE about that bike is that I can carry three (!) water bottles on the bike as well as a small Evoc frame pack at the headtube junction.  The ability to ride for two+ hours in the summer heat without carrying a single item on my person has been a paradigm shift.  Now, when I lust for new bikes all I drool over are the short travel trail slayers that allow for two bottles inside the frame.  Ideally my next whip will have bottle braze-ons underneath the downtube like my Fezzari, but Fidlock has a strap-on option that do the trick.  I don't think I'm a sufficiently sophisticated rider of bikes to notice the differences between any of the modern suspension designs or other nuances like slightly slacker head angles, but I can assure you that I notice that third bottle about 90 minutes into an August ride with a triple digit heat index.

Jan. 26, 2021, 3:53 a.m.
Posts: 3
Joined: Oct. 9, 2019

Comparing geo to road bikes might not work fully since road bike geo is restricted by regulation. You are not allowed to have the tip of the seat closer to the bb (think vertical line up from the bb) than 10 cm or something. This is where the snub nosed TT seats got popular for example. Many pro riders are just at the limit for seat position though, but they also have actual reaches to the handlebar that are pretty long (130mm stems ftw). 

Back to the core question: it's all in the details now, and all those added make it so much nicer to be a mountainbiker. I notice that i keep the bikes longer and longer, but get much more picky about shorts, shoes, pack (yeah, still use that!) and other gear. It has gotten so much better in the last few years, especially shorts!

Jan. 26, 2021, 5:38 a.m.
Posts: 567
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

Posted by: Enurjetik

TL;DR: My next upgrade will be to a short travel frame that can carry two bottles inside the triangle.  

Currently the mtb advancement I'm most stoked on is the shift to allow us to carry all the things on our bikes.  My short travel trail bike is a Devinci Marshall.  I over-shocked it and slapped in a 2 degree Works angle adjusting headset.  It's now dialed from a riding perspective.  My long travel bike is a Fezzari La Sal Peak, and thing that I absolutely LOVE about that bike is that I can carry three (!) water bottles on the bike as well as a small Evoc frame pack at the headtube junction.  The ability to ride for two+ hours in the summer heat without carrying a single item on my person has been a paradigm shift.  Now, when I lust for new bikes all I drool over are the short travel trail slayers that allow for two bottles inside the frame.  Ideally my next whip will have bottle braze-ons underneath the downtube like my Fezzari, but Fidlock has a strap-on option that do the trick.  I don't think I'm a sufficiently sophisticated rider of bikes to notice the differences between any of the modern suspension designs or other nuances like slightly slacker head angles, but I can assure you that I notice that third bottle about 90 minutes into an August ride with a triple digit heat index.

I like my packless riding and for sure any frame I pick would have to fit my gear and water bottles. I've checked out the La Sal Peak and the mega water capacity looks sweet. :-)

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