The Titan has been near the top of my frame dream/wishlist for a while, and your comments about mulleting it boost that. I've run my Instinct BC with a 27.5 rear wheel, using a Ride9 link to correct the geo, and was similarly blown away by the cornering and poppiness. (If my 27.5 rear wheel wasn't terrible, I'd keep it like that.)
Another big selling feature is that your use of a 28t chainring didn't seem to affect the suspension performance. My preference is definitely for the shorter derailleurs, lighter cassettes, and - in my experience - much better reliability of 11 speed, with a 10-42 cassette. But I still like that 28/42 low gear. I really wish more frames didn't make using a 28t such a compromise.
It's kind of amazing how close Shimano came to making the best cranks on the market, and still missed. All they had to do was make direct-mount chainrings for the M8000/7000 series stuff. One chainring series with a 51mm chain line, and another for superboost (57mm?). These would have instantly been the benchmark for crankset reliability, with their 24mm steel spindle, pinch-bolt spline interface, and Hollowtech strength-weight.
Instead, for M8100/7100 etc, they decided to make the chain line adjustment through different spindle lengths, with spindle washers, and an ultra-narrow Q-factor that means you need to run a wider chain line if your cranks don't clear your frame. And it's so narrow that they don't clear on a lot of bikes! Now they're having to make alternate cranksets for a different ratio of Q-factor to chain line, so that they can clear more frames? What???
This the most complex and annoying solution to a simple problem, imaginable! Are bike shops expected to stock 9 different SKUs of Deore cranks?
The new short cage derailleur is on the right track at least. From the start, a refinement of M8000 with an 11 speeds 10-45 would have suited me even better. My 11 speed XT with a Sram 10-42 cassette has continued to be far, far more reliable than any 12 speed drivetrain I've had. I've even gone back to 11 speed on my all-mountain bike, after 2 years of frustration with 12 speed.
Alternative perspective: imagine you live across the bridge from the North Shore. On March 10th, you set the alarm for 5am, are in the car with a cup of coffee at 5:40 and cruise through empty roads to be parked at Hyannis around 6am. You start pedaling uphill in growing light and by the time you get to the top of GSM, the sun is bright. You get a proper 3hr ride in, and get back to the car at 9am. By the time you're changed and loaded up, rush hour has passed and you can get back to work in south Vancouver by about 9:45, which no one minds because they all stay until after 6 anyway.
Then, on March 15, you wake up at 6am (which is the same time of day as that 5am start the other week), and get to work at 8. You're the first one there because everyone else is struggling to adjust to DST. At 4:30, you get in your car, which is already loaded up with your bike and kit. Then, you spend the next 1hr10 smashing your head against the steering wheel, while trying to get through 22km of motorized a-holes. You arrive at Hyannis at 5:40, but finding parking is hard because it's 2021 and everyone is doing the same thing. You get pedaling just before 6pm. At the top of GSM, it's starting to get a bit hard to see under the dark canopy. You do one lap and then it's pretty much too dark to ride without lights. You drive home wondering if the time spent in traffic was worth the 10 minutes of descending.
In short, we didn't gain an hour, we just changed what time we go to work, and the closer work hours are to dawn or dusk, the more daylight you have on the other side.
This aimed to be a review of the Shore, but I think you just reviewed the prototypical DH bike. The bike you want to need to own, that makes you laugh hysterically at brake bumps while letting go of the brakes.
Dang, that sounds frustrating! I think that's a good example of why it's important for people to have variables measured in a consistent way, whether the variables are the best ones they could be or not.
I know that deciphering geo charts is pretty complicated, but I'm trying to wrap my head around the extremely long Effective Top Tube lengths. This might be a pretty unpopular opinion, but I find it very easy to adapt to different Reach/Stack lengths. On the other hand, even though I'm all about the down, there's no way around the fact that I spend most of my time in the bike sitting and pedaling. And I can really notice when the seated fit of a bike is too long or too short. ETT seems like the most useful number for getting an picture of this.
The Knolly looks to be about 30-40mm longer in the top tube length than the same size in almost every other brand. Is it a much more stretched out, aggressive pedaling fit, or am I misunderstanding the numbers?
I keep buying the GR7s because they're so comfortable. They're much stiffer than the GR5s and feel really great. But, the rubber outsole is thin and isn't glued to the midsole, so it folds and tears where it meets pedal pins after just a few months. I bought mine latest set in May and had holes in the bottom by August. Come on, Shimano, you're so close to the perfect shoe!
The big difference for me is foot speed while pedaling. I'm 6'2", used to ride 175s, and have happily switched to 170s. On the 170s, my feet trace a smaller circle, so for the same cadence, my feet are traveling slower. Which means I can get a slightly higher cadence for the speed at which my muscles/knees feel comfortable, which means I'm getting the same power as before, with less torque, which means my legs just last longer. One thing I've noticed is that people tend to get out of the saddle to climb/accelerate way sooner tend to be on crank arms that are too long. They're either too far behind the pedals to push hard, or can't get the power they need whole seated without getting to an uncomfortable foot speed.
Furthermore, shorter cranks move the point where you put power down in the pedals toward the back of the bike, relative to where your saddle is, which effectively steepens your seat tube angle. This, to me at least, is a huge benefit on BC's steep climbs, where being in position to sit balanced and push on the pedals on a sustained climb is important. I can handle 175mm cranks on bikes with >75° STA, but I'd still rather not.