Trail Riding on my raked out chopper

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Re: Trail Riding on my raked out chopper

Postby orvil » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:02 pm

3 of my 4 mountain bikes have steep, probably 70 degree head angles including the Deception. My backyard trails are up and down the mountain behind my house. It's not much elevation wise, about 900-1000 feet, but it's incredibly steep. The main route up and down the mountain as well as several loops up top are actually old double track logging trails and only have a few natural jumps. But I wanted more technical trails than that so I've built several single track trails down the mountain. This mountain is actually right at the western edge of the Appalachian foothills and during the tumultuous formation of the Appalachians, this mountain was formed by some massive upheaval millennia ago and is chock full of limestone escarpments, canyons and littered with thousands of car-size limestone boulders. My singletrack descents are over and through these boulders while also weaving through a heavily wooded area. Even though I ride all my bikes, even the rigid 26er's, on these trails, the newer geometry 27.5 I bought last fall is much more stable on these trails, therefore faster and more confidence inspiring. The older geometry bikes are fun here as well, just much slower. It did take a few rides to get used to the new geometry but I actually now prefer it (the geometry) on all the trails both techy and smooth. Its not quite as "snappable" as the steeper bikes but as my skills improve I've learned to trust the 27.5 more as I push it and don't have any issues on tight singletrack. I've actually noticed that some of the 2018 XC bikes are coming with a little slacker (68-68.5 degree) head angles to better handle newer, more technical XC competition courses.

On a side note, one of my older 26ers, a '98 Marin, actually had a very short 60mm stem when I bought it a couple years ago and I'm pretty sure it's the original stem. Since I was used to the short 50mm stem I'd installed on the Deception, I retained that short stem and never had an issue with this 26er's handling. I've since installed a 45mm stem and 740mm bar and I love this set-up on this bike. Its a 1x10 and I do have to make sure I keep weight on the front on steep climbs but it descends great.
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Re: Trail Riding on my raked out chopper

Postby bikesRfun » Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:26 am

I've rode bikes with very slack head angles (64-66) and I didn't like the way they felt. The one exception was the Pivot Mach 6. I believe that was a 66 but it felt steeper than that.

I too favor short stems over long stems.
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Re: Trail Riding on my raked out chopper

Postby dddd » Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:47 pm

Yeah, all of my bikes have been too nervous-handling where the "flowy" trails encourage higher speeds through the corners.
My very old Santa Cruz Heckler was apparently ahead of it's time, just a little slacker headtube gave me confidence that I never had this side of riding a 250 dirt bike back in the day.

I'm all for doing your own experiment, trying things that seem way out of range makes the differences more obvious and easy to study. I've raced antiques just to see what would happen, and one thing was that I've never crashed since.

I'd sure like to see this raked-out custom of yours, I hope it holds up and proves it's worth. Reminds me of when my brother left home, when I "borrowed" the fork off of his 26"-wheel Schwinn Racer and put it on my 20"-wheel Stingray. It was pretty much all for the better, especially off-road, and he never gave me any grief about it. :D

Yikes, I even found a picture of it, piloted by your's truly:

Image
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Re: Trail Riding on my raked out chopper

Postby orvil » Sat Feb 17, 2018 5:53 pm

Lol, this thread is a tongue-in-cheek response to one of our forum member's rants that anything slacker than old-fashioned XC geometry is nothing more than a slacked-out chopper and an LBS marketing gimmick, and only World Cup DH professionals should be riding modern geometry. He proclaims that this slacker geometry will have us sliding off mountain trails because we don't have any weight on the front tire. The bike is just a '17 Marin Hawk Hill. Believe me, I was heavily chastised by this member and told that if I ride modern enduro-type trails then I'm destined for injury for trying to ride like a EWS pro and furthermore told that steep, XC geometry was all I needed to ride trails. Anyway, the bike is stock except for an X-Fusion 125mm dropper, Renthal Fatbar Carbon 780mm bars and a Renthal 50mm Apex stem. It's a great trail bike and just one more bike in my quiver. I still ride my heavily modified Mongoose Deception as well as a '98 Marin rigid 26er that's set up as a 1x10 with a 45mm stem and 780mm bars cut down to 740mm, a mid-90's Trek 26er rigid set up as a SS, and my old 27" road bike, a Takara bought in '81 while in college, that now has CX tires mounted and is used as my gravel bike.
I love the slacker geometry on the Hawk Hill and its a lot more stable on my descents and drops. Like I've said earlier, I prefer technical trails over smooth, XC style trails, and 67.5 degrees isn't even that slack anymore. A lot of the newest aggressive trail bikes now have slacker 66.5-66 degree head angles and it looks like that's becoming more and more prevalent as well as longer travel. The Hawk Hill has 120mm travel front and rear but newer trail bikes are coming with 140-160mm suspensions. Trails are getting more technical and steeper, enduro type riding is becoming more popular and riders are pushing the limits of their abilities. It's hard to imagine that DH pro's used to ride with 70 degree HA's and canti brakes lol, but the local trails I ride now would have qualified as DH trails back in the day. It's just evolution, and as much as I love my Deception and the ability to modify certain BBB's, they'll always be behind the curve when it comes to the newest trends. That's not an indictment that they aren't good trail bikes, just that they have limitations when it comes to the newest trails and riding styles. Like I've said before, there are horses for courses. It just depends on what courses you spend the most time on.
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