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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been riding my new Burner for a month or so now and the steering/control just isn't where I want it to be. I am hoping somebody out there can offer me some good advice so I can dial this thing in.

Going down fast, tight stuff I always feel like I am on the edge of losing it. It's not the speed. I have been down the same trails on my old bike many many times and not had this feeling at all. I just feel like I don't have the control that I want with the bike.

I think the fork has too much travel but before I bought it I called Turner and they said it should be fine, but noted that the recommended fork was 100mm. When I use the ETA (which is like a lockout but still leaves 25-30mm of travel) I feel like it handles much better in tight, curvy stuff.

I have a 2004 Burner with a
- 120mm stem +-6 degree rise (set on the plus)
- a Zocchi MX Pro 120mm w/ETA
- a titec hellbent XC handlebar
- Mavic 223 rim on the front
- Panaracer Fire XC Pro tires

I've tried...
- moving some of the spacers above my stem thinking that the closer my handlebar is to the ground, the better my control. it didn't seem to make any difference.
- increasing the air pressure on the fork which seemed to help slightly
- using a shorter stem but it was too short and I felt cramped in the cockpit

Can somebody offer me some advice on things I can try? Can I possibly put a shorter coil in this fork to make it a 100mm or 105mm to see if that helps?

Thanks for reading.
 

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Rolling
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You said the shorter stem made it cramped, but did you ride down that hill? How is your position on the bike compared to your old one--relative to the bottom bracket. It might be a weight shift on the cockpit you are not used to. You might want to try that shorter stem and move the seat back...remember the rule of crank at 3:00 your knee cap should be at he ball of your foot.

I would think a longer fork would make it more stable. Burners have 70 head angles and slacking it to 69.5 with a longer fork would only make it better for decents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey Rich,
Thanks for the reply. I wrestled with the stem length and plumb line to the knee thing for awhile. I got it to a point that seemed close enough. when i used the 100mm stem and moved the seat back on the rails my kneecap was about an inch or maybe more behind the ball of my foot.

coming down stuff and taking bumps and drops the fork feels great, it's just when I have to make any tight fast moves or go through tight, curvy sections I feel like I am lacking the control I had with my old bike which was a Giant NRS2. So it's damn frustrating at this point that my NRS2 seemed to give me more control than the Burner. It's supposed to be the other way around.

maybe I will give the shorter stem another try and see if I can get everything lined up ok.

gregg
 

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Bite Me.
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More info might help

What was your old bike? If the TT length is shorter than the Burner's but you are running the same length stem that may be a big factor. Measure your old set up and try to replicate that on the Burner by swapping stems. Sounds like your test of a shorter stem was too radical a change. Stick to 5mm increments. As for the fork, 100mm is the recommended travel, but the longer travel should make the bike feel more comfortable on the downhills unless you're talking about steep switchbacks where the slower steering will affect the handling. What was the headtube angle on your old bike? If the Burner's is slacker, that plus the longer travel fork will really alter a bike's feel. Finally, I never could get myself to like the Panaracer Fire XC, I felt the front end was always on the verge of washing out on me. I was running the 2.1s. I now run Geax Sturdy's 2.25 on both front and rear and the performance is way better in all respects. You need to do a little measuring on your old bike, assuming you liked its fit, and try to replicate the basic measurements on the Burner set up. Then start comparing apples to apples with respect to changes in fork length/travel, headtube angle, BB height etc.

EDIT - After I posted I saw the info you posted on your old ride. The NRS2 has a 70 degree headtube angle but was designed around an 80mm fork. By running the 120mm Marzocchi on the Burner you're adding 40mm more travel and knocking the HT angle down at least another 1/2 degree if not more. By comparison to the old NRS, the Burner would feel very slow and washy on the tight descents you decribe. You've simply added too much travel (relatively) to the front end. Definitely go for a shorter fork, ldeally a variable adjust fork, and then also try to match the other fits from the Giant to the Burner. With less travel the bike will feel much more controlled in the tight stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the reply Cutthroat. here are the digits...
My old bike is a Giant NRS2. The head tube angle is also 70 degrees like the Burner but I ran the stock fork on that which was a manitou black 80mm/100mm adjustable. I always ran it in the 100mm.

The top tube lengths are almost identical. The Burner is 23" and that NRS is 23.2".

So the geometry is similar which keeps making me think it's the fork length. but can 20mm really make that much of a difference?

I have really come to like the Fire XC pros to be honest. I started running them when I moved to Colorado 3 years ago and the tires i had on my bike when i moved completely sucked. They seem to do well for me but it couldn't hurt to try something else.
 

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Even Wittier User Title
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I also have a Burner ( Hi all, new homer!) and just went from a 130mm to a 105mm fork and it made a world of difference. With the 130, going off drops and going straight downhill felt great but cornering was awful. Major understeer. Does it feel like the front end is pushing through everything when you try to turn? I think reducing your travel is the only way you're going to get the geometry and weight distribution right. My 2 cents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
the front end pushing through everything is exactly how it feels. like the bike doesn't respond quick enough when i steer. the faster I am riding the more I notice it.
 

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off camber wimp
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agree with witty. i too slack of head angle due to too tall of a fork which is why the bike feels better on the twisties when on ETA. in addition, your burner probably has a higher bb height and longer wheelbase than the nrs - these adds to the floppy and tipsy feel when carving those switchbacks. you will want to lower your burner's front end (shorter travel fork, flip your stem, move spacers on top of stem, etc) to get near your old bike's handling on tight turns.
 

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Rolling
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PuraVida said:
Hey Rich,

coming down stuff and taking bumps and drops the fork feels great, it's just when I have to make any tight fast moves or go through tight, curvy sections I feel like I am lacking the control I had with my old bike which was a Giant NRS2. So it's damn frustrating at this point that my NRS2 seemed to give me more control than the Burner. It's supposed to be the other way around.
Actually, maybe it is the fork. if it's tight corners and in that case, you might adjust your position forward when you rail the corners to get the front wheel down a little or reduce the travel.

I always thought NRS bikes have super steep head angles and are too twitchy for my tastes.

I wouldn't fret, you can adjust your style to accommodate. When I first put a slack angle on my bike, i felt like I couldn't climb for crap. I adjusted my style, got used to it and was able to climb again.
 

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... I guess you won't be
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you may want to modify your riding style with your approach on corners. Bending your elbows more than you normally do will help matters.

You may have to bend your elbows more than you used to and lean towards the front of the bike to get more weight onto the front tire. Keep your outside elbow bent, but sticking up high in the air, will help your body get over the front end of the bike without really having to try to overthink it too much.....Push the inside handlebar grip forward while turning - this helps drive the front wheel down and into a turn. Keep your foot weight on the outside pedal. it may just save you a couple of hundred dollars on a new fork.
 

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I agree with those that said that your fork is too tall. You're used to a steep head angle. You'll either have to adjust your riding style or get a shorter (100mm) fork.

ETA is not an option as there is no rebound damping. It's only good for smooth terrain.

I prefer a slacker head angle, but you obviously don't.
 

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Full Monty Bike Bore
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Is your fork fully function-ada? I've had horrible rides with an uncompliant fork that was notchy and way too stiff (on both compression and rebound). It was so reluctant to steer. A fettle to free her up and play around with the adjusters saw the ride transformed.

How about your seatpost? Riding with a layback post can also cause mucho understeer. Try a straight post to get a little more weight over the front wheel and get it biting into the turns. This'll affect your cockpit tho.

I hope you get to the bottom of it. Front end washout took away all my confidence :(
 
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