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Wow is right, SICK bike! Have you ridden a Canfield? My Balance has 420mm chainstays and is defnitely not too short. The long wheelbase and reach of the Doctahawk would add stability and the short chainstays would still make it snappy on tight corners; I would think you'd need that short to manual such a long bike. 62 deg hardtail tho - WOW! Me wanna try!!!

Have FUN!

G MAN
 

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Press fit Bottom bracket. Ugh.
 

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Given that it's steel, and with the advent of thread together bottom brackets like those from wheels manufacturing, the pressfit issue is kinda irrelevant.
I put the thread together style bottom bracket into my new Rootdown, I got it because I was paranoid about pressfit as all my previous bikes have been threaded. Now that I've actually done the install and understand how it works, I think it's a great setup and super robust. The pressfit is what allows for short chainstays and good tire clearance on a 29er.

As far as the doctahawk goes, I like that chromag have put together something on the outer limits of modern geometry. I think it will help evolve all of their bikes. For me though a $1900 hardtail frame with a 180mm fork just doesn't make sense. Too much overlap with a full suspension rig. But again I still think it's awesome and in glad they have put it on the menu.
 

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Also, I'm of the opinion that chromag do the short stays for a reason (aside from fashion). I find with the short stays I can really "place" the bike where I want it, and I have much more rear wheel awareness than my bike with 430mm stays. Also since with a hard tail the relationship between the rear axle and bottom bracket never changes the short stays really make you feel connected to the bike.
Yes you can plow more with longer stays, and my rootdown would be faster in a straight line with longer stays. I'm not interested in trying to make my hardtail "plow". I have a full suspension bike that does that just fine, and that will always do it better. Hardtails for me are about a different approach to riding.
 

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^^I know right? These steep HTA's in the 60's are so yesterday, need to get down into the 50's...

Have FUN!

G MAN
 

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I'll wait until actual ride reviews come in. I'm not too optimistic. Probably would be tagged as extremely, extremely niche, if they were being nice, and not comparing directly to other hardtails for mainstream uses like AM riding. If they rated it positively for each time you hooted and hollared out of nervous excitement (e.g. from holding on after the bike became squirrely), it'd probably come out positive, with a clear disclaimer that it's probably not for folks looking to improve their hardtail PRs.

Who'd pay this much, 1650 USD, for a steel HT frame without a test ride? Not me, considering there's other options like the Pole Taival available. What's a fully custom steel frame go for?
 

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Who'd pay this much, 1650 USD, for a steel HT frame without a test ride?
Have you ridden extensively in the PNW? All your engineerding out won't help you understand if not.

If I had the pleasure to ride Sea to Sky corridor frequently I might consider a bike like this...
 

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Have you ridden extensively in the PNW? All your engineerding out won't help you understand if not.

If I had the pleasure to ride Sea to Sky corridor frequently I might consider a bike like this...
That's exactly where I see this bike working. If you're riding down steep rock slabs in Squamish, then you need a lot of fork and rear suspension isn't as important since most of your weight is on the front end.

EDIT: I'll add Nelson too. They have some very steep terrain as well.
 

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I would love to be able to demo one of the crazy hardtail like this one or one of the Sick Bike Company or BTR hardtails just to see what they are like.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
On my Moxie I slammed my stays to 416mm and spun the rear wheel much more while climbing over wet/damp roots. It's wet here at least 1/2 the year. Maybe I could adapt, I didn't try it that way very long.
 

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fVlZn6x.png

Chainstay length should be proportional to the wheelbase length, to determine the fore-aft balance of the bike.

- If the CSL is too short for how long the WB is, the rider is forced to compensate for the excessive rearward weight bias by shifting their body weight forward. The front end will lack weight, which can make the bike squirrely when plowing and cornering.

- If the CSL is too long for how long the WB is, the rider is forced to compensate for the excessive forward weight bias by shifting their body weight back. The nose will dive on jumps and drops, and the front may tend to stick to the ground instead of roll over obstacles when plowing (OTB risk), if you don't. It's difficult to manual, as your weight will want to bring the front back down to the ground.

On the Balance, you have 420mm CS and 1176mm wheelbase. Considering the amount of travel, and how the WB and CS length changes under suspension compression, I'd say that your bike's fore-aft balance is in the sweet spot, between too long and too short CS, based on personal experience. It could use more WB length for speeds, but you generally can compensate for this by lowering your CoG, stretching out your body along the length of the bike. A longer bike will allow you to stay more upright, as it has more inherent stability. If Canfield offered a bike that wasn't designed for stunting, I'd love to try them, maybe something in the 1250mm WB range, as their suspension kinematics are extremely dialed too, and have great taste in shock (fan of the DVO Topaz). As long as they get chassis stiffness dialed, but I digress...

Point is, the rider has to adapt to the bike, compensating for its quirks. Much easier to get along with something with fewer quirks, but I suppose the world would be kind of boring if things were perfect.

In this case of the Doctahawk, the wheelbase in M/L is 1238 WB, with 415mm CS. The front wheel is much much further away from the BB, than on your Balance, making the front end far more lofty. It does make an effort to accommodate a rider forward position, with 40mm longer reach (476) than your Balance (438), and being a HT the reach will further extend under fork compression, and shorten the wheelbase. Still, 415mm is a CS is something that belongs on a bike with 1150ish wheelbase, in my perfect world.

See here for comments on a Pipedream Moxie review, another bike with 1238mm WB and 415mm CS:

https://enduro-mtb.com/en/pipedream-moxie-hardtail-review/

They rode the bike with the sliders all the way back (430), and the bike has 510mm reach, so it's even more accommodating to the forward position than this Chromagg. It was too unbalanced otherwise. I agree that 430 CS better balances the bike better, pretty close to the sweet spot (for 1254 WB considering the CS adds 15mm to the WB, I would give it 435mm CS).

Hardcore-Hardtail-Group-Test-TW-0381-1-1140x760.jpg
- This rider's hips are almost forward of the BB. I get the impression that the rider has a lot of weight on the bars, and not so much on the pedals.

As someone who likes a heavy feet, light hands riding style, I'd find this forward leaning position to be a big turn off.

Here's a bike that's was claimed to be well balanced, on the same trail:

Hardcore-Hardtail-Group-Test-TW-0366-2-600x400.jpg
- Rider looks a bit more rearward on the bike, more able to transfer more weight through the cranks.

Knowing how media doesn't like to burn bridges for advertisers, they'd probably just say who the bike is for, rather than say it won't suit their audience. If the media recommends this for hardcore aggro expert level riders, people might have delusions, optimistically thinking they might fit in that group, lust after the bike, recommending it to others who are loose with their money, to get them to guinea pig it, seeing how a someone perhaps less aggro likes it before they commit to buying one themselves.
 

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^^Nice post and a good read, thanks! I don't disagree but I will say that things seem to change when comparing a full sussy with a hardtail. I remember the first time I tried a Honzo... I expected to hate it but was pleasantly surprised at how much fun it was even tho sized too big for me (large). From that experience I would have to say that chainstay length isn't as critical on hardtails. Any thoughts on that? It did really surprise me! Maybe I had adjusted my riding position to make up for lack of rear suspension?

Cheers,

G
 

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I like short chainstays on my hardtail because it makes it more nimble, poppy, easier to manual, etc. You don't actually have to shift your weight anymore forward on shorter chainstay bikes except for brief periods in some corners. On descents my weight is further back to drive more through the pedals to keep the rear on the ground. The downsides of shorter stays are stability at high speed and higher bump force felt at the pedals. Get a bmx bike and ride over something rough on the rear pegs and you'll really experience the difference.
 

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^^Nice post and a good read, thanks! I don't disagree but I will say that things seem to change when comparing a full sussy with a hardtail. I remember the first time I tried a Honzo... I expected to hate it but was pleasantly surprised at how much fun it was even tho sized too big for me (large). From that experience I would have to say that chainstay length isn't as critical on hardtails. Any thoughts on that? It did really surprise me! Maybe I had adjusted my riding position to make up for lack of rear suspension?

Cheers,

G
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Bottomed-out-suspension-geometry-Mondraker-hard-tail-01-cropped-630x323.jpg Bottomed-out-suspension-geometry-Mondraker-full-suspension-01-cropped (1).jpg

These images should illustrate the difference between FS and HT, and how the geo changes dynamically. Notice how the CS length changes, horizontally measured. Not much, unless you're on a high single pivot.

In my experience, a HT's fork compresses on bumps twice, when the front wheel impacts, and when the rear wheel impacts. Not sure how common knowledge this is, but it's easily observable with video footage. A rider does adapt to compensate for this, but I haven't yet compared how natural this is for a rear-biased HT vs a front-biased HT (e.g. short front end XC oriented HT), as I have not tried a rear-biased HT yet. Perhaps Travis can answer this, as he has one of the few rare rear-biased HTs. I just know that it's whiplash-prone if the rear hits anything big. I have vowed to myself to not ride certain things again on my HT (Niner ROS9), and much prefer FS.

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Honzo is 420 CS for 1184 WB in large, which is very close to your Balance, which has 420 CS and 1178 WB, which I deemed balanced. To speculate that a 415 CS 1238 WB bike would be fine, thinking HT aren't affected by CSL as much, based on the experiences you listed, takes quite a stretch of the imagination. The Honzo in L is slightly on the rear biased end of the spectrum, IMO, which isn't enough to make if feel unbalanced, but gives it a bit of character/quirkiness. Did you perhaps ride another Honzo with different geo?

What were you expecting to hate on the Honzo? Shorter travel and more compact geo is simply more responsive, with more ground feedback. You might handle the Balance like a Ford Ranger Dakar edition, and the Honzo like a Ford Fiesta rally car.

P.S. I hold a believe that for every 25mm/inch in wheelbase change, the CSL should be altered by 4-5mm to maintain the current balance.
 

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