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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited by Moderator)
After a year on my 2018 Scott Spark, I've realized for the trails I ride 98 percent of the time, the bike is too big, long, and slack... for me. That 2009 Niner SIR 9 I have, I love ripping around on it, but man, as I've gotten older with it, the trails I ride really beat me up on it.

Is the state of affairs with bike manufacturers such that you can only get close to the headtube angles, suspension travel, and wheelbase I'm thinking I'd enjoy more by buying a "race" hardtail, or does anybody make a full suspension with what most would consider inferior spec and geometry compared to what most bikes have become?

The Spark's wheelbase is nearly 4 inches longer than the Niner, the headtube angle is around 5 degrees slacker, and it's got more suspension travel than I really need, but it seems like most modern full suspension "XC" bikes are equally long and slack with sometimes even more suspension travel?

For the right trails, those things make sense, but for the XC trails that have been around for decades, are most people over biked with average modern bikes? Do I have to try and find a 10 year old full suspension bike to get what I want?

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Finding a full suspension bike that (roughly) matches the Niner’s geo will be pretty difficult…specifically, I think you’ll be pretty hard pressed to find anything remotely modern that matches it’s 72 degree head angle. My road bike has a 72.5 degree head angle 😬

What about something like a Trek Supercaliber? 100/60mm travel and a 69 degree head angle. Should be pretty sprightly and strike a balance between a hardtail and your Spark.
 

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It sounds like you are in a lucky position. Just buy somebody's 10 year old garage queen, maybe upgrade some components, and save yourself thousands of dollars compared to new. Everyone else is avoiding these used bikes because they "lack modern geometry". If you prefer the older geometry, claim your bargain.

Overall I agree. Today's XC bikes have more travel and slack geometry than yesterday's Downhill bikes. Things have gotten as overboard as they were with the late-90's weight wienie obsession when everyone was spending thousands to build 22lb hardtail, just in the opposite direction. I like the modern geometry, but still hop on an early 2000's hardtail sometimes for the interesting feel.
 

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It sounds like you are in a lucky position. Just buy somebody's 10 year old garage queen, maybe upgrade some components, and save yourself thousands of dollars compared to new. Everyone else is avoiding these used bikes because they "lack modern geometry". If you prefer the older geometry, claim your bargain.

Overall I agree. Today's XC bikes have more travel and slack geometry than yesterday's Downhill bikes. Things have gotten as overboard as they were with the late-90's weight wienie obsession when everyone was spending thousands to build 22lb hardtail, just in the opposite direction. I like the modern geometry, but still hop on an early 2000's hardtail sometimes for the interesting feel.
Username checks out.

Cheapskate is right though, time to score a sick barely used garage queen 7 year old super bike. Cannondale Scapel or the like.

GL!
 

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Size down+angle set. You don't want old school ST angles. They are quite annoying once you get used to 75 range. 75ish has been with us since 2015 so you have lots of used options to choose from. I've been sizing down since long became a thing, but I'm onboard with slack HA's and steep ST"s. I would prefer it if BB's would go up a bit, but overall I like new geo just without the stretched limo wheelbase/reach.
 

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Most brands still have a XC race bike that will come closest to your desire. The aforementioned Supercaliber could be a good one. As someone who had a rigid SIR 9 for a couple of years and loved it, I must say that my 170/160mm Slash does not feel slow and sluggish.
 

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I ran into that same issue with my Pivot Mach 5.7. I loved it on downhills but just felt like I was enduring the climbs and even the flats - which take up about 80 of the time I spend on my rides.

Then the frame cracked and I replaced it with a Mach 4 (27.5" wheels) and couldn't be happier.
 

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If your bike has a tapered head tube (most likely does), you could try an angled headset and just install it backwards to steepen your head angle. I don’t know if that would totally address your concerns but it would change the handling significantly by decreasing wheelbase, quicken the steering, and improve climbing on steep tech.

Personally, I have not found modern geometry to have any downsides even on flatter XC terrain, but everybody has preferences I suppose.
 

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Jamis!! Canyon mostly. Some models from Trek, Ferrazzi can be conservative IMO.

As many have already said, the beauty of modern geo is most brands have short enough seat tubes that you have the option to size up or down. Every time someone complains about steep seat tube angles I mention they can size down and run a setback and it's like it's 1999 again... :)
 

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Clicking on this thread, my first thought was "oh, diamondback makes some outdated bikes".

But, I think the actual answer is an angleset, maybe a shorter fork, and maybe some shorter cranks (to keep pedal clearance the same after you drop fork axle to crown length with reduced travel). I'm not sure what bike that would be best on, but those two adjustments alone could give most bikes a ~2.5-3 degree steeper HTA. And even doing that on some modern trail bikes would get the HTA back into something you may be interested in.

Using the Diamondback Release above (a somewhat outdated bike), you'd net a ~69 - 69.5 degree HTA, on a bike with ~130mm rear, and maybe 130-140mm front travel. That's almost like buying a time machine honestly.
 

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Diamondback Release (some are in stock as of today), Canyon Lux (70*), Trek Supercaliber, Niner RKT9.

I will second the opinion of a previous poster and say that sizing down will help a lot with the sluggish feeling. I used to ride L size bikes due to the reach numbers, but with modern bike geometry I am now more comfortable on a medium. Shorter stems, wider bars, it all goes to make the longer (relatively) wheelbase bikes handle better.

Have you demoed any new bikes on those trails recently?
 

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I think the previous version of the Santa Cruz Tallboy would be a good bike for you. The last year of that model was 2019. It has a 68 head angle, which would be better down hill than what you have and still be maneuverable.
 
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