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Well we got some young guns who like to do mach chicken down the steepest thing then can find.
Yep give me a monster slack bike w a long rear center and lets go.
Problem is you gotta go fast and i mean really fast. The high consequence speed.
Rode some of these types of trails recently. I got down them just fine. But obviously gave up a ton of speed to a slacked out beast.
But i also like to ride 30plus km at a time. (20miles). On flatter xc rolling terrain. Dont need 62 hta to get that done.
We got a remedy fuel ex and a stumpjumper. The stumpy is mine and goes everywhere i want. But its also the tamest bike.
I like some of the new ideas. Mostly the longer rear centers for bigger bikes.
If you cant ride 90% of the trails on the mountain w a fuel ex then your a [email protected] rider.
Cost is a bigger issue these days.

look at the rsd sargent. 2022 top fuel or fuel ex and a stumpjumper evo. That covers the spectrum fully imo.
Have fun
 

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OP, You can't go wrong with the Honzo ESD or Chromag bikes. This assumes you live in an area that requires the slackest and most enduroest hardtail on the market (that still works well)? Though if you don't have seriously chunky tech and steep trails then I would encourage you to look for something a little less "extreme" like the regular Honzo ST. Which is still very progressive and dialed.

Your Reach will be adjusted with a 35-50mm stem. There are also modern handlebars with higher degrees of sweep if you want, which I also like. SQ labs is my favorite with 16 degrees of sweep for example.

it seems like you have to decide between sizing by reach, or ETT.

Half the time I think “keep the same ETT, grow some reach”, while other times I’m thinking “keep RAD about the same, and deal with a 30mm shorter seated climbing position”.
No, you can't compare these two numbers any more. (I own both) There is still wildly different things going on in the geometry department for "modern" bikes. Primarily the STA can change these two numbers significantly and there are Seattube angles from 72-80 degrees available, all over the map.

Reach is the most commonly used measurement now. ETT is misleading.

My main thought is I absolutely need to find a demo on some similar bikes/geo, to sort out my own feelings about it.
You have to ride a bike to know. If you're coming from an older geometry background (Jones) pretty much none of the standard sizing rules apply. Geometry charts will be of no use to you until you have some trail time on a modern bike. Borrow, demo, rent, steel your friends bike (then bring it back).

Not that this will be helpful but I used to ride an XL XC hardtail with a 440mm Reach, now I have two bikes with 510mm Reach (XL) and it's not too long at all. ETT 625mm, 693mm. I'm 6'3" using a 50mm stem on modern bikes which means I have plenty of room for a frame with more Reach with a shorter stem.

Modern bikes are awesome, just please don't buy an ESD if you live in Florida.
 
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The thing to remember with hardtails is they only get steeper than their static heat tube angle as you ride them. So a 63 degree HA really rides more like a 65 degree full suspension bike.
Bingo. Don't under-estimate this, and remember it also affects the seat angle too, so that 77* STA on the ESD is going to be 79*-ish under sag, which you may or may not love depending on how many long flat pedally rides you do compared to steep ups and downs.

I bought a regular Honzo ST rather than the ESD as I wanted a trail bike rather than an enduro hardtail, I do lots of gravel miles on it and don't have much really steep descending (compared to the amount of mellow stuff I ride it on) to justify the extreme geometry of the ESD. On paper the reach, ett, and seat tube angle are pretty close to my FS bike, but in person they're quite different at the sag point and it shows in how they're set up with the saddle position. In an ideal world the STA and head angle on the Honzo would both be a degree slacker to hit the sweet spot for me. I've never ridden something like the ESD with a super steep STA but I'm not sure it would be suited to my riding.
 

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For what its worth, I asked the same question a few weeks ago.




The difficulty of demoing is definitely a problem right now.

For the Geometron, do you find that the bike that fit you is still close to your RAD measurement (if you've ever checked that)? Or is the longer bike simply longer in many ways?

I've got a giant spreadsheet of bike frames that I'm looking at (usually in L, and XL, as I'm between sizes most of the time). I recently added my measured RAD, and did my best to calculate it. And what I'm finding, is that on "most" bikes, I can get them to fit me correctly. But it might mean a 50mm stem and a 38mm riser bar on the size L, while the XL model would have me on a 35mm stem and 15-25mm rise bar.

But mostly that is making me (currently) think that sizing by RAD may be best, and then "dealing with the cramped climbing position" for the rest of the time.
I did try working out my RAD measurement a while ago and found there were too many factors which could alter the repeatability for me but I’ll freely admit I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to bike fit and set up. (I’ve spent days playing with spoke tension to assess its impact on traction!)

I personally find the Geometron rides much smaller than the numbers would suggest. My first one, a G16, was actually a medium which on paper was bigger in every way than either the large
switchblade or SB6 I had at the time. It took a while to realise it was actually too small, so long in fact I bought a medium G1 as I wanted a 29er version to reduce the number of bikes I had. With the G1 as my only bike and so putting in much more time on it, especially climbing and longer flatter rides it became apparent that the seated cockpit was too cramped so I changed it for a large. Eureka, the bike now felt infinitely more comfortable everywhere and was noticeably more neutral and balanced in the air when jumping. The medium tended to want to nosedive off drop offs and on short steep kickers. With hindsight I’d put this down to not enough stack/the bars being too low and my hands being too close to my hips. I messed about with the cockpit a lot and could mitigate the nosediving to a certain degree by raising the bars but this had a negative impact on climbing performance.
I’m now convinced that from an outright speed perspective I’d be faster on an XL G1 for racing purposes but at the expense of some agility and playfulnes so I’m quite happy with the large, it strikes a great balance.

I originally built the G1 to be my only bike, my typical rides are around 4 to 5 hours long and include long fire road climbs, steep technical climbs, flat moorland single rack as well as some man made trails and usually 8miles home on tarmac. I don’t drive to trails. Basically, I ride a bit of everything most days I’m out.

So in summary, beware of “dealing with the cramped climbing position” you may end up dealing with a cramped descending position too. I did and it cost me 2 frames.
As stated above, beg steal or borrow a bike if you are going from an older bike to modern geo as it’s easy to end up on something that’s too small while thinking it’s going to be too big.
And if you do demo a bike, remember that tyres more than anything else will determine how efficient a bike feels so a 160mm enduro bike will roll faster than a hardtail XC bike if you put XC rubber on the enduro and heavy casing enduro rubber on the hardtail so don’t blame longer travel and geometry for poor forward momentum.
 

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I've been riding and experimenting with what some on here may call extreme geometry bikes for around 5 years now and have a few views which may be relevant based on personal experience.
As a reference, I'm 5,10 to 5,11 and ride a Geometron G1 in size large/longest as my daily fun bike with a pipedream Moxie hardtail in size XL with a -2 degree angleset fitted to take the head angle to 62 degrees. This is my XC rig for flatter/longer XC rides and slithering around in the winter. I bought the Moxie after the G1 and wanted to see what an even longer bike was like and I would suggest I've found my limit with the Moxie. It's great for what I want it for but I deffinitely find it harder to chuck around than the G1 despite being lighter.
I would say that there are some superb bikes out there now and it's possible to find one that suits you and your terrain really well BUT as there is so much variation between bikes now, in my opinion it's more important than ever to test ride before you buy which is ironic as there are more and more direct order bikes and due to covid, less shop stock.

I've been on a bike with a 62-63 head angle since 2017. All my mates told me it was ridiculous back then. They are all now riding bikes that are very close and claiming them the best thing since sliced bread.

Reach is really an irrelevant metric for determining bike size/fit now because seat tube angle, head angle and stack have a massive impact on where the bars are in relation to the bottom bracket and so both seated and standing cockpit feel. Modern bikes with short stems and slack head angles tend to ride significantly smaller than the reach number would suggest.
I tried a medium geometron and it really was too small for me despite a reach of 490mm. The slacker the head angle, the greater the reach needs to be to compensate as the bars are brought back towards you relative to the head angle. Even ETT can be miss leading as manufacturers measure differently and BB height and stack come into play.

Bottom bracket drop also has an impact on how easily the front wheel comes up.

A slack head angle has NO negative impact on climbing. None, Zip, Nada. Anyone who tells you different is talking rubbish. My personal experience is it puts the wheel at a better angle of attack for technical climbs. Wheel flop is massively exaggerated as a problem. It isn't. The further your hands are behind the steering axis the more of an issue it can become so fork offset in relation to stem length has more of an impact IME. My G1 outclimbs any other bike I've ridden despite being way more capable downhill than any other single crown addorned bike I've owned.

Really nailing bike fit with modern bikes is all about getting your mass located correctly within the wheel base. Your personal physiology plus your riding style and position have an impact on this so you cant really say that two people of the same height will gel with the same bike. Front and rear centres have a big impact on this. I have a longish torso in relation to my legs and relatively heavy arms and shoulders so I prefer a long front centre and short rear. A person with long, heavy legs and a skinny torso may prefer the opposite, especially when climbing.
Get it right and your long slack bike that all the keyboard experts tell you will handle like a barge may well actually become the most agile, fun and fastest bike you've ever owned.
One of the reasons I got a Geometron was that it allowed me to play with chainstay length and bottom bracket height independant of everything else. My large G1 is without doubt the most agile bike I've owned (I had a pivot switchblade and a yeti SB6 alongside the first geometron at one point) BUT it takes a while to adapt to the style of riding to get the most out of it. You need to stay centred and REALLY lean the bike over as there is so much more grip than on a bike with a shorter wheel base. I would say it's probably taken me 18 months to 2 years to fully adapt to not moving back when it gets steep fast and tight when I'm out of my comfort zone and this is the reason you are seeing bikes evolve by a degree a year. I've had 30 years (I'm over 40) riding mountain bikes that were quite frankly sh!t and it's takes a long time to unlearn the muscle memory that tells you to move back when it gets vertical and really rough. Racers simply could not adapt to such a change in 1 season.

Don't be afraid of a slack head angle, especially on a hardtail as it's arguable more important. I would be wary of sizing down on modern bikes unless you really prefer manualling over rollers and out whipping your mates on table-tops.

So, getting the most out of a modern bike may seem like a minefield BUT you've got to remember it WILL feel very different to start off with and altering bar roll, saddle position for and aft and to a certain extent stem length can all make a very noticeable difference.

It's a pretty cool time to buy a new bike, it's a just a shame demo's are difficult at the moment. If you do get to demo one, a car park ride will tell you jack. You need to ride some trails you know well and tackle some familiar climbs and descents.
I think your idea of a technical climb is vastly different than mine. Trails too. I'm picturing cart and bridal paths and not climbing up rock staircases. I'm typing this from my bed which is higher than any point in the UK and I'm only 2/3s up the mountain. Anything lower is the flatlands. I've rode in Ireland and the only elevation gain I was able to get was a windfarm north of Roscommon but it was just cruisng around on gravel roads. You can totally get away with a long wheel base there.
 

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there is always the middlechild if you want a harder hitting hardtail.
or a specialized fuse.
 

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OP, You can't go wrong with the Honzo ESD or Chromag bikes. This assumes you live in an area that requires the slackest and most enduroest hardtail on the market (that still works well)? Though if you don't have seriously chunky tech and steep trails then I would encourage you to look for something a little less "extreme" like the regular Honzo ST. Which is still very progressive and dialed…
A guy I know at my LBS, who is a relatively hard charging, very seasoned rider, was building a brand new Honzo ST the other day when I was by. I asked him whose bike it was and he said his. I asked him about his ESD and he said he had stripped it and put the frame up for sale.

According to him, the ESD is a decent climber, and (not unexpectedly) great on the downs. But on the flats it was a handful.

My Honzo ST is awesome except when I hit the super gnar with it. I find the seat tube too high. Even with my dropper buried, I feel like I am towering above it. I do love it though.

I may buy this guy’s ESD frame.
 

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I think your idea of a technical climb is vastly different than mine. Trails too. I'm picturing cart and bridal paths and not climbing up rock staircases. I'm typing this from my bed which is higher than any point in the UK and I'm only 2/3s up the mountain. Anything lower is the flatlands. I've rode in Ireland and the only elevation gain I was able to get was a windfarm north of Roscommon but it was just cruisng around on gravel roads. You can totally get away with a long wheel base there.
My idea of a technical climb is super steep and littered with big rock steps, roots and rocks. It usually involves a bit of track standing and hopping to get over the bigger features.
Cart and bridal paths can be tackled on anything, the G1 is infinitely more comfortable on steep fire roads too as you don’t have to hunker over the front but it’s on really steep and nasty tech climbs where it shines.
Your experience in Ireland bears zero resemblance to where I live and my typical rides.
I’ve just convinced a friend to buy a stumpy evo and his experience has been exactly the same, coming from an 8 year old stump jumper he can now get up stuff he couldn’t on his old bike.
He was as sceptical as you appear to be too and now pleasantly surprised!
Don’t get me wrong, my G1 is absolutely not for everyone but don’t write a new bike off due to progressive geometry.
 

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A guy I know at my LBS, who is a relatively hard charging, very seasoned rider, was building a brand new Honzo ST the other day when I was by. I asked him whose bike it was and he said his. I asked him about his ESD and he said he had stripped it and put the frame up for sale.

According to him, the ESD is a decent climber, and (not unexpectedly) great on the downs. But on the flats it was a handful.

My Honzo ST is awesome except when I hit the super gnar with it. I find the seat tube too high. Even with my dropper buried, I feel like I am towering above it. I do love it though.

I may buy this guy’s ESD frame.
I agree, the ESD is almost a winch and plummet hardtail. Pretty extreme.

I have a 210mm dropper in mine, and I use every mm. ;)
 

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My idea of a technical climb is super steep and littered with big rock steps, roots and rocks. It usually involves a bit of track standing and hopping to get over the bigger features.
Cart and bridal paths can be tackled on anything, the G1 is infinitely more comfortable on steep fire roads too as you don’t have to hunker over the front but it’s on really steep and nasty tech climbs where it shines.
Your experience in Ireland bears zero resemblance to where I live and my typical rides.
I’ve just convinced a friend to buy a stumpy evo and his experience has been exactly the same, coming from an 8 year old stump jumper he can now get up stuff he couldn’t on his old bike.
He was as sceptical as you appear to be too and now pleasantly surprised!
Don’t get me wrong, my G1 is absolutely not for everyone but don’t write a new bike off due to progressive geometry.
I'm not skeptical. I've been ordering custom low, long and slack race bikes of my design since the mid 2000s. Since before it was a thing and getting laughed at on the starting line at Super D and Enduro races for my "outrageous" geometry. I know what works and when geo has gone too far. To each his own but industry buzz words and hype don't sell me.

ETA Yeah, all the better places to ride were closed when I vacationed in Ireland last October/November
 

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5'10", youre in between med and large. demo the med, make sure you wont hit you knees on the fork crown when you stand up and throw the bike around. if its tight, get the large
 
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