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Blood, Sweat, and Gears
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Handling thoughts? - UPDATED

I picked up a Epic Comp 29 a week ago. When I took my first test ride on the bike I felt like the bike had maybe been setup for someone smaller than me because I had a very uncomfortable forward and OTB feeling. I took out one of their test bikes that was the same model as mine, size medium etc. It felt very similar to the Giant 29 I have been on for a few months, loved it. I don't want to start a 26 vs 29 Ford vs Chevy discussion :madman: I get it, I've had/have both and I just feel better on a 29.

I asked LBS to swap the stock close to flat 660 mm bar with one with about a one inch rise similar width and along with having the bike fitted to me it was a night and day difference. Now that I have riiden the bike a few hours I feel that the front end is a bit more twitchy both uphill and downhill even though the head angle is exactly the same as my HT. This is one of the things that attracted to the Epic in the first place, that 69.5 degrees seems to agree with my riding style.

Sorry for the long lead up, I'm just trying to paint as accurate of a picture as I can. LBS said to log some miles and they would continue to help me fine tune to my liking.

I still feel a little more weight on my wrists and perhaps my shoulders feel a bit curved in which I am guessing isn't the best for breathing? I was thinking a cure for both may be a bar with slight more rise and going to something closer to 700 mm to open my chest for comfort and breathing?? Thoughts or suggestions? What pit falls would there be going taker or wider.
 

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My other ride is your mom
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5,442 Posts
Going wider on the bars will make your descending feel more stable and less twitchy...one thing you might want to compare between your old ride and your new ride are two things: Top tube length and stem length. You may be getting that stretched out....more weight on wrists/shoulders because your new ride has either/both longer top tube and stem. Nothing you can do about the top tube length...but going with a shorter stem will help your problem if this is the case. Going with a shorter stem will also make your descending feel more stable...however you'll give up a bit initially on the climb as it may feel like the front will wander a bit more...but you'll adjust to it just fine after a few rides.
 

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I love suspension stuff because done right it can make riding a lot more fun and comfortable.
As far as the twitchiness- have the shop (or someone) set up your suspension once it breaks in. New forks and shocks have a small amount of stiction that effect how it works until break-in. Ask them to set your sag first. Then set your adjustments for rebound and compression to the middle if equiped. Ride the bike and bring along the tools you will need to make adjustments if any and something to take notes on (voice notes on cel works really good for me).

Ride a section that you feel the twitch on and make an adjustment one way or the other (softer/harder, faster/slower etc), note your adjustments and ride the same section again. Note what the changes did. Analyze and make another change and ride again etc. until perfect.

You do not have to be an expert to adjust your rebound and compression settings. Even sag can be set by a novice- trickier though. If you are unsure what rebound or compression mean- there are many tutorials on the web, especially for moto's which the theory crosses over pretty well. Also go step by step. Take notes and refer to them. If you want- try to understand what each change made.

As time goes on and you get more comfy you can take little shortcuts like making the first couple of adjustments bigger changes then smaller as you get close to a buttery setup saves time. Note how tire pressure and changes to bike geometry (through stems, seat position) affect handling.
Step by step- this is what I would do to save the most money and hopefully get your bike set up quickly so you can concentrate on enjoying it.
- Get static sag set to your weight and get bike geometry set up to your profile.
-Ride and make adjustments as you ride.
-Don't mimic someone elses setup. Those adjusters are there for a reason.
-Pay attention to how body positioning makes the bike handle better or worse in certain situations. Sometimes all the money, trick parts and adjustments in the world will not fix what a free body position will fix.
-Know that as you get faster, more skilled and comfortable- your ALL of these factors may change. This is good advice for those riding the same bike for a long time. Gradually your body may compensate for something that needs fixed or adjusted- and if this automatic adaptation goes unchecked you may be losing efficiency, speed or just good times. Go back and look at your setup once in a while.
-In the end- you may find out that the bike, the components or whatever are not not suitable for you, then its time to start spending the coin!
 

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Blood, Sweat, and Gears
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226 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Good info on the suspension and I have been adjusting it just about every time I go out, just got back in fact. I think I have it close to my liking now but once it breaks in I’m sure I will have to find the sweet spot again.
The stem on the Epic is about 1” shorter than that of the Giant. The Top Tube is aprox ¾” longer on the Giant. This does strike me as more of a geometry thing but I could be wrong, I may be over analyzing it while riding too. It just seems like I have a bit more weight on my wrists than I think I should because it sure feels good to sit up and just steer with my finger tips when I hit a flat spot. I am pretty certain that indicates I need a bit more rise from either the bar or stem. I was thinking if I do make a bar change I might go slightly wider at the same time. The bars on the Epic are almost ¼” wider than that of the Giant to further confuse things……… It’s not terrible by any means it probably me just being picky and something I may just have to settle in to.
hatedg, how much wider are your new bars vs old bars?
 

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According to your measurements, you should feel a lot more stretched out on the Giant with 1 3/4" longer reach than on the Epic. It doesn't seem to compute with what you're feeling. How does seat height vs. handlebar height compare between the two?
 

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Blood, Sweat, and Gears
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I know right? That's why I threw this thread out there, because it just doesn't compute..... Seat and handlebar height are almost identical between the two bikes. I don't want to drive anyone nuts with this one, I was just hoping to go back to my LBS with an idea or two. I really appreciate the brainstorming.
 

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Blood, Sweat, and Gears
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226 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Update. As it turns out it was a fork problem that apparently some Rock Shox Reba SL have had with bad cylinders. Mine was losing pressure a few minutes into a ride causing the front end to sag causing what I described at twitchy. It wasn't until I took it into the shop for a tuneup and they said I had uneven pressure that I started thinking the fork may be the issue. They equaled out the pressure and it held pressure, the bike sat all weekend until I took it out this morning. With the still moist dirt this thing was handling like a dream for about twenty minutes and then I started noticing the weird handling and sure enough after getting off and looking you could see the pressure / travel loss. LBS said they ordered the parts and it will be ready by the end of the week and they hadn't seen repeat problems once the cylinders are replaced. I'm crossing my fingers because the irony is a completely different fork issue on my Giant 29er HT is what prompted my purchase of a bike with a higher grade fork to start with. I just don't have much luck with forks to date but I know they will get this resolved. I'm glad I didn't start swapping out bars etc and was so sure it wasn't suspension too! :yikes:
 

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No Clue Crew
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4,108 Posts
Fletch 1 said:
Update. As it turns out it was a fork problem that apparently some Rock Shox Reba SL have had with bad cylinders. Mine was losing pressure a few minutes into a ride causing the front end to sag causing what I described at twitchy. It wasn't until I took it into the shop for a tuneup and they said I had uneven pressure that I started thinking the fork may be the issue. They equaled out the pressure and it held pressure, the bike sat all weekend until I took it out this morning. With the still moist dirt this thing was handling like a dream for about twenty minutes and then I started noticing the weird handling and sure enough after getting off and looking you could see the pressure / travel loss. LBS said they ordered the parts and it will be ready by the end of the week and they hadn't seen repeat problems once the cylinders are replaced. I'm crossing my fingers because the irony is a completely different fork issue on my Giant 29er HT is what prompted my purchase of a bike with a higher grade fork to start with. I just don't have much luck with forks to date but I know they will get this resolved. I'm glad I didn't start swapping out bars etc and was so sure it wasn't suspension too! :yikes:
Hmmm... another Rock Shox problem :( I didn't even get to finish setting up my tires tubeless before my Pike completely locked up. It's great that we both have/will have them fixed but I'd bet this problem is as well known as mine and the issue not fixed. Not pleased...
 

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Blood, Sweat, and Gears
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226 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Wrap up. I just wanted to complete the on going saga on a happy note. As it turns out the fork had bad seals that the LBS discovered and repaired. I have had it out a couple of times with no issues and I couldn't be happier to have this behind me. I wanted to say thank you to Nate and the team at Exhale Bikes for digging in and helping to get this resolved and even following up days later to make sure I was happy. Thanks again guys!
 
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