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Discussion Starter #1
As I'm geeking out on short travel 29er geometry, I noticed some things.

Most of the shorter travel 29ers have chainstay lengths right around 430-435mm. This would be the Tallboy, Ripley, Trance, Revel Ranger, Epic Evo, and Pivot Trail 429 (at 429mm). They're all right in that range.

Then I was looking at the Banshee Phantom. There aren't a lot of reviews out there, but the few I found are favorable. And the BB drop is not quite as low as the others (a pro for the rocky stuff), which got me excited. But then I noticed the CS length is 445. The Devinci Django is close to that at 443. This is a good 10mm longer than the Giant Trance and 15mm longer than the Tallboy.

Do I care?

I don't know. Do I?

I'm a tallish dude, 6'2", and I've heard some say tall people should prefer longer CS due to longer seatpost extension and therefore more weight shifted further back. And short folks should get on better with shorter chainstays.

But I ride tight/twisty east coast singletrack - lots of steep ups/downs, plenty of rocks and logs and trees.

So, should I sweat the extra 10-15mm? Kinda seems like a lot.

(I know the answer is probably, rode both and figure it out, but demos are dang tough to do these days...)
 

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As I'm geeking out on short travel 29er geometry, I noticed some things.

Most of the shorter travel 29ers have chainstay lengths right around 430-435mm. This would be the Tallboy, Ripley, Trance, Revel Ranger, Epic Evo, and Pivot Trail 429 (at 429mm). They're all right in that range.

Then I was looking at the Banshee Phantom. There aren't a lot of reviews out there, but the few I found are favorable. And the BB drop is not quite as low as the others (a pro for the rocky stuff), which got me excited. But then I noticed the CS length is 445. The Devinci Django is close to that at 443. This is a good 10mm longer than the Giant Trance and 15mm longer than the Tallboy.

Do I care?

I don't know. Do I?

I'm a tallish dude, 6'2", and I've heard some say tall people should prefer longer CS due to longer seatpost extension and therefore more weight shifted further back. And short folks should get on better with shorter chainstays.

But I ride tight/twisty east coast singletrack - lots of steep ups/downs, plenty of rocks and logs and trees.

So, should I sweat the extra 10-15mm? Kinda seems like a lot.

(I know the answer is probably, rode both and figure it out, but demos are dang tough to do these days...)
I ride the same trails. But I'm short 5'6" 430mm is as long as I'd go, 420-425mm is my sweet spot. At your height it might not matter. But 15mm is enough to feel like getting the rear to swing around much harder.
 

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We ride the same trails, literally. I think you have it right. Being a tall rider it will help you keep the front down in climbs. The bike won’t be as easy to turn as a shorter CS, but with your height you probably will be ok.

I would be more concerned about why the Banshee. There are much designs around for what we ride.


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I’m 6’2” and one of the (many) reasons I recently pre-ordered a Canfield Lithium frame is because the chainstays are just 430mm. I’ve had bikes with long stays and learned over the years that I prefer shorter to longer. I find a bike with shorter stays turns much more nimbly but this doesn’t mean twitchy. More like intuitively.
Don’t know if this helps you but there’s my preference anyway.
=sParty
 

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Yes. At 6'2" you should only consider a bike with long chain stays, otherwise it'll handle poorly at the limit, ime.

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Discussion Starter #6
We ride the same trails, literally. I think you have it right. Being a tall rider it will help you keep the front down in climbs. The bike won’t be as easy to turn as a shorter CS, but with your height you probably will be ok.

I would be more concerned about why the Banshee. There are much designs around for what we ride.


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The Banshee sports a higher BB, with a BB drop of 27, which caught my attention. Most of the others are around 35-38mm drop, which I worry is low. Pivot 429 is 30mm.

I feel like my ideal bike would have a 435 CS length and a 30mm BB drop, along with a not so steep seat tube angle. That kinda pushes me towards 429Tr and Trance.


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Short answer: Banshee Phantom V3 has 445mm CS and 1253mm WB in XL. This WB is a bit long for east coast riding. It's kind of tight and twisty there, so I imagine speeds will be low and favor quick acceleration and ground clearance. The slack HA, long fork, and other things add up to this long WB...

WB length concerns aside, the CS length centers the BB between the wheels in a way that the bike's sweet spot is pretty much neutral, with a hint of rearward preference. Probably not ideal for someone who's defensive and likes to get rearward and liberally applies both brakes to control speeds to be slow enough to safely eject. This balance would make an experienced rider so confident in their relaxed/centered position that they are most comfortable riding the bike fast/hard, begging for beefed-up components to take advantage of the confidence. They'd also wonder why anyone would need a bigger bike when this one is so capable. It'd encourage the rider to get out of the saddle more, as opposed to spin in the saddle.

Note this is my prediction for size XL. This would be more of a cruiser in smaller sizes, for people who actually want to be spin in the saddle and defensively get rearward, due to the shorter WB/FC. I'd consider this choice to be similar to the balance of old Treks, but with the solid/premium feel of a fully triangulated rear swingarm. Older Pivot bikes used to have such balance too.

============

Long answer: I have sliding dropouts on my custom-geo FS. Changing the CS makes quite a noticeable difference in terms of my general stance on the bike. I like to stay in the bike's sweet spot when riding through rough low-traction terrain. I tweak my fore-aft position to ensure that each wheel gets just enough traction to stay in control and not buck.

People like to talk about how far you gotta be behind the saddle, but it's more accurate to say how far behind the BB you are. When people say "lean back", they mean tilt back. Tilt back refers to your CoG, compared to the pull of gravity. Like, if you let go of the bars, your CoG wants to fall towards the back of the bike, which means you'll be hanging on the bars to prevent that. Can tilt back if you drop your heels and angle your legs back, so your hips are behind the BB.

Anyways, sliding the rear wheel back is akin to moving your CoG forward. It shifts a small % of bodyweight from the rear to the front, like 2% per 5mm of CS length. This shift's the bike's sweet spot rearward. This is a good thing if sweet spot is in a more natural spot, that I can hold with less effort. Not sure if it's a bad thing if it's in a spot that I'd normally get in, like one in which I'm hanging back, which takes effort to hold. I dislike how I have to throw my hips back forward to get in a position to pedal again.

Where the sweet spot is, is determined by where the BB is between the front and rear axles. The distance from the front wheel matters too. Brands don't list this difference, so I just use WB and CS. Subtract CS from the WB and you get that distance. I find that it's not necessary to do that math. There's no magic calculation that works with those two numbers, like dividing one by the other. Instead, I find that just demo'ing lots of diff bikes and finding what combination of CS and WB works best is more reliable (trial-and-error).

I found consistent results among bikes with the same CS and WB, as long as they were the same class of bike (29er enduro vs 29er enduro). Things kind of varied based on wheel size and travel amount. A 29er short travel bike liked a slightly shorter CS for a given WB, else it would favor hanging off the back. 27.5 and mullet bikes liked shorter CS too. I'm not sure if this is because of BB drop and axle paths, but either way, it's helped to allow me to predict which bikes will be "bike of the year" contenders with good accuracy. For example, 29er enduro bikes with 435mm CS and 1230mm WB got high praise. So did combos like 440mm and 1250mm WB (Enduro 29 S3 and Nukeproof Mega).

Should pick more based on WB and style. Long WB bikes have more ground clearance issues. Since the front wheel is so far forward, more obstacles can fit in between the wheels and strike your cranks/pedals. Long wheelbases prefer to straight-line, rather than snake around obstacles. If there are spots where you'd normally thread between obstacles, you'd likely be forced to change your line to come in with more momentum and ride up and over one of the obstacles. This becomes a common theme, coming in with momentum and opting to send yourself over bumps and air things out, rather than rock crawl.
 

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Yes it matters, no I wouldn’t buy a Banshee because they have long chainstays.

I’m 6’, my max rear triangle is 435mm, but I prefer shorter, current bike is 423mm.
 

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The Banshee sports a higher BB, with a BB drop of 27, which caught my attention. Most of the others are around 35-38mm drop, which I worry is low. Pivot 429 is 30mm.

I feel like my ideal bike would have a 435 CS length and a 30mm BB drop, along with a not so steep seat tube angle. That kinda pushes me towards 429Tr and Trance.


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What trail system do you ride the most? The Banshee KS suspension is really nice. I don't get along with the long chainstays. So I never bought one. IMHO it peddles better in chunky stuff than a DW link bike, I'd pick it for miles of rocks. But if Riding Ptap, and the like the 429 tr is a good bike. Also look at the Canfield Tilt if not apposed to aluminum.
 

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I'm about 6'2" and have always tried to ride bikes with shorter chainstays, around 430mm range. I just purchased a new frame, a Druid, which has a 450mm chainstay that lengthens under compression. I'm an east coast rider too. I fretted over the long chainstay until one day I just said screw it, I'm going to try it and see if this scaled sizing thing makes sense for a taller riders. You can obsess over numbers on paper all day, but in the end I bought the frame I wanted most. My last bike was a massive departure from the one before and I was really concerned about the wheelbase and head angle, once I rode it those worries went away. It took a little adaptation on tight corners, but beyond that I really liked the longer bike. I haven't ridden the Druid yet, middle of winter in VT, but like the last bike I think a few rides in and I will adapt and get used to it. Will I find that 15-20mm of extra chainstay length too much and a hinderance? I doubt it.
 

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I'm 5'11" and don't care for longer stays. I ride the same stuff as you, just more down toward Harrisonburg. There are upsides and downsides either way, which you can read all about and obsess over, but you'll likely adapt. It's all about how it works with the rest of the geometry.

For me, I prefer shorter stays for two reasons. Switchbacks and climbing traction. My bike isn't super long, but I ride old hiking trails a lot and the switches are stupid tight. The shorter stays help. I didn't notice them as much on normal twisty stuff, just the switches. On the climbing, shorter stays keep that wheel more under me which means more traction which is key for my trails. At your height and thus seat extension, this may not be an issue. However, if between the ST angle and seat position you're really forward, this is going to take some of that traction away. On the other end, a rear bias weight balance will lighten the front end if the FC is long and may be annoying on climbs.

Just watch out, some folks insist on claiming that longer stays mean better rear wheel climbing traction citing hill-climb dirt bikes' extended stays. This is incorrect, those bikes have long stays to keep the weight forward and the front end down. Their power:weight is a wee bit higher than us and looping out is major limiter.

This is all a long and disorganized way of saying that if that bike has a longer FC, the longer stays probably keep the overall balance in check in the L/XL sizes and I wouldn't sweat it too much, knowing that some switchbacks may be a bear. Personally, I think that 15mm stay length difference falls into the category of personal preference rather than good vs bad.
 

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I'm on a Banshee Rune V2 but I'm only 5'9". CS on this bike is 437mm and I wouldn't mind if it were a little longer for cornering. Short CS force you to lean further forward to balance out the weight bias for grip. The longer chain stays have a better balance for my riding. I've never had a problem getting a longer bike to change direction quickly but it definitely has a different feel.

Mostly personal preference I think.
 

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Balanced chain stay length is a range where at the low end of the range the bike feels playful but you're not fighting to keep the front weighted and at the upper end the bike is really stable but you're not struggling to unweight the front and maintain rear traction.

The Tallboy has an adjustable chain stay (flipchip). It can be ran at 430mm or 440mm. I'm 6'5" on a XXL and run it at 440mm. 10mm makes a big difference. Personally, 430mm felt a bit too unbalanced but more playful (honestly 435mm might be the sweet spot). My Megatower is set at 445mm which feels pretty well balanced, for a XXL enduro bike. I wouldn't want 445mm+ chain stays on a short travel trail bike and I'm 6'5" so I feel like at your height you might find 445mm feels too long.
 

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I am 6-2 and 220lbs, and felt top heavy and never really comfortable on my bikes for years. I kept buying Large frames with 420ish CS because "that's what is BEST!". Wasn't until I started test riding a few XL frames and ignored the numbers until after the ride that I put together that 1) longer reach and 2) bit longer CS made for much more confidence on the bike for me.

This is a good argument for more bikes having adjustable CS or CS that lengthen with the frame size. But adjustable CS complicate FS designs and make it more expensive to build, a different rear triangle for different sizes is also more expensive... not many brands will add expense to frame designs for a small % of people that nerd out to that degree. A bit like sports cars coming with camber adjustment from the factory.
 

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I came from several shorter stay bikes (Knolly Warden, Transition Sentinel, Evil Following) to a Banshee Titan, which has even longer stays at 452mm. Personally, I love it, but its different. I may have a long-term review getting published before too long that speaks to the chainstay length, but for someone 6'1 riding nasty trails at a good pace, the extra stability afforded by the rear end is great. I will say that I think Banshee's bikes are optimized around L/XL sizes, and those longer chainstays would probably feel weird on medium and small bikes where the chainstay starts to mirror or even be longer than the reach.

The most noticeable impacts of the longer rear end are on steep climbs and while cornering. For someone who can put decent power down, the longer stays help keep the front end down under hard sustained efforts and make the bike a great tech climber. If you climb a lot of switchbacks, its harder to pivot off of the rear wheel on climbs, but switchbacks suck regardless IMO so I've just adapted my riding style to more intentionally wide lines.

For cornering, the bike will hold a line much better at speed. The rear wheel is essentially trailing your center of mass a bit more, so it is less upset by impacts that unsettle your body weight. It is faster and more consistent in my experience, but it doesn't really allow you to slash around, instead preferring a more committed approach to your line choice while offering more grip. Coming from a DH background, that works well for me, but more tentative riders might find that the bike wants you to commit to a line and rewards you for being more decisive.
 

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I’m 6’1”, with an 36” inseam, and am currently attempting to get away from a bike with what I consider excessively short chainstays. My Kona Process 153 29’er has 425mm chainstays, and an actual seat tube angle or 67 degrees. My local riding area has a few decent climbs in the 25-32% measured grade.

All those things combine to make a bike that feels pretty light on the front tire when climbing. And while I've never looped out like a hill climb motorcycle would,

Same thing with the downhill. My most common form of crashing, is to wash the front tire out, most likely due to inadequate weight on the front tire.

To help compensate for that, I have had to remove all of the spacers under my stem, and go back to a low rise bar, and longer stem, all trying to get my weight more forward. And it has definitely helped. But I do have to actively, constantly focus on keeping my weight forward on turns. And I think a longer rear chainstay would help with that.

Keep in mind I've still not ridden any bikes with longer chainstays, due to the problem with demoing bikes right now. But I'm actively curious to try longer rear centers, and see if I can notice the difference in 10-25mm additional CS length.
 

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How you want your bike to ride/feel/behave is subjective, and I get that some people like the feeling of a really short rear end. I’ve ridden enough bikes to learn that’s not my preference.

But I clean the same switchbacks on my current bike with a 1265mm wheelbase (452mm chainstays) that I did on a 1103mm wheelbase bike (that had 424mm chainstays), and with no noticeable increase in difficulty. That’s a 16 cm (!!) difference in wheelbase. It doesn’t make or break a switchback. I’m thinking of stupid tight and steep switchbacks, too, because I have a thing for them. I may not be the fastest up or down, but by g-d I’ll make that switchback.
 

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If you're looking at two bikes with effectively identical geometry except for the CSL, it would definitely make a difference. But because so many other factors might be different, no one can say without riding those bikes.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
What trail system do you ride the most? The Banshee KS suspension is really nice. I don't get along with the long chainstays. So I never bought one. IMHO it peddles better in chunky stuff than a DW link bike, I'd pick it for miles of rocks. But if Riding Ptap, and the like the 429 tr is a good bike. Also look at the Canfield Tilt if not apposed to aluminum.
Ptap is my back yard. I've spent countless hours riding, hiking, exploring, and maintaining the trails. Hardtail is good for 2-3 hour rides at Patapsco; longer rides and you're wishing for a bit more cush. Rides at the Shed, WV, Hburg, etc., definitely wishing for some cush (or you're riding very slow!). XC guy at heart, love climbing sometimes more than the descent ha!
 
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