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I am on a 2018 Orbea Ocaam with suspension travel 130F/120R, 67.5 HA, 74 STA. I have struggled getting used to the more modern geo. My trails are tight and twisty. The bike handles well at faster speeds. Problem is that faster speeds are only rarely and briefly reached. In the slower tighter conditions, I don't love the handling. I noticed that when I disable the forks slow speed compression, the front settles a little lower, HA steepens slightly and handling improves a little. However, I like the fork with the slow speed compression engaged. I was considering reducing the fork travel to 120 to further enhance my desired handling characteristics.
 

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If you did that you would be at around 68 degrees but have a lower bottom bracket by a few mm---honestly I doubt this will make much of a difference---67.5 is actually relatively steep these days----I suspect you just need to ride it more to get used to it

One of the most popular bikes for the trails you describe was the Pivot Mach 429 Trail----it also is 67.5 at 120/116 and 72.8 STA---pretty similar
 

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Yep. I too generally prefer steeper HTAs. Most all model have gotten longer, lower and slacker in favor of descending. It's a trade-off most are willing to make so models with steeper HTAs are getting scarce.

10mm decrease in travel will increase HTA about 1/2 degree and drop the bb about 4 mm.
 

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Hi Bikenut,

Short answer = lower your fork and report back to us :) :thumbsup:

Long answer = see below.

I know exactly what you mean. I have a bike that only comes alive when it gets faster / rougher / steeper. I also have an old-school 29er that loves the tight and twisty stuff.

Be aware though, you might get some haters telling you that your impressions are wrong, and that new bike geometry is the best, and a fairy dies every. single. time. that someone mentions that new-school geometry not being awesome (ok, I might have exaggerated that last point a little!)

A first question for you, will you be ok with steepening the STA? Can you slide the saddle back on it's rails if you need to?

You can achieve your desired effect by one or a combo of the following:
  1. raising the rear end, thus steepening the STA/HTA
  2. lowering the front end, thus steepening the STA/HTA, and reducing the wheelbase (albeit slightly)
  3. steepening the HA by installing an angle-adjust headset.
  4. changing the fork lowers from 44 to 51mm

1. raising the rear end - and this keeping your 130mm travel
  1. install a taller tyre e.g. Bontrager XR2 or XR4 2.6, Maxxis Rekon or Forekaster 2.6
  2. install an offset bushing in the rear shock

2. lowering the front end
  1. Installing a fork with a lower axle-crown height e.g. Use a Fox 34 instead of a Pike (this will keep your 130mmtravel, but slightly lower the front end)
  2. Lower the travel of your fork. This is relatively low cost, and it's easily reversible. What do you have to loose?

3. steepening the HA by installing an angle-adjust headset.
  • This will keep your current travel, but will slightly shorten your wheelbase, make the steering quicker and bike more nimble

4. changing the fork lowers from 44 to 51mm
  • gregnash & LoneRanger are correct that the effect of changing to a 51mm vs 44mm offset will be small, but it will be noticeable (longer offset means shorter trail which means less steering self-centering, less "stability"). It's an expensive change though. Listen to the most recent BikeRadar podcast for a really detailed explanation - they state that the steeper the HA, the more noticable this effect is.
  • If you're at this level of change, it sounds like you'd benefit from a bike that's less "new school", or, that's more XC biased.
 

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Lowering your fork would help but the lower BB may not be worth it.

Have you tried a bit longer stem and/or lower front end? I know the Occam quite well and Orbea specs stems that are fairly short. A longer/lower stem might give you the handling characteristics you are looking for. Lowering the stem (assuming you have spacers under it) is an easy change make or unmake.

A lot of people are riding bikes with slack head-angles, short stems, and high front ends. Bikes set-up like that are fantastic on the steep trails but they are a lot of effort to get to turn when the grades are not so steep.
 

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Lowering your fork would help but the lower BB may not be worth it.

Have you tried a bit longer stem and/or lower front end? I know the Occam quite well and Orbea specs stems that are fairly short. A longer/lower stem might give you the handling characteristics you are looking for. Lowering the stem (assuming you have spacers under it) is an easy change make or unmake.

A lot of people are riding bikes with slack head-angles, short stems, and high front ends. Bikes set-up like that are fantastic on the steep trails but they are a lot of effort to get to turn when the grades are not so steep.
Great thinking, using a longer stem quickens the steering. If you want to keep the effective reach the same, you'll want to use a shorter bar (the math goes something like if you shorten your stem by 10mm you want to widen your bar by 20mm - obviously you'll want to do the reverse.

Also, shortening your bar quickens the steering. You could simply move your grips & controls inward by 10mm on each side and see if you notice a difference.
 

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Great thinking, using a longer stem quickens the steering. If you want to keep the effective reach the same, you'll want to use a shorter bar (the math goes something like if you shorten your stem by 10mm you want to widen your bar by 20mm - obviously you'll want to do the reverse.

Also, shortening your bar quickens the steering. You could simply move your grips & controls inward by 10mm on each side and see if you notice a difference.
and while you're at it... get some pedals, the ones with the cages on the end o_0

Then run some 2.0 tyres.

To finish things off, install a triple chainring up front ;-P

'Born to ride!'
 
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