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I am researching a new trail bike that I intend to keep for a while. I feel like I am doing myself a disservice not going with modern geometry
eg. a steeper seat tube angle. Problem is, that discounts bikes like the Santa Cruz Tallboy and the Niner Jet 9 RDO just to name a few.
 

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Keep on Rockin...
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Steeper STAs are in place to "correct" the excessive sag that occurs on long travel bikes when pointed up hill. Short travel bikes sag relatively less so there's not much to correct.

Also, shorter travel bikes are typically used on more "pedally" rides. Power transfer and in the saddle comfort on long pedally sections, IMO, is compromised by very steep STAs.

All that said, even short travel bikes have STAs that have become steeper than we were seeing just a few years ago.
 

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Demo bikes. I wouldn't buy a bike with a seat tube angle slacker then 74 degrees these days, but that statement comes from riding no less then 25 different modern/current bikes over the last 6 months. Not because I read a forum post by some random guy of unknown riding ability or experience or because i read some marketing lingo on a website.

Some people really like steep seat tube angles and some other people don't care so much in either direction. As Miker J stated, on some short travel bikes it isn't as big of a deal (it still is for me on short travel bikes, but ymmv) and on some suspension designs that sit high in their travel, it isn't that big of a deal.

The only way for you to know is to ride bikes. Do not purchase a bike just because it was cheap. Do not justify buying a bike without demo'ing it just because it's on sale. I can do that now, but only after I've ridden so many bikes that I have narrowed the geo numbers that fit my body with an accuracy of 5mm.

Again, I am not some badass... this clarity and understanding of my body type and modern geo only came from riding all of the bikes.
 

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Steeper STAs are in place to "correct" the excessive sag that occurs on long travel bikes when pointed up hill. Short travel bikes sag relatively less so there's not much to correct.

Also, shorter travel bikes are typically used on more "pedally" rides. Power transfer and in the saddle comfort on long pedally sections, IMO, is compromised by very steep STAs.

All that said, even short travel bikes have STAs that have become steeper than we were seeing just a few years ago.
This.

Steep STAs on short travel bikes are not helpful.

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Rollin 29s
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As others have said, ride them. Ride for longer than an hour in different conditions. Ride your normal type of terrain. Ride flat sections and focus on pressure points like hands and saddle position.

The Ripmo with 76 degree SP angle for example pushes the bottom bracket and cranks further back under the saddle. Especially on flat or slightly downhill riding that’s not steep enough to warrant dropping my seat post, this results (for me) in my upper body falling forward on my hands, resulting in a lot of hand pressure. It’s taken months to get used to the pressure, and I still switch between gripping the bars normally and thumbs on top of the bars to transfer the pressure points. Saying this, the handling and performance is far superior to my Jet-9, even though that bike is more physically comfortable to sit on.

There’s no way you can learn everything about a bike until you spend some significant saddle time. You may be able to clear a bike from your list based on initial impressions of handling that you don’t like, but stay on the ones you do like for a while to evaluate how they feel after a few hours.


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The Ripmo with 76 degree SP angle for example pushes the bottom bracket and cranks further back under the saddle. Especially on flat or slightly downhill riding that's not steep enough to warrant dropping my seat post, this results (for me) in my upper body falling forward on my hands, resulting in a lot of hand pressure. It's taken months to get used to the pressure, and I still switch between gripping the bars normally and thumbs on top of the bars to transfer the pressure points.

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Thats completely opposite of my experience. I had massive hand pain on the old bike with a flat handlebar. Bought a Ripmo and 30mm riser bar with it and I have not had one bit of pain since. Was it the steep STA and additional reach or the riser bar?
 

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FWIW, completely disagree.... There are situations where they aren't quite as important, but I absolutely, could/would never make a blanket statement that they are not helpful on short travel bikes.
If you have very wide hips or abnormally short femurs, OK.

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Rollin 29s
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It becomes more important the taller you are. I'm 6'7" and the slacker the seat tube angle, the more my weight is over the rear axle.
True. Maybe this is the reason For my Ripmo hand pain. Im 6'4" which may mean more upper body length forward on the bars. I definitely had a much harder time keeping the front tire on the ground with the Jet 9, and with some of the other slacker SP bikes I demo'd such as the Hightower and Pivot Trail 429.

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FWIW, completely disagree.... There are situations where they aren't quite as important, but I absolutely, could/would never make a blanket statement that they are not helpful on short travel bikes.
If you have very wide hips or abnormally short femurs, OK.
I think it has less to do with travel and more to do with the other geometry of the bike. If you have a short travel bike with a 69* HTA and a short reach, you don't want a steep STA. But if you have a short travel bike with a 66.5* HTA and a long reach, you want a steeper STA. Those bikes didn't really exist years ago, now they do and you need the steeper STA. We're past the days of travel dictating geometry.
 

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I think it has less to do with travel and more to do with the other geometry of the bike. If you have a short travel bike with a 69* HTA and a short reach, you don't want a steep STA. But if you have a short travel bike with a 66.5* HTA and a long reach, you want a steeper STA. Those bikes didn't really exist years ago, now they do and you need the steeper STA. We're past the days of travel dictating geometry.
On the money. Stem length goes along with those differences also. On the shorter reach bike you'd probably be running a long stem which is going to shift your weight forward, especially if you're running a slammed stem. On a more modern aggressive hardtail the reach will be longer, the stem and bars probably higher, the stem shorter and probably shorter chainstays. That kind of hardtail or short travel FS will definitely benefit from a steeper STA.
 

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I think it has less to do with travel and more to do with the other geometry of the bike. If you have a short travel bike with a 69* HTA and a short reach, you don't want a steep STA. But if you have a short travel bike with a 66.5* HTA and a long reach, you want a steeper STA. Those bikes didn't really exist years ago, now they do and you need the steeper STA. We're past the days of travel dictating geometry.
So, a 120mm bike run at 20% sag should have the same STA as a 160mm bike run at 35% sag?

Despite the fact that those STAs, on a steep climb, will put the rider in VERY different positions relative to the BB?
 

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So, a 120mm bike run at 20% sag should have the same STA as a 160mm bike run at 35% sag?

Despite the fact that those STAs, on a steep climb, will put the rider in VERY different positions relative to the BB?
Less doesn't mean none, so I guess my question back to you would be; what are the HTA and reach measurements of those 120 and 160mm bikes?
 

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Hitching a ride
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Well I run 25% sag on my 160mm bike and the climb mode on the shock makes it ride higher in the travel on climbs. 75 sta on the chart but I put a setback post so it's less. Never had a problem climbing; steep climbs are my favorite.
 

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Less doesn't mean none, so I guess my question back to you would be; what are the HTA and reach measurements of those 120 and 160mm bikes?
Let's go with this:

https://geometrygeeks.bike/compare/specialized-enduro-29-2019-m,intense-sniper-2018-medium/

Intense Sniper Trail 2018 and Specialized Enduro 29 2019. Both in size Medium.

I'd like someone to put forth a serious argument as to why the Intense should have a steeper STA than it does, taking into account the purposes of the two bikes and likely shock setups for each.
 

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Let's go with this:

https://geometrygeeks.bike/compare/specialized-enduro-29-2019-m,intense-sniper-2018-medium/

Intense Sniper Trail 2018 and Specialized Enduro 29 2019. Both in size Medium.

I'd like someone to put forth a serious argument as to why the Intense should have a steeper STA than it does, taking into account the purposes of the two bikes and likely shock setups for each.
Personally I'd be concerned the STA is too steep on that Enduro! The reach isn't very extreme for a size M nor is the HTA extremely slack. That's my point, it's not an all-or-nothing, one-size-fits-all situation here. You have to look at the geometry, TRAVEL :), and suspension type all as a puzzle that needs the right STA as one of the pieces. Even the sag % isn't really the same on everything. As soon as you start pedaling up a hill your 35% sag DW-link bike isn't going to have you in the same place as your 35% sag Horst-link bike. As for the Sniper, I haven't ridden it but I think given all those pieces of the puzzle it's pretty dialed but could maybe benefit from a slight STA increase. Check YouTube for MTB Yum Yum, he HAS ridden the Sniper and specifically called out that he wouldn't have minded a steeper STA and he rides alot of bikes so he has a good base of comparison.
 

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Personally I'd be concerned the STA is too steep on that Enduro! The reach isn't very extreme for a size M nor is the HTA extremely slack. That's my point, it's not an all-or-nothing, one-size-fits-all situation here. You have to look at the geometry, TRAVEL :), and suspension type all as a puzzle that needs the right STA as one of the pieces. Even the sag % isn't really the same on everything. As soon as you start pedaling up a hill your 35% sag DW-link bike isn't going to have you in the same place as your 35% sag Horst-link bike. As for the Sniper, I haven't ridden it but I think given all those pieces of the puzzle it's pretty dialed but could maybe benefit from a slight STA increase. Check YouTube for MTB Yum Yum, he HAS ridden the Sniper and specifically called out that he wouldn't have minded a steeper STA and he rides alot of bikes so he has a good base of comparison.
Again, the funny thing about that is that I'm guessing the 74 degree STA, on a properly set up Sniper, is probably steeper than most of the other bikes MTB Yum Yum rides (despite their *steeper* STAs), on an actual climb.

So, I have to wonder if his comments are based on reading a geometry chart, or his actual ride. I'm guessing that if he hadn't looked up the geometry beforehand, he would have had no clue, and no complaints.

Also: he was riding with a guy in jeans. No offense to either of them, but I'm not going to base my opinion of a bike, how it climbs, or any changes that should be made to it, based on the commentary of a guy who was riding with a guy in jeans. I have nothing against riding in jeans, but it's indicative of the physical effort they were putting into riding, at least in the upwards direction: minimal.
 

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Again, the funny thing about that is that I'm guessing the 74 degree STA, on a properly set up Sniper, is probably steeper than most of the other bikes MTB Yum Yum rides (despite their *steeper* STAs), on an actual climb.

So, I have to wonder if his comments are based on reading a geometry chart, or his actual ride. I'm guessing that if he hadn't looked up the geometry beforehand, he would have had no clue, and no complaints.
That I couldn't comment on, but he seemed damn excited about that new Ripley he rode! (which has a 76* STA)

One thing I can comment on with certainty is that I wish I got to ride all those bikes so I could give truth rather than opinion.
 
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