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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've had my Balance now for a month. I've ridden it on anything from tech trails, DH tracks (both chunky and flow), chunky trails, flow/jump trails, fireroads, and even pump tracks. It's definitely been taken through the range of riding.

Setup:
  • Small Canfield Balance
  • Ohlins TTX coil rear, 230x65
  • Ohlines RXF36 m2 coil fork, 170mm, offset 46
  • SRAM AXS XX1 shifter/derailleur
  • Shimano XT 12 speed cassette/chain
  • Hope V4 brakes with goodrich lines. 200/180mm rotors
  • Wheels: DT Swiss 542 rims / I9 Hydra hubs / DT Swiss 14/15 guage spokes
  • Bike Yoke 160mm dropper
  • Ergon Saddle
  • Oury grips
  • Canfield Crampon pedals

Changes from the original build:
  • 30mm rise / 790mm Spank vibrocore bars (originally 15mm rise and 800mm)
  • Canfield 155mm cranks (originally 160mm)
  • 2.6 Magic Marys front and rear (originally Assegai 2.6 front and rear, and then Magic Mary 2.6 and Nobby Nic 2.6)
  • Long stem (50mm instead of a 40mm)

Changes to the suspension setup:
  • Put in softer springs (50 lb was originally 55 lb in the fork, and 450 lb spring in the rear instead of a 500 lb spring).
  • Fully open HSC front and rear, slowed down the rebound

My previous bike (carbon Megatrail) had a much steeper seat tube angle, longer chainstays, and steeper head angle. I moved over all the parts from that bike to the Balance. The first thing I noticed was the shorter chainstays: wow, this bike turns on a dime and it takes nothing to make it accelerate or get the front end up.

It took me a while to get the "balance point" on the Balance. It's further back than the Megatrail, which I needed to adjust my set up accordingly. The first few rides on it were on DH trails, and the front felt either too squirrelly or wandering-y on climbs. I thought that slamming the stem down would fit that problem but it only made the bike feel worse. The first few rides on it

My first rides on it were at DH parks, and I was not comfortable at all on it. I found myself feeling the stiffer springs (I had to overspring the Megatrail to get it to feel right for me), and everything felt rough. Put in softer springs and the next few rides felt MUCH better. The CBF supension is really cool and feels really refined, but you have to make sure your high speed rebound (HSR) isn't too fast or it feels like you're being launched from a canon :)

After getting the 155mm cranks, and raising the stem to 10mm above the headset than 5mm above the headset, the bike started to wake up and be the playful bike I was expecting. So I added 30mm rise bars on it, and it already feels better. It's much easier to stand on the pedals this way and get my weight over the front, and it corners better than before with my weight at the right spot for the bike.

The bike climbs better than I thought it would. I think it might be heavier than my Megatrail (36 lbs, haven't weighed the Balance yet), it climbs better. The CBF suspension allows the rear wheel to get out of the way. When I was running a Magic Mary (supertrail compound) in the front with softer compound than the faster Nobby Nic (supergrip compound), I would feel like the rear wheel was shooting ahead and it was causing the front to get caught. I've switched it to the same compound and same type of tire, and hopefully that will feel better.

I plan on taking the Balance back to the DH parks after I get it pretty dialed, but I'm really enjoying the Jedi for the DH parks. But for any trail or bike park, I wouldn't hesitate to take this bike.

Tire Pressure: I've had to run far less tire pressure on this than the Megatrail. Not sure why, but it's the same wheelset and tires I've run. Right now I'm running 20/22 for rocky trails, and 21/23 for the smoother runs.

Future changes: I might have to get the HSR slowed down in the both the fork and the rear shock, and maybe drop the stem 2mm. Otherwise, just some saddle time :)

1945171
 

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Whi
I've had my Balance now for a month. I've ridden it on anything from tech trails, DH tracks (both chunky and flow), chunky trails, flow/jump trails, fireroads, and even pump tracks. It's definitely been taken through the range of riding.

Setup:
  • Small Canfield Balance
  • Ohlins TTX coil rear, 230x65
  • Ohlines RXF36 m2 coil fork, 170mm
  • SRAM AXS XX1 shifter/derailleur
  • Shimano XT 12 speed cassette/chain
  • Hope V4 brakes with goodrich lines. 200/180mm rotors
  • Wheels: DT Swiss 542 rims / I9 Hydra hubs / DT Swiss 14/15 guage spokes
  • Bike Yoke 160mm dropper
  • Ergon Saddle
  • Oury grips
  • Canfield Crampon pedals

Changes from the original build:
  • 30mm rise / 790mm Spank vibrocore bars (originally 15mm rise and 800mm)
  • Canfield 155mm cranks (originally 160mm)
  • 2.6 Magic Marys front and rear (originally Assegai 2.6 front and rear, and then Magic Mary 2.6 and Nobby Nic 2.6)
  • Long stem (50mm instead of a 40mm)

Changes to the suspension setup:
  • Put in softer springs (50 lb was originally 55 lb in the fork, and 450 lb spring in the rear instead of a 500 lb spring).
  • Fully open HSC front and rear, slowed down the rebound

My previous bike (carbon Megatrail) had a much steeper seat tube angle, longer chainstays, and steeper head angle. I moved over all the parts from that bike to the Balance. The first thing I noticed was the shorter chainstays: wow, this bike turns on a dime and it takes nothing to make it accelerate or get the front end up.

It took me a while to get the "balance point" on the Balance. It's further back than the Megatrail, which I needed to adjust my set up accordingly. The first few rides on it were on DH trails, and the front felt either too squirrelly or wandering-y on climbs. I thought that slamming the stem down would fit that problem but it only made the bike feel worse. The first few rides on it

My first rides on it were at DH parks, and I was not comfortable at all on it. I found myself feeling the stiffer springs (I had to overspring the Megatrail to get it to feel right for me), and everything felt rough. Put in softer springs and the next few rides felt MUCH better. The CBF supension is really cool and feels really refined, but you have to make sure your high speed rebound (HSR) isn't too fast or it feels like you're being launched from a canon :)

After getting the 155mm cranks, and raising the stem to 10mm above the headset than 5mm above the headset, the bike started to wake up and be the playful bike I was expecting. So I added 30mm rise bars on it, and it already feels better. It's much easier to stand on the pedals this way and get my weight over the front, and it corners better than before with my weight at the right spot for the bike.

The bike climbs better than I thought it would. I think it might be heavier than my Megatrail (36 lbs, haven't weighed the Balance yet), it climbs better. The CBF suspension allows the rear wheel to get out of the way. When I was running a Magic Mary (supertrail compound) in the front with softer compound than the faster Nobby Nic (supergrip compound), I would feel like the rear wheel was shooting ahead and it was causing the front to get caught. I've switched it to the same compound and same type of tire, and hopefully that will feel better.

I plan on taking the Balance back to the DH parks after I get it pretty dialed, but I'm really enjoying the Jedi for the DH parks. But for any trail or bike park, I wouldn't hesitate to take this bike.

Tire Pressure: I've had to run far less tire pressure on this than the Megatrail. Not sure why, but it's the same wheelset and tires I've run. Right now I'm running 20/22 for rocky trails, and 21/23 for the smoother runs.

Future changes: I might have to get the HSR slowed down in the both the fork and the rear shock, and maybe drop the stem 2mm. Otherwise, just some saddle time :)

View attachment 1945171
[/QUOTE
With my Riot I noticed with such a short chainstay you either stiffen the rear to put more weight on the front (not very fun though) or pump the turns. This makes the bike dance. My bike also responded to very low offset on the fork. Got rid of the caught/tuck effect.
 

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always licking the glass
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Whi

With my Riot I noticed with such a short chainstay you either stiffen the rear to put more weight on the front (not very fun though) or pump the turns. This makes the bike dance. My bike also responded to very low offset on the fork. Got rid of the caught/tuck effect.
I fixed the caught/tuck effect by taking weight off the front, and not running a faster rolling compound in the back. Having too much weight in the front made the Balance handle poorly. Obviously YMMV.

Past couple rides after changing out to Magic Marys front and rear feels perfect for this bike. With the 155mm cranks, it feels like this bike now shines. I found i also need to run +4 psi in the rear, so i run either 22/26 or 23/27.

I was supposed to hit trestle the past few days, but my hip hasn't felt awesome, and depression makes hitting downhill for me somewhat overwhelming.

However, I found that now that I've got my Balance much more settled Ive found my climbing time has improved significantly. I now can do 8 laps at erie over 1:30 instead of 6 laps at 1 hour 15 min. I also cut 20 minutes off my climb on a 3 mile climb.

Starting to get more comfortable on downhills too with it. I took a jump today that i landed flat on and a rock kicked the rear out. It still feels both stable and playful. Hopefully i can figure out how to jump it better :)
 

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Whi

With my Riot I noticed with such a short chainstay you either stiffen the rear to put more weight on the front (not very fun though) or pump the turns. This makes the bike dance. My bike also responded to very low offset on the fork. Got rid of the caught/tuck effect.
Can you elaborate on the offset you settled on and this caught/tuck effect you speak of?

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always licking the glass
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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Can you elaborate on the offset you settled on and this caught/tuck effect you speak of?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Offset is added to the original now: 46.

Sorry I know this isn't directed at me, but this is what I understand it to be.

The caught effect, where i was getting hung up, happened when the rear wheel would outroll the front, and the front would get caught up in things. I fixed this by switching to a rear tire with the same compound as the front.

The tuck part is where the rear wheel feels like it's getting tucked close to the seatstay. At speed you feel like you're getting shot out of a cannon :) so I've had to slow down the high speed rebound.
 

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Can you elaborate on the offset you settled on and this caught/tuck effect you speak of?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
You feel it more on 29ers. But a high offset fork with short chainstays and wheelbase it feels like the rear is coming around faster than the front. The front either slides or overturns and wants to turn 90° this will cause the fork to compress more and it "TUCKS" under the bike. Lower offset I've used 44 and 41° I use 37 or 41 on a 27.5 bike depending on stem lenth Just give more control of this at speed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You feel it more on 29ers. But a high offset fork with short chainstays and wheelbase it feels like the rear is coming around faster than the front. The front either slides or overturns and wants to turn 90° this will cause the fork to compress more and it "TUCKS" under the bike. Lower offset I've used 44 and 41° I use 37 or 41 on a 27.5 bike depending on stem lenth Just give more control of this at speed.
How does offset affect this? Not that I'm going and replace lowers, but I'm curious. Because I've never felt anything different with offsets, and I'm pretty princess and the pea about my bikes.

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How does offset affect this? Not that I'm going and replace lowers, but I'm curious. Because I've never felt anything different with offsets, and I'm pretty princess and the pea about my bikes.

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Honestly just more precision of wheel placement at speed. Short stems and high offset can make a bike handle funny. But we adapt to most things. I had the CSUs so I found my preference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Honestly just more precision of wheel placement at speed. Short stems and high offset can make a bike handle funny. But we adapt to most things. I had the CSUs so I found my preference.
Interesting. Never thought about that. I settled on the 43mm stem, 10mm of spacers underneath, and a 30mm riser bar. My last bike i had the 35mm stem slammed and on 15mm risers because the front felt like it constantly needed weight on it. I also needed a lot of HSC to get the feel of the bike to feel handlable. Also, in all honesty, i was prolly riding too big of a frame.

I tried this on my Balance, and it did not work at all. It felt like it handled like crap behind that far down. So I raised the front considerably, and also run my suspension with softer springs. On the Balance I'm constantly amazed how this bike doesn't feel like a 170mm bike climbing, but on the downhills, it forgives you for doing dumb things but rewards you when you ride it right.
 

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Interesting. Never thought about that. I settled on the 43mm stem, 10mm of spacers underneath, and a 30mm riser bar. My last bike i had the 35mm stem slammed and on 15mm risers because the front felt like it constantly needed weight on it. I also needed a lot of HSC to get the feel of the bike to feel handlable. Also, in all honesty, i was prolly riding too big of a frame.

I tried this on my Balance, and it did not work at all. It felt like it handled like crap behind that far down. So I raised the front considerably, and also run my suspension with softer springs. On the Balance I'm constantly amazed how this bike doesn't feel like a 170mm bike climbing, but on the downhills, it forgives you for doing dumb things but rewards you when you ride it right.
With a 43mm stem. You have a bit more flexibility with offset before it feels off IMHO. I prefer a higher stack and bar as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
With a 43mm stem. You have a bit more flexibility with offset before it feels off IMHO. I prefer a higher stack and bar as well.
So continuing the setup notes and related to what you said.. I ended up lowering my 43mm stem down to 5mm above the headset from 10mm. OMG that bike feels dialed now. I did 8 laps at Erie today (8 miles), and I did have to slow the rebound in the rear, but much much better :)

I was running 23/27 for PSI today, and that felt right, even as loose as everything is right now. This is a pretty fast and loose run, going to hopefully be able to get out on a technical trail Friday and see how it feels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Last ride / setup change update.

After hitting Erie (flow/jump area) and bottoming out the fork and feeling it through my shoulders (ow), I put back in the stiffer spring in the fork. The next ride is Maryland Mountain, which is a relatively new trail system. Mix of easy and technical (most of the tech on the way down), and pretty blown out.

Replaced the spring in the fork with a slightly stiffer spring (55 lb vs 50 lb), slowed down the rebound a bit, and took off the HSC since I don't need the HSC to keep me from blowing through the travel.

And at this point, I'm used to the 155mm cranks, which made not only the descent better, but I was climbing the best I have, even at the end of the season.

Last time i took the technical trail down, with tight switchbacks, I was on a bike with a lot longer stays and just not feeling particularly comfortable on it. Now, I hate switchbacks usually, but having a bike that you can through around the corners makes a huge difference. I was able to make about 2/3s of them this time vs maybe one last time.

This time riding this trail, I could ride most of it. There's still some technical challenges that I may never do, but overall, the Balance really shines. I'm going to see if I can take it to the bike park this weekend or next and see how it feels.

Here's a picture of me riding a section I completely freaked on before but rode it with zero problems yesterday
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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Sounds like you're enjoying you setup now. But I think you should try the #50 spring and dial in a little HSC to help bottoming on big hits. HSC & LSC still play a big part, even with a coil.
Thanks, I know how HSC and LSC work. :)

Too little sag on the 500 lb spring so I'm sticking with the 450 lb, which is what Canfield recommends. That and the 500 lb felt really rough on this bike.

The fork i needed to go up a spring or it was blowing through the midstroke, even with 2-3 clicks of HSC in the fork.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·


Bike is feeling good, except I absolutely need to slow down the HSR in the rear. Since I this my backup shock, the main shock (it has a black spring on the main one) is on its way back for a retune.

The fork feels much better after slowing down the LSR and taking away some LSC.

I ran the tires at 22/25, but I don't think my pump is accurate. Right now I'm running 2.6 Magic Marys front and rear. Once DH season is over (or until I get the Jedi back together), I'm throwing back on the Nobby Nic 2.6 in the rear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So after riding the Balance two months, I took it back to Trestle. Not really by choice since I'm waiting on my Boxxer to get fixed, but in the meantime, I had a bike to ride.

Personally, I'm not a fan of Trestle. It's flat and pedally, and the big bike doesn't beat me up the way a trail bike does there... anyway..

BUT, that said, I was able to do 6 laps on the Balance and not be dead. The more I rode it, the more fun it became at speed. My previous ride this week on the Balance was slow technical chunk, so It really is a do-it-all bike. What surprised me is how often the front and rear both got kicked out by a random rock at speed and it restored itself back to its line and just kept going.

Finally got the retuned rear shock (less HSR so I stopped getting unnecessarily launched), so I'll give that a go this week and post feedback here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
With the retuned shock, it feels soooo much better. I'm not sure why, but if you have a light tune in the HSR, the bike feels shorter and it feels like the rear end wants to outride the front.

After four very fast laps and a short time at Trestle yesterday, it felt MUCH better with the slower HSR. I did put a softer spring back in the fork now that I don't feel like I need extra resistance from the fork to handle the rear. When I send the fork in for a retune, I'll be slowing down the HSR on that too.

I've got back on summer/dry trail tires back on the Balance (2.6 Assagai/2.6 Dissector), and that should feel really good riding this weekend after we get some hero dirt from the rain.

Also, this bike is getting faster and faster the more I ride it. I haven't ever been comfortable except on a DH bike at Trestle, but the Balance is getting there with high speed downhills yesterday :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ok, since it's a short term review (about 2 months), I'll post my final notes here after a weekend in Fruita. I put the 2.6 Assagai on the front and 2.6 Dissector on the back (my go to for summer here), and headed to a weekend in the desert. Keep in mind I'm still getting comfortable on this bike, but there's nothing on this bike that's holding me back other than my own head space I'm working on improving.

Bike setup:
  • For me, I'm 5'5" on a small frame. 29.5" inseam, small ape factor.
  • Running 43mm stem with 5mm spacers and 790mm bar with 30mm rise.
  • 160mm Bike Yoke seatpost
  • 170mm Ohlins RXF 36 m2 fork
  • 230x60 Ohlins TTX coil rear shock

Suspension setup:
  • You do not need to overspring your suspension to make it feel right.
  • Definitely keep the HSR in check. Too fast, and it'll get you "stuck" on technical climbs, and on descents it feels like the rear wants to launch where the front stays planted. If you have a CCDB or DHX2, you can adjust the HSR. If you have other shocks, it's an internal adjustment just make sure you get the right tune.
  • You do not need HSC for a pedaling platform. This is the magic of the CBF suspension: you actually use the HSC for exactly what it's supposed to be used for--hard big hits.
  • Adjust LSR and LSC to taste. I found I didn't need the fork or rear shock particular fast rebound, and I had to take off a lot of LSC (again, don't need a pedaling platform) to keep the bike sticking and not have the wheels get kicked around as much.

Climbing:
Don't let the 170mm of travel or the weight fool you: this bike can climb with the best of them. I was surprised at how easy it was to climb up anything, technical or not. The only thing holding it back was either my lack of cardio fitness (and asthma) along with anything I wasn't comfortable with, or something I completely misjudged and was in the wrong gear before hitting a steep uphill. Keep in mind I also switched to 155mm cranks, so I'm getting used to those too, but they're helping with climbing because I'm not worried about smacking a pedal.
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Descending:

Descending is obviously where this bike shines. I had a bad spill last year at Trestle, so I'm working on getting my confidence back, that even this little rock garden felt like a success. I usually spend my time working on jumps, but I've been working on my technical skills and confidence as well this year.
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I've also taken it to DH parks and once the HSR is not too fast, OMG this bike shines at speed too. It can do flow as well as technical. I haven't worked up my confidence yet to work on drops with it yet, but I'll get there. It's not quite the Jedi where it lets you do the dumbest thing you can on a bike, but it's very forgiving flying too fast in a corner or a technical section and having to correct your course.

Handling skills:
I'm not sure how else to classify them, but things like learning to bunnyhop and wheelie and pump on this bike are pretty solid. The short stays make it easy to wheelie the bike a couple pedal strokes pretty consistently, and it helps for not only front wheel lifts, but also rear wheel lifts. The nice 64 degree HA helps with not endoing :)
 
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