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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m riding a 2020 Diamondback Sync’r size XL and I’ve been trying to get this bike dialed for my local trails, but it’s been not so great riding at some points and I just wanna see if my setup is off or if I just suck?

My local trails are pretty rooty and loamy with a lot of climbing. One of my big issues has been pedal striking whenever I try technical climbing over roots and what not. I attribute this to the low 55mm bb drop paired with 27.5 x 2.6 tires. My other bike has a similar BB drop but has 29 x 2.35 tires so I get better pedal clearance with that bike.

The other thing is that I feel like I’m trying not to wash out constantly on both ends of my bike. In the front it feels like there isn’t enough weight keeping the front wheel planted, and I attribute this to how easily I can lift the front wheel up. My rear wheel also has a tendency to break traction especially over roots. It tends to slide out which sketches me out a lot when I’m riding downhill sections with a lot of roots. I feel like I can’t control my speed because if I do and I try to slow down then my back wheel might slide out on me.

For my setup I’m running the 2.6 tires at 20/23 psi which honestly feels stop low for me at ~260lbs riding weight, but I felt that if I went higher than the feeling of my tires sliding out would be much worse. I did swap the stock cranks from 170mm to 165mm cranks for multiple reasons but they’re noticeably helpful with climbing although I was still getting a lot of pedal strikes. In terms of body position on the bike I have the stock dropper completely slammed into the frame because the seat tube is pretty high on this frame. I actually had it cut down by 12mm to get it lowered more so that it fits me better. I also have my saddle set far forward on the rails but not all the way forward. In the front I dropped the bars 5mm lower to see if that improved my weight distribution on the front end. I’m not sure if that’s the way to go though because whenever I lower my bars I also think the front end becomes more twitchy in handling. Speaking of twitchy, I did have my bars cut down from 780 to 750, just because my trails have a loooot of tight trees that my bars kept hitting. That probably had a knock on effect with my handling.

I know this is all over the place but I’m hoping to maybe get some insight from others with more experience so that I can figure out what and how to improve to make riding my Hardtail much more enjoyable and less frustrating.
 

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high pivot witchcraft
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There is so much to unpack there. Is there any chance of selling your current hard tail and starting over again, from the ground up? Maybe with the help of your lbs?

Pedal strikes on a hard tail are unthinkable for me. And I don’t climb on fire roads unless there is no other option. 175mm crank arms too.

I have ridden my Honzo for the past 3 weeks straight on blacks and double blacks, while my full suspension jealously watches. The absolute joy I have been having makes me wonder whether you may wish to start over from scratch. You shouldn’t have to be swapping this and that, and making modifications to everything, to be able to have the bike function at a reasonably acceptable level straight out of the box. I have to think this may not have been the right bike for you.

If selling and replacing (NOT in that order) is not an option, I am going to leave all of this to brighter minds than mine to solve.
 

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To minimize washout: Maxxis minion DHF tires front and back, maxxgrip version. Also I find big tires like yours can actually add to washout if the pressure is too low.

To reduce pedal strikes: increase your freehub points of engagement (to 54 pts or higher) and learn to see-saw your pedals over obstacles. DT swiss hubs are the easiest to increase points of engagement.

Sometimes a bike just has the wrong geometry for the rider. I had a full sus bike that felt awkward, then switched for a hardtail that feels perfect. If the new tires don't help, maybe try to ride some other bikes to see if you're current bike geo doesn't work for you. Tires make a huge difference though - Maxxgrip DHFs give the most lateral grip I've ever had, especially 2.4" or bigger with 25 psi.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
What tires do you have? In addition to good techniques, Good tires can make a difference.
I'm running Specialized Eliminator Grid tires. Previously I had the Butcher BLK DMND tires in 2.8 and had similar experiences

There is so much to unpack there. Is there any chance of selling your current hard tail and starting over again, from the ground up? Maybe with the help of your lbs?

Pedal strikes on a hard tail are unthinkable for me. And I don't climb on fire roads unless there is no other option. 175mm crank arms too.

I have ridden my Honzo for the past 3 weeks straight on blacks and double blacks, while my full suspension jealously watches. The absolute joy I have been having makes me wonder whether you may wish to start over from scratch. You shouldn't have to be swapping this and that, and making modifications to everything, to be able to have the bike function at a reasonably acceptable level straight out of the box. I have to think this may not have been the right bike for you.

If selling and replacing (NOT in that order) is not an option, I am going to leave all of this to brighter minds than mine to solve.
Yeah I'm waaay over my budget and can't really afford to buy another bike even if I sell this one. I could try but not sure if it would be worth the trouble at this point
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Also I found a workaround to increased stability is to put the seat position back as far as possible on the rails, plus possibly add a setback seatpost to get farther back over the rear tire for more stability
At least on my current bike I find that my front end lifts too easily so if I push my saddle back I feel like I won't have enough weight on the front of my bike
 

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high pivot witchcraft
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I have a DHF/Aggressor combo on my hardtail and an Assegai/Dissector combo on my full suspension. Both the DHF and Assegai are good but the MaxxGrip EXO+ Assegai is like Velcro. I pay for it though in rolling resistance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It appears that this bike is a 27.5+, so you may want to put on bigger tires if that is the case. You're big enough to push them around.
It can only go up to a 2.8 comfortably, and when I ran 2.8s I didn't like the way it handled as much and it felt more sluggish. I could try running 2.8s again but it's been a struggle to find tires in that size that work well on my trails
 

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Whats youre terrain like? (Loam, loose, hardback, et)?

Also, watch some utube vids on cornering technique. If its a modern bike, leaning it over, staying forward with the chin over the bars, outside foot down/lower are key.
 

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It's weird that you have the stock dropper and have it slammed. That makes it sound like the bike is too large for you.

I understand about sluggish, when I went from 2.8 small knob tires to 3.0 bigger knob the changes were dramatic both ways. Way better when not pedaling and way worse with the power on

Schwalbe still has a bunch of aggressive looking 2.8 tires. Not all of them in stock. Product Search | Schwalbe Tires North America

It does sound to me like too much pressure for big tires and you might be happier with more pressure in smaller tires. Any smaller on the tires though and you will want 29er wheels and that's obviously a bigger price tag.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It's weird that you have the stock dropper and have it slammed. That makes it sound like the bike is too large for you.

I understand about sluggish, when I went from 2.8 small knob tires to 3.0 bigger knob the changes were dramatic both ways. Way better when not pedaling and way worse with the power on

Schwalbe still has a bunch of aggressive looking 2.8 tires. Not all of them in stock. Product Search | Schwalbe Tires North America

It does sound to me like too much pressure for big tires and you might be happier with more pressure in smaller tires. Any smaller on the tires though and you will want 29er wheels and that's obviously a bigger price tag.
Yeah it has a 560mm seat tube, and I had it cut down to 547mm. I got this bike rushing to replace my previous hardtail which got stolen. Bike availability meant if I was able to make it work short term then I might as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Whats youre terrain like? (Loam, loose, hardback, et)?

Also, watch some utube vids on cornering technique. If its a modern bike, leaning it over, staying forward with the chin over the bars, outside foot down/lower are key.
I mentioned it a bit in the first post but I live in WNY and the trails here are mostly rooty and loamy with a bunch of climbing. And wet. It gets wet very easily up here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, what was your previous bike? I'm assuming you didn't have these issues with it?
It was a Specialized Helga Fat bike that I converted to run 29 x 2.6. That bike also wasn't optimal for me but it was still a good ride. I had diff. issues with that bike

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I was considering maybe getting a different frame might be an option. I was looking at the Marin San Quentin 3 and thought that might be a better fit. though in terms of BB it'll only go from 55mm to 50mm. But if I go with a size large frame vs the XL that my Sync'r is then maybe it'll feel better?
 

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Reach on a XL is only 469. That's pretty short for current bikes with 66* head tube angle an 74* seat tube angle. What's you height and riding inseam?
Instead of spending on a new frame how about thinking about a better fork than the bottom level RL you've got?
Marzocchi Z2 would be a big improvement. Mezzer Pro would be even better but expensive. You can drop travel to 130mm to add weight to the front.
35mm rims are skinny for 2.8 tires, imo. OK for 2.6 at lower pressures. I'd experiment more with lower pressure for the front especially. Take it down until you get rim hits in rocky segments of your ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Reach on a XL is only 469. That's pretty short for current bikes with 66* head tube angle an 74* seat tube angle. What's you height and riding inseam?
Instead of spending on a new frame how about thinking about a better fork than the bottom level RL you've got?
Marzocchi Z2 would be a big improvement. Mezzer Pro would be even better but expensive. You can drop travel to 130mm to add weight to the front.
35mm rims are skinny for 2.8 tires, imo. OK for 2.6 at lower pressures. I'd experiment more with lower pressure for the front especially. Take it down until you get rim hits in rocky segments of your ride.
Honestly if I went the route of swapping forks I would instead swap the bike to 29 inch wheels at that point. I think I prefer that wheel size for trail riding. Probably because the rollover makes up for poor technique.
 

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Bunches going on here.

If you've got a bike that was originally spec'd with 27.5x2.8 tires, you're going to lower the bb even more and have more pedal strikes. That's the nature of things. If you want skinnier tires, maybe trying a 29er wheelset instead? That would likely raise your bb, since the 29ers will be a little larger in diameter. I've got 29x2.6 on my bike (Guerrilla Gravity Pedalhead), 170mm cranks, and I have pedal clearance for days.

Losing traction probably has many factors. Going to an earlier comment about wider tires occasionally being worse. They can be worse, particularly in situations where there's a bit of a loose surface and the wider tires float over the top of it instead of cutting in. Taller, more widely-spaced knobs on your tires can help mitigate this (at the same tire size) to a degree. It'll only work so far, but it might help. Body position is another biggie. Not sure how experienced a rider you are, but each bike having a slightly different geometry is likely to require slightly different inputs to accomplish a given goal. It might seem counterintuitive, but usually front end washouts happen because you have insufficient weight up front. Easy solution is to shift forward when turning. It might feel weird, but by shifting forward, you're pressing your knobs into the trail more. Especially if you do have knobs that just need a little help digging into the trail, this can be all you need.

Slipping on wet roots in the back is every rider's nightmare, I think. There's only so much you can do here. Wet roots are HARD. The thing that helps me a lot here is to engage my upper body more and rely less on rear tire traction to claw over them. So leading into the root, I unweight or even lift the front over. Depending on my speed, I might just allow my momentum to carry me, with an additional weight shift forward to get the rear wheel even lighter so it tracks over the root more easily. More weight on the rear end on wet roots often means more consequences WHEN the tire slides (often sideways). If I'm going slower, I might even actively PUSH the bike forward to get the rear end over the root. I also have had to get used to letting the bike slide a bit underneath me. Charging through wet roots, the bike WILL slide. Getting comfortable with that motion can help. Lots and lots of balance drills, and lots of bike-body separation drills.

Rear wheel sliding sideways is sortof the same thing. It's really not the slide that's going to hurt you. Front wheel washouts will. Rear wheel sliding is annoying at best. I doubt the tires are the factor here. The ones you have look aggressive enough. I ride with a Purgatory 29x2.6 in back, and it has a whole lot less aggressive tread than what you have. I get on well with the Purgatory, even with wet roots and loose conditions. It's entirely possible that braking technique is part of your problem. If you're braking a good bit in corners, you'll use up a good chunk of your tires' traction from braking, and you'll leave less to work with for cornering traction. This can be an issue for the front washouts, too. Make sure you're doing your braking BEFORE the turn, and ease off the brakes into the turn. It's possible to use light feathering of your brakes in a corner to prevent yourself from speeding up if it's that sort of turn, but you have to be mindful of cornering traction and letting off the brakes will give you a bit more to work with. It's worth asking how much you're leaning the bike when you turn. Those tires have pretty good side knobs. Are you leaning into those side knobs? You should be able to see some wear there if you are. The purpose of the side knobs is to resist washing out/sliding in corners, so you'll want to lean into those. If you aren't getting much lean and staying in the center knobs or the intermediate ones, then you have a lot less cornering traction to work with.

Cutting your bars that much, as a bigger rider on an XL frame, is definitely going to give you handling trouble with a short stem. I'm 5'8 with 780mm bars. My wife is 5'4 and hers are cut to 740mm. Modern bikes do far better with a wider platform for your upper body, and leaning the bike deeper into corners. Tree gates are kinda dumb anymore. I know, I built trails with narrow tree gates back when everybody's handlebars were more like 680mm wide at most. But things have changed and bikes come with wider bars. Hitting trees injures the trees. It injures riders' hands. Etc. The trees should be wider to keep space, no matter how narrow the tread is.

Depending on what's going on, it might mostly be a technique thing, but there might also be "wrong bike" syndrome going on. This is a spot where working with a coach on technique could help you twofold. First off, it'll help you refine your technique. But it'll also help you figure out if the bike is just wrong for you, if working on the technique still doesn't help you feel better on that bike.
 
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