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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just built a Canfield Balance. It’s absolutely unbelievable. Climbs like a commuter and descends with such ferocity I’ve crashed it pretty hard twice in the month and a half I’ve had it.

Got really lucky tonight, managed to ride out with only a bent rim and plentiful deep scrapes. But I don’t see this being the last crash.

I love the Balance to death. But I also only crashed my old bike once in the three years I rode it. I almost want that one back because I felt like I could control it, but it just felt so floppy and dead in comparison.

Here I am, covered in bandages and ice packs and wondering if I legitimately got in over my head.

What would you do?
 

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Pizzaiolo Americano
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I just built a Canfield Balance. It's absolutely unbelievable. Climbs like a commuter and descends with such ferocity I've crashed it pretty hard twice in the month and a half I've had it.

Got really lucky tonight, managed to ride out with only a bent rim and plentiful deep scrapes. But I don't see this being the last crash.

I love the Balance to death. But I also only crashed my old bike once in the three years I rode it. I almost want that one back because I felt like I could control it, but it just felt so floppy and dead in comparison.

Here I am, covered in bandages and ice packs and wondering if I legitimately got in over my head.

What would you do?
What would I do? Slow down and ride under control. It's not the bike...
 

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Sounds like you bought the hype and thought a new bike was a substitute for skill and experience. But if you truly love the new bike to death, sounds like you are on the right track. On the bright side, maybe you will destroy the bike before you kill yourself.
 

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Sounds like you haven't been riding too long, so you have not yet built up your full skillset and may have jumped aboard a bike that is much more capable than you can handle right now. You basically have 2 options, make yourself slow the fvck down or risk worse injury, or sell it and buy a bit "less" of a trail bike you don't feel so confident on.

One last thing you could maybe look at is your tyres, are they right for where you ride, could you maybe have lost the front or rear because of the tyres and not only because of your lack of experience??

I've got a bike like you, it's only a 130/140 29er Banshee Prime, but if I wanted to open that thing up, it could get me into some serious trouble, quickly if I wasn't careful, but since I'm self employed, I can't afford to take those sorts of risks, so I actually don't ride it much or if I do, I let myself think and therefor ride slower.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That’s the thing about it: it feels totally under control until the split second that it kills me.

And it’s not like it’s lacking for good parts. Zee brakes, 203mm rotors, custom-tuned DVO suspension, Maxxis WT tires on both ends.

Apparently it can extend my range of comfort well beyond what it actually is without me noticing.
 

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9 lives
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Wishing the OP a quick recovery and no more crashes!


I'm not sure what you rode before but maybe you're not used to the geometry, weight of the bike etc. and need to dial back. You don't say what caused you to lose control and crash. I can only guess some possibilities so I don't want to make assumptions

I have a Canfield Balance too. It's a fun bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Wishing the OP a quick recovery and no more crashes!

I'm not sure what you rode before but maybe you're not used to the geometry, weight of the bike etc. and need to dial back. You don't say what caused you to lose control and crash. I can only guess some possibilities so I don't want to make assumptions

I have a Canfield Balance too. It's a fun bike.
It's just the speed at which things happen. It's interesting because I feel like this bike handles more confidently and predictably than the Cannondale Jekyll it replaced, but in doing so it also reduces the time I have to process obstacles. It goes so fast so easy. I never realize how fast I'm going and then I don't see the crashes coming.
 

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Are you positive you are going faster, are you checking against Strava etc. or are you basing this just on feel?

Some bikes just "feel" faster than others, though you aren't actually much faster on them. The increased speed isn't the problem, it's the difference in handling. Coming from traditional XC geo (steep HTA) hardtails this is a common feeling for me on slack HTA bikes with modern suspension design- the bike will stiffen up at speed and it naturally wants to hold its line on a descent. This is a great thing most of the time, but it makes the last minute steering adjustments you're used to on an XC or older geometry bike impossible. No idea what generation your Jekyll is, but I'm guessing it has a steeper HTA than the Canfield.

You need to work on steering from the hips more than steering from the hands. Really embrace your ready position, keep your weight down and centered over the BB, and look far down the trail. Try throwing the bike around some. Learn just how much body english you can use with it. You can shove a modern slack HTA bike around much more than an older bike and still feel stable and planted. If you're anything like me, once you get acclimated to the differences in handling the bike will start to feel "slower" to you as you begin feel more in control.
 

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Sorry to hear you are crashing...hopefully you are on the mend. Now sell that thing before you kill yourself! Go get an old school bike with rim brakes, no dropper, dated suspension and drivetrain. Can't guarantee you won't crash but at least the consequences will be lower.
 

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If the bike has different geometry than your previous bike I say you just need to take time to get used to how it handles differently.

It's not TOO MUCH BIKE, it's a different bike that you need to figure out how it rides.

Also if the bike has different geometry you should post your feelings in the thread about how trail and XC bikes are really the same because small changes don't make a difference in feel or handling.

I remember the changes in my old bike to the new with a lot of things, but with a 2-3 slacker head angle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Are you positive you are going faster, are you checking against Strava etc. or are you basing this just on feel?

Some bikes just "feel" faster than others, though you aren't actually much faster on them. The increased speed isn't the problem, it's the difference in handling. Coming from traditional XC geo (steep HTA) hardtails this is a common feeling for me on slack HTA bikes with modern suspension design- the bike will stiffen up at speed and it naturally wants to hold its line on a descent. This is a great thing most of the time, but it makes the last minute steering adjustments you're used to on an XC or older geometry bike impossible. No idea what generation your Jekyll is, but I'm guessing it has a steeper HTA than the Canfield.

You need to work on steering from the hips more than steering from the hands. Really embrace your ready position, keep your weight down and centered over the BB, and look far down the trail. Try throwing the bike around some. Learn just how much body english you can use with it. You can shove a modern slack HTA bike around much more than an older bike and still feel stable and planted. If you're anything like me, once you get acclimated to the differences in handling the bike will start to feel "slower" to you as you begin feel more in control.
Average speeds on Strava are up by several MPH. And interestingly, the Guide brakes that were plenty adequate to stop my Cannondale were quite ineffective at stopping the Canfield. The only difference was 2lbs... Still don't understand.

I bought some G-Form pads too.
 

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Average speeds on Strava are up by several MPH. And interestingly, the Guide brakes that were plenty adequate to stop my Cannondale were quite ineffective at stopping the Canfield. The only difference was 2lbs... Still don't understand.
That's interesting. How about your max speed and average speed through short downhill segments?

Moving from an XC 29er hardtail to a modern FS trail bike I didn't get that much faster on paper, but I did notice a dramatic difference in handling and feel. At first I was indeed running into crap all the time because the bike wouldn't respond to steering input in the way that I was used to.

I dunno, I still suspect that the different geo, especially the HTA, between the bikes is what's to blame, though if you are truly going that much faster just slow the crap down until you get a handle on your skill development.

I'm wondering if you have a mechanical issue or two as well- contaminated rotors, loose headset, suspension set up not dialed in resulting in fork dive etc.

If everything is truly dialed and your rotors aren't glazed, maybe switch your pad compound.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
That's interesting. How about your max speed and average speed through short downhill segments?

Moving from an XC 29er hardtail to a modern FS trail bike I didn't get that much faster on paper, but I did notice a dramatic difference in handling and feel. At first I was indeed running into crap all the time because the bike wouldn't respond to steering input in the way that I was used to.

I dunno, I still suspect that the different geo, especially the HTA, between the bikes is what's to blame, though if you are truly going that much faster just slow the crap down until you get a handle on your skill development.

I'm wondering if you have a mechanical issue or two as well- contaminated rotors, loose headset, suspension set up not dialed in resulting in fork dive etc.

If everything is truly dialed and your rotors aren't glazed, maybe switch your pad compound.
I managed to get the front wheel straight, but the spoke tension isn't exactly even, so that'll be my excuse to dial everything way back.

The Zee brakes work great on this bike so that's good...

The only difference in HTA between the Cannondale and Canfield is .5 degrees, though the rest of the numbers are pretty different (reach, wheelbase, etc) and I bet the wizard linkage has something to do with it.

Either way that front wheel won't let me ride fast until I replace it so that's a good thing.
 

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same problem, my bike keeps whispering to me "just a little faster, you aren't at the limit yet", when I really should have kept clear of the limit

Assegai front and back, report back...

seriously though, try to figure out exactly what went wrong each time, and if you don't know, go back, if you feel safe, and go slower, and figure out the patterns to the crashes. Note what your body is doing, exactly how the bike is setup (pressures, etc.), trail conditions, slope, mental state...

Also, knee and elbow pads, non-minimal gloves (maybe some knuckle/outer hand protection), make sure you trust your helmet
 

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Are you riding the same terrain?

Pull it back and work on skill.

This is why I have a fully rigid. What was your last bike? Just curious.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Are you riding the same terrain?

Pull it back and work on skill.

This is why I have a fully rigid. What was your last bike? Just curious.
Yup, same terrain. Old bike was a 2015 Cannondale Jekyll with offset bushings. All I did was swap frames. And then brakes.

Maybe I should get a fully rigid carbon plus bike.
 

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Agreed with the Assegi front and back comment. They will slow you down and give you dramatically more traction.
I don't know if this happens in bicycles, but on motorcycles, some are really forgiving as you approach the limit really letting you know, and some feel really great right until the moment they suddenly flick you and you are flying through the air.
This applies to tires as well.
Generally a more capable machine is safer imo, but what you decide to do with that extra safety factor is all up to you.
I'm actually lying in bed recovering from my first big crash in years at this moment and I lost a lot of skin and hit the ground really hard at high speed and it hurt way more than I recalled.

Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk
 

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Can you link to an accurate geometry chart for the Balance? The Cannondale is easy to find. It would be interesting to compare head tube and seat tube angles. Though it looks like they may be close. I found a Balance chart that listed both an effective, and actual seat tube angle. Does your seat post have any set back? If so, how much? That could throw things off quite a bit.

http://canfieldbrothers.com/frames/balance

The Canfield build comes with a straight seat post: Raceface turbine dropper. I think it is about half a degree higher than the cannon dale (75.5 degrees versus 75). So you would be more forward. Not sure about the actual angle at around 65 degrees on the Canfield. But if you have a set back seatpost, that could change your position quite a lot.

Regardless, (on a size medium) the C’dale has a reach about 2 cm longer, and a seat tube a bit more slack, so your body was positioned back over the wheel a little more on the C’dale while possibly leaning forward more aggressively. To achieve the same position on the new bike, you would need to move the saddle back about .5 cm compared to the old bike, and use a stem that is 1.5 cm longer to extend the cockpit to the same size and position over the bottom bracket. Did you do anything like that?

Worth paying attention to. I suppose.
 
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