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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a RM ETSX. I like the upright position of the frame for comfort. However, I think it has a short wheelbase that makes it move around too much when I'm climbing steep stuff, and I can't seem to feel comfortable when downhill cornering. I'm very light on the front fork, so maybe I just need some tips on how to adjust my balance and weight when cornering...

I'm wondering if a bike with a similar ride position, but that has a longer wheelbase, might feel more stable in the situations I'm having trouble with. I'd like to get your comments and advice please. Not sure whether I should be shopping for a new frame...

Thanks!
 

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www.derbyrims.com
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Wish I Were Riding said:
I have a RM ETSX. I like the upright position of the frame for comfort. However, I think it has a short wheelbase that makes it move around too much when I'm climbing steep stuff, and I can't seem to feel comfortable when downhill cornering. I'm very light on the front fork, so maybe I just need some tips on how to adjust my balance and weight when cornering...

I'm wondering if a bike with a similar ride position, but that has a longer wheelbase, might feel more stable in the situations I'm having trouble with. I'd like to get your comments and advice please. Not sure whether I should be shopping for a new frame...

Thanks!
The ETSX is a rather stable suspension bike. You probably just need more time on it to get familiar with the handling. Maybe try slowing the shock and fork rebound damping slightly to see if you gain better stability.

Turn by leaning into the turns balancing on your pedals. Keep your hands and arms loose and brake lightly and smoothly before you need to, and the bike will steer itself.

Be sure you are weighting the pedals and unweighting the seat when going downhill or cornering at faster speeds. Weight the outside pedal with crank straight down when turning sharper, with your inside foot ready to accelerate if required.

- ray
 

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"El Whatever"
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I agree with Derby.

You can also try a slightly longer stem or a longer tavel fork. The longer fork will slacken you Head angle a bit, making it a bit less nervous. Same for the longer stem. It will slow your steering and will put more weight on the front wheel.

Are you running a Fox 125?? A friend of mine has a ETSX with it. I doubt he's complaining about the handling of the bike.

I would try all the tricks Derby mentioned and if that's not enough, try a longer stem (if you have a 90mm try a 100mm - don't do big leaps on that stem)
 

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I do not like upright riding positions because of what it does to the handling of the bike. Poor climbing. Poor cornering. In my case, a longer wheelbase could make it worse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
shiggy said:
I do not like upright riding positions because of what it does to the handling of the bike. Poor climbing. Poor cornering. In my case, a longer wheelbase could make it worse.
So Shiggy, Do you think a longer wheelbase would not help me with my climbing and cornering problems?

I've had the bike over 3 years now, and I'm can't shake the feeling that something different would be working better...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Warp2003 said:
I agree with Derby.

You can also try a slightly longer stem or a longer tavel fork. The longer fork will slacken you Head angle a bit, making it a bit less nervous. Same for the longer stem. It will slow your steering and will put more weight on the front wheel.

Are you running a Fox 125?? A friend of mine has a ETSX with it. I doubt he's complaining about the handling of the bike.

I would try all the tricks Derby mentioned and if that's not enough, try a longer stem (if you have a 90mm try a 100mm - don't do big leaps on that stem)
I bought a Fox Vanilla 125RL to replace the POC Marz that came on the bike. I ride very light on the front, in fact I had to put in a lighter spring in order for the fork to work better. Maybe I should just work on keeping my weight forward more than I'm used to.

I'm not sure a longer stem would work. I like my position as it is now, and I wouldn't want to strech out more.

I guess I'm still wondering whether or not a longer wheelbase would help...
 

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Wish I Were Riding said:
So Shiggy, Do you think a longer wheelbase would not help me with my climbing and cornering problems?

I've had the bike over 3 years now, and I'm can't shake the feeling that something different would be working better...
Three years and you still do not like it? Yes, get a different bike. Sounds like yours is a poor fit. Why? I do not know.
 

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Wish I Were Riding said:
I have a RM ETSX. I like the upright position of the frame for comfort. However, I think it has a short wheelbase that makes it move around too much when I'm climbing steep stuff, and I can't seem to feel comfortable when downhill cornering. I'm very light on the front fork, so maybe I just need some tips on how to adjust my balance and weight when cornering...

I'm wondering if a bike with a similar ride position, but that has a longer wheelbase, might feel more stable in the situations I'm having trouble with. I'd like to get your comments and advice please. Not sure whether I should be shopping for a new frame...

Thanks!
I'm wondering if the frame you have is not too big for you...

have a light front end is symptomatic of a your riding a bike top tube is too long and hence you have a short stem to make it fit. If the bike is too large it will also move around under you too much.
Too make the bike work you may have to run more sag in the suspension front and rear so the bike responds to your inputs.

Perhaps if you furnished more info like you weight and height, inseam and thebikes size the folk around here can try and home in on the problem for you.
 

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Wish I Were Riding said:
I have a RM ETSX. I like the upright position of the frame for comfort. However, I think it has a short wheelbase that makes it move around too much when I'm climbing steep stuff, and I can't seem to feel comfortable when downhill cornering. I'm very light on the front fork, so maybe I just need some tips on how to adjust my balance and weight when cornering...

I'm wondering if a bike with a similar ride position, but that has a longer wheelbase, might feel more stable in the situations I'm having trouble with. I'd like to get your comments and advice please. Not sure whether I should be shopping for a new frame...

Thanks!
Yes, ETSX does have a shorter wheelbase than some other bikes, but it only amounts to 1/4" to 1/2" at most. Not enough to make that much of a difference. The ETSX is higher than most 4" travel bikes but it is deffinitely (even with the 125 mm fork) not any higher up than most 5" travel bikes.

I went from a low slung 10 year old hardtail with a longer top tube and wheelbase to the ETSX and didn't find any stability problems once the bike was set-up for me.

A lot of what you are explaining sounds like your handlebar height may be too high. Where does your handlebar height sit in reference to your seat height. How tall are you? What size of frame did you buy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
GearHead said:
Yes, ETSX does have a shorter wheelbase than some other bikes, but it only amounts to 1/4" to 1/2" at most. Not enough to make that much of a difference. The ETSX is higher than mos 4" travel bikes but it is deffinitely (even with the 125 mm fork) not any higher up than most 5" travel bikes.

I went from a low slung 10 year old hardtail with a longer top tube and wheelbase to the ETSX and didn't find any stability problems once the bike was set-up for me.

A lot of what you are explaining sounds like your handlebar height may be too high. Where does your handlebar height sit in reference to your seat height. How tall are you? What size of frame did you buy.
I have the 18" frame. I'm 180lbs, 5'8" with a 30" inseam. The standover clearance is not really enough. My handlebars are a little higher than my seat. I have shorter legs and a longer torso from what I gather. If I put the bars any lower, then I start having too much weight on my hands/arms/shoulders and they start getting uncomfortable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
shiggy said:
Three years and you still do not like it? Yes, get a different bike. Sounds like yours is a poor fit. Why? I do not know.
Yeah 3 years old. However, I like the bike for the most part. I think its design is good, and it works well. I have always felt that either my hands and arms were carrying too much weight, or now that I've rotated my riser bars back towards me a little that I have more fear in the corners.
 

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If your unweighting the fork

Wish I Were Riding said:
I have a RM ETSX. I like the upright position of the frame for comfort. However, I think it has a short wheelbase that makes it move around too much when I'm climbing steep stuff, and I can't seem to feel comfortable when downhill cornering. I'm very light on the front fork, so maybe I just need some tips on how to adjust my balance and weight when cornering...

I'm wondering if a bike with a similar ride position, but that has a longer wheelbase, might feel more stable in the situations I'm having trouble with. I'd like to get your comments and advice please. Not sure whether I should be shopping for a new frame...

Thanks!
It will be real sketchy. Key is center your weight so its distribution is equal over the bike.
 

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"El Whatever"
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Wish I Were Riding said:
I have the 18" frame. I'm 180lbs, 5'8" with a 30" inseam. The standover clearance is not really enough. My handlebars are a little higher than my seat. I have shorter legs and a longer torso from what I gather. If I put the bars any lower, then I start having too much weight on my hands/arms/shoulders and they start getting uncomfortable.
Don't take offense but you're riding a chopper. Lower your handlebars, rotate them back towards forwards a bit. Make your seat some higher, when you put sag into the equation your saddle will be even lower respect the handlebar and that will unweight your front wheel. You need a more "attack-knife-between-the-teeth" position to get good front handling.
 

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Wish I Were Riding said:
I have the 18" frame. I'm 180lbs, 5'8" with a 30" inseam. The standover clearance is not really enough. My handlebars are a little higher than my seat. I have shorter legs and a longer torso from what I gather. If I put the bars any lower, then I start having too much weight on my hands/arms/shoulders and they start getting uncomfortable.
you are the exact same size as me and same inseam and it seems everyone will tell you to ride a 18" or a medium bike...from my experience i always felt better on smaller bikes and any 18" bike was always too big for me (i rode a lot of 17" specialized bike for awhile)....i found some bike companies sizing just did not work for me at all and could never ride there bikes (trek, kona)...i would experiment with some other bikes and see how they fit..
 

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Wish I Were Riding said:
I have the 18" frame. I'm 180lbs, 5'8" with a 30" inseam. The standover clearance is not really enough. My handlebars are a little higher than my seat. I have shorter legs and a longer torso from what I gather. If I put the bars any lower, then I start having too much weight on my hands/arms/shoulders and they start getting uncomfortable.
IMO your bike is too big. You should be on the 16.5", maybe the 15". I would ride the 18" or 19" and I am 6'1" with a 34.5" inseam.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
shiggy said:
IMO your bike is too big. You should be on the 16.5", maybe the 15". I would ride the 18" or 19" and I am 6'1" with a 34.5" inseam.
On a smaller bike I would think that I would end up hitting my knees on the bars or something (although I haven't tried it).

Shiggy, do you use a longer than normal stem with your drop bars? Its a little hard to compair a stock 18" bike to one with a configuration like you use. I've ordered some Mary bars from webcyclery.com, but those don't sound like they'll be here very soon.

If I had a shorter TT, it seems like I would have more front wheel pop-ups when climbing. But maybe I'm just wrong about that...
 

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Wish I Were Riding said:
On a smaller bike I would think that I would end up hitting my knees on the bars or something (although I haven't tried it).
You have to adjust the fit of the bike. By putting a shorter stem on your current bike you shortened the reach. Do you hit your knees? Generally it is not an issue unless you are on a really small frame with a very short stem and/or using poor climbing technique.

Shiggy, do you use a longer than normal stem with your drop bars? Its a little hard to compair a stock 18" bike to one with a configuration like you use. I've ordered some Mary bars from webcyclery.com, but those don't sound like they'll be here very soon.
I use a shorter stem with drops because of the forward reach of the bar. My hands are in the same place as if I used a straight bar.

If I had a shorter TT, it seems like I would have more front wheel pop-ups when climbing. But maybe I'm just wrong about that...
No. You would most likely also have a longer stem. You would have more weight on the front wheel and it would be less apt to lift on steep climbs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
shiggy said:
You have to adjust the fit of the bike. By putting a shorter stem on your current bike you shortened the reach. Do you hit your knees? Generally it is not an issue unless you are on a really small frame with a very short stem and/or using poor climbing technique.
Thanks for the advice guys.

I'm using the stock stem, I'm not sure what length it is. I can hit my knees on my bars, but only if I try to (if that makes any sense). I did switch to a Thomson set-back post, which I thought I needed to do to get my knees in the right place in relation to the pedals.

shiggy said:
No. You would most likely also have a longer stem. You would have more weight on the front wheel and it would be less apt to lift on steep climbs.
I think I should go to the shop and pedal around on a 16.5" for a bit. It's just hard to wrap my head around, because it seems counter-intuitive to what I thought a longer wheelbase would do for me.
:(
 

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Wish I Were Riding said:
I bought a Fox Vanilla 125RL to replace the POC Marz that came on the bike. I ride very light on the front, in fact I had to put in a lighter spring in order for the fork to work better. Maybe I should just work on keeping my weight forward more than I'm used to.

I'm not sure a longer stem would work. I like my position as it is now, and I wouldn't want to strech out more.

I guess I'm still wondering whether or not a longer wheelbase would help...
Try sliding the seat forward an inch. That's a big change. You may need to raise the seat about 1/4 inch to get full leg extension too. See if the front end feels more balanced. Adjust it back some if that's too much.

Moving the seat forward moves the seated rider weight over the pedals more and weights the front tire more while seated climbing. It's easier to get out of the seat to stand and pedal too.

A trail bike should never have the grips on the bars higher than the seat for good corner handling and climbing.

- ray
 

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Wish I Were Riding said:
I think I should go to the shop and pedal around on a 16.5" for a bit. It's just hard to wrap my head around, because it seems counter-intuitive to what I thought a longer wheelbase would do for me.
:(
It all has to work together and be balanced. Wheelbase can be lengthened in different ways: longer chainstays, longer top tube, slacker head angle, more fork offset or any combo. Each will affect the ride differently.

A long front end coupled with a short stem unweights the front wheel and makes it more difficult to shift your weight forward.

That you, at 180 lbs, had to install lighter springs in the fork to get it to start working tells me your bike is too big and you do not have and can not shift weight on the front.
 
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