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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Joe Lindsay wrote a great, well thought out and supported piece on this here.

I know I'm old and crusty and losing flexibility by the day. As such I tend to want a shorter/smaller/more upright position on the bike.

Which is pretty much the opposite of what the industry has been serving up the past few years.

In the article linked above Joe explains how we got here, and a bit of where we go from here.

Discuss.
 

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I've been craving a shorter (reach) bike lately. Previous squish was 455 but with angle set and lots of bar rise, current is 470 (short headtube though) and I kinda hate it, but can never decide.

Might be in my head, but watching Loic race world cups his style just looks different to most of the field. More upright, open chest, active legs and in control. Probs something to do with his sus setup too but I don't know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Backswept handlebars was the nail in the coffin. Nothing like that mixtie/townie feeling while riding good trails!

Just another guy who figured out what works for him and thinks he's enlightened.


So, you didn't read the whole thing, then?
 

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always licking the glass
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All i had to see is this is how Lee McCormack fits bikes. It’s been discussed here many times before.

If it was someone else’s fit thoughts, I’d be happy to read them, but Lee has his way that doesn’t account for non standard people like myself.
 

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Lee's fit and riding position approach pushes my hamstring flexibility to the limit. I've never been so sore there after riding with him with my bike set up according to his methods (starting on the RipRow). I'm more comfortable and confident with my bike fit 1-2cm longer than my body RAD. I realize I give up some maneuverability this way but i'm ok with that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I ended the OP with "discuss" and that was a legitimate offer. I want to hear what people have to say.

I come at this from a bigger picture perspective -- over the span of a few decades bikes went from too short to just right to too long to waaaaay too long. The tide is turning, finally.

I thought people would chime in with reasoned responses, anecdotes, this-happened-to-me-isms, etc...

I didn't expect knee jerk reactions impugning swept bar riders, nor blanket dismissals of the big picture that Joe so accurately laid out -- especially without even reading it.

I didn't expect an all-out attack on Lee. I don't know him, never met him, and am not purporting that his methods are the answer.

Is this what has become of civil discussion? Don't like the message, troll or slander the messenger?
 

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Nope. Scanned.

Here's a thought. He brings up Rude riding a M as if it supports his presumption. It's no secret many pro's are willing to trade stability for responsiveness. Doesn't mean it's the right choice for your average 6" rider.
I see this sentiment thrown around a lot. "what's good for pros is not good for Joes".

Thing is, what evidence is there to support this? I certainly have not seen any, it's all just thoughts and ideas.

My partner is definitely on too long of a bike, not her fault though. Manufactures have simply killed off shorter reach sizes. Next frame might even have to be a modified current CF frame or something custom.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Nope. Scanned.

Here's a thought. He brings up Rude riding a M as if it supports his presumption. It's no secret many pro's are willing to trade stability for responsiveness. Doesn't mean it's the right choice for your average 6" rider.

A thought back at you: Read the article with the closest thing that you can get to an open mind. And then comment.
 

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Most of my riding is flat twisty trails, no sustained ups or down. ETT is the best numbers for me to judge fit as I spend most of my time seated. If I was to base my size off RAD, I will be sitting way to up right. Currents bike reaches are way too long and ETT is way to short with the trend for super steep SA and slack HA. I think 2017s was a good time, little bit longer but not crazy long. 480 reach on a XL 650 ETT, 1200 WB

Today's bikes are build for fire roads up and Enduro down.
 

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A thought back at you: Read the article with the closest thing that you can get to an open mind. And then comment.
I could do that, but then I'd have to read more drivel on RAD, how geo has changed, and what certain cherry picked industry people have said to support the authors click-bait title.

If you need me to admit I read where he said something like "unique needs for different riders" then yea, I read that. Neat article.
 

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I ended the OP with "discuss" and that was a legitimate offer. I want to hear what people have to say.

I come at this from a bigger picture perspective -- over the span of a few decades bikes went from too short to just right to too long to waaaaay too long. The tide is turning, finally.

I thought people would chime in with reasoned responses, anecdotes, this-happened-to-me-isms, etc...

I didn't expect knee jerk reactions impugning swept bar riders, nor blanket dismissals of the big picture that Joe so accurately laid out -- especially without even reading it.

I didn't expect an all-out attack on Lee. I don't know him, never met him, and am not purporting that his methods are the answer.

Is this what has become of civil discussion? Don't like the message, troll or slander the messenger?
I'll comment on Lee: I know Lee personally, and I've taken clinics from him. I've also done a fit by him to the point it made my bike feel too comfortable and ended up having to buy new handlebars and stems. Not fun, and unnecessary.

There are other people who do bike fitting who don't necessarily agree with Lee, and others who do. It would be nice to get other perspectives rather than the same thing Lee has been saying for over a decade.

From my perspective, if I had to constantly size down, I would be on a XS or a kids bike. Some bike brands don't even make a bike small enough for me by Lee's standards. i've done the XS before, and I've ended up hurting my hips by riding something too small, and spending a lot of time in PT. So whenever I see Lee next to a bike fit, I do immediately dismiss it. He's been saying the same thing for over 10 years, before the long/low/slack thing happened. And while I like Lee, this feels like his fit needs to be adapted to modern geometry.
 

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I read the article in its entirety. Nicely written. On first blush, it seems like advertorial content for Ridelogic.

I tend to somewhat agree that geo has gotten too extreme, but IMO mostly in the long aspect of long-low-slack. I’ll take about as slack as I can get, as much stack as I can get, but I want my reach under 500.

I am 6’2, skinny and mostly limbs. I have a lot of respect for Lee McCormack. Hell, I bought one of his books a couple decades back when I was still seriously racing BMX. But I’ve found RAD to not be effective for taller humans. By his measurements, which I have done, my bike would be comically small. Like, unrideably small.

I imagine it works much better for those in the middle of the height bell curve.
 

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Long reply... get comfortable.

I disagree with a few concepts and conclusions.

My least favorite thing about the article is that he spends the whole first half of the article intentionally making alarmist statements. These parts of this article sound like they were written by a 70+ year old guy who's lost his mojo and stuck on old thinking. My eye was twitching the whole time and I didn't even want to finish the article... I've heard this music before.

Intro and "how we got here"

All this talk about Reach without ever once mentioning STA, Stack, stem length, handlebar width, front center, rear center, etc. Only mentions BB height a couple of times (which in some cases isn't that different today).

With modern bikes the Reach gets longer, stem gets shorter. All for the better! Instead of long stems and narrow handlebars where you turn your whole upper body with the handlebars (ish), the stem is shorter and your hands are now in-line with the steering axis of the fork. Mountain bikers across the board seem to like this setup.

Serious question: If we knew more about geometry at the time, instead of making a knobby tired bike with road bike geometry, what would a 90's MTB with 26" wheels and rim brakes look like with "modern" thinking in the geometry department?

Serious question #2: If McCormack had spent his 20+ year career working with "modern geometry" bikes, what would he think about 90's bike geometry and fit? Would the tables be turned?

Thankfully he finally got down to some relevant content in section two and three: "Fit failed MTBers" and "What's the solution".

Serious question #3: If you have the "wrong" tires, tire pressure, suspension setup, fit setup, etc. on your bike for your riding style or local terrain that causes you to ride a certain way or prevents you from riding a certain way, could it impact your impression of the bike, fit, geometry, etc? Answer: yes.

What I don't get: He's talking about his current Ibis Ripley with SQ labs handlebars (to get the hand position in-line with the steering axis) and then says in technical slow speed terrain that a Small frame (he's 5'9") would handle better than his Medium. Is this just as dumb as saying you want to ride a XC bike to the top and a DH bike to the bottom? OK, so a shorter wheelbase that's more maneuverable and lighter is better in slow speed tech?! Shocker. This DOES NOT mean your bike is too big for you. Let him jump on that Small and descend high speed chunk, or spend all day pedaling it on mixed terrain. How awesome is your Small now??

The last couple of sentences reference Richie Rude (pro Enduro racer) and how he's almost 6' tall and riding a Medium Yeti SB150. I'm not a fan of comparing the needs of pro XC, Enduro, or DH racers to average riders. There are so many variables and needs that apply to them that don't apply to the average trail rider. It's a terrible comparison in most cases, this one included.

Is your current bike too big?? NO. Where are all the forum threads of people complaining that their bike is too big? Was the standover clearance of your 90's bike terrible? Yes. Doesn't that mean that it was too big by modern thinking?

Personally I have come to realize that my old bikes were WAY too short in the Front Center department. The front wheel was way too close to me and I'd go OTB when going over a big log or down a steep technical feature. Thankfully that is a thing of the past. Oh BTW I'm 6'3" and I've never ridden a bike that was too big.

Overall this is just typical big media style writing where it's more about click count than actual content or useful conclusions. There is some good info in there, and some of the conclusions may prove to be correct (time will tell), but I won't be clamoring to read his next article.

(I have many more thoughts on the subject but wanted to keep it short. ;) )
 

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This is a topic I've been thinking about a lot lately, as I'm trying to figure out what size frame to buy for an upcoming build.

When I actually measured my RAD using the method he shows in THIS video, it came out to 895mm. And then I measured it again, and again, and again (at least 5-10 times). Slight changes in the width, of my arms, and angle of the wrists changed my RAD by a meaningful amount, even as I was shooting for repeatability. But if you average all my measurements... my RAD is probably somewhere right around ~875-880mm.

So far... I'm somewhat inclined to believe the theory, at least for people with average-ish proportions (kind of like BMI is approximately statistically correct for the population, but may not work for specific individuals). My current bike I've long believed to be somewhat too small for me. When I ride long downhills, I find a tightness in my shoulders/upper back, like what I get if I hunch my shoulders down a bit. And on those long downhills runs, I have the feeling that I wish the bike let me stretch out a bit more.

When I measure my current bike (2018 Kona Process 153 in size L) using the method shown above (with the string), I see that my bike is maybe ~1in or so too small. So the measurements, and my gut feel seem to be correlating at least to some degree.

I dusted off my high school trig, and calculated all the various things that change the RAD (spacers under the bars, handlebar rise/sweep, stem length, etc). Its been interesting to play around with numbers, and find that I legitimately can fit on an L, or XL of most bikes depending on which bar and stem I throw on them.

Anecdotally, I also added in RAAD. And found that for my height (6'1", 185cm), on any modern size L or XL bike frame that I've been looking at (my spreadsheet has 26 bikes in each size, so over 50 model/size combinations), that I can't get a bike with a RAAD of 58 degrees. Which would mean that every bike available right now, fits me like he says a cross country bike should.
 

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But I’ve found RAD to not be effective for taller humans. By his measurements, which I have done, my bike would be comically small. Like, unrideably small..
Ditto that and most of your other points.

For me personally moving up to a longer reach bike from what were normal numbers not too many years back was revelatory. All this room to move around and maneuver and not having to be in this very specific window to not upset the bike. With each successive new bike purchase came longer reach numbers and I was always hemming and hawing whether that would work for me but each time it's opened up new levels of control. The caveat being the ability to lift the front end off of slow speed drops... takes away more body English but that's about the only downside.

Same for wheelbase. Especially since starting to add some rear center onto how long front centers have gotten. I'm of the opinion that short stays will be looked at as a weird fad eventually. It's been my personal experience they simply don't do what I thought they did.

Now wheel base and head angle I think start to become terrain specific. 64/64.5/ head angle is about perfect for me. However, just coming back from my annual Moab trip where the riding is much different than my high speed, turnblasting, hero dirt stuff out here. I felt the longer wheelbase was a little less advantageous and of course with all the techy rock roll ins and stuff the slacker the head angle the better.

In conclusion I still feel like mountain biking is progressing from the road bike geo it once was. I have no desire to go back.

Sent from my Pixel 4a (5G) using Tapatalk
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'll comment on Lee: I know Lee personally, and I've taken clinics from him. I've also done a fit by him to the point it made my bike feel too comfortable and ended up having to buy new handlebars and stems. Not fun, and unnecessary.

There are other people who do bike fitting who don't necessarily agree with Lee, and others who do. It would be nice to get other perspectives rather than the same thing Lee has been saying for over a decade.

I've always looked at bike fitters with a skeptical eye, largely because while they can each give you umpteen great reasons for why what they're suggesting is the One True Way, they don't often agree in their conclusions.

Sort of like religion.

The solution is almost always to find what works for you through trial and error, and by gathering many opinions before buying anything new.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
starting to add some rear center onto how long front centers have gotten. I'm of the opinion that short stays will be looked at as a weird fad eventually.
I'm learning something from these last few posts -- yours, Blatant's, OneSpeed's, and Ocn's.

That "weird fad" seems to be fading hand in hand with the relevance/prevalence of climbing tech trail or descending anything slow/techy enough to be thought of as trialsy. When climbing fireroads or doubletracks -- or shuttling -- CS length matters not. Descending at mach chicken where the answer is usually "go faster and plow" and short stays aren't important.

Horses for courses, sure. My preference is toward trails where 10mm of CS length makes a massive difference. I also tend to see far, far, far fewer people on these trails.

FWIW, I still think your sig is one of the best things ever written on the innernetz.
 
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