|Image courtesy of Singular Cycles|
This is most evident in the latest movement to get the shortest chain stays possible on 29" wheeled bicycles.
Short chain stays make bikes more______. (Fill in the blank, there are a lot of things folks will put in here.) The funny thing to me about all of this is that most folks are calling these short chain stayed bikes"All Mountain Hard Tails", which is a bit of an oxymoron, really.
This new popularity for these rigs is fascinating. On one hand, you have folks clamoring for slack head angles and long forks while at the other end you have the short chain stays and rigid, efficiency of an XC racing rig. This isn't really anything new though. This was tried with 26"ers long ago.
Those bikes had geometry which was abandoned for the most part. Too sketchy on the down hills and too easily looped out on steep climbs. In many ways, I see the 29 inch versions of these bikes as being even worse than the 26 inch versions.
Yes- I have tried the sauce. I had it all from the 120mm fork to the shorter chain stays. I did not have the slacker head angle, but it wouldn't have made any difference. The problems with the 26 inch versions of this idea did crop up with the bike I set up too. But......I ended up really liking it in its final version. What was that? Well, it was a short, rigid forked version that transformed the bike into a single track ripper.
|Short and Quick|
Then I see things like the prototype Singular above which gets me thinking about how a low slung, shorter wheel base, shorter rear ended bike would make for a killer single track bike. You can keep the long forks and really slack front end. Not necessary. Really- just get a full suspension bike and be done with it.
To my mind, this whole shorter stay thing belongs in XC/Trail hard tails with fast geometry and short wheel bases. Not in a category dominated by full suspension bikes. You know, that domination of full suspension in the AM category happens for a reason. A really good reason!