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  • Bird Zero AM review (warning, bicycle content)
  • Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
    Free Member

    Some background: I’d had a 2010 Soul with 140mm Fox 32s as my hardtail for a long time. It was great but compared to my full-sus with modern geometry and big forks it started to feel rather short, tall and nervous on more challenging trails.

    Being an incurable engineer I decided to draw up a 120mm steel hardtail which would have similarly geometry at sag to my Banshee Spitfire – ticking all the long/low/slack cliches but going a bit further still with the length and lowness, inspired by the likes of the Mojo Geometron and BTR Ranger.

    Mostly due to that Geometron I’d bought a Works -2 deg headset to try in my Spitfire and at the same time, before I got around to having the hardtail built, Bird launched their Zero AM. I quickly spotted that putting in this Works headset and a 20mm shorter fork would give near identical geometry to my design – literally within 1/4 deg on angles, reach 5mm shorter, BB 5mm lower and chainstays 10mm shorter, so this clearly had to be tried.

    Bird were very amenable to my slightly eccentric requests and as I also wanted a Pike and Reverb Stealth I bought a full GX build from them and sold the surplus shiny new bits, swapping most of the parts from my Soul (with some bigger rims).

    v1:

    First impressions – wow, this is indeed long, low and pretty slack up front. And the super steep seat tube angle meant I could pedal up the steepest inclines my legs could handle without inadvertently pulling a wheelie. In the winter’s filthy slippery conditions it was so stable I could two wheel drift around every turn without even trying. Lots of mud clearance at the back. Didn’t feel too slack but soon realised that it needed shorter cranks because the BB was so low. Took a while to get the 130mm Pike working how I wanted – it seemed softer off the top but harsher through the middle than my 160mm Pike, good but not great.

    As the trails dried out and the speeds went up I found it continued to be awesome on the steep stuff, climbing like a mountain goat and descending with absolute confidence. It wasn’t so good at riding twisty singletrack or covering mileage, being a bit slow to flick from turn to turn and the pedalling position time-trial fast but not comfy.

    Going back and forth between the Zero AM and my Spitfire I started to suspect I’d enjoy the Zero more if the cockpit was shorter, the bottom bracket higher and the seat angle a little more relaxed – basically how the guys at Bird had designed it. Cue a change of headset to an external lower cup Cane Creek, the fork extended to 140mm and a swap to a 35mm stem.

    v2:

    Results? Sublime excellence. It’s still way more stable and better on steep or fast stuff than an old school hardcore hardtail but it can now be thrown about with gay abandon, pumping, flicking and popping down the singletrack. The Pike seems to work better at 140mm, having dropped from 3 to 2 tokens and still running 20% sag – firmer when pumping but smoother through the rough sections. It requires a bit more forward seat shuffle up steep pitches but much less ratcheting over roots, rocks, stumps and lumps. Losing an inch off the actual reach (shorter stem plus geometry change) allows me to ride just off the back – I’m quicker and more confident like that, weighting the bars when I need to and otherwise driving from my hips.

    My previous hardtail was noted for its smooth 853 steel ride but I haven’t noticed this alloy frame feeling harsh – maybe the bigger wheels smooth things out enough? Big main tubes keep the fork pointing the right way but the rear triangle is pretty skinny and there’s a fair bit of hydroforming – it ends up about 1.5lbs lighter than a comparable steep frame. With a burly zero carbon build it comes in around 27.5lbs.

    It’s done 650 miles now, including two enduro races and a lap of Big Dog. Not hit any big jumps but it’s well balanced when clearing 8’+ tables or hucking a 4′ drop slower than planned. I’ll update after the final race of the year in a few weeks’ time – I suspect it’ll be quicker, the clock will tell…

    All in all, I’m seriously impressed. The build quality is great and the transferable lifetime warranty very confidence inspiring. The details are well engineered – 12×142 dropouts, neat little mech hanger, logical external cable routing with stealth dropper port, threaded bottom bracket, 31.6 seat tube to fit the long droppers, 44/56 head tube to fit all the forks and do silly things with anglesets.

    The geometry is bang on and the long reach, short seat tubes and five sizes from XS to XL give a lot of flexibility with getting a bike that fits you right – just be aware that these are long bikes (and the TR is even longer). The low top tube and short seat tubes means you can size up or down to suit how you ride and still fit a long dropper post. NB: If you’re looking at the numbers add about 15mm to the reach and 1.5 deg to the angles when comparing to full-sus bikes (or hardtails that are quoted at sag – you might be surprised at how short most of the competition is).

    I’ve learnt that although what I like doing a lot of the time is riding as fast as possible, particularly downhill, I don’t always want to ride on the ragged edge and sometimes I’m just enjoying messing about on the trail, not going at full speed, chucking the bike about in an inefficient but amusing way, and cruising back uphill having a chat – especially on group rides. As it’s now set up the Zero AM can play both roles.

    If you want a hardcore hardtail for thrashing like a 6″ full-sus then this should absolutely be on the shortlist.

    Stealth cousins (Spitfire in high/steep local singletrack mode):

    Warning, geek!

    v1 spec:
    Zero AM medium stealth black
    Pike RCT3 130mm
    Works -2 deg EC44/ZS56
    Reverb Stealth 150mm + Hope bolted clamp
    Hope Pro 2 Evo + Flow EX rims
    Hope Race Evo M4 + 183mm discs
    SLX 175mm cranks + Works 34t + Hope BB
    Saint shifter + Zee mech
    XT 11-36 + KMC X10L gold
    Hope 50mm stem + 760mm risers
    Catalyst pedals + ODI SDG grips
    Shorty or DHR2 3C Exo front
    DHR2 or Minion SS Dual Exo rear

    v2 changes:
    XT 165mm cranks, Works 32t oval, Vault pedals
    Pike RCT3 140mm
    Cane Creek -0.5deg ZS44/EC56
    Hope 35mm stem + 740mm risers

    v1 geometry (20% sag):
    HA = 65.4 deg
    SA = 76.5 deg
    BB height = 294mm
    Reach = 458mm
    Wheelbase = 1166mm
    Chainstay = 420mm

    v2 geometry (20% sag):
    HA = 66.2 deg
    SA = 75.4 deg
    BB height = 303mm
    Reach = 450mm
    Wheelbase = 1159mm

    (tl;dr – it’s really good)

    Premier Icon honourablegeorge
    Full Member

    Nice. The geek in me appreciated all the detail.

    Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
    Free Member

    I thought I should update this review since the Zero AM is now in its third and hopefully final configuration. This change is the least radical, with the Angleset (ZS44/EC56) which was set at -0.5 deg replaced by my venerable Hope headset (ZS44/56), the Pike taken out to 150mm travel and a Luftkappe added. So now it’s a totally stock geometry Zero AM, running about 25% fork sag.

    It’s a lot of fun like this – the extra fork travel and being able to run more sag thanks to the Luftkappe’s midstroke support keeps the front end well controlled whilst the rear follows in hilariously wild fashion.

    Ironically the original build was done to emulate my Spitfire full-sus but with extra reach. The Zero AM is now about a degree steeper than the Spitfire was but the Spitfire has since gone two degrees slacker after acquiring the Zero’s Works -2 deg headset. The reach is now at its shortest and the seat angle slackest and I like it most like that – bear in mind that’s still a reach of about 450mm at sag and a seat angle of 74 deg static so close to 76 deg sagged. The Spitfire has about 20mm less reach but a 15mm longer stem which along with the slacker head angle makes the steering much slower and more stable.

    I’ve experimented a fair bit with bar height – up high feels really comfy but doesn’t climb the steeps so well and I can’t keep up with my quicker mates on singletrack because I can’t keep the front wheel weighted enough. Too low and the steep seat angle gets uncomfortable.

    I guess it’s just got that reassuring feeling that you’re “in” rather than “on” the bike. I think a lot of that is down to the low BB height (45mm drop static, about 58mm at sag which gives a sub 300mm BB with fairly big tyres). The long reach and fairly slack head angle add up to a pretty long front centre (for a medium), not so long that you have to really lean on the front on flat turns but long enough that you can stay pretty central on steep descents.

    The steering feels super responsive with the 35mm stem, 750mm bars and 67 deg sagged head angle (65.4 deg static HA) but the low BB and long front centre seem to keep the bike on track far better than I expected. I don’t know why but it works really well! I love my Spitfire in its new longer wider slacker configuration (~64 deg HA, 810mm bars, 1180mm wheelbase) but it seems hardtails and full-sussers are more different animals than I realised.

    Premier Icon spacemonkey
    Free Member

    Nice update Chief. I’m demoing a Zero AM next week and actively collating everything I can on them 🙂

    Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
    Free Member

    Congratulations on reading all that! 😉 Enjoy the demo!

    Just for clarity…

    v1 geometry (20% sag):
    HA = 65.4 deg
    SA = 76.5 deg
    BB height = 294mm
    Reach = 458mm
    Wheelbase = 1166mm
    Chainstay = 420mm
    (130mm fork -2 deg headset)

    v2 geometry (20% sag):
    HA = 66.2 deg
    SA = 75.4 deg
    BB height = 303mm
    Reach = 450mm
    Wheelbase = 1159mm
    (140mm fork -0.5 deg external headset)

    v3 geometry (25% sag):
    HA = 67.1 deg
    SA = 75.7 deg
    BB height = 300mm
    Reach = 451mm
    Wheelbase = 1150mm
    (stock geometry – 150mm fork)

    Premier Icon pedalhead
    Free Member

    Interesting stuff, cheers. That ST angle is quite steep! How does it climb with v3 geometry? Also, how tall are you?

    Premier Icon cokie
    Free Member

    Good read.
    I find it interesting that you opted to go for ‘extreme’ geometry changes before testing the stock geometry (which appears to suit you better anyway). Was it a case of trying to get the Bird to emulate the unsagged Geometry of the Spitfire straight off?

    Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
    Free Member

    Yes, partly trying to get the front end feeling like the Spitfire but also pushing the boundaries a bit with extra reach, steeper seat tube and lower bottom bracket, influenced by the Geometron, BTR Ranger and so on.

    As an engineer I’m not a fan of incremental changes – I think you need to try to push past the “sweet spot” and then wind things back, otherwise it takes years to get where you’re going (yes, I’m looking at you MTB companies and your geometries over the last 20 years!)

    The key thing I knew was that my Cotic Soul no longer worked for me if swapping bikes frequently because it was so short and tall compared to the Spitfire – the riding style had to be very different so riding it like the Spitfire on steep stuff was downright scary. I always adapted but it could take a couple of hours.

    If all my riding was winch and plummet then geo v1 would have stuck! Horses for courses and all that…

    Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
    Free Member

    Interesting stuff, cheers. That ST angle is quite steep! How does it climb with v3 geometry? Also, how tall are you?

    Yes, once you add the sag to a hardtail with a 74 deg static seat angle you realise how steep it is compared to a 74 deg SA full-sus! It climbs very well, not quite as mountain goat as v1 was in the saddle but with some sliding/standing on the steepest bits it’s good. In another league compared to more old school hardcore hardtails. The limitation is my leg strength at that moment – lowest gear is only 32-36.

    I’m 5’10.5″ tall, 33-34″ inside leg, 6’2″ arm span. Engineering precision-ish! 😉

    Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
    Free Member

    I see there’s a new Zero AM out!

    Forget Black Friday Bird Goes Stealth With 2018 Zero AM Boost

    I like the more slackness. I don’t want the extra length but with big dropper posts there’s no problem downsizing and still getting the saddle to pedalling height (I’d go for the 2018 medium despite being 1.5″ taller than the maximum height they recommend!) I like the extra mud clearance. I like the 160mm fork compatibility. But as all my bikes are old school non-boost the convenience of being able to swap wheels back and forth precludes a purchase.

    Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
    Free Member

    Another update. I haven’t been riding so much over the winter, only once a week or so, and was feeling a bit rusty and slow. Wasn’t gelling so well with the Zero. It’s confusing because when I’m on my Spitfire, if I’m having an off day my riding is worse but proportionately worse, whilst on the Zero everything goes much more wrong. Maybe that’s a full-sus vs hardtail thing?

    Anyway, I thought I’d try putting the 50mm stem back on, because on a bad day the Zero feels too quick steering and nervy. I also swapped about 10mm of spacers from above to below, raising the bar further. It felt a lot better as soon as I hit the first section of singletrack – more centred and aggressive and calmer, encouraging me to shift my weight more.

    As I was in a hurry to get to our group ride I’d stuck the Pike into trail mode but forgot to switch it to open for the first bit of descent – and although it was a bit harsh over some of the roots I could pump into and out of the turns so much better with the firmer damping. So, I clicked it to open after that trail and added three clicks of LSC.

    After that ride I realised I was running too much sag, as I’m heavier than before. Took it up from low 80s to 90psi (it’s a 150mm pre-Boost Pike with a Luftkappe and I’m about 13.5 stone) and it’s sitting at about 20% sag now.

    Absolutely smashed my way down the trails a few days ago – pedalling fitness is still a bit off (I’m fast for a minute or so at full tilt!) but the confidence is back thanks to those tweaks. I’m testing some Cotics in a month so will be keen to see how they compare. Still find the BB a little low for my liking and I do suspect some more slackness on the head angle wouldn’t go amiss.

    But the puzzling thing is that going from a 35mm to 50mm stem and moving 10mm of spacers below the stem (so effectively adding 18mm to the reach and 15mm to the stack height) makes the bike feel less long (it always felt about 10-15mm too long for me) and a really nice fit. I don’t get it but I’m happy about it!

    Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
    Free Member

    The trusty Zero has spent the best part of a year being sidelined, first by my new Spitfire and then by my Levo e-monster truck. But it’s been resurrected, initially for a friend to do the South Downs Way (his bike was stolen the night before he set off), and now it’s in Mallorca with me, taking on some of the gnarliest trails I’ve ever ridden.

    Changes since the last iteration is that it’s inherited the GX Eagle drivetrain (34t and 10-50) and Revive 185mm dropper off the Spitfire and the Works -2 deg headset is back, plus some Renthal Fatbar Lite 40mm rise. Basically I’m trying to make it as much like the Levo as possible for a motorless hardtail.
    I’ve also added Rimpact foam inserts and it has a Magic Mary 2.35 Snakeskin Addix Soft at the front and a DHR2 2.3 Exo Dual at the back. I’ve also embraced packless riding – frame bag from Cotic, Fabric cageless bottle and tiny saddlebag.

    Reach hasn’t changed, my bars are 10-20mm higher but I’m running closer to 30% sag so in practice my hands are in the same place. Head angle is 63.4 deg static but about 65 deg at sag, which is just sensible for riding steep rough trails. New bars are 20mm wider and have slightly less sweep. BB height is feeling perfect here – I guess a year riding low-ish full-sus bikes with quite a lot of sag gets you used to that.

    Two rides in and it’s feeling good!

    Premier Icon malv173
    Full Member

    Nice to have an update! I’ve been thinking about changing to a higher rise bar. Currently have a 25mm rise, but I’ve been wondering what 40 would feel like. I did try moving the stern up 5mm and found the front a little skittish. Would keeping the stern in the same place and increasing the bar rise do the same?  Or is the angleset needed to keep the hands in the same place as you mentioned?

    Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
    Free Member

    If you’ve moved the grips higher with spacers then the effect is the same as adding bar rise (with bar rotation putting rise in line with the steerer).

    Higher grips seem to work better for me on long slack bikes because I can weight the front more when needed without any feel of going over the bars and with the steep seat angle there’s no problem climbing steep stuff. Coming from a much shorter hardtail with smaller wheels and steeper angles which suited a low bar for good handling both up and down it took some time for me to find that a higher hand position was better for me. Also I have long legs so my hip hinge position is higher than other riders of my height.

    I just made a summary of the four geometries I’ve had this bike with. Amusing to see that as I’m running the 150mm fork with more sag than the 130mm fork, I’ve come full circle but in the process I’ve also found that I need my hands higher vs my feet to ride confidently. I think I used to run my forks harder to get my hands higher and my head angle slacker (on all my bikes, not just this one).

    I’ve also adjusted my bar width in (for tree clearance) and then out again because I’m happy to compromise on speed through the tightest sections for better fit and handling the rest of the time. And stem length from 50mm to 35 and back to 50.

    v1 geometry (20% sag):
    HA = 65.4 deg
    SA = 76.5 deg
    BB height = 294mm
    Reach = 458mm
    Wheelbase = 1166mm
    Chainstay = 420mm
    (130mm fork, -2 deg headset, 50mm stem, 760mm bars, 27mm rise + 2mm spacers +15mm upper cup +3.5mm lower cup)
    Actual stack height BB-grips = 658mm

    v2 geometry (20% sag):
    HA = 66.2 deg
    SA = 75.4 deg
    BB height = 303mm
    Reach = 450mm
    Wheelbase = 1159mm
    (140mm fork, -0.5 deg external headset, 35mm stem, 740mm bars, 27mm rise +2mm spacers +13mm upper cup +14mm lower cup)
    Actual stack height = 667mm

    v3 geometry (25% sag):
    HA = 67.1 deg
    SA = 75.7 deg
    BB height = 300mm
    Reach = 451mm
    Wheelbase = 1150mm
    (150mm fork, 35mm stem, 750mm bars, 27mm rise + 20mm? spacers +7mm upper cup +6mm lower cup)
    Actual stack height = 678mm

    v4 geometry (30% sag):
    HA = 65.4 deg
    SA = 76.5 deg
    BB height = 294mm
    Reach = 459mm
    Wheelbase = 1166mm
    (150mm fork, -2 deg headset, 50mm stem, 770mm bars, 40mm rise + 10mm spacers +15mm upper cup +3.5mm lower cup = 69mm stack)
    Actual stack height = 678mm

    Premier Icon Scienceofficer
    Free Member

    Good info chief, only thing missing is your actual height?

    Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
    Free Member

    “Good info chief, only thing missing is your actual height?”

    It is amongst the masses of earlier text:

    “I’m 5’10.5″ tall, 33-34″ inside leg, 6’2″ arm span. Engineering precision-ish! 😉”

    Premier Icon tall_martin
    Full Member

    Interesting to see how such small changes make such a large change overall.

    I kinda wish I’d done something similar for my bikes, perhaps now is the time to start 🙂

    Premier Icon malv173
    Full Member

    Cheers for the info Chief! May give it another go and think about my body mm position when riding.

    Premier Icon Scienceofficer
    Free Member

    I figured your height would there somewhere, but I couldn’t see for looking.

    How do you get your numbers? Are you running it through a geo website?

    Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
    Free Member

    “How do you get your numbers? Are you running it through a geo website?”

    A mix of using this: https://bikegeo.muha.cc

    And some trigonometry!

    Premier Icon Scienceofficer
    Free Member

    Cool, will have a look at that, I’ve been moving through a hardtail evolution this last few years, and whilst less precise in my approach, it’s interesting that I’m drawing similar conclusions and I’m similar-ish dimensions.

    Premier Icon TrailriderJim
    Full Member

    My previous hardtail was noted for its smooth 853 steel ride but I haven’t noticed this alloy frame feeling harsh

    I often ponder the question of whether one can feel steel. Personally I’ve owned both and I can’t. Single biggest improvement to aggro hardtails IMHO has been semi-plus tyres. Second to that, geometry. The two combined means a hardtail can be a do-it-all UK bike, if fun is your main priority over out-and-out speed.

    (2018 Whyte 909 here, pretty much stock from new).

    Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
    Free Member

    So the hardtail had hardly been used since taking it to Mallorca for a summer holiday (where it was brilliant) but it’s now the lockdown bike of choice, either accompanying my small children or going out for a no gnar not far ride (I almost never drive to ride anyway).

    It really is absolutely excellent for messing about in a flowy jumpy way with a big margin of error. The short stiff back end (which I’m not such a fan of when going flat out) is so lively and poppy and even wayward but the longer front, big fork running plenty of sag and slack head angle make it track so well and so safely. Also, the low BB which used to bug me at times no longer seems to – maybe because I’m used to it, maybe because if I’m not chasing strava times or race positions I’m not trying to pedal as much?

    This is the first MTB I’ve ever owned this century where I haven’t ended up pushing the seat all the way forwards, in fact it’s about two thirds of the way back on the rails. 74 deg static on a hardtail is much steeper than people realise!

    Premier Icon gribble
    Free Member

    Interested in this thread. I bought a V2 (non-boost) Bird AM (also matt black) in XL. It was to replace my 2017 26 in Bfe (which was just too short).

    I love the Bird. Have it specced as follows:

    XL frame
    150mm Pikes
    Hunt Trail Wide Rims (30mm internal width, so take a decent size tyre)
    800 mm Thomson bar
    Hope Tech3 E4 brakes (200/180 mm)
    50mm stem (race face I think)
    210mm One Up dropper (really like this, seat gets nice and low)
    Mish mash of 10 speed XT parts (with RAD cage for the big cassette)

    I really like the bike. Great fun to ride; like the way it has plenty of room for big rubber, even though it is not a boost model.

    I am just about to stick the summer tyres back on and am thinking Minion DHF (2.6) for the front. I (did no research and) bought a 2.3 Minion SS for the rear, but think it will not work that well with the rim width; I’ve got an Ardent 2.4 that should be ok though, as a rear.

    XT stuff is being moved over to my other bike and I have some box fresh 11 speed SLX, which should do the job.

    Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
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    Similar build to mine! How tall are you?

    I love having a 185mm dropper on mine – with the high riser bars and saddle dropped so far it looks like a BMX!

    Bigger/knobblier tyre up front and smaller up back is my preference too on everything, even hardtails – I know some people like a big tyre out back to make up for the lack of suspension, and maybe I would if riding more rocks, but on dirt I like the precision and easier drifting of the smaller casing. Used to have a Minion SS 2.3 out back but have gone knobblier with a DHR2 2.3 – it’s not that much slower and has so much more grip on the steeps.

    Premier Icon gribble
    Free Member

    I’m 6 ft 2. I have T Rex little arms and long legs, or so it seems.

    The long dropper helps, so much so that that I fitted a similar one to my full suspension bike.

    The Bird rides so nicely, it’s great fun and confidences inspiring. I definitely like a bigger front tyre; helps with the the downhills and rougher stuff.

    Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
    Free Member

    You sure you have short arms? Long legs and arms tend to go together!

    I have the 185mm dropper on both bikes – I have long legs for my height and it makes such a difference.

    Premier Icon gribble
    Free Member

    Maybe my arms are not so short, but I tend to have a really high seat position (hence the love for long droppers). I think I’d probably be ripe for a 29er, but have two 26 in bikes and the Bird is obviously 27.5.

    I can not get another bike though!!!

    Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
    Free Member

    “Maybe my arms are not so short, but I tend to have a really high seat position (hence the love for long droppers). I think I’d probably be ripe for a 29er, but have two 26 in bikes and the Bird is obviously 27.5.”

    I tend to find when I swap bikes on group rides (it’s great how most of us riding flats nowadays makes that possible), that the bikes with the saddles at the right pedalling height are usually owned by people a few inches taller than me – hence my love of long droppers too.

    My Levo was my first 29er and I love its incredible ability to carry speed, to thunder through corners finding so much grip and how it always feels stable – it’s not all down to the big wheels, the huge frame weight makes the suspension work so much better. If I’m trying to go fast downhill it’s easily the fastest bike I’ve ever owned – and that’s with the motor off!

    The way I ride, the Zero AM would be a rubbish race bike – it is actually the last bike I did some enduro races on and they didn’t go too well, so maybe it was the bike’s fault? 😉 The back end is too short, the wheels too small, the BB too low. But if I don’t ride it absolutely flat out, chasing mates or strava times, then it handles brilliantly – the short rear is sharp and snappy and responsive, the low BB carves and pumps (and stabilises the short chainstays), the small wheels (and lack of rear suspension) make everything feel bumpier, make descents takes longer, make it pump harder and give so much trail feel.

    I’m really loving it at the moment, every lockdown ride is a perfect little package of safe flow and play.

    Premier Icon catvet
    Free Member

    Saw your link from NSMB, re Waltworks V2, your 4 th iteration of your Bird Zero is very similar to my stock Cotic Solaris Max gen4 with 130 Fox front end, running pretty much identical tyres, in terms of geometry and usage!!
    The 29 er wheels IMHO have brought about a renaissance in hardtails, as the BB can be very low giving the ability to ride the bike like a “polo pony” off the pedals through the BB.

    Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
    Free Member

    So I’ve been riding the Zero more recently – it currently has a hideous knee-destroying steel girder between the static part of the dropper post and headtube for a WeeRide toddler seat, so kneepads are compulsory when it’s being used like a real mountain bike. Standover isn’t too disastrous like that thankfully.

    Only tweak since the last update is a slightly bigger faster rear tyre – Rock Razor 2.35 Snakeskin SpeedGrip, which seems to suit it. Oh yes, and I’ve just added a OneUp bash-guide because it’s v v low (34t ring doesn’t help).

    It’s only taken almost six years but I think I have this bike (and bikes like it) sussed out! I’ve never ridden another bike that so accentuates your riding on a given day. When I’m riding well it’s so capable, pretty damned fast, manoeuvrable but will carve a big flat turn, remarkably smooth all things considered.

    When I’m riding badly, the front keeps trying to go in a straight line instead of turn, or it slides out a bit on a corner and then catches itself, or over the rough stuff the front wheel charges along unimpeded whilst the back just hangs up on everything, throwing my weight onto the bars or into the pedals, and making progress very herky-jerky.

    On good days, for the corners I’m setting up right, leaning and looking and weighting the bars, and over the rough I’m pushing and pumping and unweighting or hopping. Really active riding style. On the bad days that long front centre vs short chainstays means that the front wheel doesn’t grip in turns, and that low BB and short chainstays means that when the rear tyre hooks up on anything the transfer of weight into the BB isn’t great at pulling the wheel up and over the obstacle as a higher BB would.

    Conversely, that long front centre and low BB are what keeps the bike so safe in many situations – much harder to exit through the front door.

    Ye olde Bird Zero AM – it’ll never make you think that you’re better than you really are!

    Premier Icon Scienceofficer
    Free Member

    Good to hear someone else say the same things as I’m also learning. It’s reassuring because no one really seems to spend alot of time contemplating the minutiae of LLS.

    Especially the having a bad day stuff.

    Just recently I’ve shortened my reach a little bit and its made a surprisingly large difference to how the bike rides. Despite this, no one could accuse it of being short.

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