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  • Head angle too steep. Any advice please for a mate whose a bit of a gravity nut!
  • Premier Icon pipiom
    Free Member

    A friend has a Cannondale Moterra, and is having major issues riding her bike down the steep stuff, to the point where she’s thinking of selling it.
    It does look a little steep on the front end to me.(67/68 degrees??)
    Anyone had success in any, non major, surgery that has helped.
    Cheers in advance guys

    Premier Icon julians
    Full Member

    Head angle on that is 66 deg – which isnt that steep really, it shouldnt be a really limiting factor in going down steep stuff.

    The obvious answer to slacken the head angle is to put an angleset on it from superstar components (or works components) that will take the head angle down to 64 degrees at most for not much money.

    Premier Icon joebristol
    Full Member

    How steep are we talking here?

    Isn’t that quite a heavy ebike? It’s probably not the geometry that’s the problem – more likely to be either bike handling skills or tyre grip related.

    I’d look at that before trying to slacken the headangle I think. An angleset seems to be the obvious answer if you do want to slacken the headangle though – would be looking at Superstar or Works probably.

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Full Member

    It’s not the head angle. People were riding down steep stuff long before you had to have slack head angles.

    Premier Icon gkeeffe
    Full Member

    Check sag in front forks or add a token. It may be diving thru the travel and sitting too low.

    Also could be rider position. Maybe too arms locked Straight and therefor too much weight over the front when dropping down.

    Premier Icon trumpton
    Free Member

    Skills course or YouTube videos on riding technique.ive ridden proper mountain woods and downhill courses with a 69 degree head angle with confidence. I suppose it might be the overall geometry of the bike rather than just the head angle.bike might be good but just doesn’t suit her.

    Premier Icon ta11pau1
    Full Member

    Is she a new rider?

    66 degree HA won’t be the issue, for almost any modern bike from the last few years, the limiting factor is going to be the fleshy thing on top of it, not the bike.

    My 150mm travel Jeffsy has a 66 degree HA and believe me, the only thing holding it back is me.

    When you say steep stuff – is this slow and steep, or fast and steep?

    Premier Icon pipiom
    Free Member

    Normally, fairly fast and smooth, and an experienced rider.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Full Member

    I’d suggest sticking a pair of offset bushings in it for starters.

    As well as slacking it off by about a degree, it’ll also lower the BB for a more planted feel.

    Bounce are the best place for them IMO.

    Whether it is the bike geo or the rider, a small change could give a better feel and result in more confidence anyway.

    Premier Icon joebristol
    Full Member

    I’m an experienced rider to some extent but it doesn’t mean I’m any good 🤷‍♂️

    I’m pretty smooth on blue and red flow trails but steep tech stuff is really my nemesis. Bike not holding me back with 150f/130r travel and about a 65 degree headangle and average reach (457mm / I’m 5’9 with short arms / torso).

    I’m trying to work on it. My hardtail which I’vensold over lockdown had a 66.5 headangle I think and I rode that pretty much as well as the full suss on steeper tech stuff.

    Premier Icon doomanic
    Full Member

    The only way it could be the bike is if she remembers just how ugly it is as she tips over the edge.

    Premier Icon robertpb
    Full Member

    Even my gravel bike with a 70 degree HA will ride down pretty steep stuff, so I can’t see a bike with 66 degrees and 2.6 tyres being any problem.

    Even my old bikes I rode in the mid eighties with 70 degrees and rigid forks with 26″ 1.95 tyres tackled anything.

    So that leaves two things, poorly set-up bike or skill.

    Premier Icon colp
    Full Member

    How wide are her bars?
    Bar position (rotation)
    Stem length
    Let the back tyre down, that’ll sort out the head angle

    Premier Icon sharkattack
    Free Member

    Out of interest I just checked the head angle of my old hardtail which was 68 degrees and I used to do uplift days at Hamsterley and Inners and stuff.

    I’m firmly in the ‘it’s not the bike’ camp. Are the forks broken or just running way too low?

    Premier Icon jamj1974
    Full Member

    What is/was her other bike for this kind of riding?

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Free Member

    If she’s having major difficulty it’s not the head angle. A slacker HA does make it a bit easier and better, but it’s not going to go from ‘major difficulty’ to ease.

    Make sure the forks are set up within sensible bounds, make sure the stem’s not silly long, make sure the bars are not too wide either as having ridiculous 800mm bars for someone who’s potentially small (you don’t specify size but you do say she’s a woman). Is the bike the right size?

    Premier Icon crashrash
    Full Member

    Another one here to look at bike setup rather than HA. For me 66 should be fine. Bars likely to be way too wide though. Have a read of enduro mags piece about EWS bikes out earlier this month – If Mr Rude only needs 750 bars then 800 is going to be way to wide for most. Mine are cut down to 780 and I’m a 6’2″ gorilla!

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Full Member

    When you say “major issues” OP what exactly do you mean? Wheel washing out, tucking in, bike just not wanting to turn in or something else?

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    cookea +1

    What ‘issues’ and ‘how steep’ are we talking about?

    Premier Icon pipiom
    Free Member

    Slightly difficult to explain, but, just can’t seem to gel with the bike on descents. All I’m suggesting is small, inexpensive, tweeks in order to ignite that spark. I’ve done this a few times when I’ve been unhappy with a new bike. Last one was my Carbine, which replaced my 2013 Carbine. Hated the thing until a trip to Torridon, when my bike shop mate played with it a bit. One more headset spacer under the stem and whatever else he did and it became my go-to bike. Sadly sold on Friday.

    Premier Icon sharkattack
    Free Member

    Hated the thing until a trip to Torridon, when my bike shop mate played with it a bit. One more headset spacer under the stem and whatever else he did and it became my go-to bike

    Is your real name Nicolas Vouilloz?

    Sorry but I’m a big fan of just riding over faffing. By all means tweak your bike and make it comfortable but my go-to bike used to be Raleigh Activator in the days before I even knew what a headset spacer was.

    Fussing over millimetres and degrees is pointless for 90% of people and it certainly won’t make an unridable bike suddenly come to life.

    Premier Icon warpcow
    Full Member

    Any kind of tweak would take more info to recommend that that she doesn’t gel with it. Best would be to hear it from her about how it feels, and you/someone else about what you see happening.

    Premier Icon argee
    Full Member

    I’d also say as others have that it won’t be the head angle, i’m guessing she doesn’t feel the front end is high enough when doing steep stuff, it is a valid issue, if you’re not comfortable with that feel, then the Over The Bars issue always plays on your mind.

    If this is the case then it can only really be fixed by getting the front end up a little, if you’re lucky she might be able to shift a headset spacer below the stem, or get handlebars with a bit more rise, sadly anything really good to raise it 20mm or so means new kit, either through longer steerer tube forks adding more spacers.

    Do the cheap stuff first though, check the sag on front/rear shocks, see if there’s a spacer on the stem that could go under it, riser bars, etc.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Full Member

    Another thing is whether she’s got enough saddle drop to lower her CoG sufficiently.

    If she feels she’s toppling over the front, it could be that.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    I would want to see her ride, hear and see what’s going on.
    I’d say yes to faff with spacers, bar width etc, but also consider suspension setup and damping limitations.

    Premier Icon kayla1
    Free Member

    It could just be the bars want rotating back slightly in the stem so they’re less vertical when the bike’s pointing down which’ll make her feel like her weight’s more in the centre of the bike and so less likely to go OTB.

    Premier Icon intheborders
    Free Member

    How heavy is she?

    A light rider and a heavy bike will have issues over a heavy rider and a light bike IME, especially when the terrain gets ‘tasty’.

    What kind of terrain are we talking – natural, off-piste, red/black, DH etc?

    Premier Icon Superficial
    Free Member

    My wife has never ‘gelled’ with her modern FS bike, despite it being objectively better in every category than her old, too small, bike that she knew well. If you can make a change to effect a psychological shift then you may succeed.

    This is not necessarily a girl thing, but I wonder if it’s more common.

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