Is there a link between head angle and stem length?

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  • Is there a link between head angle and stem length?
  • Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    It’s probably the height of the bars. Notice a lot of 29ers have flat bars and sometimes even a negative rise stem? Just a thought.

    Premier Icon roverpig
    Subscriber

    It could be. But that would be counter intuitive too. I thought that higher bars were generally considered to make it easier to loft the front wheel as lowering the bars puts more weight over the front.

    Maybe there are just no rules and you need to forget fashion and just try a range of bars and stems to see what suits you best for a particular bike. But that could be time consuming and expensive, so it would be good if there were some rule of thumb e.g. linking stem length with head angle.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    there are no rules just things to try…

    Longer stems provide greater self-centring from the rider’s hands’ pressure whilst slacker head angles provide greater self-centring through increased trail. Your longer stem has stabilised the steering whilst the lower bars have increased front wheel grip through better weighting.

    Premier Icon roverpig
    Subscriber

    I’ve been messing around with my FF29; trying to get a setup I like. It loves smooth trails but I was struggling to get anything close to a playful feel on rougher stuff. It rolls over stuff fine, but didn’t want to play and I never felt confident on anything technical (not helped by a few crashes). I followed the current fashion for short and wide; ending up with a 50mm stem and 740mm bars with a 40mm rise. So short wide and high, but still no joy.

    So, I gave up; accepted that it was an XC bike and not a trail bike and stuck on a 100mm stem and 680mm low-riser bars. Even lowered the bars a touch for that XC bum in the air feel. Well blow me down it now seems much more playful. OK, it’s still an XC bike, but against all my expectations (and almost defying logic) it seems much easier to move the front around and generally more balanced and stable on rougher trails.

    I’m thinking that having my hands that bit further forward (rather than under me) may make it easier to push the bars forward and get the front up. But I also wonder whether it is something to do with the relatively steep head angle on the FF29. Is the current fashion for short and wide driven by the fashion for slacker head angles?

    steve_b77
    Member

    My FF29 has a 70mm zero rise stem with 736mm flat bars, one 5mm spacer under the stem and it’s a right laugh to ride. The front wheel comes up easily qhen required and the thing can hustle along single track like nobodies business.

    Saying that I also use an inline post, this may or may not help matters.

    Also I seem to remember measuring the HA at 69.5deg with a 100mm reba slotted in there

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)

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