Upgrading My 29er – New Frame, Shorter Chainstays?
So I’m looking to upgrade my old Haro Mary with a new 29er frame. Currently leaning towards the El Mariachi, Singular Swift, Pipedream Skookum, although I’m keeping an open mind. Just like the Mary, this will basically be my do-it-all bike, eg. Singletrack up the woods and hills, occasional trail centre blasts plus Highland weekends. Basically my do-it-all bike.
So I’ve noticed that there seems to be a move from the longer 450mm chainstays on the older 29ers towards shorter chainstays (430-440mm). I’m assuming this is to try to make the bikes feel more nimble?
So anybody out there who’s gone from a longer chainstay 29er to a shorter one? Wondering what your thoughts are and whether this should influence my buying decision or not. I have to say, no real complaints about the way the Mary rides aside from toe overlap on the front wheel.Posted 4 years agoscotroutesSubscriber
The advantage of the likes of the El Mariachi is that you can use the Alternator Dropouts to adjust chainstay length to your preference. I started with mine at the maximum for “added stability” but found it was a bit dead. Feels much more lively dialled right in.Posted 4 years agomick_rSubscriber
Made my own frames because didn’t like the long stay / steep head angle of early 29ers.
Current favourite is 16.25″ stay with a 69 degree ish (sagged fork) head angle. I did go as short as 15.9″ with no disasters or unsavoury handling. Can’t really run a front mech with any of these lengths.
Have a look at Dr Jon’s stuff (one in this months what mbr I think)Posted 4 years ago
My Fireline only has 1cm of clearance between the rear tyre/seat tube, but there is still space for a front mech if you get the right one. My favourite was a Direct Mount Adapter and DM front mech, with full outer cable routed away from the tyre.Posted 4 years agoYoKaiserSubscriber
The longer chainstays on my old Unit were noticable, really hard to get the front end off the ground (well I attributed it to the chainstays). Going to the Scandal was a revelation. If you like the Swift what about the Buzzard instead? A Karate Monkey has short stays too. That Fireline is nice…..Posted 4 years agotakisawa2Subscriber
440mm on my SIR.9, 445mm on the Inbred it replaced.Posted 4 years ago
Head angle is about half a degree steeper on the Niner.
Niner feels much livlier, but then the frame is 2lb lighter.
The Niner feels nicely balanced. I’d happily have ridden the Inbred all day but the Niner is like a short travel FS by comparison. It does flex a lot, & some folk would hate that, but it has a whippiness about it. It’s like an old Kona I had years ago. Going in to bends you can feel it almost wind up then spring out again. Again, not what a lot would want but I’m sold on it. I honestly wouldn’t swap it for anything.jamesoSubscriber
Ahh I remember when 15.9″ was the magic number for short-stay 26″ bikes.. We’re all happy enough on 16.5-16.9″ now.
Short stays get the credit for making good-handling 29ers often but shorter stays usually come with slacker fronts, so your weight is more rearward than on an old-school 29er, the bars are further back from the front wheel. That’s what makes the difference to me. Wheelbase can be the same as a long stay-steep front bike but the balance changes for the better.Posted 4 years ago
Good balance on a trail/xc bike seems to mean stays of 425-440mm and a bar position that’s not too far over the front, whatever the wheel size.shortcutSubscriber
I am currently (and have been for nearly 2 years) loving my Santa Cruz Highball alloy.
It has done everything from the red descent at Fort Bill, Golspie, Balblair, Afan and a few local XC races. It is a proper jack of all trades and more than capable at everything. Chain stays are pretty short and swappable dropouts get you sorted for singlespeed too.Posted 4 years agoletmetalktomarkSubscriber
BillOddie – Member
Remember overly short CS length means that on steep seated climbs the bike will have a tendency to lift it’s front wheel.
This is one of the reasons I couldn’t get on with my Solaris 🙁
It was fine around the flats of Suffolk but riding elsewhere (not that I get a huge opportunity to do that!) especially hillier the front did wander on the ups hence the slammed stem and flat bars.
Mmmmm ….. More KM pics 8)Posted 4 years ago
Mick r, the Fireline is short, just not REALLY short. It’s certainly shorter at the rear than the first 29ers were. Personally I think it’s about right. It’s easily manualable ( is that a word?) still stable at speed, and with just enough clearance, if you think it through properly. I agree, it is possible to go even shorter, but as discussed above, that has issues too, and a curved seat tube means you may need to cut down a seat post.Posted 4 years agoclubberMember
Short stays are typical of the bike industry – take one characteristic and sell that as the all important thing. A short chainstay will not define the bike. That in conjunction with all the other measurements will.
And FWIW, taller riders may not want too short chainstays as it can (depending on seat tube angle, layback, etc) put them too far back over the rear wheel which in turn can make steep climbs a chore.
And a further point. My 29er’s wheelbase is fractionally shorter than the wheelbase of my comparable 26″ bike. Both ride very nicely.Posted 4 years ago
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