Interesting finding on steering angles

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Paul Micheletti

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Post Wed Feb 29, 2012 5:04 pm

Interesting finding on steering angles

Hi Folks,

I've been riding my 3 year old Ventana El Rey 29er since it was new with a Reba fork set at 80mm. I've had lots of troubles steering this bike, as it really loves going straight. Every steering mistake I've made over these 3 years has been steering wide on turns because this bike just didn't want to to make the turns.

This is a BIG bike. It's a 23" frame. It's so big that it doesn't even look like a 29er because the wheels are proportioned to the bike. I'm sure you folks that have ridden with me have laughed at me as I called this bike the "QE II" for it's size and it's infinite turning radius.

I'm getting fit for a custom frame by Brendan at Siren bikes. I sent him a photo of me on this bike, and he told me it would fit better if I boosted the fork from the 80mm setting to the 100mm setting. I thought he was nuts because everyone knows that increasing a fork length increases the head-tube angle which slows down the steering. The last thing I wanted to do was slow down the steering on this bike as I was already steering wide everywhere. But I trust Brendan as he knows bikes much better than I do and I had my my Reba rebuilt and extended at North of the Border.

What a freaking difference. This bike now goes exactly where I want it to go without hesitation. I've had several rides on this new fork length and this bike just seems perfectly dialed. I cannot believe that a small 20mm difference on this gigantic bike made such a huge difference in handling. I'm having so much more fun on this bike now.

I thought I would pass this story along since it completely flys in the face of conventional wisdom I've read on the interwebs regarding steering angles.
The mouth of a perfectly contented man is filled with Beer. - Egyptian Proverb from 2200 BC
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Scott A

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Post Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:30 pm

Re: Interesting finding on steering angles

Nice. A longer fork also changes the amount of trail and lengthens the wheelbase. Glad you're getting a Siren. I love my John Henry!
Honey badger don't care.
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Los

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Post Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:04 pm

Re: Interesting finding on steering angles

Nice! Thanks for sharing
Carlos O
aut viam inveniam aut faciam
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Paul Micheletti

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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:48 am

Post Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:58 pm

Re: Interesting finding on steering angles

Scott A wrote:Nice. A longer fork also changes the amount of trail and lengthens the wheelbase.

This is exactly why I thought the idea was crazy. How can having a longer wheelbase allow me to turn easier? But somehow it works!

Scott A wrote:Glad you're getting a Siren. I love my John Henry!

I'm jazzed, but my Song will be a while coming. In the meantime I'm enjoying the Ventana. I will have to part out the Ventana once I get the Siren because I can't afford to buy all new components to go with the new bike. I also don't need to keep 2 XC geared bikes.
The mouth of a perfectly contented man is filled with Beer. - Egyptian Proverb from 2200 BC
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Basil Jones

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Post Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:18 pm

Re: Interesting finding on steering angles

That is really good info Paul.

Great choice on the Siren BTW. That should make George jealous big time! About time someone turned the tables on him.
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Paul Micheletti

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Post Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:24 pm

Re: Interesting finding on steering angles

George doesn't stay jealous very long though. It's tough to keep up with two new bikes a year. Have you seen his new Jet9? ;-)

The extended fork got a tough test yesterday on the Crosby switchbacks. The last time I rode there (with the 80mm fork), I was grabbing the pole at every switchback to pull myself around the corner. This time (with the 100mm fork), I was able to ride all but one really tight switchback. That one was a true wheelbase limitation, not the fork.
The mouth of a perfectly contented man is filled with Beer. - Egyptian Proverb from 2200 BC

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