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.