Bike Handling Characteristics...

monteverest

New Member
After riding my girlfriend's 1999 Intense Tracer, I've arrived at the uncomfortable but maybe not surprising conclusion that it outperforms my 2006 C-dale Prophet 600 in every aspect except steep climbs. Granted the Intense is a small frame versus the Prophet which is a medium sized frame. Going beyond just frame sizes, my question is what specifically accounts for the difference in bike handling:

(1) STEERING - I have a much harder time keeping a line through technical sections with the Prophet even with tubeless tires inflated to 24psi. The front end seems to get thrown off course with more frequency and magnitude than the Intense, which has a shorter wheelbase, seems so stable when attacking rocky and rooty sections. My hypothesis is the Prophet's front end is taller and the cockpit is shorter which transfer body, shoulder, and fork movements into handlebar movements but would like to hear from more experienced riders.

(2) CLIMBING - The Intense climbs intermediate inclines better (and with a straighter line) but on steeper climbs, the front end has a tendency to come off the ground. I cannot remember the last time the Prophet's front end came off the ground during any climb. Anyone know why the bikes climb so differently?

Your answers will be very helpful when I consider bikes to purchase next year. Thanks in advance ...
 

743power

Shop: Bicycle Pro
Shop Keep
head tube angle, bar width, stem length, bar height, front end height, top tube length, seat position all play into this.

Sounds like the intense is setup like a freeride bike, with a tall front end, short toptube/chainstay and and mellow headtube angle.

Can you list specifics of the bikes?
 

pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
I wish you had been at the Titus demo, because the reps and I had had a conversation about this on Saturday. Titus bikes are known for climbing well, but this question did come up from a customer having issues.

There are many factors and an unknown real standard for mountain bike fit. Generally, a shorter chain stay will climb better and more efficient. As far as the front end coming up, I believe, more often than not, it has more to do technique, than geometry or bike fit, although, they are factors.

Much of good handling comes from weight distribution and knowing the "sweet spot". In general, to find the sweet spot, you must draw a line straight up from the center of the footprint. If you are top heavy or have short or long arms this may vary. So if you are descending, the sweet spot will behind the center of the bike. In contrary, when climbing the spot will be forward. To achieve proper balance, the rider will need to close the hip flexor angle, drop the wrists and often go forward on the nose of the saddle to achieve this. I tell riders to pretend they are eating an imaginary cookie that is on their stem. If your position is very upright, this may take some adjustment. Once you have this technique down, trying bikes will be all about the actual geometry and it's relation to your geometry and preferred fit and style.

Also, riding a bike that is too small may have a larger sweet spot, and riding a bike too large may require more searching for a sweet spot. I know this all sounds vague, but there are many variables in mountain biking today, not to mention terrain. The more you try, the better.
 

ArmyOfNone

Well-Known Member
Good thoughts Mrs Pixy. I tend to agree. When I first started riding I found my front end rolling all over the place! If I was riding a geared bike or SS (I had both at the time) it was a struggle. After a good schooling from MrG I learned the importance of weight distribution.

Im not sure how long you have been riding, but if you havent been for long; give it some time and you will see things improving!
 

monteverest

New Member
head tube angle, bar width, stem length, bar height, front end height, top tube length, seat position all play into this.

Sounds like the intense is setup like a freeride bike, with a tall front end, short toptube/chainstay and and mellow headtube angle.

Can you list specifics of the bikes?

I'll search for more data on the Intense but can't seem to find any offhand as the bike is nearly 10 years old. Will be out of town until Thursday so I'll post then.

I looked up the Prophet's geometry and no wonder its such a good climber - the chainstay is 16.5" and the seat-tube is 75 degrees. But I wonder if the steep seat-tube is one of the reasons I tend to get kicked off the seat in technical sections (tried to adjust shock but to no avail)
 

Molasses

Active Member
The Tracer's geometery can be all over the board as the wheelbase is adjustable and the shock has three poistions which affect Seattube and Headtube angles- I have the manual home, I'll scan it and post it. I have a medium Tracer that really needs to be built up and get back to the dirt...
 
Top