Modern geometry - should I give it a go?

ChrisEyles

Veteran
Location
Devon
I've been thinking a lot about MTB geometry and set-up recently having just built up my third MTB. All three of my bikes are set up slightly differently in terms of reach, bar height etc, but they are all relatively old-school in terms of frame geometry, with short-ish top tubes and steep-ish head angles. I've stuck a short stem/wide bar cockpit on one, which worked out well but is a smidge cramped. The other two are stretched out arse-up-head-down jobbies, with the obvious compromises this entails going down hills.

I've read a lot online about long/low/slack modern bikes being very different to ride. Currently taking this with a large pinch of salt, but sounds like they are supposed to be "better" (or at least more stable) on rough downhills, with possibly some slight compromises on climbing and tight twisty stuff, and a generally different cornering mechanic.

Would love to give one a go, but all my riding buddies have similar age bikes (late 90s to early 2000s) to me, and I don't know of anywhere local that rents out anything suitable.

Interested to hear people's thoughts on the benefits - especially curious whether the new geometry tweaks are oriented towards trail centres rather than xc bridleway riding, as I always seem to spend the majority of my rides climbing rather than descending!
 
OP
ChrisEyles

ChrisEyles

Veteran
Location
Devon
Oooh... a bit of googling and I've found a place near Bristol that rents out Marin Bobcat Trails next to the trails in Leigh Woods.

Might have to give one a go if I'm up that way and see what all the fuss is about.
 

SkipdiverJohn

Veteran
Location
London
If your old-school MTB has an arse-up head-down riding stance, then you sound like you should be riding a bigger frame with a taller head tube so you can achieve a sensible handlebar height.
I wouldn't touch any of those modern MTB's with a bargepole personally. I like my 26" rigids with triple chainrings and no more than 7 speeds on the back. They're simple and all the parts are cheap to replace.
 
It depends is the answer. Certainly give it a go but there are so many variables, how you ride, where you ride, what you prefer, that you only know from building experience. Certainly my old Marin was of the long low variety, the FF29 I use now is much better suited but in terms of frame angles it's not a million miles away from the Marin but it has longer stays a higher head tube and fitted with 120 forks a 69 head angle. A description of the geometry doesn't always tell you everything though. Here's a picture of the two of them standing together when I was still building the FF29 and the Marin has a raised stem in this picture too.

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Jody

Veteran
A low/long/slack bike is not an XC or bridleway bike though so of course they are going to be more orientated towards trail centres. It depends on how much you want to compromise but generally even a slack ish trail bike at 160mm travel will still climb very well.

They are night and day when comparing them to 90's tech.
 

fossyant

Ride It Like You Stole It!
Location
South Manchester
If your old-school MTB has an arse-up head-down riding stance, then you sound like you should be riding a bigger frame with a taller head tube so you can achieve a sensible handlebar height.
I wouldn't touch any of those modern MTB's with a bargepole personally. I like my 26" rigids with triple chainrings and no more than 7 speeds on the back. They're simple and all the parts are cheap to replace.
There is a massive difference. I own a rigid 90's MTB with XT (3 x 7) and a newer trail bike. The newer bikes are far more capable, climb as well too, and are just as quick on XC. They blow old bikes away going downhill, and across really rough terrain.

Give me a modern MTB any day. The 90's bike is for XC only - point it downhill and it's frightening, and it can't stop like my 4 pot trail bike.
 

meta lon

Guru
Im thinking 120mm traval modern bike will make you smile..

As said long and slack is a bit more DH

Anything 29 wheel now will just be miles better.. Than your 2000 bike.

Skip diver john hasn't a clue as he lives in the 18th century.
Its like saying Barry Sheen's bike is as good as Mark Marques bike.. Just silly
 
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si_c

Veteran
Location
Wirral
Some older bikes are truly terrifying when compared to a modern bike at a trail centre. I've got a mid-2000s MTB which I've upgraded to a 1x drivetrain with modern fork and bars/stem. It's still far less capable that my Wife's new MTB with better geometry and wider, larger tyres.
 
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