Fix That Flex Already!

Editors Note: This is a piece that also appeared on my blog: Guitar Ted Productions

Flex:It’s good in some places, other places- not so good.

Take front and rear triangles of a lot of 29″ers out there, particularly front triangles. They are too flexy. Too much twist, bend, and tweakage in all the wrong directions. Some frames have this dialed out, but they are the minority, and of those some are real tanks. A leight weight, non-flexy 29″er frameset is hard to come by.

Word is that the Fisher has really dialed in this area for ’08. If so, it would be one of the only line ups of 29″ers that was rigid torsionally top to bottom. I rode a Paragon ’08 model at the Big Wheeled Ballyhoo in June, and if that ride was any indication, I’d say this was truth.

What am I talking about here? Well, if you have a twenty nine incher handy, hop on, grab the grips, and alternately push and pull on the bars as if you were grunting up a climb. (Only you aren’t, you’re just straddling the bike) You’ll likely notice that the ends of the handle bar are going up and down and that your front end is flexing in a strange way. It’s those long top and down tubes that are to blame. More length due to the bigger wheels means more chance for twisty flex. The shorter head tubes don’t help much either. This all translates to some strange handling characteristics out on the trail. Stuff we don’t need.

Hopefully 29″er geometry and tubing technology will be getting more and more dialed in now with the popularity of the big wheels and this flexiness will become a thing of the past. Quite honestly, it’s one of the major things that keeps a lot of high performance racers and enthusiasts off big wheels. With the newer crop of Fishers and others that are following suit, like Salsa and Lenz Sport, this problem should start to fade away as people gravitate towards the more solid handling and feel of these bikes.

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No Responses to “Fix That Flex Already!”

  1. Desert9r Says:

    As for flex, its only natural! if you want a bike to feel like a 26er Ride a 26er!

    the flex was the first and main appeal to me. I bike being fleixble enough that it didn’t Need suspension is awesome, I went from my 32lb 7oz diamondback to a 26lb 11 oz xxix. the difference was amazing, and they were right no Need for a suspension!

  2. Gamelin Says:

    not frame related, but i’ve been riding the Maverick sc32 on my mamasita, and holy twist and flex batman! Under braking, this upside-down fork has an enormous amount of twist in the legs. It looks as if your spokes on the left side of the front wheel are winding up, but it’s in fact the left leg of the fork moving. I emailed Maverick about this and got NO reply. Hopefully, you guys can get your hands on this fork and test it for yourselves..

  3. George Krpan Says:

    I had always had “light” bikes. Now I’m riding a tank and I love it.
    It’s made me realize that that lightness is somewhat over hyped and that the reason steel rides so well is that it’s heavier, more between you and the trail.

  4. Desert9r Says:

    Gamelin:

    Thanks for pointing out something I forgot! Suspension, yes most/a lot of 29er forks are 80mm but a rider has to concider that there is actually 2 tubes in each fork blade and that each is longer, and techincally unattached (loosely), Hence a a greater amount of play(flex), so if you want to get rid of the flex, Go Rigid! or accept the flex. get your mind of the typical American mind ser and accept things the way they are!

  5. Oderus Says:

    One of my 29ers is the Niner EMD. I find it to be pretty stiff. I am 6’2″/ 275lbs and I hammer the hell out of my bike. That bike is plain old 7000series aluminum and it works. I have no more flex on that than I do on my Klein (arguably one of the stiffest frames produced) I run a King/WTB Laserdisc wheel set that I handbuilt to a nice high tension, 80mm Reba, Thomson 31.8 stem and an Easton Monkey Lite. Stiff strong and easy to throw around.

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