Michael Hanslip Coaching

If you want to go faster, you have to pedal harder

MTB geometry evolution

While my newest bike was originally scheduled to arrive last month, and it actually arrived several months early, it was only a week or so ago that I sold off the bike it was replacing. There was not any particular "use" reason for selling the "team build" Trek Slash. Yes I have had it for a few years, but it was working great and remained tons of fun.
Rather, when I purchased it the frame reach was a full size bigger than any other bike I was riding at the time. This last generation Slash in size XL had a roughly 48 cm reach. This coming from four older bikes with roughly 45 cm reaches was a revelation. There was so much more room to move when standing up. Wow! A guy I was riding with at Whistler every year commented
I'd finally bought a bike that fit.
But the industry kept going. I bought an Ibis with a 50 cm reach, then a new hardtail with a 50 cm reach and a DH bike with a 51 cm reach. Suddenly, every time I rode the Slash, it felt too short. Many brands run 20 or 25 mm extra reach per size. That makes the 50ish cm bikes a full size bigger than the 48ish cm bike.
The new Slash came out with a 51 cm reach. That's why I ordered one, to make all my bikes feel an OK size.
The old XL Slash has a reach roughly the same as a current generation Slash in size Large.
This was driven home when a potential buyer came to try the Slash. Only around 180 cm tall, the reach looked entirely correct for him. That's nearly 15 cm shorter height than me.
He did encounter a problem in that the seat tube was too long for his leg length. I honestly thought he had a chance of it working out. My legs are short for my height. My height is in my torso. In the end, he purchased a new, shorter, dropper post and was on his way with a bigger travel bike. In the abstract, I wasn't sure if he would best fit the Large Trek or the Medium/Large size (they only offer this in-between size in some models). Looks like he's more L than M/L.
This reach increase with each generation seems good for everyone at the tall end of things. More choices and better fit are to be encouraged. But what about the shorter riders? Where a Small bike once sported a 40ish cm reach, it will now be at least 42.5 cm and possibly as much as 45 cm. That's a size or two too big for some. A couple of companies have added XS to the mix to cater to the height-challenged riders, but many have abandoned the shorter customers. Even a big company like Specialized doesn't appear to offer the Enduro in size S1. For me, the small end is important because I know a lot of average height women who like to ride - this size of bike. Hey manufacturers, let's make sure they've got something to pick from!