425mm chainstays still suck

Canyon just debuted their sick new Park Bro bike, and like every Park Bro bike before, it features a 425mm chainstay length on all the sizes. Checking around the industry, this has become the standard freeride Bro Brah size since the original Demo 9. The Kona Process 167? 425 chainstay. Rocky Slayer? 425 chainstay. Commencal Supreme SX? 425 chainstay. Literally every pedal bike from Transition, the ultimate Park Bro brand has 425 chainstays.

In the Canyon Torque lineup, from the smallest bike to the largest front center grows 96 mm, or 9.6 cm, or 3.8 in, or 0.11 yds, or 0.00006313 miles, or 14%.

For those same bikes, rear center grows 0 mm.

And the front center is at no risk of being called “short.”


I’ll extend an olive branch here, and concede that 425mm chainstays can be fun in certain circumstances, like if you’re building a dirt jump bike, or you’re 5’4″, or you suck at riding, or some combination of the three. But if you’re riding somewhere above walking pace, and are at or above global average height, and we’re talking about a full suspension for trail riding, 425 chainstays suck.

For the most part, bikes suck less than they used to. Suspension, tires, brakes, and (for the most part) geometry have all converged around some quality numbers that make sense for most riders. Chainstay length, however, is still determined with a dart board, or by monkeys with typewriters.

Your front center/rear center ratio determines your weight balance on the bike. Changing one number directly affects how the other number feels when you’re on the bike. You should probably change both numbers at the same time. This could be the next REVOLUTION!!! in geometry:

XS/SM: 425mm

MED: 430mm

LG: 435mm

XL: 445mm

XXL: Whatever Greg Minnaar is running this week

16 thoughts on “425mm chainstays still suck

  1. good point, but what about the shock yoke that will eat an air shock alive in less than a season?

  2. but what about 423mm chainstays? Connor Fearon seems to go quite quick on a size large bike with 423mm chainstays. Bruni won world champs on 430mm chainstay Large bike as well. Curious as to your thoughts on how people can go so fast on bikes with such drasticlly different chainstays if they matter so much.

  3. But wait, I like short chainstays! I love the way my bike jumps and manuals! Oh wait… my medium frame has 440s…

  4. Let’s make 18.5″ chainstays great again 😂😂
    Ok. For a park bike and a new freeride bike, 425 is ok. Short, more playful, I get it. Race bikes this is bad. Longer is definitely better to an extent, just as long as it’s not foes or mountain cycle long.

  5. Yeah where’s the shout out to Norco for doing exactly what you’re calling out for bike brands to do?


  7. Don’t the chainstays on the commencal grow a shit ton, hence the short initial length? Kinda like how your head grew thinking it would be a good idea to race your shitty trailbike at national champs. Major difference, your ego was quickly deflated.

  8. Norco has been changing chainstay, or more importantly rear center, for a while now. So there’s that

  9. Most people suck at riding. That is why karate monkey have short chainstay. Shorter chainstay all the way.
    But I remember Kurt Sorge when he still on Giant Glory. Did Sorge doing some dirt jumping?

  10. Your on point with the front/rear center ratio issue.
    The main point i’d like to clarify is:
    It’s not only reach increasing, but some kinds of bikes going slacker also push the FC longer. So a bike with a 440 reach and 65HA will have a longer FC than a bike with a 440R and 67HA. therefor the slacker bike, idealized for higher speeds, aught to have a longer RC than the steeper bike.

    I went from short banshee dropouts to long, then I made custom dropouts for a medium banshee rune with a 180/140 talas (slightly slacker, like 64.5-66HA Chainstays going from 26 to 27.5 like 16.9 to 17.3, that was a notible increase in fore-aft centralization, increase in stability, and less front wheel sliding pushing & understeer. then i timed myself over and over on a 11min tech dh, then mounted 18″ custom dropouts all else the same (increased shock air pressure to maintain sag) Immediately i dropped 30+ seconds from 11 min to 10.5min: there was more stability, more front wheel traction, easier drifting and easier to swing the rear wheel around tight corners without locking rear brake, eliminated understeer and pushing, and promoted a very natural centered position with weight over the feet, unburdened hands, and more of a heads up posture. easier to absorb violent deep compressions. easier to pump backsides. less front wheel sliding when braking and more active rear suspension, with less forces acting on it.
    This clearly illustrates to me the clear advantage available to having longer chainstays.

    I went from a demo 9 to a trek session 88, it was a drastic polar change from short chainstays long front center, to long chainstays short front center. the demo wheelie/manual dropped easily, but rode from the rear due to the 16.9CS which pushed the front end often, and i had to work to make the front end bite in turns.
    The session aggressively drove the front wheel seeking traction, and had a compliant free rear end that followed the front dutifully. it worked well down steeps by just staying over the center, although it felt aggressive like it was always to charge down the hill and grip through corners. the long chainstay short front center helps the bike tend to release the rear wheel slightly before the front, which indicates breaking traction, and self corrects unlike front wheel washing.

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