It's hard to state how much early mountain bikes owe to road bike technology, geometry and general framebuilding philosophy.
Whatever your personal riding preference, it's hard to deny the impact mountain biking's older, sleeker sibling has had. It provided the benchmark most mountain bike geometry has evolved from and the philosophy behind proportional frame sizing. However, the thinking behind our short and long sizing comes from another cycling brother with an equally innovative, if somewhat more rough and tumble, past – BMX.
Long, low, and manouverable.
Modern mountain bikes are arguably closer in DNA to BMXs than they are to road bikes: long, low and manouverable. We thought it made sense to embrace this, especially as mountain biking has now reached a point where geometry works well, there are genuinely useful wheel sizes and brilliant long dropper posts.
To get a frame to fit, it used to be the case that you could move the saddle and fit a different stem.
However, as geometry has got better – and frames longer and stems shorter – getting the correct size frame has become even more important.
The difference between a 50mm stem and a 90mm is 40mm of reach – a 40% change in length. The difference between a 35mm stem and a 50mm is 15mm of reach – a 43% change in length. Changing the stem to alter the reach on a modern bike affects handling far more drastically than it would ten years ago, which is why we offer short and long frames.
The evolution of shorter stems and slacker head angles has been a long time coming.
Mountain bikes have been recycling road bike geometry for too long. A 71 degree head angle may be relaxed for a road bike, but it's not relaxed on a fast, offroad descent.
Similarly, in our opinion, the evolution of plus-size tyres was equally ground-breaking. We could finally design frames that would be fun in dry or rocky conditions, but with a simple wheel change be equally at home in the slop of a British winter or useful for quickly covering distance. Using proportional wheel sizing we could also design frames to suit riders at either end of the height spectrum, not just those who are averagely medium.
When combined with the offer of customisation, we can make classic, adaptable, all-weather, British-made trail bikes for everyone.