Another question - to what extent are bike reviewers in the pockets of manufacturers? Can I take them at their word?
It seems to me that the head angle is actually on purpose. Whether it's what riders want or not - different question.
Not sure if you've read these yet but some additional info:
Thanks - but unfortunately doesn't appear to actually be reviewing the same bike. There aren't a ton of reviews that actually reference the relevant model. The most recent reviews in the first link are from 2013, and I think they're describing an older model. In fact, the price listed is almost a grand less than just the frame of the carbon model. The second one is for the "Enduro" which is the more slack geometry, but they don't list anything on their new site called an "Enduro" anymore - although it appears to pretty much be what they now just call the "Alloy." Generally speaking, I haven't found MTBR reviews to match up to my experiences very well, and for every bike, there's always SOMEONE bitching about the frame falling apart. JRA, of course.
Around here, every ride involves either a significant climb (significant to me, anyway), or a lift/shuttle. There aren't any trails that maintain elevation except boring dirt roads. So outside of lift-serviced (for which I already have more than enough bike), climbing is going to be a big component of the ride, and certainly the most time consuming part.
You made my case for why I have and always will prefer an XC race bike. I want the most efficient bike for the uphills. A good FS XC bike is more than sufficient for me on the downhills. My fear of falling is what limits my DH ability, not suspension travel. Some people obviously feel differently, but my view is they just haven't crashed enough without protection to know better yet. I have very little fear of crashing on skis, but on a MTB ride conservatively enough that I rarely crash, by design.
Since you have a DH bike for lift served, why not get an XC bike to optimize climbing?
I figured that the bike I'm looking at *would* climb better than my current bike because it has 27.5" wheels and is carbon instead of alloy. A good suspension design shouldn't kill climbing just because it has a little more travel, should it? (hah, "should")
I agree with you partly, but a shorter stem and wider handlebars have made a huge difference in my enjoyment of my XC bike. Of course the two play together, because as you widen your grip, you are effectively shortening your reach. Maybe I got phenomenally lucky, but I kind of arbitrarily chose the length of my short stem, and it has been very comfortable for me. So much so that my husband made a similar switch to a short stem with wide handlebars, and he's also happy with it.
Yeah, that's exactly it. If you're comfortable and efficient, doesn't matter what stem length is. If short fits you, awesome. But you should note what your current top tube is and stem length and try to see how that reconciles with a new frame. You may be forced into a longer stem to maintain that position if you get something with a shorter top tube. They are interrelated.
I know the stem, but Google isn't finding the geometry of my old Truth - is there a repository for that sort of stuff somewhere? I might be able to get them to send me the specs. Receipt says it's a 2013 frame. Huh. I hadn't realized just how recently I'd bought it. (Moved over the components from an XS Truth frame to a S Truth SST.2 to get a little more room in the cockpit.) .... I've just emailed customer service to ask.