I bought a sponsored racer's cross country bike because of its light weight and great components (giant anthem advanced team).

I had the consumer frame of the same name from five seasons ago in a 29"er and thought nothing much would be different.

I've since crashed several times on it and generally ride poorly, and for lack of a better term the bike feels finicky and twitchy.

What is different between a racer's XC bike and a standard consumer bike that might account for the terrible ride? I'd love to fix it as a 19 pound XC bike is pretty appealing...

  • 1
    Among other things, odds are pretty good that the frame is too large for you. Sep 20, 2015 at 12:16
  • You say same frame but what about the forks. Even minor differences in fork geometry (and the rest of the steering system) can affect the handling significantly.
    – Chris H
    Sep 20, 2015 at 14:14

2 Answers 2


Pro XC racers often like a responsive bike. 'Twitchy' in the hands of a pro is fast. My guess is you are used to the 29er and the new bike is a 650B - 29ers like straight lines and turn like beached whales. If you are used to a 29er, anything remotely responsive will feel twitchy and take a bit of getting used to. I had the opposite problem moving from 26 - 29er - same end result - crashes and swearing for the first few rides.

There are things you can do nothing about -geometry, wheel size, things that cost a fortune to change - fork rake, and low cost fixes. Low cost fixes I would look to first are stem length (Increase to reduce responsiveness) and wider handle bars.

Tires and tire pressure.....

Zero cost fix is to keep with the bike till you get used to it...

Edit: Play with shock set up and tire pressures and see if it helps. "Twitchy" could be too much rebound (not enough rebound dampening) - are you experienced enough to have a feel of how the shock/tire/track interactions are working?

Its really hard to provide an answer as there are so many things we cannot know about you, the bike set-up, the trails you ride etc. In the end the fastest way to a solution is visit your LBS and get a bike fit, explaining your problem. A good bike shop will be able to sort you out, or at least, tell you what is wrong.


I would say the first thing you want to do is to make sure that the bike fits you, as @mattnz suggest above. A bike that doesn't fit can feel quite "weird" to ride, and subtle changes in position will change the weight distribution and your ability to move easily on the bike – for example, taking a hand of the bars to grab your water bottle.

Once you're comfortable on the bike, do some easy rides to get acquainted with how it handles in a situation where you're not stressed and where it is easy to recover from mistakes. I think you'll quickly figure out if you're getting more and more comfortable on the bike and familiar with they way it handles – and therefore more confident on it. Or, you're be getting clear about what you don't like about the bike…

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