Join Date: Apr 2002
Bikes: Transition Dirtbag, Kona Roast 2002 and specialized BMX
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ITs the angles that count. The degree of the headtube to toptube should be very different making a 'slacker' geometry on the bike. This place the seat lower and the bars higher than on a xc bike. Xc bikes have a virtually straigh toptube with the base of the seat equal to or sometimes greater than the headtub / handlebars.
Freeride bikes 'sometimes' have a more compact build too. The Bear for example had a short toptube in comparison to a xc bike. There is a very large difference in how they feel and what they are built for. For pure performance xc bikes are better because you are in an 'aerodynamic' position. When I ride my Roast I end up in a seated position with my body creating a very large wind wall.
There are many bikes built in this manner. Balfa minutemant, Le Toy, Kona out of bound series, Norco superbike series (4hun, 5hun etc..), Norco Sasquatch and p1,2,3 by Specialized.
This is of course besides the beefier frame itself. Also if you look at the out of bounds series in particular the Chainstay is shorter placing the rear wheel virtually under the rear seat instead of having the seat in between the two wheels. This makes for easier wheelie drops and easier downhill runs. This is signifigant and VERY easy to see in pictures.
In the end it will have very little to do with the lengths of tubes but the angles of the butting of those tubes.