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The difference in ride - Sutra ULTD vs Sutra

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The difference in ride - Sutra ULTD vs Sutra

Old 12-04-20, 06:10 PM
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JWK
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The difference in ride - Sutra ULTD vs Sutra

By the time I tried to buy a Sutra this past year, they were out of framesets until spring. Then I gave up and tried to buy a complete touring bike and they were out of those, too. But I really want a frameset. I have a lot of components and don't want the crappy wheelset. So the 2021 bikes come out and now you can't buy the regular Sutra frameset, only complete bikes. You can only get the new Sutra ULTD frameset. I've ridden my friend's 2020 Sutra and I really liked the way it rode and handled for what it is (a touring type bike - stiff and heavy), but I've been riding a disc trucker for the past 7 years, so no surprises there.

The significant difference between the two is the stack/reach and the headtube angle.

Sutra stack/reach - 618/390
ULTD stack/reach - 627/400

The headtube angle on the standard Sutra is 71 degrees, the new ULTD headtube angle is 69.5 degrees. This IMO is a big difference and probably would make a bigger difference in the type of ride and handling than the higher and longer aspect of the ULTD, although the ULTD wheelbase is 1106 and the Sutra is 1070 due to that slacker headtube angle on the ULTD.

My riding will be on very rough rural pavement and gravel roads. I don't plan on doing a lot of true off-road riding, although there will be some of that. Lots of what they refer to around here as "jeep trails" and logging roads. These are single width, very rocky and rough.

I will not have a chance to ride the ULTD. The shops within driving distance of me have already told me they will not be stocking it. Order only. There is no test riding anything now anyway and there won't be until covid-19 is over.

I know there are some on here who are very knowledgeable regarding geometry and riding characteristics for various reasons. I'm hoping I can get some insight as to how much of a difference this change in geometry will make. It almost seems to me that the "new" ULTD is very much like the "old" Salsa Fargo from about 10 years ago, but I've never ridden one of those.

Any advice appreciated.
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Old 12-04-20, 06:54 PM
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ULTD will be more stable / less agile than the standard Sutra. Slightly clumsier going up hills, but more stable bombing down the hill.

The ULTD is advertised as a drop bar mountain bike, just like the Fargo.
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Old 12-05-20, 12:08 PM
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The stack and reach difference can be offset with stem length and spacers since I doubt you were going to slam your Sutra stem.

Trail on the Sutra is 69mm assuming a 40mm tire.
Trail on the ULTD is 74mm assuming a 40mm tire.

So thr ultd will feel slightly slower with regards to steering input.
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Old 12-08-20, 06:09 PM
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Old 12-08-20, 07:20 PM
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Old 12-08-20, 07:23 PM
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Predicting how a bike will feel based on numbers has never worked very well for me. They are all a sum of their parts; swap out the bar or stem, and everything changes. My Sutra LTD handled a lot like my Kona mountain bike. Great for offroad, but not as great for other pursuits.
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Old 12-08-20, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
Predicting how a bike will feel based on numbers has never worked very well for me. They are all a sum of their parts; swap out the bar or stem, and everything changes. My Sutra LTD handled a lot like my Kona mountain bike. Great for offroad, but not as great for other pursuits.
You know, I agree and should really know better. In any case, I know that I like the ride of the regular Sutra just fine, and that changing the headtube angle will definitely change the feel of the bike. As much as I would like to start with just a frameset, I better not go with the ULTD without plopping my butt down on one for a ride. So it's the complete Sutra or something else. Ah, bike fever. Ya gotta love it.
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Old 12-09-20, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
Predicting how a bike will feel based on numbers has never worked very well for me. They are all a sum of their parts; swap out the bar or stem, and everything changes. My Sutra LTD handled a lot like my Kona mountain bike. Great for offroad, but not as great for other pursuits.
Changing bars and stems does change everything, agreed. But whats been discussed up to now is fixed geometry, which cant be changed. So then you can compare by assuming both bikes are set up with the same bars and stem. That normalizes the differences and allows them to be comparable.
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Old 12-09-20, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Changing bars and stems does change everything, agreed. But whats been discussed up to now is fixed geometry, which cant be changed. So then you can compare by assuming both bikes are set up with the same bars and stem. That normalizes the differences and allows them to be comparable.
Yes, I understand how comparisons work. But as a famous framebuilder once said, "you don't ride a geometry chart."
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Old 12-09-20, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
Yes, I understand how comparisons work. But as a famous framebuilder once said, "you don't ride a geometry chart."
Who said that? I am not well versed on framebuilder quotes.

You list 2 bikes you own that almost for sure came from a geometry chart- Black Mountain and Fairdale. Were those wild guesses or were you confident before buying? All my bikes were built from the frame up or built the frame too and I would be really concerned if I wasnt confident in knowing what I like. Yeah, that'd be no fun- guessing and hoping.
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Old 12-09-20, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
You list 2 bikes you own that almost for sure came from a geometry chart- Black Mountain and Fairdale. Were those wild guesses or were you confident before buying?
"Almost for sure" LOL. I rode examples of both them before purchasing.
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Old 12-09-20, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
"Almost for sure" LOL. I rode examples of both them before purchasing.
Well thats impressive as neither brand is exactly popular in terms of volume of bikes in the wild and both lack widespread distribution. They are neat brands for sure though.
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Old 12-09-20, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Well thats impressive as neither brand is exactly popular in terms of volume of bikes in the wild and both lack widespread distribution.
Both are quite popular here in Austin, especially Fairdale, since they're designed and warehoused here. I know at least four guys who ride Black Mountains.
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Old 12-09-20, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
Both are quite popular here in Austin, especially Fairdale, since they're designed and warehoused here. I know at least four guys who ride Black Mountains.
Ah, that location makes sense then. Very cool that you ride in a community with people who geek out enough to ride those types of brands.
I wish Fairdale had been more successful with their drop bar offerings and kept em going. Their marketing story certainly was well done! <--- I assume they felt they weren't successful based on the discounts and discontinued models.
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Old 12-09-20, 08:36 PM
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Earlier in this thread I endorsed the Fuji Touring Disc as a decent alternative to the Kona Sutra. Now though, after learning that this Fuji has QR-Skewers rather than thru-axles, I have to retract that. Bicycles that have both disc brakes and QR-skewers are a scam. I'm glad that I didn't buy such a bicycle and, I hope that nobody buys them anymore. Disc brakes only belong when thru-axles are employed.

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Old 12-10-20, 12:36 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
I wish Fairdale had been more successful with their drop bar offerings and kept em going.
Totally agree. I drank the Fairdale kool-aid early on when I won a 2014 Parser SSCX frameset in a raffle. I currently have a 2015 Parser and a 2017 Goodship that is honestly one of the best-riding steel road bikes I've ever owned. Fairdale is the more "mainstream" arm of Full Factory, who make Odyssey parts and Sunday bikes, and to me their soul was always in Taj Mahelic's BMX influence on the brand. Now I think they've hitched their wagon more to the young-and-married market with their super-approachable urban bikes, and they seem to be enjoying some success. I'm a fan.
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