Do longer chainstays give more traction and shorter ones slide easier, or is it the other way around? What other things affect the rear wheel’s traction and sliding abilities? Also, does a steeper head angle give the front wheel more traction just because it puts the rider’s weight more over the front wheel, or would a slacker head angle sometimes give better traction?
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There are lots of other variables, not the least of which is skill, but here are the basics:
Stays. Shorter stays tend to give more rear traction. Your weight (if you’re standing, the bottom bracket; if you’re sitting the seat tube) is closer to the rear wheel. I am a huge fan of short stays; Brian Lopes likes ’em a bit longer. But I’m a better writer than Lopes, so …
Sliding. The main factor is your fore-aft weight bias. Put simply, lean back and your rear wheel will track, lean forward and your rear wheel will drift. Remember: The more weight’s on the back, the less is on the front.
Head angle. Typically a slacker bike sits your weight back, and that lightens the front end, so the front is more likely to drift. That’s easily manipulated with a little forward weight shift.
Summary. Get the bike you want. Practice a neutral, centered attack position. Learn to shift forward and backward to get the effect you want. Say BRAAAP!