Mountain Biking - Tips for the new MTBer, please
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09-03-12, 10:05 PM
Today was my first time out on the mountain bike trail and I thought it was great. I'm very glad I went with a mid-level bike instead of an entry level bike. But I was hoping some of you experienced riders could give me some tips for the next time I go out. I'm riding a Fuji Tahoe 3.0, it's a hard tail with 26" wheels. My disc brakes are brand new so their not burnished yet, every time I had to use the rear brake it squeaked like crazy and the front still locks up very easily so I'm extra careful with the front. At one point during my ride my derailleur hanger picked up a stick, I was just at the end of the switchback, going up hill, when I stopped and pulled it out. It was kind of a mistake, but I also had this problem later on, too. When I tried to start peddling again it was really difficult to get going because the bike was in such a low gear the front wanted to wheelie because I was going up hill. Would it be better to drop a few gears and just exert the energy needed to get going again or is there a good way to start back up in this situation? Also, if anyone could give some tips on keeping control of speed while going downhill that would be very appreciated. Is it okay to skid the back wheel on the trail or is it not recommended?
09-03-12, 11:08 PM
Here are some tips. And if you wanna get better keep riding. There is nothing like good old saddle time.
09-04-12, 06:26 AM
Some good links:
* Awesome source of help on technique: http://www.leelikesbikes.com/
* Follow the "Skills Articles" link on this page for even more goodness: http://betterride.net/
Speed control on downhill: Learn to use your front brake. Every good biker uses it. Practice on some easy ground. Take your weight on your feet. Shift your butt backwards. Brace arms against the handlebar. Press the brake lever. Practice slowly on some easy and level ground at first. Amp up the difficulty as you get comfortable. After a while you'll become good enough to modulate braking pressure to compensate for bumps, rocks, and roots in the trail.
Skidding is considered bad form by some. It can lead to erosion and braking bumps.
Getting started on a hill can be difficult. Getting your weight distribution right is a big part of the solution. And for that...
...read up on the so-called Attack Position. For example:
Don't just sit on the seat. (In fact, don't sit on the seat unless resting between attacks). Get into the attack position so you can shift weight around as needed to keep tires planted.
You mentioned derailleur hangers and sticks. Know that bent hangers are the #1 cause of bad shifting that I see. Don't lay your bike on the right-hand side. Get your hanger checked if shifting suddenly goes wonky, especially if it goes wonky after a stick gets jammed in there. Sticks are part of mountain-biking, so don't worry about them. Just know that hangers can get bent, and even a slight bend that you cannot see with your eye can be enough to throw off your shifting. Too many people waste time adjusting everything else when all that's really wrong is their hanger.
Enjoy the bike. My neighbors just bought two Fujis. I believe they also bought Tahoes. Nice-looking bikes.
09-04-12, 07:45 AM
Thank you for the links, I will be doing plenty of reading. And thank you for the suggestions, they're very helpful!
09-04-12, 10:43 AM
You will be surprised how quick your body gets bike get on the same page. The braking will quiet down. I know I hate the school bus sound, it is like a ghost, comes and goes. Once it leaves it usually stays away for a while. What gear to climb in is always a mystery. I would stay in a lower gear and just move your body forward when you start going uphill. You will spin out a few times and then find the sweetspot. When climbing on a more technical area you will have to find out what gears work best. I like the 3rd or 4th cog is I can push it. You get more motion for the pedal stroke, but you can wear out faster. Granny is a good old lady, but sometimes doesn't provide the momentum you need to get moving. Just my ideas. Congrats on the bike and trying the sport, its a blast.
Glad to know that you are reading the links and old threads. I had been riding for @15 years when I found this place. I have picked up a lot of good info. One of my favorites is pushing your front tire into turns on downhills. I had always just kind of glided downhill. Pushing the front knobs into the turn was faster and more secure, just my little tidbit of info.
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