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  1. #1
    Senior Member magohn's Avatar
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    Stinky Spoke - Clyde Goes Off-Roading...Advice Please?

    Hello all,
    I have signed up for a local (approx 18 mile) MTB ride that is mainly on local trails. The ride is in January so I need to train a little.

    http://www.stinkyspoke.org/Course_Map.html

    I took my MTB out today and took a crack at the first third of the route. It was SUPER DIFFICULT. First of all, cycling on a trail/dirt is draining but the main issue was the grade of the hills. I hit a mile long hill that was literally 7-8% in places along with wooded "steps" embedded into the dirt. How is one supposed to ride up that scenario! My front wheel was bouncing off the ground with the force of me trying to get up the hill. I eventually had to walk as the slope was just too much.

    One of my issues could be the way my MTB is setup. I only have one front chain-ring (32 tooth) instead of the standard 22-32-44 tooth setup. Would a 22 tooth give me a better shot at staying in the saddle?

    Took some pics but they really dont give the harshness justice.

    Thanks for any info...

    P.S. I had a blast
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    Get a 22 up front and a 28 in back for some easier seated hill climbing. Stay seated and lean forward so the rear wheel keeps traction and the front doesn't tip you over backwards. And if the trail is hard packed, air up the tires.
    HHCMF - Take pride in your ability to amaze lesser mortals! - MikeR



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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyossarian View Post
    Get a 22 up front and a 28 in back for some easier seated hill climbing. Stay seated and lean forward so the rear wheel keeps traction and the front doesn't tip you over backwards.
    The standard MTB setup is 22/32/44 up front and an 11-32 or 11-34 cassette in the back.

    Leaning forward puts more weight on the front wheel, not the rear wheel. Sit up straight to keep weight on the rear tire. Lean forward only if the slope is so steep that your front wheel starts to leave the ground.

    Quote Originally Posted by magohn View Post
    I hit a mile long hill that was literally 7-8% in places along with wooded "steps" embedded into the dirt. How is one supposed to ride up that scenario!
    Around here, we have a name for terrain like that: rest zone!

    My favorite ride starts with a quarter-mile hill that my Garmin Edge reports as 17-18% and is covered in gravel. If you lean too far forward, you're spitting gravel from underneath the rear tire and go nowhere. Sit up straight and the front end gets light and starts to wander all over the place. Every time I hit that hill, I'm glad I have a 22-tooth chainring and lockout on my front fork...

  4. #4
    Senior Member magohn's Avatar
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    Thanks guys - it looks as if a triple on the front should be in my near future then. I bought the bike years ago as an insurance payout where I HAD to buy an MTB and had no idea what I was buying, hence the single chainring on the front. I see all the welded guides on the frame to fit a front derailleur etc so I dont thing it will be a hard job, just an expensive one - you live and learn. Thanks!

  5. #5
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    If you're not planning to win World Cup mountain bike races, there are lots of affordable cranks available. JensonUSA has the Shimano LX M582 on sale for $75 (MSRP = $190) and that price includes the bottom bracket! It's heavy, but in my experience pretty reliable, too. And there are cheaper options available, especially if you don't need a bottom bracket.

  6. #6
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    Obviously practicing climbing is a key... 8 - 9 % is not that steep in terms of either road of MTB climbing especially if the trail is smooth like the one pictured above (I would love something like that - ours are all rocky, rutty, snady - just gnarly). The key, don't "attack" the climb... 1) pulling yourself forward in the saddle - you almost want the tip of the saddle at... well trying to be delicate here - at the exit part of your body (if you get my drift). I diagree with SStorkel on not being forward - however you don't want to lean forward you want your body positioned forward (so sitting normal but pulled forward on the saddle). Too much weight back causes the wheel to spin out). Your stroke needs to be steady and smooth (sometimes I have to tell myself "right, left, right, left... just to keep the cadence consistent). With your body over the handlebar and a steady smooth stroke, the bike will stop pulling up and bouncing out of control. Air pressure is also key. I don't know your trails but I don't usually run more than 40 psi, maybe 35, in my tires. Anything higher, you will be bouncing...

    I'm jealous the trail looks lovely. Have fun and remember, in mountain biking it is ok to walk up hills... even pros do it!!!

    Here's a good article to read:

    http://mountainbikeriding.com/how-to...bike-climbing/

    The article says "Position on the bike: I find that sitting up [not leaning] and sliding forward on the saddle helps my breathing and improves my view of what is coming up in the trail. It is also a more comfortable position on the bike, and hey for climbing…..…we need all the comfort we can get!"
    Last edited by Pamestique; 10-25-10 at 11:42 AM.
    ______________________________________________________________

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  7. #7
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    The standard MTB setup is 22/32/44 up front and an 11-32 or 11-34 cassette in the back.
    Oh yeah, today's drive trains are way diff than when I got my MTB which has what's considered a touring drive train these days.
    HHCMF - Take pride in your ability to amaze lesser mortals! - MikeR



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    The mountain bike I just got has 2 chainrings, 26-39. I like only having the 2, it shifts really smooth, and has plenty of range for the steep stuff. So you may look into a 2-ring crank, they are becoming more popular especially with the 9 and 10 speed rear setups available.

  9. #9
    Senior Member magohn's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info - I was bout to pull the trigger on the Shimano crank from Jenson but then I realized that I really dont know what I'm doing. The MTB has a Truvativ Stylo SS chainring and BBracket on at the moment. I believe the MTB BB shell is 63mm. The Shimano crank at Jenson states it fits 68mm and 73mm - so would it fit my BBracket?

    Crank details:

    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...t.aspx?sc=FRGL

    Im quite uneducated when it comes to BB's and cranks - can anyone inform me if this crank will fit and do I need special tools?

    Thanks!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by magohn View Post
    The MTB has a Truvativ Stylo SS chainring and BBracket on at the moment. I believe the MTB BB shell is 63mm. The Shimano crank at Jenson states it fits 68mm and 73mm - so would it fit my BBracket?
    What brand/model bike is it? I couldn't find specs for the crank you've got now. 68mm and 73mm are the standard widths for bottom bracket shells, so my guess is that you have one or the other... though I'll admit I don't know a whole lot about single-speeds.

    You'll need a bottom bracket wrench to properly install the BB. The crank probably only needs hex wrenches to install.

    Edit: I'm assuming you also have a front derailleur and shifter that will support a triple crank, right? You'll also need a longer chain than you're currently using.
    Last edited by sstorkel; 10-25-10 at 05:40 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member magohn's Avatar
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    The bike is a 2005 Santa Cruz Blur - I got the bike as an insurance replacement for a bike I had stolen with Campag components etc. I really had no idea what I was buying other than it had to be priced at $3k. I have attached a screenshot of the bikes specs that I took at time of purchase. The bike has hung from my garage roof for the last 5 years and has less than 200 miles on it. PLEASE advise me as I really want to ride the bike this winter. I will need a front derailleur/trigger/crank setup. Why I never noticed back in 2005 that it was single speed up front I dont know -you live and learn

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    As far as how to negotiate that path, when I approach those "steps", if they are just a couple inches or less above the trail surface, I just ride right over them. If they are more than a couple inches, I lift the front wheel slightly as the front tire approaches it (pretty easy to do going uphill) then raise my butt up off the saddle just a bit when the back tire goes over it. That helps me navigate them.

    Also, keep going back and trying that hill. It will get easier!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by magohn View Post
    PLEASE advise me as I really want to ride the bike this winter. I will need a front derailleur/trigger/crank setup.
    My advice is: get someone who knows about bikes to take a look at it. Being a Santa Cruz, I'm sure that it has a standard bottom bracket. But that's just the first of many issues to resolve. Will the chain rings clear the frame? Does it have all of the necessary mounting points, cable stops, etc. that are necessary to handle a front derailleur? Will your rear derailleur have enough capacity to wrap the longer chain required by a triple crank? Lots of questions to answer...

  14. #14
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    Getting the gears worked out would be a good first step. That Santa Cruz is a great bike. Make a couple of improvements to the gearing and the rest is up to you.

    If the ride you signed up for is in January, then you have time to make substantial gains in climbing. Your body will adjust to what demands you make on it. Don't get discouraged. If you hit that trail several times a week and then do a couple of flatter rides every week, you will be surprised at your progress. The key is consistancy, don't give up on yourself. Know that you will be the Champion of that trail. Once you get this one behind you, you will find another mountain that kicks your butt and you will win there too.
    I think its disgusting and terrible how people treat Lance Armstrong, especially after winning 7 Tour de France Titles while on drugs!

    I can't even find my bike when I'm on drugs. -Willie N.

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    Senior Member magohn's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the great advice and tips guys. I intend swinging by the LBS this weekend on the Blur and see what he thinks as far as fitting a triple is concerned.

    Also, thanks for all the MTB riding tips - it sure is different to road riding and I intend taking another track at the trail this weekend..I will let you know how it goes.

    Thanks!

  16. #16
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by magohn View Post
    The bike is a 2005 Santa Cruz Blur - I got the bike as an insurance replacement for a bike I had stolen with Campag components etc. I really had no idea what I was buying other than it had to be priced at $3k. I have attached a screenshot of the bikes specs that I took at time of purchase. The bike has hung from my garage roof for the last 5 years and has less than 200 miles on it. PLEASE advise me as I really want to ride the bike this winter. I will need a front derailleur/trigger/crank setup. Why I never noticed back in 2005 that it was single speed up front I dont know -you live and learn
    What size is it???? I'll buy it off you for a good price and give it a good home!
    ______________________________________________________________

    Private docent led mountain bike rides through Limestone Canyon. Go to letsgooutside.org and register today! Also available: hikes, equestrian rides and family events as well as trail maintenance and science study.

  17. #17
    Senior Member magohn's Avatar
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    Its a "L" (large) - less than a a few hundred miles on it - great condition

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