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Old 11-19-08, 11:41 AM   #1
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How many here regularly mountain bike?

Just curious how many here mountain bike as their primary cycling passion? While I do ride a road bike occasionally, I mostly trail ride on one of 4 mountain bikes (with another 3 that are in-between being frames and bikes at the moment). Each year I ride better technically and haven't pulled back in that sense at all. Love the tight technical singletrack!
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Old 11-19-08, 11:54 AM   #2
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I primarily road ride (geared, fixed, singlespeed) but occasionally I'll take my 26" wheeled Long Haul Trucker or my Dean Colonel hardtail on local fireroads and singletracks. I'm currently building up a rigid singlespeed out of an old Kona mtb frame. Riding nothing but road will eventually bore me.

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Old 11-19-08, 11:55 AM   #3
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I am equally addicted to road bikes and mountain bikes. Usually I divide my riding time pretty much equally between road and offroad riding. At times I will get more interested in one than the other for a while, but eventually it evens out.

My four most used bikes are a road bike set up for centuries, a fixed gear road bike, a full suspension MTB and a rigid MTB that is currently setup for dual purpose (on and off road).
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Old 11-19-08, 12:10 PM   #4
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Am mainly a roadie now but it is just coming to the time of year when it is easier to get muddy than wet-and more fun.

But if you want to experience real offroading- get a full offroad Tandem. That is more fun than one of the basic MTB's.
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Old 11-19-08, 12:16 PM   #5
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Am mainly a roadie now but it is just coming to the time of year when it is easier to get muddy than wet-and more fun.

But if you want to experience real offroading- get a full offroad Tandem. That is more fun than one of the basic MTB's.
I rode a mountain bike tandem once. Just a little in the dirt, though, mostly it was a road ride. Didn't care for it. Tandem wouldn't do so well on many of the trails I like, either (at least not with me on it ).
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Old 11-19-08, 12:25 PM   #6
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I'm on the road more often, but I love the mtb when the weather is cold, windy, or wet. Just wish I could get the group to do more off road.
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Old 11-19-08, 01:10 PM   #7
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I rode a mountain bike tandem once. Just a little in the dirt, though, mostly it was a road ride. Didn't care for it. Tandem wouldn't do so well on many of the trails I like, either (at least not with me on it ).
If a solo can do it- then a well sorted Tandem with an accomplished team can do it better. But that is the problem. It took me and Stuart 3 months before the bike was working right. It used to suddenly lay down in the biggest muddiest part of the trail- It used to make us climb the stiffest hills in middle ring to teach us to get fitter and it used to break things on a regular basis- just to keep us going to the LBS for advice. Then we had a while when nothing was going wrong-And then we started to find that we were staying with the faster riders uphills- then we were pushing them and then finally beating them.

It takes a lot of time to get used to a Tandem and once you do- you can start training the team up to get the two riders and the Tandem to work together. Normally takes about 6 months or around 2,000 miles. From then on- the team start riding on their own. Uphills are still hard. The flat is dead easy as you can get phenominal speeds just by turning the pedals- and downhill--- You are gone.

Sounds as though you gave up too soon.
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Old 11-19-08, 01:31 PM   #8
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If a solo can do it- then a well sorted Tandem with an accomplished team can do it better. But that is the problem. It took me and Stuart 3 months before the bike was working right. It used to suddenly lay down in the biggest muddiest part of the trail- It used to make us climb the stiffest hills in middle ring to teach us to get fitter and it used to break things on a regular basis- just to keep us going to the LBS for advice. Then we had a while when nothing was going wrong-And then we started to find that we were staying with the faster riders uphills- then we were pushing them and then finally beating them.

It takes a lot of time to get used to a Tandem and once you do- you can start training the team up to get the two riders and the Tandem to work together. Normally takes about 6 months or around 2,000 miles. From then on- the team start riding on their own. Uphills are still hard. The flat is dead easy as you can get phenominal speeds just by turning the pedals- and downhill--- You are gone.

Sounds as though you gave up too soon.
No, the trails really aren't suited for a tandem in many cases, too technical in nature (or are you able to lift the front of a tandem up over logs and ledges, and do drops and get air)? I do know some people that do well on some technical trails on a tandem, though, but their riding skills and fitness on any bike were/are superior to mine. Also, no regular riding partner in any case, usually solo these days (and the one gal cyclist I dated was a long time ago), like big john says, hard to get the group out (for any kind of riding in my case). There's also something about having someone that close to my butt (let alone the other way around, that ain't gonna happen unless she's really cute but not likely she's going to be up front in any case).
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Old 11-19-08, 05:19 PM   #9
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No, the trails really aren't suited for a tandem in many cases, too technical in nature (or are you able to lift the front of a tandem up over logs and ledges, and do drops and get air)? I do know some people that do well on some technical trails on a tandem, though, but their riding skills and fitness on any bike were/are superior to mine. Also, no regular riding partner in any case, usually solo these days (and the one gal cyclist I dated was a long time ago), like big john says, hard to get the group out (for any kind of riding in my case). There's also something about having someone that close to my butt (let alone the other way around, that ain't gonna happen unless she's really cute but not likely she's going to be up front in any case).
It is the team that makes a Tandem. And that takes some finding and training.

And technical trails- No problem providing you don't lose the front wheel.

Have done climbs with 12" steps in it at the end of a very long ride-Had solos get upset on technical single track because we overtake them on narrow single track (A Tandem goes through anything-including bikes if they get in the way) But the only things we have problems with are dropoffs- as the bottom tube gets in the way, and bunny hopping. Never quite get that right.

But then the Tandem does have to be set up right. That costs a lot of money and the set up involves Downhill quality wheels- Forks and brakes. That makes for a very heavy bike which is even heavier by the top of a long climb.

Tandem offroad is a different world of riding. and it is not easy- But with an accomplished team-I would not say it is any harder or more difficult than riding a solo. Just takes a lot of practice and the downhill riders mentality. Leave your brain at the top of the hill before you go down it.

But offroad on the solo and I still get out on it occasionally. Only thing is that I miss the turbo boost from the co-rider when power is required.
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Old 11-19-08, 05:25 PM   #10
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I would think that really tight and twisty trails would be a big problem for a MTB tandem. Some of our trails are so twisty that you almost run over the rear wheel with the front wheel at times. That extra wheelbase would have to be hard to deal with in those situations. No?
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Old 11-19-08, 08:54 PM   #11
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I spend more time on the road, but I actually prefer to ride my mountain bikes. Problem is, I'm a much better road biker than MTBr. Playin in the dirt is a blast. The winter is great when the ground thaws from the night before and all the mud gets all over the bike. Looks cool.
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Old 11-19-08, 09:28 PM   #12
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I would think that really tight and twisty trails would be a big problem for a MTB tandem. Some of our trails are so twisty that you almost run over the rear wheel with the front wheel at times. That extra wheelbase would have to be hard to deal with in those situations. No?
Yeah, I can't see a tandem being able to make the 180 degree turns on some of the trails we do. It's hard enough on a single.
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Old 11-19-08, 09:30 PM   #13
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Sounds fun! So what does the captain do to lift the front end up the steps? Or do you just plow through? My head is imagining it'd be really hard to lift the front end of that tandem up, even with some cooperation in back. I figured drops would be hard unless you were moving along at a pretty good pace which isn't always possible. I rarely see mountain bike tandems out on the trails but am always impressed. Love to see a video of you guys bunnyhopping!
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Old 11-20-08, 02:06 AM   #14
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Yeah, I can't see a tandem being able to make the 180 degree turns on some of the trails we do. It's hard enough on a single.
90 degrees no problem. As I have said a Tandem goes through everything so the track will be made wider through the scrub. 180's and rear wheel lift to get back round a bit is normally enough. only real problem are trees jumping in front of you.

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Sounds fun! So what does the captain do to lift the front end up the steps? Or do you just plow through? My head is imagining it'd be really hard to lift the front end of that tandem up, even with some cooperation in back. I figured drops would be hard unless you were moving along at a pretty good pace which isn't always possible. I rarely see mountain bike tandems out on the trails but am always impressed. Love to see a video of you guys bunnyhopping!
One advantage of 6" of travel. Compress front end and lift and we can get around 6" lift. Then hit the obstacle and we are over. A Tandem is very stable at speed so smaller drops are not a problem. the front end does fly over them and I have a Thudbuster to take the sting out of the landing.

Bigger drop offs take a different technique. Approach sideways to them and then turn the front down them. The long bottom tube is the problem. Another point to remember is that steering the thing takes a lot of effort. Stuart is 180lbs of muscle and strong upper body. Not often that he cannot steer the thing in the right direction. I may own the thing- but too many offs when I can't control the thing if I am on the front so I am an accomplished Stoker

We used to do a hard ride each year and we were the first Tandem to complete it in 2003. Many had started it but none had finished in the 6 years it had been run up to that date. Then in 2004 we had two Tandems finish. See link to see splurge for 2005 and this was taken at the end of the ride.

http://www.singletrackworld.co.uk/article.php?sid=1549


I have to admit that Offroad Tandems are not the easiest of bikes to ride but If the team is right-They work. And for the bike- they have to be adapted somewhat. Both the Tandems in the link are Cannondale MT's for the strong frame. Both have full Downhill wheels and uprated front suspension. The brakes that work- and stay working- are Hope Mono M4's with 200 mm disc's.


But back to general MTB's- Looks cold this weekend- First snow for years expected in the area so it will be off road on our trails to save getting wet.
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Old 11-20-08, 09:58 AM   #15
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MTBing is a seasonal thing for me. If it's way hot or very cold I won't do it. This fall I've been MTBing a lot.

Freeze-thaw is a big problem in this area, so I might not have much omore trail riding until June. Oh well.

I do not understand why any of the 50+ crew would go rigid on the trails, unless they're wuss trails, fire roads, etc. I have a fairly plush 4" fork and a thudbuster. I'd go full suspension if I find a nice cheap one on Craigslist.
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Old 11-20-08, 11:20 AM   #16
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I hear you on the rigid thing, my road bike is my only rigid bike these days. I usually ride a full suspension bike, but will take out my hardtail ss once in a while just to remind me of my age (on relatively smooth and not too steep trails, I'm not into thrashing myself unnecessarily). Some of my friends are getting tougher in their old age and have favor their rigid bikes, and do it on most any trail, but to each their own.

Fortunately here in the SF Bay area year round riding is pretty good, I do not miss the midwestern winters or summers at all!
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Old 11-20-08, 11:58 AM   #17
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I think rigid MTB riding is kind of like fixed gear riding. There is an appeal there for some people, but if you don't get it, you just don't get it. For me it is just another way to have fun. It has different sensations (no, not just pain) and it requires different skills. I will choose my FS bike most of the time, but once in a while it's fun to get back to basics. If it was only about always being as fast and as comfortable as possible, we would be in air conditioned cages with leather upholstery, killer stereos and big V-8 engines.
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Old 11-20-08, 12:05 PM   #18
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I think rigid MTB riding is kind of like fixed gear riding. There is an appeal there for some people, but if you don't get it, you just don't get it. For me it is just another way to have fun. It has different sensations (no, not just pain) and it requires different skills.
+1 my thoughts exactly.
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Old 11-20-08, 12:12 PM   #19
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Rigid Aluminium bike with an aluminium fork........... I will admit though that most of my trails are fast hard fire road type surfaces. I do however ride some slightly rougher trails sometimes...... (posted the pictures sometime back) Going back to the rigid bike has made me a better rider this year.

The Marzocchi in the corner of my workshop is calling to me though and I will marry it to a refurbished Harro V4 frame in the spring..................it won't make the ride any smoother though, just faster.

Rear suspension.........probably not. Too old a dog.
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Old 11-20-08, 02:52 PM   #20
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I use my mountain bike on the road fairly frequently, particularly if I need to carry anything.
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Old 11-20-08, 03:09 PM   #21
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I only have a MTB because I have to ride 6 kilometers to even get to pavement...
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