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  1. #1
    Senior Member juf2m's Avatar
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    Help! How do I keep my front wheel on the ground going up a hill?

    I am very new to mountain biking, so it may just be inexperience, but I am starting to psych myself out because whenever I go up a steep hill my front wheel levitates off the ground and it really scares me. Today it lifted and jumped sideways. Now I get nervous just approaching steep hills and quit before I should just to avoid it happening again.

    I have been told to keep my weight forward which I try to do, but if I go too forward it feels really awkward and my knees hit my arms, chest etc.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    sounds like a seat position prob to me. Your either sitting to low or too far back to get balance without weight shifting. Might want to play around with the seat a bit.

  3. #3
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Body position. I can't sit when I climb really steep stuff. Typically my butt is slightly forward of the seat and about an inch over the seat. Lets the bike bounch around under me and keeps the front down while maintaining traction in the back

  4. #4
    Giggity giggity! Dirtbike's Avatar
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    Drop a gear so you dont put out the torque that lifts up your wheel.

  5. #5
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Conventional styled bar ends (don't laugh) will enable you to really stretch out forward.....and your knees will not hit your arms.
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  6. #6
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    if your knees are hitting your armsor even chest then your bike is too small. You want to be a bit spread out. If your planning to do a lot of climbing (or you would like to), look into flat bars and a longer stem. This makes it easier to put weight on the front wheel
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  7. #7
    Senior Member juf2m's Avatar
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    Great ideas! Thanks guys!

  8. #8
    Stock 04 Kona scrap
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    Yes, drop a gear in the back, and try to "rocket up hills, getting your speed before the hill, instead of slowly "torquing" your way up. And satanding may help. If your front end stands up on you peg the back brake. Even geting comfortable with using the back break while your front end is up in the air on flat cement may help you when your out on the trail.

  9. #9
    "el fresh"
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    Since we're on this topic... Is it bad to be switching gears on the rear while climbing this steep stuff?
    I tried it, but it sounded like death to the derailer so I just stopped. CLANK... POW!

  10. #10
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    Assuming your saddle height and fore-aft position are correct, you must finesse the bike to get up steep climbs. Also, adjusting handle bar position may help as well - previous posts mention flat bars, different stem and use of bar ends to achieve good upper body position will help as well. I've noticed over the years that many production bikes' fit have changed with more emphasis on downhill performance, rather than climbing. Thus the bars are relatively high and close relative to the saddle. Great when the bike's pointed downhill. But this is counter to the traditional cross-country hard-tail set up, mainly because so much time is spent ascending. Cross country races are usually won or lost on the climbs, so ideal fit for climbing is crucial.
    You have to find the sweet spot between front and rear wheels which keep the front wheel down and the rear wheel from losing traction. This is what makes attempting steep loose climbs a challenge. I disagree with the post suggesting a higher gear ratio. While it's true that going to a bigger ratio gear will reduce torque at the rear wheel and reduce slippage and front end lift, your cadence shouldn't suffer. Leg speed should be your main criteria for gear choice. Proper technique on the bike will get you up the climbs.
    The position that works for me is with hands on the bar ends and upper body well over the bars. Butt is positioned just on the nose of the saddle. I then move forward or back on the saddle depending on changes in terrain. And I disagree with the recommendation to stand. The rear wheel will break loose if you simply stand up. The only time I've been able to stand and apply full power is on Utah Slickrock, where rear wheel traction is at a maximum. But this doesn't apply in dirt.
    So in essence, get that body weight forward and the front wheel will stay on terra firma. Good luck.

  11. #11
    later free_pizza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtbike
    Drop a gear so you dont put out the torque that lifts up your wheel.
    this is what i would say too, when i drop a few gears, i rarely lift the front wheel

  12. #12
    Lets Ride Trekke's Avatar
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    What bike are you riding. Sounds like a Gary Fisher Genesis Design. Notorious for front end creap. Root cause - too much weight distributed over the back half of the bike. Add cranking torque and your doing wheelies. Solution - shift weight or reduce torque. I typically come out of the saddle during that climbing condition.
    Phil

  13. #13
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vertigo
    Since we're on this topic... Is it bad to be switching gears on the rear while climbing this steep stuff?
    I tried it, but it sounded like death to the derailer so I just stopped. CLANK... POW!
    Shifting under load is BAD. What you should do is stop pedaling briefly as you shift then gently pedal for a stroke to complete the action

  14. #14
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    Shifting under load is BAD. What you should do is stop pedaling briefly as you shift then gently pedal for a stroke to complete the action
    Agreed. Pedalling under load is an emergency race situation only, and even then...it would suck.

  15. #15
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maelstrom
    Agreed. Pedalling under load is an emergency race situation only, and even then...it would suck.
    Yeah. Most likely it would chainsuck

  16. #16
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Hey it might work once in a while. A chance taken in a race could put you in front. I don't do it, never in that much of a rush.

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