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  1. #1
    Senior Member Chuckie J.'s Avatar
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    I'm too slow going downhill

    I've learned that I go to slow downhill. I don't normally ride in a group (I don't even mountain bike very much, actually) but this weekend I rode with about 350 people doing an organized race. I tried to stay in the back since I'm not a racer but there's always somebody behind you. I'm ok going up but down, I feel like I'm slowing everyone up. Any hints?

    By the way, did anyone on the forum go to Prescott Whiskey Ride this weekend? 50 miles of fun/hell. I got a souvenir! See photo.

    Chuckie

  2. #2
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    Less brakes?
    commuter turned bike mechanic turned commuter (also a Velocity USA employee, but this is my personal account)

  3. #3
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    Loosen up a bit. Stay relaxed and dont be tense. You cant expect to get better if you dont ride more often.

  4. #4
    close to 2000 madbiker555's Avatar
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    Don't be afraid of going fast, it's part of the thrill!

  5. #5
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    All three of the above

  6. #6
    Old School Rad mtnbiker66's Avatar
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    Take your breaks off and ride like that for a while..................................no thats not a good idea after all.
    Like a circus monkey on a stolen Harley......

  7. #7
    THIS BIKE'S 4 U !!!! Killer B's Avatar
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    Just one hint from me about flyin' DH....
    I repeat the word, FLUID. Over & over....
    Call me "Crazy" if you want, everyone else that knows me does already.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Chuckie J.'s Avatar
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    A friend of mine said we should play "chase" downhill-- he rides in front of me and I try to catch him. Could work....

    I'm not *really* slow, I'm just not bombing down the thing. I do ride the rear break, though. I also ride a full rigid bike but I'm not blaming equipment-- I could go faster. I'm curious about bigger tires? I ride regular 2.0 XC tires. What would 2.5's feel like in comparison?

    Chuckie

  9. #9
    close to 2000 madbiker555's Avatar
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    BIG difference, more traction, more control.

  10. #10
    THIS BIKE'S 4 U !!!! Killer B's Avatar
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    I ride 1.8's sometimes. My LBS makes fun of me. I told them it's all about speed....
    It don't take them long to back off, once they see me ride.
    Last edited by Killer B; 05-17-05 at 03:52 AM.

  11. #11
    Gravity Is Yer Friend dirtbikedude's Avatar
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    Forget about what could happen,will cause you to tense up if you have any thoughts of injury
    look far ahead of you ( the faster, the farther), and not at the guy infront of you either, ride your own line
    sing a song to your self or out loud (one that gets you pumped - this helps me to relax or I wear headphones).

    and as mentioned....STAY OFF THE BRAKES!!!!


  12. #12
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    one finger on each lever, relax all muscles in your arms and hands so your reflexes can do their thing. Look ahead and where you want ur bike to go. SEE the line u want before making your bike go that way. If you ride a hardtail, you'll want to find the smoothes lines though each section. Use the brakes to avoid a the bike in front of you or coming to tech section. If you don't know the trail (especailly single track) brake early before a hard blind corner.

    I ride with a Sony Minidisc player to keep the tempo up and my mind in a groove. Helps alot when riding solo and no one to talk to.

  13. #13
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    The last 11 posts should have rapped it up for you....if they havn't:


    1. Relax, dont tense, dont feel under pressure. Loosen up your arms ben your knees, get with the bike. You and the bike are one, you control it.


    2. DO NOT sit down on your seat, unless nessesary. Especialy for a HT or Rigid bike, you legs are the supsension, and weight transfere is the key to proper braking. Steep downhill, front brakes 100% and lean back behind your seat. Front brakes are the most important, rear brakes help aswell to keep control, but arn't to good for sudden stops.

    3. 'Asses' each corner before you go around it. Move to the right side of the path to prepear, get ready to brake.

    4. Dont worry about crashing, or loosing traction. Balance is THE MOST important thing. Trust your tyres, trust you can take the turns at high speeds, and DONT THINK about falling off!!! Trust me, its nothing to worry about, on a dirt trail if you fall off and you are wearing gloves and helmet you should be pretty right. I fell off about 3 hours ago on a trail I went on, and just a bit of a bruise.

    Hope this helps, confidence is the KEY factor. Work at your own pace to build it up.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Practice hard braking. I found I can go sickeningly fast once I realized that the brakes really haul me up quickly. It's twice as fun on our tandem too.

  15. #15
    Ride bike or bike ride? Hopper's Avatar
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    Keep your fingers resting on the brakes so you can grab them when you need to, get to know your brakes abilities. Remember stay loose, let the bike move underneath you, the faster you go the smoother the run.
    --------------------------------------------------------o__ ----
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hilltop Hoods
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  16. #16
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    All of these are good tips.
    Depending on the steepness of the slope and the terrain, I often slide off the back of my saddle when going downhill.
    Keep at least one finger on the brake levers(depending on how sensitive they are). If you're skidding, you're hitting the brakes too hard. Learn to feather them just enough to keep your line.
    Keep your elbows up and your eyes scanning.

  17. #17
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    Failing all of that, climb faster. I realize this doesn't really answer the question, but my descending in XC races has never been stellar. If you can get far enough ahead, no one will see your more cautious descent. By the end of an XC race everyone is hurting so much that the descending tends to be pretty ugly anyways. Style and smooth lines give way to people just kind of rattling down the hill trying to catch their breath or gulp down some water before the next climb.

  18. #18
    Its a Mountain not a Hill Big Lug's Avatar
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    I have the same problem dont hit the brakes!!!
    2005 Trek 2100 ; 2008 Trek Remedy 7 ; 2002 Trek 2000 (Backup Bike)

  19. #19
    Gravity Is Yer Friend dirtbikedude's Avatar
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    Here is one other tip, elbows out not under. If you watch a good rider his elbows will be pointed outwords and not down. This will give you better control and your arms will absorb the hits better.


  20. #20
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    Hey jsigone....you mentioned that you ride w/ a mini disc player? How does that handle all the bumps? I ride solo a lot too, and have often wished I had music.

    Does anyone else ride w/ tunes playing? What works best for off road bumpy rides?

  21. #21
    Senior Member Drunken Chicken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BErad
    Hey jsigone....you mentioned that you ride w/ a mini disc player? How does that handle all the bumps? I ride solo a lot too, and have often wished I had music.

    Does anyone else ride w/ tunes playing? What works best for off road bumpy rides?
    I'd say an MP3 player, it won't skip.

    As for on topic discussion, depending on the trails you ride, how about some shinguards? For me, shinguards made wonders and boosted my confidence allowing me to go much faster. Just a thought.
    2005 Ironhorse 7.3
    2005 Specialized Hardrock Sport

  22. #22
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    I had a MP3 player (256mb) but was a pain to change songs, the minidisc player was the same cost but I can swap the songs out alot easier. The disc hold about 70songs and I got a 10 pack for $7.

    It handles bumps very very well. First day I had it I put it to the test, blazed though a long rock bed section with my hardtail and NO skipping. I also purchased the extended warrenty from Bestbuy for $20. If I break or it breaks or its own I can replace it without hassle for 3 or 4 yrs, I can't rememeber but by that time I would have gotten my 100 bucks out of that lil machine. So i'm not too worried if I crash and break the thing cuz I can get it replaced within minutes. I've crashed many time with it on and it keeps on going. I've had the unit for about a year now. I use it almost every day, I take 1-2 days off from the bike a week and the battery life is AMAZING. 1 AA battery will last about 5-6 weeks.

  23. #23
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    Awesome. I'm going to pick one up this weekend. Now I won't have to sing to myself anymore!

  24. #24
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuckie J.

    I'm not *really* slow, I'm just not bombing down the thing. I do ride the rear break, though. I also ride a full rigid bike but I'm not blaming equipment-- I could go faster. I'm curious about bigger tires? I ride regular 2.0 XC tires. What would 2.5's feel like in comparison?

    Chuckie
    Full rigid is no problem on XC downhill. Just learn to fall off less often and know the limits of your bike. 2.5's may give you a more comfortable ride but will you get the grip or will you float over the surface? Someone else has mentioned it but narrower tyres are faster. Wider tyres will give a more comfy ride, but try dragging them uphill at the low pressure they will need to get the benefit of them.

    Some people are fast uphill, some are fast downhill. A few are fast at both.I am slow uphill, so the only way I can excel is forgetting the brakes till they are necessary, and looking ahead on the trail to take the right lines. Bit of a problem on the Tandem as I am on the back and my steering don't work that well, but fast downhill takes skill, good brakes and no-brain.

  25. #25
    DMN
    DMN is offline
    Middle-ground Communist DMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    looking ahead on the trail to take the right lines. Bit of a problem on the Tandem as I am on the back and my steering don't work that well, but fast downhill takes skill, good brakes and no-brain.
    I'd echo what is said above.

    Don't look at the ground directly in front of your wheel - look at where you are going, your brain will remeber what it sees and will enable you to better see a route around it.
    The views expressed above are badly thought out and hastley typed. Any spelling or gramatical mistakes, are, their to annoy.

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