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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    new to the forums, just saying hi, plus newbie questions

    Hey guys, just saying hi. I'm trying to get in to the mountain biking scene heavier. Been into trail riding with Jeeps for a long time, but can't afford it anymore, and I need something to do outside that's healthier and cheaper.

    Anyway, I'm riding a Specialized HardRock A1 Comp FS, Indy XC shock, Shimano 636 pedals, Ritchie brakes, ODI lock-grips, 2" riser bar with 12 degree curve, Specialized split seats, blah blah blah.


    So I've got a few questions on how to get to the next level.

    1. What's the best way to learn to hop? I can get like 8 inches, with my shoes on. I just got back from the Jeep world outside festival, and these guys were doing 48" side hops from a standstill without shoes. I just want to fly over a log out on the trails, and goof off in the yard and stuff.

    2. What's the best position and height for trail riding? If my seat is a few inches up, the handle bars are perfect, my back feels great, but I have no power. A few more inches up and I get more power, still have room to stand up for jumps and to pedal while standing up, but after a while my hands start hurting pretty bad. I never noticed this until I got this riser bar. Anyway, obviously a few more inches up and I'm all hunkered over like a road biker, get lots of power, but I'm way too top heavy and don't feel stable, can't stand up, etc.

    3. Can I gear lower? Wouldnt' I want to? I'm having trouble on some long and really steep hills that have loose gravel on them. I have to sit down and keep my weight backwards to get traction, but I just can't turn the wheels like that. I thought it was just me, until I went to the outside festival I mentioned above, and test drove a couple of $2K bikes. They have gears that are much lower than my lowest one. Their lowest gear was a good 3 times lower than my lowest. Seems like that would be great for slowly chugging up a steep hill. Somebody here will probably dismiss this question by saying "work out more", but I've only seen one person climb this hill, and now I know there are bikes out there that are geared much lower than mine.

    4. What should I use to clean my Shimano 636 pedals?

    5. What's the next best mod for my bike? I can't afford a new bike right now. This one is about 4 years old, but it's ok.



    thanks,
    Cory

  2. #2
    Fool O' crap sscyco's Avatar
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    Welcome -

    As far as hopping your bike you can find info here

    Height for riding -
    If your riding cross country style off-road you will want your seat just high enough to prevent your knees from locking. This will give you more power, and allow you to spin faster - you'll just have to learn to manuver around your seat - you may have to loose the riser, and get a taller stem.

    Lower gears -
    Go to your LBS (local bike shop), they can hook you up with lower gears.

    Cleaning pedals -
    Dribble water on them, take a stiff brush to em, rinse. I usally spray them down with WD-40 to displace the water - not for lube.

    Best mod -
    Pedal more ride, ride, ride - only replace whats broken - save your money, and when you have enough get a shiny new bike.

  3. #3
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    To get height is simpe. Power. When I coached basketball it is the same principles. If you can hop 8inches you probably have a decent hop already now build up your strength. Oh and don't forget to suck you feet up as high as possible. The saddle should hit your chest. Just noticed you are using clips. It should be far easier than without. I can do a 15" hop with flats on a rear heavy freeride bike. Just practice and it will come.

    The above is correct for xc. If you are doing any tough trails or single track I believe the saddle is best lower. Probably a fe w inches. This gives you room to stand up and crouch as well as lowers the bikes centre of gravity. (saves the family jewels too)

    Build leg strenght and find balance. I only have 18 gears now. Gearing helps but it is more about finding your sweet spot and raw strength

    4 - no clue I won't wear clips

    5 - Ride it till it brakes. Usually the best upgrade is tires. Most other things aren't noticable unless you can feel an extra 50g of weight. Personally I have low end front tire and very high end rear tire with hub and strong bb. Just for my style and strength.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Thanks guys. Yeah I can hop with the simple hunker down and explode upwards technique. If I'm going fairly fast and have my seat low, I can clear a log that's about 8-10". Slower with the seat up higher and I can only feel comfortable with something the size of a parking tire stop curb thingy. However, watching Ryan Leech at the outside festival and seeing his videos on www.ryanleech.com makes me feel that I'm not doing it right, and that I could get much higher. But then again, he's a trials guy, and most of his jumps are done while at a stand still with both brakes locked. His front wheel is pointed way up in the air before he jumps. Can't exactly do that while going 20 mph in the woods I guess.


    Cory

  5. #5
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Actually it is similar. And to watch Ryan Leech in the mountains (or anyone with trials skills) it is still handy stuff. I have a bigger hop at a standstill but the skill is useful on tough terrain where movement is limited.

    http://www.biketrials.com/

    There is a better site than this but I can't find it right now. I work on my trials skills often and it is has payed huge dividends riding through the mountains on really tough trails.

  6. #6
    member Yo MikeOK's Avatar
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    Originally posted by sscyco
    Welcome -

    Best mod -
    Pedal more ride, ride, ride - only replace whats broken - save your money, and when you have enough get a shiny new bike.
    Words of wisdom!

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