newbie question: what is "technical" riding? what's a "technical" area?
Examples? I was looking at semi-slick tires the other day, and the bike shop guy said they're great for if you do alot of technical riding. I've heard the term before, and am not sure exactly what it means. What would be a technical portion of a trail?
I don't know what he means but I wouldn't wear slicks in my technical. I suppose it varrys. Slicks would be useful in bmx style technical with lots of concrete and some manmade obstacles. Otherwise slick are only useful for picking up some speed on a mtb.
Technical out here is the northshore style riding (extremely advanced) or very rocky (rock gardens or even boulder hopping) and very rooty and wet (typical for bc). You would get hurt if you rode slicks out here
Technical refers to the need for skill in handling a particular type of trail feature. When someone says a trail was very technical, they mean that the trail had lots of stuff that challenged their skills. Maybe it had some big log piles to get over, or had very twisty singletrack with trees that grab your handlebars, or big rocks to go over or round, or some steep drops with a turn at the bottom that people often wipe out on.
Basically, if the trail is likely to draw blood, then it's a technical trail. If you do a lot of technical riding, you ride trails that you have a good chance of falling on.
As for the semi-slicks, I use them because they came on my bike and I haven't changed them out yet. After this season, I've decided that I don't like them when the ground is wet. In the dry months during a Chicago summer, they're fine because they give you a lot of contact with the trail. In the spring when it's wet often, I slip around a lot. I've tried to go over log piles and had the back tire just spin on the log because it didn't get traction. Side note: you can get over stuff better in the wet by pushing the bike over rather than pedaling over (once you've gotten the front tire up and over that is).
Next year, I plan to have wide-spaced knobby tires for the spring (which throw mud off better than tight-spaced knobbies), then I'll probably go back to the semi-slicks in the summer. The other thing I like about the semi-slicks is that I can ride to a ride, or just take the mtb on the road and do 30+ miles, without a problem. Knobbies can get real annoying on pavement.
Gravity Is Yer Friend
Technical will depend on your skill level. For some riders a 2" or 3" root or curb can be technical. For others a technical section could be a single track path that has 3 to 4' high tree roots, 5'+ drops, vertical decents, it is all relitive to your skill level.
Semi-slicks, well if you are riding terain that is any thing other then hard packed I would not suggest those tires. I am also guessing you are speaking about a mtb.