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  1. #1
    MSD
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    Riding Techniques

    Hi all,

    Very new to moutain biking. I bought a Cannondale Jekyll 800 a few weeks ago and I'm having a blast. Found a sweet, 6 mile single track about 20 minutes from my house. It has a number of built up logs crossing the path. Some of the smaller ones I roll right over, but I usually stop to "walk" over the bigger ones.

    What's the correct technique to tackle these bigger ones? How fast should I take it, and should I lift/hop any part of the bike when taking them? I managed to scrape my chainring on one of them, so that has also made me hesitant with the bigger ones.

    Second, how about the little 2x4 planks of wood crossing over deep puddles? I found these at another "track" and lost my balance... but it was very wet that day, and wet wood is pretty slick. Any balancing techniques?

    Thanks!

    Mike

  2. #2
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    As far as riding over logs, the technique is to approach at a "fast walking" pace and shift your weight towards the back and lift the front tire up and over the log, once your front tire is on the other side, shift your weight forward. Your momentum will move you forward and your chainring will smack the log. Keep shifting your weight towards the front and keep peddaling. This will unweight your rear tire. As it hits, get ready to begin shifting weight back to neutral position once your rear clears the log.

    Logs and trees generally don't damage chainrings. Rocks are a different story. Many people who ride these types of conditions on a regular basis, remove the third (large) chainring and replace it with a BASH ring. Do a search and you can find a picture of one.

    As far as balancing on "skinnies", the trick is to keep your butt off the saddle and look at least 5 feet in front. If you go too slow, you loose forward momentum and have more of a tendancy to fall. Practice riding concrete curbs around your neighborhood. Riding skinnies takes a lot, a lot of practice.

    L8R
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    Excuse my language but f**k that. A2psyklnut that sounds like expensive advice. MSD do yourself a favour and learn how to bunnyhop, I wouldn't recommend letting the chainring hit the log, or anything whatsoever.

    Concerning the planks when wet, remember not to rock the bike (left or right) since wet wood can be slippery.

  4. #4
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    Well Portent, a bunny hop is a little further down the learning curve, rolling logs is pretty common around here and the technique is sound. I've been rolling logs (bigger than what I can bunny hop) for years with out damaging my chainrings, so more than likely you won't, but there is always that chance.

    L8R
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown
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  5. #5
    Got Jesus? bikeCOLORADO's Avatar
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    Bunny Hopping a log for a newbie? Are you trying to get someone killed? The "lift" method described by a2psyklnut is certainly the way most people I know would ride these and similar obstacles (rocks, roots, etc.)...

  6. #6
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Portent
    Excuse my language but f**k that. A2psyklnut that sounds like expensive advice. MSD do yourself a favour and learn how to bunnyhop, I wouldn't recommend letting the chainring hit the log, or anything whatsoever.

    Concerning the planks when wet, remember not to rock the bike (left or right) since wet wood can be slippery.
    I can roll a log quite a bit larger than I can bunny hop. And when you are first learning bunny hopping a big log is very difficult and can be dangerous (think getting front wheel over and rear wheel catching).

    Expensive? Huh...one bashring for 12 months costing 35$ aqnd I still haven't broken it and I roll stuff an endless amount of times on these trails. Sheesh. Yeah thats expensive.

  7. #7
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    To balance on 'skinnies' you use your hips and knees to keep you going straight. Do not turn the wheel. You can take skinnies extremely slow in this manner. To get balance on your bike practice trackstanding to learn you central balancing point. This will work in your favour on skinnies in the future.

    Looking 5 ft in front is the best rule to learn for riding period. You go faster and roll stuff easier. The more you do it the better your brain gets and handling the trails in this manner.

  8. #8
    DiL
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    Give a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a night. Light a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Jim311's Avatar
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    Not all logs are so big that your chainrings will scrape. Many are small enough to cross using that technique.
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  10. #10
    wonderer, wanderer gonesh9's Avatar
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    At the very apex of your roll (when the front wheel has cleared the log, and your chainring is just about to scrape on the log), exagerate your forward motion that A2psyklnut described- sort of twisting forward on the bike to kick the rear wheel up, and your chainring can clear the log.

    What I recommend is practicing on smaller logs that you might usually roll over, and try not to let any part of your bike touch them. You will get the feeling you need to tackle bigger logs that way.

  11. #11
    pnj
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    I like to sit down when riding across skinny stuff.

    but i can do it either way.......

    as mentioned above, you don't have to be in the woods to practice this stuff.
    an empty parking lot with a few curbs or sidewalks will teach you alot of stuff.

    practice lifting your rear end with your front tire still on the ground. kinda like a donkey kick. then you can use that technique when rolling over obsticles.

    hey Maelstrom how high can you bunnyhop? just curious.
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  12. #12
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Originally posted by pnj
    hey Maelstrom how high can you bunnyhop? just curious.
    To be honest not very high. It isn't a skill I spend a lot of time on as for some reason it hurts my knees. Maybe a foot on my MTB....on my gf's a bit higher as I can preload a lot more.

    My biggest difficulty with bunnyhopping (really j-hopping) is the manual part of it not the actual jumping haha

  13. #13
    MSD
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    Thanks for the replies and advice everyone!

    Well, after finding out my volleyball game got canceled tonight, I quickly loaded the bike on my car and headed down to the single track while there was still light out.

    I see my first log and come to a complete stop, turn around and go back, then get a bit a speed and went for it. I pulled back then shifted forward as I got over it. Did this on a few that I walked over last time. Scraped my chainring once... not worried about it anymore. Worked well, although I need to learn the technique better before I tackle some of the bigger ones.

    Also, there were some boards again, but this track has them twice as wide as the skinnies, so I didn't hesitate to roll over them with speed.

    I am sad however, as I killed 3 perfectly fine trees There was a very steep bank the track went up, and I thought I had enough speed... I didn't. I was also in too high a gear. I started rolling backwards, hit the brakes and couldn't release my foot from the pedal fast enough. Over I went into 3 trees, snapping them at the base. Not sure what kind they were. About 2 inches thick, about 6 to 8 feet tall. I may email the folks that built the track (they had a bulletin board in the park), and donate some cash to plant a few new trees.

    Thanks again for the advice!

    Mike

  14. #14
    Speed Racer Mad Dog JR's Avatar
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    lol, i wouldent worry about the trees to much... unless they are short on trees around your parts
    -Full speed ahead,Hard and fast!
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  15. #15
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    Yeah, bunny hopping is great for smaller ones, on one of my usual trails there is a fallen tree with a diameter of about 3.5 ft. I don't think anyone will be hopping that one. Of couse we take smaller logs and make a sort of ramp from those fallen trees, as no technique will get you over something taller than your handle bars.

  16. #16
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    You can still hop on it and roll down the other side. I know several riders that do this to clean large obstacle...

  17. #17
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    Not many people can hop 3.5 feet up on to a small landing. But with a crossing like that with smaller logs placed on the bottom, you can hop up part of it and roll the rest, but i dont think Portent was refering to hopping up part of it and roll/climbing the rest, thats what i was refering to.

  18. #18
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Sorry I wasn't saying, literally a hop. But more a hopping movement to help you get up it. Hard to explain but it is a very useful technique for getting over large logs.

  19. #19
    mmm babaghanouj. rasheed's Avatar
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    instead of piling up smaller logs, you could always build little up-and-overs like this:



    current ride: 2003 norco vps fluid 3.0 (custom build).



  20. #20
    Senior Member Al K's Avatar
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    Hi MTBers,

    I'm thinking of ditching my large ring (since I never use it on trails) and getting a bash guard for my 2nd ring. Thus, I will be able to clear larger logs without hitting them then I can now with the large ring.

    And since bash guards are smooth, when they hit a log, they should slide over rather than dig in like the large ring. Is this logic correct, or do the teeth of the large ring help getting over logs by gripping as you pedal over a log?

    If you don't pedal over a log and ring teeth dig in, then it seems that this is hindering you get over the log. This may not be the best technique, but I often forget to pedal over a log.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Drunken Chicken's Avatar
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    Al K: I'm not very knowledgeable on clearing log obstacles but what I wanted to say was that as far as I can remember FSA makes a bashguard with low profile teeth to help getting over logs and the like.
    2005 Ironhorse 7.3
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Al K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drunken Chicken
    Al K: I'm not very knowledgeable on clearing log obstacles but what I wanted to say was that as far as I can remember FSA makes a bashguard with low profile teeth to help getting over logs and the like.
    DC,
    Thanks, this bashguard does have low profile teeth, so perhaps teeth do help get over log if you pedal while teeth on log.

  23. #23
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    SPD pedals needed, Joggin pace and stand up get within 2 foot of the logs jab bend down and spring up lifting your legs and the bike will leave the floor and you will clear the logs.

  24. #24
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    Is the some kind of middle way between bash ring and third ring for us who both commute and jump logs?

  25. #25
    mmm babaghanouj. rasheed's Avatar
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    i'm not sure who else makes them, but blackspire makes a ring guard for those who want to run a triple ring set up.
    current ride: 2003 norco vps fluid 3.0 (custom build).



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