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  1. #1
    VLT
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    Question regarding mountain biking on trails

    Hi, I'm new to this forum and new to mountain biking. We have trails here where folks ride their mountain bikes. The trails have lots of pine straw and a lot of tree branches growing on the trails so it's a rough ride. Today was my first day going and I had to go so slow because of all the pine straw and uneven branches growing. I fell once because I braked on the pine straw. So, is it best to have a light weight bike or heavier bike for these trails? Single speed or 21 speed? I purchased a Kona Unit, but also have a Giant DX comfort mountain bike. Just wanted some opinions. Thx

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    Generic Title ProFail's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VLT View Post
    Hi, I'm new to this forum and new to mountain biking. We have trails here where folks ride their mountain bikes. The trails have lots of pine straw and a lot of tree branches growing on the trails so it's a rough ride. Today was my first day going and I had to go so slow because of all the pine straw and uneven branches growing. I fell once because I braked on the pine straw. So, is it best to have a light weight bike or heavier bike for these trails? Single speed or 21 speed? I purchased a Kona Unit, but also have a Giant DX comfort mountain bike. Just wanted some opinions. Thx
    Generally people want to go for the lightest bike possible without compromising structural integrity. The only times one would want a heavier bike was if the terrain was throwing your bike everywhere (e.g., endless rock garden). Pine needles and small amount roots (I think you meant to say roots, not branches) don't constitute "rough", so it's a matter of technique. When braking on a lose surface, shift your body forward to put more weight over the front wheel, increasing the traction. Increased traction will prevent your wheel from locking up, which I htink is why you fell. And on the SS note, it doesn't matter. While there are very few applications where a SS will reign dominant, many MTB'ers view it as a kind of zen way to bike. No gears to shift, straight chain-line, quit drivetrain. You just ride. I think they're neat, but the riding in my areas isn't ideal for a SS bike.

  3. #3
    ÖöÖöÖöÖöÖö Dannihilator's Avatar
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    I'd use the Unit.
    Strike like an eagle and sacrifice the dove.
    Words and Stuff.

  4. #4
    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VLT View Post
    Hi, I'm new to this forum and new to mountain biking. We have trails here where folks ride their mountain bikes. The trails have lots of pine straw and a lot of tree branches growing on the trails so it's a rough ride. Today was my first day going and I had to go so slow because of all the pine straw and uneven branches growing. I fell once because I braked on the pine straw. So, is it best to have a light weight bike or heavier bike for these trails? Single speed or 21 speed? I purchased a Kona Unit, but also have a Giant DX comfort mountain bike. Just wanted some opinions. Thx
    welcome!

    light is generally the way to go. there are certainly diminishing returns with your money spent

    the problem with single speeds is that you are always in the wrong gear or maybe you're always in the right gear...not sure. i asked a guy on a SS in my race today as i was passing him those two questions and he simply replied "yes" and we both laughed while gasping for air.

    SS are cool, but not for me in anything more than a putz around bike. reason being is they put a lot of strain on your legs, more specifically your knees. for some this is not a problem. for others, it will cause repetitive knee use injury.

    i would also side with the notion that SS are for more advanced riders. if you're a beginner, you might want to stay with multiple speeds for awhile.

  5. #5
    !on
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    just lay off the speed for a bit while you get your head round the things that lay await for you on your trails. look well ahead to give yourself some time to react. if roots & stuff look like your bike can ride over them, then you need to extend your arms & get your backside off & behind* your saddle. lift your bars slightly to let the front go over & as you are standing over the back wheel it should then just roll over it with out much fuss. basically you are just unweighting the front & rear from your own weight, let the wheels go over more easily. front suspension helps keep your hands on the bars / controls, but you can get out of the saddle any time. same goes for riding downhill on bumpy stuff, get your a** behind your saddle & let the bike lead the way, centre of gravity innit.

    if you wanna learn jumps best to practice in the woods or summat & start on small stuff. my way with small logs or fallen branches using SPD's i can just pull the front (with my hands) & the rear (feet + SPD's) simultaneously at speed at the right time i just leap frog over, but takes practice!! make sure if you got clipless pedals they're tensioned right.

    shouldn't worry too much about loose stuff, let the bike roll!

    *edit: oh i forgot to say also bend your knees (esp if hardtail) natural suspension between torso & bike.
    Last edited by !on; 03-02-08 at 02:54 AM.

  6. #6
    Fourth Degree Legend junkyard's Avatar
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    Pine needles and tree branches in mountain biking? Apparently, I've been doing it all wrong.
    Quote Originally Posted by dminor View Post
    The caveat with a strap-on, of course, is you will have to get creative with a couple of lock cables and an anchor point

  7. #7
    VLT
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    LOL "Pine needles and tree branches in mountain biking? Apparently, I've been doing it all wrong. "

    That's mountain biking here in South Carolina!

    Thanks guys for the advice!!

  8. #8
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    I would say if its really that bad, take a snow shovel a spend a day plowing the trail. And i think its less about weight or gearing than it is just getting a nice beefy pair of tires with some serious teeth.

  9. #9
    Fourth Degree Legend junkyard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VLT View Post
    LOL "Pine needles and tree branches in mountain biking? Apparently, I've been doing it all wrong. "

    That's mountain biking here in South Carolina!

    Thanks guys for the advice!!
    Really?!??! You ride on dirt and stuff?
    Quote Originally Posted by dminor View Post
    The caveat with a strap-on, of course, is you will have to get creative with a couple of lock cables and an anchor point

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    id take pine needles any day over the excuse for dirt we have here in MD, its all solid clay, a slippery mess when it gets wet.

  11. #11
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    which with all the water the leaves hold means it slippery all the time you shud see the tires i have to keep on my dual to get even the slightest traction on wet hills

  12. #12
    Fourth Degree Legend junkyard's Avatar
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    Wow. I thought the paved trail that I ride got a little dicey when there was some extra sand on it. You guys are hardcore.
    Quote Originally Posted by dminor View Post
    The caveat with a strap-on, of course, is you will have to get creative with a couple of lock cables and an anchor point

  13. #13
    sarcasm meter: jerk mode santiago's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by junkyard View Post
    Wow. I thought the paved trail that I ride got a little dicey when there was some extra sand on it. You guys are hardcore.
    It can get really hairy when I spill my frappucino and it mixes in with the sand. Not only does it get dicey, but my shiny mountain bike gets really dirty.
    First Class Jerk

  14. #14
    Fourth Degree Legend junkyard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by santiago View Post
    It can get really hairy when I spill my frappucino and it mixes in with the sand. Not only does it get dicey, but my shiny mountain bike gets really dirty.
    Yeah, I hate crud on my bike. Especially all that grease that came on the chain. I cleaned that off right away.
    Quote Originally Posted by dminor View Post
    The caveat with a strap-on, of course, is you will have to get creative with a couple of lock cables and an anchor point

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