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Old 05-05-08, 06:03 PM   #1
indygreg
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#%@*! Tree Roots

Okay, so I am fairly new to the MTB thing (a roadie at heart). I will always be somewhat limited by fear (just my nature) so it is not like I am bombing through the local trail at top speeds . . . but I am a decent rider and somewhat strong so I get around okay.

What is the deal with tree roots? I have had several near wrecks with them and today I went down hard. As in around a turn with tree roots slanting down (like opposite of a banked turn). Front tire slides out and down I go. I am fine, bike is fine, but these damn roots. Not wet or anything.

I know only practice makes me better - but any tips on roots? I ride with a guy that has little to no cycling experience and he goes over them like they are not there. Our tires are plenty similar . . . bike are both hardtails - mine a decent bit lighter but maybe a higher flex shock, our weight is similar and we ride about the same speed.
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Old 05-05-08, 06:10 PM   #2
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I don't do much trail riding, but a friend who's a pretty decent XC rider told me when we went out on a local trail to remember to ride over the root with you tire perpendicular. Sounds like in your case, that wont quite work, but maybe if you go a little wider where there's less root, you can get through. Next time let him go ahead of you and watch what line he takes over them.
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Old 05-05-08, 06:58 PM   #3
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A little wider means singletrack become doubletrack. Speed is your friend, it will help you get through the roots without hanging up. If it's a section thats not too long, you can use the first root to boost over the whole section......
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Old 05-05-08, 07:03 PM   #4
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in areas like that I am golden. You are right, speed is your friend.

This crash area and other areas where I have nearly crashed are harder turns with roots canting down away from the turn. One root is fine . . . sort of unweight and the back tire will slide a bit on it and all is good. This section has about 10 over maybe 2 feet in the turn. The turn is such that I cannot unweight the front over all the roots as I would go through the turn. Plus if I do not unweight far enough, I come down on a root with even more weight and leverage in a turn.

I just took it too fast today . . . at least until I get better at it. I think I lean the bike too much with me too much on top of that. I think there is some trick to leaning the bike but using the body in a bit of a counter movement to keep COG more upright. I will figure it out or get beat up.
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Old 05-05-08, 07:12 PM   #5
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i turn my front tire towards the root. i grip the bars hard and tense my arms but i don't lock my elbows. roots haven't been a problem. just don't rub up against them, you'll tip over.
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Old 05-05-08, 07:13 PM   #6
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Practice grasshopper, you will master you foe.......
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Old 05-05-08, 07:16 PM   #7
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you might be able to hop them.
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Old 05-05-08, 07:35 PM   #8
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Might be a stupid question, but what tire pressure are you running?
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Old 05-05-08, 07:47 PM   #9
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Might be a stupid question, but what tire pressure are you running?
Not a stupid question, that's the first thing I thought. Pressure could be too high.
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Old 05-05-08, 07:56 PM   #10
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I think there is some trick to leaning the bike but using the body in a bit of a counter movement to keep COG more upright. I will figure it out or get beat up.
The side-to-side position of your center of gravity relative to your tires' contact patches is determined by your speed and the radius of your turn. Nothing else you do affects it. You can make the bike's frame and wheels be more upright or less upright, but the position of your and your bike's over-all center of gravity is unchanged. The resultant vector of your weight and your cornering force must intersect the line through the tires' contact patches, or you'll fall over.
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Old 05-05-08, 08:07 PM   #11
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Might be a stupid question, but what tire pressure are you running?
I just got new tires - Kenda Nevegals in a 2.1 width. I think they call for pressure of 40-65PSI and for the maiden voyage I split the difference at 50.
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Old 05-05-08, 08:14 PM   #12
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Might be a little high, but it's your ride. I keep my Hutchinsons at a point where it looks like it's "flat", but still not flat. Hard to explain as I don't have a gauge. You can always try a little less pressure and if it doesn't bode well, jack them back up with your frame pump.
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Old 05-05-08, 08:17 PM   #13
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I will try lower pressure for sure next time. This is a part of being a roadie I am sure . . . anything less then 110psi feels flat.

I will go 40 and see what I think. This is all part of the fun - try new things. Different tire pressures. Different shock air pressures, etc.
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Old 05-05-08, 08:29 PM   #14
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The trails I ride regularly ar loaded with roots. I weigh 210lbs and I run 45psi front and rear and it seems to work well for me.
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Old 05-05-08, 08:37 PM   #15
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Usually a lower pressure in the front is what I run .. my tires say 40 - 60 I run 35-40 in the front and 40-45 in the rear.. also a larger front tire. Try turing the bars more toward the root right as you hit it ... the worst that can happen is the front gets over and your rear tire buzzes down the root...
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Old 05-05-08, 08:40 PM   #16
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Usually a lower pressure in the front is what I run .. my tires say 40 - 60 I run 35-40 in the front and 40-45 in the rear.. also a larger front tire. Try turing the bars more toward the root right as you hit it ... the worst that can happen is the front gets over and your rear tire buzzes down the root...
Actually, my result was much worse than your worst that can happen. Some cuts, bruises and the wind knocked out of me . . .and some laughter by me.

In all seriousness - thanks for the advice. I went from a 1.95 to a 2.10 on front and back to go wider. How many folks ride a 2.3+ on the front?
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Old 05-05-08, 09:12 PM   #17
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I run 24psi front and 26psi rear... that's tubeless of course, so I don't have to worry about pinch flatting, but you should be able to get down into the 30's. You will be amazed at how much better your traction is (and how much more comfortable you are!)
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Old 05-05-08, 09:15 PM   #18
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I have considered going tubeless on my MTB . . . just not sure. Partially because I would want to get a second set of rims as I put on semi-slicks for urban riding a decent amount. I would think that kink of pressure would yield a lot of traction!

I am going to lower my and see what happens.
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Old 05-05-08, 10:28 PM   #19
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Okay, so I am fairly new to the MTB thing (a roadie at heart). I will always be somewhat limited by fear (just my nature) so it is not like I am bombing through the local trail at top speeds . . . but I am a decent rider and somewhat strong so I get around okay.

What is the deal with tree roots? I have had several near wrecks with them and today I went down hard. As in around a turn with tree roots slanting down (like opposite of a banked turn). Front tire slides out and down I go. I am fine, bike is fine, but these damn roots. Not wet or anything.

I know only practice makes me better - but any tips on roots? I ride with a guy that has little to no cycling experience and he goes over them like they are not there. Our tires are plenty similar . . . bike are both hardtails - mine a decent bit lighter but maybe a higher flex shock, our weight is similar and we ride about the same speed.
just pedal faster!
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Old 05-05-08, 10:29 PM   #20
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I have considered going tubeless on my MTB . . . just not sure. Partially because I would want to get a second set of rims as I put on semi-slicks for urban riding a decent amount. I would think that kink of pressure would yield a lot of traction!

I am going to lower my and see what happens.
tubeless aren't all they're cracked up to be...and this time i am not joking around

mx
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Old 05-05-08, 11:04 PM   #21
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Actually, my result was much worse than your worst that can happen. Some cuts, bruises and the wind knocked out of me . . .and some laughter by me.

In all seriousness - thanks for the advice. I went from a 1.95 to a 2.10 on front and back to go wider. How many folks ride a 2.3+ on the front?
I hear ya on the whole roadie "max pressure" thing. On the road I run 120+ psi for commuting and long rides. On the mtn bikes, I rarely exceed 40 psi, especially since most good-quality tires have some sort of anti-snakebite feature. I ride with a 2.3 in the front and rear on the full-suspension bike, and 2.3 front/2.1 rear on the rigid SS. The wider tread makes a surprisingly big difference to cornering, especially on looser dirt, roots and scree. For a hardtail, I would not hesitate to run a 2.3 in the front to enhance traction.
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Old 05-05-08, 11:20 PM   #22
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Like others have said, try lowering your pressure for sure. It depends ona lot fo factors of course, but I'd be running in the low 30s in front, or lower, and maybe mid 30s in back My rule for off-road riding tends to be to run the absolute lowest pressure I think I can get away with.

My problem was the opposite of yours. A few years ago when I started riding road after having been mostly into mountain biking I thought 70-80 PSI was ridiculously high, and kept wondering why I was getting pinch flats.
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Old 05-05-08, 11:45 PM   #23
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I've heard Tinker Juarez runs his tires at 65 or 70 psi. Something rediculous. Differnt strokes for different folks I suppose. Most likely Tinker is just a whole different breed of animal.
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Old 05-06-08, 06:44 AM   #24
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Practice makes perfect here. It takes a little experience to learn what your tires are going to do when they hit different roots at different angles. It's usually a good idea to take roots as perpendicular as possible, but when that isn't an option then being read for what the bike will do is a good thing.
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Old 05-06-08, 06:54 AM   #25
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The bottom line is that riding technical stuff requires practice and some skill. You'll get better over time. The times you crash will work as negative reinforcement so you will not make the same mistake twice. Don't ask me how I know.

Good luck!

... Brad
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