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  1. #151
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    Tx for the OP and for all the other educational and/or entertaining posts in this thread. I'm an old fart returning to riding after a long hiatus. I used to tour in Yurp a bit in the 60s and 70s, did some road riding in Connecticut more recently but now I'm in sunny SoCal and want to hit some of those lovely trails I keep seeing - including the 40+ miles of trail in my own San Diego development.

    I had a MTB about 10 yrs ago but it was stolen out of my garage before I used it much. Now I have a shiny new one (Trek Marlin). The many tips here are helpful, some reminding me what I already knew, others not so much. I've never done the radical stuff and prolly never will but it's always good to think about these things - disciplines the mind.

    hmmm, speaking of blasting through: so in most cases riding a big log or small rock on a MTB isn't exactly like preparing to hit a large object on the freeway while cruising at 70 on the GoldWing or Suzuki Gixxer? (never done it but have mentally prepared for this survival strategy) In part it is I suppose (lean back and unweight the front wheel some before the hit) but on the MTB the idea would be to then unweight the rear wheel when you're sorda planted on the front, right? Or just hop over the thing I suppose, which I don't see myself doing for a while yet - prolly end up in a ditch ...... On the 'Wing the thing to do is keep the bodyweight back (while standing of course) and take the hit while busting through the obstacle and hanging on for dear life as the tire shreds etc etc - you sure aren't gonna pick up those 650 lbs much but those massive wheels give you great inertial stability.

    But I digress. I'm looking forward to a brand new cycling experience to see me through my dotage. Some of my best memories of Yurpeen vacations have been on the Dawes (Yorkshire, Somerset, Oxon etc) or the Jack Hearne tandem (Brittany, Normandy). People are so much friendlier when you show up on a bicycle, even the French ..... I'm hoping to be making some new memories here in SoCal.

    Keep it up guys and gals.

    p.s. no offense but here in CA I feel much safer on the streets astride an 1800 opposed 6 or a 1500 V-twin than on a road bike that I can lift with 2 fingers. Maybe I'm just getting old but the further off the tarmac the better for me on a bicycle. YMMV.
    Last edited by ChasH; 08-27-11 at 05:36 PM.

  2. #152
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    p.p.s. ...... ed: the Marlin has a Suntour fork. Did I goof?
    Last edited by ChasH; 08-27-11 at 05:37 PM.

  3. #153
    Recently Addicted cleon's Avatar
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    Nice summary! As an advanced newb, I get about 2/3s of these right, and picked up some tips on the other 1/3 that I'll try out on my next ride.
    2011 Gunnar Sport, 2008 Trek Fuel EX 8, 1998 Cannondale F500

  4. #154
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    OK so as a still-fairly-noob MBer, what's the best technique to get up a short but very steep section of loose gravel/dirt on the trail without spinning the rear wheel and coming to a complete stop (wide knobbly tires)? Not through lack of torque, through lack of traction.

    This would be when it's too steep for me to climb without standing on the pedals (stronger legs will come with time ....). I suppose I could try using a higher gear, ideally the highest one that should get me up the slope but that can be difficult to judge. Never had this problem on the road and I used to be into hill-climbing ....

    Or do I just forget it, dismount and take the walk of shame?
    Last edited by ChasH; 10-18-11 at 12:36 PM.

  5. #155
    Iconoclast rat fink's Avatar
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    First, try to find a line compromise that doesn't go through the softest or loosest part of the trail/hill, or require you to make a lot of corrections. You have to move your center of gravity back until the spinning stops. On steep climbs, weight distribution is key I find that I tend to dance a little trying to find the best balance of traction front to back (which changes as you move). You need to have enough weight forward to turn the bike and keep it on course, but you probably can get away with putting most of the weight on the back wheel on straight climbs. On more technical climbs however you will want to get more weight on the front wheel so that you don't wheelie off course. be sure to bend your elbows.
    Last edited by rat fink; 10-18-11 at 12:57 PM.
    "Winning is the best deodorant. Someone can look at your bike and say it stinks, but if you win with it, suddenly it's okay." - Jim Busby

  6. #156
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    Thanks, that makes sense. I'll experiment with shifting my weight - shows I've got a lot to learn.

    Trust me I'm not talking highly technical here - these steep slippery slopes are inside the development where I live ..
    [but they really are steep]

    No chance of compromising the line in this case - impassable terraine on either side of a narrow trail. You just have to go for it, which I rather like. Makes it interesting.

  7. #157
    Iconoclast rat fink's Avatar
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    A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. I still get a smile when I successfully clear a steep or otherwise challenging climb. I've climbed some very steep roads on a roads on a road bike, but those are more about strength. Off road climbs are more zen.
    Last edited by rat fink; 10-18-11 at 11:44 PM.
    "Winning is the best deodorant. Someone can look at your bike and say it stinks, but if you win with it, suddenly it's okay." - Jim Busby

  8. #158
    Recently Addicted cleon's Avatar
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    I am a little dissapointed there were not tips on where to pop open a beer bottle cap on the bike.
    2011 Gunnar Sport, 2008 Trek Fuel EX 8, 1998 Cannondale F500

  9. #159
    Iconoclast rat fink's Avatar
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    You have to have a Santa Cruz for that.
    "Winning is the best deodorant. Someone can look at your bike and say it stinks, but if you win with it, suddenly it's okay." - Jim Busby

  10. #160
    Redheaded Stepchild samburger's Avatar
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    Use the underside of the seat to pry the top off
    just a n00b with an ego

  11. #161
    Iconoclast rat fink's Avatar
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    I wonder if it could work on the underside of the cassette.
    "Winning is the best deodorant. Someone can look at your bike and say it stinks, but if you win with it, suddenly it's okay." - Jim Busby

  12. #162
    In search of moar cowbell dminor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rat fink View Post
    You have to have a Santa Cruz for that.
    Not true . . .





    Last edited by dminor; 10-19-11 at 11:09 AM.

  13. #163
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    Quote Originally Posted by rat fink View Post
    A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. I still get a smile when I successfully clear a steep or otherwise challenging climb. I've climbed some very steep roads on a roads on a road bike, but those are more about strength. Off road climbs are more zen.
    After I regain consciousness following the blow to the back of the head on trying the rear-weighting approach you recommended earlier, I'll switching to the zen method and see what that does for me.

    Yes, in my road touring days of old, steep hill climbs were among the most pleasurable and memorable things about cycling. That's one reason why I'd recommend Yorkshire as a cycling destination. The beer being the other reason of course - not the stuff you carry with you, the flat stuff you find in the local pub. Your descent from each Fell will be amply rewarded when you get to the bottom of the next Dale.
    Last edited by ChasH; 10-19-11 at 01:32 PM.

  14. #164
    Ho-Jahm Hocam's Avatar
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    "Heavy feet, light hands"

    I always think this when getting out of the saddle on a steep technical climb. It's really easy to put too much weight on your bars, you should be barely pressing on them to keep the front wheel from lifting.

    This also works well on downhills to prevent endo's.
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  15. #165
    L-time Cat4 & proud of it
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    To get up steep stuff you have to 'row' the bike to keep the back wheel planted. If you're sitting, put your nose down to the stem and scoot WAY forward on the seat. 'Row' back and down in time with your pedal strokes to keep the rear wheel planted.

    Standing its the same deal but you need to manage fore/aft to keep the front wheel on the ground too.

    HTH

    M

  16. #166
    ed
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    I have no idea what you're saying, Gummee.

  17. #167
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    Great thread.

    I went on my first mountain bike trail today and had a few questions. I have a 2011 WSD Mamba 29er and was told trail x was "easy" when I showed up at the state park. I headed over once I got going realized this was not even close to "easy". I know enough to be dangerous from some reading books and kept going since I was determined to do this before winter closes in and I can't get out. I hated going alone, but no one rides and my DH was at work. I also realized that is really isn't a bike trail, it's a mess. Nebraska must not have had time/money to clear the trail because they've been dealing with flooding issues.

    The trail has one long deep rut down the center filled with wet leaves and steep (not steep because I've never done it) descents. It didn't help that several trees had fallen over (big enough I couldn't just go over it) down those descents making it unsafe in places.

    So..about descending? I realized that I'm not scared of going down a hill once I did some, but if you hit that rut at the wrong angle, I knew I'd go flying over the bike being so inexperienced. If there was a tree in the middle that made a descent even harder bringing you to walk/slide the bike down. What's the best way to go down hills with ruts in the middle of them? I pretty much slid down braking lightly so I wouldn't skid or flip over the bike and kept looking at where I want to go, not at what I hope to miss, but there were some close calls.

    Then it brings me to this question. 29ers go up hills like butter, but going down them took more effort at stability and turns. A 26 inch mountain bike would be perfect for the tight turns and down hills but it would be a pain to get up a hill. I was looking at some full suspension 26 inch bikes at the LBS but after putting money on my 29er I really can't buy one. I know it's personal preference, but would a 26 inch bike work better for me? I was looking at a Trek Evo 7 and a Specialized full suspension bike but can't remember what it was. It's black and gold.

    I also realized that I couldn't get my fork to work for me. I was bouncing up/down like crazy despite working with it. I wondered if it's because I have a WSD and Trek assumed lighter girls would ride them instead of me and the fork is useless with my weight. Now I know why the higher end forks are so much better for mountain biking.

    I had a great time despite only making it 1.5 miles. I just got sick of lugging my bike over the dang trees and rode back to my car. I came to ride, not walk my bike.

  18. #168
    Senior Member Bikedued's Avatar
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    I have found that at my local state park, if volunteers(aka: riders) don't clear the trails, no one will. I wonder if anyone who works for the park even comes out of the office. I've never seen them leave, but whatever. I feel your pain.,,,,BD


    I've never felt my 26" was a pain to get up hills, especially with a bailout gear of 22/35 I've never climbed a 29", or ridden one downhill for that matter. I am kind of drooling on a green/black/white Carve, but that's as close as I've gotten.
    Last edited by Bikedued; 11-04-11 at 07:12 AM.
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  19. #169
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    Looks like what I went through were more horse trails explaining the condition of the trails after asking a few friends. I may have to go back another time and try some other trails of the park. Still sucks about the large trees laying across the trail I went through.

    I'd take my DH's 26 full suspension bike for a trial run if I knew he wouldn't be really upset. If you ever hit up Southeast Nebraska for the Indian Caves State Park you'll have plenty of technical trails mixed in with horse trails. There isn't anything flat about these trails as it's up or down making for a good ride and the fall scenery was fanstastic.

  20. #170
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    DH=dumb husband?

    Don't worry so much about the whole 26 vs 29 thing, the differences are way too subtle when you're just starting out.

    Your fork sounds like it has too much rebound, if there's a knob on top of one of the stanchions try turning it and pressing down/up on the fork. Alternatively, get a shock pump and lower the pressure. Your LBS should be able to help too. They should have better trail suggestions too if any of the mechanics/salespeople mountain bike locally.

    The best way to deal with ruts is ride above them and bunny hop over them if you need to cross one. Bunny hopping takes some practice though.
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  21. #171
    Senior Member tanguy frame's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunset1123 View Post
    Lao Tzu, the Great Mountain Biking Sage sez:

    The trail flows on without end. Flow. Riding without fear is the way of the trail. Neither braking nor accelerating to excess, both occur naturally. Relax. Fingers float where they may, they cannot cause a crash. Only mind can cause a crash. Calm down. One cannot seek to master the brakes by subduing the levers. Subdue the mind. Tires roll, rocks crunch, turn, pedal, breathe. Infinite shades of faster and slower; man, machine, and terrain have become one.

    poetry!
    -Tanguy Frame

  22. #172
    Te mortuo heres tibi sim? scrublover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rat fink View Post
    You have to have a Santa Cruz for that.


    Ppppppffpththhffhhththtbbbbbt.





    I believe the clouds in my coffee more than the weatherman on t.v.

  23. #173
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    great tips ed, i am a new rider and am choosing between getting a mountain bike or a road bike. hmmmm.... a guy at my local bicycle shop said that once you get a road bike u never go back because he says the speed is addicting. but i really want a nice mountain bike cause i can ride it anywhere, i dont really want to be limited to the road with a road bike?

  24. #174
    ed
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    Quote Originally Posted by helicoptor View Post
    once you get a road bike u never go back
    You will hear the same thing about both sides. Some people do both and are addicted to both. Some people get a taste of MTB'ing and end up letting the roadie rot...and the vice. It's all in what you like. Myself? I feel the road is a mind numbing thing...but I'm really into the technical aspect of MTB'ing. I like riding off ledges, jumping things, hopping rocks...when I ride the road, I end up riding the road bike off curbs and things. I tend to be dumbfounded when I see a roadie on a busy, dangerous street with cars blasting by at 50mph when there's a perfectly good 6' wide sidewalk / bike path right there next to it.

    Nothing against roadies...I just don't understand them.

  25. #175
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    Technique question!!

    What if you're going fast and are approaching a jump/kicker/waterbar in the trail that's too high/sharp to roll, but you don't want to get too much air off it for control reasons? It looks like DH pros kind of "suck" their bike up into them to do it, but I wasn't sure. There are some trails around me that have kickers like that and if I'm going as fast as I want to go, hitting them like a normal jump could be disastrous.

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