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  1. #176
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    @helicoptor

    I started road, and now am about 80% MTB. I'd rather be in nature, and on a trail, than on the shoulder of a road with cars zipping by. Some rural roads are awesome, but I basically ride my road bike if I want a specific sort of workout, or if I want to go easier than is feasible on a mountain bike. It's hard in my area to do any MTB trails without getting your HR up.

  2. #177
    one less horse cryptid01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gumbytex View Post
    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.

    Pay particular attention 0:46 - 0:57



    also



    Knowing how to manual and bunny hop is a prerequisite for this maneuver. The front wheel needs to clear the takeoff transition (or nearly clear it, depending on the amount of fork travel you have available. As soon as your front wheel clears the lip, press down hard on the front end to keep your tires down and tracking. This will also rotate and lighten the rear of the bike to let it clear the lip without bucking you. Basically you're trying to get light on the takeoff side and pump down the backside.

  3. #178
    Redheaded Stepchild samburger's Avatar
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    ^Had a pro come to our local BMX track for a demo day way back when who spent a great deal of time on that one. Incredibly useful for rollers/rhythm sections in BMX...proven to be useless for my local MTB trail though.
    just a n00b with an ego

  4. #179
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    Tried it yesterday - SUPER helpful! There are some kickers/waterbars that are between 1' and 2' tall on one of my local trails (Shooters in SLO) and it totally helped me keep speed and be more in control to just hop them. Thanks!!

  5. #180
    Junior Member spohn's Avatar
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    I've only been riding for about a month. I've certainly improved a lot in that time, but my last ride I was actually getting frustrated a few times because I knew I wasn't doing something right but couldn't figure out what I should be doing. I started reading through this thread a while ago actually, but there's a lot of content. So for now, here are a few things in particular that I've been having trouble with.

    Speed. I went faster to make it over a log on my second run (had smaller logs on both sides to act as a bridge) and made it over real smooth. My first attempt was much slower, and I barely made it over. So, I understand that momentum helps a lot. But I don't feel safe hitting things at faster speeds yet. Yes, when I hit small obstacles with more momentum they're easier to tackle. But the problem is that while that one obstacle was smoother, I get shaky and in not great control at these speeds. I'm not comfortable going down the trails at the speeds "necessary" to properly navigate the obstacles.

    Braking. Relates to my speed issue above, but actually my problem is "panic braking." Until reading a bit, I assumed the back brake was preferred. This was because of my over-the-handle-bars experience as a young kid. But I began using and practicing just using the front brake and I do prefer it now--much more effective. But the problem is, panic braking on the front is pretty dangerous. How can I overcome/prevent myself from doing this? For example, yesterday I hit a small drop in the trails at a "fast" (not really) speed. Again, going faster made it much easier. But as soon as I landed I panicked and felt I was going way too fast for comfort. As soon as I landed, I grabbed the front break in panic and ended up flipping my bike. Obviously not a fun experience, and I'm lucky I wasn't hurt at all. I certainly don't want to do this again, so how can I prevent myself from getting into a panic like that? Would using just one finger on the brake help? I've been using two fingers, mostly because it feels more comfortable.


    Those two problems may just have to do with nerves and lack of experience. The last (main) thing that's given my trouble are steep technical climbs. Or even just steep climbs. How do I keep my back tire from spinning out? There's one section of the trail I've been riding that I've been working on, but still can't make it all the way up. It's a short climb that at about the half-way point gets steeper before hitting some roots and rocks. I usually can't even make it to the root section because my back tire is spinning out on me before that. I've tried different gears and different postures but can't figure it out. I've only made it to the root once, but I didn't take noticed of what I did differently that time. And even then, as soon as I got the front wheel up over the root my back wheel was spinning again.

  6. #181
    Senior Member Wolfvegas's Avatar
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    Why do you brake harder with the front?

  7. #182
    "I'm OK!" dminor's Avatar
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    Good questions, spohn.

    On braking: Stay back on the bike (over the rear wheel) a bit more and use both brakes. 'Feel' will come in time of how much of a handful (or lack of) you need to exert to haul yourself down comfortably; but staying back will help keep things balanced better if you do happen to grab too much front. BTW, good for you for being willing to use the front brake - - that's where the majority of your stopping power is after all. As you gain experience with drops and braking, you may find you can get away with riding those a bit more centerd in the cockpit but for now, exaggerate your hanging your fanny off the back of the saddle. You might try one-fingering the front, as you said, so that you can't get too much if you are still 'panic' reacting. I actually 'cover' (keeping a finger poised on each lever) my brakes most of the time. With your fingers at the ready, there's less of a tenedency to do the quick 'panic grab' that then leads to grabbing too much lever. Check these two pics to see what I mean:



    Even in the air, I'm covering the levers:



    More than anything, try to stay relaxed, look beyond your landing so that you'll hold your line and if you still find you ned to brake, stay back and brake after you've touched down.

    Climbing: The trick I've found that works best for me is to resist the urge to stand up when it gets real steep. This almost guarantees you'll shift to much weight over the bars, unweight the back end and spin out. Slide your butt up and perch youself on top of the nose of the saddle. It's uncomfortable and feels a bit goofy but it keeps some of your weight over the rear wheel for traction while weighting your upper body over the bars to help keep the front end down. It's an old full-supension climber's trick especially but it works for any bike.

  8. #183
    Senior Member Mexican Street Dog's Avatar
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    It has helped my braking to practice endos. Getting my rear wheel off the ground as far as I can and still be able to ease off the front brake and roll out, and keep pedaling. I like platform pedals of course, so I can run out OTB if I go a little too far. I am also looking for the balance point on my front, I can tell it's there but haven't found it yet.

  9. #184
    Velophile Epicus07's Avatar
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    Hey guys,

    I'm a roadie that recently switched to mountain biking. I've only been riding my local trails (XC) a few times but am starting to get more comfortable off road. I ride a 29er.

    I've been practicing doing wheelies in preparation for clearing obstacles etc. It's pretty hard but i've been making progress.
    Until i'm able to successfully lift my front end over big roots and rocks etc how do you recommend navigating them?
    I hate to just plow into them like a bull but that seems to be my best bet for now. Should i approach them slowly and try and lift the front or just hit them at a decent speed and brace for impact?
    The disadvantage I see in taking it too slow is losing momentum and having to jump out of my clipless pedals.

    What do you guys recommend?

    Thanks

    p.s. any tips for hitting loose stuff (leaves, pine needles etc) on turns? I washed out my front end the other day on this stuff and am wondering if i needed more weight over the front or less.
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  10. #185
    Ha ha ha ha ha giantcfr1's Avatar
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    I was told a couple of years ago on BF that MTB riders never put bar ends on riserbars, but it was never explained to me why. I currently don`t have them but I seem to feel like I would climb much better with them. My friends who are much better MTB rider than I use them to climb. What`s the go?

  11. #186
    ed
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    It just looks goofy. Risers are usually wider, giving you more leverage.

  12. #187
    Ha ha ha ha ha giantcfr1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ed View Post
    It just looks goofy. Risers are usually wider, giving you more leverage.
    Maybe I`ll resist for a few more rides and see how I go. If not I might have to tuck `it` between my legs and say I`m a girly girl.

  13. #188
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    I don't use bar ends on my mountain bike because I don't want anything on the handlebars that could catch branches that are close to the trail.

  14. #189
    Why not? EthanYQX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gumbytex View Post
    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.
    Scrubbing comes to mind. Dminor would be a good one to explain it but it's essentially leaning the bike over as you exit the lip. There's a lot of moto guys on here who probably have this down better than me.
    "It is not the critic who counts."

  15. #190
    ed
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    Quote Originally Posted by giantcfr1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ed View Post
    It just looks goofy. Risers are usually wider, giving you more leverage.
    Maybe I`ll resist for a few more rides and see how I go. If not I might have to tuck `it` between my legs and say I`m a girly girl.
    Bar end aren't girly at all. Just old school. I stopped using them back in 1996-97. They used to be a staple for everyone. I switched to a Scott Vertigo Hi Rise wide bar back then and have been using wide, hi rise bars ever since.

    That said, plenty of bar ends on riser bars out there. Just do what ya like.

  16. #191
    Ha ha ha ha ha giantcfr1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ed View Post
    Bar end aren't girly at all. Just old school. I stopped using them back in 1996-97. They used to be a staple for everyone. I switched to a Scott Vertigo Hi Rise wide bar back then and have been using wide, hi rise bars ever since.

    That said, plenty of bar ends on riser bars out there. Just do what ya like.
    Did it yesterday and it was bliss climbing.

    Last edited by giantcfr1; 07-23-12 at 08:58 AM.

  17. #192
    ed
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    Good on ya. Enjoy.

  18. #193
    Member TrebelC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunset1123 View Post
    Re: braking...Learn to use the middle fingers to brake. You have much more control with the thumb and index finger gripping the bar. Feels a little weird at first, and you have to be okay with giving everyone else on the trail the inverted bird.... but this method is best when you need to have control in technical sections and still cover the brakes.
    I agree 100%. I have been biking for roughly 2-3 years, not really seriously but the only braking technique I ever use is the middle finger constantly on the brake. I prefer to use my front brake rather than the back brake. I find it foolish to have more than one finger on a brake at a time. But hey, like others have said, it's only my opinion.

  19. #194
    Senior Member slowride454's Avatar
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    I have a few technique questions as well. I'm still learning the lingo here. Manual = Wheelie?

    I used to live on my bicycles until I turned 16. Now after 20 years I've jumped back in with both feet back in March. I bought a 29er HT and a road bike. I like both for different reasons. With the MTB I have to not think about anything but the trail. If you let your mind wander you get hurt. On the road bike you are out there getting miles under you with plenty of time to ponder life's problems. I like the scenery from both saddles.

    I have a serious bravery problem. When I was younger I was fearless, now a wife and son make me a little more cautious. I know confidence will come with time in the saddle, but what other things can I try in a "safe" environment? I've hit a few trees this season and did a spectacular OTB on a wet, greasy downhill. Both have slowed my bravery process. I recently did a XC race, I got passed by everyone. My fitness level and strength were not the problem(although I am still fat and weak). My bike handling and bravery were my problem. All of the old timers, other clydes, and women passed me pretty handily or pushed me hard in the single track until I screwed up and let them pass.

    Also I have a tendency to lock my rear brake and drag the rear tire down hills with roots and such, to keep the front end working. Is there a better way to control speed without resorting to rear brake lockup?

    What is a good way to gauge the distance between trees? I've been in the unfortunate position of having 2 paths and chose the one my handlebars did not fit through(it was the preferred line). I was pretty close to not being able to have any more children after that incident.

    This one applies to both bikes. When powering up hills how do you keep the front down without having to lay way over the handlebars? I've flipped over backwards on both bikes this summer as I pedaled up particularly steep sections. Would using a higher gear providing less torque multiplication be better? Or would the undue stress on the chain and knees not be worth it? Both times I flipped over I was in my lowest gear. 34/32 on the road bike and 22/34 on the MTB.

    Last one. How do I get the front suspension setup? I have a cheap Rock Shox Recon Silver TK fork. I do not trust the LBS where I bought the bike anymore. Long Story. The LBS where I bought my road bike is not well versed in MTB. and the other LBS in town just wants to sell stuff. Is there a video or something? I think I do not have enough droop left in the fork at ride height, even though I am a big fat pig.
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  20. #195
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    Ye gods...

    I'm getting back in the saddle after several years on my butt and more smokes than is good for me. I didn't feel all that great this morning, so I decided to skip my hilly 7-12mi route through the neighborhood and practice some bike handling drills instead: trackstands, manuals, and bunny hopping. I've never been good at any of them, but I used ta kinda sorta could. Not anymore.

    After that, I think I shoulda taken my morning ride instead. Wouldn't have kicked me arse as bad.
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  21. #196
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowride454 View Post
    I have a few technique questions as well. I'm still learning the lingo here. Manual = Wheelie?

    I have a serious bravery problem. When I was younger I was fearless, now a wife and son make me a little more cautious. I know confidence will come with time in the saddle, but what other things can I try in a "safe" environment? I've hit a few trees this season and did a spectacular OTB on a wet, greasy downhill. Both have slowed my bravery process. I recently did a XC race, I got passed by everyone. My fitness level and strength were not the problem(although I am still fat and weak). My bike handling and bravery were my problem. All of the old timers, other clydes, and women passed me pretty handily or pushed me hard in the single track until I screwed up and let them pass.

    Also I have a tendency to lock my rear brake and drag the rear tire down hills with roots and such, to keep the front end working. Is there a better way to control speed without resorting to rear brake lockup?
    Wheelie is when you're pedalling, manual is when you're just balancing.

    On the whole bravery thing I'm with you, I'm 41 years old, spent most of my life as a couch potato and don't like crashing at all. I think the key is to be able to relax, you'll ride better when you're relaxed. If you can't relax then the chances are you're either riding stuff that's too steep/technical or you're riding it too fast. I ride with a mate most of the time and he's very, very fast (pain in the rear end, he used to smoke and was always fitter than me and seems to live a charmed life, never crashes no matter how fast he hits stuff and when he does he just gets off the bike in mid air and finds somewhere soft to land) so I used to try to keep up with him or ride up front and be aware that he was all over me. Now he waits for me at the bottom of the downhills and as a result of letting myself go slower I'm getting faster and faster as I get more relaxed and don't push myself so hard.

    Oh the other thing is making sure that you're looking a long way down the trail and not at whatever is in front of you. You almost can't be looking far enough ahead. A lot of less confident riders track an obstacle all the way to the front wheel, then when they're over it they look up to find there is another one right in front of them. If I'm having a bad ride and I'm all over the place the first thing I do is tell myself to look further ahead.

    As far as braking is concerned even with the rear brake on your front shock will be compressed and the geometry of the bike will suck. Again part of this might be riding stuff that is too steep for you but it's most likely to be down to not looking far enough ahead and not picking your entry speed into a section. If you know the trail brake harder than you would before a steep bit, then get off the brakes as you get ride through it and as soon as you get to the next smooth bit slow right down again using both brakes. You'll find that you don't need to be that slow during the steep and rough stuff half as much as you think if you're off the brakes.

  22. #197
    "I'm OK!" dminor's Avatar
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    ^^ You just need to learn to cover your brakes better.

    Really, the more aggressively you ride, the more important proper covering becomes. The key is in reacting properly to the given situation, which usually means NOT grabbing for the brakes when the going gets sketchy. This is something that I find easier to regulate if I'm covering my levers; if you have to reach in a hurry, chances are you're going to grab for too much. Once you've trained those reactions, it becomes second nature and you won't wory about accidental braking no matter what you're doing - - in the air or planted on the ground:





    Last edited by dminor; 02-19-13 at 11:02 PM.

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    Here are a couple of things I havent seen mentioned:

    1) Bike selection. Most bikes you look at are cross country bikes, they are great climbers but more sketchy downhill. They are characterized by a head angle of 70-71 degrees (called steeper head angle). This means the front wheel is closer to the main triangle. This is good for climbing and faster handling. The next level of bike is a trail bike (68-69 degree head angle), the front wheel is moved forward like a chopper (called slacker head angle). Moving the front wheel forward means a lot more stability going down hills, but a little more difficulty climbing. I chose a trail bike (tallboy LT) because I wanted to feel safer going down hills and I was willing to take the hit on climbing. I can bomb down technical gnar that people who have been mtb many years more than me are hesitant to take. It isnt me, its the bike. With a slacker HA it is just much harder to endo

    Examples of XC bikes would be the specialized epic, where the stumpjumper FSR is more of a trail bike. The giant anthem is a XC bike and the trance is more of a trail bike.

    2) I read a bunch of people mention manual/wheelie drops. People implied that this means you have to pull up on the bars. A much easier (and I think more effective) way of hitting drops is to "huck" the drop. To do this you crouch into attack position then actually push your bars forward as you hit the drop. It is totally counterintuitive so i would say virtually impossible to discover on your own. There are plenty of youtube videos describing this. The advantage to this method is that it is much easier to get the timing right and you stay much more in control because you are not shifting your weight around. You will land with the rear wheel first or both wheels down at the same time. You can learn to huck drops in about 30 minutes of practice. I was doing 3-5 ft drops after just 30-40 practice hucks. This technique completely revolutionized my riding. It is hard to practice off curbs because they are a little short. But if you have rollers or small ledges on your trail instead of preloading and jumping, crouch and push your bars forward as your crest the roller.

    here is an example of a video which shows the technique
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBnarkUPxuo

    3) practice manuals, wheelies and bunnyhops on a 26" bike using platforms with pins and good flats like fivetens. It is much easier to learn them on a 26 than on a 29er because of the shorter wheelbase/chainstay length. For wheelies, pedaling as you lift the front up a grassy hill will pop your front up. Think about how light the front end gets when you try to climb a hill. Use that to your advantage to learn pop wheelies.


    4) When climbing, the nose of your seat should be in your a** crack. You can slide your butt backwards if you lose rear traction. A lot of times I shift my weight back as I start to crank the pedal to keep the rear from slipping, then shift forward as I finish the pedal stroke to keep the front end from hopping. You basically are sliding forward and backward in time with the pedal stroke. It may just be a matter of a few inches.

    5) When climbing use a higher gear than granny. You may think granny is easier, but a lot of times you put down too much change in power and so the wheel slips. If you practice riding in a higher gear you will naturally hit the hills faster, but will put the power down more evenly as you climb the hill.

    6) to build strength ride trails in a higher gear than you are used to. You will fail to clean things you used to, but you will build strength. On one trail there were 4 or 5 places that I would switch to 1-2 but now I can ride the entire trail in 2-2 or above. Experienced riders ride the entire trail in 2-4. Another benefit is that at the same cadence you will go faster.
    Last edited by goodmojo; 03-01-13 at 10:03 AM.

  24. #199
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    Quote Originally Posted by giantcfr1 View Post
    I was told a couple of years ago on BF that MTB riders never put bar ends on riserbars, but it was never explained to me why. I currently don`t have them but I seem to feel like I would climb much better with them. My friends who are much better MTB rider than I use them to climb. What`s the go?
    Every once in a while you will catch the tip of the bar on a tree. You can usually keep control, but if you had a bar end on it could catch the whole tree and stop you dead. My worst crashes are from hitting bars on trees at medium speed.

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    Hey Guys,

    Thanks to the good info on this forum I was able to get myself started on a nice Trek Wahoo 29er (can be seen in the shopping thread in this forum). I'm new to mountain biking as a sport but not new to bikes (raced BMX as a kid and owned a mountain bike which was basically just a hybrid).

    I'm looking to find the best resources/ information on courses of action for working on the fundamentals and fundamental tricks. I can bunny hop roughly 12 inches on flats very easily (thanks to bunny hopping being a strong suit of mine in my bmx days), I can wheelie a few rotations on basic trail terrain and a bit longer on smoother stuff (wheelie was never my strong suit, but I suspect I'll get better with practice), and can't manual worth a damn, although today was the first time I ever tried it.

    I found this article on manual-ing which I thought was very helpful.

    http://www.bikeskills.com/blog/bikes...s-joe-lawwill/

    So basically I'm looking for more stuff like this or sections of this forum or others or videos that do a good job of helping me figure out what I should be working on most and how to work on it. I read the FAQ and the beginners riding thread and found them both useful, but the FAQ stopped after bunny hop which I was disappointed about.

    Thanks in advance!

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