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Old 05-25-09, 08:05 PM   #1
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Taken for granted...techniques for new riders.

I was out riding the Komodo at the Mansion today. (which really RAWKED my world) I noticed a few things that I take for granted. I've been riding for a while, but I feel sometimes a nooblet may not even think about these little techniques that could help them progress and enrich their trail time. Most of this spawns from riding behind a noob or non-skilled hack and cringing when I watch them pick a line or treat their bike like a personal Sherman Tank and plow through something w/o finesse.


1. When I cross a wet root, wet fencepost/water-bar, or wet rock that crosses the trail...I hit it at 90 degrees. I watched a guy the other day hit a wet root at about 70 degrees and his back wheel slid out from under him.

2. In a similar sense...when I do a technical climb with rocks and roots, I slightly lunge my body up and forward (sometimes not even noticeable...just shifting weight) so my momentum carries me past the obstacle therefore I don't rely on the traction so much from my rear tire to push me through/over a small techy obstacle.

3. When I approach what looks like several roots, a rock garden, or the like...just as my front tire reaches the first obstacle, I use the "bounce" off that obstacle to help propel my bike up and over everything else.

4. When I get to a little dip or chute in the trail...I try to pump the transition to propel me forward. (think 'half pipe' on a skateboard)

5. I always wear a "doo rag". I fold over (upward) the bottom edge (above my ears, eyes, etc...) about 1/2" or so as to create a gutter to channel the sweat back away from my eyes.

6. When I do a drop in the trail, no matter how small, I manual off it so that my tires either hit the bottom side simultaneously or rear first.

7. When I take a fast turn, I push down on my bars so I have traction "where it counts".

8. When I am in "sit'n'spin" mode and decide to "stand'n'honk"...I always shift up 2 gears b/c my standing cadence is slower than my seated cadence. Just the opposite when I'm standing and I need to take a break...I downshift 2 gears so I can keep up the RPM's.

9. When I get to a medium size hole, small crossing, or edge where the trail raises up on the far side...I almost always either manual or lift the front end up and try to let the rear tire follow the contour of the trail until it reaches the "up side". Then I push forward and shift my weight so my rear wheel doesn't take the brunt.

10. When I get to a fair size bump...I either hop it or p/u the front end and then "rock forward" taking all the weight off my rear wheel so it will roll over it w/o too much blunt force smacking the wheel. I have watched so many dudes just hack into a log and wonder why their rear wheel is bent. Heck...I watch people cross logs w/o even standing up

11. 95% of the time, I have my index fingers over my brake levers...ready to grab 'em.

12. I usually coast with my cranks parallel to the ground (even through a turn) until I really decide to "G" the turn and push into it. Then I always put my outside foot down and push into the turn with my foot to gain traction...trying to keep my body fairly straight up'and'down and letting the bike lean into it.

13. When I'm pedaling through rocks or junk sticking up...I am mindful of where my pedals will be coming down as I spin. If I feel my pedal will be coming down at an obstacle, I will give my crankset a little "1/2 rotation" sorta "ratchet action pedal" so I still have momentum, but now my pedal will come down beyond that rock or root.

14. I always brake harder with the front. (duh) Almost to the point that I lean into it and nearly do a stoppie into a turn.

15. When I have a long climb (paved or gravel road type) in addition to locking out the fork, I move my grip out to the very ends of my grips to gain leverage over the climb.

16. When downshifting up-hill, I pedal hard to "surge" forward--then soft-pedal as I shift to the easier gear--then put the power back down after the chain has dropped into gear. I know, it seems like a no-brainer...but dadgum I've seen/listened to some nasty crap out of desperation.

17. Tight techy turns (switchbacks) work really well for me when I allow my front tire to follow the outside of the turn...even if it's the top of a berm.

18. Slow, technical climbing...I pay more attn to where my rear tire is than the front.

Last edited by ed; 10-14-11 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 05-25-09, 08:19 PM   #2
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yeah, I don't consider myself an expert, but I can spot some noobs on a trail.. they never have the proper momentum or brake before small obsticals and you can see them getting bucked around.

also on switchbacks they seem to take the sucker line on the inside and can't turn sharp enough where they should take the most outside line or if you blow the entrance do a kick turn.
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Old 05-25-09, 08:22 PM   #3
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Ed-

That's actually a nice primer for beginning MTB skills as well as confirming what we need to do as 'experienced' riders.

Yup. a lot of that stuff I really don't think about anymore, ingrained in the old 'cellular memory'.

It just goes to show that MTB riding various obstacles/situations takes a lot more than madly pedaling/flailing harder/faster. As you describe, lots of finesse and body English.
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Old 05-25-09, 08:34 PM   #4
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Very helpful tips, chelboed. Thank you for this.

Hey....what's this sticky stuff all over my fingers?
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Old 05-25-09, 08:37 PM   #5
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I'm not in any way an authority on MTB technique...I'd have to be daft to think it's worthy of a Hunny-Job.
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Old 05-25-09, 08:52 PM   #6
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Couple of comments/clarifications:

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Originally Posted by chelboed View Post
6. Any time I do a drop in the trail, no matter how small, I manual off it so that my tires either hit the bottom side simultaneously or rear first.
Manual or pop off a drop is good, but rear wheel first usually isn't a good thing - depending on the drop. Rear wheel landing on a steep tranny = potential disaster. Better off the put the front wheel down first - it's generally faster, smoother, and you're in control of the bike sooner.

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14. I always brake harder with the front. (duh) Almost to the point that I lean into it and nearly do a stoppie into a turn.
Braking front or rear really depends on what you are trying to achieve. I don't always brake harder with the front and some cases can be a disaster (mud, loose shale/rock, etc). And on long sustained/flowy DH runs, I rarely use the front, just the rear to scrub/control speed.

And don't brake into a turn, do all of your braking before turns.
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Old 05-25-09, 08:58 PM   #7
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Maybe someday these noobs will be in your experienced shoes one day saying the same thing. Everyone gotta start somewhere and learn everything as they go.
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Old 05-25-09, 09:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Hey....what's this sticky stuff all over my fingers?
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I'm not in any way an authority on MTB technique...I'd have to be daft to think it's worthy of a Hunny-Job.
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Couple of comments/clarifications:

Manual or pop off a drop is good, but rear wheel first usually isn't a good thing - depending on the drop. Rear wheel landing on a steep tranny = potential disaster. Better off the put the front wheel down first - it's generally faster, smoother, and you're in control of the bike sooner.

Braking front or rear really depends on what you are trying to achieve. I don't always brake harder with the front and some cases can be a disaster (mud, loose shale/rock, etc). And on long sustained/flowy DH runs, I rarely use the front, just the rear to scrub/control speed.

And don't brake into a turn, do all of your braking before turns.

Hahahaha...I rest my case, Siu. But it is rather audacious of me to think that this thread won't spawn "the right advice" especially if it counters my own. It may be a good sticky after all.


...and yah Never...I alter my braking when in mud or if the terrain dictates. See? Still taking it for granted, even now.
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Old 05-25-09, 09:09 PM   #9
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Project Hunny-Job complete...as per Siu's suggestion. See how it goes, I guess.
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Old 05-25-09, 09:18 PM   #10
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Very helpful tips, chelboed. Thank you for this.

Hey....what's this sticky stuff all over my fingers?
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Old 05-25-09, 09:48 PM   #11
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on the above comment on how to do drops, about the front or rear wheel first vs front wheel first, kinda also depents on if its a drop to flat or not (at least in my experiance)

also a point on number 7, about turns, i often find myself leaning back more to get around a tight turn, well actually often entering a turn more foward and shifting back to get through the turn, but to equate it to a car and drifting, your fwd ricer cars with the weight distribution foward will brake free in the front first, while a rwd car with a more even weight distribution will brake free in the rear first, so shouldn't putting your weight foward actually cause the front to slide more, somthin about momentum and stuff, cause do to science and crap the amount of xtra friction u get from weight is canceled out by the xtra force of your weight. I'm sure what ur doin is right chel, just prolly more complicated than simlply leaning foward,

IDK it just kinda got me thinkin
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Old 05-25-09, 09:55 PM   #12
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another tip taken for granted... when crossing narrow bridges, don't look at your front wheel look ahead at where the bridge goes.. this way you will go straight. never thought much of this until they painted the parking lot at the trail head and I tried the white line test.

if your on the side of a hill.. dismount to the uphill direction.. this tip borders on common sense, but I've seen folks go down this way or get personal with their top tube..

also momentum is the key on up hill small logs or medium rocks. pedal hard before you get there then stop pedaling get the front wheel over and then pedal again to avoid pedal/ foot strikes..

mountain riding is like a chess game you have to think several moves ahead,

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Old 05-26-09, 02:48 AM   #13
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Here's my dumbed down replacement for all that technical jargon: "lean back and close your eyes."

Good stuff, man.
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Old 05-26-09, 07:09 AM   #14
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18. Tech climbing/descending/coasting...I pay more attn to where my rear tire is than the front.
Really? I've found that if you can get the front wheel through a technical section, the rear will generally follow on its own.
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Old 05-26-09, 07:19 AM   #15
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It's just what works for me.
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Old 05-26-09, 12:11 PM   #16
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Well, it's good to know that almost everything I do, Other people do as well, so I guess I'm not a COMPLETE hack
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Old 05-26-09, 12:17 PM   #17
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Better to be an incomplete hack?
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Old 05-26-09, 01:42 PM   #18
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^ lol, one thing i do that i have seena couple friends complain about is letting your arms take some of the impact when going down things. you have your front shot and your elbow shocks if you will.

good stuff though, all these stickys are starting to look like the vintage forum.
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Old 05-26-09, 01:44 PM   #19
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Yah...thus I was hesitant to stick it...and still unsure.
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Old 05-26-09, 01:51 PM   #20
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i think it will work either way, when people notice little things while riding they will dig this up and add if it is not stuck. If it is stuck, no problem.
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Old 05-26-09, 02:15 PM   #21
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Quote:
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I
9. When I get to a medium size hole, small crossing, or edge where the trail raises up on the far side...I almost always either manual or lift the front end up and try to let the rear tire follow the contour of the trail until it reaches the "up side". Then I push forward and shift my weight so my rear wheel doesn't take the brunt..
Manualing dips in the trail like that (IE small trail drainage ditches or creek crossings) has probably made the biggest difference in my ability to carry speed on the trail. And it feels amazing. Also, same thing, with some light lifting of the rear wheel, works quite well for small rises (little humps less than half the hight of a wheel).
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Old 05-26-09, 02:19 PM   #22
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Really? I've found that if you can get the front wheel through a technical section, the rear will generally follow on its own.
I guess different things work for different people. I used to rely on the front wheel to get me through, but then when I started to think more about the rear wheel, I was clearing stuff I never could in the past. And I had far fewer pinch flats.
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Old 05-26-09, 04:46 PM   #23
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oops

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Old 05-26-09, 04:48 PM   #24
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good work Chelboed (I had given up on you after the 'I don't like to get my bicycle dirty' comment)

seriously, my learning curve has improved in trail riding since reading some issues of MBA and threads like this, mucho appreciated.

my current struggle is keeping my eyes down the trail and not focusing on my front wheel. When my eyes are looking past the next 2-3 obstacles my bike flows thru the trak as opposed to looking at the front wheel, I'm slower and get hung up on second guessing what line to take...
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Old 05-26-09, 05:07 PM   #25
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I guess different things work for different people. I used to rely on the front wheel to get me through, but then when I started to think more about the rear wheel, I was clearing stuff I never could in the past. And I had far fewer pinch flats.
I'm not talking high speed crap on that one...for the most part it's slow technical riding where tight turns equal the front and rear wheels taking different paths. The rear takes the inside line on sharper turns. Nice, leaning, fast, swoopy turns...yeah...the frt/rear will be in the same track.

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good work Chelboed (I had given up on you after the 'I don't like to get my bicycle dirty' comment)
Aaaah crap man...I get my bike caked in the brown nasty spooge. I don't like it, but I'm not gonna let it keep me from having a good time.
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