Chapter One: So you need a new bike, tips and suggestions
So you are looking for a bike for recreational duties and/or your toughest trail is a paved trail. A mountain bike may not be needed in this instance, but if you plan on eventually trying out here are some things to take note of.
1-You don't need a top level mountain bike, you will need something more simpler. First step, avoid full suspension at all costs. A hybrid may be more your needs, but if you want a mountain bike get a hardtail for your needs.
2- Now unless the bike is used, the fork on it will be nothing amazing, so don't think that you will be getting something amazing like a Manitou Sherman, Marzocchi Z1 or RockShox Sid or Pike. For your price range you will see a bunch of offerings with low end Manitou, low end rock shox, RST, SR Suntour, and N'sync. They are basic forks for non aggressive trails, perfect for a beginner.
3-Other than the fork the parts spec will be low end shimano or sram or in house parts. Again the level could be higher on a used bike, but those parts could be somewhat worn.
4-The geometry on the bike will be more of a relaxed stance, for a bike in this category you don't want a bike with a dirt jump geometry.
5-The tires will be of a xc level.
6-What is high end for a bmx bike price wise is low end for a mountain bike.
Part two, cross country.
So you are getting ready to step up from casual trails to a more xc like trails and you want to uprgade the bike as well. Obviously the sky is the limit, it just depends on how much you are willing to spend. Here are a few suggestions.
1-You want the bike to be light, and have as little pedal feedback as possible. For beginning out with cross country, a hardtail will be the best starting point again. A hardtail will help make you a smoother rider and find the best line.
2-Once some experience is there you can change to full suspension if you want. Generally the forks for xc are air sprung unless you are just entering, then the forks will be coil.
3-You don't want a bike that has 6" up for a xc bike.
4-Tires will be of a more aggressive design, you will see tire sizes for xc tires anywhere from 1.95-2.3.
5-XC geometry is about the same geometry as a road bike, I say about because the geometry for a mountain bike is a little smaller sizing wise.
Part three, trail bikes.
*Put trail bikes in there own category for obvious reasons.*
So you are getting out of recreational and feel you are ready for something between xc and freeriding. what you are looking for is a trail bike. A trail bike is burlier than a xc bike and way lighter than a freeride bike. Some things to look for.
1-Travel can be adjustable and can be anywhere from hardtail to 6 inches.
2-The tires will range from 2.1-2.5.
3-You will have a choice between coil and air.
4-Geometry will be a bit more agressive.
5-The bikes will be a bit more heavier than a xc bike.
Part four, Freeride
So, you are ready to jump into a very very aggressive style of bike. These are one of the big bike types in mountain biking. There are many schools of freeriding. You don't want a trail bike or a xc bike for these, they are not designed for it and you will void the warranty if you choose to freeride with a trail or xc bike. Will is a definate, not a possibility.
For masochistic person who is looking to launch off of stuff over 20 feet high. You will be looking for a full suspension bike that has at the most 8-10 inches of travel in the back and have the geometry to handle a fork that has up to a foot of travel. There aren't many companies around that makes a bike like this so you will most likely have to order one. Tires will be thick and the bike will weigh a ton, and will most likely pedal like a wet noodle.
For the people looking for a bike to launch off stuff up to a certain height. A freeride bike with 7-9 inches front and rear will be most suitable for you. They are still heavy but not as heavy as the big drop bikes are. You will want a tough parts spec and a tire width between 2.5-3.0 wheel size can be either 24 inches or 26 inches.
For those who are hardcore into a hard tail there are freeride hardtails out there.
For those who like jumping off of jumps a dirt jump bike is your peice of cake.
Generally dirt jump bikes are hardtails. You will see dirt jump bikes with front travel between 3 and 6 inches of travel. These bikes can also handle urban abuse. These hardtails don't havem the geometries or sizings of xc bikes and as a matter of fact are measured differently. Where in a xc sizing a 15.5 is a size small with a freeride hardtail a 15.5 is a medium. A small size for a dirt jump frame is a size 12. You will see tire sizes varying from 2.1-2.5. I run a 2.2(That measures as a 2.3 )and a 2.0(That measures out to be 2.1.) These bikes can be geared or SS/fixed gear. Usually if geared they will only have between 8 and 18 speeds. Again for me I have 9 speeds, running a single ring up front.
Part five, DH
So you have gotten into high speeds and going down hill. Some things to consider.
1-You will want a bike with 7-8 inches of travel, a hardtail like the Evil Imperial can be used for DH.
2-You will more than likely find a combination in tire size to work the best. Usually the magic number is a mix between a 2.7/8 on the front and a 2.5 in the back.
3-Alot of the DH Full Suspension bikes are good pedalers now.
4-DH bikes weigh in between Freeride and Trail bikes usually.
You will notice I left alot of the stuff in the freeride part as suggestions. Did this because so many aspects of it are blurred parts wise.
Chapter2: Buying a Bike Around The $500 Pricepoint
The bikes in this pricepoint) are solid entry level bikes that are intended to get people interested in the sport so that they can decide to
The #1 thing is "Does the bike FEEL right?" components are a secondary concern (You really don't want ***** components but it's still not as important as feel.) It's my opinion that buying a bike is 80% FEEL and 20% everything else.
Go To A Real LBS
My suggestion is to go to a REAL bike shop were bikes are the MAIN business (not Sports Authority and the like) and see what they have to offer. Even a used bike would be a better choice than those boat anchors sold at Sports Authority X-mart and the like.
NEWBIES SHOULD NEVER BUY A BIKE ONLINE EVER!
That sums it up perfectly in my opinion.
For example: Alivio vs Deore. It's a slight difference it's not like going Alivio to LX or XT but to a newbie I doubt that you'll notice a difference. Also remember the fact that the rear dérailleur does most of the work and has more parts in motion at any given time as compared to the front so a notch up in the rear is fairly common at any price point. Case in point my Rockhopper Comp FSR came with a Deore front an a LX rear.
Another thing to consider is the fact that an upgrade at this pricepoint can be reletivley cheap if you go up only a couple levels.
Weight (Racing Purposes):
Honestly all of the bikes at the $500 mark (hardtails) are going to weigh in fairly close to each other. You won't get to the light stuff untill you start looking at better equiped racing models which are normally double (or more) the pricepoint you have in mind.
This should help explain W omen S pecific D esign http://www.teamestrogen.com/wsdBikes.asp
Personally, ]I'd rather have a decent set of V- brakes than a cheap set of discs. It's my opinion that disc brakes on a $500 bike are nothing but a marketing gimmick.. Disc brakes can always be added on later if you decide you need them, but the average Joe just starting out doesn't need them.
Plus if you pay attention to specs between a disc version and a non-disc the non-disc will typically have better driveline components and or fork than the disc. In order to pay for the disc components other components MUST be cheaper to remain at the same price point
In short: Discs are great for the all weather properties and for extra stopping power but it does no good when the rest of your bike sucks.
Good suspension bikes start at around $1000. At the $500 price point you're MUCH better off getting a hardtail.
With a FS bike there are more (expensive) things to go wrong especially on a low end model such as those suggested by the pricepoint. Bikes such as the Discovery 1 or the Y-26 can't handle the kind of abuse inherent in more technical riding nor will they make a good "ride with the family" bike as the suspensions systems of both will eat large amounts of energy due to suspension bob.
A suspension bike isn't going to do ANYTHING to prevent knee / wrist injuries caused by jumping as most of them are caused by crashing / falling off the bike rather than landing correctly.
One last thing the reason a GOOD full suspension bike starts at around $1000 this is due to the better shocks and all around better designs.
Car Branded bikes
Anytime you see Jeep, Honda (except the new DH bike which the average Joe can't buy yet), or Hummer RUN AWAY
The main contributor for chapter two is Raiyn.
Chapter 3: Wheels and Tires
These are the most important parts next to the frame and fork. Selecting the set of wheels and tires you want will have a major effect on how your bike will handle and how it can effect the geometry of a bike. Remember, not all wheels and tires are designed for everything. There are categories of wheels and tires as well.
The wheels will either be 26" or 29"
They will be either V or disc brake only.
The tires will vary from 1.9 to 2.3.
There will be condition specific tires and all terrain tires.
The majority of wheels and tires will be 26" although there will be a very limited number of 29" wheels and tires available for this specification
These wheelsets will be disc.
Tire width will be between 2.1-2.5
The selection here will vary between 24" and 26"
These rims will be wider than a trail or xc rim.
The wheels will be disc brakes.
Tire widths will be between 2.3 and 3.0/4.0
Again condition specific tread on these and general condion treads.
(More will be added tomorrow.)
(edit by chelboed)
For recommended tire pressures, you must consider your weight / terrain / tire size / riding style.
Read this thread for a discussion on tire pressure.
Chapter 4: The fork(s) buying guide. Version 5.0
Each company makes something for your need. It's finding the fork that best fits your preferences that is in your comfort zone financially. If you broke the fork on your bike and need a fork and you are low on money, manitou, marzocchi and rockshox make decent entry level forks or you could buy a used fork that is in good shape for cheap. If you want a new fork and you are low on money, save up money for a good fork. If you have a lot of money and need/want a new fork, well, the sky is the limit. Just remember to get a fork that will fit your riding style and the type of riding you do. For example, you don't want a Fox 40 RC2 on a Trek Fuel, just like you don't want a Rock Shox Sid on a Transition Blind Side. Longer travel forks will put a stress on the headtube of a bike that was designed for xc. A RS Sid on a stab supreme just looks stupid, and defeats the purpose of a downhill/freeride bike, plus puts a strain on the frame as well. For those of you in between DH/FR and cross country, about any SC fork will do that has 4-7" of travel, some of these SC will either have a 1_1/8" steerer or a 1.5 steerer or a 1.5 to 1_1/8" steerer tube, sadly for the 1" market the options are pretty much dried up and might be best off looking for a rigid fork. It's just finding a fork that is in your price range.
With today's standards and technologies, Air sprung forks can handle alot more than what they could a few years ago. Though not as plush as a coil sprung fork, the benefits of an air sprung fork are, lighter weight can fine tune sag to where you want it and no need to change springs out for weight of rider.
A bike designed around a 3" travel fork can't accept a 5-7" SC or DC, but can accept a 4" fork. A bike designed for a 7-10" DC can handle a 6-7" SC or DC. Most will be coil sprung, but there are a few out there now that are solely air sprung.
For those who are craving for a light, fork designed for XC. An air fork is right up your alley. Air forks are starting to show up on 4x rigs as well. Since 2002 the seals on air forks have improved by ten fold. They have no real need for a coil, and the adjustability of these forks are done by air pressure.
Since the first version of the fork buying guide, there has been a movement in the suspension fork industry called the Stable Platform Valve. What is a stable platform valve; it's basically an inertia valve designed to make the fork or rear shock to not respond to pedaling forces(AKA, make it ride like a Rigid) but will reaction to bumps, jumps, rocks, roots. This is big with Manitou, while Fox and Rock Shox and Marzocchi have their own variations of it.
Another trend is adjustable travel. All four of the major brands have their own version of travel adjustment, the two that are most known for it however is Rock Shox with their U-turn system and Fox Racing Shox with the Talas system. Manitou and Marzocchi have travel adjustment, it's just that Fox and Rock Shox has it down.
Generally, a short travel fork produces a quicker steering bike, longer forks produce a slower handling bike.
Travel lengths per discipline:
Cross Country: 3-4 inches(80mm-100mm)
All Mountain/Trail Bike: 3-6(80mm-150/160mm)
DJ/4x/DS: 3-5 inches(80mm-130mm)
Downhill/freeride: 6-8 inches(150/160mm-203mm)
To find a general price of this product. Ask your local lbs person or check http://mtbr.com.
Here are links to various companies that make Suspension Forks.
Companies that refurbish forks/modify them.
Part 5: Need a Brake?
Current brakes aren't stopping you; building a bike up from scratch? So you need a set of brakes, obviously you have a bunch of choices available to you. It just depends on how much you're willing to spend and what type of riding you will be doing in some cases.
You have 5 types of brakes:
*You primarily will only find canti's on cross bikes now.
**Are extinct on modern bikes, except on kids bikes.
Today, the most common brake systems are your V-brakes and your Disc brakes. Just like suspension forks, the performance improves as you spend more on the brakes. If you buy a cheap set of v's or discs expect them to perform well, how to say it kindly, like cheap brakes do, not too well. It's similar with really good brakes, they do their job very well. Just like the different types of brakes there are divisions between the v's and disc brakes. They are:
***Found on Trials Bikes
Hydro Disc Brakes
Mechanical Disc Brakes
What is the difference between Mechanical and Hydro systems?
Mechanical: Cable actuated.
Hydro:Fluid actuated, IE: DOT, Mineral Oil
Mechanicals are really easy to work on, but the problem there is that the good ones are rare and far inbetween you basically only have your Avid BB5's, BB7's Arch Rivals, etc., and your IRD Dual Bangers.
Hydros can be a bit messy to work on and can ruin a ride if a hydro cable gets punctured, but they offer a better modulation, a little more power, but can also suffer from brake fade is the brakes are used too heavily. The selection is also alot better for good hydro's, where you have your Hayes, Hope, Brembo, Formula, Avid, Shimano, Magura.
There are ways to get a mechanical system to have a closer feel of a hydro system, you just need something like Odyssey Slic Cable, Avid Flak Jackets, etc.
If you have a bike that predates disc brakes, but can handle a fork that can handle a disc brake a good combo for you would be a mechanical disc brake on the front and V's on the back since the rear brake is to slow you down and not for stopping, when the rear brake is used while at speed, it loses around 80% of it's stopping power.
If your bike even predates a disc compatible fork, you can go with the full v brake route. An adapter can be had, but they take away from the brakes overall performace.
If your bike can't handle V's, well, it's time to start looking for a new rig.
If your bike can handle v's or discs, you can go with either.
Just some more things to know and to be aware about:
-Hope Mono 6's and mono4's are overkill for cross country, but perfect for DH/FR applications.
-Manitous use different post mounts than Rock Shox, Marzocchi, Fox and Others do, so if you own a Manitou, and are going to be getting discs, you are going to need a different adapter.
-Disc brake rotors come in different sizes, so if you are going with an 8" rotor, you are going to need the adapter for that particular brake for the 8" size.
-8" Rotors are not necessary for XC use unless you are sporting a 29er, since 29ers produce more rotational force you're going to need a more powerful setup for the incresed rotational force.
-Avid Mechanicals and Hope Mini's are universal. Very popular cross country brakes, but are also very popular in the freeride scene(DJ and Street)
Shimano IRD Dual Banger
Chapter 6: Random Odds and Ends
Just a bunch of random things here, none of them really deserve a section of their own.
1 Chains are not equal. Ok, well, they are but you don't want to be throwing a SS chain onto a 9 speed bike, but you can easily use a 9 speed chain on a ss setup. Personally I prefer the 9 speed chain compared to the ss chain.
2A tooth brush makes a good small detail cleaning device.
3A multi directional tire still works the best if they are set to the front setting
4It is extremely easy to tear up a dual compound tire if you are an aggressive rider.
5A shorter stem opens up the operation area, a long stems closes.
6There is no standard to tire sizing.
7Temps in the 0-9 farenheight range can crack soft durometer tires.
8The Lefty Fork has bearings and was designed after the landing gear on a comercial jet plane.
Another thing that should probably be mentioned about air forks is that while some newer designs are being produced to handle heavier riders, the nature of most air based systems produces a progressive feel. While this can be tuned by the manufacturer, in general, if you're approaching the upper range of the amount of pressure needed for that shock, you will have a less than linear behaviour. This is why coil units are better for heavier riders and/or applications that see greater hit loading. So although an air shock may say that it can handle up to a 220 lbs rider weight, things may get a bit stiff and uncomfortable when those things are preloaded past 185lbs.
Chapter 7: How to become a smoother and faster rider.
Some will even make you hurt less right after or the day after.
First off, get your butt off the saddle, it will make a world of difference, it's easier on the knees and reduces tail bone pain. The only time one should be on the saddle is when on smooth xc or just riding on the road.
Second when on rough terrain or even on a relatively smooth surface, let your legs take the impact. Even if you have a full suspension bike, use your legs to take up some of the shock that impacts take, plus by standing and letting your legs take the shock, your equipment will last much longer.
Third loosen the death grip on the handlebars. Let the bike float over rougher terrain. Not so loose that you are just resting your hands on the handlebars. A good grip is like gripping a broom stick, loose but enough to to keep your hands on the stick. A good way to find out whether a grip is too tight is to practice on a tomato. Grip it too hard and it will squash, don't grip it, it will fall out of your hand and bruise on the floor, grip it just right, it wont squash or it won't slip out of your hand.
Fourth, never ever lock your elbows or wrists up that is just asking for an arm injury. Part of letting the bike float under you is to have your elbows loose and relaxed.
Fifth, let the bike go in the direction it is going. You can correct the direction after that technical section.
Sixth, chose what looks to be the smoothest line to take instead of the most direct sometimes the most direct line is undo able or is very slow. Most times the smoothest line will be longer, but will also be quicker.
Seventh, When going downhill get your butt over the rear wheel. This does not mean sit down on the saddle, when descending Always stand up while having your butt over the rear wheel.
Eighth, When climbing stay loose and stand on the pedals and hammer or you can be in the saddle(This is the one exception to the never sit down theory if the climb is smooth.) There is variables in the climbing stance most will try to finds a balance that won't lift the front wheel off the ground or wont cause the rear wheel to lose traction. Sometimes having the rear wheel spin while climbing is unavoidable because of loose terrain. When that happens just keep pedaling, it will be harder but in the proper stance you will get up that hill. If it is to the point where falling is unavoidable, get off the bike and walk up, there is no shame in that, we have all walked a bike up a tough hill from time to time.
Ninth, don't worry about the terrain on the trail you're going to be riding. Worrying about it will make you grip the bars tight tense up in the legs and in the elbow and wrists. It will also cause you to make more mistakes.
Tenth if you crash don't worry about it, crashing is part of the sport. Just go back and try that section again, try to select a different line through that section.
Eleventh: Do not watch your front wheel.
12, HAVE FUN.
13: Learn how to properly setup your suspension, i.e. preload, rebound and compression, for the type of riding you do most of the time.
Proper setup will make you think you are on a new bike and make riding a lot more fun. Although I do like watching someone hit a kicker with to much rebound, makes for good videos.
14:When riding fast through tight technical singletrack with a lot of turns, you need to turn your bike with your body, not by steering with the handlebars. Hard to describe, but you turn with your hips. IOW, if you're turning left, rotate your hips counter closewise. This will automatically shift your body weight and will help you carve much better.
(Contributors: A2psyklnut, Dirtbikedude, Maelstrom.)
Chapter 8: Getting to know yourself and your bike.
Yes, so you got a new bike, and think you can go at anything. Hold on before you land yourself in the hospital, you need to get a feel for the bike, and you need to evaluate yourself. No pro has just picked up a bike and was instantly a pro, they had to pay their dues. You have to know what your bike is designed for. Taking a bike like a stumpjumper and dirtjumping it is not a good combination at all, it cause premature wear on the frame and can cause it to break mid ride potentially causing injury. Yes, you can take a dirtjump bike and do trail riding or cross country and have it as a do all bike.* It makes a really good bike for aggressive trail riding and all, but isn't for everyone. You need to know the following with your new bike.
1)It isn't the bike that makes you a good rider, but it can help.
2)All bikes ride differently, even among the hardtails, it comes down to geometry.
3)Even if the bike is the correct size for you, the setup may need some tweaking to have it to your liking, can't improve if the setup is not to your liking. With this it is meant in regards to stem length, type of handlebars, and seat post height. Some people prefer being way up over the bars, and some just go with what is comfortable.
4)Your bike is not indestructable, things will break.
Now you need to know yourself and your limitations. Just don't get on the bike and go hit something you have never tried before. It can be mental and it can be physical, it's actually a combination of both. There is a bunch to be covered.
1)If you are afraid of getting hurt, then this sport is not for you. Injuries happen, you just have to accept what gets dealt to you.
2)Crashes happen, and sometimes you get injured in those crashed, in that case you just have to suck it up.
3)Learn from your mistakes, instead of repeating the same mistake time after time again.
4)You are the engine to your bike, sometimes the best upgrade is in the motor from just riding your making that motor stronger.
5)On videos, do not think what they are doing is easy. It may look simple, but most of the time the pro riders are filmed some form of slow motion, especially on those nice easy looking DH trails where they are going nice and slow. Not true, they are actually going at a pretty fast rate of speed and at the speeds they are going at anybike regardless of hardtail or full suspension is twitchy. These smooth high speed sections are usually more of a mind trip than a slower more technical trail.
6)Helmets are good.
7)If you listen to yourself when trying something new, 99% of the time you will not do it.
8)Trust your bike, do not play captain stiffee and death grip the bars and tense up you will get booted.
9)Music before a ride is good, it can get you into a frame of mind. I'll use myself as an example with this. For me, when I know it's going to be slow I'll listen to about anything, slow and rocky, Back in Black by Ac/Dc is perfect for me. Fast and technical- Opeth, for an epic- anything with a good beat. What works for me musically might not work for you though, so listen to what you want.
10)Mentally you have to let go of yourself at times and just go for it, sometimes the alternate way is even worse.
What was mentioned above can not be preached enough times.
Chapter 9: Trick FaQ
Ok basic tricks to go over
rocking (like a trackstand but rocking the bike instead of just trying to ballance)
lurching/backhop/various other names
That should just about cover all of the basic trick questions, don't yall think?
A bunny hop is essentially 3 movements in a very very quick time period. In order to get the most height to the hop this is the only effective way to bunnyhop. If you think about it, the three basic movements are
1 - Lift front (similar to a manual, lean back and down to bring front up as high as possible)
2 - throw your body up and forward
3 - bring knees as high as possible, bike will follow. At this point, to get more height some riders 'seem' to throw the bike forward. The seat hitting their stomach.
This is a very fast, very smooth motion, typically, when you get used to lifting the rear of the bike, the backend of the bike will go as high as the front. This is how you begin to gauge how high to jump.
1 - you want to practice this going over or onto small object. Hopping virtual objects is useless and won't tech you very much.
2 - To practice lifting the rear. Practice endos. Simply rolling along, compress your body and explode up while gripping the pedals with your shoes. This should bring the rear up slightly, and slowly build up till you can do full endos. To get a feeling for this, lightly grip the break, this will offer enough pressure to give you the feeling of lifting, but in the end you should be able to do this without needing the brake.
Here are some other explanations
www.bmxtrix.com -> how to -> flat land -> bunny hopping
And a vid to help you out thanks to bmx trix
(This peice was on Maelstrom's behalf)
Chapter Ten, basic maitenance.
Tire instalation and repair.
Never ever ever ever ever ever ever use a screwdriver to remove or install a tire.
With a tire lever, at the bent side if it is pointing up it is to remove if pointing down it is to push the bead onto the rim.
To remove a side of a tire make sure you have at least three tire levers on hand. Start opposite of the valve stem on the wheel. After the first lever is in go a couple spokes down and put the second one on, then third and repeat until the rest of that side of tire can be undone by sliding your finger or with a lever. Throw a new tube in if you have a flat only after first checking the tire for why you had a flat to begin with. The remaining side of the tire can be simply rolled off from the rim. That depends on the rim and tire.
When putting a new tire on, make sure you do the following first.
-Take note of which direction the rotation should be, you want that arrow to be pointing forward. Some tire makers are smart enough that they only put the text on the right side of the tire, so if you mount the tire so that the text side is on the right(drive)side, you have the tire direction set correctly.
-Look a what the tire(tube) needs to be inflated to before mounting.
Put one side of tire on , should go on easily by hand. Put tube in.
if just fixing a flat, skip that
The proper technique to get the other side on is to get the the bead completely on by hand, but since some tires are really harder to mount than others, it is ok to use a tire lever, just be careful to not get the lever too far in or you pinch flat that tube.
Remember the psi range, and inflate the tire to somewhere in that range.
Coming soon to this spot, a new part to the FAQ.
Chapter 11: Bike Fit, Geometry and You.
So you have your bike or are about to get your bike. For those who have their bike already, you can ignore the first part of this.
In order to being able to enjoy your riding experience, your bike should fit you correctly. A bike that is too small or too big will cause you to lose control of the bike. When fitting a bike, mountain bikes do not fit the same way that road bikes do. Mountain bike frames measure from mid bb shell to top of the seat tube where road bikes measure the length of the top tube for sizing. A properly fitted bike should have anywhere from 3-5" of stand over height. Reach is important, but doesn't really have an effect on bike fit in terms of frame size. Why is it that way? To achieve proper reach, you can change the size of the stem and angle of the stem, adjust seat position, change seat post height.
Second part of this is a bit more in depth.
Bike Geometry, you can't exactly mess too much outside of the geometry limits that the make of your bike has set. There are some things that can be done for setting a geometry that is comfortable and works for your needs. Depending on the bike you have, you'll either have a bike that has a normal threadless headset or an integrated headset, those that have an integrated headset, this trick won't work for you. Changing to a taller or shorter headset stack height wise will effect the nose height of your bike and will still allow to use the size range of forks for your intended purposes. A higher stack height will raise the height of the front of the bike and will allow a slacker geometry. A lower stack height will lower the front and allow for a steeper geometry.
Another thing that can be done is change the type of handlebar, there are a bunch of options out there, most common are the riser and the flat bar. A flat bar is a flat bar and can have any certain amount of sweep to them where risers can be low, mid, high rise have any type of backsweep and will be a certain width. For the long travel bunch the new thing is wide bars, they produce a much more stable ride descending rough terrain, where a flat bar will excel more when climbing is your thing. Stem size can be changed as well. The shorter the stem, the less you are over the front wheel, which can make it difficult to climb, but makes the bike much more controllable when descending, where a longer stem will put you over the front wheel more which will equate to great climbing, but descending can turn some hair grey quicker. Yes stem length was also in the fitting portion of this chapter, there is a reason for this and it is personal choice, but you never want to be sitting straight up on the dirt, it's not good to be sitting fully upright, it puts a lot of strain on your lower back and can cause back problems in the future. You will want to have a bit of an arch to your back when riding, it doesn't cause as much strain as in being completely upright.
Back to the geometry thing, another thing you can do is fiddle around with seat post height. Lowering the seatpost will allow you to be below the bar and will allow you to get over the rear wheel easier when descending, raising the seatpost will put you more over the bars which will make climbing much more enjoyable. Careful though too low and it will effect pedaling performance when in the saddle and too much you won't be able to get over the rear wheel when descending and will put a bunch of strain on your hands and wrists. With the seat post it's best to find a happy medium unless you are willing to pay the money for a telescoping seatpost, which is a big convenience in the long run.
One final simple way to fiddle with the geometry is to adjust the angle of the saddle. Raising the nose will allow you to have a more controllable bike when on a rough descent, where lowering the nose of the saddle will make climbing a bit easier. Again, be careful with this one, with the nose being too high, you'll be trying to keep you rear from getting "personal" with the rear wheel all of the time, where with the nose being too low you will be trying to keep that region from getting "personal" with the top tube of your bike.
The other part to adjusting the geometry is mentioned in chapter 4.
There are other ways to mess with the geometry of your bike if you have a fully, but those can be really advanced and it wouldn't be recommended unless you really know what you are doing, and even if you do know what you are doing it would be best to check with your local bike shop before doing so. Those ways won't be covered in this.
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