I recently bought a cross bike and have been riding it on the roads with skinny little tyres and loving it, for my weekly off road adventures I've been sticking to my MTB. Well it felt like it was time to get the new bike dirty and I took it on a loop that I find challenging on my MTB (I'm not very good).
It was terrifying going down steep, rooty (damp) singletrack that was covered in slippery mud and had quite a few sharp corners. However, I think I'm doing it wrong and need advice
1) My tyres are Conti Speed Kings - are they having a joke with that tread or do people really get up steep muddy technical climbs with tyres like that? Everytime I tried to get some oomph the back wheel would spin uselessly.
2) Cornering - Are you meant to do something different to MTBs as I overshot one corner, nearly hit a tree on another and fell off the bike on what I'm convinced was actually a straight.
3) Brakes - These Shimano cantilevers really don't stop as fast as I was expecting. I know about switching to different pads but wanted to check to see how normal this is.
4) Downhills - Is there something special about technique for going down steep hills on the drops? I had my arse hanging over the back wheel but still felt like I was about to go over the front. Is there anything else I can do?
I'm seriously considering using my cross bike as a road only bike until I can get my bike handling skills to an acceptable level but would really appreciate any practical advice.