Back when I rode a bent, I did lots of dirt / singletrack.
With any 2 wheeler off pavement, traction and front tire contact patch is your main concern. With an upright bike, you can shift your weight somewhat to enhance traction; not so much with a bent.
Front tire "washout" is the number one risk. I did it several times; it's just physics - a bent has a lower % of weight on the front tire, more on the back. Therefore, traction will be less for the front than the back (this is exactly opposite of what you want / need for control). Generally, all you can do is keep the speed under control, especially on descents and in the loose stuff.
Basic tips from dirt riders:
- braking with the rear is better (especially if you must brake while turning); because first, the rear has more traction (weight) and second, braking transfers weight toward the front, improving traction there.
- you can lean forward and pull downward on the bars to shift your weight forward a bit. I found this also helps when traversing bumpy terrain, allows the bike to move around more freely than if you're back against the backrest.
- Lower psi's and knobbier treads are better on the front.
Clearing obstacles is of course another biggie on singletrack, but on graded / gravel roads should be no prob.
Last edited by Creakyknees; 01-24-12 at 04:52 PM.