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Riding Technique

Old 12-18-17, 12:29 PM
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kjg48359
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Riding Technique

Hi, I finally upgraded my Mt Bike after 16 years. I originally had what I thought was one of the better suspension designs on the market at the time: a GT "iDrive" that isolated the peddling forces from the suspension movement.

So, my front fork's seals are finally starting to go, and it's almost impossible to get a kit for it since it's so old, no shop in my area (Greater Detroit) will touch it.

So I got a new bike, a Marian "Hawk Hill." This is an entirely different setup, different body position and suspension philosophy. I'm also going from a 3x7 gearing to a 1x11 gearing.

However with the time of year and weather here (now that there's snow, I generally rarely ride below 40 degrees) I did get one crack at riding a favorite trail in the area. It had been about 3-4 weeks since I had been on a bike when I did so.

So with that in mind, it felt like the lowest gear ratio was not quite as low as my older bike, my knees feel strained a little bit (I'm mid-50's now, no longer a spring chicken).

with the older GT, I'd almost never climb a hill out of saddle. With this bike, while I was impressed how it felt going up a hill. But I'm wondering if climbing out saddle would dramatically alter the suspension characteristics such that I might not want to do that?

Is there some kind of general guideline when climbing with these newer designs, or can some one point me to something that I can research/read?

And my other question is to ask if I do, do I just replace the front chain ring with one with a couple of less teeth if I decide that I still want to lower my gearing a little?

Thanks.
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Old 12-19-17, 07:03 AM
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I find standing does cause noticeable pedal bob on my trail bike but it does not have a lockout on the shock. If your shock has a lockout it should allow standing without pedal bob. You could go with a wider ratio cassette 11-50, so you wouldn't lose your high gear. If you rarely or never use the 11 cog, going to a 30t or maybe even 28t chain ring is an option.

I'm 60 and run an 11-40 cassette with a 32t oval chain ring. Oval gives you the feeling of about 2 teeth less during the power stroke, so helps in climbing. Oval chain rings generally work better for people with lower RPM pedal rates, most spinners find them annoying. I just bought a new bike that came with a 10-50 cassette, but I have not ridden it yet, still putting it together. I live in the south were there are not a lot of hills, so I'm not sure if I will ever use that low of a gear.
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Old 12-19-17, 10:35 AM
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Suspension designs vary. Some deal with standing better than others. Also, they donít all react the same way. Some may compress more, others stiffen more. That said, in general, FS bikes do tend to behave best on non-technical climbs in the saddle as opposed to out of it.

However, sometimes the situation demands standing regardless of efficiency calculations, and regardless of suspension design (or lack thereof).

I would give the new gearing a little time (at least a few rides) to see if you adjust. Otherwise, as long as your crank can take a smaller ring, go for it.
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Old 12-19-17, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by kjg48359 View Post
Is there some kind of general guideline when climbing with these newer designs, or can some one point me to something that I can research/read?
Stay seated.

And my other question is to ask if I do, do I just replace the front chain ring with one with a couple of less teeth if I decide that I still want to lower my gearing a little?
Yes.
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Old 12-19-17, 04:39 PM
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Old adage used to be 'sit-and-spin' full suspension; but, as Kapusta says, designs vary and most are much-improved from when that was conventional wisdom. I run 1x10 and my 32/42 combo still isn't really granny enough for some climbs seated. But the Switch platform of my Yeti SB66 allows me to leave my shock wide open and it flat hooks up when I have to stand to grunt those last few yards of a tough climb. I say ride it like you need to in order to get the job done and don't sweat whether or not you encounter some bob.
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Old 12-19-17, 07:02 PM
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Congrats on the new bike

So with that in mind, it felt like the lowest gear ratio was not quite as low as my older bike, my knees feel strained a little bit (I'm mid-50's now, no longer a spring chicken).


I am on the other side of 50 as well and that's why I prefer the 2x I think once you get used to it it will be fine. It is a good system

with the older GT, I'd almost never climb a hill out of saddle. With this bike, while I was impressed how it felt going up a hill. But I'm wondering if climbing out saddle would dramatically alter the suspension characteristics such that I might not want to do that?


I tend to lock out my front when standing and mashing up hill and leave my rear alone. Most of the bob goes away but not all of it when I sit back down I adjust my shock

Is there some kind of general guideline when climbing with these newer designs, or can some one point me to something that I can research/read?


Yes ride it like you feel comfortable

And my other question is to ask if I do, do I just replace the front chain ring with one with a couple of less teeth if I decide that I still want to lower my gearing a little?


The rear has more effect so if you have room I would start there before adjusting the front

enjoy the new ride!
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Old 12-19-17, 09:11 PM
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Thanks for all of the responses everyone. I guess it's just something I'll have to experiment with. My front shock can be locked (via dial on the top of right side), but rear can't.

I also hope that over time I'll build up a little strength over the regular season (usually is the case) and hopefully maybe it was just an off season being-out-of-shape.

And thanks hig4s, I'll have to look into an oval chain right. I remember when they came out on road bikes (before the advent of Mt Bikes).

So one change might be the fact that I might be possibly relaying on strength a little more than spinning. I guess I'll just be making sure I do a little more conditioning this season (which is something I'll probably look forward to since I think my overall saddle time has been starting to drop off a little bit).
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