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MTB: Harder than it looks

Old 03-18-20, 10:25 PM
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davei1980
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MTB: Harder than it looks

So my riding is about 90% commuting, but I also wanted a bike to mess around with my kids, go on gravel rides with my buddies, and do some backcountry bike packing so I got a Jones Plus LWB which also happens to be a capable MTB but not why I bought it.

I am not riding to work right now because work is shut down because COVID-19 so I have been riding the MTB park near my house (Beacon Hill, Spokane) each morning just to get out and feel human, get some exercise.

My hat's off to you guys: Mtn Biking is WAY harder than it looks! Also way harder than I remember it being when I was 21 (a few decades ago). My plan is to practice, practice, practice; work on the trails giving me trouble (virtually all the "blue squares" yep, I know); and when the prohibitions on gatherings lift, sign up for some classes at REI. Open to other suggestions but really just wanted to say you all make it look so easy!

(FYI before you say anything about the fender, this only stays on during wet commuting weather, it doesn't join me, unless it gets really muddy then I would mount it much higher. Currently off as the trails are frozen)

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Old 03-19-20, 07:54 AM
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Agree it's not easy, but it's so much fun! A friend (female) of mine bought her first mtn.bike last year, for her 66th birthday (she's younger than I). She's ridden for years, but not offroad. So we went to a local park which has some trails specifically built for mtn.biking. Rocks, roots, stream crossings. Diff trails for diff skill levels, some have jump rams which you can jump off, or choose to ride around. We rode around. I was amazed how well she took to the trails. Now, we both are and have always been physically active, so guess that helped. My wife also still mtn.bikes, wasn't along with us on the rides, as she was still working then, and we ride during work hours/days so less riders on the trails. We all still ride pavement, but would rather be riding trails. It hasn't ceased to be a blast, just hoping to be trail riding for a long time. Glad you're enjoying it! BTW-the fenders don't look bad at all!
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Old 03-20-20, 02:46 PM
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Pic w/o rear fender
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Old 03-20-20, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by freeranger View Post
Agree it's not easy, but it's so much fun! A friend (female) of mine bought her first mtn.bike last year, for her 66th birthday (she's younger than I). She's ridden for years, but not offroad. So we went to a local park which has some trails specifically built for mtn.biking. Rocks, roots, stream crossings. Diff trails for diff skill levels, some have jump rams which you can jump off, or choose to ride around. We rode around. I was amazed how well she took to the trails. Now, we both are and have always been physically active, so guess that helped. My wife also still mtn.bikes, wasn't along with us on the rides, as she was still working then, and we ride during work hours/days so less riders on the trails. We all still ride pavement, but would rather be riding trails. It hasn't ceased to be a blast, just hoping to be trail riding for a long time. Glad you're enjoying it! BTW-the fenders don't look bad at all!
I mean this as a SINCERE compliment - you are awesome for being so active at your age! Kudos! and cheers to a life worth living!
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Old 03-20-20, 04:35 PM
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I think the Jones is a capable rigid MTB. I've been eying this as well. the only drawback for off-road is that is has 27.2mm seatpost, which severely limits droppers to uber-expensive and unreliable short droppers.
I don't know if you ever rode with dropper. I'm not a good rider and rode my fatbike for over a year with rigid post. but then added the 170mm dropper and woah.... I'm still a bad rider, but feel much more confident and a dropper is the single best upgrade to an MTB.

i don't know if you have experience with a sprung MTB how doe the 3"tires help with removing chatter? On my 4.8" tires with rigid fork I have to lower pressure a lt to get a good riding feeling.
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Old 03-20-20, 08:01 PM
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Love the Jones bikes, the truss fork will take the edge off if you start riding rougher trails. I have his bars and it's super comfy.
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Old 03-20-20, 09:37 PM
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I actually find the newer bikes make the trails easier then they used to be since I don't think I'm a better rider but I never did the drops that I do now when I was 21. I had fun but its a whole new level now and I'm faster off-road then I was even though I'm currently a slower rider onroad then I used to be.
Looks like a fun rig you have there for trying them out, doesn't matter blue square or not, everyone starts somewhere. Just keep trying as you said.
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Old 03-20-20, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
I think the Jones is a capable rigid MTB. I've been eying this as well. the only drawback for off-road is that is has 27.2mm seatpost, which severely limits droppers to uber-expensive and unreliable short droppers.
I don't know if you ever rode with dropper. I'm not a good rider and rode my fatbike for over a year with rigid post. but then added the 170mm dropper and woah.... I'm still a bad rider, but feel much more confident and a dropper is the single best upgrade to an MTB.

i don't know if you have experience with a sprung MTB how doe the 3"tires help with removing chatter? On my 4.8" tires with rigid fork I have to lower pressure a lt to get a good riding feeling.
The 29x3 tires take up trail chatter beautifully. I have zero experience with droppers but you should call Jeff Jones to see what he uses on his Ti custom bikes, he has a few.
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Old 03-20-20, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by qclabrat View Post
Love the Jones bikes, the truss fork will take the edge off if you start riding rougher trails. I have his bars and it's super comfy.
yes the truss fork saves weight too! Heavy setup is my only complaint. Getting more confident each day.
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Old 03-20-20, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
I actually find the newer bikes make the trails easier then they used to be since I don't think I'm a better rider but I never did the drops that I do now when I was 21. I had fun but its a whole new level now and I'm faster off-road then I was even though I'm currently a slower rider onroad then I used to be.
Looks like a fun rig you have there for trying them out, doesn't matter blue square or not, everyone starts somewhere. Just keep trying as you said.
thanks getting better each day! The climb today felt like nothing and I actually got
bored on a green circle descent! Gonna try the steeper descent with the drop tomorrow
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Old 03-21-20, 07:22 AM
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Good on you for going full rigid on your first mountain bike. You'll learn to pick good lines rather than rely on suspension to just bash into **** like some troglodyte. Then get a FS bike and have at it. LOL

As far as 27.2 dropper posts - I've been using a PNW dropper (external cable routing) on my Ibis and it's been a peach. Cheap in terms of cost, easy to set up and reliable.
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Old 03-21-20, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by commo_soulja View Post
Good on you for going full rigid on your first mountain bike. You'll learn to pick good lines rather than rely on suspension to just bash into **** like some troglodyte. Then get a FS bike and have at it. LOL

As far as 27.2 dropper posts - I've been using a PNW dropper (external cable routing) on my Ibis and it's been a peach. Cheap in terms of cost, easy to set up and reliable.
very helpful thanks!

i have actually heard, maybe you can verify, rigid
bikes are better on highly technical terrain because they have more precise steering? I may never go Fs, if so!
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Old 03-21-20, 12:22 PM
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Check out the Rich Drew mtb instructional videos on YouTube. Very useful.
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Old 03-21-20, 07:41 PM
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I just got back into MTB after about 15 years on road bikes. Cruising around the Santa Monica mountains with my boys now. It's harder than I remembered from when I was more daring, and admittedly younger. But it's so much fun and my teenage boys are having a blast with their old man trying to keep up on the uphill and trashing them on the downhill
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Old 03-22-20, 12:55 AM
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Iíve had my modern MTBís for only 2-1/2 years now, less for having a medical outage last year. I can tell that the newer style of bike is better but it was a big change. Being middle aged now itís a slower learning curve. Itís taken me all this time to do jumps that I was doing fine in 2017 on my Y2K bike.
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Old 03-22-20, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Rajflyboy View Post
Check out the Rich Drew mtb instructional videos on YouTube. Very useful.
I will thanks! I have been watching a few produced by some UK outfit (Global Mtb Network?) pretty good tips. I now know the utility of dropping your saddle on descents!
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Old 03-22-20, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Iíve had my modern MTBís for only 2-1/2 years now, less for having a medical outage last year. I can tell that the newer style of bike is better but it was a big change. Being middle aged now itís a slower learning curve. Itís taken me all this time to do jumps that I was doing fine in 2017 on my Y2K bike.
That's awesome! I think those older, simpler bikes were pretty awesome in their own right!
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Old 03-22-20, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by davei1980 View Post
I will thanks! I have been watching a few produced by some UK outfit (Global Mtb Network?) pretty good tips. I now know the utility of dropping your saddle on descents!
Probably the most important thing I learned, get yer butt back over that rear axle!! I find that I'll ride a third of the miles on my mtb vs road and have the same workout!
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Old 03-22-20, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by davei1980 View Post
That's awesome! I think those older, simpler bikes were pretty awesome in their own right!
By Y2K every mountain bike had a suspension fork and a suspension corrected frame, and it was a triple. Everyone was glad that "elastomer" suspension forks were pretty much gone but there wasn't yet the nostalgia for rigid bikes. 72/73 was the norm for angles and we were still out over the front wheel.

The things that make the new bikes different since then are really the wheel size with lower pressure, raked out steering, and dropper, and the full squish styles have settled down to basically just two that work really well. The 1x & clutch RD and disk brakes are nice but not as essential.

I do think a lot of the rigid bike thing is fueled by a funny combination of rock-n-roll iconoclasm and middle-aged nostalgia, and enabled by things that have come along since, especially the big tires and dirt-bike steering. You don't find a lot of people out on the trails on those old rigid bikes from the late 80s and early 90s. Although having said that a few of them are sure to chime in.
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Old 03-22-20, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by davei1980 View Post
very helpful thanks!

i have actually heard, maybe you can verify, rigid
bikes are better on highly technical terrain because they have more precise steering? I may never go Fs, if so!
No, not thinking that. A suspension fork keeps the F wheel on the ground and takes hits. R suspension adds that to the rear, thus the bike is able to steer and climb better due to better traction, as well as stop better as the wheels can stay planted, thus you have better braking. The trade off with any suspension is added weight. You could build a 19 lbs carbon rigid that'll climb like a cat but you'd get bounced around in rocks, roots, etc... so terrain dependent and you can often times climb better on a 30 lbs FS just as the suspension deals with the terrain obstacles that you'd otherwise need skill to deal with, which you don't have as yet. An example of this is learning how to best "pick a line" thru a set of obstacles. With FS you have options to go thru and over stuff you'd have to maneuver around on a rigid. That takes much less effort and at the end of a long ride, when your arms and shoulders are tired from needing to steer for 2 hrs., your brain is toast from fatigue. That's when a FS can be a better choice as the bike can cover your mistakes.

Your suspension needs are driven by the terrain and I would recommend maybe sticking to easier terrain in terms of technical features until you master the handling techniques. I no longer ride my FS as it's 4 lbs heavier than my HT on terrain that has no rocks, only roots, really twisty ST with man made obstacles (stumps, logs) and find an HT faster.

It's unfortunate that the current crisis prevents you from riding with some experienced rider who could show you handling tips, but YT has good stuff and you've got time to practice.

And as note to the OP, mt. biking IS harder than road riding, IMO. An hour on a mt. bike is a much more anaerobic activity, equiv. to 1-1/2 to 2 hrs. on a road bike. I do put out sustained effort on a fast road ride, where as a mt. bike has many short intense bursts, as well as a harder workout on the upper body a result of steering the bike thru obstacles, trees, etc... When I can, I swim to keep my upper body in shape.

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Old 03-22-20, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
It's unfortunate that the current crisis prevents you from riding with some experienced rider who could show you handling tips, but YT has good stuff and you've got time to practice.
YES agree 100 percent since I am willing and thirsty to learn! hopefully we can get through this in short order. I have been watching a lot of YT vids and I was practicing bunny hops on my leisurely ride with my kid this AM so trying everything I can. I also feel like climbs which were kicking my butt on Monday felt way easier by Friday. It's the scary descents that I need help with.

Fortunately, my LBS does group rides every Thursday night, less than 1/2 dozen people and very easy to ride together and maintain health protocol. Their rides are supposed to be fun and no-drop so I plan on doing that this week.

When this is over I know REI does free classes, I am sure they're very basic but everyone, even the saltiest among us, can learn more with an open mind!

And as note to the OP, mt. biking IS harder than road riding, IMO. An hour on a mt. bike is a much more anaerobic activity, equiv. to 1-1/2 to 2 hrs. on a road bike. I do put out sustained effort on a fast road ride, where as a mt. bike has many short intense bursts, as well as a harder workout on the upper body a result of steering the bike thru obstacles, trees, etc... When I can, I swim to keep my upper body in shape.
Agree and I LOVE open water swimming as well!

I think you're right for two other reasons - road biking you can more easily pick your rest and pain points. In MTB, if you don't punch up the hill when you come to it, you're gonna just be stopped for a while or walking. Also, I feel like my heart rate stays up for longer periods because of the "if I get knocked off my line on this particular section I could die" factor.... LOL I am sure that goes away but for now a weird part of the fun.
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Old 03-28-20, 08:18 AM
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Hi,

I am an old lady who just started mountain biking you are exactly right; mtb is much harder than it looks but oh so much fun.. I bought the Surly Karate Monkey, heavy but very stable and I am addicted. I use good judgement and don't do jumps or rocks or anything that would break my bones. The bike is heavy so I am slow, but I am getting used to finding my line and climbing. I took a lesson with a Pro, Kathy Krause, and this added to my confidence. She also helped tweak my fit. I love being in the woods. I should add that I have been road riding since I was 9 years old when I lived in world much less crowded by cars. I love your bike. I have Jones bars on my hybrid which I use for paved and gravel flat trails.
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Old 03-28-20, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by benton1 View Post
Hi,

I am an old lady who just started mountain biking you are exactly right; mtb is much harder than it looks but oh so much fun.. I bought the Surly Karate Monkey, heavy but very stable and I am addicted. I use good judgement and don't do jumps or rocks or anything that would break my bones. The bike is heavy so I am slow, but I am getting used to finding my line and climbing. I took a lesson with a Pro, Kathy Krause, and this added to my confidence. She also helped tweak my fit. I love being in the woods. I should add that I have been road riding since I was 9 years old when I lived in world much less crowded by cars. I love your bike. I have Jones bars on my hybrid which I use for paved and gravel flat trails.
That's awesome! I have heard the KM is a super-versatile bike! The weight only matters when lifting it on to the repair stand!
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Old 03-28-20, 09:00 AM
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I had to practice getting on my Kuat bike rack. All of the Surly bikes are versatile.
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Old 04-01-20, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by GrainBrain View Post
Probably the most important thing I learned, get yer butt back over that rear axle!! I find that I'll ride a third of the miles on my mtb vs road and have the same workout!
Thats one of the reasons I love the MTB..... Its a fast way to get a great workout.
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