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No suspension Mountain Biking

Old 11-06-06, 10:08 AM
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No suspension Mountain Biking

Is this something that is possible? If one takes it slower, doesn't sit down.

Any tips for doing this?
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Old 11-06-06, 10:12 AM
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hell yeah it's possible. It's how it all started and some old crotchedy retro grouches still roll that way.
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Old 11-06-06, 10:16 AM
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Yup, I did it for years. A lot of people still ride and race rigid mountain bikes. A lot of people do this with singlespeeds as well (no changing gears).
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Old 11-06-06, 10:45 AM
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I rode a couple of years in the early 90's on a Trek 7000 with no suspension (and eventualy added a cheap front suspension). No problem at all -- and you can sit down. A lot depends on the terrain/conditions. Use a little less air pressure in the tires is also recommended to soften the ride.
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Old 11-06-06, 11:16 AM
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Yup, this how we did it quite some time ago. I still do this with my rigid SS, which is my early 90's Bridgestone. I love it! Basically you use less pressure in your tires and keep your elbows and knees bent over the rough stuff to soak it up.
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Old 11-06-06, 11:20 AM
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Yep.. builds strong legs. People do all sorts of stuff without suspensions. Think of skateboarders and inline skaters who do huge gaps without any sort of shock absorbtion. I used to do 8' drops on my skates onto concrete and no problems. So a bike, with aired up tires... might as well be a pillow compared.
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Old 11-06-06, 11:40 AM
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I do it all the time and it is great fun. The only time it isn't fun is trying to keep up with suspended riders on fast, bumpy descents. That hurts. Hurts enough that I've broken down and bought a new hardtail with front suspension. Worst of all - it's made of beer can metal!
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Old 11-06-06, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Curt Kurt
hell yeah it's possible. It's how it all started and some old crotchedy retro grouches still roll that way.
Not many old retro grouches roll that way. We learned our lesson long ago Getting the crap beat out of you on every ride may make you a good cyclist but it also makes your chiropractor rich
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Old 11-06-06, 12:32 PM
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Shoot I forgot, I do still ride full rigid on the trails at times. It's called a cyclocross bike. Talk about freaking harsh! Feel like I am going to lose my feelings (from my teeth) on the rough choppy stuff. Roots and rocks are very interesting. Switchbacks just plain suck!
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Old 11-06-06, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Lossy
Is this something that is possible? If one takes it slower, doesn't sit down.

Any tips for doing this?
Hell yes!
  • 1.9" tires just don't cut it if you ride roots and rocks - try 2.3" or at least 2.1"
  • Sit down all you want - my rigid SS has a seat, just the same as all my other bikes
  • Get behind the seat on DH
  • Try not to brake as much - you'll need the momentum
  • Don't be afraid to dismount and run up/down stuff - your bike will be lighter without gears and suspension, making it easier to move on foot if you have to [I can run up some sketchy climbs faster than my buds can ride them]
  • Avoid a death-grip on the handlbars, or you will need the Advil
Going rigid is easy, cheap and will definitely enhance your riding skills. Going rigid + single-speed is a little more expensive, but will make you stronger and more skilled. Fixed/rigid MTB is "possible", just really fargin' tough.
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Old 11-06-06, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Not many old retro grouches roll that way. We learned our lesson long ago Getting the crap beat out of you on every ride may make you a good cyclist but it also makes your chiropractor rich
That's why God created Bob Fox
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Old 11-06-06, 02:50 PM
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I think trail riding has come full circle... 20 years ago I bought a fully rigid Spec. Rockhopper and thought I was the bomb. I did All the trails in Chino Hills on that thing. Over the years I've bought up to hardtails and now full suspension rigs as have most of my friends. But now most have gone back to rigid bikes. I have a whole group of friends that only ride Surly or Redline singlespeed (or fixie) rigids, Full suspension bikes took alot of the "technical" out of trails, especially descents. My friends are all looking for more thrills and are using the rigids to develope and fine tune their bike handling skills.

By the way I still ride all the trails in Chino Hills, just faster and with more confidence. My singlespeed buddies, even on their rigids, drop me. It's amazing how fast they can go!!!
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Old 11-06-06, 05:03 PM
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Yeap, I started fully rigid too. I can say with honesty that I had just as much fun on a fully rigid. Ah well, that will be my next build; a nice steel rigid with big fat tires, just like I had in the old days.
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Old 11-06-06, 05:16 PM
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i've only just retired my rigid. i'll probably just use it as a winter hack now.
they're great unless your riding down a railway track or somewhere with a fast, hard packed, and rippled surface.
oh and if you do, take your watch off. mine used to slam into the back of my hand repeadly until i thought i'd broken every bone between my wrist and my knuckles.
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Old 11-06-06, 07:23 PM
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i just got back from a ride on my rigid ibis. man it's fun rolling up to dudes on full suspension bikes, then totally ripping down some "super gnarly DH run" in front of them. the looks on their faces when i fly down it just as fast as them: priceless.

that's not to say i don't enjoy my prophet. i just like to bust out the rigid now and again to make sure i can still ride it.
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Old 11-07-06, 09:38 AM
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Hell yeah, I rode a riged Univega for four years before my Specalized hardtail, and it was a blast!
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Old 11-07-06, 09:55 AM
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Yep...I still keep 2 rigid MTB's...one for winter use so i don't ride on frozen shocks/forks...the other for the unpaved concessions and light trails...they're great for some of the hiking trails we ride around Georgian Bay

I stopped using them on our singletrack after flipping over the bars on the descents a couple of times
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Old 11-07-06, 10:52 AM
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Most of the mountain biking I do is on hardpack with a small amount of rocky areas and rolling hill sides. A rigid mtb is good enough if I'm careful. I just bought a 2.4" tire to stick in the front for a little added cush and with a Panaracer fire xc on the rear I'm good to go.
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Old 11-07-06, 09:34 PM
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I started mountain biking on '70 something Schwinn De-Luxe Twinn with my brother. we took the wheels off and put some cheap old MTB wheels on. it had rear drum brakes so we tied up the brake assembly to the frame and just had front brakes. that thing was better on the trails than my hard tail I got a few years later and my cheap x-mart ful suspension MTB after that. My rigid Trek 800 that is almost always loaded with stuff does pretty well too.
Maybe it was just the fact that we were two stupid kids, but that old tandem was quite fun whipping around corners, catching air and jumping logs. the only casualty was a bent fork which we fixed and went out again. Now I wouldn't dream of abusing a bike like that in such a way. I guess that's what's great about being a kid. you can do stupid things like that without any guilt.
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Old 11-07-06, 09:40 PM
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Hell yes! I sold my full suspension giant nrs 1 and went to a fully ridgid surly 1x1. I run a 2.5 tire in front and a 2.3 in back. I am faster than I have ever been, and I have more fun. If you want to know more about it, head over to mtbr.com and look at the singlespeed and 29er boards. Lots of people running fully ridgid.
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Old 11-07-06, 09:45 PM
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I rode no suspension once. Got all the way there and back. When I came back I was acting cool went down a hill at about 20 miles per hour. Hit a stupid sprinkler and fell on the seat (on my ballz) HARD. Just fell off the bike and rolled the rest of the way down...
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Old 11-09-06, 06:55 AM
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I have both a rigid and a FS. I use the rigid to hone my skills as you have to learn how to pick a line and use body english to tackle most things a FS will roll over. Couldn't pick a favorite as they both have a place for my riding style. I will say the FS is much more forgiving on roots and small rocks, but the rigid will tackle the terrain as well. I find that I can get the same excitement if not more with the rigid on lesser trails and I don't have to hunt for more and more technical challenges. When I go out on my own I will take the rigid and ride to the trail's as the power transfer is fantastic, and the rigid climbs something fierce. Long days on the trails or a group ride I do use the FS as it is more forgiving on the body.

Lots of good comments on this post. It is refreshing to see others that still enjoy riding rigid!
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Old 11-28-06, 07:35 PM
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I took my late 80's Univega Rover (no shock) on some fairly rough single track 2 weeks ago and while it was fun...I was sore days later from a 3 hour ride...but then I'm in my 50's too. You'll quickly notice how much lighter the front end feels. Good suggestions posted above on how to tame some of the impact: wider tires, less air, and flex your arms/legs. It's fun, but I like my Marzocchi suspension.
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Old 11-29-06, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by jimx200
I took my late 80's Univega Rover (no shock) on some fairly rough single track 2 weeks ago and while it was fun...I was sore days later from a 3 hour ride...but then I'm in my 50's too. You'll quickly notice how much lighter the front end feels. Good suggestions posted above on how to tame some of the impact: wider tires, less air, and flex your arms/legs. It's fun, but I like my Marzocchi suspension.
Nearly 20 years ago, I did a mountain bike ride here in Colorado called Saxon Mountain. It's 4 wheeldrive roads above Idaho Springs and comes out above Georgetown. You start at around 8000 ft, end at around 11,000 just above the town and then have a steep twisting descent that's not too rocky but it's very rough. One of the guys on the ride (this was pre-suspension) was in his 60's and was on my youngish tail all the way down the mountain. We got to the bottom and my forearms were killing me from all the braking and pounding. Gordon got to the bottom just behind me and started rotating his right arm around and around. In his quiet manner he said, "That kinda hurt. My doctor told me that I should lay off cycling for 6 weeks or so but I just had to do this ride. I guess I'll let my broken collar bone from last week rest a little more before I do anything like this again." The impact from my jaw hitting the ground was registered at the Earth Quake Center in Golden

So quit your complaining or I'll send Gordon out to kick your butt, youngun! He doesn't ride mountain bikes much anymore but he still terrorizes roadies half his age
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Old 11-29-06, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by LowCel
Shoot I forgot, I do still ride full rigid on the trails at times. It's called a cyclocross bike. Talk about freaking harsh! Feel like I am going to lose my feelings (from my teeth) on the rough choppy stuff. Roots and rocks are very interesting. Switchbacks just plain suck!
Please. Switchbacks are the best part of the experience. The only problem I have with CX bikes on rough trails are the brakes. Sometimes the cantis just aren't enough to do the job. THAT sucks.
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