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3 questions

Old 05-28-09, 06:29 AM
  #1  
jdon
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3 questions

1. I am new to the MTB scene but have a strong road background. I ride in an area of great single track trails but am finding the climbing to be tough to start if I have to clip in especially in wet muddy conditions. I lose any momentum trying to get the cleats set. Should I switch to flat pedals or keep trying with the SPD's?

2. I am finding it tough to get over some obstacles and am thinking about losing the large chain ring as I keep getting hung up. Any opinions?

3. I am still struggling with weight distribution. I rode a steep descent with lots of roots and rocks and about 60 feet down need to get over a 14 inch diameter tree. About 10 feet beyond the tree is a turn over a narrow bridge. The weight is already way back for the descent so where should it be to get over the tree considering I am applying heavy braking as well?

Any suggestions would be great! Thanks.
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Old 05-28-09, 08:22 AM
  #2  
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Put your feet on the pedals and start rotating. Eventually they will clip in themselves. I usually place my feet on the pedals at about mid arch. Within a few revolutions I hear a couple of clicks and all is well. Trying to clip in while struggling up hill is awkward and difficult. Provided your cleats are situated properly on your shoe muscle memory will kick in and your feet will slide into proper posistion quickly. If nothing else pedal unclipped to the top of the hill to a flat section then worry about getting engaged.

Could be this would help or it could be you need better hopping skill. Hard to say. My guess would be no, leave it on and work on your ability to hop a little higher/better. Basing this on your being new to MTB. I've seen people clear some pretty large obstacles bunny hopping.

If it's very steep the weight will be need to stay back while a slight forward shift to clear rear wheel over obstacle will be required as well. Your already leaning back so before tree, compress, lift front end and ever so slightly shift forward for rear then resume rear weight bias.
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Old 05-28-09, 08:32 AM
  #3  
jdon
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Many thanks Jameson.
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Old 05-28-09, 11:08 AM
  #4  
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If mud is an issue, you might consider switching to Crank Bros pedals; mud just slips through those guys. Also, clipping in one foot before you get going.

Also, I agree with Jameson about improving your hopping skills, but still suggest replacing the big ring with a bashguard. Unless you're into XC racing or use the bike to commute with, you'll rarely use it, and a bashguard will offer some protection for some expensive-to-replace pieces.
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Old 05-28-09, 11:44 AM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by Scratcher33 View Post
If mud is an issue, you might consider switching to Crank Bros pedals; mud just slips through those guys. Also, clipping in one foot before you get going.

Also, I agree with Jameson about improving your hopping skills, but still suggest replacing the big ring with a bashguard. Unless you're into XC racing or use the bike to commute with, you'll rarely use it, and a bashguard will offer some protection for some expensive-to-replace pieces.
Interesting, I was not aware of this.
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Old 05-28-09, 11:48 AM
  #6  
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The best advice I can give, as I am also a roadie turned mountain biker wannabe...don't ride your mountain bike like a road bike. It takes time and practice, you'll get it. Good luck.
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Old 05-28-09, 12:25 PM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by junkyard View Post
Interesting, I was not aware of this.
I agree w/ Scratches comment. I never used the big ring on the single trak I run and I like to take off thru the woods searching for new lines (is that considered freeride?) so I put a bash guard on and love the extra clearance. I'm using the middle ring dh and the small ring for uphill climbs.

Only once have I come in to a situation where I could have used more speed but that was on a dirt road, and that's rare.
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Old 05-28-09, 01:24 PM
  #8  
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What kind of pedals you using? Time ATAC Aliums provide a bit more of a platform so you can still generate power w/o being clipped in.
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Old 05-28-09, 01:25 PM
  #9  
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YES /NO/NO Keep rideing with the same gusto and in six months you will plush for asking such dumb questions/Kenneth
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Old 05-28-09, 02:30 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by TechRydr View Post
I agree w/ Scratches comment. I never used the big ring on the single trak I run and I like to take off thru the woods searching for new lines (is that considered freeride?) so I put a bash guard on and love the extra clearance. I'm using the middle ring dh and the small ring for uphill climbs.

Only once have I come in to a situation where I could have used more speed but that was on a dirt road, and that's rare.
So, let me make sure I understand. Because you and Scratch never use it, everyone should take it off? I am almost ashamed to admit that I use the large ring often.
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Old 05-28-09, 02:37 PM
  #11  
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I use my large ring often as well, I live in Florida and there are some flat sections that I use it for a lot
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Old 05-28-09, 04:57 PM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by junkyard View Post
So, let me make sure I understand. Because you and Scratch never use it, everyone should take it off? I am almost ashamed to admit that I use the large ring often.
Nobody's saying that everyone should take off their big ring, or trying to shame you for using yours. No need to take it personally. If he's riding/descending really steep stuff, odds are he never needs his big ring. I never need mine nor does anyone else I know that rides around here (no flats.) If that's the kind of riding that you're doing, it just makes sense to protect your other rings and be confident attacking logs.

Also, don't I remember from other threads that you're pretty much exclusively a fast XC rider? If I did that I'd probably want a big ring.
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Old 05-28-09, 06:12 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Scratcher33 View Post
I agree with Jameson about improving your hopping skills, but still suggest replacing the big ring with a bashguard. Unless you're into XC racing or use the bike to commute with, you'll rarely use it, and a bashguard will offer some protection for some expensive-to-replace pieces.

Originally Posted by Scratcher33 View Post
Nobody's saying that everyone should take off their big ring

Unless I misunderstood, it looks like you were suggesting that unless you race XC or commute, you should remove your large ring. I don't race XC and I ride in hilly areas. I still use my large ring (gotta gain speed when going downhill somehow). The point I am trying to make is that just because you don't use it, doesn't mean another won't. I've never found a bash guard to be a necessity. But, I certainly wouldn't advise someone to keep their big ring just because I never needed a bash guard.
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Old 05-31-09, 08:12 AM
  #14  
jdon
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Thanks for the responses. Because the ground here is clay based, mud is an issue and it gets greasy fast. I am trying out a friends Crank Bros pedals as suggested, have changed tires to Kenda Nevegals, replaced the large chainring with a bash guard and am woking on the jumping skills. We'll see how things go this week. Cheers and good riding. Thanks again for your opinions and advice.
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Old 05-31-09, 09:44 AM
  #15  
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Here's how I use the big ring while descending:

The middle ring will often be spun out due to higher speed, so the big ring will enable me to actually pedal and 'ratchet' (and get some purchase) and gain speed/traction.

The big ring can be used to put tension on the chain in rough sections- less likely to fall off/mis-shift.
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Old 05-31-09, 10:08 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by junkyard View Post
So, let me make sure I understand. Because you and Scratch never use it, everyone should take it off? I am almost ashamed to admit that I use the large ring often.
Originally Posted by junkyard View Post
Unless I misunderstood, it looks like you were suggesting that unless you race XC or commute, you should remove your large ring. I don't race XC and I ride in hilly areas. I still use my large ring (gotta gain speed when going downhill somehow). The point I am trying to make is that just because you don't use it, doesn't mean another won't. I've never found a bash guard to be a necessity. But, I certainly wouldn't advise someone to keep their big ring just because I never needed a bash guard.
Always trying to put somebody in their place. You could just openly disagree with him instead of rubbing his nose in it like a little puppy, jerkyard.
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Old 05-31-09, 10:38 AM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by kenhill3 View Post
Here's how I use the big ring while descending:

The middle ring will often be spun out due to higher speed, so the big ring will enable me to actually pedal and 'ratchet' (and get some purchase) and gain speed/traction.

The big ring can be used to put tension on the chain in rough sections- less likely to fall off/mis-shift.
Great points Ken, especially regarding the chain as we do get a lot of bounce. Our descents are very short and very steep and are followed by a similar climb. Not many in our group have the skills required to take advantage of the speed from gravity let alone try to accelerate. At least none of us weekend warriors. Wish we had the vertical you do in WA!
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Old 05-31-09, 11:08 AM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by JonnyV View Post
The best advice I can give, as I am also a roadie turned mountain biker wannabe...don't ride your mountain bike like a road bike. It takes time and practice, you'll get it. Good luck.
What do you mean by this? I'm returning to my beloved MTB, but my first love is roading. Not picking a fight, but am very curious.

Each gets ridden aggressively. Yes, there is a difference in handling and techniques. For example, I don't throw the roadie around like I will the mtb on a singletrack. Oh, now I want to get dirty today!
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Old 05-31-09, 11:10 AM
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There used to be a chain ring protector that went on the OUTSIDE of the big ring. Do those still exist?

I agree that if you never use the big ring, take it off for some protection. Others who use it ... there should be options available.
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Old 05-31-09, 02:08 PM
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Ca7 to the rescue.
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Old 05-31-09, 03:50 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by jdon View Post
1. I am new to the MTB scene... I am still struggling with weight distribution. I rode a steep descent with lots of roots and rocks and about 60 feet down need to get over a 14 inch diameter tree. About 10 feet beyond the tree is a turn over a narrow bridge. The weight is already way back for the descent so where should it be to get over the tree considering I am applying heavy braking as well?

Any suggestions would be great! Thanks.
I'm not sure if you may be doing this, but I would speculate that coming from a road background that you have been accustomed to more of a "static" riding position and mentality. My suggestion is to learn to ride more and more off the saddle (standing, pedaling, squatting, coasting, braking, cornering)... in an active manner, moving your bike and body position wherever its needed. In some very technical descents, it is not uncommon to move so far back while braking that your stomach is directly over the saddle with fully outstretched arms, and your butt gets a tire scrape every once in a while... ooooooh...

.
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Old 06-01-09, 10:15 AM
  #22  
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Thanks Pocko. Good input.
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