Riding tips for MTB Noobs

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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby drubie » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:25 am

I stupidly gave away the double sided SPD pedals that originally came with my first road bike.

I don't mind the single sided ones, if you remember to disengage before the difficult stuff, you can put your foot on the plain side and pedal while being able to use your feet if things get a bit hairy. At least, that's the theory. The practice: I was trying to build the bike as cheaply as possible and use whatever I had in my shed, so the VP pedals got the nod :D
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but really, that's rubbish. We get none of it because the choices are illusory.
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by BNA » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:24 pm

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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby Nobody » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:24 pm

IN addition to TG's comments, lock-on grips can also protect the end of the grips in a crash. I have Ergon grips which usually only require a light file of the alloy after a crash.

Studded pedals are the ultimate in flat pedal grip without losing the foot freedom for super-quick foot movements to steady yourself around corners or when having "technical difficulties". They can inspire confidence to try new things (once you are familiar with the technique to get the most out of them). However they will trash your shoes in a relatively short time, so not cheap to run. They also leave scars on your shins if you crash the wrong way (not that I know too much about the right way to crash).
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby trailgumby » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:28 pm

Weeeellll yes.... SPDs can bite your shins too as I was painfully reminded last Saturday on the skills course. :x :lol:

Was practicing pedal wheelies (I'm hopeless) and hopping the back wheel up gutters (starting to get it) yesterday afternoon with my young bloke, and had dug out my old soccer shin pads. Turns out it was a wise move... SPDs on the dually are now a bit tighter on the spring tension. :oops:
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby drubie » Sun Mar 06, 2011 8:51 pm

Gah, bunny hop fail - no matter how many videos I watch I just can't get the back wheel off the ground. Getting fairly adept at popping the front wheel up but I do that on the roadie to mitigate bigger bumps so it's not much of a stretch.

Today though, the mud got me. No falls or anything but boy these tyres load up quickly and don't shed the goop on my local bit of track, the bike gets awful slidey with a back tyre full of mud. Did some accidental pedal wheelies in low-low that made me wake up trailgumby - be nice to be able to hold one for a while.
So we get the leaders we deserve and we elect, we get the companies and the products that we ask for, right? And we have to ask for different things. – Paul Gilding
but really, that's rubbish. We get none of it because the choices are illusory.
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby Mulger bill » Mon Mar 07, 2011 12:20 pm

Which reminds me...

Will you take them rips in MP4 Drub? For some reason any attempt at AVI means, dross.
I'll need yer addy again... :oops:

Shaun
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby drubie » Mon Mar 07, 2011 3:15 pm

Mulger bill wrote:Will you take them rips in MP4 Drub? For some reason any attempt at AVI means, dross.


PM'd me old mucker, but not sure whether the PM system is boogered or not.

Bloody rubber grip is rotating after the bike got wet, so lock-on grips here I come.
So we get the leaders we deserve and we elect, we get the companies and the products that we ask for, right? And we have to ask for different things. – Paul Gilding
but really, that's rubbish. We get none of it because the choices are illusory.
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby trailgumby » Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:15 pm

The main obstacle to me doing pedal wheelies and keeping the wheel up successfully is the fear of going over backwards and landing on my butt. My sacro illiac joints aren't the best at the best of times.... don't wanna aggravate them, it would see me off the bike for weeks.

I do have the finger staged on the rear brake but nevertheless have managed to scare myself a few times, only just getting the foot out in time.
"People have a right to their own opinions, but not their own facts. Evidence must be located, not created, and opinions not backed by evidence cannot be given much weight." -- James W Loewen

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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby crazycanuck » Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:51 pm

Any tips for going over something uphill? I get to X place on X hill but lack the strength to get over X thing..I've picked the right line but stumble getting over x.

Log overs are finally beginning to love me..just not uphill...

I've been working on core strength using a swiss ball..
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby apsilon » Tue Mar 08, 2011 2:20 pm

Nobody wrote:However they will trash your shoes in a relatively short time, so not cheap to run.


Dunlop Volleys are about the best MTBing shoe IMO. Comfortable, great grip when combined with the pins on the meat tenderisers and cheap enough to not upset you when the pedal has torn the sole apart before the uppers are worn out.
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby Nobody » Tue Mar 08, 2011 9:49 pm

trailgumby wrote:I do have the finger staged on the rear brake but nevertheless have managed to scare myself a few times, only just getting the foot out in time.
Yet another time flats would be beneficial... :mrgreen:

apsilon wrote:
Nobody wrote:However they will trash your shoes in a relatively short time, so not cheap to run.


Dunlop Volleys are about the best MTBing shoe IMO. Comfortable, great grip when combined with the pins on the meat tenderisers and cheap enough to not upset you when the pedal has torn the sole apart before the uppers are worn out.
Thanks. Something to consider.

crazycanuck wrote:Any tips for going over something uphill? I get to X place on X hill but lack the strength to get over X thing..I've picked the right line but stumble getting over x.

Log overs are finally beginning to love me..just not uphill...
Try to get your chest closer to the handlebar as you pull up. Have a look at the video on the link below. Point 6 about chest and nose. A variation on this may help.

http://www.mtbtips.com/advanced-how-tos ... -the-pros/
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby drubie » Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:53 pm

Something I learned today: tyres matter!

One particularly steep and gravelly hill here we call "the goat track" had me walking on every attempt so far. Fitted up the Maxxis Crossmarks from Cell that arrived yesterday and went up there like a rat up a drainpipe.

k-mart tyres: just say no.
So we get the leaders we deserve and we elect, we get the companies and the products that we ask for, right? And we have to ask for different things. – Paul Gilding
but really, that's rubbish. We get none of it because the choices are illusory.
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby Nobody » Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:26 pm

drubie wrote:Something I learned today...
Shouldn't this be in this thread? :wink:

drubie wrote:tyres matter!
Maybe we missed this as a given in the long list of things you should know. Yes, tyres make the single biggest difference of anything you put on a MTB. The hard part (financially mainly) is finding the best tyre for your particular terrain/conditions and riding style.

My favorite tyres at the moment for my local are Geax Saguaro. They are fast rolling and still have plenty of grip in dry conditions. Relatively cheap too.
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby drubie » Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:25 pm

How are the geax in the mud?
So we get the leaders we deserve and we elect, we get the companies and the products that we ask for, right? And we have to ask for different things. – Paul Gilding
but really, that's rubbish. We get none of it because the choices are illusory.
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby trailgumby » Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:01 pm

Maxxis Ignitors are half-decent in the mud. Not actual mud tyres (which are sloooowwww when it's not actually muddy), but they give you a lot more control than the likes of Crossmarks as they release the mud easily with their more widely spaced knobs.

They're quite a good all-conditions front tyre, very confidence inspiring and grippy in 2.35" although prone to not giving you all that much warning if you stray too close to the limit of grip.

Ignitor is my next favourite front tyre after the Nobby Nic. 2.35" Ignitor on front teams well with a 2.0 Larsen TT on the rear. For mud yo ucoudl go 2.35" Ignitor on front with a 2.1" Ignitor on rear. The 2.1" model has little ramps on the knobs' leading edge which makes them roll better. Weird that they only do that for the 2.1" model. :?
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby trailgumby » Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:10 pm

Nobody wrote:
trailgumby wrote:I do have the finger staged on the rear brake but nevertheless have managed to scare myself a few times, only just getting the foot out in time.
Yet another time flats would be beneficial... :mrgreen:

True enough ... but not without shinguards! :evil: :lol:

My spare set of cheapo Exustar meat tenderisers ...erm, I mean flats that I bought for exactly that purpose now live on The Ten Dollar Dunger. Might spend some time playing on it tomorrow.
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby drubie » Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:58 pm

Why a fatter tyre on the front trailgumby?

Not sure I can fit a 2.35 anything on this frame/fork - the 2.1 Crossmark is pushing things as it is. Still can't believe how much better they cut through soft sand / gravel compared to the old tyres. The only real downside seems to be they fling rocks everywhere! Super cushy ride too, which is a bonus.
So we get the leaders we deserve and we elect, we get the companies and the products that we ask for, right? And we have to ask for different things. – Paul Gilding
but really, that's rubbish. We get none of it because the choices are illusory.
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby Mulger bill » Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:14 pm

drubie wrote:Why a fatter tyre on the front trailgumby?

Handling. More rubber=better grip.
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby Odinn » Sat Mar 12, 2011 12:23 am

Not that I am all that knowledgable about tires or mtb ing, I have a maxxi advantage ust 2.1 on the front and a larssen tt ust 2.0 on the back
The only other tires I have had on My bike was the originals that were on it from the lbs (merrida matts ht), and the difference on the dirt is cheese and chalk.
I am sure they have saved Me from a few falls more then a couple of times....

Robb

P.S good thread, has given Me a heap of things to think about while riding, thanks.
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby Nobody » Sat Mar 12, 2011 7:17 am

drubie wrote:How are the geax in the mud?
Not too bad in the mud. They don't completely clog. However don't use one on the front in the wet. They have a fairly hard compound and don't like wet hard surfaces like rocks, tree roots etc. I change to a Nevegal DTC on the front if I want to do a wet ride. Nevs don't roll well, but the grip is worth it in the wet. I hardly notice the difference between a good and bad roller on the front anyway.
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby Nobody » Sat Mar 12, 2011 7:38 am

drubie wrote:Why a fatter tyre on the front
I believe in fatter tyres front and back for MTB as roll is considered to be 50% of your losses. Fatter tyres roll better for the same grip and comfort levels as the terrain gets rockier or softer. This is because you can run them at lower pressure. It is actually quite complex to figure out what combination of width plus tyre pressure is best for your average terrain as for most people the terrain is so varied. What makes you faster on hard pack smooth tracks will generally make you slower in soft or rough terrain. Working out the average and then taking comfort and grip into consideration as well makes in complex. Eventually you settle on a compromise you can be happy with.
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby trailgumby » Sat Mar 12, 2011 10:22 am

drubie wrote:Why a fatter tyre on the front trailgumby?

The front tyre is your control tyre. You can live with the rear moving around a bit (even a lot), so long as your front is planted and pointed in the direction you need to go. Lose traction on the front though and you can end up either eating dirt or needing to clean your knicks.

The Ignitor is quite a small bag for a 2.35. Looks like a 2.1 to most folks, it's only slightly bigger than a 2.1" Crossmark.

I really like the way the Crossmark rolls. You need to crank the bike over hard in the corners though if using it as a front so that you engage the side knobs, otherwise it moves around a bit. I'm not as comfortable as some others with a front that does that.
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby drubie » Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:25 pm

The crossmarks do roll a lot better - it's very noticeable. They feel very "balloony" in comparison to the rigid sided cheap tyres and it does seem to translate into extra speed / less effort / more grip. As for cranking the bike over looking for cornering grip - for now I'll take it as advice rather than practice :P Still getting used to relying more on the back brake than the front, especially on downhill, loose corners (I mean, it seems to work and the old mantra from most vehicles that goes "cornering grip or brakes, pick one" seems very apparent on the front wheel.

Mighta overdone it on the MTB this week though, was so buggered yesterday I got blown out the back of the roadie handicap race and never saw the other racers all day except when I was getting passed. My legs hurt!
So we get the leaders we deserve and we elect, we get the companies and the products that we ask for, right? And we have to ask for different things. – Paul Gilding
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby HighFi » Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:26 am

trailgumby wrote:@Nobody: Ouch! :shock:

Bike setup:
1: Start out with flat pedals. They make it much easier to get away from the bike before it takes you with it when you're about to have an off.
2: Have your bars slightly higher than your seat.
3: Position your seat 1-2cm lower than you would on your road bike. In combination with the slightly higher handlebar position, this makes descending safer by enabling you to easily slide your hips off and behind the seat to keep your centre of gravity well behind the front axle when the bike is pointed down.
4: Set the preload on your fork so that when you are seated on a level surface in your normal riding position, your weight causes the suspension to sag by 25% of the available travel. On a 100mm fork, this means you would compress (sag) 25mm. Adjust the air pressure (air forks) or spring tension dial (coil forks) to achieve this. Sag allows the front wheel to drop into depressions on the trail, keeping your front tyre in contact with the track.
5: It is better to err on the fast side for rebound speed on the fork. Otherwise it will pack down over successive bumps, increasing the risk of an OTB.
6: On the rear, if you have a shock it is better to err on the slow side for rebound damping. This is so that a harsh landing won't see the bike seat kick you hard in the backside and send you OTB.
7: Start with your tyres at about 32psi front, 35psi rear for tubed tyres (80kg rider), or 28 and 32 psi for tubeless. For rocky terrain with lots of square-edged bumps you may need to increase this to stop pinch flats.


Safe riding tips
1: If you can't see how to ride the obstacle, walk it.
2: Always carry a mobile phone, and let someone know when you expect to be back
3: Ride in company, especially if the trail is unfamiliar, or you will be a long way from help
4: Carry enough water for the ride. A litre of water an hour isa For rides longer than an hour, ensure you carry enough nutrition as well.
4: If you baulk twice at an obstacle, walk it and try again another day.
5: Ride within your limits. If you're tired choose an easy trail.
6: Don't ride faster than your ability to read the trail.
7: If you're having an off day and aren't hitting your lines on the trail, stop riding and return when you're fresh.

Technique tips
1: Stay off the front brake over tree roots, rocks and obstacles
2: Look for smooth patches of dirt or rock to brake on with the front wheel
3: Try to hit roots and rock lips at 90 degrees. If you can't, lift the front wheel over them
4: Keep your pedals at the 9 and 3 position when coasting
5: On technical descents, drop your hips behind and below the rear of the saddle. Try lowering your seat.
6: Where you look is where you'll go. Focus on fiding the right path for your front wheel.
7: When you see a freaky obstacle that will hurt you if you hit it, focus on the path around it.


I just got myself a MTB a few weeks back and have been riding a couple of fire trails around my area.

That's some very sound advice right there. I've also noticed if you're riding over/down a large rock and hit the breaks your rear tyres will slide whichever way the angle of the rock is. I almost lost it yesterday but managed to get a foot down just in time! :lol:

I also find staying off the front brake in general is the best option, especially on any descent.
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby trailgumby » Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:12 pm

I do most of my heavy braking with the front, but tend to be on the rear brake more as a % of time per lap, so to speak. Reason for that is that you want to be off the front brake when rolling over rough stuff so you keep the bike rolling while controlling your speed and don;t flip yourself over the bars. However, like road bikes, from weight transfer you get more braking value out of the front. In my case it's a more aggressive tyre as well (Nobby Nic) so it digs in better. So I sometimes drag the rear, and am pumping on the front wherever I find smooths bits of dirt or rock to brake on, even if just a metre or two's worth..

Eventually you'll get the skill and confidence to come back to using the front brake more, but for now what you're doing is perfectly fine, as it keeps you rubber side down and out of trouble. :D
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby Gabe » Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:03 am

drubie wrote:Gah, bunny hop fail - no matter how many videos I watch I just can't get the back wheel off the ground. Getting fairly adept at popping the front wheel up but I do that on the roadie to mitigate bigger bumps so it's not much of a stretch.


All you have to do is move your body forward rather than upward. It is natural to try and jump upwards to get the bike off the ground, but in actual fact you should be pushing forward on your handlebars and moving your bodyweight at an up/forward angle, not directly upwards. And remember, as with everything, focus on relaxing your body and mind and not being too tense. You will do everything better if you can keep yourself relaxed, and you will exert less energy and thus go longer without fatigue.
ATM I'm trying to build up my skills/confidence enough to jump onto a park bench - I can see myself ending up in a pile and crying over my broken bike at some point
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