Riding tips for MTB Noobs

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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby drubie » Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:03 pm

...and now I'm begging for more riding tips.

I took the rebuilt bike out for it's first run in the dirt - the fork lockout makes road riding SO much easier. Then I got too a steep sketchy, muddy, rocky, rutted climb and wasn't sure whether the fork lockout should be in or out?

I figure it could go either way yeah? I was sitting for the climb and didn't really feel the fork bobbing about too much, but is there more control to be had on the steep stuff if the fork is locked? I'm talking steep enough that the wheel pops up if you apply too much pedal pressure.
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by BNA » Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:33 pm

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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby mitzikatzi » Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:33 pm

drubie wrote:......snip... I'm talking steep enough that the wheel pops up if you apply too much pedal pressure.


Move your weight further forward. I was taught to think push down on the handle bars "saying bad handle bars" like your firmly pushing someone away. You slide forward on the saddle and almost have your face over the handle bars.
This link kind of explains how to do it. Climbing Hills On A Mountain Bike

seems to be various "how too" methods on the net.

I never lock my fork out and try to ride/climb in smooth style trying not to have the fork "bob".
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby trailgumby » Sun Jan 29, 2012 7:35 pm

Only time I lock my fork is on road climbs. Of course, I forgot I'd done that today and got a really harsh couple of sharp smacks up through the handlebars over the rocky rollover at the entry to the start of the Centre Track climb to remind me :x Second time in a row I've done that! Grrr! :oops: :oops:

Other than that, no I tend to leave it unlocked. I sit right on the forward tip of the saddle as this helps me keep weight on the bars and stops the front from lifting and the steering from wandering on the steep loose stuff. I then focus on keeping the pedal stroke smooth while staying seated to avoid spinning the back wheel. My saddle is a mtb-specific Fizik with a flat square end, so this is not uncomfortable for the short time it's needed (5 minutes max, depending on the trail).

The exception would be a 29er singlespeed hardtail - they seem to tolerate standing climbing amazingly well, and usually come with some kind of handlebar mounted fork lockout. The trick with them is to hammer up the climbs standing up with the fork locked so you can keep your cadence up, because going any slower drops the cadence too much ... and kills your legs or you end up stalling :lol: :lol:

Practice practice practice....
Last edited by trailgumby on Sun Jan 29, 2012 7:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby drubie » Sun Jan 29, 2012 7:38 pm

mitzikatzi wrote:
drubie wrote:......snip... I'm talking steep enough that the wheel pops up if you apply too much pedal pressure.


You slide forward on the saddle and almost have your face over the handle bars....
I never lock my fork out and try to ride/climb in smooth style trying not to have the fork "bob".


I always feel a bit silly hunched over like a chimp (and had to do it to get up this climb). I might try the hill locked and unlocked and see if it makes any difference. Gotta get some better mudders than the Maxxis Crossmarks though - now that they're showing a little wear they're almost totally useless on greasy stuff.

Trailgumby - I totally forgot to air down a bit. I was running 50psi which obviously isn't helping. I can't contemplate the up-hill step ups at the moment, that's get off and walk time!
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 » Sun Jan 29, 2012 7:52 pm

50psi! :shock: No wonder your Crossmarks are spinning... not even my Nobby Nics would work with that much pressure ;)

if you want a good roller that still provides good climbing grip, try Larsen TTs. They'll still be affected by wear - all tyres are - but they'll tolerate it better before getting skatey. Perhaps not as much cornering grip as Crossmarks, but then it is usually only used on the rear where it's less critical.

It's also a slighlty bigger bag even on the 26x2.0, so it will be more comfortable on a hardtail.
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Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby toolonglegs » Sun Jan 29, 2012 7:56 pm

My fork stays locked out till I point proper downhill...hate losing any of my limited power to weight!.
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby trailgumby » Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:03 pm

Limited power... remind us again, how many cranks and frames have you broken TLL? ;)

drubie if you're after tyres that offer better mud performace, Ignitors are OK. 2.35 on the front and 2.1 on the rear. They're still not mud-specific tyres, more like intermediates, but they clog up less than Crossmarks and Larsens.

Proper mudders tend to be real narrow (1.9 or less) and have big chunky tread that is widely spaced - they roll terribly in normal dry conditions.
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby drubie » Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:11 pm

trailgumby wrote:50psi! :shock: ... try Larsen TTs.
It's also a slighlty bigger bag even on the 26x2.0, so it will be more comfortable on a hardtail.


Hmmm. When the crossmark is done I will be buying Larsen TT I think.

Having said that, this makes me laugh in a Beavis and Butthead kinda way: http://www.maxxis.com/Bicycle/Mountain/Beaver.aspx

Hurr hurr, you said beaver and knob
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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 » Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:40 pm

I have my forks locked out 100% of the time. :mrgreen: (For those who don't know, my fork is rigid)

I also stand on steep short sections that I just can't get up seated (I've tried). I find the trick is to pull the handlebar toward the back wheel (back and down). This helps keep traction for me. If it was a long hill with the same incline, I'd have to walk.
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby drubie » Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:54 pm

toolonglegs wrote:My fork stays locked out till I point proper downhill...hate losing any of my limited power to weight!.


Is there a fork made that doesn't bottom out when you pedal anyway TLL? :mrgreen:

pressure and practice seem to be what I'm missing - too much of one and not enough of the other :P
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 mitzikatzi » Sun Jan 29, 2012 9:04 pm

Some riding tips here
Xplora wrote: Do not get cheap SPDs, your body will hurt you.

trailgumby wrote:29ers are awesome.
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby toolonglegs » Sun Jan 29, 2012 9:55 pm

No I said limited power to weight...not limited power :P ... big difference.
I have been on my Fox 5 inchs since 2007 and apart from one service where I replaced the seals they haven't missed a beat.
Unlike in my racing days ( only did good on flat courses :lol: ) when I tried to run Sid XC Race forks... they lasted a matter of hours :? .
Next year I may take up mtb racing again as it is just amazing here, some of the routes are incredible and they have many amateur level stage races...just have to lose 1/5th of my weight!.
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby Jean » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:18 am

This guy uses the one technique repeatedly in this video, but it's a handy looking one for very tight switch backs. It look like a good spot for some riding.

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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby ireland57 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 1:50 pm

I leave the fork unlocked on steep climbs. When the bike wanders around during climbs it helps to have some front grip to straighten it up. Locking the fork means it just bounces straight off when it touches something.

As above said +.......Crossmarks are a bit ordinary for climbing grip as a rear tyre.
Larsen TT is a great allrounder; I've reversed the rear (to some consternation from some riders) and gained about 10% grip with no noticeable gain of rolling resistance.
Ignitor is a great tyre; the 2.35 is a better rough ground tyre but takes some pushing (for me; weak legs); it rolls brilliantly over obstacles.
Maxxis Ikons (2.2") are also a very good tyre for F & R.

I use 22 - 25psi F and 24 - 27 psi R on tubeless; I weigh 65kgs though.
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby uncle arthur » Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:06 pm

Jean wrote:This guy uses the one technique repeatedly in this video, but it's a handy looking one for very tight switch backs. It look like a good spot for some riding.



Gotta say - for all the ROCKIN' soundtrack, that made for some of the most boring MTB viewing I've ever watched.
What is it with cycling? 30+ kmh and lycra???!!!
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby Jean » Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:21 pm

It's rather long too, which doesn't help, but I put it up for the back wheel hopping, not the groove.
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby Fred Nurk » Mon Jan 30, 2012 7:32 pm

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.


Fantastic advice above with one exception. Be careful about using the preload adjust on coil forks. Cheaper forks have preload adjust on the pretense that it allows for adjustability, but it doesn't change the spring rate of the fork, rather it decreases the distance before the spring binds and punches the adjuster out. On an ideal fork you'd want to bottom the fork out before you fully compress the spring, but you can guess what happens if you compact the spring fully and you've still got travel to go.

Its also the reason why I much prefer air forks, on a coil fork, you really want to change the spring to adjust it.
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby trailgumby » Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:03 pm

There's an assumption in there that for a coil sprung fork, the spring rate is in the ball park.

Fair comment though that this is not always the case, especially with some of the Suntour rubbish I've seen with springs much too soft on others' bikes recently, including my son's first dually. I mean, how hard is it to do a little reasearch, pull out a calculator and apply Hooke's law? It's not going to cost much extra, there's still only one spring. :shakes head:

trailgumby wrote:6: Don't ride faster than your ability to read the trail.

You'd think I'd have learned to take my own advice by now. :roll:
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby drubie » Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:12 pm

Another hard earned tip:

When you're building your MTB out of scrounged / found / cheaply purchased parts, try counting the teeth on the cassette you're using. My shifters and cassette came off a crashed Giant hybrid and they worked well enough although when the chain started skipping recently, on replacement, the skipping didn't stop. So, new cassette from the LBS but it looked like a set of dinner plates riveted together. That's what a 32 tooth cassette looks like...the old one was 26. I'm interested to see what it does on the climbs when my buddies were spinning away from me...what an idiot!
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby Jean » Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:06 am

This is a loooong video, but leaving aside it's all mountain awesomeness, it's a very well done guide to the basics.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVEh9Tby54g&feature=related[/youtube]
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby trailgumby » Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:35 am

Interesting stuff on the cornering, he's got a very distnct technique. We're heading down to the ACT tomorrow, I might give it a try.

The suspension setup advice at the end was a bit useless - too vague by half.
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby trailgumby » Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:26 am

Fred Nurk wrote:Fantastic advice above with one exception. Be careful about using the preload adjust on coil forks. Cheaper forks have preload adjust on the pretense that it allows for adjustability, but it doesn't change the spring rate of the fork, rather it decreases the distance before the spring binds and punches the adjuster out. On an ideal fork you'd want to bottom the fork out before you fully compress the spring, but you can guess what happens if you compact the spring fully and you've still got travel to go.

Its also the reason why I much prefer air forks, on a coil fork, you really want to change the spring to adjust it.

Good call, Fred. The reason I omitted it is that most entry level forks don't have alternate springs available. Cannondale's Lefty forks used to come with a range of Ti and steel springs to suit rider weight, and on the fork my Jekyll came with I got the spring changed to the next stiffest becasue it was blowing through the travel too easily. Now they are all air sprung, including the one now on my Jekyll that my son has now inherited from me.

You can have the same problem with air forks and shocks despite setting the sag correctly. In this case, a couple of extra cubic centimetres of oil left in the fork air chamber will make it ramp up more at the end, and Fox have volume reducers to do the same to stop you blowing through the travel too easily.
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby Jean » Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:32 am

trailgumby wrote:Interesting stuff on the cornering, he's got a very distnct technique. We're heading down to the ACT tomorrow, I might give it a try.

The suspension setup advice at the end was a bit useless - too vague by half.


I skipped the suspension stuff as the first few minutes looked a bit useless.

You coming down for the MTB Cruise at Stromlo or just to muck about?
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby trailgumby » Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:28 am

Trying to get some dry training riding in, actually. Manly Dam has been really wet the last two months and it gets treacherous when it's damp, so I've been avoiding it since my collarbone break and consequently my singletrack skils are zip.

Going to check out the Kowen trails before the Mont. We may get over to Stromlo but we aren't formally engtered.
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Re: Riding tips for MTB Noobs

Postby Jean » Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:38 pm

Nobody wrote:Watch out for wet/damp wood, tree roots and leaves.
It's generally the things you don't see that get you rather than the things you do see, so keep a keen lookout.

http://www.mtbtips.com/


Nobody linked to this site on page 1 of this thread and I think it might have mentioned once or twice since, but I had a good look at it over the weekend. Today I tried (when not dealing with the series of bogs that Majura Pines still is) to use his suggested cornering techniques and found it really very good, though I need to experiment more and get some practice. Pretty impressive site.
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